Happyness – Where Art Thou?
If you try to find happiness outside of yourself with people or things, then it is fleeting, and it’s not true happiness. This is surfaced. True happiness lies within. And in order to be happy with people and the things around you, you first have to be happy with yourself.
So, here are some steps to being truly happy:
- Sit down and get to know who you are… people spend their entire lives with themselves, and some leave this world not even knowing who they truly are. Get to know yourself. How do you do this? Talk to yourself… If you find that you’re reacting a certain way to something, ask yourself why you do that. Mind you, an external voice won’t answer but keep asking yourself questions and you will eventually get answers. No one knows you better than yourself.
- Like yourself. This is sadly not as easy as it sounds. But here’s the crazy thing… If you find that you don’t like yourself, then you’re doing something or some things that you know isn’t/aren’t aligned with who you really are. Find out what those things are and avoid doing them. Not liking yourself is never just a surfaced thing like – being too fat or skinny or short or tall or pale or dark. These are all surfaced, and this surfaced dislike is coming from somewhere deeper – sit down, be patient with yourself and figure it out. Aren’t you worth it?
- After learning to like yourself, now what you do is love yourself. Treat yourself like you treat a loved one. Appreciate yourself, do things that you like to do, and find and follow whatever makes you feel good in a positive way. Over time, you’ll find that you can call yourself one of your best friends. You know who you are, you appreciate yourself and you love yourself.
- Happiness for all. Once you start to love yourself, you will find that being truly happy is not a fabled existence. Once you’d gotten to know yourself, you’d have found out what makes you feel good and what makes you feel shitty. In order to have true happiness, you should constantly be aware of steps 1-3 and ceaselessly put those steps into play. This is a continuous journey, once you stop any of those 3 points, there’s a good chance your inner feeling of happiness will become stilted and stuck. But, being happy is not something that’s difficult – you just have to be patient with yourself and follow your little joys every day. And, before you know it, you’ll be living a happy life.
A Day Like Any Other
My day began like any other, except now that my boyfriend is staying with me in my tiny apartment for three months – I’m awakened by the sound of the refrigerator door opening, glass clicking and the burst of acidic air from a bottle of coke. Ah yes, just… peeking through one eye at the time… forty-five minutes before my alarm goes off – the joys of cohabitating. Don’t get me wrong, I love that he’s visiting me on the other side of the planet, but my morning side was never made of rainbow and sunshine. As far as I’m concerned, no human contact before 10 a.m. should be a well-enforced law – well, except for early morning sex. That’s great. No talking, no cuddling, just fucking, and then you roll over and go back to sleep.
Anyway, at this point I tried to salvage a little more sleep, although I already knew it was more wishful thinking than realistic. But before I could go back to the already forgotten land of dreams, I smelt the distinct odor of tobacco. Ok, I give up. Literally rolling from my bed I automatically reached for the remote to turn on the heat – morning rituals, plus cold, equals “fuck work I’m going back to bed.” And we definitely can’t have that (too often) now can we?
After some coffee, grilled cheese, getting my hair to look functionally decent, watching a few cartoons and having a smoke – I realized that almost two hours had passed and I was already (almost) late. So I grabbed a dress threw it on and ran out the door. Soon enough, after looking down, I realized that my previously-unworn-dress was way shorter than I’d anticipated, barely reaching mid-thigh on my 5’10” legs and somehow even shorter in the back. Yup, this will definitely not work around teenagers.
While practically running the 10-minute walking distance to my destination and clutching my coat around me like a protective armor, I called my apartment phone which was picked up on the third ring with a cheery “moshi moshi.” I couldn’t help smiling at his noble attempt. “Could you bring me a pair of pants…?” I asked, dodging a co-worker’s eye contact and slipping stealthily into a nearby bathroom.
Just a day like any other.
Another quiet morning has passed where, upon tumbling out of bed, I muse to myself, “what the hell was that dream?” Not that I don’t appreciate the memory of my flights and celestial fancies, but sometimes I truly have to wonder what my subconscious is up to when I delve into these otherworlds.
Sitting on the outskirts of my mind, I look around my tiny apartment and feel the closeness of everything choking me back into my safety net. That slumber that never leaves. It’s sort of like my security blanket – always there to rock me into submission.
