Erin's Journals

Monday, July 12, 2021

Just a thought… Toxic positivity: the overgeneralization of happy, optimistic state that results in the denial, minimization and invalidation of the authentic human emotional experience. []

You can watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

Thanks for starting a new week here! You may or may not have noticed I didn’t post here on Thursday and I apologize again for that, ’cause I want this to be reliable. I just got to Wednesday, when I would normally write and shoot a journal, and couldn’t. I didn’t have it in me – feeling “bluer than blue, sadder than sad,” as the old song goes.

I know full well that a lot of people have it worse than I do, and that makes feeling sad a bit of a guilt trip. But I realize on a conscious level that you and I don’t compare loss or gifts or sadness or joy; we just feel what we feel and get through it, and get on with it.

It’s the strange magic (ooh, another oldies reference) of having something in your calendar that you’re so looking forward to and then…it’s over. Yes, the “don’t be sad it’s over, be glad it happened” looks great on a fridge magnet, but it’s easier said than done.

I can tell you that our time at a resort north of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island in a place called Parksville was everything Rob, Colin and I hoped it would be. From splashing in the warmest ocean waters in Canada (or so I’m told), to “lights out” at 9:30 because my two boys were exhausted, to so many other adventures of a small kind, were the stuff that phone cameras are filled with and of which memories are made.

And then it’s done and you’re smelling the burnt sadness of birthday candles that have been blown out. You know – or hope – the party will come again, but for now, it’s over and you weren’t ready for it to end.

With the Covid variants, it’s hard not to worry that there’s a lot more where the first virus came from in terms of closures and limitations. But, on this very day, I’m getting my second shot. Rob felt sluggish and not himself for days after his (I talked to some friends yesterday who were just fine), but we’ll see how I fare, being so much younger and all (wink!).

So that’s where we are right now. As we look out, our grass is parched and golden brown and much of the island is in a state of drought. While for many folks who share this in the Ontario area, I know you’re in for a lot of days of rain. It’s all about perspective and balance and it’s not always fair, is it? In the meantime, I’m probably like you today: grateful for the good things, getting through the not-so-great and still counting blessings because, of course, I know it could be so much worse. It could always be worse!

But if you ever get the impression that everything is just peachy here and that I never have those same days you do, then I do us both a disservice, because acknowledging them is part of vulnerability, too. And we can’t get better, get through (not over), without saying, “Yeah, this isn’t a good time and I just need to sit this one out.”

That toxic positivity I mention off the top? It’s real and it’s dangerous and I try to avoid spreading it here if I can. I mean, my positivity is real, just so long as it doesn’t say you have to feel the same way. Right?

Talk to you Thursday.

In the meantime, this is a chart that outlines what is toxic, and what is helpful, in case you’re thinking a little more deeply about the subject.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, July 12, 2021