So empty it’s broken

When I was in high school my dad used to preach at me about not letting my gas tank run completely out.  And I always did.  I always pushed it wayyy to close to the line and coasted into the station on fumes.

And then one day, on the side of the road, the car just refused to go.  No fumes.  No nothing.  Done.  I had to call my dad and while he bitched at me for the entire half hour it took to come get me, he came, filled me up and thank God my fuel pump was OK.  Because apparently, I could have “ruined the entire fucking engine!! and do you have any IDEA how lucky you are!?!?!”

I’m on the side of the road again.  On empty.  Beyond E, actually.

Except now I don’t know who to call.  And if they came, I’m not sure the fuel pump wouldn’t be broken.  I’m afraid I just may be “ruining the entire fucking thing” because I just. can’t. go.  I’ve got no more gas left to give.

I used to get run down and need a little break.  I used to come home from work and need an hour – maybe even two – of quiet time and veg time in front of the TV.  I used to go outside and have a cigarette when I needed to decompress for a minute or two.  I used to, once in a while, have a girl’s night out to just “get away” and “recharge”.

I used to coast in on fumes just in time for a fill up, and that used to work.

But I am so empty now it hurts.  I am too empty to make it to the station.  I cannot give anymore.  I just. can’t.

And my poor husband.  I don’t have it in me right now to nurture him.  I don’t have it in me to comfort him and reassure him and explain to him that I’m not leaving… for good.  It’s like an out of body experience where I can SEE what he needs from me… bu I just. can’t.  I don’t want to.  I don’t want to try and work and save my marriage right now.  I just don’t want to try that hard on anyone else but me.

Me.  Just me.  That’s all I want to handle.  My needs.  My wants.  My whims and urges and fantasies.  What do I want to do?  Where do I want to go?  What do I want to spend the rest of MY life doing?  Or just, for the love of God, the rest of MY night?


No doctor’s or dentist’s or lunch money or pictures.  No conferences or training wheels or potty training or speech therapists.  No chore lists or bed time stories or bath times or teeth brushing.  Unless, you know, I want to… for a bit.

No cat vomit.  No laundry.  No dishes or counters or floors.  No pee on the foot of the toilet.  No linens that haven’t been changed.  No storage room that needs to be organized or taxes that need to be filed.  No budgets to write, no bills to pay, no deposits to make or registers to balance.

Just. no.

No. more.

I’m sitting here, on the side of the road, at that space behind the E.  And I’m scared to death that I may ruin everything – my marriage, my family, my life… because I can’t see past a primal instinct to cut and run and leave the fucker sit on the side of the road while I sprint to an oasis.  I have this overwhelming urge to leave them all behind while I try desperately to satisfy my own immediate wants and needs.

Me. me. me. Just….. me….

Get More Inspiration & Encouragement

Sign up to get my weekly(ish) email with personal stories, practical tips & links to recent blog posts. You'll also have access to exclusive discounts on products & events and a handful of freebies I've made just for you.

I save my best stuff for subscribers! Join us.

Your email will never be sold or shared, because I aspire to not be a jerk.


Check to display recent post from your own blog with your comment.

  1. avitable says:

    First, why isn't this a private post? Second, you're not alone. Everyone needs space to get away, drop everything and just decompress.

    Finally, you are going to get some "me" time very soon, and it will be wonderful.

  2. Championable says:

    Dude! You should TOTALLY have been in NYC this week. Me and half my friends were in this weird, totally separate personal vortex of self-doubt and psuedo-panic.

    Seems that everyone has these feelings, and they, just like good feelings, will pass. Lame-ass advice, but it's the only stuff I've got from my own experience.

    Avitable: Don't kill me, dude, but why should that be private? This is a fabulous post… that I think most folks could relate to. Lots of us have moments like these, you know?

    Besides, I just went to your blog for the first time, and I the tagline is "tact is for pussies." But this post should be private so as not to offend? I'm confused.

  3. avitable says:

    Championable, no it's not an offensive thing at all. It's just a suggestion.

  4. Wicked H says:

    You are human Britt. Obviously with much on your plate. It's only natural to feel this way. Take it moments at a time, or whatever YOU need. I am sure all around you will understand or at least give you some space.


  5. FyreGoddess says:

    I learned a long time ago that it's not possible to take care of other people unless you take care of yourself first. You don't want to abandon the people you love, but if you're not emotionally or physically or whatever capable of taking care of them, you HAVE to stop and take care of yourself.

    Go to a spa. Visit an out-of-town friend for a long weekend. Rent a motel room and lock yourself in, but do SOMETHING for yourself to rest, revive and figure things out.

    3 days, at the very least. Don't call home to check in, no matter how much you miss them (it's good for you). Don't give your number to anyone related to your immediate situation.

    But take the time to take care of yourself before you wind up losing any one of the things you're scared about.

    Once upon a time I got lost in the people I loved. The smartest and sanest thing I've ever done in my life was figuring out how to claw my way out and my family is happier for it, too.

