Locking myself out of the house on this dark, rainy morning serves as the perfect reminder to be more conscious of the jacket and bag changing I've been doing as of late. Watching the rain pelt the windshield, imagining how I could climb through a window and set off an alarms, I start the car and turn on the heat. Classic Margaret. Nobody does this!

It's going to be a long, cold, humbling morning.

I have not written a blog in several months. I have wanted to, but, in the world of words on the internet, I suddenly grew conscious of adding to them. And that's a deflating preponderance.

I started to think of what extra I could give as a writer, like a toy in a cereal box, perhaps a great tip (like did you know that a bar of soap placed between the sheets on the foot of the bed can prevent leg and foot cramping?) The more I thought about it, the less i was able to write.

Overthinking is a family habit and it can either start from depression or lead to it, and in the thick of the fog it creates, it's hard to determine which started first.

Mom was a light sleeper, and when Dad retired, no longer working long hours or overnights at the firehouse, I saw how little he slept as well. And in the morning, the first person to the breakfast table would either pay or benefit from whatever kept him awake. And when you're still groggy, that can make your head spin.

I haven't misplaced my keys like this, creating a colossal waste of time since I worked in retail. I worried about everything back then. Whatever it was I did, I had to do it great, you know, the valedictorian cashier, store closer, deposit dropper. My pursuit of perfection guaranteed I'd be unable to count down a drawer. The desire to nail everything I did wasn't in order to impress anybody so much, but after a long expensive education and five years of stress in court reporting, I felt I couldn't afford to feel any worse.

If there is a takeaway from my retail years, one of them has to do with a well-educated associate I met and who came to work for me when I ran a Christmas location one year.

Amy was near incapacitated by fear of rejection. It so overwhelmed her that at times she would disappear behind the fixtures to, it appeared,  collect herself and deep breathe. We talked about fear one day, and I told her that the stereotype of her nationality was of powerful women. She looked at me with a blank, robotic stare: my mother is strong, she said.

Got it.

In Amy, I saw what could happen as a result of needing approval, letting others define you, or perhaps worse, what happens when we depend on outside sources to assess our value. When Amy inadvertently forgot herself and focused on helping a customer, a caring, doting saleswoman emerged, somebody who patrons not only stopped resisting, but liked very much. People often left the store with more than intended, filled shopping bags, and complimented her to me on their way out.

Amy illustrated sometimes in an extreme way the power of thought. Losing herself, she came to life, and, I loved working with her. 

It's raining and the sky is still cloudy, but it's gotten brighter. All the neighbors must know my situation by now, having seen me pull in and out of my driveway several times. I hope my key bearers will awaken soon, but at least it stopped raining.

Hey, this could happen to anybody, right?

Don't overthink whether or not a bar of soap in the foot of the bed prevents foot or leg cramping or alleviates restless legs. Just try it. It's worked for everybody I've mentioned it to. Hope it works for you too!

Happy New Year! -- Margaret