So I got a text this morning from my sister who lives in Italy.
“We haven’t spoken in a while, how are you?”
I summed up in 3-4 brief messages the major changes that have happened recently in my life.
“I exist more now than I did six months ago,” I said. “See, after such negative times I’ve found a glimmer of joy in the little things. You always get to a stage when you feel you don’t care about anything or anyone but yourself. I don’t care if that guy won’t call me tomorrow and I happen to easily brush people’s opinions off. I can’t even listen to my friends’ problems anymore. I have postponed appointments to go to my dance class instead. I switch my phone off. I spend hours writing, reading and singing in the shower. I don’t feel guilty if I say no. I know, I know – I still haven’t replied to dad’s e-mail, is he still upset? Oh God Ely, am I becoming selfish?”
“It seems like you’re happy,” She replies.
“Happy? It sounds like a big word to me. I could also give you a list of the things that are going wrong right now.”
“(…) I meant you’re happy at least to look within yourself what you need to feel good and to feel strong. Have anybody ever told you that happiness is a choice?”
Suddenly I got to think of what American author Elizabeth Gilbert once said in one of her books: when you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt.
This is not selfishness, but obligation.