Have you seen those memes with Carrie Bradshaw sitting with her beige ostrich bolero and writing by her desk? Sometimes her head is replaced with Kris Jenners and the memes tackle subjects of various depth, always with a bit of sarcasm? Well...
“Last Sunday I met a couple of friends, all gay, over brunch and we came upon the topic when I shared one of my earliest memories of doing just that. Chasing happiness."
I remember when I was very young and all I wanted, besides a Barbie, was a lamp for the window sill. I thought that homes with lamps like that were happy ones. I would fantasize that those families had no worries or cares in the world, always surrounded by that warm light. I had to really nag my parents because they hated clutter, but I finally got one for my bedroom, in blue and white porcelain with a stretched shade in a shiny white fabric. Imagine the Queens Balmoral estate. That kind.
The lamp broke unfortunately fairly quickly and never got replaced. I also grew up and my taste in lamps changed, but the quest for happiness haven't and when I told the story at brunch, most of my friends had similar stories to share.
We were all chasing something then and still today there is something in the back of our heads that we long for.
So. I couldn’t help but wonder (Insert Carrie meme). Even though we live full lives, why is there something missing?
Trying to analyse this and put one and two together, I realize that growing up gay and different, the quest was always to be like everyone else, either having a lamp or having friends at school, the quest was always of normality and not the happiness per se. Of course happiness is something universal and I’m sure everyone wants that, but I think that I confused happiness with fitting in. Fitting in with a homogenous, heterosexual society’s rules for what the definition of that is. Happiness is getting married, having children and preferably getting rich. It’s not only how we value success, it’s also how we value ourselves.
So while we grow up as strong gay men later on and set our own new rules about life, we forget that we once tried to fit in, in order to be happy. And maybe some part of us still does unconsciously? That would explain why we still chase something we don’t know about. I now believe that the void will never be filled, unless we really start feeling that we truly have it all, because we do, we have made our own rules and that’s more than many people will ever have.
/ STELIOS VASILANTONAKIS, CO-FOUNDER