:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.




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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Worry worry worry (Wendy)

So yesterday I had a mini-meltdown. It started out as a great day. I had a doctor’s appointment and for the first time, didn’t get my blood drawn with what felt like a knitting needle, and getting weighed wasn’t as traumatic as expected (I surprisingly didn’t weigh quite as much a small elephant). Plus, I got to hear my baby girl’s heartbeat, which is always thrilling.
I drove home with India Arie soundtracking me through sunny downtown Nashville streets with lush spring green all around me. Life was good.

Then, in the middle of a conversation with my husband, it all came crashing down. He said something seemingly innocuous about a friend of his’ pregnancy that really nothing to do with me, but I took as “holy s%&# - THAT can happen??” – and spent the rest of the day combing the internet as proof of my pending doom and cursing my dear sweet husband for inadvertently poisoning me with anxiety (poor guy didn’t even know what hit him).

It was really quite the turnaround, and even at the time, part of me was thinking “where in holy tarnation is this coming from?”

Eventually, I realized that this is something that I do. I simply don’t trust the good.

I reflected back on when we finished our kitchen makeover a couple months ago. I’d been pining for this dreamy new kitchen for years and the end result was even better than I could’ve imagined. Yet, I sensed this anxiousness bubbling inside of me and it was trapping my joy like a rat. I became pretty much obsessed with the fact that SOMETHING was going to break and it would all come crashing down.

I don’t know why I do this. Maybe I don’t think I deserve good things. Maybe I think that drinking in the good will jinx it. Maybe I’m preparing myself for doom because that seems easier than braving inevitable heartbreak. I don’t know, but I realized that I’ve got to face this problem: I am a chronic worrier. Even when I was a kid, my nickname was “Wendy the Worry Wart”. (Who doesn’t like being referred to as a wart?) and my mom famously likes to tell me that as a toddler, I almost never toddled - I was literally too careful to even fall down.

There are aspects of my life that are so filled with analysis and worry that, when I think back on those times, overwhelming anxiety is the first thing I remember. How sad is that??

I don’t want to make it sound like I’ve spent my life balled up in a corner shaking... on the contrary, I’ve taken some considerable risks in my life and I have definitely lived. But the monkey on my back has always tagged along - even this past week, I’ve had so many little worries crowding out my logical brain that I go to bed thinking “What did I even accomplish today?” Worry acts as a big pause button - it renders you immobile. Ineffective. Much like worry itself.
So, in true COFFEE fashion, my personal goal this week is to a.) face my worries and not let them burrow under my skin and wreak havoc on my days and, b.) tell them to fudge off. For reals. They're just not pulling their weight anymore.

As tribute to these pests, I leave you with beautiful Ray LaMontagne who clearly seems to understand.

7 comments:

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

That stinking truly smelly monkey! Cheers to you for facing this and telling all this worry where to stick it, Sister COFFEE Wendy Easy Breezy. Totally fudge off, I like that a lot. A LOT.

Thanks for the Ray LaMontagne. I think he's got such a sexy voice, so that alone is enough to make anxiety take a hike.

Rock on pretty mama. And... in good friendship (overbearing) form, tell the internet research to take a hike for awhile too. ;)

AND YAY for your little girl! :)

patresa said...

i just wrote a long, wise, and helpful comment. and blogger "could not process my request at this time."

BBBBBBARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH

it said, more or less:

i hear you. and that i think pregnancy is an intense game of TRUST and FAITH. so much unknown, unseen. for someone who is already a worrier, it's that much harder.

and i said i really liked your paragraph about WHY. not deserving good, not jinxing good, easier to brace for the bad than be heartbroken. and i said i thought it was a survival tactic to always anticipate disaster so you're never taken by surprise. i do that, too.

and then i ended with something really wise about how lovely it is to talk about "living in the moment" but how hard it is to actually do.

then i reassuringly closed with "everything is going to be okay, wendy j."

poop.

Katie said...

Poop indeed P! Stupid internet.

Anyway - Wendy! I love that you recognize this about yourself and that you are trying to lure the monkey off your back with promises of good things to come. Living without worry is so hard. I'm the opposite of a worrier - I am so averse to feeling anxiety that I would rather do-do-do (even when it's the wrong thing) than to tolerate worry for even a few minutes. It's so unsettling. When I moved to Missouri to be with a man I'd only known for 3 months, I sold my house, quit my job, left my family, got a new job and a new house all without the slightest iota of worry, because I was doing-doing-doing. However.... for months after the doing-doing-doing I was irritable, unhappy, unsettled and in general no fun to be around (you're welcome Axel!). I put all the energy into doing, and when the doing was done THEN I worried about the decisions made. Not very productive, and sort of immature. However, now I live with a man who sees every roadblock 10 miles down the road and it has made me less impetuous, and has helped me to understand that worry has its place, a function. Like little "Caution" signs of the mind.

