Chicken Apocalypse

A dirty rotten prophet of doomLast week I was taking some gnarly antibiotics for a gnarly infection.

Kidney. All better now. Thanks for asking.

But it was one of those uber suck antibiotics where the side effects sheet lists scary stuff like, May cause your tendons to spontaneously explode out of nowhere.

Or something like that.

So when the back of my left ankle started to feel tingle-ey on day four, I had a moment where I kind of freaked.

I swore this was totally an omen.

A great foretelling of a tendon rupture lurking right around the corner.

I mean, it had to be that. Because why else would my ankle feel all tingle-ey?

It never did before.
It does now.
And I’m taking an antibiotic that can make tendons go boom.

For a split second, it all made sense in my head.

And that’s the problem.

I was catastrophizing.

Again.

Many very worried looks

See, I grew up in a house where Chicken Little-ing was the norm.

Every single thing that happened was a Great Big Thing.

Even when it wasn’t.

And every single thing that might happen was something to worry about. Almost obsessively.

Mom did it more than Dad.

In fact, Dad compensated by just generally checking out altogether.

But it wasn’t just Mom.

It was my grandma. And grandpa. And just about every aunt I had.

And probably some cousins, too.

So the running in circles? And the wringing of the hands? And the very worried looks?

Constant.

It seemed totally normal, really.

I just thought that’s how everybody dealt with stuff.

I need a metaphorical cucumber

Then, at some point, I got some distance.

And ohmygawd was the madness obvious.

You mean not everybody shits their pants on the regular?
No way! Get out of here!

I finally saw that there were alternatives to the-sky-is-falling-ness.

So I started being really conscious about this Chicken Little business.

I worked at catching myself at the first signs of a bwock bwock so that I could stop the insanity before it got too much oomph behind it.

After a few years, I didn’t see that little nugget of panic-inducing poultry much at all.

But this stuff runs deep.

And sometimes all it takes is one tingle-ey left ankle and suddenly you find yourself needing to be talked down.

Fortunately, I’ve tangoed with Mr. Little enough that I usually know what to do.

I’ve cultivated mad ninja skills that will almost always automagically extract me from the crazy.

And, if that fails, my wife can always help me wrap up the bwock bwock in two seconds flat.

She is my exact opposite.
Level headed. Cool as a cuke. Almost never rattled.

So, for me, this was a quick trip to the chicken coup.

Who invited him?

But what seriously sucks is when it’s not so quick.

Or when it’s happening all the time.

When bwock bwock becomes the new black.

Because the-sky-is-falling-ness always brings the panic to the party.

It’s nothing if not predictable.

And when we panic long enough, we start to think things are broken for good.

Which means more panic.

And mad stuckness. And no movement. And all kinds of avoidance.

Sometimes it even gets so bad that we just give up on our Thing.

We’ve been so stuck for so long that we just abandon the idea altogether.

Even if that means abandoning ourselves.

And that?

A total tragedy.

It’s never like that

A lot of my clients show up for their session with Chicken Little in tow.

Knee deep in anxiety over their suck.

Super doubtful that things can be fixed.

Sure that their blergh will be the one blergh that just won’t budge.

But can I tell you something?

That’s never happened.
Ever.

It doesn’t matter whether we’re banging drums to deal with some personal ack or grooving deep on a coaching call to amp up the clarity around some biz-ey bits.

After hundreds and hundreds of sessions, I’ve never seen suck that can’t be fixed.

Never.

But it’s hard to sell that one to Chicken Little.

I mean, the sky is falling!
There’s panic to induce.
Ack! Look out! Run for your life!

Sometimes it’s hard to sneak hope past the hopelessness.

Chicken or dirty rotten prophet of doom?

And that’s eggsactly why the bwock bwock is so dangerous.

Because it leaves you feeling like things are a total disaster.

Too broken to be fixed.
Too stuck to be helped.
Too shaky to be shored up.

Plus you’re totally drained. Or totally freaked. Or both.

So why reach out?

Nobody could help you fix this hot mess.

But that’s a lie.

A dirty, filthy lie that kills souls and eats puppies and dreams for breakfast.

And this is exactly how Chicken Little wants things to go.

Standing there.
Flapping his wings.
Running in circles like he’s hopped up on meth.
Forecasting partial cloudiness with a chance of apocalypse.

Don’t believe the hype.

Even when it sounds really, really convincing.

Never listen to chickens

Reach out.

Ask for help.

