That feeling is normal.
The one where you wake up and reality comes flooding in.
Where for a few moments you lie paralyzed in your bed, not willing to put your mask on quite yet.
Your heart is frozen in your chest, and you realize with some kind of ebbing clarity that whatever happened did actually happen. It’s not a dream.
Your heart stutters and your throat is tight with grief.
Still lying there you take a numb inventory of your life. The things you have to do. The things you wish you could do.
You swallow hard and put a smile on and there it stays until, maybe, you have a moment alone.
Maybe the veneer cracks in the car, driving—maybe that’s where you cry.
Maybe you choose the shower instead.
Your world has flown out of orbit.
Maybe you’ve lost your parent.
The love of your life.
Maybe you are in between everything and everyone, and maybe you hate your life right now.
But before you judge yourself for feeling that way, before you tell yourself you could have done something more, what if you just accepted it?
What if you stopped to let those feelings come out instead of fighting them down?
What if everything that you’re feeling right now… is ok?
What if you allowed yourself to cry? To scream? To be upset?
The next time you feel yourself sinking into sadness and find that you are pushing against it with all your might, ask yourself this:
Are you a better person if you pretend not to feel?
Why do we feel the need to set our default to ‘happy’?
Why do we judge ourselves as weak or less than, when we finally let ourselves give in to what our feelings are screaming?
Do we really think our friends, family, or loved ones would respect us more if we put on a brave face and ignored the messages we’re trying desperately to give ourselves?
So many times we think the answer to heal our suffering is to shut our feelings down.
But I think our suffering stems from the shutting down itself.
Maybe you’ll disagree, and that’s ok.
I’m not an expert. No one is.
The only person who knows what feels right in your life is you.
That’s why you have to listen to how you feel.
Be kind to yourself, and know that you are growing.
Know that even though you might not be where you thought you’d be, you are still somewhere.
Still taking steps on your path.
You will get there.
And one day you will smile again.