What does your happiness look like?

My happiness is my old double-wide trailer on Hilltop Lane, a couple streets from my Granny Doris and great aunt Tex.

My happiness was looking outside my front door and seeing this little patch of the lake, far far away, past all the houses below us and right below where the sun sets. You could even see one tiny part of the highway, and I always tried to see my house when I was on that highway. I never could.

My happiness was “wetting the trampoline” with the water hose in the summer, because we didn’t have a pool. Every time you jumped, the mist of the water on the trampoline would hit you.

My happiness was going on field trips to Harrogate Park when I attended Midway Elementary, on-and-off “dating” boys like Triston Noe and Ty Bledsoe.

My happiness was riding the back of my dad’s Harley Davidson motorcycle on the way back home from cheer practice.

My happiness was every year on Thanksgiving and Christmas both, the whole family would go to Granny Jewell’s house and around Thanksgiving we watched Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

My happiness was going to the movies in Middlesboro with Dad and Ida every other weekend when I went to visit him.

My happiness was every Halloween in Claiborne, we would always go to the “rich neighborhood” and there was always this one guy who gave out whole cans of Pepsi or Mountain Dew. It was crazy to me.

My happiness is every start of fall, there’s that certain smell letting you know summer is over. Maybe it’s the leaves dying, or the colder wind, or the smell of pumpkins.

My happiness is every year after Halloween, Mom would take us to McDonald’s.

My happiness was making home videos with the Barbie camera that Dad got me for Christmas one year.

My happiness was spending almost every day with my best friend, Meagan Jones, in the back of her mom’s car with Dave, screaming the (sometimes wrong) lyrics to Second Chance by Shinedown.

My happiness was most of my childhood, then there was the raging a**hole I had to live with for the majority of my life.

My Pappaw once asked me, “Keely, would you ever kill a man if you had to?”

Well of course not, I told him. I believed that whatever was supposed to happen would happen. I was kind of young, I can’t remember what age. My Mom had been talking with him about how I need to learn how to shoot a gun, or some self defense. My Pappaw then asked me that to prove a point to my mom, that if I wouldn’t kill a man, it’d be useless.

But I changed my mind after what happened that night in October. That specific night, was the first time in my life a grown man had put his hands on me.

A deep, deep fire started. No, not in the real world. Inside me. Somewhere in my brain, subconsciously, I was angry. Infuriated. What kind of “man” does that?


Sorry, I’m just trying to calculate who the HECK he thinks he’s talking to, insulting me left and right, hitting me like he can scold me like my daddy or something. You wish you were even 1% as great as my Dad.

After that point, the anger turned into motivation. Was it that? Maybe. I was no longer the Keely who did nothing, the Keely who would take whatever came her way, the pushover. Now it’s me, the Keely that loves guns, the military, and protecting the people I care for. I plan to join the military after college. Can you believe that? Little ol’ me, rootin’ & tootin’ for ‘Merica. Well, it’s happening.

So I make sure that it’s known to any man around me, that I’ve dealt with petty BS before, and that won’t happen in my household. Not TODAY. NOT EVER.

Don’t let anyone try to take your happiness away. They ain’t worth it.