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The Art of Failing

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Today is the end of week two for stress busting and I haven't done too much with journaling. Although maybe I have just not to the literal standards I imagined them to look like. I've come to understand a large and unhealthy majority of my stress comes from uncontrollable factors. These factors primarily correlate to the idea of failing, the possibility of failing, or the unknown. There are of course specific triggers; I'm not thinking X-Files unknown or anything.

Trigger One. Speaking Out.
If I articulate my goals, thoughts, opinions, etc... I am putting myself out there to fail. I didn't tell anyone about my weight loss ambitions until I had results that were indicative of success. At that point it was my mom. I (shamefully) have yet to tell my husband (that's weird, I know).

Trigger Two. No Answer.
I need to "solve" things. If I can't solve or resolve the impending predicament, I freak. Case in point, my cat has suddenly started running around erratically over the weekend and has licked her self raw in one particular spot. I can't figure out what's going on (I have a few ideas), it's occupying most of my thoughts, and I just keep staring at her nasty looking bald spot.

Trigger Three. The Unknown.
I'll start with the caloric unknown: you're out to eat, it looks healthy, but you have no real clue. Then we go back to Trigger number one because I'm not about to speak up and say, "I have multiple allergies. Is there a gluten and dairy free option here?" (I worked in a restaurant; you'll regret those types of high maintenance questions with some cooks.) I progressively start to panic and fixate on what is or could, which brings me to a sub Trigger...

Trigger Four: "What if".
What if I enroll in grad school and I hate it? What if I attend a yoga class and suck at it? What if I share my weight loss goals and don't achieve it? What if I wait to grade these papers and then have no time? What if I buy a HRM and then stop exercising? What if I stay up later than usual and them am exhausted tomorrow? Ugh. My head gets the best of me and I obsess over what COULD happen, but that I will never actually know because my tried and true schedule is well, tried and true. The "what if" is a product of the unknown and let's face it, that's all going back to the very real idea of failing.

Trigger Five. Emails.
This is nice and specific and makes me appear consistently neurotic. Work emails. I feel satisfied when they have all been answered and I panic each time they insinuate negativity. I can't stand parent complaints (which is the only kind you get as a teacher) and I take everything personally. I'm taking specific steps on this one. Currently I will only check that email once upon arriving home (after the gym). The rest of the evening is mine. I am also not checking it excessively at work and I can feel the difference.

There's more I'm sure, but these are the primary anxiety drivers in my life - and always have been. In high school I had panic attacks before swim meets when I was expected to win my event; when I was injured I was happier because there wasn't any stress. I was obsessed with straight As and having all my homework done on time, but as soon as one slipped I would get this nawing feeling in my stomach and want to run away. This later translated into eating my feelings thing, which has landed me in the obese BMI category three separate times in my life. I'm pretty sure reading this makes me seem crazy, but I can assure you I'm not. I do not have OCD, there are no ticks, and I have failed at many things in that past 20 something years...

It's just recently I seem to be much more sensitive to the concept of failing. Or maybe reflecting on my emotional responses is making me realize this is what prevents me from feeling consistently relaxed. That feels better.

I'm taking a deep breath, sipping my coffee, and listening to acoustic Sunday morning music right now. Afterwards I will take care of some odds and ends and later go workout. These are my stress busters right now and I am beginning to take care of me before anything else.
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