Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pretty darn

Someone said the other day, sort of in passing, that I had a pretty darn perfect life. It stopped me in my tracks. It felt weirdly invalidating. I wanted, in that moment, to list all the ways in which my life is not perfect, the broken places in my physical body, the broken places in my house (but not my home), the anxiety that stalks me, the mind that won't stop anticipating catastrophe at every turn, the if only I had and the what could have been.

But I don't like to complain. I do it sometimes, but to my mind, what I am really doing is trying to process a torrent of emotions I might be dealing with, as a way to cope, to marshal my courage and my wits, to put worry and fear outside of myself, to remind myself that there is no choice, really, but to survive what comes down the pike. Yet it always feels a bit like I am whining, not appreciating my concurrent good fortune, the people in my every day. But no, my life is not pretty darn perfect at all. It's just my life, messy, unpredictable, heart stopping, painful, anxious, lucky, good.

I am trying to understand why that comment made me so defensive, though. Why it made me feel so not okay. It felt like I needed to apologize for something I didn't fully understand.


  1. I know this feeling, Angella. In Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which I think is a little short-sighted, I have everything I needs on the bottom three levels. But what Maslow didn't account for is anxiety and a brain that doesn't make proper connections. It doesn't account for trauma and fear. It doesn't take into consideration that we are flawed and some people don't make it to the top. I would take inner peace and living on the street compared to this torment.

  2. I think I know exactly what you mean.

  3. Rating someone else's life as perfect depends on both your definition and whether you know everything about that person's life (which is impossible). There will always need to be assumptions, and many times they're way off the truth. I'd be defensive too.