Monday, July 2, 2012

Hipster Grief

(Hipster: Someone who appropriates trends before they become mainstream.
Ex: Oh, you like The Walking Dead? I read the graphic novel YEARS ago

One of the weirder side-effects of "All The Evil" is that friends and family are apprehensive about sharing their own grief/tragedy/misfortune with me. If they do share their personal turmoil with me, it's usually followed up by something like this: "But that's nothing compared to what you've been through." Or "But you've been through so much, my problems aren't that important."

It's not like I've EVER said anything about the weight of my grief in comparison to someone else's grief. I HAVEN'T (though in the interest of full disclosure, I may have had thoughts along those lines). None the less, I feel like somehow I've become some kind of Grief Hipster, someone who can't be trusted to hear the laments of my friends because my own tragedies loom out in front of me like a 50ft living sneer. If there's such thing as a Grief Hipster, they would sound like this: "Oh, you're sad? I've been sad WAY longer that you." "Oh, your family is struggling? MY family's struggle has been way more deep than yours." And even though I've never uttered words even close to these, they seem to be projecting themselves out in front of me.

I don't know how to combat this. Maybe its just the nature of what I'm going through and how none of my loved ones have any context to understand it. I get that. I don't have context for it either. My theory is that this withholding comes out of a place of love and a desire to not "burden" me with any more difficulties that what I'm already shouldering. I appreciate that sentiment - I do. But in practice, I hate it.

I hate it because it makes me feel isolated.

My whole life I've been friends with, been in community with people who are hurting, who have life experiences that I don't recognize, who make choices that I would never make. But I didn't stop sharing life with them merely because of our differences - I loved them, I shared with them because they were MINE. Community was never about similarity, but instead was about love and loyalty. And I always felt most valued, most integrated and involved when my friends were sharing their burdens with me. And now they aren't out of a desire to protect me and all it does is make me feel broken.

So, to my friends and family - STOP WITHHOLDING. I'm not a grief hipster. I don't get some weird sense of superiority to you because of "All the Evil". I'm not comparing tragedies. Your problems ARE important to me. Your tragedies ARE significant and I want the chance to walk alongside with you and support you. Withholding only makes me feel more weak, more like a victim. I'm stronger when you trust me with your life and with your own vulnerabilities. I'm stronger when you treat me like I'm stronger.

1 comment:

Christianity 101 said...

Well put. You feel stronger when people treat you as strong. I feel the same way after my experience of the last six months (except when I don't - and then I want people to fuss over me: "Oh you poor thing ...). So I'll try to not shield you from things. Just so you know, the most recent time when it may have seemed like I was doing that to you, it was because I wanted some time to process it myself before I told anyone.