With my compliments to Judith Viost and her Alexander…
Sometimes when a day is over, you want to forget it. Put it behind you. It’s the last thing you want to memorialize in any way whatsoever.
That might be what’s best for you—and the rest of us. However, there are some tantalizing reasons to do the opposite. There are some good reasons to write about no good terrible horrible very bad days.
Very bad days connect you.
We all have them. And, though you might not want to tick off ad nauseum about every jerk and red light you encountered on a given day, you want your loved ones to know that your life is not always rainbows and ponies.
It’s about context. You don’t want everyone to think of you as the one that just waltzed through life. You want them to know the full you. Maybe you don’t want them to see you “warts and all,
but would it be that bad for them to know you have some Compound W in the cupboard?
Writing about no good days can be a way of reaching out. This week I saw a Facebook post from my long-time friend Lori. She was having one of those very bad days, although she didn’t go into the details. As a result of her two-line post, many of us reached out to her to remind her that she is loved.
Perfection is boring.
I go into this is my book. No spoilers here!
Bad days give perspective.
Sometimes very bad days lead to great opportunities. You know, the whole closed-door open-window thing. Cliché or not, when we write about the before, our readers can see how the after was a picture window into a new grand adventure.
I worked in Germany for a few years. When we learned that our company was sending us to Detroit instead of returning us to the Chicago office, I thought the world had ended. As it turns out, the Detroit suburbs have turned out to be a great place to raise our kids.
Knowing that about us might help others when they encounter professional setbacks and disappointments. Maybe they’ll even wonder if their circumstances are as bad as they thought.
Let your loved ones get to know you through those awful days.
Admittedly, sometimes very bad day stories don’t seem that appealing. Why would I write about the day during our home renovation when I had a horrible migraine and the dog ate half a bag of chocolate chips as soon as my husband ran out to the store? Adding that we had to induce the dog to puke and his puking caused my eldest and I to follow suite, may fall more to the disgusting category than the funny. However, it does give insight into our family.
I grabbed the cordless phone to dial my hubbies’ cell phone, managed to squawk out “Come Home!” between retches, and hung up.
That he did come home instead of running for the hills helps you understand the depth of my husband’s capacity for compassion. To me, that makes it a love story.
Tragedies need to be processed
Sometimes it’s the writing and not the sharing that matters.
Even if you decide not to share, putting your heart on the page can help your brain. You can save what you wrote for later, burn it and watch your feelings go up in smoke, show it to your closest confidant, or let the dog eat it.
No good terrible horrible very bad days can give someone a laugh.
What’s the old saying? “Laugh at yourself; everyone else does.” By helping others see the funny side of an event, you help yourself put things in perspective. (Again, there’s more about this in my book.)
And, there’s no question that laughter is a great gift.