Breaking down in public

Published October 10, 2012 by crazyinpink

People tell me I’m strong.  I like it when they do because it implies that they have an appreciation of what I have to deal with in my life.  I also don’t like it because it makes me feel like a fraud.  Sometimes I don’t feel like being strong.  Sometimes I break down and can’t see how my life will ever be what I dreamed it would.  I haven’t felt very strong lately.  There are a few reasons for this.

The Guy

I did a Brave Thing and asked out the guy I like thirteen days ago (now that I’m counting or anything) and he hasn’t replied.  Not only am I hurt and rejected but I also can’t help but feel a bit stupid.  I really thought he liked me and not in that way girls usually trick themselves into looking for ‘signs’ and hidden meanings.  We got on really well and he used to invite me out with his friends, tease me, help me, always took an interest.  I’m as guilty as anyone for over-analysing men (or ‘manalysing’ if you’d prefer) usually just for a bit of a laugh.  I’m not an OTT giggly girl who NEEDS to have a boyfriend in order for her life to have meaning.  I’m not even someone who is desperate to get married the older they get (although I know a lot of people like that).  If anything I’m hopelessly pragmatic when it comes to seriously considering a relationship.  I love flirting but actual relationships I take seriously.  And when I weighed up everything I knew about him, I thought I was making a good decision with this guy.  He can be quite shy and I thought I’d go for it since I no longer work with him and I won’t be seeing him any more.  But I got it wrong.  And now, ironically, I realise how much I like him and how I miss hanging out with him.

The Conference

Best Friend and I were asked to organise a conference to be hosted by our university next year.  This conference is held at a different university every year, I’ve been to the last three, Best Friend to the last two. We were advised to have a committee to help us.  Our committee met for the first time last week.  Aside from Best Friend, the rest are girls in their final year of PhD. Most of them are lovely and very helpful.  But one has already made it clear that she doesn’t like me.  I don’t know whether it’s because I’m ‘new’ and a first year in a position of authority, though I have the most experience.  It could be because I’m on such friendly terms with the staff and have contacts throughout the university.  There are few parts of uni where I have not worked at some stage over the last five years so I know a lot of people as our staff member on the committee was quick to point out.  It could just be because I am the complete opposite of her.  She is rich, I am poor. She is serious, I have a pink Little Miss notebook. She is married with her own house and grounds, I am a single girl who still lives at home.  Her attitude throughout our meeting made it clear that she thinks I am not someone worth listening to. It didn’t upset me really, more made me think ‘what have I got myself into?’ I have to work with these people for the next six months.  I’m only starting my PhD career, I don’t need enemies already.  That night I went out with my Toyboy and watched the latest Will Ferrell movie then had a McDonalds.  My mood was considerably improved after this.

The Concert

Saturday night was a big concert with my choir and orchestra.  I turned up to soundchecks raring to go but my good intentions quickly evaporated when I discovered that I was sitting in the far corner of the stage.  It was actually a separate stage a good foot lower than the rest, added on the end almost as an afterthought.  There were no lights or microphones and my two fellow sopranos and I were surrounded by altos. We couldn’t even hear the rest of the choir and could only occasionally see the conductor.  This isn’t a big deal except that this is always what happens at concerts.  The last three years my friend and I are always put into the back row at the end as if we’re distant relatives that no one wanted to invite to the family wedding so you seat them as far away as possible from everyone else.


The last week or so I have really struggled with my pain levels.  Sometimes it seems to operate in weird cycles, like for a while it’ll constantly wake me up in the middle of the night or just appear at a certain time in the day.  At the minute, it seems to crop up just after I’ve eaten. On Friday I had lunch with a friend and barely half an hour after I’d finished my pasta I was bent in double over the table with painful spasms. I was already a bit cheesed off at the concert on Saturday then I discovered that I couldn’t eat any of the tea provided for us.  It all contained fish, eggs or cheese.  My friend ate an egg and onion sandwich and found a bit of shell in it so quickly decided she wasn’t eating any more.  Her boyfriend was called on and arrived soon after with some chicken nuggets for us which we scoffed in a darkened room so we wouldn’t get caught.  In our usual pre-concert prayer meeting, I felt the familiar twinge of my ovaries deciding they were going to wreck havoc on my body.  I spent the twenty minutes before we went on stage alternatively hunched over and pacing, trying distraction techniques to help relax my muscles. The heat patch I slapped on in the interval did no good and by the time I came off stage I was wrecked.

I completely broke down in the dressing room and the tears started.  My friend quickly pulled me into a hug and let me cry onto her shoulder.  I don’t often cry in public so when I get teary it freaks people out.  I just felt so worthless.  I was exhausted and couldn’t keep up appearances any more.

Have you ever kept going even though you want to stop?  Fueled by the thought that everyone thinks you’re strong so you mustn’t let them down by showing a sign of weakness.  I just want to curl up and watch old episodes of Friends until I feel strong again.  Right now, I think I need to let myself feel weak for a little bit.



7 comments on “Breaking down in public

  • Sorry to hear you’re feeling low and hope things start to improve soon. As for that spoiled rich girl on your committee don’t even waste energy worrying about her, she sounds like a right cow. Now go put on a few episodes of Friends. It’s totally allowed 🙂

  • “Have you ever kept going even though you want to stop?”

    Yes, of course. I’d be lying if I said that everything is perfect all of the time. Most days I sort of wade through life with this outer shell of defiance and that’s what keeps me going, sheer willpower, and a determination not to sink anymore.

    And of course the knowledge that no matter how bad I feel, I always get through it. I always find a way and so will you.

    • Oh my word, yes! The ‘outer shell of defiance’ is SUCH a good way to explain how I usually keep going. I want to be stronger than I feel so if I pretend I am, eventually it’ll be true.
      I usually don’t let on when I feel so utterly miserable. The day after I posted this, I woke up and cried for an hour then made myself get up and get dressed. When I had to actually encounter another human being, even though I wore no make up and an outfit that said I couldn’t be bothered, I found my face automatically moulding itself into it’s usual smiley expression. It’s only with people I can really trust that I can let myself be miserable.
      I know I’ll be okay but sometimes we all need a break from the constant fight.

  • I’m right there with you. My latest pain battle has also seemed to be triggered by eating. This has happened before and I know I need to take probiotics, but it’s so much easier to just avoid real meals – I’m not being very strong lately. Every day wears me out. I know how you feel. The only comfort I can offer myself (or you) is that I haven’t always felt this way, and I can’t feel this way forever. Hugs!

    • As crazy as it sounds, it does actually help to know that there is someone else going through the strange weirdness I’m experiencing. Sometimes just trying to explain the peculiar pain is exhausting in itself. I am feeling a little better now but I’m still not my usual self. I feel like Tigger but I’ve lost my bounce. I hope I find it again soon. And I hope you find yours. Get your Dish to give you a hug from me! 🙂

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