[Warning: Strong language ahead. If you don’t like words that start with “S” and rhyme with “wit,” you might want to move along.]
When did we start feeling bad for feeling bad?
Why are we taught how to live our “best lives,” but not how to love ourselves on our ugliest and darkest days?
Feeling like shit taught me everything I needed to know. (Not everything I wanted to know, but what I needed to know, about myself.)
When everything seemed to be going to hell, my mood swings, impulsive behaviors and rather strange thought process and actions made the most sense.
The “why” of it always revealed itself when I played hooky from work, stayed wrapped in a robe and let myself cry in the shower.
This is when I learned that feeling like shit is actually good for you!
So, I am giving you permission to feel like utter dog do-do, too.
Yes, like shit.
It’s when our body hurts, our emotions are scattered and our lives are decomposing before our eyes that we have an opportunity to learn the most about ourselves.
It is on our worst nights that we are forced to find the courage to go on. To feel every painful ache—physically and emotionally—caused by all our buried crap.
Living in a society that gives us guilt for not looking or feeling perfect at all times is a heavy burden to carry.
Putting a fake smile on your face, when deep down you just want to rage at your coworkers, family, friends or the guy flipping you the bird in traffic—it’s actually hurting you.
It’s denying you the validity of your most authentic feelings.
They are important. You are important. What you think is important.
Don’t hold in your pain and anguish until it explodes at Thanksgiving dinner over burnt biscuits. (Ummm, yeah, about that…)
Trust me, if we don’t honor our shit today, our loved ones may have the loony bin on speed dial tomorrow.
In fact, I’ve spent more than half of my life being sick because I suppressed my own feelings on the shitty days.
I would feel bad for feeling bad after traumas, hurtful arguments or difficult breakups. My medical diagnoses included: cervical cancer, fibromyalgia, anorexia, a rare mast cell disorder, bladder, stomach and colon disorders, depression, mono-hepatitis and anxiety. Need I go on?
All of this from cleverly holding in my dark and crazy shit.
Stored emotional pain eventually gives way to physical pain.
Literally and figuratively, my body manifested about twenty “dis-eases,” all because I chose to kick the dirt over my ugly wounds.
Instead of healing my gut-wrenching pain, I swept it under the carpet so that no one could see it.
Calmly presenting myself to the world as an Ann Taylor model look-alike with a gleaming smile and air of confidence was my M.O.
And, I killed it.
I was polished. I was perfect. But, was I?
Society told me to look this way or that, to eat certain foods, to drink lemon water, to buy expensive creams that would remove my wrinkles—remove any imperfections.
I had to feel and look great at all times. Yes, at all times. Or else, I might appear mentally ill or “abnormal.”
Since I did not sit down with my own shit, I let it build up as the years went on, and on and on, until I was so sick I almost died.
So, I’m starting a new revolution. We must embrace our darkest days as much as our most brilliant.
Our dark as much as our light.
To love it all.
Please don’t feel bad about feeling bad.
Love that part of you that thinks it is not okay to have a terrible day.
It is okay. It is more than okay to not always feel good.
After all, we’re human beings—not Buddha or Jesus Christ himself for crying out loud!
We are only people trying to survive in this wild and wondrous world of ours, which is packed full of sadness, tragedies and danger.
So, feel your shit!
By you being you, you allow me to be me.
By you feeling your yuckiness, I can feel mine.
We are all in this life together. Sharing our triumphs and championing our accomplishments, but also just being there for each other when the sun does not shine.
When the days feel long and pointless.
To truly be there for another, you need to be there for yourself at all times—the good, the bad and the downright shittiest of days.
I don’t want you to pick and choose when to like/love yourself according to how you feel.
Please don’t apologize.
Be in it. Roll around in it. It truly is the only way to freedom.
The next time someone tells you to “eat shit,” say, “Thanks, I’ll get right on that.”
Author: Sarah Norwood
Editor: Toby Israel