Every now and then I fall apart

Monday, April 13, 2015

Every now and then I fall apart.

Last week I was laying under my mosquito net next to my sleeping baby totally and utterly exhausted with tears in my eyes. It was one of the worst weeks of my entire life.  It was so bad I’m not even sure you’ll believe me if I told you how bad it was.  It was sad.  It was tragic and it all felt very unfair and overwhelming.

I was thinking about how badly I wanted to quit.  I was fantasizing about packing up a suitcase, getting in the car and driving to the airport.  I was thinking about how I’d get a job as a checkout girl in my hometown’s grocery store for a few months until I figured out my next steps.  I’d ride my bike to work, eat salads every day and get really good at yoga.  Then I remembered my teenagers and my five-year-olds and the fact that Ravi has a really bad diaper rash and how he finally just started eating solids.  Realizing that quitting isn’t even an option only made me feel worse.  I love my job and most days I feel like the luckiest girl on earth but on the hard days, trust me, it’s really hard and it makes me want to run away and live some other life in a world without child marriage, and poverty, and violence, and death, and suffering.

Part of me feels like I’ve already fulfilled my quota of bad things happening. Shouldn’t it stop when you hit a certain number?  Also, if you pour your heart and soul into trying to stop bad things from happening and work hard enough, shouldn’t that somehow safeguard you, too? I wish. 

I cried into my pillow until I couldn’t cry anymore.  I took some deep breaths, inhaled some lavender, and put my favorite song on repeat. Then I opened up my Instagram thinking I would escape reality for a few minutes and feel better knowing that there is a whole world out there focused on nutritious recipes, fashion, and beaches.     

Somehow out of the 500 people I follow on Instagram, the first picture that flashed up on my screen posted only seconds before, was of Elizabeth Gilbert announcing her karaoke challenge for BlinkNow.  She told her fans that if they could raise $10,000, she’d match it and sing the song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on stage in NYC.  In that moment of hopelessness and despair and feeling like my spirit had been trampled on, I couldn’t help but smile.  A woman I deeply admire, singing a song I love, standing in solidarity with me.  I couldn’t have dreamed up a better message from the universe if I tried.  If that’s not magic, I’m not sure what is.

I did the only thing I could last week.  I sang Total Eclipse of the Heart and silly danced with my children and watched from afar as Liz Gilbert did the same.  What followed was an outpouring of support and encouragement and the kindest of words, and our one of biggest fundraising efforts, and me getting to see a woman I love and admire get up on stage and stand up for our cause. 

The good news and positivity was the only thing that kept me going the next morning when I woke up to the news that one of the members of our Women's Center had died. She was a single mom who had been turning her life around with a full-time job as a seamstress in our shop, and it was far too early for her to go. As I was sinking into the sadness of her death, the announcement from CNN Heroes came and the second outpouring of love and support started rolling in. I don't know how it's possible that so much good and so much bad can be all rolled together in so few days, but I guess that’s just the crazy unpredictable world we live in.

The work we do is not about the recognition.  We share our story with the hopes that it will spread goodness and show everyone that together we can change the world and make this place better.  And I guess the bad things remind me of what our work is all about and why we share our story.  I'm so sorry I can't go into any more details about what we've been going through at the moment.  All I can say is the world needs us and there is so much to do.

I also want to say thank you for showing me the good that exists in the world when I was starting to feel like it was gone.  I went from wanting to quit to feeling uplifted and supported and loved and like I had a whole team and an entire family around the world cheering for me.  You are all such an integral part of our work, our mission, and what we stand for.

I needed you all last week.  I needed you that night.  I needed you more than ever.  And if you’d only hold me tight… hahaha. 

I love you all so much.


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