I read it, and I thought, well, duh. These aren't secrets. Everyone knows this, don't they?
Apparently, judging from the number of DS and FS spouses forwarding this article, everyone didn't know this already.
Listen up out there, all of my friends and friends-to-be: do not feel guilty, ever, about the bad stuff you're feeling as you make your way through your day. It's so completely normal as to be mundane. Boring. Nothing to write home about. It never occurred to me to blog about it because, well, it's so universal as to be yawn-inducing.
Many bloggers, myself included, are guilty of putting a Pollyanna spin on our lives. Well, and why not? I don't need to wallow in my misery in such a permanent, public forum as this. I'd rather focus on the good stuff.
Because, when you get down to it, it IS mostly good. There are days when I'm driving down the road, past camels and mosques and storefronts covered in Arabic script, and I think to myself, damn. Here I am, and I'm doing this thing, and I rock. I know where the store is, and I know who my friends are, and I can toss off just enough Arabic phrases to make my way in this world.
But there are those other days, too, and if you say you've never experienced them, well, then, I say you're a liar.
A dear friend of mine - I'll call her StealthMode - will tell you with a smile now about those first raw weeks in Beijing, when she called her husband every afternoon at work, often more than once, crying hysterically and telling him to get his ass home now with a plane ticket because she was done, and she wasn't staying in this hell hole another day. But of course you know she did stay, and she learned to love it there, at least more often than she hated it. She and I and all of our other friends bonded over stories of those kind of days, so it never occurred to me that such feelings should be kept hidden, tucked away as guilty secrets.
No, no, no! You're doing it all wrong if you're keeping those kinds of secrets. Because the truth is, you're supposed to be scared sometimes. You're supposed to be lonely, and angry, and depressed. You're supposed to be jealous of your husband's job on those days when he's off having dinner with some Prince somewhere while you're trying to cobble together some form of dinner that your kids will actually eat. You're supposed to get mad on the days when you have to give up your plan to go to the gym because one of the kids got sick and he can't possibly break away from work in order to pick them up from school. You're supposed to have days when you walk into the lunch room, look around and walk out in tears because you don't have a single friend in there and now you have to eat alone at your desk.
You're supposed to have days when you hate your life with a hate so powerful you can taste it, bitter and cold in the back of your throat. You're supposed to have days when you want to go home. You're supposed to have days when you just can't face getting out of bed.
But you know what you're not supposed to do? You're not supposed to keep these feelings secret. Not ever. Because if you try to swallow that bitterness down, it gets stuck there in your throat and you get stuck there under your blanket and you let it take over everything about your life.
No. Don't do that. Own the bad stuff. Own it. Hold on to it, roll it around in your hands, examine it from every angle. And most of all, find someone else you can tell about it. Because when you tell someone, often as not it'll start to seem funny. Or at the very least, it'll start to seem normal. And once you find the funny in it, you can let it go and start uncovering the good stuff.
Let it go. Everyone feels that way sometimes. You're nothing special. But this? This crazy life you're leading? This is special. This is worthwhile. Yes, it's maddening sometimes. And yes, when your Internet stops working on the same day as your toddler dumps the very last box of imported Trader Joes cereal on the floor and the grocery store is out of milk and your only friend in the whole country is too busy to talk and your dog ate your favorite slippers and your house ran out of water and your husband has to go out to a fancy dinner with some important visitors and why the hell can't you buy lettuce in this gawd forsaken country anyway, then yes, you will hate your life and everyone who had a hand in sending you here to this land devoid of lettuce and iced mochas and friends.
This is normal. This is okay. This will pass, and another day will come along and you will look around and say to yourself, I am doing this. And I rock.