Hide the Happy

Kid lenses – I’ve written about them before.  It’s my term for the goofy perspective we have of the world as a kid without experience, perspective or knowledge.  The coming up with ideas or beliefs or behaviors as a child because they fit your understanding of the world.  As I’ve gotten older, it’s been interesting to see the views I’ve had, the behaviors I’ve had that have been unhealthy, but that have been so ingrained in me, such a part of me they’re hard to change.  They’ve become like a default setting.  It takes a lot of conscious effort not to return to those default settings in times of stress.

When I was younger, one of those beliefs was the certainty that I had to remain calm, flat on the outside.  If things were going super well, I felt like I had to hide that happiness on the inside.  If I was too public about that happiness something bad would happen, somehow that would be taken away.  Fate or something.  If I was sad about something, I needed to be careful not to complain too much or that same fate would show me how much worse things could be.

I remember how much I used to love little toys.  Things that I could carry in my pockets and hold in my fist.  Things I could touch and just be secretly happy on the inside.  When I was really little and got a stuffed animal for Christmas, I would bury my face into it to hide my smiles.

This was actually behavior that was called out fairly early on.  My first real girlfriend was bothered that I wasn’t shouting with happiness from the mountain tops about my joy of dating her.  Over the decades I realized I was a story teller and liked opening up about some things as I was teaching soldiers or my son about things.  Then when I started therapy a couple of years ago after the big break-up I realized I needed to let people in, express joy and sadness more openly with friends, family and significant others.

My blog is a weird animal.  It’s obviously publicly posted, but I don’t have a real audience.  I do use it for interaction with a few people who are friends, but largely I use it as a diary, to augment my craptastic memory.

So.  The last couple days I vented on here about ex girlfriends and social media.  I bumped into one of them a couple weeks ago and it knocked me off my beam.  I complained about it to all the normal people who listen to me.  And then instagram suggesting we be friends, then my mom doing the group message thing.  Stupid stuff in the grand scheme of things.  And you want to know what put it into perspective?  Finding out, and then subsequently having to tell my son that my Dad has prostate cancer.  I know prostate cancer is relatively manageable but the fact that my older sister died of cancer, my younger sister is fighting with leukemia and I’ve had 2 cancer scares myself, I’m just kind of not as optimistic as I could/should be.

Now I know I wasn’t being punished for complaining about my ex-girlfriends.  He’s known about this for awhile and just last night decided to tell me.  And I know that if something…  more tragic happens, it wasn’t be because I’m upset about my dad’s prostate cancer.  But there’s still that urge to just go complete turtle.

 

 

 

 

 

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