6:00 a.m. Dinka-dinka-dinka-dink dong dong, dinka-dinka-dinka-dink dong dong,
Obnoxious iPhone alarm clock off–
Shrish-, shrish-. Open the curtains to another day.
Eghh, that’s bright.
As soon as I’m done with the thirty-second job of making my bed, I’ve learned to put on my ear muff headphones to drown out the negative chatter in my brain.
On Monday morning, I start out on YouTube with Madonna’s Hung Up followed by Kylie Minogue Can’t Get You Out of My Head before the incessant voice in my head remembers anything positive to say about the day.
Oh yeah, no meeting today.
You ungrateful jerk- look out the window. It’s gorgeous outside.
Ooh, a shirt with no wrinkles.
Weekend mornings are a lot easier. Waking up to the same ringtone, dinka-dinka-dong dong, set two hours later- sometimes there’s a foggy delay before I remember it’s Saturday.
Mmm, it’s peanut butter day. (I eat spoonfuls of peanut butter every Saturday morning.)
Ahhh, green tea.
Ooh, what do I feel like watching on YouTube?
But yesterday, post morning routine on a Saturday, I didn’t eat lunch until after 3:30.
Note that I’ve been by myself with my thoughts all day until this time. Past saturation point for green tea and peanut butter, I’m standing five steps back at the street corner overthinking which direction I should walk to get some lunch.
The crossing man turns green and then red again. The hungrier and low energy I get, the more indecisive I become. Earlier in the day, I was shopping for a birthday present for my girlfriend, which is why lunch is so late.
She wants a ring.
Admittedly, I’m afraid to ask her what her ring size is because of what happened last time, and the feelings I felt.
Trying to keep it a surprise, I first tried asking her mom…
That was a mistake.
When it comes to birthday present shopping for her, I’m borderline ‘someone who needs a serious talking to’ perfectionist. It has to be a gift that excites me. The bar I set is high. And not knowing her ring size keeps me in a circling pattern of indecisiveness and hesitation to buy.
Should I just buy like a size 10 and then she can get it adjusted?
What if her size is out of the + – 2 adjustment range?
I should wait.
Should I get the more expensive one so she knows I love her?
Will she feel embarrassed to wear it because it looks too much like an engagement ring but it’s not?
I should wait.
I’ve been to the same jewelry stores three weekends in a row. I’ve seen hundreds of rings and I don’t know which one she’d like. No idea, and it’s stressing me out.
I know, it’s fear.
It’s people pleasing.
Matt, look in the mirror and own it.
I’m afraid of giving her a present she doesn’t like and feeling rejected.
I’m afraid of losing love.
At least now I know why I’m feeling depressed on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, the prime time I look forward to all week long. To tell you the truth, I’ve probably repeated this cycle of living for the weekend, only to feel mildly depressed and lonely once it arrives, for a couple of years.
Before I wasn’t even aware that negative self-talk was a thing. I’d assumed that it was just me, that it was my problem that I overthink everything, that I can’t shut off my inner voice, that I inherited a predisposition for being anxious from my grandpa, and all the other narratives I’ve told myself over and over again for years.
Well, today is the day I change:
First, stop taking yourself seriously all the time. Dude, chill out! Laugh at yourself for once, you doorknob!
I’m talking to myself. As you know, I do that.
Breathe. You are ok. I’m going to be ok. And just because your brain is talking to you now, it doesn’t mean you have to listen.
That afternoon, prior to finally choosing the ring, I had my ear muff headphones on, listening to different people talk about the ‘Law of Attraction’ on YouTube. I think it was the compilation with Denzel Washington, Jim Carrey, Steve Harvey, and Oprah. You can search for it. Earl Nightingale is one I listen to repeatedly.
The ding– alarm in my crazy brain went off. Dinka-dinka dong dong. I woke up and realized that this whole time, like most of the month of May, I’d been thinking about what I didn’t want to happen,
the situations I wanted to avoid,
the things I feared.
Because I was focusing on avoiding failure, all the bad things that could happen, I wasn’t getting a positive outcome.
The Law of Attraction, briefly and simply stated by Earl Nightingale: “If you think in negative terms, you will get negative results. If you think in positive terms, you will achieve positive results.”
I was completely unaware of how my thinking was based on fear, until the curtains opened, shrish- shrish-, and the misty clouds of brain fog parted.
After the second I changed my thinking, it felt like everything magically unfolded in front of me to work out in my favor.
PS. After listening to YouTube and writing the first draft of this, I got the guts to call her to ask what her ring size is. The decision in my mind was made. Just before that, I went a year back through our chat messages on my iPhone to look for the picture of a ring she thought was cute. Right underneath the ring picture, like two green text bubbles below, was her ring size. Size 9.
Some words of advice about rings to help out someone who’s not really into jewelry like me:
They’re all sparkly and look pretty, and pretty much the same. I chose one that I knew she would like and went home.
And she loved it.
It fit perfectly.