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I lead a disjointed life. I’m not happy. I’m never happy. I am occasionally gratified, but I’m never happy. Happiness eludes me like Madoff eluded honesty.

Why am I not happy? I can never put my finger on it. Sometimes, often, I don’t even try. I just accept it. My wife has often said to me, “if there were one thing I could give you, it would be happiness”. This, an odd statement from someone I love and have been married to for ten years and with whom I am expected to be happy. Maybe there are pockets of happiness like the cells of a honeycomb. I am as happy with my wife as I know how to be. AS I KNOW HOW TO BE. That’s the issue. I don’t know how.

It’s like sympathy and empathy. I can be sympathetic to a situation, which means I understand it. But do I feel sympathy? No. I don’t tend to feel. My therapist has told me innumerable times that I need to live in the moment to feel. TO FEEL. What is feeling? What the hell am I supposed to feel? When I feel, I feel like shit. We’ve also worked on my inability to feel empathy. But how can I feel empathy if I cannot feel in the first place?

I work with someone I love as a friend, a mentor and a guiding light. In that same old “whatever” capacity I have to feel love.  She has said that I am damaged. You betcha I’m damaged. I am as damaged as the crate that fell out of the airplane at 35,ooo feet. I’m cracked; I’m shattered.

And yet I function. I go though all the motions. I think most of the motions are right. Societally right. I do have interest in the situations of other people, and I lean very heavily toward other damaged people. Half of me wants to fix them so that they can succeed and be happy. Half of me wants to see that someone else is more damaged than I am.

My family structure is peculair. My mother once told me, when I was about 43 and had already gotten sober, that she wishes she had never had either my brother or me. I can understand wishing she’d never had my brother. He’s so wrecked he really should be institutionalized. She also said that she wishes she’d never married my father. Was I really the person she should have been telling this to? Shit, in whatever capacity that it could, it hurt me. On that day we were at the fair. I had taken her to the fair. The PRECIOUS GODDAMNED FAIR that she loves so much. She wanted so badly to go; my father would not take her. I took her. I took her many times. And she announces that she’s wishes I’d never been born to her. Both my parents are odd. My mother is as cold as ice. My father is so overly sentimental it’s sickening. He has family photographs dating back a hundred years all around. I don’t have one. NOT ONE. Not of my wife even. Well, let me ammend that. I have a picture of my maternal grandfather, unframed and in a closet. I have pictures of vacant doorways, the doors slightly ajar but opening up to nothing. I’ve paid for these photographs; they’re framed, matted and hanging in my office to ever remind me that there is nothing out there.

Materially I am spoiled. This I cannot deny. Nor can I deny that I derive gratification from having my little bevy of toys. They’re worth thousands upon thousands of dollars. They gratify me. I don’t like them. I don’t want them. I want different ones. Materially I can obtain most anything I want. I have resources. But I don’t care that much. I don’t drive a slick car. My wife has a cute little car; I don’t care. I could purge all of my toys tomorrow and not give one shit less. I could purge my family, for that matter, and not give one shit less.

What I am able to do is appreciate. I appreciate the people around me, but I don’t commune with them. I watch them. I analyze them. I observe. I love to observe. I don’t miss much. I may act like I miss things, but I don’t. I pick up every nuance, every iota of what’s around me. Often I dislike it, but I appreciate the fact that it’s there. I can appreciate beauty. I can appreciate success. I can appreciate failure. From these things I grow. But into what? I keep all inside. I’m letting some out here. I like the opportunity to write these things, as I love to write. I love to read. Since these things do not require me to feel, I can love them. I have capacity for that. I love my cats. They provide comfort. They provide happiness as opposed to gratification. They cannot hurt me.

One thing I enjoy is working. It makes me feel. It makes me feel like shit most of the time, because it hurts physically, but at least it’s feeling. I deal with the public. I don’t necessarily like those people, but I appreciate them. I enjoy them in the perverse capacity of being able to extract money from them for the good of the company that employs me. I try to extract as much as humanly possible from them to add to the daily totals. They like me. I have a “knack”. It’s acting, but I would guess that that is what someone who doesn’t really feel anything does. He acts.

Today I could not work. I needed to assist my father. He sprung it on me at the last minute, so I didn’t like having to do it. But, he’s damaged and needed help. I was at the ready, as he’s far more damaged than I am. Of the four immediate family units I am the least damaged. My therapist, whom I also love in whatever capactity I have, says that I protected myself from them by drinking. In a manner of speaking I protected myself from myself as well. I no longer drink. I might like to. I don’t know. I know that if I drink I’ll IMAGINE that I feel something, but I really won’t. It would be an impaired sense of feeling. Bullshit feeling. I’d rather feel nothing.

I will continue to work on trying to feel. I will continue to try and find happiness. I know it’s out there. All of these people who say that they’re happy cannot be lying. NOT ALL of them. I know many are unhappy. I can see it. I can feel it. I can feel it like a blast of icy cold. Others seem genuinely warm, though. That tells me that they are very possibly happy.

I will be happy someday. I know it. I just have to figure out how. When I become happy I’ll discover that I can love in the same wholehearted manner, with true feeling, as others can. I need to purge the damage. I need to. I will. I just don’t when.

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4 Comments

  1. I have alot of the same feelings you have I believe . I would rather spend my time alone than with people I don’t want to be with ,spewing out mindless chit chat just to be polite. Isn’t it more polite to just not pretend to be interested? I don’t like talking on the phone, or commenting on how someones drapes look or whether the winter is going to be bad or good .It really is not that important to me. So like my parents said if you don’t have anything nice to say ,don’t say anything. I am very quiet…..LOL

    • I don’t like the telephone. I avoid it at all costs. I spent years spewing drunken babble into it, to the point of losing friends. And, beside that, I think it’s an intrusion. I never answer it, or very seldom. When my wife is on the road (like this week, next week, etc. I answer so I can talk with her. One of the highlights of my life is that Jan and I “recap” every night. We get deeply into each other’s day, each other’s feelings, thoughts, etc. She is my best friend, though we have our natural spousal disagreements, albeit very rarely.

      I act during times when I need to act, because my natural introversion does not lend itself well to working in a retail store. I’m much more of a listener. In a non-work environment I feel completely free to act as I feel like acting in that moment. People, for the most part, understand me. I have a good support system. Some very nice friends. My family’s a wreck, but my friends are cool. I’m happy to count you among them. Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings, Lorraine. I appreciate it.

  2. You already possess happiness & empathy. It’s all there in your writing. You do not need to define yourself.You have a measuring stick that is faulty because you look at others as having a better quality of happiness & empathy, when it’s all relative anyway. Just “be”. You are real, you are unique and you are loved. Believe what I already “know” about you until you know it for yourself. 😉

  3. This one made me cry. It’s the best one yet.


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