Inspirational Videos Make Me Sad

I’ve mentioned it before: my friend Joey telling me once, “I think you feel things more deeply than most people do.” I remember feeling doomed when he said it, because I’d always thought everyone else was just like me and I, for some reason, just couldn’t handle Normal and had to compensate accordingly. But no. Joey says I’m not Normal. Joey says I’m Different.

I realized it kind of explained a lot. It explained depression in my teenaged years (not the typical teen angster, I—writer of poetry, listener to Pink Floyd in the early ’90s, singer of classical music—everything was just slightly to the wrong side of typical). It explained anxiety in my adult years. It explained my tendency to shut down emotion so I can function without feeling like I’m at the bottom of a dark hole by myself, or at the highest point in the world, but knowing I’m soon going to be in that hole. (This is different from depression. This is existentialism. One is a medical condition, the other a philosophy. Admittedly, they’re probably linked. And I’m actually kind of a rational existentialist, which is, in itself, contradictory. Sigh.)

Which, really, explains the choice of my first career, one in which you can only thrive if you’re jaded and cynical, because letting humanity enter in will basically ruin your faith in it or make you cry all damn day, every day, for various reasons you can’t always pinpoint.

Or maybe that’s just me.

I’d like to believe it made me Exceptional, like Woolf or Van Gogh. But though I do buy the flowers myself, my writing isn’t required for tens of thousands of students. I still have both my ears and would probably never lop one of them off of my own volition, and I can’t paint for shit. I’m worse than Bush 43. Way, way worse.

I actually think he’s pretty good.

I don’t understand why people will stop their day to watch something they know is going to make them cry. I don’t want to cry. I think I overdosed on it when I was younger. So I skip over those videos that are supposed to inspire you, because I prefer Sweet Brown memes. Sweet Brown memes do not bring my day to a screeching halt, never to be restarted, because I can’t get out of my own head.

Apparently, for the people who watch the tearjerker videos, it’s just for a minute, and it actually kind of makes them feel good, and then they go about their day. But for me, it creates this whole thread of thinking, and suddenly the really beautiful Thai Life Insurance commercial that will totally get you if you have even a shred of a soul becomes an entire internal debate about how much of my money I should give away and why I can’t keep a potted plant alive (obviously it has to do with my selfish inability to remember need when none can be voiced).


And then my whole day has gone to hell and I’m sad.

Also I fall in love with the guy in the commercial. Who is probably an actor in California only pretending to be the nicest guy in Thailand, but still. And then I think about why I can’t find a guy like that. Or why he would definitely, definitely dump me, even though he seemed really interested all along. Or why I probably wouldn’t like him if he stuck around, because I’m a heartless bitch.  Or something.

When really, the problem is that I’m not heartless at all. The problem is that if I let myself watch three-minute inspirational commercials for Thai Life Insurance too many times, I’ll just want to go to bed.

Existentialist bed. Not depression bed.

It’s really no wonder so many somewhat existential artists killed themselves or died some sort of sad, pathetic, poetic death. (Suicide and sad, pathetic, poetic death really are the pinnacles of existentialism, no?) Not me, though. I’m only an average existentialist. I’ll probably die falling down the steps with a basket of laundry in my arms after contemplating the pointlessness of laundry, my final thought being one of irritation at polyester, my face obscured by a small pile of panties when someone finds me days later. Someone who holds them up and says, “I never would have thought she’d wear leopard-print thongs.” Because they didn’t know the real me.

Or someone who holds them up and says, “I knew it. Damn!” Because he always thought I “oozed sex.”

(Somebody told me that once.)

Or my mother, who would find time in her overwhelming grief to be disappointed in my undergarment choices.

(They are not white. They do not cover everything. They’re probably not even really clean, because they can’t be washed in original formula Clorox. My house probably isn’t really clean, either. Clearly I’ve been sent to hell for wearing hoochie pants.)


And so this is why I don’t watch most of the inspiringly heartbreaking ads people post on Facebook. This is why I shut out sad realities in favor of unintentionally funny news soundbites that make frightening situations seem hilarious.

Because I cannot afford to fall in love with that guy from the Thai Life Insurance commercial, who will never love me back, and whose rejection will leave me despondent enough to listen to listen to “The Wall” again.

P.S. Check out this list of artists who have committed suicide. Some of the descriptions are kind of funny. This list was obviously complied by a cynic.

P.P.S. Seriously, though, watch that Thai Life Insurance commercial. 

P.P.P.S. Or this.


17 thoughts on “Inspirational Videos Make Me Sad

  1. Can’t believe you’re writing about that commercial. I just watched it. Literally just before your blog post popped into my inbox. I usually try to avoid the tearjerkers too. Not because I get depressed, simply because there are an overwhelming number of them posted on social media and it just gets to be “enough already”. This one, however, was definitely worth watching. It had a great message — one the world more of, I think. But it wasn’t long before the creative director in me decided it needed a bit of editing. Could have used a bit shaved off — would have been more powerful, I think. Not that anyone’s asking 🙂

  2. I’m with you on not watching inspirational videos, but because we both don’t, and yet, you told me too, I just watched this one at work. Now I’m weepy and have to meet with my boss in two minutes and I just want to run outside and commit random acts of kindness.

  3. I watched the video (like Fransi…) just before reading your blog, so the timing was interesting. I thought it was a beautiful ad, but here’s the way MY filter works… “What is this? What is this REALLY for? Who is paying for this? What’s the point going to be? Oh – a life insurance company. Interesting. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Wait. How do life insurance companies make money, anyway? Is it off people living long lives, or dying? Pretty sure it’s long lives. So they want you to live a long life and minimize their payout to your family, but they want you to living a meaningful life too? Are they trying to be inspiring, or make you feel guilty? Hmmm… also? Who can eat that many fresh bananas every day? No wonder that woman is a recluse.”

    • Thank God there’s someone more cynical than me. 🙂 Nah, actually, I understand what you’re saying. MY filter said, “There’s no way this thing was made to run on TV. It’s too long. It was created to go viral online. Dammit. I’ve just played into their game. Oh well. It made me cry first thing in the morning, which means I’m not a total asshole.” And I wondered about the produce, too. Also I thought the plant in the bucket would surely drown. All the nutrients would be washed out of the soil with that much water. But I was willing to put all of these things aside because I was falling in love with the Nicest Guy In Thailand.

      Typical. I’m willing to put ALL SORTS of warning signs aside for nice-seeming men. Sigh.

  4. Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve stopped by … blogging and actually having work is making me a busy old curmudgeon … but I’m glad I show up for this post. It is absolutely fabulous … funny and edgy and I’m glad I know you exaggerate just a little bit too make a better post. The bit about the various reactions to finding your leopard underwear is hysterical. I too am sometimes accused of feeling too much, especially sadness which I keep under wraps by being angry. As much as I hate to cry, sometimes I have to but on some really sad music (I have a playlist for the occasions) and let it rip or I fond myself short with everyone over nothing. Music affects me much more than inspirational videos. I liked the video actually (sent it to Muri and another friend) but it doesn’t really affect me all that much. There is a substantial repertoire of music, however, that can reduce me to a puddle. Fortunately, there’s another that can cheer me up or even inspire me if I’m in the mood.

    • You’re not going to want to hear this, but I didn’t exaggerate at all in this post. Fortunately it was only a day. Music can get me, too. Moments in music, in particular – moments when I’m singing and am reminded of another time singing the same piece when something poignant happened or struck me. Those are particularly effective. Those aren’t sad moments, though. Just inspired. Like the Thai Life Insurance commercial.

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