Monday, March 22, 2010

Head Trips & Happy Places

Your head can be a dangerous place. And being inside my head for an extended period of time can be one trippy ride. I have a friend who compares her own overthinking to hopping on board the crazy train. Sometimes, she says, she even brings some friends along. While I was far from jumping on any crazy train this week I did check out the train schedule. 

While I have a tendency to overthink things, I’m certainly not alone. I think everyone at some point has analyzed something to death. But from my past experiences I’ve noticed that when I begin descending into that crazy, head-spinning spiral of racing thoughts and wild conclusions, what I most fear comes true. It’s as if I can manifest the worst by imagining it happening. But this week I decided to stop the cycle, to stop overthinking the issues that were spinning my brain around like a top. I decided I’d fight my way out of my brain and instead refocus and replace it with something different … like eating a Bacon Maple Bar from Voodoo Doughnuts in downtown Portland.  

That’s where my friend Helen and I ended up at 1:30 a.m. after a night of dancing to some seriously good funk music. The tiny shop was filled with late-night partiers who eagerly paid cash for the chance to sink their teeth into some spongy, sugar-coated bliss.  

I’d heard about Voodoo Doughnuts when I’d first arrived in Portland, and I’d made a mental note never to eat there for fear of clogging up my arteries and dropping dead. I mean, this popular establishment once offered up such FDA-defying fare as the NyQuil Glazed doughnut and the Vanilla Pepto Crushed Tums doughnut before health officials put a quick end to that. As we stood in line, Helen casually mentioned that the shop isn’t known for its hygienic standards and that there’d been rumors of salmonella poisoning. 

“The doughnuts are well worth the risk,” she added without hesitation as she pulled cash out of her pocket.

Really, Helen? I thought to myself, Never!  

But as is usually the case when I say never: I end up eating my words.  

As I took my first bite of Voodoo’s famous Bacon Maple Bar, I couldn’t help but notice the parallel between this doughnut and my week. When I finally stopped overthinking my problems and quelled the raging voodoo dance in my head, I could enjoy some of life’s special delights. And if I’d dropped dead during this indulgence it would’ve been okay because at least I was facing certain fears and finding there’s really nothing to be afraid of -- just a yummy, gooey maple doughnut topped with crispy bacon.  

Good thing you can’t order that on the crazy train.

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