Confessions Of An Overachiever

9 Jul

I recently started reading at a nursing home nearby. They call it Reader’s Corner with Jillian and it’s really sweet and on my first day I brought no less than 17 options of books to read.

I went to the library and I researched which Stephen King short stories would be best and I made sure to cover genres and interests and lengths.

At the end of my session, the activities director pulled me aside and told me, you don’t need to bring so many books

She looked concerned, “How is your back doing?”

A friend told me that the picture of all my volunteering books laid out on my bed and sorted into categories, should be under a Tumblr “Confessions of an Overachiever.”

The confessions aren’t pretty.

Overachieving, for me, fills a couple of roles.

The first is validation.

From a young age when I overachieved I received praise and attention, good grades and an identity. Not even in a bad way! In a really reinforcing way.

A really, really reinforcing way.

It also gives me a sense of control, I think?

By picking out four types of poetry and just the right fairytale collection I can feel as though I am prepared to volunteer my time at this nursing home. That I am now armed with whatever I might need for whatever is thrown at me.

Of course I am not.

Of course when the Nora Ephron essay doesn’t go as planned and the jokes aren’t hitting and suddenly it’s hot, isn’t it very hot in here? all my preparation won’t save me.

Of course, it’s a false sense of control.

In fact, why is that a phrase? False sense of control.

Is there ever a true sense of control?

Does that exist?

A few weeks ago, I was on a very delayed flight. We’re talking 8+ hours of delay, 8+ hours of me rotting away in an airport.

When I realized what I was up against, I immediately decided I would make the most of it. 

This travel experience would be a metaphor for my life. Yes, it didn’t go as planned, but how I respond to that is in my control.

I am in control.

(You see where this is going.)

I began by keeping a list of all the ways I saw grace during my airport stay.

There was the Khiel’s lotion I used to soothe my dry-shaved legs.

The kind man who didn’t charge me for my overweight bag.

There was the soft serve ice cream right by my gate and TSA pre and working chargers.

I meditated right there in the middle of the airport.

I made myself a bullet journal of everything coming up in my life.

I would TRIUMPH! I was triumphing!

Even as the plane stayed on the runway, as they announced that due to weather we would be rerouting for a longer flight I simply nodded. I had made it this far, I would make it all the way.

About an hour into my flight I was adjusting my bag, putting away my headphones, when the woman in the seat in front of me stood up. She began to yell.

EFF YOU. EFF YOU.

I looked around, feeling horrible for whomever this was aimed at.

As she continued to swear and yell and scream I realized she was talking to me.

I was shocked. We had had no interaction the entire flight.

EFF YOU EVERY TIME YOU TOUCH THE BACK OF MY SEAT YOU INJURE ME.

EFF YOU.

I opened my mouth to apologize, to say I was not trying to touch her seat, but she silenced me with her hand and continued to scream.

When she was done, she sat back down, pulled her camo hoodie over her head and went back to sleep.

My heart pounding, I picked up my bag and put it on my lap. I would not be using the seat back for anything. 

I twisted my legs so they wouldn’t go near her seat, soon causing cramps and parts of my body to go numb.

I had four hours left.

A mini metaphor of life,

a mini metaphor of control, indeed.

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One Response to “Confessions Of An Overachiever”

  1. Lauren Packer July 10, 2019 at 3:52 pm #

    What an awful woman!! Good for you for not reacting! I would have screamed back.

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