It’s okay to not be okay

I feel bad that I haven’t written anything funny here in awhile.  I know you can tell that I’ve been up and down but I think that’s pretty common for everyone going through this.  I have a million things I want to do but having the right mindset and energy to actually accomplish them is something entirely different.

So instead of funny I paint and I create and I decoupage and clean.  And I draw.  Sometimes it’s the only thing I actually accomplish.  Sometimes I can’t even do that.

But that’s okay.  The only thing you have to accomplish during this pandemic?  Is surviving.  Keep breathing.  Keep looking for light.  Keep laughing whenever you can.  Keep forgiving yourself and remembering that this is a weird ass time that no one really knows exactly how to live through.  If you are reading this, you are still here.  You are winning.

Here’s a drawing for you.  You can print it out and color it or ignore it or burn it or send it to a friend.  There are no rules.  Just like in life.

Click to embiggen

93 thoughts on “It’s okay to not be okay

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I went back to work after being on disability just as Covid started, and honestly it’s lucky if I get more than a couple hours of real work done with everything going on. It’s so much a roller coaster that never goes all the way to “up”, it’s exhausting. Thank you for posting coloring pics…it helps.

  2. “I have a million things I want to do but having the right mindset and energy to actually accomplish them is something entirely different.” Yep, that sums it up completely. Thanks.

  3. You’re absolutely right- we just have to survive. It doesn’t have to be pretty, we just have to get through this. Thank you for the coloring pages and the reminders that this is a weird-ass time and it’s okay to feel/do what you need to to get through.

  4. I bought the coloring book you had listed in your online bookstore and that is what I do, well that and binge watch Food TV with my Food Television Kitchen subscription Amazon gave me free for a year.

  5. The hardest part for me has been that reading was always my escape and now I can’t focus enough to read for more than a few minutes at a time. That has lead to more screen time. I e tried to write more on my blog, but words are sometimes hard to find.

  6. Thanks for this, Jenny. I’ve been trying to work on a personal project and I’m getting nowhere. Today I was hard on myself until I came across your post. I am surviving and that’s of the upmost importance right now. Let’s see 12:00 together and know tomorrow the sun is going to rise. Much love

  7. The first week or so I felt like I was completely distracted. I’ve never actually stopped working but I’ve worked from home a few days, mostly I’m still going into our office and stuff because we’re considered essential and we’re small enough to manage the new requirements. I feel more “normal” now, but honestly we both come home and crash (My SO is essential as well). It’s like the mental toll working our in the public takes sucks all the life out of you and all you can do is sleep when you get home

  8. Thanks for this, Jenny. I’ve been trying to work on a personal project and I’m getting nowhere. Today I was hard on myself until I came across your post. I am surviving and that’s of the upmost importance right now. Let’s see 12:00 together and know tomorrow the sun is going to rise. Much love

  9. Yeah, it’s really interesting. I’ve been remote working for about 1.5 years for heath reasons before covid forced me to work from home. It’s weird how my motivation and health has changed. So hard to remain focused on tasks.

  10. I live in NJ. Overnight we had over 450 deaths and the total of confirmed cases is over 118,000. It’s illegal not to wear a mask when you go outside. Lines outside of supermarkets and pharmacies. Besides that everything is closed and we’re stuck inside with this awful spectre over our heads. I’ve been sober for close to 4 years and I must admit that I at times wish I could have a drink or twenty. But I won’t. I’ve reread your books to try and take my mind off of the sickness and death. Hell, I don’t know where I’m going with this post. I just needed to vent. Stay safe, stay strong, and be well

  11. I’ve got such insane guilt about not writing, but I just don’t have the mental capacity to do so right now so I wind up in an anxiety/guilt/depression spiral…and I pick up my crochet hooks or knitting needles. It’s been a struggle to accept that the method of creative expression doesn’t matter, as long as the expression happens because it’s what’s keeping me going right now.

  12. What you wrote on you artwork resonated in my soul and made my eyes misty.

    P.S. Received the latest Stranglings Book Club offering this week. Thank you for the ‘surprise’ gift. Felt like I was opening a box of Cracker Jack.

