faith, Poem

What to Do When Honestly Blue

When I say I’m stressed, people tune out and go away –
so when I’m stressed, what should I honestly say?
When I feel I that should say I’m through,
what then should I honestly do?

Am I wrong in how I feel
or just wrong in the ways I deal?


I had a good and at times contentious talk with one of the old fellers at Tim’s this morning. I’ve noticed something about this particular one – if I start in on how I’m stressed, he gets up and leaves, or changes the subject.

Maybe it’s coincidence, maybe it’s a weird kind of lesson from an elder – maybe it’s a mentor thing. Maybe they don’t need to hear about my woes, maybe that stresses them out. I don’t know.

All I know is the world is stressed these days, and I’m not any more entitled to talk about my stress than anyone else, really. I might be less entitled than many, but no more entitled than most.

So I wrote this poem as the old feller was beating a retreat for the coffee shop door. I started to tell him how my stress is getting to me, and he didn’t want to hear it, or didn’t have time. That’s OK. I probably need to think positive thoughts. That makes more sense.

Also, maybe I’m not that that stressed. Not enough to burden anyone else with it. Maybe my stress is manageable. It’s more manageable than it could be. I wrote a poem. I managed something.

You might find yourself wanting to tell somebody that you could be feeling better, really. To have them nod and look empathetic and concerned, and say, that must be hard, I hear you. You have a right to feel that way. Things could be worse for you, with both know, but I know things could be better too. They will be, I promise you.

Maybe that’s the situation you find yourself in – wanting to tell somebody that you’d like them to tell you things will be better, even if they could also be worse. To tell you it’s OK to be self-indulgent now and then, and feel a little tired of struggling, even if you have no intention of giving up the struggle.

This poem is for you, from me. I know what it’s like, a little bit, to feel lucky and still beleaguered; to feel stressed but to still know that so many others feel that way too; to wish things could be better, while understanding they could still be worse. To wonder what you’re allowed to say about all of this.

For what it’s worth, I hear you. I promise you, your days will get better, even if things could be worse.

Keep walking forward, believe in the better days, just beyond the bend. I won’t mind if you grumble a bit as you go.

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