3 February 2012

I'm fine.

Sitting in the toilet paper aisle on the floor of a supermarket with my head resting against a 9-roll pack of Andrex, I realise I’ve hit rock bottom.

Well, at least I'm in the right place, I think, opening up a box of Kleenex and blowing my nose. I know my eyes are red, my cheeks a pale blotchy pink. I know I'm crying in a supermarket, I know people are staring. 
I don't care.
I'm letting it out.
Isn't that what everyone says to do? Let it all out, don't bottle everything up.

I look down at the laminate floor of the supermarket. I like the way it glitters under the superficial strip lighting. I move my head to the left, then back to the right again, squinting until the sparkles soften and blur into a single glassy tear that runs away with itself and surprises me.

I'm probably not fine, I think as I take another tissue from the box. I say it really quietly in my mind- almost whispering the thought.

It's a fairly significant moment, considering I'm in a supermarket surrounded by toilet rolls. I take a short, sharp breath that sounds a little like a hiccup.

Perhaps spontaneous crying isn't normal. Maybe they were right.

The aisle is clear, everything has gone quiet.

I bet they're all avoiding me. Like when someone drops a jam jar or bottle of red wine on the floor. Everyone clears off sharpish, leaving a sad mess amongst shards of glass, staining with a dark disillusionment; those dreams of being so much more splattered up discount signs and shelving units.

I peer up the aisle. 

I half expect someone to walk down with a mop and bucket. Holding one of those yellow slippery surface signs tucked under their arm to put up around me.
But no one comes. 
The shelves across the aisle seem to loom over me. I feel suddenly small. My eyes flick up to the rows upon rows of branded cleaning products. The bright gaudy colours and cheap labels that scream for my attention.
I look at them all; naming, shaming, blaming.
My heart palpitates. A roll of nausea sweeps from my chest, teetering on the tip of my tongue.


I hiss out the letters slowly, my tongue releasing the tension, like air escaping from the neck of a too-puffed-up balloon. For a moment, I revel in that tiny bit of control.
Because I just didn't think it could belong to me. I never wanted that label.

It's ok. I'm fine. 

I wipe the hair that has stuck to my forehead with the back of a clammy hand; it comforts me slightly. I close my eyes, rising to my feet. I will myself not to cry.


  1. In this neck of the woods, when there's a broken jar or spilled milk in an area of a supermarket, the voice over the intercom inevitably says: Clean up on aisle two!

    This was beautifully rendered, Lizzie. And despite all those "nutty, losing it" labels, you've cleaned up your thoughts brilliantly. I think there are times in our lives where spontaneous crying is not only normal, it is absolutely necessary. Ride those waves, they'll lead you to safe harbor. And breathe!

  2. Nobody cries alone in my world. I wouldn't scatter if I saw you. I'd be the one plucking the kleenex box off the shelf, and we'd sit down and have a nice healthy howl together.
    No explanations necessary, and no need to convince me that you'e "just fine."

  3. you are invited to follow my blog

  4. Jayne - True! Thank you. This was written about a time when I was afraid of letting it out. I love letting it out now. You're right - it is absolutely necessary!

    Nessa Roo - That is lovely. Thank you. Keep being just like that. The world (and supermarket aisles) need more people just like you. :)

  5. Good for you! Seriously. I still have yet to learn to cry or let go and I'm 64. It gets to be a pain at times, and then I get angry at all the wrong things. So, I think crying when you need to cry is rather a blessing.

  6. This made me want to ball you up into a hug on my lap. Much the same way I cuddle my wee ones. Bravo for posting this. Hugs.

  7. It can happen to anyone, anywhere. Thankfully your realization came where you could blow your nose and wipe your tears. Could have been messy anywhere else! (just kidding). Depression is there. It's how you deal with it that matters. Hugs.

  8. Really sad post; in the best way.

  9. A couple of weeks ago I could feel myself falling back into old patterns. I was crying everyday and felt I was letting everyone down. Just knowing and understanding I suffer with depression and anxiety now I have been correctly diagnosed is enough to help me talk about it and open up when I need to. I could relate to so much in your post. x

  10. I think thats a really sad blog - yet, somehow I just get it! I shall enjoy following you and I hope if you read it MY blog will make you smile occasionally.
    It will soon be spring and hopefully we'll all feel a little less miserable,
    Liz x

  11. I'm going through that right now. I also believe in letting it out. I've suffered depression and anxiety from keeping people's secrets. Crying is good for the soul after all.

    ps. found your blog via The Domesticated Bohemian's tribute to 'Charlie'.

  12. nothing wrong with lettin' it all hang out...we are only human and sometimes that is the best way to come to some sort of conclusion or solution...
    what suprises me though is that nobody in the entire supermarket came up to you and said 'hey love, are you ok? can i help you?' that is something that saddens me more...
    oh and thank you for the kind comments on my movie posts..i think it was hehe :)

  13. oh yeah i accidently knocked two big bottles of tomato sauce on the supermarket floor last week and it went looked like a CSI murder scene as i *gulp* scurried away..i did report it though, saying that someone had an accident in aisle that kinda makes it ok doesnt it? it woulda been a bitch to clean up...

  14. Beautifully written. And next time it happens, even if everybody nearby ignores you, you'll know that there are dozens of us here in the blogosphere reaching out to give you a hug.xx

  15. Rubye Jack - Thank you, and lovely to meet you! Yes, bottling it all up is never good, always stresses me out too...

    dis.func.tion - Thanks so much. *hug right back*

    Barb' - So very true. And deal with it, we must!

    Dicky - Thank you.

    Happy Frog - It's the falling back into it that makes us feel like we've failed us, and everyone around us. But in fact, I admire you even more for being brave enough to admit you are normal, and have those low points as well as the high ones. x

  16. Liz - Hello! Thanks so much for stopping by and following. Glad you liked the post. I'll pop over to your blog too!

    Luna - Welcome! I'm so glad you found me. Keep being strong and letting it all out. Dont knot up those secrets for too long. Thanks for your comment.

    Dan - Haha! You do make me laugh. Ketchup is messy business - well done for reporting! No, people dont often like to get involved do they? Mind you, perhaps if I'd seen me all snotty in the toilet roll aisle, I might have avoided me too! ;)

    Andi - Lovely to meet you! I'll be smiling, promise!

    Sharon - Thank you. Love all you bloggers - what support! I'm a lucky girl. x

  17. Found this to be a very honest post. Thanks for your bravery in posting it.

  18. This was a beautifully written post - so open and such a difficult subject to write about as well.

  19. ND Mitchell - Thank you. I believe we should be open about these things. It only makes it easier.

    Sensible Footwear - Big thank you. I really appreciate your comment.

    1. Such a wonderfully honest post. I've never actually "broken down" in public, but is it strange that I've sometimes wanted to?
      Words worth reading.