And shove it up your ass.
I have been wanting to write this post for a long time and I'm finally sitting down to let the words come out. I want to call bullshit on the transformation narrative. You can probably name an example of one even if the term itself doesn't ring any bells for you. I'm not talking about #TransformationTuesday where your social media feed is full of Before and After gym pictures. I'm talking about the expectation that is held of any person experiencing hardship to turn that bushel of lemons into GD magic lemonade.
There is a widespread belief that suffering (grief, in my case) can lead to transformation and growth to the point of benefiting greater social good. I do not deny that this is true, but I take issue with how this possibility has evolved to an expectation of the sufferer from those observing the suffering. A few examples: creating memorial foundations for loved ones, fundraising for medical research, lobbying for legal or social change, hosting annual races or other events in memoriam. I can tell you from personal experience that there is so much pressure to find meaning and purpose from loss and it is not fair.
Survivors of indescribable pain owe the world nothing. Our one job is survive. The end. We recognize that for friends and family that feeling powerless to help us is terrible. We're powerless too, we get it. We don't know what we need either and there is no making it better. While the stories of grief transformed can be heartwarming, they can also be damaging. Not everyone is that strong, has access to the same resources, or wants to grieve in a public fashion. We often already feel like we are not doing enough to "get better" or "move on." Not everything happens for a reason nor are we under any obligation to create meaning when none exists. Sharing these stories with us is not comforting, it is pressure. It is obligation. It is cruel.
Kudos to the leviathans that have been able to rewrite their stories so that loss isn't the end, but rather a beginning. Truly, I am in awe. What I am asking is for those are not in our shoes to stop seeing that as the norm. To stop assuming that those of us who haven't done anything yet only lack direction. Start looking at everyone else you know who has suffered a loss, and not just through death. We aren't moving mountains. We're just trying to survive today the best we can and we want to know that it is good enough. That waking up is good enough. Thank you.