Happy Pills

The 20s are all about finding your own happiness. Happiness doesn't always look the same for each and every one of us. What makes you happy may not necessarily satisfy someone else. Every person defines happiness in a way that's unique to them. Happiness can mean time spent with loved ones, achieving success, or just catching the latest episode of your favorite show. People are complicated, let them be so. Happiness comes and goes, sometimes you choose to be happy, and other times you just can't. What happens if you're happy all the time? Is it possible to be genuine with it or are you just on those happy pills?

Through so many social indoctrinations do we come to understand our society and the way we're supposed to act. In my college years I've learned to question and challenge those ideals. One of the biggest ones is how people express themselves, especially their happiness. The way people show that their having a good time, that their okay, and that their generally enjoying life is in their body language and their faces. People are supposed to smile, have a twinkle in their eye, and grin everything you look at them. If you're not doing those things, even for one second, people assume you're sad, angry, or troubled. No, just no. Just because I'm not smiling doesn't mean I'm not happy. That's not an insight into me but rather reflection of your insecurity in how someone else may or may not feel about you. If someone asks me if I'm okay and I say I'm all good (and we have a meaningful relationship) that should be the end of it. I understand what energy looks like and how powerful smiling can be but sometimes it's not necessary. You don't always have to be checking for other people. Worry about your own and let others be. And even though you ask someone how they're doing doesn't mean you're entitled to hear the truth of their answer, a real connection is necessary. I don't need to be happy for anyone other than myself. I'm all set, let me do me. You don't have to be happy all the time. I personally question some of the realness when I always see people happy. That's good for you and all, but is that actually you? I want to see some range of emotion. It's not that people aren't deep but I want to see more of who you are. I refuse to fake smile, if it's not real I'm not about it. There's a time and place for it, and it can have a positive impact but other times it's just not a good look.

Introverts get a bad rap for so many reasons. Society values those who are perceived as outgoing, courageous, and engaging. It's very possible to be both socially inept and introverted as the same time (*points to self). Whenever I tell people about it they're mindblown and vehemently deny it. I'm pretty sure I know myself. Being an introvert doesn't mean you're necessarily shy, don't like people, or cannot be social. All it means is that whenever you interact with people instead of gaining energy from it, it depletes your battery. To recharge as introvert takes you being alone or with a limited amount of people. I know for me that means being secluded in the solitude of my room, eating food, sleeping, watching something on Netflix or even writing for this blog. Honestly, people for me are exhausting. I've written so many times before about having to turn it on but never really said what it is. For me, that's the socialness of my personality or my "extroverted" side. It's when I'm feeling particularly adventurous, engaged in conversation, competitive and downright present. I'm all in to what's going on, not only taking in as much as I can (hardcore observing people, like James Roday's "Shawn Spencer" on Psych) but also giving off palpable energy in the form of dynamic conversation, jokes, and a range of emotions. That "giving off" energy thing (as if I'm like Static Shock or something #bangbaby) is exactly how it works for me. Particularly when I have to really exert myself to make conversation, enter a nerve-wracking situation, or doing something out of the ordinary I'm drained faster than ever. If things end up working really well and people are radiating productive energy then I'm able to go longer but if not when I'm on empty I'm all good to remove myself from a situation and retreat to be alone with myself. Don't need happy pills just some time out to relax and not have to show up for people (note not for myself but for others).
This past weekend was jam packed with so many things going on and interacting with a variety of different people. Friday morning started out with me accompanying a student to check out some of the resources available at the university. The afternoon came and it was on to downtown to gather supplies and take direction as we completed some community service hours removing graffiti around Burlington. It was hot and the sweat was pouring but it was so thoroughly fulfilling to immediately be able to see the impact of our work. City residents walked by and thanked us, and a store patron gave us packs of incense to show her gratitude. The night got a little wild when I ordered chicken wings for 8 people (#classiccollege) and the students decided to have a snowball fight indoors (DCOM plot or nah?). Saturday came and it was super lazy day. The evening was spent at the university's director of student life's farm playing volleyball, eating great food, and just enjoying one another's company. I haven't played volleyball in a hot minute but all of us were so into it. As a person known for his compassion, I think people were shocked to see me get aggressive and a little over-competitive with some trash talk. The best part was spiking with an overzealous grunt of contact. We came back after missing dinner so I coordinated ordering pizza and an impromptu grocery run for the students and other staff members aka two of my favorite things. I was in my zone getting to organize, be efficient, and make other people happy. You know what's mad awkward? When you're in public and you know who someone is and you know they know who you are but you've never actually spoken so you like smile awkwardly (Jack Leonard, Joey Gatto, and Alex Ernst literally tweet my life) - yeah that happened. After a night of gorging on food and playing games I retreated to my room to watch the Witches of East of End and Don't Trust the B***** in Apartment 23 until an unspeakable time. Sunday was a leadership symposium which ended up showing a different side of people that really caught me off guard. I felt some type of way afterwards with people not really checking in, being on, or seeming to be on their game. I had my night off and I took it and ran with it. I scurried back to my apartment literally just ate, watch Netflix, and vegetate. Those are my happy pills, I'm a dual extroverted introvert, and it was time to crash. Monday rolled along and I still couldn't shake that feeling of disappointment and was feeling really distant but reconnecting with some of the students and their humor like Warrick, Jessica, Tessie and others brought me back up to where I needed to be. I ended the night taking an excursion to the infamous sunset fire escape with a student who had been nothing short of a true enigma to me, Cam. It was good to talk and connect a bit, hear about him as a person past how shows up in space. The guy is a weird, but owns it and may just be one of my secret favorites. Skip the happy pills, show me who you are and I'm there.

My blog post question for the day is ... what makes you happiest in the world? When I'm able to relax, laugh until I can't breathe and eat my favorite foods.


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