I’ve been struggling to stay optimistic lately, and honestly, I’ve been struggling a bit to just stay within an acceptable mental health range for the past couple of weeks. And I know I’ve written posts like this before, but it’s always helpful to me to narrow my focus onto small, distilled moments of joy when the grand world stage looks daunting and irreversibly negative. And that’s where I’m at right now. So to help myself (and perhaps in a fit of grandiose overestimation of my influence over other people, maybe help other people too…), here are some small moments of joy from the past couple of days.
Two days ago, some excerpts from a book I’m reading reminded me so much of D (my high school best friend…I’ve written a lot about him in the past year here), I texted him to tell him about it, and shared the excerpts, and he agreed that they were pretty close to the friendship dynamic we had when we were kids, and that triggered a longer discussion about 1990s music (music from our youth) and then evolved into a chat about J and The Boy and how they screw up song lyrics a lot and then D sent me THIS amazing YouTube video and we both cracked up. D can always make me laugh and cheer me up when I’m down. And he’s had that skill for very close to 30 years (wow…we are old people now). And I just love that after all this time, we can still have a naturally evolving, anxiety-free conversation together about varied topics. D and I don’t agree on everything and we never have. But we have the same fundamental moral compass and value system and comparable personal histories and *we respect each other.* He is truly the only person other than J that I’ve never had any sort of relationship ambiguity or murkiness with; D has never made me afraid to be his friend. Good times…REALLY bad times…100% on the same page or even mild DEBATE (which is something I have an extremely low tolerance for)…I’ve never felt like, ‘Well, fuck. There goes that friendship now…’ Not with D. We’re still standing (and laughing together and sharing things with each other with relative ease) after 30 years of friendship. OK, so maybe this one isn’t a ‘small moment’ of joy. This is just the modern and most recent presentation of a source of joy that’s been there for 3/4 of my life now. Hearing from and talking to D *always* makes me happy; even when one of us has something sad to share. ❤
And yesterday, I got to talk to another dear friend of mine who had been unhappy and lonely…even around other people…for…well…a pretty long time. But now, during social unrest and uncertainty unprecedented in our lifetimes and the most severe public health crisis in a century, she’s found a connection to another amazing person; she’s found and cultivated love. She’s *happy.* And she shared that with me. What a relief that is for me to just know my friend is now happy and connected and safe, but on a grander scale, what a relief it is to know that NEW connections are STILL forming amidst…THIS shit. Hearing from and talking to her made my yesterday. ❤
This morning, in the sleepy moments between J stepping out of the shower and leaving for work, when I was curled up on the couch beside him, dozing a bit, because after years of steeped routine I am still not exactly a fan of either missing the seconds I get to spend with J OR waking up at 5:15am, he rested his hand on my knee while he scrolled through (a lot of scary and worrisome) news. He does that every work morning, really, but THIS morning, he tapped out a little tune on my knee. J isn’t really a music guy (I’ve written about this before too), and even up there in THIS piece ^^^^, I wrote how he’s not a stickler for getting the lyrics of songs straight. So I asked what song he was tapping out; I could tell it was a song, but didn’t recognize it from his rhythm.
“It’s not a REAL song, I guess. It’s from Bob’s <Burgers>. Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-DUM…da-da-doing just fine…” he sort of half-ass sang. We watch Bob’s Burgers as a family every night after dinner.
I didn’t recognize from J’s incomplete context which song/episode it was. I asked who sang it in the show. “I don’t know. Tina? Linda? Maybe Bob sang it? Louise?” That wasn’t any help. So I looked it up with J’s limited clues after he left for work, and the song is actually titled, ‘Bad Things Happen in the Bathroom,’ which needless to say, gave me the giggles for most of the morning today. (I know. Only my legal records claim I’m in my 40s. On the inside, I’m clearly still 12-15.)
And then I walked outside with The Boy again. And we saw a ginger poodle rolling on its back in one of our neighbor’s front yards (so cute…and such pure joy). And then we went to get some fast food for lunch…the first time since early March just The Boy and I went without J for restaurant food. And I got a Coke Zero. Because of pandemic supply chain shortages, I haven’t had a Coke Zero (a legitimate VICE of mine) in WEEKS. I was so looking forward to drinking it, I almost attempted a sip *with my mask still on my face* at the drive-through window. (Damn, it was REALLY good.)
So anyway, I’m going to get to finishing this book that reminds me of D and keep trying to focus on these small moments of joy until I can get back to a place where I can write more prolifically again…hopefully even some new fiction. But for today, this is good.
Stay safe. Wash your hands. Wear a mask inside around other people. Keep social distancing as much as possible. Vote like it matters (because it definitely does).
Take care of yourself. Help somebody if you can. ❤