Epicurus said, “we must exercise ourselves in the things that bring us happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed toward attaining it.”
When I was in grade school and highschool, I was a chubby child. Inevitably, that would assimilate itself into my world of insecurities. It wasn’t until college that I lost all my weight. I still retained the title of class clown but also gained the title of being in the top 10% of my classes. I went through every single major possible in order to add to my lascivious identity. I was smart, unique, funny, and easier on the eyes, (moreso than before) but I was still pretty miserable. Of course, there’s no disguise for despair like humor. See, I only lost the weight because I was flat broke and had to support myself, and I had only taken so many majors because I couldn’t decide what I wanted to be. As chappy as my life seemed, they were direct results of having to choose in malicious circumstances. Isaiah Berlin once said, “we are doomed to make choices and every choice may entail an irreparable loss.”
Through out the years I’ve spent in accumulation of knowledge and life experiences, I’ve concluded with firsthand evidence, this generation to reflect the sin of vanity. I would not have made the friends of made if I was still that chubby happy-go-lucky boy. I would not have made the connections I’ve made if I wasn’t vain, myself. Just because I was better looking, made me more popular with everyone. you can see it especially if you were a member myspace or Facebook, the attractive had more friends, and were favored for anything. I know I’m not the best looking guy in the world, but ive kept myself up to date with trends and ideologies while retaining my ugly duckling syndrome. Because I am aware of both worlds, I feel I have insight from both sides which, in turn, would render my opinions; hypocrytical. This is where I’m glad I could never stick to one thing, all the elements that make me, me, were not shared by others. My indecisivness allowed me to color my world with inimitable shades, and my face allowed me to be on everyone’s guestlist or at the least a plus one. This parable allowed me to act with such an aplomb that only accentuated my candor in cynicism and conformity, simultaneously. And I walked aimlessly into this preconceived, pretentious and Sisyphean world, because Nietzsche said, “all truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
The negative repercussions of this idea, however, never gave me time to stop and smell the roses. I dated despondent women, played in less than average bands, acted in movies that might have benefitted with a simian co-writer, went out to hipster nightclubs every other night, and attended music festivals featuring bands that everyone thought was good. I mean, really? Reeeaally?
It took me many years of trial and error before I learned an important piece of advice; what may be enjoyable for everyone else might not be be enjoyable for me. I had thought to myself that if had done the same things my peers were doing, I’d fit in as well. But I never realized that I fit everywhere, and nowhere, all at once. My actions reflected past traditions and new ones to come, regardless of my support for either.
Then I met her. It wasn’t so much that she was a person to be with, it was more of a discovery of a kindred spirit. In a way, we met while we were both young, with pretentious ideals, and we were from completely different background. But we had the same mind and soul. Empathize with my surprise when we discovered each other. I became happy for the first time, because I felt like I’d grown, then discovered someone to grow with. William Butler Yeats said that “happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure, nor this thing no that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.” Then we started drifting. We found that we could only grow so much together before we realized we couldn’t grow any further without upgrading to a bigger flower pot. We snipped and bickered over tiny deails with each other naturally as we fought for space because our roots had taken over the soil. We departed, in order to grow on our own because we’d done as much for each other as two lovers could indulge on either side of a populous continent. I’ve skipped Dr. Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s five stages of grief during the departure and actually fused the stages of denial, anger, and depression, only because those stages were second nature to me. Then I mated bargaining with acceptance because I truly believed this was just going to be another minor domestic feud. But the thing about long distance relationships is the fact that you absolutely can not convey beyond words the seriousness in nullifying the conflict that would normally be accentuated with body language and deep wells of irises that reflect honest amoral emotions and affection; where most proximity-blessed couples would not even require words. We dilligently relied on language, vocal, and textmessage-ual COMMUNICATION. But talking all the time did not necessarily mean we were communicating. What kind of bra she bought at Victoria Secrets did not deduce anything, nor did the amount of Pabst Blue Ribbon I had gulped with the boys the night before. Our deficiencies in physical contact eventually led to our demise. We never put an emphasis on sex, and that allowed us to communicate efficiently, but perhaps sex was more important than we had anticipated. Maybe not sex, but being able to actually see each other at will would’ve helped. Immensely. We loved like no one loved and together, we could do anything we wanted, but we weren’t able to do everything we wanted.
But nevertheless, I had briefed the pleasure and joy of knowing the feeling that the most extraordinary person in the universe had chosen me. Then experienced the single most wrenching pain in knowing she’s no longer with me. “Show me a contented man, and I’ll show you a failure.” -Andrew Carnegie.
I am sad because I am not complete anymore. A part of me has been removed by the butcher knife of God’s will. These aren’t tears, but crystalline blood. Every day without you is another day of mourning your absence, and that makes the days longer, and the year shorter. I will stay behind at the bus stop where our last names were the same as you get on that bus that takes you to the answers you’ve sought. I will look at Wallace Stevens, Julian Barnes, Rashomon, and even Monet’s 40 routes, and catch the next bus.
Happiness, is nothing if you are incomplete on the inside. Appreciate their virtues and remember that it doesn’t matter how much love you have in your heart, the only thing that can be seen are your actions.