Today is my birthday and I am home on the couch, mildly hungover from overindulging at a wonderful party last night. The Fucking Cats are lying beside me, their little chins resting on my lap (a cute trick they learned at Kitty Finishing School) and their bodies are positioned in perfect alignment with a sunbeam. It's been a good day.
Earlier, while browsing at Sephora, I overheard a man with turquoise lipstick telling his co-workers by walkie talkie that the way to feel better when you're having a hard day is to lift your chin, which mysteriously rearranges your molecules and lifts your mood.
"I'm going to try that," I said, my head instinctively lifting. "The other benefit is that it eliminates my double chin."
"It works for that too," he said.
"Have you tried saying 'cheese' when you're sad? It's supposed to release serotonin and make you feel better."
"CHEEEEEESE," he said.
"CHEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE," I said. And then we both laughed.
"Hey, ladies," the man with turquoise lipstick said into his walkie talkie. "I want you all to say 'cheese!'"
A confused chorus of "cheese" sounded across Sephora, followed by peals of laughter.
"See?" I said. "It works." And then he gave me four lip gloss samples and disappeared like a magical turquoise lip gloss fairy.
I am amazed by how easy it is to be happy today, when there have been so many days this past year when I've had to force it or fake it or simply give in to feeling desolate and lost. Since my dad died last February, I've seen sublime happiness come in strange and unlikely forms - a man with turquoise lipstick, the pink pads of a paw, a homemade whisky sour. As Feist would say, I feel it all, I feel it all. My happiness is myopic, but I'm so grateful for it - and for you, sweet readers. I can hardly believe you are still with me, after I have given you so little in return.
These days, I'm focused on the optimistic task of planting bulbs and seeds and clearing out the balcony for spring. There is more winter ahead, but I can still pet my seedlings and dream of a summer filled with dahlias and zinnias and poppies and cosmos. After so much sadness here, I want to share whatever happiness I have with you, and hope it makes you happy, too.
With so much love and gratitude,