And, I have no idea how you could get through a pregnancy WITHOUT worry. Holy crap, you're growing a human. If you weren't worried about every little snag or pothole that could even remotely happen, then you need to bottle what you're drinking and sell it. And also, I imagine that parents sort of live in a state of worry, at least until the baby can walk, talk, feed itself and pay taxes, so I wonder if this is good practice? Or not. I may be way off on that one. However, what I do know, is that you and your husband are going to be fantastic parents, and that you are a responsible and aware and in-tune pregnant lady (in-tune in more ways than one! Ha! I crack myself up...). It really will be ok. As long as you find time for the moments of joy in what you and hubby have created, then I think you're doing just fine.

And remember, there are no "melt-downs", just "fact-finding missions with laser-like intensity and focus, with maybe some crying and brownies" :)

amy said...

Wendy, I have so much to SAY about this fabulous blog entry! This calls for A List.

1-When I was going through what you're going through (re: regular dr. check ups and such), I'd come with a regular list of questions for the mid-wives. I'm almost fairly certain they referred to me as That Annoying Question Girl behind my back. Anyway, on my, like, 8th or 9th visit, the one mid-wife (who was actually my favorite because she had this Southern belle beauty pageant type quality to her but at the same time had such a good sense of humor was so laid back about practically everything) goes (all exasperated with me but in a really kind, Southern belle way): "Aaagh! I swear. You over-30 moms! Y'all just need to put DOWN the books and turn off the dang computer. We love how informed you are, but y'all make yourselves and us crazy!"

2-The internet (and its users with all their opinions and judgments and various odd pregnancy trivia will make. you. crazy.). For serious.

3-I loved getting to hear Melissa's heart beat every time I went in, too! Also, if I could convince them to rig up the ultrasound for whatever reason? Bonus!

4a-I come from a long line of worriers and averse to risk taking women--my great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, and now me. And I see Melissa got these genes as well; she's terrified of: dogs, horses, water going over her head, cars in parking lots, loud noises, odd-looking strangers in public places.

4b-I really tried hard not to worry too much while pregnant with Melissa, about all that could go wrong. Really, other than eating well and taking care of my body, it was beyond my control. But now that she's out in the world? And I'm responsible for her pretty much 24/7? Lord. If you only knew some of the things I worry about. Some of this is stuff that's not even going to be a remote possibility until she's a teenager...knock on wood she makes it teenagehood (see?). I can't watch any kind of news segments, tv shows, movies, read books or magazine or newspaper articles, or even HEAR stories about children who are tortured or made to suffer in any way. It always bothered me before, but now that I'm a mom and can picture my own child in those other childrens' place? Holy canoli. Can't even do it--I'll never sleep again.

4c-I look at this as a positive though. I'm pretty sure that, in the event of a natural (or other) disaster, we'll be one of the few survivors. Risk takers only survive in Hollywood movies, and that's only because they have stunt doubles. It's the worriers of the world who make this place actually run right. Is what I say.

5-And I like your plan for dealing with worry wart invasions. It's a good, 2-step plan, and I think the next time I accidentally am exposed to a horrific news story involving a child, I will do the same. Worry warriors!

5-I LOVE Ray LaMontagne! And I really heart this song.

Tawni said...

I am so glad to hear that your appointment and bloodletting went smoothly, and I really do understand the life of a worry wart. I do the same thing. I wonder why I can't just accept the good for what it is, why I must always try to make it into something bigger and potentially dangerous. I think becoming a mom really cranks that knob up a bit too. You have someone to protect and worry about even more than yourself.

BUT...I think you are definitely on the right track to get started right now facing your worries and telling them to fudge off. Very smart! Plus, it doesn't help to worry about things, it just stresses you out. It's pointless. Stupid worries! And we want to keep you stress-free and happy as can be right now. You have a person to grow, after all.

It's all going to be okay. It IS. :) xoxo.

Wendy said...

Thanks guys! You are so wise that pregnancy, beyond taking good care of yourself, is largely beyond our control. So far I've actually had a good handle on this... until that day that it socked me in the guts. My main worry right now is travel. I am about to travel to Iowa and that always gives me huge loads of anxiety. But yes, I will tell it to fudge off for all 10 hours if I have to.
Thanks for your kind words, my sissizzles.

Wendy said...

Oh and Katie - you are SO lucky to be so worry-free so much of the itme. I see what you're saying about the downsides, but I'm still envious. Oh how I'd love to be that way. Just for a day. A day where I have to travel, to be precise.