“I needed saving
and a good mistake needed making.”– From Waitress The Musical
The summer when I was pregnant, I decided to take a solo adventure.
My husband was at work, I was on a reluctant sick leave, and I spent most of my days sleeping in until 1:00pm due to severe anxiety and depression, going to the gym for an hour, and then sitting on the couch endlessly watching YouTube videos until my husband came home.
But, one day, I felt like I could venture further than my little condo building. I purchased a single ticket to see the musical Waitress (with music by a forever favourite, Sara Bareilles) and travelled downtown on my beloved, often delayed TTC to the Ed Mirvish Theatre. I showed my ticket, purchased myself one of the speciality pies they were selling in honour of the musical, and settled in to enjoy an unconventional romance.
The guilt was real and unshakeable that day.
As I mentioned, I was on sick leave from my work and had been since April, 2 months after finding out I was pregnant. The circumstances of my leave notwithstanding, I felt incredibly guilty about having to leave my position, and this haunted feeling of not living up to my responsibilities stayed with me until months into my son’s birth. On this particular day, I felt so bad that I was sitting in a theatre watching a play when I should’ve been getting yelled at by an overbearing client – or indeed, been getting yelled at by my own colleague and former best friend – instead of actually smiling and enjoying myself.
My psychiatrist said this was absolutely false, and I now see that she was right. I was suffering with the worst bout of mental illness I had ever known, I was heavily pregnant, and I needed escape. My mind deserved a rest, a respite, and music has always been my saving grace. My psychiatrist was proud of me for taking this opportunity to go out on my own and do something positive for myself…but me, I was decidedly not proud.
And then, the profound and forceful ballad “I Didn’t Plan It” was sung, and my heart thumped uncontrollably. The premise of this song was not at all similar to my own life situation, and yet, the lyrics spoke to me on an intimate level. In particular, the line quoted above kept replaying in my head throughout the entire subway ride home, and I found myself downloading the song as soon as I connected to Wifi to listen to it better.
This idea that sometimes a “mistake” needs to be made in order to free the person making it really resonated with me. Of course, the lyrics rightly imply that what exactly constitutes a mistake is highly subjective. Many people told me that going on sick leave was NOT a mistake, and ultimately, they were right. But my former best friend would’ve told you it was the worst thing I possibly could’ve done, abandoning her and my other colleagues. What she thinks doesn’t matter, though, now does it? Because the bottom line was that I needed to save myself (and my unborn child); my brain knew it needed a release, an escape, and whether I myself viewed that as a mistake at the time or anyone else did, it was in the end the best and most right decision.
So don’t be afraid of making “mistakes”…be afraid of not staying true to yourself. Sometimes mistakes can actually be good for you, especially if they remove you from the box that confines and tries to strangle you. If you’re looking out for and saving yourself and the ones you love, then I believe a mistake can never truly be that.
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