Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Grand Illusion

I was meandering the Facebook tonight after taking a few Benadryl (did anyone else wake up with killer allergies this morning?) and feeling quite chill began a few discussions about that elusive concept, happiness.  They were random comments made on completely unconnected statuses and afterwards I felt a strange connection between them.  When I put them together nice and neat into a few pages on a Word document I saw that they flowed together as seamlessly as the current of time, and I would like to share them with you.

     I have to admit, along with using the terms "positive" and "negative" to describe people, I do not feel comfortable accepting the idea that people should just "be happy." It is that type of archaic social pressure that causes people to become anti-social.  
     There was a time when women were expected to always have a sunny disposition, to be very well mannered and dainty.  If you didn't you were considered unfeminine, masculine and in some cases, without sex altogether.  A woman who was "un-ladylike" was treated as an outcast and therefore lacked a strong social standing.  
     This was a huge deal so most women affected the childish characteristics that were expected of them.  To this day in order to fit into society in a tidy manner there are many sacrifices one must make and it's not easy accomplishing such a feat while also remaining true to yourself.  I still haven't figured out how, and besides, I like myself.  

In all my weirdo-glory
     However, when I surround myself with that which has the potential to bring me joy, I am content (and at times elated), but I am not always happy. That is OK.  It's how I choose to react to those emotions (in social situations) that determines that aspect of my character, not whether or not I have the capacity to be "happy," and it borders on mob-mentality bullying when a person is made to feel alienated because they don't know how to put on a face. So I choose to not worry about being "happy," and am grateful, and at times filled with joy that I am, in fact, okay.
     For the less experienced, or those more inclined to stifle their emotional intelligence and rely only on reason, happiness is a thing to be had if only you simply made up your mind to have it.  That's not always easy when you have a lot of baggage you're working through, like grief, trauma, or mental illness.        
     Perhaps it is easy to make the decision to be happy, but like making the decision to take out the trash, it doesn't always work, and then you end up stinking like rotten eggs for a while before you finally get around to dumping the garbage. And for a long time, maybe, you do it all over and over again. But one day you realize that it's gotten easier and you've learned that "happiness" is an illusion and that in your wiser, more experienced years you have finally understood that it is more than anyone could ever hope for (if they have eyes and ears that work) to just be content and grateful for what you have instead of dwelling on that which you do not.