Monday, October 24, 2011

Catherine could say it. Why can't I?

Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman
Beauty and the Beast
My husband and I are enjoying watching the old Beauty and the Beast television series from the late 1980's. Our friend, Lisa Marie, found out how much Bill liked the series and lent us the first season DVD set. I didn't watch the series when it aired, but 5 DVDs into it, I'm wishing I had. What a wonderful love story. I can see why Bill lists it as one of his all-time favorite TV shows.

Over the weekend, we sat and watched one of the shows called, Down to a Sunless Sea. The episode focuses on a former fiance of Catherine's and his dangerous obsession with her five years after their breakup. In a flashback scene, they are romping in a park and she says dreamily, "I'm so happy." The statement made me slightly uncomfortable and a bit sad. I looked at Bill and thought, "We've never said that to each other." Thinking back, I don't think I've ever said it to anyone.

You know how some people are uncomfortable with the words, "I love you?" Others can't say, "I'm sorry," or tell you when they're hurting. Well, the phrase that trips me up is "I'm so happy." It got me wondering why.

I thought about it for the rest of the night on Saturday, and again, on Sunday I found myself pondering this. Why can't I say I'm happy? I'm guessing there is something so deeply imbedded in me that has programmed me to not accept happiness at its worth. And I'm pretty sure my husband received the same programming somewhere along the way. We seem to have to add, "for the most part," when expressing our happiness. After all, there are problems in life. Always. It seems a bit trite to say, "I'm so happy," when we have a couple of daughters who rarely bother with us, when we have friends suffering loss and poor health, when we have bills piling up or too many commitments or too many things to fix in the house. Do you know what I'm saying?

What about you? Are there phrases you struggle to say out loud?

[Clarification ... based on a comment I just received (see below): It's not that I'm not happy ... it's just that I can't say the words. Just like someone who loves deeply, but can't manage to verbalize it. Does that make sense?]

Yesterday, while it was a perfectly lovely Sabbath all the way around, I found I was exhausted by the end of the day. While I've spent the past few weeks resting on the Sabbath, this week was spent doing. Not working, mind you, but certainly doing. We left the house at 9:45 and didn't get home until 7:30. It was a fun, but long day. After church, we did our usual out-to-lunch thing, then Jess, Laura, Bill and I went to a pretty awesome garage sale, as we had to kill time before going to a family party that didn't start 'til 3. Bethany was home with a sick kiddo, so she couldn't join us this week.

It was wonderful spending time with Bill's three brothers and their families and it was especially nice seeing our niece, Judy, and her daughter, Sara, who were in from Montana. Like I said, it was a perfectly lovely day. But I was beat by the time we got home ... and I was haunted by my dilemma. Why can't I say, "I'm so happy"??

So, as the new week is underway, and I focus on work, I'm also going to continue to explore this dilemma. And I'm going to commit to being able to say the words, confidently, to Bill by next Sunday. It may not seem like a lofty goal to some. But for me, it will be a real breakthrough. After all, Catherine could say it. Why can't I?

Sharing my Sabbath and miscellaneous thoughts with you,



  1. I applaud you for writing this. I think it takes courage to reveal something like that about yourself. And I don't think it's weird that you don't feel happy. My sister lived many years not feeling happy. She discovered that she was missing a chemical that caused her body to destroy the seratonin that it produced. Seratonin is the chemical that makes us feel happy. She got a prescription to help her body learn to keep the seratonin around and she feels happy for the first time in years.

    I'm not saying that you need to go get drugs, but that there are a number of reasons why a person may not feel happy. Some of those reasons are beyond your immediate control. Sometimes contentment is enough.

    But I will be praying for you as work on achieving happiness!

  2. Thank you for commenting on this, Wanda. However, I must have been clear enough. It's not that I don't feel happy, it's that I somehow can't say it. It's just an awkward phrase for me.

    As someone who is bipolar, I am all too familiar with seratonin and medications, unfortunately. Even during manic highs, I could never get the words out!


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