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. 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.
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.