Am I happy? I have not really asked myself this question much recently. Mainly because I have not felt happy. Although, I did embark on using an app that tracks my mood everyday. I now have nearly 3 months worth of flawed subjectively interpreted data. I started using it the day it became apparent that a relationship I really wanted to develop was in actual fact over. I don’t know why I decided to piss about with a mood app at this point, but I suppose if I need to occupy my mind at some point I have some fodder. Anyway, This app also supplies a simple line graph that shows my flawed subjectively interpreted mood over time. It clearly shows that in those early weeks, days, hours, and minutes of my confirmation of loss I was all over the place; up, down, here, there. As each new thought of negativity and manic elation (hard to recall why I was elated) entered my head my mood would zig-zag as if dodging bullets. But, since then my mood has apparently flat-lined. Relying on that visualisation you would be misled into thinking I have been neither happy, nor sad. But, if you was to ask me now how have the past 3 months been? And if I was to answer truthfully, I would say I have been unhappy, I have felt terrible, I have been miserable, I have sometimes been in despair. The ‘ok’ mood on the app has been compromised by my apathy and denial in what appears an attempt to stop dodging bullets, and to shore up my resilience with a lie. I should rename ‘ok’ to ‘unchanged’. Unchanged lack of happy.
Prior to falling in love I had been alone, and quite content for a long, long time; about 7 years, give or take. I had not been seeking a relationship, I did not expect a relationship, I expected to be alone forever, and so had learned and was enjoying exploring my own mind and musing at my perceptions and conceptions of the world. I felt like I was on fire. Everyday illuminating me to myself. Living in a room full of mirrors. Then I fell in love; and my ego’s confidence vanished as I paled in significance. I stopped looking after myself in my mind with the attentiveness I had once lavished, and instead lavished that attention on an amazing woman. My narcissism and philosophy was shattered with the want to satisfy another. This revelation also made apparent to me how much my solitude and isolation had removed me from being able to practically involve myself with other people. Needless to say, after this relationship finished and the beautiful dream ended, I was only left with an ominous poverty. The emotional awakening I had felt was facing starvation from the absence of her. I wanted to continue feeling the emotions and compulsions from wanting to love her… I’ve been unhappy since. I still want to love her. It seems perverse that I remain in the same solitude and isolation of last year’s content perennial wallflower.
I think I can safely say that I have been deeply unhappy. So, what next; or what now? Well, a few days ago I deactivated my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I did this because I had seen myself becoming someone I didn’t like very much, and thought that online social networking was exacerbating my descent. There have always been aspects of myself I find displeasing, but I was noticing an abhorrence for parts of myself which I had previously considered inherently good, like my altruism and my compassion and empathy. This is unacceptable. I do not want to destroy myself. The exacerbation was manifesting itself in wanting someone to save me from me. Nearly everything I was posting seemed desperate and precarious. My emotional instability was evident, is evident, and I have felt vulnerable ever since. Anyone who knows me might tell you I have never been in the top echelons of overtly emotional people, yet I felt the emotional inferno inside me was about to, with no illusion, burn bridges. My ‘nice’ was disappearing as I grew angry at the lack of response to the passive aggressive emotional pleading. I only ever wanted her to respond, but I was attacking my other relationships for their inability to fill the gap. I know I have to remove this passive-aggressive emotional blackmail from my repertoire. Easiest way I thought to achieve this was to dampen the kindling, namely Facebook and Twitter, so I’m left only with the spark, namely me. I now believe I have thinking space and no distraction, which hopefully this post is evidence of.
The love I feel and felt for this woman has become corrosive. I have been deluding myself with the fantasy that the resilience of my love and commitment to her would appear a shining example that would transcend everything else, and that she would come running, engage with the light, and we would both live happily together forever. It’s crackers! I do still love her, I think I always will, but this manic look-at-me flag waving fantasy is denying both me and her the room to move on. I really hope we will be cool one day. A couple of days ago, via my Ask.fm page I responded to a query from her regarding my well-being. She had noticed my upsettedness and wanted to know if I was okay. I responded several times, all with different flavours. One answer referencing this, another referencing that, nothing very coherent. I danced around, avoiding telling her that I still loved her and that I wanted her to love me, which is essentially what I want (with freedom from the restrictions of the reality), but then a moment of calm fell over me and I told her truthfully how it was for me. No passive-aggressiveness, no undercurrent, no holds barred, but ending up rather brief, benign, consolatory, and pathetic. Though I’m not too sure, I think that may have been a moment of realisation. The realisation that the losing of her love, maybe friendship, cannot be made to be the barrier to happiness. I cannot say I do not love her anymore; I cannot say I do not regret losing her love, yet I can say I can be happy. I really do hope we will be cool one day.
So, here is the the part where I try to patch up the holes in my beaten soul. How do I do happy? Human beings are apparently predisposed to happiness. I know our big brains and their prefrontal cortexes are hardwired to simulate experience, and create emotional responses. It is a frustrating thought that I have the innate ability to be happy and yet am not. I could consider this another failing on my part, but from this point onwards I will try to be happy. Try harder. No! Try better. Despite the mental exhaustion I have been suffering, I have nothing physically wrong with me, on the contrary I am in the best physical shape I have been in for years. I should in all logic be able to create a happiness. I’m not saying this created happiness can replace the happiness that can be derived from being in love, feeling the sunshine on your face, stroking a cat, or hearing a baby laugh, but it is a simulated happiness; and happiness is happiness regardless of whether it’s simulated or not. Simulated does not mean unreal or nonexistent; it is mimicry of character… and the character of happy is essentially happy. I do not have to chase an experience to make me happy; happiness can be synthesised within me. But first I must address the rot. I know I have to change the way I have been thinking. Reconceptualise the revealed negatives to make personal happiness achievable again.
