I think we all know how to polish off a happy photo with a shiny, cheeky smile, but I'm working on representing myself as authentically as possible and always being the same person "behind the scenes". I try not to pretend I’m an expert on most things. That being said, I have some unsolicited advice for anyone who isn’t super duper really really extra blissfully happy with their life.
Do yourself a favor, and get to know people.
If someone decides to tell you who you are and what they think of you before you’ve ever shown them your sense of humor, your dark side, your giddy child-like emotions; before you’ve shared your favorite books, movies, albums; before they’ve seen you cry over lyrics or tragedies; before they’ve noticed the way you fidget when you’re trying to stay present in conversation; before understanding how you deal with your pain, excitement, stress, anger; before you’ve had a chance to be there for them during their own pain, excitement, stress, or anger; before you know any of that about them; two words: F them. They don’t know you at all, and they don’t want to.
And if you’re on the opposite end - if you look at a person, listen to the things they say, and put effort into researching them but don’t like who they are, you’re more than likely wrong about them. If you don’t look at a person to really see them, listen to truly hear them, or research them to understand, then you’ve already made up your mind about who that person is and nothing they can do will change that. Do those people and yourself a favor, don’t bother having conversations with them at all. Don’t humor them to fuel your judgement. Walk away and work on becoming a more understanding person. You deserve to care about people, and you deserve to understand that more of the population is innately good than it is bad. Anything else is unnecessary drama.
Do yourself a favor, and get to know you.
Not the aesthetic of your social pages or the 140 characters or less version of you. The Behind-the-Scenes You. The after-hours You. The waiting for your coffee and debating whether to awkwardly people-watch or bury your face in your phone You. The sitting still You who taps your fingers to the beat in your head, the consciously trying to improve your posture You. The social you. The alone you. The snuggly You. The walled-off You. The You that seeks spirituality in whatever form comforts you. The wandering You.
The old You. The new You. The still You. Do yourself a favor and know that You through and through so that you can spend less time defending who that is to people who are not you.
Do yourself a favor, and stop.
Stop checking up on your exes. And their exes, your friends who fell out, and all of the people you just plain don’t like. Stop caring whether or not they’re happy. Stop worrying about their lives. Convince yourself that they have a magical $9.99 app (those losers) that shows them every time you look at any of their social pages, and think again before you type their name just to feel your heart race. Unfollow the girl from high school who does porn now. Your hating her only makes her feel more *$*famous*$*. Again, if you’re putting effort into researching someone you don’t even like, solely to fuel your judgment, you’re just gripping a hot potato.
Stop comparing your life with someone else’s. Especially in the age where most of what you see is a highlight reel, stop thinking anyone has a better life, better job, better relationships, better mental state, better anything. They don’t. People are sad. People are stressed. People are constantly searching for happiness and fighting guilt where they don’t find it. Stop deciding that everyone’s problems are pettier than yours. Actually, stop focusing on your problems all together. Just make sure that every time you interact with someone, you’ve done your best to be a light, to add value and happiness to their day. Basically, try your best to stop being a dick.
Do yourself a favor, and find a niche.
Find a person, or a whole group of people who know exactly how it feels to be in your shoes, and have a blast with those people. Find an outlet, a creative space for you to express yourself in a way that doesn’t harm anyone. Give yourself space from what makes you feel like you don’t belong. Find a place where you do.
Growing up the black sheep is hard. Growing up normal is probably also hard. Motherhood is hard. School is hard. Work is hard. Dealing with things that make you feel alone is hard. Life is really damn hard, I don't need to tell anyone that. Writing has been my therapy since the 4th grade. It’s been a bright, powerful ray of sunshine that lifts all the bad feelings off my shoulders and takes them away.
Writing publicly has brought people to me who’ve poured their hearts out. Who’ve made me remember the good. Who commiserate. Who can laugh at what’s hurt, what’s sucked, what’s happened, because they’ve been there too. I wish this type of outlet for everyone, because it’s overwhelmingly, profoundly beautiful to scream “I’m alone” and instead of an echo, hear back “me too”.
Once you’ve done all of this for yourself, anyone who wanted to hold you down, anyone who’d prefer if you shut up and deal with life silently while pretending to be in a constant state of happy-go-lucky gossip, anyone who’s offended by your honesty, anyone who maintains judgment against you, will weed themselves out of your life. That’s the favor they’ll do you.
Happy happiness seeking, friends.