Archive for September, 2013

Smile When You Say That
2 September, 2013

A friend of mine recently described me to someone else as happy, not as a temporary reaction to a specific event but as a continual state. I am not sure whether such a description makes me unhappy. But I have reservations about its accuracy.

Another friend of mine once said that I work very hard at being happy. I would certainly own that assessment. I have no memories before my dad’s death but the twenty years after it had very little happiness indeed. Sadness was the dominant emotion of the first quarter-century of my life. Since I do not especially enjoy being sad, I definitely work hard at being happy. Even simple decisions like routes to commute or movies to watch are driven in part by trying to be as happy as possible.

Humor has always been my primary coping mechanism. (I am learning that it need not be my sole coping mechanism.) Given the amount of loss and terror in my younger years, it is unsurprising that my humor can be somewhat black at times. Maybe this is too fine a distinction but my humor at the darkness seeks not to celebrate it but to drive it back. I would love to live in a world without loss and sadness and terror. But until that happens I continue to try to improve the little bit right around me.

Even though it contradicts my belief about myself, I have to accept others’ perceptions of me. Maybe being a happy person is not what you are but what you do. Perhaps the fact that I work so hard at being happy is why I qualify as a happy person.

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