For the last two weeks, I’ve been working as a teacher’s assistant at my college’s graphic design class for middle-schoolers, which, um, was exhausting. After work on Monday, I came home and immediately passed out in my backyard hammock under the avocado tree. When I woke up, I glanced at the corner of the yard where we keep bikes. My yellow cruiser wasn’t there. Stolen.

I love my objects and keep a healthy distance from them, since everything dies one day and the invisible things are what’s most important…but this does not extend to my bike! My bike is forever mine, and that is a truth. I feel like the laws of the universe have been broken. In a rare moment, I really don’t want to talk about it anymore. But the event set the tone for the week.

When bad things happen, my mind sets off like a slinky. I decided that I was very upset with my weight again, a really boring problem that no one should ever cut me any slack for, because I’M FINE I SHOULD GET OVER IT. I felt so low-energy while teaching the kids at camp, which left this pit of disappointment in my stomach. I didn’t perform anywhere near my best. I could have been the cool TA! I have so much potential to be a preteen’s hero, and I want that so badly. Instead, I whiffed my opportunity completely.

So the negative vibes go slinking. All this ugly thought manifested in some intense self-blame. I was chastising myself for having a fragile positivity that depends entirely on external events. I tried everything to get happy: a night in the letterpress studio, cleaning my room, exercise, Clueless and a bottle of wine. I couldn’t force myself back to normal.

I spent a lot of my teenage years feeling defeated and self-loathing, and I hated it. It made me lazy and sad. That’s why I have so little patience with myself right now. Grown-up me doesn’t have room for this, because there’s no time to waste being angry anymore.

Life just seems too good to be true most of the time, and weeks like these are the reality check. It’s a fine line between indulging an emotion and actually resting in a feeling, but I’m learning that it’s important to be there for myself without judgment if I’m wading through an emotional shit swamp. There was nothing I could do this week to get out of my bummer zone. But by Saturday, my work week was over, and I had a plane ticket back to Seattle, which made me happier. So maybe that’s the lesson: I let myself be sad, and for once, I didn’t hate myself for it. ♦