This week sucks. My column is a day late because I’ve been up till 4 A.M. every night working on Things That Pay Bills. There is no end in sight. From this vantage point, the work will stretch forever and the bills will never end and life will continue to slowly swirl around the barely cracked drain of death until all of the spit and toothpaste and soap and grime are washed down into an endless black abyss. If I go to hell, there will likely be even more work and bills that pop up for things I didn’t even know you had to pay for – because this is hell and you have to pay for everything, because you didn’t pay for your sins in life.
Was that incredibly melodramatic? Yes. Was that paragraph coherent? I don’t know. There’s almost nothing more frustrating, emasculating, and guilt inducing than feelings of good ol’ first world victimhood. When you know that everything is fine and you’re not in any physical danger or pain but you’re bummed on fatigue and myriad small problems and life just truly feels like a drag. The guilt comes because you know that in the grand scheme of things you’re like one of the 1% luckiest people in the world, what with your relatively cushy New York City life and the fact that you’ve never been tortured or forcefully separated from your family or felt true, desperate hunger or anything like that.
But then again, that all seems kind of old fashioned in an “eat your dinner, son, there are starving kids in Africa” kind of way. If you feel bad, you feel bad, right? You shouldn’t have to apologize for the fact that you literally – physically and emotionally – feel bad. You shouldn’t be expected to just will your way into contentedness through sheer self-awareness, right? Or should you? It’s hard to tell when you’re in the depths of these feckless emotions but also very conscious that your desk chair is draped with the perfect amount of outerwear and you aren’t going to be too cold on your way home even though it’s a chilly night.
As in, you still know that everything is pretty okay and you’re definitely going to be happy again.
Pretty much everything I’ve said so far, as is the case with pretty much every aspect of the first world existence, can be summed up neatly with a Smiths song. In this case “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” does the trick. Morrissey sings with the desperation of a man who knows exactly how indulgent he is in his misery.
“I was looking for a job and then I found a job / and heaven knows I’m miserable now.”
I can’t really justify being this unhappy given what brought me here, but to deny it would be pointless.
And I think that’s where I net out philosophically on this issue. And why it’s ok that I’ve spent this entire column coming to terms with the fact that I’m kind of bummed right now. Because above everything else, it’s most important to be honest – particularly with yourself. In the relatively cushy first world existence, the only profound unhappiness is when you can’t come to terms with your own emotions. That’s why Morrissey has spent a career smirking at people while he tells them how fucked up everything is. You’re allowed to be unhappy if you have the right perspective on what that unhappiness means. It’s time to put on my well-chosen outerwear and skulk home.
Featured image courtesy of lottieisthequarry Photobucket