Saturday, February 9, 2013

"I Just Want You to Be Happy" and Other Things People Should Stop Saying

Feeling Faces Chart

The other day I was having a conversation with a good male friend who asked if I'd tried online dating yet.  Backstory: I had previously mentioned I might try it this year, but when that little tax cut came to an end and I saw a decrease in my paycheck, I decided that online dating sites was not in my budget.  Therefore, at this point I am not currently putting in any effort into dating or romance.  On top of that, my responsibilities at work are in the process of changing and we are understaffed, which means I'm doing the equivalent of about two and half people's workload.  Oh, and on top of that, I am taking a class that requires research, interviewing, transcription, and many hours of writing. And I'm taking care of myself - mind, body and spirit.  So...I'm kind of busy.

I get along with a lot of people.  I wouldn't say that I have a lot of close friends, but I have a lot of friends.  Many of my friends are men, and I'm the kind of person who stays friends with the people I've dated in the past, so there's that element that sometimes gets into my relationship dynamics.  I am also friends with men who are married.  Some of those men are unhappy and are pretty vocal to me about their unhappy marriages.  (Now, I know what you're thinking.  And no, you're wrong.  The minute a man talks to me about his unhappy marriage, I ask him what his responsibility is in making the marriage work. I'm not stupid.)

Let me tell you a little about me.  I'm spiritual.  I have two degrees and working on a third.  I'm curvy and working on getting rid of the chunky parts.  I'm one of the healthiest people in my family's history.  I speak two languages and understand a couple more.  I'm pretty smart.  I can cook (I mean, I can throw down in the kitchen, pretty much).  I write.  I can hold a note.  I can shake what my momma gave me.  I laugh a lot and I have a lot of laughs.  I smile practically all day, every day.  I'm a human being, I make mistakes and I own up to them.  So...what's missing?

My male friends acknowledge these things about me, and sometimes, dare I say it?  The married ones wish their wives had some of my qualities.  And they wonder, out loud, why I am single.  This is usually how the conversation goes:

Guy: Why are you single?
Me: I don't know.  I haven't met anyone who wants to commit.
Guy: Well, have you tried...
  1. Online dating?
  2. Taking up a hobby?
  3. Going out to bars?
  4. Church?
  5. Dating me? (Yep, some of the married ones have tried this.  I don't talk to them much anymore.)
  1. Yes (kind of).
  2. Ain't nobody got time for that!
  3. No, unless I want to get shot.
  4. Haha that's one of the worst places.
  5. Sure, I'll go out with you as long as your wife comes along.
Guy: But I just want you to be happy.

PAUSE. Take a look at the third paragraph.  The one about me.  Again, I don't claim to be perfect.  However, I do have some great qualities and I'm usually smiling and laughing.  That's usually a sign that a person is happy.  The statement "I just want you to be happy", in my case, implies two things:
  1. A woman can't be happy without a man.
  2. I'm not happy.
And here's where the fallacy about happiness gets axed: Happiness is an emotion, like any other.  Happy, sad, confused, tired, excited, etc. are temporary emotions that NO ONE experiences all the time (unless you suffer from clinical depression, and even then, those emotions are more complex than sadness).  If we were happy all the time, we would take that emotion for granted.  So, am I happy all the time?  No.  But do I lack happiness because I don't have a man in my life on a consistent basis?  Not at all.  Would I be happier with a man in my life?  Maybe some days, but I'm pretty sure that for at least one week out of the month I would feel homicidal.  

I'm grateful for the people I have in my life.  I'm grateful that when I eat what I cook, sometimes I say I want to marry myself.  I'm grateful for my curves, my pretty hair, my expressive eyes, and basically my overall awesomeness.  I'm grateful for my heart, which fights to stay open because it understands that love comes with the risk of pain but it also comes with the possibility of overwhelming love. So I'm grateful.  

Since when is a grateful person not happy?

I promise you, my friends who just want me to be happy, that I am happy, most of the time.  And when my life partner decides to walk the rest of this journey with me, he's not going to be the period - the validation that I have done all I could to be perfect enough to deserve a good man.  No, he's going to be a human being, just like me, with great qualities and a beautiful heart.  And we will walk this journey together - happy, sad, excited, confused, hurt, angry, bitter, and happy again...but together.