Shiny Happy People

Hey-o! I know it hasn’t been long at all since we chatted last, but I have two reasons for posting again so fast. Number 1: I read my last post before bed last night, and I realized that I should have titled it “Manic Panic” – wow, that was really all over the place! Sorry for panic rockin’ peeps, I guess I am feeling a bit untethered at the moment. I’m restless, I’m irritable, I’m jumpy…that all came across pretty loud and clear I think though so I’m not going to beat that horse any longer, pretty sure it’s deader than a doornail.

Reason Number 2: I saw a bumper sticker yesterday and I literally thought about it for hours after. This is my real reason for writing today; I just can’t get it outta my head (sorry, I’m still a bit stuck on the soundtrack thing – once you admit it, it becomes really noticeable) and I want to talk about it. I also want to redeem myself a little and prove that I can stick to a topic that makes sense. Mostly though, I just want to talk about the bumper sticker.

We get it Manda, you saw a bumper sticker – go you. What the frig did it say already??

Jeez Louise, I thought I was impatient. Ok, what it said was this “Happy People Are Hiding Something”. Ta-daaaaa! My big reveal. Real exciting stuff happening here today!

It got me thinking though, for pretty much the rest of the day. Whoever came up with that simple little expression is definitely a pessimist, but also kind of a genius. You can attach a lot of depth to those five little words and, although this could just be the obsessive part of my personality talking, they really are cause to stop and ponder. The sticker creator could also just be a colossal jerk who hates happy people, or they maybe just thought it was funny and catchy. Maybe there’s a “Bumper-Sticker-O-Matic” somewhere in the factory and no thought whatsoever went into the making of that particular sticker. I guess I’ll never know. What I do know is that I’m getting distracted again. Focus.

Although I hate to admit this, the first thought that went through my head after reading it was “got that right mofo” and then I spent a few seconds reveling in my newfound knowledge that I’m not the only rhymes-with-witch out there who thinks things like that. The thing is, although I may think things like that from time to time, I don’t usually say them. Except to my husband; He has the dubious honour of being privy to the majority of my innermost thoughts, and he still loves me. That man is a saint I tell you. So after I basked in the glow of my meanness for a second or two, the guilt started to slowly creep it’s way through the antipathy with all the grace of a two-storey house falling out of the sky, and the Wicked Witch of the West inside me began to shrivel because I actually do have a conscience and deep down I’m generally a not-mean person.

As that all began to happen, I actually started feeling sad because I realized that that stupid sticker is actually probably true. Happy people are almost definitely hiding something; in fact, we’re ALL almost definitely hiding something. Nobody is truly an open book; that’s why our psychic abilities diminished as we evolved, we all need a secret place to hide (I love conspiracy theories and out-there ideas btw, I may try to market a line of tinfoil hats one day but that’s besides the point here).

How many times has someone asked how you are and you’ve responded “Fine, great, awesome, amazing” and then, if you have even a superficial relationship with said person, gone on to mention some things that are going true to your words? I’m gonna guess pretty damn often, cause I know I do and I’m basically the Eeyore of my circle lately. Close friends may get the more real-life answer; you’re unhappy at work, your kids are making you crazy, your hubby left the seat up again, etc., but what about when things are really bad? Are you going to sit there and bombard every person who asks how you’re doing with the downer thoughts and perceived injustices you’ve been squirreling away to chew on when you get a minute to stop and think about it? Probably not. You’re probably just going to say “Fine thanks, and you?” and save all that other stuff for a box of wine and your bestie, or your cat…cats are great listeners because they just don’t give a fuck.

But what about those people who always seem to actually be fine, great, awesome, and amazing? What’s their deal? Well, some people actually are happy – some people are optimists by nature, and some people are exactly where they want to be doing exactly what they want to do. And even though you may sometimes want to high-five those people in the throat with your fist, save the throat-punching for actual assholes, because I guarantee even those happy people have something going on somewhere and emotional jealousy is not a valid reason for throat-punching. This is the part where I really started digging in…because I thought about all the “happy” people I know, and realized that I did feel kinda jealous and there’s a fine line between jealousy and resentment.

The thing is, those happy people might actually be miserable – they just don’t advertise it. Then I started getting anxious; What if my happy friends have problems that I don’t know about? How can I help if I don’t know? What if they feel like they have nobody to talk to? Oh God, what if I have a happy friend who’s actually lonely?? Hang on a sec, I need to go hyperventilate into a paper bag for a few minutes…

Okay, I’m better now. Realistically, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve answered “Fine” and meant it. And that’s probably being very generous. I don’t feel like that’s even an odd thing; everybody does it.

