I’m on my knees, crumpled over the toilet, crying like a baby.
I feel stupid and like a total waste of space.
Every muscle in my body is screaming at me.
I’m utterly defeated and just. so. done.
You know what broke me? Paint.
Yes, I know how silly that sounds but if you’d told me at the time how silly I was being I would have probably unleashed every frustration in my life on you. That’s how DONE I was.
Tahitian Breeze skidded into Pure White and created a head-on collision of color when I exhaled too soon and my hand shook (just a millimeter), at the very end of my paint job.
All day long I’d been painting my guest bathroom and here I was at the bitter end, trying to cut a straight line of gorgeous “Tahitian Breeze” against the pure white of the adjacent wall.
And please don’t even think of calling it something as banal as “turquoise”.
It was Tahitian Breeze, dammit and it would’ve been glorious… if I hadn’t biffed it.
But I did and now, my new mermaid-themed bathroom was ruined. It was never going to come together, now that a sliver of the wall behind the toilet was all jacked-up.
Clearly, my life was over and I was a worthless piece of something which belonged in the same toilet I was currently hunched over.
That’s what I get for thinking I could DIY. Ugh!
Have you ever been there?
After pouring all of your energy into whatever the demands of the day have been, some random, insignificant thing goes sideways and BLAM-O! You lose 100% of your sh*t and have a completely ridiculous meltdown?
It could be a wonky paint line. Or a screaming kid. Or a comforting pat on the shoulder from your partner, which you misinterpret as “patronizing” in your withered mental/emotional state.
Whatever it is, you hit a wall and completely overreact to what would otherwise be considered a “minor stressor”.
You snap. And there’s collateral damage left in the wake.
What do you do?
I’ll tell you what I did:
I crumpled over my toilet and started crying like a baby.
My husband came in asking, “What’s wrong, honey?”
“I CAN’T DO THIS! I’m not a f***ing painter!! What was I thinking?!” (insert “drama queen” emoji here).
(My husband is also tired but thankfully hasn’t been crammed in a small box huffing paint fumes all day like I have.)
“Hey, it’s OK. You’ve done great! It really doesn’t look that bad. We’ll fix it tomorrow. You’re just done for the day, that’s all.”
I realized in that instant I’d reached the end of my rope and I was “just done for the day”; I wasn’t a failure or less of a person. I’d simply hit my limit and Life was telling me the day was over, even though my head hadn’t received the memo.
Here’s what you can do if you hit a wall like I did:
- Recognize you’ve hit your limit and say out loud, “I’m done.”
- Give yourself permission to be DONE.
- Withdraw as quickly and graciously as possible.
- If you bite someone’s head off or otherwise cause damage during your exit, forgive yourself, then own it and apologize once your sanity has been reclaimed.
- Set a goal to start implementing an earlier exit strategy next time you’re feeling stretched too thin.
It’s time for us to recognize that Chronic Overachieving is a disease that eats away at our peace of mind and that it creates more problems than it solves.
Our culture places such an emphasis on being “bigger, better, faster, more!” like it’s a badge of honor when really it’s barbiturate dependence, waiting to happen.
Chronic Overachieving leads to Chronic Burnout.
Sure, it’s great to stretch beyond our comfort zones and challenge our capabilities; that’s where a lot of growth and strengthening happens.
But we can also honor our limits, even as we test them.
A little bit of paint reminded me of this and at the end of the day, I walked away, had a delicious soak in the bathtub and proceeded to sleep like a rock.
The next day, my friend came over and helped me correct the mistakes, which weren’t all that extreme once I looked at them, minus the paint fume-induced dementia.
My mermaid powder room came together and I’ve been loving it ever since. Who knew how much someone could actually look forward to using the loo?
Things are rarely as extreme as we blow them up to be in our minds; the ability to take a step back until you gain a little perspective is a worthy one to cultivate.
If you find yourself blowing things out of proportion, either frequently or occasionally, consider this your permission slip to “just be done” and take a friggin’ bubble bath when you need one.
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