Sadness shaming 

These days, there tends to be a lot of talk about shaming. Fat shaming, skinny shaming, mommy shaming. 

I would like to address another kind of shaming, which is sadness shaming. 

These days, every time I scroll through Facebook, I see a lot of memes like this:  


I totally recognize that they are meant to be positive, and inspiring, but they rub me the wrong way. Here are a few reasons why.

1. Some people are clinically depressed.  I know most people would say those people get a pass from this kind of message until they get the right treatment, but some people that are depressed do not even know they are depressed. They just know that they are unhappy/unmotivated/unable to be positive all the time, and can’t really fix it no matter how hard they try. I think for these people to see a message like this, it must be very hurtful. We all know that the flipside of happiness is a choice is unhappiness is a choice, and a lot of people, probably most people, do not choose to be unhappy.

2. Happiness is somewhat dependent on life situations. We all like to say that nothing can make you happy or unhappy except yourself, but we also know that’s not true. If you kid is very sick or dies, you are not going to be happy. If your spouse has an affair and leaves you, you are not going to be happy. If you get in an accident and become paralyzed, you are not going to be happy. If your business goes bankrupt and you lose your livelihood and financial security have to start all over, are not going to be happy. That is just touching on the life situations that most people cannot truly be happy while confronting. That’s not to say they’ll never be happy again, but it could be a long time in the face of such situations, and a lot of the situations are not the fault of the person they happened to. Again, for somebody who is very unhappy because they are dealing with a really shitty life situation, to scroll through Facebook and see memes like the one above must feel pretty crappy and shaming. 

That is not to say people should not always try to look for the positives, enjoy little things in life, challenge themselves, look ahead to when things will get better. But it is to say that there’s no shame in being unhappy, for a day or even a month or a year, if that’s the way your life is right now. Personal growth, challenging ones help, striving to see the positives…these things do not always lead to happiness. But they are still always worthy. 

Somebody who truly believes in a meme like that above, and lives it, most likely either has emotional reserves that other people just aren’t capable of, or hassimply never experienced the kind of trauma that leads to a state of unhappiness. 

Sometimes, trauma is more powerful than the best positive intentions. That’s not a lack of character, it’s a reality of humanity. 

As I’m sure my readers know, these words are coming from someone who always works hard to be positive, make things better, to challenge myself, to grow, and to inspire others. But I also recognize not everybody is capable of that, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they choose to be unhappy. It just makes them different people with different abilities, or those that have struggles I can’t even imagine.

Which is certainly not to say there aren’t people in my life that I think are often “too negative”, who have many good things in their lives they can’t enjoy because they are always focused on the bad or what they don’t have.  That is certainly true, and I would certainly like to inspire those people to count their blessings and focus on what’s good and positive,  and I do certainly believe those people would be happier if they did so. 

I prefer the messages below.  I feel like the encourage positive thinking (which we can all can) while not making those that are not (yet) “happy” feel like failures: 



Remember that time I went to BlueMountain convinced that I was going to zip line, but then I didn’t. I tried over and over but kept chickening out, and came home from our vacation feeling like a great big loser!

Well, yesterday this happened:

That’s right, I ziplined!

Here’s how it happened: A few weeks ago we went to the Treetop Trekking in Stouffeville, we weren’t planning to do the trekking and zip lining, we were planning to do the Treewalk Village, which is kind of like an obstacle based playground. But while we were there Zoë and I looked at the trekking, and based on our experience on the ropes at BlueMountain, we thought it look like a lot of fun. We could see there were some zip-lines, but they looked really short and low, and we decided we could handle them. So we made an appointment to go back yesterday. There is also a 600ft freestanding zip line there, called the monarch, I did not plan to do that. I thought that the zip-lines in the course would be a good little intro for me to prepare for BlueMountain next year (if we go back!)

So we went, we had a wonderful time. We were of course a bit nervous about the zip-lines, but once we did the first one, we felt good about them. I felt so good that is soon as we were done the courses, I went and added on the freestanding zip-line, and then did it while I was still on a high! I didn’t overthink it, I just did it! It is comparable to the ones that I skipped out off in BlueMountain. A bit lower, but a bit longer. Here is a video of the zip-line I did (not me, the zip-line starts at 1:10)

I loved it! I’m so proud of myself, I know that sounds bad, but it is what it is. I overcame my fear that I’ve had for a long time. When we first went to Blue Mountain two summers ago, I remember looking at the zip lines wishing that I was courageous enough to do that. When we went last summer, just a few months ago, I really thought I would do it, but I just couldn’t. Now I have, and I feel on top of the world!

