I’m not an introspective person in the least, so I love when people who know me well make an offhand comment about my personality that to them is completely obvious, but to me is completely groundbreaking. A few years ago my mom said something along the lines of, “For someone who makes very little drama here,” motioning to our surroundings, “you sure make a lot of drama up here,” pointing to my forehead. And then she continued on with the conversation we were having like she hadn’t just dropped a huge bomb into the center of my being.
That simple comment sent me into a silent state of shock. I have been consistently described as “laid back” all my life, but in my head the sky is always falling. My mind moves a mile a minute and, with out guidance, will careen off into a state of absolute panic in a short amount of time. The “what if’s” and the “maybe’s” leave me teetering on the edge of internal panic nearly all the time, while on the outside I am as “laid back” as ever.
In the past, I have gotten over multi-year relationships quicker than a month fling simply because the fling petered off, allowing the “what if’s” to run amok in my head. Give me a clear cut ending and I’m over it before the conversation has ended; but give me an open ending and I’ll still be swirling around in the gray area for months on end. It’s this constant worrying along with my ability to be so inside my head at all times that keeps me dwelling on tiny details in my past, even though I know how insignificant they are. I still find myself cringing thinking about a time in high school (over 10 years ago!) when I told my best friend that I liked my then boyfriends singing voice more than hers. Sure, 17 year old Katie was being a dick then, but why is that something I still think of with relative consistency?
My habits of worrying and dwelling are not debilitating, clearly, as I’m a relatively high-functioning adult. But it is still a side of me that I wish I could overcome. I try to set boundaries for myself, like “Okay you can think about this once a day,” but of course when has telling yourself not to think of something ever worked? I’ve tried indulging, taking hours to immerse myself in a silly situation that still plagues me, thinking that I just need to sweat it out to finally move on. But no matter how many times the same small, insignificant details cycle through my head, they never tire too much to make yet another round.
I used to think this was something I’d grow out of, but now I worry that I won’t.