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Complicated Anniversaries: It's Ok to Not Be Ok

Life has been weird lately. It’s been complicated, and I’ve had a hard time understanding why. And then I read this tweet:

We're coming up on a year of being in this pandemic, there's some sort of weird existential dread hitting a lot of us. The bad news: we're all in this at the same time, together. The good news: we're all in this at the same time, together.

— Sarah Drasner (@sarah_edo) February 11, 2021

And that was it. That was the moment where I thought “oh, I know how this goes.” I know about trauma anniversaries. I know what they do to me. I know how I struggle through thinking through things. I know how I’m anxious. I know how I’m irritable. I know how my mind races at night, how I wake up at 2am and can’t go back to sleep, I know how I feel like a wrecking ball of emotions because I’m freaking doing the best I can do and I feel like I’m letting every single person down because the world is fucking overwhelming.

I know.

I know this feeling well.

And I have desperately tried to get away from it for the last four and a half years. And, “hello, trauma, we meet again. And you’re compounding yourself on top of what I’m already going through. And this time, fuck you, because you’re stacking yourself on top of my kids too. And I could barely hold on when it was just me. But now you’re trying to take them down too. And I will not stand for it.”

“Last time, it was almost all of me. I couldn’t see my life past trauma, until one person, just one, reached out and said, I’ve been through this. It was different, but also the same. And I heard the words that I thought in my head. And I understood the self-doubt, and I heard the voices of every single person who doubted me in my life and I said “Fuck you.” But this time, it’s not just me. It’s me, it’s my kids and my family, it’s my friends–who I love deeply–it’s the community that has held tight to each other. And it’s hard. I am trying so very hard to be the one who can hold everyone up. And I know that we all hold each other up, but it’s hard. It’s a trustfall, right?

And here’s the thing: we fail at a trustfall if we’re not honest with ourselves. It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to say that. It’s a good thing to reach out for support. We’re all very much going through this together–and some of us are dealing with extra things on top of it–and if anything, we learn about the importance of honesty, of commmunication, of empathy. And we all come out the other end as a stronger community.

But for now, can we be ok struggling together? Can we be ok having off weeks together? Because this is all normal–a normal trauma response–and let’s acknowledge that for many of us, that’s what the entire last year has been.

And it’s ok for the last year to have some amazing and bright spots. It’s ok for the last year to feel empty. But now, more than ever, I want you to know that I am here for you. I am here if we have never spoken, I am here if we’ve had a million conversations but haven’t felt close, I am here for you wherever you are in your life if you feel this way. Because I will never leave anyone in isolation. I’m here. And it doesn’t matter what role you’ve had in my life. I am just here for you.

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