Going into auto-pilot, my morning glides from task to task, continuously the same yet somewhat different. I can never seem to do the same exact thing twice.
Sometimes time plays tricks on me, telling me we’re cool and will roll together. But as soon as complacency sits in, I’m tossed in a whirlwind of ticks and missing beats. I can never get mad though, I know time sits still and I’m the one that flows. Still, these moments remain, almost like a reminder of my movement between these planes – forever on the move, yet remaining the same.
Occasionally, I would sit as still as possible and relish in the shifts that exist with and through me. I’m in a million different places right now – how many people know this?
So, back in my apartment, my home away from home, I try to stay with time and have friendly conversations to appease as I go through the motions.
And soon, sometimes too soon, I greet the morning that sits on the outside of my door.
The Theory of Love
Love – such a tricky thing. Where does it come from? Why do we experience it? And, is it really the root of all evil? Ok, maybe that last question is a bit off, but love does hold a certain kind of je ne sais quoi that makes it easy to theorize until we’re personally satisfied.
We all have our stories and different approaches when it comes to love – some try to avoid it at all cost, many search for it with an almost obsessive passion, and others, well, they just leave it to fate.
Scientists suffice that the brain produces its own substances that are involved in bonding. That it’s thanks to certain chemicals and hormones why your heart swoops. According to science, there are a variety of different neurochemical processes and external stimuli that have to click in the right complex and the right sequence for someone to fall in love. Plausible…possibly… But one cannot help thinking that the beauty of love is not just because of neurotransmitters and chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. That’s not very romantic now is it? And love is supposed to be this amazing, romantic thing, right?
That’s why many of us find it so easy to believe that we are destined to be with someone – that one mate for our soul. We meet, fall in love, and (for those who are a bit dreamy) live happily ever after. But is that really love? Is it really that beautiful romantic thing that so many of us crave to find with that one special person? Or, is it something of a more sinister nature? I mean, many have died because of love; and a heartbreak – oh a heartbreak can be the worst kind of pain. Still, we search – whether intentionally or not, we all have, at one point or another, been a slave to those four letters.
We cannot orchestrate falling in love with someone, either it’ll happen or it won’t. And many times we’re not even aware of that exact moment when it does happen. If you think you do, then you, my friend, are reaching because when you sit down and really think about it you will find that it’s not actually that exact instant when you fell in love that you remember, but it’s the epiphanic moment when you realized that it had, in fact, already happened.
Maybe its chemicals dancing up a storm in our brains, or maybe it’s a fateful connection on a soul level. Whatever it is, the bottom line remains – it’s called falling in love for a reason. Because once you’re in, baby, and I mean truly in, it can be one of the most heart-wrenching and agonising experiences to get out of. But, hey, don’t let that deter you from enjoying it when it does happen. Love, despite the pain and suffering that goes along with it, does hold the absolute best feeling you’ll ever have in this lifetime – especially when the person that you’re in love with loves you back with just as much passion, or more.
Part 1 – The Encounter
I stood on the side of the road and looked around. This was bad. This was really, really bad. I had more sense than this – I should’ve known better, dammit. But I’d dismissed going to the ATM before my date because I’d thought that I had enough cash to cover the night and any unforeseen circumstances that might pop up. Irony at its best, I guess. And the perfect testament that a girl should always make sure that she has enough just-in-case cash whenever she went on a date.
Vince had been a rat bastard the entire night, and at the end of it all he wished to “collect,” according to him, which meant groping me and trying to shove his gross, hairy tongue down my throat. Ewww! I couldn’t help shuddering at the memory.
So now, after promptly telling him off, I’m left on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, practically cashless and unable to call a cab.
I glanced at my watch – almost midnight. “Great,” I mumbled, shivering slightly under the weight of my dilemma and the crispness of the late autumn breeze. Leave it to me to find myself in this kind of situation, Rissa, my best friend and trusty life commentator, will have a field day with this one. “Wait, Rissa!” she’ll definitely come to my rescue.
