what holds us down

Over the last week, though I've had both good and bad days, one emotion trumps the rest: nervousness.

I'm no stranger to anxiety. I often take things to the extremes within my own mind and used to have very frequent, sometimes relentless panic attacks. An inside joke with an old coworker/friend got me to get "just breathe" in Italian tattooed on my wrists, and as stupid as it may sound, it has definitely helped at the best [worst] of times.

However, even with all the support I have behind me and those calming words, I've been finding myself more and more anxious these past several days and it's thoroughly exhausting me. There's so much to worry about!

I'm trying immerse myself in my studies; I love learning about Deaf culture and learning American Sign Language and I know I would be very happy choosing interpreting, or possibly even teaching ASL as my career, but I worry. I worry that I'll never be good enough, or that I won't push myself hard enough to get involved in the community. I'm not normally a shy or reserved person, but in this particular community I am definitely a fish out of water.

Not only do my own self esteem issues worry me, I'm worried about my level of dedication. Trust me, I want it. I enjoy it, it makes me happy, and there's no reason why I wouldn't want to pursue it forever. Unfortunately this education/life choice is combating my original love; my first love in this lifetime: music.

It seems as if the very second I quit studying music in school and switched my major to Deaf Studies, my entire life as a musician got pushed over into the fast lane. I began very actively writing my own music and performing shows as regularly as possible. I got into a band of phenomenal musicians who I love and respect. I've gotten a taste of touring, and come June 1st I will have a taste of what it's like to be on a real, studio album release for a great band. Now I'm in the process of rewriting songs to hopefully jump into the studio with good friends and put down my first full-length album. Things are really coming together and I worry that I may drop everything I'm doing to go after this "dream". I know that school will always be there, but I've always had a plan!: Go to school, get my bachelors degree, get a job, get my masters. (I kind of depend on school to keep me busy, I'm pretty sure I'd go crazy without it.)

In addition to this hardly-quarter-life crisis, there are always little things to be nervous about. Tomorrow I'm going to the Stick to Your Guns show to see them and all of the killer lineup on the Atticus Tour. I'm stoked it's going to be a great night, but after this whole secret track business, I'm not sure what's appropriate? These guys are great musicians who I look up to in different ways, am I supposed to approach them? I want to thank them for the opportunity they've given me and the support...but I don't want to come off as obsessive, or worse, arrogant. Do I just hope that they recognize me and see what they say, if anything? I guess I'll have to find out tomorrow.

I'm very adamant about going back to my life over the last few years; one full of stress, anxiety, and obsession on many different fields for many stupid reasons. I don't want this to go to my head and put me back into a state of chaos, so I'll have to actively try and find ways to handle my stress for 2010. I know one way is just playing music. I consider a win and a good night sitting around, by myself or with friends, strumming away on this damn ukulele. But what else can be done?

How do you handle stress? How do you calm your anxiety?

"Some days I get crazed, I don't know why it's all relevant. I take deep breaths and keep control, go on." -Bayside

If only! So it goes...