Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What is it called when...?

I can’t quite put my finger on the word/phrase that I’m looking for to describe my emotional state last week.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back” comes to mind but is not exactly it.

So, I’m hoping someone else can help me remember and/or create an expression to aptly describe the way I felt because I'm sure to feel it again.

Last week was just one of those weeks. I was sorting through different things in my head (and prayers), and I had just finished responding to a personal e-mail (if I would refrain from doing this at work, I could help avoid this situation….but sitting at a computer all day means that I need some fun distractions….if nothing else, to avoid falling asleep). Writing the e-mail was kind of emotionally draining, and I had my mind in emotional mode rather than legal/work mode.

I had had a misunderstanding with a co-worker (technically a boss), and he came in my office to talk about it. It was certainly no big deal. It was just a minor misunderstanding that I wanted to clear up immediately…handling personal conflict is something I am really striving to improve upon. So as he was apologizing and we were talking, I just started crying. And crying. And I couldn’t stop. And I couldn’t really talk. I was trying to explain that my crying was not in response to our misunderstanding. Although the situation with him was stressful, it was about a 4 on the 10 point stressor scale. It was certainly not something that would normally warrant a sobbing session to the point I can’t talk in front of one of my bosses. NOT fun.

While that experience was every bit as awesome as it sounds, it really ended up being not a big deal (I had both eyeliner and concealer with me that day). Sure my co-worker thinks I’m going to kill myself because of our minor misunderstanding….seriously though, I’ve been most preoccupied with trying to determine what the word/phrase is to describe this situation.

When I visualize it I see a glass full of water (representing my emotions). When something is dropped in it, no matter how small (like a misunderstanding with a coworker), water spills out. It’s like the threshold has been met. Does anyone have any idea of how to encapsulate what I’m describing in the form of a word or phrase?

5 comments:

kimberly said...

I call it the Tipping Point. That happens to me all the time in supervision. I think being in a job where I'm taking in people's feelings all day makes me full to the brim and then as soon as someone seems caring and interested in ME, the tipping point happens and I start crying about things that aren't really that upsetting under normal circumstances. So you are not alone there!!! To me it's a sign that I need to take care of myself or just have a good cry or get some therapy of my own (friend therapy, retail therapy, Little Debbie therapy - my favorite is Oatmeal Creme Pies). I am going to try my best to come to Macon this weekend so I'll give you a call - let's have some good dessert and watch a good movie or something!

MegMagee said...

Actually Allison, Guillaume told me that there is a French expression that perfectly explains what you felt. The French have an expression for everything. The expression is "la goutte d'eau qui fait déborder le vase" (the
waterdrop that makes the vase spill). Maybe you were French in a former life! Sorry I won't get to see you at Amanda's wedding, but I'll look forward to seeing you when I am back in Atlanta.

spam_price said...

I realize that must have been an awkward situation for both you and your co-worker/boss. But I have to say that I envy you. That ability to allow the emotion to come out like that, even if you were at your breaking point is something that I think a lot of guys find challenging. Or at least it manifests itself in different ways then, "a good cry". You rarely will hear that coming from a guy.

I'm not someone that feels a great deal of pressure to live up to societal norms, so I think it goes deeper than just not wanting to appear weak. I don't know what it is, but I envy the woman that is able to experience that outpouring of emotion so that her glass can be refilled. Men I believe just make the glass bigger, so it can hold more.

RJJ said...

The phrase may be "the last straw" or perhaps that is now the one you are looking for since they are pretty much the same

Aaron said...

I know what you mean. When my glass is full, I reach for a larger glass.