If I have learned any lessons in my life, the one I have really held on to has been this:
You need to be happy in life.
The last four years have certainly cemented this lesson into my brain. Life is too short to settle for something that makes you unhappy. And life is too short, and important, to worry about what others might think about your happiness.
The handful of you who might still read this blog have known me for a while. Heck, this blog was started 11 years ago, and I have been blogging for 14 years. You know I am easily amused, I am very emotional, I love colour and magical whimsical things. It’s almost impossible for me to hide that I am amused by something.
It’s who I am.
I have my dark, negative moments. But in public? Around people? At work? I am bubbles. I joke. I emote. I can be loud, I can be snarky. But I love to make people happy. That makes me happy.
After my trauma thing, I started surrounding myself with colour. My cubicle at work had a space cleared, and christened “My Happy Place”.
The little plushies, and figurines I had in that space were a rainbow of colour and happiness. I needed it. The office itself was all grey, black, and white. Besides my wardrobe and hair, nothing much else was colourful. Everything around me seemed dark. And that was difficult to work with.
I started filling my house with colour. My craft room was created. It’s full of things that make me happy.
For years my favourite colour has been purple. I have always hated the colours orange and yellow. And then I noticed I kept migrating towards things that were bright, and sunshiny. I would pick yellow over another colour when I would pick up an article of clothing. What? But it was a happy feeling that came over me as I looked at all the colours.
When I am not passionate about something, or not happy, I wilt. I fizzle out. And finally, I knew I needed to change something. So I took that scary step and quit my job.
Living a happy life isn’t a life of easy decisions. It’s extremely not easy to quit a stable, secure job and venture off into the unknown. I was certain I was crazy and having some sort of breakdown.
At my current job? Happiness is surround sound. I love what I am doing, where I work, and the people I spend my days with. I love all the new books, and products, and kids things. Someone commented one day, “you really enjoy everything about life, don’t you?” when I was super happy about a kid’s sunhat that we received. (And I wore. And then I bought. Because I am me.)
And it made me think.
Yes. Yes I do enjoy everything about my life. Not that I enjoy everything IN my life. There are frustrations, and there is sadness, and there are many things that are not enjoyable. But I do make sure to enjoy things about my life. I enjoy finding JOY around me. I enjoy joy. I enjoy celebrating what makes me happy.
And this? Even when things are doom and gloom, means that in a little way I always have a piece of sunshine with me because I can find joy in little things. Small things. Big things.
I am enchanted by kid’s novels, and toys, and items.
I am surrounded by love of family, and truly amazing friends.
Spending time with those people makes me so happy I feel like my heart might burst.
I enjoy being in love with my husband. And spending time together making each other laugh. We laugh a lot.
I love to laugh.
I love things that make me laugh.
I enjoy silly things. I enjoy strange things. I enjoy simple things.
I enjoy putting things on my head. That’s been something I’ve done since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Bows, hats, bags, ears, you name it. I like it on my head.
I enjoy sparkly shoes, and sparkly sunglasses. Heck, if it’s got glitter in any way, I will have to own it.
I love watching my animals do silly, and strange things.
It’s not easy to find something to make you happy every day, but I make sure I do. I don’t try, I just leave myself open to it. I am sacrificing things like financial security (in a way), and a full-time job with tons of vacation, so I can be truly 100% happy in a job I chose, instead of a job I was only settling for.
Sometimes you have to change things up, make scary decisions, and hold your breath while you jump into the unknown because you know that you need to be happy. If you’re not happy, then you’re not really going to be living your life. You’re mostly just going to ride along as a passenger. And that’s not the best thing for everyone. When you’re happy, others will be happy around you. It’s contagious.
But it’s not easy. It’s scary. But I think it’s worth every second of fear of the unknown (trust me, years of panic attacks and anxiety have kept me from so many decisions that I would have preferred to have made). I did this. I chose happiness. I chose to live a life that makes ME happy. This from a girl whose parents were convinced would never move out of her bedroom in their house.
I am happy. Being happy can require courage to choose that happiness. Find your courage, find your happiness. Don’t worry if people don’t get it. Many think I am insane to have left the job I left and chose to work in retail. Many think it’s a step backwards, and not an important job like the one I left. Pffft. Jobs are jobs. Why work in one you aren’t enjoying because people think it’s important? No thank you. That’s not for me.
I am happy where I am right now. I am happy with who I am again. I love making other people happy. Happy, happy, happy. Life.
Hey, you know what? It’s the 27th of March today. And, like, I knew it was the 27th of March today because I know I’m working on the 27th, but I didn’t realize it was MARCH 27.
As in traumaversary March 27th. (Warning: not a happy post in that link.)
As in PTSD issues March 27th.
Until I thought of the date and then did a mental double-take when I realized what day it was.
Normally I am hyper-aware of when this date is about to arrive. I have many sleepless nights, nightmares when I DO sleep, random panic attacks, and more leading up to the end of March. It’s been the norm for the past 3 years.
