I tend to apologize when my posts aren't fluffy and light and upbeat, and I hate that. The reason I do it is because of what I perceive to be a troublesome double standard in the little corner of blogworld that we occupy. On the one hand, we tend to criticize bloggers when they only show the edited versions of their lives. That is, when bloggers only post pictures of beautifully-styled interiors, perfectly-dressed children, and expertly-prepared gourmet meals, all while traipsing about in stylish high-low ensembles, we as readers tend to call them out and tell them to "Keep it real! Show us the bad stuff too!" But what I've seen and experienced is that when bloggers do share the more real aspects of their lives, people jump all over them in comments, telling them they shouldn't complain because they "have it so good" and "there are starving children, dontcha know?!?!"
So which is it then? Happy, upbeat Stepford Wives in every post, forsaking content and real dialogue to keep things conflict-free in the comment zone? Or posts filled with snapshots of everyday life, bad stuff included? I have steered mainly towards option #1, because I like to keep everyone happy and I really hate negative comments. But enough is enough.
I received a comment a few weeks ago on a post I wrote about how difficult 2012 was for me. I was told that I should feel grateful because at least my husband wasn't overseas risking his life for his country.
So much wrong with this comment. Have any of you read Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning”? Frankl was an Auschwitz survivor and a psychiatrist. His take on the “it could be worse, suck it up” argument is that suffering is an individual experience and that the fact that “worse” suffering exists doesn’t invalidate your own experience. I see this attitude so much in online comments and on Facebook, when anyone complains about anything, someone makes a flippant "First World problem" remark. We all live in the First World and we all have problems and we shouldn't pretend that those problems don't bother us, just because someone else's problems may be different or bigger.
I'm not saying we should all get a blanket excuse to mope around like Eeyore 24/7. Most of the time, I'm a pretty upbeat person and I try to have an optimistic outlook on things. But there are days, weeks, seasons of life that just aren't as positive as we would like them to be. And I am done making apologies for that and writing sugarcoated blog posts because a reader thinks I should just be grateful that it isn't worse.
You know what? I am grateful it isn't worse. In the midst of my problems, I am still fully capable of acknowledging the fact that I lead an incredibly privileged life. One doesn't negate the other. It is possible to be grateful while still hoping for improvement. To tell people otherwise is disrespectful to the human experience.