i’ve found myself continually coming back to marveling at how good happiness feels. as an overarching way-i-feel-and-see-the-world, it’s a relatively new experience. i spent most of my second decade feeling pretty miserable. i didn’t necessarily recognize that at the time, but the contrast between ‘then’ and ‘now’ is so clear to me.
i spent some time trying to think about whether i could come up with any easy explanation and was generally unsuccessful. a lot of it had to do with just getting older and defining a value system that works for me and things like that, but it was difficult to come up with a coherent, continuous story line that accounts for so many years and so many different ways of being that i’ve inhabited along the way. i also question the value of even attempting something like that. any understanding of my own history that i’m capable of reaching today is bound to be a rewriting of things, inevitably skewed by the place in which i find myself in this moment. what i find more interesting than some sort of false ‘this is why i was depressed when i was 18/this is why i’m happy now’ narrative is the following:
i think that everyone has a tendency to blame unhappiness on material circumstances of life. to be sure, the ins and outs of one’s daily experience do have an enormous impact upon a more broadly defined experience of life and hence upon mood and affect. if everything just fucking sucks, you can bet that life is no picnic. on the other hand, though, i’m realizing that it’s important to keep in mind the limitations that circumstance should have upon your overall outlook. if i were to make a list of my discontents, specific things i’m not happy with, i could go on for days. there’s a lot about the way that i’m living that i’m not thrilled about. yet at the end of most days, i’m able to appreciate the things that make life worthwhile. it’s unclear to me as of yet why that’s something that wasn’t possible for me before now. surely i’ve always had things to be grateful for. some of it probably does reflect changes in some specific circumstances, tangible things i can point to, say ‘aha.’ i’m sure it’s more than that. until i can figure it out more completely, though, it’s nice to just enjoy.
I’m loud. I’m sarcastic. I cry easily. I have a bad temper. I’m easy to get along with. I have more enemies than friends. I’ve smoked. I drink coffee. I clean my room daily.
I wear makeup. I wear contacts. I wear glasses. I have braces. I change my hair color often. I have a piercing. I have small feet.
I’ve missed an ex before. I’m always scared of being hurt. I’ve told someone I loved them when I didn’t. I’ve told someone I didn’t love them when I did. I’ve been in love more than two times. I believe in love at first sight.
I have a best friend. I have at least ten REAL friends. I’ve gotten a phone call in the last 48 hours from a friend. I’ve beaten up a friend. I’ve been in a serious fight with a friend. I can trust at least five people with my life.
I’ve taken a bus. I’ve taken a school bus. I’ve made a speech. I’ve been in some sort of club. I’ve won an award. I’ve spent 24 hours straight on the computer.
I listen to R&B. I listen to pop. I listen to techno. I listen to rock. I’m one of those people who play songs repeatedly until I hate it. I download music. I buy CDs.
I spend at least six hours a day watching television. I’ve seen and liked the O.C. I’ve seen and liked One Tree Hill. I’ve seen and liked America’s Next Top Model.
I get along with both of my parents. My biological parents are still together. I have at least one brother. I have at least one sister. I’ve been kicked out of the house. I’ve ran away from home. I’ve sworn at my parents. I’ve made my parents cry. I’ve lied to my parents. I’ve lied to my parents about where I am. I’ve lied to my parents about what I’m doing. I’ve lied to my parents so I’d be allowed out.
I’ve had streaks. I’ve cut my hair in the past year. I’ve dyed my hair in the past year. I’ve had blonde streaks. I’ve been blonde. I’ve had black hair. I’ve been a ginger. I’ve been light brown. I use conditioner. I’ve curled my hair. I’ve straightened my hair.