  13. We are living through a pivot point in history.

    Some days I can accomplish things, other days not so much. I was kicking myself for those unproductive days until I read an article about that very subject and there was a short paragraph that helped so much I printed it out and put it on my fridge. It reads:

    “Don’t underestimate the mental and physical energy that it takes to completely overhaul your day-to-day existence, calculating threats constantly, and having to rethink the most basic of decisions.”

    Think about it – we now have to consider every move made out in public with regard to either getting the virus or giving it to someone else. Put on the mask. Put on gloves. Wipe down packages and mail brought inside. Put the empty boxes outside for the recycle drop off. Take off the mask carefully. Dispose of the gloves in the trash, not on the street or sidewalk. Wipe down the kitchen counter or desk where the mail sat. Every little thing now needs evaluated with regard to the virus. Suddenly all the sapped energy and beaten down motivation made sense.

    Will our society improve though this ordeal or will it deteriorate? That is up to us. We must vote this year. We must speak up and make sure we can all vote safely, no matter whom we vote for. This is one area we can’t let the mental sludge of exhaustion keep us down.

    The quote in my post came from the Ask Dr Andrea column on It was part of a reply written by Andrea Bonior, a licensed clinical psychologist.

  14. I am supposed to be doing so much right now and it is depressing how little I am accomplishing. How can I honestly claim I’ve done a full day of work from home when I can barely concentrate enuf to write this post? PLUS we are moving. Supposed to have been done by last Wednesday but had to extend to the 5th because we simply haven’t had the energy to finish packing. I look around and see all that MUST be done and want to go back to bed. Sometimes I do. But there is a deadline. I am so screwed!

  15. If anyone would like a real, roll on the floor laugh, check out this video from YouTube. I laughed so hard I was sweating and my stomach hurt.
    If the link doesn’t work, just look on YouTube for Brenda’s Beaver Needs A Barber. There is a lady in a pinkish purple sweater reading it. I guarantee you will die laughing. <3 Hugs Jenny. We’ll all get through this eventually.

  16. I totally understand. I have a list of things I want to do and every day I think I will do at least one of them but it usually takes three or four days for me to finally push myself to get something done. But eventually I do. You help us realize we are not alone in this. That means more than you know.

  17. Trust me, you are not alone. We are all taking it day by day. What’s weird is that I am working from home and I’ll have the energy and excitement to do something, but then an email will come in, and it will kill my vibe for the rest of the day. It’s tough. I will probably print out 5 of these pictures to color. Wish me well tomorrow, and keep your head up!

  18. Thanks for this post. It’s what I tell myself every day lately. I have gotten through rewriting 3/4 of my novel and suddenly, I cannot bring myself to work on it. Trying to make myself do it is like trying to walk through Jell-o. But I’m still here; I still get up every day and do the basics to take care of my family and get through life. Hugs to you, Jenny.

  19. I am constantly up and down. It’s terrifying to hit the lows because I’m so scared of needing to be in a hospital right now but then the clouds clear and the sun comes back out and I climb back out of my pit, at least a little. But you don’t have to be funny for me.

  20. My daughter (the smartest woman I know) just today sent me this link, telling me, “You will LOVE her.”

    I do. And then I came here, and it was like puzzle pieces fitting together in my mind (so satisfying), so I need to share. This has everything to do with how I’m feeling every day, and especially right now.

    I’m Not A Warrior:

  21. This is the week I might go back to work. I am again not looking forward to going back. I have cherished these almost two months with my wife and daughter. I wish I could stay home and do the things I enjoy. I have enjoyed cooking, baking, reading, coloring, and binge watching TV. But I have taken each day one at a time. Enjoy the time with family…every day, hour, minute, and every second…

  22. I am very lucky; my employer recognizes that we’re all going to be challenged, and we’re all likely less productive, but that’s ok as long as we take care of ourselves and do what we can.

