Happiness: A Journey in 3 Parts

Addison M. M. Bean

When I was 13—
Your evil words clung to me like an old piece of bubble gum on a shoe.
I could take it off, but it was always a little sticky.
If happiness was my favorite blanket, your evil words ripped holes in it that I never
knew how to patch.
Your evil words turned out the lights in my mind and weighed down my body like a
load of bricks making it hard to get through the day.
Your evil words made existing an uncomfortable experience.
Your evil words told me to be sad.
Your evil words whispered and repeated themselves over and over until I started to
believe them myself.

When I was 15 I thought—
Their kind words made existing a bearable challenge.
Their kind words told me to be happy.
Their kind words talked sense into me and repeated themselves over and over until I
started to believe them myself.
Their kind words tied balloons to the bricks and allowed me to stand tall.
Their kind words turned on the lights in my head.
Their kind words were the light.
Their kind words stretched and sewed colorful fabric over all my damaged happiness,
that old shredded blanket, so the holes were no longer visible.
Their kind words washed away the gum, the stick, until I could barely feel it pulling
me back.

But now, at 18, I know—
The gum doesn’t stick anymore because I outgrew those shoes.
I bought new ones.
Yes, some holes in my happiness are covered by colorful fabric, but when they got
tired of sewing,
I learned how to knit.
The blanket has never been warmer.
The light in my mind is turned on because I am the light.
I always was.
I blew up every balloon tied to the bricks.
I stand tall all on my own.
I screamed and repeated every single good thing about me because I believe them.
I decided to be happy.
I exist on my own terms.

Your evil words are not gone.
Their kind words help.
But I made all the difference.