The original title of this post was “It’s OK to be Sad.” However, after a brief text conversation with a friend, it felt more adequate to leave the emotion open-ended. We are all born with the ability to feel. The verb definition of feel is to experience. For the intents and purposes of this post, the feel I refer to is the experience of emotions. Culturally and socially, we are taught that certain emotions are more acceptable to feel than others. It is necessary to recognize that all emotions are valid, and that giving ourselves (and each other) permission to go through the motions of feeling what we need to is of paramount importance for our own health and for the health of our relationships.
When I realized what Become Your Own Bliss evolved into, it was a set of notes that served as reminders for me to come back to center, I felt the pressure to deny the inklings to feel certain emotions. I did my very best to overcome sadness, anger, and rage before they even set in. The way I processed the aforementioned emotions was to immediately invalidate them. I told myself that I had no reason to feel sad, angry, or livid.
The problem with intentionally numbing myself was that when it came time for me to have to process negative emotions, I was stunted. It’s prevalent in societal conditioning that people who are happy and joyful are the favorable ones. Life is so sad and the people who can hold the happy torch come out ahead. Yes, happiness, joy, and bliss are beautiful. They are experiences that we all strive toward, although using those emotions as a mental/spiritual litmus test to determine how life is going, misses the point more often than not.
I often have to remind myself that it’s perfectly OK and necessary to experience the other side of the bliss coin. I would be completely remiss in the process of savoring the goodness that happens in life if I continued to ignore everything else.
Whatever you’re going through, it’s important that you feel your way through it as a part of the process. Give yourself permission. Don’t judge it. Move through it then come out of it better, with more clarity.
In my book, Become Your Own Bliss, I reach back into my formative years to share the roots of my personality with my readers. Much of what I practiced in writing that book was literally the revisiting of painful experiences, then exploiting them in hopes of uplifting my readers. It wasn’t easy but it was so worth it, and I was terrified in the process. On the days I questioned my efforts, I referred to a sentiment my late maternal grandmother, to whom BYOB was dedicated, lovingly imprinted into my impressionable, young head.
“Be kind, be good, and be brave,” she told me.
Be brave. Two tiny and insignificant words when they are alone, but together, they changed my world. I made a few decisions recently that were difficult and painful, but in the name of courage and moving forward, they were necessary. The photograph is of my beloved grandmother, holding me as an infant. I have been alive longer than the time we spent on this earth together, but I feel her still.
I know that she grew up in a generation when women were silenced and not seen. She wanted to become a journalist but women weren’t allowed to utilize the written word and their voices in her time. I believe I inherited her desire and drive to move the world forward with words and thoughts. I often refer to my Mama’s instructions. I remember her as loving and kind. She gave the best hugs and in her own way, she was fierce, even in her practice of religion. Her quality of kindness hasn’t touched my life since I lost her.
She is the reason I have to fight through the noise to move forward. The noise in societal pressure, the noise in my head, the noise that can get in the way. I do my work for her, and for those who aren’t able to.
Anyone who is lost in the process is released with love.
Fresh starts, love, and growth all evoke freedom; it’s only fitting that I open up to everything that word encompasses as my theme for 2016. I’m ready for more big changes and blissing out even when I’m in the midst of chaos.