Today was one of those days where it all sort of hit me. Experiencing happiness sometimes hurts.
A person can become accustomed to being shit on all the time. You get used to friendships failing, jobs not paying enough, lovers taking you for granted and people letting you down. These things become acceptable and even expected. You go stronger in being able to handle the worst of things that when something bad doesn’t happen, you’re just preparing for the other shoe to inevitably drop.
Happiness though, when you’ve suffered through so much turmoil, well, it can hurt. I realized that today after getting some incredibly great news. It was like a title wave of emotion that just suddenly hit me. I’m getting everything I’ve wanted for quite some time. It’s all coming together. I’m safe. I’m comfortable. I’m well. I’m loved. These are all things I wanted so badly while I drank myself into black out every night just hoping they would suddenly show up one day.
Well they didn’t just show up, I had to work really hard for them. I have to make really difficult choices. I had to use survival mode to pull myself out of some tight spots. I had to stop drinking and start becoming accountable. I had to go to therapy and sort through the trauma still affecting me. I had to cut people off who were draining me. It has been a lot of pain and struggle to get here.
Now that I’m here, I’m a little bit in awe. I’m a little bit in pain. But the thing I am NOT doing is self sabotaging. In the past, when I’ve found myself in a place of peace or happiness – I’ve found a way to fuck it right up properly.
I’m aware of that pattern now and I can prevent those self destructive behaviors. My therapist and my new life coach are helping me identify those patterns, acknowledge them and so I don’t have to repeat them.
It’s a hard thing to describe, this idea of happiness sort of hurting. Those I’ve told about this who have experience a similar phenomenon are like YES IT DOES! So I know that I’m not alone in this type of feeling.
At the end of the day though, I’m so grateful. I’m happy, not all of the time, but most of the time. I’m enjoying my life. I’m enjoying my family and friends. I’m enjoying my lover. I’m enjoying my work. I’m enjoying my podcast. I’m enjoying my cat. All of these things bring me so much joy and happiness.
My brain still likes to serve me up ideas and memories that hurt while I’m experiencing these moments of levity. In the past I would let those ruin my day. But now I can simply acknowledge their existence and realize that those are memories and emotions from the past. They don’t have to change what happens now. They don’t get to dictate how I live my life.
I get to do that. I get to decide what happens from here. What I decide is to enjoy my life, one day at a time.