Starting on Monday, September 6, 2010 (at 4:00 in the morning, so technically Sunday, September 5), I started taking a picture of something that made me happy every day. My Project Happiness 365 started as a proactive act on my part to ward off deep depression. It was spurred by heartbreak as an effort to pull myself out of the wreckage, but now it's fueled by gratitude and a desire to find the beauty in everyday, "mundane" life. This is my honest, vulnerable journey from Hot Mess to Winning. I hope this helps. Oh, and if you're in pain, good; that means you put your whole heart into something. And if you think it won't ever get better, I promise it will. Here's my proof.

Let me start in the middle of my life and then I’ll backtrack to make sense of the entire day. Caity has a dog named Tina. For some reason, I couldn’t stop laughing. Tina. The dog. I cannot explain why I think “Tina” is such a funny dog’s name. Or maybe it was just funny for this particular dog. Maybe I was just in a giggly mood. But here she is:
Tina is the dog on the left. If anyone can find a reason for my uncontrollable laughter about Tina the Dog, please tell me.

OK. Now let me start from the beginning. Here are the highlights:

I’M HOME. THANK GOD. SPRING BREAK. Yes, I have a lot of homework but I am just ONE step closer to graduating. HALLELUJAH! I spent quality time with Scott and KK. It was really nice spending time having a conversation with Scott. Then KK and I went to Chuck E Cheese. We played some games and we got some AWESOME prizes. But when I was coming outside, I did a battemente for KK and Scottathy and this red van honked at me. So I looked at them and they were smiling and giving me the thumbs up. THEY LIKED ME! THEY REALLY LIKED ME! Then Caity invited us over for some DELISH Irish food. (I’m not sure I’m Irish at all but I shall pretend, nonetheless.) I had lots of really yummy food and I tried an irish car bomb. OH. And we were talking about poison and Caity felt the need to specify “Murder Poison”… because there are many different types. BAAAAAAAAAAH!

Now here’s what I really want to talk about…

When I went to St. Louis for MUNY with Katie and Gracie… OK. So. There were these moments where they both were sleeping. And I was driving peacefully. And I felt so important. I was taking care of these ladies. I felt like I was doing something that mattered. Because I was being this guardian, this gentleman for these ladies. I don’t know. Something about the image of them both sleeping calmly while I drove will always stick with me. That feeling of, “I’m doing good”.

In Directing today, Tyler told us this story about how when he was in grad school, he was directing this play. He was two weeks into his process and he had blocked a good chunk of the show. His mentor came in, watched it, told him it was really good and then told him to scrap it all and start over. Tyler said this totally taught him that there isn’t just one right way to do something. OK. For me, yes. Running away from the wreckage and starting over somewhere else, completely oblivious of the total mess, THAT could have worked. That could have been a viable option. But. BUT. Sorting through the rubble to rediscover myself, THAT also worked. This worked. There are many ways I could have handled heartbreak. Neither were right. Neither were wrong. There is only the decision that I made. I chose violently and THAT was right.

Lastly, when you go through something that really jars you, you’re bound to remember it for awhile. Like, when an earthquake hits… the aftermath is gonna take a while to get through. And even when you get through it, there’s always gonna be those reminders. There are residual aches, and they are unavoidable. This doesn’t mean you’re losing steam; it means that you’re a living, breathing, real person. I really think the only thing you can do is keep breathing and keep seeing. Don’t forget about the beautiful moments that are unfolding right in front of you. Don’t stop living. Please please please. This is so important to remember. Open your eyes.

“Why do we stay with lovers who, we know down deep, just aren’t right? Why would we rather put ourselves through hell than sleep alone at night?”
~”Louder Than Words” from tick, tick… BOOM!
(Thanks to Drew for this one)

JAMES.

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