In Defense of Happiness

Me, age 5
me @ 5

When I was a little girl I didn't have many friends. It took me years to feel comfortable enough to raise my hand in class, let alone strike up a conversation with one of my classmates. And yet, I was happy. I was happy in my own world, surrounded by things that were make-believe and plastic, stuffed. And why wouldn't I be? I had a family who loved me, who nurtured my strengths - I lived in the land of luxury, in a home with ocean-views and freshly-mowed grass in the yard.

I wrote my first poem in first grade. It is still my earliest memory, sprawled on my belly across the driveway, my paper flattened against a hard cover TIME/LIFE book.
My First Poem

I submitted the poem to a school anthology and won the district award. Suddenly I was somebody. And for years and years, that is who I stayed, slowly becoming more confident, more able in social situations until 5th grade found me with friends of my own. But the more friends one makes, the more enemies she has. If you can't join them, beat them... This is especially true for women and girls. Especially girls in high school. Especially when you're lucky, as I was. I had it all. And I knew it. And it made me feel like shit.
My First Day of High School
me on my first day of high school.

The other girls were just jealous of course. Except I wasn't allowed to think they were jealous because that meant I thought I was better than them so I spent much of my high school years lying about how much everything sucked. So that people didn't hate me, I wrote self-deprecating things and talked about how much I disliked myself. I learned quickly that if people feel sorry for you, they cannot hate you. Twas an armor of angst I wore that made my life easier. That kept me from getting pushed around by the older girls. And even though rumors spread on a daily basis, I embraced them as someone to be pitied. It was easier that way. It was easier to lie and tell people how shitty life was than to risk announcing good news. So I never did.
Homecoming 1997
me (on right) @ 16

My resentment mounted over the years as I worked on furthering my career as a writer. As an "artist" ... I quickly learned that the artist is not the girl who gets the car on her sixteenth birthday. The famed novelist doesn't have happily married parents. Interesting people didn't live such generous lives. Didn't have perfect families who sang songs around the piano and ate dinner as a family every. single. night. Interesting people had it tough - had to overcome. Real artists struggled. And suffered. And could barely handle their lives. I wanted to be a real artist, too, no fair, so I prayed for dysfunction. Fell in love with the darkness if only to balance the light I felt I had undeserved.

I thought I had to be unhappy in order to be a creative. Because every book that moved me was written by a tortured and often suicidal genius who either offed themselves or fantasized about it. These women were my heroes. Their pain was my pain and yet? Not my pain at all.

I was the luckiest girl I knew. And I hated myself for it.

Slowly, I surrounded myself with people who hurt me. Who would repeatedly hurt me, fuck me up nice and good so that I could be miserable too. So that I could seek therapy and cry in the arms of strangers, be respected as a writer and artist - someone who wrote from the cell. I pierced my face and dyed my blonde hair black so that people could see that I was real and in pain, legitimate.
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me @ 22 with the girl who never got away, still one of my dearest friends.

I spent five years pulling myself down, throwing myself down as bait for misery. So that I could call myself a writer. So that I could garner the respect of all the critics who called me out for being amateurish - optimistic, happy. I became insecure, lost all respect for myself - became all the miserable things I thought I had to be to succeed as a writer and as a friend.

Because happiness isn't cool. Happiness isn't beautiful or profound or poetic. Happy people do not win the Penn-Faulkner awards, let alone get books published. This is what I thought for many, many years.

So I tried to become a drinker. I tried to become someone who got high on drugs so I could write books about "how fucked up shit is, man! Cocaine! Whoa!" I tried to become everyone's whore, slept with so many people I lost track, stopped counting, tried to become suicidal. But even dark-haired and dark-eyed, naked in some stranger's bed, surrounded by the white dust of Bukowsi's trite cliches, I was an impostor. I wasn't like them. And so? These boys I chased and girls I studied stopped including me in their nightly binges and self-made hells, stopped sleeping with me and instead turned to me for help. For money and shelter and love.

So that's what I became --the safe place and 4am phone call. The best friend slash bank account. Once again, I was on the outside. Excluded by circumstance. The lucky one who had it all.

And I was. Even in my current state of disaster, I still was.

It wasn't until Archer was born that everything changed. Everything changed, everything changed, everything changed I will say it a thousand more times until I'm blue and pass out and then I will wake up and say it again because it's the truth. Archer's birth was the first time I let myself be happy. Truly, honestly, without guilt happy. And even though, in the first few years after his birth, I suffered and struggled and spent many a night, day, week crying over a new and confusing life, I was free.

I was free because I knew that in order to be the best parent for my son, I had to be the best version of myself, so I spent years detoxing, surrounding myself with beauty and light, happiness and happy people until one day I found I had pulled myself out of the world I never belonged to in the first place.

I realized that happiness was okay. That I could still be an artist while remaining optimistic. I didn't have to live a miserable hateful existence to create beautiful things. I didn't have to write about how shitty things were to be appreciated as a writer and then as a person. If people had a problem with me, most of the time, it was their problem and not mine.

I was me, for the first time: The lucky girl who had it all.

People always say, "You know who your true friends are when things don't work out." Not so. People rush to your aid when things don't work out. Strangers become friends when shit goes south. People fawn all over the wounded and lost. It is when life is good, when health is high, when one is happy and success is inevitable that friends disappear. That people stop caring. Stop calling. No need.

I'm not afraid to admit and write about my fuck-ups. I'm not afraid to tell the truth about my pain. My struggles as a mother and wife and human - my past and present fears, decisions, doubts... I'm not afraid to show my body, no matter how imperfect. And to be honest, that stuff's easy. It's easy to write about pain, the struggle, imperfections galore. It's easy to post pictures of oneself without makeup. To admit defeat.
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It's the beautiful days and moments and snapshots of self that are difficult to reveal because good times and pretty things are thought to lack narrative and substance and soul.

Because a beautiful picture is far more offensive than an ugly one.

Lately I've been called out both publicly and via email for my lack of angst on Girl's Gone Child. For being annoyingly happy and up and ew.

In the past I would have agreed. Me and my two (fictional) unsold manuscripts about miserable people living miserable lives, uninspired, relatable, profound.

Not anymore.

I feel it would be far more insensitive, even insulting to the "daily struggle" if I didn't celebrate the daily triumphs. And I do because I am inspired by so much more than bad days and dark thoughts and question marks.

I'd like to think we all are.

Contrary to what my name suggests and no matter how many stones I tried to shove in the bottomless pockets of my bathrobe, I was never going to write like Virginia Woolf. I was never going to be the next Anne Sexton or Sylvia Plath or any other tortured genius.

I accept my fate graciously, gratefully, with an infinite source of relief. I'm no genius. Nor am I tortured. Never have been. Even when I tried.

I'm not shy anymore. I raise my hands now and sometimes my voice. I'm unapologetic where I used to cower to my critics. These days I have dear friends both real and imaginary, a family of my own. In so many ways I am so different than I was all those years ago, when I first picked up my pen. But in even more ways I am the same little girl, still writing about those damn winged-horses and joyful fucking days.

Except this time? I don't intend to stop.

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GGC

205 comments:

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Ashley, the Accidental Olympian | 3:35 PM

Good for you for being able to find a place where you can hear your critics yet know that you're in a better place where they can't bring you down anymore.

I worry as I am currently in the place of needing to be unhappy to feel like there is meaning in my struggle, where I allow my critics to eat away at me all day long, to be in a place where I fear I've completely lost my backbone. Most days I feel so terribly insecure, and I'm not sure if I let others get to me, or if I did this to myself.

Your post is oh-so hopeful that I can find my voice, find my strength again.

Thank you.

N. | 3:41 PM

I think one of the biggest reasons I come back to your site is because of that happiness and light. You're right that people tend to desert when the going is good, but true inspiration is in happiness.

Kaitlyn | 3:43 PM

I have only recently started reading here, and in you, I see so much of my life. I'm sorry that you've been called out for being happy, because it should be something people are happy to see.
It's refreshing to read about someone who sees their blessings in front of their face. And who posts makeup-less pictures.
Honestly? I think you're quite wonderful.

andygirl | 3:46 PM

Where do I begin? How about with: I love your blog. I love how happy it is.

My life was the opposite. It was shit (excuse my language) growing up. I have true sources for angst (truly), but as a writer, I've always tried to be the optimist. Tried to paint it rosier than it was, is, will be. And when I get angsty and honest and raw, I get so scared that I'll frighten my readers away with the horrible truth of it all. Funny how we want what we don't have. Not that I'm *always* unhappy, but my struggles have been many and successes few.

