I woke up the other day feeling sad. There’s the Big Sad, because, you know, terrible, not-fun life events, but then there’s also sometimes just the ordinary sad. The kind you don’t even understand. It’s just there, at the foot of the bed, waiting to pounce on you the minute you stir.

And the first thing my brain did was start listing all the people I know and love who are suffering greatly and whose pain is the sort that really counts. Pain that is worse than I can possibly imagine. Pain that would make my pain look like a fluffy kitten. Pain that eats up pain like mine for breakfast in a bowl with some milk and a spoon. Basically, my reaction to my own sadness is to immediately invalidate it.

Who am I to suffer?

If you have kind of a Mean Girl brain like mine, it’s a real dilemma. Because you can’t stop thinking about your pain, but you also can’t stop thinking about what a piece of shit you are for being so absorbed with yourself. Which is even more self-absorbed. So, around and around you go down the disposal of despair.

When I get like this, my body feels like a rental. I’m not really attached to it, and I don’t care enough to fix it up or decorate, because what’s the point? All my needs seem shallow and petty.

Fortunately for me, I have, after much trial and error, found a small but reliable cluster of beloveds who will call me on my shit. They tell me what’s real and what’s not when I am lost in the funhouse maze. They see me. And I might kick myself in the teeth for feeling pitiful, but I’ve learned to trust when the people I love tell me it’s okay to hurt. I’d do the same for any of them (and I’d fight anyone who talked to them the way I talk to myself).

Maybe you have people like that or maybe you’re still looking for them. In any event, if you have a case of the sads and are faltering in doubt, let ME tell you: what you feel is real. You don’t need permission or justification to hurt. It doesn’t have to make sense. And it isn’t going to last forever. So, hold on. That’s it. Just hold on.

It is entirely possible that the next moment is going to suck, too. But it will be a new and different kind of suckage, and you’ll get through that, too. And eventually, you won’t be elbow-crawling over broken glass. Your wounds will close, and yeah, you’ll have scars, but those make for good stories. The point is that yours isn’t done yet.


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