Monday, April 23, 2007

The pursuit of happiness

Not long ago I watched The Pursuit of Happiness which for a Will Smith film was very good. Erase that.... It was a good film period and he acted incredibly well. At the end of the movie Will's character, ingratiated to his wits' end, is overwhelmed with happiness, can barely restrain himself from breaking down in the midst of a crowded street, because he has finally landed a secure job and his able to take care of his son, after going through the hell of slipping down the American capitalist structure without a safety net, all the way down to the bottom, as can happen.

Today I remembered this when my friend M., who has also been going through the rough times of an unknown, insecure future, came to my room, flushed, almost teary eyed, and said that she had been offered a job in one of the most beautiful cities on earth, which happens to be in her native country. But M. didn't allow herself to become overwhelmed with relief and happiness - for what is happiness but relief and deactivation of worry, as any heroin addict can attest. She said that she needs to think things through, needs to take time to think if this is what she really wants. Which is fair enough, something better might come along (although I can't imagine what that could be). But I could still see the happiness ebbing there under the surface, frightening in its immensity.

And this is what I have been feeling, a deep overwhelming happiness that threatens to spill over, and which I am cautious, no, even frightened, of giving into, for fear of the Uknown and of Hybris or a misstep that would send it all crushing, as if it was one of these terrible dreams in which all problems are solved, loved ones come back from the dead. The last time I felt so overwhelmed with the threat of manic happiness, the kind that makes you want to skip down the street and shed tears, was when I got my job. It was relief back then, because I didn't want to go home, I had a terrible dread of going back and starting over, even though I had been through an inferno of loneliness and despair after I started this job, and that was not even following my diagnosis, which only happened 4 months into it. In these for months I had managed to meet Z., fall in love in a somewhat desperate fashion with a very unsuitable person, something which nevertheless I can't deny, plan to move in with him and become diagnosed with an advanced, perilious stage of the most stigmatizing, humiliating disease there is.

And now it is 3 days since P. moved in, although he still hasn't officially quit his place but his bed, TV and DVD are here and this is our new and temporary house. And we both have to get through one presentation in a couple of days, and then it's Venice, and I am so fucking happy it scares the living daylights out of me. I am so terrified something could go wrong, and I wish I could enjoy the moment, but the moment is too big for me to enjoy. Instead of giving in to the warm waves of relief and happiness, I focus on grieveinces: a possible development of neuropathy, an obssession with my disease, an obssession with what people think about my disease, and obssession with all the projudice and igonorance and hate there is. It's as though the negativity is a protective barrier from something so terrifying that I daren't name or think of, parhaps being left alone, perhaps natural or manmade disaster. In tragedies the audience always sees it coming and the hero never does, and what if my life is a tragedy. And what if... and what if it isn't?

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