Fighting for Happy

Fighting for Happy

“You have storms and waves inside of you that you must not tame as the world will tell you to. Rather, you must make peace with them and let them roar.” -Andy Charrington, The Point of Pain

We all have addictions right? What are you addicted to? Is it a thing, like a drug or alcohol or food, is it a behavior like, spending money or cheating, or is it a feeling like misery or jealousy? I think I am addicted to self doubt that then leads to procrastination. What does that even mean? What is addiction? Well, it is a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences. It can be thought of as a disease or biological process leading to such behaviors.

At least that’s what Webster says.

So I am perplexed. What rewarding stimuli could possibly exist in a state of self doubting procrastination? If there are any, I promise they are lost on me. I find no joy in putting things off. In fact, with each pushed task, with every disappointed glance from my husband, with every crumpled yellow post-it of things never accomplished, I feel the weight of the world crashing down on me. This inevitably leads to more self doubt. Thus, the vicious cycle continues, leaving me glued to the couch watching an endless loop of reality television. I am tired, angry, and bored, existing in a whirlwind of missed appointments and unpaid bills where that weight piles on every day.

There is a voice inside my head screaming at me. “Turn off bravo and GET OFF THE COUCH!” I hear it throughout the day as I mindlessly scroll through facebook or instagram getting happily distracted by the daily lives of loved ones. I hear it, “You’re wasting time! Focus! Why can’t you get it together!?”  Every night as I lay in bed, I hear it as lists take form and begin to swirl around in my mind. Lists of calls to make, forms to fill out, people to respond to, lists that carry harsh judgement, lists that never get completed. They just haunt my mind until I eventually fall asleep.

So, I find myself wondering….how do you change something about your behavior, something that you are aware of, and want to change? It should be simple, right? Just stop. Or in some cases, just start.  Well, it’s obviously not so simple, not. even. close.  

In my opinion, it all comes down to one’s will and determination. The same can be said for any addiction, the only thing that will put an end to it is you. The problem is figuring out how to listen to the willful and determined voice and ignore the addicted one.

I have known people who have had addiction destroy their relationships, their health, and in some cases, even their ability to function in society. Nothing helped them…no cries from family members, no consequences, nothing saved them on their downward spiral. No outside praise or discrimination can have a lasting affect on the addicted soul. I believe that is because most addictions stem from a place of self loathing. The addiction manifests in countless ways but the root is always the same. The people I know who have survived their addictions are the ones who woke up one day and made a choice. A choice to be kind to themselves 

We all have that voice, the one that tells us to put the brownie down or to chew gum instead of light a cigarette. I have always been certain of that. What I didn’t give enough attention to is how important it is to not only hear that voice, but to then actually follow through and listen to it, no matter what. Recently I have been working really hard to look within and hear my willful and determined voice.

Here is what it has been saying…

You must realize that you have been lost and endure all of the pain that comes along with that loss before you can begin to understand how valuable you are. When you strip it all down to the bare bones, take away all of the excuses, take away all of the circumstances, the only thing left is you. You know this of course. YOU have to choose to fight your guts out to change and be kind to yourself. It must start from within. Your father died, you still need to take the kids to school. You lost your job, you still need to pay the mortgage. It is in the process of learning to take responsibility for your own happiness and fulfillment that you can successfully change behavior. There is no more room for excuses. The world does not owe you anything. YOU owe it to yourself to turn the tv off and get to work. You owe it to yourself, Tarsha.

As I have been listening to my inner voice more and more I can see small changes taking place. I am taking care of myself. I am exercising, reading and writing. I may not be getting to all three in one day just yet but I am getting there. I am fighting to get this weight off of my shoulders.  I am sharing my struggle without fear of judgement. I can do this now because I am focused inward. I no longer expect anyone else to “fix me” I am doing it myself. It is excruciating. I have been lost in a sea of chaos and confusion for so long that I stopped trusting myself. So it is terrifying.  But I will be damned if I waste any more time existing in a state of perpetual procrastination, doubting myself. I know what matters to me and for my family. I have always known that. I will no longer allow the pain of the last seven years to overshadow it all in my mind. I will no longer exist, treading water, afraid to splash about. You know why? Because I deserve to be happy. And guess what? You do too. Look inward, trust your journey and be, unapologeticlly, you.


Published by tarsha benevento

I am an educator who thrives on helping others. I spent close to 15 years teaching and then as an administrator in the New York City Public School System. During that time I completed my first Masters Degree in Teaching Reading and and additional degree in administration. I currently tutor students in all subjects and grades. In addition, after completing the Parent Advocacy Class with The Federation of Children with Special Needs several years ago, I am a parent advocate. I plan to dedicate my time to helping other families of children with special needs.

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