Monday, March 31, 2008

Pensive

When I'm overwhelmed my brain has an odd habit of latching onto a phrase and repeating it over and over again, like I'm sinking and those words are the only thing that will keep me afloat. Today I thought, "My head feels like it's going to explode. It just might." Those last three words ran circles in my head, taunting me. "It just might. It just might." It felt like the prequel to a migraine, right before losing the ability to see noses. But the migraine never came and I eventually drowned the words out in coffee and curses.

We're two people short this week. Our receptionist, absentee extraordinaire, has been out since last Tuesday. She screwed up her back while lifting a milk jug out of her car. A MILK JUG. You have to hand it to her. She gets an "A" for originality. Next time I want to take a vacation, I think I'm going to have an unfortunate orange juicing accident. Maybe I'll be squeezing one and it'll fly out of my hand and hit me in the head, giving me a concussion. You know, the kind of brain trauma that can only be cured with sun and a bottle rum. Yo-ho!

The other employee, a friend as well as my mentor, is out because her Mom is in the hospital with heart problems. As much as it sucks to have her gone, I wish she'd stay away from work for awhile. She rushes around all day taking care of personal stuff, only to come in later and work long hours. She says, "I'm fine." She's not. She smiles like she has cancer of the soul. "Oh, she's so stoic," they say around the coffee pot. It breaks my heart. Why is this favorable? Why do we praise people who don't "burden" us with their emotions?

This same employee disappeared for a hysterectomy two years ago. No one knew where she went, or what for. Just that we weren't supposed to care... or send flowers. No flowers? For some reason that struck me the most. Even the dead get flowers. She came back four months later, a little sadder than when she'd left, and everyone pretended like nothing had happened. I wanted to throw her a party. Like, "Yay, you have so much room in there now! We should eat CAKE." But stoic people don't get parties I guess. Which makes me think, I'd rather cry. I'd rather they feel uncomfortable, damn it.

Maybe my head will explode...

It just might.

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34 Comments:

At 31 March, 2008, Blogger Knight said...

Maybe you should start sobbing for everyone else. Just break down for no reason and make every other person in that office fully aware of it. Then make them get you a cake and flowers!

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger Jay said...

A milk jug? Well, I blew my back out picking up a laundry basket once. At least the basket was on the floor though!

Some people just hold it all and have a "don't cry at work" policy. They almost all eventually have a day where it all just comes pouring out though. You can't hold it in forever.

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger Edge said...

One of these days I'm going to call in and start with, "Well, it's hard to explain, but I was lubing up the vibrator..." and just leave it at that.

Hope your head gets better and the racing thoughts.

~Jef

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger Mouse said...

I was complaining on my blog and I felt bad about doing it- talk about holding it in! I've noticed at funerals I've been to in the last few years that it seems that showing emotion of any sort was totally NOT the way to go. People were talking about how "well" the wife of the deceased was "taking it".. !!?!?!
Dude.. I could go on and on about how messed up that all is. I feel for you and your migraines though.. I know how badly they suck!

 
At 31 March, 2008, OpenID kcinnova said...

I suppose some people are really private, but I still say flowers are never wrong. Or chocolate. I would have accepted anything you wanted to give when I had my hysterectomy! (no pressure, really, it was 7 years ago)

Stress = headaches. Caffeine really does help!

 
At 31 March, 2008, Anonymous Raven said...

When I had my hysto I wanted to show everyone my pictures of my insides. Sadly people aren't really into seeing that sort of thing. I guess I am not stoic.

I have been bordering on migraine for days. I wish it would just get here already, I'm tired of waiting for it.

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger Fortune Cookies said...

that's quite possibly the saddest thing I've heard this year!
I find that the more "stoic" someone looks, the sadder they really are. We've been conditioned to not show or feel our emotions.
no wonder mental health care is in dire need of help in this country. Sad

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger Newt said...

I think Nettie calls it the happy hollow club. And for a couple of days every month I wish I were a member. I can't write much more though, I pulled a finger scolding the dog this weekend.

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger gr said...

hang onto your head Tink, and if you can, your sense of humor--
btw--it is easy to imagine the milk jug incident may require this person to get a handicapped parking plate AND apply for disability....

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

"Cancer of the soul." Now that is an insightful line.

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger furiousBall said...

I think a basket of bacon would lift her spirits. Everybody loves bacon.

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger fiwa said...

Mine might explode too. With me it's songs - today someone was singing "take me out to the ball game" in the hallway, and now I can't get it out of my head.

I hope your week and mine gets better.

lovins,
fiwa

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger mamatulip said...

Next time I want to take a vacation, I think I'm going to have an unfortunate orange juicing accident.

Brilliant. BRAZILLIANT!

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger Chris said...

Hmm, I came back to work after that surgery SO DAMN HAPPY! :D

*passes Tink a rum drink with an umbrella*

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger Reb said...

Like Fiwa, it is songs for me. (Oh and thanks for that one Fiwa!) Even just reading a phrase that may have been used in a song that I know, is enough to set off the song in my head!

For impending migraines, when you get the sparkles or dark spots floating in front of your eyes. Take antacid, your choice of analgesic and either drink milk or eat something light. You will prevent the actual headache from occurring. If you wake up with one, throw up, then crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head.

