Now if this is truly my first and only traumatic experience I can recount in my life, then I’m doing pretty well. The story goes like this.
So, I take the MARC train to and from work everyday. The MARC is a commuter train that runs from West Virginia, through Frederick and Montgomery County, and into Washington, DC. In the morning, I board at 7:36am en route to Union Station in Washington, DC. I arrive by 8:30am most days. At the end of the day, I board by 5:15 and usually arrive at Germantown, MD by 6:05pm. Where it goes past Germantown, I do not know. That is not my business.
Well last week it became my business in the most traumatic way.
So when I get on the train, I get all comfy and nestled in my seat. I pull out my iPhone and turn Spotify on to whatever is tickling my fancy at the moment, usually Jason Mraz or Deadmau5 (different, huh?). I digress. Once I show the friendly conductor my ticket, I go to sleep. Now here’s the thing; EVERYONE goes to sleep and EVERYONE wakes up on time for their stop. I’ve mastered this commuter skill as well. I usually will set an alarm for 6:00pm so I’m up in time.
Well on this particular day, my routine was the same. I got on, sat down, put my headphones on, and went to sleep. This time, I woke up as we were pulling off from Germantown station. I immediately went into panic mode. Everything in me said “okay I blew it.” I called my Mom in the most frightening voice and said “Mom, I did something really bad. I missed my stop and I don’t know where I’m going.” Like any mother, she began panicking, but tried to remain calm for my sake. I couldn’t think straight, so I hung up and ran to the nearest open train car so I could attempt to exit. By the time I got there, I almost missed the next stop. The train was beginning to pull off AGAIN as I yelled to the conductor to stop. I ran to him nearly crying and said “I missed my stop in Germantown. Is there anyway I can go back.”
This man looked at me and said “you better get off now, it only gets worse.”
REALLY?! Why would you say that to someone CLEARLY in distress. I hopped off the train and said okay in 5 seconds, I’m going to lose it. And I mean I lost it completely. I was crying hysterically. Mind you, I am not a cryer. It takes a lot to get me to cry and today I reached just the right “a lot.” The rude people around me didn’t cater to my hysteria at all. I called my mom crying hysterically.
Now this was a beautiful mother moment. She kept trying to calm me down and stop me to stop crying and immediately she said “I’ll take care of it.” That’s the amazing thing about parenting. No matter how much your kids act like they don’t need you, when they are at their moment of weakness, you always come through. I always talk about how independent I am, but in that moment the only person who could pull me up by my bootstraps was my mom and she did just that. She asked me where I was an I somehow told her Boyds, MD through my hysteria.
Now for anyone who knows where Boyds is in comparison to Germantown, do not care. I told you earlier, past Germantown is not my business.
So this is where I stood crying by myself in 97 degree weather with four men drinking beer across the tracks.
About three minutes later, my brother called. Of course I’m traumatized, so I don’t want to hear a bunch of foolishness. I pick up to the sound of him mocking my crying. Of course that sets me off even more. After his laugther and my hysteria he finally says.
“Man, do you know where you are.”
“NO! I’m lost and stuck here.”
“You’re in Boyds, MD. That’s 10 minutes from the house.”
Still in my mind, I was in the middle of nowhere in West Virginia. He assured me that he was on the way and everything would be okay. My mom called back trying to calm me down. Eventually I calmed down and started to be normal again.
In that moment, I lost it completely. I couldn’t control myself and lost all faith in myself to resolve the situation on my own. I catastrophized the whole situation into something way more than it had to be. Rather than staying calm and just dealing with it, I lost it. And I lost it real good too. That was the most traumatic experience of my life.
So I learned, Brittany you’ve got to relax. I’m not type A, but I do like to be in control of myself and situations involving me. Because I felt like I lost total control in this situation, I lost all control of me. I felt like I was headed to no man’s land, when I was really 10 minutes up the road. I learned, just breathe and it’ll be okay. I can’t control everything all the time, but just relax and it’ll all be okay.
I haven’t gone to sleep on the train since that day.
When I walked in the house, I could barely open the door before my mom was all over me, hugging me, and making sure I was okay. The mother’s love for her children is incredible. Then she said “aawww I guess I do like you.”
Charlotte always wins.