The Futile Pursuit of True Happiness

I was drafting a mental letter while I was crashing from the previous night’s Venti Americano. It was almost 7:00 am and my mind was still racing left to right. While my mind was typing the letter, it suddenly let its subconscious slip that what I’m doing now (writing fiction and music photography,) while it makes me smile, isn’t making me happy. I mean really really happy. You know that happiness you feel when you’re in that honeymoon phase of a relationship? That kind of happy.

My subconscious made me realize that the last time that I was truly happy was when I was living a past life of myself on stage singing songs that I’d written. And before that, I’ve forgotten when I was last truly happy. I thought that writing fiction and doing music photography again is doing the job. In a way, I guess it is. I do feel good after I’m done with a chapter and when I’m done post processing photos I’ve taken. But it’s not enough. It doesn’t have the same effect as when I’m putting myself out there in front of people.

Before you say anything, no, no, I’m not some self-centered ass who vies for the attention of strangers. It’s quite the opposite, actually. I never fancied being in the spotlight of anything. I abhor the idea of a crowd of onlookers looking at me. I melt when I’m pushed in front of people. I panic when all eyes are on me. I’ve spent all my life comfortably in the background, fading into the darkness.

So why am I all of a sudden happy when I’m in front of strangers singing my songs? I think it’s because for the first time ever, I get to “use” my voice. I’m a stutterer, so speaking isn’t my strong suit. I’d remain quiet in most conversations as it’s easier for me. I’d avoid talking to strangers even though I’d have tons of questions to ask them. Just over the weekend, I went to Saguijo to take photos of the event and one of the artists whose set just ended was leaning on a wall. It was a beautiful sight and would make for an interesting photo. I wanted to ask him if I could take a photo of him. I didn’t.

Anyway, when I’m up on stage, I get to use my voice. I get to “speak.” I get to do the one thing I’ve always had difficulty in doing: to vocally express my feelings.

I was going through a thunderstorm of emotional stress when I was up there singing my songs and playing my guitar. And yet, I still found myself happy. Writing and photography makes me smile, but it’s still making me unhappy. It’s not enough to keep me actually happy.

I walked away from that life as a way of punishing myself for what I had done. Not gonna do into the details cos I’m tired of repeating the story. It’s on my old blog if you wanna check it out. I could go back, but would it still be the same? The same, in the sense that would going back to that life be logical for me at this point in my life? It would be illogical, I believe. It wouldn’t make sense for me to go back. I have to live with the decision I’d made. I’ve already invested too much in my current path. I’ve already sold off all my music gear. I already spent on a camera that I have to pay monthly for.

But in the art itself, I know it’s still there. I know I can still write songs. I’m a writer at heart, it’s inside me already. The ideas and the stories for songs are still there.

It would not make sense for me to go back. I have to stand by my decision, even if it meant being unhappy until my last breath. This is it for me. This is as good as it gets for me. I have to find a way to live with that.

All I can do now is to seize every opportunity to get back up on stage and savor those temporary moments of happiness, like I did on our last Paperback Project event.

Pictured: Me happy
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