“Shut down the gospel singers and
Turn up the old heartbreakers
I’m dying to tell you that I’m dying here.
Throw up the sickly joy and I’ll
Swallow the sweet self-loathing
I’m just dying to be unhappy again”
– Frightened Rabbit, Nitrous Gas
There was a time when I would have forsaken my own happiness for the sake of some misguided sense of self. Life had dealt me a shitty hand, and goddamnit the world was going to know. I took pride in holding that grudge, and a perverse satisfaction in spitefully clinging to the sadness. The world wanted me to be a tragedy? Fine. I could play that part, and I could play it well.
Somewhere alone the way I decided that if the world was going to knock me down I wouldn’t get back up. Even as it offered me hand after hand of opportunity and possibility, I stayed down. I refused to accept its apology. So I held on tight to the darkness it had thrown me into, refusing to look at the light. I wanted people to know that there aren’t always happy endings, that sometimes life just sucks. I wanted to teach people the lesson I had learnt all too early, and I would do it even if it was the last thing I did. Even if it meant sacrificing my own life, my own shot at happiness.
I took satisfaction in being the tragedy, in being the cautionary tale. In the sadness I knew who I was.
But I don’t want to be that person anymore. Sure, the lesson still stands, but the world doesn’t need my help to make it any shittier- it does a fantastic job of that on its own. If life is going to drag me through the mud then it’ll do it regardless of my own efforts, and I’d rather spend the time between sadness feeling happy. I’ll take as much as I can get, because before long it’ll be gone again.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m still scared. I’m scared of trying and I’m scared of failing. I’m scared of the not-knowing, of the uncertainty that comes with foreign territory. I’m scared of putting myself out there and getting hurt, because it’s easier to live with the hurt you know than it is to risk the one you don’t. I’m terrified of that.
But I’m also thrilled by it.