There are times—lately it seems like they’re popping up quite frequently—when stress and anxiety wrap around me so tightly, I think I’m going to suffocate. No matter how much yoga breathing I do, no matter how loud I crank up the Xanadu soundtrack, no matter how many M&Ms I stuff in my mouth, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m literally going to have a heart attack. I get so overwhelmed by obligations or anger at someone’s terrible wrongdoings or my own lack of downtime, I feel I could crack. Like looney farm crack.
Running always helps, but unless I take to just constantly jogging in place at work and home, it’s inevitable that the stress is going to get me again. And again.
So I vent. And thanks to the wonders of technology, I don’t need a blinking, breathing human being in front of me. I can vent over IM. All day. To Mr. Wonderful. And then if I see him in person later, I can spew out some more.
And every time, the most incredible thing happens: He pulls me out of my tailspin and lands me softly on solid ground.
I’m not one of those girls who only wants to vent to vent. I actually don’t mind having someone suggest to me what I should do to fix the problem. So when Mr. W says, “How about trying this?” I find myself feeling grateful.
A couple weeks ago, he and I went to dinner and I was very out of sorts. I was worrying about several different friends; I had a long day at work; I was overtired. And there across the table, he listened to each of my gripes, even saying, “What else, pumpkin?” when I’d finish one story. He offered advice and rubbed my neck. He cushioned what could’ve been a painful fall.
And he does this every time I turn to him.
When I was about 18, I was in my parents’ backyard filling the bird feeder or watering plants or some other inane task, and my mind was wandering to daydreams of travel and how great I thought my life would be when I was older and worldly. When suddenly something clicked. I realized that maybe that was why people got married. Because the fun stuff is even better when you have someone to share it with. I know, I know, I should’ve figured that one out by that age, but I was a late bloomer.
What I realize now, is that it’s not just the fun stuff that's better. It’s the hard stuff, too. The right person is there for you, at your back, willing to take over your descent with one yank of the ripcord. Because they don’t want to see you crash. And that's pretty amazing.