I have decided to be happy now. (hah!! I hear you say).
Let’s see how long it lasts this time. I feel like I’m on some kind of crazy swinging pendulum right now – going from the extremes of rage and sadness to mad, tripped-out happy clarity. At least I know that I have it in me to have these moments of happiness. I had a hair wash and massage yesterday and felt like it was the best thing in the world – I was so happy just sitting there getting my hair washed. The day before that, I bought a bottle of Tsuya skin essence from Shu Uemura and that was enough to keep me happy for the rest of the day. Little things – they add up and help. The theory is that if I focus enough on them, then maybe it’ll balance out the pendulum a bit.
Or I could just be doing that thing of sweeping things under the carpet again and pretending that everything is great when really the emotions are still bubbling away under the surface waiting to blow up like a bad bout of diarrhea.
One of the best methods that’s widely recommended for emotional pots like me is to keep a gratitude journal and to focus on the good things that we’re happy about. I started one of these a few days ago, in a bright pink new Moleskin, no less (a beautiful thing in itself that we should be grateful for!) – but then I got bogged down by wanting to punch a hole through the wall and blind someone with an ice pick. I know you’re supposed to kind of force yourself to do this gratitude thing daily, so that there’s at least one positive moment of energy a day, but I just haven’t been able to in the past week.
So here we go, I’ll put a whole week’s worth of gratitude journal entries (and more – and not in any particular order) here. Stay positive and remember the good things! (This is going to be long so I don’t expect anyone to read this really. It’s therapy for myself more than anything).
– Friends throughout the different stages of my life (in no particular order – Sharon, Susan, Shantini, Vera, Sarah Morgan, Elisa Bray, Angie Marr, Tom Smithard, Pete Biggs, Laura May, Louise Redvers, Suzanne, Josie, Isabelle, Fang-I, Vonny, Daven, Christie Liem, Heather Behl, Farida, Jay, Berlyn, Pei Lin, Shirley, Simon Tong, Rachael, Philip Augustine, Usha, Veronica, Brenda, Angela, Nontobeko, Jenny Lee, Anne Lise, Tom Barton, Becca Smith, Adrian Butler, Andy, Samia, Dhruv, Nikos, Bruno, Sam Reynolds, Marie Cheng, Sim Sim, Louise Logan, Dessy, Thouraya, Mamiko, Jennifer Reischel, Nivi, Shilpa, Petya, Mabel, Nigel, Jenny Wade, Steph Perkins, Michelle Djekic, Milica Djekic, Karen Yu, Arlina, Tamanna, Chin Lai, Lan Shing, Krystal, Teoh, Steven Lim, Anna Chew, Miin, Alina Davis, Anansa, Aisha, Sheena, Anna Williams, Mika, Jess de Gaye, Aisha, Sheena, David Lai, Lanse, Abby, Eleni, Narumi, Sam Flannery, Tim Wheelhouse, Hayley Clarke, Christopher Heather, See Ming, Fang, Judy, Deborah, Lynsey Sumner, Lucy Poore, Vivian, Poh Lin…).
Okay, this list has become a little long and I’m sure I’ve left out loads of people too (I’m sorry if I did!). But whew, just putting this one list together has been an incredible enough exercise to remind me of the thousands of good, happy times I’ve had with every single one of them. There is much to be happy about in these memories alone.
PS if you’re found yourself on the list and feeling a bit freaked out because we haven’t actually been in touch for over 15 years or whatever, please don’t. You’re there because you have brought many happy good times to my life that I still remember, no matter how obscure and minor you might think they are.
– Having all my faculties, limbs in tact and being physically healthy – so that I can physically do pretty much anything i want to, move with ease and enjoy things like: BodyCombat, pound the shit out of the cross-trainer, drive, walk up and down stairs, walk; see, hear, listen, taste and touch wonderful things; type and write, travel freely, dance, breathe, do yoga, have the option to play lasertag, eat and drink whatever I want, have great sex, scuba dive, ride everything at Universal Studios, swim, go on picnics, wear anything I want (well, almost anything).
Gosh, how much we take for granted for what we can do when we have good health. Don’t know what you got til it’s gone (or when you’re recounting things to be grateful for)
– Shu Uemura’s make-up counter – especially in 1Utama, big shout out to Anges! Also, all the amazing things they have – the eyelashes, their Depsea skincare collection, Tsuya (!!!!), mousse foundation, pencil eyeliner, lipgloss, eyeshadows. Okay heck, everything in there.
