Since late last week I’ve had an idea for a post entitled “Fuck Your Happy Face.” I decided to go against that title, but be certain that it wasn’t so much about being too on the nose as it was the realization that such a title wouldn’t be appreciated in certain circles — namely work related ones where my Twitter feed might show up. To that end, I’ve been stewing on how to best tackle a subject that’s annoyed me for quite some time. Now that it’s directly faced me in a number of directions simultaneously, there’s no time like the present to finally touch on it.
Last week was probably one of the hardest, most humiliating weeks of my life. I touched on certain problems in my post “Birthday Fears” and without going into specifics, let’s just say it’s related. In one respect, last week also presented opportunities that will rectify some of the previous problems mentioned. However, it didn’t come without a humiliating step back first.
Like I’ve tried all of my life to be happy and have been dealing with factors that’s worked against that goal. When you’ve been dealing with things beyond your control way too early, you burn out. For me that’s been an on and off issue as long as I can remember. Don’t get me wrong. I am down, but I will be fine. I always tend to be and am already actively working towards fixing what ails me. Yet, I won’t act like I don’t feel exhausted all the same.
Am I miserable? No. Do I feel as if I’m in a rough space? Yes. Does that wear on me? Clearly. Will I overcome it? I will. Should I just put on a happy face and smile until it’s better? Not if I don’t feel like it.
Therein lies the problem.
Now more than ever do I hear people stress how important it is to remain positive, not to focus on “the negative” and a bunch of other cliche-ridden bullshit they got from Oprah, struggling cable network programs, and pseudo self-help musings found on entertainment blogs on social media.
I understand the power of positive thinking, but I also respect the idea of allowing a person to feel however they choose to. If I am down, let me deal with things my own way. It’s very frustrating for me to feel the way that I do and have people in my life give me some speech about how things can always be worse. Yes, things can always be worse, though one can be grateful and still realize something is fucked up in your life and it needs to be fixed.
And it’s flat out insulting to be told that if you just think of “the positive” everything will magically change. Your opinion is your own to have, but forcing a mantra onto someone – let alone one whose story you might not completely know or understand – is disrespectful.
I grew up often times helping fight off a drunk who I feared was going to murder my entire family. A horrific scenario that haunted me in my dreams well into adulthood. Do not tell me that if you just imagine a better outcome it will magically appear in due time. In fact, fuck you, and save that fairy tale for a five-year-old with a much more pleasant home life. Motherfucker.
Similarly, spare me the notion that one has merely not prayed enough for a solution. I was raised by a deeply religious mother whose faith I know got her through, and in hindsight, did the same for me and my siblings. Yet and still, faith alone doesn’t change everything. God and your God given gift of discernment arguably has more to do with it.
Many people come to me with their problems because they know I will be honest without trying to be hurtful. And while I know I am a hugely opinionated person, I don’t go out of my way to force my opinion on people in pain. I definitely don’t try to tell anyone how to feel. That is not my place nor is it anyone else’s.
I’ve been very respectful to well-intentioned folks, but I do not like being told how to fucking feel, especially from anyone who in no way shape or form could possibly understand the kind of life I’ve had. Those that do, or at the very least, know my story better react to my latest troubles in a way that’s much smarter and more respectful.
I’m not wallowing around in self-pity, but I’m not pretending what’s not good is because I don’t believe that entertaining a fallacy will cure a fucked up situation. It’s just not my way based on my experiences. I am glad people care, but I wish some would care enough to respect a thought process different from theirs.
I am sharing this with you all because I’ve seen similar things to people I know and even in casual exchanges online. Maybe it will inspire some of you to know when to just send a card to someone versus reciting the lil’ paper that came in the dessert of your order for shrimp lo mein and expecting Fairy Godmother like results.
Thinking positively all the time isn’t real. People get hurt. Bad things happen. Life can get incredibly hard for certain people. Not everyone takes that with a smile. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s better than okay and it’s surely better than the unrealistic alternatives that’s suddenly become so trendy. I personally find a lot of that talk vapid.
At the same time, if that’s your way, perfect. Seriously, if that works for you, fantastic. But you need to understand what works for you doesn’t work for everyone else. Be careful how you speak to people, particularly your friends.
Some of you fake ass pious mu’fuckas grate my got damn nerves. I’ve made efforts over the years to cool my temper, and as a result, have not lit into people who deserved it. That’s also given people a false sense of comfort, and if you haven’t noticed, I’m kinda over it.