This week has been a doozy of a week.
I should rephrase that. This has been a doozy of the past two weeks.
I need to rephrase that once more. A doozy of a summer.
I think we only feel the dooziness of anything during the quiet moments in which we are explicitly realizing that our happiness could, quite actually, be on the chopping board. And someone is wielding the knife like Top Chef. Julienne. Jardiniere. Paysanne. Chiffondae. Whoever this person is, they are sizing up your happiness, they are deciding how it will be served, and they are practicing their culinary skills without remorse.
I grieve over every missed happy scrap that is taken away and eaten by someone else. I won't even realize the person was holding something sharp, and there it goes. Tossed into a salad of misinterpretation, anger, rejection, and hurt feelings that can only make the stomach ache and feel ill.
These aren't the times when you're more than happy to share my happiness. When I have used a loving hand to pluck my happiness, place that happiness in a jar, and then give that happiness to whom I choose. Or when I'm thoughtlessly tossing it around as if it's some parade, and my happiness is the candy, and everybody will have it thrown in their faces whether they like it or not.
No, these are the moments when someone steals that happiness. When I allow someone to steal that happiness. When I realize I'm giving up that happiness to someone, giving it to them reluctantly, having it cut as tossed as if it were spoilt. When I do pluck my happiness and hand it over, and it is looked over, or barely glanced at, and I realize I can't place that happiness back because I plucked it, and it isn't like a lost shadow, you can't sew that back onto your feet, flick your shadow back, and have it mimic your every move like some mirror you carry around whenever there is sun. Happiness isn't like a shadow, not in the least bit, because you can be happy in the darkness, where shadows don't even exist, or at least you can't see them linger like the soft, warm happiness that makes it's way through our bodies, touching our souls, wherever they reside, and settles in to an area to start growing more happiness.
You can say happiness is like shadows because they both grow, but I would say that isn't correct because shadows don't breed more shadows. Happiness breeds itself, on a regular basis.
No, happiness is more like the sun. And it goes away as an eclipse, overcome with shadow. And you begin to wonder if it's still there, if it's still growing, if the pain you're feeling is someone who does see it, and they're taking it for their own. You're there for this indeterminate amount of time. And you begin to wonder whether there is any hope of being happy again.
This isn't a quiet moment. This whole week has been a combination of highs and people slaughtering my happiness. There wasn't really a middle ground. I was either extremely, undeniably. excruciatingly happy, or I was extremely, undeniably, excruciatingly depressed (for me). And it wasn't just me.
This week has been tough on a lot of us because we're at a loss of what to do. Not only is the government shut down, but it's almost as if life itself has. It's worse than when people are voting for a president because people are literally suffering. This isn't some faux tweet, lame Facebook lie, or empty threat about the outcome of an election. It is people actually not getting food on the line. It is people actually not getting blood transfusions on the line. It is people actually not getting paid on the line. And the media is squeezing the story for every last drop of juice it has to give. I have never seen such degrading work on their part. I have never seen such bias on what is supposed to be giving us news. And the whirlwind has caused many to fall behind an eclipse, lost for hope.
The first thing I do when I feel I've lost hope is search for kindness. Kindness breeds more kindness, such as happiness does. But it's been so hard to find this week. People are so angry, so unforgiving, so stubborn. I watched videos of people yelling at those just doing their jobs, people waving off what "doesn't effect" them, people just plain being rude in the most important time we need to be together.
This doesn't make me sad for just my nation--it makes me sad for our entire world. And it makes me afraid. Pride has a not-so-funny way of making bad things worse. No one likes to feel shame. And the way the media has been portraying things, there will be an obvious winner and loser that will ring for weeks, months, even years to come. And my fear is that this pride will cause this to stretch much further than it ever should. I say this as a legit fear because I, myself, have been prideful over the most minute shit--everyone else is just as human. You get a group of prideful humans together being watched by the entire nation, world even, and you tell me what the outcome is supposed to be.
The worst part is, the media is freaking out so much more about how childish the whole event is, I haven't heard one iota of how we can help the people who are currently in need. Either they're too busy placing the people at cause in a good light, playing on the heartstrings of patriotism (because nothing screams "Our Country 'Tis of Thee" than talking about our children suffering from lack of White House tours...skip the fact that more children are unable to get food due to the WIC program not being provided), or they are too busy pointing out the fact that that is exactly what is happening. While we're being placed in a hostage situation, we're playing into that hostage situation by feeding into the negative fuel.
Social media hasn't been any better. We're being flooded left and right with jokes, videos that will explain best on what is going on, articles about debt and other scare tactics so we drive ourselves into a panic. This isn't including the friendships being strained or the enemies being created. A zombie apocalypse sounds more pleasurable.
While I was suffering from a bout called Lack of Kindness, I remembered that kindness has to start somewhere. Hell, the government started with us--and we were in a hostage situation then, too!
So, while half of the government plays games with us, like we're some insignificant pawn to what they truly want in the end, don't let them think you are insignificant. We do have an opinion, we are allowed to show it, and we can use our voices to tell them what to do, as that is what the government is supposed to do--what we want, not their pride. And, while we're at it, create the kindness we so desperately need to see.
Give food to your community, or anywhere else that may need it.
Most importantly, don't let those people chop out your happiness. They are taking it when they don't deserve it. However, do give it away. The more kindness and happiness we give away, the more it will breed. And we need as much as we can get right now. Focus on what we can do in this moment, and don't forget what we are capable of.
Update: If anyone wants another good community, check out The Bloggess. She has a way of not only making you feel normal in a chaotic world, but that there are others, just like you, wanting to make the world a better and greater place. She first gave me some good tips on her Twitter feed for this where no one else would, and some pretty magical things happen on a daily basis.