My neighbor's daughter dropped by for a bit yesterday afternoon (not the neighbor's daughter who had the baby that I knit a sweater for last Christmas: different neighbor, different daughter).
After chatting for a while, I told her how frustrated I was that, for the entire week, I hadn't been able to focus and work and write.
She said, "Of COURSE you can't write. Your amygdala has been dousing your cerebral cortex with stress hormones all week long! You're in a fog."
This made sense. And so it seemed to me that, if I'm going to get back on track, I first had to pacify my amygdala or my "emotional" brain, which I've come to affectionately refer to as "my amyga."
So, I embarked on an "Amygdala Afternoon" with my amyga.
I took a bike ride. When I got back, I hopped in the car and drove into the city, to get a whole bunch of books out of the library.
When I got home, I took my amyga out for ice cream.
(Actually, as I was about to order, my butt and thighs put in a whispered plea, "Make it non-fat froyo," so I did. My amyga didn't mind.)
I think the girl at the ice cream place knew what was up because when I asked for a cone, she warned me that the froyo was "very soft lately," and that she might have to put it in a cup instead. So I said, "Then just put it in a cup." I knew my amyga and I couldn't handle the stress of walking back home with a melting cone on a 60-degree day.
When I got home, my amyga wanted me to put on my jammies, so I did. There was a brief moment where my frontal lobes quietly suggested that the house really needed to be vacuumed, but I knew that there were stress-hormone-filled water cannons aimed at them, and that we simply couldn't risk it.
Then, my amyga wanted a beer. So she got one. When it turned cloudy and windy, she said, "It doesn't have to be winter to have a fire in the fireplace," so we did that too.
And then, we read. A really interesting book by Rosemarie Garland-Thompson entitled Staring: How We Look (2009) that I plan to blog about.
Right now, it's all about my amyga.