No one is okay and that’s not okay

Cadence Paramore – Photography Manager

It’s become trendy to hate ourselves, to be miserable. We’ve taken good pieces of advice like “It’s okay to not be okay” and “Everyone is going through things, especially right now” and so many of us have twisted them into, “I’m going into today expecting the worst from both myself and everyone else.” We stop trying because it’s easier than putting in the effort and still getting subpar results.
Somehow it’s become an inside joke amongst our generation to laugh at those trying to better themselves. The ones who are optimistic, who meditate, who find joy in “dumb” things like playing video games and watching or reading stories with romance and happy endings. It’s become a joke because, really, who’s actually happy? The answer is no one. At least, not all the time. And that’s okay. It really is. But it’s just as okay to break down and cry and be unmotivated as it is to laugh at stupid jokes and build a house in Minecraft and devour Wattpad romances like oxygen.
What I’m saying is that life, unobjectively, sucks right now. There’s no way around that. Everyone is struggling. Everyone needs more than anyone has the extra energy to give them. Accepting it is healthy, it acknowledges the parts that shouldn’t be pushed down and bottled up (no matter how much we want to), but we shouldn’t have to pretend like we’re okay anyway when literally everyone knows it’s a lie. And we shouldn’t respond to someone saying they got absolutely no sleep and no homework done with, “Me too, AND I’m only functioning on five cups of coffee today!” It’s not a competition of who can function on less than the bare minimum. Let me repeat that for those of you who missed it– Life is not a competition, no matter what social media tries to spoonfeed us.

“It’s not a competition of who can function on less than the bare minimum. Let me repeat that for those of you who missed it– Life is not a competition.”

So go to sleep at 9:30 if that’s what your body is telling you to do. Watch Princess Bride for the sixth time this week if that’s what brings you comfort. Meditate anyway even if you feel ridiculous, and do absolutely everything you can that makes the days feel less monotonous. No one is okay, and as much as it’s okay– it really isn’t. Draw a pug head on the body of a person and gift it to a friend. Write a cliche story that makes your heart sigh, even if you don’t show anyone. Listen to those songs you loved in middle school and sing along to them at the top of your lungs. Dance without rhythm, without care, because you shouldn’t care. (Have you stopped to ask yourself recently why you care)?
If you can find joy in something right now, don’t let it go. Don’t sit in bed on your phone when you can’t sleep because “everyone else does it too” or put the book with the cheesy description back on the shelf because no one else you know would buy it. If you want to, do it. And I know it’s not that simple. Anyone who knows me probably doesn’t even know the sound of my voice, because when do I ever speak? But in reality, it IS that simple. At the risk of sounding like a motivational speaker or like I’m ripping my therapist off– say the words even if your voice shakes. We’re living through a pandemic and yet most of us are still afraid of what our peers will think of our pain and our joy, and we hate ourselves for it.
When someone asks you how you’re doing, you can say, “Not well, but I will be.” If someone asks you what you did last night, you don’t have to lie that you did more or less than what you actually did. All I did last night was wash my face and brush my teeth, and that was enough. More than enough. I laid in bed this morning for a bit too long and decided to read a book because I wanted to do something kind for myself. I sang along to “Like a Virgin” by Madonna yesterday, and I didn’t care. Why should you?
It’s become trendy to hate ourselves. To be miserable. And as much as it’s okay to not be okay, it isn’t. I love that so many of us are embracing the fact that we don’t need to be okay 24/7, but some of us need to start embracing the idea that being okay again takes work. And the work is difficult and ugly, but it starts with not hating yourself for the way you exist.

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