Saturday, September 28, 2013

Regular Saturday, Part Two

I've been thinking so hard about happiness. What makes it, why we want it. Why we want other people to be it. How it is pounded into our heads relentlessly: "Must be happy, must be happy, must be happy." Then I read this brilliant book called Introvert Power and I loosened my grip some.

Like, a LOT.

I am a naturally medium jubilant sort of gal. I am generally pretty happy, but also quite introspective and thoughtful. I like to soul search. I like to listen to other people search their own souls. I'm a hand holder. An encourager. A truth teller. I like to cry, to listen to sad songs over and over. I'm not afraid of sad anymore. Some of these are old me, some are new me that is really old me but had been drunk for twenty years and got forgotten.

But what I really have been thinking about is maybe not so much the happiness, but the need to be it. The need of other people for you and me to be it. All the time. Chin up. Don't be so down. Don't be so hard on yourself. Stop being sad. Don't dwell. Turn that frown upside down. Be better. Be better. Be better.

I am better, y'know? I'm not drunk out on my porch two to five nights a week. I'm better.

I also get super sad. Really down deep into the me of it all. I have all this alcoholism and depression and bipolar shit winding it's way through my genes like a relentless crazy plague. But I like to think about it. I like to feel the feeling of being search-y and looking and not afraid to shine the light right there on all that ugly shit.

I saw my therapist one on one two weeks ago. We talked about some very very very hard things that sucked so much to say out loud. So much that it makes me cry writing about it now. But again in that grateful way that makes it almost over. I said it out loud which means I'm not keeping secrets. Not anymore.

Because I said some of it out loud and I didn't die. And she didn't tell me to get out, or laugh. She held me while I cried and stroked my hair and suddenly I was safe. Safer than I'd been since I was fifteen and buried myself where no one could hurt me again.

So maybe I'm not happy every day. Maybe just not. But that doesn't mean that I'm not OK.

I'm more OK than I have ever ever been all grown up. More right with myself than I've been since I was five and got a little forgotten about. Strong enough to say hard things and to trust people with my secrets. Safe enough to be happy when I know it, and OK with just regular Saturdays.


12 comments:

  1. We have sooooo much in common. Can't wait til the 12th.

    Sherry

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    1. Me neither! Will one day be enough? ;)

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  2. I couldn't agree with you more. This cultural compulsion to be happy unnerves me. There's a whole range of emotional nuance, real honest reaction to the world, that's left out when the only options are "happy" and "not happy yet." I don't think we can feel real deep joy without the equivalent deep pain. I love the Spanish concept "duende," which has something to do with being authentic and feeling the pain and joy of living all wrapped together. You can't feel that all the time either, and the ordinary days are welcome and wonderful. Trying to accept the whole range of life is hard, but it seems like a better way to live than squeezing it all into happiness.

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    1. Balanced. Yin and yang. I like the idea of not all my emotions on one end of the teeter totter. It's more fun if the thing goes back and forth.

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  3. "So maybe I'm not happy every day. Maybe just not. But that doesn't mean that I'm not OK."

    Me, too, me, too, me, too! LOVE this. Thank you for saying it "out loud."

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    1. you're welcome. and thank you.

      Being sober, for me, is being who I really am. And sometimes that chic is a blubbering snotty mess. Or just quiet and thoughtful. And those are good too. Covering up the reality of day to day emotion by being happy all the time just seems like being a drunk without the booze.

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  4. That sounds like a good book. I'm glad you're sitting with your sadness and feeling okay with that. Of course, you're right on all of this, and it seems to obvious to think, sure, it's okay to be sad. Hard for me to think that way about my own sadness because it intermingles with a lot of fear about whatever sad thing happening again. It's gotta be a control issue, so yeah, let me just pick up that book.

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    1. Fear is a toughie. But it's OK to feel that too. I have this newfound intuition that I'm trying hard to listen to- even when I'm scared and I don't think my intuition is right. The bitch of it is that when I think I know better ol' intuition seems to prove, time and time again, that that gut feeling is pretty right on. And oh, lawd, control issues! Letting go of the reigns is a big fear starter for me. The 'what if' patrol marches in and plows me right over.

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  5. Sitting with and in the sadness is often the only way I get through it. The old "chin up, mate" thing just doesn't work. or not for long. We live in a society where sadness is almost not allowed, or socially acceptable. If you're sad, there is something REALLY wrong with you. And we just prescribe more anti-depressants. We have lost the faculty to just sit in sadness, and be ok with it. We aren't going to die from it. I also have days where I am not sad at all. So what? The range of human emotions is grand, and we are told from a young age that sad is bad. So get out of it. Deal with it, etc.

    I really enjoy this and what you say, Amy.

    Big hug from Canada.

    Paul

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    1. Thanks Paul. I wonder often about why we are all taught that being an individual is bad too- the whole "everyone else" mentality. What's so bad about being who we are, not who we should all pretend to be? This parade of happy go lucky folk who never have real problems or fail. Count me out. Sometimes my life sucks. And sometimes it's pretty glorious. And sometimes in the middle. And that's the way I like it. :)

      Hugs back from NC!

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  6. introspective and thoughtful. yep yep

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  7. So, so true. And Paul is right. So many young (and not so young) seem to believe that they should be happy all the time and when they are not, it's labelled as depression. Take a pill and make it happy. It appears that we have a whole generation that think being anything other than 100% happy means that life sucks but we have to experience lows to appreciate the highs. That's how it is meant to be. Great stuff Amy.

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