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Why I refuse to just "feel better".

Stress is awful. I'm not a fan. Don't know many who are. Worrying. Panicking. Fretting. Fearing. There's so many ways to respond to the aspects of life that wear us down.

We've become conditioned to run from the negative. To fight it off by whatever means necessary. Whether you bury it in alcohol and substance use. Whether you push it aside with television and games. Whether you simply put it on the back-burner in your mind and force a rehearsed smile. Whatever your tactic may be, stress doesn't just evaporate.

With luck we buy ourselves time. Maybe things shift or change and we can let the stress go for a time. But stress is fierce and determined. It doesn't simply end one day. No matter how many times you dodge the bullet or face the fears, it will come back.

And that's okay.

What if, instead of trying to run from stress. Instead of burying it deep down and hiding it away so we can pretend everything is fine. What if we spend more time facing it?

I know. It's awful. That moment when you feel it, when you can't run any more because your emotional legs have already given all they've got, is crushing. You cry, you shake, you sob and moan. Maybe you get angry, maybe you lash out and hurt those around you or yourself. You attack walls for no reason and you throw things because that helps for some reason. Maybe the air is ripped from your lungs or you can't get out of bed or you call your cat mean names even though they didn't do anything wrong.

But once you accept the stress. Once you face it and let be a part of you, a very beautifully human part of you, that's when you really have a chance to do something worthwhile.

When facing stress and fear and anxiety, you're facing what you can no longer handle. You're breaking yourself down against the insurmountable and crashing out at rock bottom. And with that poetic self-destruction you finally have a chance to will yourself forward. To not only face the stress but to learn to grow to achieve.

I don't want to just "feel better" and "chin up" when I'm down. I don't want to simply slap on a lie and call it a smile. I know there's a time and a place but no one said I couldn't be a decent human and feel crummy at the same time. As much as I hate it, I love my sorrow. I cherish my agony. I appreciate my rage. I respect my fear. It's who I am. It's part of the whole puzzle. It's why I struggle to do better tomorrow. Not just to be less sad. But to overcome the source of the sadness. Not to just force a smile, but to cultivate a reason to. My growth as a person, my everything relies on the darkest, scariest moments of my life. They crush me, they destroy me, they wreck me. But they are me. They're my real face. The one my friends see when we talk and I cry because I trust them. It's the side I share with my family because their love cradles my negativity while I heal.

There's nothing wrong with you if you're upset or sad or angry or stressed or whatever you're feeling. You shouldn't belittle it just because someone says so. You shouldn't ignore it because it's hard. You shouldn't discard it because it's "not that bad". Instead, use your opportunity to choose something better. To grow and build and love and share. To be a normal person today and a better, more complete normal person tomorrow.

Maybe others have it worse than you. It doesn't make what you feel any less important. It's just another piece of the puzzle to carry with you. It's great to think of others and it's great to use that in your own fights to move forward.

"Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." (The Princess Bride, 1987)

It's a line that is far more true than people care to admit. There's a reason so many options exist to make you "feel better", to "fix you". But you're fine. Just as broken as the rest of us. The only part that matters is what you do with it. Do you strive for something better or do you let it destroy everything on your path to pretending it's not there and trying to ignore the part of yourself that wants to become something great?

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