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Dear Me (and You): It's OK to Stop and Grieve

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Beautiful girl,

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when my life turns upside down, I peruse the bowels of Pinterest for quotes. It’s my own desperate attempt to find some famous author from any century who has discovered the language I still haven’t, a mysterious, yet universal fluency in boundless pain.

I haven’t found it — that sentence or paragraph or thesis on guttural anguish I’m hoping to recognize as my own. What I do find are the pins to be pinned on resilience and perseverance and your garden variety “look at you doing all the things and being all the things despite all the things that should have taken you down” bullshit.

See, the world expects us to take our deepest pains and rewrite them into nice, neat, pretty survival guides, instruction manuals on how to overcome. Other women will point at us in faux awe and amazement, “Look at [blank]! I don’t know how she does it, how she gets out of bed after [blank]!”

Beautiful girl, please hear me.

Our overcoming steals our becoming and we won’t survive one more survival guide.

We don’t need more overcoming.

Tonight, we need beautiful and brave women screaming, “This is as bad as I think it is!”

We need visceral, gut-wrenching, out-loud wailing for everyone to see. Let yourself build an altar to your fears and disappointments and worship it, for a little or long while. Right now, stop shrinking and insisting on making your pain small instead of letting it swell inside of you, becoming a force that can no longer be contained. A banner promoting The Mighty's new Self-Care Lounge group on The Mighty mobile app. The banner reads, Taking care of yourself is important, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Join the Self-Care Lounge group so you can prioritize you. Click to join.

Beautiful girl, this is no time for modesty. Show me all the ways your anger can light the world on fire and I promise to hold your hand while we watch it all burn. Stop holding in the heartbreaks of your life and let them overtake you as they seep and spill out around you. Invite in the breakdown without rushing in the breakthrough.

I can see it now.

You are becoming the beautiful girl who breathes life into her pain, instead of hiding it before anyone can see your life isn’t without pain. Cradle and carry your hurt as long as you need. Come utterly undone while they scream, “Hysterical! Unstable!” in endless envy at the ways you refuse to overcome.

You need no permission. Oh, beautiful girl, the becoming is coming.

Getty image by Ponomariova_Maria

Originally published: January 9, 2021
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