I Lost Track of Time.
I didn’t realize how much time had gone by since I last checked in with you guys.
November 6th, a Wednesday. I had felt myself slowly drifting back into that familiar darkness for weeks but decided I’d stay in the light, smile, engage, and make every effort to be ok.
I didn’t want to abandon you. Not again. I’ve done that too many times and I promised you – my community, that I would show up, even when things were tough, even when I had no words. I promised to show up in wholeness and in brokenness. And I tried. Wednesday Nov. 6th was my showing up. It was my way of honoring my commitment of showing up even when things are tough, even when I didn’t want to. When I rested that night, I was fully prepared to recharge and start anew the next day. What I didn’t know was that Thursday had its own plans.
The shorter version of this story is that I broke. Every single small thing I tried to overlook over the past month or so had made its way to the surface. After feeling myself at the very edge for the entire day, I gathered myself in time for a grand opening of a new co-working space in Newark. In the vestibule, I wrapped my dripping umbrella as a guard approached me and said, “What are you here for today?” I stare at him blankly then look through the glass doors into the gathering. No words leave my mouth. Still wrapping the umbrella and quickly drying my hands, the guard sees fit to warn me not to walk with the umbrella though the party. Again, I stare blankly at the man and then at the bucket of umbrellas just past the glass doors. Before I can step fully into the space, again, the guard has another message for me. “Stop at the check-in table.” Once more, I stare blankly from his face to the ladies with signage that suggests I do such.
On a regular day, for a regular person, the small annoyance wouldn’t have been the equivalent of erupting volcanoes.
The woman at the table asking me to repeat my name twice after I had led with that information only pushed me further off the edge. Here I am, in a highly energetic space, collapsing. I just need to make a beeline to the bathroom, pull myself together enough to withstand an hour or two of socializing. That plan quickly fell apart as I made eye contact with a familiar face — Kenny. Before I could make my great escape, he was standing right next to me asking if everything was alright. “I can see it in your face, did something happen?” At that moment, I felt it the tears building up as the knot formed in the back of my throat making it difficult to speak. “I’m good,” I said in the most enthusiastic tone I could come up with. “How are you? How are things in here? Everything looks great!” I could tell Kenny knew something was up but now wasn’t the time nor place.
Once in the bathroom, I sat for about 20 minutes, crumbling on the inside and out, fighting like hell to catch my breath and ground myself. I called my best friend, let out some of what I was feeling and set out to enjoy the gathering. “I’m gonna try to go back out here now. I’ll call you if I need to,” I said into the phone. No sooner than I step out of the bathroom do I again make eye contact with Kenny. I can’t do this right now, I thought to myself. But before I knew it, he’s asking again what was wrong. “Please don’t make me cry in front of these people, I’m fine.” He’s concerned, and I know it. But this isn’t my moment. This isn’t his job to play therapist (yet again) to the girl who can’t keep it together. Without hesitation the stream makes its way down my cheeks, Kenny steps away from the party and pulls me aside into a quite space. There I give him the not so intense version of things. I’m honest in telling him that I am annoyed with everything and everyone. Even the truth about being at my whits end and wanting to throw in the towel spills from my lips. I’m not sure what he thinks of me in this moment, but I feel vulnerable — and we all know how much I hate that. He says I can talk to him, that things will be alright, and reminds me of the inner light he and others have said they’ve seen in me.
I hate crying in front of strangers. Especially strangers that aren’t quite strangers but still too unfamiliar to know “she sometimes does this.” My appreciation for Kenny can’t be put into words. He yanked me by the collar from the crumbling cliff I was on and I’m grateful for it. Yet, I still can’t help but feel like I failed yet again. Like I told him that evening, there won’t always be someone here to talk me off the ledge — I need to figure out how to do this myself. What happens next time?
Part of what makes YD, YD, is keeping it together, having the ability to figure things out while under pressure, and making shifts happen. In the handful of times I’ve seen or spoken to Kenny, he’s seen or heard me cry three times. In the five years I’ve worked to create and maintain The Sassy Rant community, you’ve seen me fall too many times to count. I promised to show up for you, even when times were hard for the sake of being transparent but on that day, I didn’t have it in me. I broke that day and I didn’t want saving. I didn’t want to be a support system or tap into one either. All I needed was to be nothing to no one, not even myself. I wanted rest, and quiet, and peace, and solutions. And I thought ignoring you and everyone else would do that for me.
So here I am again, this time without an apology. Someone once asked me “when do you take a break?” I sat with that for a while and responded, “I break when I break.” That statement has been sitting with me ever since. There isn’t enough time in a lifetime to stop because when you’re busy doing nothing, time keeps going, life keeps happening, and things progress without you.
It’s December 16th and it’s taken me a great length of time to finish this post. It’s taken me a great deal of time to begin to genuinely feel ok again. I’m still hurting over Cocktail Conversations, something I’ll talk more about in the coming weeks. I’m still not all the way where I need to be, but I’m here.
I just needed some time to sit in my brokenness, to crumble beneath my anxiety, to find rest in my darkness. As we finish out the last days of this decade, do you best to be present for yourself. Rest when you need to. Set boundaries and standards for yourself and others and stick to them. And continue to grow through whatever life presents you with.
– Yolanda Danae’