If I had a penny for every time I’ve been in a shitty situation and somebody in my family has said to me “If you don’t laugh, you’ll greet” well I’d have made enough money to buy my way out of said shitty situation or at the very least buy myself a ton of superficial shit to make me feel better (even if momentarily). I do realise we are only a few lines in and ‘shit or shitty’ has been used three times but I write like I’m speaking the words, so a wee heads up - there may be more ‘shit’ to come (and some close pals!).
Seriously though, when life knocks you down sometimes it knocks you down pretty – fucking - hard.
Like it’s not enough that it’s put you on your arse no, now it has to sit on top of you and stop you from getting up as well.
We all have our experiences of those situations and they’re different for everybody. Nobody’s is worse than anyone else’s because there can be no comparison. When you feel shit, you feel shit and it’s that simple and it doesn’t matter what has caused it. You’re entitled to your feelings.
My own reality of this was when I was 22 I lost my dad to cancer. At that time and for a long time after I was dealing with grief. Grief that was eating me away inside and making me feel like I was never going to feel any different, that I had to accept my life now and that I’d feel this way forever. And grief is a funny thing because in the early stages when you do have any small moments of hope or joy, they’re short lived because then in comes guilt to slap you in the face and challenge you for feeling remotely happy, and before you know it you’re getting dizzy on this horrendous hamster wheel of emotional darkness.
During this time in my life I remember listening to those people, to those friends, even those family members who would talk about their own problems and I would instantly compare them to mine and then almost as instantly I’d want to choke them out because in my mind at that time they didn’t have 'problems', at least not like mine. They weren’t going through the grief of losing a parent and so they didn’t know what ‘real life’ problems were. I want to be honest, it took me a long time to realise that those people were completely justified to feel the way they did about whatever they were going through. I just couldn’t see it then. I was in my own wee bubble. I was young, I was hurt, selfish and I was completely oblivious to anyone else. And funnily enough I also experienced what it was like from the other point of view too, which was that I shouldn't tell people how I'm feeling either because they've had a worse life than me, they feel worse than I do, my problems aren't as bad as theirs and all that other bullshit that goes through your mind during dark times.
Now however, I champion people to open up about their problems whatever they are. A problem is a problem regardless of how significant it is in the grand scheme of life or in relation to anyone else. If something makes you feel sad, angry, alone, lost etc. then that's valid and you should validate it further by talking about it, it will make you feel better. Don't be afraid to let it out, what you'll often find when you do is someone in the same boat or a similar boat who is willing to help you out and that's no bad thing, believe me. I found it hard to open up initially and it's a process, it hasn't got any easier for me but I see far more benefits of doing it now, even beyond my own gain that make me understand how important and worthwhile it is. You're also entitled to go through what you're going through and feel some moments of joy. Think of happiness in whatever shape or form as little twinkly lights that peer down at you through the darkness. It doesn't take your pain away but it does give you hope and peace from time to time.
To finish off this post let me set up a scene for you. After my dads funeral everyone went back to a bar, bit of food and drinks as you do. I remember being sat in the bar at a table with my friends around me. Naturally it was a sad day so people visibly looked sad but my best friend looked angry as well. I didn’t think much of it. A few drinks later and she finally said to me something along the lines of “I’m so pissed off at the staff in this pub, absolutely no respect for what’s going on here today or for your dad”. I was confused and asked her what she was on about and she said something like “All the decorations they’ve put up in this pub for today, so tasteless. Who puts up grave stone banners and RIP decorations at a funeral? It’s disgusting” To which, my response was internal as I nearly peed myself laughing. You see, my dad passed away near the end of October and the bar was decorated to advertise their Halloween specials. Of course once I told her that she was not only relieved but also doubled over in laughter. And I could've agreed that the timing of his passing and Halloween wasn't ideal and my sensitivity at the time could've let all the decorations upset me but sometimes in life ‘if you don’t laugh, you’ll greet' and I was due some laughter that day.