Why are you unhappy?

I have a tendency to be happy and optimistic a lot of the time. My mother was usually a happy person.

But, I also sometimes have a tendency to be negative and depressed. My father had a tendency to be negative and discouraged.

“Unhappiness is an avocation,” says Margo Jefferson, author of Negroland: A Memoir.

I am going to remember that quote the next time I feel depressed—because sometimes I have a tendency to encourage myself to be depressed.

Jefferson’s book is very interesting. She was born in 1947 into an upper-class black family. Her father was a pediatrician, and her mother was a socialite. Author Isabel Wilkerson concludes that Jefferson’s book is “provocative and insightful…melancholic and hopeful, raw and disarming.”

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