I used to think the eternal sleep would be a welcome reprieve. Honestly, I did. Even in the height of any happiness, I was suspicious. In fact, the state of happiness itself was enough to send me into a tailspin. My wires had become so crossed that I didn’t know how to react to good things happening.
I used to think Asleep by The Smiths was a happy song. I still love it, but now I see that it’s a song about giving up…about forgoing the light in favour of darkness. It’s a song about taking the safe route, the well worn road of comfort and emotional deadness. STATIC.
If I were to create a graph of what used to happen whenever happiness hit, it would look a bit like this:
This was never an intentional path. I believe it was one that simply manifested itself in order to protect me from feeling. It was a path that essentially kept me in a perpetual state of sleep. In recent years I had a LOT of incredible things happen in my life. And I would attempt to show the proper reaction every time. And on the inside I just kept wondering why the event didn’t make me feel anything particularly pleasant. One would think that after working hard on a novel and finding a publisher and eventually holding said novel in your hands would give one some form of enjoyment. I imagined what that enjoyment would feel like and then I attempted to fake it. All along waiting for the jig to be up…for someone to say, “We were only kidding. We’re not publishing YOUR book. Are you nuts?!”
It wasn’t just my writing life that was effected by this eternal state of ennui. It was present in every corner of my life.
I still love this song immensely. But it’s no longer me. I don’t want to sleep. I have so much to catch up on. I feel like a Grimm fairy tale character who wakes up in a gloomy dark forest in the middle of nowhere, after a thousand years of sleep. The canvas was once water-washed with a thin film of black…making all the other colours muted and ghastly.
“Deep in the cell of my heart, I will feel so glad to go…”
“Deep in the cell of my heart, I really want to go…”
Those lines in particular always made me sad…but in a semi-happy way. Because I understood them to my core. I believed the lie. I was lulled into thinking I honestly did want to go.
If you find yourself in darkness, I have one simple piece of advice for you. Turn on the light. You’re probably the only one who can do so. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you not to seek help. There is nothing weak about seeking help and I encourage anyone suffering from depression to do so. But you can reach out a thousand times for help…if you’re not willing to accept it fully, though, you’re only paying lip service. When you’re ready to receive happiness, it’s up to you to turn on the light. When it’s off you think turning it on is the most impossibly difficult thing in the universe to do. But the sick and terrible secret is just how easy it is to turn on the light. It’s a slight shift. That’s all. Perception is both a friend and an enemy. We must use it wisely.
I’ve been living in happiness for some time now. It’s true, for quite a while I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for something to happen that would switch the light back off. But it’s not happening. I’m ready to accept that the light can stay on. There’s no reason to swivel back and forth…to run from feelings of happiness. Not when there is so much to be happy about. Not when there’s so much to be grateful for.
I used to think R.E.M.’s Shiny Happy People was this mystical unattainable thing. The song always hit me. I knew it was an elixir…I just didn’t know how to drink it.
I think I get it.
“There’s no time to cry, happy, happy
Put it in your heart where tomorrow shines”
Happiness is un-diminishable. It can only multiply. All you have to do is share it…
(I will soon have a book cover to share with you. I’ve seen the first draft of the cover for my upcoming release HALF DEAD AND FULLY BROKEN and I’m ecstatic about it! I can’t wait to share it with you. Stay tuned!)