And yet, I really have not thought about this at all. And today, when I realized what day it was… I have had no reaction.
Maybe tonight, now that I am thinking about it (but not obsessively thinking about it!) I might have a nightmare or something. But to be honest, I feel so calm, and NORMAL that I don’t feel like that will happen at all.
Because I removed myself from so much that reminded me of the trauma. I am no longer downtown. I am no longer walking to the office I was walking to when it happened. I am in a job that keeps my brain busy, my body busy, and my mood HAPPY. So, so happy.
The trauma was always in the back of my mind for so long. Even outside of the last week of March. It was always there. I was always looking up. I’m still very cautious about my surroundings, but I’m not thinking about being cautious all the time. I know it’s become part of my every day routine and reactions, but I am not thinking about WHY.
Because this job has healed so much of what was broken within me. This job has brought me back so much joy. And I no longer feel lost. I no longer feel like I don’t know who I am anymore.
I have found myself again, and it’s not all because of working at the bookstore, but that’s been a huge part of the reason. Quitting my job, starting back in retail (books!), was such a terrifying change to make, but the more I think about it, the more I confirm that this was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Because today is March 27, and I am not afraid of it.
Woah. Hey, there internet! How have you been? Long time no speak. Goodness. It wasn’t my intention to vanish into thin air for two full months. Yikes. Unlike the past few blog-lags, this time wasn’t due to any sort of sadness/depression/anxiety. I was away mostly because I am busy all the time, and offline much more than I used to be. (Granted, it doesn’t seem that way if you look at my Instagram feed, but you don’t have to browse the net in order to post photos on it!)
So, what’s new?
My job: still loving every second of it. To the point that I was sad I could not work two days one week because I had a fever with my horrible head cold. As of starting to write this post, I still can’t taste anything. Or breathe through my nose. Ugh. I do love working part-time, though financially full-time is what I need to be doing. I didn’t realize how much I missed shift work. I like having time during different parts of the day to do stuff. I especially love having mornings free to wake up, lounge about, and get stuff done. I have worked on a few events with the Kid’s team at work and those events made me SO happy.
Me: I turned 41 in January. I didn’t even blog about it. WHAT?! But it’s true. I am a little annoyed at myself for not posting something because I know I will eventually look back on my blog to find the post I didn’t write. But… I have cautious optimism about my 40s. I celebrated my birthday at a trampoline park with some of my best friends and their families. That was so much fun! I feel like I have my life together on an upswing. The changes I have made in my life in the last year have been for the better and are making me ME again. And happy. And healthy(er). (Ignoring the cold I got from playing with children. heh) If anything, I now want to do TOO much, I have all this energy that I want to channel into so many things – crafting, exercising, reading, cleaning, working. I need to find a decent balance so I can do all of the things I want to do and still have time to regenerate. I am anxious for the warmer weather so I can open up the windows and sit outside on my deck swing again.
FLOOFS: In February the humans in this house officially became outnumbered by the furry, four-legged creatures who live with us. We were adopted by a cat. It’s a long story, but the short version is: Yoshi loved her, he protected her when she was being sexually assaulted by a feral tom cat, and one day she just followed Yoshi into the house when I let the dogs in. She’s been with us for 3 1/2 weeks now, and she’s wonderful. Welcome, Abigail. We now live in a FLOOFmenagerie.
So, I’m here. I’m happy. I’m busy. And I need to remember to blog more!
The above photo accurately depicts how I am feeling these days. Rainbows, and stars, and magical, sparkly happiness. Me. Who I am. Who I have always been, but lost.
I have completed 7 full shifts at the bookstore and aside from sore feet (and lower back), I have never felt better. I feel like I am floating through the aisles as I wander the store and help customers, or tidy up books on the shelves. I can’t stop smiling. I am so genuinely happy that I feel like sunshine and rainbows.
I have been lucky enough to be scheduled for 40 hours a week, and during weekdays only. It’s nice to have my weekends off to see Shawn since I have been working afternoon-into-evening, and getting home way past my bed time. This coming week I’ll be working until 10pm or 11pm. I am slightly worried about exhaustion and driving in the winter, but I have been managing so far. I sleep well at night. I think I’ve only had one headache in the past 2 weeks, instead of one every day.
Even with the exhaustion of relearning how to be on my feet for 8 hours a day (and having to talk to people!), I feel as though I have so much energy to want to do things again. I read a 400+ page book from cover to cover in a day this weekend. I have shovelled snow. I feel bright and light.
I know this is a seasonal contract, and I can only hope to be offered part-time work after it’s over, if they ever need more help. But I am such a happier creature once more. I knew I wanted to do this, but it’s been like night and day the changes I feel and see in myself. I love the store. I love the books. I love the customers. Even when you get the occasional grumpy, negative client, I still take it all in with a smile. I am there because I WANT to be, not because I have to be. I am there to talk books (and other cool stuff) to people and share my joy and enjoyment of books with them. I love recommending titles to people looking for YA or MG books. I love sharing my thoughts about mysteries and fantasy novels. I am just loving every single second of this job and I am so happy to finally feel happy again. To finally feel like MYSELF again.
