on forcing one's self to look up. and the fight that ensues.

i saw a mouse on friday night. a live one.

i was sitting in the living room watching dateline's lived to tell the tale when something caught my eye.

a mouse. moving.

i have dealt with every kind of bug situation since moving to new york. ants and roaches, bed bugs and larvae, maggots and dead pigeons (those two were related, as it turns out).

but not a mouse. not. a. live. mouse.

so i sat on the couch and willed the thing to go away. but just as i began to relax, it thought the coast clear and would attempt to run from the hallway to the kitchen (food!) and i would let out a squeal and back it would go.

you see, i was a little undone by this wee of the mouse. but that poor mouse was absolutely terrified of me--this notion upset me all the more.

and so i began to cry. not too much, but enough to know that i wasn't really crying because of the mouse.

something bigger was at play here.

and to some extent i know what that something is, but also i haven't a bloody clue and how is that possible?

i'm pretty sure it has to do with shifting terrain and the sense that at any moment--should i make the decision--my world will open wide. and there will be light. or absolute darkness. or something in between.

{ahhh, that familiar territory of the unknown i so adore}.

but back to the mouse. so there i was: crying. legs pulled up under me on the couch. friday night. dateline on the television. and i made a decision.

i did what any manhattan-dwelling single-woman in her mid-twenties (actually, let's take a moment to clarify that, shall we? mid-twenties. not late-twenties. mid. MID-TWENTIES. got it? okay) who's home alone on a friday night would do: i ran to the bathroom, drew a bath, and locked myself in there. mouse be damned.

and when i finally emerged, a little bit cleaner and a little bit calmer i clomped about the apartment in flip-flops, trying to scare the thing back to wherever it had come from. out of site. out of mind.

i haven't seen it since. knock on wood.

more worrisome than the mouse is the nagging sense that i'm not feeling totally well--the tears brought on by something bigger than myself.

that old sadness creeping in.

sleeping a little bit more than usual. eating a little bit more than usual (and by a little bit, i mean, a lot).

it's always a humbling experience to find myself face to face with the eating disorder once more. mostly because there are things you forget--experiences and moments and memories your body protects you from. like how you sometimes remain as still as possible so as to not feel yourself in a body that is just a little bit bigger and a little bit less yours.

but then there are moments that pull you out. in the form of a kind boy with big eyes who's far more interesting than the burrito before you, or a night out at a bar in chicago that words will never fully do justice, or the man who wants to kiss you even when you're wearing that old, navy blue dress you only pull out when you feel you need both a little more coverage and a little more breathing room (i have an inkling he hasn't a clue about the dress. and even if he did, he wouldn't really care).

i know enough to know that this steep pendulum swing between being just fine and ever, so off-kilter is always--without a doubt--the period of the most growth. i come out better for it. and as a very lovely friend said to me the other day, it always passes. and there is such comfort in that. 


it was at a slip of a table at a restaurant in midtown west four years ago that a conversation took place. happiness is a choice. that's what we settled on, circled around. it's a choice. i can't tell you how many times i've returned to that place, that time, that thought. turned those words over in my hands, swallowed them whole and felt them burning at the pit of my stomach.

but then just recently i came across the wise words of ayn rand:

Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness. 

fight for your happiness. don't just choose it, fight for it. somehow that seems more apt. the actor in me understands that: the difference between those two verbs is an intensity of action. and the more active the verb, the more interesting the choice.

fight for your happiness. and value yourself. of course.

easier said than done, but an exciting proposition no?

i read an article in the huffington post this morning about what makes a person happy, really happy. and how mostly it's the small things.

and lord knows i've blogged about this before. (here and here, most recently).

but because right now i'm feeling a bit like i really need a tangible list of weapons with which to fight i want to include an addendum to my previous cocktail for happiness.

so here goes. addendum. (other things that make me happy. in no particular order)...

when my father sends me clippings from the new york times. (and they arrive the old-fashioned-way: posted mail).

speaking of my father, when i look down at my wallet--my absolute mess of a wallet and i know in that moment--in that absolute instant that i am actually my father's daughter. (i'm not daddy's little girl. never have been, never will be, because i am my father. i am his daughter, for better or worse, i am his child--nervous stomach, messy wallet and all).

when my parents do something--have a little argument, make coy comments, and i am reminded that even after all this time, they still love each other enough to poke fun and be willing to laugh.

always having a set of concert tickets in the little, white box atop my dresser. (someday i'll write about this year in which i became bold simply by listening to really good music).

pretty bowls. dried lavender. a long, slow brunch. getting dressed up--from the shower to the makeup to properly chosen under-garments (note to self: rid drawer of that pair of bridget jones-esque underwear {you know the pair, the terrible control top pair that is only okay when seen by no one but herself {actually, even then, it's questionable}) .

turning the subway into a movable cafe with a to-go latte in one hand and good book in the other. pulling the dirty clothes off my reading chair just long enough to actually read in it (a novel idea!). a good pun. the weight that is lifted the moment i finish my laundry. the promise of a good first-date. a really good literary illusion.

i gave myself two goals this week--two tangible things to pull myself from that metaphorical couch on which i sit, legs folded, afraid of a mouse for goodness' sake!

1. to try a new recipe each day. and 2. to lug a camera everywhere. that's it. that's all. a goal. and a gift to myself.

so do tell, won't you. what are the tangibles you pull out? what are your happiness triggers? i want to add to the list, make a communal one from which we call all draw...a starting place from which to fight for happiness.

(post script: happy tuesday).