Don’t Leave A Message

This is going to be a short post. The reason I say so is less to set your expectations, and more as a note to myself because I have a lot to do.*

(*Post-post edit: Narrator’s voice: It was not going to be short.)

I went for a bike ride the other morning and as I was careening down a hill covered by a canopy of trees, listening to Dashboard Confessional (Hands Down) I had this really intense euphoria of the universe telling me, “You have literally no idea what is going to happen to you! Isn’t that so exciting???” And I instinctively didn’t trust my own thoughts, because usually the future is a mental montage of my own poorly-reenacted life story that begins with a narrator sternly saying, “She always carried an uneasy suspicion she would someday be murdered, but she never imagined it would be by someone so close to her…” The murder storyline changes. Sometimes it’s, “She had just come inside from her daily tennis match, when she got the phone call no one ever wants to receive…” And in my mental screenplay I’m portrayed by some ex-softcore porn star who is trying to break into the mainstream entertainment industry by doing TV dramatizations and she’s in oversized turquoise jewelry and a Juicy track suit looking frightened as she answers a huge white phone on the wall of a suburban Tuscan-style kitchen. Which is ridiculous, because I don’t even play tennis.

This is the part where I look back up at the first line and I’m like, oh my God Emily this is exactly what we talked about. Because my stream of consciousness at any given moment is random tangents, shadowy outlandish fears, and just a bunch of Will Ferrell quotes running along the bottom like school closings due to weather.

Sometimes I find myself genuinely entertained by my imagination. On a sunny day, I can get really far down the hypothetical road on just a drop of fuel. The problem is that when it rains, I can also get myself really far up a creek. And there are snakes hiding everywhere. In my fictitious creek. So you see my problem. (You’re like, um, we see a lot of your problems…)

The past few days, I’ve noticed a really negative undertone in everything I’ve been thinking and it’s all directed at myself. Mean, vicious things. Things that have no business taking up what precious little space I have of controllable, practical brain power. Brain power used for things like, remembering times and dates. Turning on the correct burner instead of wondering why the green beans are still cold after ten minutes. Picking up my children. Etc.

So I’ve decided to start screening my messages. Is the thing I’m telling myself essential to daily functioning or events happening in the world? Leave a message. Would I call myself and leave a message just to say, “Hey, Emily, it’s me! I just wanted to tell you I was thinking about it and you’re probably ten lbs over where you should be, you’re lousy at housework and organization, and you probably need to abandon your To Do list and start researching your retirement plan at this exact second, because you suck at life in general and you don’t even know how the stock market works. K, don’t love you! Bye!”

I will no longer be accepting these messages. And I encourage you to stop accepting the ones you’re telling yourself that are holding you back from actual life worth living.

And it’s time for me to go pick up my children.

Don't Leave A Message




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