So I’m the poorest I’ve been in a very long time – so what? I’m not sunk yet, and somehow I just keep floating. And if I try very hard, I can remember when times were even worse. Times when I washed my clothes in the bathtub for lack of laundromat quarters, times when I cut my own hair and sold my CD’s and clothes (and almost my plasma – I finally got up the courage to try it and the clinic was closed that day. I took that as a sign). Days on end of eating the same three things in varying order (oatmeal, pasta, and $1.99 frozen entrees). I’ve not been reduced to any of that yet, so it can’t be all that bad, can it?
The restaurant has opened (softly, not grandly – they’re waiting a week or two to get the kinks out), but the money’s not rolling in just yet. So I’m biding my time and biting my nails, putting my faith in a fantastic concept and putting off certain bills as long as possible.
And how to not only avoid misery, but actually maintain a certain level of happiness? Joy, even?? How about kung-fu breaks in the office with Jeff, playing hide and seek with the cats (or fetch – Pip could put any retriever to shame), taking endless pictures and trying my damnedest to make them vibrant, to capture a certain joie de vivre. How about jumping on the bed and getting outdoors as the weather turns and actively seeking out the beautiful things in life that come to us absolutely free of charge the moment we arrive in this world?
For starters, anyway.
I was not always this way. You need look only a few years back into my life to discover a girl so jaded and dark and inwardly gloomy and borderline macabre you wouldn’t recognize her as me. I couldn’t pinpoint an exact moment of revelation, an event that spun me around, gave me a soft pat on the back and sent me on my way back to optimism. Instead, I think change came in the amalgamation of certain people that entered my life, certain others who departed and a conscious decision to see things in a different light. And the minute you decide you want to see the world as beautiful and full of possibilities again, it’s like someone whips a dark cloth off of it, the magician’s reveal! Turns out it was there all along.
This is not to say I never backslide. It’s like viewing one of those 3-D posters in the mall. I used to have a really hard time seeing them as well. I’d try to relax my gaze, to stare through the poster, to screw up my eyes – all to no avail. Then one day, flipping through a coffee table book a friend owned, three dolphins suddenly burst forth from the page. The reveal! Still – every time I come across these, I have to put forth some effort to make the image appear.
I don’t know if times of strife make it difficult to put in the necessary effort, or if we work against ourselves, giving in to the desire to wallow. Self-pity seems to be a natural human temptation in hard times, and also a horribly counterproductive trap. The way I see it, it’s okay to feel frustration, anger, fear and even sadness – to feel it, recognize it, understand it. And then overcome it. Too often we let ourselves stop at the feeling part. And you can feel yourself right into a black hole if you’re not careful.
Such a random post today! Apologies, but I’ve had quite a bit on my mind today and for the past couple of weeks and I’ve just sort of unloaded it all, created a bit of a dumping ground on the page today.
Chin up, everyone. Relax the eyes, soften the gaze – it’s all right in front of you.