So I love writers like you that have true happiness and share it with a sugary glee. I want to climb into your blog world and nestle in and soak up the love.

Ultimately, I think readers can sense honesty and that's what we (they) want.

Thank you for being you and sharing your life.

Erin | 3:47 PM

I'm surprised people would dis you (yes, I wrote "dis," hello 1994) for being happy. Again with the jealousy masked as criticism.

You're happy, but you're never flat. You have an edge, but you never manufacture All the Shit That's Going Wrong. I like you.

Jenifer | 3:51 PM

Beautiful happiness!!!!!! Yeah!!!

Amber Gregory | 3:53 PM

YOU inspire me, Rebecca! :)

Unsurprisingly we have all of the same favorite writers. I've been where you've been, too -- and also come out the other side of it. I find myself incredibly more inspired by happiness and light than I EVER was by misery. Even though I spent years and years being promiscuous, doing drugs and fucking up my life because I FEARED a life without my mental instabilities (well, most of them).

Beauty, it turns out, begets beauty. How about that?

<3 your twin,
Amber

agirlandaboy | 3:53 PM

IMO, tragic circumstances have great capacity to turn lowercase-w writers into published authors (whether because misery fuels them or because the world just loves a trainwreck and as readers we're all just rubberneckers), but it takes a real capital-W Writer to be successful IN SPITE OF her happiness and luck and beautiful circumstances.

Because you're right: it's easy to scribble deep thoughts about the deepness and darkness of the human experience, but it's HARD to make something of the goodness and light. And those who can? Are really, truly gifted, and are a gift to the rest of us happy people. (That's you, Bec! That's YOU!)

Schmutzie | 3:56 PM

I like that last picture of you with your dark hair and eyes but your sunny disposition. It's like you've married yourself together.

I'm sticking around. I live with depression, and it's terribly overrated and counterproductive, so stay your happy self.

L.A. Stylist Mom | 4:00 PM

You know what I say? Fuck you Ann #2.

cissy la la | 4:03 PM

You are really inspirational as a person but as a mother! I LOVE reading your blog and even think about perhaps what you would choose when I am faced with a decision to make in my own life. You have come a long way girl! I'm sure you are going a long way as well!! Thank you for being you!

Amy | 4:03 PM

First, If I looked that insanely gorgeous without a stitch of makeup I'd probably just spend my days taking pics of myself and emailing them back to myself just for fun.

I depend on your optimism. It is infectious.

l'ananas | 4:04 PM

I know me some bloggers that are too damn cheery. You, my dear, are not one of them. The way in which you represent your beautiful little world is uplifting and refreshing to this 28yr old aspiring mother (of a boy and a girl...and then another. hint-hint: do it).

Baby in Broad | 4:08 PM

I was going to write something really wordy here about how your happy posts inspire me to work towards creating more good days for my depressed self...but I think it's better just to say:

I love your happy.

Walkingborder | 4:14 PM

Beautiful.

Lindsey | 4:17 PM

Bravo. I salute your spirit and completely concur that there is a weird shame about happiness. I love reading your writing, happy or not. Thank you for this wonderful defense of the truth of our lives, whatever it looks like.

Tanna | 4:19 PM

Your words are always hitting home with me. Life is a struggle, I agree, but it is something to be proud of and thankful for. I think you summed that up here. Thanks for the inspiration!

Sonja | 4:23 PM


People always say, "You know who your true friends are when things don't work out." Not so. People rush to your aid when things don't work out. Strangers become friends when shit goes south. People fawn all over the wounded and lost. It is when life is good, when health is high, when one is happy and success is inevitable that friends disappear. That people stop caring. Stop calling. No need.


WOW. Truest thing ever. So, so, so true.

Three years ago, I went through a divorce. I had friends galore. Couldn't have gotten through it without them. There was no dearth of couches. I could call anyone at 2AM. And then... soon after, I got into a relationship with my current partner. And people stopped calling. Stopped wanting to get coffee.

The worst was when it became clear that this was not a rebound "fling," that this was a functional relationship and that my partner and I were happy together. When I moved in with him, I lost my three closest friends. First my husband and then my three best friends - all quit on me within a year. The first because he didn't love me anymore, the latter because they didn't think I could really be happy after a divorce and they thought I was rushing it. That I didn't deserve actual happiness. That I should have pulled back and wallowed in my own crapulence a bit longer.

I'm redonkulously happy now and there are indeed fewer close friends. No one wants to hear how much you love your job. No one wants to know how stupidly happy you are with your partner. It makes them feel like they're NOT happy. Much more comfortable to watch someone be miserable and think "Gee, I don't have it so bad." Preferable to be smug rather than envious.

Worst still to realize that your own life is awesome.

Meagan | 4:24 PM

You are such an inspiration, Rebecca. Sometimes when I've had a bad day and I read GGC I am reminded to appreciate the little things in life that make us happy. Never compromise yourself, you're beautiful and talented as you are! Keep up the good work.

Jennie | 4:28 PM

Yay happiness!!!

Speaking of happiness...that shirt...the one you are wearing in the first picture. THAT makes me happy, I'm headed to the fabric store right now in search of that fabric...my daughter's body needs that shirt. MMM random inspirations! The collar...the stripes...the puff sleeves. Edible. Sehr gut.

Maybe Fable wants one too?

Sonja | 4:29 PM

I'm more addicted to your website than ever before! I love the happy you! I love seeing the good times! I've also been so impressed lately by how much you're able to post. Just when I think, "she just gave us a glorious nugget, there's no way she could have posted something else!" There it is! A new post! I'm in awe. I'm inspired and that's what I want in a blogger. Not someone to get down and wallor with me, but someone to lift me up. And you're so right about when the going gets good the friends get gone. So true, yet I don't think I've ever heard of anyone else that's pointed it out. "In defense of happiness" is a perfect title and "you're so lucky" to be able to look at yourself honestly and see why you did what you did and who you really are. Be you - we love it!

Sarah | 4:29 PM

Best. post. ever. Thank you, thank you for putting my most self-revelatory year into words so eloquent and well-written. I had a son one year ago on June 30 and....everything changed, everything changed, everything changed. I finally figured out how to be me instead of what people wanted me to be. For 33 years, I've been pretending to feel insecure and I've been thinking small so as not to offend anyone. But then, my ideas and creativity came back and they were too big to keep inside. And now I'm growing and blooming just like my little baby boy is, and wow it's like coming home again to the little girl I was before. Thanks again Rebecca!

My Name Is Jonas | 4:31 PM

The world needs more happy. Keep shining your light. You're real and lovely and that's why I visit your site. xo

robyn L. | 4:32 PM

Beautiful post, but it's sad that you had to write it. People criticizing you for being happy? Really? There's something *seriously* wrong with that.

Dari | 4:34 PM

I am ever so glad that you have found yourself and your happiness. I love hearing about real-life, good and bad. I feel like I have had such a good life and am not apologetic about that. I am happy to hear about other people's happy lives as well. Keep being you and writing what you do. I enjoy it and so do many many others!

Jessica | 4:36 PM

Of course you know you look better as yourself without the makeup. It would be a very profound change in you, but then...nothing standing in your way.

Jennifer | 4:40 PM

I love this post. Love it. It's funny, though, because while you were trying to be miserable- I was pretending I had it all. I pretended I was better and had everything. Until I was about 15- when I realized *like you did* that a good writer had to be a tortured one. So I clung to my dysfunction and wrote really crappy, self-absorbed, crappy poetry.

Anonymous | 4:45 PM

I found your blog when my little boy (almost 2) was an infant and have been a huge fan ever since!! You write what I am thinking at the perfect time! You are an inspiration for young mamas!!

CookFamily | 4:46 PM

I love your writing. I love reading your blog from across the continent and feeling less alone. Thank you for being you. And giving me courage to maybe try quinoa soon.

Leigh | 4:54 PM

FANTASTIC post!! I can relate to so much of what you wrote here. I have always been a positive person and I have lived a very blessed life. I still carry around a lot of anger towards girls from high school who seemed to resent me so much for just existing. I have always felt that people think "happy" "nice" people are pushovers or less intelligent for some reason than the angry ones. Not so.

And you said it all, and so much more, so beautifully, here.

The818 | 4:54 PM

Wow, and I feel so the opposite when I read you. I'm inspired by your happiness, and your honesty about the less happy parts, and I absolutely don't think you need to be miserable to write. In fact I find it paralyzing.

I'm going through my darkest life place right now, and I keep yearning for my happy days so I can find my voice again. In the meantime, I'm glad I can read yours.

