Monday, July 16, 2012
Reclaiming My Joy
I misplaced my joy for a few years. Writing and jewelrymaking, the two things that usually send me into the Joy Stratosphere were pushed into a drawer to be looked at occasionally and pondered, but I just didn't have it in me to take them out for a spin. Well, I did do some writing but that was only to keep me in pin money for a little while as I cringed, waiting for the next blow from The Universe. Initially, I was thrilled to find that a professional entity would find my writing good enough to pay me for it...but when you write for money, you can eventually become tense and anxious and burnout often follows. I decided to take a break.
Now that I am slowly, slowly coming out of the other side of the Dark Days, I'm thinking about going back to both of these joys as soon as I get my place a little better organized. After spending all this time holding myself together with spit and glue, I am sometimes surprised to find myself smiling again at little things. In fact, the other day I laughed out loud at something so silly I still smile when I think about it.
I have one of those little window fans that is actually two small fans encased in one housing together. Unbeknownst to me, each of the fans has a separate motor; I think I assumed that one motor drove both fans, or more likely I never gave it a thought, until I put it in the kitchen window and plugged it in the other day. Almost immediately, the fan on the left went into motion. The fan on the right just sat there. The blades were completely still. I took a pencil and stuck it through the grate, trying to nudge the blades around, thinking that they just needed a little push. Despite my efforts, the right fan ignored me while the left fan continued to spin busily.
I sat down at the kitchen table with a glass of wine and let my mind wander. I thought about all the things I need for my new apartment that I can't afford -- yet. I thought about how tightly I will have to budget to stay here but I didn't worry too much about that; having been a single parent for many years, I'm used to having to budget every nickel. I've almost made peace with the fact that I will probably struggle financially for all of my days. I thought about someone very close to me who is fighting cancer with all his might... and may be losing the battle. At some point, I glanced over at the fan and much to my surprise, the right fan was spinning right along with the left. Ha!
I figured that it might be a little dusty or rusted since the fan has been in storage with the rest of my things for the past 18 months or so; perhaps it just needed a little time to get itself together. My apartment is as hot as Hades except for the bedroom where the air conditioner is, so I keep some of the ceiling fans and box fans going whether I'm home or not, especially now that Bumblebee the cat is back home with me. But I generally turn the little double fan in the kitchen off before going to bed.
This morning, I turned the double fan on, and, as usual, the left fan jumped into action while the right one sat there, motionless. But this time, instead of letting my mind wander, I sat and watched the fan while I drank my coffee. And this time, I caught it -- the right fan moved. Just a little. Stopped. Moved again just a little but then it continued to turn but sloooooooooooooowly, barely moving. And I found myself cheering it on: "Come on, little fan. You can do it! I know you've got it in you!"
The right fan began to pick up speed, just a little... just a little... and then suddenly, the blades started whipping around, keeping time with the left fan. And I laughed out loud. I laughed at myself, cheering on a stupid window fan. I laughed because I haven't found much to laugh about lately and I guess I just needed to, finally. Bumblebee the cat sauntered into the kitchen and looked at me, as if to say, "Losing your mind, eh?" And then I laughed at him.
There's probably a lesson in there somewhere, right? This is an allegory or a metaphor for something in my life, yes? It's too hot to try to think about it now. I'm just glad I haven't forgotten how to laugh. I was going to say that it's just like riding a bike, but that's not accurate. Let me tell you, you CAN forget how to ride a bike and it DOESN'T just come back to you after several years have passed, trust me... which is why I now have a three-wheeled bike, so I don't have to worry about balancing. Luckily, laughing doesn't take as much effort.