Last week I enjoyed a lovely vacation in the snowy Pacific Northwest. My biggest problems were: walking a puppy in snow, choosing a restaurant, and deciding which book to read for hours and hours.
But in the back of my mind I was planning the road trip to Iowa to do research on my birth mother and her family for the last part of my memoir. Like a wasp humming near my head, I don’t think there was a minute when I wasn’t slightly anxious about logistics, costs, plans, hopes, dreams and fears.
As a reporter, an accomplished researcher, I was mentally plotting trips to rural Iowa libraries, courthouses, high schools and – surprise! surprise! – my anxiety levels climbed.
So I did what I usually do, I said nothing but began to snap at my husband, at the puppy, even at myself when that little voice in my head reminded me that I probably won’t be able to accomplish half my goals anyway and really, what was the point?
Who cared? Would any amount of information about my origins ever satisfy me?
I held in the building pressure until little crying jags started breaking out. And that’s when I realized the obvious. With a year-long goal within weeks of completion I decided to add on a new, emotionally challenging, costly and logistically challenging epilogue.
Wait, an epilogue comes at the end. So, it was more like a prequel to an epilogue, a prepilog? Yeah, the world has been waiting for my sickness – The Prepilog!
And like so many annoying, upsetting and weirdly repetitive events in my life it felt familiar in a sad sort of way. I had done this before.
It’s what I do with diets, with career goals, with laundry.
Just when I get to the home stretch I find a really personally upsetting way to stretch it out a little further. I tack on extra work. I tack on special research. I’ll decide I need new hangers that all match and that everything needs to be ironed with spritzes of Martha Stewart laundry scents because, you know, the laundry police could raid my house.
I’m such a genius.
I have a smart dream and I’m distracting myself with dumb plans that are not needed at this time. It’s snowing in Iowa and I can’t drive in snow. Looking at weather records, I should wait until May at the very soonest. And as soon as I realized that – guess what? – I stopped feeling weepy.
No more scary buzzing sounds of waspy anxiety.
It was if the gorilla that thumbed a ride and tried to wreck my vacation was kicked to the curb, bouncing like a fur bowling ball into a fluffy snowbank, growing smaller and smaller until he was a speck in my rear-view mirror.
Note to self: Now is the time to embrace the writing work. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by invented expando tasks. Finish first. Then accept new tasks if they are necessary and can be done without emotional risks.
Rayne Wolfe’s dream is to write her first book Confessions of an Undutiful Daughter by the end of 2011. She completed her dream journey May of 2011 on 8WD after a year living her dream. You can find her at Toxic Mom Toolkit on Facebook.