"You're always so happy."
I get that one a lot.
And I don't want to say it's not true.
But it's not true.
True, I do tend to be wildly optimistic.
True, I love a lot of things in life.
True, I'm enthusiastic and I love people and I love learning and laughing and all that stuff.
True, I'm very grateful for my life in all of it's context.
But it isn't true that I'm always happy.
When I was younger, hearing, "you're always so happy" actually stressed me out massively.
Because I felt like I had to put myself in the "happy box" and stay there.
Because it seemed like there were individuals in my life that, if I showed a less than happy side of myself, reacted negatively towards me. Like they became angry with me for not being "consistent."
Back then it seemed like being myself or showing my true feelings made me a "burden" and pushed people away.
So I just decided that I needed to be or at least pretend to be "always happy."
So, into the "happy box" I went.
But a box made of eggshells is not easy to move around in.
And it's very lonely in that little box.
Now I realize that it wasn't "my inconsistency" they would become angry with. Either they were just angry about other things or they were just angry with instability or "inconsistency" in general.
It had nothing to do with me.
And now when most people say the "you're always so happy" type things to me I know they are probably just saying it to say something.
Those kind of things no longer sting when people say them to me now.
They feel more like a breeze that ruffles through my hair. Kindly meant and pleasant in their passing.
But something similar to this was said to me recently and was a bit of a catalyst for my wanting to becoming more aware of and more comfortable with the natural and ever changing nature of the world and of the human beings we all are.
It also allowed me to see that maybe I, however unintentionally, still confine myself and others to "boxes."
So I'm now trying my best to not confine myself or others to a "box."
The optimist box.
The introvert box.
The funny box.
The intellectual box.
The mom box.
The dad box.
The friend box.
The nerdy box.
The sassy box.
And so on.
It is convenient and more realistic to use descriptors.
I'm not trying to say that using things to describe yourself to others or yourself is a bad thing.
But people are so many things, in so many varying degrees, at any given time.
Even if the changes and shifts are too subtle to notice, change is still happening.
But being ever changing doesn't mean being unstable.
The world revolves around the sun, on an axis, spinning all the time.
But I don't really notice a difference except for signs of it in the height of the tide or shape of the moon or time of day or the seasons and so on.
And those things are beautiful.
There is gravity and there is movement.
And so far it seems like they work together fabulously.
So it seems unfair of me to try to compartmentalize myself or others into "boxes."
I just found out it was a lot easier for me to be more forgiving of myself and others when I placed myself and others into a big empty space and allowed myself and others to be many things and ever changing rather than expect them or myself to adhere to predetermined behaviors based on what and who I presume myself or them to be.
"Being present" and "appreciating" things has become much easier.
And it's been really nice.
It's one thing to acknowledge and take into account instinct and intuition and quite another to fabricate a hypothetical world that eventually becomes hard to separate from reality.
There is a difference between trying to empathize and being presumptuous.
There is a difference between trying to truly understand and superimposing.
There is a difference between being hopeful and being naive.
I've been trying my best to realize that while I may have a "rich inner life"and I am pretty imaginative and whatnot I need to learn to separate it from my reality so I don't stress out so much.
It's both heartbreaking and liberating to realize one day that the world you created is just an illusory chalk drawing on a concrete sidewalk.
Maybe some things you thought and hoped had been real end up washing away.
But maybe all of the imaginary holes and empty spaces you thought you might fall through have washed away too.
And you are left looking down on solid grey stone.
No imaginary pitfalls in sight.
And you look up to find that you've just been standing there fretting over things that don't actually exist.
And the world is still spinning.
And you are still on solid ground.
And now is as good a time as any to set off on another adventure.