That one time I cried in a coffee shop


It's taken me over a year to share this story. In sharing this, I desire to help others going through a similar struggle to know they are not alone, and to see that with darkness there is beautiful light. November 2015

I could feel the tears warming in my eyes. Nooo, not here. Not right now. Not in PUBLIC!

A week had passed since I was fired from my first full-time job.

Mascara smeared down my face. Fuck, I shouldn't have worn makeup today. My throat closed up as I sucked in tears.

Don't do this here!! Now you're crying in a coffee shop? My god, get it together. 

Scott sat across the hi-rise table, tilting his hot chocolate mug as he bent forward - "What's wrong? Are you okay?" Poor Scott, sitting with me while I'm barely holding it together. By now he's got to think I'm crazy. For god's sake, I'm crying in a coffee shop!

I covered my face from the stares. I could feel them. Whispers of weeping slipped out of my mouth, attracting the eyes of curious strangers, sipping their coffee as they caught the morning show.

You're so stupid, and so embarrassing! Let's go, everyone's looking.

Trying to quiet the voice in my head, I pierced my lips together and sucked my breath in. No more peeps allowed. Don't cry. Not yet. Get out. With my breath hidden in my chest, we stood up. Picking up my bright red laptop bag, I rolled up my charging cable, and shamefully walked through the room of strangers into the snow - mascara smudges and all.

In the car, I held that air deep in my chest. I really didn't want to let anything out. It would hurt too much. Holding in that air was all the control I had.

Scott looked over, asking what was wrong. I released the tears. Released the toxic words - out loud.

"I'm not good enough. I don't matter."

Words that came out of my mouth. Out into the open.

"I'm not doing anything of purpose. I'm worthless."

Out again, and again.

"I'm stupid! I am so stupid. How could I let this happen?" 

Words that needed out. OUT. They needed to be out of me. Once they were out, I saw how silly they were, and how manipulative they could be.

Then breathe filled my lungs, for what felt like the first time in my whole life. It was new. I had space, space for this breathe and stillness. The calm after the storm.

A week before, that same day I was let go, I wrote this reminder to myself:

It’s grey out today - the cloud-covered sky, frozen dead trees, and sandy snow. But, it’s okay. That greyness, sadness, it’s temporary. Life keeps moving, and soon it’ll be sunny out with the sky shining, trees blooming, snow melting. It’s life.

On the day I wrote that, I did not understand what this meant. I just wrote it. Now, I do understand - at least a little bit more than back then. In another year and a bit, I'll understand even more - and so will you.

You will be okay, more than okay, for what has happened did and what will come will come. Throughout, you are you, which will always be more than enough.