8/31/2016
Happiness chooses you

At least once a week, usually on a Monday, there's bound to be someone who attempts to, supposedly, seize the day - or the week, more likely - by declaring that nothing will bring her down, by declaring that this week is her week, by declaring that she chooses to be happy, and so she will.

Arguably it makes some kind of sense. If you just overlook the bad things and focus exclusively on the good ones, the world has to be a better place, right?

I mean, if you just think of not waking up to an alarm, staying in your somehow perfectly-lit bed once you do, and going, "well, isn't this swell?" it makes everything immediately ahead of you seem worthwhile, right? Yeah, arguably, that could happen.

Of course I'm writing this to flip the whole thing around and argue about how this whole "happiness is a choice" bullshit is, well, bullshit. Yes, right now I'm thinking of how I have suffered more breakdowns in the past nine months than in the twenty-six years that preceded it. I'm thinking of how that contrasted with everybody else whose got their best faces on.

Okay, that just confirms the whole "happiness is a choice" thing.

Perhaps they're right. Perhaps I could choose to be happy. And I have reasons to be, yes? I still have a job. I get to indulge in the things I want to do from time to time. I get to hug my love on the weekends. I have a hand to hold and someone to talk to when I have to. That ought to be enough, yes? I should just focus on that and, well, problem solved, yes?

Well, first, whose problem are we solving? Yes, sure, I do have those, and yet I still wake up in the morning feeling dread and anxiety. I have an ever-increasing list of things that trigger me and send me to some black hole at the back of my head. There are more triggers, and they are happening more frequently. I still daydream of jumping off a building, or leaping to an oncoming train, or slashing my wrists before going to sleep - that, the best way, perhaps, to pretend that nothing is wrong, that you're just going to sleep for the night. And then I get scared. And then I hate on myself for being scared, because everybody says I'm a scaredy-cat and I should not be a scaredy-cat.

Can I choose to be happy? I could, but it doesn't last. I don't think I am predisposed to be happy. I am definitely sure I'm not the only one. I'm just that annoying person who chooses to be upfront about the bad things, refusing to be private when everybody else demands I do. "If you're going to be not happy, don't do it in front of me" is a common message.

That is all it boils down to, really. This whole "happiness is a choice" malarkey is not used to sound inspirational, to prep yourself for what always has been a busy week ahead. It's not a cheer. It's a knife. It's a knife being plunged down the rest of us who do have problems, for lack of a better term. Frankly, though, who the fuck cares about our problems, right? The supposedly enlightened people - they who care more about the world, they with the clarity of mind to see things better than those idiots taking over comment sections online - will just pay lip service to your problems. "Take it easy, man," I'm often told. "I'm here if you need to talk." But not really. Eventually the non-happiness becomes too much for them and they revert back to their bubbles. "I choose to be happy. There. Done!"

"Happiness is a choice" is really just a way to deny what the rest of us do go through. It's all about that perfectly-lit bedroom.

And besides, you don't choose to be happy. That never was the case at any point in history. You don't choose to be happy. Happiness chooses you. And, as with everything else, happiness tends to choose particular things more than others.

Happiness chooses the rich over the poor.

Happiness chooses the connected over the isolated.

Happiness chooses the less worried over the overburdened.

Happiness chooses the supposedly courageous over the actually weak.

Happiness chooses those with the freedom to pursue their passions.

Happiness chooses those with the means to realize their wildest dreams.

Happiness chooses those who can prove their happiness.

As for the rest of us, well, we're irrelevant and invalid, a spoiler to the prevailing narrative that the world is a good place and all we have to do is keep our heads above water, be grateful, everything else that goes along those lines - as if all of us are acting against our very natures as humans. Come to think of it, though, if happiness was truly the default setting, we would all want to be anything other than happy. Instead, we all have a mountain to climb, and we are all not made equal. Or, at least, not put in the same footing as everybody else.

And your responses...

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