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.

365. The Last One: Rebirth

I did a lot today. My mom and I went to IKEA and FINALLY got my furniture. THANK.GOD. There were only two of my loft left so I bolted down to the warehouse. AND I GOT IT. So they delivered my mattress, my loft, my chair and my desk. So I unpacked everything today. And my mom and I went to the Puma store and I got a new bag! AND IT WAS ON SALE! I LOVE MY LIFE. And there were gays and they were fabulous and delicious and wow. So my mom and I built my loft and put up my mattress. And from my bed, I have a beautiful view:

DIV.INE. Divine. Thank God. #grateful #worththewait #worththepain

One year ago, I was a hot, hot mess. (And that’s a bad thing, if you didn’t know. Today my mom asked if it was good or bad to be  a hot mess… usually, it’s pretty bad.) And it was. It was pretty bad. I thought I’d never be able to sleep in my queen-sized bed again without feeling that black hole in my stomach. But I was wrong. And I was so mad that I was stuck in Stevens Point with all my memories. Everywhere I went I saw ______, I thought about going there with ______, etc. It was awful. Everyone asked me about _______ and I just wanted to kick them in the head. And then I wanted to kick myself in the head for being so hateful. And I was so mad that _______ got a fresh start and I didn’t. But I had to work. I was forced to clean out the closet and deal with it all. I love the James I was then: the James that opened up his heart fearlessly. But I love this James better: the James who put himself back together the way he’s supposed to be.

Everything in my life has happened exactly the way it’s supposed to. This is my reward for tackling heartbreak for a year: New York City. The city I’ve dreamed of living in for…  8 years. And now I’m here. I live here.

And I have had so much love in my life this past year. I am so grateful for everyone who has ever read my blog. You don’t have to read it every day to know what it’s about. It’s the oldest story in the book: I loved a boy and I got my heart broken. But I refuse to let it be a wasted experience; it wasn’t. And yes, I still have an ucky feeling in my stomach when people talk about ______. And I wish I didn’t. I don’t want to hate… and I don’t. I don’t hate ______. But I can’t help my body’s urge to convulse at the memories. Yep, it still hurts. My heart is a big heart, and I have faith in its ability to forgive.

Here’s what I learned, in short:

1) Never let anyone tell you how you feel. You can validate your own feelings. If you’re depressed, you’re depressed. And if you’re in love, you’re in love. Just because you say so.
2) Never lose sight of yourself, and never change yourself for someone else. It’s not worth it. And after they’re gone, you’re just stuck with the Modified Version of Yourself. And all your habits will just remind you of _______. And you’ll be so mad at yourself for changing yourself for a boy/girl/goblin. And if you do end up with that person, you’ll always wonder, ‘Wow, I wonder if they’d like me for who I really am and not the edited version of myself.’
3) It’s never, ever too late to start over.
4) Say how you feel. No one can read your mind. Someday, maybe you’ll find your Someone who can read you like a fuckin’ book. But until then, say how you feel. And don’t be scared. People will admire you for your honesty. And vulnerability. It’s so OK to not be OK. So many times during my project, I was like, “Wow, I’m not happy today. I’m not.” And it’s ok. Cuz maybe the next day will be better. Or the next day.
5) A positive attitude is sexy. And I like myself better for my optimism.
6) Being happy can be easy. Just make it routine. Like, you don’t want to floss every day but you start to do it and it gets easier. Comes more naturally. Like working out. Happiness is the same. Optimism. If you try to be happy every day, eventually it just comes naturally. And anything can make you happy. Food. Miracles. Butterflies. Dreams coming true. Sitting down. Sleeping. Taking your shirt off. Being sloppy. Laughing til your throat hurts. Being hopeful at the end of a rough day. It’s easy, and people will like you more if you stop being such a fucking sourpuss.
7) It doesn’t benefit you to try to figure out what is going on in someone else’s head. When a relationship ends with you and So-and-So, let it go. Cuz if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. And that’s ok. Sometimes, two people just aren’t right for each other. BUT THAT’S OK. It’s no one’s fault. You just move on. Because, Baby, there are SO MANY people in the world.
8) Don’t do something just because other people tell you to. After my breakup, everyone told me how to handle the situation. And sometimes I did what I was told. But I never felt right about it until it was what I wanted to do.
9) Don’t put up with being treated like shit. Cuz there is someone else dying to love you.
10) You’re a fucking winner and you were born this way baby. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
11) You are what you say you are.
12) Don’t deny how you feel. Accept it.
13) Wear clothes you feel sexy in. It’s ok to like the way you look. But if you wanna feel good, LOOK. GOOD. You won’t regret it. And get a pair of boots to stomp in, for God’s sake.
14) Never underestimate the love of a friend or family member. When I was crying every day, my big sister and I went out to Burger King. And of course, I broke down at Burger King but I tried to suppress it. She noticed. And later she texted me, “It hurts me to see you like this. Like knives in my throat. If I could I would take away all your pain.” That memory still brings tears to my eyes and makes me so grateful to have who I have.
15) Be grateful. If you’re sad, think about all the things you’re grateful for. Maybe you have awesome boobs. Be grateful. Maybe you can make someone laugh. Be grateful. Or maybe you’re breathing and you could be dead. Be grateful. Gratitude puts everything into perspective.
16) Mean what you say, and say what you mean. Tell people you love them, but only if you do. But if you do, tell them. Cuz you might make their day, and you might become a bit more genuine.
17) Don’t let fear inhibit you. Everything is scary. Everything could hurt. Anything could kill you. You could swallow a butterfly, choke and die. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go outside.
18) Take care of you. Cuz no one else will. Cuz They’re too busy taking care of Them. So. Don’t be offended. Just be on Your side.
19) It’s ok to be single. Just cuz you don’t know how to do it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. It’s really good for you.
20) Get to know yourself. Cuz it’s scary to be with someone who knows who they are when you haven’t a fucking clue what makes you tick.
21) Most importantly: don’t be afraid of love. Like me. Yeah, I talk the talk but holy shit I’d rather eat my foot than walk the walk. Someday, it won’t hurt so bad. And I know that. It doesn’t hurt as bad anymore. My heart has a damn good memory, like a fuckin’ steel trap.

