Posts tagged with "happiness"

convalescent care

The time will come
when, with ela­tion
you will greet your­self arriv­ing
at your own door, in your own mir­ror
and each will smile at the oth­er’s wel­come,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for anoth­er, who knows you by heart

—Derek Walcott, Love After Love

I’ve start­ed going to appoint­ments on my own. Being stuck in a wait­ing room with sobri­ety on the hori­zon no longer fills me with rage; instead, I take the time as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to do breath­ing exer­cis­es and prac­tice mind­ful­ness. When some­thing minor goes wrong I don’t shut down any­more. I can han­dle small amounts of stress with­out being over­whelmed. Leaning into my anx­i­ety and mak­ing peace with it has giv­en me a mod­icum of inner strength I thought was for­ev­er lost. I’m start­ing to feel less help­less, less like a vic­tim.

It’s a sign that I’m on the mend. The trau­ma of the past is start­ing to lose its effect on me. Heather does­n’t have to use a vaca­tion day to accom­pa­ny me on every check-up, and we can spend that time con­nect­ing in a more mean­ing­ful way1.

glass-blown pumpkins

Since Halloween is her favourite time of year, I sur­prised her with a glass­blow­ing work­shop where we made our own pump­kins. She now has these dec­o­rat­ing her desk at work as a reminder of a love­ly date in the Fall.

Developing resources to be self-suf­fi­cient also means learn­ing to be respon­si­ble for my own hap­pi­ness. In the past, I would save songs, shows, and movies so I could expe­ri­ence them for the first time with anoth­er per­son. This was espe­cial­ly true when ____ was still in my life; every moment was bet­ter when I could share it with her. But that meant I would con­stant­ly be deny­ing myself the plea­sure, and total­ly reliant on some­one’s com­pa­ny to be hap­py.

So I’ve start­ed enjoy­ing things on my own as a way of treat­ing myself well. Making sure I do some­thing that gives me joy every day has opened up a world of ways to be com­pas­sion­ate to myself. Poor self-esteem has his­tor­i­cal­ly made it dif­fi­cult for me to feel like I deserved to have fun unless I had done some­thing to earn it, while bad emo­tion­al habits meant I nev­er believed I was doing enough. None of that is an prob­lem when I sim­ply want myself to be hap­py.

That’s not to say I still don’t miss ____ tremen­dous­ly — even after she decid­ed to aban­don me and blame me for it — but I don’t need her like I used to. I know I’m final­ly get­ting over her after so many years when I can fin­ish the shows we start­ed with­out get­ting over­whelmed with emo­tion. Learning that I have the abil­i­ty to heal myself also comes as a huge sur­prise. I’ve been spend­ing so much effort on recov­ery, try­ing to feel like my old self again, that I for­got it’s pos­si­ble to grow in new ways and become an even bet­ter ver­sion of the per­son I used to be.

Rosie's knuckle tattoos

Rosie has the only knuck­le tat­toos I’ve ever been tempt­ed to copy.

Still; I can’t remem­ber the last time a song real­ly hit me, some­thing worth rat­ing five stars in my playlists2. Music does­n’t bring me the same man­ic rush of joy any­more. In the last few years, this was direct­ly relat­ed to the amount of trau­ma I expe­ri­enced. Hardship has a way of bring­ing per­spec­tive to one’s life, and reduc­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of things both good and bad.

Now I can tell it’s the price to pay for sta­bil­i­ty. The highs don’t seem as high any­more when I’m con­tent most of the time, but that’s okay. I’m start­ing to under­stand that the eupho­ria I would seek as relief from my suf­fer­ing isn’t sus­tain­able. That’s a drag­on I no longer need to chase when I can remem­ber that pain is part of life, and let­ting it in is an impor­tant part of heal­ing.

  1. Not that she’s ever resent­ful when look­ing after me. []
  2. A quick check of my library tells me this was Tower Song by Townes Van Zandt back in 2015. []

a quiet moment

I took a break from gui­tar. Not a con­scious deci­sion, just days that were busy enough that I did­n’t think of pick­ing her up, which means I don’t even know how long I’d stopped. All I know is that it was long, cause I feel the strings vibrat­ing through every piece of wood that touch­es my body now, one of those sen­sa­tions you stop notic­ing after enough time.