  23. I think this may be a time to let go of productivity. I’m a nonstop creator and weaver, and I think I’ve woven 3 rows since this all started. I really look forward to my creative mojo coming back (why doesn’t my thread call to me??) but in the meantime, this article helped me.
    Love you Jenny, funny or not!

  24. Thank you! Your words captured exactly what I’m feeling! Except the cleaning part, I mean, you do you 😂 But the rest? Spot on. ❤️❤️❤️

  25. Your perfectly perfect post brought peace and comfort to my soul. Thank you.

  26. I wish I didn’t have to work right now. It’s so difficult to focus on such unimportant thinks wit all this craziness going on. I really feel like hiding in my covers and not coming out until it’s over!


  27. Continuing.
    I’ve been watching a lot of Supernatural,Grimm, and crocheting. I’ve even been knitting again.

  28. Up to now I’ve been doing okay. Today I am definitely not okay. It’s good to know somebody gets it.

    Love you much, Miss Jen. Thank you.

  29. I’m a nurse so I’ve been working right along. On top of that I ended up having to deal with harassment from a male coworker. Life is always throwing challenges at me. I just keep trying to push forward. For myself and my teens. Some days I’m ok others I am not. I’ve been learning over the last year that’s if I’m not ok I can say so. That’s huge for me. Thank you for being you. Both my daughter and I love your whit and humor. She has read all your books at school during study hall lol. Your ability to be real about things has helped us both deal with our inherited crazy.

  30. As I scrolled through the comments it was amazing to see how many people were describing my exact feelings from day to day. And heartening to a certain extent. Like ‘Wow! I’m not falling apart like it felt I was.’ I feel like we’re in the Twilight Zone right now and even though we’ve never met I worry about you because your humor has gotten us through some sad times in our lives. The very first blog post I ever read was ‘Beyonce’ and it was a couple hours after returning from our vet and saying good-bye to our 18 year old dog. My husband and I laughed through our tears and later on he received one of your acrylic Beyonce statues as a gift. Your humor and honesty is a gift. Thank you ❤️

    (btw… I am really happy you enjoyed your trip to Japan. We moved here a couple years ago and I absolutely love it. How can you not love a country where you can buy farm fresh eggs from a vending machine, 24 hours a day/365 days a year?)

  31. I needed to hear that. I learned yesterday that my pregnancy will likely be a miscarriage and could possibly be ectopic. I’m not ok. I don’t feel pregnant, but I don’t feel like I’m miscarrying. We’ve been trying for years and the uncertainty has always been the hardest part for me. And now I’m returning to that. I thought we just weren’t going to be parents. Now I don’t even know how this pregnancy will end. And once it does we return to the uncertainty of “will we get pregnant” again.

    I’m not ok being stuck in limbo. I’m grateful for a tribe that accepts that.

  32. Here’s my good thing that happened today. The store had toilet paper! Wooohoo! It’s the little things that can help you feel better even if I didn’t get around to brushing my teeth this morning. With a mask, no one can see if you’ve got something stuck in your teeth.

  33. The only reason that I even know what day it is anymore is that I was luck enough to be able to start working at home. I go to bed at a regular hour, but half the time I am dragging myself out of bed in the morning just in time to go log into my computer and start the day. The covid dreams are getting weirder and weirder, and I am exhausted when I wake up. I am glad that my family and I are all safe and healthy, but some days I wish that I could just curl back up and spend my whole day in bed. Unfortunately, my family is still twitchy about any weird behaviour as I had two suicide attempts in the summer last year. So I just keep going. For them. Because it will get better. Eventually.

  34. I learned today that I won’t be returned to my job until September. I have very mixed feelings about this. I think we’ll be okay financially if we’re prudent and I can finally do all the loose ends around the house that we moved into two years ago but I really love my job and miss all the people. And I worry that there won’t be a job to go back to. I know I am much luckier than most but it doesn’t alleviate the anxiety and depression as the job was a major factor in keeping my mental health. So, thank you Jenny, for giving us a safe space for admitting these things. Hugs to you and yours.

