Pardon Me, Have You Seen My Mind?

Alethea MermaidGrace Under Pressure.

I wish this is how I could describe myself. But my parents named me “Truth” — “Grace” is my cousin. (Technically I have a couple of cousins named Grace, one of whom worked on the Hubble Space Telescope.)

The “Pressure” part, though? Shoot. I’ve got that down pat.

i was that kid who did all her school work at the last minute, even though my parents offered to help me do anything I needed. I was the author who promised to write a book in four months when the first one took me five years. I was the nerd who ran the light board and memorized everyone’s part in the play, qualifying me to understudy for anyone at the drop of a hat.

Even now, looking back, I’m not entirely sure I could chalk all that up to laziness or procrastination. Yes, I put things off…but in doing so I turned that last minute into a powder keg. That fire under my butt forced me to come up with new, fresh ideas in a short amount of time and execute them to the best of my abilities. Some of the results were pretty amazing, too.

I would have totally rocked on a Reality Show.

The up side to all of this? I am incredibly flexible and open-minded, and I am enthusiastic (aka: “stupid”) enough to say Yes to just about anything.

The down side to all of this? Anxiety. Oh my GOSH, the anxiety.

It fuels me…but it sometimes makes me feel like I’ve lost my ever-loving mind. I even have all sorts of fun anxiety dreams to go with this pressure…only they happen after the event is over. Hey, if I can keep it together when I need it, I’ll take it.

It’s also amazing to see what happens when I’m on what I call “Manic Autopilot.” A perfect example happened this past Monday: I was in the middle of packing up my apartment to move to Florida. I was getting phone calls from my mom to discuss new options for places to rent, and phone calls from my agent to discuss brainstorming new story ideas with a new publisher. It was all GREAT AND GOOD STUFF, but it was all happening at once.

Oh, and did I mention that we’re leaving for Niagara Falls on Thursday? Yeah, that too.

In the middle of all of that an email came through, and I misread it. Manic Autopilot took over and I wrote an essay, posted it to this blog, and shared it on social media all in what felt like 3.5 minutes. I dusted off my hands, made some coffee, and moved on to the next thing.

Only…the email wasn’t about posting a blog. The Mermaids don’t even POST on Mondays anymore. *sigh* At least I wasn’t stepping on anyone’s toes…I was just performing on an empty stage.

Part of me thinks it’s hilarious that my default stress reaction is to do MORE work. Part of me wonders if I should be worried about this.

What about you? Do you guys have any interesting reactions to stress or anxiety?