As I try to navigate post-graduate life with all I have experienced recently, I often find myself thinking ” I am not full”.
I moved, I graduated college, started a graduate degree, lost my father, then dropped out of that degree and entered a totally different direction at a brand new school, I entered new relationships– the list goes on.
My anxiety is at an all time high, I doubt everything that is good, and I tread carefully. I find myself struggling to think I bring any happiness to those around me when I’m running this empty. I’m often filled with thoughts and fear such as “when will they leave?” and “they do not deserve this”. I often feel that I need to be full to be a good, present person for anyone in my life.
I visited California this week to see my dear family who became so much closer to me since my fathers passing. My sweet Wendy took me to a shop called Pigment, where you create your own succulent.
Yet, as we are wandering about, then sitting and potting this little plants, Wendy is telling me about her past succulents she has killed. She is also telling me about the stress of having a upcoming high schooler, an upcoming freshman in college, and one who just graduated. She is telling me about her work, her family, and the life she has created. I catch a glimpse into what seems to be perfect, which actually isn’t so perfect. I can see in this moment that she too, is not always full.
We put pressure on ourselves to be full, to be present, to always be ready. When we go into the outside world, we push all our pain, grief, and trauma to the side. We put our best foot forward and pretend to be full. But in reality, we are not full.
I’ve put so much pressure on myself these last few months to be full, when in reality, I have every right to be empty. Seeing your father die infront of you, going through so much change, trying to figure out life– the emotions are warranted.
Everyone has the right to be empty, and to need comfort. If we are always on full, we don’t allow ourselves to heal, to feel, to move forward. We also then don’t realize that we all share this. Everyone has their trauma, their current situations, their feelings. If we don’t share these, we will often end up feeling more alone than we already do.
We need to embrace when those dearest to us are on empty. Hold them, tell them it is okay to be on empty, and listen. More than anything, we just need an ear to listen. Those who love us will understand that we cannot be present 100% of the time.
I have been so caught up in feeing sorry for those around me for being on empty, but maybe we all need to embrace when we are on empty. Here, we find out how strong we are, and how valuable we really are. Being able to feel is one of the most valuable traits humanity has.
Maybe it is okay to be empty afterall.