I never actually thought that it would be easy. The thought of being so vulnerable, and open scared the living hell out of me. Admitting not only to myself, but to others that I was generally unhappy with my life and the way things were going, seemed like such a dramatic thing for me to do. How do you express to your closest friends that you are just simply unhappy? And how do you even begin to open your ears for their feedback, which can go either way. They can tell you to suck it up its life, get your shit together you are an adult. Or, became really scared and paranoid that you might find the nearest bridge to jump off of.
Why is it that when someone says that they are unhappy, automatically the other person jumps to the craziest conclusion that you are going to find a drastic way to end your life. Can it just be okay to not actually be okay? What is so wrong with that? What is so wrong with admitting to others that you kind of have this whole inside of you or this thirst in your mouth and no matter how much you eat, or how much water you drink, you are never satisfied? I want this to be an okay thing for us to realize as humans. I want there to not be so much judgment for someone to admit that they are unhappy, and possibly need help or direction to find things to bring happiness back to their lives. I just really want this dark cloud over the idea of not being okay to go away forever, and for us as decent human beings to acknowledge that this is a real thing and it happens a lot more than we think. I also want this crazy idea to go away that when someone says they are not okay, that conclusions don’t automatically go to “she or he is depressed”. There is a big difference in the two.
I am talking about a world that obviously will not exist in my life time. Because society has been programmed us to judge, discriminate, hate, and disagree for hundreds of years, and it will take more than a Buddhist cult to change this. It will take hundreds of years going backwards. I sometimes sit and wonder if during the era of the Vikings, if women judged each other based on what fur their coats were made out of. How ridiculous does that sound? Honestly, from history and reading old literature everyone was having sex with everyone, and I am pretty sure people were worried about whose head was going to be chopped off next. Happiness was food on the table, a warm house, and having as many children as you could. So, what the fuck happened?
I am twenty-two years old. I live in the most beautiful state of California, have the most loving and supporting family. My friends are unbelievable. Literally, my friends are unbelievable. I have one friend who is so emotionally unstable sometimes, that we cry naked together in a bath tub late at night, drunk off of cheap wine. I have another best friend who offered to get me a sex toy for Christmas, and her words as I quote, “I will get you the most precious blue vibrator I can find”. That is true love my friends. Have I even mentioned my sister? I could write a novel on that chick. She is a slob, messy haired. ADD crazed out pot smoking twenty-year-old who literally makes sandwiches for a living. She embodies a work ethic that I admire to the fullest, and has a true heart of gold. She is smart, yet says the dumbest things at the same time. She is my other half, a true soulmate. I love her more than I love life itself. I do not know if that is a big sister problem, or the fact that when she smiles I feel euphoric and worthy all at the same time. She is grace and an angel. She also has been arrested for stealing socks before. Not just arrested, sit your pretty self-down in a jail cell for a night. No, it was strip yourself down, let me check your vagina for drugs, cough, do not make friends in this women’s jail hut for forty-eight hours kind of deal. She said she lost about ten pounds, so honestly, I am considering stealing socks in Flagstaff, Arizona and then putting it all over Pinterest on how I magically dropped ten pounds in two days. I think it will be a huge hit.
So, she went to jail, we moved in together, and now we take turns on who can fall apart for the week. We both promised each other we cannot fall apart in a rage of panic or “I don’t know what the fuck I am doing” at the same time. Or literally, it would be like World War 3, with absolutely no back up. This week was my turn to fall apart. And when I say, I “fell apart”, just picture Brittany Spears shaving her damn head. I was that close to an actual mental break down. It was in this moment that I had a razor to my head about to shave off all of my hair in panic, that I looked into the mirror and said to myself, “Sarina just stop”.
Okay so I really did not have a razor to my head, but I did have a bottle of NyQuil ready to poor shots to just put me to sleep so I could forget how upset I was for about twelve hours.
