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The Spin Cycle

And… breathe.

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.

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5 thoughts on “The Spin Cycle”

  1. You are a very beautiful and talented woman! I just love your bright smile! Seeing you and Robyn together is always a bright spot in my days. Your smiles are so engaging!
    I do feel your pain though. I too prefer to be away from crowds of any size. Home is my safe place.
    You ARE LOVED!
    AND I for one buy and read your books Because you wrote them!
    Cyndi

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  2. I agree with everything Cyndi’s said. I love your books and I know from having met you that you are a lovely person – both inside and out. I didn’t go to any of the Manchester Pride days, mainly because I’m also not good with being in a crowd. I can imagine how hard those three days must have been for you. But I’m sure you handled it well, with your public persona coming to the fore. Congratulations on persisting and thank you for your openness in sharing your feelings with us.

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  3. Thanks for sharing and helping to de-stigmatize the struggle. This resonates so much. FWIW, I purchased and read all of your books (several times for most of them!) because you are a talented storyteller and wonderful writer. Thanks for giving us your stories. Strength and peace to you.

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  4. Dearest Brey,
    Darkness enters everyone’s life at one point or another. Growing up as “that fat girl,” I hated myself. Sometimes I still do. But despite how I feel, people love and adore me. Friends and family actually want to be around me. Shocking, I know. So I try to grab on to the positive. I have a wife who unquestionably loves me with all my flaws, and friends who hug me as though they haven’t seen me in years though it was only yesterday. And while there’s no denying I’ll never be perfect, I am perfectly me…the best I can be at the moment. And I’ve learned (mostly) to be okay with it.
    Be okay with you, Brey. You’re smart and funny and gorgeous, and have so much to give the world. It’s a blessing to know you. Thank you for sharing your darkness. It helps us all shine a little brighter knowing your hand is within our reach.
    Much love…Renee

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