Social media influencers shine the light of their happiness on every post. It’s manicured bullshit. They use a platform that sells everything we do to advertisers and then act as an actual advertisement. Their entire page is curated to do so, including the types of smiles, pictures, and captions.
Nobody wants to buy an iPod from a lonely sad guy with rings under his eyes. Nobody wants to buy athletic clothing from a drabby, overweight woman. Influencers play the game to appear happy and awesome because they get paid with money or attention.
I guess I’m sort of an influencer. I would gladly get paid to advertise quality, helpful products. I’m just not going to play the bullshit game in convincing you I’m always happy. Because I’m not.
This time of year produces hellacious symptoms caused by neurological and hormonal chaos. If I think about Christmas or buying gifts, I get uncontrollably nauseous, sad, and irritable. I cry randomly every day.
For me, Christmas is tragedy. A horribly gruesome death. The feeling of a group of people teetering on insanity. The fear of an attack that could massacre all of us. A ramp ceremony to see a coffin off with hundreds of people attending, but I am the one who watched the patient’s last dying breath. Afterwards, I cried alone in a bathroom while my mind and heart broke. And this was just one year.
It doesn’t count my innocent, mentally handicapped brother spontaneously dying in 2020. It doesn’t count how all my happy Christmas memories are plagued by his absence. It doesn’t include how all of my friends’ kids will wake up on Christmas day without a father. Or the oppressed Afghans. Or people dying of COVID. Or the people struggling to get by while society and social media influencers ooze joy, good cheer, and gift buying.
I struggle during this month. And if you do too, there’s nothing wrong with you. In fact, I wrote this for you. I don’t want a bunch of strangers knowing I uncontrollably cry every day. When “people of influence” don’t tell the whole truth, it skews our perception of what is real. I’ll sacrifice myself to dole out truth.
I’m not sad every second of my days. I smile, laugh, and enjoy life as much as I can. There are a lot of things that can help, and the truth is necessary to move forward. In general, you have to feel, explore, and understand pain to heal. Healing emotional wounds isn’t easy and takes time, especially when things are triggered. Sometimes all you can do is survive each day. And that’s enough. You are enough. And even if I posted a smiling picture with a happy-go-lucky caption, you’d still be enough.
If you’re enjoying Christmas season, now you have insight on how this season can be both fun and torture for some of us. I hope it improves your compassion to try to understand another human’s experience. And if you’re feeling depressed and shitty, well, there’s another person out there who knows how you feel and isn’t afraid to let you know. And that’s the truth.