Of Course I’m Afraid of Nuclear Fallout

[220/365] Nuclear Fear (Explored)

Photo by pasukaru76 @ Flickr

I’ve been having weird dreams lately. And sleeping kinda restlessly. Sleep is literally my favorite thing to do, so it makes me a little bit cranky when it doesn’t work out quite the way I want it to. A lot of things make me cranky, though. Like:

  • Bathrooms that don’t have toilet seat covers
  • When you think you have another mango in the fridge, but discover you don’t
  • (Related) Starting a recipe and discovering half way through that you’re missing a key ingredient
  • People that don’t signal
  • Anything sticky

I could go on for some time in this fashion, because I’m essentially an 84-year-old woman in a 33-year-old’s body. I’m fine with that.

Aaaanyway…so yes, I’ve been having cranky-making sleep as of late. And the weird dreams always linger in the morning, so I spend the first couple hours of the day trying to get over the yelling match I had with my non-existent boss while ice skating; or the panic of accidentally marrying some terrible other person, then remembering I’m married to someone great, and now I have some serious paperwork to do; or spilling ALL the milk in the grocery store and trying in vain to clean it up before anyone notices.

This is a piss poor way to start the day, friends. If I was dreaming about flying that crazy dog thing from the NeverEnding Story to a sushi restaurant where I ate some yummy nigiri, the morning would be spent with the lingering memory of tasty fish. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Anyway, what happened the other night is WORSE than all those other stupid things. You know those times where you roll over and you’re awake for a little nanosecond and then you fall back asleep again? Well, something happened in that nanosecond. A little noise. Like, a bang or something. I live in the city, so it was probably someone’s cat farting in a trash can. You know, something innocuous like that. It was definitely not, as my sleepy little mind imagined, a nuclear bomb being intercepted high above the city, whose toxic contents were now showering 1.2 million people, all of whom, including myself and my family, were soon to have melting insides.

Yeah, it definitely wasn’t that.

But to a sleepy little brain, whose imagination truly knows no bounds, that didn’t matter one little bit. Nope, because the idea had hatched, like a frightening sharp-toothed alien turtle, and now it was going to rip apart my conscience like a squeaky chew toy. Can I just say that I’m super fun? I mean, like a laugh riot o’ fun.

So the next half hour’s thoughts went like this:

That was probably a nuclear bomb.

Okay, it definitely wasn’t.

But probably most certainly was. *scratches skin* Is my skin coming off? No, not yet. That’s good. But when will it? Or is that even the right test? Do your insides just melt or something? I think I remember reading that once. And that all the DNA in all of my cells is fried now. What happens?

Everyone is going to die. We don’t have enough food in the house to survive nuclear fallout. I’m a terrible parent. Couldn’t I have just donated $50 to NPR? I’m pretty sure one of their contributor gifts would save my whole family, AND keep Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me on the air. What the hell is my problem?!

I should check Google.

You definitely should not check Google, you crazy SOB. Stay in bed. GO TO BED.  Now. Go to bed now. Now. Right now.

I should check Google. Although, would they even put it on Google? The government would probably hide it as long as possible as to not create a panic. But I know already. I’m ahead of the curve.

My poor family. We can’t drink the water now, probably. We have no water or food and our insides are melting.

And THEN…and then. Oh freaking lord, and then. I start thinking how if we’re going to starve, and dehydrate, and our insides were turning to goo, then we should probably figure out a way to commit suicide together.

WHAT?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY BRAIN?!

And that’s when I a) see, in stark relief, that this line of thinking has gone a touch too far and b) beg whatever demented gremlin that has taken over my brain to please, oh please, oh please let me fall asleep.

To my credit, I didn’t check Google. Somehow, I fell back asleep. And in the morning, everyone’s insides were intact, and the fear that had gripped me so tightly in the middle of the night was gone. Like magic. Poof.

I don’t know how this stuff happens, but I know this: I don’t want to live gripped in fear. I hate that fear gets the best of me sometimes. Clearly, it’s a pretty big freaking bummer. The last few months have given us all a thousand things to fear, and it seems like that won’t be letting up any time soon. But fear and worry have never solved anything. So I’m gonna try to do less of that.

Good luck to me. Good luck to all of us.

(p.s. I’ve decided I won’t be watching that new show, The Following. I’m pretty sure it will make me afraid of all humans—even the baby ones. An ounce of prevention…)

What kind of monsters are in your closet?

Hope 2012: A Blog Relay

Update: Friday, August 10: At last count there are 81 posts in HOPE 2012, and at least 196 people invited. I’m scheduling closing ceremonies for Monday, August 13, so there’s still time to write if you want to! Go write, you crazy people! Write!

The Olympics are starting today! Or, at least, all the Olympic fanfare starts today. Something Olympic and big is starting in some fashion today. That’s what I know. (I may not be an expert.) At any rate, hoorah for whatever exciting thing is happening today!

Yesterday while I was on my run, whilst thinking about the Olympics, I had this idea that I instantly fell in love with, which I then thrust on several other talented bloggers, proving that while I still completely hate exercise (sorry guy that told me I have a bad attitude), it isn’t totally useless. So, here’s my idea:

Hope 2012: A blog relay

A blog relay! Themed! Like the Olympics! (Yes, I know I’m both being obscenely nerdy and overusing exclamation points.)

So here’s the thing. I’m going to blog about hope, and I asked a bunch of fabulous, diverse, wonderful people to do the same. Then, they’re going to ask people to do the same. And then they’re going to…you get the idea. And just like in a relay race, we’ll go farther and faster than we could if we were doing it alone. Hope, in its beautiful, strange, unexpected and stalwart forms will be noted. Documented. Acknowledged. Appreciated.