Anonymous | 5:01 PM

Rebecca~

You have it incredibley good. I'll even admit to a certain amount of envy. But the way you eat up life and the gratitude I know you feel, makes me cheer for you and your family all the harder.

I want your life to be wonderful, happy and as good as it can be. Darkness is everywhere...bring on the light baby.

Peace~
Karen

jessica | 5:05 PM

wow called out for being happy and optimistic? i had the life you used to wish for. junky parents, shady apartments, 8 schools in 12 years because we were evicted or running from something. according to whatever i should resent you. i should hate that you wished for unhappiness and created darkness in your world of light. i created a world of happiness with stuffed animals and barbies riding in hand-me-down capezio's because i didn't have a corvette. i created for myself the life you were trying to run from. somehow, as adults, we meet on even ground. in spite of all i've been through, i remain optimistic. i am happy. i relate to your blog. your struggles as a parent/wife/person. and i relate to your sunny outlook on life because i feel the same exact way. life is to be celebrated. if we didn't find the happiness in each day we'd all be miserable. and who wants that besides moody teens and people who criticize other people's lives. glad you're not apologizing for being happy. hopefully one day the people who tear you down for being happy can find enough happiness in their own lives to not have to do that. good luck to them :)

Britgilmer | 5:18 PM

I love you for speaking on mistakes, past choices and how now you've moved on from them. I relate to your story of a surprise child and a struggle to feel like an artist. I want to be an artist. I try to convince myself tht I am an artist. It is a self proclaiming yet hindering at the same time. It was the same for me to call myself a mother. I appreciate you honest happiness. With all that this world entails, the only way to survive is to find happiness within you're own truth and world.

thank you rebecca for being you.

Beth | 5:19 PM

Amazing! I admire your happy, always honest, voice. Keep it comin'. I heart your rainbow kisses and muffin baskets' joy. But even more, your openess to all voices.

Much love from DC!

Anonymous | 5:28 PM

Bravo! Rock on.

Barbara

Little MerBlogger | 5:33 PM

I used to read your blog occasionally but recently it's really become one of my favorites. Awesome post. I'm surprised at how much I relate to it. Cuz, while I liked your blog I thought we were very different people.

BTW you as a baby == Fable.

Anonymous | 5:34 PM

your post made me think of this talk:

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

KJ in Aus | 5:37 PM

Reading your words, and viewing your photos is always a highlight of my day.
I adore the beauty, love, honesty, hope and light that spring from the screen.
Inspirational. Thank you.
KJ xx

Lx - my mr lugs | 5:40 PM

Good on you :) GO HAPPINESS!!!

Why isn't optimism and happiness fashionable??? Why do people want to hate and be miserable??? I don't get it!!

I sit in my mothers group and listen to all their terrible stories of "woe is me" with absolutely nothing to contribute except sympathy! I don't really fit in with them but I don't care because I love my happy life with my little boy - even when things aren't so great there is always optimism :)

Stuff all the misery seekers I say! I would rather be alone and happy than be with a bunch of misery guts any day!! Been there done that!!

Thank you for sharing, it's so good to hear there are others who feel the same way :)

Anonymous | 5:41 PM

Love it! It take courage to say 'I'm happy'... b/c you're right, you almost make more friends and have more friends being sad. So funny, I've never thought of it that way before reading this. I do have a friend tho that loves it when I'm happy b/c we can hang out, go to lunch, ect., but most of my friends seem to enjoy talking to me when I can tell them what's wrong with me today, what I'm struggling with, ect. After reading this post, I'm left thinking how wonderful it must be for Hal to have such a happy wife. I know you have bad days, shit to deal with, but just a happy wife is a good thing. Also, how blessed Archer and Fable are to have a happy, loving mom! Love your blog. xo

carliches | 5:42 PM

You kick so much ass.

Sharon | 5:44 PM

Awesome writing, Rebecca, even if it is positive. . . lol. I truly enjoy your blog.

ashley m | 5:52 PM

i have been a reader of your blog for two years now (i am a young twenty year old;)probably your youngest reader! haha) and i have loved watching your posts transform into what they are today. you are an inspiration to all who read your blog, pissed off or overjoyed. so keep going the route you are going and you will always have faithful readers!

p.s.---i owned every single chicken soup book in junior high and am proud to say that i was a fan even then. bring back some memories? haha!

Kathy Drachowski | 5:55 PM

I am inspired by your happiness!

Julie | 5:57 PM

Yeah. Fuck yeah.

emily | 6:11 PM

I'm so glad you do write about your happiness. I've always struggled with being happy instead of anxious or depressed. I've made it my goal to laugh more easily and embrace life more joyfully, and it helps immensely to have examples of people like you, to whom happiness comes easily - your ability to embrace happiness helps me grasp it a little, too. Being dismal is easy, being joyful takes strength.

Cara | 6:24 PM

Huh. I can think of several blogs I stopped reading because they were so negative and whiny. Particularly the ones where someone complained (very) publicly about someone specific and identifiable. I can't think of one I stopped reading because it was too happy. I assume there are struggles that aren't shared with the world, but I don't feel any need to read those private struggles. I want to read about your life, and I respect and admire those who choose to focus on the positive and be happy. Same goes in my life. I do want to be there for my friends in their hour of need, but if its ALWAYS an hour of need that friendship probably isn't going to survive. I choose to surround myself with those who make me happy, and those are the people who treat me, themselves, and their life with gentleness and the benefit of the doubt. Those people are generally happy except when faced with true struggle, and often find moments of happiness even in the struggle.

That one girl | 6:32 PM

You're the best! I think that sums it up.

Shnerfle | 6:41 PM

Wow. Not only are lucky and gifted, but now, you are becoming wise.

Mazel tov.

Robin | 6:41 PM

You go, GGC. I spy San Diego -- I live in SD now -- and having lived in many places I think I can say with some authority that this place has its own weird stamp, its own moral code based on how willing we are to accept that we live in "America's Finest City." My daughter is 3 & I wonder about the impression this will leave on her if she grows up here.

Michelle | 6:50 PM

Your happiness rings true and it inspires. It is real and it is contagious. I read plenty of blogs of people who write about the hard parts of parenthood and love to complain because yes we can all relate but it's posts like these that inspire. I love how you have transformed over the last few years. You wear happiness well and the fact that you can write so beautifully about it amazes me with every post.

Karen Chatters | 6:58 PM

Screw those that don't want you to be happy. You're a fabulous writer, a beautiful woman, a proud mom and so, so lucky. I love reading your blog and about your journey, all the happiness and love. Good for you for being you.

Charis | 7:00 PM

Amen! Hopefully more people will hear your call and resonate with it! Why do so many of us only think that negativity is worth anything or, also, interesting to read? Why can't we affirm that life is GOOD?

(I like the new motto!) and I bet others will too.

Anonymous | 7:02 PM

Great post!
Lindsay

Anonymous | 7:10 PM

Yes Rebecca!

Major Bedhead | 7:27 PM

I don't comment here very often because you get so many and I figure I'm just one of many voices in the babble. But this post pushed me to hit that comment button.

I've been reading your blog for a long time and I've loved all of it. And over the last year, I've watched, especially after Fable was born, as you seemed to just ooze (horrible word, but I can't think of any other to use) happiness and it always, always has made me smile. I used to wonder, when the tone of the blog changed a bit, if it was a persona, but as near as I can tell, nope. It's just you. Happy. And it's lovely. Really, honestly, lovely. The photos, the words, the love, it all rolls off the screen at me and makes me smile.

So. Good for you for being so happy. I feel privileged to be able to peek into your world (which, I have to admit, I kind of envy, although in a wistful way rather than a green and ugly way), to see that you're doing it so well, this mom thing, this wife thing, this life thing. You really are and you should be very, very proud of yourself.

Jennifer | 7:29 PM

I thank you for being who you are and writing what you do. I think your writing celebrates life but never seems to be in denial. t seems very real and relatable to me and I always look forward to reading.

Dana | 7:33 PM

I'm struggling to think of anything more ridiculous than people criticizing you for the "lack of angst" on your blog. YOUR blog. Your space that you created to tell your stories about... YOU! And they want you to be ... tortured? sad? what?
First, I think they're dead wrong. You don't seem all rainbows and unicorns. You seem real. You're blessed with enviable gifts - your healthy, beautiful family; your passion; your husband; your writing. You come off as introspective and grateful and, well, happy, yes. But, woman, don't apologize for that! I come to your site for all of it. The dark stuff. The gorgeous stuff. The honesty. The poetry.
Also, congratulations on finding peace with
yourself.

amy | 7:52 PM

this is the most beautiful and inspiring thing I have read in awhile. I spent a lot of time growing up feeling miserable and unhappy. And believing the same things about being an artist. And it almost destroyed me, my life and my relationship. 6 months ago I started pulling my shit together. I feel happy, most of the time, confused and sometimes stressed but mostly happy. And all the people who I thought would take care of me in my time of need disappeared and I was alone. Utterly alone. And now i can appreciate being alone. Sometimes I like being alone. In my own little world. And that is ok. And now that I am getting happy I am able to figure it out and am able to actually find my own voice.

