Twitter followers may have noticed that I had a breakdown this morning.
I’ve been single for exactly three months today, and while I’m not having frequent fits of hating myself and despairing over no hope in my life, it’s not exactly an easy three months. Since submitting my PhD corrections last week especially, I’ve been devoting time to self care and using the respite between semesters in which I need to swim, as a time I allow myself to float.
‘Course, it doesn’t always work like that, and I haven’t been in class or teaching for a month now, and a day in which I’m not partaking in a learning experience is a shitty day anyway.
So this morning I was pottering about and I was reminded of what I once had, that I’ve now lost, and everything broke, as things are occasionally wont to do. I took it out on Twitter (don’t look for it, I took it back. Public breakdowns on social networks are unbecoming) and sat in misery and despair and the realisation, that right now, I don’t even like myself. And I sat like that for a while before heading out on a museum trip with Kat.
I was still crying on the subway – and perhaps listening to Fleetwood Mac wasn’t helping, but. I’ve never been any good at preventing or ceasing tears; while I have improved with the former, I don’t happen to think that’s very good for my mental health. So I sat and knitted and waited for the tears to stop coming.
The 4-train was busy, but not packed: everyone had a place to sit. Opposite me was a man in his mid to late thirties and a shaven head, and next to him sat a girl of middle school age, 12 to 14. She may have been with an adult, but she wasn’t too young to be taking the subway on her own. I think I thought she was with the man next to her, as she seemed to be having a conversation with him. At one point she wasked for some paper, I assume (music, remember) because the man next to me leaned over and handed her a torn out page from his diary, which she thanked him for and wrote on.
When she got off the train at Borough Hall, she dropped the note into my lap.
I was so shocked, I only had time to look up, and I hope communicate gratitude before she left. I could only cover my nose and mouth to stop from crying even harder and stare at the man opposite, as I have to process what this girl has done.
She saw a stranger in pain, and she reached out to fix that however she could.
And she reminded me that it is OK. Because yes, life sucks sometimes, but people do not. Because it comes down to it, we got each other’s back, and it’s OK to cry on the subway sometimes, and it’s OK to not know where I’m going or how to make peace with where I am now, because there are people in the world and in this city who can see someone in pain, and reach out to them. Because compassion is in all of us, and for all of us, if we give and are willing to receive it. And even if I’m thousands of miles from home, if I cannot find my smile of a day, someone will be there to give me one of theirs.
It then got a little rain damage in the corner, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to share it with you.
This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.