‘Happy New Year!’ Everyone yelled. I sat in church and wondered, why are these people happy? What is new about the year? It was as though I knew that 2016 would be shitty.
See, I generally do not like the hugging and tedious smiling that follows the 12’o clock mark and so I stood outside the church hall until the weird display of non-existent joy and affection ended. I had just started a new job and was yet to make headway, I had the hopes of starting my business and I hadn’t figured out how to go about it. I was generally unhappy and laden with worries so I didn’t celebrate. I wished 2016 would disappear before it even existed.
The year started and alas! Things began to look up, life opened up like a flower in spring and a year I had expected to be horrible suddenly began to flourish. You see, everything seemed to be in great shape but I constantly lived under this cloud. The cloud shielded me from happiness. The cloud was so thick I couldn’t see my future. That is particularly scary because I generally do not have much going for me, but you see, my dreams and ultimate future have the ability to make an entire nation jealous.
I lived under this cloud till June 2016. One doctor and three sessions later, the cloud started to shift and the light returned gradually. Everything returned to normal until it didn’t.
In July, my blood pressure went through the roof. I had a mild infection and against all the advice to self medicate I headed to a hospital. The doctor asked me a series of questions. She was displeased with me because I didn’t remember my last period. You see, I have an app on my phone and that’s how I deal with period nonsense. When I don’t have my phone, I can’t be trusted as to information about my lady business.
She queried me about a few more things and then settled on, “when last were you active?” I honestly thought she meant exercise and I was already silently judging myself for the bowl of Hagen Daaz I consumed the night before.
“I haven’t worked out in months.” I said with shame in my voice. “I meant when last did you have sex?” Questions like that don’t shock me so I offered my answer. She motioned for the Sphygmomanometer (blood pressure meter), squeeze, squeeze and frown; squeeze, squeeze and frown; she repeated that for about 5 minutes, then paused. “Is everything ok?” I asked. “Your blood pressure is high; I don’t understand how you are still on your feet.” The doctor said.
I immediately started to feel ill.
A second opinion and the doctors were sure I needed time off everything I call a life, medication tasted like crap and I was constantly drowsy.
Happiness isn’t exactly overrated.
For a long time, I considered happiness a form of weakness, an escape for people who are too afraid to live their reality. “Happiness is overrated,” I’d say from time to time and Foladele would scold me, her brows squeezed as if to say, ‘I know it is darling, but we need something to believe in.’ I had to invest in happiness and it was worth it. I had to start slow, I laughed harder at every episode of Big bang theory, I replayed Gentle man by Ric Hassani, I listened a bit more, loved a bit more and smiled even when I had legitimate reasons to be sad.
I still struggle with being happy, life and its messy ways try to interfere, threatening my new resolve but I have had to learn this year that a smile costs nothing and happiness is not exactly overrated.