Thank you for this. And thank you for standing up and unapologetically just being yourself. Id only we could all follow that example.

Anonymous | 7:54 PM

I love reading your work no matter how happy you are. You are who you are and we are blessed to have 'met' you.
Keep doing what your doing!

KPB | 7:55 PM

good call, dude. i've had editors, agents, writers tell me: write about the sickness. this is what will get you a book deal, this is what will make you big...blah blah.

i write what i want. i write what i feel. i write for me.

good for you.

Lane | 7:55 PM

What is most suprising about this post is how much of me I see in it. I think it is daring to be happy and *gasp* love your life!

I am also at a point where I feel luckey and blessed, and I would also say that it goes with becoming a mom.

I don't have many friends right now. But I have my family and I have me. (I think my 12 year old self just died) Thanks for being a really cool artist!

Heather | 8:15 PM

I love your blog. LOVE your blog. It helps me remember to find the happy in this groundhog day for parenthood. Keep doing what you do best.

Melt Momma's Heart | 8:17 PM

Woot-woot! Love it! Why waste your days focusing on the negative when their is so much damn beauty in front of us!

Pat T | 8:21 PM

Why is it that some people can't be happy for others who are happy? I've been reading for awhile but never commented before. What a lovely, heartfelt post. I am happy that you are happy! Just be. Be who you are. By the way you have a lovely family and a lovely new home. Why shouldn't you be happy? You write beautifully.

Ashley | 8:38 PM

This post really spoke to me. I'm an aspiring writer, and I'm almost 21. I have such a great family and a great life. I'm generally happy,but I feel like I'm in the place that you pulled yourself out of . You're SO right. What is wrong with just allowing yourself to be happy? Absolutely nothing. I'm now inspired to find my own inner peace, and happiness. Thank you for this :]

Candice | 8:42 PM

Once again, an amazingly poetic expression of sentiment. I've struggled with this, too. Unhappiness has always felt more comfortable. I soaked myself in Plath and Sexton in high school and college and couldn't see how happiness could be inspirational.

My college poetry prof told me that writing truly became challenging for her when she got married because she had to find her creativity in happiness - and I never forgot that... and dreaded the day I'd have to do the same.

It takes true bravery to embrace the good and great things in your life rather than find the minor annoyances and bad luck and dwell on them because it's easier and supposedly more inspiring.

I, too, have put away those bad habits, but I love that I tried on that life because then I wouldn't appreciate the one I have now quite as much.

I love this post. I think I'll find myself coming back to it every now and again.

Pam | 8:46 PM

Man, that shit really sung to me. I know what you speak! Bring on the happiness! I want to be fucking drunk with it! Peace & Love .......

Anonymous | 8:52 PM

Hey GGC! Rock on with your happy, healthy, mentally stable, family-loving self! Yeah!

Ashley | 8:55 PM

You should never have to apologize for being happy. Keep writing wonderful posts :)

Glenda | 9:09 PM

First of all, you are gorgeous. Do you still dye your hair darker? I love, love the picture of it light! I love your writing and that's why I bought your book and come here. Keep doing what you are doing! That's great that you are NOT ashamed of where you came from and where you're at. You are who you are, and anyone that has a problem, it is their problem and most likely they are jealous. Sadly but oh so true! You're happy and you seem really down to earth. Someone I can hang with. Enjoy every minute of every day! P.S. "Oh the places you'll go" Take care of yourself and your beautiful family and stay happy! XX

Only A Girl | 9:17 PM

Good for you. I feel very much the same.

lacy | 9:42 PM

Fuck yeah! You go girl. Be happy.

Molly | 9:45 PM

Love this post/essay. You are so right about people's view of happiness--thank god someone said it!

Elizabeth | 10:01 PM

Thank you for writing this.
You had me near tears at the end.

Beth | 10:13 PM

Go Happiness!

Jenny | 10:15 PM

Your posts seem to appear just when I need them. Thank you and please keep sharing your love and light and happiness.

Lindsey | 10:26 PM

This is something that as I writer I have struggled with as well. Where is the angst and turmoil in mommy suburbia? Thank you for this.

Anonymous | 10:39 PM

amazing. purely amazing.

ZDub | 11:05 PM

Fucking A, right on. Ain't no shame in your game, honey. And your game is rad.

Skiminee | 11:40 PM

Hear Hear!

A.J. | 11:50 PM

Thank you for your talent and honesty and sharing your life with all of us. I had many of the same revelations as you did in the past few years. I don't have to a drug-addicted homeless misanthrope to write good prose? and, holy shit, I can CHOOSE to be a happy, sane, incredibly lucky person? I know what you mean when it feels like you have to tone down the goodness in your life for others, to dim the light you feel, because misery sure loves company. But so does happiness. That's why you see all of these comments. That's why you and I and others have strong, optimistic people in our lives, who love us and root us on when we succeed.

Thank you, again.

Kat | 12:01 AM

First off, I love your blog. I have been reading along for a year or more, and I don't think I have ever commented. I love it, and I love that you are happy, and that your happiness is readily available and infectious. Please don't ever stop.

I have lost friends in both circumstances, the happy and the not-so-happy. When my mother died, I lost friends because I was 24 and none of my friends had gone through that, so nobody knew what to say to me. After a while, most people don't want to hang out with the crying girl anymore. The few people who stuck with me through the first year when I kept almost killing myself and crying and freaking out constantly will be my friends for the rest of my life. I wouldn't have made it without them.

Then, two years ago, at age 27, I got into a healthy and happy relationship, got engaged and last year, got married. People have fallen off the map left and right, but at the same time, I feel like I have more love in my life than I ever have. Not just from my partner, who is incredible, but from our collective friends, some of whom have been with me for years. I'm more active now, and his friends have filled voids that my "friends" left behind when they disappeared.

I know I'm lucky. I've gotten the chance to see who my friends are, and to know that, thick or thin, they're not going anywhere. :)

Lindserannie | 1:03 AM

This was beautiful. I love your blog because you write about the beautiful, uplifting, inspiring things found in the chaos & difficulties & frustrations of life...that is inspiring and it makes me happy.

Danny | 1:50 AM

I'm so happy you feel this way.
Screw them, I say!
I have been tortured and down, and let me tell you: it is not fun.
Every now and then I have bouts of depression and I don't like one little thing about it.
I'm grateful for every happy day, and when I'm in a downward spiral, I fight hard to go up again.
I love being happy, I love the feeling, love the kind of mother and wife I am then, and love the laughter and joy.
I understand that in your youth and from your perspective you once felt the need to be unhappy but WHY do people want you to be unhappy now?
Jealousy is why, I don't see anything else.

One of the reasons I come to your site is because you inspire me to be as bright and happy as you seem to be.
Enjoy that feeling Rebecca, and wear it with pride like you do.

88 Highbury Corner | 4:02 AM

Beautiful post, one of the hardest lessons to learn is to allow yourself to be happy, thank you for sharing the path you took to get there. I also always thought it ridiculous that a writer should have to suffer for her art. You are a testament that you don't.

Anonymous | 4:54 AM

Rebeccah, this post resonates with me. I´ve often felt the same way: that my simple, beautiful life wasn´t writing-material. Thus, as a young child (already an aspiring writer!), I wrote about orphans, princesses, etc. The stuff of novels. I never went to extremes, never became self-destructive, but I always did have a flair for drama. And, honestly, drama appeals to all, doesn´t it? Think of the classics; centuries ago, the trend (in drama & literature alike) in art was the epic, tragedy, or comedy. Everything in between, the mundane, was ignored. It wasn´t until the 20th century that artists became interested in "normalcy," in the lack of drama/action/misery/romance,etc. (i.e. "Waiting for Godot").
I am not sure why exactly people have always been so drawn to "the dark side." Truthfully, as many have said above, the optimism is rather refreshing. There is so much to celebrate (especially among mothers). Write on!

MJ | 5:25 AM

Wow. Thank you so so much for this.

In a lot of ways, I share your story. And as much as I have tried, I have never been able to put it into words as you just have.

