On Misery

By Trevor Triano; taken on February 11th, 2014

There’s something very foggy and yet very salient when you’re almost constantly miserable. It’s this sense of impending drive and desire and fear about how life is going and where it is going and, perhaps most importantly, where you are going.

I bring this up because I am generally a very morose, miserable person. In the middle of this general moroseness I have moments of great lightness and whirling pleasure and laughter but for the most part these are mere spaces or pauses between the all-encompassing misery that I ponder on.

At one point in my angst-ridden teenage years, I think, I got the wrong idea that being miserable is equivalent to being intelligent, and that cynicism is a shortcut to wisdom. It certainly masquerades for meaningful commentary on the internet, at least, so that no doubt influenced my thinking. But this idea germinated in my brain and once it grew I found myself needing to nourish it with the hope that one day it would produce for me great fruit in the form of a wonderful novel or great project that I would be proud of but at the same time ashamed of — because if I was just proud of it then I wouldn’t be very miserable and then I would be acting disingenuously with respect to the attitude that helped me produce said great work.

This is the attitude that has sabotaged most of my life both in high school and college, and will probably continue to sabotage it into the future.

An oft-repeated quote on the internet when it comes to classic or perhaps cliche “words of wisdom” goes a little something like this, and I’m sure you all have heard or read it in some form with similar implications:

Plant a thought and reap a word;
plant a word and reap an action;
plant an action and reap a habit;
plant a habit and reap a character;
plant a character and reap a destiny.

The origins of this quote are traceable to a speech to students reprinted in a little newspaper from Colchester, England. Whoever said it, it certainly has stuck on as a kernel of truth about how humans behave and our tendency to fall back on habits as our default method of operating.

It’s not difficult to see that after thinking on misery and talking about it at length with other people and eventually forcing myself to ruminate on it, I’ve managed to make it an integral part of my character. I can’t imagine myself not being miserable for any extended length of time and the thought of being pleased or even just content makes me rather afraid, to be perfectly honest.

Not gonna lie, though, it’s not all bad. At the very least my brain’s gotten very creative about conjuring up excuses not to do things:

Anything you do will be temporal and insignificant. So long as you are alive, you’re achieving equal to that of the great Napoleon or Newton when you stretch out the timeline a few billion years and factor in the vastness of the universe.
You are not worth anything, but neither is anyone else. Now, let’s go back to watching “Let’s Plays” on Youtube and avoid working on your resume.