Cautiously Happy

My whole life I was told I was unhappy. And to this day my mom defends this by saying “I wanted to know what I could do to make you happy.” She even went so far as to say “You misinterpreted things (I said) as a kid.” Umm no….telling me I was unhappy, telling other people in front of me I was unhappy is pretty straightforward.

So now I look back and think was I unhappy? Or was I just living out what she placed on me, much like a self-fulfilling prophecy? I do know I was unhappy she would say this. I was unhappy hearing it. But was the core of me unhappy? I believe I was heavily unbalanced and seeking. Seeking someone or something to sit on the other side of the see-saw so that our legs would dangle as we sat perfectly balanced. Do you remember sitting on see-saws as a kid? It was no fun if the other person weighed that much more than you because you were left stuck in the air. And if the other person weighed that much less, well your legs would hit the ground so hard and your knees would bend to an uncomfortable angle. But when you found the perfect match, it was, well, perfect. And fun.

As I am trying to move forward to a healthier place in my life, I struggle with being wholeheartedly happy. Understand there are countless moments that bring me happiness. But…I proceed with caution. Divorce hurts. And I was hurt by others during this time. As a result, my heart doesn’t want to feel any more pain. It has become afraid. And timid. It has cracks and holes and bruised parts that are so desperately afraid of someone else taking it and not respecting all of it’s broken pieces. Or not even considering my heart at all.

Yes I am happy, but only cautiously so. Wholeheartedly?… day.


3 thoughts on “Cautiously Happy

  1. therealjonfreedman says:

    Great thoughts. I’ve actually discarded the word “happy” from my emotional vocabulary. It just seems to have so much baggage. So binary. I’ve come to embrace I will always be mourning some of that which I’ve lost. So if “sadness” is a given, does that preclude being “happy?”

    I find myself drawn to moments of serenity and calm, even when there’s mourning. Even though I still feel shame. I have room for all of them as it turns out. In an earlier post, I put up an Oscar Levant quote, “We never know we are happy until after the fact.” (Or something like that.)

    It kinda resonates for me.

    Keep writing and savor your victories.


    • butterboop22 says:

      I just watched a clip on vulnerability by Brene Brown. She talks about wholehearted people and how being vulnerable can surprisingly actually result in a confidence and a peace. So maybe it’s not about labeling it as “happy” but maybe just discovering a balance and like you referenced, moments of serenity and calm?

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