Always Remember

This is going to be a weird, rambly one so get a glass of wine, sit down and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

About four months ago I got off Facebook. I simply had enough. I’m not hugely into social media anyway but one day I just hit event horizon with people who thought, “running to the store for tape” was worthy of announcing to the world, endless game invites, angry people trying to make passive aggressive statements via status updates and the like. So I deactivated myself and never looked back.

An interesting byproduct of this is now and then one of my friends will text me saying something along the lines of, “Hey why did you un-friend me?” or “Haven’t seen you post on FB for a while, are you okay?”. These almost always come from a guy because after all, when last we were on Facebook, Zoe’s status said “single”.

A brief text conversation will ensue that invariably ends up with them asking whether or not I’m with anyone and, when I say I am indeed dating someone **poof** their sudden interest in how I’m doing evaporates.

I tell you this as a mere preface to the real point of this post. Which really is coming very soon, promise.

Today I got one of these texts. This one went further than usual, past are you dating anyone to are you HAPPY dating that person. When I said yes and in fact went on to add that I am actually happier than I have been in quite some time (meaning “generally life-happy”, which was misunderstood to be “as a result of this new guy” happy), this was said…

“When it all crashes and burns, boy are you gonna be a hurtin’ unit.”

Not if…when.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, dick cheese.

Of course, the unspoken sentiment was something along the lines of, “boy are you gonna be hurting…and therefore one step closer to maybe giving me a shot even though normally you wouldn’t let me into your pants if I were the last man on earth.”

However, annoying the exchange was, dick cheese is technically not wrong, as all of my relationships to this point have in fact ended. This  got me to thinking and, although I hate to give him any credit for a salient point, I realized he was probably right.

If my boyfriend called me up tomorrow and said he was done, I would be completely obliterated. My humpty dumpty heart that I spent the last few years so carefully putting back together again would no doubt be pulverized into a a zillion indistinguishable pieces by such a thing.

But here’s the important thing to remember:

I’ve been obliteration before. Yet here I am.

Pulverized? Been there, done that, got the tee shirt. More than one if you’re keeping track.  I’m not.  It’s a waste of time & energy to tally heartbreak.

So yeah, dick cheese is right – I would totally be hurting. Hurting isn’t’ the end of the line though, because while I will readily admit that my fabulous, wonderful, handsome, studly, heroic rock star of a boyfriend certainly CONTRIBUTES to my happiness on a daily basis, he doesn’t cause it or control it.

I do that.

Yep, the real point of this post.  I know right?

Happiness…true happiness…comes from within.   Always.  And therefore it is entirely under our own control.  We are, all of us, living lives based on a series of choices that we’ve made, the roots of which are what we believe we deserve.

It is not what happens to us that makes us happy (or sad, as the case may be) it is how we interact mentally and emotionally with what happens. Perception, it has been said, is reality. I agree wholeheartedly with that. It is what we decide to think and  feel about what life brings us (or takes away) that determines our level of happiness. If we are convinced we are somehow unworthy of happiness then nothing and no one will “make us happy”. Not for long anyway.

It’s all up to us.

For me personally, I think all the recent color-loving, perky, upbeat cheeriness stems from two primary series of events and the subsequent growth resulting from each kind of reaching a crescendo together:

1. This may sound counter-intuitive, but coming out the other side of the dark tunnel of losing (one way or another) the three most important people in my life back to back – my husband to divorce, my mother and aunt to cancer – really did a lot to teach me what’s important in life & relationships and what is not.

Losing my husband taught me that even when they commit to you “till death do us part”, shit gonna happen. Maybe it’s shit you can fix…maybe it’s shit beyond your control, like the other person leaving. All you can really do is make the conscious choice yourself to love that person and give it your all each and every day because that’s who you are. You count your blessings for the days that it all works out and if the day should come where it no longer does, well, as long as you’ve stayed true to yourself and remain open to love…you’ll be just fine.

