“I have always felt an innate sense that everything will be ok.” A friend of mine said this to me last night and it hit me rather hard – there are people out there who have this gift. They have the sense, the deep sense at the core of their being that everything is ok. I heard these words from my friend and it makes me really happy for her, that she has lived like this her whole life.
This has not been my experience. I can’t even comprehend it. I can’t wrap my mind around what it would be like to have grown up and to have lived with this sense of security. I have to work at it. Every now and then I get glimpses of it. But for the most part I have to work at it. I wake up many mornings with a feeling of dread or of sadness or of self-loathing. Much of my morning is spent cheering myself up doing things that make me happy. I put a lot of energy into trying to make myself happy.
Our culture is so obsessed with ‘happy.” We are always supposed to be happy. We are always supposed to be positive. I feel guilty for posting Facebook updates that are not “positive” sometimes because I don’t want to offend others with my attitude.
Last week I picked up This Is How by Augusten Burroughs. It is a self-help book unlike any others. The first chapter is called, “How To Feel Like Shit” and the first sentence of the chapter is “Wipe that fucking smile off your face.” I love this book. I actually believe it is very zen. It is zen because he says that we should not deny ourselves the feelings that we feel. If we feel like shit we should let ourselves feel like shit. We should look at ourselves in the mirror and tell ourselves that we feel like shit and we should examine why. We should not look at ourselves and pretend we are feeling something that we are not. I like this. I don’t think we should wallow in it, personally. I think it’s good to move on at some point. But it’s good to face your demons. How are you going to exorcise them if you pretend like they aren’t there?
All of this being said, I have to say that despite my feelings to the contrary, things usually do turn out ok. Things turn out pretty excellent in fact and when I think about all of the excellent things in my life it makes me happy.It this tried and true experience that helps me and that keeps me going.