Lipstick on a pig

The other day a friend wrote on Facebook  “I can’t fake happiness right now.” And part of my reply was “Sometimes life just sucks and trying to put a positive gloss on it is like putting lipstick on a pig!

With the celebrity suicides in the news this week all the reports end with PSA’s – “if you are feeling depressed or suicidal, please call….”

Friends and family comments in the aftermath of suicides usually run along the lines of: ‘We had no idea they felt that way’ ‘I knew something was bothering them but I didn’t think it was so bad’  “I asked what was wrong but they wouldn’t really open up, so I just dropped it’

Yup, depressed people, suicidal people – they don’t talk about it. Why? Because if you talk about being sad, or depressed or just tired of trying to make life work for you, you get told ‘Stop being so dramatic’, ‘Pull yourself together’, ‘It’s not so bad’, ‘Try to find the bright side of things’ ‘If you want to be happy then act happy’ and ‘Fake it till you make it’

I’m calling ‘bullshit’ on all you happy-happy people.

Your life is grand? Swell. Your life has its up and downs, nothing major, you can deal pretty easily with it? Swell.

There are other folks who lives aren’t grand; whose up and downs don’t have an easy solution, or any solution for that matter.  A situation that wouldn’t register as so bad for you can be devastating for someone else.

I know, I’ve been there, I’ve done that.

So many times I’ve been able to find the upside to the downside, and I’ve written about it. But the times when I couldn’t find the upside, and wrote about it, I got the ‘Stop being a wuss’ ‘Stop whining, be happy’ ‘Oh poor you other people have it worse’ ‘Count your blessings’ – Yadda, Yadda, Yadda.

And then there were those pre-blogging times, when talking to face-to-face got me the exact same response. One time I was told that MY life was not about ME. Obviously I was talking to the wrong people.  There was never anyone I trusted to actually listen.

And so there were the times when the medicine cabinet and all the little bottles of pills were my only friends, the only ones who offered a solution.

Obviously that solution didn’t work. I’m still here.

So, I’m asking you, begging you – Stop throwing that ‘happy-happy’ crap around. If it works for you,  fine. But be damn sure that the person you’re throwing it at is able to catch it.

Stop telling people to put lipstick on a pig!



11 thoughts on “Lipstick on a pig

  1. I agree, completely.

    I am not one to write in depth when I am low. I try to keep my blog posts honest, but “glossy” when things are really rough. I’ve read some blogs where the writer goes into detail about the crap in their life…and I have to say…it is difficult for me to read and then offer support. Sometimes I am struggling too and my pot is empty to help them as well. I know…selfish…but it is also self preservation.

    I like it when you are honest and say “I have to shut this down today–I am feeling this way or that way.” I also like when you were honest with me when I was low…encouraging to make changes in my life to remove the source of my struggle. I appreciated that more than you know…and in the end, you were one of the truthful people who pushed me to make that change. It wasn’t lipstick, but a nudge to help myself.

    I am sad to read and see so many people struggling. It’s been like this for some time now and it is amazing to hear how many people are on anti-anxiety or anti-depressants. I hope this changes in our lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes I can see through the ‘gloss’ and I silently think “Stop doing that” , glossing, I mean – but I’m thinking you have thoughtful ears that listen to the truth of it.

      I hope what ever encouragement I gave you was thoughtful, not just a bunch of platitudes. I hope I don’t do platitudes often. Often, even caring advice comes across as lipstick because one doesn’t have all the information.

      And sometimes the best and most meaningful support is to listen thoughtfully and nonjudgmentally.

      Some depression and anxiety is a chemical imbalance best served with drugs, and some is situational best served by lots of talking to someone who is caring and receptive. Empathy can be hard for the person feeling it but often so useful to the person who is receiving it.


      1. The “gloss” is most times, self-soothing…a “it’s gonna be okay” and a “you have so much, quit-your-bitchin'” sorta thing for me. So, that is how I handle the rough times for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the worst is “things could be worse” because it is almost a dead-certainty that they will get worse. Who needs that? I find you to be an encourager and no, that does not include using lipstick on a pig.

    I do have some things that work for me and I am aware that my life is not another’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have found that a sympathetic ear helps me most, I just haven’t had one very often. People like to offer advice and solutions but – it’s advice and solutions that work for them but don’t particularly work for me. So I mostly keep silent, or just throw out – “It’s not a good time for me right now.” No one knows me well enough to give me the advice I can use, and/or need, and that’s at my door – but a sympathetic ear, and nothing more, works well enough.


  3. I agree with what you’re saying. I believe most people truly want to help others even if they feel like shit themselves but most of us lack the tools of how to do that. It’s also difficult to understand what someone is going through because no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. I went through hell and back with my old boss and I struggled a lot. Many gave me advice but I wasn’t strong enough to listen although I did eventually. Thankfully! I don’t like to see others hurting but I realize I can’t do anything other than be here for them and listen if they want to talk.


  4. Just discovered your blog, Grace, so I’m “power reading”…. and this entry spoke right to me. As I was reading I was also talking to myself inside my head: “Yep!” “OMG, so true!” “Preach it, girl!”. I wrote a kinda-maybe-somewhat similar post yesterday on my blog. We think alike, sista! Lovingly, Andrea xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – I’ll go check that out. (And between you and me, I think this was a damn fine post and I wish it got wider play…)


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