Right-click, open in new window, click to expand
I grew up with people always saying, "Smile", or "Why don't you smile?" or "Things can't be that bad?!" or "It takes more muscles to frown than smile..." And it always bugged me that they'd said those things because I knew inside me there was so much going on I didn't have time to think about what my face was doing, which in most cases wasn't a frown by the way but just a relaxed face.

Like when they would say "Don't shout!" when they thought I was shouting. Shouting?, I thought. "Shouting?", I responded. "This isn't shouting. THIS IS SHOUTING!", as they covered their ears. Meanwhile I was simultaneously angry and laughing inside me - angry because I was sick of hearing that from people ("You talk too loud" or "Your voice carries") and knowing I was just talking - just, talking - but lucky me, I had a "voice that carries".

Anyways, back to smiling and happiness. I would say that there have been moments, maybe even hours or a period of some time, when I felt wonderful, for a variety of reasons, due to circumstances and/or other people's influences or actions in my life, but I never feel overly positive or what I have always imagined happy must mean, or what happy people are as a general rule. I have always had in the pit of my stomach, knots. Sometimes they get tighter, and sometimes they loosen, but they are always there. There is dread in the back of my mind, and I think is there something I should be doing, or doing better. I try to stay busy doing things that make me feel accomplished or needed. I distract myself by escaping into another world with books and TV and films. I write to get the thoughts that are crowding my mind out and onto the page to read and re-read and have them make some sort of sense to me or anyone else that might read them. I cope, distract, and escape. But happy? I don't know anything about happy.