Sometimes, you have days when you need reasons to be happy, and you have to count each one on a finger. When you run out, and can’t think of any other reasons maybe you’ll feel better. Maybe your fingers will all be up in the air and you’ll start laughing at how silly you look in the middle of a bus filled with people, or a work cubicle, or in the silence of your own home while your cat stares with the face that is always saying, “you’re an idiot.” This morning, my day started off with new Nikes. My parents are getting into the newly formed tradition of BIRTHDAY WEEK and so they’ve been giving me presents when they see me during the day (which is rare).
After the Nikes, came a stop sign ticket that will most likely cost me $188 dollars and probably an Alive at 25 class. Look at how the world spins. On most days this would have made me a sour puss, but the night before I had my family birthday celebration where my brother gave me a painting of “two chicks hangin’ out.” Literally, with four perfectly dropped breasts. My nephew got a whole plastic container of Legos, and my mom made everything delicious taste you can dream up from meatballs to Alfredo to steamed broccoli to mud pie (mmmmm….). Let’s be serious though, the real reason I kept my normal flakey amount of composure and patience was that I just finished the The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and because of this face:
As a side note; everyone I know thinks the cop was hitting on me. He strode up to my car, stroking his leather pouch stocked full of metal gun (pun intended) and said, “Hey, do I know you from somewhere?” in a Russian accent (I made this up because his last name sounded straight off the vodka) before even taking a glance at my license or registration. Try to keep in mind that I pulled over in my Catholic Church’s parking lot. Also try to keep in mind that I have the lead foot of my grandmother and assumed that he was pulling me for going two over in my neighborhood, TWO OVER. What was I thinking, really? Unlike some of my family, I don’t have a prideful disdain for the police, I’m actually quite polite and I only cried once before, out the half-rolled window, pleading for a warning (I was only 19) so I’m not sure what exactly happened here today. They’re just doing their job pulling me over at the stop sign, at the end of my street, that I’ve driven up to and California-rolled past for the last eight years, but you didn’t hear it from me.
I guess I deserved it.
What I’m trying to say is that since reading The Happiness Project (the whole day in a half since my finish line) I’ve been trying to appreciate things more, and act more patient with things that may not exactly be on the top of my “happy” list. We can’t all go around like dancing penguins, but sometimes it’s important to show a little gratitude and give people the gold stars they deserve. I’d been wanting to read this book for a while. It’s even at Target, which you know makes it a super-best-seller because they only sell the really depressing teenage lit, and bestselling non-fiction. You know, like Crazy Love (about Jesus). It also claims on the front that she spent her mornings singing, which I always have full intention of doing with the classic of “Turn my Swag On” remix by Keri Hilson so I can feel hot & bothered in the car ride to work. Picture to your left. I just know, one day, I’m going to regret putting that up here. At least it’s safe to say that I could never run for President.
The Happiness Project is a good, uplifting story. Is it beautiful? Not really. Is it thrilling? Not really. Will it make you think? Yes. Is it quotable? Yes. I think I just did a whole review in two lines. Honestly, it did make me think. I happen to know a boy made from the cinema. Literally, someone took pieces of black & white movies, projector screen, and romantic comedy scores and molded him into a hairy, good-smelling (most of the time) man. He’s the kind of guy that gets out of a movie with his girl and picks her up in the middle of an evening parking lot to swing her around. She happens to hope in these instances that she is wearing a “twirling dress” and most women will know what I’m talking about here, we were all six-year-old girls with ruffled socks at some point. And sometimes, the girl who used to wear ruffled socks when she was six, doesn’t appreciate these parking lot happy endings, or longer than six-second hugs, because she’s on a schedule, or she has somewhere to go, or it’s cold outside and she has no earmuffs. The Happiness Project made this girl realize that there is only a few times in your life, (unless you’re dating the boy from the Disney movies as stated above) when it is acceptable, and almost appropriate to be twirled in a movie theater parking lot. And being twenty-three and almost care free is one of those times. And so this averagely happy girl is going to make herself more happy by giving invading more-than-six-second-hugs and twirling this large man-boy around in the street so his boxers show just out of his sweatpants and his facial gruff rubs against her alabaster skin.
Does this all make sense?
The Happiness Project is about appreciation. Goals. Clearing Clutter. Remembering birthdays and memories. And most importantly, “Being You.” For instance, my best friend Sars has the most amazing New Zealand life. I’m constantly jealous of her worldly travels, her camera eye, the fact that she sometimes bottle-feeds baby sheep (I mean seriously) and most of all, the fact that she lies naked in the middle of nowhere fields and glaciers of New Zealand, with the biggest wildlife that may come close, being a Hare. It’s straight out of Alice really, except nude, and much more Lord of the Rings. I’m jealous, a lot. Sometimes to the point that I try to tear her down (I haven’t done this recently because I’m learning that I am a bookish girl, who likes to read, and not ski. I’d rather sit in the cabin with my book, cocoa and fuzzy socks than let my nose tingle red and my legs spread like a doe’s). It seems sometimes our friends who have amazing lives are still not the lives that we, ourselves, should lead. I’m proud to know Sars. I’m proud to call her my best friend. Does that mean I should be traipsing around hills and mountains in a toboggan and my bare ass – probably not. (Well…maybe, I’m sure I’ll be visiting).
Be Cassie. That’s the goal here. If I like to read Alice in Wonderland in every single version ever created and one day own the most extensive Alice library, then that’s what I should do. If I want to eat mexican food; all day everyday, then I will be fat, but happy…about eating, and not about my body. If I want to run the neighborhood in the mornings and work for low wage at a wonderful job where I tell teens, “I want to sledgehammer your face sometimes, but I love you…” then so be it. I need to Be Cassie. Embrace my bad music taste and my mispronunciation of Bon Iver every, single, time. Embrace the yoga pant. Embrace the hairs that sometimes appear on my chin even though I’m only twenty-three (for two more days) and I pluck them in broad daylight at stop lights. Embrace the awkward headband, the highlighter colored make-up and the leggings.
If you take away anything from this blog, or if you even read this whole blog…Please, Please, Please write a comment below letting me know how you’re going to “Be _____.” Maybe we’re really similar and we both just need to sit in a bed with a snuggie on and read, or maybe you’re like Sars who is somewhere zip-lining right now. Or maybe you’re like the boy who wants to spin a girl around in the air, in traffic, like a maniac. Whatever you are today, be you.
Here is a link to Gretchen Rubin’s Blog and Website for The Happiness Project.
Here are a few photos of me … being me. A twenty-four year old who most wants to celebrate her birthday with her family. (No raves for me, although I do like glow sticks and hula-hoops).