I can’t wait to hear all the stories, perspectives, wisdom, and wit that is going to ooze straight out of these posts like that energy goop straight out of its space-age pouch. Hold on to your freaking hats, people. It’s going to be great.

Keep an eye on this post and the blogs listed at the bottom for more hope-filled goodness. And if you want to join in—do it! You can snag the little graphic if you want, too! Go to town, spread some hope, and have an awesome freaking day. In a couple of weeks I’ll post the “closing ceremonies” (more nerdery, I know), highlighting bits and pieces of all the HOPE 2012 posts that I can find.

So. Excited.

Without further ado, here’s my contribution to HOPE 2012

So, of course, predictably, after I came up with this snazzy idea for a hope relay and talked a bunch of people into it, my mind snapped its vicious little jaws on any shred of enthusiasm and inspiration it found laying around. “Oh, look!” it said, “there’s some hope…” *squeeeeesh* “That’s better. Continue.” And as charming as that is, it’s not entirely helpful. So, after a lot of anxiety-producing brainstorming, I’ve come up with the thought that makes me most hopeful for my future. Here it is:

It’s okay to fail.

It’s A-O-K to suck. To be wrong. To have everyone in a 5 mile radius turn to you in one accord and say, “…boo.” It’s totally and completely fine.

Now, for those of you out there that didn’t come out of your childhood with an angry but witty inner voice latched on to you like a rabid monkey, this might sound like common sense. But for some—myself included—this is a radical thought. This is revolutionary. This is sacrilege.

See, the anal-retentive perfectionist soul requires a daily sacrifice of self-worth. If you’ve done something good, something decent, something okay, the perfectionist soul requires that you bundle it up and set it aflame as penance for the fact that someone, somewhere, is better than you. That’s the requirement when you’re doing well. Imagine the price to pay if you’re wrong, or last, or embarrassingly terrible; it’s high and swiftly collected.

I think the real driving force behind my fear of failure is a fear of rejection. I read an article over at Lifehacker recently that talked about how rejection has a powerful effect on us, even resulting in something that, to the brain, is almost like physical pain. No wonder we fear it. But, as the article suggests, the solution isn’t avoidance, it’s embrace. It’s building up immunity. Building up resistance. Taking away the power of the pain. (They suggest playing a game in which you aim to get rejected once a day, which I think is hilarious. Maybe I’ll do that once I stop feeling like a scaredy cat.)

And here’s the thing that I keep thinking about: so I do something really sucky and stupid and everyone looks at me like I’m a Klingon for a second; then what? Who cares? Is anyone going to stab me in the gut with a javelin? Is the government going to repossess all of my belongings for writing a bad blog post, or getting a script rejected a thousand times, or forgetting important birthdays? No. And I think the simple reason behind it is that no one cares as much about what I’m doing as I do. In my mind, the process of me failing starts with people saying, “She’s terrible,” and ends with them saying, “let’s murder her in the alley.” When in reality, it’s more like, “She’s terrible. Ooohh…nachos!”

And just like that, me and my failure are forgotten by the light of neon yellow, cheese-flavored goo. No big deal.

The idea that it’s okay to be wrong gives me hope for a day when I don’t feel the need to dash myself on the rocks of self-hatred. Maybe I can just do things I like—things that inspire me—and not be fettered by the fact that I’m not the best. And—not to always talk about my kid, but those little buggers sure do make you think twice—maybe my daughter won’t absorb my crippling dysfunction and she’ll actually feel kinda okay about herself. She’ll try, and fail, and try, and fail, and get some freakin’ nachos.

And here’s the real amazing, frighteningly hopeful thought: what would I do with myself if I wasn’t so freaking scared all the time? What would I try? What would I embrace? What would I learn? Who would I meet? So many roads in my life are off limits, guarded by a big, smelly, hairy fear ogre. If the ogre’s gone, it’d be an entirely different voyage.

So that’s what I say. There is hope. Push that ugly fear ogre out of your way and go fail your pants off. Let’s do it together.

(Let’s do failing together, not “doing it” together. Ugh. That’s a terrible ending. *shrug* Who cares?)

Passing the Baton

Ready for more hope? Keep your eye out for these folks:

Jerrod at Never Had One Lesson

Cancer never looked more evil than it did last Saturday when it covered an 8-year-old.

As I watched him, all I could think about was the opposite of hope. Despair was the only thing my mind was concerned with. The typical “how could this happen” and “but he’s just a kid” thoughts were all I could think about. Then it hit me. [Read the full post]

Amy at Reams Photo

…Let everything happen to you: beauty and dread… [Click here for Amy’s post featuring hope expressed through photography and a perfectly fitting poem from Rainer Maria Rilke.]

Denise at Victory Road

Matt at The Church-State Guy

…thinking of hope made me remember what initially made me passionate about the church/state relationship in the first place: I saw people who navigated it well, with grace, and candor, and integrity. That’s seriously hopeful stuff. [Read the full post]

Todd at ToddAndrewClayton.com

Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense

From the second I started thinking about hope, my thoughts were clouded with this fearful cynicism; but after contemplating the subject over these last few days, I see that my fears are merely the flip-side of my hopes; that one almost can’t exist without the other. [Read the full post]

Jenn and Casey at So This Is Love

She is little.

Too little to know what she knows of the world.

The neglect of her parents. The failure of a system that is supposed to protect her.

Bruises that have healed from her skin, but remain in her heart.

She folds herself into a chair, pulling her knees close to her. Protection. Defense. Knobby-kneed line in the sand. [Read the full post]

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