It Is Okay To Not Be Okay

In the Healing With the Muse community, our intention is to alchemize uncertain times into creative gold for the purposes of healing and being “makerly,” leveraging both the joyful and painful experiences of our lives (the last year has been chock full of them!) into opportunities to write and make art straight from the raw, cracked open heart. In an upcoming Zoom gathering, those in the Healing With the Muse community will be using our biweekly creative prompt to explore what we need to give ourselves permission to feel, as poet Cleo Wade did so beautifully here. Let yourself be nourished by this permission to be okay or not okay, feeling- moment to moment- whatever is real and true for you right now.

It Is Okay (A Poem of Validation for the Year 2020) 

By Cleo Wade

It is okay to leave this year behind

It is okay if you haven’t found a silver lining since February

It is okay if all of that spiritual or emotional work you were planning to do on yourself never ended up happening

It is okay if you didn’t read a single book all the way through or you read a book every day because fiction felt safer than real life

It is okay if you didn’t become an expert chef and your banana bread never came out quite right

It is okay if you gained the weight you promised yourself you’d lose

It is okay if you watched too much TV and your kids watched too much TV too

It is okay if you cried more than you laughed, but I hope you got a few laughs in at some point along the way

It is okay if you felt overwhelmed by grief, loss, sadness, confusion, and fatigue – we all felt some version of these and if you are reading this right now,

you made it through.

It is okay to close your eyes and say to yourself,

I am a strong, resilient, badass.

It is okay if, after you said that, you opened your eyes and still felt worried

I worry too.

It is okay to stop everything for five minutes, put on your favorite song, and dance with your family or by your damn self.

It is okay to find joy in the midst of darkness

It is okay, to sit down and just


It’s okay if you didn’t realize how much you actually liked spending the holidays in your hometown until you couldn’t do it

It is okay if the added roles, responsibilities, and jobs have felt crushing

It is okay if you couldn’t do it all.

None of us can.

It is okay if you had to cut back on spending and teach your kids that life is not about what you have but who you are with.

It is okay if on the surface everything seems fine but deep down, your heart is broken and the pain is bone deep.

It is okay to ask for help even if you don’t think you deserve it.

It is okay to rest.

It is okay to admit that this was the worst year of your life or miraculously ended up being the best

And it is okay if

you are not okay at all

and what you really need to hear is…

It will be okay.

somehow, someway, someday.

It will be okay.

Permission To Not Be Okay

If you’d like to join us in exploring what else you might need permission to be okay about, join Healing With The Muse here. We’ll even give you an official Permission Slip- just in case you’re someone who needs one!

Just remember, however you feel, wherever you are on your journey, no matter what’s coming up for you, it is okay. It’s also okay to not be okay. 

My cousin Rebecca Bass-Ching is the founder of Potentia and an Internal Family Systems-trained trauma therapist. She wrote this recently. 

“It is truly possible to be both okay and also not okay; energized and exhausted; focused and frazzled. We live the both/and. Many are sharing these days and I want to echo:

 It is okay to not be okay.

Even when there is good in your life. 

The helpers; the leaders; the ones on point for holding it all together – I see you. I am also aware that amidst the crisis of the pandemic, we are navigating another crisis of the emotional toll the last 10 ½ months have taken on all of us. There is not a clear end to so much we are living through right now. The extended unknown is hard on our nervous systems. We need to do a better job acknowledging that to ourselves and others. I have immense hope and believe in our resilience. Fostering hope and resilience means asking for help yourself, checking in on those around you – especially those who seem okay, and instead of bypassing the hard – holding space for the both/and.


I second Rebecca’s permission slip, especially because I can go from okay to not okay on the turn of a dime these days. I know I’m not alone in feeling that way. So let us all remind ourselves and each other- we are loved. We are enough. We matter. We can do hard things with great love.

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