Night after night, I would fall asleep obsessing over an easter egg I’d left in my bedroom closet.
I bring this up because it’s ridiculous, yes, but it’s also emblematic of my…condition, I guess you’d say.
I’m not sure why I left an easter egg in my closet. I don’t remember if I hid it there (unlikely, because easter egg hunts weren’t a thing in my family). I probably intentionally stashed it there with my basket, because I wasn’t a fan of hard boiled eggs as a general rule. I liked coloring them, but when it came down to enjoying the bounty within the actual basket, I focused strictly on the chocolate (although the bunnies, with their panic-stricken candy eyes fixated on me, also caused problems, to the point where my mother actually started getting me ornate hollow chocolate eggs, which didn’t freak me out nearly as much).
Anyway, there was an easter egg in my closet. I was aware of it, aware that it was eventually going to turn into a biological weapon of some sort if I didn’t get it out of my closet. In the waking hours, it was easier to forget about it as I went about my 9-year-old’s day, making up mock episodes of The Donahue Show on my tape recorder with my sister and the kid across the street. But at night, I’d lay in bed and think of all the terrible things that would happen because of that easter egg. My mother would find it and yell at me. It would explode, rendering my cheery yellow bedroom a hazardous waste site.
But did it ever occur to me that I could simply throw it out? Well, yes, but somehow I’d convinced myself that I wouldn’t be able to stealthily transport it from my bedroom closet into the trash without being caught in the act (“Is that….AN EASTER EGG? In JUNE?”). Because this is the way my mind worked.
And this is the way my mind STILL works.
Nearly everyone I meet in recovery has similar issues. I mean – I don’t think I know anyone else with the exact same easter egg story. But there’s always an easter egg in there, somewhere. A metaphorical easter egg, if you will. Something you’re deeply ashamed of. You know that there will be incredible relief in disposing of it, and yet you let it sit there. And that’s where procrastination comes in. That’s another thing that nearly all of my sober friends wrestle with. We all know by now that doing something is pretty much never as bad as NOT doing it. But that’s a lesson that never entirely sinks in for me, or else my closet would be 100% OLD ASS EASTER EGG FREE.
I’m dealing with this right now. The anxiety and depression have me so simultaneously bummed and amped up that I can’t get up and get this fucking easter egg out of my closet, because I honestly don’t think I’d know what to do with myself if it wasn’t there, rotting away underneath its perky PAAS-tinted shell. Because at a certain point, anxiety becomes almost comforting. If it’s the only consistent thing going for you, of course it’s comforting, even as it keeps you from doing actually enjoyable things because OH MY GOD THERE’S AN EASTER EGG IN MY CLOSET AND IT’S THE ONLY THING I CAN THINK ABOUT.
I don’t even remember what I did with the original, actual easter egg. I mean, this was over 35 years ago. By the time we moved from that house, there was no easter egg, unless there WAS, and my mother found it, and in the rush to get everything packed didn’t think to ask her progeny “WHAT THE FUCK WITH THE EASTER EGG IN THE CLOSET YOU EVIL SPAWN?” Or I was determined to be the culprit, and I was punished so hard I entered another dimension not of sight or sound but of mind. I just don’t know.
But I clearly remember the panic. I remember grasping, even at nine years of age, that this was completely insane, and that there was probably something really wrong with me, and I wasn’t sure how much longer I’d be able to pretend that I was normal before the kids in my class caught on (about two more years, as it turned out). There would be many more closeted easter eggs in my future.