I’ve been thinking about this all morning. Actually, I think about this a lot because I probably have an idealized picture in my mind about what true happiness really is and I feel like either consciously or subconsciously I’m always striving to reach that place I’ve concocted in my mind. And usually falling just short of the ideal.
I’m sure I trip myself up on this quest for “true” happiness more than is truly necessary and a lot of the time I recognize that. It’s a lot of “one step forward, two steps back.” Actually, looking at it more positively and objectively, hopefully, more often it is “two steps forward, one step back.” At least there’s progress and hope in that scenario. And most of the time I recognize that life is a roller coaster and nobody is perfectly happy and content ALL of the time.
What prompted me to contemplate this today is a post I found in my reader from a blogger who removed herself from the blog world a while ago. She had been battling depression and I think, needed to get the turmoil of her emotions away from the internet. I can’t say as I blame her.
So she showed up again in my reader today and I was curious. I read on and was so pleased to see that she’s feeling better. She’s happier than she has been in a long time. She avoided the anti-depressants she so desperately did not want to take. GOOD for her! Yes! And then came the big surprise.
She left her significant other, the father of her children and her best friend.
I’m not judging her. Not at all. I’m positive that there is much that I don’t know and it’s none of my business. I’m sure that’s exactly why I felt shocked. I don’t really know her. I’m glad she’s happy and doing something she loves and feeling right with the world again, but, there’s a part of me that just doesn’t get it. I don’t think I ever read one of her posts in which she expressed doubt about her significant other. Maybe I don’t read between the lines very well. But I was just shocked. She left him. She had always written about how she missed him when he worked long hours, and how sexy he is and what a great dad he is and that he was her best friend. Why did this happen? I don’t even really know her and I feel so sad for all of them.
See, the thing about writing… blogging… is we can be anybody we want. We can put on any face we choose for the internet. And I wonder if everyone does it because I know I do and I’m guessing my “friend” did it too. A couple weeks ago I was feeling the heavy weight of depression. Every morning I woke up and would think, “It’s still here. Why won’t it go away?” My husband kept asking me all week long what was going on and I would just mumble, “Nothing.” I go through this every now and again and I’ve learned that it’s my choice to pull myself out of the fog. I can choose the attitude I present. I can choose to smile or not to. I can choose to eat well and get enough sleep, excercise and pray. Sometimes I let myself slack off in my positive choices and depression might be the result. Combine it with work stress and kid stress and husband stress and life stress (and girl stuff) and it can feel overwhelming at times.
I wonder if anyone could see through my writing that I wasn’t my usual self. I doubt it. I try to be honest in my writing without being fake and at the same time, without getting morbid when I’m feeling down. So I guess, I have to admit that there are pieces of me that I don’t bring to the table when I’m blogging. Being seriously unhappy, for me is usually a temporary feeling, but a vulnerable feeling and not one that’s easy to share. But today, I will venture to admit it… THERE ARE TIMES WHEN I AM UNHAPPY!
There are some things I don’t plaster up on my blog and I’m sure that’s true for everyone. I wonder if it would surprise you if I outright admitted certain things. My husbands job takes him away from so much of life’s big events. You know this. Did you know that for most of our married life that fact made me feel as if I’d been cheated somehow? For a long time this was a source of an ongoing resentment. Sometimes that resentment still lingers, but I’ve learned how to prevent it from making or breaking my happiness. I know there are others who have lost a spouse, others whose spouses are away for extended periods of time. I know I could have it much worse. But that’s the thing about unhappiness. It involves being a little bit selfish and not allowing yourself to recognize how much is truly right in your world.
Confrontation scares the hell out of me. If I’m not careful, even witnessing signs of discontent between my kids or watching my husband butt heads with one of the kids can make me feel as if I’m sinking. I guess I still need to learn that there are things that don’t have to seep inside of me and negatively alter my outlook. It’s not all about me. I think allowing myself to be happy sometimes requires me to separate myself from all the things I often let hammer away at my heart.
Today I read about one person’s life changing event and it made me contemplate my own general feelings of happiness or lack thereof. It got me to thinking about how in the back of my mind, I do often wonder about all of you and how you manage stress, emotions, depression… life! What makes you happy? How do you stay happy? Do you have to actually remind yourself to choose to be happy at times, like me? When life spirals out of control, how do you prevent it from dragging you into an abyss or causing you to simply quit and start over? Do all you women who refer to your husbands with loving, gushy pet names like “Hotty McHotness” ever, just once in a little while, like me, think of him instead as “Mr. Jerky McPissMeOff?” C’mon! You can admit it! ;-)