I’ve been thinking about ranting. I’ve almost been obsessing over it, to be honest. It’s what I spend the bulk of my time doing in the shower. I am on social media too much in my down time and it makes me start thinking in Facebook posts and I have really been saying to myself, you need to RANT.
About what? Well, I’ve been thinking about how angry I am with people trying to tell me how to feel about my school being closed for the rest of the year. How angry I am with posts I read against teachers or saying that “homeschooling” is so easy (this totally is NOT homeschooling, by the way) and that kids are better off not in school for the long haul. How much I desperately miss my work family. How I’m simultaneously bored, anxious, working too much, working too little, and cannot shake the general physical sickness I have day to day.
And then I saw my socks.
Hear me out on this.
My socks do this thing where they get all turned around and hanging off my feet when I sit and watch things or have my feet up. It’s because I rub my feet together like a cricket and it drives me insane. I have no control over this behavior. It’s not a big deal, but the result is that I’m constantly having to adjust my socks before getting up and walking, which is just a minor inconvenience on most days because I don’t get to put my feet up all that much. With the quarantine, shoes are a rare occurrence for me, and sitting with my feet up isn’t so rare at all. This means that my socks are doing the thing again.
Sitting with all of this anger about so much that is out of my control and then looking down at my socks, I thought I was going to crack. I growled out something about how irritated I was and Daughter looked at my feet and just started to laugh. I hadn’t heard a real belly laugh from her in probably a week. She hadn’t been constantly miserable, but she had not laughed like that.
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I am frustrated, feeling any extreme emotion, really, there are only about five people on the planet who can react with laughter and have me not murder them with my eyes. Daughter has never been one of them. Instead of snapping, instead of losing my mind or even just getting more irritated, I started to laugh, too.
This wasn’t some sort of revelatory moment in which I suddenly realized that my life is so wonderful. But it was in that exact moment that I began having a realization about what is really bothering me, because in that moment I thought to myself, “You have to laugh, Lizzie, because the world is such a disaster right now and this is just so small. Who are you to complain?”
At this point in a story like this, you might expect to hear certain things which I am not going to say. I’m not going to drop all of the cliches about how it could be so much worse and “oh look I have my family and food” and all of that stuff. There’s a simple reason I won’t do that. That, right there, THAT is the stuff that’s bothering me.
Could this situation be worse? You bet. And it is worse for so many people. I am in a position of privilege. I know that. While money is not easy for us right now, it isn’t a terrifying notion. We have food to eat, more than enough, in fact. We do have jobs to go back to when this is all over, and I am able to do mine from home (sort of). No one in my immediate or extended family is sick. I am a middle class white Christian American. I have privilege coming out my ears. That’s also part of the problem.
Simply because of the position I am in, I am constantly hearing that my feelings are not ok. I’m not allowed to feel sad or angry or overwhelmed because “it could be worse.”
The best part of my school year with the best class I’ve ever had has been ripped from me. Being with people I love has been taken away. Celebrating life events and milestones and successes has been stolen. There are things I’m sad about, angry over, frustrated with, irritated by, and just because it could be worse does not mean I shouldn’t get to feel those feelings.
I hope you know that you don’t need permission from anyone. I hope you know that suffering isn’t some sort of contest. Someone else being in a worse position than you does not negate your sorrow. I hope you feel all of your best feelings right now and all of your worst, too. This is all important, this is all real, and this is all valid.
If you’re in a position to help those less fortunate than you, please do so. If you’re not, do not hurt yourself emotionally because of it. And please remember, everything you’re feeling is important.