My head snapped around at the sound of shuffling leaves a few feet from the sidewalk where I stood. “Okay, I seriously need to get the hell of here.” I reached into my purse and pulled out my cellphone. Then a dry, short bark of laughter rang from my throat. “Of course there’s no service out here!” This was starting to eerily resemble one of those B-rated horror movies.
Waving the phone around, I attempted to quelch the growing trepidation crawling up my spine, but if life were so easy, every little girl would have a pony in her backyard. Unfortunately, the more I waved and jumped and walked around pointing at the glittering sky, the more choking my disquietude became.
Finally, I stopped moving, tried to breathe away the rising panic, and looked around. I needed to come up with the best course of action here. Okay, first, I am not exactly in the middle of nowhere, per se, my apartment was in walking distance – if you count a mile and a half walking distance, and of course, the fact that half of that trek would be through the woods. I turned and looked across the road to the woods. It stared back at me and seemed to smile in invitation.
The creepy, smiling woods would be a convenient shortcut, naturally, because why not? Why couldn’t it be this stretch of open road? I looked at said stretch of road. I couldn’t walk home from that direction, well, I could, but it would take at least two hours. I looked down the opposite way. I could backtrack to the Karaoke bar where my WORST DATE EVER took place…
After angrily staring at the woods for about a minute, gritting my teeth in indecision, I finally came to the conclusion that I’d rather not completely play into the hands of a B-rated horror movie. It would definitely be better to quickly backtrack to the bar and go from there. At least then I could call Rissa to pick me up.
As I briskly walked towards the bar, my mind kept drifting back to the night’s events, despite the grave need I felt to try and push it all out of my head so I could focus on my present situation. The next time I see that gutter rat I refuse to have any control over my actions, I vowed.
Normally, I wouldn’t be caught dead with someone like Vince. Yeah, he looked good in a pair of jeans, but he was the kind of man who knew he looked good and expected women to just fall at his feet. I suspected he didn’t have to do much to get women into bed, and the fact that he was as brainless as they come didn’t take away from that advantage.
He’d been pursuing me for months, incessantly stopping by the novelty clothing store that I run with Rissa and trying his hardest to chat me up. Eventually, my defenses had worn down and I’d given in and agreed to a date. In my defense, I’d gone way too long without sex and the itch had obviously dulled my common sense. I figured that if I got the itch scratched, I could just move on with my life for another eight months or so. But wow, just wow, that date was like something out of a nightmare.
First, after showing up fifteen minutes late to pick me up without an explanation or an apology, he’d spent the night talking about how much work it was to keep his body sculpted to its current state of perfection – literally the word he used, “perfection”. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he’d sought to enlighten me about the plights of being an Instagram model. Pointing out that it’s not as easy as it looks, with trying to please over a hundred thousand followers and the advertisers who pay him to mention their products. He then went on to add that living his lifestyle was like a form of art. Gag! I’d asked him if it was performance art. But it blew right over his head and he’d just stared at me blankly for a few seconds.
No sex, no matter how mind-blowing, was worth that crap. So I’d let go of my barely-there restrain and bluntly told him that I wasn’t feeling the date and was ready to leave. He’d suspiciously taken it quite well and we’d left the bar shortly after. Then, his pea-brained plan became clear when he suddenly pulled over the car, unbuckle his seatbelt, and reached for me. The cretin was able to plant a sloppy kiss on my mouth before my brain fully comprehended the situation – and those few precious seconds were costly because he was also able to get a handful of one of my breasts and start kneading it before I recovered enough to push him away from me and wipe him from my mouth. The idiot actually looked surprised.
“What the fuck are you doing?” I’d gasped, shaking in anger as I pulled off the newly too-restrictive seatbelt.
The moron had smiled at me then and said we both knew where the night was going and this was a good place for him to collect his due. Blinded by red hot fury, I can’t recall the slew of insults I’d thrown his way before exiting the car, slamming the door behind me and walking off.
The dolt had then tried to cajole me back into the car, and when I’d flipped him off and started walking away in the opposite direction, he’d shouted an indignant, “Fine, you’re loss, baby.” before speeding off.
A slight burning in my chest brought my mind back to the present, and I halted my speed-walking and bent forward to catch my breath.
