What I say about being happy is that I am ‘also happy.’ I’m happy among other things. Happy is one of the many feelings or experiences that I will have throughout a day. I think happy has been sort of made into this Hallmark card of a word, and I don’t know what that means. So I will just say that I enjoy my life, I make choices, I do what I want to do. I am a strong person, I’m not afraid of almost anything, and that’s a lot because of [Debbie Reynold’s] example- Carrie Fisher, Oprah 2011
I know the focus of this blog is mental illness and that’s necessarily kind of a bummer subject, so I wanted to take a minute to enjoy a moment to talk about the things that are making me happy right now.
The Shrug Emoji: I learned how to make a shortcut on my phone to make this super quickly: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Improv: I’m in UCB level 201 right now and Saturday class is literally the happiest I feel all week. I get up there and just get to focus on nothing but being funny. I love being funny and I love trying to be funny, even if I fail. I love watching people develop their funny, and watching them just kill it. UCB feels like home, and I never feel out of place or unsupported there. Being on stage in front of people is terrifying and I love it.
Surfing: It’s that season (for me)! Where the waves are small enough so I can catch up from spending 8 years landlocked on the east coast, plus no wetsuit! Yay! Being up on a wave is the most zen’d out I could possibly ever be. The beach is my happy place. I can stare at waves an imagine them as huge Mavericks size monsters. I can skip rocks and I can watch the sun setting and just see how beautiful the world can be. I can paddle out there on my silly 8’0 surftech and buoy around all day long and smell like salt the rest of the day and it’s great.
My therapist: I really, really like her, and she’s really, really helping me with some big stuff. That’s all you get to know for now.
My dog: Eleanor Roosevelt. Elly. There’s this Neko Case lyric “nothing lasts forever; but I will always love you”. Yah, it’s a dog. I get that. I’m not THAT far gone. But Elly has been there for six years. Six years of moving in and then out with a significant other. Moving across the country. Being hospitalized and having my life upended by that, plus ECT and those damn K-holes. Elly is always there. She’s always thrilled to see me. She loves to run across the lawn, back to the front door after our walk but periodically looks back to make sure I’m coming too. She’s perfectly happy to spend the whole day napping in the crook of my leg, in bed. Her goofy fauxhawk and awkwardly skinny legs make me laugh, and she always smells like warm laundry.
Writing and doodling: It’s sort of a combo of the improv and surfing feeling. I’m in the moment, sort of zen’d out, and when I have a free evening at home there’s nothing I like more than just lying of the floor, listening to Spotify and writing or doodling.
Friends and Family: Way too many to name so I’ll just go with this one example: I’m lucky enough to have people who are willing to take off work and fly down to LA, to regularly wake up at 5am, and to Uber across town during rush hour to take me to ECT appointments. So Mom, Dad, Amy, Erin, Erika, Ben, Cari…they are magical people (if I forgot someone PLEASE let me know). Plus a brother who brought me snacks in Unit III every single day. And that’s just the tip of the amazing friends and family iceberg. Finding someone you can drive up the coast with, or check out a museum, or meet up for brunch or talk about a podcast with, man that’s awesome.
Los Angeles: I just love living here. I think it has some of the best street art I’ve ever seen. There are entire stores that just sell light bulbs. Interested in doing/buying/seeing/eating something? Yah, it’s here. And right on the ocean, no less!
Planning and going on Trips: I try to go abroad every other year and I’ve seen some awesome places and met some awesome people (and an awesome puppy, RIP Roo). Next year I want to go to some big cities and also tiny towns- the kind where the people who live there wonder why anyone would ever visit.
Tattoos: They really are addictive. I like looking at the ones I have and remembering where I was when I got them, and who I was with, and why I decided on them. I just dig them. I like seeing awesome tattoos on other people, too.
Welp, that’s it for now. I’m sure there’s more, but my memory (which is improving!) fails to think of them. Anyway, it’s all to say that even though I have depression and anxiety and they’re sometimes so overwhelming that I don’t take advantage of all those things, they are there, and they make me happy. Really, truly happy.