  35. I’ve been at home from working in a library and doing okay. I’m taking a Spanish course which is lucky because I have to force a focus. I also have a four year old which means that focus often goes out the window. My job just informed us we weren’t going to get administrative pay anymore, instead we’ll be burning through our leave balances. Still, concerned but okay. Today though my stepson found out he may be positive for COVID19 because of the incredibly harsh symptoms he’s having. They’ve just run the test and will let him know. Now I’m upset. Now I’m identifying with all of those worried about their loved ones. Now things are not okay.

  36. I’m so tired of just surviving, of knowing I’ll be “ok” eventually, of faking my way through life and waiting for it to finally end. You’re right that it’s ok to not be ok, but it’s exhausting. I love your picture, though. I’ll try to remember it and hold on to the cycle as my purpose. Thanks for being you. 💕

  37. Jenny, I was just thinking how un-funny I have been since the pandemic. I want to blog, but I thought I HAD to make people laugh during this time. Who do I think I am? A clown? Nope, just a teacher with less jokes today than she had seven weeks ago. You know what… I have shown up though. And so have you and all the peeps reading this. You inspired me to blog today. I don’t about what, but I need to say something even if there is no punchline. Love ya, Jenny! Thanks for the picture. You rock!

  38. The longer this goes on the looser me quarantine gets. Still things will not go back to normal anytime this year. I just try to stay busy.

  39. I’ve shared this on my wall in the book place, so excellent it is!

    ‘…and there’s really cool drawing she’s posted there for applying crayons or markers to— after you’ve printed it! Crayons and markers should not ever be used on screens, even if they’re on your tablet.’

  40. “I’ll do it tomorrow” has become my new catchphrase. I have the best of intentions but no energy or motivation whatsoever. I just got out of an in-patient psych hospital for a depression medication change (first time at one of those places) and I think I’m still numb and in shock. The new med works but may need a stronger dosage. Thought I’d check on the presidential election polling and it looks like Biden is in the lead, popular vote and electoral vote, so there’s that. Maybe one less stress. I’m on short term disability and will soon transition to LTD with less pay but that’s OK. It will prepare me for retirement. Hoping we all “Live Through This” with our minds and bodies and souls intact.

  41. Thank you for the reminder that it’s okay to not be okay. And a super thank you to your community for providing links to funny and thought provoking things that made me happier. My husband was working half days, now they switched him to full day shifts every other day. I know we are lucky because he’s still getting paid, but I’m afraid when he has to work at his “essential” front line job working with the public, even though they have put in some precautions. But the thought of being with him a full day, even if it is every other day, is rough. It’s not the same as having the weekend off together, or having a full week of vacation twice a year. It is relentless, non-stop togetherness where you can’t really get out and go anywhere or do anything together. Except grocery shop which, let’s face it, even before the virus was never on my “fun things to do together list.” I love him so much, I really do, but adult human beings weren’t meant to spend so much time together in a pandemic pressure cooker. It’s not healthy. Even when we were back in the cave people era, the hunters went out and hunted and the gatherers went out and gathered. Then they came home, swapped stories, and sat around the fire eating whatever was brought home to the cave that day. For all of you who love their partner, love their children, but would really like them to go somewhere else right now, and at the same time you’re terrified if they do so much as sneeze right now, because you can’t stand the thought of losing them, I am right there with you! And I am so not funny, right now….

  42. I have a chirping bird outside my window every morning that wakes me up. I’m convinced it’s my deceased Dad, who hasn’t given up on getting me going on my daily goals. Sometimes it works, sometimes, I shut the window. I totally get what you’re saying.

  43. Strangely sad and yet uplifting at the same time. But comforting. Jenny, you are always comforting.

  44. My sentiments exactly! ❤️
    If I get out of bed and take a shower in the same day, I consider it a win.

  45. Well even in this weird time life goes on. My metastatic breast cancer has now moved to my brain. There are many masses on my brain and hoping to knock them out with radiation this month. I call them brain smurfs because they run amuck!! Also makes it a little less scary. I love getting happy notes in the mail and could use some positive thoughts if healing. Thank you My odd pose. 433 s. First ave Oakdale .ca 95361 if you feel like dropping a quick note.

