Once upon a time in a world that no longer exists, holidays were days where we put on our happy faces and pretended all was well in the spirit of celebration. Of course now, in this brave new world of no filters, we no longer have to pretend that anything is fine because as we have evolved it has become socially acceptable to not only wear our pain but to share it with any and all. As someone who believes that holding in bad feelings is far more toxic than letting them out, I think this is healthy except when our need to share our feelings starts to stomp on everyone else’s feet. This brings us to today…Father’s Day.
Back in the early 20th century, Father’s Day was created as a compliment to Mother’s Day; a day to celebrate fatherhood and male parenting. Of course, the families of the 21st century no longer look much like the 20th century which means that days like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are now loaded minefields where one wrong word can create a spiral of angst depending on where you sit.
Of course the funny thing is that while Mother’s Day has moved into the 21st century relatively unscathed by change, Father’s Day has been turned on its head. In many families mom wears all the hats including the Dad hat. For some men, they choose to create life but for whatever reason choose not to play the continuous role of dad.
Thanks to this brave new world though where once we didn’t have the privilege of sharing how we feel, we can now share and share to our hearts content and this is where in my two cent opinion it starts to get ugly. Facebook for better or worse is our 21st century town square and the place where we go to let it all hang out. The good, the bad, the ugly and the oh my…did you really just say that?
This morning as I sipped my coffee and took a walk through the town square, I saw various proclamations about real dads, not so real dads, moms who are dads and so on. Having had my own contentious relationship for years with my Dad, I get it. Yet the idea of pissing all over someone else because of my own bad feelings never crossed my mind. While we are all entitled to our own beliefs and feelings, do those feelings give us the right to mistreat others? To lambast others for their feelings? Families are messy; rarely does anyone’s real life family resemble the media images of family that are rammed down our throats. Family is complicated, only in a family can you have people you love, yet you can hate them at the same time and hate with a ferociousness that borders on the unspeakable. Very few of us exist in families without some type of conflict and days like today just bring all that ugliness to the surface and to paraphrase Jill Scott, it erupts like bowels after collard greens.
Yet at the end of the day, we ultimately have a choice. If certain days bring up ugliness and we don’t think we can control it, why not opt out? Why create more space for the ugliness to fester? If dealing with family is too much, you can choose not to go through the motions at all. Honor yourself and your needs, this is your divine right. If days like today are triggering, adjust the filter and take and give only what you can and strive to do no harm…to yourself or anyone else.