I Could Be Happy

Written by James Gardiner.

In every year, there are moments which come to define who we are.

There’s been heartbreak and there’s been hope. And they come hand in hand. The single most important night of my year, possibly my entire life, was born out of heartbreak. Only a few weeks earlier, I’d finally decided to open up about how I much secretly loathed myself. I was at my lowest point and I would later learn that my friends were deeply concerned for me, but there was nothing they could do. So I descended deeper and deeper into the void until, finally, there he was. In a strange drunken haze, a light appeared in the fog, guiding me to freedom and happiness and his name was Finn (or at least, that’s his pseudonym. In return, he calls me Prince Gumball). He made me happier than I’d ever been.

But happiness wasn’t easy. The Universe likes to stuff us over sometimes for its own amusement.

For the first few months, he had to remind me that this wasn’t a dream, that I wasn’t going to wake up to find that this was nothing more than a particularly vivid fantasy, that he was real and that he did care for me. I reasoned with myself that this had to be a dream, because no one could possibly love me like he does. Then one day, I finally realised that he was real.

Then there was the issue of my own physical appearance. How could he possibly love me when I was so ugly and horrible? How could he love me if I couldn’t eat all the meals that my lovely boyfriend was kind enough to pay for? After telling me that I was beautiful so many times, my boyfriend made me begin to believe it was true. Now I can at least look at myself in the mirror without being utterly repulsed.

Now I’ve progressed to thinking. That I am too much hard work, that I have too much emotional baggage, so it would be kinder to leave him. Again, Finn has tried to reassure me that I’m not stressing him out and that he can cope with my emotions, but there’s that cruel little part of me that says he would never say otherwise. Even now, I’m dealing with the latest stratagem by my brain, which involves crafting unpleasant dreams where I end up killing him or I’m forced to make a choice between him and another guy. So, my brain hates my boyfriend, even if I love him.

The weird thing is there’s always been this battle where I have to fight to be happy. Who knew happiness could be so hard to give in to?

But it would be inaccurate to simply say that my year has been hard, difficult and heartbreaking because it hasn’t. In all, 2014 has been the happiest year of my life. I have a boyfriend now. A gorgeous, perfect, stunning, truly amazing boyfriend who loves me and who I love deeply (even if my brain still has a little while to go). There have been so many gloriously happy moments.

There was my delirious first date which made me feel like a puppy in a pit of tennis balls (Finn’s metaphor). There was hearing my boyfriend stand up for the bearded drag queen while we were watching Eurovision with my parents. There was going to a gay club where kissing my boyfriend was met not with scorn, but with celebration. And most recently, there was dancing at prom with my beautiful boyfriend.

I’m used to my years being defined by sadness and the heartbreaking moments, but this year it feels like for once I’ve known what it’s like to be happy. That’s why it’s so frustrating and upsetting that my brain has this vendetta against me finding happiness, but I suppose there’s always room for improvement.

I’ve always thought that pop culture (the music, the shows, the movies) are how we understand our life and in this way, 2014 proved no different.

First there was Christina Perri’s song ‘I Believe’, in particular the lyric, ‘This is not the end of me, this is the beginning.’  I knew at the start of the year that I couldn’t continue in this way, waking up and falling asleep depressed, nothing ever seeming to change. This felt like an ending, or a goodbye; a preparation for the final battle. What I learnt is that in the moments that feel like endings, we finally begin to find hope. We find a future that starts making sense. It is not an ending. It is a beginning.

Then there was Cathy’s quote from The Big C; ‘Don’t delay the happy.’ I could go on about the ways in which this heartbreaking series changed my life, but its impact can be summed up by this quote. This is a reminder that life is precious and fragile, and that we cannot simply put aside that which makes us happy. Maybe the solution to my mind’s vendetta against my boyfriend is to stop fighting and allow the happiness to take over.

But the quote that can best define my year comes from a song released four years ago. “You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful [Gumball]. You are the best thing that’s ever been mine.” Yeah, I’m a Swiftie. Say what you will about her personal life, but she gets relationship feels better than anyone else. Finn changed me. Finn took me from this introverted, depressed, sex-phobic teen to a (somewhat) happy, (slightly) better-dressed, sexually active and confident adult. He is the best thing that’s ever been mine.

So, 2014. The best year of my life so far. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that because of this year, I am far better equipped to deal with whatever lies ahead. I know that sometimes you have to fight to be happy and that’s okay because happiness is worth fighting for no matter what my head says.

Visit James on his blog: Not A Sexy Vampire


Photo by MorkiRo – Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivs License https://www.flickr.com/photos/b3ni/

James’ work appears in the Genre, Prelude, and SHAG editions of WORDLY Magazine.

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