Monday, July 25, 2011


Since I can remember (or at least since I've been old enough to have deadlines) there has existed for me a threshold of busy-ness beyond which I am unable to continue to function. Past that level I become virtually paralyzed by an overwhelming fear that nothing on my list can possibly be accomplished on time. And I do nothing. I am aware that this response is entirely self-defeating and ultimately self-fulfilling. Nothing will get done if I am not moving forward. The only reasonable course of action in these situations is to get to work. But it is crushingly difficult for me to do that when the list is too long. Some readers will not understand this at all. Others will totally get it. Brains are wired differently, and I believe this issue may be a symptom more on the anxiety-depression/functional acceptance spectrum rather than the hard-working/laziness spectrum.

Recently, I have become aware that this tendency of mine spills into other areas of my life beyond the "to do" lists. In fact, this post, which has been brewing and evolving in my brain for weeks now, was originally going to be about this sort of paralysis in relation to my body-image issues. Exciting, I know. To my credit, however, I did have a clever title and lots of little self-deprecating one-liners all ready to go. It may have been entertaining after all ...

I digress. As I pre-composed this post in my mind, I realized that at the moment my lack of inner peace involves SO much more than the number on the scale. I see areas everywhere where I am lacking, and where I'm really not headed in any sort of direction to improve, and I find it depressing. I am a Wife, a Mother, a Caregiver-Daughter, a Young Women President, a Dog Owner, a Gardener, an Amateur Artist/Musician/Seamstress, a Visiting Teacher, a Friend, a Blogger, a Reader, a Homemaker, a Chicken-Keeper, a Daughter of God, a Person with a Body. Without getting in the boring minutia of my pitiful life, I will simply say that the only role that I am not performing at a sub-par level is Reader. I am 6 books, or 11%, ahead of schedule to complete my goal of reading 52 books this year. Yay for me. Everywhere else my performance leaves much to be desired.

The list is too big. I am overwhelmed. And paralyzed.

In regards to my weight, I've been toying with the idea of how to *gasp* learn to be happy with the weight I am. I seriously don't know where to begin with that, but I feel like something has to give, and this is the only thing I see that can. Really though, it's a similar problem with the "everything else" part of my list. Is there a way for me to be at peace with who I am without giving up? I believe that we constantly need to be growing ... striving to be better. But for me, this comes with a super-sized side order of guilt and stress.

I am more than vaguely aware that the answer to this question has it's roots in prayer, in spiritual study, in service. Yet that awareness is easier for me to come by than to follow through on at this stage. The list is too big. I am overwhelmed. And paralyzed.

Ironically, it's the to-do-list type of activities which often overwhelm me that are keeping me from crawling under a rock at the moment. None of them takes emotional energy to perform. Drive to driver's ed? Check. Do the laundry? Check. Organize another YW activity? Check. And of course: Read? Check, check, check.

As I imagine comments to this post, I am tempted to turn them off. But instead of doing that (which frequently seems a little dramatic to me) I will just say that I'm not really looking for pity, or for solutions (unless they involve books and/or chocolate). If there's anything I need at the moment, it's camaraderie. Just so I know I'm not crazy. Or if I am crazy, to know that I'll have a lot of friends with me in the asylum.