I’ve been in a funk since Fall. At least, the season that I still refer to as Fall, which for an American was back in October despite the fact that Fall just barely started in Australia. It has been one of those embarrassing funks – the kind that you can’t put your finger on just one cause and your friends are probably sick of hearing you speculate what it could be because every day is more of the same, shoulder-shrugging confusion. But, I think I have it figured out now.
I was listening to that deadly self talk that every woman has constantly chattering at the back of their mind when I started to derive some patterns. It was kind of like…
“Funk since October…”
Ok. So maybe it was the season, or a change in sleep pattern?
“It was summer. I tried the sleep pattern thing, and now I’m more tired than ever.”
Ok. So what new things have been introduced in the last few months?
“Well, I started working out more. I joined a gym. Maybe I’m exerting too much energy, or not enough consistent energy.”
So how does that make you feel?
“Better, generally. I don’t know why I feel the way I feel. I feel like I’m a 12 year old acting out!!!”
*Cue sudden realization*
I did get my braces on in the last few months. The pain was greater than I expected, but the break down of being an adult with a serious corn on the cob diet deficiency hasn’t been as life altering as I expected. Or, has it?
On the surface, it is no big deal. I’m an adult. I have big teeth. Now I have gigantor teeth that are moving everywhere. Sometimes I drool and I don’t know I’m drooling until it is too late. That’s not exactly new… But, that’s just it. It isn’t exactly new.
When you’re going through a certain level of change only to still come out behind your former self, things can feel pretty horrible.
I keep reacting to things and people like they’re in a competition with me and everyone is passing judgement on what or who I am. While to some degree that is true, it isn’t new and it hasn’t bugged me in a long, long time. I don’t generally let these things get me down for none other than my uncanny ability to move on from things that just don’t add to my life in any way.
The thing is, it always starts with something ridiculous and then just gets more ridiculous from there. One of those ridiculous triggers is standing in a hotel bathroom after getting all kinds of travel-ugly, holding my eyelids open with my hands because of how tired I am being in a new, unfamiliar place, and then seeing myself under horribly placed fluorescent lighting. There’s always some kind of shocking, “Where did THAT come from?” reaction to something.
Things tend to tumble from there. You add a few days of waking up to fluorescent inspired face pores, the constant threat of now having a bathroom scale, and three days without hair product, I’m going to be a little sensitive to… everything. So my most embarrassing moments as of late? Having a teeth gritting break down over two complete strangers drunk-gabbing about my looks as I passed by them in a public bathroom; wanting to quit social media entirely because it feels like unrelenting high school when groups you’re a part of post pictures of all the great times they have together, minus any invite to me; seriously over thinking two comments made toward me in jest – one about staying away from my “crazy” and the other about having an unmarketable career.
Logically? The women in the bathroom probably weren’t even talking about me. I’m a stranger. I’m just not so bloody important that people are going to waste their time discussing how I look. And why would I be upset over people hanging out together without inviting me? When I visit, I’m busy. The rest of the time, I’m 13,000 miles away! And the last bit, was probably a genuine joke and a comment that truly had nothing to do with me. Still, that mind-bending banter went off in the catacombs of my tiny mental capacity until my heart wanted to explode.
In hindsight, it all started with a look in the mirror and a serious lack of sleep (truly, everything starts there). And in the end, it always resulted in me laying in bed fuming over big teeth braces and all the negative changes this four year long jaw problem has had on my diet, my facial structure, and my ego. I look and feel nothing like myself. When I think about how drastically this has changed my life, my mind always wonders to stories of couples that choose to be together after some kind of physically-altering tragedy. Yet, I don’t look deformed. I am not bound to a wheel chair. Therefore, I shouldn’t be so upset. Right? That’s certainly one way to look at it, and I tell myself that a lot. However, I also can’t allow myself to discount how difficult this entire process has been and how the unseen changes it has had to my life, my relationship, and my very soul are almost worse than having something be a blatant problem. It literally gives me no room to complain and absolutely no one to talk to about it.
I have my finger on the problem now. I know what has me down. As they say, the only way out is through. Giving myself room to understand it; to feel my way through it, may not fix the surface, but it will certainly help get me out of my head and past this reverted mental state. I already did Junior High once. If there’s anything I know from that period of my life, it is that life gets unreal and amazing soon after the braces come off and an unrelenting desire to smile takes its place. I look forward to that day.