It was the late 1970s and I sat so young and gullible while a moderator caught a glimpse of my sorrow mirrored in the reflection of his warm brown eyes as I listened intently to words of mass emotional destruction. I wanted to sort out grief and identity issues, and so I enlisted in a weekend of minimal bathroom breaks, minimal sleep, and meditative moments where I traversed the galaxies into my own creative process. Sitting here now in an unexpected viral lockdown praying my ailing mother survives along with myself and family—the idea of talking to a grape inside a locked room with a full bladder and a Snicker’s bar melting in my back pocket would be a welcome. This is where I began to understand that I could no longer wait to be happy; I was happy in my own self-imposed isolation. Oddly enough, in 2020 such isolation is very much in style. The loners, micro-phobic, artists, musicians were now the carriers of hope and strength. I was for once at peace because I could truly be alone without looking suspect.
This internal sojourn has been at the expense of partners as I retreated always into a solitary place for days that resulted in poems, prose, writings that lingered in the dark places where people normally never go. And then I was happy to learn that this train of creative thinking is now praised and welcomed. Yet, this was and is me always. My place in the annals of writing should be in dark poetic moments of self-searching mixed with the same amount of self-loathing. It did not help the fact that now I could die in an abandoned hallway completely alone and stacked like a battered sawed-off log in a heap of forgotten souls. Therefore, the words matter more now than ever before. Therefore, knowing I am happy in this infinitesimal moment matters right now.
Was I happy when the Snickers bar melted in my pocket and I had nothing to eat? Just as I am happy now that my groceries were delivered with meat, milk and the cherished toilet paper included? The answer is and has always been yes. We are our own happiness in the moment. The carousel of partners who danced and drifted out of my life were not my source of happiness. The demanding toy poodle who would bite at me after years of devotion while shared my happiness is not my source of strength. The source is a well-spring of images that I alone conjure in my darkest moments of despair and stay alive each day, regardless, of the true threat of complete isolation and a solitary death. My life matters as does yours as does the worker who brings my food. The concept of Interbeing and inter-destruction is a living breathing cell of either life or death.
In this regard, I chose and am happy now as I rise just one more day. Just one more day and I remain happy.