Keep Your Head Up


When you’re on top of the world the warm sun hits your shoulders just right. All of your worries are carried away with the wind at your back as you exhale, taking in the serene mountaintop view. The ordinary becomes the extraordinary as colors appear more vivid and music sounds sweeter. In those small moments everything is right and good in the universe. It seems as if nothing could ever bring you down.

But what do you do when you’ve hit your rock bottom? When hot tears spill out of your soulful eyes, stinging your cheeks, and leaving your vision even blurrier than it was before. You’re gasping for air between sobs, not sure if you could take another step without falling to your knees. You feel exhausted but you can’t sleep because you can’t escape your own mind. Even in your dreams you feel trapped, weighed down by something or someone.

You’re flashing everyone your brightest smile, giving out doses of positivity while insecurities eat away at your core. Your stomach feels like it’s constantly being tied in tight, unraveling knots. You want so desperately to say everything that is on your mind, but words escape you. You never want to appear weak even if your lips did happen to stumble across the right sentences. Your friends wonder how someone who appears so calm and collected on the surface could be conflicted and struggling internally. You are the one who is always giving advice. The same advice you can never seem to take yourself. Harsh waves of bottled up emotion beat against the statue of the character you portray, weathering it down, and dulling your shine. How much longer can you wear the mask before it falls off?

You tried your best, but didn’t succeed. You fell short of the grade you worked hard all semester for. They hired someone more qualified for the job of your dreams. The person you fell achingly hard for is holding the hand of a new lover. Every aspect of your life feels like it’s crumbling under the weight of uncertainty. The world says stand up, put Band-Aids on those scraped knees and keep trying because more opportunities await you.

It’s not as easy as it seems. The knowledge of something better out there doesn’t make failure or rejection hurt any less in the moment. What do we do then? How do we move forward when we are paralyzed with the fear of failing once again?

Breathe deeply. Believe in yourself. Recognize that failure is an important part of life- it means you are attempting to move forward. Without it we wouldn’t know the euphoric feeling behind success. We try to understand and overanalyze things that aren’t meant to be understood, causing nothing but unnecessary heartache. It is inevitable that the world will be cold sometimes. It is a solid guarantee that it will break your heart ten ways to Sunday. We will have the worst days and that’s why we have to find solace in the fact that our best days still lie ahead of us. Getting the wind knocked out of you only reminds your lungs how much they love the taste of air.

We need to embrace the fact that nothing about us is perfect. Perfection is simply an illusion that we strive for. It is something we will never have in our grasp no matter how hard we try. It’s like reaching for the sky though we have no means to touch it. The moments in which we are vulnerable are the most beautiful because they are what make us human. We were made to feel messy, raw, intense emotion. It’s the only way we know we’re truly alive. Trying to hide from our emotions, good or bad, is damaging to our souls.

Our rock bottom moments humble us and serve as a constant reminder that we’re all inherently flawed. It’s human nature to feel inadequate. We all have our imperfections and those little flaws are what make each of us perfect. Every single person you know loves something, has lost something and is afraid of something. We’re all fighting the same internal battles, our demons just look different. The only things we know for certain about people, are what they choose to show us. Stay kind and try to treat the world better than it treated you.

The good days might not last forever, but that means the bad ones won’t either. Never let the disappointments and heartaches this life throws your way harden you. After all, it is only by the darkness of night that we are able to see the stars which will guide us home once again.