Sometimes people with good intentions try to add a silver lining when you can’t see through the clouds; instead of making you feel better, it just makes you feel worse. You can’t see in front of your own face, let alone all the way to the lining. Ever been there?
Have you, too, ever been struck by the painful irony of someone telling you how you just “dodged a bullet on this one,” or some other trite statement that means you should actually feel lucky when, in reality, you happen to feel like you’ve been shot point blank in the freaking chest and are gushing metaphorical blood all over the place?
Everyone: “you are fine.”
Your inner narrator: “y’all, all was most certainly not fine– look at the context clues.”
When this happens, not only do you feel like you have been shot, but you also believe you need to undergo a major surgery to remove the aforementioned stray phantom bullet which no one else is choosing to acknowledge is even there, swimming around inside you.
However well intended, “you just dodged a bullet,” translates as: “they were awful, I never saw this working out, I’m so happy and relieved this is finally over so you can finally move on to the next best thing.”
Yes, I know, it translates to a heck of a run on sentence…
Other, shorter sentences, “you dodged a bullet” seems to be code for:
Be happy (your relationship failed).
Be happy (you didn’t get the better paying job you had three interviews for and really really wanted and needed).
Just be happy.
Happiness, I have found, is not easy to attain when you feel like you have been shot. Or when your emotional hurt starts to manifest physically. Or when the people who love you the most are too busy loving you and being happy for you to pause and remember such things as empathy.
Instead of dancing in the streets, as has been suggested, you just want to cry in your shower (and therefore do a tremendous amount of it). In the great wide world outside of your shower, you do the most human thing you can think to do: you fake it. Sometimes for years. I did.
Being told by nearly everyone that I was lucky when I felt like my tiny world was over is exactly where I found myself on the “worst day of my life.” Or, at least, the day five years ago I pronounced to be the worst day of my life.
A few years and experience has taught me it wasn’t so very bad, in the grand scheme of things, but in the moment and for a long time afterwards it felt acutely and almost comically awful. Now, thankfully, it is just really funny.
I’m realizing lately much of the significance and meaning I’ve given to different days of my life, even some which occurred years or decades ago, has started to change. Sometimes, as is the case for my worst day, time and information and good love and self-reflection can make days that felt awful at the time seem to be more or less trivial.
I’m also discovering those same great things- time and information and good love and self-reflection– can cause you to discover those long ago awful days were even more painful than you ever realized, and can cause you to feel them all over again with a mega-punch to the throat. When this happens, we all have the choice to let it hold us up indefinitely, or allow it to spur us on to do something productive about it once and for all (because we are alleged adults now, with agency).
With this in mind, I’m going to start writing about all of it– the good and the bad days– and then this little introvert is going to share it on the internet, and maybe even turn my collection of days into a book or two.
I can’t wait to share about the worst day of my life with you soon, in my first blog post– I hope you laugh, I hope at least one person finds it relatable, and I hope beyond hope you never tell someone they dodged a bullet again. (Unless it is an actual and literal bullet they have dodged– in which case, they are likely already aware of their amazing feat, sans your commentary).
Be on the lookout for “Oh, What a Day.”