For the four or five of you who still read this (ha), you know how much I have been struggling the past three years. You know how lost and broken I was after the stupid jumper trauma. I just wasn’t me. I didn’t love anything about anything or myself. I was lost, I was apathetic, I was sad and scared.
But now I am feeling so much joy. So much…just right. Like things are clicking back into place. I am seeing colours and sparkles everywhere, and not only grey, colour-draining monochromatic surroundings. I feel as though the above amazing rainbow, star, unicorn onesie (the best gift ever from Monkey!) is a reflection of my soul right now. So cheesy and pathetic, yes, but true.
The decision to leave my old job was so difficult because of how it was a safety net for health benefits and money, and leaving my friends there was the hardest part. Leaving the job itself wasn’t difficult. I haven’t looked back yet, and not once have I thought I made the wrong choice. Retail isn’t easy, it’s not for everyone, and many think I am going backwards and not doing something important. To that I say – titles, and positions are just labels. Why focus on what your title is when you’re not happy with what you’re doing? Pay cuts are terrifying and difficult to work around, but not impossible, and I am so lucky to be able to choose what I want to do even though it will be a bit of a challenge to re-budget things.
I have the most patient, and supportive husband in the world. He might not get why I would want to go back to retail, but he gets that I want to be (and need to be) happy. And he knows I am happy. And we will make this work. And because of how fulfilled this bookstore job makes me feel, I feel as though we can make anything work. Always.
I’m still slightly lost in some ways, but I have found the right form of healing I needed to follow. Happy. I am so very happy. I love my new (but old) job, and I am so thankful that I found the courage to make this change.
It has been an unusually mild November so far. Granted, looking back at my blog posts, or at my Facebook Memories, the past five or so years have been all over the weather map in November. Yesterday though, was gorgeous.
I’ve only been off work for two weeks, though I am finding myself a little lost already. I am lonely for one. As much as I say I don’t like people, I miss people. I miss the social element to being out in the working world. I have applied to a couple of jobs, one being seasonal work at the bookstore near me (and I am really hoping they call me, because I MISS that job!), but I haven’t heard anything from anywhere yet. I’m enjoying being on the south shore. I am enjoying being able to focus on my school work and not have to cram discussions or assignments into the limited hours I am awake between working hours. So that’s been lovely. I have more time to be creative, and crafty. I am trying very hard to keep that sort of thing up because I know it makes me feel better, and keeps me motivated.
But I am also getting stuck in the “hide-in-the-house-and-live-on-the-couch-in-my-sweats” rut. I don’t want this to happen at all. But it’s so easy to get swallowed up by laziness and agoraphobia. It’s also a bad, bad, BAD idea for me to be stuck in this rut when I am so easily prone to depression and anxiety.
Yesterday I followed the dogs outside, and sat on the deck. Still in my sweatpants and baggy sweater. The dogs bounded around me playfully, and gave me kisses. I took a deep breath.
It. Was. Gorgeous. Outside.
“I should really be outside, walking.” I said to myself. “It’s too nice out to just hide indoors all day.”
You have no idea how difficult it was for me to get up, go upstairs, and change into jeans so I could take the dogs on a walk. It should not have been that difficult but it was.
But I did it.
And holy cow was it nice outside. I let the dogs take their time sniffing everything. I sat on a bench in the nearby green space and just enjoyed the colours around me. The sunshine. The leaves. The warmth. The happy dogs. The squirrels. The breeze. The sounds. Nature. Everything.
I was out for almost an hour. It was warm when I was home. Sophie was in a panic because she had to suffer through both NATURE and EXERCISE. It was good for her.
It was good for ME.
I get into this gloomy headspace. I don’t want to do anything, or talk to anyone. I don’t want to go anywhere, and I feel like there’s absolutely no meaning to my life. It’s all pretty Emo and melodramatic, but it’s a downward spirally whirlwind of negative thoughts that is difficult to pull up from.
It wasn’t fair to the dogs to be cooped up inside on such a beautiful day. It was good for them, it was good for me.
The sunshine yesterday made me feel better. Watching Yoshi play-bow, and then try to bound after a squirrel in the park, made me feel better. The exercise made me feel better.
I even put reminders in my phone to prompt me to do little exercises during the day, so that I get off the couch and channel something else other than gloom into my body.
And I was outside, in a t-shirt, on November 15, 2016. It was that warm. I had the windows opened. I cleaned some of the house. I got outside and walked. I enjoyed how happy my dogs were as they sniffed every single blasted leaf on the ground. I smiled through the entire walk.
And I got out of my head for a while. And yes, I felt as though someone should give me a bloody trophy by the time I got back inside. Just for getting dressed and walking around with the dogs for 50 minutes. A freaking trophy of accomplishment! I didn’t get a trophy, but I am happy with myself TODAY that I did that. So, yay me!