Friday, October 29, 2004

Unhappiness is Stupid

I pride myself on being a rational and reasonable person; though I acknowledge the importance and reality of my emotions, emotions are irrational, in and of themselves, and I always seek to balance my emotions with reason. I'm pretty good at it, too.

But right now, or rather for the last week or so, I have been irrationally upset by something so unreasonable that I haven't really allowed myself to admit that I'm angry. It's so fucking stupid to let onesself be made unhappy by something so damnably foolish. But the anger isn't going away, it isn't being driven off or placated by the knowledge that it's a stupid thing to be angry about, and so I find myself stuck wrestling with the anger, unable to find the key to dispersing it.

Okay, so: I'm angry that I am not beautiful, that I wasn't ever beautiful, and that I shall never be able to become beautiful. And let me be perfectly clear that I am not talking about my personal attractiveness or whether it is better to be pretty than kind, I'm not talking about the beauty of the spirit or the beauty shared by all living things. I am talking about purely aesthetic physical beauty. And by "beautiful" I very specifically mean this kind of beauty:


This is Kevin Zegers, the boy I mentioned in the previous post whose beauty made me sad. His is the kind of beauty that paralyzes me, that clutches at my heart, a beauty that is not due merely to his youth, nor to the photographer's art, nor to the prevailing fashions, nor to my own erotic predilections (though these all play a part in, or are part of, his inherent beauty): he is beautiful the way flowers are beautiful, the way sunsets are beautiful, the way the Earth seen from space is beautiful. He exemplifies, to an exceptional degree, natural aesthetic laws and is therefore an intensive reflection of the Divine.

And I will never ever look like that. Most of the time I can accept that simple and inescapable fact... but for some reason, right now, I writhe with fury that I have never looked like that, that I shall never look like that. I just don't know why, but this bothers me so much right now.

I feel like Salieri in Amadeus, raging at God over Mozart's divine talent... he raged that he had been given the ears to hear the song of God but not the voice to sing along; I rage that I have the eyes to see the beauty and the heart to love it, but not the beauty itself — that I cannot be that beauty, I cannot have it, I cannot even touch it... I can only adore it, and even that only from a distance.

There are a lot of other things I will never be, things that I will never be able to do, things that will never happen to me, things that are impossible for me to accomplish. This is true for all of us, even for Kevin Zegers and his ilk. And maybe Kevin gets bitterly angry over the things he'll never have, and the things he will lose. I suspect it is human nature to want what one cannot have, for no other reason than that one cannot have it.

But knowing this, accepting this, and understanding this does not make the anger go away. I see this beauty and I find myself cursing God that I haven't got it, despite all of my rational, reasonable acceptance of the inevitable (and, really, unimportant) limitations of all creatures.

I am glad that I do not resent the beautiful for their gifts (though at one time I did so without realizing it), that I do not seek like Salieri to destroy those who have been blessed by a capricious God; in fact, I have been absolutely drowning in this particular kind of beauty all week... first while I was indulging my new obsession for Kevin Zegers by exploring the really comprehensive gallery that someone put together, and then at this new beefcake domain I discovered in my wanderings and have been exploring for the last couple of days (it requires registration to view the pictures, but it's free and quite worthwhile)... not to mention all the beautiful boys I've seen lately on television and in magazines.

Though I do wonder if perhaps this surfeit of physical male beauty is what makes me really feel my own lack of that beauty. Or is it an attempt to reconcile myself to the beauty? Maybe it's just because. I look at acres of beautiful boys all the time without getting all upset like this; it's one of my favorite hobbies, looking at these pictures and collecting them and displaying them here in my blog.

So, here I acknowledge the anger though I deplore its irrationality (and really, isn't all anger irrational?), but I want to understand it better... I want to encapsulate the anger with reason, I want to seek causes, and from the causes seek possible cures.

I have to acknowledge that I am deeply unhappy, and that the unhappiness may have nothing to do with the lack of beauty, that the anger over my lack of beauty is merely symptomatic of the deeper unhappiness. But if that is the case, what is causing my unhappiness?

Why do I feel no joy in any part of my life? Why do even my accustomed pleasures make me feel so sad? Can it be a new facet of depression making itself known to me? Or is it that my life is not what I want, or is not what it ought to be, or is not in alignment with God's will?

There has to be an element of low self-esteem involved; there has also to be an element of poor body-image involved — and I think this because right now I am extremely displeased with my body, its recent catalog of injuries as well as the increasing fat-content, but do not feel inspired to change these things. I want the fat and the flab to go away, but I do not want to do the work required to remove them from my body; I want the pains and injuries to go away, but I don't know how to make them go away or how to effectively prevent them in the future.

There is also, perhaps, an element of "a life lived wrong" that is making me unhappy. I am feeling less confident of the choices I've made in my life, less enthused by my daily journeys into the world, less sure of what I want and how to get it. I feel that what I have is not enough, but I don't know exactly what it lacks, or how to get any of the things that I perceive to be lacking.

I feel directionless, drifting in a morass of circumstances and inconveniences and loneliness and inevitabilities, and very unhappy. And in this unhappiness, perhaps I am striking out at one thing, my lack of beauty, on which to blame other things, such as my loneliness. And by loneliness, I don't mean a lack of time spent with friends: I mean the lack of a romantic partner (dare I whisper the hackneyed cliche of "boyfriend"?), something I'm not even sure I want, and have in fact spent a number of years convincing myself that I don't need. Something I have no idea how to get. But something that would be a lot easier to find (not easier to keep or deserve or deal with, just easier to get) if I were beautiful.

And, shallow as it makes me seem, I think I might feel angry because, in the main, I could not hope to find a beautiful boy such as Kevin Zegers for a romantic partner... and that even if I did, my own lack of beauty would make me very uncomfortable in such a romance.

I mean, it's one thing to have a messy house, and have friends over to your messy house, but how would you feel if you had Martha Stewart come visit your messy house? It's one thing to be an indifferent cook, and to serve one's indifferent cooking to one's family, but it's something else entirely to serve one's indifferent cooking to a Cordon Bleu chef. You can drive around in a crappy car, but you wouldn't want to chauffer Queen Elizabeth around in your crappy car. You might be perfecly content dressing badly and not spending any time on grooming, but if the Queer Eye guys showed up at your door, perhaps you'd feel a little differently.

Well, I seem to have gotten further from encapsulating this irrationality into a reasonable and therefore manageable shape. I guess I'd better quit while I'm ahead (if you can call this "ahead"... I feel like I've revealed myself to no good purpose, like a flasher at Lilith Fair) and go do something else with my day. Like maybe some work.

In the meantime, I had better start asking for guidance during my prayers and meditations, some clarity on what I need to do, or what I need to better learn to accept, in order that I can become happy again. Because I believe God wants us to be happy, in the end... and that being unhappy is being unGodly. If you see what I mean. I cannot reflect the Divine in my face and form, but I can and should reflect the Divine in my actions and my creations and my thoughts; but I can't do that while I'm unhappy.

Yackety schmackety, blah blah blah. I'll shut up now and let you get on with your life. Love to you!

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