Except this is entirely perfect.

I had a long day.

A good day, but a long day. The kind of day where my head feels porous and all the thoughts keep leaking out of it. My to-do list is snaking out of my notebook and coiling around the pit of my stomach, settling in so securely that I’ve already forgotten what it’s like to not worry about thirty things at once. It’s a very busy time for me right now with work, and I’m not as good at multitasking as I think I am. There are quiet alarm bells constantly ringing, and it’s all I can do to keep them at bay. I’m convinced that I’m never going to get it all done, that it’s all going to fall apart.

That I’m letting someone down by taking the time to type this blog entry, instead of typing one of the dozen emails that I owe to people.

That I’m letting everyone down, period.

I decided to go see a play tonight – this heartbreaking, quiet, beautiful play – mostly because it was the only night I could see it, and because I thought it might be good to shut my anxiety brain down and get out of my head for a few hours. It was a good move. It was a gorgeous production, and it hit me, hard.

It was also “Industry Night.” (Most theatres don’t perform on Monday evenings, so the actors can have a day off. Some theatres will do a special Monday night performance, so that folks who might otherwise miss a show are able to attend). Which meant that the place was packed: people I work with sometimes, people I want to work with someday, people who donate to my theatre company, people I don’t know all that well but feel like I should, people whose names I remember but I’m always convinced they don’t remember mine.

Usually I’m okay at those events, but tonight was hard for me. It was such a quiet, still, beautiful show, and one that resonated with me in a way that I can’t totally articulate just yet. I wanted time to live in the world a bit more. I wanted to see it again, immediately – take a bathroom break, and start all over from the top. I wasn’t ready to talk to fifty people immediately afterwards.

And as much as I hate that I did this, I did this: I said hi to some people, and made my way to the bathroom. I paced around. I poked at my skin. I re-applied my lipstick. I took a few deep breaths.

Then I flushed the toilet and washed my hands, so no one would realize that I really didn’t need to be in there.

I really am filled with genuine love for everyone I then hugged and kissed and talked to and hung out with. I’m just not very good at talking to everyone at once. Β I get overwhelmed easily, and it sucks that I can *feel* when I’m being a big weirdo — and I just can’t make myself NOT BE WEIRD in those moments. Even if, as I suspect and others have confirmed, all of this is entirely in my own head and I’m actually pretty good at faking my way through these things. I still stewed about it the whole way home, though. Ran through every conversation again in my head. Covering my bases.

And then I came home and I checked my email and I found this.

Image

Someone sent this to me: a reader, a friend. It’s a quote from a blog post I published recently. She drew it on the train today, took a picture, sent it my way. She signed it “thanks for saying things that make sense to me.”

It was the best gift I’ve received in a very long time.

It made me feel really, really, really fucking lucky.
And so not alone in the world.

That maybe if I write things about how often I feel like a big weirdo, and it resonates with other people, then maybe I’m not describing failure at all — I’m just describing what “being human” is like.

That maybe it’s okay if I need to hide in the bathroom every now and again.

Maybe that’s just the way I need to be human.

And I’m starting to get better at realizing … that’s okay.

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33 thoughts on “Except this is entirely perfect.

  1. Please don’t ever stop writing on your blog.
    I love every entry.
    Long.
    Short.
    Your writing style feels so real and honest.
    It is also very comforting and reassuring to know someone else has similar crazy brain battles ❀

  2. I think as a blogger we feel like we have to portray this shiny version of ourselves… when in fact our readers and our blogger communities would much rather hear the REAL stories. As a blogger who struggles sometimes to hit “publish” on those real posts where I am awkward or angry or sad, thank you for sharing. Posts like these make us all feel a little less alone in the world. πŸ™‚

  3. Everything you say in your blog makes sense to me. Well, maybe not EVERYTHING, but enough of it to count as everything.

    And on that subject of you saying things that just, “YES!” to people – that phrase, “My to-do list is snaking out of my notebook and coiling around the pit of my stomach” – it’s perfect. It’s what I’ve been going through particularly the past few weeks. I’ve been looking for the words to say the unease, the anxiety, the frigid paralysis of increasing discomfort – and then suddenly, there was that phrase. And it was exactly what I was trying to say. Exactly what I felt. It was perfect.

