I’m The Happiest I’ve Ever Been -- And It Terrifies Me

by Katie Cloyd
Originally Published: 
Katie Cloyd/Instagram

I am the happiest I have ever been. I don’t mean that something really amazing has happened so recently that I’m still riding the high. Of course, I love seasons like that, but this is something else.

This is a deeper happiness.

Even on my hardest day right now, I have a sense of total peace about all the most important things in my life.

It all feels so much bigger because my year started off with overwhelming challenges. For the first few months, I felt like I barely caught my breath from one sucker punch before life was right there to provide the next hit. Nothing was safe. When it rains, it pours — and my health, my kids, my friendships, and my family were soaking wet.

Then, somehow, it was like the wind just changed.

One by one, every area of my life that had suffered started to recover. Over the course of several months, I watched in awe as piece after piece fell into place like magic.

Everything that felt lost or hopeless was actually just a step toward something better. I couldn’t see it when I was in it. I was so focused on how I was suffering that I didn’t see how I was growing.

Of course, life isn’t perfect now. It never will be. Every day brings its own challenge, and there are plenty of tears and fears and struggles.

Overall, though, things are good and I am just happy. The happiest I’ve been in as long as I can remember.

My family, my marriage, my household, and my career are all on solid footing. I feel like, for the first time in ages, everything I really want most is either mine or within reach. When I take stock of my life, I see peace and possibilities with no giant, obvious hurdles to jump in the immediate future.

I should be enjoying this.

So why am I so terrified that it’s all going to fall apart?

I don’t want to be afraid, but sometimes anxiety tells me that I shouldn’t get too attached to this happiness because there is no way I deserve it.

I recently realized that I live in a constant state of scared anticipation, steeling myself for the moment that the other shoe drops and life hands me the mediocre existence that I am afraid I deserve.

This was a really disappointing revelation.

How can I possibly see myself through such a dismal lens?

I spend my whole life talking about self-love as it relates to body image and fat positivity. I’ve spent a lot of time being intentional about the way I talk to myself about my size, and I have transformed the way I think about my life in a fat body. I still have insecurities, but I’ve armed myself with ways to fight them.

I no longer let myself waste mental and emotional energy running down a list of all the ways my body falls short of perfection. Physical perfection as defined by media and diet culture is off the table as a goal for me, and that is an amazing feeling.

I’ve always thought of my negative body image as my biggest area of self-doubt. When I started to feel like I had more of a grip on the way I saw my body, I guess I thought I’d conquered the worst of the insecurity.

Well, I was wrong.

Fixing the way I see my body is good, worthwhile work, but apparently, I still have a long way to go when it comes to seeing myself as valuable and worthy of good things. There’s a little voice in my mind that tells me only an exceptional person should have a life that makes them as happy as mine makes me.

Then it asks me who the hell I think I am. Do I think I’m so extraordinary that I somehow actually deserve to be fully at peace?

Yes, actually I do. I realize that seeing myself as extraordinary and exceptional wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Humility doesn’t mean I can’t see myself as amazing. But viewing myself as anything but ordinary makes me feel guilty, and I just don’t know why.

I don’t want to be afraid, but sometimes anxiety tells me that I shouldn’t get too attached to this happiness because there is no way I deserve it.

Maybe it’s a holdover from my religious upbringing, where everyone expected women to have a modest, self-minimizing attitude. It could be that my life in a fat body led to deeper roots of insecurity than I even realized. Or maybe I’m just a normal person who can’t wrap my mind around my own good luck.

I haven’t figured it out yet. I don’t know why sometimes every good thing in my life feels like it should belong to someone else. But I do know that I feel so incredibly lucky that this life belongs to me. My husband, my kids, my family, my little messy house, my career, my friends. All of it. Life has brought every one of these good things to me.

Of all people.

It’s okay if I don’t understand why. I don’t think I want to be the kind of person who loses sight of the fact that a lot of my happiness is rooted in privilege and a lot more of it is rooted in luck.

I do want to be able to see that some of it comes from the fact that I’ve worked for this life. Maybe my marriage is solid because we have built it well. Perhaps my kids are flourishing because I’ve loved them well and taught them how to be kind. Maybe I live in a home I love because I take care of everything that happens within these walls. I probably have good friends because I have been a good friend. My job is mine because I’ve been a dependable employee.

Some of my happiness is mine to claim.

Saying that out loud won’t magically eliminate the fear that I’ve somehow unwittingly built a house of cards and life is on the verge of sending a stiff breeze my way.

I am going to do my best to stop living like it’s all about to come crashing down.

Sometimes things are just good, and even if I can’t always see why, sometimes I do deserve to rest and enjoy it.

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