A Plastic Smile.

December 17th, 2012

I was in the dollar store. Buying brightly coloured plastic landfill, and crying.

Did everyone else feel like me? I looked around – it was hard to tell as they filled their shopping carts with crap. I held fart putty in one hand while tears streamed down my cheeks. Nothing was funny.

My kids do a Secret Santa thing at their school each year. I hate it, but having aired my opinion to the teachers, I am stuck in a culture of giving landfill and sugar each day leading up to Christmas break. My ideas of giving secret acts of kindness or just one educational thing were noted and forgotten. And now I feel like Scrooge.

So there I was, in the most soulless place in America the day after 20 children were shot dead. To the naked eye, nobody cared. Life appeared to go on- people chatted, carts bumped and anybody could mistake the world for a happy place. Teens in one isle picking up Oreo smelling candles, little kids trying on funny glasses. A mum counting how many candy canes to buy the class, and grandparents dropping bits of tinsel as they walked about.

I wiped my tears, paid my $14 and came home.
And then cried some more.

People seem to do it better than me. Cope. I envy them. I need to figure it out. How do I stop from sobbing while a group of 6yr olds perform carols? What should I watch while on the treadmill- gun control debates or the mindless home renovation show? How do I stop myself from throwing belongings into a bag and buying a ticket back to Australia?
How do people do it- Keep it together, even if only in public? Maybe I should’ve bought myself a plastic smile back at the dollar shop. I wonder how long a $1 smile could last?

I suspect I’ll find my balance soon. We somehow always do after horrific world events. We find the place between passion and letting go. We do, because we must.
But today, I cry.

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  1. Margaret says:

    I hope you will never change, Meg. And never stop writing about what is real.

  2. Toby says:

    I do this every day, with me it isn’t relegated to those times of tragedy, I have depression, and wonder how people cope every day while I have absolutely no reason to be sad, yet cry all the time and feel helpless. All you can do is hang in there and know that tomorrow may be better, if it isn’t you hope for the day after that. Good luck and I hope with all my heart that you will take time to take care of you, everyone deserves that much.

  3. Cyndi says:

    I agree.  Many times, I, too, feel that I am the only one in this area who feels this way.  It drives me crazy.  People think I am crazy because we don’t watch the “reality” shows, etc.  Don’t change who you are, you can’t really anyway.  Hopefully, the world will come around to being more “real” and make good choices.

  4. Dad says:

    The usual nonsense from the NRA ….Guns for protection, guns for hunting, but suggesting that US citizens should be armed for an “Arab Spring” because they don’t like their elected government…. what lunacy is this?

  5. Mary says:

    Hi Meg…..wow, very powerful piece you wrote. That could have been me in the store! I’m carrying this sadness about the shooting and for some reason don’t want to forget it – fearing that I will forget all the angels who are no longer with us. Do others feel this way? Or am I just an odd duck? I hope the victims are never forgotten. My pain for the families is immense. I don’t know if I could bear that burden of carrying on without a loved one as a result of the senseless shooting.  Top that off with stupid statements from pro-gun groups and my anger and sadness deepen. I just don’t get it. Hopefully, we will heal and something good may come from this. Right now, I’m focused on the 26 angels and stars in heaven and their families. Peace to them. We need peace everywhere.

  6. Lisa Hertz says:

    Oh Meg!  I feel exactly the same.  I try to just not look at the news or Facebook as it breaks my heart to see those beautiful little faces each time someone has posted their pictures.  I have cried and still am wondering how do I move on – I don’t even want to.  It is just so sad and senseless.  Thank you for sharing your feelings as I thought maybe I was the only one in DWELL.  You are a tiny and beautiful woman with a Giant Heart.  This is why you are so amazing.  Hang in there.  Hugs!

  7. Wendy Patriquin says:

    Beautifully written…Thank you Meg….

