Last week I had a sore throat. No biggie. Start the routine: Ricola…..wash my hands at every corner….switch coffee to tea….eat soup for lunch instead of sandwich….should be taken care of, right? Well, usually that’s the case. But I found that as the week progressed, my sore throat turned into FIRE IN MY THROAT. My tongue felt TWICE its size, and I was having trouble swallowing. (*GROSS ALERT*) At the end of the school day last Tuesday my wife looked at my tonsil-less throat and freaked out.  I counted 15 white blisters coating the back of my throat and the top, rear portion of my tongue. They kinda looked like little snowflakes. Only difference was sugar-plums weren’t frolicking in my head and I wasn’t tap-dancing with Danny stinkin’ Kaye.


I went to the doctor thinking it was strep…but it turns out my throat was covered with COLD SORES. I’ve never heard of that before. My doctor was like “dude…you’re stressed.” I said…I’m not. He said, “I’m not asking. I’m telling you….you’re stressed.” Apparently cold sores are a nervous system “thing” and are only triggered by stress. He gave me a shot…some pills….I felt a little better.

Last year I busted out in SHINGLES, a different type of the same type of virus. Freakin’ shingles! At my age. (I’m very young…by the way.) It was crazy. I felt like an old man…but, again…the doctor was like “you’re stressed.”


If you don’t know already, I have ADD and I take medication for it. My mind works very much like a grocery store conveyor belt and each grocery item is a different thought. Except…on my conveyor belt, there isn’t a little laser indicator at the front of the belt that stops the belt from moving….it just keeps going. So, when I’m sitting still…or needing to “relax” (by my doctor’ definition, I guess)….my conveyor belt just keeps spinning and my cookie dough winds up on the floor. (My store also doesn’t have those little check-out lane separators either. You know…the ones that keep food orders sectioned off. But my store DOES have those pony rides for a penny! Three of those, in fact!)


Is that normal? I don’t know. But the real question is…should I care? Normal in what way? Healthy wise…normal is kinda important to me. But…”me” wise….I’d HATE to be normal.

Herein lies my problem. I don’t FEEL stressed. I don’t FEEL like I need to relax. I’m active…no one will argue that. Frantic sometimes…sure. Anxious? Paranoid? Okay…fine. BUT I’M NOT STRESSED!

In all seriousness…..I’m not.

So, what do you do when everyone you know is saying you’re stressed out…including your doctor and (apparently) your own body concurs? What do you do? Vacation? Sleep? When I have a half-day off at school I have to build shelves in the garage or paint a room. I’m always engaged in something. I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. Regardless…I feel normal.

We had the dedication of the Chapel / Performing Arts Center last Sunday. While I must admit, I would have liked to jump up on the railing of the new auditorium and dance Footloose-style while flailing my arms in crazed celebration…I resigned myself to the reverent Chapel service and pleasant offerings from the schools vocalists and musicians. I can’t help it. I get excited.

I need to move. I need to shout. I need to be active! That’s me! I have to…that’s how I work. Even if my own body says “No, no. You’re going way to fast. Chill.” I…don’t. But there is even a bigger problem. Even if I wanted to “chill”….I can’t. I don’t know how, for one. For two…when I try, I get sad, lonely, bored…or distracted.

So. What do I do? Is there anything TO do?

I prayed about it. It was one of those silent prayers in the car on the way home from the dedication. I asked God to work with me. I didn’t ask for a miracle. I didn’t ask for God to change me. I didn’t even ask for relief (because the spiders in the back of my throat kept biting!) No, no…instead, I just asked for some insight. I don’t want to conform. I don’t necessarily want others to conform to how I think either. I don’t think any of u should come from the same mold…or be carved out in the same cookie cutter way. Some of us are spilled cookie batter on the supermarket floor in front of the lane check-out….and we like it there.

Exemplifying what I teach in class can be easy sometimes. Exemplifying the type of Christian to be, can be challenging. Exemplifying the type of person to be….that’s almost impossible for me. I think we’re all different and it’s those differences that make us creative, vibrant souls. There is a teeney-tiny part of me that is perfectly okay with a Shingles outbreak once a year…if it means for the remainder part of the year it is acceptable that I pursue my active “stressful” life. I also think that we should all live for the day…and if I die tomorrow, I don’t want to regret yesterday.

I guess I just find it easier to regret yesterday…sitting on my butt doin’ nothing today. Maybe that’s why I can’t “relax.” So sue me. If that’s uptight and stressed….then sign me up.

I can’t wait until I direct the musical in the spring. If I’m stressed now…I’ll have volcanoes erupting on my forehead and palm trees growing out of my neck and a slithery tail.

Until that day (I’ll call it the “apocalypse”) I’ll try to keep cool…and keep doing my thing. Now if you’ll excuse me…I must take my GIANT pill. The one that will cure me of all the cold sores in the back of my throat.

Who want’s to be normal anyway, right?



  1. Thank you and I don’t know how I found you but, I did. Thanks for putting into words what I feel. It is time to own the fact that I live in the thick of thin things, sometimes just happens and other times on purpose. I hate injustices, I love people, I am passionate about causes and I am talented in staying up all night to hyper focus on a task that needs getting done. I am a closet stress seaker who doesn’t know any other life. Fast forward to this weekend. Well here I sit just a few miles from the boarder of Juarez, Mexico, I live in California. I came here two days ago and ended up in the hospital with Shingles. Yes, shingles, the old lady illness – Hence, I will not be able to save the world this weekend and am now under doctors orders to destress. That only stresses me more. I now have to thinking about everything that everyone else thinks causes my life to be full of stress. I didn’t even know I was “that” stressed Sure life is tough at times and I do take on a bit too much, have six kids, help run a law firm, drown in miles of legal paperwork daily, try to be a good person and help save the world. But stressed, not really, it is just me taking on life headfirst so that I don’t miss a moment but, I always keep thinking tomorrow I’ll sit down and take that nap. Thanks for giving me permission to be me.

    To life, to live and to love,

  2. Hehe..your life as described sounds a lot like mine. My mind never shuts off even when I sleep. Between my biological family and my husband and my in-laws and the ex, well, stress is way up there some days. Recently, I started breaking out all over and it itches like crazy. I have no idea what it is so I’m searching to try to figure out what it is. My Dr btw is sending me to an allergist. Been there, done that. I have lived in this house for 3 yrs, worked at the same job for a year, nothing’s changed so I’m thinking its something else. Found your post and thought it was interesting. Good luck with the de-stressing!

  3. Hi there, love your article of truthfulness! I currently have an elderly friend in the nursing home with shingles. He says its sooooo painful the even the slightest touch makes it hurt really bad. I live in Indiana at the moment and before his incident, I had no idea about shingles…I also agree with you in regards of the cold sores and being stressed out. Happens to me all of the time and its so very frustrating that I just wanna say to mey body, you are not the boss of me!!!!!!!!!!!Well at any rate I dont know exactly how I got your blog here but I go to it and I really did enjoy reading,

    take care!
    No stress allowed, kimbella

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