Shine in the light! (...And only look back enough to remind you of why your light is so bright.)

Thank you, kindred sister.

mary | 5:44 AM
This comment has been removed by the author.
mary | 5:50 AM

Life is so strange. You were happy yet tryed to create the unhappiness you thought would make your life meaningful. I was hurt yet tryed to create the happiness I thought would make my life meaningful. Life is so strange.

****I posted this comment, then realized I had typed "tired" instead of "tryed" so I deleted it. Maybe I should have left it that way. Hummmmm....;).........

Thanks for writing.

Sarah | 6:03 AM

Beautiful.

Samantha | 6:05 AM

I love this. I just added this entry to my favorites so I can read it over and over again. Thanks for this. :)

Techno Angel | 6:07 AM

I think people don't concentrate on the good shit enough. I come to your blog because it's inspirational and uplifting and, you know, I happen to like that feeling. No matter what anyone says, KEEP IT UP.

Kate O'Grady Jewelry | 6:20 AM

Good for you, Rebecca!! It does takes courage to be happy. And, in my opinion, too many folks confuse unhappiness and cynicism with intellect. And, as you mentioned, spot on, you can frequently find this view in the world of artists and intellects. Me thinks, though, too be happy is to have the awareness of oneself and others--the good, bad and ugly-- and the wisdom to appreciate this awareness. Too be happy is to have the ability to observe and put things in perspective. Quite often (not always) being happy simply comes down to making a choice to be so, and knowing in your bones the value in being this way. You are smart, funny, honest, talented and deserving. Reading your writing reminds me to forge on with my own happiness, no matter what others may, or may not, think. Thanks for this post!

My Bottle's Up! | 6:20 AM

i will NEVER forget a post you wrote last year... my favorite sentence was "i can honestly say that i am in love with my life."

fable was a wee-babe... i'm pretty sure you guys had spent a day at the park...

and when i read that ONE LINE in that ONE POST, after having read your words for YEARS now, it resonated. it really hit home for me, and i have since found myself going back to that ONE LINE and thinking to myself, "damn, i want to be able to say that and mean it."

i'm getting there... but thanks for the positive messages like that, letting those of us readers know that you can be in love with your life.

aimee | 6:22 AM

lovely. thank you for that.

marymac | 6:33 AM

First time reader to your blog (Nic @MyBottlesUp tweeted your post) and I am amazed- you are a truly amazing writer- forget trying to be some other writer- seems to me like you have a gorgeous groove going here all on your own. Thank you fro sharing your journey!

jiveturkey | 6:34 AM

Good lord, Rebecca -- your positivity is one of the main fucking reasons I come over here! I can't tell you how many blogs I've stopped reading because they are nothing but a litany of complaints and angst from people who don't know how to count their fucking blessings every once in a while, DAMN. I think of you and your joyful outlook (and your posts) a lot, especially when I feel overwhelmed. It's helped me more than any other "tortured genius" ever has.

I loved this post.

marymac | 6:35 AM

andddd that would be 'for' sharing your journey, nor fro. I mean, fros are cool and all....

mom2nji | 6:40 AM

I guess it's human nature, to try to be something we are not as we grow up. I was the polar opposite from you. I had a miserable childhood, filled with pain and sadness. I should have been the girl with the dark hair and eyes, not raising my hand, and writing angst filled poetry. Instead, I fought as hard as I good to HIDE the pain. With a peppy happy facade, I sang in show choirs, got great grades, and wrote about rainbows. It was all fake.
Even when I started blogging, I was afraid to show the cracks. Admitting my struggles as a mom to a special needs child would show weakness, which was total failure in my eyes.

I love your blog, I started reading when you were pregnant with Fable, I loved how happy you were. I loved watching all the monthly birthday videos in her first year. I think the only thing that matters is finding peace in who we are.

Sara | 6:41 AM

I think the`"happy" blogs that annoy me (in general) are the ones that smack of post-production. Like, you know Mommy Blogger X changed poopy diapers and didn't have time to shower and discovered yet another toddler-generated couch/wall/blouse/etc. stain, but all you see are shiny glowy photos doctored up with Gaussian Blur, leading you to believe that her entire existence is clean smiling babies and homemade shortbread on the patio.

Which is just straight-up disrespectful of the true chaotic beauty of life as a real-world mother, I think. There are messes to clean up, stress to contend with, laundry to sort. And in my experience, the moments of brilliant joy don't happen when you've color-coordinated the outfits and set the scene and charged the camera. They happen when you have a broken dishwasher and a lapsed deadline, and your baby grins a big cheesy grin at you and it's all ok. That's where the real happy is, and every mother knows it.

So, I think you have the right idea, and I still like your blog. Just please don't lose the good stuff in post-production.

PunditMom | 6:47 AM

This is beautiful. I appreciate right now because it resonates for me in so many ways. I have never really known how to be happy -- every times as a child, adolescent, young adult, adult -- I would find myself in a place where I thought Iw as happy, only to realize I had been fooled or duped by people and life. Usually the only times I've been happy were when I relied on myself and trusted myself, which many people who claimed to love me helped to undermine.

Just in the lastw eek, I've found myself realizing that I've let all of that past color my life today, when I have a beautiful daughter and loving husband -- and I don't trust them because so many others have fooled me in the past.

Somehow, you always write something that hits home with me and I love you for that.

It's also funny that the word verification I'm about to type for this comment is -- unfrail.

Katie | 6:48 AM

Another thing about being happy and portraying happiness- people assume you're stupid. Because you're bubbly and carefree and cheerful. Not ditzy. Just happy. I went through the same as you, but I wasn't trying to fit in with the artists, I was trying to fit in with the intellects. The serious, pretentious, sarcastic ones. So my happy go lucky self went out the window. Im changed now, because of my family and because of time, but still carry a bit of the sarcasm, which I don't mind so much. Great post, I agree with every word. I love your honest, happy little life.

Candace | 7:14 AM

I have a 15 yr old niece who is going through this right now. She is incredibly smart, talented and adorable but has found herself surrounded by self-depricators and is starting to hurt herself. She lives with two beautiful moms, has a wonderful house and a family who loves her dearly. She, like you as a teen, has it all and unfortunately it makes her a target and so she turns to the darkside.

I have no idea how I'm supposed to help. She will graduate soon and has plans to go to med school, and so things will probably get better but in the meantime how do you stop the pain?

Lovely post!

gorillabuns | 7:14 AM

I'm with Schmutzie, depression and angst is overrated and counterproductive.

Stay Gold Pony Girl, stay gold!

seph | 7:26 AM

i keep coming here because of the happy, because of the honest happiness. i have stopped going other places because of the angst and tragedy and, honestly, the whining. thank you for embracing your good fortune while still being real about the stuff that's tough. it's what keeps me reading.

Jen | 7:35 AM

This totally reminds me of a creative writing class I took in high school, where everyone there wrote all this sad depressing stuff. I got frustrated by all the sad in the room and fought against the fact that you had to be sad to write well. Bec, you are an inspiration to me. Your posts are happy, yes, but you write them so well. I've found so many to be touching and I hope to follow in your well-paved footsteps.

Satchmo | 8:01 AM

Bravo! This is my favorite post of yours, ever (and I love many of them). Here's to happy! And grateful!

kelly | 8:07 AM

Right on, mamacita.
Cheers to joy, funny, sloppy family love and happiness.

CMKerwin | 8:29 AM

Bravo!

leslie knight | 8:29 AM

i, too, was a lucky girl. and i, too, did my best to hide, to shove it away, to bury it under hurt and pain.

this post inspired the happy girl inside to come out. thank you for reminding us all that is beautiful to have light.

Anonymous | 8:50 AM

You have been one of many influences in my life that allowed me to give myself permission to be happy. I didn't live the easy life growing up, could easily be a tortured artist, full of angst. So I tried to be tortured, tried to show how fucked up I was because of my fucked up life. It didn't work, because no matter what I have been through, the real me can't help but be happy and see beauty and joy all around me. I guess I can relate to what you are saying in sort of an opposite way.

There is enough angst, enough suffering, thank you for being happy.

MAV | 8:55 AM

how recently i found that true friends are the ones there cheering you on through your victories- not just there for you in your tribulations.

jealousy can be a nasty beast.

embrace your happiness and continue to share it!

Muffin Cake | 9:18 AM

Oh man, can I ever relate. I've actually felt the invisible tug away from a few friends recently because of this same issue. Because I am not tortured and sad, and I don't feel my marriage is a cage, my kids holding the keys that prevent my escape to freedom. Because I love being me: a woman with a voice, a wife who adores my husband even when he drives me mad, and a mom who thinks the sun rises and sets for my babies.

