NOTE: I wrote this last year at the beginning of 2017. I find that for the most part, my resolution has stayed the same, so I thought I’d share it for moving into 2018 and beyond.

Four days into 2017 and I still have the same resolution as I’ve had for the last four years: I’d like to be happier. I’m not talking about the glamglow of a photoshoot with champagne-skinned models, or the freeze frame of running through an open meadow, heart swollen, sunset ready to capture the shadows beneath your shoes, like you’ve just thrown the memory into a skillet to flash fry it.

I think when most people think of happy – they think of acquiring things. Spouse, house, money, pets, success. It isn’t necessarily a bad way to look at it, having things can lessen the impact of misery and if you’ve ever been poor, you understand how crushing it can be to lack.

It’s just, in a sense, I’ve had all those things that I thought I wanted. Unfortunately at the center of me, was a thing like a sifting, dirty, angry-mouthed monster who just wanted to destroy it all.

I mean, I want to be happy in the sense that I can focus the direction of my problems, instead of being led around by them, hook-lipped. Happy in the sense that I don’t wake up and feel the need to run a few miles around a golf warehouse after chugging a flask full of Tito’s vodka to escape the heaviness in chest. Happiness in the sense that I don’t climb into a stormdrain for an hour to cry, and instead spend that time writing, or doing something worthwhile. I want to every day, move toward the person that I want to be. Wake up thinking about writing, like I used to, go to sleep think about writing. Keep writing. Write everyday, like it’s the key inside my stomach. I want to turn myself into that machine that’s constantly finding the solutions to problems, instead of laying face down with the utterance of “I can’t.” Keep learning Spanish. Maybe learn how to cook cordon bleu or make a German chocolate layer cake.

Each moment of existence is obligatory mathematics of motion and thought. Just because you’ve memorized the motions of your life, like a song now equipped in muscle-memory, doesn’t mean you’re not an extraordinary machine performing amazing feats of strength and intelligence, every single second that you’re alive.

Just try to imagine all the components that brought you where you are, gave you your personality and thoughts. Gave you the ability just to wake up in the morning, with some kind of story inside of you to carry you throughout the day.

Even as you say “I can’t,” there are parts of you, buried, little crabs trying to claw through beach sand, trying to prove you wrong. That’s how extraordinary we are.

I strip myself of – obligations, friends, activities. I used to be desperate to be full of distractions. I hated going home, because I knew I’d have to look at the inside of my skull, and come to terms with the way that i hurt. I move down to the center of me, a red-lipped pool full of pain, a dirty aquarium full of algae-covered rocks and dead fish. I can’t make the pain go away by drinking another round of Margaritas or hanging out with another boy who tells me I’m too skinny and my head looks like a lollipop on a stick or trying to push myself to enjoy a reggae party.

It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done – to try to be happy – to say this is NOT ACCEPTABLE TO ME. Stick my hands down in the dirty aquarium and clean that streaked glass. See if my hair still grows. Dance to 80ths synth music. Check to make sure my heart is still beating. Challenge every sunken, hollow-eyed belief that brought me to the point where I thought living like this was acceptable. Read that book that’s been sitting on my desk, waiting for me for months.

2017. I want to write another story about me, looking at myself, looking through you.

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