I Reserve the Right to Face my Demons
I reserve the right to be sad, to feel bad because it’s not fair or because something isn’t going well. I reserve it because doing otherwise puts pressure on and depresses me. These are my demons and they aren’t really so evil. They ask me to understand them and tell me that what I am feeling is life and that Earth is the paradise that I want to make of it.
“To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer.”
Sonia, in Love and Death, by Woody Allen.
You and I have demons
Imagine that there is someone who tells you that you can be sad, that it’s normal, and that, in fact, you have to be from time to time. Imagine that this person is you, accepting your emotions and shouting to the whole world that you haven’t had a good day simply because they can’t all be good.
The truth is that, in our world today, it seems like we are obliged to feel good and to avoid suffering. They pawn it off as abnormal, negative, and far-removed from any life that we can understand as fulfilling.
In fact, it seems that feeling bad is incompatible with believing what society considers to be healthy, happy life. In the same way, if it occurs to somebody to say “I feel bad but I’m doing okay,” people look at them strangely and try to figure out what is off about them.
We have fallen into the trap of demanding excessive optimism of our lives. We’ve never learned the value of suffering.
My demons and yours are fighting against the flood of positive sayings and motivational posters that force them to seek refuge, to hide behind a wall of paper and feed on repression. The sad and the negative also need their place in our lives because otherwise, they will explode and smother us. We no longer have the right to even frown when something bothers us. Enough giving in to the tyranny and dictatorship of excessive optimism!
I don’t want to be forced to always be happy because my sadness is the only thing that makes me value my happiness and joy and because it tells me when something isn’t going well and that I should worry. If I never felt sad, I wouldn’t know how to value what it’s like not to be. In this sense, happiness is more selfish and makes me think that everything is fine, shortening the time that I have to react if things really aren’t.
I neither want to be a pessimistic or melancholy person nor do I want you to reproach me, calling my demons depressing, because the only thing that I am doing is living life, accepting that my days have many nuances, as many as the circumstances as I find myself in.
So defending my demons gives me two alternatives: accept myself or reject myself. If I accept that they exist, they won’t make me suffer the effort of avoiding them or the frustration at the fact that they’re always finding me and hugging me tighter and tighter, leaving me breathless. That is bad.
This is why I prefer to keep making room for them and inviting them to enlighten my mind from time to time, because they are sincere when I let them come in and they tell me that it’s worth fighting because it’s worth being happy.
Because the motto “you have to feel good to be able to feel happy” is not my motto. I much prefer understanding that sadness and happiness live side-by-side and need one another and that it is healthier to “live thinking that I will feel good, even if I feel bad at times.” Because my response to my demons depends on my opening up to a natural part of life.
Because faced with the supermarket of justifications and recipes for almost anything, my demons shout at me until they manage to hurt my soul thinking that I will never find fulfillment because I don’t know how to live in the moment or don’t feel like smiling from the time I get up until the time I go to bed.
For this reason alone, I reserve the right to use my sadness when it pleases me, because my demons refuse to fall into the trap that makes them grow, because my demons love me and aren’t trying to hurt me. They just hug me from time to time without me putting up a fight to remind me that I am alive.