Monday, October 31, 2016

To do: Simmer down

Do you ever feel like you just need to calm down?
I feel even too overwhelmed, like my brain is buzzing too much, to type this right now.
But I feel, once again, like I've got to get words out in the universe to slow my pulse to an acceptable human, not-at-risk-for-a-stroke rate.
It doesn't work for everyone -- get keyed up, write, quiet the internal buzz -- but it works for me. Usually. God willing.
So I'm willing to try this writing it all down thing, again, for the umpteenth time. And for as long as this works, I'll keep doing it.
So let's talk. Let's dissect the madness coursing through my bloodstream today.
For starters, this weekend was one for the books. In about 60 hours, I prowled Goodwill, finalized a costume (which I've now put on three and a half times (I only put on my mouse ears yesterday, no makeup or Minnie Mouse dress)), rode the train to Pasadena where I conducted an interview for a story, went to a Trunk or Treat event, had dinner and shot pool with Alex, schmoozed at a Halloween party, watched Felicity, snuggled with Max, took a nap, bought a plunger and got my toilet to stop overflowing, sang in church, wrote prayers for church, had lunch with Chels, attended a church meeting, and went to a going away party, where I talked and talked and extroverted some more.
Yes, I just made "extroverted" a verb.
I couldn't even drive directly to work this morning, as I had to stop at the dollar store and get table cloths and chips for a work party (I was supposed to cook soup, but that didn't happen) and more eyeliner to give myself a Minnie Mouse nose.
So, ya know, PHEW.
But this is more than just a busy weekend, or a busy holiday season (which is only the beginning. Grab the reins and hold on tight, Friends).
It's a busy year. A busy life. A busy me.
I don't mean to sound dramatic, or funny -- if one can even be those two things in the same breath.
I'm not seeking sympathy, but I think I'm feeling like certain people won't get it. Won't get the serious buzzing inside me that rarely goes away.
I just emailed a friend and told her I'm so overwhelmed that it borders on making me feel fearful.
Fearful of what, exactly, I'm not sure. That I'll never pull in the reins and be able to rest? That the rest I do know is false? Not restorative?
I know a lot of people have a fear of not being able to get everything done -- they want to read every word of every book/magazine/newspaper, want to go to every social event, want to surpass everyone in their field of industry, and have kids and a chance to sit and watch the football game each Sunday, too.
I don't know if I fall into that category, to be honest. I certainly overschedule and overextend, but I think I'm willing to let things go. Lately I've wanted to just. throw. things. away. Not drive to Goodwill to donate, not ask a friend if they want something, just. get. rid of it.
My fear is not that I can't let things go, but that I'm not sure others will let me let go. I love being involved at my church, but yesterday I had my first twinge of "Uh oh, am I doing too much here?" My worry that I'll let people down by saying "no" is real. Especially in a community that I love and cherish so much.
And my fear, most recently, is that I can't be stopped.
I can't stop traveling. I can't stop buying music. I can't stop acquiring books.
And I don't have time to catch my breath or listen to it all or focus long enough to read the pages, so what's the point?
What's the point of moving so fast?
I have too many ideas for freelance stories. Too many words in my head. Too many cross stitch projects. Too much urge to constantly snuggle Max (seriously, I smooch on him so much in the mornings that I make myself late to the office. Which is ironic, considering the cat's given name: Office Max...).
I have too many.....friends????
I'm always terrified to say that out loud, but it's not a seminal sentiment for me. I'm so in love with so many amazing human beings, and I can't imagine getting rid of any of them. But if I'm being honest, sometimes I feel like I can't keep up with all the correspondence, all the emotion. Even at its highest, I feel like I might burst with love, which is unsettling.
And I feel horrible thinking that. Like I've failed as an extrovert. Like I've failed in loving. Shouldn't I just want to feel boundless love all the time?
Before I met Alex, I craved a relationship where I didn't feel over the moon constantly, because I know how hyper I can get, and I didn't want to live the rest of my life feeling like I'm on a roller coaster that never stops.
(This is a much longer conversation for another time, but after our first date I was over the moon with Alex, and that's simmered to a very beautiful feeling of calm and safety when I'm with him. And I still get really happy, in a crowd, when he walks onto the scene. So if I sound crass for not wanting to feel "head over heels," or if I sound like I'm not in love, well, I would say I'm neither crass nor lacking in love for my partner.)
