When I first started making decisions about figuring my shit out, I kept sayin, “I just want to be happy. I’m sick of feeling like shit, I just want to be happy”.
Simple enough: ok, be happy.
Didn’t work. Shocking, I know.
Here’s the thing, you can’t BE happy. Happiness isn’t a state of being, it’s the result of an action. Things make you happy: outcomes, rewards, vibes from people, rocky road ice cream…things. You receive happiness, it doesn’t live inside of you. It’s fleeting, moment to moment, person to person, there one second and gone the next.
Yeah, it took 40 years to learn that. I’m a stubborn ol mule.
I spent decades getting my happiness from outside sources. Filling that hole with anything could...and it work cuz I was clueless to the fact that it wasn’t real.
When we look outside of ourselves for happiness, it can get toxic because we’re constantly feeding the beast and chasing happy. Whether that be relationships, alcohol, shopping or some of the fun sins...we’re basing how we feel inside our own body, on someone or something else that is outside of our control. Something that could be taken away at any moment.
So if we’re not searching for happiness because happy can’t live inside of us, what are we searching for? I’m glad you fuckin asked.
We are searching for wholeness.
I hate to be the one to break it to you but, you can’t positivity your way there. I know, I’ve tried. Now, that’s to not say that doesn’t work for some people, but I ain’t it. Pollyanna life coaches be damned, I spent years feeding into the 'just force it', camp. If I could just get my shit together in the morning... note to self: become a morning person. If I could just take stock of and be grateful for everything that I have. If I just bought every fucking journal known to man. Routine routine routine. But nothing stuck. For me...that’s all step two.
Step one? Step one sucks donkey balls. Step one, is loving yourself.
When’s the last time you went on a calm stroll through the forest or along the beach, alone in silence, no people, no phone, no music, just you, your inner voice and the sounds of Mother Nature?
If you’re like me before I started this...it’s been a muthafuckin second. I haven’t listened to my inner voice in 20+ years with the exception of ‘keep child alive’ and ‘turn off the fuckin oven’. I was blind to the fact I wasn’t even running this show.
Autopilot had taken over.
You coming back inside of yourself is turning off your autopilot, forcibly if need be and learning about what actually makes you whole..what makes you, you. When Kazidy ventured out into the world alone, I was lost. I had spent my entire adult life making decisions for one person and one person only, her. I could be the world's best drummer and we wouldn’t fuckin know...what single mom you know has time or money from drum lessons? Exactly. I was constantly working, hustling, figuring out ways to keep our heads above water, all while dealing with relationships and family, commitments and choir programs to the point I barely had time to sleep--like literally every single parent out there.
Now, add in that on my “off hours” from mom duty, I was dealing with some heavy trauma in all the worst ways possible. Filling my happy hole, if you will.
If I couldn’t deal with the pain of losing someone? Call a “go-to” and get laid. Couldn’t deal with being unloveable? Pour another drink. Being so lonely inside of myself and hating my own company? Call up the ride or die and see what kind of trouble the Terror Twins could drum up. Just a bunch of distracting bullshit so I didn't have to feel the pain.
Chris had come along and begun to heal my heart, I had quit drinking and the hoe days we’re in the rear view...but I had him and our relationship to focus on. It wasn’t until Kaz left home that I was faced with the deafening silence of not knowing who the fuck I was without her.
So, I googled “how to love yourself”. I know, right? Pathetic. That’s like when Luke bought that self help book and wouldn’t let Andrew see the title so he just threw money at him and ran out? No Gilmore girls fans? Whatever.
Anyway, at my self confidence rock bottom...I found a bunch of bullshit. And I tried it all—except Gwyneth Paltrow's ‘look at your vagina’ shit. No thanks Gwenny, I’ve seen her plenty, we had a good time. But in my research, as fast as my little (not so little) fingers could clickity clack on the keys, I found a few things that I was able to make work.
Hold on to your panties, you ain’t gonna like this.
|| Accept that perfect doesn’t exist. Normal doesn’t exist. I once joked that I was the second best air trumpeter in the world on a podcast and the host was like, who’s number 1? I told her I was joking, she wanted to know why I would pick 2nd. “Because if your're #1, there’s nowhere to go but down. Number 2 provides possibilities. Perfect is bullshit. Normal is fake.
|| This is gonna sting—you are where you’re at because you want to be. Period. Point blank. Fight me. You can’t pay your bills because of you. You got some deadbeat dude when you can do bad all by yourself, yep you. You can’t keep a job cuz you got a fuckin attitude, again, you. It was a hard pill to swallow once I started really peeling back the bullshit and realized I ran this ship into the shore, nobody else helped. I made every fuckin decision that got me to where I was. I put up with peoples shit. I paid for a few rounds of shots when I could have put that toward my debt, I taught people how to treat me by treating myself like shit. Take some ownership, accept it and move the fuck on. What’s done is done. Know better, do better.
|| Do it scared. I have butterfly’s before every therapy session. Why? Because talking to people, admitting my truths, my sins, my pain...it’s out of my comfort zone. I don’t like it. Vulnerability scares me. Ok, so, do it scared. Gives yourself permission to do shit scared. Whatever it is. You won’t die. Just do it.
|| I literally hate myself for saying this but, find your purpose. Not like your “purpose” but like, why you do the things that you do. What are you filling yourself with? Shopping make you feel good? Got a closet full of clothes with tags still on them? Ok...why? Does that actually make you feel whole? Are you a designer or a collector? Then why do you need so much? Ok...why? Ok...why? Ok...but why? Ask that over and over again until you drill down to the fuckin marrow of the bone of the arm that’s holding the hanger of that new shirt you just had to have. It’s not about the shirt, the guy, the job, the hobby, the family, etc...there’s always something deeper, you gotta dig. What’s driving you? Hint, if the answer isn’t immediately “me”, you got work to do.
|| You have to be willing to “fail”; fall flat on your face, and be embarrassed as fuck. I had a salon grand opening one time, nobody showed. Chris and my mom, but that’s it. It crushed me and honestly, looking back it was the straw that broke the camels back in my confidence downfall. But then I realized two things A)that their absence said more about the people in my life than it did about me, and B)I didn’t fail. I built something and kept it alive for 3 years before moving to Michigan. I was featured in local papers and prominent blogs. I learned marketing and branding. I honed my craft and was really fuckin good at it. Failure is never a failure. You never start at zero because at minimum, you have the lesson you learned or the education you got. Nobody can take that from you.
|| Live in the second you’re in. Listen to me, you could die in your sleep tonight and you wasted those hours before bed worried about somethin you didn’t even get a chance to get to. Think about that for a second.
It all sounds so easy as I’m writing this out, but when you’re in the darkest corner of yourself, you can’t even see that you’re locked up.
Know better. Do better.
And thats how you fill yourself back up. Thats the only way to “be happy”.
When’s the last time you checked in with yourself? Asked yourself how you were feeling? Asked yourself what YOU need?