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Take one, pass it on 
25th-Aug-2011 06:32 pm

A torn page from a diary. Written in pencil in a large round hand are the words "It's OK." Underneath and smaller, "smile". A smiley face is drawn next to them.

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 [personal profile] 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.

25th-Aug-2011 10:52 pm (UTC)

Even though my comic book shopping spree (read: two whole manga volumes) happened yesterday.
25th-Aug-2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
I don't know what it is, but somehow just walking into a comic book store is instantly soothing. While being exciting all at once. Oh man now I want to buy a ton of manga >
25th-Aug-2011 11:02 pm (UTC)
I went to B&N yesterday, as I am something of a n00b to this city (Baltimore) and have not yet done a Google search on comic book stores.

Which I should seeing as how B&N insists on only having volumes 8-10 of Shmooshy Mushi-Shi.
25th-Aug-2011 11:11 pm (UTC)
A lot of B&Ns have SUCH good comic book sections! Well for a general bookstore anyway. I love how I can actually sit and read comics there, unlike at actual comics shops. Exploring new comic books shops is going to be so exciting for you! I'm jealous.
25th-Aug-2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah. A friend of mine gave me the grand tour of comic stores in Manhattan last month and--yeah, cramped spaces, bad air conditioning, so on so forth. But then that B&N is in a pretty prominent spot in Baltimore so it's not like it has a lot of seating space, either. Although the manga section's always been free whenever I browsed it >D
25th-Aug-2011 11:17 pm (UTC)
Ooh that's so good! I used to live near a Borders that kept the comics/manga right near teen supernatural books, so I was always fighting the Twilight fans/12 year old manga readers for the armchairs.
25th-Aug-2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
Oh man I remember peering at the manga section in Borders and seeing at least one person camped out on the floor in front of the shelves. It was like an obstacle course.
25th-Aug-2011 11:23 pm (UTC)
hahahaha seriously, I always felt like I really earned whatever books I was able to grab.
25th-Aug-2011 11:21 pm (UTC)
My Manhattan comic store is neither cramped nor lacking in aircon. But you can't sit and read comics there, either.
25th-Aug-2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
This of course means the next time I am in Manhattan...
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