The year just started and after getting swept up in the “New Year, new me” excitement, I quickly fell back to reality as I sat on my 3-day delayed plane back to school. I spent much of my day in the airport catching up on e-mails and syllabus reading, as weather delayed my flight so I missed the first day of class. I tried to relax, but I was actually incredibly stressed already missing the first day. I mean, the year couldn’t really start like this could it?
I got back to school and each passing hour seemed like a bigger frenzy, between planning interviews for stories for the coming two weeks and practice schedules and classes already taking off. I played a long game of catch-up and desired the weekend more than ever just so I could have a few calming hours to organize myself. Feeling rushed and overwhelmed is my least favorite feeling, it’s like forgetting the words to your favorite song while watching everyone else sing along.
Thursday night rolled around and I finally started to breathe, just one more day. I only have one class Friday, so I can really do it. In 24 hours you’ll breathe, I kept reminding myself. But like a boulder, I felt like everything came tumbling down on top of me.
I had a pretty rough practice, I got into a fight with someone who used to be a close friend to me, I spilled a full cup of milk all over the rug in the dining hall and I walked into a glass door and I’m almost convinced I got a minor concussion. I got into my car Thursday night and rested my forehead against my steering wheel, but immediately pulled back in pain.
The tears just started to roll down my face and all of a sudden I couldn’t stop them. I reeked of spilled milk and sweat and my head was pounding. My inner self felt like an awful person for having ended a long-term friendship and I really just didn’t know where along the course of that past week I lost control of what seemed like my whole life. Instead of just forgetting the words to my favorite song, I felt like I lost my voice too. I sat in the parking lot for a while before calming myself down and driving home.
When I got home, one of my roommates could tell something was off. She asked what was wrong and I just shrugged it off like it was nothing. As she pushed, I eventually told her I walked into a glass door and my head was pounding with pain and it had just been a long day. She stepped closer and looked at my forehead and said, “Don’t worry love, it’s just a small bump. No one will even notice,” and then walked out.
I looked at my stinky, worn-down reflection in the mirror and felt the bump on my head again. It was really small, for as hard as I hit my head. I slowly peeled my sticky, sweaty clothes off and sat in the shower and started to cry a little more. It’s only the first week, I told myself. You can’t possibly handle 15 more weeks like this.
And anyway, it really is just a small bump.
I didn’t do much homework that night, I just put on my favorite pair of sweatpants and crawled into bed and had one of the deepest most fulfilling sleeps I’d had in a while. When I woke up the next morning, I kept repeating what my roommate had said. Don’t worry love; it’s just a small bump.
In retrospect, it really is just a small bump that disappeared quickly after. The whole day was just a small bump. And in telling the story to my mom the next day I was able to laugh about my clumsiness. Sometimes, we just have that one-day of the year or that one person in this whole big universe that tries to drag us down.
But here’s something incredible; words do hold power. Words hold power to destroy us but they also hold power to turn our attitudes around. Words can be the band-aids to our wounds, no matter how big or small. Remember, don’t worry love, it’s just a small bump.