Friday, April 15, 2011

I Need Coffee. Did that Make Sense?

If you’re a regular reader, or sometimes just pass through, I apologize for my weeklong absence. 
I took time away from this journey to work on another journey. This involves some work on your part. Don’t worry, it’s not like homework. It’s very simple. 
If you’ve ever read this blog, why do you read it? What are you looking for? Is there something missing from your life, or is there something you’ve found?
Here’s the thing:
I believe many of us spend our entire lives trying to figure out the secret of life. But, as Faith Hill sings, “The secret of life is nothing at all.” 
There is also a question about “happiness.” That is almost a buzz word these days. What makes you happy? Who makes you happy? Why do they make you happy? 
Can’t we just be happy when we wake up in the morning?
Alright, so here’s the thing. When someone tells you something that you don’t really want to hear but you know to be true, how do you react?

Ok, because once someone told me, “You don’t write well. I can’t understand what you’re saying.”
It drove me nuts because my teachers had all selected me for writing awards growing up. I didn’t understand how my educators could respect my writing but my peers and colleagues could not. 
In college it proved to be a real problem. Fortunately, I had a professor who listened to me in class and recognized my thought process. 
Professor Lisa Smith was her name. I remember because she always sat on the desk at the front of the classroom and I sat in the front row. I mistakenly always wanted to call her Lilith. You know, like Frasier’s wife (ex-wife) from “Cheers” and “Frasier”? 
Anyway, she finally said to me, “Annie, you need to write your papers like you’re writing a letter.”
I said, “What?” I mean, what happened to the bing, bang, bongo format?  I seem to remember learning that in fifth grade. Introduction, three main parts, and then a conclusion. Bing. Bang. Bongo.
“You need to just start writing and don’t stop until you’re done,” Professor Smith said. “Don’t even start a new paragraph. Don’t edit it. Just write it and submit it.” 
I later found out that I wrote, thought, and spoke just like Lorelai Gilmore on “Gilmore Girls.” My thoughts hop-scotched, to me, naturally from one spot to another. If I tried to formalize the thoughts in some sort of restricted and legitimized writing format, it didn’t make sense. Oh, and I also like coffee just as much as she does. 
“What?” I said.  
“Just write it like you were talking, without a filter.”
“Wow,” I think I said, or I thought I said.
Anyway, I was a sophomore, I think, and for the first time in my life, someone with the power to decide my success decided with me, and not against me. She recognized that I had something to say, and to let me say it, even if it meant allowing me to choose my delivery. 
Lesson learned then is a lesson learned now and every day that I think many of us struggle.
Happiness isn’t about changing who we are or becoming who someone else wants us to be, it’s about being able to be exactly who we are, when we want to, and how we want to.  No disguise. No disappointments. 
So, a few years later when a news anchor said, “I don’t understand what this says,” I knew she was wrong.
I said, “let me see that.” I grabbed the script from her hands and I read it aloud.
“Oh,” she said. 
There were no more words.
I finally made sense. 

Question: What makes you happy? When do you feel most understood? Have you ever tried to change who you are to make sense to other people? Did it work? Let me know!


  1. Lorelai is my hero! I love her!

    I am working on finding what makes me happy. I have a few ideas but I am scared to try them out.
    I have tried to change and it hasn't worked, I feel it backfiring daily.

    Love this post. Thanks for writing it!

  2. I'm most happy when I can just be me around someone and they "get me" without making me feel like I'm strange. Probably why I like being around my husband. I tried to change for others, to be accepted. But, in the end, I couldn't keep up the charade and that person would end up falling by the wayside.


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