Dissociation has taught me something. Something it has been teaching me every day, every hour, building up to the realization of today.
I don’t want to be happy.
When I think of intelligent human beings, of innovators and people of brilliant ideas, I never see their faces in my mind as smiling. Surely to be a hard worker one must consistently sport a downturned mouth, especially when in deep thought, as though they thoroughly disapprove of their own ideas.
…interesting people are never taken seriously.
I’ve thought (and said) many times about how I would love to be like the man whom the philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead summed up as: “That adorable genius, William James.” James was a philosopher and one of the greatest American psychologists, but that isn’t why I attempt to portray him. He was a deep thinker, compassionate, determined and always full of curious energy, ecstatic to discover the new, evaluate the unfamiliar, and second guess common sense ideas. They say he took the steps two at a time until old age stopped him, but even then he remained an empathetic, clever, quick-witted, honorable man.
I am what the Taoist monks would call a metal person – the polar opposite of a fire person who can be so energetic and lively (like a flame) that they tend to get bored easily and forget about their priorities. Metal people are perceptive and focused, and tend to focus so much on their priorities that their catchphrase can become “There are more important things in life than being happy.”
Perhaps logic isn’t logical in a world that isn’t fair. When we adapt with life and change our course with the tides. When every. Single. Individual believes different things, feels different things about different situations and scenarios. When really everything is up in the air and unpredictable and uncontrollable that even when we delude ourselves into believing we have the world on a string, something comes along to rip the cord our of our hands – heck, sometimes taking our hands along with it. Why should I be so calculating and critical and logical and distant when in the long run it won’t change a single significant thing?
I have been fearing regretting my choices, wincing when I recall a conversation long ago or last week when I felt like a fool, the memory stinging to the point of physical pain. Uwittingly conditioning myself to loathe with the taste of acid every tiny mistake I make.
Today is the today I chose to be happy.
This will be a project, no doubt. An experiment that I intend to have last the rest of my life (and being 17, I’ve got me a long way to go.) I want to be honest, fair, curious, unafraid of looking like a fool, wholeheartedly pursue what I love, ask stupid questions, and find one reason every day to be happy.
Odds are this is not what William James did, but I like to think he would have been pleased with my plan nonetheless.