Just call me C-3PO

Just call me C-3PO

It will likely come as no surprise that Super Bowl Sunday is an actual holiday on my personal calendar—not as great as Christmas (#RIPDaphne), but way better than Arbor Day/Groundhog Day/Most Other Days—and yesterday was a particularly great Super Bowl Sunday.

  1. It snowed basically the entire day.
  2. The Eagles won.
  3. This Is Us let everyone get a good cathartic cry in at the end of it all.

There was only one problem. Because I (unnecessarily) carry the entire weight of the world on my shoulders, I woke up yesterday mostly unable to move my upper body. If you are looking for a visual, think C-3PO in a neck brace.

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I went to the chiropractor for the first time about a year ago. He looked at my shoulders for about two seconds and said, “Wow… you carry a lot of tension.” Which was a nice way for him to say, “Wow… you probably need a sedative.” In the past, when I’ve been asked if I’m a particularly anxious person, I’ve always responded with a firm no. When I think about anxious people, I think about Olive. Olive will literally shake from the stress of squirrel-watching throughout the day. She harbors deeply irrational fears about the mailman and expresses them loudly in her regularly scheduled afternoon panic attacks. She routinely wakes up out of a dead sleep convinced that an army of intruders has assembled in our backyard. (This would have been extraordinarily helpful when there was actually an intruder in our backyard…)

Olive is anxious. I’m as cool as a cucumber.

This theory seems plausible until I wake up one morning and can’t move my head from side to side, at which point I kind of have to conclude that I might, in fact, be carrying a little too much tension.

Unlike Olive’s anxiety, mine is a quiet tension. It is far less based on anything that is actually happening and far more abstract—and by abstract, I mean purely hypothetical. The tone that my brain takes at any given moment is 99% future-forecasting/assessment and 1% reality. That ratio tends to be problematic because my take on the future is rarely positive. This is why my shoulders are generally located up by my ears; they’re holding an exponentially-increasing pile of what-ifs. After enough time passes, they get stuck there, as they did yesterday.

Yesterday’s timing was completely eye-roll worthy, too, and not only because it’s one of my favorite days of the year. The day before, I had been praying about a theme for this month. I’m trying to tackle some of my bigger concerns one-by-one to make them a little more manageable and a little less like an avalanche of things to figure out. Last month it was honoring my parents, which is a nice and tidy biblical theme. I had been circling around something in the vicinity of worry for February but then I started leaning more toward a neighborly theme (because it’s a little tidier and feels more important), so I decided to ask God for a solution. Twelve hours later I woke up looking like C-3PO.

Sometimes God speaks in a whisper. Sometimes not so much.

One of the other reasons I didn’t really want to address this right now is because I don’t have an answer for it. After a knee-jerk Groupon purchase last night, I am now the owner of a five-class pass to a local yoga studio, because yoga feels like something that people without shoulder tension do. Other than that… nope. I have no idea. How do you change the way your brain has processed information for the past 30 years?

I don’t know. Do you know? If so, feel free to tell me. If not, welcome to February! Because what says success better than getting a late start on a complex issue in the shortest month of the year?


P.S. And now the update you’ve all been waiting for… we did actually take Daphne the Christmas tree down last week. It’s probably why I’m so tense. But I don’t have to miss her too much, because she may or may not have been relocated… to not the dumpster…

Baby steps, as Bob says. 



4 thoughts on “Just call me C-3PO”

  • When it comes to worry, we actually have a pretty big help available to us. I’d put in scripture references here, but you already know them all. No, it’s not as simple as just reciting a Bible verse and moving on (at least, not for someone wired like you’re wired). That’s ok, though, because the same God who inspired those Bible verses also inspired you and knows *exactly* how you were made and who you are and what brought you here. He gets it.

    You may need to tweak these to fit, but here’s what I’d recommend for tackling worry: 1. List it. Write it all down in one comprehensive list. Get all the worry out in the open. It’s easier to deal with things that don’t only exist in your brain. 2. If any of those worries are things that can actually be dealt with, make a plan and deal with them. 3. Most importantly, make a practice of the discipline of giving these things to God every day. Prayer is going to play a big functional role here. At first, this may feel like words spoken into a void. You’ll say them, and you may even mean them, but it probably won’t feel like you’re accomplishing much. If you take this discipline seriously, though, you will find it becomes more natural, over time, for you to actually release worry into God’s hands. You might just even allow enough room for Him to transform you (if you’re into that sort of thing).

    AND (notice conjunction used to start this sentence; yes, even I break the rules when I need to get a point across) DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP. We are not made to operate in a vacuum. We are made to connect to others.

    • You would think these things would be second nature, right? But nope. It’s like walking around with a snowblower in a blizzard and trying to clear all the snow with chopsticks instead. Thanks for reminding me to circle back to the effective tools already at my disposal. This was a helpful read :)

  • Nice blog! From personal experience, you are blessed to be facing these issues and at a point of beginning to work them out. For me the answer to “How do you change the way your brain has processed information for the past 30 years?” is: lots of prayer, reflection and journalling and trying to determine WHY my brain processes this way. Also patience! Lol. Best of luck.

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