|Overwhelmed, by Ursula Vernon|
Then, yesterday, after a week at school that contained more potential stressors that I managed to store in the "shouldn't I be feeling some feelings?" compartment, the bottom quite literally fell out. I have this foldable cart with wheels that I use to transport stuff to and from school. It's been around the block and is held together with mini-bungee cords after one too many overloaded episodes. Yesterday, I pulled up in front of my house, got out of the van, and opened the side door. The guinea pig was waiting on the front seat. On the back seat was my wheelie cart filled with papers to grade, piles and piles of papers to grade, all carefully organized by subject and priority in hopes of streamlining the long-overdue process, plus binders of assessment information and scoring rubrics, all topped off with a tub of guinea pig supplies. Weary and already feeling overwhelmed, I grabbed the wheelie cart and hefted it out of the van. The bottom fell out and all those binders, supplies and carefully organized papers poured into the street.
I stood in the road by the side of the van with the metaphor of my overwhelmed brain made manifest at my feet and the floodgates opened and I began to sob. "You okay?" called my dear, dear husband, waiting by the door for me. "No," said I. So, he came down the steps and around the side of the van and coached me through picking up the pieces.
It was upsetting to me how incapacitated I became in this moment. I knelt on the asphalt moving papers from one square of street to another. I couldn't think clearly. I couldn't act. I'm not sure what I would have done just then if my husband hadn't been there. But he was, and we got all the papers gathered up and the wheelie cart jerry-rigged back to one piece and together we carried it all, plus the guinea pig, inside the house.
When the bottom falls out, having someone you love to help you pick up the pieces makes all the difference.