On my Instagram page, I shared a photo – the one below – with the caption happiness is a choice. On the post and in my DM I came under criticism for it. I’m appreciative of various perspectives whilst being allowed to hold my own.
I have had a lot to be unhappy about. By the age of 10, I was sexually abused by four different people, one of whom was HIV positive. Later I got married and dealt with mental, financial and physical abuse that was so bad that it finally ended when he broke my face with his fist, left me on the floor bleeding and sped off in my car. I then had to endure reconstructive surgery to repair my face. I almost forgot to mention the complications of that surgery that landed me back in the hospital and the antibiotics that was doing me more harm than good because of an allergic reaction.
Face under repair, I now turned my focus on repairing my inner landscape, me behind the shell. I came to terms with my past and decided that I had to let go of what happened. I mourned the little abused girl and the battered wife and woman. I thanked them for the strength and what they taught me about myself. I extracted the lessons and left the bitterness and pain behind. Then I made fixing my mind and emotions priority because I knew this was necessary to create a better life. I needed a different life, one where I wasn’t always afraid and where my happiness or peace could be taken away in a swift blow of a fist or someone else violating my body or personhood.
I had then, and still to this day, do the work on myself to ensure that my happiness is my domain. I’m intentional about it, making it my choice because it’s my right, my responsibility, and my life. And I refuse to be stuck in a story, defined by where I’ve been and my ‘used to be’s’. So maybe I can’t speak for others but for me and the woman I work with, we have decided that happiness is and will always be our personal choice.