“You’ll never be happy.”

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“Was I a happy child?”
“Not particularly.”

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Happiness.

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I have a weird relationship with ‘happy’.

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I’ve started having more conversations with people about this concept, this word, this elusive feeling we call happiness. For a long time, I kept my ideas, thoughts, musings, on the inside, scared to share them with others. I might not have been scared, if I’m honest, I thought I was a little superior, I didn’t need the lowly feeling of happiness to make my life work.

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Did I?

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Then somewhere in the last five years, I started faking it. I told myself I wasn’t faking happiness, I was digging deeper into joy. Because, you see, joy is a holy calling and happiness is for… well… it sort of felt like it was for worldly wimps. With all the suffering in my life, I couldn’t tap in to happiness, I’d seen too much, as some might say. Joy on the other hand, now there was something I could get behind. Stable, reliable, not shifting, joy from God, from Jesus, I could have that. I pretended to have it. I think I even fooled people. Maybe I only fooled myself.

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“… the small felicities and absurdities of real life manage to peek through the gloom.” – A. O. Scott

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The worst part about thinking I had everyone fooled was that moment when I was called out on it. I wasn’t called out for faking it. I wasn’t called out because I was complaining. I was called out because they cared. They cared enough to want to see me happy. But why the hell did it matter if I was happy?

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Maybe I was wrong about happy.

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I started to realize that maybe ‘happy’ wasn’t the enemy. What if there was nothing wrong with ‘happy’? I started to wonder, what if a state of happiness isn’t the problem, or the solution, but a feeling that others have twisted and bent into something it isn’t. Twisted it into something unattainable for me and told me for far too long I can’t have it, and in the telling that it was unreachable I learned to despise it.

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Oh. There is was.

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Some things you put in a box, close it up, shove it to the back corner, and try your best to forget it. The problem with happiness is it wouldn’t stay in a box because others had it. I’d see it in them or you’d see the lack of it in them. Happiness likes to parade around with a sparkly pink cone hat on and get in your face. If you have it, it’s a party, if you don’t… it might ilicity the feeling of wanting to pnch it in the face… green with jealousy.

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I wondered what would happen if I found happiness. As if one had to go on a quest to find it. Would it change me that much? Would others see it? Would I still feel like me? Was I possibly putting too much hope in a feeling? Feelings are fleeting and not to be trusted, right?

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But what happens when you find something you thought was a feeling and it turns out to be a different way of life? A deeper and truer way of living that is contagious to the people most important to you. What happens when you see that all the notions you had on the subject were tainted by your pain? You heal. You look it full in the face and change. Because that is the only thing it can do for you, soothe your wounds, and change your perspective. That’s the whole point.