Swallowing the sun.

Every time I complain about the summer heat in Arizona, 72 friends from Rhode Island tell me, “But you don’t have to shovel sunshine.”

I have three words for you: “dangerously hot conditions.”

(And the danger is as real as rocks.)

A few days ago, the Arizona Department of Public Safety reported a state trooper stopped to investigate a pile of “debris” on Interstate 17 near Camp Verde. It turns out it was a delirious golden eagle. The bird — about the size of a beagle — was unable to fly.

Birds are dropping out of the sky from heatstroke!

Let that sink in…

It’s 117 degrees today.

A bubble of sweat just rolled down my forehead, past the arch of my eyebrow, over the bridge of my nose, and parachuted into the inner corner of my left eye. And I have ice in my bra. My AC unit is mounted on my roof—and under direct sunlight all day. All week long, the temperature inside my home has been an even 82. With no sanctuary, every night, I stand directly under the fan and wonder aloud how people who lived ‘pre-air conditioning’ managed to stay alive during the summer.

I’m trying not to complain, but I have ice in my bra, and I feel another droplet of sweat speeding toward my other eye.

Besides perspiring, I’m restless. I’m overwhelmed. I’m underwhelmed. I’m feeling unfulfilled. I have serious feelings of nostalgia, chronic reminiscence about the past, emotions of boredom, and intense feelings of regret. And I am doing my best to not drag everyone I know into my liminal void.

I blame mid-life and fluctuating levels of estrogen.

I’m half kidding.

I’ve taken on many projects the last couple of weeks – and some of these projects come with substantial responsibility. Perhaps a smidge too much commitment to put on one fragile human psyche. It’s like asking someone to swallow the sun. It’s too much.

Instead of eagerly working on my projects, I’m distracted by the thought of not having cold water. That’s right, we get hot water out of the cold tap all summer long. Who lives like this? And why am I acting like this is something new?

I admit I am camouflaging my self-imposed stress with talk of the weather. But indeed, it runs deeper. It always does with me.

You see, I inherited my father’s stoicism. While I thrive on others’ perceptions of my competence, I am just fooling everyone. I have obsessive-compulsive disorder. At different points in my life, in various forms, I have, at one time or another, been consumed by a subconscious insistence on symmetry, order, and above all, perfection. Toxic perfectionism. These dark sentiments usually only make an appearance in moments of intense anxiety. And right now, fear is running amuck. I’ve saddled myself with a project and a goal, and I am not delivering. And it’s eating me up. 

At this point, swallowing the sun would be easier. 

All I want to do today is sit on my laurels with a cold glass of water.

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