Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Unplug the crock pot. You deserve to be free from overthinking.




Above is an approximation of how it feels to be a writer who has not had the chance to properly put pen to paper (or text to screen) and word vomit the innermost thoughts that have been circling the darker parts of her psyche like a caged animal for months.

I'm nearing month three of a long-term editorial internship. Hmm. You'd think I'd be happy for once, working in a beautiful office with a free latte machine, being paid (wellll, that's a stretch...meagerly compensated, maybe?) to write all day. NOPE. It's this pesky set of lobes up in the cranium. They never rest. Always looking for a winter (or fall or spring or summer) of discontent.

Plus, it turns out that being an Editorial Intern doesn't actually mean you just get to be a lil wordsmith pixie all day. Writing is about 10-15% of my weekly work, and none of it has to do with processing my feelings (as satisfying as it still is.) A lot of my job turns out to comprise of some of the things I hate most in life: Composing diplomatic emails asking for things, calling strangers on the phone and trying to think of things to ask them on the fly, pushing people to give me answers to questions, and, perhaps worst of all, making decisions.

I absolutely hate making decisions. Even choosing where to have lunch is pure torture on a bad day. But this job is full of it and being a Feeler-Perceiver (Myers Briggs personality shit for any fans), decisions are energy zapping and at times seem like insurmountable obstacles, especially when they have nothing to do with my value system (how INFPs tend to make decisions, as I understand it) so I have nothing to guide me through making the choice and I just spiral into stress and frustration.

BLUGH have I ranted enough yet? Well, I've spent enough time on the specifics. What I wanted to write and say was that, well, I'm sorry I've let this blog lie fallow for awhile. Writing ebbs and flows, of course, but now I'm realizing I need to write. I resisted coming back to this blog because I felt anything I had to write about I had already said at some point in the past hundred posts, but who cares. Nobody will read back that far anyways (though you should...it's a lot different early on.)

Anyways, the reason I stayed up so late tonight to scribble all this was I wanted to say to anyone out there struggling at work because of your wild mind: You can get through this, if only hour by hour, and you're not alone.

The past month at work has seen me crying in the bathroom merely because I received some tersely worded edits on a piece. Then countless more tear-ups at my desk, oftentimes for no reason whatsoever. There were the nights I begged my family not to make me go into work...as if they were forcing me or could write me a sick note like in school. The days spent dreading a phone appointment. The minutes that dragged on as I stared into space, wondering how the hell I was going to make it through another hour, much less a six-month contract when I felt so fucking numb and torn up inside.

My frustration with my social anxiety has been mounting...I don't want to be the mousy, weirdly quiet girl who avoids eye contact and doesn't say anything in meetings. I constantly compare myself to some abstract concept of the proper social life that "most people my age" have. I always fall short. My attempts to better myself keep falling prey to my lack of executive functioning, my inability to commit to a social hobby to pursue or make an appointment with a new psychiatrist.

But I keep having these moments where I realize, yes, my social anxiety is doing a lot to undermine happiness I could have, but I'm undermining it even more by being so obsessed with hating on myself. I feel like I'm in a pressure cooker constantly, and who is primarily responsible for turning the damn thing on? Me. Yes, societal expectations, friends and family, and even therapy can contribute to an overly-intense "I NEED TO DO BETTER AND FIX MYSELF" attitude, but they're only incrementally turning up the pressure on the crock pot...I plugged the dang thing in! While I should valiantly continue to examine my mental health woes in therapy and challenge them outside it, I also can do myself a favor by CALMING THE HECK DOWN. I don't need to become an accomplished writer or musician or historian within the next year. I don't need to overcome my fear of speaking to male human beings and entering into relationships that can break you by the time 2019 rolls around. These things take time, and sometimes they need time and experience before we are truly ready to make great art, find love that can love us back because we love ourselves, or figure out who we are.

I am in a state of becoming. So much has changed about me in the past few years. I'm reeling from it all, trying to piece together who I am now, especially since I once had such a strong, distinct identity based around being individualistic. I wish I would give myself a break instead of reducing myself to tears every weekend during sessions where I attempt to "Finally figure my future out."


Go easy on yourselves, okay? Rest is part of transformation, like butterflies in chrysalises (overused metaphor, I know.)

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