What to Write About on a Bad Day

Bad days happen.  Despite my optimism and choice to live on the side of hope and goodness and compassion, bad days will still happen in my life.  Now, word to the wise, my bad day was nothing in comparison to my best friend/work husband, Kyle.  His day was much worser than mine.  However, I am not a liberty to discuss his bad day.

And I don’t even really want to focus on mine.

I have tried to write about….purge my emotions related to this day two to three times..and each time I find myself highlighting everything and deleting it.  In some respects, it is to maintain the privacy of those who are involved.  I have other reasons, but those are mine and will remain mine.

But as I try and fail and try and fail again to go through my catharsis, I keep on realizing that I don’t want to write about this bad day.  I don’t want to validate or give voice to petty frustrations, ineptitude, incompetence,  or just down right mean-ness by describing what happened.  Instead, I find that I want to steer away from the  emotional hangnails that tug at my skin.

My bad days are nothing in comparison to the world that surrounds me.  Cross an ocean or two and I will find that people’s bad days will run through the gamut of forced marriages, prejudice, intolerance, terrorism, threats of violence, oppression, rape, torture, societally-endorsed mutilation, and death.  Really?  And a near fight in a teacher’s classroom is enough to stain my day as something potentially negative?  Grow up, little girl.  Your life is easy.

Or, I can drive out to my property in West Virginia and pass houses that are carved into the side of the road and perched precariously on the edge of a mountain and/or poverty.  And, in all honesty, these aren’t houses.  They are traitors that are steadily deteriorating into a dilapidated pile of scrap and vinyl that no one will want.  In front of some of these “homes” will be piles of coal, likely dug by someone in the family who will shortly die from black-lung.  The coal will be used to heat/power the “house.”  As Alan Alda/Hawkeye once sang in M*A*S*H*:  “Be it ever so crumble, there’s no place like home.”

I can turn on the internet (oops..already done) and look up the news and just scroll through story after story of bad days that are currently happening around the globe.  The people who are families to the hundreds of migrants who just died.  These people will likely never receive the bodies of their loved ones, just empty caskets to serve as a symbol for their loss.

I can’t completely escape my bad day.  But as I think about bad days around the world or maybe just down the road from me, I really see that my “bad day” is nothing more than just a string of annoyances that could be a result of me not getting sufficient sleep or maybe because we are going to have a full moon or because of the passing meteor shower.  In some respects, I am almost angry with myself that I would even consider describing this as a “bad day.”  My God, I have a roof over my head, clothing on my body, food in my chubby-belly, and central heating in my home.  I have a stable marriage, great kids, a nice house, an operating car (that is paid off), a sweet cat, and a wonderful dog.  I own half a mountain in West Virginia.  My parents have given me the ability to either go to Florida or Germany and stay in their homes for free.

Really?  Bad day?

I keep on thinking about something Cheryl Strayed wrote in one of her “Dear Sugar” letters.  It was something about how she was complaining about her life to a man (future husband?) and he said something about how she didn’t need to be broken.

Interesting.  When I was a teenager/young adult, I used sob stories as a vehicle to get attention which would eventually lead to relationships.  Yeah, classic co-dependency here.  But I was also naive and stupid.  Now, I’m just a bit naive and not quite as stupid.  Sure, I was a depressed teenager (show me a teenager who claims never to have been depressed and I’ll show you a liar).  But I really didn’t have a bad life.  I guess that in my consumption of novels and young adult novels and movies and television shows (ABC After School Specials, anyone?), the heroes/victims who saved the day/needed being saved were the ones with the tragic stories.  And in their tragic stories, they were loved and special.

So I used to spool out these sad stories that really weren’t sad except for how pitiful I was trying to sound.  And, now, twenty plus years later, I realize that those sob stories weren’t needed.  I wasn’t really that broken and I really didn’t need all that much fixing.  Maybe a couple of coats of varnish to conceal the bruises from the most recent time I had fallen.

But I wasn’t broken.

Just like now.  I had a bit of an irritating day.  But I am not broken.  And I won’t break because I won’t allow myself to break.  Instead, I think I’m going to shake the dust off my sandals and curl up in the blue chair, eat some pizza (another bad-day-healer), and watch television with my children.

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