Thursday, November 17, 2016

On imaginary friends

You're friends. You talk about your day, complain about your SO, cheer each other on, send each other silly pictures.

You're friends. You share recipes, you ask "which dress?" and talk about your favorite shows and gossip about your other friends.

You're friends. Sometimes you get drunk together, sometimes you share a meal. Sometimes you're lucky enough to do this in person, because you only talk over the internet, where you met.

And when you go, you're really gone. You're a hole in my life, you're a friend I'll never meet, and one I'll never forget.

I lost a friend today. We used to have long talks about boys and clothes, and she always tsk-tsk'd me for buying cheap bras. She had an awesome dog and a wonderful boyfriend. I was so happy about them ending up together. She seemed so much happier. You could see it in her eyes.

I lost a friend today. So did a lot of other friends, some I've met and some I haven't. And the grief isn't imaginary. The loss of a warm, caring, brilliant person on the planet isn't imaginary.

I'm speechless, and sobbing, and I miss my friend.

Rest peacefully, Xian. You were loved, and you will be sorely missed.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Look, I hope I'm wrong. I hope he somehow bumbles his way into change for the better. More jobs, better education, more affordable health care. Eight years ago, Republicans fumed and raged over Obama's win and refused to accept that he did even one thing right in eight years.

Now it's the Democrats' turn. Let's be the change we want to see in the world. Let's show people what working together means. Set an example for our kids to see what it means to be mature and act with reason.

Don't spend the next four years hating for the sake of hating. That sounds exhausting. Spend the next four years working to be the bigger person. Act with grace and humanity.

Quit letting us be a nation that supports ONLY this or ONLY that, with no room for anything else. Buy a beer for the guy who disagrees with you because disagreeing is what made this country to begin with. Agree to disagree and then agree that there's always room for improvement.

No matter who you voted for, you have a chance right now to lay the groundwork for a country of people who care about each other, no matter what. Start today so it'll be even easier tomorrow.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A note about making your own happiness

Last year I guy I should have dumped way sooner bought me a little wooden sign to put on a shelf that said something like "Just to save some time, let's assume I'm right."

These things aren't really my style. I have nothing against them in other people's homes, but to be honest they remind me of the worst people I've had in my life and I just don't care fo r these knickknacks in my own home. Plus this sign had an ugly green background, like split pea soup gone bad. Just overall not a great thing to keep around.

But I was trying to be a better person, which meant being more gracious, so I put the stupid, ugly sign on top of my bookshelf where I saw it four or five times a day as I walked past.

I finally parted ways with the guy (better late than never, I suppose) but the sign stayed. And every day I passed it, and it reminded me of the horrible people who used to be in my life, and it reminded me of the guy I just dumped and, quite frankly, how nobody else was thinking enough of me to even give me shitty gifts that I hated, and I wasn't exactly beating the boys back with a stick.

I tried to give it away in a box of other stuff marked "free" that I left in the lobby of my building. After a week I brought what was left back up to my apartment. This stupid sign was still in there. I hate being wasteful and I was raised to have some basic respect for the environment, so the thought of just tossing it really didn't sit right with me. So the box marked "free" sat on my dining room table for a week, with that stupid sign right on top, where I saw it four or five times a day and I was again reminded of all that depressing stuff.

Then one day, I felt like painting but had nothing to paint on. I'm no Rembrandt, in fact I just recently started learning how to paint and draw after being reminded last year how much fun it was to use coloring books again. I sometimes bring home signs left over from meetings because they're great to paint on, but I was out. I did one more lap around the apartment to make sure I hadn't missed one somewhere, when my eyes happened upon that stupid sign.

I grabbed it, went back to my desk and started dribbling some paint into a tray. Half an hour later, I'd obliterated the obnoxious slogan and the nauseating green background. It took a few coats but I was finally happy with the color. Then - swipe! slash! dash! - I'd put in branches, and dab-dab-dab, some wee berries.

A masterpiece? Hardly. But it's back on top of my bookshelf, and when I walk by it makes me think of cardinals in the snow, or spring buds, or lots of other awesome things that make me happy, like painting and generally being crafty.

So, a note about making your own happiness. Instead of spending small moments every day being reminded of crummy people and crummy experiences, do what you can to remind yourself of awesome stuff. Maybe it's not as easy as painting over some stupid sign, but look around. Find a way to fit wee berry branches in where once there was a stupid, ugly, slogan sign. Own your own happiness just a little bit more than you own your misery, and little by little you'll find that you have more of the good and less of the bad.

And always keep a little paint on hand, just in case.