Platitude Adjustment

I’ve heard the same “encouragement proverbs” or as I personally call them, “crapped out platitudes” from two different sources. The first is, “I’m not afraid of storms for I’m learning to sail my ship” and the second is “life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s about learning to dance in the rain”.

To both of these craptitudes I have this to say. No. No it’s not.

However, if that winsome argument doesn’t sway you, here’s my detailed observation on what’s wrong with them.

Craptitude One: “I’m not afraid of storms…”, okay. right on. I mean, me neither. I’m not a male protagonist in a blockbuster comedy. I’m an adult woman who knows that storms are not out to get me directly. I even enjoy them, you know, from the comforts of my dry home on land.

“…for I’m learning to sail my ship.” Aaaand you lost me.

Presumably our novice sailoress is out on the ocean where there is a storm headed her way and she’s totally not alarmed because she’s LEARNING. Now I’m sure she’s got the basics down, like the steering and the right and port thing, knows her aft from her ass, etc. And maybe it’s just me, but it’s when I’m in the learning stages that I’m always the most freaked out. I know to do exactly two things 1) the job when it goes as it should with no problems, and 2) how little that knowledge really is. If I’m a newbie sea-woman and a storm’s a brewing, you know what I do? I head for shore and pray I get there before the storm gets me.

I have yet to see a movie about sailors “based on real events” that didn’t feature a storm at sea in which a large chunk of people DIED. And these aren’t even movies about people that are LEARNING.

Craptitude Adjustment: “I’m not afraid of storms because I’m beginning to sail my ship which is why I’m safe at home.”

Or even,

“I’m not afraid of storms for I am an experienced sailor and I have survived many storms, know what to watch for, and know how to act quickly when sailing in inclement weather.”

Craptitude Two: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…” Let’s stop here. Because I am with you. Never jut wait out a storm. Start weather proofing your house — getting buckets, bottled water (ironically), boarding up the windows, moving treasured possessions to higher ground or just plain getting out of Dodge. Or…oh wait, it’s not done is it?

“…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Okay, sure, if your idea of a storm is a spring shower, or a sprinkle, perhaps a light misting, then by all means, dance. Give new meaning to the rain dance. Gene Kelly your worries away.

But when you say “storm” I think “wrath of God”, power outages, and flooding. You go ahead and try dancing in knee deep water as your dog paddles by you chasing the bagel you left on the couch this morning.

Craptitude Adjustment: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about weather-proofing preemptively.”

Or even,

“Life isn’t about moping over every rain shower, it’s about dancing in the mist.”

Here’s my root issue with both of these: they appear to be written by people with no experience in hardship for those with no experience in hardship. It’s the thing people get crocheted onto throw pillows or wall hangings. It’s what someone says dismissively as they put a hand on your shoulder to comfort you over a personal crisis.

It’s sometimes a poster (with matching coasters) someone thought would make a great gift.

I’ve yet to be encouraged, emboldened, or energized by someone trivializing my struggles.

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