Skip to main content

Feeling LIke a Stranger to My Happiness (Happy Anniversary, BMNB, and I Want to Be a Dapette)




I'm a huge fan of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.  On this day, my eleventh wedding anniversary, their song "Stranger to My Happiness" sums up how I feel.  Not Pharrell Williams' "Happy," but "Stranger to My Happiness."  Here's why.

I've finally gotten to the point in my life where all the pieces seem to fit together pretty well, and what doesn't fit, I've discarded.  Changing jobs was a huge part of this happiness that I haven't felt in a long, long time.  I don't wake up dreading going to work, I don't hold my breath until the weekend comes, and I'm not sour and cross with my long-suffering husband, Black Man Not Blogging (BMNB).  My stress level is much lower, I sleep better, I feel better.  I haven't felt this happy in a long time.  I have, in fact, been a stranger to my happiness.

We don't realize that when we're stressed out, we stress out the folks around us.  We take them through the same changes we're going through, and they didn't sign up for that.  I just assumed that my more-centered, Teflon-spirited better half was immune to what I was feeling. He wasn't.  Needless to say, he's happier, too, because I am.  If you're stressed out, take a moment to consider how you're affecting the people around you, and take another moment to figure out how you're going to change the situation.

I've also given achievement a hiatus, if not a permanent injunction.  After a lot of reflection, I realized I've felt like I'm an underachiever, having not lived up to the expectations I placed on myself and allowed others to place on me because of the opportunities I've had.  My dad, in his twilight years, still longs for me to be the trial lawyer he thought he was raising and paying for college and law school for.  Friends often say, "I thought you'd be on the bench by now."  Old friends are surprised that with my credentials I'm working for the State of California, not even the federal government.

There's more to life than the law brass ring.  It took time, reflection, and my career coach, Jennifer Alvey, to help me figure that out.  Now, I'm tailoring my career to the life I envision for myself at this stage of my life.  I don't want to keep achieving or attempting to achieve career success at the expense of time with my husband, connection with family and friends who have patiently waited for me to mend my neurotic ways, and fun.  The things I really enjoy?  Gardening, low-cost  home redesign (I'm a Home Depot and thrift store junkie!)  reading, hanging out with family and friends, listening to music, and writing.  Instead of trying to shoehorn those vital, spirit-building activities around my work, I'm doing it the other way around.

So, on this, my eleventh anniversary, I thank BMNB for hanging in with me and sticking it out through the hard times.  We've struggled with money, family members' health, clients we wanted to throttle, pets dying, and our own aging.  I know there are many struggles ahead, but for right now, I'm just enjoying this state of happiness with him that  I've been a stranger to, of my own making, no less.

That said, I want to be a Dapette.  Not because I'm trying to add another achievement, but because, as you will tell from the video posted above, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings know how to have a good time.  Ms. Jones has survived cancer (hence her bald head), and with an undefeated spirit and a voice that would make James Brown shout from the grave, she rocks her bald head AND their song, "Stranger to My Happiness."  I'd love to be one of the Dapettes, the background singers who make the song rise even higher.  I'd be happy just to lip-synch with them and dance to the music.  More than anything, I want whatever it is that has made Ms. Jones not only a survivor, but a happy fighter. Her music and her spirit remind me so much of my mother.

So, if you're reading, Ms. Jones, Dap Kings and Dapettes, I'm ready to go on the road . . . .

Happy Anniversary, Black Man Not Blogging.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hillary Clinton Can Stop Trump -- If She Releases Her Electors

Hillary Clinton isn't going to be President of the United States.  At least not yet.  And not in 2017.

But she can possibly stop Donald Trump from being President by releasing her pledged electors  in the Electoral College to vote for a compromise Republican candidate.

This is part of the strategy of the Hamilton Electors, members of the Electoral College who see that Donald Trump is not qualified to be President.  They argue that the Electoral College's role is not to rubber-stamp the popular vote -- which, in this case, would belong to Clinton -- but to serve as a check on the popular vote to make sure that no one who is unfit assumes the office of President.

According to the Hamilton Electors, named for Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (Yes, he of the very popular musical for which I can't get tickets) Hamilton stated that the Electoral College's test for fitness to be the President was as follows (and I'm quoting):

Election of a Qualified Person: As Hamilton s…

Retired Man Walking: Too Young to Retire, Too Old to Take Shit

A while back I ran into a friend and fellow professional employed by the State of California, and he offered me his perspective on State employment as a tail-end Baby Boomer like myself -- someone who can't retire because he lacks the requisite age or years of service, but, unlike myself, is tired of taking shit from superiors who don't know what to do with you.

Although my friend gave his permission for me to use his name in this blog entry, I decline to do so because what he does is so specialized that it would not be hard for anyone to identify him as one of the few African American men, if not the only African-American man, in California state civil service who does what he does. For purposes of this blog entry, I will refer to him as he now refers to himself:  Retired Man Walking.

Retired Man Walking, or RMW, has an interesting philosophy he applies to working for the State as a professional who isn't old enough to retire but has been around long enough to know the s…

My Prayer and Mantra for 2017 -- Do Not Waste Time on People and Things That Don't Matter

In this era of fake news, fake political candidates, and fake people all around, my prayer and mantra for 2017 is simple:  Do not waste time on people and things that don't matter.

In 2016, I spent too much time and money on things and people who didn't matter.  I allowed myself to become distracted by stuff that, for me and Black Man Not Blogging, didn't really matter for our happiness.  These distractions not only didn't improve the quality of our life together; they decreased it with additional and unnecessary stress.

The good news is that, for the most part, we're okay.  Yeah, Trump and his ilk really suck, but instead of a lot of hand wringing and commiserating, I'm going to do the one thing my late mother She Who  Is Exalted (SWIE) did better than anyone I know:  Play the hand you've been dealt.  My mother was a black female without a college education and with six kids, so playing the hand she was dealt was her survival skill.  Now it will be mine.

S…