Building on my first part of the guide to happiness I want to expand on a topic. I mentioned in a disclaimer on that post that I am an extremely selfish person. This is one of the key components to being happy, or a happy psychopath (to put it more accurately).
Long long ago, in a land far far away (also known as Nebraska) I was a timid little man. I was constantly concerned with others’ wishes, and trying to please everyone. I would participate in activities to please those around me, allow people to make fun of me so I could be a “good sport”, and I would always defer to other people’s desires. I dressed the way I was told to dress, acted the way I was told to act, and never stopped to contemplate my own desires. That, like every other aspect of my life, changed when I met the girl who eventually became my wife. I knew shortly after our first real date that I wanted to be with her forever. It was as plain as if someone had told me the weather forecast for the day. No question, just fact. I wanted to be with her. Some people in my life disagreed with this though. They told me that I was too young to settle on one girl, or that she was changing me. Of course she was changing me!!! If you’re not evolving as part of your relationship then your relationship is fucking worthless! That’s the point of life. To evolve, to grow. When you’re in a meaningful relationship the point of life is to evolve and grow together. I now realize that the reason everyone was pissed about me “changing” is because they didn’t want to lose their little doormat.
So what happened? Why didn’t I cave on this like I did every other time? Why didn’t I fulfill everyone else’s wishes? Think about it like this…If someone told you that 2+2=5 you would tell them they were wrong. If they argued with you about it, you would still tell them they were wrong. If they were so delusional that they just kept arguing with you, eventually you would just patronize them, smile and walk away, right? Well I smiled and walked away. That girl and I were meant to be together. Whatever force started my heart beating 27 years ago, and put this psychotic brain in my skull built that girl strictly for me. It’s not opinion, or a theory. It’s fact. 2+2=4, she and I are meant to be together, and the sky is blue.
From that one decision to pursue my own wishes spawned an entity I now so lovingly refer to as Fathomless Regression (aka The Psycopath). He was my avenue to find out what I really wanted. I was so used to keeping it all in, and just deferring to other’s wishes that I needed a mechanism to tap into that well. He was the mechanism that I created. I would free write for hours under the persona of FR and out would come all of the thoughts that I had been holding back. It was through this discovery process that I found out who I actually am. Not just the mixed reflection of everything and everyone I’ve ever known. Not just a biological cocktail of my mother and father’s weaknesses. Not just the sum of the equation. As I discovered who I was, what I wanted, and more importantly what I didn’t want, I began cutting out the unwanted parts of my life like a cancer. School, most of my “friends”, most of my “family”, my band, the way I dressed, the way I acted, almost everything.
I acted entirely in my own interests. I hurt more people than I ever dreamed I could. I created rifts and feuds between people in the fallout of all of this. I unintentionally lost people that I wanted to keep. And as all of this was happening I couldn’t have possibly cared less. While my mother was sobbing and lamenting the loss of her “son”, I was lying naked on a floor with the girl, who was finally my wife. While my stepfather begged to come visit, I was watching my daughter be born. While every relative and friend we had was trying to get into our hospital room, my real family, my chosen family was enjoying its first moments together. Just the three of us, in that hospital room, with me finally feeling like I had found my place.
When there were people across multiple states dying to come out and visit, my wife and I were having our son. For one month following, all anyone could do was ask to come see him, and we refused. We were strengthening the new bond between our newest family member and the three of us. We were solidifying the completion of our real family. Maybe I’ve gone too far to the other side. I find it difficult to care about anyone outside of this house. I see disaster on the news, I hear of personal struggles in coworkers lives, or I hear about deaths of former relatives and friends and it doesn’t seem to phase me. I know that it should, and while it all certainly invokes thought, I don’t seem to feel compassion on the level that some do. But there are exceptions. Holes in the wall of my city.
When my brother was going through a very tough point in his life, I did feel for him. I would talk to him on the phone and want nothing more than to be at his side. He is the only blood relative that I truly acknowledge as family. He’s the only person outside of my own house that I would trust without hesitation. If everything collapsed around me tomorrow, he’s the only person that I would dream of standing with. I’ve never been there for him like he’s been there for me, and I wanted to be. I wanted to drive 14 hours and do something to help him. But I didn’t. Our relationship is unfortunately a casualty in my own selfish quest for happiness. That story will wait for another day.
When a coworker lost his wife a couple of years ago, that also hit me. I didn’t know him all that well, and had only seen her in passing but for some reason her death had a hold on my that I couldn’t believe. I found myself reading the entire archive of her blog. I wrote a song for her, the first song I’d ever written for anyone outside of my family. I had nothing to say to him after her passing, I have no words of wisdom, and nothing to help comfort him. I think what bothered me most was that they seemed genuinely happy. Their little family of 3 reminded me of our little family of 3 (at the time). It also reminded me that any moment my perfect little dream could be stripped away from me. I can still remember being almost paralyzed with that fear one night. I considered the possibility of life without my wife and I lost it. Crying would have been a welcome relief to what I experienced while considering a life without her. He has to live it. I have no idea how he feels and I so selfishly hope that I never have to feel it. I have no idea why people die young. I don’t understand it, and probably never will. But I’ve noticed logic in the people who seem to be taken from us. They’re surrounded by strong people who can bear it, or at least it always seems that way. People who somehow find a way to go on, and keep living.
I’m not that person. I will not go on. I will not keep living. I wouldn’t even know how to begin trying to do that. I am weak. I am selfish. I fight hard against a force that is beyond my control. I control everything else that isn’t beyond me. That is why I’m overly cautious, suspicious, and always on edge. I wonder why someone like me, who doesn’t give a shit about anyone, who doesn’t give a shit about making the world a better place, and who probably has made it a worse place actually, was given such an amazing gift. It would only seem logical that his gift would be taken from me. I feel like I’m living in a slum and have just pulled up in a Mercedes. Of course someone will try to steal it.
If you want something, just go out and get it. If the people around you aren’t doing things you want them to do, or acting in a way that you find agreeable, then change it. Erase them or ask them to change. Life is too short to waste it on people that you have a mild affinity for. If someone asks you how many friends you have and you list more than 5 people, you’ve got some weeding to do. Could you have 5 spouses and still have a truly meaningful relationship with each? No. The same goes for friends. Why fuck around with chums and buddies. Get some real friends and get in tight with them. If you’re not, then drop them. It’s a waste.
If you’re maintaing relationships with more than 10 blood relatives then you’re probably wasting time and energy. Instead focus on choosing, or creating your own family. You should be the start of your own family tree. Forget history. Being bound by last name does not equate any real connection.
In short, ignore what you were told as a child. It’s good to be selfish. Selfish is how you find out who you really are, and what you really want. While a life of servitude is noble, if it’s done under a guise of “selflessness” then it will not lead to you finding your own happiness. Now go cut some waste out of your lives.