Can You Ever Just Be Whelmed?

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A new friend from Richmond called me today to see how I was doing. She was surprised when I told her I had been feeling anxious for the past week. She remembered me the last time we talked–that I sounded optimistic and excited to be here. I told her it was the new anxiety meds talking. The serotonin levels struck a balance at some point this week, because my outlook has changed, definitely without my permission. My friend seemed puzzled so I changed the subject. She didn’t give up so easily.

“You know, Lucy, when I left my husband and moved into my own house, I fell into a neutral zone. I wasn’t too excited. I didn’t react quickly. I just…was.” I laughed when she said this. It reminded me of a quote from 10 Things I Hate About You. The girl who played Alex Mack on Nickelodeon (90s, what) stars as Bianca, the vapid bitch in high school who everyone wants to sleep with. The scene spans to her and her girlfriend talking. One of them says, “I know you can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?” Gabrielle Union’s character says, “I think you can in Europe.” I think you can in the US, too.

I am in a neutral zone. I write during the day, I watch shitty TV at night. I spend time with my mom and aunt regularly. I go to several meetings a week. I eat blizzards from Dairy Queen. I went to a free yoga class at the library. I got my nails done once. The whole thing whelms me.

My classic alcoholic move is to lean into my ambivalence about people, places and things. It is comfortable for me to weigh the pros and cons of literally everything in my life. The downside is my ability to undermine any natural sparks my intuition initiates. I know my Higher Power cleared the way for me to be here with my family. My mom is allowing me to stay, so I’m staying. I don’t think this warrants DEFCON defenses. I tend to read into my ennui as a sure sign of sanity leaving my body. Maybe everything is just okay. Maybe this is my time to just be whelmed. As if.

My friend told me that after awhile, she learned to accept that she didn’t have to shoot from the hip whenever she felt overwhelmed. Her need for emotional extremes dissipated. I think that is happening.

My isolation out here is a smokescreen for how I really feel inside: I need my people. This blog is a smoke signal to all the LA loves in my life. I miss you terribly and I know we will see each other again soon.

Thank you for keeping me the right amount of whelmed.

xo

Photo courtesy of nowverybad.com


Lucy Hartman

Lucy Hartman

I'm funnier when I'm sober.

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