13 October 2017

The Difference Between Happiness and Contentment

by Andrew

Happiness is a weaker emotion, I've decided. I'm happy all the time, I'd say. Even when I'm miserable. But it's not happiness really, I'd call it.

"I have that accelebrated rhythm which goes with genius. I make no bones about it—it's a fact. I am gay inside all the time, even when I am depressed." Henry Miller said. Now, I'm not so sure that being happy inside all the time equals genius. It sounds nice. But there is something to this regardless. How are you so happy, even if you're miserable? It makes no sense.

Well, it's because I am content. Everywhere, I am content. Homeless for months with barely money for food, my guts rumbled constantly. It was miserable. But my spirit couldn't be broken. Because I was content. I am fulfilled.

And this contentment comes from art. It comes from creation. Creation is like a drug,—like heroin or Xanax or something, Vicodin—a sedative. It's like a child, creation. It gives purpose to life. For Henry, I assume it was the same. He was an artist. He could create anywhere, under almost any circumstances. And that is enough.

My father, drunk with tears in his eyes, wails that all he wants for me is to be happy. I don't seem happy, he says. And I must hold my laughter. Because it's not about happiness. That's so cliché. It's been pumped into our heads, be happy, be happy.

And we are miserable because of it. Think about it. What sane person can be happy, walking round smiling ear to ear all day? But we're expected. Society says, be happy, damnit, be happy. If you're not happy, you're doing it wrong. Probably to pedal their happy pills to us, they say. But that's not how it works. Some days it rains. And that's completely okay.

And on those days it rains, we are maybe a bit glum. Maybe our lives are all crumbling round us. It's not a very nice experience, this. Certainly you're not happy. But you can be content still, I'm telling you, comfortable yet. I know because I am. Let it all fall apart. What's it matter to me? I can grab a pen and some paper, and I can create something, or anything. Even if I am depressed, down in the dumps, it's okay, all of it. I am content. I'm good, despite the rain. I have that accelebrated rhythm afterall. I can create from nothing. Who needs happiness? It's creation that fulfills me, makes me content, makes me happy.

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