I was just driving home thinking of my feeling of nearly pure happiness looking around on campus this afternoon in the sun... and the feeling that though I have a lot of work to do, I can do it and will do it.
When I was little I seriously thought that happiness was a dumb idea. And that only really stupid people were happy, because they were too blind and stupid and sheeplike to see that happiness was an impossible myth, probably invented especially to jack people around, trick them, fool them, mindfuck them, dazzle them and then WHAM, fuck them up 50 times more than they would be otherwise. Since obviously we were all going to die. And I probably wouldn't' even get to grow up anyway because of nuclear bombs.
I had this sort of paranoia that would paralyze me. If I were still like this today, life would suck. Because I was often in a state of absolute panic. For example sitting the back seat of my parents' station wagon chewing on the ends of my pigtails and eating a lollipop from the drive-in bank I would be thinking in a sort of quiet repetitive mental scream, "If I sit on THIS side of the car what if there is an accident and i am all mutilated or killed so maybe i should sit on the OTHER side but what if THAT is the side that will be smashed up in the accident and OH MY GOD THERE IS NO CONTROL AND I COULD JUST DIE AT ANY MINUTE and it doesn't matter what in hell I ever choose to do and what if I sat on the RIGHT side to not die but because I did, little MINNIE DIED and I would feel forever guilty and it would be my fault."
"Or what if, if a butterfly could stamp its foot in china and make a hurricane in the atlantic, and you can't ever know what is going to happen, what if my just moving my hand right now to scratch my nose made something bad happen at some later time or I decide to do something and that means a million people die in some new Holocaust?"
I would also lie in bed at night and, during the moments when there weren't potentially nuclear-bomb-dropping-planes flying overhead, I was still paranoid about meteors, aliens, or just some unspecified Badness happening. I would make up things on purpose to have an illusion of control. "I know this isn't true, but maybe it will work. If I go under the covers and don't look and count to 1000 really fast, Nothing Bad Will Happen." Repeat as necessary. (Often.)
I don't know how it is that I didn't become totally obsessive-compulsive. It was very helpful to read all the time so as to shut up my screaming, panicked, angsty brain.
The key there seeming to be recognizing mortality, and recognizing that control over my fate was somewhat illusory. As I was driving just now I thought, "Yeah, I could still die in the next few minutes same as always. Aliens could land, meteors couldl strike, or I might crash the car because I'm absentmindedly thinking about my neurotic life as a little girl. But unlike when I was little, that uncertainty does not undermine my happiness. Why is that?"
My last couple of months of high school and freshman year in college i had this odd realization that I surrounded myself with unhappy things. I think maybe some boyfriend (Richard?) mentioned to me that I only listened to depressing music. So I started trying to seek out happy sort of music and think "maybe with an effort of will and without being a complete lobotomized moron, it would be possible to figure out what happiness is." All that acid and ecstasy was helpful too -- either by giving me glimpses of happiness or beauty or by killing off enough brain cells to make me stupid enough to be happy, I'm never quite sure.
The question also makes me think of the buddhist parable of the person hanging off the cliff on the vine reaching for the strawberry, "How sweet it tasted!"
"SCUM is too impatient to hope and wait for the debrainwashing of millions of assholes. SCUM wants to grab some thrilling living for itself."