You’re Normal It’s Normal You’re Going To Be Okay

Feature image via shutterstock.

You are normal and things are going to be okay. It feels like no one has ever been in the position you’re in. No one else has ever felt like this before, or felt this strongly or this deeply or this true. Everything is amazing or everything is terrible or every day is a deep grey wasteland broken only by the occasional urge to pee. Maybe your world is turning upside down or maybe it’s been so long since your world turned upside down that you wonder whether or not it even still can, or maybe you want to turn your own world upside down and you’re wondering whether or not you have the strength or will or confidence or cockiness or bank account or haircut or drive you need to do it. Maybe you’re wondering what’s going to happen next, and you’re excited for it but there’s a “but,” or you’re afraid of it but there’s a “but,” or maybe the things you want to happen next involve a really great butt and that’s making it hard to think straight.

How do you talk to this person you like even though they’re so hot it’s scary? You talk to them. By not talking to them, the only thing you get is the idea of what it might be like if you ever talked to them. This is fine, if it’s all you want. But it’s not all you want or you wouldn’t have sent those words spiralling out into our ask box. So, just talk to them. Send them an email or a text or best of all go right up to them with your face because the only thing worse than feeling temporarily self-conscious for a few minutes is living with regret forever. If they say no, be respectful. They might not say no, however.

How do you get over feeling temporarily self-conscious for a few minutes so you can avoid living with regret forever? Remember that you are awesome. Really awesome. If you don’t think you’re awesome it doesn’t matter shit what anyone else thinks of you because you’re never going to believe them anyway, but let me implant the idea in your brain parts: you are awesome. This is going to be fine. Everything you’re feeling is normal.

How do you know you like someone, I mean “like” like someone, for real? Think of never seeing them again. How does that feel. Does your heart fill with an ache that makes you want to weep? Are you glad? Do you just want a grilled cheese sandwich and maybe a nap? Observe your first reaction, and then look into your heart, and know your feelings to be true.

How do you tell this person who you like or who you are dating or who you want to date or who is your platonic roommate you do or do not have sex with sometimes that you would like to date them or sleep with them or make out with them, with or without feelings? You open your mouth or your hands or your email or your mutual communicative app of choice and you tell them. (You should never fuck your roommates if you can help it, but you should accept that your roommate’s hotness is something you cannot change and something you might be powerless against.)

Do you want to leave your girlfriend/partner/significant other/etc. and you’re scared you’re never going to find anyone else? You will find someone else. If you are asking this question — whether it’s okay to leave — you are already looking towards the door, and you should stop being afraid to go through it. I promise, there are other people on the other side of that door.

Figuring out what you want within yourself and then using clear, direct words to communicate that to another person is probably one of the scariest things you can do but it’s also the most important. All this stuff you’re wondering about is stuff you already, in your heart, know the answer to. No one can do the work for you but you.


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Carolyn Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, Xtra!, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Carolyn has written 1101 articles for us.

27 Comments

  1. Ooph, needed this. Carolyn, it’s like you’re in my soul today.

    Maybe your world is turning upside down or maybe it’s been so long since your world turned upside down that you wonder whether or not it even still can, or maybe you want to turn your own world upside down and you’re wondering whether or not you have the strength or will or confidence or cockiness or bank account or haircut or drive you need to do it. Maybe you’re wondering what’s going to happen next, and you’re excited for it but there’s a “but,” or you’re afraid of it but there’s a “but”

  2. Jay

    This was the most soothing thing to read this morning! Thank you! I’m definitely going to reread this a thousand time every time I’m nervous or having complicated feelings about cute people. <3

    • Mik

      Oh shit that was supposed to say ‘daaaaamn’ but I left out a letter and now it just looks like I’m lazily shouting for someone named Dan?
      Whoops.
      and also
      daaaaaamn

  3. How is it possible that autostraddle always seems to predict exactly what I need to hear at that exact moment? Kudos, because this is a true and beautiful piece

  4. anu

    I just jumped back in the dating pool after three years away and this is exactly what I needed to see/hear/feel.

    • I’m in the same boat. Three years is a long time. I/you/we deserve to try again. Here’s to more bravery.

  5. I have a Complicated Feelings Situation in my life right now and this was very reassuring.

  6. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you I needed this and thank you. Especially the part about knowing it’s time to leave but being afraid to. I had a Big Revelation about that today, built not on any kind of Big Event but on the accumulation of little ones and realizing that I am a different person now with different goals and wants in life. And it’s scary. Change is scary, and I’ve always been afraid of goodbyes. But that reassurance, however small it might have felt to you to write it… it really made a difference. So again, thank you.

  7. Allie

    I’m leaving a comment for the first time on this site (even though I’ve been reading it regularly for a while), just because I want to tell you that this article is exactly what I needed today. I’ve been having the shittiest day for absolutely no particular reason and this made me feel better. So thank you very much! <3

  8. Hey Straddlers – I did it! This article was EXACTLY what I needed today, and it was enough of a push to get me to do the thing I’ve been meaning to do for a while. In my case, it was to finally tell my “are we or aren’t we” girl that I’m done being the girl waiting by the phone for a week, waiting for her to respond to my texts, and that we can just be friends, because this shit is driving me crazy.

    So yeah, Carolyn, thanks for this.

  9. This means everything to me today!! Thank you for writing this. Sometimes I forget what it feels like to “like” someone, you are 100% right about unavoidably hot roommates, and I really might take your advice on leaving– it’s something that I have been avoiding, and that I’ve been acting like is some sort of idle thing, but the “looking towards the door, and you should stop being afraid to go through it” really puts my dilemma in a new light. This is all to say THANK YOU!!

  10. BlueB

    Carolyn I hate you but thank you I guess

  11. I’m feeling this way so much right now. Still struggling to get over what I’m pretty sure is my first love, and it’s taking long enough that I’m questioning if it’s a poor reflection on me that I’m still hurting over it. My friends haven’t been super understanding about the length of time, either. I just try to remember to be kind to myself, and little beautiful affirmations like this really help. Thank you. <3

    • JB

      Oh, girl, DITTO to everything you said. She was my first love and we didn’t even date (we were best friends and roommates and now things are a gigantic mess). Being kind to yourself is everything!! We’re worth it :)

    • I feel this so, so hard. Just know you are so not alone in this, even if your friends don’t get it. Take all the time you need to process <3

  12. As usual, just when I’m going through some things, AS posts this beam of sunshine that (I swear) is speaking directly to me. Thank you!

  13. my love life is a mess. I´m in love of a friends but she has a girlfriend who also is friend of mine. your article is good but my situation has a big “BUT”

  14. Ari

    Oh man oh man oh man!! This is coming right at the perfect moment when I’m like, should I be brave or just run and hide and have another debilitating crush that I don’t do anything about, and I’m gonna be just do it! Carolyn this was everything I needed to read. Thank you!!

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