But this isn’t about who did what. This is about seeing myself just a little more clearly.
When I walked into my friend’s old house, I understood the text she’d sent me earlier. “I’m so overwhelmed,” she’d said, and I could see why. Much of the big stuff had been taken care of, but the little things that make moving such a pain in the butt combined to become one big thing of their own. It seemed there was still so, so much to do.
“I can see why she was overwhelmed,” I said to my friend’s husband.
“It’s not that bad,” he said. “She’s been overwhelmed all week. I did most of the packing, doing just a little bit every night when I came home. She’s always been the one to handle everything when we’ve moved before, but this time it was mostly me.”
“Wow, that sounds like me,” I said. “When I get overwhelmed, I watch Netflix. Jared comes home and asks what I’m doing and I tell him I’m overwhelmed and doing nothing – and then he does laundry or something.”
“Yep, that’s what happens here. She shuts down when she gets overwhelmed.”
And he wasn’t complaining. He wasn’t gossiping about his wife or talking about her faults. He was just telling me a little more about this woman he so clearly adores, and how he knows her. How he sees her.
“We’re both really lucky,” I told him. “It’s pretty amazing to have a husband who understands when you need to shut down and is OK with picking up the slack in the meantime.”
He shrugged. I don’t remember exactly what he said next – something about just being married and the ways in which she steps up for him – but I remember clearly his complete acceptance and love.
I went back to wrapping up the last of their dishes, and I thought about how I shut down for a bit when I’m stressed out by all there is to do. Instead of tackling the mountain methodically, I retreat to my cave and try not to think about the mountain existing. Eventually I come out, of course, and I do what needs to be done. But I very often collapse under the weight of it all first.
I always thought it was just me.
I thought it meant I was lazy or weak or just different from everyone else somehow.
But it’s not just me, and knowing that made it easier to see myself more clearly and to be a little more OK with this tendency of mine.
I always felt guilty that Jared tolerated these moments of weakness and lack of productivity. I hesitated to believe him when he said it was fine and that he understood.
But in seeing my friend’s husband love and accept her, I could see my own husband’s love and acceptance of me more clearly.
I love these moments of self discovery. I love when recognizing ourselves in someone else leads to feeling better about who we are. I love that quiet peace that comes from a sliver more of acceptance. I love knowing that I am seen and that, like my friend, I am loved completely.
Do you know how you respond to being overwhelmed? Are you OK with that part of you?