Posts Tagged With: Ebola stuffed animal

Day 661: Whelmed

With all the things I’m doing these days, including

  • blogging every day,
  • taking photos for this blog,
  • working full-time as a group and individual psychotherapist at a major Boston hospital,
  • being a mother to a 16-year-old son,
  • maintaining my health,
  • participating in activities I love, including musical events and travel, and
  • promoting ideas I have about improving health care delivery

…. it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Yesterday, I recognized that my chances to feel overwhelmed were increasing, because  my sold-out presentation on The Koplow Method of group therapy is coming up in three days (but who’s counting?).

I don’t want to feel overwhelmed. I just don’t.

Somebody I admire recently said to me:

I’m overwhelmed

as a way to express gratitude. However, when I use the word “overwhelmed,” I mean

  • confused,
  • lost,
  • anxious,
  • disconnected (from people and hope), and
  • insecure.

At the same time, I don’t want to feel underwhelmed, either.  To me, underwhelmed means:

  • unimpressed,
  • dissatisfied, and
  • aware that things can be much better.

For example, WordPress recently changed the way bullet points appear for this blog, and, I, for one, am extremely underwhelmed by that change.

I think it’s time to use today’s title in this here blog post, don’t you? Here we go:

I do not want to feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed. As much as possible, I would like to be balanced and in the middle of those extremes: in other words …”whelmed.”

I am neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed by the way I defined “whelmed.”

Yesterday, to stay whelmed in the midst of all my different commitments, interests, and obligations, I prepared for today’s blog post, as I made my way throughout the day. That is, rather than wait until I got up in the morning to decide on a topic — which is my usual, natural process — I thought of a title:

What smells?

which was inspired by a new raincoat I was wearing. I knew that

What smells?

was a fertile topic and one that I (and my readers) might benefit from, since I could write about

  • how smells trigger memories,
  • how new smells (and other unfamiliar things) can affect us, and
  • shame people can have about human body smells, which we just can’t avoid in our lives.

Also, since everything has a smell, the opportunities for words and photos were … endless!

Also, there was an obvious musical number I could use in that post:

(I sniffed out that Lynyrd Skynyrd performance of “That Smell,” on YouTube, here)

That post could practically write itself!

So all day, yesterday, as a way of NOT getting overwhelmed by fears and cognitive distortions about my upcoming presentation or underwhelmed by a potentially not-good-enough blog post, I focused on

What smells?

and I saw

  • things that smell and
  • things that USED TO smell (like the Charles River in Boston, which has been cleaned up, quite a bit, since I was a kid).

In addition, I ran into lots of challenges, like traffic that made me late almost everywhere I went yesterday, including

  • work,
  •  Berklee College of Music, to hunt down the recruitment video I helped create for them in the 1990’s,
  • therapy,
  • visiting with my neighbor, whose dog recently had surgery and who has a toilet she recommends as a possible replacement for our toilet that keeps running, running, running, and
  • my usual Wednesday evening routine, with bf Michael, having dinner at a local mall that includes a pet store and Whole Foods Market.

I realized I could include ALL those things, too, since certain obstacles can really stink, unless we let go of feeling overwhelmed and/or underwhelmed by our daily commitments, interests, and obligations, and stay as whelmed as possible.

So I had fun, yesterday, thinking about how I might write to you about

What smells?

and I took lots of  photos, including (in chronological order):

IMG_1134 IMG_1148 IMG_1150 IMG_1152 IMG_1157 IMG_1161 IMG_1162 IMG_1164 IMG_1168 IMG_1169 IMG_1172 IMG_1178 IMG_1179 IMG_1180 IMG_1184 IMG_1186 IMG_1187 IMG_1188 IMG_1190 IMG_1208  IMG_1209 IMG_1217 IMG_1219 IMG_1220 IMG_1221 IMG_1225   IMG_1228 IMG_1238 IMG_1234 IMG_1239 IMG_1243 IMG_1250 IMG_1251 IMG_1253 IMG_1254 IMG_1255 IMG_1256 IMG_1257

But then, I thought, how the hell am I going to explain all those photos? And there are some photos I might want to comment upon, like

  • how everybody gets parking tickets in Boston, even utility workers,
  • a study room at Berklee, which I attended during two summers when I was in high school, which looks exactly the same as it looked when I was 16 years old and where a very mean (and perhaps, insecure) boy said something humiliating to me and his friends laughed, laughed, laughed,
  • my neighbor’s daughter, dressing up for Halloween years ago as a virus particle,
  • my neighbor’s dog toys, which are stuffed animals purchased at the Boston Science Museum, representing (left to right) Ebola, Salmonella, and the common cold, and
  • how the Halloween costumes at Whole Foods Market include a Chef’s outfit, which Michael (who used to cook for a living) found particularly underwhelming.

So, I hope, you can see my dilemma about writing the planned blog post

What smells?

There are just too many chances for that post to be overwhelming or underwhelming.

Instead, I’m glad I changed the topic to


And sure enough, that’s how I’m feeing now.

Thanks to everything that smells AND to everybody who ever gets overwhelmed, overwhelmed, and/or whelmed. I thinks that includes you, me, and everything, don’t you?

Categories: Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 29 Comments

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