This is a guest post by Charlie Zuker.
Happiness is a violent emotion in me. It’s a stewing feeling, ready to burst at any moment. But it can’t. Humans are social creatures. We long to share our emotions with others. But happiness is a violent emotion in me, so I can’t share it. I lock it in a jar and put it inside me, but it slips out into a sudden jog as I begin to run down the street on a walk I took that morning. I stop. I make sure nobody noticed. I continue walking slowly, but my fist is clenched and my eyes can’t see anymore.
Happiness is a violent emotion in me. It’s a longing feeling, lonely and neglected. I’ve tried to give it some friends. You could call them imaginary. They’re the company that my mind keeps. Real people are disappointing. Fantasies of having friends who I could share happiness fills my mind. It doesn’t satisfy, but it can be replayed over and over again. The repetition is calming. My imaginary friends always react the same each time. Overjoyed.
I have two families: my real family and the family inside my mind. They both feed me, one for my stomach and one for my happiness. Happiness is a violent emotion in me. It will eat my real family if I don’t feed it my imaginary one. My imaginary family shares my happiness. My imaginary family doesn’t get bored. My imaginary family takes interest in what I’m doing. And my imaginary family can forget so we can relive this joy all over again.
Yes, happiness is safer inside my mind. If I let it out, I will lose it forever. But it isn’t satisfied with what I feed it. It wants to leave. It wants to see the real world. Still, I keep it safe within me. The real world is cruel. The real world will tear it apart. It’s safer inside my fantasies.
Do I keep happiness locked away because it is violent? Or is happiness violent because I keep it locked away? It doesn’t matter anymore. Because I won’t let it go.