Day 28: Explain a “bad” day.
Not unlike yesterday, since I have previously compared the differences of a day I feel well/sick, I will instead write today about a day in which I felt really bad. This was not THE bad day, but a day I remember clearly as the start of my falling apart. I had noticed days here and there that were rough and moments throughout my life when I felt like I couldn’t get a handle on things but this day was the beginning of the falter; when I realized I couldn’t keep doing life like I had been for so long. This is the day when, in retrospect, I should have reached out for help.
It it was the end of my girls’ school year so it must have been early to mid-May. I started the day like I often did, scrambling to get the girls up and going for school. I didn’t get up in time for my morning run, so I poured an extra cup of coffee hoping that would boost my energy for the hectic day I knew was in front of me. Tabitha caught her bus on time but I hadn’t gotten Alexa to her stop on time so I needed to drive her to school, which was only a few minutes from work.
We drove up to the car rider drop off area and I noticed with a sinking feeling that some of the kids had their choir shirts on. Today was the last concert of the year and I had forgotten to put Alexa in her uniform. She noticed it, too and she looked at me, teary eyed, realizing what I had forgotten. “Don’t worry sweetie! I’ll run back home really quickly and bring your shirt to the front office.” “Okay Mommy. But are you going to be able to come see it?!” She asked. I told her I would do my best. I knew her father wouldn’t come. He was never able to leave work to see her programs and if I didn’t go no one would be there to see her perform. I remember how important it was to me when my Mother came to my performances. But I had a wedding group checking in and the bride would likely be making more changes to her event plan and I had no doubt she would have me jumping through hoops today. Also, my coworker’s last week was this week and I was to meet with her to take over her workload today and I had many inquiries I had to catch up on. The day had just begun and I already felt like I was behind. And a bad mother. And a failure yet again. Something was going to have to be left undone. Someone would be disappointed in me. What and who would that be?? My child and her program or my job and responsibilities. Either way, I was going to lose. I wondered again when I was going to give up. I still wasn’t making enough to maintain my household. I seemed to always just barely manage paycheck to paycheck and needed to get my house sold. But then what? I knew the man I had been dating for a bit was starting to pull away. While he used to talk about us moving in together he had mentioned many times recently that he had no intention of that any time soon now. He had one foot out the door of this relationship. I might as well get used to always being alone.
I rushed back home and grabbed my daughter’s choir shirt, dropped it off at the front desk of her school and rushed in to work. Fifteen minutes late. Already, my client had left two messages. As I was listening to the last one, my assistant came in with yet another, “Miss Smith (not her real name) has called several times this morning looking for you. She is in a panic over her room set up and made the girl in reservations cry because she is telling her they have no more rooms left in their block and Miss Smith called her some not very nice names and told her she’d better find some because she has more people than she anticipated showing up.” *sigh*
I took care of Miss Smith and stopped by to see my soon to be escaping coworker. “Oh Christine! I feel so bad to leave you with all of this!!” (Pointing to a stack of folders representing the work I would be inheriting.) “No biggie!” I said, “I can just attack each event load month by month, I’ve got it!” “Um, this stack is just June.” She whispered cautiously. I smiled, nodded, and walked back to my office. I couldn’t deal with that today after-all.
Sitting back down at my desk, my heart beating through my chest, fever taking over my entire body and tears periodically springing to my eyes, I glanced at the clock. The choir program was starting in fifteen minutes!! I looked at my growing list of inquiries and then at the picture of my Little and made the decision I needed to. Even I need a “lunch” break and dashed off to the school. As I was dashing, I passed my bride, Miss Smith. Crap!! I turned back around for a second, gave her a desperate look and said I was late for my daughter’s play. Luckily, she had also spent some time as a single mom and waved me on and asked that I call her cell when I return. God bless that lady!!
I arrived to the school just in time. I saw her just about the same time she saw that I made it to her show and she gave me the biggest smile I have seen on her in a while. She didn’t think I would make it. I stood in the back, watched the whole show ignoring all calls from work, shaking and choking back sobs the entire time. But I had made it. I hugged her when it was over. Told her how proud I was and rushed back to work.
The rest of the day I worked in overdrive trying to catch up on what I felt I had cheated them from my 49 minute trip to see my daughter perform. I was going to be fired soon, I just knew it. My soon to be leaving coworker came into my office with the stack of June events and I burst into tears. With a look of concern she closed the door and sat in one of my office chairs. I apologized and told her it wasn’t her fault, I had just been on edge lately. She hugged me and said if I ever wanted to join her at her new business project, I was welcome. But we both knew I couldn’t leave, too. And I LOVE what I do. I have been in this industry for 13 years and I was good at it. The pressure that is constant in this world used to excite me. What was wrong with me now??
Finally, as I was wrapping up my day and getting ready to head out before I was late to pick up my Little, my boss comes into my office with my quarter goals in her hands. She sat down and asked if everything was okay. Of course it was (I lied). My numbers were on par, why was she worried? Yes, but I used to perform much better than expected and lately my numbers were just okay AND soon I would have much more on my plate. She was concerned if I could “handle” it. I knew what she was getting at. I was disappointing her. I used to be a sales star and now I was just getting by on what was reasonably expected. I started to cry again (typically I DO not cry and NEVER at work). Maybe it is time for me to move on, I suggested. I don’t know what else I can do. I am tired and doing the best I can. She shut the door and while we did go back and forth a bit about the increased workload, her expectations for me, my new task of weekly reports that were taking up additional time and the fact that we hadn’t yet gotten our additional planning person AND we were losing someone on top of it, we ended up feeling each other’s frustrations and she told me she didn’t want me to go anywhere, I just needed to let her know when I needed help.
Help. Helphelphelphelp. People who were weak asked for help. People used to come to me for help. I couldn’t ask for help. I wouldn’t ask for help. Instead, I gave my notice two months later to help a friend with a new venture. Little did I know; a new town, a new job, increased responsibilities and demands, a new house, new schools for the kids, and a final breakup would add up to many straws breaking an already lame camel’s back.
That was just the first of many bad days. I was entering a dark path and I couldn’t see it. I became harder on myself for not being stronger. Other women did as much as me and more…what was wrong with me?? Why couldn’t I cope? Why was I continuously failing? Why didn’t anyone see how hard I was trying; how many hours I was working; how much sleep I was losing; how much sweat, tears and….blood.
I should have asked for help.