  46. Don’t apologize for not being funny. You, like many of us that follow you, have anxiety that is crippling as fuck and everything happening is making us all freak out more. “Opening” San Antonio and Boerne right now? I’ve spent 2 days hiding under blankets and pillows.

    You’ve had so many delays with your bookstore, and this crazy virus happened and screwed you over more. I can’t imagine how defeated you must feel. We Get It.

    We’re all still here for you. Have an Instagram book club meeting, because we all need an anxiety friend group now and we’re all gonna show up and help you get that bookshop going when it’s safe to do so.

  47. I found out I have COVID-19. So while I was feeling guilty for not accomplishing anything, worried my depression was flaring up and generally spiraling into a do nothing feel bad about it cycle, my body was fighting a battle I couldn’t see or understand.

    My inability to leave the house, exercise, journal, job hunt or do anything but lay in bed and read wasn’t a moral failing on my part. It wasn’t a lack of self-discipline or a deliberate sabotage of success. It turns out, it was the best thing I could have done.

    So please, don’t beat yourself up like I did. It wasn’t until I knew I was sick that I gave myself grace. If you need to rest, rest. If you don’t want to write, create, produce, don’t. You are doing enough just to get through these days. It’s okay not to move forward, sometimes being still is exactly what you need, even if you don’t know it.

    Love to you all.

    (And I’m coughing, lethargic, upset stomach, no appetite and dizzy, but I never did have a fever. I’m also frustrated because I’m still sick after three weeks, but I’m ultimately grateful that my family and I aren’t critical and will get better.)

  48. You’re so right Jenny, thanks for the reminder, the thing we need to do right now is survive this. If we come out the other side we did it!!! Job done.
    I am doing online jigsaws, you suggested it a couple days ago and I am hooked and you’re right, they take your mind off the nasty stuff. I also agree with Theyecallmetater, I love reading,but right now my brain is porridge – unsweetened porridge, bland and useless (lol)

  49. In all things, baby steps. Get out of bed. Yay, a goal achieved. Take a shower, another gold star. Fed yourself and the family, two gold stars. It’s taking it all in baby steps and being kind to yourself if you stumble. My grandson started walking just before we all went in isolation and I haven’t seen him except through the videos and I am reminded, he’s learning in baby steps, tumbles and bumped heads but he’s not deterred, he just gets back up and continues. So shall I.
    Love to you all. Stay safe, wash your hands and be kind to everyone, we’re all doing our best.

  50. You’re a super talented artist… thank you for sharing some of it on here. And you don’t have to apologize for not being “funny.” You are wonderful. You use humor to gloss over all the sad and dark and sometimes that gloss just isn’t there. Not sure if you read all these comments but I’ve started sharing some spooky shit that’s happened to my epileptic self. Not sure if reading about sad and spooky shit is… helpful but.. it is distracting! 🖤 Take care of you.

  51. I dyed my hair purple yesterday, because why not? Nobody’s really going to see it, and I am confident that if we went back to work next week, my boss and the families that come into our office won’t care… might even approve of it, so what was I so afraid of up to this point?
    I’m learning to knit, I’m ordering too much online, and I’ve reorganized my pantry… we all do what we need to do to get through this weird time.

  52. Thank you for the wonderful blog and picture. Your blog helps during this trying time, and practically all the time. My son just graduated from the Air Force, Basic Training and we are so proud but we were not allowed to be there and see him graduate. This fear has gripped everyone and huge life events that only happen once are being taken away from people. My son lost over 100 lbs in a little over a year to be able to go in the military and to not be there to support him was just killing me. Add to that, my mom-in-law is in the hospital for a serious stomach infection, to which she had to have two surgeries. We can’t visit, she called us today, begging us to come get her, saying she is not receiving care and they are killing her. We spent most of the morning on the phone. It is so hard for us to just sit here. We know she needs to be there and get better, but I never leave anyone alone in the hospital, so this is so hard. I have read everything you have put out and love getting your posts. I hope you release more. I have not been able to find anyone good to talk to in awhile, so your posts help a lot. Thank you for being there….wish I could sit down for coffee, for hours. Take care!