  8. Pegi Burdick says:

    Your poignant reflection of what the day after felt like for you…and for many of us. I struggled with language; finding the words that could adequately describe the indescribable. It was and still creates this vacuum in my heart. I am still trying to comprehend the constant anger that sits beneath the surface for many, in spite of understanding it’s origin. I am baffled and saddened that the healing powers of love go unheeded. We have so much work to do as a society and will only improve if we all take responsibility for our negligence and make different choices going forward.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Meg, Thank you. You have shared what many of us are feeling. I do believe there are many more who ‘look like’ they are going on with ‘life as usual’ and they also have feelings of sadness and helplessness from these senseless tragedies. Many of them simply ‘stuff’ their feelings and keep their thoughts to themselves because of various social pressures, not wanting to risk the deep conversations for fear of more sadness. It is vital that we open our hearts and allow -our feelings to come forth, otherwise we run the risk of our pent up emotions turning into a physical body issue. What I think we will realize as we share our sadness is that others will benefit from our openness and that love will flow more freely between all of us. They were our children too, and it is okay to express the loss we feel. Again, thank you Meg. Namaste` and Blessings to you. 

  10. Jim Skinner says:

    We “debate” policy while lives hang in the balance…love the land fill reference – I spent two months in NZ and I too would move there in a heart beat.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank you all for commenting. I think it’s so important to continue the conversation, express our feelings and connect with all the support we can. It can be an isolating time for many.
    -and Toby, I just cannot imagine living each day with this darkness. I hope you are able to feel a little love from Soulseeds.

  12. heather says:

    i remember trying to smile after my daughter died August 2009 .. it was Christmas i went  thru motions plastic smile til one day in the dollar store i lost it, tears streamed down my face people walked by  still wishing me a Merry Christmas .. guess my tears and grief were invisible to everyone ..everyone but me..i hate  feeling invisible it sucks  

  13. bertie says:

    i know exactly how that feels – the awful feeling of being totally alone in a world full of madness – the difficulty of coming back to friends and loved ones, DONT THEY CARE?Our lives are full of misssteps – desperate attempts to belong to be part of – most cope by just ignoring it – you cope by letting your feelings out – thats magnificent.

  14. Brynn says:

    Holy cow, Meg, what a blog! I wish I had seen this 3 months ago! Let me tell you this – you are not alone. There are others of us who feel exactly the same way you do. Not just about the senseless violence, but also the senseless landfill/sugar culture we are living in. I have a 6-year-old in Kindergarten and a 4-year-old in Pre-school, and the Sandy Hook shooting shook me to the core. It was a pivotal event for me and I have cried many tears over it. And what really struck me about your post is – it was at that point that I did decide to pack my bags and move back to Australia. (Not saying this is what you should do. I’m just amazed by your similar reaction!)

  15. Cassandra says:

    I feel exactly how you do sometimes. We as consumers have all the power though and I try to live by example (asking myself “do I need this?” or “is this nourishing?”). It’s frustrating at times Because I want so badly for people to get it but change doesn’t occur over night and first old habit patterns need to be broken. So when I feel lost I remind myself that I’m not alone in this world. Also,  I sit on my meditation cushion and breath in hope and breath out disappointment.

  16. Tracy says:


  17. You are so not alone!Sometimes I cry at commercials, or anything else…Your writings matter. They matter to me.Thank God there is YOU & others in the world!xoxo

  18. Jennifer Macquarie says:

    I have I have just discovered Soulseeds and love what you do, thank you Meg.I do feel lucky to live here Australia, life seems a little more uncomplicated and relaxed.  

  19. Christina says:

    I felt the same way when my husband passed, I couldn’t understand how life kept going on and people were happy, I was in misery, anything “happy” just tortured me because I was so devistated.I’ve learned to just block it out, but every now and then it comes back to haunt me and I feel like screaming, hoping I’ll wake up from this nightmare.

  20. kat Russell says:

    I am carrying sadness about Fracking. I find that what helps is to do something. Today I collected enough signatures for the Michigan Ballot initiative to ban tracking. It may be too late to save our water, our wild lands, our irrigated food, but I must try.Keep on keeping on. Isn’t that what they said?

  21. Jennifer says:

    Find a Waldorf School… you will find others with the same principles

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