– Family – a beautiful mum and dad who celebrate every joy I have and are there to catch me when I’m down, cousins who are always there and ready to give you a hug, laugh at your jokes and come to the rescue, aunts and uncles who love you like you’re their own children. My gong-gong who taught me all my first lessons in compassion, kindness and the magnificent joy to be found in sugar.
– Phil – who showed me that it was okay for me to really open up my heart as widely as I have and who loved me even at my worst and lowest <3
– Literature, books, writing – because this is really where my roots are, all the way from the books I read at GCSE to my university degree; because just know that there are wonderful books in the world is what has kept me buoyant, inspired, hopeful, imaginative, alive. Thank goodness – and I’m ever so grateful – for Sarah Waters, Jeanette Winterson, Jamie O’Neill, Alan Hollinghurst, Daniel DeFoe, Shakespeare, Racine, Moliere, Aeschylus, Euripides, Jack Kerouac, Sophie Kinsella, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, Jane Austen, John Galsworthy, Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, Camus, Nerval, Vogue magazine (especially the ones from the 1920s!), Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Hanif Kureishi, Ben Okri, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, Amy Tan, Evelyn Waugh (okay, this is list will go on forever).
– Cupakes – because you can’t help but feeling happier once you look at a cupcake
– The most comfortable bed in the world – and with this, I mean everything that comes with it: electricity, light, an attached bathroom (because god only knows how much you miss this when you don’t have it), running water (ditto), knowing that no matter how bad things might get, I can always be safe and quiet and peaceful here.
– Les Mills – thank you for existing and creating things like BodyCombat, BodyStep, BodyBalance and all the wonderful things that, for the first time in my life, showed me that exercise is not only possible even for flubby Janes like me but so immensely, crazily fun.
– UWC and university – where everything was possible: that wonderful hope, idealism and energy of being 18, incredible friendships that you make for life, stupid adventures that you will remember forever, intelligent, brilliant experiences, first boyfriends & kisses, those sorts of conversations you only have at that age, not caring about being fat, meeting people from all around the world (and staying friends with them for years to come) – now if only I could tap out some of that energy and botox it into my brain now.
– Gaston – my little fur baby who I rescued off the street with some friends when he was suffering the worst case of scabies and mange that the vet had ever seen, a broken pelvis and bad digestion problems. He’s big, beautiful and strong now, with a gorgeous coat of fur (well recovered from scabies!) and two years on, seems to still remember those first few months when it was just me and him and a bottle of Malaseb. He greets me and grabs hold of my trousers / skirt with his teeth every time he sees me, a sign he wants a cuddle. He’s shown me strength, endurance, patience and courage, because I’ve really never seen a being so wretched and sad as he was when we first found him.
– Good food & drink – gotta be grateful for good food. It can and does make a world of difference in the happiness quotient of things. Things like: cheese, crusty white bread, arugula, chocolate, cake, nasi lemak, sausages (Linda McCartney’s veggie ones, of course!), chips, avocados, macaroons, hummus, Marks&Spencer’s crisps, pop tarts, truffles, La Risata, yow char guai, Rakuzen, milkshakes, pizza, Boost juice, fried mushrooms, bagels, char kuay teow, laksa, mashed potatoes, nachos, cendol, rojak, Indomie, the buffets at Jakarta’s Mulia Hotel, sushi, everything on an Indian restaurant menu etc etc
– Not being in the running as a contestant on “The Biggest Loser” – see no matter how much I gripe about being fat, I am grateful that I can still fit a size 10 dress at Bebe and not want to pass out each time I climb a flight of stairs. Kudos to how hard the people on TBL work to lose the weight and this is not meant as a disrespectful jibe at them. I’m just glad I’m not that big myself because surely it would make life so much more difficult, painful, tired? (and you couldn’t fit a size 10 Bebe dress).
That’s it for today. It’s a long enough list and enough to keep me pumped and buoyed for the rest of the week. Add on other things you think create Happy Days, or what works for you. I’d love to know. Have a happy Monday and a lovely, gratitude filled, week filled with many happy days.