When I answered the phone and heard,
Ms McCarthy, we would like to offer you the job,
the floodgates of adrenalin opened. Every cell in my body
stood up screaming, I got it! I got it! The pounding in my chest
came close to being painful and the room suddenly looked
bright yellow. My hands trembled, my breathing dropped
to shallow. For some moments, I stood by the phone, unable
to sit down or swallow. An hour later when I told my
boyfriend and best friend, the excitement had not
faded. I felt moved to kiss his hands, to utter endearing
phrases. But I was impatient for these feelings to settle down
into relaxed self satisfaction, what I think of as happiness.
I felt now I had the starring role in my own life.
My old striving self annihilated. A new, true, unique, worthy and beautiful self
has just hatched. All the leaden banalities of life have been
blasted away. I wanted to enjoy that transcendence.
But my body was so slow to quiet down, my wild thoughts,
my strange sensation of déjà-vu couldn't be suppressed.
Brimming over like this, excitement felt more like terror,
like witchcraft. It left me vulnerable, it could be taken away,
or may not bring transcendence, and if there was simple joy in this,
it could dissipate, or some dark misfortune could arrive
as the price for it. My "happiest" moments have never
felt subtle or pure. Great pleasure is always accompanied
by nearly suffocating anxiety. Could nature have designed
happiness to be a flickering candle in the mind?
Because happiness can't be sustained, indeed could interfere
with survival in a dangerous world. Where life must operate
with caution at all times lest the lion leap out of hiding.
Or we step on a python, eat a poison leaf, walk into a trap.
Is that why the rim around the beautiful saucer,
that upper edge of the abyss,
stays lit with a dark glow?