I am not OK right now.
The last few weeks (basically since the frigid cold plunged my heart into the depths of icy hell) I have been really struggling. Panicky. Fatigued. Depressed.
I can’t exactly explain why I feel so bloody awful, other than to say that I crave summer so badly I feel like I’ll die. I know winter doesn’t affect everyone this way, and I recognize fully that I sound like a drama queen/crybaby.
It’s actually pretty embarrassing to admit.
Listen, you guys know me. You know I’ve got a policy to take full responsibility for my own experience no matter what. So obviously, I’ve done lots of inner examination to explore what’s going on for me, and I assure you there’s a lot of stuff there to work through. (Coming off birth control. Feeling isolated AF in a city that doesn’t nourish me. The fact that feeling “trapped” is a huge trigger for me.) There’s stuff to work on, and I’m working on it.
But in a lot of ways it just comes down to the fact that winter and I do not get along. Last year when I spent the winter in Costa Rica, I promised myself I would never live through another east coast winter. But then I fell in love, and here I am again.
My need for warm weather is stronger than any thirst or hunger I’ve ever felt. I feel it in my skin, like lust almost, but a desperate and aching kind of lust.
I hate being cold. I hate being indoors all the time. I hate breathing recycled air, being wrapped in layer after layer of clothes, driving on terrifying roads, and looking around at all this retina-blinding whiteness day in and day out.
I am not ok.
But the cool thing is that I also know it’s ok to not be ok.
Last week my partner was trying to understand why I was so unhappy, and why I wasn’t doing anything about it. I told him that I was doing something about it:
I was acknowledging and making room for my own misery.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m also doing more tangible stuff like taking Vitamin D, meditating, doing yoga in my living room when everything else closes down for snow, and considering taking a last minute trip somewhere tropical just to remind myself that the sun hasn’t died. I even bought houseplants and went tanning. (Don’t judge me, I was desperate.)
But none of that really helps. Frankly there’s just not a lot I can do about my unhappiness right now other than to make a whole bunch of space for how depressed and sad and triggered I feel. As soon as I tell myself it’s ok to not be ok, I feel better.
Not being ok is actually an important part of life.
After all, we could never have emotional springs if it wasn’t for emotional winters.
Our unhappiness allows us to recognize our happiness, and to provide a counterpoint so that we never take our happiness for granted.
Not being ok also offers us the unique opportunity to make our lives better, by showing us what’s not working and what needs to be changed.
You wouldn’t make changes if everything was hunky dory, right? For that reason alone, I’d much rather feel miserable and start examining what needs changing, instead of feel “fine” and change nothing. I don’t want just a “fine” life, and I’m totally ok with being miserable sometimes if it means I get to create a life built on true joy.
Instead of rejecting myself for “failing at happiness,” I prefer to think of myself as “succeeding at unhappiness.”
I’ve written before about throwing myself conscious pity parties, and this is why– because allowing myself the space to feel unabashedly, unapologetically miserable actually brings with it a certain amount of joy.
Plus, I’ve already learned a ton– about what I want, what I need, and what’s important to me.
For that, I am deeply grateful to my own unhappiness.
Sending you a gloriously miserable hug,