I choose happy, it feels better

Someone recently told me they were surprised to find out that when I first moved to Maine that I absolutely hated it. I was surprised that this person didn’t know that I actually hated Maine, hell I still have days when I am ambivalent about this place. Let’s be honest, Maine is many things, but for a Black woman from Chicago who is actually pretty fond of Black folks, this can be a challenging place. Sure, the state has changed in my decade here, I no longer go days without seeing another person of color, my life is fairly settled, all reasons to have a better attitude, but what really changed is me.

A number of years ago I was faced with a decision, I could either walk around with my half empty, cynical perspective about life which only fuels my anxiety or I could let shit go. I reached the point in my life where the amount of energy it takes to get fired up about every injustice is simply more than I can afford.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have setbacks. I still have moments when I get caught up, generally after talking with someone or reading something that reminds me of how fucked up this world can be and all of a sudden, I see nothing but sorrow and pain. Then I am riding the life is shitty roller coaster, trying to figure out how to get off. I don’t presume to speak for others, but that roller coaster is one of the worse rides at the amusement park of life. I would much rather ride the carousel of joy, that finds peace and joy in the midst of storms. On the carousel of joy, I can see the bad stuff, but I also see the good stuff.

For me giving into the anger and frustration long term creates a less than mindful me that finds myself acting up in ways that I am not proud of. I admit this post is a tad more woo woo than usual and probably more for myself than anyone else. Yet as I read this piece over at the Purpose Fairy this morning, I was reminded of the value of seeking joy. In a recent post I did on “us versus them” I heard some feedback that left me feeling uneasy, I momentarily felt bad that I wasn’t angry enough at the powers to be that are no doubt trying to oppress people. As someone whose first political action happened at 17, I have always been keenly aware of how fucked up our political system is. In the 22 years since I first got involved, the system has only gotten worse and I wish I could say I felt things are going to get better. I just know that for me, anger doesn’t serve me well anymore. I think anger isn’t serving anyone well, angry people become scared people and scared, angry people do irrational things.

In the end, while there is a lot we can and can’t do; how we choose to view or react to any given situation is often within our control.

8 thoughts on “I choose happy, it feels better”

    • I think living in small towns or less urban diverse areas makes us change ourselves on some level or else we snap. I am not kidding when I say the first two years I was out here, I was nothing nice.

  1. I’ve been weighing in on whether or not to reply because this post felt very personally directed given that it referenced my comments. And well, it kind of hurt because it was taken out of context. For me, I was talking about that spur of the moment anger, not a constant state.

    But your post was sobering and did get me thinking.

    Anyway, one of the journeys that I’ve been on in the last year is letting go of anger and choosing to be happy. I realized that talking about and focusing on racism or any issue to the exclusion of good things is not going to get me anywhere. Because while the folks who are doing wrong/oppressing are living it up in their own happy village, I’m sinking myself further. On that we agree.


    • Oh no. It wasn’t directed at you at all. 🙁 More about a line of conversations that happened off the blog that was inspired by that post.

  2. Totally feeling this post. I kind of made the decision today myself to let things go. It’s not easy, and I’m only about 4 hours in, but, I’m trying and at least I’m aware of the fact that being angry, or trying to change things/people that haven’t ever changed isn’t hurting anyone but me. And my daughter. That part was sobering, and now, I’m willing to do the work. You’re right, I think it will feel better.

    • Baby steps as I say! It takes time, this process started several years ago for me and only now can I even articulate it. Be gentle with yourself.

  3. (((Hugs))) Miss you lady! It’s all a journey, you will get where you need to be when you need to be there.

  4. “I just know that for me, anger doesn’t serve me well anymore. I think anger isn’t serving anyone well, angry people become scared people and scared, angry people do irrational things.” Yes, so much this. Anger only gets me down, into the dark pit from which I can’t see light, hope, or joy. So I have to be very careful to temper my anger, to focus on hope & joy. It’s one of the reasons you haven’t been seeing me on “The Twitter”, even tho I miss you and a few of our common friends enormously.

    This is a timely post for me for many reasons. I’ve been trying to figure out where to settle, here in NC, somewhere else? I woke up this morning missing Oregon so much I was crying. I need to figure out how to reconcile my needs with my husband’s, and choose happy.


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