I said stop. I looked at myself in my bathroom mirror and said fucking stop. Stop crying. Stop being a little baby. Stop falling apart for just one minute. Stop thinking that you are crazy or dumb for not being okay. Just admit that you are not okay right now in your life. And also admit, that you do not have to be perfect. You do not have to be anything, but you. Stop thinking that you have people to prove and please. Like you do not need a career right now in your life. Let go of the stress that no one is putting on you, but yourself. And just be, damn it.
NyQuil bottle was put down for the next time that I get strep throat, and I got into my car and just drove. Where I was driving to? No clue. But I did not want to be stuck in traffic, around people, or have my view blocked by a sketchy Shell station. I also wanted to be nowhere near my apartment, because the ghetto, is not a place to be in when you are feeling a revelation coming on, and dealing with homeless crack heads is just another level of irritation.
So, I headed towards home. Highway 16. Took my one-way ticket to the Boonies. Red Hot Chili Peppers blasting through my speakers, windows rolled down, not a care in the world.
Exactly the opposite of what you are picturing. I was mascara running down my face, eyes puffy from crying. My cheeks were blotchy, forgot my fucking sun glasses, wasn’t wearing shoes, and I had Adele whispering sweet words into my broken speakers that couldn’t handle the sound of the bass hitting for shit. I also had an empty gas tank and about four dollars in checking account. Still, I drove.
I had to be somewhat reasonable about this adventure and not get too far because my gas light came on, and I obviously had to get back to my apartment at some point. So, I drove about ten miles out of the city limits of Sacramento, and turned off on some little road off the main highway. There I pulled over and got out of my car and walked into the dry field of I don’t even know maybe grass? Weeds? But it was so movie like walking through this field with the grass weeds up to my knees, and the sun setting into the West. I should let you also know that it was dead grass weeds because it is the middle of November, and just to let you all know Northern California gets cold. Not Chicago style burry your car out from the Earth below from snow cold, but a chill that makes you realize you are uncomfortable and want to go home. My point being, the field was dead grass weeds, but if there was a photographer behind me, he would catch an amazing shot of a girl simply walking into the sunset.
I did something I have never done before. I laid down on my back in a random field, in the middle of I do not know where, completely unsafe, and actually freezing. I left my phone in my car. Mind you, I also have no shoes on. You can literally tell I was on the verge of a breakdown when this happened. Leaving my phone in my car is a crazy thing to think about because I am the generation that has a palm where my phone fits perfectly into it because our hands and fingers have morphed to our devices. “We are one with our phones”. I seriously left it in my car. Walked about hundred yards and just laid down on my back. The only noise I heard were cars passing by on the main highway every once in a while. Other than that, silent. So, silent, I forgot that the world can actually be silent.
It was just me. Laying down in dead field in the middle of November. This is when I said aloud. “I am not okay”. My own voice scared me. It sounded foreign and old. I did not sound like a girl, but I sounded like a woman. A woman in the need of help. A back that has been breaking for some time, and needs a shoulder to lean on. I sounded brave, yet scared at the same time. I just kept saying it over and over again. Until it became my nightly mantra for the evening. What I felt, was relief. I felt weights taken off my shoulders. I felt high with honesty, and trust that I was being so real with myself in that very moment. I then felt sad and lonely. I believe this always happens to a person when they speak the truth about themselves. They feel so good, then it turns to a sadness. Not a sadness that makes you wish the world would end, but a sadness of why has no one asked me if I am okay? Why has no one seen my struggling and reached out a hand. Why has society told me that a cry for help is not weak, yet poisons me with the pressure to be perfect. Why? Just why? Why is it that when I say to people that I am not okay, a prescription is written with my full name on it? Or, I get referrals to therapists who can never take my crazy insurance coverage plan, and I am left broke from an eighty dollar copay.
