It could be worse

We all know the old saying about how misery loves company. We all know that things like being sad or feeling pain or getting rejected suck. Being mad is better. (Not by much, though.)

But you know what makes everything worse?

Being told that your pain doesn’t matter because somebody else is feeling pain right now.

Sorry, but other people’s problems don’t solve mine or yours or anyone else’s. It just doesn’t work that way. They also don’t negate them.

Well, unless it’s a “first world problem” like “My jeans didn’t come artfully ripped in just the way I wanted when I paid like 500 dollars for them!” or “My parents bought me a 2009 Jetta instead of a 2010 Jetta!” (Subtext: even though I don’t have a job and don’t appreciate anything else they do for me.) Then, I really have no sympathy for you.

But really, I’ve been told to not ever worry if my boyfriend does something that upsets me because at least he’s not abusive/dead, like I don’t have a right to feel upset unless someone’s life is in danger. I’ve been told not to be sad if I fail a class because at least I have an education. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t be upset if someone makes a sexual move on me that I don’t want because at least I’m getting the damn attention. My apartment can’t stay warm? At least I have a place to live. I have the flu? At least I’m not in the hospital.

Things could be worse; it’s so very true, but that does not negate what’s going on here and now. Things could be worse, but they aren’t, and so I want to make them better. But maybe I need to mourn. Maybe I need to get things off my chest. Maybe I feel like I’ve been beaten with a tire iron by the stupid flu and I don’t want to move.

My feelings are my own. Your feelings are yours. We all feel, and, a lot of the time, we feel differently than others. Our own feelings are, by and large, more important to us than the feelings of others, but that does not make the feelings of others any less legitimate.

Who am I to preach? Am I perfect? Hell no. I, too, have a hard time not telling someone to just get over something I have a different experience (or none at all) with. Well, I mean, unless it’s something I know is bad. I’d never dream of telling a victim of a disaster or a crime to just get over it. It takes time to move past (or at least through) these things, just as it does for anything. I just don’t see the point in hanging onto some things, but I try not to get in fights over it. I try to do my best to listen, and I say when I can’t anymore. I try not to say “It could be worse”, even when it could be.

It could be better, too, and I think I’d prefer it that way.

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You Can’t Command Happiness

Have you ever had one of those days where nothing goes right, or something major went wrong at the beginning of the day? You’re feeling like crap, and quite literally nothing could make your day worse. Given that nothing could make your day worse, what is the last thing you want to hear?

Probably something that makes it seem like your problems mean nothing. Something like “Hey, smile!”

Apparently, this is something of a semi-common practice, telling someone who doesn’t look like they’re having a good time to smile, because, of course, if they’d just smile, everything would be better. Often (though not exclusively) directed toward women, it takes on a bit of an objectification element, like “There’s no reason a pretty woman should be sad—she’s pretty! What more does she want?!” There’s also the egotistical element of it: “You should smile because I’m gracing you with my presence.”

If you want someone to smile, maybe come up, introduce yourself, and get to know them? I know it sounds crazy, but the more you get to know them, the more chance you’ll have of saying something that will actually make them smile on your own merit.

As much as it sucks, we do need to accept that unhappy things happen, and that people don’t smile all the time. We all have problems in our lives, and a lot of them can’t be made to go away simply by being made to smile.

Some of you are going to groan when you read this, but the whole reason I’m thinking about this is a post off of Dear Blank, Please Blank: “Dear teenage girls everywhere, Chin up beautiful, you don’t want your tiara to fall off. (:”

Before I give you my response, I want to say that I know this was not meant in unkindness. Had it been, there would have been a lot more snark in there.

“Chin up, beautiful” is just another way to say “Hey, smile!”, which I hate being told. No, random stranger, I will not smile just because you asked. I’ll smile if I’m happy, and you telling me to smile is sending me in exactly the opposite direction. It’s like saying, “What are you sitting around looking not-happy (not necessarily unhappy; just not like you’re having the time of your life) for?” The “beautiful” on the end for me just sort of makes it sound like, “Oh, cheer up–you’ve got your looks, haven’t you?” as though teenage girls don’t go through stress, insecurity and heartache, and especially not about things other than their looks. And if the speaker is just going for the general “Someone out there must think you’re beautiful. I think you’re actually just okay/ugly”, then it’s downright disingenuous. Heck, even if “beautiful” refers exclusively to inner beauty, saying it won’t make someone’s insecurities about themselves magically disappear, not even if you say it over and over again, because that doesn’t necessarily make someone believe it.

It’s not that it was meant unkindly, and goodness knows we all need little acts of kindness in our lives, but “Have a nice day” or “I care about you” is, in my book, much more comforting to hear than what sounds like a command to look put together for the world, even though I might be going to pieces on the inside.

I wish that little sayings like this could make everything magically better, but sometimes, it’s cathartic (if not particularly nice) to just have a good cry.

However, I do rankle at effectively being addressed as a pretty princess. I’m not a princess—I’m a normal young adult woman with my own thoughts and feelings. And princesses are, too, I’ll have you know! We’re all entitled to be and to feel; to cast aside our masks when we’ve had enough and, à la Train’s “Meet Virginia”, scream “I don’t really wanna be the queen”/“I don’t really wanna live this life”.

And then, when we’re done doing that, we’re entitled to pick ourselves back up and go on living.

50% Chill, 40% Excited, 10% Terrified

That’s roughly my life right now. I’m set to graduate in a little over a month, assuming I pass all my classes. Then, I get my wisdom teeth out. Then, I move. Then, I start my job.

I’m trying to keep calm and carry on, but some days, it’s hard. Especially today–I’ve been sick with a mild (but massively irritating) head cold for the past week. I’ve been working on homework, even though I really haven’t had the energy to. The upstairs neighbors decided to do something that sounded an awful lot like a drunk slip ‘n’ slide in their main hallway (right above ours, which is right outside my room) while I was trying to go to bed last night, shaking our apartment to the point that I actually thought we were having a small earthquake for a minute or two. (It didn’t help that it nearly hit 90 Fahrenheit yesterday in a city that generally doesn’t get that warm, and I don’t sleep well when warm.)

So, yeah, I’m a little cranky and out-of-sorts today. But you know what they say: misery loves company!

Just kidding. I don’t want to make the 10 people who will read this post miserable with me. I don’t want to be miserable, as a matter of fact. So, what am I going to do? Make myself busy. Do homework. Talk with friends. Cuddle with the boyfriend. Talk to my parents.  And keep on reading Reddit’s Aww thread and this bunch of calm bunnies that one of my best friends sent me.

And go to class, which I will be late for if I don’t leave now.