(Spoiler alert: It wasn't really because I ran out of my favorite lipstick.)
Do you ever have those times where you think you're completely fine, until you're not fine?
Yep...that was me this week.
I like to think that I'm pretty insightful to my thoughts and emotions, and I was actually feeling really good lately! I have so many exciting things happening in my life: a wonderfully supportive boyfriend, a loving dog, a grad program that I love being part of, a fantastic new job (that I can't wait to announce! Soon friends...very soon!), I've been feeling healthy and happy, I'm lucky to have an amazing circle of friends...and so much more!
Which is great and all...until I realized I was using these good things to distract myself from the "not-so-good" things that were starting to resurface. I was avoiding any sort of dark or negative emotions because I didn't want to deal with them amongst the wonderful things that I have in my life.
But with recent events in the news, and seeing posts on social media, and talking about it in class since we will be mental health professionals and there are things from this case that are relevant to our future careers...I thought I was handling everything just fine. Until I wasn't. And the funny thing is: my body was trying to let me know that I wasn't fine...but I wasn't listening.
I'm not writing this post to start a debate, I'm writing it as a reflection of how something that happened over a decade ago still has a way of impacting my life, even after I've worked through the hardest part of it all and felt like I had a pretty good handle on not letting it affect my life anymore. But that is the unrealistic part that I have to remind myself of: it will never not affect my life. Even when I'm feeling emotionally and mentally healthy at the surface, there are things that are still rooted deep down that will be triggered to some degree.
So for the past week, I had this AWFUL eye twitch on my right eye and I couldn't figure out why it started...but it was annoying me to no end. After a few days, I tried lowering my caffeine intake, I was making sure that I was getting enough sleep and drinking enough water...but it was still there. Meanwhile, more news coverage, more social media posts, more class discussions, and this freaking eye twitch did not go away and actually felt like it was getting worse.
Thursday was a long day and I felt like I had an emotional hangover, but couldn't pinpoint why I felt so fatigued and not myself...until I got home from class. I turned on some upbeat music for my drive home, some of my favorite songs that I love to sing along to, but I still felt "off" for some reason. I chalked it up to just having a long week of work and school and was looking forward to getting home and snuggling with Buddy for a while!
As I parked the car, I went to put on my favorite lipstick (It's called BOSS by Bare Minerals: it's moisturizing with just a hint of color, so it's perfect for just a little pick-me-up!).
The tube was empty.
I had JUST used this lipstick this morning, and didn't realize that was the last of it. It was gone. And that was enough to send me into a cry-fest as I walked though the door, threw my bags on the living room chair, and melted into a puddle on the ground with Buddy by my side.
And I sat there crying...not just like, slow stream of tears rolling down my face but full on UGLY crying and sobbing, still not fully understanding WHY ON EARTH I was crying over my empty lipstick tube, because I could always just go buy another one...so WTF was going on?!?
Until I allowed myself to just FEEL EVERYTHING:
To feel sad, to feel angry, to feel hurt, to feel triggered, to feel confused, to feel betrayed, to feel upset, to feel outraged, to feel broken, to feel unlovable, to feel at fault, to feel weak, to feel violated, to feel manipulated, to feel unworthy, to feel ugly, to feel fat, to feel stupid, to feel alone, to feel scared, to feel hopeless.
And in that moment, it came full circle and I realized that although I felt fine at the surface, there are still so many underlying thoughts and emotions that had been bubbling under the surface that I haven't had to face or deal with in quite some time. And my body was trying to hint at that through the annoying eye twitch that I couldn't get rid of! Because you know what happened after I let myself temporarily break down and gave myself the chance to FEEL everything that I had been avoiding or ignoring?
The eye twitch went away. Isn't that crazy? Our bodies are so in tune with our mental and emotional well-being that sometimes our minds can't even connect the dots, but we know there's something going on because we can feel it.
So I think that my empty lipstick tube can be a metaphor for me running out of my defense mechanisms that I had in place to keep me from feeling all the "not-so-good" feelings. All of my resources were exhausted from fighting those feelings, and once I let it all out I was able to start rebuilding again.
Now, I just want to clarify...do I believe those feelings that were present during the time of my cryfest? HELL NO! I know that I am strong AF, I know I'm not ugly or fat, I know I am not alone/scared/hopeless, and I believe that I am an intelligent, empathetic, lovable person who wants to share this experience with other people who may have been through a similar time to know that THEY ARE NOT ALONE. And it's also okay and perfectly healthy to recognize when you're not fine: as long as you are willing to get the help you need. Don't be afraid to ask for help; don't be afraid to be vulnerable.
"Vulnerability is a superpower." -Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly and Rising Strong
I want to wrap up by saying this: You are strong. You are brave. You are loved. You are worthy. You are not alone.
-Melyssa (With A WHY)