The other night I was exhausted. I literally dragged myself across my apartment to my bathroom, frowned at my tear-stained, bags-under-my-eyes face in the mirror, slowly shrugged off my clothes with my eyes half-closed, and sat like a mope on the edge of the shower as I waited for the water to warm.
I was mentally, physically, and emotionally drained.
And it’s funny, because I don’t really show that part of myself to the world. If I’m feeling down, I try to write about empowerment. If I’m tired, I try to write about motivation. If I’m sad, I try to write about feeling carefree. Maybe it’s my little way of inspiring myself. Maybe it’s slightly hypocritical (but with good intent). Or maybe, some days, it’s almost as if I’m living a lie. I’m one person on the internet and when I’m around other people, and a completely different one when I’m behind closed doors of my little one-bedroom apartment, staring at the walls and wondering what the hell is wrong with me.
But is it bad to want to present a certain persona to the rest of the world? Is it wrong to want to put on a good face, or fake a smile until one naturally creeps across my cheeks?
As I sat there on the edge of the tub, I thought about all that was going on in my life. The entire day I had been pushing all the crap to the far sides of my brain. I was ignoring the anxiety bubbling up in my belly. I was busying myself with obligations and emails and other random, useless thoughts. I was doing that thing I do when I’m totally overwhelmed: telling myself maybe if I ignore this long enough, it’ll just go away.
But that’s not how life works, is it?
Sitting there, I started to acknowledge why I felt like absolute hell. I was pushing myself too hard. I was taking on problems that weren’t mine to carry. I was spreading myself too thin. I was letting what I couldn’t control stress me out. I was focusing on the negative more than the positive. I was letting fear take over. Yikes.
I started thinking about how I could re-write my feelings into something that people could relate to—because this is how my mind works, always writing—and I realized something.
WE ALL HAVE PROBLEMS.
Well, yeah. Duh. But as I thought about how I could write my pain into something purposeful, I realized that I wasn’t alone in how I was feeling. Everyone has things they’re going through. Everyone has days where they’re just completely, utterly, totally exhausted by the world. And as awful as that is, isn’t it weirdly comforting, too?
Isn’t it crazy that in this world of millions and millions of people, we’re all fighting invisible battles in our heads?
We’re all going through sh*t. We’re all struggling. We’re all trying to keep our heads afloat and make sense of the world around us. We’re all coming home after a long day of work and wondering if we’re on the right path. We’re all staring at our tired faces in the mirror, looking for a reminder of who we are and who we have the potential to become.
We’re all running from the demons in our head, facing them, pushing against them, wrestling with them, breaking and healing and slowly finding our way.
So I want you to know something—you are not alone. Your problems may be big, they may be small, they may lie somewhere in-between, they may be long-lasting or fleeing, they may wreck your world or act as a minor speedbump in your path.
But your struggle is valid. Your exhaustion is warranted. Your cries are heard.
And I want you to acknowledge the fact to that it’s okay to show people you’re hurting, it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to withdraw and take time for yourself, and it’s okay to put on a face for the world and take off that mask when you’re alone.
It’s okay to be wherever you are, and feel whatever you feel. It’s okay, damn it.
So please don’t beat yourself up. Take a hot shower, close your eyes, curl up with a warm pillow and let tomorrow bring you a new start.
Every day is a process, a journey, a battle.
And you’re not alone in your fight.