Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An Ode to the Overwhelmed • 20/365 •

I got this in my e-inbox the other day from Dyana Valentine. It's by Samantha Bennett. I don't know why I find it remarkable that I'm not alone in the world, that there are people who go through the same thing day after day, but I do. When it comes to our struggles, we all feel like the only one in the world feeling our own special pain. I don't know if it's comforting that thousands of someone elses are living my life, or if it's scary because overwhelm has become an epidemic. 

Last October I painted a monster and titled it "Overwhelm" and at some time, somewhere, someone I've never met wrote an ode to me:

An Ode to the Overwhelmed

And as you stand there
Late again
Because you forgot to allow time to park
And the elevator was slow
And you left 10 minutes late to begin with

With your shoes that pinch
And your pants that are a little too small
Since you started eating white bread again

And as you paw through your bag
Looking for the suite number
That you're not sure you wrote down to begin with

Let us now praise you

You, the untidy
You, the careless
You, the easily distracted by sparkly things

The money you spend on late fees alone
Could feed a family in Africa - Which reminds you that you meant to send in the kids' Unicef money and

And that despite your best efforts
You rarely eat a square meal
You almost never get enough sleep
And exercise seems like a word that magazines have developed
Just to make you feel bad about yourself

But you are good and brave

You, flying by the seat of your pants
Making it work
Putting out fires
Saying your prayers
And dancing your dance of now and later and maybe and

As innocent as each morning's sunrise
You are a fount of good intentions
Your good humor is as graceful as a baby giraffe
Even if that joke you were trying to make to the hotel clerk fell flat
And your toast at the wedding came out sounding a little...funny

But you have gifts that no one knows about
You have the strength to bend in the wind
You have the joyful spirit that loves a good belly laugh
You have the wisdom to understand that everything will all come out all right in the end and
You have the faith to light a candle rather than curse the darkness

That is, if you could find the book of matches from that romantic restaurant that you went to for your anniversary but since you didn't have a reservation they made you wait at the bar for half an hour during which you had two apple-tinis and the rest of the night is a bit of a blur
So much for the overpriced lingerie

You are beautiful

You are beautiful

Frazzled and overworked and underpaid

You are the one who forgot your wallet
And forgot your receipt for the dry cleaners
And forgot your keys which you just set down five seconds ago, so where could they possibly have gone?

But you never forget to say, "I love you"
And you never forget to give a big smile to that nice parking guy
And you never fail to show endless patience when the
Too-tightly wrapped and overly-conscientious start to offer their
Oh-so-helpful suggestions about how you might feel better if you would just learn to alphabetize your spice rack

You are beautiful

So, wear the lingerie on Monday for no reason
And why not just refuse to participate in the bake sale this year?
And give yourself a compliment for something you did well today
Because you are the most beautiful person I've ever known

© 2009 Samantha Bennett

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