Let me (attempt) to bring the reins in here for a sec (since I'm pretty sure I just introduced a quadruple negative in that last sentence), and say once again that I promise I'm not trying to be dramatic or seek attention. I'm trying to be totally serious right now. I'm concerned for myself, to be frank, and for others who I know are like me.
I think, and hope, that some fellow extroverts out there can relate to this, particularly those in helping professions, or those with children (of any age).
I don't, and do, want to go out tonight. I don't, and do, want to put on my costume and be out on Halloween and just enjoy.
I also want to stay in and be an adult and catch up on my rest and do laundry and read and feel my surroundings slow in their motion.
But here's where my fear comes in: I don't know what I'll end up doing tonight.
Big deal, right? It's Halloween, go have fun. Do laundry tomorrow.
Ah, but if only it were that simple in the extroverted, mile-a-minute, ENFP mind of Bailey Brewer.
I guess I want to be able to predict my behavior. I want to make decisions and stick with them. I want to decide to go out OR I want to decide to stay in but I want to just know what I'll do. Because I'm an adult, or at least pretending to be one.
I once watched an MTV special that I've never forgotten, called For the Record with Britney Spears.
It's a documentary that was filmed following Spears' 2008 breakdown, once she had found some healing and was getting back on her feet as an artist. Once she was released back into the public, so to speak.
There was some pretty heartbreaking stuff in there, like the fact that she had to have sheets held up around her while she shopped so that no one would bother her. Because people just wouldn't leave her alone. That may not sound heartbreaking to you, but Ack. It just gets to me so bad.
And I'll never forget one thing she said, after her life had become super structured in order to keep her mentally stable.
Spears told her interviewer that her life was "too in control."
"If I wasn't under the restraints I'm under," she said, "I'd feel so liberated. When I tell them the way I feel, it's like they hear but they're really not listening. I never wanted to become one of those prisoner people. I always wanted to feel free."
I hate to hear it, because it's so sad, but I totally connect with what she says about people not listening.
It may be confusing for me to bring that quote in, because I seem to be struggling with the opposite -- I want more control and structure in my life -- but really, I want to be free to make my own decisions. I never want that to be taken away.
But I fear I have no self control. Socially, at least.
I feel like a slob. Not emotionally (well, maybe. Ha!). But literally, like I can't keep my living space clean. And I disrespect myself for that. I feel embarrassed to give people a ride in my over-crowded car. I would be horrified if someone walked into my bedroom right now.
And to be honest, a lot of this is about the orderliness of my surroundings. I've never gravitated toward tidying, and as an adult, it's really affecting me.
I don't hold cleanliness as a priority, and so I don't maintain things like laundry and sorting papers and keeping my bed from becoming a pile of clothes.
OK, I'm losing myself in this tangent, even. Sorry.
I just relate to Britney, in both the fact that I feel like I could lose my mind from being depended on by too many people too much of the time, and not having time to find myself or to find rest, and I also relate to this fear of feeling like I have no free agency. Both prospects really frighten me.
So how do I heal/fix this?
1. I've done myself a huge favor by seeking out therapy and medication. That helps a ton. I'm still me, with creativities intact, but I don't always feel like I'm on overdrive.
2. Part of it is just slowing down. I'm always a little crazed after a marathon weekend of events. So give me some hours and I'll hopefully simmer.
3. I think I need to be honest and maybe talk about these feelings more. Find some validation from people who love me and don't want me to wind up feeling washed up.
4. And finally, I think it could do me good to either write out a plan for myself, or maybe meet with a professional organizer to evaluate my space. I truly think that might help. Someone to look at my calendar and remind me that exercise and laundry need to be priorities sometimes, above karaoke and stitching and eating chips for dinner.
Wow. Congratulate yourself if you made it to this point in the post. I salute you.
I'm gonna stop talking now and try and regroup. Or something. I'm going to try and be nice to myself and enjoy the day. And do some laundry tonight. Or maybe enjoy the evening out -- revel in the holiday, and have some fun for crying out loud -- and bust out the Downy and Tide tomorrow.
Here I go.
Loves to you.

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