11 February 2007

The Life Uncensored

Most of this past week, I've had the place to myself, and this much is certain: when no one's around, I sing more. More loudly, more off-key for all the songs I love that are out of my range that I might typically forego, just more. There's also more spontaneous dancing.

I'm also more likely to laugh and to do so more loudly. Overall, I'm having a right good time which made me wonder why I feel compelled to restrain myself the rest of the time. What does it matter if someone else knows what makes me laugh? Or sees me being silly and light-hearted?

I cultivated such an air of seriousness when I was younger that it seems like breaking character if I behave otherwise. Being taken seriously has always been important to me, but generally speaking, it hasn't been a problem. If anything, people take me too seriously.

Aside from that, there's our old standby self-consciousness. What's the point of that really? To avoid looking foolish? It all seems to be contingent on caring what other people think.

Earlier this week, I came across The Happiness Project, a blog by Gretchen Rubin.
I'm working on a book, THE HAPPINESS PROJECT--a memoir about the year I spent test-driving every principle, tip, theory, and scientific study I could find, whether from Aristotle or St. Therese or Martin Seligman or Oprah. THE HAPPINESS PROJECT will gather these rules for living and report on what works and what doesn't. On this daily blog, I recount some of my adventures and insights as I grapple with the challenge of being happier.
Compelling stuff. From her research, she has culled her own 12 commandments for being happier. I'm still mulling them over, but I'm entirely on board with #1: Be Gretchen.

During this unfettered week, I've been more Claire than I sometimes allow myself to be. "Be Claire" seems like a worthy thing to keep in mind all of the time. Right now it translates to: don't hold back. Not the easiest thing to do when you still remember getting hurt, but I've been happier this week and that counts for something.

One year ago at TTaT: Dos
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  1. Good for you! I'll bet it will end up translating into your writing as well. For me, the more I open up in real life, the more I am able to release in my words.

  2. Thanks, Shane. I think it will filter into my writing. I've often felt like I need to be moody and serious to write, but it's not true. When I'm happier, I actually tend to write more. I just need to shake off that old perception.

  3. No. 9, lighten up, is where I tend to go wrong. Do you ever have those days when you feel like you've lost your sense of humor?

  4. Melissa: Yeah, I do. Lighten up should be on my list too... just higher up. ;)

  5. that counts for a LOT- being claire. it can be hard to be ourselves when we've been taught growing up to squelch it and "fit in."

    sing and dance and laugh loudly i say. it gives the rest of us more permission to be ourselves. :)