Find a trustworthy sounding board.

I don’t care whether it’s a coach. Or your partner. Or your cockapoo.

And I don’t care whether you come to me. Or someone else.

This isn’t a sales pitch.

This is me telling you that you deserve more.

You.
Deserve.
More.

Your dream and your Thing and the people who need your Thing all deserve more.

The sky isn’t falling. Everything’s fixable. The suck isn’t permanent.

And, seriously, it’s mind blowing how different things can look through a set of outside eyes.

So don’t give up.

Do something.
Reach out.
Now.

Chicken Little is a bully.

Call his bluff.

Does some flavor of the-sky-is-falling-ness trip you up anywhere?
Personal stuff? Business stuff? Life stuff?
Getting your Thing out into the world?
What do you do? How do you deal?

Flickr credit – zoomar

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16 Responses to Chicken Apocalypse
  1. Joely Black
    February 17, 2011 | 11:32 am

    I have to confess, yes I do get episodes of Chicken Little-ism.

    It’s emotional issues that trip me up. I know very well that if I get something coming up and it hurts, it’s going to release and let me go. Except that at the time it hurts, it can still feel like the end of the world!

    I find meditating and checking in with myself to get a bit of a sense of the reality of the situation really helps, though. Stopping the spiral is the key!

  2. Square-Peg Karen
    February 17, 2011 | 11:44 am

    Ohmyword! This had me laughing like crazy…

    I definitely exhibit signs of Chicken-Littleitis at times (that’s the technical term, right?) — my upbringing was the exact opposite:

    toss a bomb in the middle of the kitchen table and the reaction was “where’s the salt?”

    and it’s probably my RE-action to childhood that brings on the Chicken-Littleitis symptoms — love, love, love your sound (no pun intended) and wise suggestions. I’m going to print this out to help me remember.

  3. Tori Deaux
    February 17, 2011 | 11:53 am

    I don’t cry when I read blog posts. I don’t. That would be silly. So I have no idea why it is raining. Inside. And only on my face. I’m also laughing, which is a strange thing to do while an inexplicable indoor rain is falling on my face.

    Thank you for this. So much. This comment is sort of me reaching out. And it helps.

    (P.S. I have weird issues with Chicken Little. Mr.Spouse thinks it’s a term of endearment, and is prone to using it as a pet name for me and others. I keep telling him it is Not Flattering and not helpful. Maybe I can hit him over the head with a large metaphorical cucumber next time? Just a thought)

  4. Suzanne
    February 17, 2011 | 11:56 am

    wow how’d you know?? This is what I’ve been doing the last few weeks trying to lock up Mr. Little and he keeps knocking down the door to get out ant runn all around again; “ohmygawd, ohmygaws, it’s not going to happen your,..” you get it!!!
    Thanks F! Remembering my DLYSK is only a computer away and that ALWAYS helps too!!!

    Love to you
    S (squared)

  5. Susan T. Blake
    February 17, 2011 | 12:37 pm

    Catastrophizing. Automagically. New words for my personal dictionary!

    I grew up in a house where empowering messages like “You’re very smart” and “You can do anything you want when you grow up” were intermixed with “But if you do people won’t like you” and “But if you do the sky will fall.” Very confusing. It’s taken a long time to realize I can separate them and choose which one to believe. Plus, now I have a lot of evidence for the former and very little for the latter.

    It’s not easy though, sometimes, and it does help to have people to reach out to.

    Thanks Fabeku!

  6. Alexia
    February 17, 2011 | 12:50 pm

    My dear dear friend, chicken little… poor thing’s so scared all the time he never gets to rest.

    I am very well acquainted with this. As is my family.

    I left chicken little when I moved out. But he comes to visit every so often. Proximity makes it harder to resist his prophecies of doom, but I’m getting stronger 😉

    Thanks for this…

  7. Sulwyn
    February 17, 2011 | 12:53 pm

    Thanks for the reminder… I’ve been getting all Chicken Little about a big, huge opportunity to move forward with my dream and my call (one and the same) that could (only maybe) be stopped dead in it’s tracks by a single phone call today. I’ve lived 16 years so far waiting, so I’ll move on if today isn’t the day. No biggie.

    I really needed your words, especially today!

  8. Grace
    February 17, 2011 | 12:57 pm

    Fabeku, I’m in total awe.

    How can you pack so many ridiculous puns and so much laughter into such a moving and meaningful message?

    Wow!

