This blog is about happiness and woman named Grace - a Dutch woman who broke her foot in July of this year. In the first part of this blog, I will talk about happiness and will introduce you to a Grace who - judging superficially from her social media sites - is perpetually happy. She is 31, gorgeous, and has run many marathons. I will then give you Grace's real background.
Happy people have always bothered me.
We all know men and women who appear to be perpetually happy. Always smiling. Always upbeat. Always optimistic. Somehow shrugging off a world filled with crime, famine, and pandemics.
Part of my distrust of happy people stems from my own insecurities. I am clinically depressed. I have had anger management issues since childhood. My mom and dad provided a nice, safe home for me growing up but my genetic make up apparently was predisposed to see the darkness in the world.
This is like the glass half full or the glass half empty quandary. In my world, the glass is always half empty.
Part of my distrust of happy people stems from a belief that happiness is either chemically induced or part of a facade constructed by an individual as mentally screwed up as I am.
Explaining the chemical route to happiness is easy. We all know Valium crazed soccer mothers who pop pills, shuttle three kids to various sporting events around town every day, profess to a love of healthy eating, practice yoga six times a weeks, look like a fashion model, live in a mini mansion, and cry themselves to sleep at night due to a deep, inward depression.
The facade of happiness is more difficult to explain. Its akin to wearing clown make-up all day. Clowns have always scared the hell out of me. Those garish costumes, over sized shoes, and not normal outfits or behavior. Clowns smile when I always suspect that most of them have the soul and moral makeup of Pennywise; the clown in Steven King's 'It'.
Now, let me talk to you about Grace. You have seen seven pictures of Grace after she broke her foot? Did you see any pictures where Grace was not smiling?
No, of course you didn't. Grace has 642 posts on her Instagram site and there is not one picture of an unhappy Grace.
So, now, let me tell you the story of Grace's broken foot and the back story of Grace herself.
Grace was born in the Netherlands. Her father was a well known disk jockey. When Grace was 9, her father began to molest her. He was an alcoholic and started out fondling and touching her in inappropriate places. According to Grace, her mother, a nurse, knew of the father's actions but chose to ignore it. Grace was raped by her father for the first time when she was 10.
Grace had a sister named Doutzen - a pretty girl a year younger than Grace. Doutzen had, fortunately, managed to avoid her father's affections although the two were often mistaken for twins.
One day, Doutzen made the mistake of borrowing a pair of flip flops from Grace without asking her. Grace, who was understandably volatile and unstable at that point in her life, went nuts. Ten year old Grace dragged her sister to the laundry room where Doutzen's right arm was shoved into a washing machine on the spin cycle. Grace held the lid down while her sister screamed and pleaded with her to free the arm.
Doutzen's arm was broken in numerous places. She underwent two surgeries and spent months in a full arm cast.
To her father's dismay, Grace was remanded to a foster home. Dad was eventually arrested. Grace's mother was left with custody of Doutzen.
To her credit, Grace bonded with her new family. She graduated high school and university and built a successful career in the health and fitness food and apparel world. Today, she competes in 4 to 5 marathons a year and is sponsored by various clothing manufacturers. Her father died in prison and Grace is estranged from her mother. She and her sister became close after Doutzen learned of Grace's problems with their father. To this day, Doutzen writes left handed.
I am pulling big time for this woman to have a happy life. She is a classic example that a smile does not always equate to happiness.