We have a lot of stupid sayings, don’t we? We get into situations in life, either when we’re suffering or watching someone we care about suffer, and we don’t know how to make that pain go away. So, in order to avoid feeling negative emotions, we lean heavily on the sayings that have been drilled into our brains by parents, teachers, and pop culture.
I’ve mentioned my distaste for popularized sayings before (see previous posts), but there’s one in particular that everyone seems to say, and you’ve no doubt heard it at some point in your life.
Take this relatable example:
You’re a kid, maybe fourteen or fifteen. Life is confusing; you’re told to dream big and shoot for the stars, but you’re shaped awkward, you haven’t learned to communicate well yet, and you move through school like you’re invisible because you feel like everyone’s got life figured out and you’re the only person who’s lost. You consider the possibility that maybe God hates you, and any time you try to unpack these emotions they just explode out of you like soda from a shaken can. You’re certain this will all last forever. The void in your chest will never go away.
But someone you trust smiles at your pain, and they tell you with calm assurance that it’s all going to be okay. Not only that, though. They tell you, “Someday you’ll look back on this moment and laugh.”
Let’s take a moment together to really appreciate the stupidity of these nine words strung together. “Someday…” (specify when, please?) “…you’ll look back on this moment…” (why THE FUCK would I want to do that, exactly?) “…and laugh.” (like a crazy person?)
The person who said these words isn’t at fault. They’re only repeating the same thing they were told by someone they care about, and it’s a comforting thing to want to believe. There’s no malice in their words…but there’s really no help, either.
For real, I want to know: has anyone ever looked back on their most profoundly horrible moments in life and laughed?? You’d have to be deranged, or in desperate need of psychiatric help.
I’m imagining the sort of sociopath who came up with this saying.
“You’re feeling plagued by existential dread, huh? Oh, there, there. Someday you’ll look back on this moment and laugh. I’m laughing already.”
Can you imagine the first time this guy (or girl, #feminism) told this to someone? Surely they backed it up with an example of when it worked for them.
“I was sitting at the dinner table the other night, and I suddenly thought about my dead dad for no reason. Laughed for three hours straight. Oh, comedy.”
“I remember spending a full year of my life going to bed with a hollow feeling in my chest and staring at the ceiling because even the escapism of dreams felt brief and meaningless, and…and…” *stifles giggles* “…oh damn, I just peed myself laughing!”
God forbid this person spent any time around terminally ill people.
“Someday you’ll look back on this moment and laugh. Hopefully it’s within the next four to six weeks, because…well, you know…”
If there was any truth to the saying, it would be “Someday you’ll look back on this moment…and really wish you hadn’t.”
If reducing the spread COVID-19 isn’t a big enough reason to wear a mask in public, we can at least wear them to stop the spread of bullshit comfort sayings.