I’m zipping up my coat as I say goodbye and I laugh, I think, at something you say, throwing my head back, a dull whack against the door frame. It hurts, but the surprise stings worse. Much like a child who stumbles and cries belatedly at the realization of losing control, the tears form and start to roll, though mine are cathartic—perhaps more a desire to collapse than not. Your bewildered face pleads for a different course of action. I walk into the bathroom where I give myself 30 seconds to fall apart and pull myself back together. 30 seconds, as it turns out, is an eternity for melodramatic rebirth. I emerge an entirely different person, one with slightly smudged eyeliner, but a sharper resolve to at least keep my shit together.
Some days it’s everything and nothing; it’s being bored at work and creating a conspiracy theory to explain your disengagement. It’s the complexity of daily obligation and sometimes wanting to scream “Uncle!” and run away to a puppy farm on the beach. It’s a nagging feeling that you’ve not started anything, ever, but then failing to come up with any grand talents or ideas to employ them.
So, if you should find yourself in a similar situation, one in which life seems temporarily cast under a cloud, and/or you’ve hit your head, you should just sit for awhile. After your head ceases to throb, stop blaming everyone else for the way you feel and bask in the collectiveness that is sometimes feeling confused and directionless. If you’re sitting at work, imagine the person in the cube next to you having a shitty day too, or perhaps the spouse you left dazed and confused as you knocked yourself into a breakdown on the way out, and even if you don’t really want to sound a “last call” at your own pity party, imagine at the very least not wanting anyone else to have a bad day, much less a bad day because of you.
Instead, replay the idiocy of crying over something infantile, and then perhaps take some Ibuprofen for your headache. While you’re doing these things life will inevitably go on, and when you emerge from the fog you might realize that you’re doing something, you’ve done other things, and that, maybe, you’re okay. Maybe your legs are still tired from your morning run, or maybe you’ve channeled your energies into a blog post. Maybe there’s someone that will read this that cares for you, and who may/may not have also already texted you to make sure you weren’t concussing at your desk.
Some days, like today, it’s okay to throw your hands in the air, but try to walk away from the crazy while you’re doing it. I’m not too keen on frameworks that try to invalidate or personify emotions, in that way that renders them lying demons who have taken you over, though I suppose it’s okay to imagine yourself as exorcised when you’ve found your way out. But, it was you who made it happen, not some external magic. If you’re really lucky when you’ve started to feel better you’ll look down and notice that it’s time for lunch, which not only guarantees food (this is awesome because you like to eat), but is also a signal that your day is almost halfway over.
You did it. You made it. Later you will read a book, make some more food. Tomorrow you will get up to run, and then you will eat breakfast. I think the answer is clear: food. Always food. And also possibly writing.
*Photo credit: 0Four