the hour after waking

most days i couldn't tell you two things about happiness other than sometimes i am, sometimes i'm not.

sometimes it's there. sometimes it's not.

but this morning, this morning happiness was the quick walk to the corner caffe. the white lunch bag with the bagel-and-egg sandwich. the plastic sip-cup of orange juice. this morning happiness was the quiet apartment and a song on repeat. it was the forgiveness i granted myself for the unmade bed and messy floor. the notion that everything--every action, every thought, every sideways glance is a prayer. distilled down, all is prayer, and i am changed by that. that thought, that knowledge, that eternal and ever-reaching love changes me. this morning happiness was the not-so-gentle sense that everything will work out. the turmoil of excitement sitting pit of stomach for a reason that i am not yet conscious of.

this morning happiness was the hour after waking. when the world was mine and mine alone. and there was no fear. only love. in every action. love of waking, despite exhaustion. love of taking the elevator, and studying the windows across the street. love of feeding my body. of taking this suspended time before the day catapults forward and staking a claim.

the tin atop my desk

there is a tine atop my desk filled with coffee-stained scraps, unfinished lists, scribbles of things i felt the call to remember.

this tin--well, the contents of this tin, might be my most prized possession.

it is random and chaotic and has absolutely no rhyme or reason, but it is important. to me, it is important.

it is a memory box.

i pulled it out the other day, took to leafing through the bits and pieces, scratched out lines that i felt i had properly tended to, circled words and phrases i wanted expand upn.

and i came across a list from november.

november was hard. the fall was absolutely hard this past year.

it was a list of the things i did one day when the going was particularly rough:

i slept with the humidifier on. ordered the books from amazon i'd been wanting. ordered some skirts from asos. woke early. i showered with my new body scrub. took the time to use lotion after getting out. i made sure my phone was fully charged. i ate a nourishing breakfast of oatmeal and flax seeds and slivered almonds. i scrubbed the mold from the shower curtain.

an innocuous list. not terribly exciting. someone else might come upon and wonder why i had thought to save it.

well, because on that day, when i was feeling so blue, each of those things was prefaced with i love myself enough that...

even at the lowest, even feeling blue and unworthy, and terribly sad, there came the thought:

i love myself enough to wash the shower curtain because i deserve to live in a clean home. 

i love myself enough to eat a hearty breakfast because my body deserves that much. 

i did the things i didn't feel like doing, because the larger, better part of me knew i deserved them.

it was a list of my successes that day. short and simple and not terribly interesting. but hugely triumphant, for me a triumph of the little odds and ends that keep one afloat and lead to that delicious territory in which happiness sings.

i believe...

in stemless wine glasses. in the feel of the bowl in my palm. i believe in white wine. sauvignon blanc, of the new zealand persuasion, imbibed barefoot in the kitchen--vegetables roasting in the oven.

i believe in men who can wear a sweaters. in over-sized oxfords and penny loafers. that cauliflower is the most interesting and versatile vegetable out there. that truffle oil pairs nicely with almost anything worth having (popcorn).

i believe in laughter and big, rolling tears--the need for both, the importance of of both, the beauty of both.

i believe all things aspire to music.

i am learning that a lease hardly ends the moment you are ready to leave. and so a shuffle-step ensues. of learning to live around those things that elicit frustration and unease. and that sometimes an expansive room and a jaw-dropping view are not enough to tether one to a place.

i believe in buoyancy. in the calm that comes from dusting. or reading. or long, hot baths. that we've all failed. and we're all flawed. and that happiness must be found on one's own. separate of anything or anyone else. because everything ends, eventually, everything ends. and most things, given enough time, enough space, enough heaven-sent perspective reveal themselves as blessings.

i believe that no gift is greater than that of sitting in silence and listening. really listening. and that we get to choose our friends. and as we grow and get older, discernment is vital.

i believe in peanut butter. an on an intellectual-level i believe in peanut butter in moderation. but on an experiential level i only believe in peanut butter in moderation when it's already too late.

i believe in the attempt. in the leap. and that things happen the very moment you think they never will--the very moment you give into that, accept that, make peace with that (easier said than done).

i believe in the return. in coming back. in coming home, wherever home may be.


the swell and the breath.

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 12.52.29 PM i've never really been of the belief that happiness is a choice.

there was that one summer i went around paying lip-service to it--to the belief. that one summer i wanted so desperately for it to be true that need eclipsed sense and i wore the phrase heavy around my neck.

i should clarify.

it's not that i don't think happiness a choice, it's that i think the choosing only goes so far.

it's part choice, part fight,  part smidge of luck, some indeterminate amount of divinity, a hell-of-a-lot of hard work, part ritual, part mystery, part getting out of bed in the morning. and when all is said and done, you offer those things up. like a prayer, you offer them up. and then you wait. you wait to see if they're enough.

because the blue is big and the blue is deep.

and some days, some weeks, some indeterminate stretches of time, they're not .

and sadness swells and breathes like an out-of-tune accordion.

i watched it approach this go round. watched as it appeared on the lip of the horizon. watched as it slowly, steadily, hurtled toward me. and i got out of bed each morning, and i payed homage to the ritual and the mystery, and i had my morning coffee, but the sadness took hold.

that hauntingly familiar sadness filled and unfurled. settled in.

both hollowing and hallowing is that blue.

and in the space it created, i with flailing arms and pitiable grace, groped for meaning.

two days ago, on the train, i began to cry. while reading a short essay about a father's love for his son, i wept.

i wept not because i was sad but because the words were beautiful and simple and wholly solvent.

and in doing so, in weeping, there was a thought:

here i am.

here i am, the girl moved to tears by the love a father not even my own.

and the meaning--the reason for this stretch of time--while still unknown, is somewhere in there--there, in that moment.

that is what is known, the boundaries of this swath: the reading of an essay on a train. and the human response.

and for now that is solace enough. for now, that is the salve that will heal.

filling myself in the morning.

There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself. 

Brian Andreas

i was reading the words of brian andreas when i wrote this. i think part of the secret of success in life is to find those--those in your life and immediate circle of friends, as well as poets and musicians and artists--find those people that speak to the very deepest parts of yourself and cultivate those friendships, those affairs. cultivate a taste that no one can question--that is yours--fill yourself up with that love.

i'm realizing i'm a better person when i begin the day with oatmeal, some really good music (lately, the tallest man on earth) and the words of someone so much smarter than myself (like brian andreas).

remember when a few weeks back i posted about happiness and asked that you all might help me make a list of tangible things to pull us from that place of funk? well yesterday, this one was added:

i am great. i need nothing but myself to make me happy. 

words of comfort, dropping like leaves, indeed.