by Happy Tears Founder & Chief-of-Joy, Brandon J. Roy.
I sit here typing my little fingers away in yet another Montreal café — an ecosystem of espresso beans, laptops, and dreams, and also one that has very much become my home over the past three years since I decided to bring Happy Tears into existence.
If you know me well enough, I’m either referencing Oprah, Elizabeth Gilbert, a Taylor Swift song, or a drag queen from the RuPaul’s Drag Race zeitgeist.
Today, it happens to be Elizabeth Gilbert. Whenever I need a little dose of reminding of my infamous WHY, aka why I’ve decided to embark on this remarkable journey of instability, creativity, stress, and magic… it’s Liz G.
In her Ted Talk from 2014, 'Your elusive creative genius,' she popularized the idea for creatives that, we can release some of the pressure of creating, of perfection, of passion even, to an elusive genius that exists outside of ourselves, that we can flirt with in an effort to diffuse this self-inflicted pressure of creating something that we care about, and if we’re lucky, others might pay attention to. (Sorry for the run-on sentence. Can't promise it won't continue to happen!)
Fast forward to today, I pop in my headphones where Liz chimes in on a podcast with yet another nugget of wisdom that I simply cannot shake — one that inspired me to write this very blog post today, on the eve before my biggest launch for Happy Tears, and the creation to which I am the most proud.
Liz said, again in the context of creation: “we must remember that nobody owes us anything.”
I am very much aware that the truth behind this line could paralyze creators like me into never starting a project... never recording that first podcast episode... or making that backpack they feel so compelled to bring to life.
Yet I sit here inspired — inspired because I have three years of proof from you, and this knowledge that I am owed nothing, that you have shown up here and taken an action that has signalled to me that what I do is somehow in a small or tiny way, important to you. I feel very very grateful for that, and Liz G. has reminded me of just how special your actions have been for my journey.
We are in a time where we are fetishizing the idea of finding a passion project or a job that fills up our cup to the brim, but I’ve learnt that just like in a romantic partnership where we learn how unrealistic it is for one person to fill all of our needs, the same exists for our dream jobs.
Not every day is bright and sunny (and this is obviously the most original thought I've ever had)... and this life is tough and building resilience is essential.
Like clock-work, my partner witnesses my monthly panic attack over my cash flow and financial stressors, but I only find more gratitude in knowing that I have someone in my corner when hardships smack me violently in the face. Even though I’ve hired an accountant this year to alleviate some of that uncertainty, it has also shone a direct light on the fact that Happy Tears basically breaks even and covers my rent every month. But, but, BUT(!), cover my living, it does — and, I’m at my happiest.
When I step back and look at the big picture, there are too many blessings outweighing the rest. When I look to the community that has come together around a colourful vision I have of the world, I am reminded that you really are the greatest blessing of my twenty-eight years of life.
All of these blessings have brought you and I right here, sunk into this very moment.
Last week, I got to FINALLY introduce The Connect Deck: Volume Two, to you! After six months of dreaming, community surveys, DM-ing with one another, testing a lot, and doing some more dreaming, it came together.
Thinking back to launching Happy Tears’ first collection of backpacks at the very top of the pandemic, on March 15th 2020, in fact, was an unpredictably TERRIBLE IDEA! However, our happy fam showed up on launch day and we funded our Kickstarter in a handful of days!
With nowhere to go, and only time to think about what to do next, The Connect Deck was born: the first multilingual connection card game made right here in Montreal. A few radio shows, magazine and newspaper features later, it became the bestseller on our site, and a true game changer for our business.
While so proud to bring our bilingual connection game to the world, I quickly became obsessed with innovating the game into something even more special that could inspire even more people to engage in meaningful conversations.
[Side note: the only reason I had the mindset to start Happy Tears, was because I let go of the idea of being original, and became much more focused on the idea of being authentic. The truth is that 99% of the things we think of, have 100% in likelihood been thought of by someone else already. Does that mean we don’t create the thing? In our own way? I decided absolutely not.]
Every step of building out Volume Two of The Connect Deck had the modern, mindful home in mind. I thought about:
- the partners who want to turn off Netflix on a Thursday night to share stories over wine,
- I thought about families reconnecting over Holidays in a way that deepens their understanding of their past,
- I thought about the people who often find themselves in surface-level conversations with certain friends, having a real desire for deepening those connections, maybe even turning ‘party friends’ into lifelong ones to weather the highs and lows with, and
- I even thought about the young Brandon who struggled to connect with others because he didn't understand himself; had he had a few questions and a journal, perhaps some of the loneliness and the pain could have felt just a bit lighter.
The formula of The Connect Deck is simple: a shared universal desire is to be happy, and engaging in mindful conversations fosters meaningful human experiences, which accumulate over time and contributes to building our happiest lives.
As a recovering loner and closeted queer kid, I’ve always had a yearning just to feel seen and validated for who I am. It brings ME so much meaning now, to turn that pain into something special, and to know that The Connect Deck is out in the world also helping you to do just that.
If you’ve made it this far down the web page, kuddos, and thank you — if that truly is the case, you are exactly who I wrote this for, and I am so very grateful for you.
Happy Tears is for people like us, for truth tellers, self-growth junkies, and those who become physically ill from holding back who they are from the people in their lives, their environments, and ultimately, from themselves.
To circle back to Liz G.’s idea (because that feels appropriate), I remind both of us that nobody owes you anything nor I. I do believe, however, that you owe it to yourself in this one big, bold, beautiful life, to create your happy, and I can only dream that one of our shared ideas, tools, or a single question card keeps you on that path to becoming more of who you are every single day.
Tomorrow, The Connect Deck: Volume Two, will go up for Pre-Order, and I cannot wait for you to experience ALL of it for yourself.
With all the feels ~ x