Toxic Positivity

Despite being relatively active on Instagram, I’ve really been lacking on the blog posts.

This past February I had an encounter on my Instagram account that bothered me. I wouldn’t say it’s the sole reason that I haven’t made a blog post since, but I would say it certainly contributed to it (along with many other daily hurdles).

In February (or it might have been January?), I saw something about toxic positivity on a grief Instagram account (a popular one). I, then, discussed my feelings about it through my “stories.” Shortly after, I had a DM from someone telling me that my explanation made them “upset and that they didn’t feel like they could be in their own feelings after listening to what I said.”

This frustrated me. A lot. Number one, this is MY blog and MY account, if you don’t like them, you can leave at any point. *Of course, I wish everyone would like it and find it helpful, but that’s completely unrealistic. I’m here telling the world about my raw, very personal experiences with grief, trauma, and mental health in hopes of helping others, but I refuse to alter my posts to make someone else feel comfortable.

Here enters the irony.

This person told me that I didn’t make them feel comfortable. That I didn’t validate their feelings and that I made them have a “hard time being in their own feelings.”

What about my feelings?


The point of this is to tell you all that I’ve really questioned my platform over the last few months.

When I originally created Lemonade Instead, I honestly never thought it would be critiqued (the name at least).


When I was trying to come up with the name of my site, I thought about naming it after something that’s “bitter” and something that’s “sweet,” which is how almost all moments are in my life because of grief.

None of the names were clicking and I just kept coming back to the idea that “I refuse to let this grief take my happiness,” so that’s where the name came from. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade instead.”

Lemonade is made with LEMONS, sugar, and water. If you didn’t catch it yet, I relate my grief to lemons. I have never once said that I don’t struggle. In fact, I’ve been very open about my lows. There were plenty of days that I never thought I’d make it to the next day. There were so many more bad minutes than good minutes. More bad days than good days. And more sadness than happiness.

But I can honestly say today that there are more good days than bad days and more happiness than sadness.

If you’ve been following me for a little bit, you know my happiness (which coexists with my grief), did not happen overnight. It took years of hard work. But I want it for everyone, which is why I’m here. I believe in it. I believe in a happy life with grief. You might have also heard me say that in the last decade, I have never found a place where happiness and grief could coexist and not “just could coexist,” but where it’s encouraged to coexist, which is another main reason for Lemonade Instead.


Looking back, I used to always be so hesitant to say that I was happy, which ironically is really sad. I never wanted people to think my grief had somehow disappeared or that I somehow hurt less. I still have days where I don’t want to get out of bed. I still have days where I question everything. I still have days where the bad outweighs the good. And I always will. But I also have a lot of joy and happiness too, which I always will too.


If you’ve made it this far in the post, thank you. I’m really glad you’re here. I know I’ll never be able to fully explain myself to everyone (not that I should have to), but I do want people to know that my platform is not to ever disregard pain. It’s not to tell you to look at the bright side always and that other people have it worse than you. My platform is to tell you that you can be happy alongside your grief. It’s to encourage you through my experiences to keep pushing and there will be joy again, pain still too yes, but joy too.


When I first lost my twin and in the many years to follow, I so desperately wish I had someone to tell me just that.

-Amy

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