Embrace the Chaos

Embrace the chaos! I have seen this on shirts and heard many people say it, but it sure is hard to do. I am really trying today, though. I have one of those hectic days that seem to be becoming more and more frequent lately.  Things just keep getting piled on my list of things to do. I feel like I cross one thing off and then add 3 more.  I started feeling the stress of everything I have to do today about midday yesterday.  Then, I got a text from my daughter at around 8:00 PM stating that I need to make an orthodontist appointment for today because one of her brackets came off.  You can imagine that the thought of adding one more thing to an already crammed day about sent me over the edge. Why is it that when you have a lot of things going on, that is when disaster strikes? It is like disaster after disaster keeps happening.  Some are only minor disasters, but when you are already feeling stressed, those minor things become huge.  It’s the little things like running out of ink in my printer when I have a million things to print that that just add more chaos to an already chaotic day.  I won’t bore you with all of the many details of small to large disasters or my long list of things to do today. The point is that I guess am really not good at embracing chaos.  

My husband will tell you that I don’t handle stress well, and my kids would probably agree. My friends and outsiders, though, would tell you that I am great under pressure and that I handle stress really well. I guess that I would say that I am somewhere in the middle of the two extremes and that it depends on the circumstances.  I am really good at hiding my feelings and stress from most people.  It is the ones closest to me (husband and kids) who tend to get the real brunt of my stress. Those are the people that you let in and that you are free to show your ugly to.  They are part of your comfort zone, and you feel safe letting it all show to them. When you are around other people outside of your safe space, you feel the need to keep it together and not show how crazy you really are.  I assume it is that way for most people.   I would also say that stress in general doesn’t bother me as much as the stress of a time crunch.  For example, when I have to be somewhere at a certain time and things keep happening that make me feel crunched for time like today, I become really anxious and more stressed.  I don’t like to be late or miss things.  Those are the times when I become, as my husband would say, neurotic.  The hour before we have to be at a competition or we have to be somewhere important is typically pretty stressful for me.  That is really when my anxiety ramps up.  I get so consumed by the thought of being late or forgetting something, that I get flustered and I start yelling at everyone within ear shot.  We are very rarely actually late for things, but just the thought of the possibility makes me crazy. I don’t know why, and I so wish I could control it better in those instances.  I just can’t.  I swear that my husband will do things, like waiting to take a shower until 5 minutes before we have to leave, that make me feel like we are going to be late just to set me off.  He says it is his way of trying to teach me to chill out.  Well, he has been doing it for almost 20 years now, and I haven’t learned that lesson yet! I do think that maybe part of it is that I am really wrapped up in other people’s opinion of me. That goes back to my need for perfection. I have this warped thinking, and I don’t want people to have a bad impression of me. Being late gives people a negative impression. I know it is messed up and that 99% of people could care less, but it is how my brain works.

I really don’t think that there is any magic cure that is going to make me stop from freaking out and stressing over things like I am doing today. Everything today seems to be setting me off, too. That’s what happens when I am stressed. I am just a really high strung person who gets wound up easily, worries about other people’s impression, and has a hard time “going with the flow.”  I have just accepted that is who I am.  It doesn’t mean that I am not going to continue to look for ways to keep my stress levels down or that I am not going to at least try to embrace the chaos.  I really do want to chill out.  I don’t want to be wound so tight.  It’s not good for me, and it certainly isn’t good for my health or my family.  Honestly, I am not really sure what embracing the chaos even really looks like, but it has to be better than the anxiety and stress that I constantly feel whether I show it or not. If anyone has any tips, I am all ears! Maybe if I make myself a shirt that says “Embrace the Chaos,” I’ll actually start to do it. Wishful thinking, right?


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