It is dark outside.
I am dissolved into the night air for the space of a song, noticing a cold burst of wind in my bones, making way for something that is hard to name.
I feel it.
Memories ebb and flow—arguments with past lovers, some not-so-great great choices I made years ago, the ups and downs of living in New York City in my mid-20s, the sweetness of when I started writing that spring, and what it smelt like outside.
I remember the tops of brick buildings seen from my living room as I would write up a storm to the grinding sound of the M train and how magical the city looked when snow flurries floated in the air. I remember loneliness and deep-sweated confusion.
The music swells. Tears swell—it is okay.
I don’t need to pick it apart or launch an analysis—I don’t need to escape it.
Honestly, I’m not really sure what I feel, perhaps some mixture of nostalgia, regret, and grief—I accept it. I surrender to it and become softer, more human—which, if you ask me, is always the goal.
Moments pass, and feelings flow.
I will say to myself what I have said many times as a beginning therapist to my clients: it’s okay to feel.
If it truly seems too overwhelming—go slow, go gently, reach out to a friend, go outside, take a walk, stretch, make some art, grab your pet, or get help from a counselor. Gather all the resources you can to support your sweet self.
But don’t back away from the aliveness of feeling. Don’t run away or go numb, like our culture seems to suggest is best—it’s not.
We are human. We are tender, complex, and flawed. We feel and ache, we rise and fall, we soar and love and mess up and learn—it’s f*cking awesome.
And I’m not convinced that we have to let go or erase or cut away any part of ourselves. I don’t buy into the idea that we are meant to be happy all the time.
I think we’re on an adventure—and adventures, well, they can get messy sometimes.
They can be raw and jagged and absolutely breathtaking—so let’s dive in.
When our wounded parts crack open and swim to the surface, stretching out like a beach towel in front of a tumultuous ocean, and the tiny butterfly-wing-like fibers just can’t absorb all that water—yes, there is pain.
The pain we think we can’t sit with—but we can.
We can sit gently and feel—even for a single second. We can learn to embrace the starved, sad, broken, terrified, and angry parts.
The destructive, on-guard parts, the tender ones, the confused parts, the jealous ones, the skeptical parts that are critical and uncertain, the sad ones, and the ones who strike like a snake when they’re mad.
It’s ironic, but there is such magic in holding close the parts that hurt.
Be bold. Meet them. Listen.
What do they need?
How did they help you survive?
What wisdom do they offer now?
No part of us is truly bad or wrong or deserving of exile—any part can be loved.
We may fear we will get lost and die in the feelings, but so often, it is exactly where we find ourselves. Emotions are a source of life and healing.
It’s okay to feel.
Maybe we’re on an adventure—and adventures, well, they can get messy sometimes.
They don’t always proceed in a linear line, toward an ideal image of some distant time in the future when everything is perfect and we are perfect.
What we’ve got is right here, right now.
Let’s lean in.
It may be tender and raw and so tired. It may be surprisingly sweet.
Where you are right now is okay. Who you are right now is okay.
It’s okay to feel.