When I saw this article on my Facebook newsfeed for the first time, my stomach dropped, but I ignored it. The second time, I observed that someone I respect and admire posted it and it dropped even further. The third time I saw it, I started to tear up. That’s when I knew I needed to write a response. Triggers left and right — please do not read further if my trauma might spark something of your own. I know all too well that many of us carry these scars.
When I was 9 years old, my mother died after a very short but excruciatingly painful bout with pancreatic cancer. After her funeral, my two older half sisters were forcibly removed from my life. My father met a woman and started dating her. She almost immediately began verbally abusing me while my father began abusing drugs in the shed behind my house. Then we went bankrupt and lost everything. My life sucked when I was 9. I don’t think it was because of me. Years of writing and going to therapy have mostly convinced me that it was not my fault. But I forget that sometimes.
When I was 14, I was skinny and gawky and uncomfortable in my own skin. A 22 year old made me feel special and cool. He wanted to listen while I told him about how alone I felt and the way my stepmother’s words stuck under my skin and suffocated me until I was afraid she was right about everything.
He tried to rape me one morning, in my grassy suburban neighborhood before my parents woke up. I was lucky enough to get away. My life sucked when I was 14. I don’t think it was because of me. Years of writing and going to therapy have mostly convinced me that it was not my fault. But I forget that sometimes.
When I was 19, I was sitting downstairs watching America’s Next Top Model reruns while my father held a gun to his head in his bedroom. After that I didn’t go home during the summer. I didn’t have a home to go to. A few months later, My life sucked when I was 19. I don’t think it was because of me. Years of writing and going to therapy have mostly convinced me that it was not my fault. But I forget that sometimes.
When I was 20, my father went missing with every cent my family owned and some we didn’t. He cashed it all in for enough heroin to kill him several times over. He called me and breathed slowly on the other end of the line while I begged him to stay alive. My life sucked when I was 20. I don’t think it was because of me. Years of writing and going to therapy have mostly convinced me that it was not my fault. But I forget that sometimes.
My life is much, much better now at 24. I have a college degree, a job, and amazing friends and family members who have pulled me out of depression after depression. I am going to London in March — my first time out of the country. I just finished my first novel. I am not always happy, but I am always, always grateful that my life does not suck anymore.
The problem with the thesis of this article is that no one wants to be miserable.
No one asks to wake up feeling heartbroken and go to sleep feeling worse. Sometimes, life just sucks. It isn’t your fault. It is not because of you.
I understand that it is a call to improve attitudes. And sometimes that works, sure. Sometimes a message of self-empowering tough love is exactly what we need to hear. But sometimes people need sympathy and compassion.
Instead of blaming people for feeling awful, let’s support those who do. Instead of saying “This is life, deal with it and drop everything and go to Paris,” let’s say, “I’m here for you. What you feel is valid. Let me help you get past this.”
Instead of saying “Hate to break it to you but you are the reason your life sucks so much,” maybe think about 9 and 14 and 18 and 19-year old me and use the position of fortune that you have to help someone out. And for the love of God, stop reposting this piece of shit article.