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happiness is a decision.

In my first class on my first day of classes during my Freshman year of college, I remember walking into the black box studio. It was an Acting I class and for being an acting class, the classroom was dead quiet, so quiet that you could hear a pin drop. Everyone in the room kept their eyes to the ground and didn’t dare to make eye contact with anyone. However, within a few minutes, this girl with curly hair came bounding into the quiet room. She was chatting up a storm with someone and laughing. As she crossed the room to take her seat, all eyes were fixed on this girl who had broken the unspoken “rule” for the first day of class… do not speak to anyone. Yet, there was something about this girl that drew me in. She was confident, happy, and did not care about what others thought about her. I know that at least one person in that room was annoyed by her but by the end of class, I knew that I wanted to get to know this girl and become friends with her.

Jesse and I ended up having a few classes together that semester and the next and became good friends. During parent’s weekend in October, I introduced her to my mom and dad. She was just as she was the first day that I met her… outgoing and bubbly. Later that night, my dad told me that I “needed to hang out with positive people,” a statement Jesse and I still joke about to this day. Even though Jesse and I don’t talk regularly, I still think of her often. She is not one of those people that you forget easily. Although I am not that far removed from undergrad, she is one of the first people I think about when I list off the friends I made in school. She will be the girl I will remember in 20, 40, 60 years from now. And why will I remember her? Because of her attitude. Yes she had bad days, but she was a genuinely happy person and that infectious positivity rubbed off on people. She was one of those people you wanted to be around and now, more than 5 years later, I am striving to be a better, happier person, like Jesse.

I have a good life. I have two parents that are too good for me; I don’t deserve them. I live in my dream city, I have co-workers that have turned into incredible friends, a job that I really (REALLY) enjoy, a cat that I love, and I have received a great education. I will never discount how blessed I am but underneath, I have battled, and still battle, with internal demons. Years of relentless bullying in middle and high school has left scars that will be there for life. I have horrible body image issues and have dealt with other restrictive behaviors for over 11 years. I am not proud of these weaknesses, but they are who make me.

It took me so long to figure out how good I really have it. I am not starving in a third world country. I have a loving family. I can pay the bills (barely, but I can!). Everyone’s problems are relative and dependent on the ”world” in which they live in but my problems at large are nothing. I realized that I needed to make a change. I could not continue to go through life with a poor attitude. Later in life when I am telling my kids (if I have them) what I did in my 20′s, I don’t want to tell them that I spent the majority of the time hating myself and everyone around me! I want to tell them about the time I went skydiving, or completed a Half-Ironman, or went to Italy by myself, or about all of the nighttime runs I did in DC with the monuments. I want to remember positive experiences, not negative thoughts. I want to remember the good times I had with friends because if you go back and ask me my top 3 moments from undergrad, none of them will include the times I spent all night studying and stressing out for an exam. It will be the Florida/Georgia tailgates with my sorority sisters, backstage during the musicals I was in, and the night when I went out with my friends to celebrate me graduating and drinking so much that I had a two day hangover (well…the hangover was not fun).

I didn’t wake up one morning and decide “Ok, I’m going to be a happier person from now on.” It was a gradual process, but the switch really flipped in October. After stressing out over my grad school midterms, I realized that I was not happy in my current position. Graduate school was clearly not working and I did not have the drive for it that I thought I would. Once I made the decision to finish the semester, but not return in the Spring, a weight was lifted from me. I naturally started to be happy. I went into work happier, I ran happier, everything I did in my life had a renewed passion about it.

People who have known me for awhile might think I am faking this happiness and maybe I was to a certain degree in the beginning. I kept telling myself, if I faked being happy, I would be happy. Fake it until you make it. Eventually that fakeness faded away to what it is today… someone who is truly happy and becoming more confident. I have friends now that I truly and wholly believe would have my back and have my best interests at heart. I feel (…think…hope!) that people want to be around me and are not finding excuses to get away from me.

I am not perfect. I still have issues to work out in my life but I am well on my way. Not going back to school in the Spring is allowing me to grow at work and also finally sit for my personal trainer examination. It is allowing me to finally go seek professional help for my problems and it is allowing me to go out and achieve personal goals. And, if I am being honest, it is giving me the chance to have a social life for the first time in my life. Heck, maybe I’ll finally get asked on a date finally! (Kidding…sort of)I can’t change my past experiences but I can change my future.

There are certain things I will have to learn to accept. I will never be skinny. My thighs will always touch and I will never have a flat stomach. I will always have bags under my eyes no matter how much sleep I get. I will always be awkward around boys. I will always be a hopeless romantic and have a slightly embarrassing obsession with Disney World.



Happiness is a decision. But is it really? This is something I have gone back and forth on. There are some people who have a really difficult life and are trying to improve their situation, but can’t, and therefore are unhappy. I am truly saddened for those individuals and wish that they can remove themselves from the negative situation they are in. However, finding one thing everyday to be grateful for can drastically alter your mood.

In my case, happiness was a choice I made. I let all of the hurtful words, the mean looks, and negative thoughts consume me for so long. They piled on top of the person I always knew that I could be. The happy person. The person who wants to make a difference in the world. The person who is worth more than how she looks (or does not look).

The person who can do whatever she wants to do in life, if she only has the courage to believe.

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2 Responses to happiness is a decision.

  1. Very insightful and honest sweetie. So overjoyed that you have found your niche and moving towards goals and other adventures that will make you happy.I remember Jesse all too well and understand how you gravitated towards her. People naturally like to surround themselves with people who have positive attitudes. You have so much to look forward to, especially now that you have begun to let go of the negative, hurtful things from your past.Shedding those feelings allows you to fully blossom from within and then others will see you as I do…thoughtful, giving, sensitive, intelligent and beautiful! Love you! Mommy <3

  2. It sounds like you’ve embraced a new layer of proactivity for life, and I think that journey will be a very good one for you :) Good luck moving forward with your career, working through some of the “stuff” from the past, and enjoy the Christmas season :)

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