Toxic positivity, positivity, negativity, purpose and yelling F*** in cemetery

Several years ago, I and a couple friends of mine sat together in a cemetery on New Years Eve waiting for the year to pass. There was no party, no celebration, no resolutions. Just three lamenting friends. We took turns explaining the past year,


“Aweful”

“Depressing”

“Sad”

“Hopeless”

(sounds like 2020 doesn’t it?)


“I have one word,” I finally said, and as they both looked at me I yelled the F-word so long and loud I woke the neighborhood, raised the dead at the cemetery in the next town and made the 1990s version of Alanis Morrisette proud.

There was not a nano sized remnant of toxic positivity in that conversation.

There was also no positivity period.


On November 16th I sent a post that inspired more response than most and the comments consisted of, “Please share more.”

A few days later I posted on IG something about seeking positivity when you are going through a difficult time. It was from one of my speeches at the ILX conference at BCIT just before the pandemic locked us all down.


“I am contradicting myself!” I thought.


I don’t know what I’ll yell on New Year's Eve 2020, but I promise you there will be no party, no celebrations, and no resolutions (I shy away from those anyway but more on that closer to Jan 31st). There will be no toxic positivity.

No saying:

“Ah, it’s okay, it’ll get better.”

“This too shall pass.”

“Chin up young buck.”

F*** that s***


But there will be something different than that year back in the cemetery. There will be a fight and a determination to keep going. There will be a grit inside me that will refuse to give up. I will take another step toward my dreams and goals, no matter how difficult it may be.

On one hand I can acknowledge it’s difficult, that I’m sometimes depressed, and that I want to give up. But I refuse to stay there.

I will get up, seek counseling, and move forward in spite of how I feel.

I will own my feelings of negativity, but I will also not let that define me.


Toxic positivity is ignoring the pain.

No positivity is being stuck in the pain.

Maybe the word we should say is purpose.


Yeah it’s hard as hell right now, but I have a purpose and I will do my damndest to fulfill it.


What about you?