That's Not Heartburn, Those are Feelings: How to Stop Running and Start Being Okay With NOT Being Okay

I always knew I was meant to be a runner from a young age because over the years I have become a pro at sprinting away from any emotion that did not feel “good”. Anger, resentment, sadness, disappointment… all emotions that I could never comprehend enough to deal with in a healthy adult way.

No that is not heartburn Cassie, that is something called all of the feelings that don’t fall under the category of happy, fun, or right.

And to make matters worse, little did I realize that every time I ran away, every time I buried away raw emotions, I created an idea about what was acceptable to feel. I forced myself into the habit of avoiding communicating emotions for the sole fact that it may disrupt the image that I was balanced, that I may look crazy, that it could seem as though I gave a f*#k about anything. And when asked, when I really wanted to chip away at the layers of times that I deeply felt something, I hid it behind any of the responses listed below:

I’m fine

I’m okay

I’m good

I’m just tired

I’m just on my period

I’m just being hormonal

These very responses are why true friends take your phone away when you’re drunk to prevent you from unloading your unfelt emotions on various people in your phone book. It’s because they know that people like you and I, people that pride themselves on remaining or better yet appearing balanced, are the very people that need saving. In the end, the truth of the matter is that no one is balanced always. Very few people (shoutout to the psychopaths reading this) don’t feel hurt, disappointment, or regret. No amount of yoga, meditation, or chanting while floating down a freaking lily pad in India can take away the fact that the feelings you have arise for a reason. You can run a marathon, drown it out in holy water, or wait for the liquor to make it acceptable for you expose it but in the words of Iyanla Vanzant, “feelings buried alive don’t die.”

Eventually things demand to be felt. Unexpressed emotions don’t deteriorate but manifest in uglier ways later on. So, whether it is now or later, everything you run away from, bury, diminish, or try to forget finds you. Therefore, give a voice to your hurt, your sadness, and your unhappy emotions when they arise. Unbury the things that have not died but have been covered by the “I’m okays”. Lose your facade of being balanced and unaffected in order to understand and communicate the source of your angst. Begin the journey of honoring how you feel and you’ll never have to run another marathon.

Trying Not to Catch the Feels: How to Stop Judging Yourself When The Happy Sun is Not Shining Out of Your Ass

Every person has someone that truly seems as though the sun shines out of their ass. You gravitate to that person because you could tell them that you vomited out the car window on a first date and they would list the reasons why it’s all good and you’re still an amazing person. They are the type of people that constantly find the silver lining and one of those ass sun shining people is me.

The thing about being the person that sees the silver lining, is that I became expected to be the silver lining fairy all of the time. People began to wait on me to put on my lovely rose-colored glasses on and be like Oprah handing out goodness like “You get happiness, you happiness, we all get fricken happiness!!”

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However, it became an obvious problem because… shh this one’s a shocking secret...I am not always happy. It showed up when that family member kept telling me at every function that all my life decisions really suck ass. Or when I was overwhelmed with doubt about my own life and just wanted to be alone. When people label you as the bearer of positivity, you are forced to question who you are when the rose-colored glasses are not working. Am I truly an upbeat, stoked-on-life person if I feel like ripping your head off while simultaneously crying and eating alone in my bed?

It becomes a vicious cycle of feeling, feeling bad about feeling, and stuffing it down like dirty clothes in an overflowing laundry basket. And that is exactly what happens: buildup and overflow. And that overflow contains the nasty stank of unanswered emotions and that smell is more intrusive now than ever before.

When the positive fairy dust has fallen from my face and into a pool of donuts, anger, and sadness, it seems that ignoring it all in the name of remaining happy is not always the answer. My constant desire to not feel or face the “ugliness” inside of me ends up being the constant source of my overly emotional state. In the end, it became obvious that it was harder to endure the aftermath of my ignorance than it was to just allow myself to show up and be vulnerable.

In that I found the key to my happiness and sanity requires me to stop judging how I feel when I am not so happy. It forces me to allow every emotion to surface without labeling myself as good or bad for feeling it in the first place. To try to communicate and understand it. To be grateful for the experience and let it go. That right there is authenticity and it has allowed me to understand the idea of genuinely feeling great and thankful more often rather than always.

In the end, happiness does not contain a small print that says “You must treat every moment like you just met a rainbow unicorn or else you are an unhappy fraud.” Allowing myself to BE, to truly be seen for who I am, more than just the person with the sun shining out of their ass.