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.

Did you expect anything less from me?
 I spent a couple more hours reading this today. I worked til 1:3o and then I got cut. I had rehearsal at 7:00 but I HATE driving so I just wanted to stay in Madison until rehearsal. So I hung out with my mommy, got a haircut (winning), went to Barnes and Noble and read, went to Culvers and read. And yeah, I ate at Culvers by myself. But it’s ok. I wasn’t sad. At all. I wasn’t lonely either. I was at Barnes and Noble by myself, too. But I wasn’t sad/lonely then either. I genuinely enjoyed my alone time today. Cuz all I wanted to do was read this book. I didn’t want to entertain or anything. I just wanted to read. So I did. For…. hours. I cried and laughed like a regular old bag lady. But I didn’t really care. No, I don’t really have the financial means to go on this journey that she goes on. But. I dunno, I like to think my blog is a poor man’s Eat, Pray, Love. Cuz I don’t have the money to travel abroad for an entire year. That would be super awesome if I did. But I can’t. I didn’t have the opportunity to reset my life by traveling the world. I wish I could. But I was forced to do the exact opposite: stay put. Then again, I didn’t go through a divorce after 6 years of marriage and then another shitty relationship. I’m just saying: these kind of discoveries that she makes are possible without going to three different countries. It just takes the will to make a life-change. The will to say, “I’m sick of this shit,” and then to do something about it (which is MUCH more difficult than talking about making a change).

Jian Li brought up to me the other day that I still probably would have ended up here even if I hadn’t blogged for 289 days straight. I still would have healed. Yeah, I don’t think I’d be in the same place but I do think I would have gotten better. I would have been OK. But I wouldn’t have made all these self-discoveries. But I do agree with her that Time is the Great Healer. That sometimes all that will make you feel better is the passage of time. And I’m still waiting. I’m blogging while I wait. But I’m still waiting. And if you’re sad, you don’t need to take up a huge project. Yes, Jian Li and I both agree that a distraction is super helpful. Feel lonely? Don’t just go f*ck somebody; give yourself a project! (I have a job that I’m trying to constantly pick up hours at: I work Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, a double on Saturday, and Sunday. And I now I’m doing Chicago this summer…. PROJECTS.) Feeling sad is ok. And sitting with it is ok. Cuz it’ll go away if you wait. Waiting is proactive; it just requires patience. And practicing patience is proactive. So. Being sad for a couple days/weeks/months doesn’t mean you’re lazy. You just gotta wait. I believe the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, would have healed without her world trip. But the trip didn’t hurt. But you don’t need money to make a change. Oy. What I’m saying is: Elizabeth Gilbert said, “fuck this shit,” and she handled it by making a drastic change: traveling the world. I said, “Fuck this feeling of worthlessness,” and I started a blog. If you’re sad and you know it’ll pass, then wait. But if you’re putting up with bullshit that you can change: what are you waiting for? What are you gonna do about it?

Also. I am happy to report that tonight Kelley Barker made me laugh harder than I have ever laughed. In my life. I swear to God. I didn’t even recognize the sounds coming out of me. Poor Mommy and Daddy were trying to sleep while their son downstairs was howling like a banshee. Here’s the story that made me lose my shit:
Kelley was at a wedding. She had to blow her nose or something so she went to the bathroom. She wanted to go into this stall to get some toilet paper for said task. So. She goes up to this empty stall…. this “empty stall”. But it’s locked for some strange reason. So Kelley tries to open the door, but it’s locked. That doesn’t stop her. She rattles the door (like a supervillain, in her words). Until finally she opens the door… only to discover a lady sitting on the toilet… terrified. But for some reason, she remained silent whilst Kelley proceeded to break the fuckin’ door down. Didn’t say a damn word. So then after Kelley told me this story and I was howling like a crazy B, we started making up scenarios for this woman. For example, I said that she must have thought she was gonna get mugged. Then we started making up things she was doing while the door was being rattled
1) “Oh, God. Dear God, please take me now.”
2) Applying lipstick
3) Fixing her hair
4) Shaving
5) Finding a pretty pose
6) Holding out her purse while whimpering
7) Shaking in speechless terror
8) Varting
9) Sleeping
10) Writing a letter to her daughter
11) (I just thought of this one) Aiming her urine at the intruder

I was laughing so hard I was bawling. And the last two times that I have cried this hard, I cried from good experiences (the one before was Teague’s recital). So. I am ever so grateful right now. I know that I now have a 6-pack and I have lost a considerable amount of weight from laughing. No wait, even one of the last times I cried this hard was because of Meagan and I’s newfound obsession with “winning”. And I was laughing so hard I almost shat myself when we were rewriting songs so we could scream the word “WINNING” in the middle. And it gets better, because I know that when I try to go to bed, I’m going to keep laughing. And if you have read my blog regularly, you know that laughing in my bed is a common occurrence. And it’s a vicious cycle. Cuz I go to bed and I start laughing… in my room… by myself. And then I start laughing at the image of how I must look, laughing uncontrollably in my bed. And then I laugh even more, and I can’t stop until I pass out mid-giggle. (Or the time Meagan and I did our interpretation of George Seurat scatting while he painted in his studio… or the time Kelley told me some really funny stories before bed earlier this year.. I can’t remember what they were but I remember laughing uncontrollably.)

Ok. The point: I am SO grateful for these beautiful moments. The fact that I can lose control because of LAUGHING. Laughing. I can’t stop laughing. You know, I talk a lot about how I think I’ve experienced the extreme lows of emotion in my life. But oh my fuck, I have had some HIGHS. Like laughing so hard my abs hurt. Or crying from happiness and gratitude. Or just really feeling like I matter. But I SO value the laughter. I so do. I do I do I do I do. Thank you for making me laugh. It takes a special kind of human to make me lose my shit with laughter. And this Shit-Myself kind of laughter is as beautiful an experience as Love. Euphoric. And I’m going to bed with a giant smile on my face and a fear in my heart of shitting the bed from laughter.

God I love my life so much. Wouldn’t change a fuckin’ thing.

“Oh, I’m no one’s wife. But, oh, I love my life. And all that jazz.”
~”All That Jazz” from Chicago

I make people laugh cuz I know how incredible it feels.

JAMES.

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