"Pomegranate" © Klearchos Kapoutsis, 2010. CC BY 2.0.
Pomegranate” © Klearchos Kapoutsis, 2010. CC BY 2.0.
We’ve always admired great thinkers. Creators. Innovators. People lost in their own heads. Scrawling on whiteboards, filling notebooks, building things. They ignite fires. When your brain is full of tangibility it’s something worthy of applause. You are solving problems. It’s a different kind of process than rumination, than introspection, than exploration.

People love to tell me I think too much. Explain how much simpler my life would be if I shut down my constant probing. Fishing for the whys and hows of everything I do. A switch I can flip and stop being reflective. I can’t find the line, though. Where we distinguish between the thoughts that occupy other thinkers and the thoughts that occupy me. We’ve become inoculated with the idea everything directed inward is dangerous. Shut it down. Shut it down.

I know there are places I need to tiptoe around. I know the risk of getting caught in loops. Tracing every possible disaster over and over again. I know all about the “I’m to blame for everything” spirals I can fall into. Crippling depression and severe anxiety have made me well acquainted with just how paralyzing my own mind can be. I know, I know. But there are good things in there, too. I promise. Underneath all the thoughts I’m teaching myself not to follow are the ones that make me hopeful, strong. The ones that make me able to find the pieces I want to hold on to.

You can’t eat the peel, but it does protect the fruit.


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