I was catching up with a friend at some chic cafe this week, and in-between questions about what color his new car was, and comparing how shitty our shitty apartments were, he asked me: “how are you?”
It wasn’t a casual, “oh I feel socially obligated to say hello to you,” “how are you.” It was a meaningful “how are you.” It was a phrase that truly yearned to know how I was doing after not seeing each other for a few months.
I might’ve lied a little and told him I was fine. I might’ve lied a lot and told him I was good.
I felt like I needed to defend my happiness, as if it were a point of pride. Why wouldn’t I be happy? I have a great job, I have a good living situation, I have great friends. What’s there to be unhappy about?
Truthfully, I’ve been in a bit of a rut for the last month or so. But I couldn’t bring myself to admit it. I had to defend my happiness like my honor. Life couldn’t be better. Everything is great. I’m rocking it. Work rocks. My friendships rock. My social world rocks. I rock. Right? Right?? Right.
Why do we do this? It just always seems harder to be honest with people. Even our closest friends might not always be interested in hearing about our bad dates, or drama at work, or our reoccurring acne that just won’t fucking go away.
It seems so much easier to lie — even to ourselves.
But unhappiness doesn’t go away, it just festers. Unless we are actively working to replace discontent with content, it will just build up and sap away our energy and enthusiasm for life. And that’s what’s happening to me.
I’m not sure what I need to fix. I know being in my hometown over the summer was exhausting, but I now have a house with my friends 100 miles away from there. I know that being surrounded by friends in serious relationships has frustrated me — but that’s not their fault — and breaking them up seems a little too evil (even for me). I know that my anxiety is resurfacing after a two-year remission and making me fearful about…well, everything — but there isn’t necessarily a silver bullet for that either.
But maybe the first step should be being honest about it.
Maybe I should stop hiding behind my passive-aggressive angsty exterior and have real conversations with people. Maybe I should be willing to admit that I am unhappy with some aspects of my life. Maybe that could be okay. Maybe that should be okay.
Being imperfect doesn’t make us inadequate. Being incomplete doesn’t make us invalid. But we can’t do anywhere if we don’t recognize what needs adjustments. We can’t change anything if we don’t admit our shortcomings. And we can’t become happier if we don’t acknowledge our unhappiness.