THE ANATOMY OF HAPPINESS
I have always looked at happy people with beaming faces and bright eyes with disbelief and wondered, what is so right with them to repress all that is wrong? I do not envy their happiness, no — far from it; I pity them, their hollow happiness is a perfect lie, the twins’ loneliness, and fear to abort and to conceive over and over again in the delicate carousel cycle of their lives. The kind of happiness they adjust to is the kind that eventually eats them out, and their laughter rings an empty bell, trying to preserve the façade of a content existence. Pity is what I feel for happiness that has your time forever on a treasure hunt. My measurement of happiness is the simple duration within which the ecstasy of it lasts, when the bubble pops and what remains of that cherished moment is little anxiousness and nothingness- like a ship in an open sea, unaware where it might find the next lighthouse. The baby cots of your joys stop rocking hauntingly fast, and soon consciousness becomes this chord and discord oscillating between two rival states- sadness and happiness.
The concept of happiness does not, in reality, hold much description of its own. It is just forgetfulness: to have a short term memory, experience things and leave past be; to live through a tragedy and call it a lesson later on; to forget that you are flawed or that someone doesn’t love you; to forget your failures or that your mild life is ephemeral. It is complete oblivion and entire content by splintering concern towards all that curates your frown: to know and unseen and to not be ashamed of being unmindful; to burn in hellfire and smile at the dancing embers; to call imperfect things art and forgive oneself for one’s mistakes. Happiness is a compromised coexistence with sorrows, which by all means is necessary but is just blindfolded blues.
In my attempts to end my life, I was taken aback by the amount of sadness weighing itself out on the other side of the scale to make up for the void in me that is a bottomless pit hungry for satiating delight. Happiness does not own you; it is despicable with its sense of no belonging, like a wash down the drains taking all impossible paths. What I mean is that when you are happy, you are preparing yourself to be sad; a pep talk before you see things for as they are and not for as you want to see them. Sadness is this parasite making a home out of all abandoned parts in us, happiness perhaps being the most attractive one stays the most unsafe. Moreover, before you know it, you are a slave to this pleasing gloom impoverishing yourself from all the temporary excitements and changes that distract you from realizing the haunting realities of life to play this unapologetic romance to all the miseries astray. Hemingway puts it beautifully:
“You are so brave and quiet. I forget you are suffering.”
Happiness becomes a broad shoulder to fire the gun through your sweet, wobbly head: it is crutches to live. My only problem with happiness is that leaves its impression in everything: in an object, in a journey, in a person, in achievement or another feeling. It is as if unless you are happy, you aren’t feeling good. It’s selfish how such a strong emotion has power over our brains, the fundamental thing that keeps us thirsty to live but notice, thirsty. Happiness has us waiting, longing for bits and pieces to patchwork on our tattered clothes of despondence, a word, a gesture, an action, something- something that might erupt delectation to the brim. Our hearts don’t like staying blue for long, and they want a rush of enthusiasm perhaps so that when we lay dead in the dirt, we can make oxygen out of memories. Happiness tries to tell us that things are all right when, in reality, they are not, and in our search for this perfect human mood, we are always unhappy and always fixing things. However, happiness is no honest emotion, for a rapist derives pleasure from resistance, a greedy person bruises honesty purple, and an abuser takes pride in his corruption. We sin, we lie, we cheat, we break hearts, we disappoint- all in the name of happiness. Happiness is the terrifying Moloch, making you’re well -being a scary trade-off, and not everyone is a good trader.
I do not know what happiness looks like, and it rarely crawls in my lap to sleep. It changes its form and color all the time, hits the soft spots in your heart, and makes you wear your body tighter to your soul. It doesn’t have to be anything significant. It can be a pebble-shaped like the face of your lover; a flower bent in prostration, a name whispering amusing stories and memory are making a smile hugs your face. The happiness that comes from another person’s happiness is utterly precious, something that becomes a humble pride to look back on every time self-doubt gives a prank call. Happiness in this way can largely control our perspective of seeing ourselves, to maybe grow the same kind eyes for ourselves as we have for others. One form of self-love is the one that comes from service, which indirectly gives us confidence and puts trust in our human instincts.
True happiness is a moment; it is the fullest when it is the freshest. I always attain this elation, this freedom from my mental pessimism only to hit the bottom rock, hard and fast. Moreover, because of that, I have always believed that my happiness must have short term memory loss; otherwise, I would not be throwing away the few good reasons of my being worthy as soon as I find them. I forget them and move on to the next source of happiness until that too makes me lose interest for, I seem to get tired of the whole process of taking care of myself. Happiness is self-benefitting; it is an investment to be able to sit in peace with yourself. I do not know how to make happiness stay; which is why at times, my opinion on the subject becomes pejorative.
Just like sadness, happiness makes us vulnerable too. The only difference is that we are more tolerant towards the hurt happiness brings; we would go through a nightmare to experience how the first speck of delight feels like in the morning. We will justify rapacity and all the horrible things we do to seek bliss. I do not romanticize sadness, but it’s just comparatively less effort and less bugbear than the process of achieving happiness. We can’t accept things as broken, and our hunger for better options has us forever in a fixing loophole.
Happiness is fulfilling when it is an imitation of peace, something that feels like a home. When associated with solace, we are likely even to overpower our vices and realize the relation of our soul with other souls. One day the seeds of our hearts will make beautiful graves, and not our happiness, but the one we have caused to other people will keep us remembered if not loved. Putting ourselves out of the spotlight and bringing the focus on others mutes personal suffering and enables us to relate to other’s pain. This alleviates the burden for hearts of both people to carry, in a profound way that is beautifully giving despite hurting. The word happiness is like the word pretty when its meaning is surface; it’s damaging and confusing. However, if it has layers to it, coils and twists that entwine well with the necessary sadness, there is no bigger demon left to conquer.
We all have our definitions of happiness, but we all know the kind of pseudo happiness and forced satisfaction we entertain our hearts. Such happiness is like a weed; do not mistake it for growth. True happiness does exist, and you have to look harder and look for it in places where you rarely want to find it. Your happiness is stuck in someone else, and someone else’s happiness is stuck in you, so don’t go around, making people beg for it. Give it as it is, packed and available. Moreover, take yours only when it feels like worth the wait.