Inner Friend and Foe

SUBNET_Final_1I’ve realized that I’m not very good at this blogging thing, or at least not at doing it regularly enough to matter. A big part of that is my default setting of overanalyzing and second guessing everything that I say or write. Doing so holds up the process quite a bit, and sends so many thoughts into the “draft purgatory.” However, I’m going to do my best to actually pound this one out and hit publish before troll brain kicks in. We shall see.

My brain is my own worst enemy, and my good friend. I appreciate it for its in depth understanding of how so many things work, its ability to function under pressure, the extent of its memory bank, the way it picks up patterns quickly, and how quickly it can perform functions with numbers. I also admire its creative and artistic abilities, the way it breaks things apart so that I can replicate them with a pencil and paper.  I’m in awe of the way it knows all the patterns and combinations that my fingers need to dance in over the keys of my saxophone without actively thinking about it. In short, it’s a pretty awesome brain, if I do say so myself.

Every nice thing has some flaws though, and unfortunately my brain is no different. It has an uncanny ability to internalize, overanalyze, and self-sabotage. It turns into a destructive monster when my anxiety rears its ugly head. It drags my self-esteem through the ringer, and it makes me question everyone’s ulterior motives, especially those I care about. Then come the thoughts in my head that I know are entirely unreasonable. But in that moment, it doesn’t matter, and all the reason and logic in the world won’t make me sway on those ideas. Like a wounded animal, I tend to retreat into myself, deflecting others attempts at comfort and support, but in reality that’s what I need. In addition, it makes me physically ill – heart racing, blood pumping, extreme temperature fluctuations, nausea, and tense muscles.

Eventually that comes to a halt, usually either by a chemical intervention, a good cry (the really ugly, gross kind), physical exertion, the passage of time, letting someone in to talk me through it, or some combination thereof.

What comes after is a lot of embarrassment, guilt, and regret. It comes with a lot of promises that “next time I will do better.” And I do, most of the time. There are always those occasions where I don’t, and those are the ones that resonate, the ones that bounce around in my head for far too long, taunting and echoing and reminding me that there are times that I really, really suck at life.

Truth be told, we all do sometimes. Some of us just have a tendency to be quite a bit harder on ourselves for it.

So why am I writing this? That’s a good question, one I’m not sure that I have a great answer to. Maybe it’s because I’ve been really in my head lately. Perhaps it’s because there’s something therapeutic yet terrifying about projecting something deeply personal out into the universe. Possibly it’s because those feelings of embarrassment, guilt, and regret that I mentioned are fueling me to try to explain what goes on upstairs. Or maybe it’s because being a human is hard. Every day brings new challenges and stressors, and it’s only natural that occasionally we will crumble a bit. Somedays we might crumble a lot, and at times we even break. It’s with the compassion and support of others (and maybe a few other tools) that we rebuild. This is to thank those carpenters in my life, but also to encourage others to do the same; lend an ear, extend a helping hand, offer a shoulder to cry on, share an embrace, listen, love, and be nice to each other.  If for a change, we took the view that we’re all in this together, withheld judgement, and were sincerely kind and compassionate, this world might be just a little bit better for all of us.