The headboard was a disaster.
When I first got the idea to paint my room, I also had the idea of redecorating it completely. I've been mildly successful so far, with a few mishaps and setbacks. The headboard was one such setback, and as I'm writing this it has yet to leave my room. Here is a brief list of the things it has done to me and my loved ones thus far:
- hurt my back after I carried the box from the front steps to my bedroom
- fell on my hands after falling apart for the second time
- made my mom's foot swell up after it fell apart for the third time and landed on her
- put a hole in my thumb with one of it's nails after a blanket got caught and I tried to fix it
Keep in mind that I have attempted to put this headboard together four times, and have never been successful. I'd also keep in mind that this contraption cost me $90 that I'd been saving for MONTHS. It was the first big thing I'd ever bought for myself, and as soon as I finished painting my room I got to work trying to set it up (well, actually I went to work first, but we'll get to that in a moment). It took me exactly four episodes of Friends, and when I went to stand it up right, it started to collapse. My mom came in to help me, but the fact that it was past 10:00 mixed with the day I'd had resulted in my not receiving her help as I should have and she left.
It was then that I, much like the headboard, also broke down. You all know by now how much I hate crying in public, but the thing is I also hate crying in general (though who doesn't?). I tend to cry quite a lot anyway, but I rarely ever sob. That night, I slumped down in the corner that was as far from the headboard as I could get and just sobbed.
Back to my day at work: It hadn't gone well. Aside from working for 2Human Strategies, I also work for a retired teacher who lives in my area, and this day had been my third week of work. While I'm there I help her read things as she's slowly going blind, and considering I read all the time I'd figured it wouldn't be too difficult. As it turns out, reading out loud is a different skill than just reading. The week before, she'd continually asked me to slow down, which was perfectly fine as I do have a tendency while reading out loud to go very quickly. The problem came on this particular day when before going over the couch to read from her political magazines, she sat me down and told me that I wasn't a very good reader.
I was crushed.
I know, I know. She didn't know me very well and had no idea how much I read outside of work. She didn't know that my childhood anxiety had led to a stutter that still leads to nervousness when it comes to reading out loud. She didn't know that I had just failed my driving knowledge test and was sensitive to being told I wasn't good at things. She didn't know I was tired from painting. She didn't know me, and that's okay. I took a deep breath (or seven), and tried my hardest to read slower while pretending I was on NPR and was sharing a story. The next conundrum came when she started commenting on the stories I was reading. Here's the thing: we disagree politically. I've learned this year to be far more openminded than I've been in the past, but it's hard to not fire back facts when dealing with conspiracy theories.
Flashforward to 10:30 that night, me in the corner sobbing my eyes out with a collapsed headboard on the other side of the room. I cried because of my failure at the DMV. I cried because I was told I wasn't a good reader. I cried because people I admire and look up to had been repeatedly bashed and I couldn't say anything for fear of being fired. I cried because I couldn't do something for myself. I cried because I felt out of control. In that moment, it was all too much.
So, I did what I always do after sobbing and fell asleep. My bed was still at an odd angle from being moved aside so I could paint the wall next to it, but I crawled in anyway, clothes and all. I woke up an hour later and took a shower. I cried some more as the hot water rushed over me. I got out and put on my favorite shirt that has Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse on it and drank a full glass of water. I dried my eyes and went back to sleep, because there are some things that only sleep and a Walt Disney shirt can fix. Sometimes we collapse. Sometimes life is a bit too much and we can do nothing else but cry. The headboard was the straw that broke the camels back, and in this case the camel was a seventeen year old girl who was holding far too much weight on her shoulders for a Monday night.
Things are much better now, a month later. Work still has its tough moments, but overall things are fine. I'm turning the pieces of the headboard into new shelves for my books, so I'll still get some use out of it. The thing is, though, in the midst of my breakdown I couldn't see past what was in front of me. I'm all for thinking positively and finding the good in everything, but you don't have to do those things when life feels as though it's crashing down around you. Take care of yourself. Let yourself cry and don't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. We all have our bad moments, and sometimes going to sleep and waiting for the sun to rise is the best and simplest way to fix them.