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The month I was happy.

So there's this month.. Well in my head it was a month but it turns out it was barely three weeks. August of 2012, I had money, all the bills were paid, everything was sort of working out OK. We had been looking to move into the city from Queens and after what seemed like months of looking we found a situation that worked. We (I) had spent over 10 grand to make it happen. Up until this point it was my life-long dream to move back to the Upper East Side where I'd lived until I was seven.

Being ripped out of the city and put in the suburbs was hugely traumatic for me and this finally felt like I was making everything right again. I felt whole. I was married, I had income, my health was OK, and I was moving back to where I wanted to be.

I was at the top of the Manslow pyramid.

stolen from some website without permission

Ever since my divorce I've mostly been a bit of a complaining mess, constantly feeling lost or without a narrative. My thoughts every day are stereotypes. "Nobody will ever love me", "My life has no meaning", all that kind of garbage. I reflect back on that a lot, I say to myself "but I had that one month". In all this time I've never looked back at that month to remember what it was like. I've reflected on moments good and bad from the 13 years I spent in a very committed relationship, but I've never really looked at that month under a microscope. Maybe because I know how the story ends, maybe because I can't bear to watch the car crash again, whatever it is. For some reason I felt compelled yesterday to look back at that month.

Partially I wanted to look at the number of likes my Facebook posts got from around that time. As you can see in the example at the top of this article, being very happy got me 4 likes (out of 5,000 Facebook friends).  People were so avoidant of my happiness that my ex wife asking "who are you?" in the comments actually got more likes than the post itself.

Packing up the apartment that I had been robbed in, that was a constant source of misery and that I had worked so hard to escape only got one like.

Discovering the fringe benefits of the new apartment that made me incredibly happy got two likes.

Being happy about being happy got me five likes.

Being excited about life again got me two likes.

I was as complete of a human being as I could possibly be and no one around me, not my wife, not my cats, not my friends, nobody could stand being around me. I had completely upset the balance of everyone's universe and I was super aware of it at the time. So much so that I started finding new people to hang out with who wouldn't have their preconceived notions of who I was ruined by my newfound happiness.

For legal reasons I won't get into what happened from there, but it was clear from my Facebook posts that about three weeks into this exciting new life the whole thing started to unravel. People around me did what they could to put me back in my place because they couldn't deal with me not being miserable.

I've been pretty miserable...

Until I went back and looked at these early posts, and I remembered all of those good feelings for the first time ever since then. I remembered the possibility of everything really working out. Sometimes when I post on social media about feeling depressed there's a certain person who loves to really dig into me and say mean things. That person drinks a lot. Others who I'm quite sure are covering up some very dark shit in their lives often cheer him on, telling me that I'm almost a bad person for feeling a certain way. I ignore them all. I didn't lose my prime teenage years to 24-hour group therapy for nothing. Sometimes I just shake my head and delete my posts, other times I filter my posts so they can't see them. Either way I just sort of think of the fallout I'm going to have to listen to when their lives fall apart and they want me to be sympathetic.

Being happy was very very very quiet. Not the quiet emptiness of being depressed where I have to play sound effects of rain to keep myself from going nuts, it was the quiet of solitude. Where the quiet actually made me happier. I had forgotten that feeling.

I'm somewhat happy to report that since reading all this stuff and remembering how it all felt I actually feel a lot happier in general, but I'm kind of keeping it to myself. There's like 8 people who ever read what I write here and none of you ever comment, so I'm not too worried about it.

Since moving to L.A. I was able to get the first two layers of the pyramid out of the way in about a year, but I'm still struggling with the third "Belongingness and love needs". I'm very vocal about this issue because I hope someone will help me with it (beyond saying canned things like "join a meetup group" or "volunteer somewhere") or maybe I just need to keep reminding myself to work on it.

I guess I sort of feel motivated to get back to that place where everything is going well so I can upset the world around me on purpose this time.


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