They say the bad days make the good days better.
I don’t know who “they” are, but I’m not a fan. In fact, I think they’re not very bright.
I woke up on Sunday morning, peeled my eyelids apart, and blinked at the clock until it came into focus. This took several minutes. After finally ascertaining that I had, indeed, slept through my alarm, I sat up. Then stood up. And the whole world swayed.
Although I’ve never had a proper ‘rage against the world, clamp your hands over your ears’ hangover, I’ve experienced enough to know that this day, I felt hungover. I honestly don’t remember if I had any alcohol on Saturday night, but if I did, it certainly wasn’t enough to create a hangover. This feeling was coming from purely internal sources, the causes of which I am still unaware.
But today was the day of my dear friends’ important life event. I damn sure wasn’t gonna miss it.
Dressed in my roommate’s clothes, makeup covering the bleariness, I headed out the door.
I made it through the first part of the event with relative ease, even though I was unable to get my hands on any coffee. And really, I think we should acknowledge that for the miracle it was.
But then my social buffer left. (You know the kind of person I’m talking about. Actually, you probably know the person herself. Social Buffering should be her lifelong career.)
Anyway. I was now alone, in the direct sunshine, dehydrated, under-caffeinated, underfed but not at all hungry, and surrounded by a large handful of people who were uncomfortable speaking with me, due to some messy church nonsense.
And to top things off, all I could think about was how horrible life is and how I would rather not be alive.
I wanted to celebrate with my friends. I wanted to stay, to be present, to enjoy what was honestly one of the best events of its kind I have been to.
And I did stay. Because it was important.
But then I drove home, changed into sweatpants and a t-shirt, scrubbed the makeup off my face, downed a glass of whiskey, crawled into bed, and cried violently while I watched 3 hours of a political drama show.
By 5 pm, I had to face the facts. I was having a really bad day. When I was in high school, people described something negative by saying it sucked eggs. Well, this day sucked rotten eggs from a dead chicken. On garbage day. In India. During monsoon season.
This day was not going to make my good days better. This was the kind of day that keeps me looking over my shoulder on my good days, wondering if the thunderclouds and whiskey tears are about to descend. This was the calendar equivalent of a gremlin. It could come back, in a new form, wreaking havoc in unexpected moments. It could haunt me.
But…not if I accepted it. It’s sort of backwards, really. I had two options. One, I could keep being frustrated, sad, overwhelmed, depressed, and beating myself up about having a terrible day. Or two, I could keep being frustrated, sad, overwhelmed, and depressed, but accept it. If I said, “Yes. This is terrible. Rotten eggs all around. But it does not own me, or defeat me to accept that. I am not broken by a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day,” then I could get up the next morning and not look over my shoulder for the gremlins. The gremlins can attack. And that’s okay.
The bad days don’t make the good days better. The bad days remind you that no day has the power to destroy you, unless you let it.
So in this season, it might seem small, but that’s my first and most important action step for getting through a bad day. Acceptance.
I’d love to know – how do you get through a terrible day?