My apartment flooded the day after my wallet was stolen.
I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.
I had just gotten out of the shower when I realized a pipe had burst in my bathroom, sending gallons of water everywhere. The carpets were soaked, the tile had about an inch (and growing) of water depth, and I frantically dropped to my knees to manually block the spray in a blind panic. I was naked, I was clutching the pipe for dear life, and THAT IS WHEN MAINTENANCE TRIED BUSTING DOWN MY FRONT DOOR because he saw the water pouring out in to the hallway.
Remember I was naked.
He didn't see anything, really. I managed to pull a tank top on and as he attended to the water I stood in my hallway and sobbed. It was a really powerful, heaving, dramatic and short cry. I was, after all, standing in a wet tank top in my very public hallway and there was a river weaving its way through my home. Crying really isn't going to do shit.
That night I just decided to make my own happy, since happy seemed intent on alluding me. I danced with girlfriends to an amazing band. I had dinner in a perfect spot with a perfect friend on a perfect night. The weekend was full of good food, people, noise, laughter and life. It was utterly needed and utterly addicting. Noise and movement and wonderful company can be like a drug. When it's gone, and you're left with the quiet, you'd do anything for one more hit.
So, here I was today in the musty smelling (but thankfully dry,) apartment. The friends had gone home, the wine had been drunk, the "Twilight" movie that we shamelessly watched had been put away. It was just...me.
I have to admit that with all of the recent trials I have forgotten how to be comfortable alone. I burn with fear and self hatred. I feel like an animal seconds before an earthquake: alert and terrified of the unseen something looming on the horizon. I alternate between feeling like I'm being punished to hating the situation I am in and hating that I was left to "deal with it" unsuccessfully alone. These feelings aren't rational, but they exist. And I can't banish them until I call them out by name.
So, I sat down today. I asked myself what it is exactly that I am upset about. Why didn't I like being with myself? Why am I uncomfortable with that moment when the music stops? Why did I put on a white tank top when I was soaking wet and not grab for the even handier bathrobe on the back of the DOOR? And then I asked myself what made me feel happy and light as a person. Did I need the noise and the movement and the color? Could I love myself without needing my friend's validation and love to create my own? (Don't get me wrong, I LOVED my girl's weekend, but if that was what I needed all the time to keep going I would be hungover everyday and very, very poor.)
I thought to a moment yesterday when I popped in to a salon to get my eyebrows waxed. I settled in the chair, preparing for the inevitable discomfort that comes from getting your hair ripped from your skin, and I was surprised at the very gentle way she touched me. Her fingers lit upon my skin and the touch was feathery and soothing and so...loving. I ended up falling asleep AS SHE RIPPED MY EYEBROW HAIR OUT because it simply felt so good to be caressed. When I complimented her skill, telling her that it felt good and didn't even hurt she replied simply: "I'm gentle on people because they so often are not gentle on themselves."
I stood there dumbfounded as I stared at this woman/angel/prophet and let her words nestle in to the folds of my soul.
Am I gentle to myself?
When shit hit the fan all I did was launch in to an attack on myself. "Melissa, you are such an IDIOT for leaving your wallet IN YOUR FRONT POUCH OF A BACKPACK!" "Melissa, you should have called maintenance A WEEK AGO when you noticed a small leak!" "You're bad!" "You somehow think a white tank top is an acceptable outfit!" I had had enough of that. So, my wallet was stolen. I'm still alive. So, the apartment flooded and now smells like a dirty gym. I have cold wine in the fridge and netflix. I'll deal. Her words made me realize that I spent far too much time worrying what people think, bending and breaking myself to fit their expectations, and resisting personal and private acts of love. It was time to love me, and deal with me, and I was going to start right now.
I got up, looked at my yellow rain boots that I bought AND LOVE but can't wear because IT'S FUCKING SUMMER ALL DAY EVERY DAY IN BERKELEY. And I put them on.
I went out and bought sweet smelling herbs for my tiny balcony with no intentions of actually using them. I had wanted to do that for awhile, but I thought it was frivolous and stupid. So I bought them, buried my nose in rosemary, and read a book in the sun.
I let myself feel joy over the amazing girls weekend, and not guilt over how much money/time/etc was spent. I stopped agonizing over the details: ("Did I talk to much?" "Was it really a good idea to make everyone watch Twilight?" "Was I fun/pretty/interesting enough?") and I just...relished in how I felt about it- which was pretty damn good. I was gentle internally. I felt happier almost instantly.
Now, I'm not suggesting that we all run around and become total self-centered/self-loving maniacs. I'm simply saying that we should take a moment, have a (non-crazy, I swear,) conversation with our self, and listen to what we may need or require to get through a certain time. For me, it was some yellow boots and rosemary. It was telling myself that I am ok, and calling my Dad and making him talk to me in a Kermit the frog voice. It was a collection of little moments that made me take care of myself. It really can't be anyone else's job but my own.
I'm the one that is left with me at the end of the day. Even if the me is soaking wet crying in a hallway.
She's mine. And I'm going to be gentler to her.