I notice her with her walls up, trapped in a moment where she felt like she needed to pretend. She stood upright but everything about her revealed to me that she was crumbling on the inside. With each fake, plastic smile she became more exhausted with the fine art of hiding behind a façade.
I place my hands on her shoulders, “You don’t have to be okay right now. You don’t. Maybe if you give yourself a little space to fall apart, you might feel more together. A little more free.”
She wrestles fighting inwardly and then the tears start to stream down her darling face. She melts into me and I hold her. I whisper, “I know what it’s like to go through the motions, just pretended to be okay when I really wasn’t.”
I know what it’s like to be a faker. Don’t we all?
As if one more coat of mascara is going to make our eyes sparkle again.
Like the perfect under eye concealer is going to make us look like we actually rested instead tossing and turning, the replaying of events, the things we should have said. The things we shouldn’t have.
It’s possible to be surrounded by people and feel more alone than ever. It’s possible to say ‘I love you’ every time you feel it and still feel unloved. It’s possible to have a smile splash across your face and not feel an ounce of happiness within.
It is possible to feel everything and nothing…and wonder what the heck is wrong with you.
But, I know the power of walls coming down in the acknowledgment that I am a needy girl with a God who is big enough to handle it. I know the power of literally watching words set a heart free.
You don’t have to be okay when you’re not.
You don’t have to hide or fake it.
You can simply come wrecked and torn, just as you are and know that is enough.
The rain comes, it always does, and we feel it soaking through the façade until we let go of this little thing called perfect.
It happened to me in a tiny choir loft, running a fever and losing my first baby to early miscarriage. As a lady looked over at me, fully knowing what I was going through, she asked me how I was doing. True words came rolling out, my pain unmasked.
“I’m just here.”
That’s when I stopped pushing myself so hard while my body tried to keep up with the fast pace of pretending to be perfect. Pretending that I was stronger than the grief I was feeling inside. The walls came down and it was the most freeing and purposeful pain.
I felt so small and it was okay. I asked those hard questions and even the useless one of “why.”
I let myself be small and frail. I let my mom hold me like she used to when I was little. I gave myself permission to not be okay.
I found God in that broken space of loss and found myself at the same time. The one with angry poetry underneath my worn out Bible, the girl who knew that faith and questions could linger together in my sadness giving way to deeper, unshakeable roots in Christ.
By admitting that I wasn’t okay I found room for real healing, the kind that takes time and can’t be rushed.
In this day of remembering the many who have gone through the same thing during National Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness, whether it has been recent or decades ago, I wish I could sit with you and hold your hand to let you know that it’s okay that you are not okay right now.
One day you will be.
You will be strong and steady, someone that others lean on. One day you might be holding chubby babies, or climbing the corporate ladder and finding joy in your “right now” moments. Either way, you will be a woman who will do and accomplish great things. If you are brave enough to share your pain you won’t walk this journey alone. Someone might be waiting for you to let them in, let them. Now is not the time for you to be alone.
I pray joy will return and God’s peace will surround you.
Much love and prayers,
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:3)