Shut Up, Brain!

“Shut up, brain!”

Does anyone else find themselves saying this a lot?  I sure do.  If there’s anything I love about myself it’s the fact that I’m very introspective & analytical.  I can never stop thinking, thinking, thinking all the time.  This is either a sign of intelligence or insanity or perhaps both; I’ve never been quite sure.  In any case, this aspect of me is both my most loved & most hated attribute.  I love being introspective & analytical because it makes me a good writer (how else do I makes sense of all the ideas dancing around non-stop in my brain?) & a good nurse (or at least I like to think so).  It also makes me a good friend, a good wife, a good person.


On the other hand I hate it because it makes me anxious, prematurely “old,” & generally odd.  It makes me the kind of person who doesn’t get invited to a lot of parties or bars.  It makes me that weirdo who actually STRUGGLES with relaxing.  Yes, I know, ridiculous, right?  You know how many times in my life people have casually told me “Drink some wine.  Have a beer.  Just relax”?  If I had a dollar for each of these occurrences, I’d be quite wealthy by now.  But I don’t.  If only these people understood what it was like to have that voice in your head that never shuts up, that even alcohol isn’t capable of silencing.  That unrelenting thirst for knowledge, emotional depth, & intimacy & the never-ending curiosity that sends the mind reeling with endless questions, many of which will never have solid answers, at all hours of day & night.  On rare occasions a glass of wine really is relaxing for me.  But most of the time it just makes me pee a lot.  Tonight is the latter unfortunately.

I’ve often said if I could change anything about myself, I would change the fact that I am such a “serious” person who truly does struggle with the ability to relax.  I don’t even know how to really describe this phenomenon because it’s not that I don’t have fun or enjoy life.  I certainly do.  It’s just that there’s always that voice in my head that never STOPS.  I’m not talking about hallucinations here.  I’m just saying that I can never stop THINKING, THINKING, THINKING all the damn time about EVERYTHING.  It’s really quite exhausting.  There are times in my life like tonight where I think I’d trade everything I have to know what it’s like to just say “I’m not going to think about such & such right now” & actually do it.  To look at a situation & not probe so far beneath the surface.  To look at a baby & see only the wonderful side of motherhood instead of thinking too about all of the work it involves & how I’ll never be up to the task.  Arghh.

In the end though it’s this analytical introspectiveness that defines me more than anything else.  For better or worse, it’s what makes me who I am.  And I know there is a place in the world for people like me.  We’re needed just as much as anyone else, even if we’re never going to be the “life of the party” so to speak.  I like to think it’s this highly analytical thinking that makes me appreciate the simple things in life so much: the beauty of a sunset, the sound of the breeze rustling through the trees, the way the frost makes everything look so magical in the mornings, the intensity of emotions that music (even, or perhaps especially, music without words) can incite.  In any case, this is the hand I’ve been dealt & I’m going to play it the best I can.

So, brain, carry on; do what you do best: THINK about everything all the time.  But just leave me with enough sanity to remember that I’m not alone & that life really is amazing.  Thanks.

Novel Aspirations: My Greatest Dream in Life

Those of you reading this who are writers will know what I mean when I say that I am having one of those days when I want to write about so many things but my mind can’t seem to slow down long enough to settle on any of them.  I love nursing, I really do, but my greatest career aspiration is to be a writer.  I don’t even really think of writing as a career because writing a novel has always been my greatest dream, going all the way back to childhood.  I’ve always been fascinated with books and stories and the older I get the more my love for reading (and writing) grows.  I want desperately to write the kind of novel that really makes people think, that makes readers really examine their own lives and beliefs.  But I have no idea where to start, and at twenty-four (almost twenty-five) years old, I figure I haven’t experienced enough of life to be able to write such a thing anyway.  There’s a part of my brain that tells me I’m crazy for thinking I could ever influence people with my words, whether written or spoken.  I try not to listen to that voice but there are days, like today, when that voice is louder than the other voices in my head.  I’m not schizophrenic or anything but we all have voices in our heads, you know the positive ones that say “You can do it,” usually followed quite swiftly by the negative ones that say “You’re crazy for dreaming such things.”

writing a book

I was talking to a dear friend of mine recently about the struggle we all face to feel normal in a world that sometimes seems to do nothing but scream “You’re weird!” every time you walk out the door.  Her response was “No one ever changed the world by being normal.”  I love that so much and I fully believe it’s true.  I used to think I couldn’t be happy in life if I didn’t become famous somehow.  Now I realize how foolish that was, but there is still a part of me that feels like I won’t be fully satisfied with my life if I don’t really make a difference in this world (the poem I wrote that is the title of this blog was about this exact struggle; see my post “Inspiration Behind the Blog”).  I’m old enough now to realize that you don’t have to be the next Mother Teresa or Gandhi to make a positive difference in the world; actually we can all do that just by being good decent people every day that we live.  By reaching out to those in need, by showing mercy when it would be easier not to, by baring our souls about the struggles we all face so that our friends and acquaintances realize that deep down we’re really all the same.  And yet I keep coming back to writing.  As much as I love nursing and realize that my career offers me a multitude of opportunities to help others every day (or night) that I work, I can’t help but feel that no matter what I accomplish as a nurse, or even as a mom someday, I’ll still want more.  I still want to write a book.  I still feel like that’s the best way in which I can touch this world.

At the rate I’m going now, I don’t know if my book will ever happen.  At this point in my life I’m still much too worried about what others would think about some of the things I want to write.  I know I have to move past such trivialities if I want to ever write something truly great, but that isn’t going to happen overnight.  I also realize that even if I do actually write a novel, it might never get published.  And even if it did get published, that’s no guarantee anyone would actually read it.  But I still feel like I have to try, because as I told a friend yesterday, I write principally for myself, to bring peace to my own soul.  Of course if my writing can somehow inspire others, then that is a wonderful bonus.

I have no idea where I’m going with this post but I just knew that I wouldn’t get anything accomplished today and most importantly I wouldn’t be at peace with myself until I wrote about something.  Even if it was something as ironic as writing about writing, as the case may be.  In any case, I like to think that this blog is a small step in the right direction toward accomplishing my dream.

For those of you reading who would like to share what your greatest dream(s) is in life, I’d love to hear from you.