  6. missa_8_24 says:

    Wow, that was probably one of he most powerful posts I've read in a very long time. And I completely understand… I've been there, and I think most people have. When you take on a million and one things, eventually, you burn out. The good thing is that you realize that you do love your family and that you don't want to run away, forever, you just need to take care of you. And I agree that you can't take care of anyone else, until you're ok with you. Those who love and care about you will understand that, they will let you take that time for you to gather your thoughts and to get back to you.

    My best thoughts are with you!!:wink:

  7. J. says:

    Oy. Been there, done that.

    You need to decompress babe.

  8. debkitty says:

    Britt Britt Britt…. You are far to young my lovely to have a mid life crisis! I know everyone has been or will be where you are right now. Quite frankly I think you might want some help, in the form of little pills that help rebalance your the chemicals in your brain that make you feel this way. Maybe I am completely out of line with that suggestion. There are natural ways to rebalance those chemicals, Kava Kava is one vitamin that helps…

    I hate to read that you are feeling this way, seems your vacation did nothing for you and for that I am sorry!

  9. HEATHER says:

    Me too! I swear that when Mrs Federline buzzed her head, it acctualy looked like a good idea. I kept telling myself that I needed to be wisked away to rehab for 30 days. Dealing with the simplest things was getting too dificult! So, what did I do, I loaded up my three kids and two of their friends and went to some Chuckie Cheese place in Ft. Lauderdale. Its about an hours drive from home. My boys were well behaved. The two other boys fought only once but it was enough for me. I was satisfied that for once I realised that my kids are just like any other kids. I still wish that their Dad was out of jail so he can take them for a few hours on every other weekend though. Only one more month! Wish ME luck!

  10. Doo Dah says:

    :shock:I swear these same fukkin words have come out my mouth ever day fopr the past 6 months.

    I cover it up with humor.

    You and me need to meet up and get boliviated on several bottles of wine.

  11. Mist 1 says:

    Great post, Britt. Sometimes, I take a little vacation from my life. I call the cat nanny, I go away for a few days. There's no more or less cat crap when I get home and my dishes are still unwashed, but at least I slept in a bed that someone else made.

    Oh, and also I drink heavily. But we already knew that about me, didn't we?

  12. ginamonster says:

    I support the mini break idea. even just a weekend. Get in your car and drive. Just plan to come back.

    Because without your family? there are still dishes, taxes, laundry, and cat poo.

    And no one to share it with. No one to tell you they love you at the end of the night when it's time for bed. No one to love you anyway when you're going crazy.

  13. heather says:

    Britt – Remember the email I sent you after your one post not too long ago? I'm still there. And I'm totally feeling this post too. Email me if you need to vent to someone who is going through the same. You are seriously not alone.

  14. Joefish says:

    I admire people who can be this open in their posts. I used to able to write this honestly, but I've forgotten how.

  15. Britt, take care of you and you will then be able to take care of everything else… Naturally the kids need you but everything else will be fine for a bit.

  16. greg t says:

    Sorry to hear where you are today. A break is a good thing but I can tell you from experience the suggestions that tell you to drink it away are not good ones. I tried many times and wound up at a 12 step meeting. We all have our up's and down's. When you are down it is probably not a good time to add a depressant like alcohol to the mix. Just remember that everything changes. Everything. The place you are in will change. Then that place will change. The good lord will only give you what he(or she)knows you can handle. The fact that you told us all is good. means you really care about what happens. Everything will work out if you just show up and let it happen. Have faith. You will be fine. (still a little bit crazy but fine)

  17. AmyD says:

    I've got a sneaking suspicion why you put it out here and good for you. But, if you were hoping that someone was going to come out of the woodwork to give you the punishment you THINK you deserve – you are crazier than you think.

    Fact is, you've been running on empty for a lot longer than you realized, your engine just finally decided to seize up on you.

    There's nothing wrong with you that a decent partnering shoulder to lean on wouldn't help at least a little.

    Stop blaming JUST you. It takes an entire situation for THIS to happen. The only part that IS your fault is the part of you that didn't stop it a long time ago.

    I love you!

  18. MsBatman says:

    I have nothing to offer you, other than understanding. As you know, I'm dealing with some serious things too, and you're words have once again opened a third eye for me to see 'his' side of things clearer.

    I wish I had something to offer you. What I have, seems inconsequential, and insignificant, but it is all that I have.

    And that is my understanding and some much needed space.

  19. Jen says:

    Everyone needs ME time once in a while. I hope you will be able to work through whatever is bothering you.

  20. Miss Britt says:

    avitable: it's not private because I'm not the world's most private person. :-) And I don't think trying to hold it together any longer is working…

    Championable: why can't I ever be part of the "Oh my god me and all my friends are inheriting millions" trend? LOL

    and (not to speak for him, but I do know this) Avi was mainly thinking for my own.. uh.. protection, and how being out there would affect me – not what effect it would have on someone else

    Wicked H: what? we're HUMAN?

    um, no, we mus strive to be SUPER HUMAN PERFECT!!! Didn't you get the memo? :shock:

    FyreGoddess: thank you for suggesting more than a movie night or girl's night out!!!!

    missa_8_24: those who love me are trying to understand anyway…

    J.: *sigh* I know

    debkitty:I may seem too young for a midlife crisis… but it sure doesn't feel like it.

