Tuesday, April 16, 2013

You're still allowed to wallow even after tragedy strikes others

There are times when it takes everything in me not to fall apart.

The tragedies are not mine, but between the Boston Marathon bombing and the suicide of a 13-year-old girl who attended a nearby school, I feel tremendous sadness.

I momentarily think I should not complain about being woken up 4 times between 5:20 a.m. and 5:37 a.m. today.

But I decide that while I am grieving for others inside, I am not going to discount my feelings about my own life.  It is possible to feel gratitude for my life and still want to scream at my temporary dissatisfaction with my life at the same time.  If there is anything I've learned since having children, it is that feeling two diametrically opposed emotions concurrently is not only possible, it is par for the parenting course.  Maybe I always understood this, but being a mother makes me understand it to a degree I didn't comprehend in my childless days.

I think that if any of us could speak to our ancestors they would probably smack our cheeks and call us pussies.  Even those among us who have suffered terrible things would likely be put in our places by our ancestors.  Parents who have lost a child might feel their grief pales in comparison to parents of old who lost 4 and 5 children to measles or diptheria.  People who work two jobs to maintain their health insurance might feel their fatigue pales in comparison to people of old who began working at age 6 in the mines.

Shoot, we don't even have to look as far as our own history.  We can look at millions of people who live in the world in this day and age and find plenty of opportunities to discredit any feeling we might have that isn't constant gratitude.

But I refuse to disavow my own experience because I don't suffer as deeply or as long or in the same way as others.

I hope there is wisdom in being able to hold all these oppositional emotions and recognize that each of them, in their own way, has value.  

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