This is beautiful. LIFE and LOVE are beautiful, and blessed are those who can see that beauty and focus their time, thoughts, and energies on soaking it up and letting it grow like a seed in sunshine. Thank you!!!

L | 9:19 AM

Cheers to Happiness!

ThiliBlooms | 9:29 AM

Love, hope and happiness to u and your family :)

Sarah | 9:33 AM

*fist pump*

yay!

This comment is far from eloquent...but it's enough to add one more little "hooray!" to the pile. Right?

It is.

p.s. I used to believe that the only way to be popular, or to have lots of friends, one had to have a miserable home life. One or the other, not both. Weird, what we think when we're 16, isn't it?

Chel Rae @ Eu Te Amo | 10:05 AM

BEST POST EVER :)

Lindsay | 10:11 AM

I read this at work with tears in my eyes! I stumbled on your blog after hearing about momversation. I read some of your articles and realized that we have A LOT in common. I was the girl who had it all in high school and went to college only to realize that girls can be mean and I turned into an insecure unhappy girl that I never knew. I drank and drank and drank some more and slept with too many guys and continued to because I hated myself. I had a baby last year and I am still struggling with my self hatred and my self doubt and my weight. But, one thing I do know is that I am on a journey to feeling perfectly happy in my own skin. I know it will take some time and some hard work much like the detox you speak of...but I know I have to get there so my daughter can see how much I love who I am and in turn she will learn how to love herself. This is my favorite post I have read of yours thus far. Embrace your happiness..those that want to hear about the struggles I am afraid want to hear the dark because they are in a bit of a shade themselves. Thank you for being my inspiration today to continue on my journey of coming out of the dark :)

EMQ | 10:15 AM

Right on! I went through a similar struggle in high school and college -- wanting to be worse off than I was. And what I'm finding is that I'm much happier living in a state of gratitude. As an adult, and especially as a mom, you see that the world can be indeed a terrible and terrifying place, and if you're lucky enough to be in the middle of a happy making situation, it's best to honor that by, well, being happy. Save the despair for actual sad times.
Thanks for the post.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 10:18 AM

Your comments are blowing my mind. I don't even know what to say. Thank you. I wrote this post for me and at first thought, "what's the use of publishing this?" so I went back and forth... Except I guess I didn't just write this for me.

It's amazing how many of us share the same story, even when we all seem like completely different tales.

My love to all of you and thank you so much for reading and supporting and understanding and sharing your stories with me, too. xo.

saradickens | 10:27 AM

My favorite post of yours. It could not resonate with me more.

Ashley Parker, 2008 Class Reporter | 10:51 AM

I think you are possibly one of the most beautiful, complex writers I have ever read. I am constantly inspired by your take on things and this is yet another post where I am finding much to be hopeful in and look forward to as I travel on this journey of life.
It takes a much braver person to be honestly, genuinely grateful for their happiness and blessings than it is for an unhappy person to admit their failings, in my opinion. It makes you, (also in my opinion) a much more gifted writer than those angst-ridden giants that you can so poignantly, beautifully, and honestly write about the joy in life.
Love love love. <3

Jen | 10:53 AM

this gave me goosebumps.. I couldn't agree with you more. thank you.

Melissa | 11:14 AM

Screw the critics. Your blog, your voice, your piece of the world. And it's a beautiful breath of fresh air.

mommica | 11:21 AM

I have to disagree with the whole "not a genius" thing, if only for this paragraph:

"People always say, "You know who your true friends are when things don't work out." Not so. People rush to your aid when things don't work out. Strangers become friends when shit goes south. People fawn all over the wounded and lost. It is when life is good, when health is high, when one is happy and success is inevitable that friends disappear."

I've even noticed myself being a better friend to people when they're in the midst of some turmoil. However, I don't think people fade into the background when their friends are happy just because it's no longer interesting. I think it's more about not being needed quite as much. People come into our lives for different reasons, and sometimes those reasons are passing.

Beth | 11:24 AM

Too happy? That's just dumb. There are a whole lot of people out there trying to be happier (see: www.happiness-project.com) and working on awesome life lists, a la Mighty Girl. I'm glad you're happy! It's a downer to read "woe is me" blogs all the time. You've got a beautiful family, and I'd rather read your blog than some sob story.

Laura | 11:30 AM

I appreciate your happiness, just as I appreciate other feelings you share, because they all seem authentic. Sometimes it seems like happiness is interpreted as less "real" than angst, which is really just ridiculous. I think it comes from so many people who put on a happy face to cover up their sadness/anger/whatever, but as you point out, sometimes people put on their angry face to cover up their happiness. But in actuality, no emotion can be interpreted without comparison to other emotions, so it seems silly to prioritize some emotional experiences over others.

Thanks for the thoughtful post!

Amy K | 11:31 AM

Happiness is a wonderful thing. Out of curiousity, have/will your own experiences change the way you raise your own children? My closest friend in high school had it all - physical beauty, kind and loving parents, an adoring sister, a huge house and basically anything she wanted as soon as she asked for it...and by college she was one of the most miserable people I've ever known. Drunk constantly, sleeping with a different guy each night, etc. She's still in that place in her early 30s, and we've drifted apart because all we really had left in common were the memories of our childhood together. I've always wondered if her parents had been a little less indulgent, dealt out a little more discipline when she deserved it, made her work for her Sweet 16 car and her designer clothes, would she have found more self-worth sooner? Achieving happiness is always a unique and individual journey, I'm sure, but in my experience the loving family silver platter kids sometimes end up on as rough of a road to happiness as the kids with dysfunctional childhoods.

Prasti | 11:40 AM

@erin "jealousy masked in criticism" and @agirlandaboy "it takes a real capital-W Writer to be successful IN SPITE OF her happiness and luck and beautiful circumstances"...i absolutely agree.

i have followed your blog since my 4 year old was a wee babe. what i especially appreciate about this blog is your ability to be honest, straightforward and real with whatever is going on in your life. there's no b.s. i think you're doing great!

k5brown | 11:51 AM

It's scary sometimes to read your posts because so many times your writing about something I had just been thinking about myself. I reflect on life all the time but have trouble finding the words and you say it so perfectly. You make things crystal clear. Your blog is so therapeutic for me. I love your guts and raw honesty. I think beauty and happiness are sterling!

Cara | 12:09 PM

Wow... so happy for you... please keep the positive coming. Sometimes I feel like you are writing my story too, the good and the bad... thanks!!!

Shari | 12:22 PM

How odd that people get down on you for being happy... that's life. Sometimes, it's crap, but sometimes it's really really good!

Thank you for being happy, for being sad, for being *real*. That's why I visit and look forward to every new post. Thank you for being honest and please just keep being you. :)

Rebecca | 12:35 PM

What a wonderful post! And I totally had the same experience..I thought I needed to be angsty and unhappy to be an artist (yeah, some of it was real, but a lot of it I just made up. I seriously tried really hard to have an eating disorder). Now I'm still an artist, but I get do the happiest art of all - belly dancing!

Ashley Baker | 1:01 PM

This comment starts off sounding kind of mean, but it's really not so stick with it!

When I was younger, I hated girls like you. I didn't hate them because they were lucky, I hated them because they had the life I wanted and they didn't seem to care. They TRIED to be unhappy and it was a slap in the face to people like me. I still have friends who constantly complain about their charmed lives, their "horrible" parents, their student loans... All while knowing i'm struggling just to keep a roof over my head. It makes me angry and it stings. This is no judgment on your past life, we've all done similair things while growing up.

Your acknowledgment of enjoying your life now is SO refreshing and beautiful. It gives me hope, it makes me happy, and it speaks to me so so deeply. I'm not usually so corny, but it's true. We only get one go at this life, and we need to find the happiness in it.

Your writing is honest. Any critic who takes issue with that isn't worth paying attention to. Failing to write about positive things in our lives is like chewing up food and spitting it on the ground in front of a starving person.

Anyone who is struggling needs to see that there is another side to work towards. A place where they can be happy and feel comfortable saying "Look where I am now." You show that side of life, and that is SUCH an accomplishment.

Bravo, Rebecca, for being honest and showing that life can be so, so beautiful.

KateLar | 1:23 PM

I found myself in your words over and over again today. I fought so hard to be miserable when I was younger so that I could have "substance" and be taken "seriously". Now that I'm just 30, I can happily look around and know that I'm being my true self. And she just happens to be really happy.

Thanks for writing this.

