Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The AmeriCan't

As a kid, I wasn't allowed to do a lot of things based on the notion that I would become "Too American."

I wasn't allowed to attend sleepover parties.
I wasn't allowed to go swimming.
I wasn't allowed to eat a hot dog.
I wasn't allowed to wear shorts.
I wasn't allowed to eat marshmallows.
I wasn't allowed to have a boyfriend.

It was believed that if I were to do any of these things, I would lose my sense of culture, heritage, and religion. I quickly learned that these rules were imposed on me out of fear and a smidgen of ignorance, but mainly out of love and parental protectiveness. Except when it came to the hot dogs and marshmallows. That was because of religious food restrictions. But, my parents just wanted to keep me close, and away from the lure of glamorous American decadence. They were just trying to do right by me and our ancestors.

As an adult, I have now done all of these things and thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. Recently, I was told that I am not allowed to be happy. This is, by far, the most ridiculous thing anyone has ever told me not to do.

I'm engaged to be married to the most amazing person in the universe, and I want to be happy, damnit.

Actually, I AM happy. I'm happier than I have ever been before. My entire body has been smiling since the proposal. I hear birds chirping all the time now, and no matter how grumpy work makes me, or how frustrating job-hunting gets, or how many times I stub my toes, all I have to do is look at my left hand and see the physical representation of a joyful future, and I get giddy. Giggly, even.

So, when I am told that I have to keep this happiness a secret, I don't understand. We're HERE because of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Somebody forgot to read the fine print...