Listen to what makes you feel bad

Photo Credit: Jason Rosewell.

Sometimes I’ll do anything to avoid letting my thoughts escape to the screen. Usually, it’s when I have a raw sense of unease that I don’t understand. Clamoring like an angry mob, they cry out, “There’s something important happening to you that you’re not seeing. Let us out!”

Maybe these thoughts aren’t begging to be let out so much as they’re quietly asking for the tenth time to be paid attention to — gently pulling at Mom’s dress while she talks on the phone.

Recognizing what’s boiling beneath my mind’s surface has always been the first step to getting rid of all the knots in my stomach, and all it takes is to give those things the attention they’re asking for. After an hour of writing, I’ll sit back nearly in tears and say, “Oh. That’s what that’s been,” all while realizing nearly every bit of fear, confusion, and frustration are little else but the brain’s notification system trying to find a way to get my attention.

Last night I got to the bottom of a teeming frustration that was driving me nuts all week. My Dad taught do my best and to do work that makes me proud, and I always have this devil on my shoulder whispering, “Is that really the best you can do?” I truly think it is, but I haven’t ever come up with a way to prove or measure that.

So I drew a t-chart — things I’m proud of on one side and things I’m not on the other. And I laughed so hard I cried, because the side of things I’m not proud of was pretty short. I, not for the first time, realized I’m my harshest critic. Apparently, I’m trying to do my best at that, too.

🎉 🍻 ❤️ — Andy

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