    And I'm not offended – thank you for being honest. :-)

    HEATHER: you took a break WITH your KIDS?? :shock:

    Doo Dah: yeah, humor is a good mask, isn't it?

    Mist 1: Holy shit. Great Post. From Mist1. And… like… serious… almost.

    I can DIE now.


    "Because without your family? there are still dishes, taxes, laundry, and cat poo."

    Wow. Excellent advice.

    heather: you have mail

    Joefish: it's easy to forget how to be open in "public", isn't it?

    themuttprincess: I'm kinda trying to figure out HOW to take care of me…

    greg t: yeah, I have said lots of times the worst times to drink is when you feel like you NEED one. It's not the drinking so much that sucks me in… it's the dont' give a fuckedness of being out.

    I need a new coping mechanism.

    AmyD: I really think you should have been a shrink.

    MsBatman: I wish it was that easy for people around me to give me "understanding and space" without being so hurt by it.

    Jen: me too. I hope I am not beyond needing a little "me" time.

  21. Janelle says:

    Britt, Come visit with me, we would have too much fun together!! You'd be back to your old self in no time after a weekend getaway. Anyways, again, as I always seem to say, you are not alone!! I spend most days driving to work thinking, "if i drove to the airport now instead of to work and went to Las Vegas (aka the BEST place on earth!!) I could be gone for hours before anyone realized I was missing. But, I have yet to "fulfill" that dream…I always take the left turn and drive to work, ho hum…life, it is what it is. But yes, I get tired of the budgets, the lunch money, the house cleaning, my 3 year who has yet to sleep through the night waking me up EVERY night with, "Mommy can I sleep with you?" My 7 year old and her, "I'm bored Mommy." The dog that ALWAYS wants to play ball and my cat who throws up the freaking dog food she eats because of cours, the cat like dog food and the dog likes cat food." From the outside looking in, I think I live a fairy tale life, but most of the time I feel trapped in a fairy tale. But anyways…you are not alone and being adult sucks sometime!! Didn't it seem funner to be an adult when we weren't adults?

  22. Lucy says:

    Britt, I'm sorry you are going through this, and bravo for putting it out there. Everyone needs some time to themselves from time to time. Take and enjoy it, let it recharge your batteries to get back to your husband. :) Hugs, girlie, hugs.

  23. jane says:

    It's so hard not to totally lose who we are during the "family" years. For most of us, we don't realize we've become nothing until after the kids are grown & we're divorced. But you're catching this NOW, before you've lost yourself, before your marriage is over. I think your thinking is healthy, it may be the very thing that saves you, your family & your marriage.

  24. annie says:

    What Jane said. I've been there, but the love of your family is the best thing. Don't throw it away. ANYBODY can be alone, but not everyone can have a husband and family who loves them!

  25. M says:

    Very beautifully written text. Lets just keep it at that and not give any advice. Just let a person express feelings without needing to give advice people. YOU can’t change any of it in any way. Just appreciate the art.

  26. jane says:

    An anonymous word of advice about not giving advice. Priceless.

  27. Helen says:

    This is so familiar, the feeling of echoing emptiness. I am hooked on your blog and have to read it right through now! I hope you feel better now.

  28. Lacey says:

    I cann’t tell you how often I feel the same way. Still here though, eventually it passes. make more time for yourself and you’ll will have more to give to others. Hell, that’s hard to do isn’t it?

  29. N. Francesca says:

    Hi Britt,

    Brava woman for sharing as you do. “This is the part that changes everything.”

    I’ve endured head-on,…the knock me off my life’s rocker battle with full-on, holy fuck depression and I too know the dynamics of whole-human-consumption to the point of, “what-happens-if-I-don’t-return-?” *Gulp*

    And, I conquered it. Took me 7 years, but,…it happened because I didn’t give in. Thought about it often, but I kept the faith along the way.

    I found your blog via the good graces of Second Hand Tryptophan this morning and wanted to reach out to you after reading his praise on the sincerity within you.

    Glad I clicked over this way. You’ve got a new audience reader in me in your Standing Room Only venue applauding you for your efforts to live your life’s learning experiences out loud.


    N. Francesca

  30. Amylou says:

    This is just so raw and beautiful. I can totally relate to this, but would never be able to articulate it so perfectly. I just love your blog. When’s the movie coming out, Britt?

  31. Cranky Sarah says:

    Yeah, I’m totally reading all the posts with the “marriage” tag. It would be stalking except it’s part of my own refueling.

« « Love On Those Who Love You | Be. Ware. » »

Get the In Pursuit of Happiness Newsletter!

Stay inspired by weekly emails with personal stories, practical tips & links to recent blog posts. You’ll also have access to exclusive discounts on products & events and a handful of freebies I’ve made just for you.

I save my best stuff for subscribers. Sign up today for free!