It’s Normal to be on Our Worst Behaviour Right Now
Updated: Sep 19, 2022
Sings, "it's the end of the world as we know it & I feel fine..." Is that even the real lyrics? How are you? Are you doing fine? I'm not, but I am. Is anyone else sick of the roller coaster of emotions?
From Drake, Cloud 5, to Skinny Fabulous, and Shal Marshall, any song that claims to be a 2022 anthem must address how many of us are currently behaving the worst, and to put it plainly, wotless.
(My 2022 anthem is Mr. Killa’s Rolly Polly, so please consider supporting me in getting thicker).
Photo Cred: Dorothy Attakora-Gyan
This post asks us to not shame ourselves or others [too hard] for behaving the worst right now. We have plenty of reason to be throwing tantrums, moving reckless, lacking integrity, and acting out. In a sense, it’s actually totally normal. Although please understand that what many of you consider normal is actually not normal at all. Normal is typically shrouded in violence and oppression that the status quo has deemed normal to continue enacting (think, violence against women, not normal, but you all seem to think so). Not to mention that even though we have reason to be bad right now, does not mean that we should be moving as such. Kudos to the self-aware out there doing their best to be the best versions of themselves and decent human beings.
As for the rest of you, think of a child in distress, who has no language for the overwhelming emotions that overcome them when traumatized, they act out instead, hoping for attention, annoying everyone in sight, trying to regulate what they do not know-how, too prideful to ask for help, running amuck, like this run-on sentence. This is why they say the bully is always in extreme pain, the delinquent, crying for help. (Do they say that, or did I just make that up? It’s Aquarius season so the know-it-alls are showing out, allow us). In any case, that’s many of us right now, big ass kids struggling to get through a global pandemic. Give yourself and others some grace.
I also ask you to remember what happened to me when I was on my worst behaviour several years ago. Did you use me as a cautionary tale? Because being on our worst behaviour, no matter the excuses and circumstances, will not end well. For any of us, myself included. There will come a time when we wake up from the ratchet slumber, look around at the chaos we contributed to, asking, “what Tasmanian devil destroyed everything, and where did they get all this fire to burn all these bridges?” Barely able to recognize ourselves or the nightmare we created.
Nonetheless, it makes sense that so many of us are on our worst behaviour. It’s hard. These are trying times, though not an excuse. (cOnTrArIaN-again, it's Aquarius season, 'llow, I beg).
And also, do you remember how you reacted to me and others at our worst? Did you find the self-sabotage funny? Was the toxicity met with empathy and compassion? Were you understanding of why I was on my worst behaviour, given the circumstances? Did you care? Did you want me to be accountable then? Are you accountable now? Can you hear people when they tell you you're behaving badly and at your worst? Do you see the traits in yourself? Can you admit it, or do you think you're doing well? How are you hoping others will receive you at your worst? Do you want them to hold space for the worst versions of you? Or will you understand if they cut you off, finding your worst repulsive and unforgivable, loving you from afar, maybe even, hating you?
I was revisiting research questions I had originally asked in 2015 or 2016 I believe, which was, 1) what happens when we are all too traumatized and inundated with difficult emotions to show up for one another meaningfully? 2) what happens when we are too affected to show up for others how they need it? and 3) what happens when others are too debilitated by seemingly negative emotions to show up for us how we need?
I asked because I found that in working with and healing my own emotional distresses, I was unable to show up for others, never mind how they needed me to. I was also less available to the feminist movement and social justice initiatives. The more I studied how trauma and emotions got in the way of feminist solidarity, the less I was in solidarity with others. Are these excuses, maybe. But if you’ve followed my journey the last 8 years, I’m sure you can attest to precisely when I was on my worst behaviour and the impact that doing so had.
It ended in a glorious fall and public humiliation. Financial loss. A mass exodus of humans, friendships, and interpersonal relationships. And me begging others for money to survive. To the glee of many.
They say pride comes before a fall, and the fall has been nonstop. “Can’t stop, won’t stop,” says the downfall from being on my worst behaviour. So be careful, behaving the worst comes with consequences. Don’t forget that in 2022.
The last two years of surviving a global pandemic have answered the research questions I originally set out to study. We are seeing what happens when we are all too traumatized and inundated with difficult emotions to show up for one another meaningfully. More of us know what happens when we are too affected to show up for others how they need. It has become a new norm recognizing that others are too debilitated by their own stuff to show up for us how we need. There is nothing benevolent about emotions or trauma. They are heavy and the weaponization of shame, in particular, can be deadly.
Thankfully, I studied myself at my most affected state, and for the last 8 years. What I'm seeing around me now is no different than the ways I chose to cope. We're all more likely to be at our worst in our most negatively affected state. This is because the intensity and frequency at which we are constantly recovering are traumatic. History has shown this. Humans have been at their worst behaviour during times of unfathomable crisis (the decent human beings also show out too).
These times require a lot of intentionalities, as we're already being moved uncontrollably and in maddening ways. Count to 10. Inhale and exhale before making decisions. Get to therapy if you can afford it. Channel the destruction artistically or creatively, just be intentional about it. Scream in a pillow. Cry your eyes out. Smoke a joint if it's legal to and that’s your jam. Eat the edibles. Lay down. Take a nap. Go to one of those places where you can break their glass on purpose or throw axes for fun. Go for a walk, get a workout in, drink plenty of water. Protect your mental and emotional, we'll get through on the other side. And remember, people are dying, life is short, spend it with those that truly love, value, and cherish you (which is why I'm mostly spending so much time alone, you all showed me what place I have in your life, again, all thanks to worst behaviour).
Just make sure that when you wake up from this nightmare, these versions of yourself are forgivable and still worthy of love. Also, be kind. We’re all going through it. Speaking of which, please consider making a donation to paypal.me/DeeArchives. I'm also on Buy Me a Coffee at DeeArchives. Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time, in solidarity.