I’m a starfish on my bed. The fan hanging from my ceiling spins mercilessly. Music loud in my ears, it is all I hear, all I feel. I need to put my head down for a while. I get so stuck inside it. My thoughts match the fan. Round and round.

Reign it in. Reign it in. Reign it in.

Sometimes I forget who I am. I’m so immersed in schedule, in the day-to-day I can’t see I’m at war. Frustrated, I want to keep the bad at bay. To be calm and cool and collected. I picture a happy place – I hear this works. An uninterrupted shower. Sun. Rows and rows of clothes. Nope. Not working.

The fan spins. To be. To be. To be.

I used to not allow myself to feel. Poker-faced, I kept everything in check. You can’t let yourself run wild. You shouldn’t be this upset, this mad. I want to feel fine. But, I’ve learned in order to arrive at peace I have to get through.

I’m holding myself hostage with ‘shoulds’ and ‘ought to be’s’. Old habits die hard and perfectionism runs deep. I need to let my feelings in, let fear and angst swirl and mix until my insides are muddy. To be human. It’s okay. As much as I want to, and, oh, how I want to, I can’t control everything.

I’m tied up, too wrapped up in me. Even chasing perspective is too demanding. While I can’t always command my circumstances, I can choose how I’ll respond. There is power in choice. I could use a little power. And right now… Right now I don’t want to care for a while.

Robyn’s Dancing on my Own fills my head. Loud (which is the way you listen to this song). It makes me feel free. It makes me feel like dancing.

Let go. Let go. Let go.

Swept up
in Hometown Heroes Lottery
I was in our newspapers, the Vancouver Sun and the Vancouver Province this weekend, supporting burn survivors and the burn unit at Vancouver General Hospital where I spent 7 months. The prizes are amazing and tickets save lives. As promised to a few of you who couldn’t get the paper, this is the article on my story. Home Town Heroes Ad

Hanging out at the yeah write hangout grid today. It’s exactly where I need to be. No pressure and with friends.

32 thoughts on “uptight

  1. tara pohlkotte

    i am your perfectionistic soul sister. this past year has been a year of exposing my humanity in a way i used to shrink from. someone may find out i was less then. perhaps not my ideal. this past year has been a crazy journey of finding my being. and connecting to others. i find that in your words. through all the perfectionism, we remain. i see you friend. know that.

    1. heidi Post author

      I’m a little over myself these days. It’s an impossible way to live, you know? For months I can be good and then bam! something will happen, and I’m scrambling, resorting to my old ways. *sigh*
      Thank you for your kindness, Tara.

  2. Kate Coveny Hood

    I am in a constant state of being overwhelmed by what I SHOULD be doing. Or more like, who I should BE. But I have no idea how to get from here to there. I’ve always been held back by perfectionism that I ultimately can’t satisfy. I feel like I should be perfect – but I’ve never been able to manage it. So I know how it feels to be frozen in the face of should/can’t. It’s hard.

    Watching a ceiling fan spin sounds very appealing right now…

    1. heidi Post author

      Watching a ceiling fan is sort-of therapeutic. I just started doing that – laying on my bed and watching the fan for a few minutes. Like a quiet time or meditation or maybe something someone would see as weird. It works for me. And, so far, miraculously, no one has come in asking about, looking for, wanting anything.
      Thank you for relating and making me feel like I’m not the only one. It means a lot to me.

  3. stephanie

    I’m a starfish on my bed. That vivid image conveys the emotion of your entire post. And the fan, the tumult of your feelings, your sentences are so beautifully drawn. I always enjoy landing here for the quality as well as the content. As to your content – we can’t control as much as we’d like to, can we, but we can control our response, as you say. That’s the key. We hold ourselves to such high standards. What we should do is eliminate should from our language. In place of Om, the sound without beginning or end, let go let go let go is a good alternative. I’m glad we’re hanging out together this week.

