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.

Jian Li brought me a shirt from China:
Ahem. Well. I think we BOTH know what this means. But. In actuality, she brought me this shirt from Beijing. So it means, ” I Heart Beijing”. But um. When I see this shirt, that is NOT what I think. But perhaps that makes me more apt to wear it? Yes. Done. Winning sluts.

Please excuse my recent absence from my blog. It was Caity’s birthday weekend, and I was busy making it all it could be… like the army. But some pretty cool things have happened since then. Oh wait. Before I forget..

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JIAN LI! I love you mucho, and my heart will crack a little bit when you leave for Colombia. Yes, I will come visit you when I have money. Gulp. But I will miss you a lot. I know it’s not goodbye forever. But it definitely is goodbye for a long time. You were my first friend in Waunakee, and I am very, very grateful. I hope all your old-geezer dreams come true today. And remember, you are winning. 🙂

Let me tell you the cool things that have happened recently:

I had a conversation with one of my bosses at the Lube. He asked if I’ve ever waited tables before. I said no. And we talked about how it’s difficult. I said that waiting tables is conquering the art of multi-tasking while also conquering the art of creeping. He told me that he thought I was coming along nicely. I’M GETTING BETTER. 🙂 I mean, not that I didn’t already feel myself improving but DAMN it feels good to be a gangsta…. and it feels good to be recognized. Same thing.

One of my tables yesterday started talking to me about MY LIFE. I told her I just graduated with a BFA in musical theatre from UW Stevens Point. And she got really excited. She asked if I was going to LA or NY, and I said NY. And she was like, “Well, see you on Broadway someday.” And I said something like, “I hope”, and she was like, “Oh, you’ll make it”. And I walked away beaming. That table ended up paying with a credit card, and you know that little slip that you write the tip on and sign your name? Well, if you’re a server and you lose the slip by the end of the night… NO TIP FOR YOU. So. I. Yep. Lost her slip. And it was a GOOD tip, too. So I didn’t get the money. But I don’t think I was supposed to get that money. I think that was my lesson that kind words are more valuable than like $15. Cuz I’m still smiling about that conversation. But $15 is just… stupid paper that controls my life. I choose kindness and heart-warmingness of fuckin’ world-ruining green paper.

Also. MY SISTER COMES HOME FROM CROATIA TODAY! I think she’s gonna be really sad to leave behind the life she established there. But we all have missed her terribly, and we’re really, really excited to have her back.

LASTLY. I started reading Eat Pray Love yesterday. Like, the very first pages. And. I was crying the whole time. I read like 10 pages… cried the whole time. I don’t really know why. I think it’s because I really want to find something in this book. And I really am finding stuff in this book, and I’m really connecting to it. Just a mini spoiler about the first few pages: SO BE WARNED: but she talks about how she was in this marriage that she didn’t want to be in, and then she went through this terrible divorce, and then another terrible relationship. Her life as she knew it totally fell apart. But then she started finding herself again. And I think that’s what happened to me. I think sometimes when you start to build the wrong life for yourself, it has to fall down. It has to. Because you need to construct the right life for yourself. In the book, she goes into another relationship during her divorce and she talks about this new guy being her addiction. She said that she was addicted to him. Because it was desperate love, and that’s the kind of love that gets you in trouble. So she jumped into this relationship and it was SO AWESOME for a while. But then he started pulling away, which would only make her try harder, which would make him pull away more, etc. And she wasn’t sure which happened first: her trying too hard or him pulling away. But still. She said she felt like a junkie willing to do anything for this guy, this “love”. And at the end of it, she didn’t even recognize herself anymore………………………….. That was me. I was that. At the end of it, I was so disgusted with who I had become. I was dependent on text messages to build me up. I needed someone else to say they loved me in order to love myself. I was a junkie.

Anyway. I’m not an addict anymore. And withdrawal has been excruciating. But so rewarding. And I’m so glad my Jenga life fell apart. Because it didn’t look right. At all. But I’m putting it together in a much more beautiful way now. And I’d rather be this person now than the person I was before. Bros before hoes, man. And in the words of The Fray:

“Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.”
~”All At Once” by The Fray

(more song quotes to make up for the ones I missed)

Elizabeth Gilbert also describes the concept of God in the best way I’ve ever seen:
“God is an experience of supreme love.”

“You may feel alone when you’re falling asleep. And every time tears roll down your cheeks. But I know your heart belongs to someone you’ve yet to meet. Someday you will be loved.”
~”Someday You Will Be Loved” by Death Cab For Cutie

🙂

JAMES.

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