I know it’s been awhile since my last post, I sure missed you all. The truth is I think about writing a lot but only when my heart is truly saddened do I actually make time to write. I find it therapeutic.
A friend of mine, close to my heart is suffering from some depression. It makes me sad. They just look totally wiped out as if their happy soul has been completely stripped away and I want to help. Of course that is just an achy desire because I 100% know you can’t help someone else with their happiness. That is completely an internal thing but still my heart aches to help.
In all this thinking of them I started thinking about my own happiness….. It’s something I deeply ponder from time to time. It baffles me to think of all the horror I’ve endured but still remain truly happy.
In advance I’d like to personally apologize to anyone this post offends. It is not my intention to hurt anyone but this is my life and these distant memories make me who I am. These next couple paragraphs may be hard for some people to read.
My dad left my Mom and me for a younger woman when I was four. My mom remarried when I six or seven. By eight, my step father had taken me in as his new “bitch’ I was sexually assaulted. Butt patting, inappropriate comments, boob grabbing (and I didn’t even have tits yet) and other varies, tormenting things went on until I was at least 13. I was terrified by the thought of being alone with him. My external “life” at the time was pretty awesome, I was known by all my peers, I was the first ever junior to make cheer captain and I played every sport there was, but I still hated the thought going home. I never told my mom even though we were very close. I thought this was the first time in a long while, she was really happy. The summer I was going to be a junior my step dad kicked us out, he was having an affair. We had to move and I had to start to a new school where I didn’t know anyone except two cousins.
When I was 19 I met the first love of my life. It was also the first time I was introduced to drugs. At first I used while parting with this boy and that short time was exciting and fun. But the fun quickly left. He was mentally abusive. He made me feel like I was worthless, like I was dumb. He made me believe that no one loved me besides him. I ran to the few family members I had around at the time, but I always went back to him. Two years later my family had just stopped talking to me or maybe I stopped talking to them? It is a fuzzy recollection. Either way by that time I had no friends and no family nearby. Then I started using just to survive staying alive. Mental abuse quickly turned to physical. This boy beat me. He abused me every way possible. He’d leave me alone for a week at a time while being out with other girls. He slashed my tires when I threatened to leave him. He made me commit credit card fraud. One time he even made me cut up every article of clothing I owned so I couldn’t leave. I thought I could never escape him so I bought a hose and duct tape and a bottle of sleeping pills and tried to escape the best way I could think of….. But then he found me. Lastly after slamming my head against the console of his truck multiple times he pushed me out of a moving F-150 pickup truck…. I had a broken cheek bone, a swollen eye and stitches in my chin for over a month.
I was able to leave him thanks to my Mom, but I wasn’t able to leave the drugs. Not for a very long time. I felt worthless. In such a short time I pushed away all my family & friends, failed out of college (and I had a full ride scholarship), been beaten every way possible and became an addict. What the fuck was left for me? What was left OF me? I continued making bad choices… When I was twenty-six I had Jaya, as soon as we found out I was pregnant I was able to stop using completely. This baby gave me a purpose…a reason. And I stayed clean until she was about two. Then I went back to making bad choices. A few years later Phoenix came along, I stopped using while I was pregnant with him, until he had baked for seven months, then with one bad day and a visit from an old friend I used. I was so disgusted with myself, I thought I was stronger than that. A better mother than that. I worked myself up so much I felt sick so I took myself to the ER to check and make sure I hadn’t hurt him. He was fine but I wasn’t. DCFS came the next day and removed Jaya from my home. This was the worst kind of pain I have ever felt. How could I hurt my baby like this? This was the lowest point in my entire life. I just wanted to die but I still had this little baby inside me. DCFS got me into rehab. I was grateful for this opportunity. I did everything they told me to do, I was going to doing it the best I possibly could to make things right for my babies. It was a very difficult time but I took in everything I possibly could…and you know what? I got better. It didn’t happen fast, and it certainly wasn’t easy but I got better. Not just being off drugs but internally, mentally I got better.
I know it seems as though I’ve gotten off topic but hang in there with me, my life stories are relevant.
Everyone that knows me is always asking how I’m always so happy? I have two and a half jobs, three kids, no romantic partner, go to school full time, and have over two grand a month in bills and debt. I struggle, but still wake up every day annoyingly, grateful and happy!
The most important lesson I’ve ever learned (in all my many learning experiences) is that YOU are the ONLY person that can make you happy. And it’s not just one of those things you can just decide to do. It takes drive and work, A LOT of hard work. It takes bravery and practice and patience with yourself. You are the only one that can give yourself confidence, they only one that can make changes.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you cannot change it, you must change the way you feel about it.
Change it? That sounds scary! The truth is a lot of folks are scared to make changes. It requires taking a leap of faith. It requires guts. And what if you take that leap and things don’t work out? Well guess what: you didn’t like how things were before so it’s not like you left something good! If the results are bad you change things again. And again, and again, if it’s necessary for your happiness. This ability of change is one of the freedoms as humans. It can be scary and uncomfortable but it CAN be done.
Don’t like your living situation…. Move!
Aren’t happy with your partner…..Leave!
Aren’t happy at work…..Get a new job!
Need more money…..Get another job!
For anything you could possibly be unhappy with (excluding some health issues) there are changes that could be made. They will require pushing aside your fear, deep breathing, having faith and a whole hell of a lot of hard work, but it is POSSIBLE.
Somethings you physically just CANNOT change. In these cases you must first accept that you cannot change the situation, issue or person then mentally evaluate what steps you must take in order to CHANGE the way you feel about it. This is more difficult. This takes much less bravery but a lot more patience and hard work but again, it is possible. The Greek philosopher Epictetus said it beautifully more than 2,000 years ago: “People are disturbed, not by things (that happen to them), but by the principles and opinions which they form concerning (those) things. When we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never attribute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own principles and opinions.”
Here are some ways to achieve this:
- Admit to yourself that you’re not happy: You can’t change anything if you aren’t aware that something needs to be changed. Stop the cycle of wishing things were different and take control of your thoughts and reactions to events and people.
- Realize optimism is a choice: You are not born with a positive or negative attitude. It is something you become through your perspective of experiences. Very few situations are completely bad. Always try to come up with three to five positives of any challenging situation and write them down so you can remember them.
- Look at the issue from a different perspective: This takes practice, but after lot of practice you’ll find you’ll start doing this naturally.
So how do I stay so happy? I am not afraid. I’m not afraid to make changes. I’m not afraid to say what I feel (well sometimes I am, but I do it anyway). I keep a ready list of all the many things I am grateful for. I find a way to find humor in hardships. I hug people a LOT. I work my ass off to get everything done that needs to be done, and to accomplish goals, which makes me feel proud. I accept that I am who I am, and while I always try to be the best Heather I can be, I let go of things I can’t change. I just let go in general, I let go of desires that can’t be filled. I let go of negativity. I let go of frustration or anxiety.
Make goals. Work your ass off. Enjoy the simple things. Smile. Touch people… and if all else fails… Fake it till you Make it!
You don’t find a happy life, you make it. It doesn’t matter what you went through. It doesn’t matter what happened to you. It doesn’t matter who your parents were. Nothing determines your happiness except you. Everyone deserves happiness, but not everyone is willing to make it. Be brave. Put in the hard work…it’s worth it. It’s really, really worth it.
All the things I’ve endured are not who I am, the work I’ve put into my personal happiness is who I am.