They took the soda machine out of the parking garage that connects to our apartment building. How dare they? It was two in the morning and I was stuck. How was I going to break the feeling of fear? I have bizarre coping skills that include raiding vending machines for diet soda late at night. It helps me break out of feeling trapped.

I flashed back today to a time when I knew nothing at all. I stood a foot away from the back door of my parent’s house, my feet glued to the ground. I couldn’t proceed. I remember that day realizing I was passing into territory I’d danced around for so long. I conceded. I didn’t leave the house that day. I started crying, so helpless, so defeated. My mom said you can do it, you’re just… stuck again.

Stuck became a word we used often. I was just supposed to go to the mall to refill my makeup, but I was riddled with questions and unknowns that held me back. What if I don’t look ok? Are people going to stare at me? What if I can’t find a parking spot? What if I forget where to go? What if my debit card doesn’t go through? What if they don’t have my shade? What if I fail?

This is formally known as anxiety. My mom told my dad that I was suffering from anxiety. I didn’t know what that meant, I just knew it was my entire life.

It took me so long to realize that moments aren’t eternal, no feeling lasts forever. And I created my own shortcuts to stop my fatalistic thoughts. Sheetz serves cold brew 24 hours a day. Target is open until 12 am on the weekends. And sometimes you can find a vending machine for a last resort snack.

For all of my late night wanderings utilizing coping skills, I find fancy slippers helpful. Break out of the stuck, girl. You can do it!

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