When Happiness is a Chore.


woman sleeping

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“You’re always so happy.” “Your laugh cracks me up.” “I never see you not smiling.”

I am. It does. They don’t. 

For the most part, I try my hardest everyday to be happy. If life decides to throw a gut punch, I shove it deep, deep down inside of me and ignore it and I focus on something better. I think it is too easy to be miserable if you let yourself. I think staying positive, being happy even when you just want to sleep forever…sometimes that takes work. At least for me, sometimes saving my mentality takes real work. And sometimes, behind an obnoxiously loud laugh and a high-pitched “things are fantastic” response to every question — I’m tired. Somedays I get tired. And sometimes I forget that that is okay.

Since I was about five years old, I have always been a moment away from stroke-level blood pressure caused by stressing out about 472 things a day that are out of my control. Last year, I realized my stress-handling habits were pretty unhealthy. And I opted for some self-help reading and started researching therapists. At first, I didn’t even tell my mom…and I tell her everything.

Because there is this stigma around not being able to get your emotions in check on your own. It’s this perceived weakness that is built into us from the beginning. You can go to the doctor for physical needs, you can go to church for religious needs…but the needs of your brain and your psyche…those you should at least be able to handle. It’s your brain. Be happy. Don’t be sad. Don’t panic. Grab the steering wheel and take control. Or at least shove it down deep inside so no one sees it.

It is okay to be worn out. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to lose a battle to your stress levels. What isn’t okay, is living there. You can wear your grief or your anxiety or your depression like a badge of honor. You can wear it like an anchor if you choose to. It will be what people see when they look at you. It will become what defines you if you let it.

And I’ve written this and deleted it and rewritten and walked away from this topic a million times, because I DO genuinely love life. This isn’t a plea for help, but rather a subtle “I get it” for anyone out there wondering why they aren’t just a ball of sunshine and rainbows all of the time. It’s a longly, worded “I see you and it’s okay and sometimes it’s hard for me too” for the people who woke up at 10 a.m. in a mood they couldn’t shake and just want to go straight back to bed and try again tomorrow. I’ve been in my bed before listening to “Hello” by Adele on repeat before falling asleep from anxiety-induced exhaustion (because that is a very real thing in my life.)

Somedays I can see the entire world sitting at my feet. Unrolled in front of me for the taking. Somedays, I can’t even see five feet in front of my own face. Somedays, it all looks a little dark. And that is okay. And if you need to sleep, do. If you need a cheerleader, get one (I’ll text you how amazing you are if you need me to.) If you need a therapist, that is 100% acceptable. Do what you need to to save your mind. And let the dark days be the rarity, not the norm.

I like being known for a loud laugh. I like being happy, even when it’s work. I want to be remembered for being obnoxiously in love with life, even if somedays I’m tired. It is work. But so damn worth it.

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