The Failed Devil’s Dinner Party: Vol.1 — On The Misplacement of Joy

Author’s Note: A few months ago, I painstakingly put together a little chapbook of essays for a very specific project that I had seen many others doing. I wanted a slice of that pie. A few weeks ago, they cast me aside, and I was left with this random project. I shall release all four parts over the course of four weeks.

As I spread the jam onto my buttered toast, I felt myself smiling. This simple snack brought me so much joy in a moment of silence. But, I wondered how I would react if I could no longer eat jam on toast. I had placed all my joy in that piece of bread, and the prospect of losing that unnerved me. This fear doesn’t just pertain to toast. It relates to people and the hobbies that fulfil me. I am hesitant to use the word ‘happiness’ because I don’t believe that is a realistic description for most of us.

It seems that we continue to set ourselves up for failure. I am sure you know of one friend who finally got into a relationship and started to drift away. All they can talk about is how in love they are, and more importantly, how happy they are. Your friendship soon fades into a staggered memory, and you may even find yourself wondering about what they will do if the relationship comes to an end. The mental consequences are something to be deeply considered. Now, we are all guilty of misplacing our joy. But, I would argue that it is unavoidable to an extent.

Sitting on the carpets of bookshops was my favourite thing to do when I was younger. I spent summers sitting in the back garden with a book and an ice lolly. But, there has always been an underlying fear that my ability to read may be taken from me someday. That possibility almost brings me to tears because reading is my life source, and the same goes for writing. Faced with these hypotheticals drives me to pack everything into as small a space as possible. Aware of the unpredictability of life, completing as many goals as possible is only logical.

My favourite breakfast dish is the English fry up. I like my eggs runny, the golden yolk creating a delicious pool on the plate. Eating that dish gives me a dopamine hit and provides me with a pocket of comfort. And, it is likely to be the same for you. Imagine laying in your bed at night, scrolling through a recipe you found online, and starting to get excited about making it the following morning. After all, there are so many cooking YouTube channels to watch now that you would be hard pushed not to come across something you can make.

Finding joy is a survival method. There needs to be something that keeps us here, whether that is a particular person or a hobby that you enjoy. Finding an activity you love is the go-to advice for any therapist. We are encouraged to forge relationships, misplacing our joy in people that are not guaranteed to stick around. Is it any wonder that people become attached to the people and things they love? To lose them would be the near equivalent of breathing for the last time. There is no solution to this currently. It is ingrained within us, but I think being aware of it will serve us well.

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