Thinking is a great way to pass the time. Using your imagination. Envisioning. Dreaming. But, there is such a thing as thinking too much. This, I do. Actually, to be more accurate, I over-think. Sometimes, I think so hard my head hurts. Okay, not really. Close enough though.
I remember this one time, when I was in junior high band, I did some serious over-thinking. We would have chair try-outs every Friday. Okay, regular routine thing, right? Nothing different there. Nothing unexpected. Oh, but not this one day. I had practiced so incredibly hard on the piece for tryouts. One could say I slaved over it. I worked and worked to perfect my playing. When Friday came, I felt confident in my performance. My confidence was short-lived.
When placements, the earned chair, was determined, I found that I had, in fact, tied for a particular chair. Now, tying for a chair was a pretty big deal. Suddenly, my stress level shot through the roof. My hands became shaky and clammy, and my throat, dry. What was soaring confidence became crashing doubt. I doubted my skill, my craft. I knew I would not win the tie-breaker. I just knew it.
And so, on that overly thinky day, I lost that tie-breaker. I later learned from my instructor that I could have easily won. In fact, I should have won. He expected me to win. I allowed my self-doubt and anxiety to cloud my judgement, lost the ability to think straight.
I did continue to play in the band, going on to high school and playing in the marching band my freshman year. Unfortunately, I never did regain my confidence in playing my instrument, always thinking back to the moment when I lost the tie-breaker. I could have challenged that person … I could have battled for the chair that could have been mine. I’m sure you’re wondering why didn’t I? Why didn’t I even try? I didn’t try, because I felt that I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t deserve to win. What a crippling thought. And it was. It really was crippling.
I spent a good portion of my life thinking, questioning. I question all of my actions and thoughts. Did I do the right thing? Did I say the right thing? Replaying past deeds over and over and over. Many days, I am overwhelmed with doubt and anxiety. Absolutely overtaken. And then, ever so often, I have a good day. A day when I am victorious. A day when I triumph over my doubts and anxiety, when I am not trodden beneath their heavy feet. And, let me tell you, though they may be far and few in between, those days I am free.