I tell myself some version of “it doesn’t matter” upwards of a thousand times a day.
Not all of that is a bad thing:
It doesn’t matter that I’m so sleepy: get up.
It doesn’t matter that I don’t feel much like working today: do it anyway.
It doesn’t matter that the dogs made a huge mess: it’s their job.
It doesn’t matter that the neighbor kids run through the back yard.
It doesn’t matter that I don’t want to work out: I’ll feel better if I do, so get going.
The positive mantra is all about learning to let go of irritations that really don’t make a difference to health or happiness in the scheme of your life. But as a coping mechanism against disappointments, or hurts, or failures, or depressions, that phrase is both sneaky and insidious.
It’s all friendly and casual on the surface, which is exactly why it’s so fucking dangerous. Someone stood you up without reaching out at all and you feel unappreciated? It doesn’t matter: no big deal, you’ll catch them next time. A promise you’d counted on was broken? It doesn’t matter. All your hard work has resulted in failure so far? It doesn’t matter. That which is vitally important to you is dismissed by someone you respect? Doesn’t matter.
I actually catch myself saying out loud “it doesn’t matter, I CAN’T LET IT MATTER” to myself on a repetitive loop: too many occasions to be healthy. The devil is in the intent, here, because It Doesn’t Matter is a terrible two-faced assassin who smiles charmingly to your face while jamming the knife in further, twisting the meaning internally to “I don’t matter.”
In dismissing the things that deeply affect my well being, I am saying over and over that I don’t matter. Words have power: telling myself I don’t matter by brushing off what’s important to me just because it may not be important to someone else is both self destructive and unhealthy. And silly, if I’m being honest. But, to quote Pretty Woman, the bad stuff is easier to believe. Yes, I just quoted that Julia Roberts hooker movie. Suck it.
Hmm. I wonder if some version of “suck it” is the key here. Not a sexual innuendo version…today is not a gutter-mind day on this blog, people.
“It matters. I’m hurt/angry/disappointed. I MATTER. Suck it up anyway and keep going” seems a whole lot healthier and…hmm…empowering, I suppose, versus the constant mantra of “it doesn’t matter, it’s not important” even when something is too big to even talk about.
If you follow The Bloggess at all, you know depression lies with lying lips and fiery pants. While it’s not easy to remind yourself of that in the thick of the fog, I have noticed that when I’m better I stop paying attention to the lies. I don’t STOP the lies. See the distinction? I’ve gotten into a bad habit of dismissing myself, my thoughts, my feelings, things that are vital to ME. I’ve allowed it to continue when I’m not in a low moment by pretending it makes me stronger by not letting hurts get to me. By saying it doesn’t matter, and I should just keep going.
It’s not true, and by pushing all the things that matter to me in a deep hole in my brainpan I’ve only created an icky pool of gross that overflows occasionally, flooding me with muck. It needs to be thoroughly scrubbed out and refilled with something actually good for me.
Or fun stabby weapons.
Or a harem of Gerard Butler, The Rock, and a few others…
The point is: it matters. What I’m passionate about matters. Who I care about matters.
And so do you. Don’t forget it.