“Bad Days”

March 11, 2014

Filed Under: Personal

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Awhile back I committed to never using the phrase “bad day”. I insisted upon never categorizing a single day as bad, but rather acknowledging that sometimes disappointing things occur in the short time frame of a day, but that doesn’t make the entire day “bad”. Well, I intentionally and thoughtfully retracted that commitment today. I visited one of my best friends, Lily, and told her I was having a bad day.

Last fall when I felt it was time to make my and Kai’s separation public, I remember receiving an email from someone seeking advice on what to do on the days that you wake up and your anxiety is so intense you can’t get out of bed. I can’t recall how I responded and unfortunately am unable to find the email to refer back to, but I’ve been thinking about this correspondence a lot today. Receiving it was the strangest sort of gift. Its unabashed acknowledgement of an emotion many people haven’t felt or won’t admit they’ve felt helped me realize that I am not alone.

Today began with a racing and emotional mind, then continued with a cancelled debit card, a flat tire on the expressway, and one unexpected bill after another. In an attempt to decompress, I went to my comfort zone, a coffee shop, only to hear a song playing overhead that poured salt into fresh wounds, followed by a realization of a poignant Facebook “unfriending”. Both of these occurrences are seemingly insignificant, but undeniably painful. It was one of those days that began with a desire to stay in bed, but choosing to power through that overwhelming emotion only to gracelessly stumble over hurdle after hurdle throughout the day, and I began to suspect perhaps that feeling to remain in hiding should have been honored, rather than ignored. Each occurrence felt like a personal attack, especially after experiencing such a sense of elation while being away the past couple weeks. Before leaving, I had a series of very difficult days but once Heather and I hit the road for Nashville a weight was lifted. It’s been frustrating and discouraging to feel like I returned home to the continuation of a bitter reality.

The truth is, I’m spent. Emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually. I’ve been “giving my all” to every little thing that’s come my way lately and I’m starting to realize when that which we choose to give our all to fails to give back, it’s time to re-evaluate the ways we spend each part of ourselves. (Sudden Realization Sidenote: We are valuable which means we need to invest, not fritter.)

It’s unusual for me to be dispiriting, as I’ve been known for being an eternal optimist who always can generate a genuine smile. I tend to keep the saddest parts of me tucked away and reserved for very carefully selected people in my life – but the more I reflect on how I felt when I received the aforementioned email, the more I think it’s important for me to be honest and raw with you right now. I want you to know that if you are feeling a sense of crippling from the weight of your life’s circumstances no matter how small or large they may be, you are not alone.

As today winds down, I plan to wind down with it by going back to the bed that I didn’t want to leave in the first place (though I likely won’t sleep because I made the irresponsible decision to drink coffee at 9pm. Whoops!). But before I do that, I just want to mention that in today’s final hours I’m making the choice not to label it as a “bad day”. It’s served as a reminder to accept these unexpected challenges as a motivation to keep fighting and to appreciate the encouraging people in my life who cherish my investment and never fail to give back. Today I am particularly thankful for my mom, to whom I tend to give the most unflattering bits of myself but she always graciously gives me love in return. For Lily, who never fails to make me laugh – but also sits patiently with me while I cry. And, strangely enough, for the woman working the register at Pizza Hut (desperate times, desperate measures) who complimented my couponing skills and told me I’m beautiful.

This all has served as motivation to be a source of encouragement for those I cross paths with whether they are a family member, a close friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger … to be someone that brings light into someone else’s darkness. I hope that you can be, too.


And finally, what would an introspective post from Kayley be without a quote? This one matters today.

“I realized that my impression of myself had been of someone who could look for, and find, the upside in any situation. I had believed in the logic of popular songs. I had looked for the silver lining. I had walked on through the storm. It occurs to me now that these were not even the songs of my generation. They were the songs, and the logic, of the generation or two that preceded my own… It also occurs to me, not an original thought but novel to me, that the logic of these earlier songs was based on self-pity. The singer of the song about looking for the silver lining believes the clouds have come her way. The singer of the song about walking on through the storm assumes that the storm could otherwise take her down.”

– Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking


*Photo Explanation: That cute little guy was purchased in Chinatown in San Francisco. I chose the yellow because it means “peace”.

27 Responses to ““Bad Days””

  1. Vanessa says:

    :-( For what it’s worth I think you’re beautiful, smart, and talented. Love your blog and love that you let your readers see the real you. Makes me like reading what you have to say that much more.

  2. kelsey says:

    i am so sorry to hear that you’ve been having a bad day. i hope that you feel better in the morning and can greet the day with a smile. i love that you choose NOT to use the word “bad day.” it is something i need to remember.

  3. Kate says:

    I look forward to all of your posts, and I’ve been following you since you started this blog. (Sorry to be a lurker). Everything you share is heartfelt and genuine, and that’s why I am so glad to have found your lil corner of the internet. I too am a optimist, though sometimes I have a hard time seeing the silver linings. I always remind myself that while I can’t see them from my point of view, they are there. To use a few cliches, misery loves company, but all too often we are reminded that there is solidarity in numbers, and sharing is caring. Here’s to good little things in life!

  4. Friend, we are in the same boat, I fear. My favorite part, “I’ve been ‘giving my all’ to every little thing that’s come my way lately and I’m starting to realize that when what we choose to give our all to fails to give back, it’s time to re-evaluate the ways we spend each part of ourselves.” – I couldn’t have said it better myself. I have been seeing a counselor, which I would encourage you to do if you are not already, as it has helped me see that I am valuable and worth standing up for… and the same goes for you! You are incredible in many ways and anyone who doesn’t appreciate that, well… their loss. <3


  5. Jackie says:

    It’s funny how in times of sadness and hardship comes beauty, but this is a really beautiful post.

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re having a bad day, and well, a bad year. The positive light is that it can only go up from here…even though during tough times, it never feels that way.

    I love finding those amazing people who can make us feel so amazing, with a simple comment. I wonder if the woman at Pizza Hut realized how big of an impact her kind words would have.

    Keep smiling, (even if you don’t feel like it) :)

  6. Lindsy Carranz says:

    Everyone is entitled to have a bad day sometimes. Sometimes you need to have a break down. Cry, scream, and vent. Let it all out. Curl up in bed and just be aware of how your feeling. Sometimes a good cry is so rejuvenating. I’m the type to hide my emotions, bottle them in, and not let anyone know how I really feel. Not too long ago I just broke down. Cried hard, the hardest I’ve cried in years. I just let everything that was bottled up out and it felt good. The next day I reflected and realized it’s not so bad. Things could be worse and there’s so much to be grateful for but that meltdown was what made me realize that. That release was what I needed and I think we all need that every once in awhile. You are beautiful and inspiring I love your blog and appreciate your truthfulness. God bless you!

  7. Peech says:

    Oh my gosh, I love your skirt where did you get it?! I’m sure you know this, but it might cheer ya up anyways; there’s going to be a new reality show that follows sunken celebs, like Cady specifically.
    That was stupid. But, my point is, at least your face doesn’t smell like a foot!

  8. Erin says:

    Hang in there, girl!! I know just exactly how you feel because I’ve been through it too! I went through my divorce in 2010, and I know all too well that feeling of being completely sapped. Emotionally, physically, financially, and even creatively. You are so talented, and I have enjoyed reading your blog for years. Just wanted to say, I’ve been through it, and I’ve come out the other side. And it is SO SO wonderful and worth it. My life & my blog are proof of that!! Have faith, lean on your friends, and keep looking ahead! Love you!! :)

  9. Christina says:

    It’s amazing how reading another soul’s words can feel like reading your own.
    Incredible, how closely the thoughts and feelings of someone you have never met can mirror your own.
    Comforting, how an encouraging word from a stranger can uplift. Reassuring, to be reminded that we are not alone.
    Thank you for sharing both your ups and your downs, Kayley. I hope you know how much light you bring to us.

