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.

Yesterday was winning. It was my last day of classes for my college career. Undergrad, at least. Anyway, we had a few people over. And there were a LOT of winning pictures from the night. This is the runner-up:
It’s best to know the caption that Meagan added to the picture. She wrote: meagan pulling focus WINNING downstage center. Cuz we’re all posing for realsies in the back and then Meagan screamed WINNING in the foreground. I laugh EVERY.TIME I see this picture. Everytime. It’s just so winning. So it was really really really hard to choose the picture of the day. We had so much fun last night celebrating the end of this chapter. It was all fun and games. And this picture, the picture of the day, happened in the middle of it all:
This is me and Jilly. We just had a random moment last night. And Katie caught it on camera, so thanks to her. But here’s the thing: I’m really excited to graduate and start the next part of my life. I’m so excited for the summer and NY and no more classes and winningwiningwinning. But in all seriousness, I’m gonna miss a few people. A few. 🙂 Like… Jilly. This picture is a representation of how I’m gonna a LOT of people. I know I talk about promising feelings. But I know how it’s gonna be. I promise to have a kick-ass time in the real world. I promise to move on and keep winning and to conquer. But I also promise that I’ll miss you. I’ll miss You. And I know the theatre community is a small world so I know we’ll see each other again. But. I’m gonna miss living with You and seeing You all the time whenever I want. I promise to not get over you. Wherever I go. And though I’ll make new friends, you’ll still have a special place in my heart. It’s huge. It’s like… a luxurious hotel. So. Don’t worry. 🙂

I finally feel like 100% comfortable with my Showcase material. So. I am OFFICIALLY ready for NY.

I was talking about my blog the other day… as I tend to do. And I was talking to someone about how the beginning of this year was awful. Terrible. BADBADBAD. It was definitely the most unhappy I have ever been, this past September/October/a bit of November. But ya know what? This has been… maybe the greatest year of my life. I have become so much more in touch with myself. I have improved as an artist because I’ve learned to use who I am instead of trying to be what I think They want to see. I have never laughed so much in a year. Never. And I still have 114 days left of actively finding happiness everyday. I feel so much more secure in who I am. And for once, I don’t feel a need to be in a relationship. I feel OK on my own. And I’m proud of how far I’ve come. And I probably have written about this before but I’m gonna write about it again. I am SO proud of myself for making myself THIS happy without a boyfriend. It’s not true that the happiest people are in relationships. Yes, relationships can make people really happy, but why can’t I do that on my own? And yes, my friends have helped me immensely. IMMENSELY. I’m not undercutting the amazing effect they’ve had on my life this year. I couldn’t have done it without them. But I’m proud that I did it without a boyfriend. Cuz yeah, dating would be super cool, but now I feel like I finally won’t be selling myself short. I know what I’ve got and I know what I deserve. I refuse to treat myself like I’m worthless, and I won’t be treated like I’m worthless. Cuz baby, I’m a firework. And I guess what I’m trying to say, is that after 251 days…. or 21.5 years, I am so grateful to have realized my worth.  This has been an invaluable awakening for me, and I’m reminded every day of how much people love me. Now I can see love and feel love without hearing the words. And learning to value who I am as a person… is something I received from everyone who ever loved me, fucked me in the head, kicked me or kissed me. Everyone I have ever met: thanks.

And amidst this emotional blog, here are a few things that Meagan said:

“Back to you, fuckers.” Obviously, a throwback to Bruce Almighty.

“Howard Stern’s Butt Bongo Fiesta”…. I really don’t know… she was reading something….

And my quote of the day is something that really touched me. I was biking at the Cardio Center, and I was reading Entertainment Weekly. I was reading this interview with Woody Allen about his new movie called Midnight in Paris. As a precursor, I’d like to note that Woody Allen won’t watch any movie that he’s made. He says that they are either acceptable or totally unacceptable… that’s as far as he goes for self-praise. And I thought Annie Hall was THE SHIT. But anyway, Woody Allen has this struggle with living in the moment, so he made this movie about the dangers of living in the past. Here’s what he said:
“Nostalgia is a very unhealthy trap that can be very seductive. The problem is, life is a very cruel, tragic and unsatisfying experience and you always think that another time in the past would have been ideal for you. For example, if I think back to belle-epoque Paris, it’s like Gigi, with beautiful costumes and carriages and great wine. The reality is there was no Novocaine when you went to the dentist.”
~Woody Allen, talking about his new movie Midnight in Paris

No looking back. Because ya know, hindsight is 20/20, or however that saying goes. And some time in the past may seem all rosy now when you look back on it but the thing is…. something was fucked up, and you’re just choosing not to remember it. Something’s always fucked up. And there’s no better time to be alive than right now. Even in the fall when I have never been more depressed, I was given a second chance at getting myself back. This is where I’m supposed to be. And I even believe that then, I was where I was supposed to be. No looking back. Open up your eyes.

JAMES.

I don’t hate you.

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