So I took a chance on a boy and got my heart broken. Duh. You turn 21, you get drunk. You fall in love, you break your heart. Doesn’t mean I should never try it again. Yes, I’m terrified. I don’t want to go through that all again. Trust your instincts. Sometimes, when something doesn’t feel right, it’s not right. You’re not crazy for feeling the way you feel. Let me just say, I had a great relationship. It was awesome. I was so in love. I loved his family, I loved spending time with him, and yeah, he made me laugh. He’s not a bad guy. He’s not. And maybe someday we’ll be friends. It happens. Drew and I are friends. Matt Belo and I are friends. John Tackett and I are friends. You-Know-Who and I are friends. It happens. So maybe someday. But til then, I gotta take care of myself.

Bottom line: he’s not the one. Cuz if he were, we’d still be together. And here’s the BEST part. The BEST BEST BEST PART of what I’ve learned:

I can’t even imagine what comes next. The one I end up with will be better. No offense, but we don’t work. Fact. But I can’t even fathom how the Next One will be. But I know that I won’t change myself. He’ll make me laugh. He’ll be smart. And beautiful. And kind. And we’ll fit. And if we don’t, he’s not the one. And I take no blame. But I won’t change a fucking thing about who I am. And I won’t fucking have to.

Cuz I’m a fucking winner.

Hold on, bitch, cuz it’s gonna be a bumpy-ass ride. But holy shitface, does it get SO much better. I promise. It’s your life, and you’re beautiful cuz I fuckin’ say so. So. Stop settling for second best.

22) NEVER.SETTLE.GOD.DAMNIT. Never. Cuz you were born to win. I’m a 10 and if you’re not, then get the fuck out my way. And you’re a 10 so stop wasting your time on losers who don’t deserve you. Stop waking up hating your life. Be proactive and go get what you want, God Damnit. Or I will slap the shit outta yo silly ass face.

Day 1: Sad

Day 365: Happy

Looks like I win.


Thanks for sticking it out. Oh, and this isn’t the last you’ll hear from me. Oh. By the way.

I love you so much.
(23: Love yourself.)

“I won’t change anything in my life. I’m staying myself tonight.”
~”La La Land” by Demi Lovato




Comments on: "365. The Last One: Rebirth" (1)

  1. You are so amazing. I’m so grateful for you.

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