Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Come On, Get Happy


I keep trying to blog about happiness, and I keep failing. I don't know why; all I know is I've eaten a starbucks birthday cake pop every night for the last four nights, and I know they say eating food doesn't make you happy but they are lying and listen, I have no intention of laying on my death bed and saying, "I should have eaten more birthday cake pops".

Cake pops aside, here's the deal: I have a weird neuroses when it comes to happiness. It took me a long time to pinpoint it. I knew something froze up in me at the prospect of having to show happiness but it wasn't until I envisioned myself walking in to a beautiful home that Mr. V and I had fantasy-bought--a cute little bungalow--and in the vision I walked through the front room with the exposed brick whatevers on the sides and the built-in bookcases, and I felt a brief, wild flare of happiness. And then I squashed it. And I fantasy turned to Mr. V and gave him a wan smile and effectively killed both our fantasy joy.

Which would be fine if I only did this in fantasies, but I tend to do it in real life.

Having this vision forced me to look at why I behave this way--I always freeze up, on Christmas and on birthdays, and you should know that I might not be able to stop, yet. I curb my enthusiasm. And I realized I do it because I have this almost sub-conscious fear that being happy is going to create some kind of debt. That if I show too much pleasure, someone's going to come along with their hand held out, expecting something in return. I don't know what. Mr. V might see me enjoying myself watching "Supernatural" and make a comment about the dishes. (This has never, ever happened. It's just what I fear.) Like the universe is going to say, Oh there you are Vesuvius, looking all happy. Well. It's time to make good on that.

I don't know why I have this fear and it doesn't matter. Just acknowledging this tendency has helped. Now I can remind myself that it's not true and that it's ok to show happiness sometimes, just not on Good Friday, or when it turns out you were right and your husband has been driving in the wrong direction this. Entire. Time.

So that is where the cake pops come in. If I want to be able to someday freely express joy at the big things, I have to start small. My spiritual discipline is this: Drive to the Starbucks where they don't know you. Buy a cake pop. Again. Take it home and sing to it. Caress it. Eat it slowly. Smile.

Smile with every part of you.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


  1. You know, it's funny you should say that, because I've always had that kind of feeling, too--like if I have it too good, someone's gonna come along and slap me down and snap me out of it real quick!!!
    But I think with me it applies more to having *things* than to feeling happy. Like if I have nice things, they will be snatched away because I didn't deserve them.
    I'm not sure where this comes from. Time to do a little Cognitive Behavior Therapy on myself, I guess!
    Anyway, it's good that you're recognizing it for what it is so you will be better able to confront the negative thoughts head on.
    I hope for that beautiful little bungalow for you and Noah someday!

  2. You deserve a bungalow! I can totally see you in one of those someday...

    I agree that just acknowledging the issue can help so much. I was just telling mom the other day how I've realized I "suffer" from intrusive thoughts. Just learning what they are has helped me control them, they don't bother me so much anymore...

  3. I just died laughing, imagining you on your death bed saying "I should have eaten more birthday cake pops". I'm sure you said some other thoughtful wonderful things too, but this is all I can focus on. Thank you.

  4. If cake pops are step one in your happiness project, then I prescribe more cake pops.

  5. Heather, are they like a tableau?

    Mercy, it's always good to hear I made someone laugh. On purpose. Not on accident by wearing a muumuu.

    @Alissa somebody get the girl a medical degree. Stat.


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