Unless you’re that irksome breed of Are-you-really-human perfect, born with a surgical smile on your face and a freaking yellow brick road in your stars, then at one point you’ve stood on the edge of giving up.
I’m talking about finding yourself crouched on the cold tile floor in the corner of your bathroom with the world crashing around you and no one who gives half a crap in the same city – or even the same country – or even in the same world.
Or maybe it’s not even your bathroom. Maybe it’s someone’s wedding, or funeral, or graduation, or the place you work, someplace where you’re left behind, overlooked, passed over, crapped on, or jerked around. Where you’re utterly and completely alone in a crowded room while life laughs and toasts and flows around you and you look out from your isolated bubble thinking – how am I part of this? Do any of them really see me? Really hear what I say? Understand me? Do they even care?
Wherever it is, whatever happened, and whoever you’re with – or not with – it just suddenly hits you…
How empty your life is.
Or how much of a loser you are, or how far you have to go and you simply can’t do it anymore, can’t crawl over that last hurdle – no, screw the hurdle! You can’t even crawl your butt over that last pathetic plot of dirt, sand in your eyes, your mouth parched and dry – you simply can’t do it anymore. For whatever reason, and I’m sure if we thought about it, we can all find reasons.
For me, I see myself a failure as a wife because my husband divorced me. A failure as a woman because I couldn’t get pregnant. A failure as a writer because my book sales are limping along with maybe one average sale per month. A failure as a working member of society because I’m in debt to my friend, my ex-husband, I can’t frigging pay off my school loan, and I can barely scrape by with my monthly bills. A failure as a daughter because I can’t help out my mom and I can’t even pay to take my dad’s family out to eat. I haven’t bought meat in almost a year because chicken is just too expensive. I eat rolls for lunch because they’re the cheapest things you can buy that actually fill you up. My books are taking forever to edit. I’m not motivated, tired, feeling blobby, friendless, hopeless…
Aaaaand I’d better stop or I’m going to drag myself back to the edge of that butt-wipe sickness of mankind called Giving Up. When I get to this point, there’s only one thing to do.
Just get it out. There’s no shame in it. It’s okay to fall apart – we aren’t made of stone, but of flesh and blood and heart and soul and a whole big mess of emotions that includes grief, as bone-wrenching and breath-stealing as it is. Let the tears and the rage and the pain flow through and out into the world where they can dry up and leave everything drained. In the words of one of my favorite songs: “Scream and shout, get it out / Before it swallows you”. There may be an empty husk left, but that’s when you pick yourself up.
You wipe the tears away.
Maybe like me you laugh a little because I feel silly and selfish and I make faces in the mirror about how snot-nosed I look and berate myself for being sad when there are people in the world who have so much less than I do. As in not even clean water to drink, or even those dry rolls to eat.
Then I do this (alright, after I wash off the sorrow-mucus I do this): I forget for the moment all that stuff I don’t have and I think on the good things I do have. Who cares what I don’t have yet? I don’t know a single person who has everything they want.
So I may not have a husband, or children, or even a man here to have those children with. I’m not a bestseller, nor well-off, or even really well-liked. But you know what I DO have? Besides a job, a place to live, food to eat, etc.?
I live in Prague!
I have a wonderful family – cousins and uncles and aunts and nephews and an adorable niece…
I have wonderful friends!
I have wonderful cats!
I have an awesome elliptical!
I have angel pictures of myself!
I have this what-the-heck picture of myself!
And I have like waaaay too many pictures of myself up and far too many exclamation marks!
But you know what? I feel better. I realize how blessed I am in this life, even without so many things my heart still desires so dearly.
Does it work for you? Can you be happy, for this instant, if you just realize what you do have?
I suppose, in the end, a single song can sum up all of what I’m saying. This one:
“You’re alive, so alive, now c’mon!
You gotta pull yourself back together
Give it one more shot, it’s now or never…”