Then Everything Fell Apart

This blog post first appeared over at - you can read more about Allison there! 

Have you ever felt like life just sort of gets away with you?

It's like, you're going along just fine — handling the little bumps in the road the way people handle the bumps in the road — rolling with the punches, keeping your little to-do list handy, checking things off diligently as you go, taking a deep breath at the end of the day and reminding yourself, "everybody feels tired sometimes" and that everything is going to be okay.

photo: Creative Commons, veggiefrog 

You actually even pat yourself on the back a little. Because, hey, life is hard. At least you're up for the challenge.

But then everything falls apart.

Someone gets sick, or maybe multiple people get sick, or you're faced with a task you're sure you're not qualified for, or reminded of grief that's been lying dormant for too long, and suddenly the little "bumps" in the road don't feel like bumps anymore. They feel like mountains. And whether they are mountains or not doesn't matter. Because to you they seem like it, and you're taking them at ninety miles per hour (after all, you're trying to keep up). 

Sometimes I wish life would slow down for my speed mountains. Sometimes I feel a little ill from the jolt of it all. Sometimes it feels like my car is missing pieces. Meanwhile, I'm speeding along, trying to pretend it doesn't matter.

"Don't mind me! I'll just be making a to-do list over here!"

Do you ever feel like that? Or is it just  me?

It's the weirdest thing. I keep giving myself these little motivational speeches. I keep saying: Ally. (Really serious like that). If you can just push a little harder, run a little faster, muster up a little more courage — you can make this all happen by yourself. Meanwhile the e-mails stack up, the commitments fall through, the balls I'm juggling fall out of the air and I'm so far behind I'm realizing (slowly) there is no chance I'll ever get completely caught up.

And then everything just falls apart.

The funny part about all of this is, when I think about it, I realize none of this is actually as bad as I make it sound. It's not as bad as it feels in the moment. Nothing really has fallen apart. Everything that matters is still intact. The things that have unraveled probably should have unraveled. They were bound to unravel sooner or later.

After all, there's only so much a girl can do.

And this feeling I'm feeling — like everything has fallen apart — isn't as much about my life falling apart as it is about my coping mechanisms falling apart, if you ask me. This is about my to-do list is being exposed as the fraud that it is — a cover-up for feeling like I don't have what it takes. This is about the band-aid being ripped off, uncovering the wound that says: even if I offered all of myself, it wouldn't be enough.

So maybe the falling apart is a good thing. Maybe that's why it happens in cycles for me. Maybe its because I need something more than a pep talk, more than a dose of courage and a to-do list and a fresh band-aid for the wound.

Maybe I need to start over.

Maybe you do, too.

Here's my new "pep talk" for myself, staring, well, today: Ally. (This time with a goofy grin on my face). Quit taking yourself so seriously all the time. You're just a girl. The world does not depend on you. You are deeply loved. Everything is going to be okay. This is your life. Enjoy every minute.