Today, I’m not going to say, “And that’s okay” and smile and be a Glinda the Good Witch incarnate.
Because it’s not. It is not okay.
There is nothing okay with not getting what you want, let’s all be honest here. Despite growing up and being too old for temper tantrums when you don’t get what you want, you can’t deny it’s still an awful feeling. Especially, when you’ve spent the last several days being excited. Just to know, at the very last minute, that nope, not today. You don’t get this.
It’s like when you happily got a huge scoop of chocolate ice cream then it unceremoniously flopped onto the pavement a second later. Or when you were having fun running around and then you accidentally tripped on a stone you didn’t see. At awful times like these, there is no other more appropriate reaction than to cry. To feel bad. Because what happened sucked.
But you don’t have to do it in public, if that would only make you feel worse. You do how you want to feel awful.
◆ Cry in your darkened room with or without Coldplay playing. Or just listen to Coldplay or any artist that makes you emotional.
◆ Cry while you’re talking to your aunt on the phone. Or just stare at the ceiling while tears slide down on your face.
◆ Tweet cryptically about it. Or retweet a sad quote.
◆ Actually answer Facebook’s question of “What’s on your mind?”
◆ Chat to your best friend and tell them you’re sad. Or just go away from social media for a while.
◆ Reread / rewatch that part in a book / movie / series that always makes you cry. With a tub (or four) of your favorite ice cream flavor and three boxes of tissues on either side of you.
Do whatever you want. My point is, actually give yourself permission to feel bad.
You don’t have to keep it inside you. You don’t have to force yourself to smile and say it’s fine when you obviously think it isn’t. You don’t have to “suck it up and get on with life” like other people tell you. That could be a load of unhelpful nonsense.
Because here’s what I learned when I didn’t get what I absolutely, absolutely wanted for Christmas:
Bottling things up, gritting your teeth and letting that awful feeling simmer up inside you into hatred, even for just a few hours, makes everything worse.
I didn’t see things in an angry red filter. I didn’t have the white hot urge to burn the whole city down. But I did find every minute detail annoying. The Christmas lights in the mall, the seeming apathy of the security guard, the dirt in the car seat, the cold taxi. Why aren’t they in sorrow like I was? Why don’t they care I was having the most awful day? I was skating on that fine line between self-centeredness and hate. And I was angry and annoyed at everyone and everything. Like every-freakin-thing.
It was only for a few hours and I’m telling you right now: it didn’t feel good.
But the moment I was in my room? Lights turned off and wrapped around my own blanket, and I heard my aunt’s sympathetic voice on the other end of the phone, telling me it was too bad and what a shame it all was? The floodgates opened. And the growing hate inside me was out, morphing back into the deep sadness it truly was.
Take it from someone who bottles up emotions by default:
And though I didn’t get better overnight, the next few days got easier to cope with. Until I could finally say, “I’m okay now.” Because there is nothing okay with not getting what you want, let’s be real here. Might sound quite petulant but bear with me for a second.
It is an awful feeling, period. You’ll just make it worse by choosing to not acknowledge it — or even holding it tightly, not letting it out. Not getting what you want is disappointment and anger and sadness and annoyance all wrapped up in one heavy package. But get this, you don’t have to wrap it up and clutch it close to your chest.
You can choose to let it go.
Because maybe, just maybe, that’s how you start to find the strength to run back to the ice cream cart and buy another scoop.
Or that’s how you start to get back up, pat away the dirt and run again after falling. <3
How do you let all the awful feelings and emotions out? What are your coping mechanisms? Tell me all, I’m here <3
Photo used from Andrew Neel