Lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed.
Many of my days recently have begun well before the sun crests over the mountains, waking at four or five AM wired and restless, my brain making lists, sifting through the worries piling up like student papers, filing and re-filing any number of questions and possible answers: What are we going to do for ceremony music? When do we introduce Steve’s dog to my cats? Are the bridesmaids’ dresses I selected going to work?
Then I feel silly, and guilty. After all, I remind my inner Bratty Bride (she is quite the worrywart), marrying the love of one’s life is a privilege, not a pain. A quick look at the world outside my sphere reveals tragic events genuinely worthy of worry and grief: an Amtrak train derails outside Philadelphia, killing 8 passengers and injuring many more. A second devastating earthquake strikes Nepal, decimating the land and its citizens.
To sit and fret over the fact my hairdresser of three years is moving to South Dakota in June is…well, I can’t even even finish that sentence. There’s no comparison. It’s too absurd.
Yet a wise friend of mine once observed that while comparing (mis)fortunes can offer much-needed perspective, your own experiences are still real and valid, and you need not deny your own feelings just because others have feelings too (even ones bigger and harder to bear). And it’s true that some of the decisions we’re facing aren’t exactly trivial: How do we stay within budget and still include everyone we want to include? Will we keep separate checking accounts or merge our finances? Where are we going to live after we’re married? And whose sofa stays, whose goes?
Marriage and all that comes with it is a good change, of course, but even good change is a stressor.
So I’ve been trying to remember how to just be with my feelings. To take a deep breath and acknowledge the worry or anxiety or, yes, fear, when it shows up, without judgment. Kind of like when someone plops down right next to you on the subway: give ’em a polite nod, then go back to your book.
The problem, though, some of those early mornings, is that the subway car just keeps getting more crowded, filling with so many passengers, so many knees and elbows jammed together, there’s no room to breathe.
That’s when I most need to give myself permission to feel what I feel. Decision fatigue is a real phenomenon (though apparently it’s not the kind of tired that makes you sleepy). It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, as long as I don’t, as a result, start behaving like a brat.
Some days Bratty Bride needs a reality check. But some days, Bratty Bride just needs a hug.