Tag Archives: stress

Closing the Loop

Getting this post in just under the wire – an hour and a half before the calendar flips to September. I couldn’t let an entire month go by without a post. That’s not responsible self-promotion.

It’s been a hectic month. One which forced me to adopt a new catchphrase: “Close the loop.”

As a lifelong procrastinator, I am forever reluctant to finish (and start). I am rarely impulsive, which can be a good thing; I don’t make rash decisions, I “sleep on it” whenever I can afford to and I listen more than I talk. Over-analysis has often led to paralysis, though. I am so busy trying to see a thing from all angles that I don’t actually make a move. Perhaps this is why I knew better than to take up chess.

So back to what August was – hectic. Work was kind of all over the place – developing shows, producing an independent film, overseeing post-production on a few commercial projects. All good things, but not if you have shingles.

Wait, what?

Shingles. Like chicken pox for grown-ups, except you want to die because the pain is searing and unrelenting. And the only thing that takes the edge off is some heavy narcotics, and that is not an option for me, as a parent.

So yeah, how does one get shingles? Well, first you have had to have had chicken pox as a kid. Check. Then, you need to have an overwhelming amount of pent up stress and anxiety that can only manifest physically, because you aren’t finding the proper outlets for release. Asking for more help, working out, being more social – all good outlets for release, but for me, the only way to stem the tide of debilitating stress is to close that f*cking loop. Get ‘er done, as Coach Taylor would say.

Make a decision, move on.
Call the person back, immediately.
Don’t spend more than 24 hours re-working a treatment.
Make the follow-up meeting for as soon as possible, as opposed “when everyone’s schedules have eased up.” Girl, you know better to think that will ever happen.

Having shingles woke me the hell up. NOTHING is worth getting so worked up about; not my kids’ constant fighting, or going over-budget on someone else’s passion project or looking at the upcoming school year like a basted together patchwork quilt of after-school childcare, extra-cirricular activities and no fewer than 3 babysitters. It’s all so messy, and it won’t kill me…unless I let it. It’s figured out so far – not for forever, and it won’t kill me. I must move on.

I’ve had so little patience at home the last few months; having shingles forced me to throw down that namaste gauntlet and literally “peace out.” I mean, the itching and pain would actually increase as I felt myself reacting to my son’s ridiculous rebellion or my daughter’s frequent, seemingly unwarranted, mood swings. I remember something a former boss taught his staff: “You can’t control others’ actions, but you can control your reactions.” And I’ve been working damn hard to dial down my reaction, stay in the calm zone, and close the loop. Be done. So much mental energy is spent when you don’t allow yourself to just be done. I can’t afford that; I need that brainspace for the creative work that is my lifeblood. It’s very hard to brainstorm and write when your mind is cycling through steps of all the production-related or home administrative tasks that I fail to delegate (working on it!) and it is so overwhelming that you can’t even start, let alone finish. I’m done subscribing to that practice.

And so we are done with August. Two weeks of horrific shingles pain has passed, though my forehead still bears faint red marks. (Oh yeah, did I mention that the shingles were ON MY FACE??!). The film is in the can. We ended the summer with a week of spectacular weather on vacation in the Poconos. School starts, and some professional adventures, which I hope to share soon, are on deck. I still have a lot of work to do on the whole procrastination issue; it’s hard to break a habit that was cultivated at such a young age. But at least I identified a mantra that puts me in the right head to take it on.

Close the loop.

Sitting still in the fast lane is an accurate description of how I roll these days.

Sitting still in the fast lane is an accurate description of how I roll these days.

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