Sometimes I wonder if I genetically or chemically – although I suppose that would be the same element – have something wrong with me. I’ve always felt sad. I sit in this coffee shop, looking at a mother lifting her newborn baby into the air; the baby squeals in delight. A quote from Aristotle comes to mind. “On the first day of life there is nothing to remember and everything to hope.”
I have happy moments in life. Plenty of them. Although sometimes it’s hard to define the happy moments and what even made them happy in the first place. Sometimes I question those closest to me and wonder why they’re in my life, whether they really care, whether they’ll be here tomorrow, whether their intent is pure enough to not be a detriment to my mindset.
Life is miserable. Life is hard, life is you struggling against the elements that spend the majority of your life going against you, yet your fellow earthly inhabitants will disingenuously tell you to carry on, to battle through, to get on with it, without having any idea of how to or what that means, because they barely know, they just find it easier than you, and think you should get a grip.
“You can always talk to me!” people in your life will say, if you’re lucky to have them. To be fair, I have a couple of them, and I don’t feel lucky, because it’s very rare anyone ever means it when they say it. Or perhaps they don’t understand the weight of their offering.
They offer an invitation for you to bare your soul mainly out of emotional obligation, and you accept in hopes of receiving some relief from the weight that weighs on your shoulders but doesn’t seem to hold a benefit or reason, not even the benefit of eventually making you stronger, not even a reason you can articulate. You’re just crumbling.
You attempt to describe how you feel, and feel discomfort in the air. You feel the patience of the other person listening to you, waiting for this excruciating reality that you are expressing to end, because they haven’t got the answers to the truth that they’ve buried so deep inside them to preserve their own sanity. They may even think they can’t relate or understand, because they’ve developed the skill of desensitization. How can you cope with life and not be desensitized? I’m at the stage where I don’t see how it’s possible. Life is painful.
How I so envy people who feel less. The people who use their time efficiently and get stuff done. I’m so burdened with my own depression, my own grief, my own guilt, my own unexplainable fear, my own vague anxieties, battling the increasing belief of my own worthlessness, I’m drowning.
We’re born into a meritocratic society, where if you are good enough, you can make it. Your destiny is in your own hands. The problem is then, I suppose, is that there is no reason why we can’t all make it, right? It’s within our individual capabilities. But this is not realistic, therefore a problematic philosophy to follow.
The problem then becomes that we completely, whole-heartedly, bear the burden for our failures. Which sounds completely logical right? Who else’s fault could it be that you’re not where you want to be?
The ancient Greeks would pin their successes, and downfalls, on the Gods. Therefore, any successes and failures, to an extent, were the way of the universe. They weren’t gifted with the responsibility of the weight of the world. I heard that suicide rates go down during recessions. The reason is obvious – when something is unaffordable, when the bills can’t be paid, when times are tough, it’s not because you’re a worthless piece of shit. It’s because of a recession, or the Gods, or just because life isn’t that fucking straightforward and that’s okay.
But we need that excuse of a recession to relieve us of that pressure. In the times where your fate at least partially laid with the Gods but life was much harder and far less comfortable, suicide rates were lower.
I shan’t even bother delving into how the detriment effects of social media are a huge part of us believing we all must be hopeful, optimistic and responsible for making our own happiness happening, at any cost, all the time.
The older I get, the more I realise how much stoicism makes sense. Stoics live by the philosophy that life sucks, and the faster you truly come to terms with that, the easier life will become. Expect the worst to happen. Expect to be struck down by disease that will end your life slowly and painfully. Expect to get divorced, to lose your job. Take it all in your stride, find gratefulness in all that isn’t a disaster, because life isn’t a happily ever after tale, and nobody should have promised you that ending.
Despite me saying that, I’m increasingly angry, at everything. I’m angry at Trump, I’m angry at racism and politics and societal pressures, I’m angry at my mother, I’m angry at my job, I’m angry at my lover, I’m angry at my reflection. It’s hard to get perspective on what should hold any importance in your emotional sphere when you know small things shouldn’t wind you up, but continue to anyway on a daily basis.
In a world where everything could be an Instagram quote on how you can be happy and positive and successful if you just work hard enough, I wondered if the ‘Glass is Half Empty’ perspective is allowed to be uttered anymore.
Telling ourselves we are okay, that it will be okay, that we’re fine, will eventually become a thing of all our detriment. We are humans, allegedly the most superior species on this planet, but we are animals. We’re not designed to sit perkily at a desk for hours on end, brimming with an abundance of patience and joy and civilized behaviour to display.
Sometimes we need to scream out loud, kick a door in, be less than what is deemed acceptable in a society where every behavioural characteristic is critiqued, and that is okay. Can we stop pretending otherwise?