The Mirage in Your Head

“And in that moment she realized none of it was real, and so she set herself free.”

― Katlyn Charlesworth, Where Men Sit

It’s amazing how something small and stupid can either pump you up or unravel your entire sense of togetherness.

Most of the time I’d say I’m pretty “together.” I have people ask me all the time how I manage with three kids and a full-time job. Just fine, thank you. I like to point out to people that you can be childless and be horrible with your time management. I also like to point out that I manage to get more done than a lot of people I know with less kids than I have. So I feel like I stay on top of my to do list for the most part and do my best to maintain an equilibrium between my professional goals and my family and my own self-care. But sometimes things get out of whack.

For me, a messy house will trigger me into a spiral of “I hate the world” feelings. Nothing will make me feel better unless I have a change of scenery. I know myself well enough to realize getting in the car and going somewhere or doing something will change my mood. It’s that easy, and it’s that hard.

On the other end of the spectrum, it’s amazing how simple recognition or a bit of success can make me feel like I’m on top of Mt. Everest. This past week, I got hired for a new position I was seeking, and I got invited to apply for something else. Recognition of my skills and talent always feels good, but unfortunately doesn’t happen all the time. It’s dangerous to rely on outside validation, so I try to avoid it.

This week I’m anticipating the results of an election I am part of, and I know the outcome will either make me feel on top of that mountain or in a pit of “I hate the world.” Logically I’m okay with whatever outcome. It really wouldn’t matter to me. But sometimes irrational thoughts creep into our brains and it’s hard to keep them out.

It all makes me think that there is a mirage in my head. None of this is real. It’s like the mood of a child. One minute they’re crying over something, the next minute they see a toy that captures their attention and they’re all smiles again. Was the sadness that triggered the tantrum even real to begin with?

Nope. It’s all a mirage.

And in a bit of external validation news, somebody sent me a gift today. A book: I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. My husband plopped it on my desk and said “you’ve got fans.” Dang. I sort of do, and I like it!



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