It’s a week before my birthday and I’m feeling…off-kilter.
All my close friends know me as the Queen of Birthdays. I always give hand-written letters or birthday presents to close friends and for the past 3 years, my inner circle and I stuck to the tradition of posting what we call a “birthday collage” on our Facebook walls. The birthday collage is simply a montage of our photos together with the birthday celebrator with our heartfelt birthday messages.
Arshad always teases me for celebrating my birthday for an entire month, with all my brunches, dinner parties and celebrations across my different circle of friends.
This time around, perhaps because of the circumstances surrounding my birth month, I’m feeling not just a tad bit blah.
I’ve been having a lot of sleepless nights, I have been working longer hours yet I feel like a hamster running around in circles, pretty much not going anywhere.
Still, I go through the motions every day. I plaster a smile across my face and tell myself things are going to be fine because I have to be fine.
Today is a Monday and I woke up at 3am inundated by waves and waves of thoughts. Knowing that I couldn’t go back to sleep, I opened my Macbook and began typing away.
I realized, perhaps it’s about time to say it out loud.
I’m not okay. And it’s okay to say it.
I feel like my world is caving in. For all the things that I’ve done, amidst all the milestones, I feel inadequate. I feel I have not done enough, I have not given enough.
Much as I would like to do more, give more, at this point, I have nothing to give. Because I have totally drained myself.
For the longest time, I have repressed moments like this. I didn’t want to revel in negative emotions and I never, ever reached out to anyone for help, because the world is not friendly to people feeling sad, depressed or just simply feeling crappy about a situation.
At the same time, in my circle of friends here in Jakarta, 9 out 10 of my expat friends and office colleagues are men, which makes me the lone lady expat in a group of people who share the same industry and profession.
Well-meaning friends and people tell me to just snap out of it. Don’t you think someone like me isn’t trying to? Don’t you think for the past two months, that’s exactly what I was doing?
And this morning, there was that moment that I had this epiphany. I should stop denying it.
I’m not okay, and it’s okay to say it.
Emotions are signals in our lives that there’s something wrong. We have been accustomed to repressing the way we feel because of a host of personal, social and cultural reasons but then I realized, emotions are feedback mechanisms and to deny these is denying our way out of this rut.
And I want to get out of it. So this is my step 1.
Perhaps my pain serves a purpose. It’s a feedback mechanism for me to start sorting out through the cobweb of my emotions.
I do want to get out of this, but I should start acknowledging that I’m going through this phase, in the first place. Perhaps, for some, I’m being a wuss, but if this is the way for me to climb out of the deep rabbit hole, I’m hella climbing it.
The reality is no matter how successful you are, no matter how great your life is or how good it looks on paper for some people, there will be moments when things will just suck and everything will feel like crap.
No one talks about it because it’s not a pleasant area of discourse. In fact, people try to evade it. Generally, no one likes to talk about the shit they are going through.
The thing is, people need to start realizing that everyone goes through this phase. Even Little Miss Sunshine.
The difference lies in how we deal with it. In my case, I go through the suffering when it’s for a purpose and if the reason is worth it. Perhaps it’s my way of “suffering better.”
This morning, when I said a little prayer, I didn’t even ask for this pain to be taken away. I felt like I’m being unfair to even ask for it. I asked for wisdom and strength to deal with it better, with more grace.
And perhaps with this admission, I may be exposing my vulnerability, but if that’s what it takes for me to deal, then I’m taking it.
I’m not okay, and it’s finally okay to say it because I don’t intend to dwell in this longer than I should.