The ultimate curse word: happiness

And it’s not even four letters!

Hey there universe, it’s me, Lollie. It’s been a while. A little over four months to be exact. I started this “blog” or what was intended to be an online journal in search of happiness on June 17, 2017, with my post about “Adulting”. In that post, which I hope you read, I described my sense of misery I had been feeling as I was quote-unquote doing all of the right things to succeed in life and how none of those things were bringing me the fulfillment that I needed. I had realized that with maturity comes a responsibility to self-love and create your own path. I took the first step by quitting my big corporate job and moving back to Houston to live with my grandmother and be closer to family and friends. So, if you’re reading this, I might just be repeating that to you, but oftentimes as time passes, perspective changes our views of what was really going on when major life decisions are made, and I am here to say to you, with pride, that I stand by the decisions I made 100% and still believe they were made with the utmost clarity. Best decision I have ever made in my life.

It was incredibly touching to see how many people reached out to me after that post. Friends, Acquaintances I hadn’t talked to in forever. Strangers. It’s unbelievable that so many of us struggle with this, yet it is hard for us to discuss it. But, pushing forward, on to this next post.

I am still living with my grandmother. I am still working a job where I am overqualified and underpaid (I may or may not be done with almost all of my daily tasks by 9:15 in the morning… it’s funny how now I have to literally come up with projects to fill my time when I used to stress about not having enough hours/minutes/seconds in the day for the work piled on me). I do feel like I face judgment from some about the fact that I’m not in a “prestigious” position right now. But here’s the thing, it has almost been six months since I quit my previous job, and, at 27, I am a new person.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not that mushy gushy looks for the fairy tale ending kind of a gal. I’m a straight shooter. I stand up for myself if I feel wronged. I love logical thinking. I like to avoid conflict, but can’t ignore it. The kind of girl who probably would secretly feel incredibly special if a grand romantic gesture was made, but also be a bit embarrassed and instead of knowing what to say, would make a bad joke. While this is all a bit of a digression, my point is this: I have always had a very hard time believing that things will just magically fall into place and with a positive attitude, anything can happen. I believe that hard work and determination can help make things happen, but a little bit of luck is needed and sometimes you can be just shit out of luck. Traditionally, when good things happen I am terrified. I wonder, alright, when’s the shitstorm coming to hit the fan?

[Edit: I kid you not, this next sentence took me six minutes of staring at the computer before I could type it.] This aside, I am incredibly happy. I want to add in “right now”, as in “I am incredibly happy right now”, but I am not letting myself do this. While this may not seem like a big deal to you, dear reader, it is for me.

You see, admitting happiness has always been an incredible struggle for me. Writing this, I’m thinking of my life in terms of “before” and “after”. The event being this huge life change (or what some cynics might call my derailment from corporate America). Before, I could not remember a time where I would call myself happy. Even in middle school, I couldn’t understand why those around me were so light hearted and I was not. In high school, I would consider myself lucky if I had a single night of fun. That night would be what I would remember and think of for weeks as I felt a general dread for life. If happiness were to be put on a graph, let’s just say if most people’s baseline was right at the x and y axis, mine was somewhere in the fourth quadrant. It also didn’t help that I’m a hyper self-aware person and would just further my own frustration by knowing that I was unhappy and seemingly not being able to do anything about it.

I had a difficult upbringing. Those close to me, and probably my own parents, would probably beg to differ. But, we’re the only ones who know the entire story, right? Without going into details, let’s just say I have had more than one therapist say that they are shocked by my demeanor that certain events and circumstances surrounding my life have happened and that I have come out “okay” on the other side. That was before. Before, I let these circumstances of my upbringing follow me into my adulthood and create this looming belief that my past dictated my future. So, when I had moments of happiness, I knew they must be fleeting, because history taught me that that was the case. Why do we do this to ourselves? I literally feared thinking I was happy because I knew that what comes up, must come down.

Now, I’m going to pause for a second. If for some god forsaken reason an actual medical or mental health professional is reading this, I do know that my description of my thoughts sounds like some classic depression or other mental issue. I agree. It does sound like it. It partially was. But having spent countless hours in therapy, I assure you, that part of my life has been under control for years. In fact, it was once that imbalance was, let’s say, “balanced”, is when I was the most frightened about my mental state. Therapists assured me that I wasn’t simply a product of mental illness. That I had issues that were clearly following me into adulthood and effecting everyday life. Obviously, true. For some people, knowing this is the hard part. For me, it was acting on it. For a while, I thought that if I continued to go to therapy (something I am a huge advocate of), things would eventually, maybe get better. Better, but not great. I didn’t realize the onus was on me. Issues aside, I have had many blessings. My issues are emotional at this point – I have grown up more than privileged fiscally and was never an “at risk” youth. My upbringing set me up to have a great life if I did it right, and at least academically and socially – “doing it right” was, of course, so much easier than so many others.  But just because my shoes were always shiny and my tummy always full, does not mean it wasn’t a struggle. I can only imagine what it is like for those who have those other hurdles on top of what I have gone through.

Okay, back to it. Here’s the thing, it’s on us. The individuals. Things happen to us. For so long, I focused on things happening to me. In the past, present, what I assumed would happen in the future. But, what about things that I could make happen? How did that not cross my mind? Well, you can see when I had this epiphany in my original post. I actively made a change and a deliberate decision to be happy. So, for the first time, I am not only admitting, but PUBLISHING that I am happy. I will detail more in the days to come how this has happened, but with the progress I have made, even though I’m scared, I know that I can say I am happy and I do not think that this means the world will come crashing down around me. I am not cursing myself by declaring happiness, I am praising myself. It is a huge achievement. I made it happen. It did not just happen to me. Because of that, I can continue to make it happen and I can handle the road bumps that come along the way.

This has been a long post, so if you have gotten to this point, I commend you. If you skipped to the end, here’s the gist: for years I have been scared to embrace happiness and consequently, could not remember a time where I was actually happy. I am now. I’m scared, but prepared. My sister-in-law just told me the best thing anyone could have said to me last night – we haven’t seen each other in about 9 months and she just looked at me and said, “You’re lighter. It’s a beautiful thing.” So, from a girl who hates clichés, let me just say, drop the negativity. Drop the presumptions. Drop your expectations and expectations you think you need to live up to. Embrace your self-love.

Be light. Be happy.

Love always,

Lollie

P.s. sorry for the rambling