I’m Fucking Up

When I first started working, my boss told me he had one rule about making mistakes. No matter how severe the screw up—deleting vital spreadsheets, calling his girlfriend a cow, turning the office into SLO’s first prostitution ring—all I had to do was start with, “Michael, I fucked up.” As long as I admitted fault and made an effort to not repeat the same mistake, those were the magic get out of jail free without getting fired words. This seemed fair, though slightly unbelievable, and since failure had never been part of my life plan, I agreed to such conditions easily.

Three months in and I was forced to use the dreaded opener. Today while shooting the hundredth hideously furry, could-be-a-companion-rather-than-a-fashion-statement winter boot for a client, I tripped gloriously and knocked over $4,000 worth of equipment. Backdrops ripping, tripod legs flying, shoes scurrying off to be with the rest of their litter—complete and total chaos.

Now, while being uncoordinated is second nature to me, royally fucking up is not. Disaster and I are not friends. We don’t trade lunches or juicy boy gossip, and quite frankly, I think she’s an unpredictable bitch to be avoided at all costs. Which is why in the midst of studio upheaval, I did not take a deep breath and start tidying up. I did not pick the camera up and continue shooting. I stood up, threw my hands to my face, and began an incredibly convincing “hysterical two year old who dropped her ice cream cone” impression.

Heavy, erratic, entirely unflattering sobs shaking me to my core. And that’s how my boss found me five minutes later—aggressively bawling in a vertical equivalent of the fetal position. Not remotely professional. But as soon as I choked out a pathetic “I… fu…fucked…uh…up,” he immediately went into comforting mode—sharing anecdotes of his past screw ups, complimenting me on my work ethic, offering high fives when it was clear all I wanted was to punch something. Yet despite his best efforts, everything just made me convulse harder. I was convinced I had ruined everything and didn’t deserve to be reminded of lame character traits like my promptness and reliability. I wanted to wallow in self-loathing, damn it.

Eventually I exhausted my tear ducts and went about my day. I got off work and did things that usually make me happy. I went for a long run. Baked some coffee cakes. Looked at pictures of puppies in outlandishly adorable Halloween costumes. I was temporarily cured from whatever manic episode I was previously suffering from. Hurray.

But even with the high of exercise/sugar/cuteness, I still feel inexplicably sad. I can feel more tears brimming and I know all it would take to get me going again is someone innocently asking, “What’s up?” I hate to admit it but I’ve felt like this for a while now. And I’m wondering how everybody else gets through their day without a meltdown, or if they’re all just really good at pretending. How maybe I should start pretending because I’ve heard that can turn into sincerity somehow. I miss being able to call my mom without having her life be messier than mine. I miss being able to big-spoon my not-boyfriend, or at least spoon some ice cream without worrying about him thinking I’m getting chubby. I miss my friends and feeling secure and knowing what the hell I was doing with my time. When I felt kinda sorta strong instead of overwhelmingly sensitive.

I’m not really sure how to do more than a Band-Aid fix for this feeling. I don’t want to burden my friends or family with something I can barely explain (though why I feel like posting this on the interwebs where they’ll inevitably read it and freak is beyond me). I can’t even write this without feeling like I’m having the most melodramatic pity party. I’m terrified of simple problems with simple solutions and not being able to just handle it—of possibly being a little crazy in the head, and not just for entertainment factor.

I feel like I’m continually fucking up. And I just honestly don’t know what to do.

Advertisements

One thought on “I’m Fucking Up

  1. Girl. Girl girl girl. Omg chickita if I could feel you more on this I’d offer to buy you dinner first. You have no idea how incredibly relevant this is to my life and probably many other post-grads’ lives. Or maybe you do have an idea, but that’s clearly not making you feel any better. This is the first time in our lives that we don’t have shit mapped out for us (ie, our futures have suddenly become unknowing voids rather than another year of school in the fall) – and it is fucking terrifying. Every move I make I’m constantly worried I’m wasting away my potential or future or not working hard enough towards doing what I want to be doing (which – surprise! – isn’t working at this IT company). Every time my boss asks me to do something that would take an equal amount of time to Google himself, after venting about it to a minimum of 3 people, all there is to do is take a deep breath, and remember that these are all experiences I’m learning from and that I can take with me into the future that I’m so motivated to work towards because of how much I don’t want to be here forever.
    I realize I’ve gone off on a tangent about disliking my job, which is not the issue you described at all, so let me bring it back; I know precisely how you feel with the whole ‘why does it feel like I’m constantly on the verge of a mental breakdown’ thing. It might feel like this one fuck up is what caused it and be asking yourself “why am I making this such a big deal?” But the truth is, it’s likely that your clumsiness was only a catalyst for feelings that you’ve been harnessing for some time now. Graduating and forcing success on our own terms and moving on to god-knows-what to prove ourselves is so overwhelmingly stressful that sometimes you pull into CVS to buy RedBull for another splendid 6am shift tomorrow and you wind up just sitting in your car, heaving, searching for a napkin to dry your cheeks and asking yourself aloud “wtf is going on with me?” It’s confusing, annoying, and frustrating, but it’s perfectly normal nonetheless. I mean, fuck normal (etc.) but know you’re learning, even though we’re no longer in a setting/paradise designed to support it; the entirety of this thing we call ‘life’ is just one big clusterfuck of learning experiences. So one day, you’ll be old and wrinkly and awesome and some kid will come to you saying they tripped and knocked over $12,000 (inflation) worth of equipment and you’ll just lol in their face and tell them about the time the same thing happened to you.
    And then they’ll walk away and tell all their friends about the crazy lady at the park with 8 dogs in Halloween costumes that made them eat some coffee cakes while subsequently making them feel better about their mini-failure.
    Who says failure’s a bad thing anyway?
    And knowing what you’re doing with your life? Overrated.
    I’m not sure where I’m going with this anymore. But, you’re exactly where you need to be, love – even if it’s simply the fact that writing about and posting your experience gave me (and Demi) something to feel comforted by.
    So thanks.

leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s