My boyfriend always wakes up in the middle of the night when I get up to pee. There are times I try to take my midnight piss with my eyes closed because around 10pm, I turn into a bear and might as well hibernate because I hate everyone after this time.
He always says the same thing, “Hi honey! How are you? How are you sleeping?”
When we first started dating, I tried really hard to muster up an answer, but all that would come out was a mutter. I can’t match his level of being a cheery-ass all the time even if I try.
I have days when I think I am in a good mood, then people start talking to me and I realize I am not in the space to be in anyone’s company.
There are times when I have plans to be around other people and no matter what I do, I can’t smile. I can’t carry on small talk. I can’t act like I’m happy to be there.
It feels as if something, or someone, has zapped all my social energy and it’s all I can do to sit in the corner and be still and respond to those who talk to me without initiating any conversation. I’m not rude, just quiet. However, my resting bitch face has made many people tell me they thought I was the biggest bitch ever, until they got to know me and realized I was just moody.
I’ve been this way since puberty. My friends used to ask me if I was mad at them and pepper me with questions about what was wrong with me. My partners and family have told me when I go to this place — this moody version of myself — it feels tense and they don’t know what to do.
Of course this bothers me to no end. I’ve beaten myself up for it for three decades now. I hate that there are times I don’t want to talk to anyone and I have no energy to carry on a conversation and act happy. I’ve learned the polite thing to do is tell loved ones I’m in a bad place and to just ignore it.
It’s not that I am unhappy, per se; I’m just moody. To those who don’t experience mood swings, I know I seem selfish, rude, and unfriendly. But a lot of my friends and sisters are moody and they can relate. They feel me. They know if I say I am off, it means only that — I am off; I will come out of it, and it has nothing to do with them.
I’ve realized now that I am almost 46, my moods fluctuate a lot. Sometimes it’s caused by lack of sleep or eating too much sugar.
But really, this is who I am. I need more down time than most people. I like quiet. If there’s too much noise or stimulation I grow anxious and everything grates on my nerves. Sounds seem louder. It’s hard for me to focus and I tend to lose even more energy.
I know this because there have been plenty of times when I’m in a mood and I’ve tried to push past it. I’ve gone to a gathering, or gotten out of the house thinking it would somehow flip my energy around but it doesn’t. It only intensifies my feelings.
I was talking to my sister about this; she is moody too. We both struggle with it because we want to be one of those people who are pleasant and happy, even if their world is falling apart, but we just aren’t.
There is a difference between being moody and being an asshole, and it needs to be normalized — especially for women. I can’t tell you all the times I tried to act happy and cheerful to make someone else comfortable. When I used to hear people say things like, “Oh, she’s just so happy and in a great mood all the time, I love her!” (about someone else, obviously) it was always a trigger for me.
I tried to be that person and as I’ve said, it backfires all the time. There are too many people who feel this way — that they should be smiling and laughing and social when they don’t feel like it.
If I go with my feelings, and just stay in and stay quiet, that cloudy mood passes a lot faster than if I try and beat the gloomy feelings out of myself.
Even if things are going swimmingly, I might be down. And that’s okay.
Life isn’t about being happy all the damn time. It’s about feeling everything there is to feel in life. There are a lot of people in this world who don’t feel one way all the time. Our moods fluctuate. From one day to the next, you might not know what you are going to get but at least you know you will get the real version of them.
Accepting this about myself hasn’t been easy, but it has been necessary. It’s okay not to be in a good mood all the time and if you don’t want to smile you don’t have to, no matter how many people (ahem, men) come up to you and tell you you should.
There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to talk to anyone, or wanting to be left alone. There’s not a thing wrong with you. If you want, you can come over to my house and we can sit on the floor and eat a pan of brownies and not talk or smile. I won’t be offended, promise.