When did we forget to feel the bad?

When did we forget to feel the bad? Why are we restricted to feel only the good? To experience the full range of emotions a particular devastating event has strewn on us is a luxury for those who like being homebodies. If you’re a public face- no, scratch that- if you scurry out into public very so often, there is one side that must be shown, only: the happy side.

I could distinctly state that society wants to generate happiness and get rid of all the sadness. If they can’t get rid of it, they want to cover it up with as much good news as possible. In other words, the famous saying goes “Fake it ‘till you make it”. We pride ourselves in holding ourselves up when we are inertly struggling with ourselves, our heart is broken into pieces, and our minds are telling us to give up. We take pleasure in looking at a mirror, wiping our tears away, and concealing our faces after crying for an entire night. To be flawlessly beautiful, not emotionless, but just tranquil and joyous, is a wonderful gift. We don’t see it as a gift anymore, but something we need to consistently reach before we fall apart that same night.

That same night, maybe ten or fifteen years ago, I didn’t need to release all the bottled-up emotions I felt that day into streams of sobs. Rather, I was able to feel the bad. When I fell off the bike I was riding, I distinctly remember scratching my knee, as the bright red blood flurried out as I began to let out on, ridiculously obnoxious sob. No one told me to shut the hell up as I was sitting on the hard pavement, figuring out what to do. I sobbed until I could pick up myself, wipe my tears, and walk my bike home to bandage myself up, and go on with my day. I was able to cry, scream, and still laugh throughout the day without representing one side of me.

Flash forward to fifteen years later. Suffering with depression and anxiety, no one wants to hear the bullshit I’m going through. Parents, teachers or professors, siblings, classmates, and even the good old shrink. As we talk about our mistakes, our sufferings, our letdowns, our shriveled-up dreams, there arises a discomfort in the person we’re talking to. We’re so magically transfixed on this idea of pure happiness that to suddenly break down and tell a friend that, hey, maybe we’re not feeling so well, leads to no reply for them. The positivity you display one day is seen as fake, and suddenly, the whole “fake it ‘till you make it” spiel a friend gave isn’t working out so hot. To feel bad is to, in essence, be bad.

Somewhere along the way, in the growth of a child to an adult, we’re taught to keep one side in the public, and the other side in the private life. To feel the bad is to be bad. So feel the good and be good. But at what cost? To feel the full throttle of all human emotions during a significant event is the blessing in life itself- not one persona during the day, and another figure during the night. It’s to feel life’s gift, the one short life we have, at any moment of any day of any time in this circling ball of infinity. So feel bad to be good. And feel good to be bad.

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