I was talking to my good friend last night about the frustrations of the unknown. It’s a realm in which many different career paths can leave you and some are a bit easier to navigate than others. Also, other factors can make the unknown less stressful, like not having children to consider, a mortgage, comfort zones, age etc. I don’t dare to assume that my particular uneasiness over this topic is greater than anyone else’s, however within this conversation my friend tells me that she always sees me as this “superwoman” and hearing that I also face my share of “struggles” put things into perspective for her.
My entire life, I carried irrational fears on my shoulders like a giant, neon poster board of awkward emotion. When I was younger, these obsessions I had could cripple me. They had the potential to make a five-minute task turn into thirty. If my sock didn’t “feel right” on my foot, I couldn’t lace my shoe. I had to fuss with it until it was better and somewhere in that fuss, I would feel the tension building and anxiety creep into my brain like a dark cloud rolling in, ready to thunder strike across the rest of my day. Anything I learned in school that was remotely “scary” I managed to internalize and worry that I would face it. Volcanos, tornadoes, cancers… you name it, I was terrified of it. I couldn’t enter my bathroom without turning the lights on first, and I couldn’t look into the mirror until they were on. I also couldn’t leave the restroom without making sure the rug was aligned properly with the tile. If I was at my desk in school and my fingers tapped on the desktop, I’d have to subtly tap the other fingers equally, and if they didn’t, I’d have to start over until it was right. I can come off as completely “together” and possibly a control freak because in a sense, I guess I am. I need to have balance or I just cannot function as I need to as a happy human being. If I can have a plan and some type of structure or schedule, I am a lot easier to be around and I feel successful about my daily and long term goals. Does this sound exhausting?
It is. And only the tip of the iceberg.
I’m not sure at what point I was able to make the conscious decision to stop myself and know it wasn’t quite normal to obsess over things like I did. But it’s the first thing in my life, I now can see, that I’m proud of myself for doing. My last post, I discussed manifesting positive energy and mind over matter. This is a big deal to me and always has been in one way or another. I can easily get lost in irrational fears even now, but I have to choose not to let them rule my thoughts.
They still pop up like when my kid gets nose bleeds which is something I never got as a child. Of course, my mind goes to a dark place about WHY it’s happening. If it rains too long, I can feel that tightness again, worrying if my home will flood. I don’t talk about these fears, I don’t want to give them anymore life than my own mind allows. And, no, this is not an EVERYDAY thing, but it’s enough that I have to make a point to push it away and tell it “NO” regularly.
This is all to say, I am not any more special or equipped than anyone else. I truly appreciate the kind words and the idea that I motivate ANYONE to do something they wouldn’t have pushed themselves to do on their own. But I also want to reinforce the idea of realistic goals and fair expectations of oneself. I want those who look at me and think, “Wow, she does it all” and know, it was not an easy road to get to this “effortless” (HA!) point. Having the structure and balance I’ve been able to create in our home makes me a lot more relaxed and self-controlled than I was able to be before figuring out the lifestyle that worked best and healthiest for myself and, in turn, my family.
As neurotic as I can be, it makes for good writing… it’s a blessing and a curse! I am maddeningly sensitive and I have an overactive imagination. I learned over the years of my adulthood to focus that energy into exercise and words because it helps me center myself and not face those anxieties as often or intensely as I had when I was younger. Pictured is my work in various stages. Somehow, I have gone from painfully shy and fearful to being brave enough to put myself out there, willing to accept rejection gracefully. To shrug off my flaws and accept criticism the best I know how. To be the kind of mother and wife I want to be without losing myself in the process. I am still learning all of these things but my mantra has become “enjoy the journey” and not get in my own way. I’m not here with the intent of becoming rich and famous. I’m not here to impress anyone or to prove anything. I’m here to enjoy my life, my children, my husband. I’m here to write and to find happiness in each day, no matter if it’s the triumph of bringing a dead plant back to life or by completing a chapter that I have been working on for weeks. In this, I guess I have given other women (and maybe a few men) some perspective, and that’s kind of cool, too.