When a Smile is Needed

It’s the Thursday of Spring Break. Only a few more days of relative freedom. So why am I smiling, you ask? Because I NEED to smile. This week has been gray and largely low-feeling, especially at night. Not the best headspace for Spring Break. I’m off but everyone else is not. There are responsibilities that keep us at home and unable to drive to/stay out late with friends of an evening. Grading waits menacingly on my kitchen table like a sword of Damocles dangling over my head. So I NEED to smile today. I need to remember the good.

*My daughter in my floppy sunhat and her heart-shaped sunglasses ready for her “beach party” at preschool

*Kisses and “I love you’s” from my husband

*Unexpected, wonderful time with friends

*Reading, writing, and nap time in a quiet house

*Often-read Scripture verses touching my heart with new relevance and encouragement

*Rain pattering on my window panes and thunder growling and purring through the clouds

Today I need to remember the good. Today I need to smile. Today I need to choose the good, choose contentment. Today I need determination over motivation. Happiness is not just a happening today; today it needs to be a decision, a choice for me.

So here’s a smile. I hope it helps yours along, too, dear one.



The Tiredness of Happy

GenCon 2015 is over and I am now home, preparing to re-enter life as normal.

But last night! Oh, last night! I was “on” last night and determined to have as much fun as possible. I was bubbly, chatty, laughing, dancing, and just general energetic, especially after playing a fairly serious and controlled character in Werewolf for several hours. When we got back to our hotel in the wee hours of the morning, I found myself heaving a heavy sigh (not sad, just heavy) as we climbed into bed, saying to my husband, “No wonder I was always so tired after game.”

He nodded. “It takes a lot of energy to be ‘on’ for a long period of time.”

“Yeah. Being happy makes you tired.”

What I mean by this is: allowing yourself to be happy and energetic can really take it out of you. We, as human beings, are often trained to temper our energy, our happiness, and our joy. We are taught, and we tell others, to “calm down”, “rein it in”, etc. So much so that, when we do allow ourselves to expend that happy energy, we can sometimes be a bit out of practice and quite winded afterward. As I think about last night, watching a friend pelt around the LARP room after a tennis ball that was the absolute center of his character’s happiness only to comment, “I need to sit down, I’m tired”, I really do think it’s true. It takes energy to be happy because, I believe, when we expend the energy to be happy, we are not only spending that energy ourselves. We are giving and gifting that energy to other people. We are sharing our smiles, our laughter, our happiness, our energy with them.

I have been approaching happiness lately as something that is a choice rather than merely a feeling. I can choose to be content with my lot in life while still keeping my dreams. I can choose to let the small things roll off and not make anthills into mountains. I can choose to find the beauty in the ordinary. I can choose to share as much encouragement and edification with the world as I possibly can. I am choosing to share as much positivity, light, and love with the world as I possibly can.

But, yes, the active expulsion of the energy that it takes to be happy can leave us tired but ultimately satisfied. I had several goals for myself this weekend, the main of which was to allow myself to be happy, bold, and have fun. I am glad to say that I accomplished that goal, and I hope that I gave some of that energy to other people. I pulled people along in my happy (and was pulled along in my turn) to dance, laugh, and be silly. Today, my legs ache, but I walked over nine or ten miles over the past two and a half days and saw lots of friends and interesting strangers, which is awesome! This morning, I still had a slight headache from the music last night, but I got to do the cha-cha slide with some awesome folks, and getting up early meant that I got to spend some nice pre-departure time with others. My muscles ache from laughing and running and dancing, but I was able to share those full belly laughs, those joyous runs down the hall, and dancing just because it felt good to move. And that was definitely worth going to bed tired. It will always be worth going to bed tired.

The Beatific Smile of Melody

A friend recently asked me what makes me happy, what always brings a smile to my face. The first thing that popped into the forefront of my mind was music. Music has always made me happy. I once said, in answer to a question, that I would rather suddenly blind than deaf because I cannot imagine a world without music.

Music taps into my emotional core. Like movies, I do not listen to music, I inhabit it. Lyrics strike my heart, make it warm or break, make me smile and cry. Stories write themselves around the lyrics, memories thread their way through the melody, hopes for the future flow over the bridge. Music impacts me the way that few other mediums do.  I hear my thoughts, my fears, my life, my self reflected in music. It can express me better than I ever could, but a soundtrack of me would take forever to compose, I think. I obviously don’t know a song’s impact until I heard it/read the lyrics, but, when the moment is gone, I might forget it for a while.  Then I will randomly hear it again and be flush with those emotions once more.

Music makes me giggle and blush, dance and cry. It makes my heart soar and my stomach crash. But, more often than not, music makes me smile. Whether I’m singing it, playing it on the piano or flute, or listening on the radio or my iPhone, music is melodic joy to me. It speaks my heart, stories my life, and I love it.

Quasi-Daily Writing: February 16, 2012 – Another Apple, Another Point of Bliss

So I guess I really am an apple-for-the-teacher kind of girl. I made myself as cute as can be to the cafeteria ladies today to beg an apple from the service container waiting for the 6th graders after I finished 7th grade lunch duty (why DO the youngest children eat last, I wonder?). I bit into it and that cold sweetness burst in my mouth, causing a dumb grin on my face, I just know it. There’s something about a sweet, chilled apple that just makes me happy and relaxed and cool and…ahhhhh!

And I needed that moment today. It’s not been a particularly difficult one, just busy and tiring and worrisome. All I want to do is crawl back into bed and sleep away the rest of the day. It may be the grey skies, it may be the rain, but something is pulling me down, trying to curl around me and keep me there with it. Hopefully, it won’t.