The Happy Bits

I am currently sitting in my brand new office, in my new home, on a blissfully rainy Sunday evening. For two years, my husband and I envisioned and dreamed and from those musings, built a home with the help of a ton of people. From two visions, we carved a solitary, concrete reality and now, I'm sitting in it wearing my oversized, mid-drift length sweater, high wasted jeans, and uggs. Somehow, my clothing seemed an important sidetone because... I feel amazing in these clothes and this house.

I feel amazing when I wake up, and when I go to bed. Of course not every moment of every day, but overwhelmingly, this how I generally feel.

The thing is, it's hard to characterize and articulate the happy bits. It can be hard to put a finger on or admit to the moments where we just feel... happy. For me, it's probably some deeply ingrained sense of Italian-American guilt that nags at the senses and screams "NO! Don't admit it... there will be impending doom if you admit to the utter contentment you are experiencing!"


But you know what? There will be impending doom, either way. So fuck it.

I'm happy!!

I am standing a world of my own creation and, you guys, it's gorgeous! But I'm not here to brag or even humble brag about the great things that are coming into my life because... yuck. No. What I really want to implore you to do is to admit your own happiness. Or at the least, admit to yourself that you may not be as comfortable being happy as you think you are.

The truth is, I often opt for wrapping myself in sarcasm, apologies, or down playing the good things in my life so that I don't seem full of myself. Or, I do it so that someone else in a less than desirable situation will feel less bad, but is that even how any of this works?

I am a huge fan of Brene Brown, and she talks about how comparative suffering is not a thing. All suffering is important and relative. What if the same thing were true about happiness? The same way we try to equate suffering as relative is, well, relative when it comes to the way we share our joy. And we read about this stuff every day... some dumb meme on FaceBook will tell us "Don't dull your sparkle," but then you run into Karen at the grocery store and you totally dull your sparkle when she asks how you are. You say, "Um, yeah, you know, good.. I guess." Because why? Because it's somehow NOT okay to say, "I am so happy! I'm in a great place!" It's unacceptable in the same way that when someone asks you how you are, and you're feeling like shit, you shrug and say, "I'm great, thanks."

What IS that?! Is this symptomatic of our society? Could it be possible that we are now becoming uncomfortable with being unhappy AND happy while paradoxically presenting ourselves on social media as living our best lives 110% of the time? Jesus Christ... what is humanity coming to?

The happy bits are so important, and I was reminded of this today when I told my friend Susan, "I wish I could bottle this moment and open it at some point in the future when, inevitably, there will be a less happy moment." And she suggested writing about it... and I was like, "but that is so hard." And suddenly, Elizabeth Gilbert was ringing in my ears saying "NO, BILLIE! You are so wrong... art is NOT about suffering." Art is not about suffering, Liz Gilbert, and you know what? Neither is life.

So here we are at the intersection of blog-post-as-art-medium and a happy moment. Probably this is the closest I can get to bottling a feeling--using my words to create a memory and send out a call to you, Dear Reader, who will perhaps come away from this feeling empowered to embrace the joyful places within yourself.

The overarching concepts that strike me in this moment are two fold. The first is how very much I love the people in my life, and all the strangers who have come together in various capacities to help build my happiness. Think about it... in any given moment where we are happy, where we have joy, there are thousands of tiny things that have built up to that moment. Tangible or intangible, we are a tangled web of moments strung together. There is no better metaphor than our new house...

In my new home, how many hands touched these walls? From the foundation to the windows, to the painters, the tradesmen, the salesmen, the bankers, and more... maybe hundreds of people in all.  These people were basically strangers to me, many of them doing their jobs, but usually going above and beyond to be sure that everything was just so.

And then there are the people  who helped me--physically and mentally--to move my life. My friends and family who showed up on moving day, gloves on, and hearts full. My friends who ASSURED me that moving was the right choice. My friend, who donated his architecture skills and literally designed my dream home. The people who tolerated me at my worst while I was building, and told me I was great, when in fact, I was not great to be around.

This thought of all the things that came together to foster my dream, overwhelms me and makes me so grateful. This is life. It is an overwhelming orchestra of people playing a multitude of instruments to make one unified, beautiful sound. THINK about that awesomeness... doesn't that just fill you with joy?

The second thing is how you have to grab these moments with both hands and sit in it, like a meditation. I remember the last time I felt like this. It was after I got married. I felt so top-full with joy that I could barely speak. It was like there was nothing left to say. I felt like I had it all. So what does one DO with that feeling? First of all, celebrate the living fuck out of that feeling. Second of all, radiate that shit.

Radiate. Don't dull the sparkle.

Celebrate this by taking time for others (and yourself). Be happy, and spread like wildfire. If someone else is feeling down, shoulder it. You're happy, you can afford to. Cook for someone. Invite people into your orbit of joy. Check in with others. Write cards of thanks. Tell people positive things about themselves. Pay for someone's coffee. (Or tank of gas if you have more money than me.) Be a goddamn lighthouse and let them come to you and then share your smile.

And above all, please, don't be afraid to admit that you are in a moment of feeling terrific. The world needs us to share our happy bits because it is how we share the best parts of ourselves and shine light in the dark places. I wish you many, many happy moments, but more than that, I wish you the satisfaction of recognizing those moments and fully enjoying them. You deserve to be thrilled with life on several occasions.

Embrace the happy bits, my friends. <3 

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