I was recently having a conversation with a friend about the things in my life that make me joyous in an effort to experience more of that emotion in my life. She was very specific to point out that my anxiety likes to confuse feelings of joy with feelings of safety, and for me to really dig deep and make the distinction. That’s the really shitty thing about anxiety, it can take the kid inside you who used to marvel at rainbows and dance around in public and tell her that there is way too much to worry about to ever feel like that again.
I’m not going to lie, this was a really hard exercise mostly because order is so fundamental to my sense of safety. And every time I thought I had figured out what makes me happy I realized, wait. That makes me feel good because it brings order to my life. Working out? Order. My diet? Order. Organizing a closet? ORDER.
You’re scratching your head over that last one unless, like me, one of your wildest fantasies is to have a hoarder invite you over to organize their house. I have to fan my face just thinking about the thrill of it.
Eventually I came up with a short list. At the top of it is the sound of my kids’ laughter. Both of them laugh using their entire bodies, and the pitch of it is full and infectious. They laugh at specific scenes in their favorite movies and with friends and over certain passages in books, but I can usually elicit some giggles with very silly behavior. So I made a conscious effort to stop more often in the chaos of everyday life and be a whole lot sillier with my kids. It’s been a mixed blessing because, yes, they are laughing more, but the sudden uptick in my immature antics has them looking at each other like did she hit her head while we weren’t watching?
WHY YES I DID. WITH A SELF-HELP BOOK.
Also near the top of the list is music, new music to be exact, and while I know I’ve been featuring artists here from time to time over the last few years I went back and discovered that the last time I did so was last October. I’ve been finding new music since then, but part of the feeling of joy that comes from new music is in the sharing of it. I know many of you only come here for the pictures of my dogs or to empathize with the challenges I face as a mother and want nothing to do with the posts that feature music from bands with unpronounceable names. And that’s fine. Any reason you want to be here is perfectly valid, even if it is just to print out my face so that you can use it to wipe your butt.
But I’m setting out to bring more joy into my life, and I haven’t been attending to this bullet point. Time to rectify that. I hope you like these songs just as much as I do.
Track: “Sleeping at Last”
Track: “Spinning Signs”