I’ve always considered happiness just a way of thinking. The secret of happiness has always been a false premise to me because there is no secret. I may have lost the notion of this in the fog of my prolonged lament, but it feels inherent within me that I can perceive happiness, or non-disagreeableness, whenever I want. I was recently reminded of this when I went to the theatre. Suffice to say, after a few after-theatre drinks and a walk down the Thames I missed the last train home. The pervading thought was to find somewhere to sleep. Now, I could have called on a friend or relative in the early hours, but surprisingly to many people I chose to sleep on the spine-contorting benches at St. Pancras International. Many probably perceived me as some sort of perverse martyr; one who goes to war and shoots himself because there was no war (dubious analogy), yet I actually revelled in it. As I mentioned the bench was uncomfortable, there are pianos by the benches, people are employed throughout the night to play the pianos, there are cleaners and baristas and security working, travellers, commuters, and many disestablished people, like myself, loitering about. Now, I never felt the compulsion to moan about the situation. I did get a little aggravated when two pianos started playing against each other, but that’s only because I thought they could have played together to produce something exceptional. I’ve never just gotten wet from the rain; I watch it, feel it, even taste it. And so it is with my night at the station; watch, feel,taste. This is where my happiness lies. I have been uncomfortable, even hurting, yet I have managed the consolatory happiness. There’s no secret to happiness. As long as I’m not distracted by some all consuming physical pain or tangible fear, I can create happiness any time I want.
This maybe highlights another delusion. I think I have scared myself. I have been responding to a tangible fear whose tangibility I have created to feel real. I have become a victim of my own negative propaganda campaign. The thought that my situation may not change; the thought that I have seen another life, and another way of being; the thought that I will go the rest of my life in desperate lonely solitude and isolation never knowing another love; these thoughts would probably be enough to scare anyone. But, they are a fabrication. They are a creation, like the happiness I hope to manifest. I need to give Lord Haw-Haw a new script. Things inevitably change, and often in unpredictable ways. This time last year I thought I would never fall in love, in fact love was so distant it wasn’t even an inkling of a thought. This time last year my solitude was a source of comfort and a place for contemplation and meta-cognition. Now, I am reminded of an emotional capacity I had long forgotten or nurtured… And perhaps tomorrow will let me use that emotional capacity in a way that naturalises it within me and makes me grow. There is happiness in hope; and even if, as I am sure it will, the future produces a completely different scenario to any concocted by my limited imagination, there will be happiness there too. There is no need to be scared, especially of a figment of the imagination; but equally I can respond in a happy manner to my creation and my reality, by creating a happy perception of my reality.
It seems I must try to remain focussed. These delusions, imaginings, fantasies and concoctions are all a result of my mental wandering. My sense of loss and self-pity appear to have resulted in a predisposition towards negative trains of thought. When my mind has had time spare it has created monsters. When my imagination has had room to wander it has wandered onto a battlefield of cognitive desolation. While the negative feelings associated with my unfulfilled love persist I cannot afford to let my thoughts stray and must make a concerted effort to guide my thoughts onto more practical tasks… More guitar playing will be no punishment at all. Though, perhaps focussing on practicalities is unnecessary. Focusing on anything may be a good thing. Like watching, feeling and tasting the rain and train station bench, maybe I should do more concerted focussing on the watching, feeling, and tasting the Earl Grey tea, the view out of the window, the dog, the tattoo gun, the walk through the churchyard, everything. Living the moment in all its wonderful mediocrity, banality, poetry and uniqueness with casual laser thinking.
With all my talk of mental barriers, monsters, and fantasy; I do have a tangible limitation that has the potential to distress and cause unhappiness. I come back to my ability, or lack of, to remove myself from my very real social isolation. I am anchored by possessions. If I want to move I cannot do it quickly, or should I say quickly enough?! Being a relatively unconventional fella, happy or otherwise, that is wary of consumerism and materialism, I seem to have accumulated a lot of crap to chain me down. I know that’s the trick of capitalism, and I too have found myself a sucker-come-slave. I expect I will be a happier bunny in the long run if I reduce my things, and gift myself the ability to impulsivity. Less material ties potentially increase freedom of time and manoeuvrability. Then when, if, love comes knocking again I will be able to engage with it freely before it falters.
All this will be a welcome change, and writing this blog post feels like I may be heralding in that welcome change. Getting things straight, coherent, and cohesive within my own mind. After being down for so long I am worried that my psychosis was returning or that I was suffering from depression. Perhaps I am, I don’t know; I definitely fit the criteria for depression. Yet, I have found the inspiration to write this blog post. I have found some respite. Have I turned a corner? Maybe that is more melodrama, or too hopeful, still whatever happens I now have a thought through way forward resulting from a moment of relative clarity to refer to. I intend to create that turned corner. I intend to be happy again.