I haven’t had much to say either. Nothing seems impor­tant. At the same time, I’m try­ing to move away from this social media over­load, where so many peo­ple speak only cause the pow­er to do makes them believe they should. It’s mak­ing the gaps between my entries longer and longer, and I won­der if I’ll even­tu­al­ly stop writ­ing alto­geth­er.

getting dressed

All I have are mem­o­ries of lives I lived so long ago that I feel like I’m watch­ing them in 8mm. The friends and the lovers, the love and the hate, the cycles and the pat­terns. I’m only now sort­ing out the mean­ing of each one, maybe cause I’ve final­ly grown enough to under­stand myself and my rela­tion­ship with the world at large. It’s com­fort­ing to see how far I’ve come when com­par­ing the per­son I am now to each per­son I used to be.

But such progress came at the cost of my inno­cence; we aren’t always ready to learn the hard­er lessons, and sur­viv­ing some­times means we change in ways that pre­vent us from becom­ing the peo­ple we’re meant to be. I’m try­ing to take back that inno­cence now, cause I know my hap­pi­ness is at stake.

cause you're bored and you can doesn't mean you should

I always won­der if I’ll ever reach such a com­plete peace that I’d stop writ­ing com­plete­ly. One of the rea­sons I start­ed this blog was to have a place where I could get things down and sort my thoughts out on a page, but I don’t need to do much of either nowa­days.

I know so many peo­ple who’ve con­tin­ued writ­ing, even after find­ing that kind of hap­pi­ness in their lives. Unfortunately, hap­pi­ness has robbed them of lit­er­ary inspi­ra­tion, and now they have noth­ing inter­est­ing to say. It would­n’t be so bad if they stopped writ­ing, but they post for the sake of post­ing instead of hav­ing some­thing to say or express or vent, and it reeks of des­per­a­tion and inse­cu­ri­ty.

I used to wor­ry that hap­pi­ness would make me a bor­ing per­son too, but now I would­n’t mind as long as I real­ized it and gave up this blog. It’s so embar­rass­ing to write out of a belief that it’ll make you inter­est­ing. Or even worse, to be obliv­i­ous to the fact you’re writ­ing about the most inane things.

homeostasis

Everything is bal­anc­ing itself out. I’ve stopped try­ing to pre­dict or con­trol my cycles of intro­ver­sion and extro­ver­sion, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and pro­cras­ti­na­tion. As Oscar Wilde once said: “The only way to get rid of temp­ta­tion is to yield to it”. By doing what I want when I feel like it, every need is met in turn.

Life does­n’t get more com­fort­able than this. It’s been a great sum­mer.

baby eating on high chair

Now on mashed solids. Ruby at 11 months.

I’m glad I got here by myself, with­out the help of a friend, or lover, or wind­fall. It was some­thing I had to do on my own, so I’ll always know I’m strong enough to pick myself up and con­tin­ue grow­ing.

The only thing that’s real­ly miss­ing now is anoth­er cat (or two), but I already blew my kit­ty bud­get on Leonard’s vet bills. I’m not at the right place for a new adop­tion any­way, and I’ve decid­ed to wait until my major projects are fin­ished (hope­ful­ly some time around the end of the year) before I take on anoth­er life.

father and baby

It’s offi­cial; Kyden has the soft­est, pinchi­est cheeks ever at eight months.

I’ve been back from my trip for about a month and a half, but it feels more like a year. I’m so dif­fer­ent now from the per­son I was before I left. I was dying then, but I’m liv­ing now.

The only way I can tell how quick­ly time is tru­ly pass­ing is in the faces of my friends’ babies. Each time I see them they’re mak­ing new sounds, say­ing new words, more con­scious and coher­ent. I used to envy the care­free inno­cence they have when run­ning about naked, the sin­gle-mind­ed­ness they pos­sess when engrossed with a new toy, but now I feel like one of them.