by Olivia Sleet
You know that weird feeling in your throat that you get just before you really, properly cry? The dry ball that yo-yos as you fight to keep composure at all costs? I am a specialist in this very moment, before finally indulging in your own melancholy as the weight of whatever situation you’re in washes over you like a wave and suddenly you’ve lost the ability to speak or think in any coherent way. Words become heaving sobs and you have to concentrate on just getting enough oxygen in to keep functioning, all the while praying for those you want to notice to do so (and those you don’t not to).
I am writing these words for that very moment, whenever you need it – it could be (and has been) the toilets at work, your empty bed, your parents’ sofa. At that moment, you’re free-falling into a kind of sadness that’s not even really sad; it’s more like an emotional distress call. But the thing is, it doesn’t last – it can’t last, it’s exhausting. And more importantly, there’s usually things to be getting on with, and a huge part of being an adult is just that – taking charge of your own revival, talking yourself down from the brink and carrying on.
First of all, of course, breathe; take care of the physical first, you need to breathe, the rest can wait. Focus on something fixed in the vicinity, like a tile on the wall or a zip on your bag, anything that can anchor you in the here-and-now. That will do for now.
“You, your heart and soul and body and mind, are a team that is working for you”
Just sit for a bit, and understand that this exact moment, and the circumstances which inspired it, is part of your own individual life’s tapestry, and it will not last forever. Nothing is insurmountable – no matter the hassle or heartbreak or short-term inconvenience or backlash. Nothing is insurmountable, and you are on your side. You, your heart and soul and body and mind, are a team that is working for you to just thrive and between you, you can overcome whatever obstacle is about to come your way. You have, and you can. Take the breathless, heavy nausea that’s sat in your stomach and shake it off, it’s a waste of energy. Worrying, about anything, is wasted energy that will only ever drain you, and you have a duty to give yourself the best tools to recover, so cut it off right now.
Know that you’ll emerge one day slightly changed from this moment, but for the better. It won’t be in one glorified bolt of clarity, but just an insignificant November morning in which you realise you’ve moved on. But in the meantime, the bravest and best thing you can do is get up.
Go and do something – make a tea, have a shower, anything with a familiar process, because you need to know; the world has carried on turning, and hold firm in the belief that you, and whatever great thing comes next for you that you don’t even know yet, are worth the effort of pushing through this moment. All you have to do is keep getting up, the permanence in so much temporary, and the rest will work out just as it’s supposed to.
Olivia Sleet | @oliviasleet
Olivia Sleet is a writer, reader and roll neck enthusiast. She lives in London, eating gingerbread whilst trying to look like Pattie Boyd and write like Donna Tartt.