Where Do You Find Happiness
I went for a walk, this morning, into the wooded area near the community housing campus, where I live. While shuffling through the leaves covering the path, my pace slowed, and I sunk into a state of relaxed contemplation.
Quiet, except for the rustle of leaves, my breath a soft mist in the chill air, my head bowed, suddenly oblivious to anything but the peace and revitalization of the autumn air, and the lack of human presence. A perfect time for a sudden epiphany to invade my thoughts: “It’s not there.” My pace slowed to a stop. “My happiness is not there.”
I was born and raised in California. I lived there for the first almost 9 years of my life, with my family. Dad, Mom, my brother, and our dog, Sandy. I didn’t know we were a dysfunctional family. I didn’t know that my father taking trips by himself for weeks at a time was not normal.
I didn’t know that my mother working all day, every day was not normal. Especially back then. She went to work every morning before I got up to get ready for school. I never saw her before supper time.
Dad was absent, most of the time, there. If he was, he stayed in his artist suite that he built in the back of the garage and accessed through a window in my bedroom, and it never occurred to me in the morning that he was even there.
I got myself off to school, using the Captain Kangaroo program as my timekeeper. When he said it was 20 minutes after the hour, I knew it was time to leave to walk to school.
It was not a pleasant first 9 years, but it was home. I felt safe, there.
But happy? I was not happy.
I did not understand people. I did not understand the kids at school. And I didn’t understand why my knowing the names of the 9 planets in order and how many moons they had (as known in the 1950’s) did not matter to any of them.
It was home, but happiness was not there. And finding that place now was impossible.
There were two friends I grew very close to at college (three, if you count the straight roommate in my senior year who worked very hard to help me become normal, and whom I…