Hello Sunday Scaries

It’s 3:27 PM on Sunday and the weekly broadcast of this week’s Sunday scaries is well underway. My anticipation of Monday morning is now in full swing. FULL. SWING.

When I graduated from college seventeen years ago and entered the career world, I made a promise to myself that if I consistently dreaded the arrival of Monday morning for more than a month or two, for reasons that were more than just a phase, I’d find a new job. If I didn’t absolutely love my job, fine. However, I vowed that I wouldn’t sign myself up to drag myself anywhere on a regular basis during this lifetime, including work. I’ve kept this promise to myself and have never looked back.

This time feels different. I’m not convinced that it’s the job I’ve had for the last twenty-seven months that’s at the heart of the issue. I’ve been on a personal journey for the last five months, to be reflected on here at another point in time. This journey has left me depleted. Just really damn tired and exhausted on every level. While the chapter that began in January is appropriately coming to an end, I find myself struggling, although I know that how I feel is more complex and consuming than the word ‘struggling’ implies. What I envision for myself is to end this chapter by enthusiastically turning the page to find myself staring at the blank page before me. Cue the Hillary Duff theme song from “Laguna Beach” here and yes, I’m LC, eyes wide, shoulders back, smiling wide as I look into my future. I am acutely aware that right in front of my eyes are endless blank pages, bare and unencumbered by the mental, physical and emotional heaviness that the last five months have carried.

In reality, the page, as I turn it, seems so heavy that I’m unable to overcome its weight. When I’m finally able to turn to a new, clean, crisp blank page and I put pen to paper to write the beginning of the next chapter I’m finding that there’s no ink in the pen. So I push harder. I scribble frantically in endless circles. If these efforts prove successful, it’s only for a word or two and it’s unable to be sustained. These few meaningless words come nowhere close to the representation of the amazing, can’t wait to be lived chapters upon chapters I’ve already written in my head.

As I anticipate the new week just fourteen hours away, I know that there are people depending on me and expecting me to be on, and I don’t want to disappoint them. I don’t want to disappoint myself. The next emotion I feel is fear. Not the fear of what I’ll find when tomorrow comes, but the fear that tomorrow will find me and I won’t be ready.

The Evolution of My Anxiety Dreams

Last night, I had an anxiety dream that I’ve never had before. Not only was it interesting because it was new but also because its events occurred in a different time period in my life than other dreams that I’ve had when I’m journeying through particularly worrisome times.

In the past, I’ve had two different anxiety-induced dreams. In both of them, I was in college. The more common of the two finds me during my senior year of college. It’s finals week of my last semester, and it occurs to me that there was one class that I enrolled in that was required to graduate, and all semester I had forgotten to go. There’s nothing I can do and I’ll have to stay another semester in college before I can graduate. Although this should be cause for celebration, delaying the real world for a few more months, I’m ruled by the emotions of sadness, fear, worry, and disappointment in myself. This is never a good feeling to wake up to. Maybe this dream occurs when I feel like I’m not living up to my full potential or am dissatisfied with what I’ve accomplished. This is usually a good indication to reflect on what it is I am proud of and to set some short-term goals to get my head and momentum going in the right direction. Insightful right? Don’t be fooled. I usually wake up and have to get going (to the gym, to work, wherever) so that reflection isn’t always likely to happen. Because life.

My second dream in my college-era occurs when I’m back at my college waitressing job. I’ve gone home for the night after work only to remember when I get home that I’ve left while all of my tables are still eating dinner and, therefore, must still be sitting there wondering where I’ve gone. This dream doesn’t leave me as traumatised as the former but again can be linked back to what’s happening in the present day. It’s likely that the resurfacing of this dream has some roots in my relationships with others and probably occurs when I feel like I’m neglecting friendships.

This brings me to my thoughts when I woke up this morning. In last night’s dream, college was over. I was now two years out of college, teaching kindergarten in Chicago Public Schools. It was the first day of school. Many people don’t realize that teachers go “back to school” about a month before the kids show up on their first day. So much needs to be done to get a classroom ready, lesson plans written, etc. In my dream, it was day one and my new students were lined up outside waiting for me to lead them to where they would spend the majority of their waking hours for the next nine months. All of the other teachers were talking about all of the work they had done to get their classrooms ready and were dressed in their most respectable “first day of school” teacher outfits. But where was I? Not only had I not set foot in my classroom, thought about a single lesson plan, or looked at my class list, I also hadn’t even gotten in the shower yet. I needed at minimum another thirty minutes to at least shower and look somewhat presentable before I could go out and meet my new students just to bring them back to my classroom where they wouldn’t find their names on their assigned desks or their nametags over their cubbies. What they would find was a teacher who was completely unprepared and had no plan. How could I have let this happen? It’s not surprising that lately I’ve had this same feeling of showing up completely less than prepared, somewhat panicked, and wondering how in the world I’ll be able to pull everything off.

I’m left wondering what event prompted me to graduate (in my dreams) from college and enter the real world, even though the real world I faced at 23 is completely different than the real world I face today. I’m also left with the realization that the subconscious is pretty freaking amazing, and I’d love to get to know mine a bit more intimately.

Things I Learned about Relationships When a Relationship Didn’t Work

After exiting a relationship that left me wondering where the person had gone that used to inhabit my body, the biggest revelation I had was that I needed to take a long hard look at myself. As much as I liked the thought of how much I could have saved on my therapy bill by blaming everything on my former partner, that would have been taking the easy way out. At some point doing that would be the most expensive choice I could have made. We choose the people we’re with for a reason. As hard as it may be to admit, that reason may not always come from a healthy place. If you up-level to a healthier place, your odds of finding a gem increase exponentially. Here are some of my thoughts on how to pick the right person by being the right person.

1. Take a look at what you were taught about how relationships work. Do these jive with what your adult self believes? Think about the most significant relationships in your life and assess whether or not you and your person should have the same dynamic. It can take some time to tweak your beliefs and internal dialogue.

2. Don’t lose yourself.

3. Live your life like you could take care of yourself in the other person’s absence.

4. All other relationships are still important.

5. Don’t get lazy. Continue to be the smoking hot lady you are. Translation: take pride in every aspect of yourself even when you’re “off the market.”

6. When you find someone who has some lasting potential, choose that person every day.

Disclaimer: If you follow the steps above, buckle up. The objects in your review mirror may be closer, and potentially larger, than they appear (see the beliefs I refer to in #1). The good news, though, is that with time and some serious effort, they’ll disappear.