The past two months have been an insane shit show, but I’ve already gained one interesting perspective reflecting on it all. When you go through something shitty, you realize that there are two types of people who know you; you know, the ones who “know you” and the ones who know you. The interesting thing is: people end up fitting into categories totally different than you thought.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me explain these categories. When I started opening up to people about what happened I got two responses: “Well you’re thin and gorgeous. You’ll be fine.” and “Holy shit. <hugs>” It almost goes without saying that the later is the appropriate response.
****Mini rant: Since when does being skinny or having facial symmetry (and being talented with a make up brush) determine someone’s happiness in life? Obviously being conventionally attractive has it’s perks, but guaranteeing actual happiness is certainly not one of them.End rant. ****
So two main things, among the plethora of others, are wrong with that first response. A). Thanks, I know I’m pretty. But wtf does that matter? and B). That is NOT comforting. In my case, the last thing I needed (and still need, thank you very much) was someone trying to downplay or brush off my pain because I’m relatively blessed in life. Stop making people feel guilty for being rightfully upset about something just because other parts of their life hold privilege (don’t get me started here, there are waaaay too many privileged assholes out there complaining about minuscule things. This is not one of those times).
Why is cursing and hugging the appropriate response? Because the people who actually know you know you aren’t superficial like that. They know that if you’re actually opening up about something, you are truly fucked up at the moment because usually you keep that shit well under wraps. Cussing is appreciated because it’s a raw, honest response and one that I’ve been thinking and saying too. I hate the people who gingerly pat your hand and say you are in their thoughts. Fuck them, even if it’s well meaning, because this shit sucks. And the hugs? Well that depends on your personal comfort level with being touched. I live for hugs and physical contact so a giant hug is always the answer. The other reason a giant hug is the answer? Because there is literally nothing anyone can say that is going to make this better, and hearing the various “comforting” remarks from people kinda makes me want to strangle them. This is also the best because it shows that they aren’t afraid to jump head first into this mess if you need them too. These aren’t stand to the side people, these are get right into the hot mess people. These are also people who respect boundaries and will not judge you for sitting in that hot mess and crying like a baby for a bit. They get that you need that and will be there to pull you out of it when you ask for a hand.
These are also the people who see the bigger picture. They get that when you suddenly get quiet and start to cry, it might not be because of the sad thing. It could be something else entirely, but you’re a hot mess right now so everything is sad. You could have just had the most powerful epiphany and you’re happy crying or you could be crying about a what if you weren’t thinking about until you saw that stupid commercial. And when you do go quiet and start crying? They don’t ask why because it honestly doesn’t matter. They just pull you into one of those awesome healing hugs again and wait to see if you feel like talking about it. And they’re ok if you never do talk about why. They’ll just wait until you stop crying and say “You good?”
But how does this separate the friends from the fake-quaintances? Because the people who actually know you know just how to respond. They know exactly what to do when the world is falling around you. They don’t stand to the side and comment and they certainly don’t offer empty suggestions. That shit’s like a band-aid on a bullet wound. No. They silently pull you in and try to transfer as much of their own strength to you as they can. They speak softly, grab you a comforting glass of whatever works for you, and gently coax you back to something resembling yourself. Then they laugh with you, they bolster your strength, and shout with you. They understand that they can’t pick up the pieces for you or force you to pick them up faster. Instead, they quietly stay by your side and offer assistance when you cut yourself on the pieces. When you start to stand too soon and collapse again. When your soul is crumbling so much that it hurts to breathe. Because when a shit show like this inevitably happens, you need a solider by your side, not a general barking orders or a civilian offering advice about things they can never fully understand.
So, to all my soldiers, thank you ❤
To everyone else? Fuck off.