  10. Ashleigh says:

    Poor Kaylee! I know you probably don’t want me to say “poor you” but sometimes that is just what you need. There’s times for big girl pants, and a time for “everything will be okay” comfort. I don’t want to be cliche and say you can only go up from here, but it is definitely going to get better.

  11. kristen joy says:

    i’ve been reading for some time (originally drawn by the style aspect of this blog a couple years ago) but over the past several months i’ve been more drawn in by the personal things i’ve seen you share. i haven’t felt compelled to comment until now, so…hello.

    i’m about to go to bed after a similar-feeling day for a completely different playlist of reasons…the tears that life has wrung out of me lately are still wet on my cheeks after finally making their way to the surface tonight due to a combination of accumulated circumstances and the right song and the right moment. there’s nothing i can say in response or affirmation that hasn’t already been said, but i thought i’d share the music that’s been lodging itself in my soul as i prepare to tuck today away and muster strength to face the rest of the week. the song is called “summer” by hayden calnin. maybe it’s a song you’re already familiar with…but if not, i’d recommend listening at your first chance. (it’s on spotify, or you can watch a live recording here: http://vimeo.com/36812479)

    don’t you worry now
    it’s all about to change

    what i like about the song aside from the musical arrangement is the fact that the lyrics are optimistic, but the build is slow. hope isn’t always instantaneously electric and it doesn’t always immediately minimize the heaviness we feel. sometimes it’s a slow, steady, layered build toward struggling with what matters, accepting ourselves and the situations we’re supposed to grow through, and if we can bear it and be patient enough, something truly beautiful.

    thanks for sharing these thoughts tonight.

  12. B says:

    From someone who also had a “bad” day today and who rarely, if ever, wants to get out of bed, thank you for sharing. I often feel alone in my struggles with anxiety. Reading your posts always gives me so much hope. You are such an inspiration.

  13. Magooch says:

    …and I am thankful God has blessed me to be the mother of such an amazing woman.

  14. I can definitely relate kayley and I think we have all been there at one point or another. Just take care of yourself and know that everything passes, it always passes. :)


  15. Laura says:

    Lovely Friend, thank you for posting this. I was up late last night baking, trying to get rid of excess energy and quell my anxiety so I could sleep, and talking out loud to God about how alone I feel because of my struggle with anxiety. I don’t know if it’s part of the whole ‘winter blues’ thing, but every February-March, without fail, my anxiety peaks. Not only do I have trouble getting out of bed and moving through my day, but often it’s hard to even eat. This time around I’ve felt particularly alone in it. I can’t say how helpful it was this morning to read on your blog the reminder that I’m not alone.
    Thank you thank you THANK YOU.

  16. Daddy says:

    My father took me outside late in the afternoon of a “bad day” and pointed to the west and said “that is where the sun will go down.” And then to the east, and “that is where it will rise tomorrow morning.” Keep your chin up, so many people love you and you are affecting their lives positively.

  17. Chelsea says:

    This Michigan weather can do a number on our souls when already faced with “hard times/days”. Chin up girl, I feel the same strain as you and have over committed myself in so many ways lately. Take time for yourself, re-evaluate things and get some rest.

    “Life is a balance of holding on, and letting go”

  18. Elena says:

    “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. I was so preposterously serious in those days… Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me… so throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling.” – Aldous Huxley

    It’s going to be okay!

  19. Laura says:

    I have to say your honesty is refreshing because in this day and age, especially on the internet, it feels like everyone is trying to paint a picture perfect version of their lives, and while obviously the point of a blog isn’t to expose one’s private life and struggles, I feel that when you are already down and beat up by life, watching all these positive pictures of everyone else’s life on the internet makes you feel more isolated, out of touch, lonely and “abnormal”. So, thank you for sharing, the internet and the world need more genuine people like you! :)
    Also, for everyone’s sanity, the midwest weather NEEDS to finally embrace spring! Feels like everyone is suffering from seasonal depression!

