Do enough travelling, meet enough people, spend enough time living with a chronic condition or terminal illness (or living with someone who is), and you’ll wonder how you, or more often they, do it. How do you live with that weight all the time? I can’t speak for everyone. For us, we saw two options – dwell exclusively in your misery… or refuse to dwell in misery (as much as possible).
We are choosing (continually. Every. Single. Day.) to stubbornly refuse being mired in misery. Do we fail sometimes? Yeah. Sometimes it gets the better of you. Sometimes the weight is crushing, swift, & unexpected like a bolt of lightning from a clear sky.
But for the most part, we laugh as much as possible. We eat & dance & love & *most* of the time we look happy… because we *are* happy. It seems an enormous contradiction to be so terrified, dealing with so much pain & the looming potential for so much more, & yet still able to identify as happy.
You’d be surprised how much judgement comes with that. People truly expect (and some demand) that you be miserable ALL THE TIME. Every moment. They act (and often tell you bluntly) that you haven’t “earned” their help or even their sympathy until you are utterly destitute, alone, & steeped in misery. If you are able to dress yourself & smile… no sympathy for you. How ridiculous is it to think someone is undeserving of your compassion unless they have lost literally everything including themselves?
There are a lot of repressed people in the world, even in this country. We mostly ignore their daily lives & focus solely on their plight – this terrible struggle that they live every day – afraid of the police or religion or governments or spouses or gangs or whatever. Pain & fear are the world’s biggest oppressors. It isn’t the police or religion or governments or spouses or gangs, it’s the pain & fear they reign down on those affected. Those who haven’t dealt with either get so focused on the struggle that they forget: People still have to live. And living requires both joy & sorrow. Life is anything but stable, so to expect someone be any one thing ALL of the time simply doesn’t make sense.
If everyone dealing with some great misery (in any form) were to dwell only in that misery 100% of the time they simply wouldn’t be able to function, even on the most basic of levels. 80% of the world’s population would effectively spiral into a depression & probably kill themselves. The reason they don’t? When you make the choice to live you do it knowing life often, if not always, brings pain. If you choose it anyway, you’ve accepted that there will be some (or sometimes a lot of) pain. And then you move the fuck on. You smile, and you keep on dancing.
So if you meet someone, and they don’t seem miserable enough for you in comparison to their circumstance, instead of assuming that they’re somehow “faking it”, do me a favor – smile with them, dance with them, appreciate that they are doing everything that they can to keep their head above water. They are NOT, at that moment, drowning in their struggle, their misery, they are, against all odds, rising above.
Fuck you, if you can’t celebrate that.