The reality is, we can never really know whether or not someone is fine unless they tell us. And if they aren’t, and don’t want anyone to know, then all we can do is be there when or if they ever decide they want some company to go along with their misery. Imagine if we all just went around incessantly bitching about everything…how exhausting. All that negative energy would probably cause the universe to explode or, at the very least, all of our heads. I just got a mental picture of a simultaneous worldwide head-explosion. Eyuh.

I’m glad I saw that sticker. It really made me stop and think (obsess) about the fact that happy people might need help sometimes too. We all have our “things”. It also made me stop being a bitch for five minutes and appreciate the happy people in my life. Do I get jealous sometimes? Sure. But I usually feel better after spending time with a glass-half-full person. Most of the time it helps me remember that my own glass is more than half-full. In fact, it’s overflowing. I have an amazing family, fabulous friends, and more support than I can ever even hope to utilize. My anxiety and depression make me forget that a lot, and at the end of the day that’s what I truly resent. I resent not fully enjoying what I have, because there are so many people out there who have it way worse. And some of those people can still find it within themselves to see the good things. I applaud those people. You are amazing. Truly.

So thank you, happy people. From the bottom of my heart. The world needs you, and you are appreciated more than you probably know. You probably don’t even realize the difference you make to others, and how your positive outlook can really put things in perspective for those of us who struggle with that sort of thing. And please don’t ever feel pressured to put on a happy face if something really is wrong. Maybe that’s just your nature and you can’t help it, but don’t ever feel like you can’t drop it like it’s hot if the need arises. People will be there for you, just like you’re there for them. Unless you hang out with dickwads, and in that case, get yourself a better entourage; you deserve it.

Happy people make the world go ’round (magnetic force does too but let’s give happy people some credit), and without them we would be a pretty miserable species. Everyone has problems, some people are just better at making the best of things. We need that. So work your magic on us happy people – that’s some hocus-pocus we can all believe in, no tinfoil needed.

Love ya peeps,

M

Through the Insta-Glass, and What Manda Found There

What’s up docs? It’s been awhile, I know, I know…I could lie and tell you that I’ve been super busy and productive and just haven’t had time to pop out a quick post, but that would be untrue, and I’ll be damned if I’ll lie to you my people…unless it’s about where I was last Thursday at 2:37pm. I was not in the conservatory with the candlestick – or was I?? I’ll never tell.

For reals though, I haven’t really been that busy the last couple of weeks. I (mostly) kept my promise to clean up my Hoarding Room, binge-watched five and a half seasons of Scandal, did some laundry, played some Candy Crush, and managed to catch myself a seriously killer cold – it’s like Michael Myers in flu-form; that shit just will not die! I realize that while having a psychopathic-murderer-cold may be a perfectly good reason not to vlog, it doesn’t excuse my serious lack of blogging. So my apologies.

Actually, me feeling like death warmed over was my inspiration for this post. Here’s the 411: the hubs and I had a social function to attend on Saturday night. Social functions naturally being an instant cause for panic, being sick on top of it made me feel like I would rather stick needles filled with acid in my eyeballs than hit that shit. (Which, incidentally, I kinda did last Saturday which was the last day I felt passably healthy – fast food straws and moving vehicles don’t mix. You can find the pic on Instagram, if you’re so inclined.) This; however, was no ordinary social function that I could beg off at the last minute. It was a one year memorial Celebration of Life party for my hubby’s BFF. So kind of a big deal. Throw in a hundred or so people who I haven’t seen in all of that time and a possible hey-how-are-ya with the ex-wife (hubby’s not mine; that’s one thing I didn’t experiment with in college, pity) and you have yourself a serious case of Lorazepam withdrawal.

So what do I do? I decide that Friday night is the time to experiment with another thing I never tried in college – rag rolling. For those of you out there mouthing “WTF” at your screens right now, it’s not some oddly elaborate way to smoke weed. Not that I know of anyway. Try Google. The idea of rag rolling is basically just rolling your hair up in strips of fabric (I knew I kept all those mismatched pillowcases for a reason!) before you go to bed and waking up the next day with fabulously perfect curls. That’s in a perfect world. In my world, test driving a new hairstyle 18 hours before a big-deal soirée is a fine example of a fucking terrible idea. Let me just add here that I also decided to put in tape extensions, on Friday, which means I couldn’t wash my hair if it didn’t turn out. If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, I repeat; Google.

I’m taking awhile here but I do have a destination I’m chugging towards; it’s 5am right now and I’m slightly delirious but just hear me out, ok? So it’s Saturday afternoon, an hour before I have to leave, and I unroll my fabulously perfect curls. They’re like six fat sausages; I’m channeling Shirley Temple like a Long Island medium. And then I make the fatal mistake. I brush them. Because at the end of the day, I don’t want to look like Shirley-freaking-Temple, I want to look like Mila-freaking-Kunis. What I end up looking like instead is Sideshow Bob. It was bad. It was horrible. It was EPIC. Right away, of course, I snap a pic of this catastrophe and send it to my Mom, because I know I can go to her for comfort and she won’t laugh at me. Shyeah, and monkeys might fly outta my butt. Several laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying emojis and a tentative “Can you try to wet it?” later, I’m feeling utterly DIY-defective but I have to roll with it. Long-story-not-short, my hair turned out fine (seriously peeps, Google!) and after a couple ‘pams and a beer or two (seven?) I mostly forgot that I started the night looking like I stuck my finger in an electric socket.

