A couple of weeks ago, my favorite band, DAY6, released a new album. The title track, “Zombie,” illustrates a reality many of us currently find ourselves trudging through: day after day, repeating the same tedious motions with no clear end or change in sight.
DAY6 are a South Korean band, so the song is in Korean, but the music video has English subtitles. They also released a lyric video for the English version of the song (also included in the album). I’d recommend listening to / watching both versions, as they communicate the same idea with slightly different nuances (i.e., one is the tiniest bit more hopeful than the other).
At first, these lyrics seem hopeless and depressing, yet if you scroll through the comments on the original video, you’ll see a large number of people finding comfort in sharing their own stories of sadness, uncertainty, and fear. And much of that comfort stems, not from hearing that things will get better if they just keep going, but from knowing they aren’t alone.
“Stay positive” isn’t a solution.
For many of us, the natural inclination when faced with sorrow or anxiety is to try to encourage ourselves or others to find a bright side or look for that elusive light somewhere in the distant reaches of the tunnel we’re in. And don’t get me wrong: positive thinking can be a helpful, and even powerful, thing. But at times it can also be discouraging and dismissive to be told (or to tell ourselves) that our very real emotions are wrong and should be ignored or buried.
I am a firm believer in hope and in trusting that someday, somehow, things will turn out okay. But I also think there’s value in allowing and acknowledging those times when the fog is simply too dense to see anything through. Sometimes, rather than being to told to think positive and get rid of all negativity, it’s more comforting to have someone sit beside you and say, “You’re not the only one feeling this way. I’m right here with you.”
We want to have an answer for everything — why do bad things happen, what can we do when life goes crazy, how do we keep moving forward when our goals got derailed by a worldwide crisis — but sometimes there isn’t an answer, and trying to force one doesn’t actually help.
Instead, sometimes the best we can do is struggle together with our questions, and our uncertainties, and do the best we know how to do in this moment.
Even if that best is to sit by ourselves or with someone else and say, “I don’t know. And that’s okay.”
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