You are NOT a grasshopper
Posted on January 22 2019
If my sister says this to me ONE MORE TIME.....it means I haven't been listening.
I talk to my sister a lot. She is someone who has suffered through decades of an exhausting sibling relationship. I am not an easy person. I suffer from a host of psychological and emotional issues and my coping mechanism is validation and conversation. Which means lucky Minessa gets to sit on the phone and deal with me and my neurosis. Day after day, year after year.
I don't mean to be a burden to her, and she doesn't make me feel like one. But I know that I am. And often, when i speak to her about my struggles she says to me, "Saira, YOU are NOT a grasshopper!!! If you don't like something, YOU have the power to make a change."
I will be honest, for many many years, I dusted her comments off as lack of understanding, she just doesn't get it. She doesn't understand what it's like to be me. Trapped like a hamster on a wheel in my own mind, constantly spinning around in anxiety, hypochondria, worry and fear. I hide it well from the world, but in reality I am a high functioning anxious mess.
This past year I have tried to let the words sink in rather than bounce off. I am NOT a grasshopper, I am not a prisoner of "that's just the way it is". I have the choice to retrain my brain by taking action to create the life I want.
I know so many others who are trapped, just like me. Thought patterns that day after day just become a part of us, and it feels like there is no escape. Our brains are like river beds and our thoughts are like water. When the water flows in the same spots over and over again, pathways are made. And after a while, when we are triggered and start to think, the thoughts go to the pathways that have already been made. Panic, anxiety, fear etc etc.
But JUST as these pathways were made, they can be unmade. By taking a different action when you start to feel your mind going to those places. Step 1 is to accept that these are habits of comfort, as whacked as that sounds. The thoughts may make us feel bad, but the ritual of anxiety is comforting in its familiarity. Just like smoking a cigarette or eating ice cream. Our brain takes twisted comfort in the familiarity of our anxiety.
As my sister says. I am not a grasshopper. I am a person who is capable of change. I think personally I have come to see fear as a prophylactic. As long as I am scared, or anxious, I am protected. I think we all know that just isn't true. We aren't safer because we worry, we aren't preventing XYZ from happening because we obsess about it. We cannot always control what will be, but what can always control how we feel about what happens, and how we feel along the way.
So, today is the start of a new habit. When my brain starts to have those feelings of anxiety, or fear or dread, instead of letting myself get sucked into the raging river or habitual emotion, I am just going to say, not today grasshopper. I am going to DO something else. I am going to pick up some pliers and make an earring, I am going to ship I am going to interact with my community and tell them, hey I am on the way to an anxiety attack, make me laugh! I am going to CHOOSE not to let habit dictate my life.
If you are like me, and you struggle too, I invite you to comment below, join my community, and we will conquer together. Just because this is what life is like today, doesn't mean it has to be like this tomorrow. Change is a choice. And I am going to choose it.
Be sure to check out our podcast later this week where Minessa and I will discuss this exact topic.