Monday, October 09, 2006

Remembering to Breathe

For the last couple of months, I have had a sort of on-going anxiety. Sometimes it is simmering just beneath the surface and other times it is a raging boil. Sometimes I forget about it altogether, but not for very long. I think it has to do with several different factors in life right now, but the one that is currently causing the anxiety to bubble up is my job.

There is nothing wrong with my job. The people are friendly; the atmosphere is clean (if not a little bland); and the work, after all, is just work. The problem with my job is me. I’m just not made for this kind of work. When I drive to the office some days, I feel a tightening in my stomach, as I anticipate the next nine hours. Already this morning, when the big boss walked by my desk, I noticed myself breathing in this weird way—not fluid, natural breaths; but square, regimented breaths. I had to remind myself to breathe normally.

In a really bad moment a couple weeks ago, I wrote the below poem. It’s pretty angsty, but it was the best way I could come up with to describe how absolutely draining it is to press myself into a mold that doesn’t fit me.

On Being Something I’m Not

My soul is a creative pool of life.

My soul is a garden.
My soul has important things to say and sing.
My soul feels joy in expression.

My dear, creative soul is doing its best to be something that it isn’t.
The creative pool of life is becoming a miry dead sea.
Plenty of desert sun, but no water for the garden. No fruit or flowers.
Important things to say and sing are said and sung in sterile stalls and echoing stairwells.
My soul, that longs to express itself, feels sick and stifled and like it wants to vomit so it can breathe again.

I know that this won’t last forever. It’s just a means to an end. I’m grateful for it, but how long, God?


Autumn's Mom said...

Oh Tracy. I've been there. A couple of times. Both times I resorted to medication. Not something I recommend. Just keep breathing and praying. That is what works.

Cherry said...

The fact that you continue to go on auditions means a lot, and to someone who already gave into the painful money career over the passion career, I always think of you as an inspiration.

Breathe will give you strength.

J said...

I used to work at a hotel in San Francisco, and a large number of the employees were from China. Some of them were professionals there before coming here...we even had a surgon working in our laundry facility. Because of the requirements to get licensed here, and language barriers, they had given up their chosen professions in hope of a better life for their children, a life where they would have more freedom, etc. One day, I was working in the concierge club at the top of the hotel, and one of the housekeepers that I was friendly with came out of a room she had just cleaned. She was obviously tired and drained, and had 3 more rooms to clean before she could go home. She let out a big sigh. I asked if she was OK. Her reply has stuck with me over the years since that day: I hate my job, and I'm so thankful to have it.

So yeah, keep going to auditions and try to get the job you were made for. But until that day, know that you are not alone in your suffering. (Somehow maybe that makes it worse...that there are so many of us out here who feel like you do...)

Adventures in Aberdeen said...

hello tracy...its kelli strobel, we met a few weeks ago. I'm glad I found your blog, I remebered star and Tracy, and then I threw in God and I found your page! Anyway, its odd that you wrote about anxiety...and that I happened to search for you today. Kyle and I have just moved to Scotland and life is actually pretty mellow, yet I have this abnormal anxiety, a feeling I've never experienced...and I found your blog somewhat encouraging if that makes sense. Thank you for your honesty.

Tracy said...

I want to thank all of you for your encouragements. I so appreciate them. It's amazing, the sense of community I've found through blogging. Thank you for that!

Kelli, hang in there! Moving is one of the top stressors a person can experience. So even though your new life in Aberdeen is pretty mellow, the unexplained anxiety is totally understandable.

Maya's Granny said...


The day job is never the loved job, any more than the job to put yourself through school or the job until a better one comes along is. Sometimes, remembering that it is only the day job helps.

And having a day job you don't like helps motivate you to go on those auditions.

beenzzz said...

I am so sorry that you're having such a hard time with your job. I can relate with how hard it is to try and fit yourself into a mold that doesn't feel right. It will pass and maybe there will be something else out there for you. I think you're doing the best thing by writing about it. Hang in there.

Buttercup said...

I know that anxiety well. I've taken to keeping lavendar oil in my office. I rub it on my temples and wrists to relax me. I also try to listen to music and to drink lots of water. Inevitably I get totally stressed out and am exhausted by the end of the day, but I'm trying.

Hang in there!

Ad said...


Ah, your poem. Tell it, sister. It's perfect. Even though we're "stuck" in office jobs right now (I'm convinced it will NOT be this way forever), at least we are together. I miss you. Yay April's February reunion!