From All Sides

OK, now I have something to talk about. And maybe it’s just because I’m a bit tired today (though I can’t imagine why – I got 12 hours of sleep on Saturday night) and haven’t eaten much (I’m most of the way through my lunch though) that I’m feeling free to share whatever is on my mind (because I frequently censor myself, knowing full well who my audience here is and not wanting to do any damage to real relationships I have), kind of like why I have a “no emailing past midnight” rule (that I haven’t had to invoke since college). [Editor’s note: see the above sentence? That’s how things are in my head right now. Yeah.]

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed these days. And before anyone gets upset that I haven’t shared this with them… I am just able to put it into words today, so it’s not like I’ve been holding back with y’all. And it’s not that I’m not used to feelings like this, just that usually when I feel overwhelmed it’s in one specific area of my life, something big that’s out of my control or lots of pressure surrounding something important or… you get the idea. But this isn’t any one specific area of my life. I’m just feeling pressures from the whole world around me, but all about little things. Individually, I don’t think I’d notice it at all – after all, isn’t that life, dealing with the world around us? But I feel like it’s coming at me from all angles, and it’s hard to fight a war on so many fronts. And since they’re small things, and no one means any harm by them, it’s not like I hold any grudge against anyone, or feel frustrated with one particular person. Individually, each situation is fairly-easily dealt with. There’s so many of them, though, I barely have time to work through my thoughts and feelings about something before I need to pay attention to the next thing.

I want a retreat. A cabin in the woods, just me. No TV, no iPod, just me and a journal and my Bible and a lot of silence. Not that I don’t love all of you, because I surely do… but there’s way too many voices inside my own head without having to listen to everyone else too. There’s no way to sugar-coat that, and I’m sure someone’s feelings will be hurt by that, but I can’t please everyone all the time (hopefully, ideally, I don’t try to), and perhaps today isn’t your day to be pleased by me. Bummer for you. (See, there you go – I get to feeling overwhelmed and I lose all sympathy and empathy and just get mean.)

For example (and this is a small thing, especially since we’ve got it all figured out, I think): Thanksgiving is coming, and with Mom now living in the Twin Cities and Alison unable to travel so close to her due date, the holiday looks a lot different than it did last year. Prince Charming’s grandma invited us to their Thanksgiving dinner, which we gladly accepted, with the provision we may have to leave early to appease my family. Then Alison finds out she can’t travel, so Mom, late in the game, tries to plan dinner at her house. But when I offer to help with everything if she’s willing to do a late dinner (or later, as in, not 2 pm), she’s not kosher with that plan. And she seems fine with the idea that we’ll come later for desert with everyone, so again, not a big deal. And we’ll have dinner with Prince Charming’s dad on Sunday, and Dad never expects me for Thanksgiving or any holiday other than Christmas. Prince Charming’s family is happy, my family is happy…. but you realize this is all just a precursor to Christmas, which I don’t even want to think about except that it’s right around the corner. (Do you know how many times I’ve been asked what I want for Christmas already? How about sanity. Can you buy that at Target? If so, I’d like one in “medium” from everyone who’s getting me a gift.)

And, you see, if that was the only situation that I had to figure out, to work through, the only pressures from the outside world I had to deal with and maneuver, I would be fine. It would be a breeze. I’d barely think twice about it. But when it’s one of many… I didn’t have to deal with peer pressure much in high school, at least not about anything that I could change (because the only way I could have dealt with the pressures I did feel was to miraculously become part of the upper class and have a magnificent wardrobe, be outgoing, and have perfect hair, and I didn’t really see any of those things happening, and you gotta know when to pick your battles – that wasn’t one I was going to win). So in some ways I’m very unprepared for it. Not that I haven’t dealt with huge pressures in my life – I certainly have, but I’ve usually been able to take them one at a time, and that is something I can handle.

I think part of it is, too, that I have been feeling particularly emotional lately (and not because it’s “that time of the month,” because 1) it’s not, and 2) I’ve been feeling this way for a while now), which makes me more prone to crying (or feeling like crying, at least, usually in inappropriate places like work or while waiting for the bus), which makes me feel vulnerable and stupid and silly. Yes, I know full well in my head that crying is a perfectly acceptable response to a multitude of situations and is rarely “wrong” (unless you’re using it to manipulate someone else, or you’re totally faking, or you’re two years old and just want your way at the supermarket). But when it comes down to it, I still always feel wrong or weak or stupid or girly or whatever-negative-word-you-want-to-use when I do. and I have talked about this and she understands – maybe she can explain more in the comments. Or not.

So emotional plus multiple small stresses equals one overwhelmed Kelly. Didn’t life used to be simple? Wait, no, not really. Life is never simple.

I just want to… argh, I don’t know…. If I happen to tell you to shut up in the next week or two, don’t take it personally. You may just show up at the right time to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and receive a flood of emotions. My apologies in advance. Then again, I could figure it all out and become de-overwhelmed (just “whelmed” then?) and life will be peachy again. But so you know, for now, I’m not exactly coping well. And this is my way of reaching out. Voila. Heart on my sleeve.

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