I'm a complainer.
It's more than a hobby, it's a lifestyle choice. When the going gets tough and my anxiety reaches an "oh shit, oh shit, oh shit" cacophony, I have the uncanny ability to find fault with everything -- especially myself.
More specifically my life choices.
When I get in this state, I fall so far down the "woe is me; everything sucks" rabbit hole that I become insufferable to all but my nearest and dearest. And even they, I'm sure, have daydreamed about microwaving my face.
I actually had someone say that to me once, "LOUISE, I'M GOING TO MICROWAVE YOUR FACE IF YOU DON'T QUIT YOUR BITCHING."
Microwaves aside, I've had a pretty rough few weeks. Indulge me for a moment, and then I promise I'll get to the getting over myself part.
My brain has been going a little haywire lately due to a new and scary job on the horizon, the "I'm bad at living in Hawai'i" blues, fearing ineptitude at my chosen profession and that pesky anxiety disorder. My heart's been racing from the moment I wake up to the moment I climb into bed, and most of my husband's and my nightly conversations have revolved around that super-charming topic of "Everything I Touch Turns to Shit, I Hate Everything." Who wants to hang out?
We've all been there. It's a good old-fashioned funk, y'all, and I'm not talking the George Clinton & Parliament kind.
I was perfectly content to keep circling the piss-pot, as my mom would say, until a friend of mine, may the Great Kitten in the Sky bless her, finally snapped.
After a particularly harrowing day, I called one of my favorite whining receptacle friends and basically proceeded to vent (dump).
After a few moments of operatic breath-controlled bitching, silence fell on the line. "Hello? Are you there?" I asked. And just as I was about to hang up and dial her number again for round two, she spoke up.
"I'm here, Louise."
Beat, beat. Okay. And?
"Louise. I have to say this. Stop whining. I'm sorry, really, that you are feeling so shitty right now, I really am, I've been there. You've got some stuff that's out of your control, and, yeah, it's scary, but I think you're wallowing… Do you even want to feel better? I don't know what it is. You live in a beautiful place with a husband who adores you, and FRIENDS who adore you, you have a job and people who want to work with you, and, yes, you're dealing with health stuff, but you're surviving and you're able to live your life. You get to do work that you love -- do you know how lucky you are? I love you so much, but I think you're looking for reasons to not love yourself. I can't stand to hear you tear yourself apart anymore."
You ever have that feeling where you're not sure if you want to cry, scream or crawl into bed in shame? In this instance, I went for option number one: cry.
She was so right.
I'm not good at affirmations or doing that thing where you write down stuff you're grateful for every night before you go to sleep, as I usually end up fixating on why it's all bullshit. (It's not all bullshit, and I know this works for a lot of people, but after I come up with my list, I usually go back to obsessing about how I'm going to mess up the good things. Round and round she goes.)
But this time something clicked. Most of the stuff I was whining about was stuff that I wanted, had fought for, and quite frankly, many people would love to have. It was a nice hard smack in the face of "be grateful, ya ingrate!"
And the storm cleared.
The sun really came out to shine when, later that day, I got this in the mail:
I got this little zipper pouch thingy, I'm using it as a wallet now, from my old boss. Inside it was a note that said, "I miss you SO much. I had to get this for you, it matches the magnets I got you for your wedding. (Best wedding present ever!) When are you coming back to LA? Much love, D."
Such simple words, but in that moment, it was a reminder of not only the love and goodwill I have in my life, but also the fact that not too long ago, I truly was good at my job and probably still am.
So here I sit, with this phenomenal cat-butt zipper pouch thingy in my possession and a renewed feeling of gratitude. I'm not gonna lie, I still feel the negativity and self-loathing creeping in around the edges, and yes, life is stressful, but I'm making a concerted effort to enjoy the ride a little more.
Does it always work?
No. I'm a real "glass half empty" kind of gal; that's just who I am. But reframing my thinking and aggressively forcing myself to take note of the good stuff has done wonders for my racing pulse.
I'm actually feeling calm as I write these words. That hasn't happened in weeks.
I've been fretting about exactly how to put this post together for a while. I don't have a big moment of epiphany to point to, just a firm trans-Pacific "GET OVER YOURSELF AND DO YOUR THING" attitude shift. But it's what I needed to "enhance my calm" and I'm adding it to the "Stuff I'm Grateful For" list I don't (but should) keep.
I'm the best version of myself when I'm not hating myself, and for the moment, I'm not too shabby.
Do you ever get this way? How do you deal? Has anyone ever told you to snap out of it? What did they say? What do you do when anxiety and worries and fears get you down?