Dear person who read my 2017 post about dissident happiness today,
thank you. Every once in a while I check my blog stats and see what posts people are reading (by the way–where is my guest post about growing up with a bipolar mother, and my post about forgiving people who commit suicide re-blogged? They’re getting way too much traffic to not have links posted elsewhere). I saw that someone had read the blog post I made last year to celebrate the good things about the time while my court case with my abuser was going on. I’d forgotten about that post, and about my ability to be happy and positive during really dark times. Seeing that link and re-reading that post was really helpful, especially since I’m going through some fiercely dark times right now. So I’ve decided to do a round two, 2018 edition.
My family is facing the biggest challenge of its life, which comes in the form of an objectively cruel and ridiculous collusion by my unsupportive in-laws and Broward County. Throw in a dollop of ignorance, a large splash of stigma, and a sprinkle of total incompetence and you’ve got the recipe for the forces controlling my life right now. Parts of my life, anyway. But focusing on the negative makes me feel helpless and ruined. As Rick so aptly put it, when I think about this stuff, my mind is like a fruitless “washing machine,” spinning the same anxious thoughts over and over with no actual results.
I don’t want my mind, or my life, to be a shitty washing machine. So I’m going to try something new. Or rather, something old, that I developed last year but dropped. I’m going to try being positive and grateful for the things in my life that are making me happy. They might be in the process of being trampled by a boot stamping on a human face forever, but they’re still mine.
P.S. If I become the next George Orwell out of all this, it will have almost been worth it, I guess.
Enter the greatest kitten in the world! Astrid Asteroid is about 20 weeks old and thinks he’s a dog. He has a beauty mark like Elizabeth Taylor, I’m not totally sure he’s a he because all the websites want me to measure his asshole to figure it out, and he growls while chasing his tail. I acquired him through a scam artist who rented me a room then didn’t pay the actual landlord any rent. I don’t know where she got him, but I do think it’s true that he was abandoned or neglected because he seems a little feral. But he’s also litter trained now, and exceptionally cuddly. I love him very much.
I grew up with cats at my dad’s house. My special cat friend was Magic Cat, a grey fluffball who I raised since kittenhood. Raised being loosely defined since I myself was but a wee one while she was a baby. Anyway, I’ve missed having cats. Why, then, being an adult human capable of caring for living creatures have I not had a cat? My husband is allergic. But my husband and I have decided to separate. So now I get to have a cat. And if the separation doesn’t stick? My husband gets to know what allergy immunotherapy treatment feels like, because I love Astrid and I’m not letting him go. I’m so excited to introduce him to my wee ones! My daughters both love cats. When we visited my friend in Portland, who has three cats, my girls were glued to them. They’re excited to meet Astrid too. I think Astrid is a big win!
Florida has treated me like shit. No doubt about that. Florida hates me. I’ve had every type of bad luck befall me, from falling into the claws of Big Brother–I mean Broward County–to getting robbed twice, to getting stung by a damn hornet while checking the mail, to dumping rain constantly when it’s fucking Florida and there’s supposed to be sunshine and heat! But when the rain hasn’t been dumping down, I’ve been able to go swimming. In the ocean or a pool, I love swimming.
Now, could I go swimming in Seattle? Yes, since it’s summer. But not as many apartment complexes have pools in Seattle, which means it would be harder to find a pool. And lakes are great, especially in August, but I still love the ocean best. So I do have to give this one small concession to Florida–you have great swimming opportunities. When it’s not raining so hard the entire county floods…
Writing, you are my one true savior. Without the ability to write and express my deepest emotions or creative thought-experiments, I would probably be a rambling, sobbing mess. I’m lucky enough to not only have this blog where I can write and connect with others whenever I want, I also get to be a professional writer. The fact that I get to pay my bills through writing is amazing. I’ve been doing it for close to a year now, and it stills makes me gleeful. It’s been my life dream to be a professional writer. Granted, journalism is something I essentially stumbled into by the grace of my fucked up past and fighting spirit, but it’s still writing–sometimes even creative writing (thanks Vice)–and I can still pay my bills with it. Which is so cool! Someday I’ll be an income-earning fiction writer. Until then, I am a professional writer, baby! Hellz yeah (that’s some good writin’ right there)!
The fact of the matter is that while I have a lot of unhappiness and terrible people controlling huge, depressing aspects of my life, I am still free. A lot of people with addiction and mental illness histories do not get to say the same. Whether that means jail, prison, or a psych ward, too many people are suffering behind locked doors. And I–knock on wood for me please–am not. In fact, I’m flying out to Seattle for a few weeks in a couple days. Something I’ve been able to do because of my freedom, and my writing. So I really do have to be happy and grateful about that, even if it’s a bittersweet freedom because I’ve had so much taken from me.