Sometimes, it is hard to know if you are a selfish bastard. There are mitigating circumstances, right? Even someone with the sunniest of dispositions is going to break if they are in a seriously shitty position.
My mom has been in the ICU since November. She just started to become aware of her surroundings on December 26th. And now that she is coming to, she is PISSED. When you ask her to smile or follow other commands, she gives you the finger. Sometimes, she’ll tell you that she doesn’t love you and to get out of her room.
My dad isn’t doing much better. Only he isn’t angry, he is devastated. Everything is terrible. Everything. And when they aren’t, he feels compelled to make up terrible circumstance, so that we keep the shit-to-shit ratio in equilibrium. Like when he told all of my mom’s doctors that he had cancer. In fact, he did not have cancer, but when it rains, let’s make it fictitiously pour.
As much as I don’t love their behavior, I get it. They are going through some seriously traumatic stuff. My mother lost two months of her life, only to wake up with life-threatening medical problems. My father is dealing with a profound grief over my mother’s health situation. Things are admittedly bad, so I cut them a little slack.
Grief and anger are selfish things. They turn us inward so that we can only see our own pain. They sneak up when you aren’t looking, punch you in the face, go all Tonya Harding on your knees.
Worse, other people’s happiness seems downright offensive. It’s hard to believe that the world keeps spinning, keeps experiencing joy. Doesn’t everyone know that the polite thing to do is to be completely miserable? But noooo… they just keep on having lives, the little a**holes.
Slowly but surely, my own infertility grief is making me a bitter person. I hate my friends’ completely adorable babies. I’m not being hyperbolic—my friends post pictures of their kids, and I immediately think “I hate you.” What kind of psychopath hates a baby?
Yesterday, my friend sent me an email that he and his wife are expecting. (They just started trying this summer.) I read the email and cried. What kind of an a**hole cries when their good friend tells them they are having a baby?
Then I hate myself for hating babies and crying about them. I can’t be happy for other people, because their joy puts my sorrow is such stark contrast. I don’t like this person I am. It’s all fine and dandy to say “Choose to be positive! Turn that frown upside down!” You can say those things, but it also helps when you actually feel it.
I don’t feel it, and I feel like a complete selfish bastard that I can’t. So that means I can add self-loathing to my list of defining characteristics… De-lightful.