There is something that has been bugging me for a good part of this year so far. Actually scratch that. It’s been the better part of my whole life, but I say this year because of me now being more self aware than ever before. This is my association with the word “positive”. If you have been one of the first people to follow my blog you probably recall a very early post I must have done at least a year ago by now, called “Feeling Positive Vs. Thinking Positive”. My overall belief is that if you feel positive it’s because it’s genuine and you are doing it on your own account. It’s a natural feeling you’re having. Not from somebody telling you to “think positive” because it is “good for you”, which in many cases, like many mental health advocates I know say on Twitter, just makes the negativity increase, not decrease. The “smile” culture is another thing that bothers and has always bothered me. But the whole fake “positivity” and “smiley”, happy stuff has never been more irritating to me than it is now. Why? Because I now know it’s all bullshit and am not around people anymore telling me I’m wrong or that I’m the problem, not the other way around. Another reason though is I do believe genuine positivity is something I feel very strongly about and me and the Mental Health Crisis Angels everyday try to spread that as far as we can. But psychologically I have a very hard time distinguishing the real from the fake simply because of phrases and words associated with things I myself and the people I work with use, but use in the helpful, correct way. The most obvious being the word “positive” but also words like “happiness”, “smile”, “sunshine”, and phrases like “if you catch yourself in the past, let it go”. Even when I am putting together mixes on Mixcloud for other people to brighten their day, I once included the Vitamin C song “Smile” where the chorus goes “put a smile on your face and make the world a better place”. Whichever of those mixes that song was on, while I did put it together, I never listen to it myself because I have always found that kind of stuff very condescending and obnoxious. Like putting someone down for not being happy. For shaming somebody for “bringing everyone down”. In fact, one time when I was at a job on my first (and last) day that was provided to me through one of those placement services a couple years ago, I heard Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy” playing on their hospital storage area playlist. The phrase “don’t bring everyone down” is actually IN that song. I won’t say that was THE reason I had so much trouble on that first day and couldn’t come back again, but I will be honest. It was one of the reasons out of many. This kind of stuff is toxic to me.
I hate the fact that I can’t emotionally separate the superficial, toxic version of “positive” from the actual meaning of that word, which I promote everyday and try to bring into people’s lives with my team. I know logically there is a difference but when I hear or read words that don’t mean to be superficial but bring me back to that dark, superficial past life because they are similar words or the same words, I am quick to mentally spiral into an angry tirade where voices tell me “You’re a sellout” or “You’re getting too comfortable” or “You’re forgetting what you stand for” or…
“You are the becoming the problem with this world that you used to hate. The problem of people being too happy-go-lucky to where they ignore all of the increasing problems in the world that have been getting worse day after day since Trump was illegally elected into office. Change doesn’t happen with a smile. Smiles are ignorant and ignorance is bliss”
That one was very wordy but you get the idea.
I know those statements about me are not true. To be honest, I guess a lot of this comes from wanting to make up for all of the times I had to hold everything in and mask to please other people and get ahead, which of course resulted with me going backwards at the end of the day and needing to change course with my life completely after, which is why I am doing what I do now and feel so much better and more like the real me. Which just proves my point that masking is mental poison and accomplishes nothing except killing your own spirit.
It’s all part of the continuing healing journey. Being able to know the differences between the fakeness from the past vs the purity of today right then and there with no second guessing is easier said than done. But I can and I will get it done. Because if I don’t, the toxic influences of the past win. And they will not win.