Is it OK to not be OK?

How are you?

Fine. You?


We have these mini-conversations every day. And it is a standard. For the most part, no one is really inviting you in that moment to discuss your general well-being. It’s the new hello. How are ya? Good! Great. Have a good day.

But what about people you know? People you REALLY know. At what point can you say, you know what- I’m NOT OK. Not even a little bit. Seems to me noone really wants to hear it. And that’s OK, too, because lord knows we all have enough going on.

One of my favorite replies came from one of my grandparents who used to say, “Can’t complain. Who would listen anyway?” I don’t remember which grandparent would say this, maybe they all did. Maybe you just get to that point in your life where you think no one wants to hear your laundry list of Things That Have Gone Wrong Today. And that’s true. No one does. Again, lord knows we have our own sets of crosses to bear. But at what point does not burdening another with our bullshit become holding in things which are actually kind of significant to us? Things that will eat at us from the inside if we don’t let them out.

I was a Facebook “vague book” offender the other day when I posted that my heart was heavy and I urged people to be nice to one another because as the saying goes, we are all fighting battles no one knows about. I received so many lovely and comforting comments and texts. It felt good to know I was supported. But I didn’t necessarily want to get down into the deep and nitty-gritty. And I don’t, on a public blog, want to go there now.

However, I realized today when I let loose my angst on my child that I had been keeping too much bottled inside. It’s not that I don’t talk to people–I do. My mom. Sometimes my sister. I have friends I tell things to piecemeal. But I’ve been known to hold back and sugar coat. Because who really wants to hear that I’m hanging by a slender thread of sanity? That even though I could rattle off a gratitude list as long as your arm and I start and end each day with a prayer and I realize I am among the very blessed of this world, I am still sinking deep into a place where I desperately don’t want to go.

Admitting weakness is not one of my strong suits. I can self-deprecate with the best of them, but when it comes right down to it I feel like I am a strong mofo, above weakness of any sort, and there is absolutely zero room for me to complain or accept sadness or accept anything that is not within my immediate control.

But that’s all a load of horseshit.

There are a zillion things out of my control. From as big as the constant barrage of violence in our world to the way my children react to the only parenting I am qualified to give to health issues that arise which I am not qualified to fix, whether they be mental or physical.

This is certainly not something that the odd passerby who asks me how I’m doing needs to hear. But it is something we all need to address in our lives; whether we need to find that trusted confidante or we need to admit to ourselves that there is a problem that can’t be solved on our own, we need to stop pretending that things are OK when they are not.

Maybe if more people said, “I’m not OK right now” and weren’t looked at as freaks or inappropriate or whatever, this world would be a different place.

I know that today is just a moment in time. I know that this, too, shall pass.  But let’s all remember people need a safe place to say, “I’m not OK”. If we all strive to be a safe place for someone, anyone, maybe the world wouldn’t seem so overwhelming.

Just a thought and I haven’t written anything in so long, I’m just hitting publish on this baby…





7 thoughts on “Is it OK to not be OK?

  1. Dear Cara: I do, for one, know how you must feel. Not your exact feelings, but how socially unacceptable it is to let others know what really is going on. Once in a while, I let it out, but rarely. Sometimes it works !


    • Yes, it’s the socially unacceptable part that’s difficult. People who are close to you expect a bad day here and there but even they want you to buck up, little camper, and know it will all be ok in the end. Which it may be. But in the going through it times, sometimes it sucks. And if we can’t say so because good members of society just figure out how to just smile and get along, we are doing a disservice to those among us who feel things that just aren’t ok.


  2. You summed it up well. Really, well done.
    I think piecemeal is a big part of my life as well. My inner circle is quite limited.

    I love the way you mention your gratitude. It does help, prayers and thanks help, but sometimes it feels empty nonetheless.

    You’re not alone. Whatever it is, you’re not alone.


    • Sometimes all the ways we are taught to mitigate the hard times just aren’t enough to make it ok in the moment. And for some people it just takes a whole lot more than that. And I’m just hyper aware that if a good, kind, decent human like myself can struggle with this feelings, what it must be like for someone who is really just not ok and can’t say so for fear. I think we all experience those moments but I’m just beginning to understand what it may be like for those who have tried to be ok and feel that the failure is all theirs. I think we all may fail our fellow humans by not really wanting to hear that things aren’t ok and offering them platitudes instead of just acknowledgment and acceptance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed. I am empathic, so I usually prompt people to spill. Then I get to hug them and stuff.
        But you know, most people are not okay, and most people are trying to reconcile that, or mitigate it, how you phrased it. Sometimes it seems like compassion is a dwindling resource.

        Liked by 1 person

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