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.