(an essay written for my dear friend Michelle who last night was tweeting how she wants to be happier)
From the age 16 to 19, I spent a large amount of it looking and trying to define happiness in my life. I, at the time, had understood from television, books and time wasting internet blogging that happiness was made up of a heterosexual relationship. From all the media I’ve consumed in my teen hood, that was the only thing I thought would make me happy.
Somehow, in my mind, being with a pubescent boy would be the answers to all my happiness and it was the only thing that granted it.
I paid a great fine for that belief.
Happiness, I found out after hurting myself multiple times with many different boys, obviously, wasn’t from dating. Nor was it from smiling more often, or not being sad or other various ‘not being.’
It felt that a lot of the time during my teens, I was asking for permission to be someone or live in a specific way. Being sad felt like I was disobeying. Who exactly? No one.
Happiness was plainly accepting that the imperfect world is what it is.
Happiness was plainly accepting that you have to cease asking for permission from no one to live the life you see fit to you.
They’re many things you can change for yourself, about yourself. Someone might tell you that the change, won’t make you happier but if you, consciously think and decide this said change is 1) good for you mental health wise, 2) doesn’t harm you, your family, small animals or anyone you care about or your beliefs, 3) is a well proper way to let you grow as a being and 4) lets you sleep better at night then good, make these choices.
It wasn’t that I was an unhappy or was never happy but I was instead chasing unrealistic ideas of happiness or chances of what I thought was happiness.
Accepting things that I felt ashamed or insecure about, really helped break away from the mindset I was stuck in. I stopped thinking that feeling was a bad thing, I allowed myself to be sad on days I felt sad. I stopped being negative when I felt down, instead I told myself that I did a good job attempting to be productive and I should keep trying even if I didn’t do very well today.
Feeling different things, struggling, going through happy to sad to angry, these things are only natural to you. Being in a constant state of happy, is unnatural and unrealistic. Thinking happiness is attainable from someone is unhealthy.
So Michelle, what is it that I want you to gather from my essay?
Happiness is a progress. It’s almost like an oil painting of your life. Mark Rothko did a fine job at creating paintings of solid colours to evoke different feelings when we viewed them and that’s how our lives are, only not as clean as Rothko’s paintings but rather a mix of some angry, raw splashes of Pollock and maybe some days still waterlilies of Monet or deep fine Baroque Rembrant or J.M.W Turner’s beautiful depicts of the crashing waves of the sea.
Every day you add a colour or a stroke or a change to that canvas, sometimes older paint dry up and you can’t change them but you’ve manage to add new paint to it, make that one, compliment the mistake on that canvas. You can’t change the parts you’ve missed or messed up before your current you, but you can always go for better.