Ahead: Excessively Long, Totally Worth Your Time, Happy Blog Post
I wrote two posts yesterday I was sick and had was unable to stand for more than 5 minutes without getting unbearably nauseous so my options for keeping myself occupied were limited. Since I was sick they’re not the most… positive posts and I need to look at them with a clearer head because I suspect they might be redundant. Instead, I’m doing blog post that makes me happy and I hope brings some happiness/joy/laughter into your life.
Things I love (in no particular order so don’t go getting your panties in a bunch):
– friends: I really cannot say enough about how much my friends mean to me. There are not enough superlatives in the world to express the varied and unending wondrousness that is my group of friends.
– family: these are people who have put up with me for my entire life (no mean feat), have an endless fountain of tolerance, and who have never allowed me to forget that I am unconditionally loved.
– sweets: I have a seriously active sweet tooth. All those things people say are too sweet get a look of confusion from me as I devour whatever it is that was too sweet for them. I blame my mother, who, when I was still in utero, plied me with large amounts of See’s candies. That tradition is carried on today. I’m not sure I’ve ever said something is too sweet for me. A short, not-at-all exhaustive list: cupcakes (vanilla/vanilla being the favorite), cookies, chocolate, marshmallows, cake, icing, caramel, toffee, kettle corn (for when I need sweet and salt), marshmallow fluff, ginger ale, pâte de fruits, pot de crème, macaroons (coconut and traditional French varieties), tropical Starburst, and s’mores. My choices in sweets tend to lean more highbrow but there are some things, like tropical Starburst, that are filled with nothing even remotely good and I can’t get enough of them.
– Oscar Wilde: when I visited his grave in Père Lachaise I seriously considering adding my kiss to the countless others who had come before me. Since I could not bring myself to kiss something that spent it’s life outside and was kissed by hundreds of strangers harboring lord knows what I settled for taking a number of pictures. My favorite is of the plaque that is on the headstone, saying something to the effect of, “please don’t deface this monument out of respect for the man” and someone after my own heart wrote next to it, “are you kidding me, he would have loved it.” Which I am 98% sure he would if he were here to see the lipsticked kisses that cover the huge stone sculpture marking his grave. Oscar Wilde was frighteningly brilliant and incredibly flawed. In that, he was the essence of the very best of humanity. He lived his life without compromise and is one of the greatest when it comes to defying conventions (Victorian England conventions at that!) with grace, wit, and aplomb. He left behind aphorisms that, despite their age, are totally apropos for our current world. At my graduation review, for the closing and to acknowledge the fact that my graduation had been approved, I gave the members of my panel Oscar Wilde aphorisms to read out loud. I had a variety of people on my panel with wildly divergent areas of expertise and I found aphorisms that seemed tailor made for each of them. The professor who worked with me on ancient Greek plays had one that referenced ancient Greece (Wilde studied the classics at university and graduated with the highest honors.) If you look at the various scholarship on Wilde, you will find anthropology, queer theory, gender theory, language theory, activism, and literature covered, amongst others. More than anything, Wilde’s use of language to portray the vagaries of life is continuously inspirational. It was misguided, but he believed that his incomparable wit would save him from a criminal conviction. It didn’t, but that (naive?) belief that language is a the ultimate multi-tool, useful for criminal defense, social critique, pleasure, etc. is admirable.
– words: occasionally I receive emails from my mother informing me of unusual and obscure words. Alterity, the quality or state of being radically alien to the self or society, is one of my favorites. I correct word usage and spout definitions fairly regularly, not because I wish to humiliate but because language means so much to me and proper and enthusiastic use of it is something I will always promote and encourage. My mother has called me specifically to ask for a definition of a word she just read (this is despite the fact that she has an iPad and it would take her less time to look the word up on that than to call me.) I can go on and on about language. By no means do I know everything about language and words and I frequently use a word correctly without being able to articulate the definition. I can see words in a jumble of letters and can spell words without knowing that they are words, let alone be able to tell you their definition (an extremely useful skill for playing Scrabble and slightly embarrassing when using said word in conversation and then asked to define it.) My brain functions largely as a language repository and tool to finesse words, much in the same way others have brains that effortlessly manipulate numbers.
– pottery: as a creative outlet, as a way to produce utilitarian objects, pottery is one of my true loves.
