Yes Heather. Yes you did. And lately, you have been calling the dog Allegra way too often. You have also been forgetting what you’re saying midsentence, walking upstairs to do things and then forgetting what those things are and calling Allegra, Ginger and Ginger, Allegra and Jack, Giorgio and Giorgio, Jack. You, my friend, have been doing all of that…a lot. You, Heather Nanni, are overwhelmed and need to do something about it.
Okay, I never claimed that this was a self-help blog. There are times, many, many, many times, that I am an absolute mess. I like to share these as a way of connecting with those of you out there who more often than not feel the same way I do. And I hope it’s helpful because I myself read blogs for either inspiration or company. I like to hear the ideas of those who have once upon a time felt like myself and have some insight or from those who are currently feeling the way I do now. This blogging thing becomes a way of commiserating.
So, back to the wacky Heather behavior. You may ask, what is it that has you feeling so overwhelmed? What is it that has you forgetting what you’re doing and saying and where you’re going and why you’re going there? The answer–nothing much, life. This past week I felt like life knocked me on my ass. As I have mentioned on one of my pages, I have a child with some special needs, and while these needs are nothing dramatic, they do make parenting a bit of a crapshoot. There are times, this week being the perfect example, when I am plagued by indecision, self-doubt and anxiety over whether or not I have made or am about to make a poor decision regarding my child. Also, after taking last year off, I have returned to teaching two college courses this semester. Last count I have approximately fifty papers and fifty quizzes to grade before my next class. While I truly love what I do, I don’t know how I will manage to do it at this point in my life. Also, my parents are not well, my husband has his own separate cache of worries which he shares with me and then of course, the universal worry–finances. Basically, life. Oh yeah, did I mention that I am disorganized? Nothing can tie my stomach in a knot like a couple of piles of papers on my kitchen counter. Whereas some people see a pile of stuff and know exactly what to do with it, I do not. Now to add to the usual clutter of junk mail and crap, I have a couple of new piles of student papers. I sense impending disaster, like my dog before a storm hits.
Here’s the irony. Last night I lectured my students on the ways to avoid becoming overwhelmed by college life and coursework, and (ready for this?) how to deal with the stress of life in general. I called upon all of my students to address something in their lives that they have been avoiding or something that causes them angst and to take a small step to improve their situation.
Acknowledging the absurdity of previous night’s lecture given my present state of mind, this evening I called upon myself to take a small step to improve my situation. As old Prufrock waxes, there will be, “…time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions.”* There will be, in fact there is, a lifetime for hundreds, upon hundreds of decisions and indecisions and revisions, so tonight I chose to have candlelight dinner with my kids. I lit the tapers, turned down the lights, turned on Miles and had dinner….in our messy kitchen, just the kids, Ginger and I. I didn’t think about problems or bad decisions or anything other than us, in that moment, and I, we, felt much better. * Eliot, T.S. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. 1920