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Overthinkers Anonymous

You’ll most likely be shocked to discover that I, Cutter Slagle, am not perfect. I mean, sure, I’m an impeccable dresser; I have great hair; I also know the lyrics to every single Britney Spears song (and can also dance along to them). Is there really a need to go on any further? Seriously, what more could you want in a guy?

That being said, I do tend to make mistakes once to fifteen times a year. Remember, I’m a work in progress. I’m young, and I’m very much still learning how to navigate my life. After all, I’m barely in my late twenties.

Oh, one thing I’m not so good at: math.

Anyway, as I get older and (hopefully) wiser, I want to expand my vocabulary. Specifically, I want to learn the definition of “responsible.” Or, more appropriately, I want to discover what it means to take responsibility for my actions.

Side note: Some of you reading this should think about packing a bag and taking the long journey with me.

But, I digress. This article is about me, my faults. This time, I’m at the center of the “blame game.” If you’re a constant reader of my blog (as you should be), then you know I have no qualms pointing out other people’s imperfections and mistakes. Now I’m going to point out one of mine. No, I’m not alluding to that time in my life when I thought I was going to be the next Robert DeNiro. Though, as a result, I am SAG-eligible, thank you very much.

Today, I want to explore a trait of mine that often gets me into trouble. This trait is unattractive, unhealthy, time-consuming, and a negative quality that I, Cutter Slagle, need to take responsibility for allowing to become a part of me.

It’s interesting, really. We live in a world where Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are readily available, right along with groups that include Overeaters Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Hell, even Sex Addicts Anonymous weekly gatherings exist. And while that’s all perfectly fine and nice, I can’t help but wonder . . . Why isn’t there a place for overthinkers to go?

Yes, that is my disease and greatest fault, the unattractive, unhealthy, time-consuming, negative quality I have allowed to rule my life: I overthink and overanalyze . . . everything! Since an Overthinkers Anonymous group doesn’t exist (at least not to my understanding), let me lead the way.

Hi, I’m Cutter. I’m an overthinker.

Now, not only am I an overthinker, but I tend to (almost) always overthink in a negative manner. My best friend cancels dinner plans with me at the last minute, then she’s obviously mad at me. My boyfriend hasn’t responded to my text within two minutes, then he’s obviously cheating on me. My latest blog article hasn’t gone viral, then obviously no one likes my writing. Oh, wait . . .

Okay, in all fairness, maybe I’m not that bad. Yet, you get the idea. I tend to think the worst, usually so that if or when the worst happens, I won’t be that affected by the outcome. In a way, it’s like I’m concealing myself in bubble wrap, preparing for the hard landing.

I used to think, and still kind of do, that my education is partly to blame. For those of you who didn’t bother to read my bio, I have a degree in English and minor in creative writing. I can’t begin to count the number of literature courses I was required to take throughout my college career, during which it was routine (and appropriate) to decode content, to interpret passages according to any given thesis. Simply put, if you wanted to prove something, easy peasy: just use the words in front of you. Or, even the words not in front of you, because reading between the lines, as everyone knows – English degree or not – is equally important.

Unfortunately, earning this degree came at a cost. Reading into situations and events, overanalyzing them, and creating possible outcomes has made me a great storyteller (my mom thinks so), but a bad human. Like I’ve already stated, at every turn, my mind tends to wander, overthink, resulting in confusion, passive-aggressive behavior, and, if I’m being blunt, yours truly acting like a complete mother fucker.

Sorry, friends and family. I’m not apologizing for my use of the “F” word, but for the fact that I’m frequently a stubborn, emotional pain-in-the-ass. Hey, at least I can admit it.

All joking aside, overthinking is a disease, much like alcoholism or pairing black with brown. And now, it’s quite possible that many of you are considering the same notion: People with drinking (eating, drug, sex, etc.) problems should stop drinking (eating, doing drugs, having sex, etc.). People who overthink should stop overthinking.

But is it really that easy?

I don’t have the answer. Previously, when alcohol surfaced as a problem in my life, I quit drinking for a while. Boom! Done. Problem solved. Food, on the other hand, has proven to be a bigger obstacle. As for overthinking, well . . . Let’s just say I can only read so many books, do so many loads of laundry, run so many miles before I give in; my mind starts wandering, creating false scenarios, which eventually lead to that gut-wrenching feeling that is anxiety.

Maybe my education isn’t to blame. Maybe it’s the cold, hard reality that in this dog-eat-dog world, it’s much easier to be pessimistic than optimistic, to think about and expect the bad, so as to save myself from possible disappointment and heartache.

Like I said, I don’t have the answer. I truly don’t know. I also don’t know how to fix or cure the act of overthinking. Quit overthinking seems logical, as does staying busy, focused, goal-oriented, and positive, despite all of the bullshit that engulfs us on a daily basis. Contemplating the negative effects of overthinking could be beneficial, too. Overthinking is wildly unhealthy, and can eventually lead to unnecessary stress, weight gain, hair loss, the aforementioned feeling of anxiety, and, possibly the worst result: the termination of a relationship.

Moving forward, I think I need to realize that many things are out of my control. If something is going to happen, then it’s going to happen, regardless if I choose to overthink the situation or not. The only thing I’m responsible for is being the best possible version of myself. No matter how difficult the challenge may be, I’m going to believe in the good. There are good people in this world, and whether true or not, it is my choice and my right to believe that good will always win. Therefore, there will no longer be a reason to overthink, especially to overthink negatively. Right?

Will this little mantra help me in my daily struggle to stop overthinking and overanalyzing my life? Time will tell. Though, at this very moment, I do know something for certain: Step one to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

So, I repeat . . . Hi, I’m Cutter. I’m an overthinker.

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