How Do You Really Feel?
One full month of quarantine. The anxiety has settled, I am back to a regular showering routine. The appeal of wearing pajamas all day has worn off. I have been up and down on the roller-coaster and now I have settled into the lazy river. The view from the inner tube looks the same as it did yesterday and much as I may want to mosy to the bar for a cocktail, I will be stuck in this inner tube until its permanently indented in my backside.
Please excuse the tropical waterpark references as we had to postpone our Hawaii vacation planned for May.
Which brings me to this week's blog post. Fair warning, I am about to unleash a probably unpopular opinion. And it is this: I really dislike the memes you see everyone post that tell us to change our perspective and be thankful. I know, sounds like a terrible thing to oppose, but hear me out.
Much like extra credit in high school, the ones who need it won't hear it. The ones who are already getting straight A's take it. That's what these memes do. They fall on deaf ears of the righteous miserable ones and the already grateful ones feel guilty for having moments of unhappiness.
I think the thing that offends me most is it feels like a way to cut down someone's sadness. It takes away their ability to be sad or disappointed. I am here to tell you that YOU ARE ENTITLED TO YOUR FEELINGS. How about that?! You are sad that you can't get your haircut? Missing your bunko nights? Wine tastings? Frivolous Target shopping? Pedicures? The joy of a freshly shaken martini by a cute bartender? You are allowed! Our lives have been upended and you are allowed to be sad and resentful because you can also be grateful at the same time. Did we forget that?
So our vacation. Sure, not a big deal that we can't take a tropical vacation #firstworldproblems. But it is so much more than that. We haven't taken a real vacation since before we had kids. My oldest is 6. We were not in a financial place to justify such an expense until this year. We wanted to celebrate all our hard work and my husband has not taken a single day off to make sure we could enjoy that damn lazy river. My kids couldn't stop talking about their first plane ride. We bought them new luggage for Christmas and watched Hawaii videos every night since. So let me ask you, am I allowed to be disappointed about missing out on a vacation? YOU BET I AM. Does it make me ungrateful? Not at all.
When I see those memes, I instantly feel guilty. Our emotions are deep and real and complicated. And we usually feel many at one time. It's funny, I don't think about the postponed vacation until I hear someone tell me to be grateful and then my mind instantly goes to how I feel about what I don't have. Hawaii. Guilt. Agitation with a random person's meme. Rinse, cycle, repeat.
It does not help that we are so obsessed with presenting the social media approved version of ourselves that perhaps we have forgotten the human version? It is a little uglier, and a heck of a lot more confusing. Don't be afraid of this human side, because I find it infinitely more interesting.