Thursday, May 12, 2016


I get frantic. It's what I do. I think, unfortunately, it's just how I am.

I get all jittery inside: like a pinball machine. Or, better: one of those bouncy balls my kids get out of coin machines. You know the kind...a tiny, rainbow-patterned swirl of rubber boing!-ing around all over the place. Your kid bounces it "just once," and then it's gone...each time it hits a surface--the wall, a kitchen counter, the TV table--it seems to gain more speed...and pretty soon it's going in so many different directions, you can't keep up with it. Until, someone finally wrangles it into containment. That is usually one of my little boys, pouncing on it, throwing his whole body onto that little extra-bouncy bouncing ball, as he giggles so loudly and uncontrollably that it makes the "It's-going-to-break-something!"-situation worthwhile.

Yep, that's me. The bouncy ball.

I'm working on the containment part.

Good. Bad. It doesn't matter. I get like this as much (possibly more) with Good Stuff, as I do with Bad. But the Good can be minor, silly, stupid stuff that really...really...does not need all this frantic, frenetic, bouncing energy.

My kids' pre-k graduations.
A Mother's Day show.
My favorite band's concert.
A vacation.

C'mon. I mean, these are all really awesome things. But I suspect that maybe, just maybe, I would enjoy them even more if I calmed down a bit.

And it's not like a logical thing. It's not like "Oh, I'm frantic inside because I forgot and did not get the tickets for the show." or "Oh, I'm only this frantic because there is a traffic jam and I may not make it to see my 4-year-old looking incredibly cute as he wears a teeny tiny cap and gown and walks down the aisle to the graduation march."

No, no.
I wish.

'Cause, really, then maybe it would make more sense. Like, I could actually explain why I'm all jittery inside. Then my friends and my husband may not think I was totally crazy. (Truth is, I don't care too much about that, but I do know that I am, in fact, a bit crazy, and it does, actually, drive me totally crazy.)

No, it's not logical. Sometimes, I don't even realize I'm all bouncy inside. And then, when I do--because I notice my face feels hot, or because my heart is racing, or I'm talking waaaaay too fast--I pause and ask myself "Why?" I check in to see what it is, exactly, that I have missed or forgotten to do or is still pending that has put me into this State Of Emergency Feeling.

And, the answer?

'Cause here's the thing about me, too: I'm not just frantic. I'm Type A. ("Diligent" my therapist once called it, thank you very much.) And diligent people tend to get shit done in a timely and organized manner. So diligent people don't usually forget to buy the tickets. Diligent people take into account possible traffic jams when calculating the time it takes to arrive to a destination. Diligent people don't usually have a valid reason to be frantic for a big (good) event.


At least I'm checking in on the bouncy ball frantic feeling, right? At least I'm asking myself what's going on? At least I'm catching myself and becoming aware and noticing the ball boing!-ing all over the place on my mental surfaces?

And so.

The containment part...

I'm working on it.

I had not been too successful in the past. I would either dismiss any accusations of unnecessary crazy, or defensively claim "That's just how I am!" (and secretly wonder, "Why aren't you like that too?").

"I can't help it." I would say, in fact.

"I can't help it"?!?

Really?  I really said/thought/believed that? Really?


(Disclaimer: And sometimes, I still do.) But mostly, I have realized that more important than actually being able to "help it," is wanting to.

I want to help it.
I want to calm myself down.
I don't want to be in a nearly perpetual state of emergency and claim that it's my intensity or my passion or my writer's head.
I have realized that, for me, at least, there is no glamour or glory in this.

I used to like drama and all that. It made me feel, I suspect, important. Like: I must be pretty important and my life must be pretty important if I make this fill-in-the-blank THIS big a deal.

But who the hell wants to live like that?

Not me.
Not anymore.

I'm so much more into mellow, now.

(Another disclaimer: I'm not saying I am mellow--at least not most of the time--but I do like mellow.)

I have come to realize that I can enjoy Good Stuff just as much and get through Bad Stuff even better if I am mellow. Calm. Present.

So I attempt to contain the bouncy balls these days.

I breathe. A lot.
I talk to myself (in the good way). A lot.

I am not always successful. I have realized, too, that this really is "just how I am," but there is no judgment or beating myself up for being frantic. And although there are more times now than ever before that I can, in fact, pounce on it, throw my whole body onto that little extra-bouncy bouncing ball and stop it, there are also those times when the ball keeps going...gaining speed as it hits that damn kitchen counter or that living room wall.

But it's okay. because like my little boys, I will keep chasing after it as it keeps boing!-ing around, and I'll make sure to remind myself to giggle loudly and uncontrollably along the way, so that it's all worthwhile.


  1. You mean there are people who aren't like this??!

    I know what you mean - mellow is great - but for some people it is harder to achieve.

  2. I recognize myself in this, at a certain time in my life. I remember confessing it to a friend. He said "That's how everyone feels all the time." IS it though? It's not. I don't feel that way anymore. Good luck to you, and thank you for sharing this piece in the HerStories community!


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