The saddest question I’ve heard in a while

“How is it that you’re so happy?  You GLOW!???”

Well since I don’t have that “glow” that one might associate with the stereotypical pregnant person, being as I’m not pregnant, my response at the time was simply, “I don’t diet and I love my life.”

After thinking for a while though and asking myself that sad sort of question over and over, I think it is more than that.  The puzzling and slightly jealously-toned comment came after a wedding this past weekend where I was with the hubby kicking it up on the dance floor, despite the fact that we were the only ones up there while others were hesitating, waiting for some sort of “the dance floor is now open” announcement or something.  We didn’t hesitate for long, we jumped right in.  And the person who commented above seemed impressed at our gusto for life.  She wanted, needed, an explanation; some sort of secret tip to bring her own life to that level of fun and happy abandon. Since happiness is such a personal thing, I don’t think I would ever have a great answer for her.

I smile.  A lot.  Especially when I’m in a comfy outfit (check), when I’m with people that make me happy (check) and when I get to dance (double-check!)  I’m also a bit of a lover of attention so I am not as shy as I used to be about getting up and dancing like it just don’t matter.  There is nothing like taking belly-dance and dancing at recitals and shows for years to up your self confidence and desire for self expression.

But aside from all of that, one of the huge factors in my incredibly high level of happiness:  sheer dumb luck.  Yes, finding the FA movement and learning to love myself for who I am and what I can do has been a part of my current level of happiness.  My newly invigorated set of life-activities list (dancing again, swimming, trumpet practices, Master’s degree classes, part time and full time job and newly renewed interest in attending church and community functions) has also added immeasurably to this joy and gusto for enjoying every moment.  But on top of it all is that serendipity, that roll of the dice, that crap-shoot, chancy, luck of the draw part of life that has meant that I am healthy, well enough off (well, at least with the 2nd job now) to enjoy some leisure activities I enjoy and married to an amazing man who shares my interests and loves me deeply.  Much of what I appreciate in life right now is due to my own hard work and determination.  But the rest is just the frustratingly un-equal shake of luck that has come my way.  I am blessed and I know it.

Perhaps it is my own feeling that I am blessed and my self-acceptance and love for life that gives me this happy “glow”.  Maybe it is knowing that even though some days may be cruddy; even if the weather gives me a headache or the stress at work makes me want to scream; even when money is tight and everyone I know is sick or worried, there is so much to still be thankful for and appreciate every day.  From the health I have most days, to the things my wonderfully round body can accomplish to the love I’ve found, life has found many ways to bless me. I smile and radiate happiness because I am alive, and I know it.

Life isn’t always peachy-keen.  Money has been much tighter, love has been on a far rockier path, I’ve done more than my fair-share of self-loathing and dieting and lady-luck has seen fit to spread her fortune to others before me many times before.  And yet I still smile, and always have.  When I was 5 years old and on the bus to school a much older kid sneeringly asked me, “Why are you always SMILING?!?”  Well you know what, I didn’t really have an answer then and I’m not sure I fully understand it now.  Even when things are bad, I am one of those people who sees the silver lining; who can look forward to better times and hold that lighter and brighter time as a guard against the darker ones.

Perhaps you’d say I’m just too naive to appreciate the severity of the situation.  Maybe I am ignoring reality by focusing on the good in my life, the things I am thankful for, rather than pulling myself into despair by concentrating on the bad.  But you know what?  Neither of those is true.  I can fully appreciate the state of the world today and I can even complain about the bad things that happen to me personally and to the world as a whole.  Yet despite it all, I do not hesitate. I dance no matter who is or isn’t watching.  I smile for my own pleasure.  Not because I have to, but because I can.  I am blessed and I am thankful, every day.

What sort of things do you appreciate every day?  Is it the sight of a sunny, cloudless sky that makes you feel alive?  Does the feel of the wind on your face make you smile?  Do those little finger paintings on the fridge make you grin? What small or large blessings has luck passed your way that make life worth living?  Has size-acceptance finally given you the permission to love your life as well?  Perhaps today, in the gloom of rain and pending snow here where I live, is the perfect day to take a moment and recognize (even if just in your mind) all the reasons that you are thankful to be alive and be who YOU are, just AS you are. You are remarkable; believe it and smile (even if just on the inside for now).

Being thankful doesn’t just happen at the end of November in the guise of a questionably formed holiday (which I still love because mashed potatoes with gravy and family gatherings should be a more regular part of life).  It happens everyday we are alive to take another breath.  I am alive.  I am amazing.  I am lucky in so many small ways.  And for that, I smile, I glow and I am happy.

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5 thoughts on “The saddest question I’ve heard in a while

  1. I’m smiling today because I had grits for breakfast which are still warming me from the inside.

    I’m smiling today because I’ve taken a long, brisk walk on a cool morning.

    I’m smiling today because my cat is warm and cuddly and loving and hasn’t yet developed the opposable thumbs that would allow him to take over the universe.

    I’m smiling today because tonight I’ll get to hear my beloved sing.

    I’m smiling today because I can’t wait for the chorus I’m in to meet on thursday night.

    I’m smiling today because I got asked to sing some backup tracks on a friend’s album…one that she’s flying professional musicians out from Nashville to play on! I get to sing against people who’ve been in the business since they were smaller than their guitars!

    I’m smiling today because I’m going to bake cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes, mmmmm.

    I’m smiling today because I get paid to write. It may not bring in much money, but I can say I’m a writer, and I’ve dreamed of that most of my life. How many people get to live their dreams that way?

    I’m smiling today because even though money is tight and a lot of things in the world are shaky, I’m still surrounded by wonderful, intelligent, talented people who smile when they look my way. Having that kind of love in my life is something to make every day Thanksgiving.

  2. “I’m smiling today because my cat is warm and cuddly and loving and hasn’t yet developed the opposable thumbs that would allow him to take over the universe.”

    Heaven help us if any feline develops the oft-coveted opposable thumb technology ;) I love your reasons to smile Twistie!

  3. I’m smiling today because it’s 61 and sunny even though this is central Maine in late October.

    I’m smiling because I am drinking my favorite soda: Diet Sierra Mist with cranberry. Mmmmm.

    I’m smiling because I get to see friends and family this weekend, even if it’s ten hours one way to get there.

    I’m smiling because I woke up this morning, alive and healthy. I try to keep my attention on little things like that. Soft bed, food in the kitchen, roof over my head, and a car that starts.

  4. Thanks for a wonderful, positive, joyful, life-affirming post. It is so needed & such a refreshing change from the gloom & doom we are hearing & reading most places.

    I am also in central Maine & I too smiled for those wonderful hours of gorgeous Indian summer sun yesterday. I smile for the leaves to crunch under my feet. I smile for the scent of woodsmoke in the air. I smile at all the fun & colorful Halloween decorations I see while out walking. I smile for the hours of playing with my three-year-old granddaughter & the prospect of trick-or-treating with her on Friday, for the hours of fun, conversation, & cooking with her & her daddy.

    I smile for chocolate, for cheese, for Irish breakfast tea, for soups & pizza & burgers & apple cider. I smile for good books to read. I smile for Net friends to send me supportive, interesting, fun & often uplifting emails & for blogs such as this providing wonderful posts when I do need a boost & a reminder about all that is good.

    And I smile for a wonderful, sexy, funny, if overworked & sometimes impossibly complicated man who loves me.

  5. It is so awesome to read what makes others smile! I can’t believe I forgot to add cheese to my own post; but let it henceforth be known that cheese makes me smile too! :)

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