Are You Happy? – 2017

For the vast majority of my life, I’ve suffered from clinical depression. I remember being about eight years old and writing in a journal, and in it I wrote something along the lines of “I’ve been feeling really sad, lately, though I don’t know why. I shouldn’t be sad, because nothing really bad is going on. At least I don’t have that medical sadness.”

I meant clinical depression. Boy, was I in for a ride. I knew as that creeping shadow of sadness moved in, there wasn’t a reason, it just occurred. It didn’t care how my life was going, what was going on, how I was – it just hit me senselessly and beat me until I couldn’t stand up.
Back then, I remember who I was – I was a nerdy little kid, pudgy, and I wore glasses. I had a couple of friends, but I was vastly unpopular. This continued throughout middle school and much into high school with small differences here and there. I thought no one liked me – any friends I had, I thought they talked to me out of pity. I thought I was good at nothing – any thing I enjoyed doing, I thought it was terrible. I thought I was destined for a life of being unhappy. A life of mediocrity. As time went on, I didn’t enjoy being with people. Or with myself. I didn’t do anything. I was me, and that was not something I particularly enjoyed being.

In eighth grade, after some stuff went down, I got diagnosed with my depression and was put on medication. I took it for about two-three years, then once the huge rain cloud dissipated, I stopped because I didn’t want to be a zombie – not sad, but not happy. A slave to my own head. High school was not much better for me – I was in band, which I didn’t fit into and failed to gain many friends. I, once again, found myself with few friends and few things that I enjoyed.
I was left on my own.

But something happened. Partially junior year and into senior year, things changed – I got into theatre, and found that I was good at it. I was getting friends. People enjoyed me and my company. I was, in such a strange twist of events, becoming popular to certain degrees. I was cast as the lead in that year’s musical, and I had a whole group of people who I could truly call friends.
I felt like I was home.

But here’s the kicker – was I happy? Was I happy? I asked myself that. I thought long and hard, and I began to realize that I wasn’t good at this. I got my roles by chance and sheer luck. When people told me I was good, they were lying to make me feel better. No one enjoyed my company. I had interjected myself in and they dealt with it. People didn’t like me – they tolerated me. And it would be better if I just shut up and finished the year and got out, for my sake and everyone else’s.

It came for me again. And was I happy? No. Had I ever been? I wasn’t sure. Maybe it was just a guise. Who knows.

And so here I stand with the thought in my head, lingering – Am I happy? Are you happy? Why? I’ve tried to enter 2017 with the mantra that the universe unfolds the way it should. I’ve tried to sit back and let things happen but that’s hard to do when you so desperately want to control it. I want to reach in and make things happen the way I want, but every time I do that, it just turns out worse. No matter how I change myself to somehow be like everyone else, it seems like I’m getting pulled further away.

Now, am I just delusional?
That’s what I worry about.
But what does a person need to do to truly feel that sense of happiness? Not a fleeting spark of emotion that comes with an experience. Not the happiness that comes from someone’s touch. I mean the happiness that comes with standing alone with yourself and being able to smile without thinking about it.

I’ll be twenty this year. I don’t know where I’m going, and I’m confused as to where I’ve been. I don’t have much faith in myself and I can’t bring myself to put my faith in a god to work it all out for me. So much has happened in the past two years, and my life has completely changed. There’s a lot that’s been good, but there’s a lot of bad there and I struggle not to focus on the shit that’s happened.

Here’s 2017. We’re ten days in. I’m ready and prepared and despite my fears and the thoughts that tell me to pull back, I’m gonna try to move forward. I’m going to continue to write. I’m going to build myself up. I’m going to be something I want to be and I will not be afraid to let that be my face. I will tear down the masks and try to be what I want to be for the first year of my life. Planting flowers so this year can bloom.
Here it is. Here we go.
Good luck.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

– Brandon, 3:46 PM

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