So where am I going with all of this? The next day, as I scrolled through my photos, I saw that my cringe-worthy “before” pic was followed by a fantabulous “after” pic, taken for perspective after I had tamed the beast and painted my face because the sun was shining on the bathroom mirror and I wasn’t sure if I had on too much blush. I didn’t. I looked picture perfect. I instantly opened Instagram to document this moment, when I hesitated. I try to be somewhat sparing with the selfies. No Kim-K up in here; plus, I don’t like setting standards I may have to live up to on a regular basis when it comes to my appearance. FALSE ADVERTISING, say it with me kids.

This is what I looked like for one night. The hideous “before” picture that my mother laughed at is what I look like all the time. And I feel like that’s a lot of the problem. Social media is a bitch. I mean, seriously…all we see are the picture perfect moments that everyone posts. Nobody posts the before. All we see is the after. Do you ever scroll through Instagram or Facebook and think “Where did I go wrong? Why is everybody else’s life so goddamn perfect??” Well peeps, I’m about to let you in on possibly the worst-kept secret since Brangelina: it’s actually probably not.

Flawlessly filtered selfies, yoga on tropical beaches, table settings and holiday decorations that would make Martha Stewart herself hurl politely into her designer handbag. DIY everything, no fails allowed. Perfect husbands, perfect children, perfect jobs, perfect pets for fucks sake! No wonder we’re all depressed – who can live up to that?? Or maybe a better question, who actually lives like that? Not this girl, I can tell you that much, but it never occurred to me to post the before; Christ on a camel-toe, who does that? Who wants everyone to see the real deal? The daily grind? Nobody’s posting when the shit hits the fan; when the angelic toddler you’re so accustomed to seeing on Instagram making “I Love Mommy” art is laughing with maniacal glee as they flush the wedding rings down the toilet, when the hair doesn’t turn out perfectly, when the boss says “So long, and thanks for all the fish” because a robot does it better, when asses go over teakettles on the beach doing yoga because sand, because-okay, now I’m just raving.

But why would we post that stuff? We’re given a perfect platform to showcase the very best our lives have to offer to everyone we’ve ever known – why would we not? What could possibly go wrong? How about trying to live up to to not only everyone else’s expectations, but the ridiculous expectations you yourself have now given everybody about your life? I can’t even really talk because, according to my very own social media pages, everything’s comin’ up Manda. And let’s face it, if all everyone posted about was the mundane, soul-crushing tedium of this hellride called “life”, we’d all get bored pretty damn quick. Eeyore might get invited on all the adventures, but nobody’s lurking his Facebook page, amirite?

Maybe that’s why we do it…to show that life is not a constant hellride. That our souls are alive and kicking. That we’re actually having FUN. Maybe I’m looking too much into it; some people probably do it to be uppity dicks but whatevs – if being dickish floats your boat then who am I to sink it with my righteous indignation?

A dick. I’m probably a dick if I do that.

All dicking aside, if you ever start beating yourself up or wondering if the grass is really greener on the other side of the Insta-glass, try to remind yourself that it almost definitely isn’t. Is your life truly what you portray on the World Wide Web? I know mine isn’t. So “like” that perfectly iced cake, knowing that there are probably at least 10 not-so-perfect cakes in the past that never made it to Instagram. “Love” that flawless family photo, knowing that there are probably hundreds of unposted photos buried forever in the cloud that are definitely not flawless. Comment “So cute!” on the meticulously trained puppy who probably pissed on the rug five minutes ago…am I venturing into dick territory again? I feel like I am. I blame Mercury, this retrograde nonsense is making me a tad snippy. Plus I’m hangry.

You get the drift. Saying the life that most of us portray on social media is freely adapted would be like saying that an acid-filled needle to the eyeball may cause some slight discomfort.

Here is my destination: Don’t let the ‘gram get you down peeps – it’s a rabbit hole with no bottom. Don’t fall in.

M

*Note* I’m glad I waited until I slept for an hour or two to review this. I feel like maybe I’m being overly venomous with my opinion; some people probably do have close-to-perfect lives. And that’s ok. I’m not going to not post this though. I know people who have actually suffered from depression and anxiety caused by looking too hard in the social media mirror. This post is for them. To those of you living up to your social media profiles – I salute you. To those of you beating yourself up for not “living the dream”, know that you are not alone.