I’m going to add a review of Treetop trekking, and then some other pictures of our day. I wrote this review for a Facebook page, that’s why it’s not very personal:
Went to Stouffeville Treetop climbing yesterday. My husband and six-year-old daughter did the Treewalk Village. I don’t know much about it, but I know they had a good time! He said it would be good for up to around eight or nine, older would be OK, but probably only for an hour or so before getting board. There were loads of picnic tables in there and lots of people were eating as well as playing.

My 12-year-old daughter and I did the Treetop trekking. It was not cheap, $124 for the two of us. We also added on one person for the Monarch freestanding zip line, and that was another 5. You can get gloves $2 dollars a pair, we didn’t and our hands are OK. They were a bit achy last night but they’re fine this morning. If I did it again I would probably bring my weight gloves but it’s definitely not required. If you have sensitive skin her hands, you might want to make sure to bring gloves. My nails were destroyed! Closed shoes are required. I brought a waist-pack to carry my phone so I could take pictures. There are washrooms there that are clean, they do not sell any food or drinks so bring whatever you’ll think you want. Our lips got very dry and we wished we had brought some Chapstick.

You get 3.5 hours to play, the first 1/2 hour is an orientation, where they gave us lots of information about how to make sure we were safe and use our attachments (you are wearing a harness around your hips and butt, and it is attached to two carabiners, and a pulley for the zip lines. You also wear a helmet, when I got my helmet it was a little wet inside, I asked why and they said it was disinfectant), and went through a very low wire walk, and a low zip line. They had us fall off the wire and get back on so that we would feel secure and know that we could get back up if we fell.

We did 4 ropes courses of increasing height and difficulty. The last three ended with a zipline. The courses were fine, some of the obstacles are more difficult than others, but we got through all of them without falling. Falling would not be a big deal though, you’re very well protected! Even though there were a lot of people there (they said it was full), we didn’t have long waits for any of the obstacles or the ziplines. There were staff at each of the zip lines, and everything was close enough together that they could yell at you and help you through one of the obstacles if you were having trouble. They were all very helpful and friendly and encouraging. My daughter and I are both scared of heights, but like to challenge ourselves. We have done low ropes before that definitely made this easier, but I think that anybody at the right age and size would enjoy it and be able to get through some of it. We went through four of the five courses. We were a bit nervous about the zip lines, but we ended up loving them, so much that I did the add on for the big freestanding zip line. My daughter didn’t, but she will next time she says!

The courses all start in the same area, where there are a bunch of picnic tables set up. Nobody was spending their time eating, for that cost who would? The tables were a good spot to leave backpacks, snacks, water bottle. Some people left their purses there, I personally would not and left my handbag in my car. There is a staff person down there, to direct you to the right course in the right order.


New years, Jew style

Today is Yom Kippur. The Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) was last week. Once again I have found the holidays to be inspiring. In spite of having very limited religious beliefs (I’m pretty sure I don’t actually believe in God), I always enjoy Rosh Hashana and especially Yom Kippur. Something about a new year in fall (when so much else is new), fasting, Synagogue and talk of past deeds and atonement speaks to me. It reminds me of the sort of person I want to be and should strive to be, the changes I want to make. Life is progress and we are all working towards being better people, I believe.

1. I often feel like my biggest downfall in being the sort of person I wish to be is Lashon Hara (gossip). I plan to work hard on this over the next year, hopefully forever. 

2. Continue to not eat animals, and work towards limiting my consumption of animal products like dairy and eggs. I don’t plan to go full on vegan, but I would like to limit these products as much as possible. I’m just starting to feel really bad about them, and the way that the animals that produce them for us are treated. 

3. I also really want to re-examine the people in my life, actively push myself to get closer to the people his relationships I value, and distance myself from those his relationships seem to be a negative influence on my life. This is something I really struggle with. I tend to stay closest with the people that actively reach out to me, because I have a bit of a rejection fear. Unfortunately, those are not always the people that ate good friends to me and I feel are a positive influence in my life. 

