My sweet little love. Sometimes- maybe most times- my sweet little monster. She’s headstrong and determined. She won’t take no for an answer. She’ll scream. She’ll throw her water bottle on the ground. She’ll drive me absolutely insane. But she’s my Omi.
And unfortunately, her stubbornness isn’t just when she doesn’t get her way. It seeps into all parts of her. So even when something is wrong or something is hurting her, she will carry on head held high. Even when she’s fallen after running full force and then slamming her face into the ground, she’ll stand up and in a little whimper say “I’m okay. I’m okay.”
But as her teacher, I know better. I know that she’s not okay. I know that she’s hurt and in pain. I know that she wants to be tough, but the reality is, what happened surprised her and she wasn’t expecting that. She had a plan and she went about that plan, but then something occurred and threw her off. It physically hurts, but it also makes her confused and sad.
I’m a great teacher, I know I am. But the only reason I know this feeling that she’s experiencing, is because sometimes I am Naomi.
Even at this very moment, I don’t know if I’m okay.
I texted Mel this morning, and I told her I was feeling sad. I told her that after spending a few days with family and now being on my own again, I feel like I’m all by myself on this island. And she responded and she said that it’s becoming a pattern.
Every time a family member or friend visit, I’m okay. Probably more than okay! I have fun with them. I get to spend time with people rather than be on my own. I can have actual conversations and share my life with someone else rather than read about the lives of the fictional characters I love. But then they leave. And I feel a massive wave of loneliness come washing over me. I feel sad and hopeless. The questions cross my mind of whether I want to be on this island by myself any longer or would I benefit more from packing up and going to some place where people want me.
Basically, I’m not okay.
I start to cry. I get anxious being in my apartment all by myself. I debate with myself about quitting my job and moving back to California. I try to imagine what that life would even look like for me to leave Hawaii. I go to work and feel like I’m just dragging myself along in order to get by. And that’s not a fun way to live.
But then a few days pass and I get back into my routine, and things start to get better. I remember how to do things on my own. I enjoy going to the beach and bringing a good book with me. I go on runs or take classes at Bar Method. I keep moving forward.
Maybe I’m okay.
All year it’s been this back and forth of being okay and not being okay. That’s the pattern Mel was talking about. Honestly, from February to about last week, it was mostly not okay. It was horrible. The most painful and heartbreaking experience of my life. On some days, it still hurts. I still have questions and wonder if anything could have happened differently. That was not part of my plan. It surprised me, and I wasn’t expecting that. My heart was slammed straight into the ground.
But just like Naomi, I’m trying to tell myself that I’m okay. That even though my favorite person disappeared and walked out of my life, maybe I’ll be okay.
It’s hard to believe that one day I’ll be okay. Everything thus far has been the complete opposite of okay. But maybe if I keep telling myself I’m okay… Just like how Naomi tells herself she’s okay then goes off to play with the next shiny thing on the playground. Then maybe it’ll be the truth.
I’m going to be okay.