I woke up today with the inexplicable, incessant desire to fix something. My cupboard door eventually became the object of this desire, and it now swings open and closed free of squeak. It is said that sometimes people manifest their emotions into habitual acts and actions. Maybe my desire to fix something projects my own need for self-repair.
For reasons beyond what I care to delve into right now, I drove alone to another city last night because I needed a change of scene. I went through every mix CD I burned in the last year and relived the past through songs that once bore significance to me at certain moments in time. So much has changed since I first moved east last summer, for better or for worse. With the move back west happening so soon, I needed some distance from my empty walls and cardboard boxes, even some distance from the people I feel I’ve grown closest to while living here. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism, detaching myself now as to lessen the blow later. Maybe I just needed some perspective, and the only way to get it was to be in a different place so I can look at it all from a different point of view.
Twenty-three is around the corner. These past few weeks have warranted multiple mental meltdowns because of everything piling up. The CD is being reproduced. I’m moving out. My parents are visiting. There are still gigs to be played. Bills to be paid. Lawns to be mowed. Not to mention all the cleaning. On top of all this, I am a chronic (and professional) people-pleaser. Not only does everything need to be done, but it also needs to be done well, and people have to be happy with the results. Otherwise the world will end. Not really, but that’s just how my brain functions. It is my worst and most persistent habit.
I read about panic attacks today in a mental health article:
“Panic sufferers often describe themselves as “people pleasers,” who find it extremely painful to risk others’ dislike or disapproval. They may agree to others’ requests, suppress their own opinions, and put the needs of others before their own – sometimes to the point that they almost lose touch with their own wishes and feelings.”
This hit too close to home – and, well, it shed some light on my own recent meltdowns. I’ve made such a habit of putting a lot of heart into my work and relationships with others that it’s no wonder I’ve driven myself slightly mad from trying to keep everything in order and everyone happy. If there is someone in need, I can’t help but drop everything and be there for them. Never mind the extensive “To-Do” list.
In Hinduism, it is believed that the universe is cyclically created, then destroyed, then created again. Ever since I read this, I’ve been fixated on the concept. It came to me with great portent. I am very much the same way. I’ve never been one of those seemingly consistent people on whom you can always rely to bring the same kind of energy, at least not how I perceive it. As much as I’d like to remain positive and lighthearted all the time, I too subscribe to the human condition. Ever since I can remember, I’ve had spurts of productivity, energy, and enthusiasm for everything around me. Whatever project I can channel all of this into flourishes. Then, there comes a time when I start to feel like I’ve exhausted all of my capacities, my creativity, and my mind. All I feel like doing at that point is retracting and disappearing for a while until I recharge. So, keeping with the analogy of the Hindu universe, I create, am destroyed, then re-create perpetually.
One of my old roommates was the executive director for a local non-profit by day but still managed to take weekend trips to the southwest to go horseback riding. I asked her how she stays sane. She responded with, “No matter how many hours you work overtime and how much you bend over backwards for your constituency, they will still be there in need.” No matter what, there will ALWAYS be more work to be done. So there is no use trying to get everything done at once. Giving time to yourself is important too.
Having a healthy mind is just as important as having a healthy body and spirit. It’s time to fine tune my mentality before it wears out.
Yours in repair,