It’s OK to Not Be OK

I had another post planned for today.

And then I watched this fiercely vulnerable and brazenly real video by a blogger I adore to the moon and back, and it ripped my heart out and then stitched it back together again.

And now I’d like to say something else to you instead, something that is so much more important than anything else I could tell you today:

 

It’s OK to Not Feel Brilliant All the Time

I spend a lot of time on this blog tough-loving you like a boot camp drill sergeant. Trying to get a rise out of you. Trying to push you to your limits. Trying to get you to believe you’ve got stardust in your veins and the strength and moxie to get it out and spread it all over the world.

But I also want to let you know that, for each and every time I tell you you can kick ass and take names, there’s a very sincere and very crucial caveat attached:

If right now the mere idea of getting through the day is too much for you, that’s OK. That doesn’t mean you’re somehow less-than. It just means you’re human. (Tweet!)

There are times when we’re able to rise above our fears, doubts, weaknesses and demons and and do spectacular things, whether that’s conquering your fear of heights by jumping from an airplane or managing to be the bigger person when your catty coworker does her best to get under your skin. (A win is a win, whatever its size.) There are times when we find a wellspring of energy and self-confidence deep within that pushes us up and over the hurdles the world likes to throw at us (or we like to throw at ourselves).

And there are times when that well has run dry, and all the “you can do it”s in the world only serve to make you feel worse about the fact that you Just Can’t Even.

So for those times — those times when you’re not only “not brilliant” but are actively coming apart at the seams — I want you to know that doesn’t mean you are any less of a motherfucking star, and that doesn’t mean you don’t have the ability to kick some serious tail in the times when you are feeling up to snuff.

 

We Are All Broken Sometimes

Sometimes it’s a bad day kind of broken, where you’re exhausted and overspent and just want to curl up in your pajamas with a Downton Abbey binge rather than consider your own potential for greatness. (I gotchu, Downtoners. That Thomas be like, WHAT?)

Sometimes it’s deeper than that — a full-body, full-soul breakdown and burnout that has you down for the count (that count being days, weeks or months; otherwise known as most of my 2014).

And sometimes it’s clinical brokenness, like Jessica so honestly talks about in the video above and like I (and several other “go get ‘em!” bloggers who have or have not disclosed it) can relate to all too well.

None of this brokenness means you yourself have failed. None of it has anything to do with your worth as a person.

Being broken on occasion is a part of life. It has no more to do with who you are and what you’re capable of than getting a cold or breaking your leg (i.e. it may hamper your style for a while, but it doesn’t diminish who you are or what you’ve got to offer the world). Sometimes, we just find ourselves in a shitty situation. It’s not a commentary on your personal worth or strength.

The trouble with wanting to live an awesome life, and following blogs like this one that encourage living an awesome life with near religious fervor, is that you can start to feel like every day has to be amazing in order to be worth anything — like you have to be amazing, all the time, in order to be worth anything.

But that’s just not the way humans work. We’re incredibly fierce but also incredibly fragile, and we need to learn to be easier on ourselves about the latter even while working to be more of the former.

 

I’ll Venture a Little Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole…

For the past few weeks, I’ve been tight in the grips of Seasonal Affective Disorder (which hits you extra hard when you’ve got naturally depressive tendencies).

I’ve slept more and done less each day than even my bare minimum standards are happy with. I’ve cancelled plans. I’ve been a douchebucket to my poor husband. I’ve gone back on some meds I thought I was done with. I’ve cried for no apparent reason and gotten holy-hell pissed for no apparent reason and done about 5% of the things I’d normally accomplish over a similar period of time.

And that makes me feel like I suck.

I look back over the past few weeks like a big cavernous hole in my regularly scheduled programming, a vortex that not only ate up those weeks but also eroded all the good I did in all the weeks previous.

Times like this, I feel like I’ve been revealed for what I really am: a lazy, good-for-nothing emo girl whose optimistic online persona is a complete and utter sham (to myself, and my readers).

Times like this, I can’t write the words I’d normally write or follow the bloggers I’d normally follow because all it does is remind me of the fact that the most impressive thing I’ve accomplished lately is forcing myself to shower every day so I look like I’m in control even though I very clearly am not.

When I’ve gotten clear of times like this, I know otherwise. My crazy doctor and I can look back at “that time of the year” and line it up with every other year when the same funk comes over me, and I can look at it as objectively as you’d look at a virus or a broken bone. I can understand that I am not my feelings, and that S.A.D. me is not the real me. I can be kinder to myself. I can be gentler to myself.

But when I’m smack-dab in the midst of it? Yeah, all that perspective and kindness goes right the fuck out the window, and blogs like this one either irritate the hell out of me or make me feel like even more of a failure than I already do..

 

So, If That’s Where You Are Right Now…

If your biggest accomplishment today will be getting yourself out from under the covers…

If the only energy you have on tap will be spent simply trying to keep your shit together

If posts about following your dreams or living an awesome life feel like they’re written in a foreign language…

Then let your normal expectations for yourself go, just for now.

Take yourself off the hook, and do not — I repeat, do not — place any blame on yourself for having to do so. You’re just in the ebb part of life’s ebbs and flows. Sometimes simply getting through to the other side is the awesomest and strongest and most admirable thing you can do.

Right now, you take care of you and do whatever you need to get yourself back to that place where the better things in life start to speak to you again. Go easy on yourself. Be kind to yourself.

I’ll meet you on the other side, and we can “rah rah” each other back into fighting stance again.

Image:  Jonathan Emmanuael Flores Tarello / Flickr

 

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  • Thank you for this. I so needed to hear this today. I have been struggling so hard to get my blog off the ground and make a go of writing, and your blog has been a great inspiration to me. But some tough stuff has been going on at home lately and finding anything to write about feels like an impossible task right now. Thanks for giving me permission not to have my shit together today.

    • Any time. The thing about keeping your shit together is, sometimes that looks like being on top of the world and doing everything, and sometimes that looks like just being able to get through the day. Sometimes life takes up our full attention and it’s all we can do just dealing with that. You owe it to yourself to give yourself that pass whenever you need it. Great things only happen when we take care of ourselves first and foremost.

  • Cordelia’s Mom

    And don’t forget – Mom is always ready to take you out for a nice, calming meal.
    Assuming, of course, that Mom can get her own ass out of bed.

  • Meg C

    Thank you, I so needed this today! I don’t know if it’s the weather or what but the last few days even the thought of cleaning the bathroom or doing a load of laundry feels like a Herculean task and then I mentally beat myself up for not exercising/organizing/cooking blah blah blah blah. It’s nice to be reminded that every now and then we just have to let ourselves be and heal, then we can get back to kicking ass and taking names 😉

    • Precisely! If doing that laundry feels Herculean, then you celebrate the fact that you’ve done it just as if it were a Herculean task — because for you, it was. Go you! 🙂

  • Mel

    Hi just found your blog! Needed to read this. Been feeling really shitty about being in the most unproductive and demotivated state for a period of time. Really difficult to find the drive to do things when this happens, but I need to remind myself to be kind to myself and go easy on the shaming. Otherwise I could go crazy.

    • One phrase I remind myself of constantly: “You are not your thoughts.” (Or your feelings.) Going through a low period doesn’t mean you yourself are a bad person; it just means your emotions are out of whack right now.

      Low periods are things that happen to us, just the same as physical illness or injury. You wouldn’t shame yourself or think it’s a reflection on you as a person if you had the flu, would you? (I hope not.) Then why be so hard on yourself because you’ve got the emotional flu? 🙂

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  • Good grief, I love you. <3