How Does It Feel To Feel?

In two separate conversations lately, I’ve been giving friends updates on my current work and financial situation — spoilers: both have been better than they currently are — only to receive roughly the same response: “I’m surprised how upbeat you sound, despite everything that’s going on!”

I’m paraphrasing; one of the responses was more along the lines of, “Why do you sound so happy?” as if I was doing something wrong by not being more depressed, which I admit that I love. There’s something amusing to me about admonishing someone for not being distraught enough in reaction to dire circumstances, as if they’re doing it wrong. Aren’t we… supposed to not surrender to the history of the world, and all that kind of thing…?

Nonetheless, I’ve been caught with the idea that I am happier than I have the right to be over the last few days. Not that I feel as if I’m being criticized, per se, because that really is just a funny idea to me — be more sad, dammit — but, instead, that maybe I’m missing something that means far worse things than I have properly taken into account. What if I really should be more sad, or more worried, or more angry, than I currently am?

Ironically, that concern — that I’m missing some implication or meaning that others are instinctively, immediately grasping, and it’ll all end in tears — is what’s been keeping me up at night, almost literally. I’ve had dreams about things going worse and me not seeing it coming, and woken up uncertain and wishing I could remember the details more clearly, just in case.

The idea that there’s worse around the corner and I’ve been blissfully unaware has slowly been becoming the worse that’s been around the corner all along, and now it’s derailing whatever good mood I was in before this. Is this a sign that memetic warfare is possible and potent, or merely that I’m particularly impressionable when things are up in the air?

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