Glorie R.

Are You Happy?

My mom likes to ask me…
“Are you happy?”
My response is usually
“I’m not not happy.”

The truth is,
I don’t remember what happy feels like,
I don’t remember what happy looks like,
Or sounds like.

I don’t remember what it was like to wake up without having to convince myself I could make it through the day.

I don’t remember a day when I wasn’t living for the next breath.
I don’t remember what it felt like to be light.

I do remember what it feels like to be so empty and so numb it hurts.
To be a shell of what I once was,
A fading memory.

I do remember what it felt like to go to my teacher and telling her I wanted to die,
I remember being coaxed and convinced into telling the crisis counselor,
And my dad, with his look of heartbreak,
And my mom, with her look of guilt,
And the mental examiner, with his look of greed,
And the cops, with their look of inquisition,
And Child Protective Services, with her look of boredom.
And a hundred more people who couldn’t understand why I wasn’t happy.

You see, unless you’ve felt the weight of the lack of happiness you can’t understand.
There are not words to describe the ache in my chest,
The hole where My happy should’ve been.

Year after year of trying to hold on.
Year after year of hoping it would get better.
Year after year of hoping happiness would come back from its leave.

Happiness is ruthless.
Happiness is elusive and cunning.
Happiness is a prankster.
Happiness taunts me like a squirrel from a tree.
Happiness is everything I can never be.
Yet, it’s all I want.
So when my mom asks me,
“Are you happy?”
And my response is usually
“I’m not not happy.”
What I really mean is...
I am void of my memory of happy.
I am searching in the dark for something I no longer have knowledge of.
I am holding on while happiness slips through my fingers time and time again.
Like wind through the leaves of a dying oak.

An oak that was once proud and tall,
Now is worn and weak.
Hardly holding together
Its roots that just barley grip the dirt
that no longer has anything to offer.

Jason Carney