Guest Post: Smiling and Suffering

This post is brought to you by my good friend Prince from back home in Worcester.

“Keep your chin up”, “count your blessings”, “there is always someone worst than you”, “At least you’re not…(fill in the blank). These are things I hear constantly, especial when they learn that i am dealing with a tough time. But the fact of the matter is, when something SUCKS then it SUCKS. We’re all human beings with emotion and can’t help how we feel about certain things.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the things I have and I think of myself as someone who doesn’t take things for granted. However when someone oh I dunno…SPITS on my CAR, INSULTS my character, CUTS ME OFF, gets in my FACE, take what is MINE, use their authority to make my like hell, acts IGNORANT and in some cases NIGnorant, I can’t HELP but envision a scenario in which I slit the person’s throat. (C’mon….don’t act like YOU have never secretly killed someone in your head.) And the LAST thing I want to hear is someone devoid of any sensitivity or perspective you YOUR own situation spouting off some happy horse-bullshit about attitude.

YES I get it, attitude effects how we go about life. YES I get it, gratitude helps. YES I get it, things will pass. But the bottom line is that if we this thinking helped us ALL of the time (which is unrealistic), then we would ALWAYS be happy despite things like losing a family member, for example. Sometimes things suck and you need to feel them and “let them suck” in order to be over.

Although some people have good intentions when they tell you these positive things, they need to remember that we as humans we run through a whole spectrum of emotions, because life runs through a whole spectrum of situations. Think the “comedy/tragedy” drama symbol.

But let’s look at one particular statement that is commonly used. the one that begins with “At least you’re not…”. People can say things such as “well at least you’re not some poor, sweatshop-working kid in Pakistan. Now the problem with these statements at least to me is that it is presumptuous. The person makes the underlying assumption (either intentionally or inadvertently) that people in countries other than the one you/I live in (America, ’cause were the best, right?) suffer. Not only is that demeaning and ethnocentric, it’s downright INSULTING. Why should I assume that just because someone is in another country that they are suffering? Why should I have to look at a person in a deplorable condition just to feel good about MYSELF? So the next time my car breaks down and a cop harasses me along with the passing motorists, or a relative, or my best friend gets kidnapped and, or I lose my job, all I have to do is go to Africa or a PAKISTANI SWEAT SHOP and see all the poor saps that are suffering there.

Thank God (sarcasm) I’m not them. That makes me feel really good about myself. After all, I’m not them. God Bless America.

Yes I do have things to be grateful for, but the bottom line is if I’m upset sometimes the best thing to do is let me be upset. Don’t worry, I’ll get over it. Remember, even JESUS got angry…he wasn’t happy when people set up gambling shops in Churches. He wasn’t happy that people “turned his Father’s house into a den of thieves”. I’m sure he knocked over tables and chairs, and I’m sure he yelled and threw things. After all, he WAS HUMAN. So before you dismiss me as an ungrateful person just remember the time you were cut off, or insulted, or physically attacked, or lost a loved one, or been assaulted, told you were ugly or fat, harassed by the police, (fill in the blank) remember….at least you’re not some poor, poor, desolate Pakistani kid…lol. If things SUCK, then they SUCK. You’ll be fine.