The ever-quotable Dr. Suess himself once said:

Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is your than you.

And we all know better than to argue with doctors 😉

Be well peeps, xo

My Promise to DO SOMETHING

I’ve noticed lately that I’ve settled into a kind of perma-PMS state. The smallest thing out of place fills me with hate-fire, and I can’t even listen to a Justin Bieber song without choking up. This is a most interesting change from my usual state of emotionless zombie. Other than taking a pregnancy test every month for the last 6 months – one line every time, yessssss – I haven’t really given it much thought. I’ve just kind of accepted it, like muffin-top and adult acne.

Now, though, I’m thinking that my brain is screaming for some sort of outlet. Sitting on the couch all day certainly isn’t doing my body good; same goes for my mental health I’m guessing. So…the question is, what to do about it? The answer, dear readers, is this:

I wanna dance!

Now I know what you’re thinking – nice Dazed & Confused ripoff Manda, now get serious for Chrissakes! But I actually am being serious. I came to this conclusion by obsessively overanalyzing my sudden onset of overly emotional reactions to completely irrelevant things. I mean, it’s one thing to get choked up over a sappy song; it’s quite another to actually want to castrate your husband for putting the milk back on the wrong shelf. Don’t get me wrong – I feel very strongly about which shelf the milk belongs on, and woe betide anyone who puts it back in the wrong place, but lately I literally feel something beyond rage over things that usually are just a regular annoyance for anyone used to being as neurotic as I am.

And then we have music. Albus Dumbledore once remarked “Ah, music – a magic beyond all we do here!”, and if Dumbledore wasn’t already my hero, he won the honour with those words. I’ve always felt a strong connection to music. It’s something that most of us can relate to – there’s just something about it that touches the most human facet of our beings. And let me just say that lately, music is touching me something serious – heads out of the gutter peeps, you know what I mean!

So, like any good anxious person, I decided to analyze the everloving shit out of it until I could figure out why Britney Spears’ “Everytime” makes me blubber like an infant. Seriously, WTF is happening to me?? I’ll say it, I love Britney; I’m a true child of the 90’s, butterfly clips included, but to be brought to tears by that? Something is clearly wrong here, besides all the obvious things.

I need to express myself. In a non-swearing, non-destructive way. Sad face.

Music seems to be the key here. I feel it pulling at me, all the time. It’s getting a bit annoying, like, I feel you ok? Stop pulling on me, you’re ruining my lazy vibe. My protests; however, are in vain. It just keeps pulling. I’ve thought about going back to learning guitar, but it’s the only instrument so far that I’ve ever put my hands on and not been able to play by ear (Rainman, right here). It kinda makes me want to smash the guitar and any surrounding furniture into firewood, like Motley Crüe in a swanky hotel room. Not good. Then there’s singing…I can carry a tune alright, but I watch way too much X-Factor on YouTube to truly believe that I’m anything special in that department. My mad rapping skills are also at an all time coughyousuck low. So that’s a no. And then we come ’round to dancing.

I told you before that I’m a dance mom. I’m not desperate to steal my kids thunder here, or re-live my youth, or anything crazy like that. Let’s get that out of the way right now. What I am desperate to do is understand and channel this torrent of emotions being unleashed from the depths of my emotional subconscious. I want to feel the music. Like Patrick Swayze said. Man, what I wouldn’t give to have him around to teach me the Merengue. RIP Johnny.

Anyway, the point I’m dancing around here – haha, dancing, get it? You got it. The point is that I’m going to make you a promise. I’m going to dance. I have a room in my basement that I lovingly call “the Hoarding Room”. It looks like something you’d see on TLC, minus the cockroaches. March break starts on Monday, and I am kid-free. That’s right. A whole week to myself. I pledge here and now to spend part of that week cleaning that room and getting ready to turn it into a mini dance studio where I can flop around to my hearts content; sobbing to Selena Gomez while I try to do a pirouette and hold a Twinkie at the same time without falling on my ass.

I did dance, you know. For like fifteen years. It’s gotta still be in there somewhere, like riding a bike. I also went through a pole fitness phase last year, and I got pretty damn good at it. I even bought my own pole. It’s somewhere in the Hoarding Room, with my yoga mat, my quilting supplies, my knitting tote, my…guuuuuuhhhh. This is going to be fun, I can tell. It’s going to work too – you wait and see. I’m going to be the Julianne-freaking-Hough of my block. Nobody puts Manda in a corner.

So that’s my promise. I’m finally at a point where I’m willing to listen to what my subconscious is telling me. I’m ready to do something. Maybe the tiny bit of writing I’ve done has shaken something loose; I don’t know, but we’re gonna go with it. Look out music, I’m coming for you.

Peace out.

M