Happiness is not a weakness. I am a strong supporter of happy endings and all characters finding them, thank you very much. When I began writing my novel, I noticed that there was a distinct lack of happy endings for LGBTQ characters. My story features two female, asexual leads, which is rare enough, and I decided they should be something that people could hope for. Being asexual doesn’t mean your story has to end in tragedy. To tie in with the general joyful mood I hope my writing will put you in, here’s a happiness guide. It is not intended to be condescending or a cure for depression, just some things to keep in mind while heading toward your own happily ever after.
Learn that happiness is not a destination. We live our lives thinking that once we get to college, get that car or that job or that mini-fridge, we will be happy. This is a lie. Joy is something you carry with you, not something you arrive at. Thinking that everything inside you will change once you get out of town is silly because in the end, you’re still bringing yourself along the way. You can’t keep saying “I will be happy when this happens” because you won’t be. There will still be heartbreak. You can’t reach happiness one time and expect it to stick around forever. Even if there is a mini-fridge.
Love yourself. It is not bad to be a narcissist. It is much better to be a selfie-taking machine than miserable. Now, this isn’t an easy task to accomplish. First, you must try and avoid perfectionism. We notice the good, enviable traits in everyone else, but can only seem to pinpoint the negative ones in ourselves. Flip the tables. Force yourself, and I do mean force, to find every single awesome thing about you. It can be something simple. Your tiny pores, brownie making skills, penmanship, hair length, knowledge of Food Network trivia. Look at the good.
Love what you want regardless of whether it’s cliche. Be the last goth in your town, or a total raging jock. It’s all fine. Cliches exist for a reason, and it’s because these things are genuinely enjoyable. So don’t be afraid to like what’s popular because it’s popular. Listen to pop music. Watch The Hunger Games. Get an Instagram.
On the flipside, love what you want, even if it’s out of the ordinary. If you can accept yourself and flaunt it, everyone else will, too. It’s hard to mock someone with self-assurance because there’s nothing to say.
Love everyone else. Being judgemental won’t make you happy. Filling yourself with hatred is embittering, no matter if it’s directed at yourself or others. What people find difficult is moving past initial perceptions. Everyone is the protagonist of their own story. They think they’re the good guys no matter what you think and have a reason for doing everything. The girl who reads and who studies is no better than the one who goes to parties on the weekends.
Notice the good in the world. Think about small acts of kindness. Look at flowers. There are so many flowers in the world you can’t even count them, and if you want more, you can grow more. Rainbows that you can grow in your front yard, how rad is that? Acknowledge when others are happy. When you make eye contact with someone, smile at them.
Acceptance. Accept mistakes, because they are learning experiences. There’s no point in lamenting something that can’t be changed. Try and get the best you can out of it. Accept sadness. Your problems are valid, I promise you, even if it is something superficial. People are capable of being upset about both the world hunger crisis and their bad hair days. The sooner you can accept sadness as something that will occasionally occur, the sooner you can befriend it and work on ways to move past it quicker. Accept compliments. Don’t deny someone who says you’re pretty or have great art skills. Say “Thank You”. Say “Yes”. Say “I know”. And give compliments back. If you see something you like, point it out. All that does is improve someone’s day, and they will think about it. Find this positivity, and if you can’t find it in others, make it yourself.
Now of course it’s difficult to do these things. Hell, I even miss out on them most of the time, but it’s good to keep some general positivity in mind. Facing the world with a goal of happiness has made me feel more pleasant. But maybe that’s just getting a novel published, too.
About the Author
Calista Lynne is a perpetual runaway who grew up on the American East Coast and is currently studying theater in London. She is oftentimes seen screeching at Big Ben and pointing out the same landmarks on a daily basis, and is having difficulty adjusting to the lack of Oxford commas across the pond. She writes because it always seemed to make more sense than mathematics, and has superb parents who support more than just her latte addiction. If Calista Lynne could change one thing about her life, it’d probably be her lack of ability to play both of the ukuleles adorning her rainbow bookshelves.
Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.
But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.