I Am Not Okay.
I am not okay, and I want you to know it.
Yes, I know there may be nothing you can do about it, and I don’t expect you to change it, take responsibility for it, or apologize.
I want you to sit with me while I hold my broken pieces. You don’t have to speak, or touch me, or do anything that does not originate from your authentic core. It is not about what you do, or don’t do. It is about being, not doing.
I want to remove my mask, for it has grown cumbersome. It has turned into yet another way that I isolate myself. I want you to be there when I remove it. Just be there, and be present. Just be.
I want you to see me, and not flinch at the sight of my tears. Be still.
I want to feel that I am not making a mistake when I admit that my heart is heavy beyond measure. I want to speak without shame, to weep without hiding. I want to be honest. I want to be.
I also want you to know.
I want you to know, yes, I am self-sufficient and I love myself, but that doesn’t mean I am not allowed to succumb to this ocean of loneliness that continually washes over me. I want you to know too that I put myself out there, talk to people, but it takes a great deal of courage that I don’t have all the time.
It is impossible to put the past behind us overnight, to close our deepest wounds overnight, to find the cure for anxiety and insecurity overnight. Forget about overnight, perhaps it takes a lifetime. I cannot wait until I am fully healed to be loved, to be seen, for I could very well be waiting until long after my bones have turned to dust.
I want you to know, some of these things that I do for myself are distractions. I love them, but they are distractions. When I can feel my broken heart cracking open once more, I get in the car and drive. It is as though someone is chasing me. Someone is chasing me — a few someones: my demons — but what a pity that they all live in my chest. No matter how far I drive, they come with me.
The sights and sounds of faraway places, of museums and art, are sustenance for them. Nature and the relics of others’ broken hearts can stave them off, only temporarily. When they come back, they come back with an undeniable and insatiable hunger. When they come back, I am not sure what to do next. I have had so many dark nights of the soul that I have forgotten what the sun looks like.
I want you to know, I am tired of hiding the fact that I do get upset over the seemingly small things. Yes, an unreturned message is upsetting, never mind the myriad excuses that exist for it. In fact, it makes me feel like shit. It makes me question myself.
Am I so insignificant that you don’t think of me for any longer than it takes my message to appear, as you decide that you are too busy or not in the mood to talk? Do I never appear in the recesses of your mind long enough for you to think, “I should get back to her”? Do you ever feel any deep desire to communicate with me, or is that only on my side of this? I do not want you to answer; I only want you to know.
I want you to know that I love myself, but I want you to love me too — no, not to fill a void, not to validate me, not to give me an excuse to avoid my inner work. I want you to love me because I want to spend time with you, and I enjoy you, and it would be nice if the feeling were mutual.
At the very least, it would be nice if I could write this without so much inner resistance. I have read Byron Katie, among many others, and screwed myself up on all these writings about Buddhist principles regarding detachment, about taking total responsibility for my emotions, about how depression is a choice. Now I cannot even open up to a therapist about said feelings. I am ashamed that I have them.
I reject these dark parts of myself. I talk myself out of the reasons why it makes sense that I have them, and therefore I cannot communicate them properly. I have smiled while talking about subjects like alcoholism and cancer. I cannot feel in the presence of another; I cannot access the deepest pits of my anguish in front of another human being anymore. I can barely access them with myself.
I want you to know this, because I do not want you to mistake it for an absence of feeling.
The truth is, I am ashamed that I do not know how to love you and not be sad that you don’t seem to return the depth of my feelings. The truth is, I know I do not need a relationship or a great number of friends to be content and fulfilled in life, but I am ashamed that it stings to think of you with someone else.
I feel jealous of the people who get to be a part of your life, who get to see you regularly, who get to speak to you, eat with you, laugh with you, watch TV with you, be with you.
I want you to know, abandonment hurts like hell, and it takes time to heal from that. It doesn’t matter whether it was a family member who did it, or a significant other, or a friend, or a lover (even a mediocre or selfish one), or all of the above — when it happens, it really hurts, whether there was a goodbye or not.
But as someone on the receiving end of abandonments without goodbyes, I can tell you, that makes me feel quite insignificant as well. Was I not even worthy of the door-slam, of the battle over the last word? A door-slam indicates anger, while silence indicates passivity, apathy. Because of what has happened in the past, I feel unsafe, as though I am constantly teetering on the edge of losing you.
But I must be brave. I must tell you that I am not okay.
Furthermore, there is no universe in which I would ever be okay with losing you. There is no universe in which I have come to total acceptance with not being a part of your life. If that means that I am not detached, or not surrendering, or any of that other New Age hooey, then I guess I will have to be okay with that. I will have to be okay with not being okay.
I am not okay, and I do not expect anyone to be my savior.
I want you to know.
Heidi Hendricks has called many places home throughout her life, but currently lives in Rochester, New York. Her work has been published in Adelaide and Buck Off Magazine. She is passionate about writing (obviously), music, and healing. It was only a year ago that she began to start sharing her writing with the world, but now that she’s started, she isn’t going to stop. You can find her on her blog.