“Damn that rat bastard to hell!” I screamed between clenched teeth, then tried to inhale deeply so my ragged breathing could slow down. When it finally did, I straightened and ran my hands through my slightly damp hair and took in my surroundings. Maybe I should’ve taken my chances with the shortcut through woods after all.
There was something off about this place. Everything was so quiet… not just quiet, but – silent. Not even an insect chirped…
“I will definitely murder that insipid troll,” I thought with renewed fervor. But before I could resume my speed-walking, I heard a low, unnerving chuckle that seemed to drift from out of nowhere to engulf the air around me, and make the small hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention.
Without a second to think, what, where, or how, I pulled off my cumbersome ankle boots and began sprinting along the road, praying a vision of the flashing bar lights would finally emerge, or at least a car, “Where the fuck are all the cars?!” I thought frantically, trying not to focus on my flailing heart and rasped breaths. I truly wished then that I hadn’t been so dismissive about the need to exercise. Though in my defense, I don’t think people are apt to imagine situations like this as a reason to gain endurance.
Maybe my willpower to survive will be enough, I mustered the half-hearted hope – right before the blinding pain of my bare feet repeatedly hitting the graveled sidewalk and the continuous burning in my chest forced my betraying body to a stop.
As soon as I did, a listless whistle streamed from the woods and seamlessly blended with the autumnal breeze before once again surrounding me. The sound was immediately followed by two men who seemed to have materialised from the shadowy darkness.
(Taken from one of my short stories)
As the blood seeped through my fingers i thought of the truth. Wherever one may go, and whatever they might try, the demise of happiness and all the pretty things is inevitable.
I fell to my knees, struggling for air and felt a pinch in my lungs each time i stole a breath. We were so close, inside and out, that’s how we knew each other. We were each other’s lives – or, at least, that’s what i thought.
It finally came out – was it a whisper or a choked cough from someone else? I no longer recognized my voice.
She simply looked at me and smiled. That smile that I knew for so long – so many years… but there was something different. There was something of an evil twist to it now, it wasn’t at all the sweet taunting smile that i was used to.
She stepped closer to me and knelt so her face was inches from mine – and still holding the gun, she whispered, “i love you still,” and licked the blood that trickled down the corner of my dried lips.
Questioningly my eyes searched her face, looking for answers that i knew weren’t going to be there. She was always so good at hiding her feelings.
Sighing, she sat back on her heels and started fondling with the gun.
Who was this person? This was not my best friend, the person i knew since childhood.
She had apparently known where to shoot – not to kill me quickly – but to inflict long seeping pain. It was excruciating, i couldn’t hold back the tears as the pain seemed to have suddenly become blinding.
So much blood, I was losing too much blood.
Taking a shallow breath, i swallowed and tried to hold back the panic – I would not go to death weeping.
“I love you still,” she repeated – this time with more persistence in her voice. Her eyes were cold now, staring into me. And i wondered absently how eyes like that could know love.
“I never wanted it to come to this, but certain things just can’t be helped, sweetling.” She ran a finger down my cheek as she said this, and i flinched without thought.
Sighing, she crooned, “You’ll always be a part of me, sweetling.”
Before i could retort at her sentiments and childhood nickname – i felt it. It was slow. Seemingly travelling from my very core. It was death. He was here. Creeping through my body… whispering to me… and breathing down my neck as he hovered overhead… waiting.
My time has come and i will not fight it.
“Know this before you go,” she said to me. “All you had to do was open up and embrace what was real. I was always there. How could you not have seen how much i love you? How much i truly love you? He is no good. No good for you.” She shook her head slowly, staring off – straight through me.
“No one can have you. You are mine now, forever and always.”
She came closer then, and i did not move. I could not move. I felt faint, and the pain was now unbearable. I wanted to go and yearned for it to just end. Then, her lips touched mine… so soft. They lingered and teased, bruising seductively. And i, underneath the pain and ever so subtly felt a tinge of deep pleasure being awoken. If i wasn’t so ‘in-tuned’ i wouldn’t have noticed it.
But before the eyes of this newfound yearning could flutter awake, she slowly pulled away. Her lips leaving mine – uncovered and empty. My soul went with her, i knew. She had taken my last breath. And with the words “I love you still” echoing in my head…. I embraced the grave.