From Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I bring you:
Mr. Flutie: Don’t say dead! Or decapitated, or decomposing, I’d stay away from D-words altogether. But you witnessed the event, so this way, please.
Buffy: Well, no, I’m gonna be late for biology…
Mr. Flutie: Extremely late! You have to see a counselor. Everyone who saw the body has to see a crisis counselor.
Buffy: But I really don’t need–
Mr. Flutie: We all need help with our feelings. Otherwise we bottle them up, and before you know it, powerful laxatives are involved. I really believe if we all reach out to one another we can beat this thing. I’m always here if you need a hug– but not a real hug! Because there’s no touching. This school is sensitive to wrong touching.
And thank you again, Joss Whedon for feeding us bite-size wisdom through cult TV shows.
This particular scene was the principal of the high school accosting Buffy after she had found a dead science teacher in the cafeteria fridge.
What a screamingly accurate caricature of how we handle “feelings” in this well-adjusted society; we’re vaguely aware that they are things swimming around inside of us that need to dealt with, even more vaguely aware of a solution, and yet we dance around them uncomfortably without really looking at them straight on.
C’mon people, what do we think we’re dealing with here? Tapeworms?
But then no, of course not. If it were tapeworms we’d just take a pill and have the damn things over and done with. We’d find the solution and we’d follow through. Can you imagine not prescribing someone the tapeworm medication because you were concerned they might take it the wrong way? Idiotic. What, are they going to crush the pills and snort them? Nope, pretty sure those bottles say pretty clearly “Take one (1) pill per day orally, preferably with a meal.”
Why do we take our emotional health any less seriously? Pretty sure there’s not an idiot on the planet that can’t tell the difference between good I-care-about-you touching and, as Principal Flutie would say, “wrong” touching. But what, out of fear of a stray lawsuit we’re content to lead an entire world to emotional starvation? Babies actually die if they aren’t physically handled, hugged, loved, caressed, kissed and held. We carry these needs with us into adulthood.
Even if we’re not ready to start hugging strangers on the street and wearing one of those “Free Hugs” shirts around town, we need to at least be talking. But we can’t say the D-word and we can’t say the L-word.
Love. Say it already. It’s love.
And no, we don’t need to start dancing naked while throwing around pink confetti or drawing pastel hearts on the city sidewalks.
But we do need to start listening to each other. We do need to start caring. We do need to start addressing our need to feel worthwhile.
That is, if we want to be happy.