Fuck Happiness. Claim Joy.

Sipping the best damn dark roast in my favorite local independent coffee shop…It’s amazing this spot still exists. I love this place. Always have. I got really sick the other day, the kind of sick that scares you into the ER. The kind that momentarily knocks the wind out of your sails in the most powerful way, stopping you dead in your tracks. Helpless and unable to control the outcome of your day kinda sick.

I am a single parent and wear that badge of courage with pride. However, I needed help that day, and without the energy to take my love bug to school so that I could get help; I reached out to my step-monster ahem step-mum.

In a frantic tone,  I asked her to please come over. She was at my place within minutes of canceling all of her appointments. She dropped me off at the hospital, asked me not to worry and would be back soon… Or would she? After being temporarily pumped with saline and discharged, I saw my father standing outside on a business call. I knew it was him because he is the only person in the world whose voice is louder than mine. He sounded like he had won whatever deal was being negotiated, it was easy to spot him.

Within seconds my step-mum pulls up in my car, with a full tank of gas (it was in danger zone when she arrived at my place) and a very happy kid. My little one was chanting “GRANPA! GRANPA! GRANPA!” , fighting off chicken nugget sauce being flicked at his snazzy suit while trying to cram into the back seat. I take shotgun next to the not-so-evil-step-monster and see my special request sundae sitting in a cup holder, three bites in, I realized it was a bad choice. Step-mum is talking to all of us an no one seems to be listening. In my defense, I earned a free pass for the day. I felt like death and my hair, oh god. I can’t even explain it.

The charade continues on the way to CVS. My dad is now negotiating with a 2.5-year-old. My step-mum is struggling to park the car and I am about to barf, again. I quickly drop off my prescription and head to the public bathroom, no joke. My dad grabs vitamin waters, my medication and we are in the clear for a swift exit, or so we thought.

Step-mumster is walking outside the shopping center with a toddler whose maxed out of chillness. I see her with the 3-foot tall dictator and it doesn’t look good, for her that is. As she picks him up and hurries back to the car she and my dad are greeted by an overzealous Pleasantville neighbor that seems to have appeared out of thin air. As per Pleasantville code, she and my dad are polite, to a fault. It was starting to feel like a Chevy Chase film kind of sick day. When we finally gather back into my small economy sized car we just sat and argued.

I was able to ignore the noise long enough to notice the ladybug that landed on my passenger side window, right where I was sitting. My relationship with God grew in the Bible Belt. Go figure and I hadn’t seen a ladybug in 6 months. I was incredibly relieved when it appeared. To me, it’s a good omen and allows me to feel connected to the universe. I was eye to eye with the bug before my step-mumster saw it too. Feeling momentarily blessed, we eventually get to my place. My dad’s car was still at the hospital and my step-mums car was at my place, seems like an easy transition, right? Nope. Step-mumster left her keys at home.  

Learning to live in the present, literally one moment at a time is becoming less of a chore and my controlling tendencies are lifting, slowly. Maybe the pathological liar from previous entries was right about a thing or two. He had suggested over copious amounts of wine that I stop trying to control everything. That I should truly consider the art of letting go. No one is perfect and in my “inspired” opinion happiness doesn’t really exist. It’s not the same as claiming joy. Had I not lived in Georgia I wouldn’t have been able to recognize the stillness inside of me and claim my day to day joys.

I stopped battling within the pages of my mistakes and started to take other peoples “inspired” opinions with a grain of salt. I can claim joy when washing dishes because I have food to eat and a little person whom I love dearly, to cook for. Had I known how to recognize this learned practice I could have appreciated the people and jobs of my past a little bit easier…Hmm maybe not.

The smells of this coffee shop are actually uplifting. The people chatting let me know that I am not alone, the chill of the cool winter air breaking my comfort each time the door opens is riveting (yes, I used the word riveting), the smell of newspaper, the sound of instrumental music, the feeling of the sun from the back corner window-its reflection hitting the guys phone sitting next to me at the perfect angle to blind me momentarily is kinda lovely.

The obvious homeless woman enjoying a slice of apple pie, sitting directly across from me at a common table is part of what makes life beautiful. She has something that has taken me a long time to find. Appreciation for what is; Not what was or what could be but what is. Little moments that collect into a day make it more interesting than the day before. In my inspired opinion, all of these moments add up to a joyful life.

–Wishing you all inner peace this Holiday season… Even if you can’t find it in the bottom of the eggnog bowl. One day a time. By the way, no more photos will be added to the blog, not trying to get sued over a shitty stock image.


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