Skip to content

On Being a Professional Stress Monkey


My husband and son would be the first to let you know that I am not the placidly calm human I am often mistaken for. I don’t think I have a very good poker face, which makes me think what people take for an even-keeled visage is actually my panic and/or conflict avoidant face of fear. Maybe that’s an accomplishment in itself, being able to come off as together when you are anything but. Jury’s out on that one, for me at least.

For the most part, things in my life are rocking along. Writing is happening (someone else can judge whether it’s good or not). My immediately family is healthy and gainfully employed. And still, there is this existential angst layered over everything. I’ve been worried about the election. It hadn’t occurred to me until maybe two weeks ago, how much of the collective unconscious dread I had absorbed and how much it was effecting my sleep and my wellbeing. I’ll save you the details of the aha moment, mostly because it involved me rage crying about something in the news that was relatively benign compared to so much other stuff that’s been splattered across the various screens I engage with daily.

I voted early and trimmed my consumption as much as I could. I engage fairly frequently with social media for work, so I can’t completely shut it off. NaNoWriMo started and that gave me something else to focus on. To be fair though, writing the second novel of a series is whole new thing and has its own (mostly slay-able) dragons. Things are a little better, but today, Election Day, coupled with my mother-in-law’s failing health has ramped that ambient anxiety back up to 11. I’m fighting it by cranking up the self care to 11.5.

Bowl food for every meal. Really, is there anything more comforting that eating out of a bowl with a spoon? Oatmeal for breakfast, a salad for lunch topped with warm, purple sweet potatoes and spicy peanut sauce, and we’ll see if I get it together for dinner. I do have a pumpkin I need to cook and now that it is actually fall-like and chilly, I’m craving dhal. I plan to make my replicated version of a lemony, yellow lentil dhal Keifel and I ate in Brick Lane on my first trip to London. Writing also features heavily in my self care. No surprise there. I’d like to get back up to the “hitting 50K words on time” line on NaNo. Oh, and a few five minute yoga breaks. (If you don’t know Anna Guest-Jelly and Curvy Yoga, I envy you the joy of discovery.)

And for tonight, I have an adult coloring page of a US map with each state outlined in blue or red depending on the Princeton Consortium prediction for who takes that state. The arts and crafts approach to the election night is strangely soothing. But, I know myself well enough to know I won’t sleep ’til it’s over.

In my class on social media for writers a month ago, I said most social media gurus tell you to avoid anything controversial in your online presence. No sex, religion, or politics, politics being the most inflammatory of those three of late. For the most part, I agree. But, those things all play a pretty big role in our lives. I think there’s a lot on the line with this election. I want to believe that no matter the outcome, we will all figure out how to make it work. I’ll admit I’m more optimistic some days than others. I want to be optimistic today, even if it eventually requires day drinking and leftover Halloween candy to get there.

Published inday to day