The first thing that pops into my mind when I think of the phrase “I’m not okay” is My Chemical Romance. Gerard Way covered from head to toe in black with his emo hairstyle and eyeliner belting out the chorus. Then I think of 18 year old me in ragged jeans and too much eyeliner singing along with the song. Driving down the streets of my hometown with a broken heart because my boyfriend and I just broke up.
Now a days I’m no longer wearing eyeliner and the only thing that looks ragged are the bags under my eyes. Thankfully I’ve got a great husband who’s been by my side for 8 years and we’re raising our almost 2 year old daughter with another little girl on the way. My life is vastly different from what I thought it was going to be when I was 18. It’s amazing. I’ve traveled, lived in different cities, experienced becoming a mom, and grown so much as a person.
But the feeling of not being okay persists.
Sometimes it’s just fleeting moments of sadness or anger. Other days it can last for hours or days and it’s frustrating. I’m constantly reminding myself that I have a great life. A partner who stands up for me even if I don’t. A curious and energetic toddler who loves me and teaches me something new every day. Family and friends who would drop anything to be by my side. And I still can’t be happy? What is wrong with me?
It’s taken me quite a few years to learn this, but nothing. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with me. It’s perfectly fine for me to be angry, sad, or frustrated. We’re human, we aren’t programmed to feel a certain way all the time. Our emotions come and go, ebb and flow, and we need to be ok with that.
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t go see someone if you truly are depressed, have anger issues, or uncontrollable fears. Seeking help is always the best option for those who feel they can’t handle their emotions.
But for those of us who have fleeting moments of unhappiness or frustration. Where we stop and ask ourselves ‘why am I so (insert emotion here) everything is great or it’s just a tiny thing I shouldn’t be hung up on.’ We need to be okay with not being okay. Too often we push those feelings down or keep our feelings to ourselves rather than try to explore the why. Why do we feel like this? Is it something that we need to really spend time thinking about, something we need to talk about, or is it really something we can let go without issue?
As a new mom I’m always overhearing how other moms handle their kid’s meltdowns because I’m a visual learner.The one thing that warms my heart is hearing mommas tell their littles “It’s okay to be sad (mad, frustrated, etc).” Then they explain that they’re having some big emotions and try to help them take deep breaths or work through how they’re feeling.
If so many of us can do this for our kiddos, why can’t we do it for ourselves?
Just because we’re ‘older’ and should ‘know better’? Let’s be honest guys, we all have that little kid inside us who wants the second helping of cake or is upset because someone cut the line in front of them. It’s okay to be angry, sad, or frustrated about it. Let’s be nice to ourselves, let’s give ourselves the time we need to handle our emotions.