Of the many choices we have in our lives, choosing to be happy is a lie. I hate that platitude. I HATE IT. It implies that people who are unhappy are choosing to be unhappy. It implies that tears are a choice. That tough times are to be met with a Stepford smile and blank stare. It implies seeking out the happy instead of seeking out a life that is rich with emotion. In some ways, it’s like saying “Choose to be phony. Choose to project an image that is not what is on your insides. Choose fluff over substance. Ignore every color besides yellow!”
Happiness is a bullshit objective if sought for in exclusion of all else. It leaves you standing in the shallow end of a pool filled to the brim of experience. Choose to LIVE. To Feel. To fight. To dive in.
Choose to change what you can and embrace what you can’t. Choose to let life work upon you the gifts of fear, pain, grief and complete helplessness so that you can truly understand those who experience the same. Choose to stop swallowing your pride; to stop choking back emotions that are trying to scratch their way out of you. Choose to ask for help. To not save your tears only for hidden moments-as if hiding them could mean they never happened.
Choose to be authentic. To be honest. Choose to speak when it is hard, especially when it’s hard. Stand up for those who cannot. Speak for those whose voices have not found home inside their throats. Listen when they do. Choose to have friends who could not be more different from you. Choose to think outside the parameters you’ve built inside your brain.
Cry the ugly cry and laugh until your voice cracks and everything in between. Let your fears guide your goals.
Feel, dammit. JUST FEEL.
If nothing else, stop apologizing for tears. Stop making excuses for pain. Strength is built on being repeatedly broken. Healing.
My life so far is not how I had planned it. These past few months have robbed me of my protective covering. I’ve been raw to the onslaught of reality. With each new wave, I’ve wanted to use my bedspread as a shield and sleep through the pain until I could awake sunny and happy in a fairy tale of my own design.
But that’s a big steaming pile of horseshit. I did not design my life any more than you did yours. Happiness is a struggle that is all to often lost to the chemicals in my brain, the circumstances of the day, and yes, sometimes, my own horrible choices. I can choose to live. I can choose to survive. I choose to feel. I want a life where I am at peace. Where I can be alone and be happy with the company I keep. Where I can know that I’ve given every piece of myself with honesty, if nothing else. And through it all, there is an undercurrent of joy that propels me forward. Joy and hardship are not mutually exclusive.
Happiness is an emotion. It’s just one emotion.
I choose to feel.