So, maybe a week ago my friend Kaija told me about a holiday craft market that’s coming up. Brand new thing, first year they’re doing it. The tables are expensive but they let you share, so I forwarded the info to The Veteran (who is also a craftsperson) to see if she wanted to go halfsies.
She kept emailing me back asking for more details, which irked me because DUDE just click the damn link I sent. But the website is a sprawling mess and I figured maybe she was out and about and wanted me to feed her the pertinent points instead of digging through the shitty website on her phone while on the bus or whatever. But she was game to participate.
Yesterday I looked over our email thread and realized, shit, I actually didn’t send her a link to their website. I thought I had, but I guess not. So I apologized and sent it then.
This morning I had to drop by The Veteran’s place to pick up some baggies for a project. She texted me asking if I was gonna arrive on schedule, etc. Her tone seemed curt and “off” and she said she needed me to be on time because she was really stressed for time, trying to prepare for this craft fair etc. Then a few minutes later she said it was actually too stressful and she didn’t want to do it. I told her I understood, no worries, etc.
When I got to her place she was palpably cold toward me. I got the baggies and went to leave and she was like “Actually, I have something I need to say.”
And she went on to say that she wasn’t bowing out of the craft market because she was stressed over the event itself, she was bowing out because she wanted to have a website up to refer customers to and she didn’t. And then she burst into tears and said she was in a self-hate spiral because she didn’t manage to get that done. I sympathized; I know all about procrastination and self-hate spirals. And she lit into me for not having sent her that link sooner. I told her I genuinely thought I had and I was sorry I was mistaken. She said “BUT I PROMPTED YOU!” I said yeah, she’d asked me to tell her more details, but honestly I just thought she was being lazy or whatever. I’ve had many, many encounters with people who ignore links I give them and want to be personally spoonfed the information (I didn’t say it to her like that though).
She then went on a huge, teary rant about how if she’d known all the info sooner, she could’ve gotten at least a rudimentary website together, and she just gets so sick and tired of people who waste her time. Meaning her ex-boyfriend whom she’d been trying to get to help her with a website but who kept flaking, I think – but also I’m pretty sure she meant me. And she was like “Oh great, now I’m crying and crying always fucks me right up and makes me unproductive for the rest of the day” like that was my fault.
She said that she really really wanted to do the craft fair and was pissed to be missing out on the opportunity just because she doesn’t have a website yet. Now, I myself have dismissed a thing as “undoable” before because I was hung up on some imaginary barrier. I thought maybe that’s what was happening here. So I tried to give The Veteran a piece of advice Kaija gave me once that I still revisit often to preserve my sanity: “Don’t let ‘perfect’ be the enemy of ‘good enough.'” But she was not having it, and interrupted me to keep on ranting. I said “Look, all I’m saying is it might not be the end of the world if you just write your email address on a piece of paper for people instead of having a whole website to refer them to.” She interrupted me to yell that no, she needs a website and she won’t do any craft fairs without one and there’s not enough time to get one ready and her ex isn’t getting back to her and blarrrrrgh.
I just sat there nodding and saying “It must be frustrating,” because it didn’t seem like The Veteran was capable of rational discussion at the moment. And actually at the time I even kind of bought into her idea that shit was my fault, for not having sent her that link like I thought I did. Only after I left her place did I realize – what actual difference does it make? I didn’t fuckin’ move Christmas so the craft fair opportunities caught her unawares. I told her about this particular craft fair the same day I found out about it. If she refuses to do a craft fair – any craft fair – until she has a website done, then what does linking her to the actual event site have to do with anything? She’s known for a week that there would be a craft fair. She dropped the ball and didn’t accomplish what she’d hoped to accomplish. I completely understand that she’s upset with herself for procrastinating so long – I’m sure she’s probably been telling herself “get a site done before the Christmas rush” for months now and not getting around to it – but THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.
If she’d just gone on a tearful rant in general, I would have supported her wholeheartedly. I still did try to be supportive – but I feel like she was kind of throwing a toddler tantrum and blaming me for her shortcomings. And I’m not sure how to get past this. I don’t think I can gloss over this and just keep on being friends with her – I think once she’s cooled off, if she doesn’t apologize of her own accord, I’ll have to say something – but I’m not sure how to broach the subject.
I’m frankly surprised that she’s acting like this. She’s almost my age, and although she has mental health issues I did think she was self-aware and together enough to know that her issues are her own, and not to use other people as her emotional punching bag.
And by the way, lest we forget, I have mental health issues, too, and after The Veteran was done berating me, bursting into tears, and telling me that my negligence triggered some kind of hate spiral, I was all fucked up and tearful and drained, too – and I didn’t goddamn do anything to actually deserve any of this.
I’ve been getting a lot of modelling work lately, by the way; I’ve been working multiple 12 hour days that leave me physically and mentally exhausted, and have felt like I’m on the verge of some kind of breakdown on numerous occasions. And I guilt myself out because I’ve been working when probably I should’ve been preparing my business for Christmas instead. And I’m not on disability, like The Veteran is – I don’t get a thousand dollars handed to me every month – I have to work for every single dollar I get, and I’m counting on doing brisk holiday business so I can pay my rent when the modelling jobs dry up in December and January (and hopefully have savings to get me through at least some of the summer dry spell, too). Christmas sales aren’t a nice extra for me. I need this in order to survive and stay out of debt. And every time someone calls me for an emergency modelling shift I’m faced with the dilemma of, do I do it and take the $60 of guaranteed, in-my-hand cash, or do I pass that up to draw more greeting card and magnet designs that might make me hundreds of dollars over the coming month – but also might not? And no matter which option I pick, my anxiety-riddled brain tells me I done fucked up.
So I’ve been dealing with all of that and now I’m also supposed to feel like I made The Veteran procrastinate on her whole website thing, and made her cry, and made her hate herself, and made her unable to be productive for the rest of the day.