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  • Writer's pictureEricka Marie

I was "This Close to Okay"

It has been quite some time my friends and now that Spring Break is upon me, I feel the weight of responsibility lifted off of me and honestly, it’s a relieving feeling. We’re three months into 2021 and there were some days that it felt like 2020 part two. Everything I did required a conscious effort on my part. I wanted to read but was too exhausted. I need to work but also needed a break. My platforms needed content but other things took priority. I wanted to be social but was mentally drained. After a while, it felt like I put too much dip on my chip but not even the good kind of dip. The dip that makes the chip soggy and it breaks slowly. I was the chip breaking slowly haha. Part of that problem is me not knowing how to say no. Or rather, me not liking to say no because for whatever reason I value people’s opinions of me above my opinion of self (that's another issue plaguing me). I see all these problems I’m faced with and I know solutions won’t come easily. With most things, I needed to take it one moment at a time, an hour at a time, and a day at a time. In doing so, I crawled my way out of a reading slump to dive into the book This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith.

This book prompted the conversation I had with myself when exploring those moments where I was seemingly okay but in actuality, I was not. It also allowed me to reframe what "okay" looks like in my life. It's easy for me to fall into a comparison trap and see what is going on in other people's lives but I realized I've never seen a full picture. People are struggling with a lot more than we will ever know.

This book was nothing like I expected it to be, mainly because for the first half of it, I was confused. But not about what was happening but why it was happening and if you need this reassurance before you read this book: I was not confused for long. From the beginning, I was interested in the premise. Tallie (a recently divorced therapist) stops Emmett from jumping off of a bridge. But then a friendship forms and thus begins their weekend together filled with vulnerability but so much deceit. The book is written from the perspective of both characters as well as a split timeline so as I read on, many gaps about the characters lives were filled. Leesa Cross-Smith did a fantastic job piecing this story together and her writing is stunning. What I loved most is how Leesa tackled the complexities of mental health. It was raw and honest. This book won’t be for everyone but if you are looking for a book where two people, one traumatically broken and the other seemingly whole, work to desperately put themselves back together, then this book is for you.

On some of my Instagram posts, I’ve been transparent about needing to take a break and feeling overwhelmed. Being the loving community that IG can be, I felt reassured that my breaks from everything were warranted and I concluded that if I’m not being 100% myself, I won’t be able to give quality content. So this blog post is me checking in with y’all. It’s me acknowledging that I won’t be ok 24 hours out of the day or 7 days a week. But I will have snippets and burst of desire to do those things that bring me joy. That when those bursts happen, I need to take full advantage.

This blog post is also to remind you to accept when you’re not feeling yourself. Listen to your body when it's telling you to chill. Understand that self-care is not selfish.

Know that there is only one of you in the world and you are needed. Here is what I have practicing, and I would love to recommend it to you (DISCLAIMER: I am in no way a licensed health professional, therapist, or psychologist. I am just a human trying to take it one day at a time).

  • Have a dance party at home or in the car. On my worst days, I try not to drive in my car in silence. So I’m always blasting music. Sometimes I just listen. Other times I’m singing along.

  • Find something to nurture. Whether it’s a pet, plant, or human. Caring for something or someone gives me a sense of responsibility. Someone or something is counting on you.

  • My friend suggested that make a list of affirmations and have them ready for those moments in life where you need to feel affirmed. Things like: “You are valued”, “You are kind”, “You are talented”.

  • Know when to take breaks and don’t apologize about it. I teach full time and I recently took a day off of work just to sit at home. This was huge for me because I went years and never took a day off. This is the first year where my body was like: “Girl, if you don’t take a break, I’ll force you to”

  • Surround yourself with a community of people who will be there for you when things get tough.

  • Clean your space! I recently discovered that a clear space helps to clear my mind. You may even find comfort in watching other people clean. There are so many cool YouTube videos about that.

  • Get some fresh air. Go for a walk or open up your windows.

  • Practice the art of saying no. Stand in front of a mirror and practice all the poses you can be in while saying no. You can even change your voice! Also, don’t believe that “no’s” need an explanation. They don’t. No is a complete sentence.

  • Seek professional help! Deciding to seek therapy is scary but it was one of the best decisions I made last year. Now I’m a huge advocate for it and I’m unashamed.

  • Give yourself from grace. You’re doing great!

I wanted to end this blog post with an excerpt from the author’s note: “New mornings mean new mercies! And if things do get too dark for you, please speak up and reach out for help. You are not alone. You matter. You are so loved."

We can do this friends!

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