In my head there lives a little bee with anxiety. Sometimes he nicely walks around wiping down counters but most of the time he is buzzing and fussing and fighting and making a big old mess. I’m not sure when he moved in. I didn’t exactly invite him or any of his friends that moved in with him. I don’t believe they will ever move out so I’ve given them all names. My bees are tiny monsters but they are my monsters and I am learning to love them for what they are.
Dobee the To-Do List Bee
Dobee is always full of plans, projects and the best of intentions. Determined to be organized Dobee makes very long to-do lists and then completely panics when she realizes that her lists are so long and complex that she still can’t find where to begin. While she’s sitting stunned among her piles of papers her friend Sleepy shows up.
Sleepy the Overwhelmed Bee
Sleepy takes one look at all those lists, grabs his blanket, a pizza, a bar of chocolate and hangs up his “out of office” sign. Once Sleepy has napped, rested, eaten and recharged he emerges from his blanket fort only to find all the deadlines from his to-do list looming .
Timey The Deadline Bee
Timey sees those giant, scary deadlines and runs for the hills. It’s not that Timey is a procrastinator, she’s a perfectionist, and a cheeky one at that. She’s got all the excuses why she isn’t done with her work on time but really it’s just that she wants it to be perfect. Timey the perfectionist can’t live up to her own unrealistic expectations and inevitably those deadlines run her right over.
Gully the Guilt Bee
Once the deadlines have stomped Timey flat, Gully arrives to pick up the pieces. Little Gully feels terrible that he let people down by missing those deadlines. He also feels guilty that his work wasn’t done as well as it could have been, that he had to sleep instead of work, that he ate a poor dinner and that it is raining at your house. Gully is certain that it is all his fault so he apologizes, to everyone. Then worrying that his rain of “sorry’s” is annoying, he apologizes for apologizing. Gully soon finds himself stuck in a never ending loop of “sorry’s” sure nobody will ever want to be his friend because of it.
Gloomy the Abandonment Bee
Gloomy knows all about not having any friends. In fact he is so certain that no one will want to be his friend that he sabotages any chance of a relationship. Gloomy has self-destructive plans all laid out to protect himself from what he feels is everyone’s imminent betrayal. He feels lonely, even when surrounded by loved ones because Gloomy is so convinced that he is a burden and that one day, no matter what, they will all leave him anyway. Then, when Gloomy is feeling the most alone and abandoned, Garfunkel sneaks through the backdoor.
Garfunkel the Hello Darkness My Old Friend Bee
Garfunkel packs his bag and travels to the bottom of the bottom. Garfunkel has been here many times before. He shuts out the world, time ceases to exist and there he fights to keep himself together in the darkness. Garfunkel finds a certain bittersweet comfort in the numbness that takes over. He stays down there until there is a moment that an idea floats by, an idea that seems important enough to create that Garfunkel picks up his bag and carefully clambers back up to find reality waiting for him.
Houdinibee the Stage Fright Bee
When Garfunkel comes back, he talks to Houdinibee about his idea. Houdinibee loves it and wants to share it with the world but she is afraid of what everyone will think. Taking a deep breath she gets ready to brave her audience when Timey whispers to her that it’s not quite perfect. Dobee says it would be better if she did a few more things first and Sleepy, being tricksy, simply waves a bar of chocolate at her. Gully panics and says she will have to apologize for taking up people’s time with her idea while Gloomy somberly nods, knowing that this plan is the one that will drive away her friends for good. Garfunkel simply waits with his suitcase at the ready. With all the bees buzzing around her, Houdinibee is paralyzed with fear when Sharebee paddles her boat up to all the clamoring bees.
Sharebee the We’re All In The Same Boat Bee
It took a lot of Sharebee’s energy to get into her little boat. First, she had to put on her glittery cowboy boots and extra mascara and then, promising herself an extra bar of chocolate when she got back home, Sharebee went to gather all the other anxiety bees together. She lights them a giant bonfire, sits them down around it and, exhausted, waits to see what they will do. Dobee roasts a marshmallow and tells them all she’s trying to help the only way she knows how. Timey says she is just trying to do the very best she can and Sleepy passes out graham crackers while explaining that self care is very important. Gloomy asks for a bit of chocolate as he tells them he’s just trying to protect himself. While they all talk around the fire more bees buzz out of the darkness to join their party.
My bees are troublesome monsters but they are my monsters and getting to know them has shown me the silver linings they each have. I see my bees sharing their stories around that cheery fire and I wonder, those other bees that come out of the darkness, are they your bees come to chat?
Author Jessie Stevens is a reader who can’t stop writing. A one-time vegetable farmer and full-time poultry rancher, Jessie started telling stories to stave off the insanity of motherhood. She is regularly seen on her blog, Behind The Willows. She lives in an apple orchard near the village of Cambridge, Wisconsin.
Madhawi Karaya (better knows as Tooks) is an eclectic illustrator with an affinity for robots. A one-time student in the field of entrepreneurship, Tooks became a professional artist when she realized she couldn’t imagine living life without also drawing it. She lives in the town of Utrecht in the Netherlands and divides her extra time between her homelands of Suriname and India.