As I continue to reprocess what happened, more things are surfacing. I am learning to turn it right back around and put it into scenes. It’s no surprise “it could be worse” showed up. “It could be worse” is a special kind of guilt that we can lay on ourselves and/or others can lay upon us. It’s that awful fence your brain starts to set up around your feelings, making you think you have to stay within a certain acceptable parameter. Or it is someone else setting up those limits for you; telling you what is and isn’t an okay level emotion.
Adult me knows how damaging that phrase is. Young me absolutely grappled with it. I was devastated to learn my twin was diagnosed after being mistakenly cleared. I hated not being able to share this with her. I wanted to gouge my own eyes out and give them to her. “It could be worse” made things more complicated. I couldn’t dare feel more angry than a sibling whose life was shattered by the “worse”. I didn’t actually have any room to be as upset as I was. In this scene (which definitely needs some work) I have my best friend say it to me, but later it will come up that I am already grappling with it myself.
If you get anything from this post it’s this: never use that phrase and don’t let others use it on you. Validate where you are and what is going on. Validate yourself, validate others. No one has ever felt better by those words. Perspective is important, but validation is everything. Validation comes first, then perspective can follow.
It Could Be Worse
[some info for you, Angie is my best friend and her mom is all about her perfect big sister. Her mom also is really into making sure she knows everything about everything so she can use it as a way to give her daughters an edge. There will be some more lead up this fight]
“Why do you keep nagging me for gossip all the time? Don’t you have anything better to do? You get so mad at your mom for doing this, but here you are!” I jerked my arm and snapped my hand up in a gesture meant to emphasize the space she took up next to me.
Angie’s eyes narrowed. “What is your problem?”
“What is my problem?” I stammered. “I-I can’t believe you even need to ask me.”
“Oh, I really do.”
“My problem is my sisters..”
Oh boo-hoo! Your sisters are legally blind. We get it. I’m sure it sucks, but you are acting like they are all dying of some incurable disease.”
“I am not!” I shot back.
“Yes, you are. Oh, there goes Sophie. Poor, pitiful Sophie who has three sisters who can’t see well.”
“How dare you make fun of what I am going through.”
“It could be worse, Sophie. It could be far worse.”
“If your sister -”
Angie held up her hand to stop me. “First of all, if my sister came down with anything she would find some way to turn herself into a hero and probably raise more money for a foundation to cure it than *name a rich person at the time*. Second of all, do not make this about me.”
“Oh, but it’s all about me?”
“Yes. I have been trying to cheer you up. I’ve been trying to get juicy gossip from you to help you realize there’s more going on in life. I’m trying to be there for you. Like a best friend.”
I blinked as confusion, anger, and remorse took turns smacking into me.
“But you know what, I’m kinda done with this. With your attitude about all this. I’m not going to stick around and let you take it out on me now. I get plenty of crap from my parents at home. I don’t need it from you.”
She turned sharply and stomped away.
“Angie…” I tried, but she kept moving away.