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Fear of Happiness

I like where I am in right now. It is foreign territory to me not because it is some place new, but because I am here at a rather unusual time, in the sense that I don't frequently get here by the end of the year. It is quite early for this. These months were marked by the blues in the past, by self-doubt and separation, by that stubborn insistence to be happy and ultimately the failure to fool myself that I am: One can only do so much.

It would be unlike me to say that "things are falling into place," and perhaps things have not really settled as some parts of me are still rolling, mostly gently, as if the resting places are in sight, and a few are still rushing down, which may not necessarily be a bad thing because the faster something falls, the faster it hits the bottom and stops. Well, that's a lot of words for something I don't like to say.

The point: maybe I am at peace--or dare I say it?--or perhaps I am happy.

Maybe, too, that is why I wrote significantly less this year. Aside from what I have been working on, aside from essays which I keep to myself, the number of "entries" here in the clearing are significantly less than in previous years. And it is not only because I had a lot more work this year, but I think the less I write means the better I am. For what can you ever say when you are happy?

Sadness, to be sure, can write a hundred treatises in no time because it cannot do anything but speak, think, and cry: it is immobile, lethargic, alone, and thus very reflexive. My copy of Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy, a book I got when I wanted to understand my state then, runs to around 500 pages. On its cover, aptly placed I think, is a Vanitas painting, something you also see here in a previous pathmark below, where you find a skull to the left and an hourglass to the right. Vanitas paintings come from the old Memento Mori (remember death) tradition. Existence, or life, no matter how one always forgets with all its victories and attachments, is marked by fleeting time which only marches toward and ends in death. "All paths to glory lead but the grave," as Thomas Gray wrote.

And this is what the depressive inverts and fixes his eyes on: How about rushing and running toward that final point and find consolation in knowing that death ends everything absolutely?--this sorrow, this pain, this crushing weight of being. Acute melancholy does not know what hope means; and if it ever learns to hope, it comes in its inverted form--a longing not for salvation but for death.

I digressed. I wanted to talk about happiness.


  1. Hi there again. Been a while since my last comment. Good to know that I'm not alone in my journey. That someone finally managed to write about this strange feeling of melancholia even when things are going and doing right. Maybe you are just a true-blue melancholic. You're born with the temperament, so nothing much that you can do. But then again, there's a matter of choice on dwelling on it or not. Maybe you're also writing as a form of cathartic therapy. I am just assuming though. Maybe I'm just speaking for myself...

    Which part of the world are you in now (if you don't mind your readers knowing and if you don't mind me asking)? Thanks.

    - Yvaughn

  2. Dear Yvaughn,

    I apologize for this late response.

    I am afraid to admit that I am melancholic, much more so a "true-blue" one, because I might in fact be, by general standards, and more so because I may not be so, as in reality I am also a happy fellow who kids around, watches "The Office," and spends most nights with family and friends in laughter and cheer (though there will be those days and nights I necessarily have to be alone). Of course, you do not see that here; and it's because I do not need to show it, and because this is "a thinking place." He who thinks shall always write in tears.

    I've thought about that before, if what I write is cathartic. That is possible, especially when I began this. But that is no longer the reason for a long time already. Pardon me, but I frown on cathartic writing in itself; but if such writing leads you to something other than yourself, then I can say that that is very good. If I can say so, I now write here understand only to understand better what I experience or know and learn. In my view, there is no better way to understand something than to write about it.

    I am (still) home.

    Thank you, dear Yvaughn. I wish you a happy Christmas. You're correct: even happiness is a decision.


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