Neil | 1:26 PM

When people make comments like that about the angst, it speaks more about them than you.

And even if this was true -- after all, stories with a lot of drama are usually more compelling -- are you going to sacrifice the happiness of your life to create better fodder for writing? It sounds like you did that already. That part of your journey is done. Unless you want to leave your family and start sailing around the world to kill a great whale, you need to write about -- and find the drama in - your own life, even if it involves domestic life. (which can be as interesting as any whale hunt)

And if your life is so perfect that you can't find any drama, write fiction.

Mo | 1:33 PM

Be true to your truth.

Happiness is real too, thank god.
Love to you and your family!

mrs.notouching | 1:40 PM

Have you ever met a happy Russian? A friendly, bubbly kind of guy with a charm and exploding personality? Yeah... me neither and I grew up in former USSR surrounded by people who believed smiling indicates lack of education, sharing good news - bragging... since I was little I was told by my parents, teachers and relatives that I will never make it in this world unless I stop talking, raising my hand all the time and smiling "like an idiot"... And you know what? I totally made it! *raising my hand, waving at you and smiling like an idiot*

Elisabeth @YCCII | 2:46 PM

This article really resonates with me: the self loathing at puberty and beyond, how I purposely threw away being a good girl and threw away the things that I was good at.

Motherhood has also given me a confidence and sense of peace that I haven't had since childhood. I don't know that I expected that. Some people get more neurotic and anxious when they have children. I am so glad that for me it's gone the opposite direction.

I so enjoy reading your blog. You really are a very talented writer and a sweet soul. Such great taste in music, too. ;-)

YbM | 3:13 PM

I come from dysfunctional. Bukowski-esque narratives don't move me all that much. It's a glorified and romanticized depiction of many people miserable lives. People who would be happy if they only could, if they only knew how. Your writing, on the other hand, bring tears to my eyes quite often.

Being a writer is about conveying emotion. You are a writer and a good one too.

Canadian novelist and essayist calls nihilist authors "professors of despair"... Not only are you a genuine writer, but you are a "professor of joy" which is not only more difficult, but also more useful.

Love,
J.

Issas Crazy World | 3:15 PM

I almost laughed at the end of this. Because I? Have been told lately that I am too angsty. My marriage collapse I guess needs more happiness in it.

People...you just can't please them all.

Keep being you. That is all that matters. This is your space. I've been reading for years. Since Archer was a few months old.

CKD | 3:18 PM

If your entire schtick was so negative and down and, well, depressing, I don't think that would be all that interesting. I like that you write about struggles in your life but also seem to appreciate the blessings. The angsty routine gets old, fast, especially if it's manufactured. Keep it real, as you do: good and bad.

Nicole | 4:07 PM

Hell yeah. It's so awesome that you know yourself so well. The uppity stuff is essential to survive some of the crap that life throws your way.

Kim | 4:17 PM

I love your blog! I love the fact that you are upbeat and positive! I am a fan that will keep coming back for more of YOU!

Lora | 4:21 PM

Love this. So true, all of it. Thanks.

sabrina | 5:54 PM

Rebecca your posts are always ones that make me think, make me smile and make me want to come live in LA so we can be best friends.

But always they inspire me, to look at life the way you do and to love life the way you do.

Thank you for sharing your words, happy, sad or angry, you always make a difference and spark something up inside many of us.

LazyBones | 6:56 PM

I'm another long time reader who just had to comment after today's post. I. Love. This! Honestly, I think there's too much angst over minor things, and not enough counting of the blessings. I love your blog because you choose to count blessings.

-Katy

seekingclarav | 10:04 PM

The reason I keep coming back to GGC is because you exude happiness and acceptance in your posts, regardless of topic, it's just there. And it's refreshing!

Zoeyjane | 10:35 PM

I loved this and I understood every word after 4am. The before, not so much - I never lived that side of the fence - but the after and the holding onto the emo-ness for writing's sake, and the curability of all the stereotype... that I hear.

Love it.

Caitie | 11:31 PM

Bravo for another great post. You're inspiring.

melani | 2:02 AM

Well I for am glad you have stopped trying to be tortured. Frankly, it's an insult to those who actually ARE. Being who you are (for every one) is more endearing because it's real. It's a sign of growth. I have led an unfortunate tortured life, and am just now finding true happiness. Why anyone would want to dwell on angst has always puzzled me. If a writer is good, it doesn't matter if they grew up in a happy home or an abusive one. That is not what MAKES a writer.

The reason I come back here is because you are upbeat. I had my kids the same age(s) as you and it's nice to read about someone who has been inspired by this struggle, as opposed to my self, who wasn't. It has given me hope that my children can bring me true joy, as I have had to struggle with motherhood from day 1, because I had no idea being a mother could be anything other that a curse, struggle or burden. In the past 5 years I have found the happiness there is to be had in parenthood, and like you say, the triumphs of everyday life.'

I'm glad you have really found your voice. It's what all writers aim for.

Hillary | 2:32 AM

Well, I'm not the most organized person in the world. But somehow I have to figure out how to save this post for 10-15 years so that my now four-year-old daughter can read it when she is ready.

This post isn't just perfectly expressed, it is important.

As always, thank you for sharing your amazing self.

Anonymous | 5:47 AM

Beautiful!

Miss Britt | 6:07 AM

A reader linked to this in my comments today and suggested we were embracing a similar message. I think she was right.

Here's to friends who love you when life is good!

Anonymous | 7:09 AM

You are so beautifully inspiring.
Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.

with love,
Emily

Sammy | 7:59 AM

I love reading about your family and your happiness! It is incredibly inspiring for someone like me, someone who is in a similar life situation, that you've found IT.... you've found the happy spot, the balance of all the things in your life, and you just emit happiness and it's beautiful and natural and I LOVE reading about it, waiting until I get there too. Don't stop writing Rebecca! There are so many of us that love to hear about your life, no matter what, but especially when it's good. When it's happy. You are wonderful!

mary kate | 9:10 AM

I wish that I knew you in real life. Reading this post made me want to claw out of my own skin, hug my parents, scream because I'm so lucky, cry because of everything I've done and just feel so incredibly happy that someone wrote this out.

You're really terrific. Thanks.

mel | 9:15 AM

Your happiness is infectious. There is nothing wrong with that. I'm so glad I found this blog through the Momversation videos.

Anonymous | 9:50 AM

I'm a long time reader who is 'delurking' because of this post. I read your blog because it makes me feel good. I've stopped reading 'woe-is-me' blogs because they aren't productive in my life.
Continue the happiness train...it's a lovely ride.

Denise

rachel | 10:20 AM

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope you realize that by being true to yourself you're inspiring the rest of us to do the same.

ggop | 11:36 AM

Years ago I remember reading a book called "A Fine Balance" by Rohinton Mistry. All sorts of horrible things happen to these two people in the book. At the end we see things looking up. But no, he had to drag them down in the end to win his precious prize. I was so irritated with him. (he probably was realistic)

Reading your post just brought back all those memories. I'm so glad you titled your post In Defense of Happiness! About time, some writers stood up for happiness.

CreateTheChaos | 11:52 AM

I am lost. Not with drugs, or sex with vairious partners, but with college. Is it worth going insane for? I am not a straight A student, why push so hard, and only become more depressed. I love to learn, and that is what your site gives to me as a reader. I learn the facts of life, through your eyes. Thank you for doing what makes you happiest. And for giving us readers a chance to know that we all have in common.

Leball | 12:03 PM

BRAVO Rebekah!
This is by far one of my favorite posts you have written.

I love that you are so brutally honest, no matter what. I can relate to you, and HONESTLY cannot believe people write to you that you are too happy?

Obviously bitter people.

I love how you posted pictures of you without makeup, you are much more honest and courageous than me. But you give ME and extra push and courage to express myeself more freely! YOU ROCK!

Anonymous | 12:12 PM

There's a great Nick Hornby quote about how he found his writing style when he stopped trying to write like his tortured heroes:

"I profoundly disagree with those who equate 'literary' with 'serious' - unless 'serious' encompasses 'po-faced', 'dull', 'indigestible'. Anyone who does anything that seems easy or light or which actually entertains people always tends to get overlooked - apart from by the reading public, the only people who really matter. I reserve the right to write the kinds of books I feel like writing."

A Serious Girl | 1:10 PM

I love your writing, happy and joyful and beautiful as it is. I admire your honesty, it is brave and it is real and I think you're wonderful and inspiring and super cool. Thank you for everything.

WrathofDawn | 1:51 PM

People call you out because you're not miserable enough for them? SCREW 'EM! You deserve it. All of the happy.

