“A little calmer. How needed it was. No sooner is it a little calmer with me than it is almost too calm. As though I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy. That is probably true too.” Franz Kafka, Diaries, January 20, 1922.
When I am alone, I am calm, and I meditate on my thoughts. I can also do this in a crowded place when surrounded by strangers. I think this is why I feel so at home in a large city. I can be alone in a sea of people; this gives me great comfort. I have been a melancholy person since I was a child. I always felt it, but I never showed it. I was a happy person on the outside, but on the inside I was always searching, and this made me sad. The reasons for this are nebulous, but I believe it was because I was the new kid many times in my life. I didn’t feel that I fit in because I was always coming into established groups who had already cemented their friendships. I learned to please others, or so I thought, by laughing and appearing happy. I masked insecurity and pain with laughter and smiles. I don’t just blame circumstance on this; I am sure I probably have some gene which makes me this way. In recovery, I have unveiled parts of my psyche and the reasons I am the way I am. I was born this way, but I learned to adapt to those around me to fit in and my way of fitting in was entertaining. I admit I lost some of myself by trying to make those around me laugh and be happy. I forgot to look deep within and take the time just to be me. When I began drinking many years ago, I drank because I wanted to have fun, then as I got older, I drank because I had to drink. I drank when I was happy, and I drank when I was sad. The alcohol then allowed the sad feelings I had not dealt with to surface, and I became unbearably unhappy. Today I take the time to ponder relationships, my surroundings and life, but I am learning to take those feelings and the morosity of life and replace them with joy and not the fleeting happiness of one who runs around trying to show others a good time. Many times I am happy just to please others. Today I am learning to be joyous from the inside out.