The first time I cried at work in the bathroom was because on my commute I saw my now ex-boyfriend doing what he was meant to be doing, and realized I wasn’t.
It had been a bad morning to begin with. Edwin had jumped out of bed at 6:30am, swished on his clothes, kissed me on the cheek, and sprinted to meet his team. They were organizing a pop up outside Holborn tube station where they would serve Nude pour-over coffee while asking people to talk about how they were feeling slash promoting their mental health startup. He was making it happen.
I, however, could not get out of bed. I played out the morning routine in my head. I moved my legs and pulled myself to sit up. It was too much. I curled into a ball, and replayed the routine. You need to get out of bed, you’re going to support Edwin at his pop up. I fell back to sleep.
9:04am. Fuck, I need to get going. Went through the motions, ran out the door, and spontaneously decided to explore a new way to work. Then spontaneously decided to get a bougie overpriced latte at a trendy coffee shop before remembering. . . Edwin. I was meant to support Edwin! I was going to get a free pour-over coffee from Edwin, and support him, and be the good girlfriend I am and it was going to be a great day.
I dashed out the shop and began to run, the latte sloshing all over my sweater. I had found my meaning.
After sprinting nearly a mile, I saw him. Edwin and his colleague were standing behind a table. Edwin’s eyes were wide and excited as he watched the coffee dripping into the cups when a man in the most perfect green leather jacket with spotless skin arrived.
“Can I have a free coffee?” he said.
“Only if you tell me a problem first.” The man looked confused. “You can pay for the coffee by sharing a problem from your life. We’re a start up trying to get people to talk about their feelings more.”
“Oh, okay, well… I don’t really see my girlfriend enough.”
“Why is that?” Edwin asked. And the man continued on, he seemed relieved to have been asked. “Well, work is important to me, and I’m doing really well. But…”
While watching Edwin do his thing, I felt this ripple of an emotion. I felt so proud of Edwin, and something else, something scary. I didn’t even hug him, and he didn’t seem to care that I was there. I waved, and walked to my office.
I didn’t go to my desk, I went straight into the toilet and cried. Oh, how do open up to him when he already holds all the problems of London. I didn’t feel good enough. I didn’t feel I deserved his time and attention. I couldn’t believe that man behind the table was the same person I woke up with almost every morning. I felt this wave, the first wave I realize now. This was the moment I realized that I was no longer doing what I was meant to be doing; this was the beginning of my third depression.
It would take me four more months and many more tears to find the strength to listen to my own heart. Isn’t that cheesy? My own heart. But there is no better description for the strange sensation of feeling like you no longer belong in a place that used to feel like home.
Image by Rochelle Roberts