So maybe you know me in person or you know me online and you see parts of my life that may seem fun or interesting. Maybe you think I’m funny because I’ve made you laugh and it really is a gift to be able to do that and the parts of me that you know are true and real, but they aren’t all of me. I don’t show you all of me because if I did, son of a gun you would know what a mess I am and it’s not that I am ashamed of myself because I’m not, but do you really want to hear how I had a panic attack on my way to see a screening of the movie Cantinflas?
Do you really want to know that when I found out that Robin Williams killed himself, I cried and cried and cried because my brain doesn’t always act the way it’s “supposed to” and even though I’ve never wanted to kill myself, I’ve wondered how I would be able to live in fear or pain for the rest of my life?
I found out Robin Williams died on Monday and on Tuesday I was scheduled to go to a screening of the movie Cantiflas staring Óscar Jaenada. I had to go to the screening that day because the following day I would be interviewing Jaenada and seeing the film was a requirement. I found it cosmic that the day I would be seeing the movie happened to be Mario Moreno’s birthday. Just in case you don’t know, Mario Moreno is Cantiflas, Cantiflas was born of Mario Moreno.
When I cry like I cried over Robin Williams dying it leaves me in a state, it leaves me vulnerable, it leaves me scared and sometimes it takes a couple of days to feel normal again, whatever that is. Anyway, I was shaky, I had to drive to the screening, I HATE driving. The drive was during rush hour and I knew I would have a hard time with it.
I got in my car and knew exactly where I was going because that’s the only way I can deal with the anxiety that comes with driving, I have to know where I’m going. I have to know the name of the exit before the exit that I will be taking. These things matter a great deal to me. I got in the car and I went the least stressful way that I could go and I don’t know what happened, but I ended up in the wrong lane, not the lane I was supposed to be in and my heart started racing and I was too scared to change lanes and before I knew it I was headed in the opposite direction of where I was supposed to be going. I had to remind myself to breath. I was driving and I was having a panic attack, a full blown panic attack. I got myself off the road and pulled off to the side somewhere and I couldn’t figure out where I was. I tried to use the GPS in my car and the stupid thing wouldn’t work and I couldn’t figure it out and I looked for my phone that I swear I had just been holding, but it wasn’t in my hand anymore and I couldn’t find it and it wasn’t in my purse and then I got really confused and thought that my phone and my wallet were the same thing so if I didn’t have my phone I must not have my driver’s license on me and OH MY GOD I’m driving without a license except hold on, I see my wallet in my purse so it’s okay, I have a driver’s license, I’m not breaking the law. I should just go home. I should go home and get in bed and cry because I can’t even get myself to a freakin’ screening of Cantinflas on Mario Moreno’s birthday and what the hell is wrong with me, why am I broken this way, why can’t I do something as simple as drive myself to a movie theater without freaking out?
And I took a few breaths. And I waited. And I decided I would try again.
I started driving again and somehow I got to the screening in time, early even because I know to give myself a lot of time for these things. And no one seemed to notice that I was scared and shaking. I bought myself popcorn and a Fanta. I don’t drink Fanta, but I used to when I was a kid and I thought it would make me feel better.
I walked to the theater with the screening, introduced myself to the PR person there, acted like a normal person who can get herself to a movie theater without a major breakdown and I watched Cantiflas on Mario Moreno’s birthday.
This is what I’m really like: I had a panic attack on my way to see Cantinflas.
So now you know.