I make people uncomfortable

A year ago, I needed a new hoodie. It took me a few months of searching on the internet before I found the right one. If you don’t want to go through the link for whatever reason, it is a black zip-up hoodie with a blue ghost on the left front, and the words “It is difficult to be alive” on the back, with the same blue ghost underneath. It is merch from the webcomic Pictures for Sad Children, and oh boy did I identify with it. I still do. It is one of my favourite articles of clothing and I love it.

I’ve realised that people get super-uncomfortable when I wear it.

I cannot tell you how many strangers and acquaintances have asked to see my hoodie and followed up that request with “That’s wrong. It’s not difficult to be alive.”

It might be wrong for them, but there are countless people, myself included, who do find it very difficult to be alive. We are told day after day after day that we’re wrong, that we shouldn’t be struggling. When we openly express this, people don’t try to help us find being alive less difficult, they tell us that this is easy. Again and again, we receive the message that there’s something wrong with us and that if we say anything, everyone will know.

My secret wish is that someone will see me in my hoodie and feel validated. I want to send the message “This feeling is so common that someone even made a hoodie saying it and someone else bought it.”

My second secret wish is that the world didn’t require me to have that other secret wish.

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3 responses to “I make people uncomfortable

  • Kitty

    Sometimes it’s good to make people feel uncomfortable. I may not have encountered the hoodie in question, but I am certainly comforted by this post. I can parade my feelings around the internet, but I couldn’t wear them on my back just yet.. This is a very admirable article, thanks for writing it!

  • M

    “Science has proven that 99% of difficulty occurs when you are alive, or even when you are a ghost. ” Life is a struggle — you are right. I thank God for good people around me in this struggle together. I love that you wrote this. I would love to see your hoodie –never seen one like it before

  • melaniethetongueless

    Just quoting here for a moment:

    It might be wrong for them, but there are countless people, myself included, who do find it very difficult to be alive. We are told day after day after day that we’re wrong, that we shouldn’t be struggling. When we openly express this, people don’t try to help us find being alive less difficult, they tell us that this is easy. Again and again, we receive the message that there’s something wrong with us and that if we say anything, everyone will know.

    My secret wish is that someone will see me in my hoodie and feel validated. I want to send the message “This feeling is so common that someone even made a hoodie saying it and someone else bought it.”

    I’ve reached middle age by now but via the rocky, rocky roads of both severe depression, undiagnosed ADHD and – as you can well guess from your own experience – tons of de-validation/minimization from society.

    As for me, I salute your wishes, both of them, but particularly the first because it remains such a struggle and while we cannot avoid pain in our lives, by God – why do people have to be so stingy about recognizing pain in others as well as themselves?

    If I have the spoons, I am going to let myself be tempted to buy my own hoodie… if so, you’ll have a “hoodie-twin” wandering around northwest Europe.

    Peace, out –
    Melanie the Tongueless

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