Something very small and insignificant is awry. It is so small and insignificant that I hardly even know it is awry. But what I do know is that I’m not OK. I’m extremely bad tempered and ever so slightly vicious and punishing. And, if you think I’m being mean to you, you should see what I’m doing to myself. Useless. Hopeless. Overlooked. Undeserving. Talentless. Futureless. Less.
I’m dodgy company – joyless (less) and impatient. I’m shirking work – rudderless (less) and unfocussed. I’m even feeling physically a bit off-colour. Slightly achy. Faintly sick. I’ve developed a small cough.
And then this very small and insignificant problem reveals itself and rights itself. It is erased. It is over. And only then do I realise that this tiny slice of wrongness was the culprit of a keenly-felt de-railing.
So how do we protect ourselves from these situations? These times when we are sufficiently dozy to ignore a trigger but sufficiently skittish to be needled and hurt? Like when we think we’re not invited to something but the email turns up in junk after a day of denial-y hell. Or when you think you can’t take your mother to the doctor because of work but then you juggle and you find you can take her and everything recalibrates even though you don’t realise you minded because why should you mind when you are a perfectly OK daughter most of the time but what if she dies? Oh Jesus.
Tiny problems tend to require tiny solutions. The secret lies in owning up: admitting that you care. Because there is never any shame in that.