Why sulking is good for you

‘Sulking’ oil painting by Prscilla Schoonbee  (South African Artist)

‘Sulking’ oil painting by Prscilla Schoonbee

(South African Artist)

Deflated. Did you just think of a balloon? Bet you did.
And frustrated. These are the two moods I jump between when things just aren’t working out, in what seems like a big way.

I can become that saggy and most likely angry, three-week old balloon that’s still lying around somewhere. In these moments any too early pep talks just make me give a big internal (or sometimes external lol) eye-roll. It sounds bad I know, but sometimes the ish hits the fan and i’m just not ready to grab my mop made of mental toughness and clean it up yet. Sometimes you just need some moments to be in your feels. I think those moments work it’s way out of us at some point, either at the time of the event or later when you’ve temporarily run out of resilience.

If you haven’t guessed by the title, this is not a mental toughness pep talk. When I started writing this I was lying in bed ill right now and the thought of even spouting that just brings on another headache. Neither am I going to say you just need to have grit (defined as courage, resolve or strength of character). Those things are necessary but they’re not how to deal with that built up frustrated energy that makes you wanna have a big tantrum and throw something at the wall hard.

No, I don’t think it is. You deal with disappointment how you really deal with any emotion. You mentally process that sucker. Let it run through you and then cue your response. This may be an unpopular opinion but I think forced resilience before you’ve had time to process it is just a way of distracting yourself.

I struggled so much in so many ways during my first attempt at uni; socially, being the only black person in my class which I was constantly reminded of - there were a lot of stupid racist jokes I didn’t have the courage to shut down ASAP , academically: all I have to say is Lord knows I tried ahaha and personally because I had no freaking clue who I was. I was the definition of lost. After failing 2nd year I dropped out (I had flipping had enough!), with a hearty amount of debt and a large feeling of being seen as a failure.

I got back on the university horse (different uni different course, which I loved) and worked so hard for a 1st that I didn’t get in the end. On results day I called my mum and burst into tears before I could even tell her what I got — it was a 2.1, nothing dramatic — but sometimes disappointment can be REALLY real.

Why am I telling you these stories? To put it out there that in life there are let downs and that’s okay. It’s okay to be hurt by things not going your way. Those events hurt me and I’ll bet there are events that have hurt you.

I can tell these stories with a lot less ‘woe is me’ now because I’m working in the industry I love (fashion) and got the job I wanted pretty soon after graduation. But I’ll always remember how heartbroken I felt in those moments. Resilience chat is sexy, owning your pain isn’t. But do it so you can actually move on.

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