It’s no surprise that this has been one of the most stressful years for anyone on the planet. Feeling like a prisoner in our homes, cooking meals until we literally can’t stand the sound of a pot or pan, and hearing one fear tactic after another from the media have all led to feelings of utter exhaustion. How many of us have whispered to ourselves, “I swear, I can’t take another thing,” and then proceeded to have another glass of wine. You can put your hands down now. Trust me, you’re among friends.
Naturally, I was excited about the possibility to see light at the end of the tunnel when the Department of Health in New Mexico called to arrange my receiving of the second vaccine. Mind you, the cowboy and I had to make a four-hour drive to Amarillo, Texas to get the first one. New Mexico, given our low population, has had trouble getting its hands on enough vaccines. And since I have one kidney and at risk for organ failure, I knew I needed to do whatever necessary to get this darn shot. What the heck, we mused, it would be a fun road trip and we could eat at the Big Texan. We hadn’t eaten inside a restaurant in almost a year, as our state has had some of the strictest guidelines in the country. So in actuality in was a fun day trip.
But one road trip was enough. I was elated for the opportunity to drive to the local Walmart in Santa Fe and get vaccine #2. However, I made the big mistake of asking my friends on social media—specifically those who’d had the second shot—if they’d experienced any side effects. As a former pharma rep for Pfizer (ironically, I had the Moderna series) I paid close attention to side effects of medications and knew to put them in context of risk and severity.
Or at least that’s what I’d done in my past.
All my years of knowledge from being a skilled pharma representative suddenly went into the toilet with one big swish. Given my exhaustion with this crazy virus, I read every post on my newsfeed in horror. Forget about taking things in context, I read all of my friends replies, especially those who experienced bad side effects, and prepared myself for the worst possible outcome. Of the 133 replies, I heard comments ranging from “It kicked my butt and I felt totally miserable” to “I pray you don’t react to it like I did. Good luck!” My friends were honest and kind, but they also scared me to pieces. I was happy to also read comments by many who said they didn’t experience any side effect whatsoever. But of course, I tossed those positive ones aside and chose to dwell on the negative experiences.
In fear and frustration, I whispered to myself, “Oh Angie, you’ve had that negative mentality before. Have you not learned a single thing over the past few years?” Don’t you just love it when our smarter side tries to act like a know-it-all?
But that less wacky and more serious blonde side of me was correct. So often in life I’d chosen to only see the scary or negative possibilities and it had cost me dearly. Rather than trust the messenger, whether that be God or solid advice from a friend, I’d often think the worst or make the safest, less painful choice. I was positive the outcome would be disastrous.
I’ve talked to many women about this and most agree. When it comes to big life decisions such as making a career change, ending a relationship, moving to a new place or spend the money on a big dream, most of us automatically dwell on the most negative possible outcomes. It’s sad but true and this writer is guilty as well. We tell ourselves things like, “there’s no way that could work out,” “my kids wouldn’t understand,” “my friends would never speak to me again,” and “this is probably this dumbest idea ever.” I’m sure I left some out. You know what they are. And because of this way of thinking, we often sit or stew in our current situation until we realize we missed out on incredible opportunities. However, let’s not beat ourselves up here. Often, we also pray about things, consider the possibilities, and make wise decisions. But when it comes down to the biggies for many-- you know, those things that could make our heart sing—that negative way of thinking creeps in.
The result? You don’t go on that dream trip because you’re scared of flying or that it’s too risky to spend money on something so outrageous. You don’t leave the job that drains you because you’re scared you can’t figure out your plan B. You stay in a relationship for all the wrong reasons because you're too scared to start over. You don’t go to your annual doctor’s appointment as you’re afraid of what they might discover. Can you relate?
We can change this way of thinking. We can.
BUT. There are usually a few others that play into this equation as well. One or two Negative Nellies will sashay in to reinforce your fears and decisions. For sure, it’s great to have friends who help you look at both sides of things objectively, but one Negative Nellie in your life is enough, and even that’s too much. Sweet sister, you have a brain, you have a heart and you know how to use them.
But let me prepare you, when you decide to change your attitude, the Negative Nellies will feel threatened. Their anger will come out as fierce as a vaccine’s antibodies. They’ll feel they don’t identify with you anymore, that you’ve lost your way, and yes, those types of people can be downright mean. Trust me, I’ve experienced this myself. But in the long run you’ll be much stronger for it. Surround yourself with friends that uplift you and help polish your precious crown, rather than those who rather hit you over the head with it.
Above all, you must gather the courage to rip off the band-aid.
Otherwise you’ll allow that fear-filled cut to fester and scab over. The result is nothing but a whole bunch of nasty scars. But friend, if you jerk off the bandage, I think you may be surprised. You’ll find it’s not as painful as you'd feared and you’ll be so ever-loving proud of yourself! I'll be proud of you too!
Sure, the sting will be felt at first, but I'll wager you a margarita that it won’t be as painful as you'd imagined. Instead, you’re likely to give nourishment to your true self and will no longer be weighted down with shame, fear and what if’s.
Oh, and about that second vaccine, I was positive I’d experience the absolute worst of all side effects. And guess what, I DID experience a few nasty ones. The cowboy did not. I had a low-grade fever, chills and felt pretty yucky. But it only lasted for 24 hours. THAT WAS IT! Then it simply went away and I felt absolutely great. Today I feel more secure about my health and have a positive outlook on the future.
But I had to push past the worst-case scenarios that clouded my thinking.
You, too, may find yourself making braver decisions than ever before. The results will be extraordinary. Write to me and tell me about brave decisions you've made. I wish all of my readers much health and happiness on this vaccination journey and that this post might change your way of thinking. Just remember, the pain of jerking off a band-aid is totally overrated.
Be brave, be bold and be strong. You’ve got this.
Brightest of Blessings,