when i was nineteen i went into therapy for the first time. i was dating a man who would lock me in his basement/bedroom to keep me from leaving. escaping is one of my go-to defenses, so this was pretty devastating to me. he was one of the most awful people i knew and i knew this before dating him–and still felt attracted to him. so i started therapy.
i was unhappy without knowing i was unhappy. i mean, i considered myself an optimist even though my mom said i was a pessimist and another boyfriend labelled me a nihilist…or was it a fatalist?
anyhoo. i was unhappy without realizing it. or maybe it was that i had hidden my happiness so far away that i had forgotten where it was. i was also afraid. ever since i was a little kid. terrified of the dark. so afraid!
but in therapy, one day, it felt like a miracle, i found my happy. and i was no longer afraid. i didn’t realize i was no longer afraid until later that day…or that week…when a lightbulb needed to be changed in a storage room in the attic of the rooming house i lived in. to whomever was with me, i said, “i can’t go in there. i’m afraid of the dark.” and then, without thinking, i walked right in, fearlessly.
the miracle felt like a glowing in my chest. i could feel it like i can feel myself blinking, breathing, my heart beating. i could feel it in my chest.
i confessed to my miracle-worker of a therapist that i was afraid i would lose it again. that it would go away. i compared my fear to the story flowers for algernon. where someone is given the gift of intelligence, and then has to watch as it slips away again.
she assured me that it was mine to keep.
and it has stayed there. i check on it. sometimes it is small & hard to find. sometimes it is bursting out of me.
lately i have begun to wonder if i can share it? can i spread it around? infect others with my own happiness?
i remember that i have at times infected others with my seething anger. pushing & pushing it out of me until it clings onto someone else and i am free of it….
two days ago, i accidentally pushed too much of my happy out and left myself empty.
yesterday i left my happy unprotected and allowed someone to crush it.
today i am recovering. wondering how to do it right. do i keep trying? do i hide it away again? i don’t want to hide it away anymore.
when i open myself up, i can feel it in my whole chest, glowing. a brilliant flame. it feels amazing.
so how do i share it without depleting it? without losing it to careless strangers?