2016 Was Terrible, Stop Telling Me to Smile

January 1, 2017

A while ago now, maybe two years ago?, I was listening to the Nerdist podcast and someone was teasing Chris Hardwick about how he seems to like everything, or rather how he doesn’t really have anything negative to say about anything.  He responded that it wasn’t that he liked everything – it was more that he realized that just because he didn’t like something it didn’t mean it was bad, it just meant that it wasn’t made for him and that was okay.

It pretty much changed my life.  It made me a much more positive person, and this is huge for someone who, while planning her wedding, was integral to the “snarky bride” online “scene.”  (This is a thing, I know. I’m so sorry, mom.)

That has snowballed into other things, mostly letting people have their feelings and not telling them that they are wrong or even implying that they are wrong for having them.  I’m going somewhere with this, can you tell?

Every time you share some “feel good” meme, basically shaming people for feeling anything other than joy, on Facebook an angel loses its wings.

Sometimes, it’s actually not about perspective, or looking inward. Sometimes, your sister dies unexpectedly, your mother dies from cancer, or your dog gets hit by a car in front of you. Sometimes, it’s actually really just super shitty and no amount of, “Gee, I just need to set my expectations for the year to be a real mixed bag and accept these ups and downs as part of the magic we call life.”

I have spent most of my life shoving feelings into my smallest, right-side toe.  It’s not healthy. It’s not helpful when you start to feel feelings and people say things like, “Actually, this year wasn’t all bad, when you think about it, let’s be positive!”  Because here’s the thing – there were some lovely things that happened.

We adopted two chinchillas, who wound up being pregnant when we brought them home and had a healthy, adorable baby. I had two stellar reviews at work last year. But it doesn’t mean that the hulking shadow of the fact that it was the last year my sister was alive isn’t weighing down on all of it and, since that just happened on Labor Day, it’s going to take some time to get over it.

And, you know what? If I want to say that 2016 was the shittiest year in history, that’s okay.  That’s for me, it’s not for you. Stop making me feel like a short-sighted goblin for feeling that way.

Resolutions for 2017?

  1. Better work life balance – not just physically, but mentally. And not just my actual job, I have got to sort some of my priorities out. Life is too short to be waking up in the middle of the night having panic attacks.  Everyone has been going nuts over that book where you get rid of your stuff that doesn’t spark joy… I’m going to do that, but with obligations.  I actually like most of my stuff.
  2. Find a hobby that isn’t exercise.  I do need to work out more this year (that will happen if I take care of number one up there), but I really, really need to do something FUN. I love hiking, I love being outside, I love creating… once I even loved writing. I have been too tired for any of this. By sorting out number one, I’ll make some time for this and some space for it in my head. Who knows, maybe I’ll actually start updating this thing again.


(There would be a cute photo of a chinchilla here if my husband had gone all dark web, secure all of the things.  If you got our New Year card you’ve already seen it, so good for you.)

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