How to Not Have a Breakdown Today
In my not so sordid past -- sometimes daily for weeks on end -- I have collapsed into a pile of glitter and bones on the kitchen floor and sobbed about all the things that just weren't working. Said things always blossomed in my brain into something abominable and impossible to face all at once, and still, I was perpetually in the habit of letting that shit snowball.
At this juncture, I am almost 28, I don't clean my floors often enough to merit ample hang time, and I have come to several realizations that, together, mostly keep all my parts from breaking down at the same time. Mostly.
1. Be Honest. To be frank, frankness is difficult for me. I'm a hyperbolizer. I'm highly effective at softening any blow with bullshit and fluff. It's a predisposition that makes me generally likable and good at my job, but I learned in my early twenties that it's a great deal more irritating to say you'll show up somewhere and then flake than to admit that you won't show up in the first place. In my late twenties (eek!) that lesson applies to checking in with myself. Do I want to go? Can I actually take on that task? Do I really think we should get involved or do I just think I'll look more dedicated if I volunteer? In the moment, it always pains me to say no. But the pain of 1000 wishy washy yeses is, predictably, 1000 times more excruciating.
2. Humility makes you a good person that other people want to support. I only recently learned what it was to be humble. I once thought that to be humble, you had to verbally put yourself down and minimize your talents... which is not only disheartening, but dishonest (see above). True humility, I'm finding, is the belief that no job is beneath you. Prestige and the outward display of success have always been important to me. I'm a Capricorn, an Individualist with an Achiever wing, and an ENFP: concerns over image are smelted into the shoddy wiring of my personality. Thus, I always sort of assumed that people would jump to conclusions about me, my skill set and my income bracket if they saw me pinch-hitting behind a service counter, fetching coffee, etc. But when I see a restaurant owner washing dishes or a lead editor furiously trying to make deadline on a Traffic Beat story that no one else would take, I'm much more impressed with them than I would be had they not helped. So the connection here is this: passively implying that I'm above any task makes me feel like an asshole who's undeserving of others' help... and then, suddenly, I'm an isolated asshole who has taken on too much for one human. Oof.
3. Learn to listen to your voice. Then learn to use it. I think the handiest anti-breakdown tool that any of us possesses is our voice. But learning how to use said tool is something I still struggle with. If someone treats me in a way I'd rather not be treated, it can take me forever to articulate what it was that bothered me. I've dug myself many a financial grave because I was afraid to ask for a raise. I've silently cursed friends for various and sundry douche behavior for many moons. But in the end, when I don't speak up, I just wind up pissed at myself. Take it from me: don't get pissed at yourself. Just say something.
Welp. Those are the things I'm thinking about on a Saturday morning. Totally normal. Totally keepin' it together... kinda. Nope. But I am feeling emboldened lately, and I hope you are too.