Monday, March 24, 2008

Forget your troubles. C'mon, write happy!!!

Summer is swift approaching. Before it sets up shop, however, I will be living through spring with it's many lion-and-lamb like ups and downs. April rains. May blooms. You get the picture.

In the yellow-y blue of a spring early morning, I find myself turning on the computer (the hum of electronics massaging my ears like the lullaby of an old friend), and doing three things:

1. I Check my email. There is rarely more than precious little of notice or consequence, but I do it anyway. I constantly hope against hope that there is some personal note therein, meant only for me. Then again, if I don't send those sort of notes, who am I to desire some? I'm not here to moan. On to number two:

2. Check the comments on my blog. I like to think that if I write well, or comment well or put up cute pictures that people will be driven to comment. I'm not sure when the number of comments became my creative measuring stick. Hm. Then I continue with one of two things.

3a. Check everyone elses blog. or (most often most recently)

3b. Re-read my July posts. At first I began this practice because it had the most posts. It also has the pictures from my family reunion in Star Valley and the majority of pictures from Secret Garden. The reason now has become different as I have noticed something:

I have changed. *YAY!*

The thought patterns that I was repeating and re-repeating in July (like Slimer ruling the 12th floor) are no longer a part of my life cycle. Seriously. And I have identified the strongest contributor in my mental freedom. I will now share it with all of you. For I know you are on the edges of your seats, wondering how you can be more like me. Though perhaps you are simply curious as to what I'm talking about at all. Some of you have been around me so little, that you may have hardly noticed a change. Re read those blogs, then you'll start to see it.

About three months ago, someone told me that I was a good writer, but that I never write "happy." I quickly spouted my well rehearsed answer (one I developed as an emotional teen; you know, the one that writes moody sub-par poetry instead of reading "Huckleberry Finn"):

"Well, there are only so many ways to say "happy." But there are infinite ways to express despair."

He wisely pointed out, that what I thought about WAS. He challenged me to not post again until I could post something happy. And then to post (or write) only happy things. He made this challenge sometime Mid-November. Notice that the next two months, I only put up three posts. It was as if I was struggling to find only happy things to say. The truth of the matter was not that I had a shortage of material, it was simply that I didn't know how. And I could believe that I was interesting if I was happy.

My very first blog post was something I had written almost a year before, and I changed it for the purpose of blogging. Guess what it was before it was personal praise for my wonderfulness? That's right - a beautiful blotch of self-deprecating prose.

Then in February, I was wise enough to recognize and then remark on the fact that "I am fundamentally happy." but what followed that? "and have every right to be mopey from time to time." *Boo Hiss*
This was a pattern that began emerging. The idea that I was entitled to bring my negativity to everyone around me because I was such a good girl on the other days.

How selfish.

Not anymore, baby!

Okay, I'm still self-interested, but not all selfish. Or, at least I strive not to be.

One of the biggest boosters for this change was in fact the challenge itself. Once I began to "write happy," along with putting the other fantastic advice I was given to work, I got better. I healed. And now it's not even easier to have "those sort of days" and write out my sadness. I have instead, when I'm mopey, picked a happy memory and written it. These are mostly short, one page things. But I sure feel better when I'm done.

Like yesterday. I was mad that my neck hurt and upset that Lemur was yelling at me and constantly contradicting anything I had to say. So I went to my room, to my computer and wrote this:

"I was in the bathtub: a goddess reigning over an icy world! The bubbles rose like monolithic icebergs towering over me with their soft and swooping curves. I parted the bubbles to see the water below. It had a greenish tint, as one always sees under real iceberg on the Discovery Channel. How much more potent was this world of pretend after that view! The delicious power of it all went to my head (or perhaps it was the heat of the bath) and I watched leisurely as my hand took the shape and manner of a humpback whale: first breaking the water, soaring up above the surface before turning so slightly and plunging back into the depths. When did my hand become so graceful, like that behemoth of a water mammal, that it would be able to imitate those glorious movements so well?

For twenty minutes or more I played in my bath. Parting the bergs, shaping the landscape with great waves and small sprinkling storms, made by the wet shaking of my fingers over a decided peak until it was reduced to a valley. And though I played, splashing about in my very warm frozen world, the bubbles never truly diminished. I could see that although they lost height and fill, there was just as much. It was merely softer . . . more like foam.

Then suddenly I was a selkie, waking in the foamy brine as my human form emerged from it’s former seal-skin. Hoping both that a man would see and love me and also that I would not be discovered. I would lay there, caught in a groove of a large stone - shaped oddly like a bathtub! - as the foam swirled and pulsed around me echoing the heartbeat of the ocean from which I was momentarily escaping.

I closed my eyes, and reached up to take down my hair, which - had I been standing - would reach to the small of my back in coppery brown waves. But they were instead caught by the waves of my imaginary ocean. I rocked my hips from side to side beneath the surface, being both the heart and the blood to make my hair rise and fall. The gentle pulling as the water receded was intoxicating. I could feel my worries disappearing. No doubt this is how a selkie would appear: calm and completely unconnected with the world she was about to enter. And that was a selkie’s charm.

Slowly my mind began to play out my life as a selkie. I began picturing the world, picturing the man, picturing even the children. The dream bore a marked resemblance to my current husband and children: though the land was different, and there were Irish accents spoken by all.

In the selkie-life, I was always beautifully distracted by the soft echo of ocean on the walls of my home when a window was left open. I saw the stars not as dots in the sky but as a map home. I would look at my family and still feel the draw back to my previous world, feeling trapped by the dryness of the land. The mocking damp that rain would bring, or the worst mockery of all: a bath.

Wait. I like my bath.

I decided to abandon this path in my mind meanderings and intended to turn on the jets when there was a knock on the door.

"Hon? Time to get out. The kids still need baths before church."

I sighed. Perhaps baths were a mockery. Giving me inspiration for imagination while never actually transporting me anywhere.

Or perhaps the opposite was true and baths were just what they seemed to be: awesome. "


I have a talent for romanticizing memory. Putting on the rose-colored glasses, if you will, and really re-experiencing it. I used to do this only with "the good old days" with the purpose of showing myself how bad the present was. I would compare myself to the past. Now it's time to
"use my power for good instead of evil."

And this is a start. Who would have thought that there was so much to say for and about being happy?

7 comments:

Desertbound said...

Wow! I wish I could be around you more to see all of this changing, but I sure enjoy reading your posts about the process anyway. Keep at it!

Tristan said...

Guys! guys . . if there wasn't any wind, then there wouldn't be anything to blow the leaves around . . . .

don't know why but I just of that, dare anyone to name that movie . . .

DreamPacker said...

You ARE a fabulous writer. Thanks for inviting me into your selkie worldette.

Fedaykin said...

Ahh. You should write more. I metered my read of this post to drag it out as long as possible.
Hooray for happy blogging.

My one question though, when your selkie skin is off, wouldn't you smell like fish?

Sayyadina said...

No, silly fedaykin.

Part of the selkie mystic is that they forever smell of natural pearl, which to land folk, would translate into a soft lavender- like aroma.

You're lucky I'm around. If you ever insulted a real selkie with that question, you'd never get her to stay on land!

And tris: what is the wind comment about?

Thanks, DP.

Muad'Dib said...

It took me a minute. Sons of Provo! good one.

CowboyBob said...

You have a magnificent gift for words (as does Muad'dib)and I love to read "you".