I'm a somewhat chaotic random personality who is bent more toward the urgent than the important, who is led by inspiration more than structure, who finds time to do all the little things that I love over and against the bigger things that feel hard yet necessary. In other words, I am allergic to organization and duty.
As a kid, my temperament lost my flute twice a month, my purse once a week, and forgot weekly assignment due dates every single week. Serious. I remember distinctly laying in bed at night worried sick that my flute would be gone this time, not willing to tell my mother so that she wouldn't worry with me, literally shaking in my bed and boots.
In the morning, I'd wake with singleminded determination to get that flute. (I loved the black case with the lime green fur inside it as much as the flute.) I'd arrive at school and like a guided missile I'd retrace every step from the day before until I found that flute. I always did find it. I was often late to first period math as a result, which may account for my miserable failure in Algebra II all those years later...
Ironically, I did well in school, earning mostly A's and making both my parents and teachers believe I was a "good student." I've had a surprisingly organized brain for thoughts and ideas. I can usually pull those up a lot faster than I can locate my keys.
But the "era of losing things" (which began in 5th grade and reached its peak of intensity in junior high yet has continued to dog me well into adulthood), of not knowing where my "stuff" was, of arriving to class and not having the current event again for the fifth week running cut a groove into my psyche that I have traveled down thousands of times since.
For the past two years, I've experienced anxiety - the "you need to breathe and do yoga" kind. And now it's generalized to the stupidest things. Last night—case in point.
A little rain never hurt anyone... unless it wakes you up at 3 a.m.
We are now swimming in water here in Ohio. It's starting to look like Minnesota there has been so much melted snow and rain over the last few days. Little lakes in our front yard, side yard and everywhere I look. And unfortunately, at 3 a.m. I realized that there would be a lake in our basement by morning. Now at 3 a.m., who can do anything about it? No one. But I actually stared at my dark ceiling worrying about it, slighlty sick to my stomach, chest constricting my breathing the way asthma used to.
I worried that the rain would mean that our dog would keep peeing in the house. That I'd find that pee with my new slippers and ruin them. That I'd have to go out in the rain to the store to buy more Febreeze. That he'd choose to pee on my theology books or the big Shakespeare volume under the bench. My fantasies ran in a million directions, even went so far as to consider new and better locations the dog could pee. Had I really been on a tear, I could have written some post-it notes and put them in "better pee locations" for Rocky's viewing and peeing pleasure.
As if that weren't enough, I suddenly remembered that the AM Vets (charity) were coming for our used clothing, that the two big bags weren't on the front step and the step would be wet from the rain which meant protecting the bags from water, and collecting the jumble of loose cords and Christmas lights from the same porch so that the AM Vets wouldn't get greedy and take those too... Then I had to consider what conatiners I might have free for all those loose cords and wracked my brain walking in my imagination through a highly cluttered basement, mentally tripping over dress-up clothes and screw drivers.
Then while thinking of charity, I remembered that I was supposed to jumpstart Noah's old car in the rain so that we could give it away too, which would mean getting my clothes and hair wet and possible electrocution. Now electrocution didn't worry me nearly as much as standing in the rain soaking my clothes and hair, not sure if I'd get the yellow end on the right postive or negative part of the battery.... Turning the key and hearing nothing....
This went on and on until I finally just stopped my mind with a mental shout: Shut up!
I started breathing and relaxing my body. I drifted back to sleep.
Today, I am going to face my rainy life at a little slower pace and do a lot of breathing.