The Tyranny of Gratitude

ma's had these rubber floor mats for as long as I have a memory

(photo by Michael W. May)

I agree that gratitude is good. But the Happiness Pushers aren’t necessarily doing everyone a service. Some people are going through terrible hardships: the loss of a loved one, the incarceration of a loved one, a serious illness in the family, divorce. The list goes on and on. We can’t always be happy and “on” with bells jangling, lights beaming.  So the Happiness Pushers become unwanted enforcers of levity, not merely optimists and cheerleaders.

With people suffering from depression or other mental disorders who don’t feel that sparkly all the time (myself included), the enforced happiness / gratitude attitude can simply wear us down, make us feel deficient and shamed–not at all a positive.

There is a time and place for everything, to everything a season. Your happiness can be my sadness, and conversely, your sadness, my happiness. I agree (most of the time) with the “fake it till you make it” mantra and other positive self-talk. I subscribe. But if I’m not beaming with joy all the time, please don’t try to make me feel bad about it. Ah, I almost caught myself saying “don’t make me feel bad about it” which would also make me co-dependent.  Heaven forbid! Just trying to be real here.

And by the way, Happy New Year!

Baby Elephant Goes Wild

When everything else turns to shit, you can always count on a cute animal video to cheer you up. But I suppose you have to like animals, which I happen to.

Here’s one of my new favorites, “Baby Elephant Goes Wild”:

What could be better than watching a baby elephant splashing around in a bucket of water without a care in the world? Spoiler alert: Mom interrupts the fun. Darn it, Mom, why’d you have to go and do that?

Another one is “Hamster on a Piano.” I learned about this one from the TV character Derek, played by Ricky Gervais, from the British program bearing the same name (Ricky Gervais also writes and directs this wonderful, touching show). Derek works in a care home for the elderly, and in addition to being very good with old people, he is nuts about animals and even sings the title tune, “Hamster on a Piano.”

Yes, this is totally frivolous and silly, but I would like to wring, I mean ring, out the old year and ring in the new with some lightheartedness. Enough shit going on out there to be angry and sad about.

Happy New Year, one and all!


Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I want to thank Terri Webster Schrandt who writes “Perspectives On . . .” for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger award. I humbly accept. To pay it forward, I’m going to nominate some fellow bloggers as well.

I started blogging on Word Press in September 2014, and it has been a great source of creative comfort to me; actually, it’s kept me sane (whatever that is). Having spent 2012 and 2013 developing and performing a play about my mom who has Alzheimer’s disease, I needed another venue to explore new ideas and stories, and found it here. Yay!

I have been inspired and supported by other writers on Word Press, and their colorful, unique perspectives on the world and their personal corners of it, whether domestic or international.

It’s been mostly a good year, and a challenging one, both personally and in the community (New York / New Jersey). Citizens have taken to the streets to protest police brutality, and specifically, the murder of innocent black men and boys. Two innocent police officers were assassinated in their squad car by a mentally ill man. The NYPD and Mayor de Blasio continue to struggle to find a common cause. I am inspired by the protesters (not those calling for violence against the police), and I hope for a continued dialogue and progress towards justice for all.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the dear friends (will not name names) who are going through very trying times who inspire me daily with their strength and courage.


Here are the rules for accepting this award (purely voluntary):

1.  Thank the person who nominated you by including a link to his/her blog in your response, and display the award logo on your site.

2.  Nominate 15 other blogs (more or less). Include links to their blogs on your post, and inform them about the nomination.

3.  Mention three things that inspired you the most this week (you can talk about last week’s inspiration too or before that).

My nominations for the VIB award are as follows:

Please check out their blogs when you have a moment, and see if they inspire you too.

Happy New Year to all!