Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I've been wanting to write this blog post for days, but the words haven't been flowing out of my brain, through my fingers, onto the keyboard the way they normally do. They still aren't. I'm not entirely sure this post won't feel stilted and hard-to-follow. And then, there's the concern of worrying others, or looking like I'm begging for attention, etc. The fact is, my little inner demon reared it's ugly head a few days ago, in the form of a near panic-attack.

Saturday was just an off day to begin with. Instead of being a day in which I got to choose from a list of relaxing options, I found myself cleaning the bathroom and my bedroom all by 8:30 in the morning, and scooping the litter boxes for good measure. Then it was off to the races--that is, a morning choir rehearsal. I'm not going to lie, this concert is the first I've done with Sac Choral where I've been less than excited. I loved one piece we sang, the "Ave Maris Stella" by a modern English composer named Cecilia MacDowell, but our other selection, Haydn's Missa Cellensis, left me mostly uninspired. Here it is, this Great Choral Work of High Importance, and I just couldn't fall in love with it as I did Walton's Belshazzer's Feast or Bernstein's Chichester Psalms. What can I say? I'm a 20th Century kinda girl when it comes to choral music.

Anyway, as I drove around, thinking of my long To Do list, which included planning a field trip, a choir tour, getting certified to drive a school van, surviving the choir concert I really didn't want to do anyway, lesson planning, dealing with a complete lack of recent running, the list of grading I needed to do last week but didn't, and, to top it all off, the beginnings of a head cold, and you had Anxious Meg.

Anxious Meg is a far cry from Happy Meg, and from Capable Meg, and from the rarely-sighted Zen Meg. Anxious Meg lets her fear of failure gnaw on her, and her past failures weigh on her. Anxious Meg creates tension where none existed, purely because she has allowed her mind's inner demons to build large, ever-growing snowballs of angst and bad feeling.

Anxious Meg nearly bursts into tears on the freeway, and starts the deep breathing and positive self-talk as she cruises through downtown Sacramento. Does it help? Some. For a few minutes anyway--long enough to get my to my destination without mishap. But Anxious Meg is cranky and irritable. I wanted nothing to do with my fellow singers and felt removed from them most of the morning, where most of the time I love being around them.

I spent most of the rest of the weekend feeling jumpy and anxious. I think (hope) I hid it well enough, with my usual silly Instagram pictures of myself in the ugly choir dress, though some friends got the full force of Anxious Meg via anguished emails and Facebook correspondences about how stressed I felt. For their part, they talked me down a lot, and even more awesome, they let me just vent (you all are rock stars).

After a weekend of high anxiety alerts, Monday was both something to fear and to look forward to. I printed out a new To Do List for the week and geared up to get a good workout--cold or no. After the gym, I went to GB and settled in at my desk, where I doggedly made myself accomplish some of the stupid little things I've been letting myself stress over (when I really shouldn't). I finished some grading. I filed a few things. I accomplished three really important items on my list within the first hour, and felt my mind calming down. I've got this.

What it all boils down to is that I'm so afraid to fail, and so wanting this new job to be the one that sticks. I said to my friend Matt a few weeks ago, "It's like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. God, doesn't that sound awful?" He just smiled and said, "No. It's human." He's right. It's human, and it's okay--so long as I don't let that fear influence my brain. Sometimes it's too easy for the demons to take over.

I wrote it down today--sometimes it's best to just face your fears head-on, to acknowledge they exist, because you're human, you don't always feel like you've got a handle on it. The trick is to never just leave it at the fear, though.

In the end, it's about learning from the past mistakes, and realizing that you can do what you want to do, if you're willing to put in a lot of hard work.

I've got this.

1 comment:

Erik said...

Hey Meg, I'm glad you got through it! We al get these anxious moments, especially if it seems we just have too much to do. That's when it helps to take a nice long look at the list and think about what can wait and what needs to be done. It sounds like you did that as well as getting some of the little things done and crossed off quickly. That dress? I was wondering why you chose it...I'm guessing it wasn't a choice then :) Keep at it! DO what you can when you can, that's all we can do!