Overwhelm, Frosting Tub, and an Invisible Thread

I am drinking coffee with hazelnut creamer in it. I don’t even like hazelnut. That’s why I bought it. I bought it so that my partner would drink it and I wouldn’t. But, here I am drinking it. My life is out of balance.

What the hell are you talking about? Are you, dear reader, asking me?

I’ve got to make this quick. I’m supposed to be reading for a short paper for my graduate class that is, of course, due by midnight tonight. But, I have to do something for me or my mind will be muddled. I will resent having to write the paper at all. I will whine and bitch and throw my hands up in the air. I don’t have time to really write, so I must write something. Even if it’s crap. Even if it doesn’t make sense.

The drinking of the hazelnut coffee, seemingly against my will and good judgment, seems to be some sort of bat signal in the chaos of my life. I have been diligently, for six weeks, eating a 1200 calorie diet, weighing carrots and chicken breast, swapping out cauliflower rice for the real deal, switching from 2% to skim. That sort of thing. I’ve lost around 20 pounds. That’s great. But today. (Yes, I’ve been told that everything after the word “but” is bull shit.) But today, I ate half a brie, turkey, and raspberry-mustard sandwich on thick white bread, jalapeno potato chips, homemade tortilla chips with guacamole, at least a pound of chicken, French onion dip, another handful of chips, birthday cake, fresh squeezed rosemary lemonade. I scooped some frosting out of the container and ate that too. And, now, the hazelnut creamer.

I am thankful that you can always start your day over. I am thankful that you can start again tomorrow. I am thankful that I am down 20 pounds and haven’t been obsessing about it. (Well, until now.) Yet, my mental and emotional resources are thin. Thin ice thin. I am skating about on pond we call life on some sort-of rickety blades when the water just isn’t quite frozen.

This is not about the weight. Or, the emotional eating that I have been doing the last few days. It’s not about potato chips or birthday cake. This is about exhaustion. This is about overwhelm. This is about the emotion behind the emotional eating. The feeling that I can’t quite get my head above water.

I have a great deal more than just tempting extra calorie-laden food on my plate. I am a mom, a partner, a full-time teacher, a secretary for an organization I belong to, a mentor, a chairperson for a committee at work, a participant in a professional development that requires focus, implementation, and homework. I am taking a graduate class. I attend various meetings that I must attend at least three times a week. My son is involved in clubs and classes that meet 45 minutes away. I could go on. But, I am boring you.

Just after my son was born, I was in a similar situation. But, that time, I didn’t whine. And, people seemed to admire me for my accomplishments. And, for my jovial nature. And, for my creative spirit. I thrived on the compliments, but I was masking reality. I wasn’t actually functioning well. I wasn’t sleeping. I was drinking way too much. I was suffering from acute anxiety and, behind the curtains, was falling apart. When my son was nearly six months old, I was diagnosed with a postpartum disorder and was thought to be bipolar. I had some mild psychosis and, at times, had so much anxiety that I couldn’t feel my limbs. I just barely dodged hospitalization. Again, I could go on and on. I don’t know if I am boring you, but I am feeling a little vulnerable here.

I have come a long, long way. I am not inclined to present a pretty face to the world while I suffer. I know when I am starting to slip. I like to believe that I catch myself just as my toe hits the unseen root on the trail and I start to stumble. I’ll admit, I’m feeling a little shaky. I’m not sure what to let go of. But, at least I am honest. So very honest. Today, someone asked me how my new position at work was going and I probably gave them way too much information about my emotional well being. Kind of like I am doing with you right now.

So, as I said, there is always that ability to start over, to refocus, to find a way to tighten those laces and quickly and gracefully skate one’s way to shore. There is that whole notion and issue of self-care. Taking a walk. Writing on a blog. Not eating out of the frosting container.

And, not feeling guilty when I mess up or can’t quite get something done. At least not done to perfection. And, not feeling embarrassed when I need help or melt down.

I have support. Yet, I sometimes feel like I am marching alone. That is because I have been isolating a bit—from people, from God, maybe even from myself. I long to march in a band in a parade in one of those really cheesy polyester suits that doesn’t fit very well and still hold my head high. I play the piccolo, you the French horn, and we make this rockin’ tune together even if we miss a few notes.

Wait, that’s a lie. I was in marching band in high school. (Again, vulnerable!) I wouldn’t put myself through that again.

What I really long for is more along the lines of the pulse of a dance floor. We all may move differently—you do what my partner calls the “noodle dance” and I do a modified salsa step and he does the robot and the girl over there is rocking the Kasbah with some 90s Rave shit—yet we are all enjoying that same bad-ass rhythm. Our energies are all playing off of each other. Sometimes you have a partner. Sometimes you dance solo. But, despite the sweaty arm pits and the fact that the hair around your neck line is drenched, you are smiling. We, the movers and shakers, are all connected by some invisible thread. And, maybe, that is support enough.

I need that thread. I need that dance. I need to reach out. I needed to write this because this is part of my outreach and I was starting to camp out in the dark woods.

I feel better. My coffee is gone. I vow to do better tomorrow and to joyfully complete my homework now.

Thank you, dear reader! The invisible thread between us is strong. I feel a bit like Yoda at the moment. Strong that invisible thread is. It was suggested once to me to imagine the audience for whom you are writing. A specific person or group of people and imagine them reading your work and, hopefully, smiling a bit. I may have imagined you. Thank you for being part of the solution!






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