I don't remember very much about eighth grade health class and most of what I do remember is about someone asking what "snow-blowing" is and my teacher being a lesbian. I do, however, remember a diagram we were forced to look at during school. It was a tire, a simplified version of the "wellness wheel" with divisions for different areas of your life. Categories like, "home", "friends", "work", "school", etc. And the point was, when you put too much or too little emphasis on one area, your tire won't roll. When one area of your life is shitty, all areas of your life become shitty. I think conversely, the opposite is true--when something starts going well, even the parts of your life that aren't ideal seem suddenly less shitty.
The proof of this was staring me in the face this Thursday when I had dinner and drinks with Claire and Sam. The three of us have been enjoying nights out since July, right after I started my current job. The phrase, "what a difference a year makes" doesn't even begin to cover it (and lest you assume I have the counting skills of the guests at a shotgun wedding--I know it hasn't been a full year). Claire, Sam, and I all had really tough situations this year. In all areas; family, work, love, housing, etc. Interestingly enough, as soon as Claire and Sam left the office for their new jobs, everything else seemed to line up. Like one minute everything is terrible, the kind of practical joke terrible where you get hemorrhoids and a puddle splashes up on you as a passing car drives by. The only thing they're clinging to is the prospect of a new job and then BAM!, great new relationships, renewal of old ones, ten pounds lost, and for emphasis, a magic dewey glow. During this period, while it was great to get together, after a while it was difficult to hear about how life had turned around and was fabulous for everyone else when I wanted to do nothing but pull the covers over my head and listen to Matchbox 20.
Last Christmas, in the midst of this, I was so dismal and depressed, I had started going through the stages of grief for my own life. Denial: There is no fucking way that it's Friday and I can't stay up past 10pm. Anger: I did all the right things; good grades, moral decisions. How can this be my reward?! Bargaining: Ok, if I focus really hard on work and a diet, life will give me happiness, yes? Depression: Matchbox 20. Acceptance: I actually skipped that stage. Instead, I started looking for my exit strategy. Happy to say, I found it.
So when I walked into dinner and saw Claire and Sam sitting there--instead of being secretly jealous with grey skin and an even grey-er disposition. I got to be happy too! I did some weird pinup shit with my hair, I put on red lipstick...I even made jokes! And not all of them were self-deprecating (most were, I'm still me). We laughed. I told them the story of a lady at my work asking if one of my areas was "diverse" in a stage whisper and how I responded, "Not much diversity, the area is pretty much all black". Further proof that I have my sense of humor back and don't take myself as seriously as I did a month ago.
I'm pretty much full of all the hope and optimism that has alluded me for the past couple months. Things are going to work out. That is hippie bullshit I've never believed, and instead I've operated on the assumption that "no matter how bad things are, they can always get worse." But I believe it now. I'm going to start completely over, for the second time in roughly a year, but this time I'm not doing it because it's what someone else wants and I don't know better than to argue. It's because I know what I want. And I genuinely don't give a shit any more. As I said in the self-indulgent picture I posted of myself with my cool fifties hairdo, "Shut up, bitch. I'm fabulous." Now if you'll excuse me. I'm out to get a massage.