2018 has been full of many ups and downs. In one year, I fell madly in love, moved countries for a boy, accidentally got pregnant, got fired, moved countries again for that boy, then wound up alone, living with my parents at 25. I’m lost and don’t know which way is East or West. For once in my driven, future-obsessed life, I don’t have a plan.
It feels dramatic to write all this because the truth is that life is good. But if you have a pulse, I’m sure you would agree that some days are just hard. You wake up and lose $1,250 over a stupid mistake, talk to your ex while he packs your old luggage, and cry at a vegan restaurant with your mom. Maybe the next day the sun will be shining, you’ll do yoga and all will feel right in the world. It’s all part of the human experience. But in order to honor the whole experience, I feel obliged to speak my truth about both the good and the bad.
The truth, as they say, is not always pretty.
And the truth is that I’m not always ok.
Sometimes I’m bad. And maybe that makes people around me who love me uncomfortable.
They want me to be happy because my sadness hurts them. But what I’ve come to realize is that showing your pain takes so much strength. It’s also the only thing that makes you feel truly connected with the people around you. Others can feel when you build a wall to hide your emotions. They feel that block and that disconnect, and I know you do too.
When you quietly take on your burden in isolation, you remove yourself from the possibility of receiving emotional support. You also rob your loved ones of the opportunity to give you that support. Or even more bluntly, you’re telling your loved ones that you don’t trust them to support you.
We all need to trust fall into the hands of those we love, and give them the opportunity to help us.
The best part is that when you start to show vulnerability, your burdens begin to feel much lighter.
The things you hide always have more power over you. So, opening up and shining a light on your inner world will make it feel less like a jail cell. It also allows you to understand yourself on a deeper level. Those shadows don’t look like demons when the lights are on because you can see things for how they are.
In simplest terms, honesty is the catalyst to freedom. It’s in that moment of honesty that everything is aligned. Cognitive dissonance disappears. The need to compartmentalize vanishes. And your life becomes so much simpler. The truth you speak aligns with the way you think and the way you feel and act. When you’re living in a state of alignment, things flow as they should. And while honesty is not always easy at first, it’s easier on you in the long run.
What’s the alternative to this? Holding everything in? Crying behind closed doors so no one has to feel inconvenienced? Instead of expressing your truth, you fight the heavy lump forming in your throat and push forward, refusing to look inward. And then what happens?
The pain remains much longer than it needs to. It festers and demands to be released. It creates its own demons and fears and traumas. It takes on a life of its own in the shadows.
Let’s be frank and ask ourselves: Why are we so afraid to feel? We are
Boys, this one’s for you too. You are allowed to cry. You are allowed to feel.
This fear of emotion exists at a systemic, societal level as well. Take the phrase, “man up”, for example. Why have we allowed ourselves to teach this to our children? Can we just all agree to stop saying that? What is that shit anyway? If “manning up” means ignoring how you feel, bottling things up, then later acting out aggressively, I don’t want any part of it. Ostracizing emotions is part of why domestic violence, shootings, and general aggression run rampant in the States.
It’s important to realize that showing your feelings is not a weakness. I am reiterating myself, but it takes a great deal of strength to fully own yourself and your human experience.
So next time you ask, maybe I’ll say, “No, today was not a good day. Hopefully tomorrow will be.”
When you throw down the facade and embrace exactly where you are in this given moment, you give others the power to do the same as well.
And as my dad would always say– isn’t that a beautiful thing?