Rejection Letter: Michelle Noonan

Dear Anxiety,

I have received your application for the position of Mood of the Month. You were one of many well-qualified candidates. However, I’m sorry to inform you that I’ve selected another applicant.

You are, without question, a tireless worker. I admire your ability to envision myriad outcomes to any situation. I’m drawn to your unique, if dark, sense of drama, which, I’m forced to admit, gives life a little undercurrent of excitement. Unfortunately, your frenetic pace and unremitting commitment to doom and gloom simply aren’t compatible with my vision going forward. In short, my dude, I just can’t deal with you anymore.

You remind me of my neighbor’s chihuahua, who sits on the back of the couch day and night, looking out the window and barking. Everything that dog sees and hears is a threat, and he’s determined to make sure everyone knows it. Like little Yapper, you spend your days endlessly yammering about what-ifs and worst-case scenarios. You fill my mind with a tornado of worries and self-consciousness until focus becomes impossible. I start a dozen projects but finish none. Take laundry, for example. My desk is buried, unusable, under the pile of clean clothes I started folding three weeks ago before getting distracted by your insistence on googling potential causes of that minor chest pain. Remember the time I forgot to pay the gas bill for three months because it got lost under the pile of paperwork I started sorting before being interrupted by a panic attack? You have a way of turning even the smallest problems into crises.

As if it isn’t enough that you spend all day jumping from worry to worry like an overly-sugared preschooler at a trampoline park, you then choose the moment I get cozied up in bed for the night to focus unwaveringly on a single issue over which I have little or no control. Painting me vivid pictures of my kids dying in a pandemic, envisioning total societal and economic collapse, or reminding me of that embarrassing thing I said ten years ago isn’t remotely helpful. On top of that, once the insomnia sets in, you have the audacity to count remaining available hours of sleep and wax poetic about the ways in which a mere two hours of sleep will make work miserable in the morning. Look, you may enjoy staying up all night ruminating and dreaming up ways in which all of this can get worse, but I don’t. I’m tired.

You’re like that one espresso shot too many, minus the energy boost. You leave me exhausted even as my heart pounds and my hands shake. That sensation of suffocating even though I’m able to take a deep breath? Not fun. And yo-yoing between skipping meals due to stress-induced nausea and scarfing down sweets in fits of emotional eating isn’t a good long-term approach to nutrition.

I can’t deny that you’re well-suited to the current circumstances of, let’s face it, the entire world right now. But you aren’t what I’m looking for. I crave serenity. I need hope and positivity. I’d like to focus more on life’s little beauties and everyday wonders. I want to unclench my jaw. I want to sleep soundly and have pleasant dreams. I want to laugh uncontrollably. I want to open up, explore what I’m capable of, discover who I might become. I want to read a goddamn book all the way through.

In the end, I had to ask myself the following regarding your application: Does this spark joy? Does this fit my goals? The answer to both, unfortunately for you, was no.

If I may, I’d like to offer a suggestion. Consider taking a vacation. Get away from it all and chill out awhile. I think you need it.



Michelle Noonan is a fledgling writer and coffee addict currently trapped at home with two teenagers and way too many pets.
image: Woody Evans is a librarian from Mississippi who studies rhetoric and serves as a librarian in Texas.  His son, who may appear in this photo, is your future Benevolent Lunar Monarch; he’ll be a good one, but you’re gonna have to meet him halfway, like at periapsis.  More about Woody at this link here.  More about his son at The Moon in The Future.