a perfect, happy, joyful little nightmare (part three)
Each day waking up here starts again exactly as it does before, and it ends in the same way. You wake up singing a happy little song. The birds sing to you as if you're in a really fucked up Disney movie. You get into the shower, you brush your teeth, you get dressed, you take your happy little Joy pill, and you greet the day. You go to the park, you skip around town, you run home to be with your wonderful girlfriend in your wonderful home.

Each time the newspaper boy hits you in the head with a rock, and each time you notice something more about the boy. This last time, he looks exactly like you did as a kid, when you were twelve years old trying to get approval from your mother and father and they kept laughing in your face. Telling you that you weren't good enough as you were, and that you needed to conform to their liking. This tells you that this nightmare is going to just keep going. This tells you that your fear that to fully be a good boyfriend is to change everything about yourself is actually true, and you won't be able to get out of here.

After the eighth time of going through the nightmare, when you 'wake up', you're not happy. You're you. You're just poor Drew as they call you, but you're determined. You have the cut on your face from the newspaper rock, you are not waking up singing a happy song, you are not taking your happy Joy pill, you are not going to sing with the goddamned motherfucking birds, because you're not fucking Cinderella and for fucks sake, can someone shut off that fucking music and 1950s sitcom laugh track? You're going to wake up out of this happy fucking hell, and you're going to confront your fears.

You meet Tara down in the living room, and she's still wearing the electric blue poodle skirt and the black blouse. This isn't your Tara, you remind yourself, as stand in front of her. "I'm going to talk and you're going to listen to me," You say, and Tara goes to speak, but you stop her. This isn't Tara. This isn't Tara. "I am a neurotic person. I am an angry person. I get depressed. I get annoyed. I swear a lot. I'm not perfect. I never will be perfect. I may not even be the perfect person for you, but I'm going to fucking try. But I have to be happy on my terms," you say.

The Not-Your-Tara is moving her mouth to speak, but there are no sounds coming out and she's getting frustrated at this. "I am not going to be happy on anyone else's terms but my own," You keep saying, "I can't fit to any one mold, and I'm not going to get any better if I keep thinking I don't deserve to be happy. But I'm not doing it for you." You say to Not-Your-Tara, "I'm doing it for me, because I can't live my life like this anymore. I can't. I'm not living and I need to. I need to move on with my life and I need to be happy."

This world you're stuck in, this is your living hell. This is your greatest fear, that to be happy, you will literally need to change every single thing about you. That no one will be satisfied until you're completely different. The people of this nightmare world need to you to be a different way, but these people are not your friends. They're not the ones you know and love. They're not the ones you've accidentally pushed away over the months because of jealousy or anger. They're not the ones you've fallen for and are scared of being with because of what falling for someone means.

Not-Your-Tara's head starts to glitch and spark and you realize that Not-Your-Tara is a robot. You hear other electric sparks outside of the house you're in and realize everyone else in this world is a robot as well. Go figure. The Robotic Tara tries to reach for you, and you take a step back as she explodes into nuts and bolts and the world around you starts to crumble and break.

Everything goes black.


You wake up in your home, your brownstone in Boston, the boxes still not fully unpacked from when you moved in December. The sound of your Pac-Man clock is ticking away happily, but it's a happy sound you like. Your head is pounding, you feel like you've just run a marathon, and you're not sure if you're really back home, or if you're stuck in another world.

You find Tara in your living room, sitting on the couch, looking exactly as she did when she came over for her birthday on the 24th, and both of you look like you've been through hell and back. You're not sure what she's gone through, but you go up to her and you kiss her fully on the mouth. When she looks at you with surprise, you start to explain; "I want to be happy with you, but I need to do that on my own terms, and it's going to take me a little but, you make me happy, okay? And´┐Ż" You let your train of thought just stop and she places her hand over your own and squeezes it. This is your Tara, the one who understands your awkwardness, and your stubbornness, and how it's hard for you to believe in the good in yourself.

But this is also the Tara that refused to give up on you, and this is the Tara you actually fought for. So maybe it's about time you try to be happy on your own terms.

And maybe, when We Happy Few comes out, you delay playing it for a bit, because right now the thought of Joy pills makes you a bit uncomfortable.

But uncomfortable is a feeling, and it's all your feeling, and it is just part of who you are. You are proud of that, even if no one else is.

The woman sitting next to you is proud of you though, and even if you don't know the reasons why, you decide not to take it for granted anymore.

Maybe there is nothing wrong with being happy, as long as it is on your terms.