As mandated by my dad, there is one rule in my family and that is don’t panic. I think it’s a good rule, but ironic, as we are all freakin’ psychos who panic all the time. For example, the Christmas tree fell on top of me the other night, and I screamed like I was auditioning for Tremors 1 – 5.
My *middle sister thinks every mole is a cancerous black hole, or maybe something more exotic, like a brain-eating, tap-dancing amoeba. My **oldest sister is hyper-vigilant to the point of actually being Liam Neeson. My ***dad is a powder-keg that goes from humming Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (year round, by the way) to GAAAAH! WHO EVER HEARD OF PASTA WITHOUT MARINARA SAUCE!!!!??!
Now, picture something calm. A scenic lake. An apathetic cat. An Enya album. That is more my mother’s style (except when my dad is driving). This unique combination of nuclear warheads (my dad), and cumulus clouds (my mother) has shaped me to ricochet back and forth on the panic scale, a state of mind I like to call the Zen Frenzy. (Please refer to the pictures below for insight.)
If you spend enough time with me you know that I’m prone to the occasional panic attack. However, you’ll also find that when I face immediate danger or a problem, like the washing machine explodes, the sky falls, or you almost get arrested for beating up a car (true story), I will come to your aid with complete serenity.
The panic comes when I internalize and dwell. My calmness comes when I have to act in the moment, without much thought. At first, my resolution was to just go ahead and think less. If Charlie Sheen can do it, so can I. But then I decided that perhaps I need my prep stress and overthinking. I consider all the possible outcomes of a situation over and over, not a fun habit, but at least when disaster strikes I know my options and can act accordingly. What I’m saying is, when life gives you lemons (anxiety), make fancy over-priced cocktails like the ones from that modern-day speakeasy in the Southside. We’ll name the cocktail the Cumulus Warhead.
It’s not good to overthink and panic, and it really can be tortuous. But if you have the same problem, rest easy knowing that it doesn’t make you incompetent. As a matter of fact, you might end up the superhero of a situation because the prep panic trained you to deal with your fear, cool as a cucumber and in the moment.
*Other things that make my middle sister panic: people who side-eye her dogs
**Other things that make my oldest sister panic: stupidity and misuse of “your” and “you’re”
***Other things that make my dad panic: liberals and hidden fees