It’s hard to work on a bike when you’re crying. The task is simple: unscrew the bolt, pop off the nut, take off the clasp, slip in a shim, reassemble. A child could do it. But then tears get in the way and you can’t seem to get the wrench around the bolt. And the times when you do, turning the wrench is harder than it usually is, what with your muscles being too busy keeping your rib cage in place while your lungs are heaving. Then you realize you had popped the nut out and dropped it while the wrench was holding your attention. (And you’re starting to hate the sound of your crying.) So you start looking for the nut but the damned tears get in the way again and it’s even harder to breathe when you’re crouched over and you wipe your face and smear grease all across it (somehow you managed to get grease on your fingers even though you never touched the chains) and you end up sitting on the ground, dirty and wretched.
It’s hard to work on a bike when you’re crying. It’s hard to do almost anything.
It’s much easier to be okay. You can even be okay “for the most part” if that’s too difficult. Annie, are you okay? Yes. Yes, I am.
People who are okay go through their week and get their tasks done. They follow the agenda and meet deadlines. They make progress in a timely manner. They are productive and useful and reliable. They don’t have time to cry.
It’s better that way.
Because when you can’t be okay, when you lose your grip and drown in the implications of the situation, you can’t do anything and you let everyone down.
Worst of all, you let yourself down. You aren’t capable or reliable. You aren’t responsible or helpful. You are horrid and selfish and pathetic.
And then you have to vanquish the demons, separate liability from responsibility, retaliation from reaction, tendencies from innate traits. You have to talk to people, you have to be honest, you have to swallow your pride and naivety and guilt and frustration, you have to face the truth, you have to let go and cry, cry, cry. And you can’t do anything else.
It feels so tiring and pointless.
Some days, it’s a mountain I just don’t want to climb. So I take a different path, the quieter path. I go places where I can smile and wave and talk about the weather. I read and draw and feel whatever the characters need to feel. I breathe because it requires little thought.
I do what is necessary for daily life and things are not so hard.
Except when the numbness fades. Suddenly, I’m lost and the tears rise and I flounder. What do I tell them? I can’t function because I’m getting emotional because the worst happened because I made mistakes and I never get emotional so I can’t deal with anything right now?
It’s hard to speak, (even to write). So I’d rather not, thank you.
It’s just a little easier to swallow the tears and finish working on my bike.