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Why It's OK To Feel Bad

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I've always liked New Year's. I think it's because I'm an unabashed hopeless romantic -- I love that possibility of resolutions, renewal and atonement. I savor the time spent with family, when life seems suspended and the lights are fuzzy, when Kathy Griffin embarrasses Anderson Cooper on CNN. You know, the little things.

But the beginning of this year was different. The weeks that follow the first of January are normally lighthearted. Weightless. Winter is coming to a close, and in the last half of the month (at least in the South), signs of spring creep up and surprise you. It's a new semester, a new routine, a new playbook of possibilities.

My January sucked. Clear and simple. School went by in a wave. I came home and crawled into bed, ate my weight in processed chocolate. The cycle continued.

Today, I feel fine. Those winter blues have thankfully faded. Earlier this week, I bought fresh flowers and plopped them in a vase on my bookshelf -- spring is in the air, and I like it. I'm feeling a fierce urge to write again, to create things that are important, to see the ones I love and cherish before they venture off.

I had never felt like that before. To be honest, it scared me a little.

Sometimes we're afraid to admit that we're sad, that we're anxious, that we can't do it all. Sometimes it's hard to admit that we just want to go home and crawl into bed, put a Taylor Swift record on, and shut our eyes. The last thing someone wants to do is shake hands with their fears and vulnerabilities, share an awkward dinner with their failures and mishaps.

It's challenging to write that, to confess that sometimes I'm not always happy -- that I have 'feelings' -- and I wonder where this stems from. We could sit by the window and talk for hours about how our society unconsciously pressures us to live amiable lives devoid of most emotion, but I'll digress. Here's what I will say: I'm a human, I have feelings and I refuse to be embarrassed or apologize for them. To quote a lovely lady named Hannah Horvath, "I'm an individual, and I feel how I feel when I feel it."

I've always presented myself to others as a put-together person, as someone who is established and knows what they're doing. But some mornings I greet the world and I haven't the slightest clue what is going to happen. Sometimes I feel awkward and sad and wallow in a sea of self-pity, but then sometimes I feel blissful, sun-kissed and absolutely beautiful.

Sometimes I feel a soft breeze at my back and, every now and then, I don't. But there's the rub -- if you embrace those emotions, even the ones that sting, and truly accept that this whirlwind called life is a blessed mixed bag of emotions, you'll do okay. Trust me.