Warning, if you don’t want to read about me being sad, that’s fine, but you’ll want to check out a different post. Don’t worry. I’m not unhealthily sad.
Tonight I felt broken inside. I immediately begin to question and doubt, wondering if it’s okay to feel the way that I do. Is this anger an okay feeling to have? Am I allowed to be sad over something that shouldn’t be painful anymore? Is it normal to be thinking this way? I don’t know if it’s normal, but it’s allowed. We feel the way that we feel. It’s not always something that can be controlled. Sometimes it’s better to let the emotions overwhelm you, feeling everything intensely, living the experience of heartbreak fully instead of burying it deep within. Buried things lash out at you unexpectedly. And once solidly shoved down into the secret parts of your mind, they can be hard to pull back out again and work through.
I had a traumatic experience years ago that I covered up. Most of us have something. Some of us have lots of things. Mine is just my thing, something I can’t seem to get past, something that matters only to me. In the beginning, I buried it as deeply as I could. At first, that was only skin deep and the emotions would lie right beneath my face, threatening to come through at any moment. Later, I pushed it down farther and farther, trying to convince myself that it didn’t matter anymore. “I’m okay now” became my mantra. I said it so many times, I sometimes believed it. Sometimes I still do. But every time I think I’m fully healed up (it has been years, after all), something will trigger me unexpectedly.
That happened, tonight. One moment I was fine, talking to Will before bed. A few sentences later, I was having a sobbing, shaking, hyperventilating panic attack that lasted about 20 minutes before I got it under control and went back to being my usual self. Why does this still happen to me? I go months without thinking about it. And then out of nowhere, something sets me off and I feel like I’m set back to square one, the emotions just as strong as they were in the beginning. Every time, I come back to, “Is this normal? Am I allowed to feel this? What’s wrong with me?”
Nothing is wrong with us, when we’re hurting. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. We’re in pain. That’s okay. Some traumas are deep-seated and I think that some probably stay with us forever. It doesn’t mean that you’re not okay. Maybe you are okay, you’ve just learned to live around the scar. Some things are allowed to be a big deal, are allowed to hurt worse than you thought they would. If you cry, it doesn’t mean that you’re ugly, weak, or shameful. You’re strong. It takes strength to allow yourself to be comfortable with your vulnerability.
I’m still working on it. Writing this, I’m still not sure whether or not I’ll share it with you. Vulnerability is not something we like to put out there. It’s uncomfortable and scary. There’s always the chance that someone will say, “Oh, well you don’t have it THAT bad, my cousin… (fill in the blank)” or “That’s really not that big of a deal” or “You just want attention.” If you’re a girl, someone will probably ask you if you’re on your period or something. And so we keep it to ourselves while some of us end up feeling isolated. It’s so much safer to show our brave faces, our adventures, our joy. There’s no risk in that. I think perhaps we keep our struggles to ourselves because all of us have experienced some kind of pain in life, to varying degrees, and we don’t like being sad together when we could share our jokes and our passion for life instead. Some things are private for a reason. That’s fine too.
That said, I’d like to be more open about the fact that I go through some crap as well. If not for your benefit, for mine. And for my friends. And my loved ones. So many of my people struggle silently and alone with issues they don’t think others will relate to or care about. I remember one of my friends telling me that it seemed like he was alone in his struggles while everyone else was living a near-perfect life. Of course, that’s not true, we’re all screwed together. Another important human of mine wondered if it was okay for it to be a big deal, while crying on my shoulder. My upstairs neighbour just broke down in tears outside my window, but was all smiles half an hour ago when he came by to introduce himself.
Why do we wear masks? Why isn’t it okay to not be okay sometimes? Wouldn’t showing our moments of pain only serve to enhance the celebration of the times when we’re loving everything about our lives?
I am full of excitement and passion and joy and love most of the time. I have adventures. I’m a goofball. I love colour and pizzaz (and pizzas). I make upbeat music and try to seek out the most vibrant moments in life that I can. And sometimes, I cry. That’s all. I refuse to put a mask on it.
If you’re hurting, I’m here for you. We can be strong together.