12/31/2014 04:07 pm ET Updated Mar 02, 2015

Hollywood Happy

I've always been an emotional person. I can range from 1 to 50 and back again in the span of only minutes. Yes, I've gotten better at self-regulating my thoughts/feelings/emotions as I've gotten older, but I'm often still whizzing up and down at warp speed. And a lot of people still know what I'm thinking and feeling (I'd make a crappy poker player). That's fine. Thankfully I've gotten better about playing things close to the chest, but such swift and widespread variances in emotion still catch me by surprise.

This morning, like a lot of mornings, I found myself awake well before my alarm. Like, more than an hour before my alarm. Which is fine. Like I said, this isn't atypical. I'm used to it. I've fought insomnia a lot of my life. What does shock me is when I wake up crying. While always an emotional person, waking up crying is out of character. These circumstances typically fall after days where nothing goes right and nothing feels right. As I've been known to say to friends over any given amount of time, "I'm feeling all the feels." I'm fine with that, but only when it doesn't relate to me.

I don't know why I'm so averse to feeling big emotions for myself. This is something that most people celebrate. And I like to think that maybe feeling the feelings is a plus in the win column of life, but on the other hand I always feel under attack. Under attack from my own mind.

I've had several friends who've said things along the lines of, "happy is subjective." And I get that and agree. Completely. I'm not looking for some Hollywood-ized version of happy. After all, once you attain Hollywood happy you are then honor-bound to maintain it and, frankly, that sounds a hell of a lot more exhausting than being sad or in pain all the time because once you're happy you can't be not happy. And who really wants to spend that kind of time and energy being unhappily happy?

I am fine with being a little moody. I am fine with being a little sad. I'm fine with being a little happy. What I'd like is, for those days when I'm more than just a little sad, to feel not so sad. To not feel so maniacally happy when I'm happy. To not feel like the world is crashing down around me when something goes awry. And yes, sometimes my world may be crashing down around me. It's times like these that panic, mania and sadness may be warranted. That's life. But to feel so... bereft. So adrift. I want to not have to worry. I want to not have to feel. But I do want to feel. I have so much to feel that's good.

My friends are right. Happy is subjective, but I'm having a tough time figuring out what my happy is. I know there are things I enjoy, but I don't know that when I'm enjoying them I'm necessarily "happy." Spending time with friends? Sure, I enjoy that. They're good for me. On so many levels. But am I truly "happy" when I'm with them?

Over-caffeinated? Sure. Over chocolate-d (yes, I made that word up)? Probably. Smiling and laughing? Why not. But there's this false understanding in today's world that all those things are unequivocally and wholly happy. But they aren't necessarily. Are they?

I feel like I'm only half living life. There are the things that I enjoy, but ultimately I'm so upset on the inside that it puts a pall over the whole affair. And -- mostly -- why can't I stop thinking about the bad things when I'm doing good things? Why, this week, when I'm chatting with friends, why can't I be not sad? Why can't I be good when I'm talking with/texting with/whatevering with the people that seemingly get me most? This shit is infuriating as well as saddening. And I guess I would rather that than sad. But it all just fucking sucks.


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