Happy Stuff: Making a Bad Day Better.

Yesterday was a tough day. It was one of those days that you sit in a room by yourself in silence and then out of nowhere this question makes itself known; Who am I and what am I doing?

This isn’t such a rare thought for me to sit on, but spend too much time sitting on it and you’ll be no one and do nothing. The question arose in me because this week has been rough for me health-wise. And when it’s your fourth day in pajamas- no matter how awesome your pajama pants are- it makes you consider your existence in that essential kind of way. I’m like, dude, why am I here? And feeling like a human wasteland is just not a good feeling. But also, it’s more a thought derived from our egos and it is mostly untrue. In a clearer head I know that my existence matters and everyone who is alive matters. That is true. One of the shitty goals of the ego is to make you feel separate– from earth, from society, and from God. The truth is that we’re connected to all of these things and that our existence matters.

So there I was feeling all down on myself and I’m like you know what? This is crap. I’m not going to sit here and feel sorry for myself. I’m going to do something happy. And strangely I felt this weird desire to run. Strange because mostly I hate running. But if I had energy, I would have put on those professional looking running clothes that my sister and brother wear when they go jogging and feel the wind in my face. But the truth is, I’d probably tire myself out getting dressed before even getting out the door. Plus it’s so hilly here, I’d probably vomit after the first hill. My fatigue level has been rough this week, which I think contributes to those existential crisis moments of Who Am I and What Am I Doing and Am I Going to Live on my Siblings Couches Forever? But you have to cut life into slices. Sometimes you take it by the week. Sometimes by the day. And yesterday, by the hour.

Sometimes you have to reach out for help, so I texted Gabe “Life is hard!” and he texted back, “Yeah, it is!” And I remembered, oh yeah, everyone’s life is hard. Haha. Then I was like, OK, I need to bring some happy energy into this room. And the quickest way I know how to do that is through music. So I started looking for energetic happy music to start. I was g-chatting with my friend Emily and I was like ‘Dude, I need some good music. Happy stuff. What movie has a great soundtrack?” And Emily responded “Beauty and the Beast.” Which made me 1. Laugh out loud. 2. Play that song “There must be more than this provincial life! and 3. Remember why I love Emily so much. So then I was like OK, more music. And I kept listening to different things and put together a playlist of upbeat stuff. And I don’t know how, but somehow Tom Jones “It’s Not Unusual” made its way onto the playlist, and if you can imagine a scrawny girl in her pajamas blaring the one and only Tom Jones and dancing like an idiot to that weirdly catchy tune, well then, maybe I’ve made you smile. Because soon I was laughing at myself and what a hilariously tragic day it was.

Next, I took out my favorite sharpie pen and decided to do arts and crafts, because it’s fun and, well that’s the only reason. The thing is, I’m pretty terrible at drawing and painting. But, I enjoy the process of creating. And in the last two years there is one thing I discovered I’m decent at; drawing straight lines. So I have all these pictures at my mom’s house, a few in frames and a few in a folder, of white paper with black vertical lines. Mostly because it’s all I can do and also it requires focus and patience and time, not unlike actual good artwork. And there’s something fulfilling about it. The more lines you draw, the more disorienting it becomes on the page as you continue. Like the lines in your peripheral vision become blurry and then start to move on their own. It’s weird. And fun. I show you.

First You Draw a Couple Lines
Then You Draw a Couple More
Then You Draw Them Till You Feel It’s Done

And that is the art of drawing straight lines. If you’re thinking ‘What is this hippie shit?” I hear that. It’s mostly meaningless. But I like how long it takes. And that it’s simple and looks that way but also requires patience and focus and something about it makes me usually feel a little better. SO LAY OFF ME AND MY LINES OKAY?! Jokes. This one is for sale for 1 dollar and is titled “Welcome to America.”

After that, I received an email from a stranger who told me she reads my blog and that it makes her laugh and she felt the need to reach out and tell me that. I was like dude, the Universe works quickly! I was doubting myself and then this stranger writes me and tells me to keep it up? Cray cray. Thank you for that email Annie wherever you are. Whatever convinced you to write me, pay attention to it, because that just happened to be something I needed to hear at the time that you sent it. Yay for serendipitous universal connections!

And then after that, I came across a video of a rather large dog riding a bicycle and I was like, holy cow, dogs are incredible. And if this doesn’t make you smile you may want to check yourself because there is a very real possibility that you are a robot. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just good information to know about yourself. Just watch.

A Dog Riding a Bicycle

And if that didn’t do it for you, then maybe you’ll appreciate this dog that dances better than you.

And if THAT didn’t make you smile, maybe this picture of a really cute baby I know will.

Dude, just look at her feet.

Something about this photo just makes me happy every time I look at it and I’m pretty sure it’s her feet. But who can say. Anyway, after the drawing, and Tom Jonesing, and dog cycling and baby photos, I felt a little better. Then I thought of the many ways this day could have unfolded; it’s very easy to fall into a sad day and stay that way. It has happened to me countless times. But I am realizing just how big our role is in the outcome of our days. I had a friend in high school say to me once: “Do you the know the difference between a good day and a bad day? ATTITUDE!” And I remember wanting to punch something when I heard that, but also, it’s kind of true isn’t it? Perception plays a huge role in our lives. If we look at life as against us, we’ll find opposition. If we look at life as for us, we’ll find peace. There will be good and bad days for the rest of our lives. There will be reasons to laugh and reasons to cry. But when given the choice on mediocre days, and we do have a choice, choose the laughter. It’s more fun that way. And most importantly, pay attention! The universe gives us signs and symbols all the time. It is up to us to piece it all together.

