Anxiety – she’s a hell of a bitch.  She’s like the waves at the beach.  You’re enjoying the water, having a great time and the next thing you know, you’re knocked on your ass by an unexpected wave.  And if you’re an adventurous spirit, you might even find yourself in the big waves – tumbling through the water, no idea of which way is up, convinced that you’re about to be slammed into the sand bottom (broken neck) and then suddenly, you find yourself free from the ocean’s clutch and gasping for air.

Yeah, she’s a bitch like that.

You’d think by the age of 47 that a couple of lessons would be learned, but good grief, sometimes I keep on returning to the hot stove just to check if it’s still hot.  I find myself in a familiar, circular, non-productive, conversation with my number one instigator…you know those conversations that don’t go anywhere except to frustrate both parties?

Sorry about being vague – trying to protect the innocent party here.  But it really doesn’t matter who or what the conversation was, right?  What DOES matter is that I DIDN’T like the conversation and find myself, once AGAIN, experiencing high waves of anxiety.

And I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated with me, him, and the whole damn situation.

So I leave.  Before I say anything regrettable, I leave and head to my study…and I notice something on my front porch – maybe a piece of trash or something.  As I look closer, it’s a red cardinal.  He’s so beautiful and I watch for a few moments before he takes off.

And then I think – sort of giggling at the same time – it must be a sign.  So what the heck, let’s distract from the anxiety and google red cardinals, because you know, if it’s on the internet it must be true.

Cardinals are associated with the number 12 which in folklore is considered lucky.

When a cardinal flies into your life you can except a change for the better in 12 hours, days, months.

Red cardinals symbolize faith, power, vitality and importance – seeing one is a reminder to keep the faith.

What is the meaning of a cardinal in your backyard everyday? The bird is comfortable in your yard (lol).

I know I was reacting desperately but having a sign of luck rather than a sign of death and despair on my front porch gave me a measure of peace…but why?

I am uncomfortable with the unknown.  Fear of the future. Uncomfortable with uncomfortable. I want answers. I am impatient.  I want to know everything is going to be okay. Staying in just this moment is super hard.

Anxiety is not an easy emotion.  A very real solution and tendency is to stuff said anxiety.  I am cut from the put on your big girl panties and suck it up cloth.  And frankly, I admire that grit and tenacity…I don’t want to lose that part of my personality but not at the expense of my mental health.  Y’all have days where you lay in bed with food and netflix?  Totally enmeshed in the feelings?  And then you have those days where you put on your mask and the world, including you, thinks you have it all together because all the emotions are properly put up in containers somewhere?

I’m learning how to walk this fine line. Acknowledge and respect what is going on, but at the same time, still show up in my life. 

There has to be a middle ground.  Life is difficult.  We will have troubles and sometimes we will have awful things happen.  Just saying that out loud helps to take the sting away.  Because right now, this moment, in my study, writing this blog, the reality is that things are what they are…but no one is bleeding out so that’s a plus.

Stop looking for signs and blaming the universe.  Nothing is happening to US.  Shit is just happening.  Seek wisdom.  Stay in the moment. And ENJOY – enjoy the bird for what it is – a red bird on your porch. Breathe the air, smell the flower, smile, love.

Lean into the anxiety – uncomfortable as hell. I caught myself even using yoga to try to make the emotion go away.  Stop trying to make emotions go away. Acknowledge that this is an anxious time and my reaction is, while not ideal, is perfectly reasonable.

Focus on controllables – Bet you didn’t know I was a time traveler.  My favorite destination?  The future.  My controllable is reining in my own obsessive future tripping behavior…taming the monkey mind. My thoughts, attitude, and behavior are my controllables.

What about you? How are you dealing with the waves of life today?  Would love to hear from you ❤️

xoxox – DM


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Donna Matthews is a blog writer at the DJRanch where she strives to remain authentic while not taking herself too seriously. She is also the creator of Slay The Chaos (, where she writes about productivity and organization. She is a member of The Writers Guild and Write Space in Houston and is currently writing her first book.

1 thought on “Signs

  1. Lisa N

    swimming in the emotion ocean my friend. court tomorrow. future uncertain (as usual).

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