What It Is Wednesday: Am I Happy? Content?
I’m still mulling over what I’m taking as a compliment, though I’m not sure if it was meant that way. I seldom am shown how other people view me, unless it’s the rumor mill and that’s never ever flattering and rarely carries more than a kernel of truth. But it was interesting hearing a different viewpoint from someone I trust, someone I respect, someone who knows me well.
Enough so that I’ve never asked his opinion of me. Because if you can’t stand the answer, you don’t ask the question, and it would have grieved me to hear him disparage me in any way. I’m a coward that way.
I really thought, when he was about to give me what amounted to a critique, that he was going to tell me I was a lunatic or overly emotional or lived in the past or that there was something wrong with me because he’s seen me at my very weakest. Really, the most he’s known of me, I’ve felt like was while I was a basket case. But that wasn’t it at all.
Instead, he pointed out that I’m a relatively happy person, and that it’s not a mask. That I’m content, barring a few incidences this year. That I’m not bitter, again barring a few things I’ve had to work through. You know, the mentally ill father, the cheating ex, the sanctions at the office, the damage to my house.
Like most of us, I have one or two people who know particular secrets–not bad things but personal struggles–and when we’re together, we talk about those things and how it’s going and how I’m mending. They’ve told me once or twice that it’s all I talk about, and yet, I talk to no one else about those things. But on the rare occasions we do talk at length, we do speak of those things. And then I feel bad for speaking of them, even though I’ve not spoken of them in months, because they think it’s all I think about.
Sometimes people who read my blogs, especially the rawest posts, wonder if I’m bitter or angry or why else talk about it? One priest friend of mine once told me that after you throw something in the garbage disposal, why ever look at it again?
Well, because I’m one of those people who has to understand. I have to know why. I have to know what I did wrong, if anything, and how to move forward, and I cannot move forward until I’m done slotting everything that’s happened and have become one with what is and am willing to let it lie, willing to walk away. That time doesn’t happen until it’s good and ready to happen. And I can do nothing to change that, however much I want to.
But I “write it out.” It’s cathartic. I may be bitter or hurt or angry, but once I get it out through words, I am no longer as bitter or hurt or angry. It’s my way of leaching the venom from my bones, venom someone else left behind. Sometimes I can write it all out and it’s gone. Other times, I may need to write a few dozen books to get it all out of me, like a poison that I just keep detoxing until I’m finally clean.
Content? I consider myself serene until someone’s drama stirs me up, and as an empath, that’s more often than I’d like. I never really feel content. I think of content as a synonym for death, maybe. Graduation from this life after years of spiritual effort to become “content.” There’s always something more I want or need, and somehow “content” equals “stagnant” in my mind, but that’s not what the man holding up this mirror to me meant. It’s semantics, I know.
Am I happy? Yes. I don’t have to hem and haw. I don’t have to whisper it or speak it in a question or screech it with enough volume to damage ear drums. Yes, I’m happy. Spoken in a quiet voice with a hint of a smile.
Maybe not Pollyanna-happy and gushing about everything around me, but overall, yes. I’m often smiling, which makes my haters wonder if I’m being devious. I’m not–I’m just feeling productive and alive. In spite of the tremendous frustrations at work this year alone, I am extraordinarily proud of the people I work with and the work that we do and the relationships we’ve forged and I am so honored to be working with them and with our customers. THAT part of the job, I love. LOVE.
So not everything in my life is a thrill a minute. So what? Not everything is happy. Not everything is something to smile about or laugh about, and there are still voids in my life that I choose not to fill because the right person is worth waiting for and that’s a match for the Gods to make and not for me to go in search of, because I believe in miracles and things happening for me only when the timing is perfectly right and not before. When I decide I need to fill the silence at my side without divine intervention, then men who show are alcoholics, cheaters, prescription pill addicts, spendthrifts and bankrupted, wife beaters, players, liars, narcissists, pornography addicts, masters of silent treatments or withdrawal or manipulation, or morally bankrupt, and I can appreciate the silence while I wait for something better than I’ve been offered. And I laugh sometimes because the Gods are laughing at me and saying, no, we won’t show you gold and give you silver, so wait for gold.
And they laugh as they often do about how impatient I am and have always been while I’ve waited impatiently for everything I’ve ever wanted, for decades.
No, I’m not euphoric in every second of my life, but happy enough while I watch for more beautiful moments on the horizon, knowing that euphoria lasts only for a little while and I should grab it, pin it against the wall, and kiss it furiously when I get the chance because there are enough times for grief and troubles and I’ll need the sweetness of those new memories to get me by.
I’ve been told I can’t be happy if I’m not dancing in the rain every minute, cheeks scrunched up into my eyes and grinning, splashing and loving the rain and not afraid of the lightning and oblivious to thunder. I’m more complicated than that, or more simple. Life is cycles and circles and ebb and flow. Hills and valleys and fields of wildflowers for my bare feet, running hand in hand with someone whose face I cannot yet see, and my hair bouncing on my shoulders in warm sunshine and cool breezes and green grass everywhere, and sprawling oaks welcoming us in their shade.
This is not a happily ever after but maybe it’s a happy after ever, and I recognize what happiness is because I’ve lived without it and I know how precious it is when it’s here and that I won’t let it go when it shows and won’t forget it when it goes and that my heart will sing when it returns with every circle and cycle and ebb and flow.
For all the chaos around me and all the troubles at work and for the silence by my side at this moment, I can still find happiness in most any situation and cultivate it, nurture it wherever it grows, for however long it grows, but most of all, I can appreciate when I have it, and that…THAT…is why I can be happy.
Because I know those moments and I can appreciate how rare and beautiful they are.
Key Takeaway: Happiness and contentment are relative to a person.