I’m eating a cookie that looks like an eyeball while drinking coffee out of a mug shaped like a skull. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so metal. I’m thinking on things filled with less-badassery, though, and it’s in response to a comment I made to a friend on here. She was going through something and I wished her happiness. She said something along the lines of she merely hopes for peace, and I responded with a much less poignant version of–who’s to say that isn’t happiness?
Cue neurotic brain pattern. You ever get that? A teensy little thought that implants itself in your brain and sprouts into something that seeds and becomes an elaborate garden of ideas? Suddenly, you realize the pinwheel that’s been placed inside your mental vault and you’re Leo and you’re realizing that none of this was really about that boy and the relationship with his father at all, but about you and your life and the fact that your kids haven’t grown. They haven’t GROWN. They’re shoes changed, but they haven’t GROWN! Is he awake? Dammit, I have to know! DID. HE. WAKE. UP?!
I’m not even sorry about that. It’s the sugar + coffee = fantastical me. You’re welcome.
But the point here is, happiness isn’t this thing that you are. It’s not a thing that you have either. You can’t touch it. You can’t hold it in your hand. You can’t even talk about it because as soon as you say it, it’s not yours anymore.
Seriously, you ever try to explain to someone that you’re really, really happy? The more you talk about it, the less convincing you are and the less it becomes yours. You’re the guy at the party that shouts “WE’RE HAVING SO MUCH FUN!” and suddenly everyone’s miserable and wants to go home.
Happiness isn’t an entity. It isn’t a self. It isn’t anything really, but a mere blanket term for so many other things. So many other attributes. Be it contentment, joy, peace, enthusiasm, aspirations, inventiveness, business, readiness. The more we delve into this, the more linguistically inept we seem.
There’s the beautiful quote from one of the greatest masterpieces of all time: “A man is not very tired; he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad; use morose.” DPS, folks. Look it up if you have no idea what that stands for and we can still be friends.
Happiness is a blanket term for people who don’t want to truly identify with what they’re feeling. Who want to mask it or camouflage it. Cover it up! Put it away! We can’t admit that what happiness truly is is the raw beauty of embracing our own inevitable inexistence. We can’t admit that because then we will have to admit that we can’t take all of this with us. We can’t admit that what we have will one day not be here. We have no words for these things–these inevitable, future feelings that instill a soul-ripping one at present, but the feelings are there. Instead we use happy when we tear up at the beauty of our children. We use happy when we hold hands. When we laugh. When we hug. We use happy because it’s politically correct. Because it doesn’t make others uncomfortable. Because everybody should just be so. damn. happy all the time.
But it’s so much more–all of it–and I want to ask why. I wanted to ask the man who lost his brother that was sitting at my bar last night what his favorite memory was of him, but I didn’t want to intrude. I didn’t want to impose or overstep or inconvenience.
Maybe we should. Maybe we should ask those questions that are uncomfortable. Because if we don’t, who will? And what will happen to the society of falseness who is only available to please others? Who masks the truth of emotion, of feeling, of existentialism?
I don’t know what I expect us to do, but I hope, somehow, we’ll stop leaning on easy words like “happy” when we can be so much more. When we are so much more. When our feelings are so much deeper, so much rawer, so tragically beautiful that it makes us ache so intensely we have to cover it up for fear that we’ll appear truly human.
And that’s the fear, right? That they’ll know how vulnerable we are.