Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just Let Go

The boiling point, the straw that broke the camel's back--you know what I mean. Sometimes it results in an uncontrollable fit of rage, or maybe a crying jag or an ice cream binge. We all handle it differently.

Yesterday, I reached mine. It's a culmination of things: the semester's incredible stress load building and building and building, not having enough time to keep my house clean (which is very important to me, and a very big stressor when it's not clean), not having enough time to spend with my husband, barely making my hours for my (thank goodness work-from-home) name it, I probably have it as a stressor right now.

And then Monday I had exam number 3 for nursing school, and yesterday I had my next-to-last exam in Anatomy & Physiology, which happened to be a lab practical. Because of the way the A&P instructor does her grades, I have a good bit of leeway in that test grade. Honestly, I could fail it and still pull an A out of the class, as long as I get an A on the final. The nursing exam took up every bit of my time from last Thursday night until Monday morning.

I stopped doing NaNoWriMo. I stopped cooking. I stopped talking to my husband, mostly, and I stopped smiling.

Now all the tests are done. I don't have tests again until December 5-6, finals. I have Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping with my MIL and other good things.

But the stress is still there. I didn't get that feeling of decompression after I turned in my exam yesterday. I didn't feel great about the grade, and even though I have "wiggle room" I'm still a perfectionist, a straight-A student who feels like an 89 equates failure. Stress.

I'm 8,000 words behind on NaNoWriMo and I don't care. I realized that even writing, as much as I love it, is a stressor to me right now.

I can't take any more. There's a principle in psychology, called the allostatic load, which basically states that there will be physiological consequences when more stress builds up than your body can handle. Chronic stress, the kind that gives you hypertension and puts you at cardiovascular risk. The kind that steals years from you.

So I'm letting go. I don't like it. I'm not the letting go type. I'm the hold-on-by-the-fingernails-until-I-die-of-the-pressure type. But I'm going to try.

I'm going to write, yes. But am I going to kick myself if I don't hit 50k by November 30th? No. I made great strides in my novel, found plot twists and characters that are fantastic.

Am I going to spend all of my Christmas break frantically trying to finish my novel? No. I thought I would, and then the thought of that made me cry a little. Seriously, cry. Writing shouldn't make you cry. The things you love shouldn't make you cry. 

So give yourself permission to LET THE F--- GO. What's important? I'll tell you: family, loved ones, your pets, YOURSELF. YOURSELF. Yourself.

I'm going to spend my December crocheting Christmas gifts, trying to learn how it knit, organizing my closets, and painting my living room. I'm going to finally finish The Tudors as I wrap presents, just like I did last year and loved it. I'm going to cook. I'm going to run.

Because next semester? Next semester laughs at this semester. Next semester is this semester's great-granddaddy. And if I don't let go of the stress now, then who knows what will happen? What will I look like come March?

I don't want to know.

So give yourself permission to let go. I am. And I'm going to try like hell to actually do it.


DL Hammons said...

You have every right to let yourself off the hook during this break! I know that's what you said, but you didn't sound 100% convinced. Things that make you smile have a high priority during times of stress and not working on your novel doesn't mean its not important to you, just that its not the right time to concentrate on it.

I know what its like to push back and decompress...and I also know what it its like when you come back. Awesome! Do what you need to do to get that feeling. :)

Anne Gallagher said...

I hate to say this, and I know it's not what you want, but it sounds to me like nursing school is the thing you need to let go of. It sounds like it's too much of a load for you to bear right now. Is there any way you can let go of being full-time and go part-time? You said yourself it's killing you. That's kind of a big statement to make.

Old Kitty said...

Awww lovely Summer!! Let go, get your crochet thingimijiggies out and get some doilies made! Cos I do so remember enjoying crocheting doilies when I was at school. It's all I can crochet! Doilies! LOL!

But seriously!!! Christmas should be a fun and happy and frivolous time - yes, I know it's time too for charitable things and being good and all that - but there's plenty of room to be just flighty!! And you truly deserve to be surrounded by all things frippery! Yes you do!! You've come so far and done so well!!


Take care

Linda G. said...

Good for you! You've made a wise decision. Now enjoy the feeling of a little less stress.

You know the best thing about writing? It's there. It's patient. It will wait until you have the time for it. :)

Jessica Ann Hill said...

Good for you for giving yourself permission to let go! I've been trying to let things go lately, too. I can't imagine how much work you have to do with nursing school, but I can see how that on top of all of life's other things can get overwhelming. I totally admire you for how much you've been doing lately, but you're right -- you have to give yourself permission to let go, to sit back and relax a little. Enjoy your Christmas break!!

Anonymous said...

Take care of yourself. The Wife is a big build up, build up, build up, release and get terribly sick for a week kind of person. But, we're ditching the kids this weekend and going up to Blue Ridge just to let go. Which means I'll be writing and she'll be sleeping most of the time. Which is cool.

I'm sure you did fine on your exam, and will do just fantastically on the one coming up. Take care!

Talli Roland said...

Letting go of something doesn't equate failure -- it's smart. You can circle around and pick it up later. Give yourself a bit of a break!

leegomez said...

Good on you for letting go. I'm a stress-pool (ha!) too, especially when it comes to school. Letting go?--ha! Fat chance of that.

But I'm getting better. And yesterday, while I sat at home in my recliner after a long day of school/work, I did nothing. Nothing, even though I'm behind by 5k in NaNoWriMo and in packing up boxes to move. Nothing.

It was wonderful. With the holidays coming up, I need to do more nothing with my family and friends. My novel can wait, especially if it's stressing me out. So here's to hoping you have lots of nothing moments between now and finals. :)

Unknown said...

I'm with Talli, just because you're letting go doesn't mean you're failing at it. You're taking a break and doing what's best for you. Just don't forget to breathe! :P *hugs*

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Doing something you love should never stress you to that level. If you don't let go of something, life and your body will make you let go of everything.
Now, go spend some time with your husband! Watch a dumb movie that makes you laugh.

Kelley said...

I'm totally taking that permission slip. I haven't been good with Nano. As in, I've been so horrible that I'd have to work for several nights through to finish, but I'm not stressing. Best of luck with school/work/home/life :)

aakash said...

Must be difficult to be handling so much stuff at same time. But the good thing is that the stressed period also ends, and leaves behind a nice proud feeling, of having overcome it. Giving time to self, is a good decision I would say.
Btw random blog walking and dropped here.


julie fedderson said...

Letting go does not equate giving up. You just need to focus energy on the things that are priorities right now--and that will ebb and flow over time. Good luck with all your endeavors!

Missed Periods said...

Sometimes the strongest thing to do is to let go. Enjoy your holiday season!