stress & bad feelings.

So it hit me yesterday just how much freakin’ work I still have to do. Late in the afternoon on Saturday, I started feeling super sad and upset and just kind of blah for no clear reason, and when I woke up yesterday morning the feeling hadn’t gone away. I practiced yoga and meditated and made breakfast in a literal huff. I was stomping and sort of slamming drawers around and damn near threw an avocado across the kitchen when I cut it open and it wasn’t ripe enough to use. And this whole time I was just thinking, there isn’t a reason why I feel this way, sometimes I’m just sad for no reason. But that didn’t really sit right with me. Something was off—deep down I knew that I didn’t get in these types of moods anymore without a reason, I just couldn’t figure out what it was.

I sat down to journal and I started writing about how frustrated I was that one of my roommates owed me money from a shopping trip and hadn’t venmo’d me for it yet. But as I wrote that, I knew it was wrong. I wasn’t mad at her for not paying me back yet. I told her there was no rush to pay me back, so why all of a sudden, did I feel angry that she hadn’t yet? That wasn’t it and I knew it, but I couldn’t really figure out what it actually was. And that was when I realized it was Sunday, so I needed to go and request my unemployment benefits. (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that before? I’m on unemployment since I’m literally unable to go back to work as a server, thank you COVID. Yes, I’m writing full time and that’s my job, but it’s not as if I have an income from that as of now). So I logged into my account and gasped. A huge payment that I’d been waiting on was in my account, scheduled to reach me in a couple days. And the payment was way more than what I’d been anticipating. I was also requesting my very last week of unemployment benefits, and I knew that supposedly, I was going to get an additional thirteen weeks of PEUC benefits applied to my account automatically, but I was highly suspicious of the idea that that would happen on its own and go smoothly. But when I applied for my final week, I went back to the home page and the thirteen weeks were already there. And in that moment, every bad sad negative grumpy awful stompy feeling I’d been feeling since the night before disappeared. And I actually rolled my eyes at myself, because duh, I’d been stressed about all this money stuff.

I have been financially independent for a very long time. One of the most important things to me is that I’m able to provide for myself and support myself and take care of myself. Although I know I used to overwork myself to an extreme, one of my favorite things about myself still is that I am willing to work hard enough to take care of myself. So the fact that my ability to support myself was taken from me, in a sense—the fact that my financial stability had become dependent on something I couldn’t control—was incredibly frustrating.

For a few weeks now, a lot of my financial security has been up in the air and it’s been causing me a TON of anxiety. I’m still waiting on getting my tax return back, I’ve been waiting on the government to figure out if there’s going to be additional aid for unemployment, and I’ve been really uncertain about whether or not I’d actually be getting thirteen more weeks of benefits after my regular unemployment ran out. All of these things were out my control, and like I said, I’m really not used to having my financial security out of my control. It didn’t help that I’d called the IRS like eighteen times that week trying to speak with someone about the status of my tax return, but no one was available. And although I’ve done all the research about it that I could possibly do and called all the people I could possibly call about the various statuses of my various moneys, the reality is that I just didn’t know. It was all completely uncertain, and I had no control over it, and no way of gaining control of it. I had to do something that is still so hard for me: let go, and trust.

So on Saturday night, I think my subconscious was extremely aware that the following day I’d put in what could be my very last chance to request/receive unemployment benefits. And that’s why, on Sunday morning, I felt so frustrated with my roommate for not having had paid me back yet. It was just yet another sum of money that would be mine eventually, but was at that moment, out of my control. Not being in control of my finances makes me feel like my entire life is out of my control. It feels like pure chaos. And so that’s why I was in such a fucking mood. But I’d been so comfortable with the idea that I felt that way for no reason, just ’cause, that I didn’t investigate it any further. And because I didn’t investigate it, there was literally no way for me to get a handle on it. So I spent nearly twenty-four hours feeling like absolute shit, all because I’m still sometimes in this mindset that it’s normal and okay for me to feel bad. And so basically what I’m saying is that like, this belief that feeling terrible is just a part of my life and something I need to accept made me literally feel bad for longer. Always! And I mean always investigate your bad feelings! Figure out where they’re coming from! Because they’re definitely coming from somewhere, caused by something. Don’t accept that you’re meant to feel like shit. I have decided that from here on out, I refuse to believe that that’s true. I am not supposed to feel bad about myself or my life. It’s not fated for me to feel like shit. So from now on, I’m going to do the thing I keep telling myself I’ll do when I feel negative feelings: acknowledge the feeling, feel the feeling, understand the feeling, and then let that mf feeling go. And I do often do that, but I realized this weekend that I still feel like some negativity is unavoidable. And okay, maybe that’s true. I obviously can’t get rid of every bad feeling in the world. But what I’m trying to get at is that no one should ever feel like they are supposed to feel bad or sad or angry. Life is supposed to be enjoyed. Things are supposed to be joyful. So when you feel sad, don’t just accept it. Don’t wallow in it. Consider it. Consider why you’re feeling that way, because I promise that you don’t deserve it. It’s not a part of who you are. There is joy and happiness and excitement and there are better things for you. Just look for them. Reach for them. Try and find them, and make them yours.

photo: the oat milk mocha latte I made myself to help heal my soul yesterday. I had three.

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