I reacted very badly to the pumpkin arrangement disaster. After I picked up the flowers from the floor and tossed them back onto the mantle, I burst into sobs. And I sobbed for ten, hard minutes.
It quickly became apparent to me that I was not crying over the ruin crafts project. It was just a craft, after all, and not really that badly ruined. The pumpkin frame had not broken or bent, and even though the flowers were all pulled out and lightly nibbled upon, the whole thing could be restored. It would probably only take 20 minutes or so to rearrange it. But I couldn't even stand the thought of starting over last night. So instead I sobbed.
What, then, did the ruined craft represent for me? After smearing my mascara all over Patrick's shoulder, we tried to talk it out. Was I too stressed? Overwhelmed? Did I feel as though I wouldn't be able to get ahead or stay ahead? Were we spending enough time together?
This is the best I have come up with: I have a lot of work to do. Hours of reading, classes, and a major paper to write over the next 10 weeks. And I had just come home from a really fun evening with friends. I was at a high in the midst of a mountain of stressors. And to come home and find my efforts ruined (efforts on a project I was so proud of because it was something new and hard for me to do well) it came like a punch to the stomach. The contrast was too much. It doesn't matter how hard I work or how well I think I'm doing, it all falls apart.
I think that's what the arrangement meant to me. Tonight I will try to put it back together again, like I always do.