If you know me or if you’ve read me for any length of time, you’re probably aware of the fact that I’m a huge fan of Maroon 5’s frontman, Adam Levine.
Five o’clock shadow, dark hair and tattoos aside, what makes me a fan of Adam’s work is the raw honesty with which he writes his lyrics. So it should be no surprise that a few lines from “Payphone” grabbed my attention:
“If happy ever after did exist/I would still be holding you like this/All these fairytales are full of shit/One more fuckin’ love song I’ll be sick….”
Well said Adam. If you were here, I’d give you a smack on the ass for nailing that sentiment head on.
The fact is, I’m not a “girly-girl”. In fact, one of my favorite people in the world paid me what I consider to be one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received about my personality: “I keep forgetting you’re not a normal woman. You’re a really good dude.” Dudeness aside, the fact is, I’m about as non-girly as you can get. I’ll put on makeup before I go out, but really, who wouldn’t put on makeup when they spend 90% of their down time hanging out in the local gay neighborhood? Think about it: Every man down there is much prettier than I. I’ll wear skirts or heels, but generally, that’s after someone has dared me to do it to see if I actually own either of those items. And while I can be very anal-retentive in regards to my work as an author, on the rare occasions I actually take selfish down time for myself? I’ll all whatever about what I’m doing. If the friend I’m hanging out with wants to go bar hopping? Works for me. If a suggestion is made to go grab dinner and then walk around downtown Dallas? Sounds like a good idea. Want to sit in your backyard on a lawn chair with a cooler of orange juice, ice, and vodka? Need me to grab ice on my way over? Want to just park our asses on a couch and bullshit, or even just sit there quietly? On my way. My point in all that? I’m easily amused, and I’m easily pleased. It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy.
But therein lies the theme of this blog: happiness. Personally, I believe everyone goes through times of happiness and times of not-so-much-happiness. And if you say that you’re happy all the time, I’m going to say what I say to people who claim they never masturbate: Bullshit. You either do it, or you lie about it. On a recent TweepNation podcast, my co-host, Dionne Lister, brought up the point that we’ve almost been paid a disservice by our parents with their touting out all we needed to be happy was to meet someone, fall in love, pop out a few kids, and live life by a certain blueprint. “Do A, B, then C, and make sure to do D, and you’re guaranteed happiness.” Again, I’m calling bullshit.
You see, what our parents forgot to mention in the whole fairytale-based idea that you’ll simply meet someone and fall in love and the world will be forever happy and birds will be singing while flowers are blooming is that the true reality is that life can bitch-slap you, and when she does it? She does it hard. Hollywood propagates this illusion by cranking out nothing but cookie-cutter styled movies where guy meets girl, they fall in love, they get married, and everyone is happy and smiling. They don’t show twenty-years down the road. They don’t show ten-years down the road. Hell, they don’t even give you a quicky with five-years down the road. They don’t show the girl nagging the guy to take out the trash while the guy ignores the repeated request while playing video games. They don’t show the actuality of the newborn phase where no one has slept for three days and everyone is snapping one another’s heads off. They don’t show the twenty pounds that refuse to drop, and the sexual disinterest that comes with those additional twenty pounds. They don’t show the reality of waxing and waning passions, of financial difficulties, or the struggle one partner in a marriage can go through by constantly having to be the caretaker of the marriage. They don’t show the the devastation of life after finding out your significant other has been less than faithful on several occasions.
They don’t show any of the reality of life, because no one wants to see the reality of life. No one wants to tell the truth, and let’s face it, how many people really want to hear the truth. I live in the south, and a common occurrence down here is someone saying, “Hi, how are ya’?” The acceptable response is, “I’m fine.” or “I’m okay.” If you answer the question honestly? You’re getting a look from the question asker.
We are so mired in the ideas that were given to us as children to what equals happiness that we never stopped to think and ask ourselves “Hey, what is really going to make me happy?” Rather than examine the truthful answer to that question and figure out what it is we want in our own lives, the lives we are stuck in until our final moment on this earth, we simply took it on faith that if we did A, B, and C, followed by D, we’d find happiness. By accepting on faith that it was an automatic we’d be happy, we’ve not only been lied to, but we’ve lied to ourselves by living someone else’s ideal. We’ve belittled ourselves into not asking the hard questions and doing the hard work in discovering who we are, just as ourselves. And the disappointment of finding out it was all bullshit? That just furthers the sadness of finding out we’ve been duped.
The cold, hard truth is this: fairytales only exist in movies and in books. Does happiness exist? Absolutely. But how true is that happiness if its the happiness we’ve been told to see as happiness, as opposed to the happiness we find for ourselves?