I imagine a world where people share in people’s joy without tearing them down – especially if the joy is something you consider absolutely worthless and insignificant. I’ll explain what I mean:
Say someone gets a promotion at a job you consider shit, and the promotion is also something you consider shit – but they’re happy about it: maybe don’t shit all over them for their salaries. Say someone has never really had a relationship experience or dating experience that you would consider significant in terms of length of time, emotional intensity, or anything else – maybe don’t scoff at them and tell them what they felt/had was meaningless if they are telling you otherwise. Say someone has never had a close set of friends, and finally makes some, and you’re their parent – maybe don’t say something like “took you long enough”.
Say someone has, in an area of life, something tiny, small, beautiful, precious because it’s rare for them – precious by virtue of its rareness in their lives… don’t snatch that away from people.They really really don’t deserve to be made to feel ashamed about small moments of joy in their lives.
Small moments of joy and happiness are all some people have access to – so honour that with them – they already probably feel a certain type of way about the meager quality of their happiness relative to the world’s standards of what is good, or great, or significant, or special.They are probably already really aware of how hard they work to cherish things, precisely *because* it’s all they have.
I know for me there are some areas of my life where I only have small things. I treasure them – or I try to – because cherishing something is always a kinder feeling than feeling ashamed of its smallness. When people choose to laugh at these things, it used to hurt a lot when I was younger. These days it doesn’t hurt – I am fully aware of the precious nature of small things in my life. But while it doesn’t hurt, that does not mean I will forget. Sometimes I may forgive, but I will always remember always the attempted murder of small and precious things. And if people mock a thing I consider precious to me, that goes in a filing cabinet in my mind. The name of this filing cabinet has changed over time. Currently – since about August 2014 – I call this cabinet: Evidence.
And while time and memory shift and change many things, that cabinet never gets emptied. It fills at a slower rate these days. Sometimes I will choose a file, flip through it, and decide to address what happened with the person who tried to kill a precious thing, and mark the file “Closed”. And sometimes, I will choose a file, flip through it, and simply put it back in Evidence. And sometimes, after flipping through a person’s file, and putting it back into Evidence, I will create a space safe for them to share their precious things – yes, the small things. The secret things. The stuff that is made equally of pain and love. The stuff that most people are vulnerable about because they have not had to recover from it yet. I thank them for sharing it. I ask how I can support. I support as well as I can.
And then I take that moment of beauty and support and so preciously fragile, and I clip it to their Evidence file.
And then I lie in wait for a time to use that file.