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.