Thursday, November 1, 2012

"He Is A Nervous Person"

Most of my friends already know that, due to a leak several weeks ago, our house has been under quite a bit of construction, especially the kitchen and family room.  Not only are we getting new floors, cabinets, and such, but we are also getting new appliances; the old refrigerator, stove, and microwave were given to a friend this morning.  Last night and early this morning, those appliances had to be cleaned, including the fridge, and that involved the removal of shelves and drawers.  This morning, I was putting the milk back into the fridge--because we didn't have an ice chest prepared yet--and the shelf fell, causing tea to spill all over my brown dress pants and the (thankfully unfinished) floor.  When it happened, I screamed so loudly that my mom, who was in her bathroom, asked what was wrong.  I told her, but she couldn't hear me, so I told her to come into the kitchen, and I then informed her of what happened.  She gave me a towel to clean up the mess, but told me that, from the way I was screaming, it sounded like I was hurt.
Frankly, that kind of scenario has been happening all my life.  When something goes wrong, even a little thing, I tend to do like Victoria Justice sang: freak the freak out.  Usually, that's the worst thing you can do; one thing I've noticed over the years is the ones who handle situations the best are the ones who remain calm.  I'm reminded of an incident that happened when I was in fifth grade.  Long story short, a classmate who was helping with a project that involved shredding paper accidentally got his hand caught in the shredder.  Thankfully, a teacher--who was also a retired Air Force pilot, at that--did exactly what needed to be done: unplug the shredder.  I wasn't around when it happened, but, if I had been, I likely would have been sent into a panic.
Most of us have had times where we've gotten nervous: delivering a speech to our class, performing in a play with a live audience, an interview for a much-desired job, etc.  However, there are probably few of you reading this who can actually say you are nervous people...but I can say that I am, because it's true.  When I took Spanish class from seventh grade through tenth grade, one of the earliest concepts was the difference between ser and estar.  Both of them meant "to be," but in different ways.  Estar was usually for more temporary traits: being pregnant, sick, happy, sad, a certain place, etc.  Ser, however, was usually for more permanent traits: where you are from, the color of your eyes and hair, your personality, and the like.  As you'd expect, the two were not interchangeable; El está nerviosa may be just as grammatically correct as El es nerviosa, but the meaning is different.  The textbook described the former as "He is nervous right now," and the latter as "He is a nervous person."  When I saw that example, I realized that the latter could easily describe me; I've always been high-strung.
It's true that my chronic nervosity is not as bad as it once was; in prior years, I used to get so upset during crises that I couldn't even say what had happened.  Is being high-strung part of my condition? It's hard to say; I've met others with it who were not, as well as some without it who were, and vice versa.  Whatever the reason, being a nervous person is something that I've always dealt with, and it may likely continue for the rest of my life.
Those of you who have been around me for long periods of time might have noticed how bad my nerviness can be.  Even during an activity that involves sitting down--eating lunch, watching a movie or TV show, even sitting in a church service--I can't refrain from moving my legs.  I could say that started in eighth grade; one day that year, my legs just started moving, and they wouldn't stop.  Still, inability to sit--or stand, for that matter--completely still has always been a problem; a classmate in third grade complained that she couldn't see an educational video we were watching because I moved around too much during it.  However, the problem is: If I don't stay "in motion" somehow, I can't pay attention to what I'm doing, especially if it's something I'm supposed to watch and/or listen to, such as a sermon or television show.  When I first became unable to control my legs, my sister--who always sat next to me in church--would kick me to get me to stop.  I understand why she did it; it was potentially bothering others.  Despite that, though, while not moving my legs, I was unable to pay attention.  One Sunday morning, for whatever reason, my sister and brother-in-law were not sitting next to me during the sermon--I would guess that they were doing Children's Church--and, despite the fact that I was in constant motion throughout the lesson, my eyes were fixed on the preacher, and I heard every single word he said, which is something that had rarely, if ever, happened up to that point.  So, it was either move around and pay attention, or not move around and not pay attention.  What would you choose?
Another problem always being nervous causes is an inability to relax.  "R and R," short for rest and relaxation, is something that is nearly universally desired; everyone needs and/or wants it at some point.  However, though I rest when I sleep just like the rest of the world, I honestly do not know how to relax.  The closest I come to relaxing is watching a movie or reading a book, and even that isn't all that relaxing, given how seriously I take my entertainment.  In fact, in some ways, I like a bit of freneticism; when I was younger, I liked playing board games such as Sorry! and Trouble as well as video games such as Mario Kart 64 and Super Smash Bros. Melee with the maximum number of players--usually four--because the more people that played, the crazier it got.  Even some of my current favorite songs--"Freak the Freak Out," "You Spin Me 'Round (Like a Record)," "What's Goin' Down," "We Didn't Start the Fire," "Can't Back Down," "Lovesick," and many others--are sonic frenzies, but that's why I like them.  I'm not all that into sedate, peaceful, and/or serene music, though it can be enjoyable at times.  Nonetheless, being unable to relax causes one big problem that trumps any others: difficulty getting to sleep, though I'd rather not get into that.
I mentioned in a previous post about my chronic preoccupations.  Some of you may have heard the phrase "perpetually pregnant," used to describe a woman who has one pregnancy right after another, such as 19 Kids and Counting's Michelle Duggar.  Well, I could be considered perpetually preoccupied; as soon as I let go of one bothersome issue, I'm on another kick.  A kick is not the same as an obsession; my infatuation with Hilary Duff and Anne Hathaway was the latter, whereas the former involves something that I want to happen or change, and won't shut up about it until it does.  A perfect example of one of my kicks was back in 2003, where I couldn't stop talking about having pizza for lunch at home on Sunday.  I had one of my infamous flashbacks of my friend Robert and I eating pizza for lunch one Sunday in either 1994 or 1995, and, after that, I couldn't stop telling my immediate family members that we should try it.  They tried everything from punishment to an it'll-never-happen declaration to getting pizza on another day of the week to get me to stop, but I didn't until they gave me what I early 2005.  However, it wasn't long after that when I got on another kick, and then another one, and then another one; it was an endless cycle that had started pretty much as soon as I could have been on a kick, and is still going strong now.  If you look back through this blog, many of the posts on here were inspired by kicks.
I will conclude by saying this: I'd like to be able to do away with my nervosity, and be able to relax like a regular person...but I don't see how it is possible.  In fact, I'm currently preoccupied with negative feelings towards myself just because I accidentally walked in front of a moving vehicle while crossing a busy intersection to get into my mom's car, scaring my mom "half to death" in the process.  You may say, "Well, we all make mistakes and forget things sometimes," but, as absent-minded as I have always been, I'm afraid I'll forget something and end up causing dire consequences for me or someone else.  It's already happened, to a degree; I got an "F" on my first test in fifth grade history class just because I forgot to label the four oceans as well as the seven continents, even though I knew them all and could have gotten an "A+".  My fear is that, one day, it will be something a thousand times worse, and it almost was today...but there seems to be nothing I can do about it.
I sure do sound preoccupied, don't I? That's par for the course for me, though; no matter where I am or what I'm doing, there's always something else in the back of my mind.  "I need/want to _____ as soon as I can." "I'm having an issue with _____, and I can't figure out how to solve it." "Where could ____ be?" "Boy, do I sure want to go to _______ this weekend!" No matter how I try, those feelings won't leave...and I've always been flummoxed on how to at least minimize them, if not rid myself of them completely.

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