I am not OK
I am not ok.
A few weeks ago, I watched a speaker take the stage and talk about this statement: "I am not ok." He showed clip after clip from children's tv shows where the kid/rabbit/coyote/puppy falls down, is thrown from the swings, crushed by an anvil, hit by a ball, etc... and after each incident, they say, "I'm ok!" He had dozens of examples.
He went on to explain that it was traumatic for kids to see characters get hurt, so the shows have to add the characters saying "I'm ok!" each time. (Now that you know this, you'll notice it happening on every show, every time.)
Brad, the speaker, went on to say that this has created this expectation in all of us to be ok, always. If you think about it, no matter how hard things are, no matter how much pain we are in... when someone says, "hi, how are you?" our default response is almost always, "I'm fine," or "I'm ok."
By this point in the talk, I was weeping. Brad looked straight into the camera, and said, "I don't know about you, but I am NOT ok. Look at this year! Look at our world! We are not ok. And it's time we learned to give that space."
He's so right. I am not fine. I am not ok.
I am struggling. I am battling daily with depression and grief. I am getting up some days and pasting a smile on my face that is a mask for the not ok I am keeping inside. I am worried for our planet and our neighborhoods. I am tired. I am scared. I am angry. I have days where I wonder where the woman in this photo has gone, and will she ever come back? AND. I am happy. I see the sunlight glimmer through when I am looking for it. I am thankful that I have friends who answer when I call. I am blessed. I am hopeful. I am thankful. I am in love with laughing. I am that woman in this photo.
But, I am not ok. None of us are ok. And it's time we learned to give that space. It's time we learned to speak the truth - even when the answer is hard.
It's a hard habit to break. I have been working on it all week. When someone asks me, "how are you?" I am learning to give a more honest answer. And just that small act is so freeing - for me, and for the person I am speaking to. It allows them to be not ok too. What a gift we can give ourselves and others!
Friends, today is World Mental Health Day. Today, of all days - please give yourself space to not just be fine or ok. Please give those around you that space too.