Note to self (you are not a failure)
It’s okay that you’re a little broken right now.
You are not a failure.
It’s okay that it hurts still. That your heart aches, and you’re not sure what comes next. It’s okay to be confused.
You are not a failure.
It’s okay to be worn out. To want something different and wonder if you’ve made a mistake.
You are not a failure.
Let yourself rest, because if you don’t rest, you won’t be able to pick yourself up later on. Even so, this would not make you a failure. So don’t rest to avoid failure—do it because your body is worthy of rest. Of a moment of silence and peace in chaos. Of feeling alive, instead of continually in motion.
Your head is heavy and your heart heavier. Let God hold it now. You don’t have to stay strong any more; you have no energy left. Stop faking it. Stop trying to save the world. It’s time to be kind to yourself.
Go and buy yourself a bouquet of flowers. Listen to your favourite CD. Rewatch Survivor over-and-over-and-over, and keep going until your brain switches off and you can finally breathe.
Pray. And when you can’t pray—which seems to be all the time lately—let your breath be your prayer. Trust the groans of your spirit, the tears hidden behind your eyes, the wind upon your face. God has not left you. He is here. You are not alone.
It is okay to feel like you are alone. That you have been forgotten. That you have been cast your lot, and you’ve had your fair share. But it’s not over for you yet. It’s your turn again. Time to take another chance, to speak new words, to sing a new song.
You will make mistakes. You will stuff up. You will cry. But you are not a failure.
Nothing feels new today. Everything feels old and worn out. You are weathered and full of clichés that only now make sense. It’s okay to feel in riddles, to be afraid of what will happen if you give a voice to your pain. You are not a failure for feeling this way.
So speak.Talk to the stars.Stare at the endless night sky and hear God. He is always in the night sky. He caresses your face softly with the breeze, reveals infinite dreams among the gas giants of the solar system, and reminds you light is hidden beyond the clouds.
When you feel brave enough, tell someone. Tell the person you love. The person who understands. The friend who walked through this last time, and has promised to do so again.
Asking for help does not make you a failure. Speaking up does not make you a failure. Admitting you’ve made a mistake does not make you a failure. Relapse does not make you a failure.
You are enough. Just breathe. Breathe in and out, just like they taught you as a child. Remember that 1 am isn’t an eternity, and 9 am isn’t the definition of adulthood.
Remember that this pain will pass. It passed every time before, and it will leave you again. It does not define you. It will not forever cripple you. It will not maim your spirit.
You are strong—stronger than you know. Your soul is made of malleable steel, it shifts and bends into beautiful shapes while bullets ricochet off its surface. You are the leaves of autumn, which fall and wither, only to rise again within new flowers that come from soil fertile from last season’s pain.
You are not a failure. A failure does not rise again, yet you rise and rise every single time.
Stop expecting yourself to ‘get over it’. Forgive yourself for checking your social media too much, and stop chastising yourself when they don’t reply. Let it go. Eventually, you will be able to let it go. This statement will finally make sense to you.
Write again. Write because you can, not because you should. Give yourself permission to stop and listen. Explore the galaxies in your mind that you forgot about, draw them, describe them, sing about them.
Sing again. You don’t have to be well to sing. Just sing, because it is a part of your soul that you cage away.
Cry. Please cry. The tears will finally come and with them the pain and fear you’ve held for so long. It won’t solve anything, but you will feel better afterwards. And you deserve to feel better. To feel whole again.
Don’t be embarrassed any more. Stop saying sorry. Don’t footnote all your comments, or apologise for speaking too fast, too quietly, or with too much of an accent. Let them hear you. If they can’t, speak again. The people who matter can hear you. They will always hear you.
And let go of him. Forgive yourself for having a handle on it and then collapsing under the weight again. Don’t expect yourself to forget about him overnight. You don’t have to unfollow him. You don’t have to write him a letter. You don’t have to do anything. But stop beating yourself up for feeling like this, because you continue the cycle that makes your heart die a little each time.
Resuscitate. Breathe in. Be free. It’s going to be okay. It will be okay. It was last time, and you will survive this time too.
Don’t sledge him. Don’t be mean. Don’t allow your spirit to become bitter. Don’t use your feelings of inadequacy as an excuse to hurt others. Why swap the goodness in you for pain? Just let it be. It will pass. And when you feel brave enough, tell your counsellor. She will help.
No matter how you feel, you are not a failure. You are not your greatest fear, you will not succumb to this swirling spiral that haunts you. That is the depression. Recognise it. Name it. Call it out. You are light, and it is darkness.
Light always wins. Love always wins. God always wins. You are not fighting the darkness alone any more. So rest. Stop trying to change your life and live it.
You are here. You have won this moment. You are alive. Step outside your head and breathe.
This is your moment. Go and live it.
This exclusive excerpt comes from the book ‘When Hope Speaks’ by Jessica Morris, available October 10 through Salvo Publishing. Pre order your copy here.