The inspiration for this post comes from one of the FUN PROMPTS: “If you could be a fly on the wall on any place on campus, where would you want to be? Explain why.” My response is probably not in the direction the prompt author intended, but here’s where I went with it.
This close to Spring Break, I always feel hectic and frazzled. I am more likely to forget something, “drop the ball”. I’m describing stress, though there’s no real reason for me to be more stressed now than any other time of year. But invariably, I am. It’s a pattern for me when I’m employed in academia. (I almost wonder if I’m picking it up from the faculty and students around me, like the common cold, but seeping into me by empathy or telepathy instead of spreading virally.)
So right now if I could be a fly on the wall anywhere on campus, I would be a fly on the wall inside my own skull, with my compound eyes showing me the mosaic of what’s happening inside my head, big picture. And I would allow my superb motion detection to spot stress coming, and flit away from it, toward the tranquil places.
I actually tried becoming that fly yesterday morning on the way to work. Here’s how it went:
I turn on the car radio to KJZZ, hoping for a traffic report.
News Announcer: “…our conservative commentator…”
I punch the radio off, darting away. I breathe for a few minutes. I turn the radio back on.
News Announcer: “President Trump had this to say about…”
I punch the radio off, darting away. I breathe for a few minutes more. I tentatively turn the radio back on to hear the news announcer report a story about a woman who was refused service at Starbucks because she rode her horse through the drive-through. It becomes apparent the only reason to report the story is so the news announcer can end with a hipster snarky comment at the woman’s and horse’s expense in order to manufacture a lighthearted moment.
I punch the radio off, darting away from my dismay that the news isn’t really news anymore – it’s facts mixed with lies and lame attempts at humor. This time I leave the radio off.
I insert a CD and drum on my steering wheel, playing along with some seriously windswept Scots energetically attacking drums and pipes. I do this all the way to work and arrive feeling focused and energized.
Reflecting on this 20 minutes spent observing the inside of my own skull while choosing and responding to external stimuli, I remember:
The only thing I can change is me.
I get to choose at least some of the things I’m exposed to. I get to choose whether I stress out in response to something I can’t control.
I understand again, if I want to change feeling scattered and stressed, I need to change myself.
I think in order to do that, I’ll need to carve out time to be a fly on the wall in my own skull, observing, identifying what to change. And then, I have some work to do, making it tranquil in here.
Images used in this post are from:
- Musca domestica (House fly)
- Set of hand drawn skulls designed by Freepik
- Coloured insects collection designed by Freepik