Three days of Pride is a lot for anyone, and when you’re an introvert, even more so. When I’m in the moment I’m generally pretty good at focusing on the reader and the conversation at hand. By the end of the day I’m stiff and exhausted and not up to reflecting much.
And then it’s over and the shadow me creeps back in.
Did I say stupid things? Why did they buy it? Did the person who bought my book only do it because they felt sorry for me? What if the person who bought my book hates it? People shouldn’t buy my books–there are so many better ones on the table. Why didn’t they buy my book after talking to me? Did it sound like pap?
Did people bypass our table after looking at me and thinking they didn’t want to talk to that ugly person? How can I still look so huge in photos when I’ve lost ten pounds? (Because I need to lose another 20.) I wish I weren’t so ugly. And fat. And stupid. And inane. I shouldn’t leave the house. My poor wife. She could do so much better…
And on it goes. A spin cycle in the head, never winding down to let the door open.
The thing is, we met some wonderful people. We had great conversations. We met readers, writers, students, old friends, new friends. We joked with the other vendors and had a lot of laughs together.
Robyn kissed and cuddled me a lot. I told her I appreciated that she would do that in such a public space; it was like the nerd girl being kissed by the prom king in front of the whole school.
And today is tears and self loathing and a total understanding of my every flaw. And a desire not to burden people with my presence and stupidity, and so to pull away and hide so the world can pass me by, unhindered by the mess of a human I am.
I wasn’t going to write this. I was going to keep it to myself because that’s where it’s safe. But Robyn and I have both talked about how important it is to remove the stigma of mental health issues, and if we hide these things away they stay feeling shameful. If we share, we know we are not alone in this crazy struggle against the darkness.
Maybe tomorrow will be better.