I feel happy.
I feel anxious, I feel stressed, I feel hopeful, I feel nostalgic, I feel miserable, but I also feel happy.
And that’s really quite remarkable. For months, if not years, I have thought of myself as making do. Trying to find the good in a bad situation. Getting through the day. I did not think of myself as sad, but I had gotten into a habit of ignoring my own emotional climate.
Maybe I was scared at what I’d find. Maybe I didn’t want to tip the balance by digging too deep.
Regardless of the reason, I blew through my days, diligently ignoring myself. I didn’t know if I felt happy. And as a result, I did not truly experience happiness. At least, not in the way I am now.
I know that I am happy. And that changes everything.
It makes me want to settle into each experience, to see if it will augment the emotion. It makes my days more clear. It gives me comfort. It settles my anxiety. It opens me to all of my other emotions, both positive and negative, and bathes them in a comforting light.
And it’s strange. Because nothing has really fallen into place. There hasn’t been any dramatic change in my life, no noticeable new elements.
In fact, just this past week my symptoms have flared up, causing me an increase in pain, exhaustion, and frustration.
I am extremely anxious about beginning school, starting in a program that was not my first or second choice, at a school that I have no special desire to be a part of.
I have confused dates, double booked myself, procrastinated, been thrust horrible decisions, and have, by objective standards, not had a very enjoyable week.
But I feel at peace with my medical situation. Most of the time, anyways. I feel confident that, while unpleasant and detrimental, I can deal with whatever my body throws at me. And I am grateful for the strength that I have managed to regain.
I see the beginning of a new program of study as an opportunity. To learn new things, to explore another side of myself.
I have almost completely forgotten about my various errors over the past little while. They have slipped away, unimportant and unworthy.
I feel happy.
And in a very large sense, I chose to feel happy.
I chose to focus on confidence in the face of my health. I chose to be optimistic about my education. And I chose to forgive myself.
It hasn’t been easy. I have put an immeasurable amount of effort into this happiness. I make those choices every day, multiple times a day. In fact, I don’t even know whether the things I smile about would automatically make me happy, or if I have convinced myself that they do.
But ultimately, does that really matter?
I feel happy. And if I have worked for that happiness, should it not be all the more valuable? All the more true?
It is not a whim. It is not spur of the moment. It runs deep.
But that is not to say that I feel happy every day. Or that I believe I should.
I do not shake my head at my days of ignoring my true emotions. And I do not vow to avoid them in the future.
Sometimes, it is the better, the only option to just get by. To put in the motions.
Sometimes, truly feeling can be crippling. And it is better simply to trace a pattern, however light it may be. And get through the day.
But by tracing that pattern, over and over again, I have created deep grooves. I have carved out a habit, that is now integral to my being.
I have created happiness.
I feel happy.