Health, Happiness, and More Happiness.

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26 thoughts on “Happy Stuff: Making a Bad Day Better.

  1. As someone with depression, I hear ya on having those days where you are just in a funk and contemplating why you are here. And like you found, music helps, quite a lot. Also, moving. Whether it is running, swimming, walking in a park or even in a museum, it helps just to move a little. I have also found that forcing myself to go into the world, even if it is just to the library or walking through a mall or something, helps. I don’t know what it is, but seeing the rest of the world makes things so much better. So does playing with puppies, kittens, and babies. I think hitting up adopt-a-pet or that weird “family dog” puppy store to play with animals helped me more than I ever will know.
    Sorry for the rambling, just wanted to say you aren’t alone & offer some of what has worked for me before.

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  2. Number 1) You seem psychie (as my Gramma says it) to me at times with that whole Universe connectednesss thing…and know exactly what to write from your heart at the right time and you probably would faint if you knew how much it meant to people who read your blog. Number 2) I want a Sheep Dog now. Number 3) That dancing Merengue Dog made me literally cry with joy. That must have taken 8 years to train it for that super long song! And Number 4) I think Tom Jones rocks too and you made me think of this vid that I’m sharing. Keep on keepin on babe!!!!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zrmyaDnYD8&feature=related

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  3. I have been following your blog ever since that “what white girls do on facebook” post, and they just get better and better! I love your writing because it is so real and accessible, I feel like you’re someone I could actually meet in person and be friends with. I think you matter, and are making a real, positive difference. Keep it up!

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  4. Don’t doubt yourself, lady, you’re totally making a difference. Just by being your authentic self and sharing it touches people who are also going through the same thing, and makes them know they’re not alone. I really look forward to reading your stuff!

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    1. Thank you so much for your words! I am thrilled if my experience can comfort anyone else going through their own battle. Thanks for writing, hope you’ll be back!

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  5. WE ARE THE SAME! Well, not exactly, because I don’t have CFS, but I do have fibro, and I have random, weird, strong urges to go running, even though I can’t run and my body hates anything remotely close to running.

    I envy your ability to draw lines. I also have that urge/desire to create stuff, but I can’t draw. I quite love my “Coloring Book for Grownups: Aunt Beth’s Brain Balm”.

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  6. I’m SO tired of trying to get people to understand how I feel. My best friend of 40+ years feels that I have no business being on disability payments because I can bring in my groceries from the car and other “non-drooling in a wheelchair” types of every day things that I HAVE to do. The subject of my disability is now off limits to her and my daughter. My daughter, like most people just dosen’t understand how much pain I am in and I don’t want to worry her. I’m disappointed in my best friend. What should I do??

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    1. I read your comment and thought if I was your daughter I would want to know. As for your friend of 40+ years…shame on her, if your best friend doesn’t understand and sympathize with your needs, then you are doing the right thing by making the subject off limits. I don’t know what you are dealing with but I hope you have more good days than bad, and I will send happy thoughts into the universe just for you!

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    2. Hi Linda. The illness will leave you tired enough..don’t tire yourself further by trying to make people understand. As Deepak Chopra says, “What other people think of us is none of our business.” I know it’s hard when people don’t understand. Trust me, I confront it often, usually in some form every day. Your daughter will come around. But maybe step back from trying to convince them of what you are. The illness doesn’t define you, even though it does effect basically everything. But there is also a person in there that your friend of 40 years loves and your daughter looks up to. You take care of you. They don’t understand and that’s OK for now. If possible, have you looked into any CFS support groups in your area? Those can also be very helpful. Please check back in! All my best.

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  7. I would gladly pay you for Welcome to America. It seems more than lines to me, and while I appreciate williamgwscott’s impression of it, I don’t see depression at all, I see a couple different things…like a small cross section of a very large tree, or the beginning of an infinitely long road (seems redundant…infinitely long), leading to many adventures. But, mostly I keep coming back to tree’s. Needless to say, I love it, and I need to know where to send payment. I would love to frame it and put it in my craft room.

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  8. Completely feel you on this. Every day I’m at my parents home wondering what I’m doing with my life and when I’m going to be able to start being more independent. Grrr unemployment. So you’re still in the OC? Are you trying to look for a job?

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  9. I love it, you have a knack for saying exactly what we all need to hear, thankyou.

    I also love to draw but have to talent, my favourite thing to do is to draw random coloured lines all over the paged then fill in the gaps with more colours! I just love the brightness of it!

    That photo is just adorable!

    And thankyou again, for reminding us that we can choose to not let life get us down, not matter what it throws at us

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  10. the welcome to America print says to me I am depressed. Here is my blair witch impression. l am glad the world answered you, you are an inspiration to me in your battles and i wish you the best daily.

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  11. I actually needed this so much just as you sent it as well! Thank you for your posts. I read them, save them, pass them on, and use them as a therapeutic tool with my clients. My sister tells me to email you all the time to tell you how much your blog helps me. Next time, maybe I will! I guess you never know when someone will need to hear something nice.

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  12. Oh Mary, I needed this so much right now. I am having one of those days today…the first part that is. The sad/tragic look at what I’ve lost and how will I ever recover it kind of days. Your blog made me smile, as it usually does. I will try to throw on some Tom Jones and adjust my mood.

    Tom, Jones, and Mary.

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