The one thing I’ve learnt in the past month or so is how easy it is to learn how to be happy.
It’s something I’ve always been weary of- showing emotion other than happiness, especially around people I’m not close with. Sadness is a weakness, crying is not likeable, showing vulnerability isn’t how I was brought up.
When I was 16 years old my first boyfriend ever decided to break up with me, I saw it coming- we were too young and too silly to carry on much longer. Before I went to go see him for the last time, the end of his affection darkening my sunny doorstep, my very independent, brilliant mother stared into my eyes and told me that under no circumstances was this boy allowed to see me cry.
“You walk away Harriet, you keep your head up and you accept it with grace. Don’t you dare let him see you cry.”
I took her advice, I cried in the car- dented heart and bruised ego trailing behind me.
It was the start of an era- I remained steadfast and stoic until 18 when my heart was smashed into fragments by someone who didn’t deserve it and I went a little nuts. I cried into the phone, I begged him to reconsider his lack of affection, I stayed in bed for a week in a state of decline, I stopped eating. I tried to squeeze myself into every single mould he wanted me to fit into until I gave up and broke down the box he tried to keep me in.
Since then I take my mother’s advice. I cry when it’s necessary, when I can’t hold it in any longer. Sometimes I slip up and I’m forced to peel myself off the floor- I’ll scoop myself together bucket by bucket, piece by piece until I’m a little less misshapen. It’s a routine I have become adept at and the last time I left a piece of myself behind it’s because I gave it away freely, I desperately wanted him to hold it close and keep it safe.
Since the removal of this vital piece I’ve learnt how to cope. I get up in the morning, I read books that make me think and spend afternoons drinking coffee in soft shorts and messy buns.
Grasping happiness is easier in soft shorts and messy buns, grasping happiness is also easier when it’s dependent solely on myself.
I could cry into the phone, I could stop eating and get drunk and kiss strangers- trying to find some comfort in their empty sentences. But I think it would end in too many pieces of me being stolen by too many careless people.
I’ve learnt how to be happy. I’ve learnt how to tightly hold each delicate piece of me together, I’ve learnt how to be whole.