Okay, this post might piss some people off, but, if so, it might be because we are often a little over sensitive sometimes. Look, I hate sounding like my Republican family members who throw around “snowflake” inappropriately when people are enraged that black lives don’t matter, that sexual assault is not taken seriously and that our country is failing the poor and elderly. That’s not being a little snowflake. That’s being concerned for the welfare of the underprivileged. Snowflake is a term meant to demean empathy. It’s like calling men who show emotions pussies–it relies on the idea that emotions are weakness. And that’s not true.
But there IS a middle ground and many of my social media friends haven’t found it. I’m gonna use the many mother’s day rants/meme shares as an example.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think everyone needs to be happy on Mother’s Day. I don’t think everyone has a great mother or IS a mother. But do people really need to be shitty or shame those who are decent if not really good mothers because other people might not like the day? No, they don’t.
It might be cool to appreciate those in your life who don’t suck even if your mom did/does. Think of the day as not about your shithole parent, but about the parents out there doing the opposite of what your parent did. I mean, good for them, right?
Well, some people lose parents and it’s hard! Yeah, I know. I lost my dad when I was 21. I’m not shitty to other people on Father’s Day because I miss my dad. My dad would not want me to stew and berate people. He’d probably tell me not be a dick to people just because he died young. I tell my brothers, my step-father and my admired friends/family/husband who are good fathers “Happy Father’s Day!” because they do a good job with their little ones, they work hard and they invest a lot of money, emotions and pain into making those little beings good humans. AND THAT’S A HUGE FUCKING JOB.
Father’s Day isn’t about my loss; it’s about appreciating those who do a good job of it. The same goes for Mother’s Day. If you’re not a mother because you didn’t want children? We aren’t being assholes to you just because we appreciate those who are and do want to have children.
I love you, friends who want to be childless. Just because I tell someone who is a mother “Happy Mother’s Day!” doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate you for the cool things you do. I often tell you how much I think you rock, actually. So, no, it’s not your day, but there’s no need to be offended for those who are having fun on their day.
Can’t have children or have lost a child? I am genuinely sorry. That’s probably the hardest and most worthy of empathy excuse for being pissed on Mother’s Day, but we are also not trying to be assholes to you. I work my butt off for my kids. I actually do and did sacrifice a lot of my freedom and immediate aspirations willingly so that they will thrive because 18 years will go by fast, and I don’t want to miss any of it.
I know that might be something you wanted or still want and that can sting big time. And it’s totally valid to feel hurt by that. It’s 100% understandable to yearn for something that you want and to be sad over someone you’ve lost. I also think it’s possible to put those feelings aside and still be able to wish those you love a “Happy Mother’s Day.”
I’ve seen many of my beloved friends who lost babies or have a hard time conceiving doing so. I think they are some rock hard awesome people because they have the best reason to be bitter and they decide not to be.
And can we stop feeling like we have to swarm around those whose day it is not? I mean, my mom was awesome. It’s about her today and I’m gonna praise her all over my social feeds. I’m gonna do it right now:
Mom, you gave your last scraps for us when we were hungry. Mom, you put EVERY fiber of your being into making sure we were housed, clothed and loved and you made even the most meager holiday feel like a treasure trove of affection. You are what every mom should be.
I strive to be half of what my mom was to me, for me. And I will slather her with mushy praises on this day. I will not be made to feel shamed or guilty for feeling great when my kids and husband strive to make me feel loved on this day. I’m a damn good mom.
I’m a bi-polar mess and I can get pretty offended about things that maybe aren’t a big deal. I make a concentrated effort to really review those things in my head before I make a stink or pass a mean-spirited rant/meme on. Maybe this is a big deal to you. Maybe you’re justified in feeling bitter or hurt on this day. I’m not even telling you not to feel what you feel. Your feelings are there for a reason. I’m just asking you not to shame others for celebrating, liking being interested in things you aren’t into.
Can we just agree, for the little things that bring other’s joy, that those things aren’t meant to cause you pain, that they might actually have very little to do with you? Can we agree that it’s alright for other people to enjoy themselves, be happy, even when we are sad? I’m someone who experiences extreme and frequent depression, so I know the saying that misery loves company can feel right, but it’s not.
It’s not right to expect other people to be upset because you are. I don’t expect people to stop caring about something, expressing gratitude or love because I’m feeling shitty. If I did, I’d want all people to feel shitty about 1/4th of the time. I don’t want other people to feel badly when I do. I think those little moments of celebration, expressions of joy and love, are the only good thing about social media. I think it’s good to be empathetic, but I’m not sure that every single post needs to be put through the washing machine.
I just want people to examine their anger over this or that meme, share, post, trend. I want them to ask themselves: Is this a fight that needs to happen or is this a time where it’s okay to just let it go?
I’m not sure a huge amount of change occurs through social media rants, or even through little blog barfs like this one, so maybe we can all just chill a little?