Keep a food journal and determine what foods give you migraines. It is always better to avoid the damned things if you can!

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger Chelle Y. said...

Sometimes, I act like nothing is bothering me, when in reality, I just want to burst into tears!

Lately, I have found out that it is better to talk to people, rather than hold it all in myself. Although, sometimes, people can go to the other extreme... we don't want that, do we?

Where is the balance?

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger LL said...

Well... we've all got our own problems, and I don't need to burden you with mine...

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger meno said...

Being stoic is WAY overrated, as i am sure you can tell by all my whining.

If i ever have a hysterectomy, i will demans cake using just the reason you just gave! Perfect.

 
At 31 March, 2008, OpenID Gordo said...

No stoicism here, either. SHARE MY PAIN! ;-)

I like Raven's idea. I won't be have a hysterectomy, but I will torture people with pictures of my innards if I get flayed open.

Oh, and the milk jug? Totally plausible. The first time my back went, I was turning a corner: up the basement stairs, turn into the living room, fall down screaming.

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger Freakazojd said...

Aw man, I'm sorry - I have a really hard time when friends block me out during a rough time. Nothing like feeling as though your hands are tied when someone you care about is in pain. I say just do something nice for her anyway - make her some food to eat/freeze-to-eat-later kind of thing. She's probably too busy and stressed out to be eating properly. Practical and loving, it's a good combo. :)

 
At 31 March, 2008, Blogger the planet of janet said...

ugh.

stoicism is NOT next to godliness.

people need to stop stuffing their emotions.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

there. i feel better now.

 
At 01 April, 2008, Blogger Hilary said...

Sorry you're going through a tough spot and hope you'll be on the upside again very soon. You just might.

 
At 01 April, 2008, Blogger Peggy said...

Throw a little office party with flowers and cake for the stoical!

"I am doing this in celebration of NOT having to listen tour problems!"

Wouldn't the world be just a bit more pleasant if we didn't have to run smack into a bunch of emotion at work? For all those with problems at home, THANK YOU for not bringing it into work!


(p.s. I get migraines too and I hate the can't see straight bit.)

 
At 01 April, 2008, Blogger Chatty said...

Gad - that whole "stiff uppper lip" thing is both sad and annoying. And the worst part of it is that as long as the sufferer walks around being stoic, we as friends and acquaintances aren't supposed to say anything, offer any comfort - in fact we're supposed to pretend that NOTHING is wrong. And half the time, if it's a co-worker, we end up doing their work - or fixing their mistakes - instead of grieving with them. It's such a waste of time - and bottled-up emotions will eventually find a way to get out - usually not in a good way. I like your idea of an orange juice incident though. Or, how about a potentially fatal hangnail?

 
At 01 April, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey Tink that was a beautiful post about the stoic lady- maybe she doesnt feel that she can talk to anyone at work some people are just unable to be sorry for themselves, i think it's quite sad too.
also i do the thing with the phrases too! this week it has been mille foi (appologies i cant spell in french!)
ellie x

 
At 01 April, 2008, Blogger butterfly girl said...

I would say that she deserves flowers more than anyone, wanting them or not. BUT I once was told not to bring flowers for awhile by my X's Great Aunt so maybe everyone doesn't love flowers. It's a toss up!

Hope you are feeling better!

 
At 01 April, 2008, Blogger Foo said...

Once again, you've provided me comfort with the knowledge that it's not just me. Of course, the two phrases that insistently popping into my head are "Eat mor chikn" (even though I already do) and "My butt itches" (even though it doesn't).

I'm sure Freud would have something to say about all that, but the way I look at it, the worm food constituency's vote doesn't count for much. Which reminds me of a quote: "Clothes make the man. Naked people have very little influence on society." Although that's more likely a paraphrase of a quote. Mark Twain, I believe. Or maybe Benjamin Franklin. Both worm food, incidentally.

Okay, now I'm just streaming consciousness everywhere, so I'm leaving. You're welcome.

 
At 01 April, 2008, Blogger Foo said...

P.S. - Happy April Foo's Day.

 
At 01 April, 2008, Blogger Janet said...

You've gotta be stoic, you've gotta be overscheduled, you've gotta have blindingly white teeth...*shakes head*

 
At 01 April, 2008, Blogger mrspao said...

Hug. I'm glad you're not stoic.

 
At 01 April, 2008, Blogger Sparkling Red said...

If I ever have to have a hysterectomy, everyone will be invited over to feed me cake once I have recovered.

I once knew a very unlucky girl. She pulled her neck so badly by sneezing that she had to wear a cervical support collar for a week. Then a couple of weeks later, a case of jam fell on her, and she was back in the collar again. I don't know of anyone else who has been injured by jam. The unluckiest part: she didn't miss any work for either injury.

 
At 01 April, 2008, Blogger Sassy Mama Bear said...

A milk jug injury....I don't buy that.
I agree though that at certain times it is important that people stay away from work during heavey emotional times...I think she may be afraid to ask for support and accept it, but never be afraid to offer it.

 
At 02 April, 2008, Blogger Orhan Kahn said...

I often get things stuck in my head when I'm tired, mostly songs, but also sayings.

 
At 06 April, 2008, Blogger HAR said...

My friend at work says "it is what it is" constantly. It drives me batty.

 

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