japonisme: is everybody HAPPY?

15 June 2010

is everybody HAPPY?

fear, again. it's as taboo as, say, sadness or homosexual love. all as natural as can be -- just let nobody see. there's only one emotion that's permissible to show (unless it's the first week after a funeral): HAPPY!

what do they say when they point a camera at you? SMILE! (or its artificial alternative, 'say cheese.' even an artificial happy is better than a real something else.)

we are forced into a theater of our own making. create a scrim to shield reality (it from you, you from it), and a backdrop so the farce maintains a context. "i'm cool."

if you show your fear it might belie a marginal confidence. learn from the politicians and the oil executives: sound strong (and caring) and there'll be few who'll guess that you are neither.

Gray skies are gonna clear up,
Put on a happy face;
Brush off the clouds and cheer up,
Put on a happy face.
Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy,
It's not your style;
You'll look so good that you'll be glad
Ya' decide to smile!
Pick out a pleasant outlook,
Stick out that noble chin;
Wipe off that "full of doubt" look,
Slap on a happy grin!
And spread sunshine all over the place,
Just put on a happy face!

Now if there's a smile on my face
It's only there trying to fool the public
But when it comes down to fooling you
Now honey that's quite a different subject

But don't let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
'Cause really I'm sad, Oh I'm sadder than sad
Well I'm hurt and I want you so bad
Like a clown I appear to be glad ooh yeah

but isn't it there for all of us? is it not our whole emotional cornucopia that makes us such thrilling creatures? yes. like i said yesterday, fear all the time -- why? where does it come from? it's survival instinct. it's your mother telling you to look both ways. it's every ad in the book telling you you're doing it wrong.

'no, i ain't scared, now pass the bottle.' and we might spend entire lifetimes certain that 'nah, i ain't scared' because what do you think that scrim is made of?

so many ways to not show fear (even to yourself): alcohol, drugs (legal and otherwise), smoking, developing a rigid world view (including a religious one); some tell jokes, some have somebody new in their bed every night. some shoplift, some go into therapy. but most won't tell you. most might not even tell themselves.

What if i say something wrong? what if i have a piece of spinach caught in my teeth? what if i'm dressed wrong? what if i look like an idiot? what if, and of course this is the big one, what if i'm doing it all wrong. what if i've been down so long it looks like up to me? what if everything i know is wrong? is anybody HAPPY?!

well, actually, yes. not every smile is phony and our hearts can hold bounteous joy. i somehow like to think of it as polar bears at eternal war, one fear ('animal,'body'), one love ('human,' 'spirit'). if you do nothing to mask it from yourself or anybody else, you know that already. i guess the bottom line is that FDR was right: all we have to fear... is fear itself.

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Blogger Kate said...

im scared all the time. when things go right for me, i fear that i may go wrong; when things go wrong, i fear that it may get worse. every time before i walk into people i have to force a grin on my sad face. it's so tired, you know. i love the way you pierce the fear. it is an instinct; it is natural. but we have to conquer it, right? is this saying that we should against our nature?

15 June, 2010 14:09  
Blogger consciousnesswalk said...

I applaud the honesty, or call to honesty. Sometimes I have been surprised at the doubleness of my life, though in my case it's not so much happiness on the outside and fear on the inside as it is calmness on the outside and chaos (often including fear and sometimes sadness, but including all kinds of things) on the inside. And I think, do some people not have such a doubleness? If we all do, and we spend so little time talking about it, I am amazed! Yet that really might be the case.

15 June, 2010 16:37  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

yeah, kate -- exactly. it's almost like it's required -- if there's no 'fear of flying' the plane will surely crash.

typing out these two posts have made me real conscious of this, and i notice that fears are like gophers, one pops up all the time.

i guess the thing is, like i said, we're all equally god as human. you're never gonna get rid of all the gophers, but sometimes maybe it helps to say 'hi you little pest' and go on with what you're doing.

i was thinking today about what if i went out, like to the library, doing purposely all the things i'm always afraid i might have done: eat peanuts right before and don't use a toothpick. make sure my bra strap is hanging half-way down my shoulder, and the like, and see what the results are.

but i wouldn't want anyone thinking i'm losing it! because that would be a disaster, right?! (where does that record come from? since i basically believe that everything has a survival basis, i'll assume this does too. i just haven't figured out what it is yet.)

15 June, 2010 18:56  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thanks, consciousnesswalk -- yes, you're right. it's too simplistic to suggest it's only fear behind that scrim. if we weren't all seething masses, who'd need meditation?

and yeah, it's almost like there's a ban on it, one might even say "a taboo." :^) and because it is, i'm sure most every one of us wonders that exact same thing: am i the only one??!

i'll 'risk' answering that one with certainty: na-h-h-h-h.

15 June, 2010 19:05  
Anonymous evan said...

Who'd need medication...oh...sorry, you said mediTATION. I live this, as a subject. <Hah, Freudian typo, I'm going to leave it.

"And when the stormy winds wail
And the breezes blow high in a gail
There's a curious dropping & flopping & plopping
And fat little babies just hail, hail
Fat little babies just hail.

And the babies lie there in a pile
And the grown ups they come after a while
And they always pass by all the babies that cry
And pick only babies that smile, smile
Even triplets & twiins if they smile." -Jefferson Airplane from "Blows Against the Empire"

Yeah...when do we learn to smile through the fear, pain etc?

"If you don't stop crying, I'll give you something to cry about." Wonderful- a lesson in being afraid to be afraid, hurt, pissed off etc.

"When I smile tell me some bad news
Before I laugh & act like a fool." The Who

God forbid, somebody should fart during the memorial service. Personally, I'd die or explode. Now, if the 12 apostles were eating beans instead of breaking bread at the Last Supper..."Blazing Apostles"?

I digress (a coping mechanism in itself- the changed subject).

Fear. And perhaps the next topic of art & conversation, it's nastier cousin, fear turned outward- anger/hatred...

"Hi, you little pest". Love this. I've sort of learned that your "issues" never really go away- you just have better relationships with them.

That cramping in your bowels when you know you have to perform. Hey, buddy.

My apologies for the length of this:)

16 June, 2010 10:25  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

no apologies needed!

interesting, funny and smart, evan. do you know robert hass's poem 'shame: an aria' which begins:

You think you've grown up in various ways
and then the elevator door opens and you're
standing inside
reaming out your nose

the whole thing is here.

16 June, 2010 11:37  
Anonymous Miguel said...

Magnífico blog, gracias. Beautiful blog, thanks.

have a nice day.
From Spain

21 June, 2010 13:09  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you miguel, and wishing you a good first day of summer.

21 June, 2010 17:22  

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