Monday, April 1, 2013

Happiness Times 100, Multiplied By Zero

The headline said "Click this and feel 100 times happier."  Sounded great to me - I was already in a great mood.  Who the hell doesn't want to be 100 times happier?  Plus, the link was from a trusted friend who lives in an ashram and regularly posts uplifting quotes.  What could go wrong?

Well, two minutes later, my feelings were hurt.  Two hours later, I was openly pissed off from the video.  And by 7:30pm, I went to bed depressed, hoping to wipe my psychological slate clean.

What was in that video?

"Click this and feel 100 times happier."  The video started with a soothing sunny shot of smiling people holding balloons outdoors.  The voiceover promised me that this video was about True Love.  So far, so good.  Then a young man looks straight into the camera and says, "I know true love exists."

For a suspended second, I expected him to talk about his lover -- male, female, tranny, hermaphrodite, whatever.  Love was in the air à la Supreme Court Style, and I awaited a heart-warming quip.  Adding to the atmosphere was the copious April sunshine.  Ah, I was ready to be 100 times happier!

"I know true love exists.  I've seen in in the eyes of my parents since the day I was born."

This drilled right into the most susceptible part of my heart - a place I thought had healed long ago.

Now I know for a fact that I'm not the only one living on this earth who has never had a comprehensible gesture of love from their parents.  Usually, I pull this off fairly well.  I've learned oodles from therapy and self-help books.  Here are a few gems:

1.  On a "higher plane," my parents love me unconditionally.
2.  Some of us, before we incarnate this time, choose early emotional trauma so that we can delve into a deeper emotional experience at an earlier age.
3.  Lack of parental love or guidance makes me stronger.
4.  I'm who I am because of the experiences of my youth ...

... and on and on and on ....

Now what startled me the most was that I'm still sore about this.  In fact, I thought I was better than this.    Hadn't I outgrown my outrage at having been dealt my tough hand?  I shrieked silently at myself, "You're too old for this.  You're too old for this.  This is unbecoming.  You're too old for this."

Let me jump back here.  About ten years ago, I found myself sitting in a hotel bar past midnight.  Across from me was one of my former professors who was in town for a conference.  Suddenly he was admitting, "I've only had sex with one person."  Hmmm, I realized *this* is happening.  I was in the driver's seat, and I knew it.  Mulling this over in my mind, I purposefully kept the conversation on tender and intimate territory.

But he was an amateur at seduction, and it was not to be.  Feeling a tad too cozy, he spilled, " ... and I know it's because of my dad ... " and proceeded to elaborate on how his father's coldness and distance had hurt his boyhood feelings.

Within five minutes, I was out of the hotel and in a cab.  A man of nearly 50 still blaming his father for his current emotional state?  "Get over it," I thought.  It seemed undignified, unseemly and uncouth.  How could someone almost 50 still be moaning about his father?  "Get help, and get over it," I thought as I crawled into my own bed alone.

But here I am, ten years later, in bed alone (yet again) after a two-minute video bruises my childhood feelings.  Maybe my former professor wasn't as stunted as I'd imagined.  What haunts me the most is the possibility that my assignation of parents -- something I had no control over -- doomed me to isolation then and keeps me in this vice of isolation now.

Romantic partnership advertises itself as a salvation from past isolation.  Romantic partnership also seemingly has the benefit of the lottery -- anyone can step up and buy a ticket.  But maybe that isn't true.  Maybe some of us have been marked from day one -- from the day the doctor said, "It's a girl," and the parents said, "Oh," while the grandparents said, "Maybe next time."  But it wasn't just Day One.  There's also the day when I was 10 and they were disappointed in my IQ ... the day when I was five when they suggested I have plastic surgery ... etc.

Nevertheless, it feels uncouth, unseemly and undignified to still be affected at my age ... to still be mad ... to still even remember these petty details.  In this age of regeneration and mindfulness, don't we all accept that they did the best they could?  Can't I accept that they did the best they could?

Watching videos like the one today, I'm reminded that my green-eyed monster lives.  After all this time and thought and money, I still don't know how to wholly kill it or starve it or love it or annihilate it or incorporate it.  I guess it's time to take myself back to my proverbial psychological drawing board.  Shall I write "I will not be jealous of other people's loving parents" 100 times?  Or I could write "I promise to get over this crap" 100 times.  Or I could just write ... and trust ... and write .... and release ... and write ... and breathe ... and wait ... and keep writing.

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