Written by Lauren Richards

There was a time I feared happiness.

The jovial emotion would grace my mind and I would dread its touch. Every second it lingered foreshadowed a crushing sadness that would quickly follow.

Happiness was fleeting.

Happiness was shallow.

Happiness’ beauty lied in its distraction from the heaviness.

I think it was its lightness that I feared; it came and went like the wind, twirling and dancing through the branches of my thoughts, only to dissipate and render them scattered. I couldn’t cling to it, it didn’t offer weight like sadness did. It was unpredictable in ways depression wasn’t.

I tried to take advantage of it when it came. I’d try to convince myself that it was here to stay, that it was genuine and purposeful. I would make as many plans with as many people as I could. I would try to cram my schedule with coffee dates, phone calls, workout classes, and grocery runs as though future commitments written in pen would force my gleeful mood to stay. I’d let my words spill out of my mouth, and my laughter take up space. I’d focus on the sunlight streaming in through windows or the rain falling into a puddle, and pretend the subtle occurrences were a revelation. I’d take in the creases and dimples of my friends’ smile and consume the exuberance of their presence. I wanted to ground myself in the moment, to cast the melancholy into oblivion.

But I was loved.

I am loved.

My friends and family took notice. They saw value when I saw none. They sat by me, prayed for me, and stood with me. They didn’t let me succumb to the gray that enveloped me. The process was far more tedious and complicated than I am saying now -- and I admit, I am still in that process, I just can’t find the words to delve into it now.

It took time, but my perception of happiness shifted - is shifting. I hesitate to trust it, but I can accept it. I can hold it and know it has purpose and meaning for me specifically. It took time to come to this place. To view it as delicate and graceful, rather than fragile. It took sleepless nights, hours of late-night conversations, switching medications, prayer and tears, but healing emerged. The gentle nudges of those around me, slowly prompted me to examine how I defined happiness. They took my calls late at night and listened. They read what I wrote and asked the hard questions. They were a piece in my changing perceptions. I’m starting to understand that happiness holds a complexity and weight that weaves its way in and through my experience. I held it while I was young, and while its form has changed, it settles near me now.

Happiness’ beauty lies in its lightness.

Happiness holds a depth in a different dimension.

Happiness can be consistent.

Happiness begs to be explored and found, but it’s not the ultimate pursuit. Rather, it’s a single shade of emotion with a thousand variances of meaning. |