  9. tara
    February 17, 2011 | 1:00 pm

    Yes!
    Ok, no, I have to take issue with the phrase (when taken out of context): “Never listen to chickens”. You (of courses!) mean Chicken Littles…not Blonde Chickens, I’m sure.

  10. Dave Rowley
    February 17, 2011 | 5:39 pm

    I relate to the catastrophizing, though I’ve calmed that down significantly over the years. Those chickens, they’re with me always, but meditation and being in my body–walking, swimming, moving–paying attention to all that really helps me a lot. And art. Lots of art.

  11. Christa
    February 17, 2011 | 10:31 pm

    Oy. As some of our relatives would say. Because clearly, we are related…

    Chicken Little or Chicken Big, this is pervasive stuff. Talking to yourself helps, I find. Seriously.

    And the client thing? Yes.

    As always, many, many, many thanks to you…

  12. Nona
    February 18, 2011 | 1:08 am

    Oh, chicken little! I know him well… skies fall usually with my health (exploding hamstrings, anyone??). Thankfully, not so often, anymore.

    It happens when I forget to stay in my body. When everything but me becomes super-busy-important-stuff. Yoga is my lifeline back into the present moment and my body. Away from the fear and the ack-attack of chicken little running around the room.

    I love hearing what others do to escort the chicken back to the coop. What a fabulous, beautiful post.

    Thank you so much for being you, Fabeku.

  13. Elana
    February 18, 2011 | 1:34 am

    I am overtaken suddenly by the idea that the Ramones should regroup and record a song called ‘Chicken in a Chokehold’ – who’s with me? Dead members welcome : ) Great words Fabeku. Well placed, well executed, and from the right place. Love it. And, hmmm, really needed it too. Thanking you long time. L O V E!

    E

  14. chris zydel
    February 21, 2011 | 2:24 am

    Ha, ha , ha…. It’s so great to know that I’m not the only one who has gone to the edge with the Chicken Little Bully as an extreme sport.

    And if even a FRACTION of the scary things I had ever fantasized happening my body had come to pass I would be in an Iron Lung by now.

    Praise the Lord for cool cuke spouses to talk born and raised catastrophizers like us off of the ceiling.

    And thanks for making me laugh … while feeling totally loved and accepted at the same time… as always.

  15. Do Mi Stauber
    February 21, 2011 | 11:53 am

    Oh, Fabeku, thank you for this! I love the way you write. Yes, indeed, the chickens…I call them the “oh no oh no monster.” Havi’s monster conversations have helped me immensely.

    @Susan–yes! I have the same mixed messages. It’s very confusing. Here’s to picking them apart. Choice.

  16. Fabeku
    February 24, 2011 | 11:01 am

    Hey peeps! Thanks for the fab comments, as always.

    @Joely – Stopping the spiral. Yes! So important. Tricksy sometimes. But super important.

    @Karen – Isn’t it wild what creates the Chicken Little-ing? Two totally opposite environments. The same end result.

    @Tori – Totally welcome, you. I’m glad you reached out. And I hear you on the Chicken-Little-as-a-term-of-endearment thing.

    @Suz – Tell Mr. Little to behave. Or we might have to break out the drums.

    @Susan – Ack. Those opposing messages? So hard. Big yays for having more evidence for the good stuff though.

    @Alexia – You know, what you said about rest seems totally right on. Chicken Little-ing can be a huge block to really resting. Because, ohmygawd, the sky is falling, of course. I recognize that one, for sure.

    @Sulwyn – I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed for you. I hope things worked out the way you wanted.

    @Grace – What can I say? I have a master’s degree in Ridiculous Weaving. (grin)

    @Tara – Yesyesyes. Of course. Blonde Chickens are very different (and way more fabulous) thank Chicken Littles.

    @Dave – Yes, all seriously good + helpful things. I especially get the art part. Glad the chickens have calmed down for you.

    @Christa – Oy. Yes. Pervasive. Yes. Talking to yourself. Yes. We must be related.

    @Nona – I love this: “Yoga is my lifeline back into the present moment and my body.” For me, it’s the sound stuff. Drums. Bowls. Chanting. All of it. Totally vital stuff.

    @Elana – Chicken in a Chokehold – LOVE! That deserves some chocolate.

    @Chris – Your whole comment made me laugh. Out loud. Because I get it. Iron Lungs!

    @Do Mi – Oh no! Oh no! That’s the universal language, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter whether it’s chickens or monsters. It all comes back to the oh no!.

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