The Joy Nazis

March 24, 2010


It is okay to have a bad day.

There. I said it.

This may be a wildly unpopular idea or just wildly impossible if I’m to believe my Twitter stream or Facebook Feed on any given day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking “happy” or “blessed” or “joyful” in any way. They are great states of mind to be in.

I just don’t think they exist all the time. I don’t think they SHOULD exist all the time.

There are days when I read all The Happy and The Joy in tweets and statuses and I wish it felt more genuine. I wish it felt less forced. In Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project (a great read, BTW), she tests the theory “act as you wish to feel”. It appears it works for the most part, but not always, and that’s okay. I get it – and I get that happiness is a choice. And if asked I would choose happy over less happy any day of the week.

(Note: As Gretchen points out, unhappiness and depression are different – and I don’t begrudge a clinically diagnosed depressed person anything – they lack choice due to illness.)

But some days are just hard. Some are crushing. Some are bad and make your heart and soul hurt. And I think choosing to feel that is okay, too. That sometimes it’s fine to wrap all of it around you – or walk right into it. That struggle and pain are helpful and real. It makes relationships real. It makes you real.

There’s a theory that says good that does exist without bad. You cannot appreciate beauty without the distasteful. That opposites in their nature enhance each other. I believe this. I believe that the moments I spend in “unhappy” provide me perspective – and many, many lessons.

The power of blogging, especially the mommyblogs, showed the “real” side of life. The “real” stories of motherhood. I wish we’d get back to that a bit. Find that true story. That true inappropriate laugh. I don’t need sunshine in my Twitter or Facebook feeds all day long. Sometimes I long for the vulnerable moment. The poignant.

Do I want to read endless streams of “My life sucks…”? No. That is an entirely different set of choices, isn’t it?

Do I wish anyone unhappiness? Of course not.

But please forgive me if I sigh a bit at the endless glee that is my Twitter and Facebook feeds. It’s just too much joy to bear.

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12 Responses to “The Joy Nazis”

  1. Julie Pippert Says:

    Come sit by me (or drop by my blog). I am a big believer in letting the muffin top of emotions hang out.

  2. Kollette Says:

    I’m with you. “There is a time and a season for everything.”

  3. Amie aka MammaLoves Says:

    The reason I loved the blogosphere was because of the authenticity. Has brand building killed it?

    I’m a WYSIWYG girl. And it ain’t all pretty. Thanks for speaking up.

    • Pammer Says:

      I think some of it has. Where are the STORIES?! I find myself gravitating to those sites that still share them and leaving other sites behind.

      There are so many websites that just look like an advertisement for brands now. I think @maggie does a great job of incorporating the stories of people into any of her Life List content campaigns, but for many there is so much focus on product that it leaves me cold.

      I hope all this focus on the legitimacy of the business of blogging doesn’t rip the heart out of it.

  4. lee ann moore Says:

    I have stared at my fb page in days of despair or when my creativity has flatlined and thought, ‘what can I possibly say today?’ that will make me feel better, make others feel better. I think there is an inherent fear of passing clouds into the sunshine that you articulate nicely.

    Although, I set up my blog to focus on the humorous side of life, you accurately note that can feel forced without a dose of reality.

    • Pammer Says:

      I don’t think anything done with great intent is ever incorrect. And, you’re right. I do the same thing – search for one line witty.

      But there’s wit in the off day, too. There’s even wit in sorrow. It’d be nice to see folks put down the mask every now and then.

      And you do a terrific job at showcasing the humor in life on your site (go read her, people!). But you are correct here, too – humor with no connection runs flat.

  5. Eric Says:

    There’s a popular piece of military speak going around lately … “Embrace the suck”. It basically means, don’t let the bad times get you down. Instead, embrace it, bask in it, revel in it, and deal with it. We need the occasionally crummy day to help us recognize and appreciate the good days.

  6. Knighton Says:

    What you said. I liked the Happiness Project, but I actually preferred Marcus Buckingham’s Find Your Strongest Life. Buckingham espouses doing more of the things that bring you happiness as opposed to choosing to be happy in the things you do. A subtle difference, but one that works so much better for me.

    I feel like I don’t have to wake up and start with the happy, but can look for things during my day that bring moments of happiness in the midst of what is often banal, frustrating, or outright discouraging.

  7. Pammer Says:

    I like that subtle difference. It’s a big one.