It's time to take care of you.
It's time to take care of you.
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I'll Be Okay, I Always Am

I’ll be okay, I always am. 

That was always the phrase I used whenever someone would actually realize that I was in a really sucky situation. Whenever there was lots to do, or if someone was treating me horribly, I would always say ‘I’ll be okay, I always am’. It was a really easy way to shut down conversations at times that I didn’t want to talk about what was going on. I felt horrible, all the time, but somehow it always sucked whenever anyone ever caught a real glimpse of what I was actually feeling, so I said my phrase, and they left me to my own devices, satisfied that I would come out on top. At the time, it worked, I would be okay, I always was, but usually only because I didn’t really understand what it meant to be okay in the first place. Depression was all I had ever known and it was easy to say I was okay. 

I actually found myself saying that same phrase just last night. Monday starts Thanksgiving break at my university, and over yesterday and today all three of my roommates went home for the holiday. They all live relatively close, so it was reasonable that they could take a day to drive and get home, be there for a week, and drive back. I, on the other hand, live across the country from where my family lives. I have extended family out here, and I plan to see my Grandparents, great grandparents, aunt and uncle, and cousins for thanksgiving. I will in no way be alone. 

And yet the shock on my roommate’s face when I told her I wasn’t going home made me realize that I wasn’t going home. It was much too long of a drive, and plane tickets this late are ridiculously expensive, and I had family, but in that moment I really missed mine. 

So my roommates are gone, I’m alone in the apartment, and while I have family for Thanksgiving, I still miss mine, and to top it all off, I told my roommate that same habitual phrase. I’ll be fine, I always am. It is by no means the worst phrase in the world, hope for brighter days is never a bad thing. But I personally take much too much time thinking about how I will feel rather than how I do feel. This seems to be a pretty common pattern, common enough that it has a term – bottling. I personally hate this term, I feel like a better metaphor for the sensation is being a piece of fabric. 

On good days the fabric is pristine, submerged in clear water, and on other days that water will have an awful color of dye poured into it. The fabric is left there for the dye to seep into, and the fabric has two choices. I’m not going to say the fabric can move itself into a different pot, it is fabric, it can’t move. Similarly, we cannot exchange our feelings for another set. The fabric must, instead, ignore the dye, or accept it. The fabric may try to protect itself, resist the color, but that is not always possible. The fabric could ignore the color knowing that eventually the water will turn clear as our feelings ebb and flow, in denial that even when the water turns clear, the fabric will still be some shade of that ugly color. 

Or, the fabric could accept the color. Accept that it lives in a feeling of doubt, or anger, or frustration, or disappointment, and actually feel the color. As it does, those feelings are dealt with, and not left to taint the fabric until it says, “I’ll be okay, I always am.”

Over the course of the years, I have learned that when I feel something, anything, it is always best if I feel that something. Unfinished processes of feeling will clog our minds and stain us. Feeling hurts, but completing a feeling and leaving it behind makes it nearly impossible to find again later in the dredges of our minds. Then this Thanksgiving and all Thanksgivings afterwards will be much more enjoyable.

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