Why Bad Days are Okay
“You’re going to be fine.” “It’ll get better!” “Oh, no! How long is he gone for?” “Just make the choice to be positive and happy!”
Why, THANK YOU, people whose husbands aren’t deployed. I wasn’t aware that I was going to be fine, or feel better. Here’s the thing: their hearts are in the right place, most of the time. They don’t understand what you’re feeling. They just don’t get that you feel like half a person. They don’t understand waking up alone and wondering where their best friend, other half, soul mate is. And so they’re trying to encourage you in the only way they know how, without knowing that you’re dying on the inside.
In the first week of our deployment, I let what these people said dictate how I felt. After hearing, “be positive!” sixty billion times, I started believing that I didn’t get a bad day. I HAD to be positive. I HAD to smile, say I was okay, and shrug off the questions people asked. And guess what? It was awful. Because I was feeling like I’d been ripped open, like my heart was in two, like breathing hurt more than anything. But I smiled and said, “I’m okay!” because I had allowed myself to believe that I didn’t DESERVE a bad day. And after forcing myself to “be positive” I started feeling…numb. I didn’t feel anything. He was gone, yeah. Bummer. I’ll survive. I felt nothing. I didn’t cry, I didn’t do much of anything really. I worked, lived my day, slept, all without feeling anything. My mom would ask, “how was your day?” And my answer? “Eh, it was just a day.”
And then, my mother in law made me a “deployment survival kit”. And I didn’t cry until I was home and alone that night. But boy, did I lose it. All her little heartfelt notes about everything that was in my kit tore at the “positive” wife in me.
Pajamas: for the bad days when getting dressed was too much work.
Netflix door hanger: when I was having the kind of bad day I needed New Girl to fix.
Sour Patch Watermelons: because I love them, and for the days that were so bad I needed to eat my feelings.
And that’s just a few of them. But those simple gifts destroyed my false positivity, because she made me realize: BAD DAYS ARE PART OF DEPLOYMENT. THEY ARE PART OF BEING LONELY. AND IT’S OKAY TO HAVE A BAD DAY.
I can’t say this enough. And even if you’re not facing deployment, if you’re going through a rough patch, listen to me: bad. Days. Are. Normal. If 1/5 days you can’t get out of bed; if 1/5 days you can’t be bothered to eat because you have no appetite; if 1/5 days you have a good, long, shoulder shaking cry, IT’S OKAY. Why? Because 4/5 days, you’re kicking your rough patch’s butt. 4/5 days, you’re rocking this thing called life and owning every bit of your trials and struggles. 4/5 days, you’re not having a bad day. You are human. You are not required to be positive on days you feel negative. And don’t ever let anyone tell you any differently, even if they don’t mean to be. Your feelings, whatever they are, are valid in all their sad, happy, negative, positive glory. Be you. Be yourself. And feel all of those feelings, and LIVE on the crazy roller coaster called life. I am, and I’m loving it, even during deployment.