4. I also strive to be more positive in general (which is a big reason that I want to focus on keeping the positive friends in my life, and create distance from the ones that I do not think are particularly positive people or a positive influence on me). I’ve done a lot of complaining over the last few years, I don’t think it’s over-the-top, because reality is a lot of things in my life have pretty much sucked over the last couple of years, but I still have a lot to be positive about, and need to focus more on those things, even when everything around them just isn’t so good. 

5. Like always, I plan to continue to keep up the healthy eating and active lifestyle that have gotten me to a weight and size I feel good about. I want to stay like this for a long long time! It seems like keeping it up should stop being a goal at some point, but I know that I have to always be somewhat vigilant in this regard. Reality is that when somebody has been large and lost a lot of weight, it can come back on very quickly and easily. I do not want to be complacent about that! 

Some updates 

It’s been some time. I’m a bad blogger these days. That’s okay, it ebbs and flows right? I’ve gone some updates: 

1) I started my new position Monday, after 2 weeks of training. I’m providing on-site support for a new computer system our agency is using. It’s something completely different, with positives (no clients or casework, helping colleagues, working with different people and departments) and drawbacks (I miss my clients, I don’t know the people I’m working with well and miss my colleagues, I’ve given up flexibility and am in an office all day) but for the most part I’m enjoying it. It’s a contract until the end of March, and then I’ll go back to where I came from.  

2) I ran the RBC run for the kids last Saturday. I was aiming for under an 1:45, and completed it in an hour 1:41:12, so I’m pleased. I’m not gonna lie though, it was pretty tough and I walked a fair amount. I haven’t ran more than 10 km in a very long time! I don’t feel bad about the walking at all, I gave up worrying about that along time ago, I am just pleased that I got a time I was happy with! I don’t know if I will do this again. I really don’t enjoy running more than 10 km anymore. But I’m glad that I achieved it, after missing the race last year due to a nasty case of food poisoning! My family surprised me at the end! Also I raised 288$!

3) I’ve been wearing some new bracelets recently. I gave my beloved foxy bracelet to the young woman I lost a few months ago. I replaced it, but the new one I got does not stay closed properly, and I don’t like wearing it. It feels like it connects me to her, and if I do that I will be heartbroken. I decided to invest in some Alex and Ani bangles when they were on sale on HauteLook. It’s a completely new look for me, but I like it! 


Climb the mountain


Everytime I see this it makes me think about social media.  The way we now share everything we do with everybody. When we go out, where we go, with who, what we wore, how far we ran, what we ought, where we travelled, etc…etc. I do it too. 

But I hate it. Because really, who cares? Do people really care so much about what we are doing, who we are doing it with and how we look when we do it? No. Well…maybe our moms and distant relatives do. But most people don’t. We don’t really post for others. We post for ourselves. To be seen. To show how awesome and busy and fun and popular and great looking we are. Usually, it’s barely real (not that we lie, but how much don’t we post? The bad pictures they create double chins, the boring weekends without plans, the times we go out but bicker and fight or ignore our families and look at our phones all day? This stuff is all part of our lives too).  It seems, often, that people are living to post what they do…instead of living for the experiences themselves. 

I struggle with this. I don’t want to buy into this. I don’t want to turn my FB into a place to brag and show off my family and all our fun (and pretend all the other stuff doesn’t exist) instead of simply to connect with  people.  But what if I don’t? Then what? Do people think we’re boring? Have no friends? Never have fun? Never go out?  I’d hate for people to think that of us (and I don’t know why they would. I don’t think it of less active facebookers…I just think “they don’t share much on Facebook”). 

So I share. All the fun, flattering pictures and check ins. I try to temper it by also sharing some real too…posting the first pic I took instead of the best one on occasion, sharing the days we don’t have plans and wish we did (sometimes asking on FB of anybody wants to do anything), venting about the rough stuff (but trying not to too often…don’t want to seem too negative). 

But still, I have a lingering discomfort with the way social media leads us to share things we never would have before, and how we all seem to be living for an audience these days. 

How about my readers? How do you feel about the ways we share our lives on Facebook and other social media today? Do you think much about how others share? Do you worry what they think of you based on what you share?