I feel his arms around my shoulders as my body is covering his, laying down for a moment of laziness, in a perfect fit. He starts to cradle slowly, shifting our combined weight from one side to the other, like a slow dance in which the couch is our dance floor.
„I want to feel happy now.” I tell myself, trying so hard to enjoy this perfect sequence of seconds, instead of just waiting for the moment he will let go and get up for whatever reason.
It feels good. Comfortable. But it doesn’t feel like I am there at all.
We let our thoughts distract us, control us and tell us how we should feel at any given moment. Powerless, we drift away from what is happening and start thinking about what we want to happen next. Almost every time we get close to feeling happy, we feel the need for something else, for something more.
While people offer us affection, we need safety – a confirmation that it is real. As if another person’s affection is something you can own, like a personal achievement that remains yours to keep for as long as you need it.
When we get the sleepovers, we want the weekend away. If we finally get that weekend away, we want to spend an entire holiday together. When we have the holiday, we need to meet the parents. When that finally happens, we start waiting for the day we will move in together. We keep burning our days in the midst of other people’s expectations of how our lives should be. We keep waiting for the next confirmation that will let everyone know we are happy. We can’t seem to realize that by doing this not only do we miss out on life, but that we waste it away, stuck in our own Neverland.
We spend our days in search of confirmations because the security, the feeling of safety that comes from any validation, is at the core of human needs. You can get high just by feeling safe. Safe from rejection, safe from solitude, safe from yourself. Fuck affection, give us safety.
We get married to have a confirmation that we are loved, and somehow, having a piece of paper to prove that also makes us believe that it will last. We seem to be happy only when looking back, because only by reliving memories with a happy end can we be certain that it is safe to feel happy about what happened. Only then we finally get what we need: the validation for happiness. The problem is that marriage does not give you that. No one can give you that. All you end up getting is the frustration of missing out. And happiness, unlike safety, is made out of those missed out moments.
They say being present takes a lot of practice. I think it takes a lot of courage. The courage to stop waiting for confirmations in order to be happy. To accept that happiness is not a destination and neither is it a certainty. That it is not something you should expect from others. That the uncertainty it brings along – that anything you worked for, received from others or just got lucky to live can be taken from you the next second – is all the certainty you will ever get. You will not lose someone’s affection because you say it out loud, or because of other people’s bad karma, no matter how convinced and frightened you are of that. You will lose it because you stopped working on it. Because you ignored what was happening and focused on what you wanted to happen next. Because you felt you needed more. Because at some point you decided that you are entitled to what you already have. Because you traded a lot of real happiness for something that was only suppose to happen in your head. Because you needed warranties. Because you settled for other people’s standards, and forgot about your own.
I got up first, like in an attempt to control what was about to happen next. We ended the evening watching a movie and having sex. We fell asleep tangled up in each other. Just like it was supposed to happen. Uncontrollably, I kept thinking: tomorrow I will be happy looking back.