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The Pressure To Be Happy….

I’ve written on this topic before, but not nearly as well as this guy. I’m absolutely fine with that, however, as this guy is an emotionally perceptive, fairly fucked-up genius.

I am one of “the others”, too, and I think that’s OK…no matter how much the Law Of Attraction says my lack of outward, contagious joy is depleting your energy. I don’t care how much you perceive my inability to take life less seriously so I can brush everything off and laugh all the time as a fault, and one that means you should de-friend me on Facebook because my lack of “My life is so fabulous! I’m doing cartwheels while eating an ice cream cone under a rainbow!” posts seriously brings you down. We all process emotion differently, and indulging in false happiness in hopes you someday achieve real happiness sounds a lot to me like…well, religion. I don’t believe in that too much, either, but if either makes *you* feel better, I’m all for it. Just don’t judge me for not being affected by it or buying into it.

I value my feelings enough to be honest and straightforward with them whenever possible. That makes many people uncomfortable, because as Jack Nicholson pointed out, most people don’t want and can’t handle the truth. Some don’t know how to react, and others simply aren’t interested. I am not really interested in those who are interested in seeing people as one-dimensional, static characters, so at least it’s a mutual apathy. No hard feelings. :)

Maybe the truth is, I don’t want to be happy. At least, not all the time. Being happy, or pretending to be happy when you’re really feeling a much fuller range of emotions you think your fellow humans are too shallow to care about or comprehend, is a lot like painting pictures and only using yellow. I don’t care how much you like yellow, after the fifth yellow picture, it’s boring. It’s boring to create, it’s boring to look at, and it’s dull to be surrounded by. And, frankly, it pisses me off that you don’t see the beauty in orange, red, purple, black, and all the others.

I want a full range of life experience. I actually *want* the full range of emotion I’m capable of experiencing, even though I sometimes wish I didn’t have to experience it so intensely, or all the time. I’m kind of grateful for the peaceful days when emotional experience gives me the day off. But I don’t have many yellow days, and I’m honestly glad for that. It makes the yellow moments more powerful, more passionate, more affecting.

I’d be a sucky artist and a boring person if my whole world were dipped in yellow. It kind of demeans me when I encounter a world that wants me to pretend that it is, which is why I so actively seek out the company of people who are visibly complex rainbows. Of course, this leads to an even fuller range of emotional experience, but I call that living, and wouldn’t trade it for the world. You’re supposed to live, love, laugh, cry, yell, freak out, do cartwheels under rainbows, run through fountains, make stupid mistakes, have crazy adventures, have crazy flings, travel outside your comfort zone, and learn about yourself each and every step of the way. You’re supposed to be passionate, intense, enthusiastic, engaged–and how can you possibly do that if you’re busy repeating the mantra of how “happy” and “great!” you are that day, and every day? Maybe you can, but I can’t, so I don’t.

I think people miss so much, focusing so hard on how to achieve the goal of living in a world of yellow. “If only I were happy” means you miss out on everything else you’re meant to learn, feel, experience, and be. It also means you’re overlooking the tiny moments of happiness that already exist within the complex tapestry of emotion.

The next time I ask you how your day was, please don’t tell me “Great!”, unless it really was. I actually care about the answer, and you don’t have to cover it in a layer of yellow paint for me to like you.

In fact, yellow is my least favourite colour. It always has been. The best kind of yellow I know is a Coldplay song. I’m not drawn to people who paint themselves yellow, in hopes of creating a brighter world. I’ll take something a little darker, multi-faceted, and complex any day. :) Better yet, just give me a full-on rainbow, and I’ll be happy. Or content. Or intrigued. Or inspired. Or…well, the list goes on, but you get the point. The harder it is for me to understand you—and I understand most people fairly easily—the more interested I am in knowing you. It’s not because you’re a puzzle I need to solve, but because you don’t hide the fact that you’re not going to bother painting the surface yellow while waiting for happiness to come your way.

I’m ecstatic and inspired when I observe thunderstorms on a summer day. They make me feel more enthusiastic about life than yet another day of “Partly sunny, high of 91.”. I think this is pretty much a reflection of my personality. I’m not only happy when it rains, but I’m bored when it does not.

I may never be a person defined as “happy”, but it doesn’t mean I won’t have happiness in my life. It means I’ll have a colourful range of life experiences, passions, accomplishments, interests, infatuations, love affairs, adventures, and crazy stories that so many people never have. In fairness, most people don’t want them, can’t cope with them, and I understand that. But, for me, it’s just how I’m wired. I want to experiment with every crayon in the box, try it on, see where it takes me or what it looks like.

What was my point? Oh, right. I seriously love Augusten Burroughs. Run with scissors whenever possible. :P

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