By Marlene Goldman
A preface to our readers, the following below will touch on feelings of sadness and distress also known on social media as “The Big Sad.” If you resonate with the feelings below and need someone to talk to you can text HOME to 741741 to connect to a Crisis Counselor. https://www.crisistextline.org/
Sometimes, it just washes over me. Like a massive wave of sadness has taken me out to sea. I stay afloat on the water as it rocks me back and forth. I’ve tried to fight it before. I’ve tried to hold my breath when a wave takes over my whole body. I’ve tried not to be completely drowned by this feeling and remaining hopeful that soon, I’ll make it back to shore, back to being “okay,” back to not feeling like this.
I can’t feel like this; I’m not supposed to feel like this; I can’t keep being this sad. I am blessed to have days off but using them, just to be sad. I have things to do; I need to enjoy my time; there’s so much pressure. Plus, who will be there to respond to the needs of everyone else? Who will be there to run the meetings, run the household, check-in, inquire more, show up, and support in whichever way. I have to be the one to care, even when I don’t care anymore. But I’m supposed to care, and even saying this aloud makes me feel like I’m a bad person. I’m here because I care, I care so much. I care about the big picture…are you okay? Are you able to survive until tomorrow? Are you fed, are you safe, are you reaching your goals, are you calling home, are you taking care of yourself? I don’t care about the little things, but the little things feel like big things because of the energy it takes from me. I don’t have the energy. How am I supposed to show up when I’m not cared for? Not saying someone needs to care for me. I’m fortunate to have a partner who cares, a family who check-in, friends who talk to me daily. Yet I’m still sad. I’m so sad. I’m so fucking sad all of the time. You would never know this either. I’ve mastered how to “fake it till you make it” on purpose. I don’t want anyone to worry, and you don’t need to worry.
It’s just a wave of sadness. I never know when it’s going to pop up and make the day feel debilitating. It’s not a rush. It’s not the big wave that knocks you over. It’s just a feeling that carries with you, like wading out into the water until your feet no longer touch the bottom. This sadness engulfs in the quietest of ways. You don’t know you’re in it until you’re in it. Once you’re in it, you can either decide to fight back and swim back to shore. I’ve tried this method before by staying busy, not thinking about being sad, putting on a brave face. I’ve noticed through this way I’m just further away and deeper in an endless sea of sadness. But now I’m trying just to stay afloat, recognizing that I’m here in this space, and eventually, I’ll make it back to shore. With therapy and support from loved ones, I have tools to help me get back to land even when I feel so far away.
There’s no lesson to learn here or huge takeaways; I just hope whoever is reading this knows they are not alone. Black women get the “big sad” too, and it’s okay. Even though we are magical, we are still human.
Marlene Goldman-Marlene Goldman is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC who loves a good outfit with a cupcake to match. If you’re looking for a better start to your Mondays, follow her on Instagram @mondayswithmarlene.