Posted by: canaryinacoalmine | August 7, 2007


When someone takes a look at my life and tells me I should be happy with my life, I start trying to measure it with a ruler.  When the Ladies and I are sitting pool side sharing stories or making fun of the drunkards who hit on all of us the night before, we roar with laughter.  Is that happy?  My cat, Jo, is sitting on my lap, her purrr rumbles through me and I sigh, that’s happy, surely.   I buy my groceries at Whole Foods and share small talk with the girl whose left arm is a sleeve of tattoos.  She has five, no eight earrings in her right ear and three in her left.  Her blue eyes sparkle with a sense of peace and her perky, yet not overly anxious smile is soothing.  But, is she happy?


Self-interrogation is dangerous.  Your inner voice announces the obvious, “You don’t realize how happy you are until it’s gone,” as though it’s something you need to regularly keep an eye out for, thus making you feel worse than you already did.  But you are not to blame.  Happiness does not fall naturally like rain from the sky.  It can trickle away silently, evaporating over months and years until one day you feel a sense of hollowness. Or it fades away all at once due to a mistepped night leaving you stranded for months on end and unable to push through the darkness.  You glance around and despite all your glorious and grandiose successes, you have nothing – you feel nothing. And you certainly don’t feel happy.


The good and unreported news that is rarely circulated news, outside of therapists and prescription drugs, is that you can find happiness again. It’s not something that trails away in the breeze like a balloon floating away in the sky.  Finding happiness and realizing you are standing dead center in the heat of its light may be a bit of a trek that’s well worth the adventure.  I’m full proof of that.  I’ve discovered what people are really like and seen the chasms down below.  I’ve sat with my dark side the public rarely sees; questioning it, cautioning it and fighting myself from within.  I spent months wanting to phrase letters to loved one’s correctly then deleted them entirely; month, after month, after month because I was trapped in sheer pain inside the confines of a memory.


After a brief hiatus, I did find happiness again; I was able to laugh uncontrollably and surprised myself at the joy of hearing my external laugh.  I was able to get back to me, a stronger, leaner, tougher version of me that could take it or leave it.  That’s what I tell myself anyway, when the truth of the past and times spent “walking in the rain” cause tears to swell in my eyes at certain songs or flashbacks of memories. I wonder about those I’ve left behind and the stories I’ve missed out on.  I wonder. I do. At least now, I’m able to do it with a smile to wipe away the tears.  At least now I’m happy.


I miss you.  


  1. Happiness. Difficult to define. Takes true introspection to realize you are. Takes true introspection to realize you aren’t. It took me 40+ years to realize I was chasing it. Hence, the book title.

  2. That’s beautifully written!

    I think happiness for me is my puppy resting his chin on my knee and looking up with me with those big soulful brown eyes until I rub his wrikled face. He thanks me closing his eyes and licking my hand. Content.

    Actually if that is all happiness is for me, that’s kind of sad. Maybe I’m not happy either. Actually, I know that to be true.

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