Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Asshole-grade Snark With A Smile is Still Asshole-grade Snark

There's this unfortunate belief that expressing negative emotions toward life is bad or wrong or drags you down or whatnot. I see people who have decided to fake happiness and contentment because they think that's the only image they ought to be putting out into this world. In a work situation, especially working with the public, this is understandable, but there are people who get off work with hate and fear and anger roiling inside them and smile like there's nothing wrong. We call this "bottling up your emotions," and it's probably not healthy.

Humans are not meant to be perfectly content and happy and free of negativity all the time. We have the ability to express everything, and the fact that some people suppress whole aspects of how they feel to maintain a calm appearance is sad.

You can be angry, sad, unhappy, distraught, fearful or whatever and the world will still spin on the same axis that it did when you were happy and vibrant and full of kittens.

When you fake being happy, it shows. I don't care how well you think you do at it, there are clues in your demeanor that say "I hate the world right now," even if you're smiling and talking about how happy you are. In some cases, it comes out as biting remarks and snarky little asshole-grade comments to the people who take time out of their day to be around you because they want to be around you, and doing it with a smile and a positive attitude makes it that much more offensive and confusing. Eventually, people learn to avoid you.

You can pretend to be happy if you want, and you can convince yourself that you are happy. Maybe for you, smiling with murderous thoughts and grinning when you want to run away screaming is happy. Maybe that's normal. Maybe you don't know what it is to be happy. For the rest of us, we let our emotions come and go as they please. Some of us only post negative things on Facebook. Some of us only post positivity. Some of us do all or none.

The internet is a lovely place, full of free speech and consequences and a world of eyes, all watching you. Faking happiness does not always lead to real happiness. I should know. I tried it for a while during the lowest points of my early 20s. I was no more happy, I just wore a smile while the world took a shit on my forehead.

Own your emotional state, and it will eventually change.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

All the Rooms You Left Behind

People live their lives as a road map to a terminal illness. It looks from one's teenage years like a one way ticket to Hollywood, but it's actually a hallway to a waiting room, an operating room, a recovery room. In the end, your life becomes a single room wallpapered in pastels and grip bars, with all of your things collecting dust in the rooms you left behind. You lived your life as a series of packed suitcases, unwashed dishes, becoming a stranger that even you didn't recognize. The face in the mirror was a ghost, a relic, a ruin dug up every morning and mislabeled by future archaeologists as a smile.

The walls along the way were the most amazing holographs, all James Dean and teenage rebellion, marriage and kids and therapy, and all you wanted was some God damned peace and quiet when they left, but the silence was so loud.

You folded into chairs and couches and told your story to strangers with eyes glazed as Krispy Kreme donuts. You worked in more factories than you can count. You made car parts and litter boxes while the world slept, and you said to yourself: "this is a temporary gig." You said to yourself: "I'm out of here once Hollywood calls," and you pictured yourself, suitcase in hand and boarding a train.

The pavement along the way was scarred by one-week relationships and potholes and delusions and speed bumps, but you made it; this is Hollywood. The glowing light at the end of the tunnel was an atom bomb.

This world was over before the zygote became a human, before the fumbled proposal in a small town bar, before you watched your kids, these adult children, walk across the graduation stage and out of your life. This world was over before you knew your own name, echoing in the dark hallways and the musty rooms behind you: a boring classroom here, a sex-smelling bedroom there, a car accident with glass in your skin, healing and returning to the assembly line.

The problem was that you could never admit you worked in the factory, so you could never really leave. All those suitcases you packed mean nothing, now.