When life kicks your ass
I don’t know about you guys, but having my ass kicked is not my kink. I’d much rather have it spanked. But life usually doesn’t let us choose.
And sometimes, it really sucks.
Someone dear to me recently said (I’m paraphrasing, but this is the gist) that they’ve had it with people who say all you have to do is think positive and everything will be sunshine and unicorns and you’ll shoot rainbows out your ass. Life is hard. Yeah, it is. And I think it’s OK to acknowledge it. I’m not talking about wallowing in self-pity and “poor me,” and being a passive victim. But being real and saying “Right now, things suck” is allowed. In fact, I encourage it.
Last night, I was talking to another dear friend, one who suffers with a chronic, auto-immune skin disorder that flares and causes painful, scarring damage. She was dealing with a new flare-up and infection, had had a nasty procedure to excise it, and was in pain and feeling down. And yet, she was saying things like “It is what it is” and “I’m grateful I have such a good doctor” and “It could be much worse.” And I could hear her voice breaking.
“Fuck that,” I blurted. “You know what? Yeah, it will heal. Yeah, you’re going to feel better and it’s going to pass. But right now, you’re hurting and you’ve got a big infectious hole in you and it sucks. It’s OK to say that at this moment in time, you feel like crap and you feel like life dealt you a shitty hand. No one would blame you. Give yourself permission to just be pissed off about it. Everyone else out there is an expert on denying and invalidating your feelings — don’t do it to yourself.”
Every one of us deals with something or another. Some with many somethings. And yet we’re told to think positive, to count our blessings, to be grateful. That’s fine. That’s a good practice. But sometimes, you just can’t. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
I don’t have a chronic physical condition. I have depression and anxiety, which fucks with my mind instead of my body. People who don’t get it trot out the platitude of gratitude du jour and say we can be happy if we simply decide to be. Screw them.
Any of you familiar with that eczema commercial? A woman stands in front of the mirror, surveying her raw, red, weeping skin. So she cancels social plans, she wears long sleeves, she wears a jacket outside in the summer. And anytime she’s asked about it, all she parrots over and over is, “It’s fine. It’s fine. It’s fine.”
Depression is internal eczema. I can pretend I’m fine, and I may even look fine on the outside, if you don’t look too closely at my face. But I’m raw, red and weeping on the inside.
“Normal” people don’t get it. They have their challenges, but their own mind isn’t one of them. If they want to participate in a marathon, they train for it and they do it. For us, a “marathon” can be getting out of bed and dressed.
“Normal” people have no idea what the difference is between active and passive suicide ideation. Or even what suicide ideation is. Depressives know.
Why am I blathering on and on about this? Because I think it’s crucial that we give ourselves a break. Break free of the judgment and the false positivity and just give ourselves permission to feel bad. To mourn our losses, our limitations. The sooner we get off our own backs, maybe, just maybe, life won’t feel like such a heavy burden.
Last night, I was on the phone with John, bawling my guts out. He didn’t deny my feelings, he didn’t beat me up over them, and he didn’t try to fix me. At one point, he said, “I’m so sorry, bunny. Sometimes it really sucks to be you, doesn’t it. It hurts.”
(Yes, he calls me “bunny.” Shut up.)
Just hearing that lightened me up, a wee bit. Because yeah, in that moment, it sucked to be me. It would pass. I knew it, and he knew it. But it was all right to be flawed and fallible and weakened. Tomorrow, or the next day, I’d be stronger. I’d rise back up.
So, kids, remember this. When life kicks your ass, don’t add insult to injury and try to deny your perfectly understandable feelings. Be kind to yourself. Be gentle. And of course, if the PC world tries to tell you to “SMILE!” and “Put on a happy face!” and so on and so forth, there’s always Erica Scott’s tried and true method for dealing with that.
(Now you really know I’m back, don’t you. Only took me two posts to flip the bird.)
Have a great weekend, y’all. ♥