A Is For Anxiety

One thing I love about the English language is how words can take on multiple meanings depending on the context used. Anxious is an example of such words.

It can mean feeling or showing worry, nervousness or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. Or it can also mean very eager or concerned to do something or for something to happen. Both meanings of the word definitely describe me.

I like to be in control. I think part of it is your typical firstborn personality; we tend to be rather bossy motherfuckers. But another part of it stems from my childhood. I grew up in a very violent household. I never knew which mood my father would come home in and always walked on eggshells as a good mood would change in the blink of an eye. Once I was old enough to understand how his volatile temperament impacted my childhood I began to avoid being in situations where the outcome is uncertain. Being in control of situations helps me feel as far removed as possible from that powerless little girl.

I am also usually eager for things to get underway. Patience is not my strong suit and I do not understand why it is a virtue. Haraka haraka haina baraka. Why though? What is so wrong in having a sense of urgency?

While I am an anxious person by nature, I am also a critical thinker. So I usually have measures in place when I start to feel overwhelmed, which might explain why I never suffered from anxiety until I started writing 31 on 13. It was a daunting, demanding goal that had me feeling anxious 80% of the time, at least until I was two-thirds through. My stomach would feel knotted, I would get an upset stomach and from time to time I felt like something was pressing down on my chest. I remember one Sunday in October I was at a restaurant having brunch as I wrote. I texted my BFF and told her “either I am having low-key food poisoning or I am suffering from anxiety.” Although the writing is less laborious this year (phew!) the projects I have planned are even more daunting than 31 on 13. I have set some big, scary ass goals that can easily overwhelm me if I am not careful.

I am more prepared this year though thanks to this post a friend shared on their WhatsApp story:

clarify the problem

Before I saw that post I could not articulate why I am able to ruminate on challenges so well. What usually happens is that I spend time actively seeking a creative solution before shifting it to the back of my brain for it to ruminate on. I am specific with the word ruminate as my creative process makes me think of chewing the cud (the way a cow brings up partially digested food from the stomach for another chew). Almost all my “Aha!” moments come to me like cud (lol) and before I could not articulate it other than saying my brain ruminates on challenges well. Now I know that when you make your problems concrete, your brain does what it does best.

I decided to take that piece of advice for my 2019 goals. I wrote them down in two different notebooks, one for the personal goals and the other for the blog projects. I have set aside specific times during the week to work on both sets of goals so that my brain can ruminate on them when I am doing other things. Anxiety can fuck all the way off in 2019!

One thought on “A Is For Anxiety

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