The Break Up

Sometimes I race through life, trying to do it all at once. I think it’s because I don’t look after myself, so the fear of morality is a clear and present danger.

It is fascinating how easily I can avoid feelings if I keep busy enough.

Until I stop because life stopped me. A slippery driveway and a large bin undid me, and now I type this with a broken wrist and one hand

Forced rest.

Up to this point, I have been working 14-16 hour days. By choice because I live in an alternative reality of having to do everything all at once because you never know what will happen and my inner scarcity panic merchant tells me I must do it all now, just in case.

The morning of the fall, I had been at the gym where I am attempting to become fitter. I was under the guidance of a trainer who looks at me like I am already a failure.

This was our second session.

I had asked for a trainer who wouldn’t shame me. Who would work with me gently. Who could hold my hand as I started to gain muscle and work myself out, and ground my body.

I have a self-care deficit from having to care for others since childhood, so this was vitally important. Perhaps what I needed doesn’t exist, but I digress in this plus-sized dress.

That morning the trainer told me to get onto a machine that I am sure was used in Seville in the 1400s, and looked about as doable as me winning the Nobel Prize for Physics.

I suggested I wasn’t okay with this, but she ignored me. Asked me my weight, then asked me again to repeat it, as though she didn’t hear me correctly, so she could put in the correct weight stacks and then told me to get on it. Shame was rising. I climbed onto the machine and then went down for the first time that morning.

I failed to lift my own weight as I am a planet, and I went slamming down onto the floor where she proceeded to call out my name as though I had done something wrong while the clatter of the weight stacks reminded everyone there was an interloper in the room.

I was then banished to look in the mirror and do repeated arm curls where I felt tears fall as I hid them from her. This was why I didn’t want to go to the gym. This is why fat people don’t go to gyms.

Thirty minutes later, I broke my wrist. Talk about not wanting to go back there!

My friend who does reiki asked me what was I trying to take a break from? Myself, I thought. The ridiculous workload that I put on myself. Saying yes to everything just in case. Eating everything, just in case. Doing everything, just in case. Huge goals and short time limes and the feeling of responsibility I have to do it all, just in case.

I drove myself to the hospital with my broken wrist. I drove home from the hospital with my wrist in plaster. I went back to work. I still wasn’t getting it.

I worked the next day in the office. I went to the doctor who told me to stop working.

I worked the next day.

Today I stopped.

My friend Dora, one of the smartest women in HR in Melbourne, asked me why I was working so hard when no one cared about my thoughts or opinions. They don’t care she reminded me. She is right. Nobody cares.

My husband’s work sent me flowers, so that’s nice. Pale pink, dusky roses. I love roses.

I was working to avoid the deepest feelings of pain at not being loved and trying to win everyone’s approval all the time.

I worked so hard because it meant I didn’t have to look in the mirror while I did arm curls. I worked so hard so I could avoid the pain of loneliness.

I worked so hard because I wanted to be valuable to others.

I worked because I don’t know what else to do.

I worked to avoid the feelings of being with myself.

Today, I have drawn up my letter, and I have stopped.

I am taking the break seriously. Enough.