Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Hardest I've Ever Cried in My Entire Life

You know the saying "the straw that broke the camel's back?" Well, I'm about to tell you about the straw that was placed on the camel's back and then that camel exploded.

It was 2006, about a week and some change before our wedding. We got married on December 30th, so we were smack dab in the Christmas season. Grant was in New Orleans with his family, I was in Houston with mine. We were having one last holiday without each other. I was in Cypress celebrating the holiday but also getting tons of wedding stuff done. The clock was ticking, and we still had a lot of little details to take care of.

The Houston Children's Chorus is an organization that is very close to my heart. I sang in the chorus for 5 years as a child, volunteered as a high school student, and then worked for them all through college as a choreographer and assistant. I've chaperoned many trips and attended many events to help with crowd control and logistics. On this particular day, the kids were singing in the middle of the day at an office building in downtown Houston. The director asked if I would be available to help with this event. Although I was smack dab in the middle of one of the busiest seasons of my life, I said yes because I wanted to do one last thing with the kids before I got married and moved to Louisiana.

It was the middle of a work day. I was driving in downtown Houston, which at the time I wasn't super familiar with. I didn't go down there all that often and there are lots of one way streets. I missed my turn, and when I had the opportunity, I did a u-turn to get back to where I needed to be. As I u-turned I heard a pop. A big pop. I had hit a pothole and with every second I drove, that loud, flat tire noise got louder and louder. I was trying to find a place to pull over, but that is not easy in that part of Houston. People were honking at me. I was panicking. I pulled into a parking garage just to get out of the road and into the first available spot I saw. Unfortunately, after I parked there, I realized that I was in some executive's reserved spot. I thought of backing out, but I knew there was no way I could get my flat tired vehicle safely up that steep incline in that parking garage.

So, I parked, took a deep breath, and called my dad. He was working but he was the only one I knew to call. I told him I had a flat tire but I wasn't entirely sure what office building I was parked at. I gave him all the information I could, and he said he'd be there as soon as he could, but it would probably be 35-45 minutes at a minimum with traffic.

I hung up the phone. And that's when it happened.

Look, I'm not sure exactly what the trigger was. I don't know if it was the fact that I was in an unfamiliar area. I don't know if it was the fact that we were already spending so much money on the wedding and now I felt like I was asking my dad to spend more money. Maybe it was because I was running late to the event that I said I would be at. Maybe it was the anxiety of knowing that if I went ahead to the event and left my car there, it could get towed for being illegally parked. Maybe it was because I was calling my dad with car troubles, as I had done so many times in my life, and perhaps this was going to be the last time since I would now call my husband with that kind of thing. Maybe I was tired. Maybe I missed Grant. Maybe I knew I had a lot of wedding stuff to do. Maybe I knew I needed to write a letter to my bridesmaids and my parents and the emotions of those letters brought up a lot of emotion. Maybe I was overwhelmed with how soon the wedding was happening. Maybe I was finally releasing some of the nervousness I felt about marriage and moving to Louisiana. I am not sure exactly what the trigger was, but THIS IS THE TIME THAT I EXPLODED. I've experienced heartbreak and deaths in the family and dark nights and trials... but I can honestly say that this is the hardest I have ever cried, ever.

I hung up the phone with my dad and I just wailed. WAILED. Sobbed. Screamed. Tears everywhere. Snot. I put my head on the steering wheel of that Honda Accord and basically hyperventilated. I was doing that gasping cry where you can't get a breath. A parking garage attendant walked up to my vehicle, tapped on my window, and then promptly walked away when he saw my face. It probably appeared that everyone I ever knew had just abruptly died.

Y'all, it went on FOREVER. I couldn't stop. It just kept coming. I kept wondering "Is this what a nervous breakdown feels like? Maybe I should find a paper bag to breathe into?" I would start to calm down, and then I would think of something else that I had no control over and I would just explode again. I just pretty much sat there and thought to myself "pull yourself together, girl!" but it was filled a sob in between each syllable.  "Pull-your-self-to-ge-ther-girl." Something along those lines.

My dad arrived and I hugged him and he was like "THIS IS A FLAT TIRE. THIS IS A SOLVABLE PROBLEM. CALM. DOWN." and he told me to go into the event and check in while he worked on the tire situation.

I walked into the event (I had actually stopped crying by this point) and of course the kids were already done singing. My friend Amy was there (she's now Chairman of the Board! When did we get so old?!) and I went up to her and said "I'm so sorry I'm so late, I had some car trouble down the street."

Then, Amy, in that way that only a true, dear friend can do, looked at me and started laughing and said "LOOK AT YOUR FACE!"

I was so swollen and puffy and just all together a hot mess. And she laughed at me and then I started laughing. And that's why you need girlfriends like that. Sometimes you need a friend to console you and then other times you need a friend to laugh at you.

Because that whole 2 hour period of my life was just entirely ridiculous and unnecessary. I still laugh at it. When I see my daughter  throw a giant tantrum and scream and sob for no good reason and gasp for air, I think of myself and my own version of that. Except she is 2 and I was 22. So there's a little bit of a difference there. Like I said, I don't really know what that was. Has that ever happened to you? Just total meltdown for no specific reason? Please tell me it has.

1 comment:

  1. At one point in my life I had one of those calendars with every single square filled up - and most with multiple things. I was in charge of a youth ministry and planning an outreach event, working on a Christmas event at church, working 12+ hour days at a job I HATED and getting ready to go to Mexico on a mission trip (which I was scared out of my mind over). One morning I got in the shower and reached for the shampoo and dropped it cracking the lid so that when I poured it in my hand I got MUCH more than I bargained for. I cried ... a little. Then I grabbed my wash cloth to wash my face and dropped IT into the soapy water below (cause the shower wouldn't drain ... despite the giant HOLE in the tub at one end!!!), I cried ... a little more ... and cussed. THEN, I turned off the water and reached out for my towel. It was not on the hook. And I lost it. Full on, sitting in the broken tum for 15 minutes sobbing. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, unhappy and broken. So, yeah ... I know what you're talkin about...