One of my favorite movies is "The Pursuit of HappYness". This movie resignated in my spirit because I can relate to its storyline. I am a firm believer that everyone born into this world has a purpose. Each of us has a path for the pursuit to a fulfilled exsistence. Everyones pursuit although sometimes similar, is very different. My pursuit has been a barage of up and downs (more ups) but I believe I have found my true happiness.
Click here for one of my favorite scenes from "Pursuit of HappYness" starring Will and Jaden Smith.
My life as a child living in the "projects" of Stamford was full of challenge, excitement, curiosity and a lot of learning. Not the kind of learning that happens in and educational institution; the kind of learning that happens through life experience when you see a whole lot that you probably shouldn't see. I never really struggled to fit in because fitting in wasn't something I felt I needed to do. I struggled more trying to understand myself so that I could help others understand and accept me for whoever I was. My bedroom walls were covered in poetry, my friends signatures and random sketches all with permanent black marker. My clothing style varied from year to year but I was always excentric with colorful, cut up clothing. Looking back I'm certain most people thought that was a phase. I was pretty quiet unless provoked and had serious anger management issues trying to cope with the divorce of my parents at a young age. I battled with depression and a very low self esteem. I had a hand full of friends who knew what made me tick, they saw my potential long before I ever did. I always had a burning desire to create and I knew it was the one thing in the world I was good at.
Before I even had the chance to figure out who I was, I fell in love with a man who became my entire existence. I had my first child at the age of 19 and knew immediately there would be a shift. Having my daughter lead me on a path of self preservation and caused my creative energy to become dormant. For the first ten years of her life I worked, went to school, took care of her and her little brother who is three years her junior; I did whatever a mom was supposed to do. From PTA meetings to dance classes, sports, play dates, holidays, homework, reading, writing and simply being there. In my mind, my responsibility was creating happiness for my children. Somewhere in the process of being a mom and wife I forgot to be myself. I had forgotten all about finding my own happiness and the lost little girl from Stamford who loved creating art.
(My two munchkins, when they were younger)
For years this creative energy was locked away and I'm pretty sure it was slowly killing my spirit. I found myself often wondering what I had to offer my children and the world. I knew I was destined for more and that I had to go in search of my own happiness. I began disconnecting from things and people that brought me down and started reconnecting to that which brought me the most joy as a child.
Art had a way with me that nothing or no one else ever did. When I began to create again it was like a wilting flower being nourished back to life. I started to meet people and form relationships that would be catalysts in my future career and my journey to happiness. My children have watched me come back to life and even the creativity that comes from them has astounded our entire family. When you have a calling in life it surrounds you until you finally give into it. You become an example to those around you without even realizing it. Becoming authentically yourself by following the path laid out specifically for you is necessary. When you stop fighting with yourself about who you are expected to be and just do what comes natural it brings peace. This is the place where happiness is manifested. Things that were once trivial become miniscule and you realize none of it really matters. No matter the struggles that ensue, I have a drive to never give up. Like 'Will Smith' in Pursuit of HappYness I see past the troubles because they are just obstacles to distract me from what's most important.
(A personal photoshoot in 2014 by Stacey Lopez of Simply Sweet Snapshots)
What is your aspiration in life? My response is simple, to be happy. So many people are searching for happiness as if it is hiding in a dark alley somewhere. I've grown to understand that all of the searching you do outside of yourself is totally in vain. We are simply vessels with a temporary lifespan in this ocean called life and we must humble ourselves. You have to figure out what makes you happy. Ego has no place in true happiness so shedding your ego which feeds fear is one of the first things you must do. Happiness is a choice, it is something that you must practice consciously even when the world around you is not a happy place. When you make the decision to be truly happy it pours from your inner core and spills out into the atmosphere around you.
My Sun (son), Brandon introduced me to the song "Happy" by Pharrel Williams a couple of years ago. It got so much air play that most people grew tired and annoyed of it, I didn't. To this day anytime the song comes on I turn it up and start dancing as if no one is watching. Smile, laugh, dance, travel, be of service to others and don't ever let anything or anyone determine what your happy looks like.
(Me in a HappY place - Barbados 2015)
“Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
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