  20. Kerrville, TX says:

    Thinking of you today and sending lots of sunshine your way – I know that it is not plentiful there. Know that you are loved – so much, and that you have to go through the bad times, now and then, to realize how many blessings there are. And remember, “I can do all things …” Love you more!

  21. kim says:

    You are correct in saying that one is not alone in the experiences of which you speak. Life has sorrows and problems, and these often bring us to a certain good place. The problems and difficulties help to bring into focus what are the important things in life. I find , that in this, there is much beauty derived—things I probably could not have realized or understood earlier are learned during difficult times. I come to new understandings of what joy is. …new understandings of who I am ….new understandings of what areas I need to grow in….new understandings of love of mankind and of God. When I look back on my hard times it is true I do not want to go through those same ones again for they ARE HARD, but I still see much beauty there.

    • Vikram says:

      same here:how do you keep it all together,when all you can do is cry?What words are ever arropppiate,for expressing such a sad goodbye How does one continue,with a life of shattered dreams?You never know if you’ve got it in you.Until it falls apart at the seams.When you feel the magnitude,of that fateful blow, within.You find out in a moment,if you’ve got the will to win. Will you survive through the pain?No matter what the cost,or give in to the hurt.And die with what you’ve lost?It’s never going to be easy.At times you’ll wish to die.But these times are the turning point,If only, you choose to survive.The sadness will overcome you.It will seem too much to bear.But remember, through the loneliness.there are those who care.If not a mother or a father,Then, a brother or a friend.Or seek the comfort of a loveror the solitude within.Whatever makes you wake each day,even through the sorrow.Will help you make it through the night,and see another tomorrow.I have no platitudes to offer,I cannot bear your load.But, I offer my strength to hold you up.On this long and painful road.The key to making it through this time.Is remembering your life, not to dread.But look at each day, like your very last.And live today, not the days ahead.If you can survive through the nights.And I promise they’ll seem longer.Each day which does not destroy you.Will only make you stronger.

  22. Heather P. says:

    When I have to tough it out through days like that, I often come home, collapse on the couch, and repeat the following to myself a few times:

    “You got through it. Tomorrow will be better.”

    Then I go and grab a glass of wine, curl up in my sweats, and watch stupid videos on YouTube that make me laugh. If I’m lucky, I also go to bed early so the next day starts off a little better…if only because I got some much-needed rest.

    I hope you’re having a better day today, and that you’re not buried under a pile of snow right now!

  23. Layne says:

    love you loy.

  24. Marie-Claire says:

    I’m a primary school’s teacher in south of France and on each Monday mornings, I do a “C’était chouette” with my pupils.They have to (only if they agree) say a sentence beginning with ” c’était chouette de…..” (Last WE, it was great to….sleep until 11:00 am, for example).Thus,we begin the week on a positive thought.
    I was thinking this “ritual” could also be used at the end of a bad day : trying to find something you really enjoyed (music, conversation, food….) on a bad day could make it “less bad!!!
    Sorry for my “poor” english!

  25. Kara says:

    I’m so glad you shared this part of you, and I’m even glad you had this day to let those feelings out. When I think of the hardest times in life, I realized that the worst part about them was the way I kept slapping a smile on my face and shutting people out. We’re all human, we can only handle so much, but it’s all a little easier when we can collapse in a loved one’s arms and just cry it out. You are wonderful! And your Dad’s comment made me cry!
    PS We really do need to get coffee soon!!!!

  26. sarah says:

    Thank you for talking so honestly about your day. It makes your story so relate-able and genuine. It takes so much guts to speak what your thinking in these difficult times…and I feel like you express them so eloquently and descriptively that it resonates in the body. I always look forward to reading your blog all the time.

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