To be okay with not being okay

On February 21st, 2015, my grandmother(Granny) went to be with her beloved Jesus. She was 90 years old and the most amazing person I have ever known. She is the only grandmother I was ever blessed to know, because my father's mother passed away when he was a child. So, Mrs. Mattie Mae Mims, my granny, was my everything. She was funny, feisty, sassy, and kind. She was full of love and knew just how to convey how proud she was of you while also spurring you on to greatness. She had a laugh that lit up rooms and eyes that overflowed with kindness.

She was love, grace, patience, class, and strength personified. Short in stature and strong in might - Mattie Mae was mighty alright. 

Her death, while not a total surprise, has been very unnerving. She always told me to count my blessings. She admonished me to go to church and stay in school because "There's nothing out here in this world for you, Gabby." She was my biggest cheerleader - never forgetting my birthday, Christmas, or what was going on with me whenever we talked or saw each other. My fondest memories of/with her stem from when I was a younger (little) girl. She would spend the summers at my house and forced me to watch the news with her at 5pm on the dot, everyday no matter what, because it was important to know what was going in the world. She made sure I remained educationally inclined, even in the summertime. I had to read books and do math problems. (I hated it at the time, but I know it's the reason I attend Cornell University right now.) She taught me how to cook - macaroni& cheese, homemade chili, sweet potato pie, and a host of other things. She'd wash my hair, tell me stories, and make sure I knew that I could achieve and be anything. She was, still is my angel - and losing her has left me in a lurch. 

I left school for two weeks because I just couldn't deal. And even as I write this, tears are falling - because I'm still not okay. But, I have come to realize that it's okay to not be okay.

I fashion myself superwoman and even though I know that she would not want me to be sad, cry, or debilitated due to her death - I was and have been. And I'm not ashamed of that fact. I had to ask for extensions on assignments. I dropped a class. I spent a lot of time crying in bed. I woke up and tears would flow. So, I decided to go to therapy because #screwthestigma. And you know what, it has been helping me. 

Therapy has helped me process my grief. It's given me someone to talk to about everything that is removed from the situation. My therapist doesn't know me and she didn't know my granny. We can talk about things without any barriers or biases and I never feel like a burden because talking about things is her job. 

And, I don't have to be okay for her. 
I don't have to be okay for anyone but myself.
I don't have to be okay at all. 

Whether you are dealing with grief, depression, suicidal thoughts, self-esteem issues, or just are mad at the world - I want you, my fellow Queen to know that it's okay to not be okay. I also want you to seek help if you need it. Mental health matters. It's okay to "talk to someone" aka get counseling or therapy. You're not crazy. It does't mean that you're not strong. It means that you are human. To be vulnerable, to know when you're not okay, to actively seek to figure out why and to do what you need to do to get back on track - that right there, is the true definition of strength. 

Strength is no longer the idea of persevering no matter what. That's not healthy and doesn't serve anyone. I'm not your mule. I don't have to be okay.
The most beautiful and tragic thing about life is that it goes on. So, in the midst of everything that this beautiful world throws at you, I need you know that:
It's okay not to be okay. 
It's okay not to be okay.
It's okay not to be okay. 

I'm still sad. I will be for the rest of my life. But I'm not perfect. I'm not superwoman. And I don't have to be okay all the time. I'm not 100 right now - but I know 'it's gone be alright' because I know it's okay, NOT, to be okay. 

& I don't owe you anything. 

Dear Granny, I'll stay in school, count my blessings, and get back into going to church for you. I will keep cooking and I'll do my best to keep making you proud. I love you. I miss you. And I hope that when you look down on me you smile. I'll look for you in the sunshine and feel you through the wind as it blows through the trees. Because even though you're not physically here, I know that you are still around. Thank you for all that you gave me and for leaving me an amazing family. Forever my angel you will be. 

Dear Granny,

I'll stay in school, count my blessings, and get back into going to church for you. I will keep cooking and I'll do my best to keep making you proud. I love you. I miss you. And I hope that when you look down on me you smile. I'll look for you in the sunshine and feel you through the wind as it blows through the trees. Because even though you're not physically here, I know that you are still around. Thank you for all that you gave me and for leaving me an amazing family.

Forever my angel you will be. 

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