Whelming: present participle of whelm (Verb). Engulf, submerge, or bury (someone or something): “a swimmer whelmed in a raging storm”. Flow or heap up abundantly.
I’m not overwhelmed. I despise that term, as it implies, in my mind, weakness and failure. I am strong, and I succeed. Generally.
I mean, look at her.
I am her. I am a perceived version of myself, and that version is startlingly calm amid what appears to be a whole mess of crazy. I’m whelmed by walnuts. But I’m on top of them.
There was a time, about 14 years ago, when my husband and I were in a rented car in Monterey, California. It was the first time either of us had been to the state, and I had planned our trip as best I could, charting our path from Los Angeles to San Francisco over the course of a week or so. But when we got to Monterey, driving around, we were off my plan. My then boyfriend was in the passenger seat of the car, suggesting where I drive. I don’t know where we were trying to go, I only remember feeling a tremendous sense of unease at not knowing my destination while I was behind the wheel of a car. I felt like a loose cannon.
I pulled over, and told this man I’d been dating for less than a year: “I can’t drive a car in a new city, a new place, if I don’t know where I’m going. It’s just not safe. I don’t feel safe, hesitating, and turning at the last minute like a fool.”
He asked if I wanted him to drive. “Yes, please!”
He got behind the wheel, started driving. “Zen, honey. You just have to see where we end up. The roads lead somewhere. They all do.”
I already knew I loved this guy. But his perfect counter of calm to my easily reached point of chaos? I knew then I could not walk the planet without him in my life.
He drove along, headed west, toward (duh) the coast. We had dinner.
That’s who I really am. I am somebody who does not actually float on top of a sea of walnuts, smiling beatifically at my husband’s shocked expression.
I’m really just a girl who will pull over and stop driving in a 25mph zone because she hates making lane changes at the last minute.
I’m whelmed, people. Thoroughly whelmed. I’m not buried, I’m not engulfed. But there is a heap of “whaaaat?” and I’m sitting on top of it, uncomfortably.
Kind people use words like “frustrating,” “aggravating,” or even “torture” to describe the state our family is in. Even kinder people just say what they want–which is for us to stay put, not move, remain with them. Or get up, move, be closer to them. Or just tell them where we’ll be so that we can host them, or visit them.
What do I want?
I want to move and be closer to my sister and her family, closer to job opportunities I know I can maximize, closer to my brother and his family, and our parents.
I want my husband to be happy, and appreciated, and rewarded, and well positioned for career advancement.
I want my children to be excited about a new home. About a new puppy? I want them to live within a short car ride of a blood relative.
I want, and want, and want.
It’s greedy and terrible. Oh well.