Are you kidding me? After months of planning and talking with my parents and maneuvering my schedule around an impossible amount, I can’t study abroad because I missed a deadline they never warned us about?
I stared at my screen in disbelief, my wet hair wrapped in a wilting towel, my hands shaking and my eyes tearing up, and before I knew what I was doing I punched my mattress, shouting a mess of incoherent syllables. A few minutes later my roommate knocked lightly on my door, and I yelled, “Not now.” I would have to apologize for that later, by the sound of her slammed door, but I didn’t care.
Then, I spilt my tea on my keyboard, and my computer screen flashed to a dull gray. Of course.
Ever feel like bad things attract more bad things? Once one happens another happens, and another, and like a snowball rolling down a hill your day keeps getting worse and worse.
I know it’s just my mind noticing patterns. If I say to myself, “Gosh, I’m having a bad day,” then I’ll have a bad day, like how if I say to myself, “I won’t like eggplant” before trying eggplant, I won’t like eggplant. It’s about—a common theme in the Playground—open mindedness. However, it’s hard to keep an open mind when a giant snowball of sadness is trying to force it shut.
I can’t help but wonder, in hindsight, if I’m affected too much by external stimuli. My day seems to hinge on how the things out of my control function—almost mathematically. It’s windy? Strike one. Boss is moody? Strike two. Subway is late? Strike three…I only have a limited amount of strikes before I can’t handle it anymore. My anxiety likes baseball, I guess.
However, they’re only strikes if I see them as strikes. If I notice the pattern and call it a “Bad Thing,” then it is a “strike” and adds onto the sadness snowball. I know I’m mixing my metaphors, but I’m only figuring this out just now.
I’ve been trying to meditate. It is difficult because I’m always fidgeting, thinking, doing. It’s just hard to make peace with something when there’s no time between one bad thing and another. The pitcher throws the second ball before you can see where the first one went.
This morning, the study abroad office called and said that I was all set. I did miss the deadline, but someone dropped out and they had a space for me. Relief flooded me. If anxiety starts in my jaw, relief starts in my ears, then down my neck into my chest, finally out to my hands, allowing them to stop shaking and calm down a bit. It felt nice, though I still had leftover tremors of anxiety in my veins. I still had to apologize for snapping at my roommate. I still started the day in a bad mood, and I still feel the bad mood pulsing in the back of my head.
I often give a bit of advice in my posts, something that I have learned. Well, I have learned something from this, though I do have a hard time putting it in practice. Maybe we can work on following this advice together, as a community: Don’t let things affect you to the point of dysfunction. Feel it. Accept it. Then (try) to move on. There’s no use worrying over something you have no control over. I know it can be hard…but we have to try.
However good relief feels, inner peace feels better…I assume. It just takes a bit of work to get there.