Sorry, negativity. There’s a new sheriff in town.
I’m just going to admit it. I’ve been feeling pretty dang pleased with myself these days. Being one who is aware of my anxiety cycles, I’m at the top of the wave right now. Peaking in bliss and comfort. I feel strong. My energy is good. My confidence is on point. To be honest, I’m at the part of the cycle when I feel like maybe, just maybe, this time the peak won’t end.
That thought brings with it a certain trepidation. “Is everything too good to be true? When will the down swing start?” Then my mind will go on a full-fledged spiral. “Had I not started thinking about the down side, would it not have come? Maybe it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy?”
Then I’ll begin beating myself up for thinking negatively while I’m up so high. “You just can’t stand the high without the low. Huh, Girl? Maybe you like it somehow. Maybe you need the lows so you feel the highs…” The maybes can go on forever.
But something feels different to me. My anxiety is rooted in my previous lack of being able to communicate my feelings, needs and wants. It grew from past destructive behaviors that I abandoned over six years ago. I have worked hard, for literally years, to change my mind set and thought patterns.
So why should my anxiety cycle be the same? Why shouldn’t I believe that the high can last longer now and maybe the low, isn’t quite as far down as it used to be. Isn’t it plausible that my story can change? Yes. Yes, it is.
I cannot remember the last time that I was asked a question, and felt my words clumsily stumble over themselves in my mouth; rearranging their order based on what I thought the asker wanted the answer to be. It’s different now. I am clear. I say what I think and feel.
I say it in conversation and when I write these essays. I say it when I’m in the ocean and standing at my easel. My language is now rooted in strength and clarity. My decision making based on the feeling sparked inside.
What choice brings joy?
What choice brings complications?
What choice is plain none of my business?
When I pick up my paint brush and create a shape on the canvas, my next move is based on what feels good. When I think, “Now it’s time for red,” I don’t have an internal dialog on why or if that’s “right”, or that maybe I should use purple instead, or that red isn’t the new black, and I should choose something that’s trending… I start mixing paint.
When I’ve been on my surfboard for three hours and I’m getting tired, I may think to myself, “I’m just going to paddle past the break and rest for a minute.” I don’t then do head laps, wondering if that makes me look weak, or makes women surfers look bad, or that I should be able to keep going for another hour... I paddle out and roll off my board to rest on the ocean surface for a moment.
I’m close to that in every decision I make. Almost a knee jerk reaction. Nearly involuntary. Nearly. But damn, I’m feeling so good. Now if I could only stop worrying about when I’m not going to be feeling good.
Sometimes I wonder if anxiety moves around the body. I certainly have felt it in my stomach and in my heart beat. I have felt it steal my voice from my throat. I have felt it in my knees, shoulders, hips and wrists. It likes to settle behind my eyes.
I’m curious as to when moves from physical manifestations to holding court in my brain. I wonder how much is actually within my control? How much is chemical? What portion is simply bad wiring?
Ah the questions… They could go on forever. I think I’m going to say “no” to the questions before they are fully formed. As soon as I feel them brewing between my eyes, I’ll just interrupt them. They won’t be able to come to maturity. Just, “No, anxiety, absolutely not.”
We, people who suffer with anxious brains, are challenged decision makers. It’s not because we lack the faculties. It’s because we hear 10 different scenarios, in 10 different volumes, all presenting themselves to us at once, when we’re asked what we want for fucking dinner.
Now that I’ve changed some of my thinking and created stronger patterns, it might be time for the good changes to hijack the negative habits. I mean, positivity has been doing cross fit in my brain for years now. I think it might be time for a coup to get negativity out of the lobel office.
If I’m being completely honest, I think that has happened already. I just don’t want to jinx it!
The painting at top is from my Lovely Mess series. Enamored Flaws, 12"x12", Acrylic and Paper on Canvas. Framed in a gold floater frame. It is for purchase for $480. CLICK HERE to purchase. Search for the beauty in the chaos. It's still there amongst the noise.
I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes. To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure