Always A Little Sad
Happiness is evasive. Happiness is good friends with “here today, gone tomorrow” and “this won’t last.” I’m becoming an expert on these things – fleeting things. Stuff like weight loss, edges, the shine on nail polish, youth, fulfilling jobs, eligible bachelors. Ain’t been able to hang on to any one of those things and as much as I like all of them, happiness is the one I hold in the highest regard. Happiness is the one that entire movies and novels are built upon. When asked what she aspires to, Beyonce said she just wants to be happy. Queen Bey said it. Disney movies say it. Some of our parents teach it to us. “Do what makes you happy”, they say. “But are you happy?” they ask. Because ultimately, that’s the standard for a wonderful life.
But is it?
To my knowledge, no part of the bible guarantees life after death if in your life on earth, you were happy. And let me just say, I’m no bible scholar. To be honest, I barely it. I mean I read a chapter out of a book here and there and get a dose of an awesome scripture just about everyday but I don’t sit down and read it outright. Do y’all? Y’all probably do huh? Y’all downloaded the bible self pace app and sit down before work to read it until you finish the whole thing. Well good for you, grasshopper. I just don’t think that we gauge the effectiveness or value of our lives on how happy we are at all times. It’s my understanding that difficult times are made to refine us. To get us ready for the next thing or to humble us or to ensure we appreciate what we have. The really difficult times are meant for our good, not necessarily for the purpose of reaching happiness, although that is a by-product, but to get us to everlasting life. And if you happen to be a person who does not subscribe to my religion, it still makes sense. It has to makes sense because if we endure hardships for no reason, then I’m sleeping in for the next week straight. No work, no people, nothing but me and Chips A’Hoy. If nothing else in the world makes sense, double chunk chocolate chip cookies makes sense. And they are delectable.
Speaking of double chunk, there was a big chunk of time when I was unhappy this year. I was always a little sad. I mean that, although it was not completely pervasive, I was consistently not happy. I had fun. I had moments of happiness. I cried tears of joy. Still, I was always a little sad. It was the baseline. For whatever reason, it was what I kept going back to. I actually don’t know if sad is the best word to describe the way I felt; it was really a combination of unfulfilled and unmotivated, a mini bout of depression maybe.
As I think through it now, I feel pretty confident that there’s nothing inherently wrong with being sad. It was a season. It was a time necessary for me for some reason I don’t know. I may never fully understand it. I just had to trust the process. Therein was the problem, saints. I figured I would come out of it, but I didn’t know what to do in the mean time. I felt like I was just going through the motions. I felt like it was at the will of something bigger than me so it didn’t matter if I tried to be happier. Do you know what I mean? If God gone do what He gone do when He gone do it, why fight it? It seemed like the best thing to do was to just wallow in my despondence, sit in my despair, and roll my eyes at anybody who wanted anything from me (my boss, my mamma, my friends, my hair).
At some point, I decided to be proactive. At some point, I just figured I could not be controlled by the whim of my emotion. I didn’t get to this point all of a sudden and I didn’t become unsad all of a sudden either. It wasn’t linear. I was here, there, and everywhere until I landed in contentment. There is no magic remedy, but there are things I did that helped. It takes some serious mind tricks. Lemme tell you. You gotta wake up out the bed (by this point, I’m exhausted), tell yourself you’re ok, find something encouraging to watch or read, avoid the donuts in the office break room because you know your self control is basically nonexistent, respond to emails from people you would like to fight, fix your face, fix your body language, show up to stuff and smile, work out, wash and moisturize and style your hair, try to eat a salad every now and then, agree to hang out with the girls, answer the phone when your dad calls. And you have to do these things when you absolutely do not want to do these things. Crawling up out of a sinkhole of sadness is something serious. It’s like a mental marathon that you haven’t trained for properly. It is so much easier to stay in bed and avoid people, including yourself.
Other than proving to myself yet again that I can out think the way I feel and that most of my power is hidden in my thoughts, another kinda cool thing happened. I realized there are a lot of other unhappy people, and I have a better appreciation for them. There are incessantly melancholy people with whom, in my consistently happy days, I would’ve been annoyed. There are people struggling with depression or high levels of sadness or despondency whose emotions need to be recognized, validated and accepted by me. I even needed to find ways to accept myself when I was in that season. I’m learning to love myself and other people better.
Listen. I don’t have this stuff figured out. I absolutely do not. I just wanted to tell y’all that I was in a point where I was not into life and it wasn’t into me. If anyone else is fighting for a little happiness, take comfort knowing that this is probably getting you ready for the next thing in life and you’re not the only one. We can go get ice cream and not talk to one another if you want to. I’m down. Let me know.