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Shameless No. 7: Something I really, really wish I was good at. But I’m not.

August 30, 2011

My first thought on this prompt was “how will I pick just one?” My mind immediately began to tick off things I am not good at. To my credit (not to mention my immense pleasure) my inner Champion piped up and said “but there are this, this, and this that you are fantastic at!!” (I have been consciously cultivating, watering, feeding, and giving love to my inner Champion and I am so pleased to see that she is healthy and full of pep, since she was a little sickly for a while there.)

No. 7 of 30 Days of Shamelessness is “share your efforts at something you don’t think you do well.” There are plenty of things I don’t do so well. Some I don’t care about too much (I am so un-sporty it is comical)  and others that I am working on but spending more time feeling bad than doing anything productive (exercise). Though, when I use the lens that I have tried to maintain for this 30dos project, I have to get to that place of I Never Admit To This and air it out. If I can.

“Don’t worry about it.” “Let it go.” “Just forget about it.” As if I could. My defining frustration, the one around which my personality and life is shaped, is my astonishingly overdeveloped worry and obsession tendencies. It is downright astonishing if I think about the sheer diversity and breadth of what I can obsess about, simultaneously, and without ceasing. Ahem, ahem.

Why are people so unbelievably dense about global warming? Are we really going to elect some freak tea-partier wfor President? God. nononono – we’ll be an international laughing stock. I’ll have to move to Canada.  Why are we persecuting “illegal immigrants” – as if we don’t exploit them for shit work and crap we don’t like! Why hasn’t (so-and-so) called me? Is she mad? Is it my turn to call?  Should I be doing more ‘educational’ stuff for my son?  I really need to make a nightly schedule. Then maybe I could workout.  Or get to bed at a reasonable hour. Or have time to do fun stuff after the baby is in bed. I hate working out. Am I going to die of a heart attack because I can’t effing get my ass in motion?? I need to figure out what I’m going to do about going back to work. How old do I have to be before I know what I want to “do when I grow up?” What am I doing to do about mom? Did I move the laundry over?

Just a small sample. I have what is sometimes referred to in yoga circles as the Monkey Mind. I have an ongoing barrage of stuff and it is almost never quiet.  But particularly if I think I have done something wrong or something I shouldn’t have done (or didn’t do something I should have) I just can’t. let. it. go.

I have tried redirecting my thoughts. I’ve tried distracting myself with something physical. I’ve tried writing it down. I’ve tried just “letting the thoughts go and quiet[ing] the mind.” Ha! I’ve tried playing out the whole what-if sequence to its conclusion. I’ve talked to therapists. I’ve even tried just accepting that this Monkey Mind is a part of who I am and embracing that. Usually talking to one of my favorite people (my husband, dad or BFF) helps and I don’t hesitate to do that when I really need a break. But Ideally I’d like to be able to turn off the Obsession Channel sometimes without outside help.

It goes in patterns, like the moon or the ocean. Sometimes my Internal Chatter is a little quieter, a little more lighthearted and less condemning. Sometimes that goes on for a long time. Sometimes I have nights where I actually can’t sleep because I’m so wrapped up in obsessing over something or another. This is hard for me to share because I want (I want this so badly. Like some people want to be rich, or famous, or beautiful or thin- I want this) to be Chill.  I want to embody equanimity. I want to be at peace with myself and with all the things I can’t change.  I want to be serene and worry-free. But I am not.

I’m afraid that this post might result in a new wave of “gee, you worry too much” and “you should should let that go.” I have had so many, so so many, people tell me “just don’t worry about it!” And I think they are well meaning. But that is like telling an alcoholic to just “stop drinking.” It is an addiction. One that is not good for me, or helpful to me or my life, one I don’t want and that takes up more of my emotional and mental resources that I would like. It isn’t something I can just quit. Or I would have.  A thousand times over I would have.  But I’m working on it.

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