I am twenty-two years old. A college graduate, not having to scrap around for change to pay rent, and I am still not okay? What is missing in my life right now? There are so many people around the world who have it so much harder than I do, and I still do not feel satisfied or happy. I am unemployed, with a mountain of student debt sitting six months away awaiting that first payment. Is it my long-lost daddy issues? Is it the fact that I am single and everyone is getting married or having children? Or maybe it’s the fact that I am an English major and I do not want to teach, so I have to come up with an idea of what I want to spend the rest of my life doing. There is something missing inside of me though. A craving I cannot fulfill.
It was in this moment lying down in this open field, looking up at the fading day lit sky, that I said the hardest thing I have ever had to say to myself. “Sarina, you do not love yourself”. In that moment, I realized it. I don’t love myself, and this is why I am not okay. It is not easy actually admitting this to yourself. I sabotage my own happiness on a daily basis, because I feel that I am not worthy of happiness. I look in the mirror every single day and I see a beautiful girl, but I sabotage her. I destroy her happiness, by not committing to anything. By letting myself down. By breaking promises I intended so hard to keep. By comparing myself to others, who I do not even know.
It is not the daddy-issues. It is not having a man lying next to me telling me I am beautiful. It is not losing ten pounds on a craze jail diet, that is the problem. It is love. I am missing love, and that is why I am not okay. I forgot on this roller coaster ride what it is like to love myself so unconditionally, that it seems somewhat weird and borderline inappropriate.
I meditate, and practice yoga. I eat well and I try my hardest not to body shame every flaw that I currently have. I advocate self for love, and praise the goddesses above for making me a woman. I do not shave when I don’t want to, because a women’s body is her own temple. I let my hair be a curly red frizzy mess because what the fuck ever it is my hair. What I don’t do, is trust myself, or feel worthy. I am like a fake feminist. I am like a pretend lover of one’s self, because while I practice all of these magical things, I still do not love myself. I still doubt myself. When something beautiful comes along in my life, I do not allow for it to make me happy. Why do I not let myself just be happy?
It has not been easy. Telling my friends, and my mother that I need help in trying to retrain myself to love myself for what I am again. I have never been this vulnerable before in my life or confused. I am a wound that is so open to infection, but I leave myself uncovered so I can breathe.
I drove back home, gas light on the entire way. I actually felt so good from my moment of truth that if my car broke down, I would gladly walk the rest of the way home. By then I am sure a search party would be out trying to find me, and I would be this shoeless mess trying to explain to my non religious family that I felt like a Christian finding Jesus or some shit like that.
It is going to be hard you know, trying to learn to love myself all over again. I have a lot of baggage with myself, and a lot of hurt that I need to try and heal. My anxiety is the worst it has ever been in my life before. My sister knows that I am the one who is going to be falling apart a lot more, as I try to focus on me. My feelings and emotions I am trying to accept. I want to actually practice what I preach. I preach self-love, but now I need to actually practice it daily, every minute. My new mantra. I need to accept that I am worthy of so much happiness, and stop sabotaging myself and making it so I cannot do anything. I have a beautiful soul, I am aware of this, but it needs some healing and detoxifying. I if I gain ten pounds or lose it in this process I don’t really care. I just want to be happy, as the rest of man-kind does.
I hope that the next time you are unhappy, or not feeling okay, you look at yourself in the mirror and realize that it is okay. It is simply okay. There is no need to fix it right away. There is no need to jump to crazy conclusions. It is okay to be lost. Tell those who are putting unwanted pressure on you to fuck off. It is your happiness and your mental health not theirs. Never forget, to take risks, that could make you happy. Jump on train to somewhere new, if that is what your soul is craving. Book a flight to a random location, if you need to get away. Make sure you bank account approves that one though. Stop letting men sleep in your bed, because you are lonely. You are not lonely. You are lonely for yourself. You heart misses you.
Admit that you are not okay. Embrace the new journey. In the end, we are just human beings. Please yourself, not others
Sarina Justine Brown