I put pictures out on social media all the time with me smiling. I do that because I look so much better when I smile. My eyes sparkle better and the muscles don’t hang loose. So people are always saying to me, “Angela, you smile all the time! Are you happy?”
The answer is no.
I finally began answering yes because to say no made the questioners worried. Will she commit suicide? Why isn’t she happy? Is there something I can do to make her happy? Why can’t I make her happy?
For many years I thought there was something wrong with me because I was not happy. I admit I was influenced by advertising, societal expectations, and certain scriptures’ uses of the word happy that I imbued with a shallow meaning.
I’ve faked it.
I’ve lied about it.
I’ve said I was it.
But I’ve never been happy and I never will be.
There’s nothing wrong with that and it doesn’t make me unhappy. Finally accepting that in myself has allowed me to see all the other things I am. Chiefly, I’m satisfied.
Now, being satisfied doesn’t mean I settle without a fight. I have goals and I get frustrated when I don’t meet them or get to them as quickly as I want.
That makes my satisfaction hard to explain. When life hands me something bad, I’m that person that can make something good where I stand at that moment. That ability kept me in a marriage well after its shelf life had expired. Once the decision to end the marriage was acted upon and I was in my own very small place that first night alone, happiness was not what I experienced.
For the first time in my life, I felt peace.
Peace that allowed me to only have to worry about enemies breaching the door. My mind relaxed and exploded with creativity. For the first time in my life, I could choose who would enter my space and how long they could stay.
I wasn’t happy, but I was content and satisfied.
There are too many people pushing too many others to feel as if somehow they are lacking if they aren’t willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of being happy. They usually talk about death-defying acts (“I jumped out of a plane!”) or not being able to remember one party after another (“If you can remember it then you weren’t there, man!”). Maybe it’s their version of whistling past the graveyard or maybe they really do enjoy that stuff.
They have nothing interesting to say. They are usually shallow. What concerns them is what is in front of them at the moment. Their memories are short. They are usually fearful. They bite and claw at my satisfaction and contentment and peace as if these are poisonous enemies and must be destroyed. They are not interesting to write about. An entire book could not be built around one of them.
Those people bore the hell out of me. It’s not their fault. They don’t even know they are doing it. And it is only now in my life that I can say all this with clarity and understanding that this state of being is neither a lack in them or me.
It just is where we all are. I accept that now and I recognize my limitations and don’t blame them for my response.
But what am I like? Well, this picture below is what I am like inside my mind. This is me.
Introspective and opinionated.
Quiet but willing to speak up.
Thoughtful with a wide openness that sometimes gets me in trouble.
But it is me. There’s no denying it.