– yoga: one of my other go-to brain silencers, I also enjoy being able to legitimize my natural tendency to twist myself into pretzel-esque shapes.
– Eddie Izzard and Dylan Moran: these two men are my favorite comedians. I love laughing and while pretty much everything is an excuse for me to do that (seriously, life is ridiculous. Your options are to laugh or cry in frustration.), these men have a particular brand of humor that satisfies my desire to laugh as well as my need for intelligent discourse.
– the coast/beach: where I grew up, it was the coast. The expanses of sand seem endless and even in the pouring down rain (very common in the Pacific Northwest) it has a beauty that makes the rest of the world fall away. Here, it’s the beach, and while it’s an entirely different experience, it still provides me with a sense of contentment that few other things do.
– random adventures: I don’t drive but most of my friends do and going on random adventures- trying to find that one restaurant that serves amazing pancakes but we don’t know the name of it and have only been there once, at night, in the rain, looking for a way to kill time, looking for a secluded beach, a trail for a hike, shopping- is one of my favorite ways to spend time.
– a good haircut: bad hair days suck and a good haircut is the best way to combat them. It’s also an excellent way to treat/take care of yourself. I would not describe myself as traditionally girly but a good haircut is one thing I don’t do without.
– music: I have over 40 GB of music. The only kind of music that is not represented in my collection is hardcore rap. Dancing around my apartment is a surefire way to lift my spirits. Having my iPod surgically attached would be a horrible idea aesthetically but in terms of practicality it would be a logical choice.
– brightly colored underwear with ridiculous designs/phrases: you know that underwear that has ruffles on the butt, lack any sort of practical application, and is probably meant only for burlesque shows? I really want a pair. Or ten. While most of my wardrobe skews towards simple and subdued, a pair of silly underwear changes my whole outlook.
– my cat: he’s an orange tabby. I adopted him. He used to be feral. There have been some bumps along the way as we’ve learned to live together but waking up with a purring cat on your chest pretty much makes it impossible to wake up on the wrong side of the bed. He has the quintessential orange tabby personality- affectionate, dog-like, and lacking most of the aloofness most often associated with cats.
– fresh fruit and vegetables: I don’t like summer. The heat and I do not get along. The one thing about summer that I love and makes me able to tolerate the heat, is the abundance of fruit and veggie options. Pluots, nectarines, apples, carrots, twenty types of greens, broccoli, summer squashes, grapes, strawberries- all of these and more make summer acceptable. Without them I would have to reconsider my stance on summer.
– naps: one of the underrated pleasures in life. Napping allows you to tune out the world for 30 minutes to 3 hours (I skew towards 3 hour naps but I’m told there are people who enjoy a 30 minute nap. Weirdos.) Naps are a bit controversial but indulging in one occasionally makes me so happy.
– loving: get your minds out of the gutter, because that’s only a part of it. Love takes many forms and being able to discover all of them is part of what makes being alive tolerable. You might not think trading death threats is loving but the relationship I have with one of my friends is based largely on death threats and I love him just as much as the people I say “I love you” to. Judge if you want but I won’t change and neither will he. And if you do choose to judge, consider this: in a world that is routinely rocked by horrors that are the direct result of hatred and judgement of different lifestyles (the recent mass killings in Norway is a perfect example) what is more necessary: a recognition that love comes in many forms and the knowledge that damning any sort of love is fucking stupid or more senseless hatred?
– myself: it’s taken me a long time to truly love and appreciate myself. Being a teenager is hard, and I had a few challenges added to it. Now, in my late twenties, I find myself endlessly fascinating. I know that I have flaws but this is one more fact that proves that I am not, contrary to my mother’s belief, an alien. Either that or I’m a genius alien capable of fooling even myself into believing in my humanity. As I carve a place for myself in the world, loving myself gives me a constant source of happiness and security to counteract what is often a harsh and unyielding outside world. As trite and cliché as it is, how can others love you if you don’t love yourself? And loving yourself imbues you with the ability to be in control of your life, secure in the knowledge that you do not need others for love, confidence, and a place in the world. Being able to love yourself allows you to love others without needing anything from them in return.
That’s a short list of things I love. It never hurts to remind one’s self of the things that bring pleasure, happiness, and joy to life. What do you love?