"Hi. How are you doing?"
"Fine." Your word oozes through a toothy grin as your feet intently continue running the marathon that is your day.
But are you?
Because the rate at which I am supposed to be performing does not match what I am putting out there. My commitments leave my hands shaking as my best laid plans laugh in my face like a toddler kicking over a mug of hot cocoa his sister carelessly left on the floor. (No judging.) Every single day at least once my lungs scream for air, and even though I am gasping, they are greedy and unsatisfied.
And the nights. Oh the nights! My weary body gratefully lowers itself into my sheltering bed. I sigh with relief. Exhausted, my body relaxes instantly, but my perky mind whirs - making that 'to do' list for tomorrow, mulling over my actions before I even make them. In one moment, it cries to me that sleep is something I don't have time for. In the next, it demands that I fall asleep right away because a tired self isn't her best self.
Put simply: I am drowning.
And let me tell you: this damsel HATES being in distress.
I cling to my life preservers - those people who you can call and apologize profusely for - well - needing them. The lovely coworker who sees the gloss of disappointment coating your eyes when you ask for something you should have arranged long ago. The friend who sees your face dipping under the surface and stands in front of your chair in an awkward but oh-so-needed embrace until you are once again light enough to float. The near stranger who scoops up your problem and solves it with ease, handing back to you a gift. Life preservers.
As I think of them, I realize that this is the time I finally started to see my relationships as they truly are. I see the deep trust I have come to place in those life preservers - not to save my life all of the time but to be there when I need them. Most importantly, to be there and not look down on me for needing them. Because admitting you need people is difficult!
So here's to life preservers! I hope in your time of need that I keep you afloat.
Creative Commons Image provided by "The Jamoker" of Flickr. Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Life_preserver.jpg
Mandy Peterson is the author of "Before I Shatter". She is also a mother, wife, librarian, book reviewer, and self-proclaimed chocolate connoisseur.