I don’t know how it happened but the blueberry wine I had been gifted somersaulted off the countertop and crashed to the kitchen floor. Fizz spouts out the twist top like a Willy Wonka fountain. Luckily, the bottle did not break but my kitchen floor is getting soaked and I had just mopped it. I pick the bottle up and take it to the sink. Without thinking I untwist the top of it and pop!
Oh. My. Lord. Everything is covered in dark purple wine. It splatters the wall behind the sink. It drips down the countertops and cabinets. It’s on the oven, dishwasher, floor, and kitchen island. Speckles have somehow made it to the dog bowl and my miniature schnauzer is enjoying the unexpected, potentially dangerous, treat. I look down. My favorite t-shirt is ruined.
You need to calm down.
I ignore the advice. I grab dishcloths and a multipurpose cleaner and try to take deep breaths as I clean up the mess I made. Yeah, I need to calm down but I also have a lot of things I need to do. I’ve been fighting off a depression that nips at the edges of my brain. I have assignments that I didn’t complete. I have to finish an audiobook I am listening to before it’s automatically returned back to the library. I’ll calm down after I get done with all of that. Right now, I need to focus on what’s in front of me and that’s the blueberry wine that’s redecorated my kitchen.
I turn on the sink to rinse off the stained dishcloths.
The brand-new garbage disposal that the maintenance man had installed earlier that day was leaking. No, not leaking, it was gushing water. I quickly take out everything from underneath the kitchen sink but there’s no stopping it. As water pours onto the hardwood floor I sink to my knees and burst into tears. I am tired.
The wine bottle and the kitchen appliances are mirrors of the turmoil stirring within me. I am all over the place. My mind is unsettled. I feel like I can’t get anything right and there’s nothing I can do about it. My tears are not about the garbage disposal or the ten-dollar bottle of wine from Costco. They are reflective of the things that I had been seeking to suppress: I am overwhelmed. I told myself I was moving through it and that I was making do with my current reality, but in all honesty, I am holding back what needs to be released. I am a volcano that finally erupted and I feel like there is no way to reverse the damage that I’ve incurred internally.
You need to calm down.
The message sounds in my ears.
Like for real, go sit down somewhere.
But there’s so much to do.
Do you honestly think you have the capacity to do anything with fidelity at the moment? Go sit down!
Sitting down turned into making myself a bath. Making myself a bath turned into an hour in the tub crying and reflecting on what got me to such emotional turmoil in the first place. I had been pushing through, ignoring the signs of overwhelm because my to-do list was the priority. Yet, what should have been at the top of my list was checking in with myself and the anxiety and worry I felt building for several days. I was running myself in circles over things that weren’t as pressing as I made them out to be. However, because I didn’t flush, I didn't stop to ask myself a simple question: What can you give yourself in this moment to feel well and at peace?
Sometimes I find it hard to answer that question. I feel like I have an endless list of needs and no means to meet any of them. But that bath allowed me to take a moment to flush my thoughts and consider better ways for me to address my anxieties. While it didn’t solve every problem at that moment, it gave me a moment to pause. Most times, that’s all a person really needs.