Your sadness is not a problem to solve

calmer and more peaceful days are ahead

Hello Friday wave sadness


I woke up early, before dawn, long before I needed to get up, and certainly with not enough hours of sleep. I did what I always do: I laid there for a while, waiting to see if I’d fall back asleep.

Instead, I felt drawn to the darkness and silence, my soul calling me to get up. It wasn’t anxiety (although it might have been related to that iced coffee too late in the day). This call to get up felt like an invitation, an opportunity to be alone with my thoughts.

And here’s the thought that came to me: “Your sadness is not a problem to solve.” The thought repeated itself without extra words, ideas, or supporting sentences.

I don’t know if the message was just for me. I sensed that someone reading this might need to hear this, too.

My daughter wants to see the movie “Inside Out 2”. I don’t know much about this movie, but I distinctly remember the first one. It’s about a young girl who moves to a new town. All her feelings are characters, and Joy is the character we want to prevail. We want the girl to adapt to change and find happiness. But Sadness keeps getting in the way. Sadness is a problem. As the story progresses, we see that Joy is causing all of the trouble because Joy is trying to suppress Sadness.

There are times when sadness is the feeling that needs to be felt. The problem isn’t the sadness itself; the problem is suppressing it.

This is an essential takeaway from my memoir, “Girl in the Spotlight,” when I arrive at a critical turning point and finally (and almost by accident) grieve losses I’d covered up with so many good, worthy, and well-meaning endeavors.

We worry that if we allow the sadness to rise up all the way, we’ll start to wallow in it. But in my own experience, I’ve found that isn’t true.

Sadness is like a wave: It rushes in and crashes onto the shore, but it also rolls back out, a sign that calmer and more peaceful days are ahead.

I’m Angie Mizzell, the author of the coming-of-age memoir “Girl in the Spotlight”. It’s about learning to let go of society’s narrow definition of success, breaking cycles of the past, and coming home to myself.

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