Nostalgic Ramblings From A Dangerous Mind – Anxiety.

I honestly don’t know how to title this post. This will be a post full of nonsense and nostalgia that is a torrential ramble from my cranium. Hopefully it will yield a nugget of cohesion that will bear fruit. If it does not, I apologize.

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Yesterday was my daughter’s “half” birthday at preschool. Since her birthday is in August the preschool gives the children with summer birthdays a chance to celebrate with their friends with the “half” birthday. On these and other birthday celebration days a parent gets to come in as a parent helper (as well as every school day throughout the year, which they cycle through). My wife wet to school with my daughter with cupcakes and chocolate milk in hand and I took the day off work so I could take my son to his swimming class.

It was a great morning with my 2 year old son even though he wasn’t sure of daddy being in the pool with him when it’s usually mommy keeping him inches away from life and death. So there was a little screaming…but with two kids I’m use to that.My wife and daughter had a great day at preschool and cupcakes and chocolate milk were enjoyed by all.

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Everyone was home in time for lunch and I had the grim realization that this was my daughters last “half” birthday. Next year she’ll be in a “big kid” school and once she is part of “the machine” things like “half” birthdays are left behind. Being a person with a summer birthday I know we get forgotten within the cogs of test scores and rhetoric. So with the sad fact of our children growing up to quickly in tow, we took my daughter to one of her favorite places…the mall.

In her 4 year old mind the mall is nothing more than a place to sit back on one of the provided benches and bask in her glory with a pretzel and a smoothie in hand. To my son it is a place to run full tilt, spin in circles under the central sky lit dome, and look at the cars that are placed in an empty store front by a local car salesmen.

It was while I was looking at some cars with my kids that I got gripped with anxiety. These bouts of anxiety I get are (for lack of better term) stupid. Well not stupid for me but to the casual observer they are down right ridicules. I really don’t know if anxiety is the right term to use honestly. My heart beats fast, I get sweaty, and my mind swirls…but the reason for feeling this way is where I have to question it.

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While walking through the abandoned shopping space and gazing at the latest cars for sale it dawned on me that this was once a toy store that I loved as a kid. I’m surprised it took me so long to remember since the ritual of my kids darting between the cars and leaving their finger prints on the fresh wax has be going on for months now. To my credit most of the mall has become abandoned recently. Only a few anchor stores and the prerequisite Gamestop and F.Y.E. seem to be keeping the skeletal dinosaur of the mall alive.

All of a sudden I was overcome with memories of the toy store. Nothing really concrete and maybe that is where the anxiety came from. This bouts hit me all the time when I remember things from my childhood, hell it happens quite a lot while I write about silly things like robot toys and D&D. I always say it’s happy anxiety because it doesn’t come from feelings of fear or dread or stress, just happiness. But below the happiness is a sense of fear and dread because these are times and feelings I will never get back or feel again. These are things that are lost to time and only anchored by my memory – and now this blog.

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I know it is really stupid and silly to use such a powerful word as anxiety to describe the feeling I feel. Believe me, I suffer from real anxiety and I have ever since I was a child. And while I’m on the subject of giving my street cred in the world of mental illnesses to gain the power to use the word anxiety…I have been diagnosed with depression and O.C.D.. Maybe all of this things have been mixed together to create a shit storm stew, who knows.

All I know is that my mind came to vivid life remembering where this toy store had their action figures, board games, cash register, and other assorted memories. The store predated Kay-Bee coming to the mall. Kay-Bee either bought them out or just moved into the same space. These memories are from anywhere between the end of the ’70s to maybe 1982-ish. I don’t even remember things like G.I. Joe, Transformers, or He-Man being there. The things I remember from this small and dark (not dark like scary, just dark like it was the era of mood lighting) store are Star Wars toys, D&D box sets, and one off things like Black Hole figures. This was the store where I got my life long friend, Wicket the Ewok stuffed “animal”. Which I should add I still have, love, and is in damn near perfect shape. (The only reason he is packed away is because I don’t want my kids to destroy him).

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So yes my nostalgia comes at a price…a very low, low price – a bargain if you will. I have no idea where it comes from. Maybe it’s just the shit storm stew I mentioned above, maybe having issues with my childhood / parents, or maybe it’s just how I’m wired. But these feelings have become a barometer to me, a divining rod to point me in the direction of nostalgia. When I was putting together comics to sell – to make room in our new house and get some money together for baby number one – I used this feeling to guide me. If I felt something I kept it…if not, I sold it. Even the weirdest and non-Rob songs from the ’80s get me every time. Like “What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner or “Borderline” by Madonna, these songs played on an endless loop on the radio while I drove with my parents to the beach for the first time. Some times they put me in a summer party mood or sometimes they make me cry because its a feeling and memory I will never have again…god I’m fucking weird. Could be a contender for a title to this post…LOL.

Sorry to just …I don’t know what to call it…but I felt like just having a introspective conversion. Due to my anti-social tendencies I have no idea if other people feel these things. I mentioned to my wife how I felt at the mall yesterday and she couldn’t understand. I don’t blame her, I don’t understand it. When everything is said and done I like it, I like feeling these things. They make me feel good, after the whole anxiety thing goes away.  I do apologize for this “weirdness” and for anyone that has stuck around this far in, THANK YOU.

And I think I have found a title and maybe a featured post title to boot. Yay me!!