  4. Patricia

    Sometimes all of the demands on our time can just seem overwhelming. I am always juggling, and always falling short of my goals somewhere. There is not enough time and not enough of me to get to everything. You’re right, we can control how we react to life, choose to do and be the best we can, and accept that that is good enough.

    1. heidi Post author

      Yes. Acceptance. I am always working on that one. Taking things in and accepting. I don’t know why it’s so hard, especially at the age of 37. You’d think by now I would have this figured out. But, we begin over and over again.
      Thank you so, so much, Patricia!

  5. julie gardner

    Yes to the starfish. And the fan.
    The endless reigning in, the lack of control.

    I hear it. Louder than music.

    And also yes to letting go.

    1. heidi Post author

      I swear your comments are better than my posts.
      Yes, yes to letting go. I’m working on that one today. Hard.

  6. Mamarific

    Oh, I know that feeling well! I have finally come to embrace the fact that “good enough” is good enough, and perfection ain’t gonna happen 🙂

    1. heidi Post author

      You’re right – perfect is unattainable. And “good enough is good enough”. I like that. 🙂

  7. Robbie

    I know that feeling of being overwhelmed and trapped inside your own head.

    Glad you shared the newspaper article–fantastic!

    1. heidi Post author

      Thanks, Robbie. I get so stuck in my head, it’s awful. I need a vacation or a big, big drink or therapy…

  8. Kerstin

    Get outta my head, girl!
    This is exactly how I feel! (Except that I don’t have a ceiling fan)

    I get so wrapped up and tied up that I can’t move anymore. Stretched so thin that I can’t even handle it and yet getting mad at myself for not being able to stay in total control all the time.

    Lately, I have been having this feeling of not wanting to care more and more often. Yet I can’t. It’s impossible for me not to care. But that’s alright – I feel this is who I am. So I am working on just BEING. And when I manage to do that, it feels really good.

    1. heidi Post author

      Yes! The Being. I’m working on that, too. Sometimes I think I care too much, but, it’s like you said, this is ‘who I am’. When I try to stop it, it only makes it worse. Thank you for this, Kerstin. I needed to read this today.

  9. iampisspot

    Oh wow, I get this, so much.

    I always find myself struggling with having to be perfect at everything, not so much in life as such, but in my own head. If I make a ‘mistake’, such as becoming fearful, or fall short, I immediately batter myself emotionally, until I’m black and blue.

    It’s exhausting!

    I loved this post, it gave me so much perspective, and you’re right, we can’t control everything, we can’t always command our circumstances yet we can choose how we’ll respond.

    1. heidi Post author

      Me too…I’m in my head struggling far too much. We need to get out of there once in a while, enjoy the fresh air and leave our heads behind. 😉
      Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words. I really appreciate it.

    1. heidi Post author

      I’ve learned I have to ‘feel’ all of it. It’s the only way to get through. I can’t just turn it off, as much as I want to.
      Thank you for being here. xo

  10. Kristin @ What She Said

    “I am a starfish on my bed.” This paints such a vivid picture for what’s to follow in this piece. I get it – I have a hard time getting out of my own head, too. Shoulda, coulda, woulda… that’s my life. I often have to tell myself to reign it in.

  11. heidi Post author

    Thank you, Kristin! Should is a horrible word, isn’t it? We really need to replace it with something far lighter and easier…something to live by.

  12. Emily

    It can feel so scary to give in to those messy feelings, but without them we’re stunted. False. Not growing. It’s just so hard to accept them.

    Like always, you offer such an understanding perspective. Just make sure you’re also understanding with yourself!

  13. Ado

    My personal mantra which you are welcome to make yours, because I find it incredibly helpful especially under the To-Be-To-Be fan:
    “Shoulds are shit.”
    They really are!

  14. Alison@Mama Wants This

    I’ve learned in the last month that the only way I can survive myself, is to live the days as they come, almost minute-by-minute. Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve, have gone out the window.

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