courage · fear · happiness · healing · love · relationships

"Forget Your Troubles, Come On, Get Happy"




So you’ll have to bear with me – I haven’t totally got this
one down.
I was on the phone with a trusted friend Sunday morning. I
was giving her the update about this potential Cupcake Situation, the pros and
cons, the merits and demerits. The gnawing maw of my brain.
I fully expected her to say something like, That sounds
reasonable. It makes sense to not do something that has potential negative
consequences. Yes, continuing on the path of solitude sounds like the right one
toward health.
Instead, she surprised me by saying, Life is meant to be
Instead, I surprised myself by beginning to cry.
Somehow, hearing her “permission” enabled me to feel what
was actually happening in my heart. The joy, the longing, the contentment, just
in the idea and fancy of anticipating being with this Cupcake.
And I said something to her, actually I sobbed something to
her, that I’m not sure I ever admitted or understood – “I don’t know how to be
happy.” And I cried some more.
I don’t know how to let myself be happy. To admit good
things. To trust that I’m able to face good things – that I even think I have
to “face” them is evidence that I still think happiness is something to be
In my early experience, happiness wasn’t reliable, and so
you mistrusted it. You forced away the “temptation” of happiness because if you
allowed it in, it would corrode. Better to be mildly miserable than submit to
It’s astonishing to me that I’m still facing this same
demon. This same old pattern of beliefs and behavior. But then, I must be at a
place where I’m ready and able to uproot it in a new way.
I read an email from the Cupcake (the person I’ll potentially spend a few days with next month) telling me that he welcomes the chance to
melt with me, open his heart, sit in lazy contentment. That the idea of doing
so stirs something in him, emotionally and physically.
When I read this (for like the 8th time), I was walking
outside my work, trying to get away from the gnawing Pro/Con-ing catalogue
inside me. I reread it on my phone on a side street in Berkeley. I had to stop walking. I crouched
down in the sunny afternoon, held the screen toward my face, and felt the same feeling I would have on Sunday when my friend said, Life was meant to be lived.
Something moved, something heard this. Something within me allowed the
possibility for even a moment to trust that someone was honestly saying, Let’s
be happy. I offered myself the possibility that I could be happy.
And on that sidewalk, my eyes filled with salt water, my brain
temporarily ceased arguing, and I felt in my heart.
I just felt in my heart, being in it. hearing it, feeling
it. I was moved.
I don’t know how to be happy. It’s not something I know how
to do. Like a learned skill, this will be something I will have to try my hand
at, and be inexperienced at, but try anyway.
I’ve been amazingly dexterous at learning all kinds of new
things–grad student, performance poet, bassist, actor, painter–physically at
least. Emotionally, I’ve learned how to be more honest, how to have more
feelings than anger, depression, and mania, how to be more visible and trust I
won’t be shot.
I don’t know how to be happy. But if my emotional responses
are any indication (whether this whole Cupcake thing comes to fruition or not),
I am apparently, on some level, ready to see if I can be. 
And I hereby give myself
permission to try. 

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