When The World Is Just Too Much
India takes it out of me sometimes. Sometimes it makes me feel like I'm on top of the world, while other times it makes me feel like that runner who falls down in a race and everyone runs over them instead of helping them up.
Sometime on Tuesday I began to feel ill. Sweaty, feverish, nauseous and just plain ill. By Wednesday I couldn't teach and instead spent the day in the bathroom and napping, unable to eat or make myself feel better. By Thursday I convinced myself I was fine, and I was somewhat. I needed to sit down, I wasn't 100%, but for Thursday and Friday I powered through, teaching classes, volunteering in rehab, doing all the things I'd normally do. On Saturday, I really did feel fine, and began looking forward to celebrating Diwali with my friends on Sunday,
Sunday came, and long story short I ended up celebrating Diwali with my head in the loo and a visit to the doctor. Food poisoning, coupled with a bug that's been going around my students had me crippled. Everybody knows there is only one thing worse than being incredibly ill, and that is being ill so far from home, from home comforts, from routines you would normally abide by that you would rather not be there at all. I wanted to be at home. I did not want the curry they were trying to give me for breakfast or even the tea. I had little bits of fruit and I did feel a little better with medicine, but honestly, those days were some of the worst I've ever lived through. I've never been quite that sick before and it was horrible.
Thankfully come Monday, although I'm still recovering, I got the one beautiful thing I've been pestering everyone about all week- toast. Despite not having a toaster, or even knowing what 'toast' was prior to this week, the man in the canteen, after finding out I was ill, has rallied round and somehow has been making stacks of cooked bread upon my request. I could genuinely have wept tears of happiness at that moment. So I'm utterly thankful for that, the little blessing in my food poisoning adventure.
And as you know, when I'm left to my own devices, away from wifi and any distractions, I tend to think a lot. So, although I'm much to ill yet to give you a proper post, here's a little glimpse into my thoughts and reflections about feeling this way.
You’re not always going to feel on top of the world, you know.
You’re not always going to get that bonus or promotion, not always going to be asked on a date, not always going to have your hair parted just right, or find that perfect dress to wear out on a Friday night.
You’re not always going to get along with your parents or siblings, not always going to believe in love or have the strength to get out of bed in the morning. There will be days when you just feel like giving up. And days when your heart hurts.
And on those days, it’s okay to admit that you’re struggling.
It’s okay to tell yourself to slow down. It’s okay to be honest with yourself and say that things hurt when they hurt. It’s okay to reach out to people around you and confide your pain. It’s okay to feel weak or afraid. It’s okay to feel strange, and admit that you’re feeling strange. It’s okay to be sad.
It’s okay to not feel okay.
We live in a society filled with pressure. There’s so much pressure to have the perfect body, to have a successful career, to have a great-looking significant other or spouse, to travel, to have money, to do fun things, to eat well, to party hard, to accomplish so much that when you really take a step back and look, you realise that meeting those expectations is near impossible.
Yet we still try. We still push ourselves to follow all these rules, meet all these guidelines. We don’t want to fall short. We don’t want to be any less than the next person.
But sometimes the way we are living leaves us feeling empty. We try and try to be something that we’re not. Or we try and try to push ourselves until we just break down. And it’s when we finally break down that we realise we’re not okay. But here’s what you need to know: It’s okay to not feel okay. It’s okay to be ‘off.’ It’s okay to hurt, to be confused, to feel broken, to cry, to just need a break. It’s okay to need someone. It’s okay to seek help.
The strongest of people are the ones who know when to quit, who know when to reach out to others, who know when to throw in the towel and say, ‘Okay, I just need a moment.’ The strongest people are the ones who don’t follow society’s expectations of perfection and instead try to live a life that feels right to them.
It’s okay if you aren’t first in line or the best at everything. It’s okay if you fall short in some ways or just don’t feel like yourself when you wake up in the morning. It’s okay if you’re not over your ex or are still struggling to find a job. It’s okay if you don’t eat healthy or you haven’t been to church in months. It’s okay if you don’t have your life together all the time or have a crappy past.
It’s okay to not be perfect all the time.
So take a deep breath and relax. You’re not alone and you’re not a failure. You have just hit a bump in the road; you are just in a moment of transition, switching gears. You’re like a car with dead battery, simply needing a recharge.
You might not feel okay, and that’s fine.
You are still you, and still strong.