Meltdown at the Mall

Today I had a meltdown at the mall.

It reminded me of when the kids were little and it was all just too much and you kept it together until you didn't. Except now, the kids are not little and the meltdown wasn't about them.

The poet Heather HcHugh once wrote, "Poetry isn't about, 'about.'" Maybe the same goes for meltdowns. I mean, yes something precipitates it. Like being on hold for 45 minutes in the mall, just outside of Planet Fitness where Aviva was working out, and then talking to a customer service representative who informed me that the kids' coverage will end on 2/26 because I didn't submit proof of income by 2/7, a deadline of which I was wholly unaware.

Prior to this, a day of already feeling compressed, stress creeping in, too many things, crowded at the kitchen table, the dog jumping up on me wanting to pee or play, taxes needing to be done, other people's moods and needs, my own.

So the insurance thing just tapped me over. While I was on hold, I wrote in my journal a bit.

I knew it was coming, like a low rumble in the distance before a storm.

The storm broke as the MA Health guy said, "Is there anything else I can assist you with today?" I choked out a "no" before hanging up and bursting into tears. Bench. Mall. People with small children walking by to or from the small arcade, more like a room of migraine-inducing lights and sounds.

I migrated to a slightly more private bench, this one near the restrooms and bus waiting area. I called Mani, needing not to feel so alone in the storm. She heard my voice and immediately asked what was the matter.

Everything. In that moment, it felt like everything was the matter. Everything was too much. Each single thing that I needed to tend to, keep up with, manage, maintain, respond to, stay on top of, follow up on, and track came blasting through, gale force winds knocking my socks off. And the tears, a deluge of pressure finally releasing.

So I just had a big cry and told her I mostly just needed some kindness. Once the storm came down a few notches, we talked through next steps about the insurance thing; I already emailed my accountant and will speak to her tomorrow.

For a moment, I beat myself up; had something fallen through the cracks? I didn't recall receiving anything about needing to resubmit numbers, and in fact had gone through a time-consuming eligibility renewal process late in 2018.

My income comes in hundreds or smaller amounts throughout the year. I am the financial officer, the administrative assistant, the communications and marketing team, and the program director. I am also a mother of two and a holder of space for many. I love my work.

And tonight's mall meltdown was a reminder that I am also fallible, human, and prone to occasional moments of complete and utter too-much-ness.

These always pass. I have learned that much. And I was able to see, even in the storm, that the frequency of falling apart has become so much less over the years. Maybe that's why it was so pronounced tonight, because it doesn't happen all that often anymore.

A beautiful writer in one of my groups said something recently about writing as a way of keeping a promise she'd made to herself. And I find, as I come to hear to lay it down, that that's what I am doing, too. Keeping a promise to myself to let this, too, be known and seen, rather than thinking I should only share the amazing and exciting parts of this path.

Two days ago, I was riding a total high. The new website, the weekend with Monisha, and all-around gratitude for this full life. Tonight, I was crying on a bench in the mall.

One does not negate the other. Maybe part of developing skills for surviving the storms intact is just this: Letting it out, not getting stuck there, and allowing for some kindness to creep in the very cracks some other thing fell through. being good to myself, getting some sleep, and starting again tomorrow.