I've not experienced people abandoning me in my good times. I find people abandon me when they no longer need me, regardless of my circumstances. When I divorced, I lost my married friends; when my new single friends got married and I stayed single, I lost them; when my fat friends got thin and I didn't, I lost them. Didn't matter how happy or miserable I happened to be at the time, or how much I needed them: when they had no more need of me, they were gone. Clearly, I am terrible at picking friends! Except for one...

I have one long-term friend who loves me no matter what my circumstances or hers. Over the past 37 years, our life paths have weaved in and out of being totally in synch and back out again, and it doesn't matter which of us is currently married or not, who has children or not, who's depressed or not, or how far apart we live. We're there for each other.

Amy | 2:14 PM

Hi Rebecca,

My first daughter, Fiona, was born at the end of last August. I recently returned to work, (Canadian...), and one of the teachers, (I'm a college-level librarian), sent me a message to thank me for sharing a recording of my daughter laughing with her dada.

In her message, she talked about the responsibility that I have to help Fiona to play her part in making the world a better place. She included the following quote, and I want to share it with you because it seems suddenly à propos:

"Many native cultures of America hold a belief that each individual is original medicine; nowhere duplicated on the planet; therefore; it is important to bring one’s creative spirit, life dream, or purpose to earth. Not to do so precludes healing from coming into your family, and your professional lives. Our work is to come fully forward with our gifts, talents and resources and to meet our tests and challenges. Gandhi recognized this simple truth when he said, 'My life is my message.'"

(Source: Arrien, Dr. Angeles. The Fourfold-Way: Walking the Path of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer and Visionary San Francisco: Harper, 1993, 79-80.)

Keep up the great work. Love & joy.

Debbie, i obsess | 3:52 PM

Golly, you're pretty when you're awesome.

I mean that in the very, veryveryveryvery best possible sense.

I adore you, R. Truly. THANK YOU for this post. It's a beaut.

xoxoox Deb

Traci | 4:29 PM

Thank you for defending happiness. Sometimes I think because I don't have many issues and am not tortured enough, I am just boring.

But boring isn't the right word. I'm happy. Content. And thankful I can be that way.

Thanks for summing it up so nicely.

Kate | 5:41 PM

Amen!! I felt the same way in high school and college-I was born into a happy and privileged family...what could I possibly have to say? What could I ever write about? The struggles, the dark and tortured times are inherently interesting; conflict and pain hold our attention. It is far more difficult to write compellingly of the "happy," and you do so brilliantly. Thank you for shattering the myth that being happy is synonymous with being dull!

Rachel | 6:35 PM

Just when I think you can't be more amazing.

Dammit woman. Yes.

You're amazing and I'm privileged to know you.

Mrs.BangBang | 7:13 PM

Amen!

Anonymous | 8:06 PM

bravo!

Anonymous | 8:14 PM

A lovely burst of FRESH AIR just puffed off the computer screen and into my face. Thank you for encouraging the practice of contentment, GGC!

Jennifer | 9:01 PM

Wonderful. And for the record- I love the content on your blog. Well done and better off for not being a shithole of despair. xoxo.

Rachel | 9:26 PM

Love it! Beautiful writing, as ever. Thank you for sharing. Life can be good, life is good. :-)

Catch the Kids | 5:44 AM

The world Is good. And filled with wonderful people. You go girl!

Creativechaos | 7:17 AM

I love your writing style no matter what. Actually, I lied. I love these new posts where you are SO happy.

Amanda

J. Murray-Szarvas | 8:15 AM

As I was reading I had an epiphany of my own, realizing that I too did a lot of the same things never fully understanding the motives behind the actions. I will continue to read your thoughts on a daily basis as it's one of my favourite places to visit on the web. Thank you for being you.

Emily | 9:40 AM

you are amazing and that's all there is to it! thanks for sharing the perspective. i needed it today!

Anonymous | 10:03 AM

I think your writing is beautiful and honest. I envy the obvious joy you find in your children and use it as inspiration to see the joy in my own. I often think about how you related the feeling of driving in your car, pre-kids, windows down, music up, smoking. And how you found that same feeling pushing your children on the swings. I search for that feeling, thank you for putting it to words.

Ewokmama | 10:36 AM

This is awesome. I love it. I love that you are embracing happiness. I wish I could nominate this post for something.

I think it takes more talent to write when there isn't tragedy - at least in this day and age. Everyone hears about the artist who had their big break-through when something went wrong in their lives. Once the drama is over, most of those artists disappear (or write really bad stuff).

Happiness is much harder to put into words without sounding cliche or like you are blocking out the "serious" aspects of a situation. I think it takes bravery to share happiness these days.

Chelsea | 10:58 AM

you're a great mom and blogger and you look just as stunningly beautiful with or with out make up etc.

people need to spend more time concentrating on their own lives than they do writing you emails about what you need to do etc with your blog.

being happy is a good place to be. people can suck it for all I care.

Allison the Meep | 12:49 PM

Criticized for your lack of angst???!!! What the fuck is WRONG with people??!!

I love that you love your life. That you're beautiful and smart and confident. There is so much bad around us without even trying to find it, I am so grateful for someone who simply rejoices in the good. With all the suffering and chaos that surrounds us, I want to breathe in happiness deep into my lungs because who knows how long it could last? I want to be thankful for all of this happiness right now so I'll have something to buoy me through sadness, if it should come around.

Bring it on, all of it. Faeries and rainbows and unicorns. I fucking love the good.

xoxoxox.

dirtdonthurtmom | 3:46 PM

You should be happy, dammit.
Two beautiful children, a husband you love, people that read what you write (which means you are a successful writer...even if you don't have a book people have paid money for).

I'm happy even though things are shitty for me in ways I haven't shared with anyone.

I think my new motto could be :BE FUCKING HAPPY JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE.

dirtdonthurtmom | 3:53 PM

an addendum: you do have a book, which I know because I read it. Sometimes I'm brain dead...mainly at 4 o'clock in the afternoon:)

Anonymous | 7:27 PM

god, i think you just opened my eyes.

Rita Arens | 10:35 AM

I love you, I love you, I love you so much.

Miguelina | 11:05 AM

On your birthday, I told you that you radiate joy and loveliness. That is the highest compliment I can think of.

From one happy soul to another XOXO

Tracey | 3:32 PM

Freak me. Brilliant. Fuck i love what my kids have made me too. I will go to bed now on your brilliance. Good night! x ;)

tanyetta | 5:56 PM

PERFECT!!!

Restless Mama | 6:52 PM

Sweet goodness woman, you are an inspiration! Best post EVER! I'm with you on happiness and writing. Who needs another tortured artist? ;) Happy thoughts lovely.

Nicola, Cape Town | 11:21 AM

I'm sorry that some people have been so short sighted. This is not a 24 hour web cam of your whole life, this is a blog, with bits you choose to share. I personally think it is the most real one I have ever read. You really don't need to explain, although it gave such and honest real account of your past. I love your attitude! Thanks Becks

Maggie May | 1:02 PM

A really interesting narrative. I really enjoyed reading that. I am on the opposite side of your tracks- grew up abused, miserable, poverty stricken and in a family riddled with mental illness and addiction. I struggled mightily against MY fate- to have a childhood so unstable and so pain ridden that nothing but nothing could help, could make it better. Just time, just escaping into adulthood and four years of intesive therapy and a little blue pill for the furies.

I was pregnant at 19 and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Nowadays my own blog is full of light and dark- for the same proposulsion I sense here- that a happy life can begin only with the truth, and my truth is sometimes very ugly. Not something I'm proud of or not proud of- it's just what IS, for me.

I love reading the lives of people who are blessed, and feel no envy. We ALL have our furies and our fires and our lacks in life, and mine are better than some and worse than others.

Your life is beautiful and blessed and what is most wonderful is that you CELEBRATE it.

xo

Anonymous | 5:54 PM

I really like this post, too. I admit that I am one of the skeptics. I liked what Ann and those aligned with her wrote, because I had always come here having the same thoughts. I could not wrap my head around someone who looked like there were no real-world problems. I don't really care about whether that is true or not. I just love the pic of you without makeup. We all have our own stories.

Anonymous | 11:33 AM

Gorgeous piece. I totally relate. I figured it out, too. And becoming a mom was really what sealed it for me, too. Now I navigate toward sunshine. - Missy

Korinthia Klein | 7:35 AM

Awesome post. I love hearing that you're happy.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 12:22 PM

Once again, thank you. Much love and happiness to all of you. xo!

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