Tuesday, March 07, 2006

It's Okay to Feel Like Your Life Sucks Sometimes

I'm a spoiled little punk. I grew up in the suburbs and I've never had to work or take care of myself all that much. I'm only twenty-three. Still, I complain about things. I complain about people because they're annoying and stupid. I complain about how horribly inept I am at finding a woman. I complain about my constant neck pain. And, goddammit, I don't think there's a problem with this.

Let me make what I've just said clear. It's not like everything out of my mouth is a complaint or something otherwise negative (that was me in high school, hell, that was everybody in high school). In fact, I try to joke a lot and be sociable with the people I care for. God forbid we all went around bitching all the time...oh, wait. I live in America and we do. Okay, well, let's just pretend people are mostly peaceable.

Here's a simple way to put it. When you have an issue, let's say, for example, you're feeling unhappy and overstressed. You say to someone, "I have so much work to do these days! I never get any sleep, I don't eat right, and I have no time for a social life!" And, in response, the lousy twat says something to the effect of "Hey! At least you have money and you can eat! People in [FAVORITE THIRD WORLD COUNTRY HERE] are starving like there's no tomorrow!"

Okay, sure, this person is right. You have privileges that you should be thankful for. I suppose it's okay to put things in perspective from time to time but, really, this is a profoundly stupid-ass statement. The message here is that NOTHING bad that happens to you is really all that big a deal because, hey!, at least you aren't dying of starvation! What's that?! You're not happy in life!? You're lonely? You fear death!? At least you have time for these things instead of spending every day scrounging for a scrap of a meal! Shut up and enjoy yourself! Your depression has no basis!!!

If this was to be taken to the utmost extreme, it'd be like that Twilight Zone episode where everyone had to pretend to be happy all the time or that weird little kid would send them to the cornfield! Death and tragedy would have no meaning because what's a dead parent or two compared to an entire culture slowly dying out? Both are horrible and, terrible as it may sound, one is going to hit a lot more closely to home than the other. The fact of the matter is THIS IS YOUR LIFE. You're ALLOWED to be upset about things not going right in it.

Am I saying to go around all day hating everything? No! I'm just saying when something upsets you, even if it's fairly minute, get friggin' upset about it if that's what you feel like doing! Emote like crazy! You're a human being! It's what you do! If you think about it, the people who make these sorts of sweeping statements (luckily) don't pipe up when something good happens to you. "I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to ETC.!" "Oh, how nice for you! That's a lot better than starving to death like in [COUNTRY]!!!"

No people don't do this but it's really the same thing, is it not? They are essentially telling you to quell your emotions because they're just not that important in the grand scheme of things. You deny yourself some unhappiness now, but soon they will come for your joy!!! And your anger!!!! AND YOUR INDIFFERENCE NOOOO!!!!!

The other thing is that a statement like this in a way implies that everything is basically perfect for you. You shouldn't be complaining because, really, this is just a little speed bump in an otherwise awesome existence. I live in America. It's very nice here, I'll admit that. I have tons of liberties and, well, belongings I probably wouldn't have in a lot of other places. But it's far from perfect. In fact, in some ways, it downright sucks. Aside from the fact that we have poverty and crime issues just like everyone else, a lot of our citizens are fat, superficial and, also, jerks!

Fat, superficial jerks might seem like a drop in the bucket compared with all the other problems in the world but the thing is, if we completely dismiss this issue because, well, at least we aren't starving, then the issue goes ignored. Things can be horrible on both ends of the spectrum. A society can be collapsing or getting too big for its britches (I'm sure there was a better way I could have said that, sorry).

Simply put, a general statement about how much worse life could be if you lived somwhere else is, at its core, just dismissing your entire life as a cakewalk and, also, dubbing emotion and progression within your society as stupid and wrong. I'm not saying completely ignore world problems, I'm just saying, you do have a life to live and you shouldn't be reprimanded for living and reacting to it.

The only time I think a statement like "AT LEAST YOU AIN'T DYIN' AND CRAP!" should be made is when someone really is complaining non-stop about the most inane and trivial of issues OR when the person saying it can follow up the statement with a concrete solution as to how to fix the problem they've brought up. Otherwise, shut the hell up and let us put on our frowny faces. We fucking deserve it.


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