Because I’m sad baby girl, I replied.
But I birthday girl and I give you a hug, she said. And so she did.
This was how the conversation with my three-year-old little birthday girl ended this morning as the tears streamed unbidden down my face. Hot, silent tears over vegemite toast. Tears that I couldn’t hide, even though I tried. But how do you explain to a three year old why?
There have been more tears this past two months about work than the last 5 years put together. More tears than when we discovered that we needed to go through IVF. Tears that started in the afternoon Tuesday, after receiving the news of just where I was going to fit and what the future would look like. Tears upon receiving message after message after message from colleagues of support and condolence. Tears that just wouldn’t stop once I dropped the girls to childcare and returned home, drew the curtains and crawled back into bed to wallow. I made the most of that because I only gave myself one day to indulge in any wallowing. And my self-imposed rule is non-negotiable. Cry, vent, partake in big body wracking ugly sobs if need be, but do it now, then put one foot back in front of the other and continue on. Life is too short to be existing in such a negative space for a long time, as appealing a place as it might seem.
If it was a game of winners and losers then you’ve probably worked out that I came off second best. It sounds arrogant to say it, but that doesn’t happen often so I am struggling to figure out how I feel and where to from here. I am feeling humiliated, embarrassed, hurt, devalued. The line between what is actually truth and what is borne from my own wild imaginings is a blurry one; my more rationale friends would argue that much of how I’m feeling is ingrained in my own perceptions of what others are thinking and from my own high expectations not being met. Meh, they might be right but today, as I crash my own self-pity party, that is completely and utterly irrelevant.
Tomorrow on the other hand is another thing. The moment of truth is upon me and I will soon reach the centre point of that elusive crossroads that I have been banging on about these past few weeks. Which way do I go? Do I stay or do I leave? So tomorrow I need to regroup, begin to process and work out a plan, because it will be soon time to make a decision. A decision about my future. About the path I choose and how I move forward along it. Ultimately, it’s what is the best option for not only me but my family? After all, it’s just a job! The fact that a huge chuck of your self identity is encapsulated in your job doesn’t really matter, right? Wowsas, how do I even begin to process the thoughts that are swirling in my mind right now?
Well, as it would turn out, the best way to tackle that is to write all those thoughts into around 1600 or so word blog post until you feel a little more clarity about the situation than when you started. And you then read and re-read what you’re about to publish before cutting and pasting around 1000 of said words over to another document so as to save your sanity thus preventing you from broadcasting something publicly that you haven’t even had time to distil properly yet. That’s how you begin to process those thoughts. Ah, sometimes I am just so clever and wise. Yeah, or something.
But back to focussing on my little birthday girl for a minute. The little girl whose hug made a world of difference to me this morning. I am sorry I am crying on your birthday my gorgeous girl. I am even more sorry that I wasn’t strong enough to smile more and make you feel like it was all about you today. Thankfully I’m aware that this moment won’t scar you forever and that it will barely register as a childhood memory when you look back one day. But to answer your question as to the why am I crying my baby girl, I think the only thing I’ve been able to reconcile today is that I’m crying because I’ve never my spirit is broken and I don’t know if or how I’m able to fix it.
But that’s ok. Because today I don’t have to make that decision. Today is a day of wallowing and I still have two hours left.
How do you tackle the pros and cons in making key life decisions? Do you ever make the time to indulge in some wallowing and self-pity?