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It’s OK to Not Be OK Sometimes

Amber Blackburn
Woman on a swing in the dark forest, storm clouds in the sky.

“It’s OK to cry when there is too much in your mind. The clouds cry too when things get too heavy.” — Amina Mehmood

I saw this quote recently, and it made me stop and think about how we often try so hard to look like we have it all together. We may pretend like our life is perfect, when in reality it’s far from it. But why? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we want to hide the truth? Is it because we don’t want to appear weak? Or is it because we can’t face reality?

It’s OK to struggle. It’s OK to be real. It’s OK that you don’t always have your s*** together. Life’s messy, especially when you live with some kind of chronic illness. Life isn’t all roses and champagne. Instead it’s full of messy houses and dirty dishes. It’s full of down days where you can’t get out of bed, and high pain days. Life is real and that’s OK. When we live in a world of highlight reels and Instagram-perfect pictures, it’s easy to forget that we live messy lives. It’s easy to compare yourself to others and feel inadequate in your own shoes. But let me tell you this, it’s OK! It’s OK to not always be OK.

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It’s so easy these days to get caught up in the “perfect lives” you see on social media. It’s so easy to compare your life and what’s going on to what you see online. It’s also easy to forget you are only seeing highlights. You aren’t seeing the everyday struggles, the constant pain hidden behind the smiles of your favorite blogger. People don’t like to show the real stuff; they only show the good. But we have to remember everyone struggles. Everyone has down days, everyone has days where they don’t feel confident and that’s OK. In fact it’s beyond OK, it’s completely normal.

It’s OK if the house isn’t perfectly dusted. It’s OK if the floors aren’t shiny or vacuumed every other day. It’s OK if there is a little dog hair here or there. It’s OK if real life happens and is on display.

It’s OK that you don’t always have your s*** together. No one is perfect, no matter what you see on Instagram. There will be days that things don’t go like we planned. There will be days when you just don’t want to talk to anyone or climb out of bed, and that’s OK. You don’t have to hide that. You don’t have to pretend everything is perfect. Everyone knows you can’t be positive and happy all the time, and it’s OK. You don’t have to hide your pain or fatigue. Be honest with yourself and those around you and let them see what life is really like.

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We can’t expect people to understand the lives we live, with the issues we deal with, if we always hide what’s going on. We can’t  expect anyone to understand the daily struggles and the ups and downs of living with a chronic illness if we don’t open up and let them see it all. If we only show the highlight reels, we can’t expect people to understand what our lives are really like.

We have to remember that life isn’t perfect. There are bound to be peaks and valleys. Messy houses and dirty dishes, sad days and happy days, high pain days and low pain days are all part of life when you live with a chronic illness. That’s OK! There are going to be days when it hits the fan, and days when everything goes according to plan. That’s OK! But no matter how you are feeling and what’s going on, be honest with yourself and those around you about your messy imperfect life. Above all, please remember that’s it’s OK to not always be OK. In fact, be OK with not being OK.

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