Happiness feels a lot like sorrow;
Let it be, you can’t make it come or go;
But you are gone – not for good but for now;
Gone for now feels a lot like gone for good.
– Happiness, THE FRAY
Being gay is an elusive quality, reserved only for those who have the courage to exhibit it. But I am feeble. I am an introverted pile of firewood, soaked in lighter fluid, waiting for someone to strike a match and set me on fire, ablaze — bright, tall and warm. I envy the flame of laughter and the crackle of a good time.
Happiness seems little more than an everyday crime — one of those small problems that everyone brushes aside and decides to not pay much attention to in fair that they will, otherwise, start policing their lives more than they feel comfortable doing. For what comfort would they have left if they told themselves that they can do nothing that seems to give them pleasure.
It is impossible, it seems, to steal someone’s happiness, as the common colloquial expression goes. To steal something implies to (wrongfully) change the possession of that thing from one person to another. But how can you be happy from depriving someone of their happiness unless you are a qualified sadist? Can you transfer happiness from one being to another? They say laughter is contagious, but is laughter an accurate measure of happiness? Does happiness need to maintain such an overt characteristic as a display for it to be present? Assuming that it does, and that laughter is, indeed, an apt qualifier for happiness to be present, can we assume that merely through the joint participation in an act that takes place as a solo venture, but present in a group, happiness has been transferred? Are you now happy? Does this imply that happiness is unlimited and can be shared with anyone and everyone and there is no ceiling on the supply that exists and happiness, therefore, can never end?
Why then does it feel as if happiness is a crime, or more aptly as George Orwell put it in Newspeak — a ‘thought-crime’? Why does it feel then that happiness is a finite resource that must be kept safe and secure, locked away deep inside, away from the light and breeze of day and the stillness of the night, that would otherwise be broken through acts that would arise from the innate sensation of happiness?
Is happiness truly an emotion? Or is it a state that one must acquire and learn? Can happiness be achieved only when certain preconditions are met? If so, is that state of being truly ‘happiness’? Are some people just born happy and others deprived of that ability or capability, more accurately, by virtue of their birth? If it is a state that has to be acquired, can it be acquired and reached through a process that enables the presence of happiness despite and in spite of any bad, wrong, harm or tragedy that may befall a person? If it is indeed a process, then is happiness an end and not the means to an end? If happiness is an end, what next?
Needless to say — I do not feel the flame. I feel the need to keep it safe within my pocket and save the warmth of the fire from spreading for I feel there isn’t enough to go around. And if I can feel it, I must save it for a colder day when I might need it more. So for now, I feel I am far from the flame and closer to the ashes.
But is it not from the ashes that a phoenix is begotten?