Monday, 14 January 2013

First World Problems and Feeling All the Feelings

I am in a foul mood. After a spectacularly bad weekend, I am throwing my hands up in the air and abandoning my attempts to smile my way out of my funk.

I will revel in my foul mood. I will pout and I will rant and I will think hateful thoughts (that will not be spoken as hateful words.) There will be tears.

I've participated in this trend recently, this "dismiss your problems because they're first world problems" trend and I'm beginning to realize that it's not working for me. I mean, to a certain extent it does. Sometimes I get a little too complainy about daily annoyance stuff and it's good to give myself a little reminder that I actually am really very lucky (Grady literally just peed on me as I wrote that. He fell asleep in my arms with a too-full diaper and there's been some sort of malfunction and now I am typing this with a sleeping child in my arms, covered in hot pee.)

Just because Shawn isn't out there picking up chicks and spending all of our money on hookers and blow doesn't mean that I can't be mad at him when he doesn't something assy. Just because Grady is healthy and happy doesn't mean that I can't be frustrated when he throws his entire lunch on the floor, or refuses to take off his boots until the smell emanating from his feet rivals that of a teenaged boy, or cries a heartbreaking cry when I try to pick him up because no one gives hugs quite like daddy (all things that happen multiple times a day, every day lately.) Just because Robin flew back to England to be with a man she loves (a man whom I've met and love for her) doesn't mean I have to be happy about her leaving.

I think that maybe by dismissing my first world problems, I've been giving myself permission to not feel all the feelings. Like, I shouldn't be sad that my best friend moved so far away because she's happy and in love, so I won't feel sad, I'll feel happy. Except that I am sad. I'm really sad.

I need to find the balance between feeling grateful for what I have and allowing myself to feel frustrated and sad and mad when those feelings arise. Because how I'm feeling today? This buildup of frustration and anger and sadness? It's not healthy. I don't want to feel like this. I am so blue. I don't feel even a little like myself.


  1. What is the wise Swistle quote about this? "I acknowledge my luckiness, without giving up claim to the suckiness." AKA you can have an awesome life, and know you have an awesome life, but that doesn't mean shitty, complain-worthy things don't happen at all, or are in any way diminished just because OVERALL things aren't holocaust-level terrible.

    1. Yes, this. If you have trouble translating my convoluted thoughts, just refer back here to Alice's comment. We have the same sentiment. =)

  2. I think we play on slippery slopes when we dismiss our own problems because someone else may have it worse (and it's not just first world problems - it's the comparison to our friends and neighbors, too). We all have problems that are measured as they relate to the magnanimity of our lives. And we must be able to process those issues, which includes pouting, kicking, screaming, venting and moving on. The key is the ability to resolve our problems or feelings about our problems, rather than slipping into the abyss that is forever full of complaint and despair.

  3. I don't have a lot of wisdom to impart here. I wish I did. But it's OK to have feelings, whatever they are. Don't make yourself feel bad for feeling bad when there are people out there feeling worse.

    Also, I have to ask: what are you doing for yourself lately? Do you have a set-aside time for doing something that is just for you? Yoga, relaxing in a hot bath with a trashy magazine, whatever your jam might be. Perspective is much easier to get when you are balanced all around, and that includes time or space for you to just be Hills and not always only Shawn's wife, Grady's husband, Stella & Wolfgang's staff. Etc.

    Wish I could give you a big hug. xoxo

  4. I think that it's okay to feel all the feelings and be sad and frustrated and upset. It doesn't mean you know that your life is any less good or that you are any less grateful for what you have.

    I'm sending you big hugs as you figure it all out. It's hard to navigate emotional waters.

  5. It's healthy to feel feelings and we are told we shouldn't feel them and given quick fixes to them. Unless they are hurtful to yourself or others it's okay to experience the feeling, embrace it for what it is, and then release it. Feelings tell us that something is up and we need to listen. Suppressing only makes the feeling come out stronger in the future. Thank you for sharing all the good and the bad -- it's good to know we are all human!

  6. i'm a big non-fan of all the gratitude stuff - if i'm feeling unhappy about something and questioning/fretting/ranting/complaining then there is something wrong In My World. my sister and SIL regularly dropped in on my blog to tell me i didn't realise how lucky i was, and that i shouldn't be so ungrateful; their 'kind' words didn't help one little bit, but my questioning, refusal to get by with unsatisfactory, and struggle to understand do. little by little, my world seems to be falling into place.
    and i wouldn't be here if i hadn't explored my own disatisfaction.
    go for it!

  7. As a longtime depression/anxiety suffer-er, I've learned to just sit in it as needed. When I feel bad, I let myself wallow. Really wallow. Just get all down in it, cover myself with all the grey feelings and just muck around, grumbling and cursing and being a heinous ass.
    If I don't? If I try to be positive and look on the bright side, I get even angrier and more foul, and it lasts even longer.
    Nastiness can be cathartic in its own way. I think we're entitled to feelings, and the feeling OF those feelings. Letting them live inside for a tad, not trying to make ourselves something we're not.

    They have less power over me when I let them have their way for a little while.

    And then I go back to being grateful for the things I'm ACTUALLY grateful for. Rather than pretending to be grateful about shit. That's just smug.

  8. I do this too and you're definitely onto something. You have to feel your feelings lest you get to this place where you don't even like yourself and can't see a way out of the bad mood. Sure, some of our gripes are whiny in comparison to what other people have to endure but they are happening to YOU and it's ok to be upset about them. Sending you a big hug.

  9. Feeling awful and then feeling GUILTY for feeling awful is the worst. Nobody has a perfect life and we all have the right to feel our feelings. xo

  10. I struggle with this as a parent to an only child. I feel (often?) that complaining about any aspect of parenthood isn't meant for me since so many parents are doing what I'm doing with 2, 3, 4, 5+ kids. How can I complain? I'm trying to give myself permission to feel overwhelmed/stressed and that it's not a competition. No one's judging who REALLY has it tougher.

  11. Oh lady, you have a right to wallow and feel crappy. If you don't, it adds up and only becomes worse. Trust me on this because that's what I kept doing until it became too much to carry around. Just accepting the awful - no matter how small - and then letting it go feels a heck of a lot better than saying "oh I should just be thankful" and then pushing it off. Yes, be grateful but at the same time FEEL the awful and complain if needed. It's a tricky balance but one that is definitely needed.

    Hugs to you lovely. Many, many tight hugs.