I was doing my make up which I’ve discovered is a really good way of making me feel like I have shit together. If I didn’t do my make up I’d sit around in sweatpants all day full of lethargy (can you BE full of lethargy?) and spend hours waiting for something to kick start me. If I get up and do my make up then I’m forced to do my hair, get dressed, be productive.
So I was doing my make up. Foundation was all on, I’d added a bit of colour to my cheeks so I looked a little more like a person and then I was in the middle of filling my second eyebrow when it felt like I was looking at the sky underwater. Like all my feelings were shimmering below the surface.
When I lived in the country we had tank water and there is a little pipe at the top so that when the tank fills it can overflow without busting the tank. That felt like what was happening. My feelings had filled the tank and it was threatening the overflow pipe.
One tear slipped from my left eye, snaking down my cheeks, carving a path. I ignored it because I’ve become very good at ignoring things. The right eye filled and I put the brush down. Looked myself dead in the face in the mirror and watched the overflow happen. I drew breath in slowly, carefully measuring each one because I must be very, very careful here to not let this get out of hand. This is actually good, I told myself, just a little overflow, more room in the tank.
I slid to the floor and bundled my discarded pyjama pants into a ball and pressed my face into them because he was sleeping in the bedroom next door and I didn’t want to make any noise. I didn’t want to be comforted, I didn’t want his hands to stroke my hair, I didn’t want him to know because then I would have to acknowledge my feelings which might make the whole tank split at the seams, so I buried my face into the soft fabric and muffled my sobs for two minutes.
Two minutes of overflow. You can get through the day with two minutes of overflow.
It stopped. I got up. Blew my nose. Wiped my eyes. Looked myself dead in the eyes in the mirror. Then I fixed the rest of my make up. Deep breath. Smile. Open the door.