“Come on. Smile. It’s not that bad.”
This is the moment I imagine myself stabbing that person in the face. You know how women don’t like being told by men that they should smile? Well, this has some similarity to that, even if the reasoning behind the request is a little different. Sure, it’s not “You’d be prettier if you smiled.” Instead, it’s “You’d be happier if you would just smile more.” No I wouldn’t, you hapless fuckwit. You’d be happier, but I most certainly wouldn’t, and like the previously mentioned women, I was not put on this planet to make you happy.
Why should others dictate what I do with my body? Why should I fake a smile just to please you? I’m not some circus monkey. Every fake smile takes a bit more of my soul away. I’m sure people who are naturally happy or even just content do not understand this, but there is truth to what I say. Faking emotions is absolutely draining. I hate pretending to be happy.
I can’t help but wonder if part of the reason there are so many unhappy people in this world is because of the notion, especially in wealthy nations, that everyone should automatically be happy. Sure, I am richer than perhaps 90% of the people on this planet. I was lucky enough to be born in a place where that isn’t hard to make happen. I was lucky enough to be born with a skin color that keeps me from being immediately dismissed by the bulk of society. I am well aware of just how lucky I am.
But knowing this isn’t enough to make me happy. Like many, I’ve been hurt. I’ve been shunned. I’ve been spat upon, both figuratively and literally. Yes, I have many advantages, but all that means is I haven’t been pushed to the point of violence yet. Is it any wonder those without my privileges might turn to violence just to get the rest of the world to leave them the fuck alone?
It takes effort to be happy. No matter the privileges you have grown up with, happiness is not some magical thing. Hell, I’d settle for just being content. Content would be nice. I’m not saying I don’t have my happy moments from time to time, but when melancholy makes up a large portion of your life, those happy moments aren’t enough.
With all the challenges that come from the issues I have, the biggest is when the rest of the world puts pressure on me simply for not being happy. I’ve heard the following far too many times: