A pre-note note: I may be light-deprived. I’ve grown weary of a life relegated to mostly window-less worlds, an absence of light and fresh air. I long to live in a space where I can read while sunshine and sky pour in through the windows, where I can be blanketed in silence, no debris or detritus not my own. It’s just too dark here and I am never the one with the option to say, “I’d like to sit quietly in a room with light and air, please.” Jeesh, I really should have been a hermit. I cannot breathe from all this crushing weight of wanting something else.
A note: I’ve been struggling with whatever this gastrointestinal issue is for almost three months now, exacerbated by worries about my Mom, further complicated by sibling dynamics and the cacophony of echoes of rights and wrongs and slights and songs from a past we each recall vividly — and entirely differently — without agreement on its tune, lyrics, or who it was who sang the songs we remember being sung. I’ve been having a dysthymic let-down, a dip, and so have retreated from people(which is not always the wisest thing to do); from social media (because when on Twitter I was feeling that unpopular-teenboy-type yearning to be someone and somewhere I am not, cannot be, wishing to be member of clubs to which I never have, never will belong); in short(long), I have retreated from engagement with real (and virtual) life and been asking myself (again), “Where is that happy child I was?”
Then, last night, something happened to again remind me I have no home of my own. I have spent most of my life as visitor inhabiting spaces where I am temporary, needing to “watch my step”, be careful not to offend, intrude, take up too much air or ask for the dignity of being acknowledged. It gutted me. Confluence being what it is, this morning, checking my blog-hits, this essay I posted two and a half years ago concerning Happiness popped up as having received a few hits. So, here I am, again, going.
FROM APRIL, 2013: HAPPINESS
I think about it a lot. I think about it because I want it. I want it the way I had it when I was three, and I don’t think that should be impossible. I think about it because it has become a trope in the current cultural zeitgeist to espouse the self-helpy, new agey, faux-metaphysical slogan that “happiness is a choice” which is just the sort of reductive, banal shibboleth that causes me to erupt into frothing at the mouth, disdainful paroxysms of fuming, and dismissive attacks on the espousers of such unconsidered over-simplifications, who are all too often vomiting out these formulaic apothegms and dicta without having made the slightest effort at soul-level examination of the meanings of their adopted axioms; they want answers without having actually considered the question; or, worse, they’ve not spent one infinitesimal ounce of their intellectual or soul power considering the context and personal-reality in which the question is being asked.
I call the questioning and consideration of that context, the actual rigorous and persistent effort to be awake to the “all that is-ness” of reality – the catechism of being, as it were – I call that “spiritual etymology.”
What the fuck – you ask – is that? Except, maybe you don’t say “fuck” because it has been – for you – defined as an impolite word. But, why? Why is “fuck” impolite while “happy” is not? Because some collective hunch to which many of us have subscribed tells us so.
Well. I don’t agree. I want to be “fuck” just as much as I want to be “happy” and at the same time I want the space to not have to define my “happy” and “fuck” by any particular parameters.
Look, the thing is, two of my friends recently started seeing therapists. Why? Because, like me, they are not “happy” in ways nor living lives that are currently culturally accepted as “happy.” Now, neither of them necessarily accepts those cultural definitions, and so, they have entered therapy not to re-shape themselves to the cultural norm, but, rather, to find ways to be at peace with their own personal journey.
That’s spiritual etymology.
In the end (and the beginning – because the concept of linear time is yet another cultural construct) everything is a challenge of trying to translate our own personal interpretation of that energy we all have in common (I call it “All That Is” or “Love and Light” – some call it god, but whatever – it’s just a label) and LIVE OUR TRUTH OF IT. We are all just trying to express our share of the Love and Light. And, maybe, share it?
The challenge is, I think, that the Love and Light is infinite. Infinite possibility and creativity. But we live within the limitations of our beliefs about linear time. So – in order that we don’t go insane – we try to REDUCE reality to parameters we can handle – which end up being ridiculously limited and silly – and then we PUNISH ourselves and JUDGE ourselves as having failed at those silly, meaningless, illusory parameters.
In essence – we LANGUAGE ourselves into unhappiness because we have tried to too narrowly define HAPPINESS (and SUCCESS and LOVE and NORMAL and TIME and everything else, even, yes, FUCK) – and because we cannot – finally – really adequately define ANYTHING – because language is a construct of linear time which cannot capture the infinite ALL THAT IS/LOVE AND LIGHT (god?) nature of reality/all that is – we ALWAYS feel failed.
It is a philological challenge (thus my labeling of it as SPIRITUAL ETYMOLOGY) and a philosophical challenge as well – which makes sense – as Philology and Philosophy were once one discipline – a joint study (by which I do NOT mean a 420-ish sort of late night blathering – but if it’s drugs that help you touch ALL THAT IS, well then, who am I to judge?) but finally (and firstly) there is TOO MUCH DIVISION (definition) and NOT ENOUGH JOINING (FREEDOM TO BE) – because EVERY DIVISION IS ARBITRARY –
– and THAT’s why people go into therapy; because the languaged definitions of “happy” and “normal” just DO NOT FIT when you actually begin to consider the infinite nature of reality. And once you have discovered that everything is an illusion built around a collective hunch, you begin to see that what you were taught was “the point” is – in itself – an illusion. How do you keep laughing then? I don’t have the answer, I just keep doing the things that make me smile, spending time with the people who get me.
And once you get that, well, you have to be incredibly strong to keep going in this world we’ve built where “happy“ and “love“ and “success“ and “fuck“ are so narrowly defined; you have to find your center in a quick hurry and be able to live there, confident – having FAITH that the continued expression of your Love and Light – even if that expressive creation is NOT “normal” or “happy” as defined by those who live in the land of the collective hunch of “reality” – is, indeed, ENOUGH.
And baby, that’s a challenge. I face it every day. Sometimes I am not what even I would call happy. Sometimes I read. Sometimes I watch trash t.v. Sometimes I get two thousand new words for my book project. Sometimes I go to the gym. Sometimes I have a Silver Patron shot. Sometimes I dwell on the people from whom I have managed to language myself apart. Sometimes I read other writers’ blogs. Sometimes I look at pictures of my own personal Bosie-clones in their underwear. Whatever works. What I try NOT to do, is let anyone else define or language for me what my “happy” (or “fuck”) ought to be. Happy Sunday, my loves.