I made some lofty goal to only read one book at a time, but now I’m reading four. That’s like reading one really long book. Now I’m just really discouraged. I should start another book. A shorter book. I’ll finish that book and then I’ll feel better about myself. I’ll feel good enough to read those other books. These are the training wheels of literature.

If I feel good about myself one day and bad about myself the next day, the logic in me says “you should feel good all the time.” It wasn’t until I started looking back at photos of myself when I thought I was fat – and realizing I was skinny – that I realized the full scope of perception. That said, what does that say about me, now? The best you can do is try to find some balance between enjoying what you’ve got while you can, and doing good things for yourself so you can enjoy those bad things longer.

You should be able to appreciate little things for the sake of little things. I like grocery shopping. Things in rows, things in lines, colors. Choices. We have so many choices. In France you couldn’t get peanut butter. I had no idea of the scope of my freedom until I realized I could not choose between fifteen different brands of blended nuts. No peanut butter. We found some in a little store on rue de la roquette. I remember how the cobblestones looked and how they felt under my feet. I remember how I pressed against the side of the car as we turned through the roundabout. The smell of smoke. The smell of cigarettes in the morning, in the evening, the smell of it soaked into our clothes as we stripped them off and took turns in the closet of a shower. A Murphy bed of showers. I would look up, scared it might collapse in on me, holding myself and the soap and the curtain all at once.

I drove to the store today and the voice on the radio reminded me of being little. I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel. I didn’t think about things I didn’t want to think about. I drank a glass of sparkling water and with some certainty decided that this was not my favorite brand. Of sparkling. Water. There is likely no scientific credibility to back me up on this one. The bubbles were not quite bubbly enough and the water was not quite watery enough, and, I’ll have you know, everyone is entitled to their opinions on these things.

I am thinking that perhaps it is the ability to find some sort of pleasure in all these little things that is the sign of happiness. I have always been able to appreciate them, but now I feel that I am truly benefitting from it. From the ability to experience little things and feel self-fulfilled in them. I think I am learning how to make myself happy. I think I’m figuring out what makes me, me. Work in progress.


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