In my personal experience not everyone wants to be happy. When I say that I’m not talking about that one friend either. I’m talking about me. For a very long time I didn’t wanna be happy. It was a very frustrating time. I can’t say I knew I wanted to be unhappy, I just was all the time. I was angry, depressed, and off and on apathetic. It was actually my mother who coined the phrase “You just need to be unhappy." somewhere in my early to mid 20s.
Above and beyond my own internal strife one of my problems was that those around me were constantly interested in trying to make me happy. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a problem to you but it was aggravating to me. It wasn’t that people wanted to help it was this frustrating struggle of people offering what I saw as cookie cutter back pats and weak attempts to stoke a nonexistent ego instead of just facing the truth and seeing the world like I saw it. They didn’t understand my problems. I thought about how miserable life is and how horrific this whole world works. I thought all the time about how my mediocre skill set in an over saturated field that shared a job pool with savants & geniuses meant I would going to toil and claw against an over abundant and under paid workforce. I thought about how compared to my peers my nothing-to-offer existence meant I get to writhe away in this world alone with a few cynical friends to cheerlead ourselves along to the grave. I looked at the ugly side of every story and trust me when you stop sugar coating everything you realize that there is millions of fucked up things going on every day and we do our best to gloss over it and put lipstick on this pig so that we can wake up and say today is an awesome day. This whole world is a corrupt Masque of the Red Death; an extravagant gala thrown by the privileged to hide away the social plague destroying everyone else around us.
Over time I learned how to communicate with others about my feelings in ways that helped prevent the constant fawning over my state. Of course I had to be highly selective of who I chose to associate with since I didn’t want to have to go through this rigmarole constantly. I wasn’t happy at that point but I reached this semi-content equilibrium where I got by with thick sense of dark humor and snark, as much as one possibly could exist in this sickness.
After a long while doing this I reached this weird nirvana where I was just me, and everyone was ok with it and I was ok with it to. I was just ok. Then the weird shit happened.
Through having this small social group, literally six to eight people deep, I was able to find this confidence in myself. Maybe what I could do was shit to anyone else but I could do things that made a difference to my friends, or at least impressed them. Over a period of about ten years give or take this grew, as well as my social circle. I often felt like the imposter in the room but through all these people I started to realize my own potential.
I can’t say the exact moment it hit me. I know it was when I was working for Stephens. I had stuck my foot out enough times and somehow not gotten the door slammed on it enough times that I had made it somewhere in the company. The group I was running hadn’t completely imploded on itself around me yet and I was a pretend famous DJ. Somewhere around this time it dawned on me that life isn’t the Olympics but an Industry and even if I sucked the fact I wasn’t going to stop trying made me valuable.
It was around that time I stopped reading fiction and switched to non-fiction. I read a lot of 90s-00s new era “be awesome at life” self help books and started implementing all these systems and tricks I read about.
My personal mantra around then was “It Never Hurts to Help”; a tongue in cheek reference to a cartoon from my youth called Eek the Cat. It was a morbid tale about an anthropomorphic feline whose overly sunny attitude and unflappable willingness to help other constantly ended him up in the hospital. That was his catch phrase, the one he said right before he was mauled by something. I like to say I was using it ironically since in the end I rarely caught fire after saying it but I did end up getting places professional and personally.
Needless to say life started moving really fast when I became truly motivated to help and get things done. I can’t say I was happy… but I was really busy.
It was around then the shift really happened. I don’t know if my attitude shifted first or those around me but things became nightmarishly disjointed and stressful at work over bad management, the club promoters I was working with went to war with another promotions group, and the community I was dealing with collapsed around the time someone slept with a minor unknowing and then someone else killed themselves. Needless to say these were dark times. However through all this stress I had a mantra and I stuck to it. Suddenly I was a too positive person for those I was around.
I was right back to where I was before in the reverse way. Everyone told me I need to “take it down a notch” and accused me of being disingenuous and sarcastic simply because I’m living my live the way I chose. I can’t possibly feel like that, I can’t do this, and we can’t do that.
That’s when my mantra changed to “I Only Have Cans”. Just like before I had to adjust who is important in my life since I don’t want to surround myself with those who are going to try to slow my progress and scowl at my outlook. This new mantra isn’t just a tongue and cheek spite of never giving up and always helping. This one is only having the positive, always being able to do something. I guess that’s when I decided to be happy?
I can’t say I’m always happy. In fact I’d go so far as to say no one really stops dealing with depression. I still have the eternal funeral procession of self doubt, loathing, paranoia, and ill wishes flickering through my mind like an unending film. However I can decide it doesn’t control me and I have way way better things to do with my life than be consumed by my own innate apathy. I can say that I’m in control of my outlook and what is important to me and I can control the world around me enough to decide I’m gonna be happy this day.
My mantra has been changing lately. I didn’t have a mantra for over 26 years and now suddenly in eight years I have gone through three of them. Like I said, things started moving fast. It’s not final, nothing is, but these days I’m sticking with “Be Fucking Amazing”.
Not bad for someone who needed to be unhappy almost his entire life.
For those who actually read this far, I didn’t write this to publicly stoke my dick at everyone or at least that wasn’t the original intention. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about those around me who are unhappy now. I get a little sad and want to go make them happy which reminds me of where I stood not that long ago. I’m not going to pretend my story applies to anyone else and this should be shared around facebook by duck lip hotties as some overly winded it gets better back pat. However I’d like to hope that there are plenty of people who struggle with needing to be unhappy that will learn to take control of their own world and be fucking awesome in their own right.