I stopped working toward okay.

Isabella Ojeda-Ahmed
2 min readJan 6, 2023

I want to be honest. I haven’t been okay. And I have been avoiding the process of working toward okay. In the never-ending quest for perfection and with an unhealthy fear of failure in my head, I have spent the last several months pretending my problems don’t exist. Pretending reunion hasn’t been one of the most emotionally overwhelming parts of my adoption journey so far. Pretending I haven’t been concealing an important aspect of my identity to avoid conflict. Pretending I haven’t been at the mercy of my spiraling depression and anxiety. Pretending I don’t need professional help. Pretending I’m not intentionally stalling my writing projects every day.

I’ve thought about writing many posts since last year, and I actually started working on several of them. At the moment, they sit half-finished and unedited in a folder on my computer. I could have just gone ahead and finished them, posted them and moved on. But I didn’t. Fear made me hold onto those feeble bullet points and phrases. And fear had no shortage of hypothetical questions for me.

What if I offended someone with my words? What if my opinion wasn’t well-researched enough? What would people think? What would they say?

Fear also had another question, which felt more like an accusation in my head: Why, why did I ever think to tell friends and family about this blog? I should have kept it private, knowing I constantly write about family and relationships and trauma. And for anyone who knows how mean fear can be, this last question should come as no surprise: Who am I to think anyone even gives a shit about this stupid blog?

It’s right there in the name. Working toward okay. In order to work toward some semblance of “okay,” I have to accept that right now, I am not okay. And if that’s the case, then I guess it doesn’t matter too much if my posts aren’t perfectly structured, or if my thoughts on a topic offend you, dear reader. I am allowed to express my reality, without a filter, even if it means losing people.

I have things to share and things to say, not because I think highly of myself (I promise you, no one could think less of me than me), but because they’re part of the process. The process of working toward okay. And for me, I think, being okay is going to involve expressing my multidimensional existence without fear. I want to be free. Even if no one reads what I write or cares what I have to say. My freedom will come with the knowledge that I am not going to die with a million secrets locked away in my head, having not lived openly and truthfully.

This post is a note on my mirror, a scribble in my notebook, a mantra to repeat in my head. It’s for me, and it’s for you if you want it. It’s a reminder to keep working toward okay.

Originally published at workingtowardokay.com in October 2020.



Isabella Ojeda-Ahmed

Writing about identity, mental health, race, adoption, and more. Follow me on Instagram @workingtowardokay