Some things you don't necessarily want to write about, but they kind of make you. This is one of those things.
I'll apologise in advance that this post is all over the place. I am sure that a critic of my blog would say "can't seem to stick to one topic. Crams too much in." Does anyone want to become my Editor?
A lot of the posts I write come from my cheerful, sunny-side-up, grass-is-plenty-green kind of nature. I don't dwell, I play well with others, I basically just get on with things. It goes without saying that I have had times in my life that have seen me dipping in the depths of despair and I have felt burnt to a crisp many times. Memory makes my toes curl as as I write that. But not lately. It's fair to surmise that I have lead an essentially charmed life. I've yet to establish if that's because I've actually had it really easy or if I was just born looking for easy. Perhaps I'll never know.
But tell me this. Why does being an optimistic person mean that many, many people seem to write me off as being a lightweight? That being optimistic and cheerful equates somehow with being disinterested and unavailable. As if another person's shoes won't fit me.
Worse than that, is the attitude that the only people who could possibly be happy in this world are the ones who don't 'get it' (ie, I'm too stupid to see the world for what it really is) or that my life is so much easier than a less-happy person's (ie, the 'perfect' life myth). And then there's the perception that somehow I don't count as much as people who have "truly lived".
I'd never considered this before I started a blog. It never came up. But blogging means I'm open and an email address means Come in. So, the "truly lived" above is a quote from an email I recently received. The writer said "your views on the world are not as meaningful as people who have truly lived". All the other perceived attitudes I mention above are also from emails I've received as Maxabella. Others include:
"I can't tell you about it because you won't listen because you've had a nice life."
"It's alright for you to say you don't aim for happiness when you've never experienced how tough life can be."
"Just because you're living the good life, doesn't mean you have to rub people's faces in it, intentional or not."
"People like you are sometimes the reason that people like me feel bad about myself."
These are emails sent by people who don't actually know me - I may have escaped relatively unscathed, but I have lived a full life, oh yes, yes I have. But ignoring that, I want to point out that the overall tone of all of these notes was not necessarily aggressive or mean. I have been lucky (there I go again!) to not have had many 'haters' visit my blog or email me. At least, I choose not to view them in that light. Again, perception or reality?
What I simply want to know is... are they right? Do you think you have to experience something to be able to empathise? Most importantly, are you able to help people who suffer from sadness, grief, anger and frustration if these are not emotions that you experience very often? Can you be there for someone with depression? I'm bewildered because all my life I really thought I could.
And do you think that bad things happening to good people makes them more 'real' somehow?
[Image found here]