This story starts when I was young and naive. It usually takes a lot of living to find the truth about happiness.
Because of my naiveté and a basic character flaw (I am a fixer due to experiences in my early life), I married someone who was unhappy a lot of the time, thinking that I was so wonderfully clever (not naive, not me!) and lovable that I could 'make her happy'. Of course, if you have been reading a few years worth of this blog, you know that not only did I not make that lovely lady happy; I made her very, very unhappy because I couldn't keep the big-secret-of-me from finally grabbing me by the throat and coming out.
Now some people will say that I transitioned to "make myself happy", which is nonsense spoken by those who know nothing of gender dysphoria. Oh, yes, I have become a very happy lady, but that happened much later and for many very different reasons having little or nothing to do with transition. No, transitioning was never about 'making myself happy'. It was about ending a lie. It was about finally letting my nature take over. It might be said that transitioning was about ending unhappiness, which does not automatically make you happy. It leaves you in an in-between state - a kind of 'happiness limbo' where there is at least a potential for happiness.
Since puberty I had been at war with myself. The way I felt and the things that testosterone made me want and feel made me really unhappy. Designated male at birth, that flood of testosterone was supposed to make me feel right. Estrogen should have made me feel awful. I know a man who had to take estrogen shots as part of his medical treatment. He hated how it made him feel; almost suicidal. In my case, blocking the testosterone felt better. Starting estrogen supplements felt right. All of those drives that made me hate myself were finally gone. It was clear what must be done.
Was I happy? Hardly. The person I had spent over forty years loving and 'trying to make happy' said what I was doing was wrong. She told me she wouldn't live with a woman and be thought of as a lesbian. I was very unhappy. I wanted the two of us to be 'the Halle girls'. So this taught me that one transitions to be authentic, not to be happy. Do not let anyone con you into thinking that by transitioning you will 'find happiness'. That is horse-pucks.
"So where is the recipe?" I hear you saying. First another story.
Years ago our family used to go camping at the same provincial park every year. No matter what time of the summer we arrived there was always a man who was camping, alone, at the same campsite. He always had a big pot of water over his campfire, that was always a pile of glowing embers that he would add a small stick or two to now and then. He was an artist. He told us the water was there for anyone to take a panful. What a happy person! Working away, generous with his time if you felt like chatting. Such a life would have bored me to tears at the age I was then.
These days, I could be that artist. I could be around that campsite, keeping the fire on low, adding cold water to make more hot when needed. I could read and do my stitching when the light is right. I would go for walks, make my meals, and sit, watching the world go by quite happily.
One needs to find their own happiness. It looks different everywhere you see it. As many people as you meet who are happy, there will be that many different ways to be happy.
I suppose writing this has made me happy.
Step 1: Think about what has made you happy and do it more.
Step 2: When you find it, be true to your own happiness.
Step 3: Never try to make someone else happy. It is hard enough to find and nurture your own.
Recipe notes: If you are very lucky, as I am, you will find someone to share your happiness - someone who appreciates your recipe, as you appreciate theirs.