    Life is pretty good at being not perfect. But this time, for just one moment, it was. You were.

    So good job. And thanks. ❀

  4. Reading this post was just what I needed right now. It’s okay to want to be with your own self sometimes and not want to face the world no matter how beautiful it can be. And it’s not even about being sad or depressed. Sometimes, even when I’m feeling happy, I want to sit in my room and just sit. Be blank. Feel nothing. Do nothing. I can’t place my finger on the exact emotions running through my head when I need to be alone before facing everyone else, but I just know when I’m feeling them.
    Thanks for sharing… It helped me feel normal!

  5. I had a rough evening and can’t sleep…I gave up and made coffee at two o’clock in the morning, it was that bad.

    And I’m here to say that I really appreciate this blog post.

  6. Wow, thanks for posting. This post and the quote remind me of this exchange from the final episode of True Detective. Marty is referring to a dark, starry sky and says, β€œI know we ain’t in Alaska, but it appears to me the dark has a lot more territory.”
    Cohle: β€œYou know, you’re looking at it wrong, that sky thing. Once there was only dark. If you ask me, the light’s winning.”

  7. Pingback: Its awesome.. except when I’m not | crazy smart clueless

  8. I was talking with a good friend who I believe to be a really good photographer. Good enough that it is her “day job”. But, like every artist I know, the financial end seems pretty thin. She worked hard and succeeded in getting a good job with Apple. A job many, many people had also applied for. But it didn’t involve photography. She missed it too much and stepped away from Apple. I saw this simple, perhaps trite one sentence phrase. “It’s better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the ladder you don’t want to climb. Made me think of you.

    >

  9. God, I love you. We are so the same. Thank you for helping me to realize it’s ok to be a big weirdo and I am not alone in that bathroom, pacing around when I feel like a dork at a social gathering and already stuck my foot in my mouth 10 times.

  10. It’s called giving yourself grace. And if you can learn to do it now, at your young age, you’re way ahead of the rest of the human race.

  11. This post came at a time when I felt like it could have actually been written by me. I think fraying at the edges and trying to keep it all together with a brave face has a perfection all of its own. Thank you.

  12. Love this. I find that the blogs I relate to most – and also the posts I write that seem to resonate the most with others – are open, honest and “a bit of a weirdo.” It’s how we all come together! Keep it up!

  13. This makes me feel so much better about those days when I don’t want to talk to anyone. Not because I’m anti-social or I hate people or anything as dramatic as that, but simply because I’m tired or feeling off and I know I’m going to have trouble communicating what I really mean. Cheers.

  14. “My to-do list is snaking out of my notebook and coiling around the pit of my stomach.” This is a brilliant piece of writing and describes perfectly *that* feeling.

    And from here,”I’m just not very good at talking to everyone at once.” to the end of that paragraph describes ME perfectly! Spot on.

    So you are writing about issues and feelings that many of share, as the comments reflect.
    πŸ™‚ And, as the comments also tell you, we feel so much better that you have articulated all this for us. Thank you Katherine.

    xo
    Kay

  15. it must be in the blood of 20something theater people in the philly area to be hot fucking messes. kindred spirits, you and i. respect for saying what i normally keep in.

  16. I too have hidden out in the bathroom on occasion – just for some breathing room! Your post is so true – keep on writing!

  17. I’m 53, have a solid education and have a secure “real” job. I still feel the insecurities you describe. Like “the Emperor’s New Clothes” what if they all find out I’m not “all that”? This is either going to comfort you or throw you into the pit of despair. I’m fond of saying, “Life is harder than it looks.” You are truly a gifter writer. Your words reach deep to the raw soul. Thank you for the gift you bring to us. And when will you start to write your novel?

  18. I get overwhelmed easily, and it sucks that I can *feel* when I’m being a big weirdo β€” and I just can’t make myself NOT BE WEIRD in those moments.

    Very recognizable πŸ˜‰ But its better to be weird than ‘normal’ (whatever that may be) because that is just plain boring πŸ˜‰

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