  53. You know – the worst thing is I thought I was doing okay. (Not perfect, but okay.) I’m working from home and able to pay attention to a number of house things I hadn’t been before. What’s not to like?

    Well… I’m working much more than I was before (and the norm was 8-9 hrs / day). We’re normally on non-video conference calls, but I don’t get work done because I’m ALWAYS on a call or prepping for one (and sometimes I don’t get to prep – because I’m on calls). And my mother lives with me, while my sister lives on the other coast. She didn’t get to visit my sister solo last year for medical reasons. This year, no way I’m putting an elderly person on a x-country flight in the middle of a pandemic. So, no break for at least three years. I will always make sure she’s okay, no question – but all I’m doing is working and taking care of her. With bits of house-handling. And for right now, during a pandemic.

    None of the things I like to do happen anymore. I’m not sure long term how all this turns out.

  54. You don’t have to be funny for me. I find you wonderful however you are. Thank you for all your blogging.

  55. I am currently reading “Furiously Happy” for the third time. It still makes my cry a lot and laugh even more. We all need laughter during these difficult times. Thank you, Jenny, for this gift to the world.

    Ed in Glendale, CA

    P.S. – I gotta get myself a silver ribbon!

  56. Agreed. There are days when I have spurts of energy and I clean everything like a madwoman, but then I have long stretches of days where I can barely drag myself out of bed because I’m so damn depressed.

  57. It’s so hard to be objective about your own life, but let me tell you what I see in the rest of yours right now – YOU ARE COPING. YOU ARE SURVIVING. YOU ARE MAKING IT ONE MORE DAY. And you’re doing it all under some of the worst circumstances, the hardest times, the most confusing and disruptive conditions. YOU ARE DOING IT. YOU ARE MAKING IT WORK.
    Take 2 minutes RIGHT NOW and breathe in and breathe out and be PROUD of yourselves. <3

  58. I really needed this today. Thank you for always saying the best things.
    The past couple of day’s I’ve been getting lower and lower, and that’s after I’ve made it through most of this quarantine feeling surprisingly ok. I’m a student teacher right now, graduating next weekend. I’m trying to find a job and it’s been pretty discouraging so far. I’ve been stuck in a stupid depressive/fear cycle where I hide from applying because it seems so daunting right now, then I feel horrible guilt and stress over not doing all that I can and I start to feel worse. It’s just been kind of rough, and reading this post felt like kind of a beacon, a friendly reminder. So thank you for that. I hope you and your family are doing well <3

  59. Thank you. Thank you for the words. Thank you for the laughs. Thank you for the tears. Thank you for helping me feel that I’m not the only one feeling all the crappy stuff I seem to be feeling. This blog is such a blessing for so many. Thank you!

  60. Thank you for these lovely words! It reminded me of an Isak Dinesen quote:
    The cure for anything is salt water:
    or the sea.

  61. I’m not OK and nothing matters and I don’t matter and I just need to accept my position in life (at the bottom) and acknowledge and accept that there is no fixing my special kind of broken.

  62. Dear Jenny, Short and sweet: I love you, and thank you for your love in return.

  63. I had lofty plans during quarantine to edit some writings and overhaul my yard so we would no longer be “that neighbor” but most days, I have almost zero motivation to do anything outside of being a human who exists. Thank you for your lovely post!

  64. Found out a couple weeks ago that a friend of mine killed himself. Tonight I’m going through back-posts because I like to save them up and read them all at once and I wish I had seen this. I wish I had read this, back when you posted it. I wish I had sent it to Adam. I wish I had known that Adam was still struggling. I wish I tried harder. I thought I was done grieving but now I’m crying again. Fuck.

    (I’m so sorry. I’m sending you so much love. ~ Jenny)

  65. I love the drawing, and i will give it to my best friend as a gift, cause she loves to colour and she is struggling with being creative. You should keep doing it, you never know who might you inspire.

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