Exposing the Floor

Mar 31, 2014 by

          I recently met Mike, a gym friend of mine, by interrupting a conversation he was having because I liked a point he made: “You know that you’re doing something you love if you would do it for free.” I thought about The Happiness Experiment. One of the most common questions I get when people find out that I write a blog is if I make money by doing so. I don’t make a penny. I do it because I love it.

          One year ago today, I began writing what would become The Happiness Experiment. I was alone in my childhood bedroom, where I had been seeking refuge from the apartment that contained my broken best friendship. I needed someone to talk to. There was no one. My best friend at the time, who wasn’t talking to me and for good reason, had been the only person in my corner during the four years leading up to that point. In fact, she was the only person who knew I had backed myself into one. Suddenly, she was gone. The only listener in my vicinity was my laptop. I opened it up to begin writing. I had never done this before. I was never one to spew words for any purpose that wasn’t academic. I had been playing with the idea of turning my search for happiness, then only a few weeks old, into a blog, but I wasn’t sure that I’d have anything to write about; my life was unfathomably boring. Holy crap was I ever about to show myself up.

          I began writing for the illusion that I had friends to speak to who were listening. I continued writing for the people on the floor. My intent was to prove that happiness is possible, no matter how unhappy some may be. My writing became a major driving force in my determination to succeed in happiness. If I wanted to motivate others to go for happiness, I had to lead by example. Last Tuesday, I was ecstatic to be reminded that The Happiness Experiment is doing what it was intended to do: inspire happiness, especially within those who have a history of disbelief in it.

          While at the gym, I received a Facebook message from a friend that read, “You’re inspiring people through word of mouth!” with a link to a blog post by a girl who courageously confessed to being depressed. Jennifer McGovern’s multi-part depression confession is nothing short of brave. I’ve never met Jenn, yet she makes me unbelievably proud. What she did was incredible. By reading more of Jennifer’s Ramblings, I came to understand the connection between Jenn’s confession and my friend’s Facebook comment. The day before sharing her story, Jenn had written a post titled It’s been way too long . . . Here is an excerpt:

I was sensationally inspired by a blogger that I was just turned onto yesterday. She has no fear. She is real. I felt like what I was reading, I was relating to on my own plane, and I thought, “Why did I ever stop writing on my blog?” . . . Reading what this blogger had to say sparked an idea for a piece of writing. I am excited about it. It’s going to be real. Really real. It’s going to be tough and it’s going to be deep. I haven’t met this young lady yet, but I want to thank her from the depths of my heart and share her blog with you. So, thank you, Maria Theresa. Your blog, The Happiness Experiment, has inspired me! It is just what I need in my life at this moment.

          This is why I write The Happiness Experiment. I started crying happy tears right in the gym (and may or may not be failing to fight them now!). The Happiness Experiment inspired someone to publicly own up to being depressed, and to start doing something that makes her happy again. The entire point of The Happiness Experiment is to take the shame out of unhappiness by exposing it as a commonality, and encourage people to change their stories in favour of happiness. I am thrilled to know that it is doing exactly that. Darling readers, thank you all for listening. The friends I speak to are no longer just illusions. Nothing I write can express how much I needed you.

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