There was a time I honestly thought I would shrivel up and die without that man. And look…here I am, happier than ever. Far from dead, I happen to be in a relationship now in which I feel far more alive than I did back then. Go figure.

No human has the power to break you. Unless you bestow it upon them. Its far less about someone committing to you and far more about you committing to yourself.

Losing my mother & aunt taught me that life is short, precious and at the end of the day not in the least about anything physical or material whatsoever. The things that really matter are the intangibles. All the rest is just crap someone will have to sort through when you’re gone. You really can’t take it with you, so travel light.

My mom, god love her, was very much into her things. Growing up having an elegant home always took precedent to the feeling of a home. She had very expensive taste and was always determined to leave me in a position where I would never have to worry about money. Ironically,  it was because she was so materially focused and lived waaaaaay beyond her means, that I had to file bankruptcy to get through her estate expenses. She may not have left me a fancy house, a status branded car or a pile of jewelry as she had hoped, but what she DID leave me was one hell of a legacy of strength, independence, confidence and grace.

Treasures of far more value in my opinion. Like the MasterCard people say…priceless.

2. My no settling manifesto. At first I thought this was a small thing; just don’t settle. But it is far from small. By laying down the law that, no matter what, I positively will not settle for just any relationship ever ever again, what I actually did was reclaim a bunch of my power and give a major shot of rocket fuel to my self-esteem, without even realizing I had needed it.

By simply resolving not to settle, I essentially told myself…showed myself…that I value Zoe too much to allow her to be diminished. I essentially walked my own talk; you can tell yourself you think you’re fabulous all day long. You’ve got to take action to prove it. You’ve got to hold out for what you know you deserve.

If you can believe in yourself, treat yourself with love & respect and stand firm in the knowledge of your worth, everyone else in your life will follow suit.

And if they don’t, fuck ’em.

Don’t you worry, dick cheeses of the world, if my slice of tall dark and handsome decides I’m not for him, yeah, it’ll hurt like hell. But if you think that scares me, you’d be wrong.  You’re talking to a woman who fully believes that what you put into relationships is directly proportionate to what you get out, and who isn’t going to let the possibility of being hurt stop her from putting in everything she’s got.

So am I loving my bright colored Filofaxes, walking around in my Little Miss Sunshine shirt, humming pop songs and putting Hello Kitty stickers on stuff? Hells yeah, you better believe I am! And I’m humbled and grateful and ecstatic to be able to share all of that with an amazing guy. But rest assured, I’m still me. This is all coming from me.

Because I make my own happiness.  Every day. No matter what.

And so, my friends, can you.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stevemorton
    Aug 14, 2012 @ 10:19:35

    Totally agree about the drivel factor on FB, I try to keep that amount of stuff down on my own time line these days. I block any games people are playing. I also unsubscribe from people that annoy me! But I don’t concern myself too much if someone stops following me on Twitter or Facebook. Life is too short!

    As long as we have some means of communication I don’t mind how we do it….

  2. kanalt17
    Aug 14, 2012 @ 14:54:15

    Great post! And so very, very true. I agree that most of what I see on Facebook is shared articles, those stupid ecard nonsense things, and other drivel that tells me nothing about the person who’s posting it. I want to know about them, not their political agenda. I’ve often thought of giving up on on fb but the reality is that I’m closer with some people than I would be otherwise (family mostly). But like Steve, the happiness in using such things can be achieved by hiding those other stupid things.

    Go you and your personal happiness!

  3. J
    Aug 14, 2012 @ 18:32:43

    “It is not what happens to us that makes us happy (or sad, as the case may be) it is how we interact mentally and emotionally with what happens. Perception, it has been said, is reality. I agree wholeheartedly with that. It is what we decide to think and feel about what life brings us (or takes away) that determines our level of happiness.”

    Thank you. These are the exact words I have been looking for when people ask me how I can be so happy and always have a smile on my face when they know everything I’ve been through. You captured it perfectly 🙂

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