I’ve been submerged under a layer of anxiety. Though I make conscious efforts to exempt myself from the pressure of grades, timelines, “should’s”, and “should not’s”, I still am subject to the lip-biting, hair-pulling knots in my stomach that arise when I make a foolish mistake on an exam or forget to go to that club meeting I had written down in my planner. The inside of my gums are undoubtedly chewed and my knuckles have been cracked a few too many times for me to not worry that I’ll have swollen fingers by the time I’m thirty. All that then piles up to have the voice inside my head reprimand me for worrying so much.
It’s caused conflict within, wondering how to lessen my stress when I’m trying my best to remind myself that it doesn’t matter: the workload, the due dates, the outcomes; I know I can only do my best. And, yet, I still get anxious, my teeth still grind. This week, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it. At first, I tried tackling it in a problem-solving manner. I tried coming up with stress-relieving activities. I went shopping, my friends and I found a fabulous Mexican restaurant and laughed over cotton candy, I got a good amount of sleep, and I even went to a concert. However, though all were fully enjoyable, I couldn’t relieve myself of that under-layer of panic over the paper I have due on Columbus Day weekend and the four books of the Bible I still have yet to read.
Today, I decided to try acceptance. I don’t know if it will work. I’m not sure if I’ll feel more or less secure, if meeting myself where I am with my truth will give me any peace of mind at all, but, I’ve discovered that the fact of the matter is that I am anxious. I don’t like being late, I hate getting things wrong, I compete with myself, and I also know that my best is my best. I don’t like having things on my to-do list, and there must be things on my to-do list to do them. No matter how much Orange is the New Black I watch before going to bed, I still dream about polyatomic ions, and I might always be that way. It is my nature.
In acceptance, I don’t wish to say that I will stop watching OITNB. I’m not planning on submitting to my nature as a victim of my nervous manner. I won’t settle on pulling my hair out over the comma I forgot to insert or the incorrect use of “their” and “there”. However, I do plan on decreasing my cuticle-picking over the fact that I pick my cuticles. I agree to take a deep breath when I catch myself breathing fast. I’ll channel my energy around my anxiety into kindness towards my humanity, rather than further expectations of perfection. It’s all I can do. I am prone to back-cracking and lip-gnawing. I can only do my best, and sometimes I’ll still want to do more.
I can still go to concerts, try every type of salsa, and fall subject to the latest fashion trends. I’m working on balance and I can accept that. It’s all I can do.