I wish I could unlearn this thing where I find it so excruciating to have a bad day publicly.
It's not that I think people perceive me to be perfect--I'm certain they don't--or that I feel as if I have to be perfect all the time. My parents very much raised me with a sense that FALLING APART IS A PRIVATE MATTER and YOU MUST PUT ON A BRAVE FACE and it stuck, in a way that so many other lessons didn't. It's the same part of me that just doesn't know how to ask for help. And so when I'm having a bad day, I hide, and if I can't hide for whatever reason, my horror and mortification make everything orders of magnitude worse, and I find myself reassuring people that EVERYTHING IS OK or offering excuses like I am throwing anything I can behind me until I can just get away.
And it's terrible and dumb because, first of all, I'm not that good a liar: people can probably tell when I am feeling like an utter wreck. Second, often the people to whom I am protesting, the people I'm seeking escape from, are mostly friends, people who almost certainly care about me and want to help me and don't feel incredibly put upon if I betray some human weakness, right? Third, IT'S NOT RATIONAL AND IT MAKES ME FEEL WORSE. Fourth, AAAAAAARGH.
Anyway, any time I'm feeling this (which is often, y'all; I have a lot of bad days), I always think of this bit from Iowa, by Dar Williams, where she sings, "You know, I come from a people who never mean to bother / We don't like to make our passions other people's concern / So we live in a world of safe people / And at night we walk into our houses and burn".
Lord, I am burning.