Taking My Bra Off (And Other Things That Make Me Happy)

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Happiness has always seemed like such a strange thing to me. Sure, it’s a simple enough concept, but I believe it’s one of the hardest things to truly find. Fundamental happiness is about as common as a four leaf clover. There’s no longevity in it; happiness comes in brief bursts, like flashes from a camera taking snapshots of that one happy moment of your life. My problem is that it’s like my finger was over the camera shutter so I couldn’t see the photos even if I hadn’t lost the camera and never got the film developed. So far I probably sound like some horribly cynical person, but that’s just not true. I’m only mildly cynical. The simplest things give me joy it’s just that I find it damn near impossible to hold on to that joy. 

For me, happiness is when I’m home on the weekend and my mom wakes me up with a kiss on the forehead and a steaming cup of coffee with just the right amount of French vanilla creamer. I find happiness when I put in my favorite Disney movie and say all the lines and sing all the songs; when I giggle because Hades is the best Disney villain out there.  Happiness is when a classmate says something particularly stupid and you look around the room and make eye contact with someone who is wearing the exact same expression as you. It is knowing that you’re not the only person who has perfected their “Jim Halpert Face”.  For me, happiness is when an album you’ve been waiting for leaks two weeks before its release date so you can illegally download it from kickass torrents and be a pretentious asshole to everyone who had to wait to get it. Happiness is getting a high five from your professor when she hands you back the exam you didn’t bother to study for but still managed to get a 95.5% on. It’s pouring a healthy glass of Moscato after your last class on Thursday, and then pouring two or three more after that one is gone because “why the hell not?”.

When your gran calls you up and asks if you want to go out to lunch and even though you know you’re going to end up going to Subway and you know you’re both going to get the same thing that you always do, you still go and have an afternoon full of gossip and laughter- that’s happiness. When your favorite celebrity tweets a photo of baby bananas with a caption that is equally stupid and endearing- that’s happiness. It’s when you get an email from your professor telling you that your morning class is cancelled meaning you get a few more hours of the precious sleep that always seems out of reach for college students. Happiness is craving a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and actually having the cereal in your cupboard and milk that hasn’t expired yet.  New tubes of mascara that your mom buys for you because it’s so damn expensive and polishing your nails a brilliant shade of red that makes you feel like you could go out and destroy a man- that’s happiness. Happiness is when you make a pop culture reference and not only does someone actually get it, but they contribute to it. It’s when the price of gas goes down and you actually need to fill up your tank. Happiness is peeling the coupon off your Kohl’s catalogue and getting 30% off your next purchase valid now thru whenever. It’s when your dad makes a pun and for once it’s quite clever. Taking your bra off after a long hard day of having boobs- now that right there, my friends is happiness in its purest form.

Unfortunately, the happiness only lasts as long as the coffee does, or until my dogs sneak into my childhood bedroom and jump on the bed with me, whichever comes first. The runtime for Hercules is approximately ninety-three minutes, so my happiness is roughly the same. The chances of making eye contact with that classmate again are slim to none even though the chances of a student saying something stupid again are astronomically higher. No matter how much you like an artist, you can only listen to their music on repeat for so long until you want to bash your skull in. While it was fun going down, bottles of wine run dry but the accompanying headache the next morning lingers all day. Lunch dates end, and nail polish chips off and ends up looking tacky. Lord knows gas prices never stay low for long. Coupons expire regardless of whether or not you had a chance to use them, and sadly going out in the world sans bra is generally frowned upon. Screw time, it’s happiness that is fleeting (however madness still takes its toll).

The thing about true happiness is that is has so many expectations surrounding it. There’s this idea that if you’re not living up to what others think is your utmost capability, then there is no way that you can be happy. Society judges your happiness based off what it expects of you, not what you expect of yourself. If someone’s happiness is found opening a dingy secondhand bookstore, that happiness, at least according to society, is null and void because how can someone with a university degree be content with running a small little shop? Happiness is always just around the corner and we’re all doomed to wander through the proverbial maze of life like test lab rats searching for that coveted hunk of cheese.

For the most part, I lead a pretty apathetic life. I’m neither happy nor sad, I’m just sort of here.  Sometimes things happen that brighten up the dull grey of my days, but usually life is pretty stagnant. Maybe someday that will change. Maybe I’ll find something or someone that makes me incandescently happy. Until then, I’ll just have to keep trying to appreciate the little things.