I need to also point out that on this shopping drip to the ol’ mall I stopped at the window of a Claires and stated “That makes my heart want to explode”. After my wife was done staring at me like I had three heads she asked what I meant. I pointed to a bunch of day-glow earrings shaped like stars and a pair of weird jelly fish ones. I said “Just reminds me of being a kid. Looks like the ’80s.”. In my defense, they did. She just said “oh” and kept walking because she knows where my head is at.

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15 thoughts on “Nostalgic Ramblings From A Dangerous Mind – Anxiety.

  1. This is a beautiful post. You know how much I love your writing and your honesty – especially the emotional honesty – is one of the things that I love the best about it. Whether a deeply introspective post like this or a more casual look at a toy, comic, or TV show, you express the emotional journey with such depth I can’t help but feel it in my own way as I’m reading. I love being pulled into the world of your posts and then seeing where that experience takes me in my own emotional reflections.

    Also, your daughter’s approach to the mall sounds a lot like mine. As long as I get my hot pretzel I’m a happy guy! My brother and I do enjoy mallin’ and skee ballin’ trips when we have the time. We’ll head to our local mall, play some skee ball at a newly opened arcade, enjoy some snacks, and when we’re walking we often talk about how it’s changed from our youth – different stores, experiences, physical layout, and all of that. Some trips end up being more nostalgic than others but it’s always a fun journey when we just let our minds wander through the mall as we walk through it.

    Lastly, I will be rocking out with Tina Turner in my head all day now. Man, that video took me back. I saw that soooo many times as a kid! It was always on MTV and VH1! Thanks for the hook that’s now playing on repeat!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Your generosity and praise always warms my soul and makes me think I’m actually an ok writer.
      I was just thinking about this again today. I always get “chills” or such an overload of joy that it becomes a panic attack when I remember the ’80s, but this time it was different. I really think I had a full blown anxiety attack because the memory came back to me after decades. I can’t believe it took me that long to remember that toy store and the fact that I couldn’t remember a lot of details mad me sad. It’s a moment in time and I forgot it. Once it’s gone it’s gone and that makes me sad. Couldn’t process and it locked me up. And I think I become preoccupied with my nostalgia because I don’t have many good memories of that Era. So I replace the bad times with a strong emotional tie to toys, movies, shows, etc…from that Era. Anyway….it may sound like negative mental mumbo jumbo but I really am happy to be encased in nostalgia…anyway….
      This mental health report was brought to you by Kenner Toys.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are far more than an “ok writer” my friend :). And I don’t think it counts as negative mental mumbo jumbo if it’s cathartic to express and if it ultimately takes you to a good place. Nostalgia is a powerful thing. I have a friend who’s working on her dissertation for her PhD in Systemic Theology. It’s about the role of memory in faith – looking at how all religions are built on memories none of the current practitioners experienced but rather memories shared down through time. She’s doing a lot of research into memory and emotion and that whole area. We are formed by our memories in such a powerful way! You explore that foundation with both vividness and honest insight in these pieces. It makes sense too. Being shaped by our memories, I think Gen X and beyond are shaped in a special way by popular culture. As pop culture has become a larger (and more diverse) part of our existence, so too has its effect on our sense of identity grown too. It’s fascinating to consider.

        Also, KENNER TOYS?!?!? YES! Ah man, they made so many cool things!!! I can see their logo clearly stamped in my mind now. I love it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That sounds very interesting. Nostalgia is a very personal and subjective thing that helps to build our own mythologies. It’s when like minded people with the same bases of this mythology band together that they share a consciousness which at its core could be a religious like zenith. Wow, that is exciting to think about. We all are lucky to share in the same things and have the same dictionary to go off of in pop culture, it’s just how people harness this mythos that changes. And YES, Kenner was the bomb back in da day!!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The harnessing of these mindsets/perspectives is fascinating too. What speaks to us, how it speaks to us, how we express it – that sometimes seems to change as quickly as the pop culture landscape. It gives an amorphous yet deeply personal level to the experience. It also makes it all the more fascinating to watch and reflect on!

        Back on the toy note, I was going through some old X-Men comics last night and saw these great Toy Biz adds for their old line of X-Men toys. I remember the little light up lightning bolt on Storm’s costume and Cyclops’ light up eyes. It was great!!

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      4. They were awesome. Other than the Secret Wars line it was the only Wolverine figure on the market. Hated his claws though. Also loved the Nightcrawler but the suction cups on him were off putting. Loved all of these Toy Biz figs. Still have a few. LOL I remember the talking ones where Venom said “I’ll eat your brains”…good times!!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Oh my gosh YES!!!! I totally forgot about those! They had those little backpacks with the speaker/voice projector thing in them. I remember being a little upset with Wolverine’s claws too though. They were too bulky. I was always surprised by how few Wolverine and X-Men toys there were. Sure, they’ve exploded now but for awhile it seemed their popularity far outpaced the toys that existed to let us make our own stories.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yes…those little backpacks!! And yeah, his claws were too bulky and had that slider that stuck out way to far. The Secret Wars one had snap on claws and it worked so much better. X-men for the longest time was a fringe comic within Marvel. Look at any marketing in the ’70s and early ’80s and they were not present. Conan got more play than they did. Before the “new” x-men arrived in 1975 the X-Men comic was almost cancelled and issues at the time were just reprints of earlier issues. It took the new team time to get enough steam to get popular. X-Men really only became a success in the very late ’80s and ’90s…I mean to the fans they were always a success but they were no where near being a household name.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. That’s right! Given how big the X-Men were in the 90’s it’s easy for me to forget they were a sort of cult following before that. It’s wild to think of a world where Conan the Barbarian was a bigger comic book star than Wolverine!

        Liked by 1 person

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