You suck. I’m sorry to put it so bluntly, but I don’t know what to do with you. When I’m sad I cry, when I’m happy I smile, but when I’m disappointed, I’m lost. I feel angry, frustrated, sad, annoyed, and confused.
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve met a lot, and I still don’t know what to do with you. We met when my summer job got cancelled, when my grades weren’t what I wanted them to be, when my mom asked me to do something and I forgot, and that time I didn’t get the bag of chips that I wanted. Although that time we kind of just laughed at each other. I’ve noticed that you’ve been quite busy meeting some of my friends too. You met them when they didn’t get to graduate, when they had to go home without giving people hugs goodbye, and at other points too.
As much as I don’t know what to do with you Disappointment, I’m writing this letter to say thank you. Thank you for showing me what I care about, and for showing me that I’ve been vulnerable in telling people what I’m excited about. There’s a woman named Brené Brown, I think you’d like her. She writes that “the boldest among us will be disappointed, because [we are] brave enough to want something even though [we have] no control over the outcome.” She is pretty smart. Disappointment, you show me that I’ve been brave. I still don’t like you or want you around, but thank you.
Disappointment, you’ve taught me that I am in charge of my own story. As Brené Brown writes, “this is a hard part of my story, but it’s part of my bigger narrative and I’m going to own it, because I’m going to decide how it’s going to end.” You’ve taught me how to be creative. You tried to tell me that I couldn’t see my friends, but I went and sat on their lawn and pushed them cookies with a canoe paddle, so that we would be far enough apart. You tried to tell me I couldn’t celebrate my friend’s birthday, but we decorated her house, and sang Happy Birthday through Zoom. You tried to tell me that I couldn’t have movie or craft nights with my friends, but we sent each other craft packages and had Netflix Party movie nights. I may not know how things are going to end, but you don’t get to control my life. I have a say in how my story is going to go.
I still think that you suck, but I also think you’re sometimes misunderstood. You are expectations that aren’t realized. At least that’s what Brené Brown thinks, and I’d have to agree. This doesn’t mean that I’m going to have super low expectations, or no expectations, but that I’m going to try and be better at naming what they are so that others around me know. I’m going to try and keep living life to the fullest, knowing that we’re going to meet over and over again. But I’m not going to give up. When we meet again, I’m going to do my best to acknowledge you, and then say thank you for showing me that I was brave and that I cared.
Natasha Neustaedter Barg is a 3rd year Social Sciences student.