Sometimes Not Standing In The Way Of Your Own Happiness Actually Means Spotting When You Do

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“It’ll all be a lot until it isn’t anymore.”

“Start where you are.”

“Don’t stand in the way of your own happiness.”

All of these words read like rallying cries on paper, syllable by syllable they beg for grace, compassion, and a belief that you are worthy of more than bad endings and tearful moments.

When I walked into therapy at the top of 2016, I explained to her that my goal for the year was to not stand in the way of my own happiness. My chest was puffed out as I said the words, like I almost wanted her to acknowledge how much of a mountain I had already conquered.

The year would teach me that my mountain was nothing more than an ant hill that when conquered opened up to larger terrains with increased elevations, each harder to breathe on than the last.

2016 also happened to be the year I fell head over heels in love with a man who saw me for all my panic and the pile of anxieties that came with not wanting to be the one who fucked this up. He would sit with me while I cried, and hold me every time breathing became harder. He would tell me I was worth the wait and that I was capable of staying, of being happy. That I was easy to love.

He, unknowingly to him (even now), would help anchor me in reality when I worked my way to moments that made me question whether I was worthy, or I was right for this relationship, or if I was loving him well. I would sit in therapy and tell her that I’d caught myself in the moment before my destructive thoughts turned into hurtful actions.

In ways that I couldn’t have imagined I was keeping my promise to myself and in the process redefining what it meant to do so — it didn’t mean never standing in the way of my own happiness, it meant noticing when I did. It meant not building insurmountable walls in between the mountains I was meant to climb and grow from.

It meant letting him love me even when (especially when) I’m at my lowest and most confused. It’s inviting my family in when I’m at my most broken and vulnerable. It’s been admitting to my little cousins how much I miss our grandma, a revolutionary statement in a family that very rarely acknowledges “missing them” feelings.

It’s meant staying. It’s meant remembering that there’s always a light at the end of really dark tunnels and that as long as I’m fighting for myself and for those I love, the fight is always worth it. It’s portraying brave even when fear is the real character I’m playing. It’s staying quiet enough in the moments right after sharing vulnerable words or desires, because the quiet reminds me that rejection and failure isn’t the only response to putting yourself out there, there’s also happiness and acceptance.

There’s also love and a willingness by all parties to sit in it.