Once upon a time I thought that tragedy only happened to people on TV. I think many of us millennials were taught to think that nothing bad could happen to us. We were normal, we all won awards, we were protected from the world. It was all butterflies and rainbows. I don’t fault our parents for treating us that way. Like every parent, they do the best they can.
Before Huntington’s Disease entered my life, my view of people dealing with tragedy was that they were all angelic. They didn’t swear or have bad days. They didn’t have moments of darkness when they just couldn’t stop crying. In the news, these people rose up from shitty situations and became beacons of light in their community. Or maybe they found religion and found their own peace in that.
And so, when my mother was diagnosed with HD, I thought maybe that could be me, too. I thought that maybe I was one of those inspirational people. I read books about religion and finding peace. I even ran a half marathon just to prove that I could. I was stuck in a spiral of how I was supposed to grieve.
Tragedy changes aspects of you. It doesn’t change your core. I’m still snarky and sarcastic. And while I believe I’m a more patient, compassionate person since HD has entered my life, I still get frustrated at slow drivers on the 101 and still love watching trashy reality TV.
It’s okay to be normal. It’s normal for things to be shitty.
I know quoting the movie “Now and Then” does not make me seem intellectual. But truly, the most meaningful quote in my life right now. In an age where we are constantly surrounded by inspirational stories, impossibly perfect Instagram shots and the endless parade people fighting against all odds, I think it’s important to remind ourselves that it’s okay to sometimes wallow in the shittiness of it all.