Just A List Of Things That Have Made Me Think That Maybe I Can Be Happy Again

Inspired by Kendra Syrdal.

1. Rain. For a couple of weeks there, we were getting a lot of clouds and rain in Houston. Blame it on my water sign, but I have this thing for rain, for storms, for bodies of water. I’d rather the rain than the sun, almost every time. It soothes me, it comforts me, it brings me peace. Watching and hearing each raindrop come crashing down makes me feel less alone. It made me think of Seattle, of the places I still want to go to and still haven’t been, of the places that make me want to pack up my life and go in search of new things. It made me think of Portland, how I want to go back there again. It made me think that having a desire for things means still wanting to live.

2. Writing. I’ve written my whole life, but lately I’ve felt like I’ve grown as a writer. Like maybe I’ve found my voice and developed my style. I find myself more proud of things I’ve written recently than I used to in the past. What’s more, I’ve written about things I couldn’t a year ago. I recently wrote a piece that drained me emotionally, I was very open about some things in my past. It made me feel like there was some sort of voice and power I lost a long time ago, and sharing that piece made me feel like I got it back. It made me feel like I was healing. Writing isn’t only cathartic and therapeutic for me, but hearing that others can relate to what I write makes me feel less alone, and it makes me feel like if I can do the same for someone, I’m doing some good in this world.

3. People. People can be poison. I don’t have much faith in them most of the time. I’ve found myself surprised by some lately. I was at lunch not long ago, and outside the restaurant on the street there was a homeless man. It’s not unusual in Houston, but what is unusual is witnessing random acts of kindness by strangers. The friend I was with ordered a second meal to go towards the end of our lunch date, I didn’t think much of it, but when he went out of his way to walk to that homeless man and hand him the takeout, it made my heart swell.

4. Feeling appreciated. Last month, I got an email from one of my producers expressing appreciation of my talent and of me as a person. She also treated me with some wine long distance. That day I was in a really dark place. That day I was having not so very kind thoughts about myself. What she said to me made me feel appreciated as a person with a spirit. I realized that sometimes the things we take for granted about ourselves, are the things others see and love. She didn’t know it, but she really helped pull me out of an ugly place that day. Shout out to Kendra! I adore you!

5. Watching Ainsley grow up. I can’t believe one of my friends is responsible for this firework of a soul. She is literally one of the reasons Future Is Female. I can’t wait to see her mold into the person she is going to become. I can’t wait to watch her slay the patriarchy. She’s already quite a force to be reckoned with and quite the feminist. This little girl is going to do amazing things. I feel so proud of her and so proud of Kelli for raising her, single mom, homeowner and all. Watching one of my friends doing it all makes me think that maybe I’m far more capable than I give myself credit for. I look up to her more than she’s aware of and when I think about it, I catch myself smiling.

6. Queer Eye. I don’t know how I ever lived life before watching this show. When Molly told me I had to watch it immediately, she wasn’t kidding. I cry almost every episode, but a good kind of my heart can’t take how good it feels swelling cry. I watch and am reminded the world isn’t entirely rotten.

7. Speaking of, Molly. I don’t remember who slid into whose DMs first, but here we are. I love connecting with other writers and artists. Something about her, I don’t know, she just gets me. We get each other. I haven’t even met her in person yet and I already know this girl is going to be a lifelong friend.

8. Friends. Kelli. Elan. Ty. You’ve got no idea how much a difference you make. Kelsey, that trip to Baton Rouge did wonders for my soul. You’re forever that friend holds my hand through the darkness. Emily, Alicia, Kerri and Hope, I know what sisterhood is because of you.

9. Forgiveness. Someone I hurt deeply some months back recently reached out to me. She told me she wanted to salvage our friendship. I was surprised. It was very unexpected. I don’t think I would have forgiven me. It spoke volumes about her love for me and volumes of who she is a person. Thank you, Mandee. It made me think about how maybe I could do the same with others, even if that forgiveness will be silent, even if that forgiveness only means letting some things go.

10. Jean skirts. They were my thing back in the 2000’s. I honestly don’t know why they ever went out of style. I would have never stopped wearing them if I hadn’t grown out of mine. I’m so glad they’re back. I found one for a whopping 13.99 in Marshall’s earlier this month and I honestly want to wear it anytime I do anything. Bodysuit? Jean skirt. Tank top? Jean skirt. Top? Jean Skirt. T-shirt? Jean skirt. I feel really pretty and girly every time I put it on. I feel a lot like I did when I was young.

11. Unexpected words from my mom. We were exchanging emails the other day and an hour or two after that interaction, she emailed me again and all it said was “I love you.” It had been a long time since she had told me that. It made me think maybe we’re not as irreparable as I thought we were. Like maybe we can one day get back to a better place. Where there’s love, there’s always hope.

12. Poetry. Always poetry. Always beauty. Always pain. Always hope.

13. New books. Sometimes I think I’ll never stop being numb, but I read something new and it makes me think that maybe I’m wrong.

14. One night stands. Sometimes it’s just what you need. Sometimes they make you feel alive. So human. So animalistic.

15. Seeing his face on social media. He doesn’t even have any type of social media and I saw him back to back on Instagram in one week. She was there. They stood out in one of the pictures I came across. His arm resting on her shoulder. I was surprised I didn’t feel as much of an ache as I thought I would. The last time I stared at a picture of the two of them together might have been the last time I saw him, there I was straddling him, and there they were, the happy couple smiling wide above his desk. I remember finally admitting to myself that no matter what he said and no matter how either of us might have felt, we were something that would never happen in this life, and maybe something that never happened in whatever world or time we found ourselves in. It hurt like hell. But seeing them again, even in just a picture, smiling wide for the camera, didn’t ruin my day. Yeah, I still felt something, I still missed him, but it didn’t make me feel like I wanted to open up a bottle of wine.

16. Not writing about him. I used to have to try hard not to. I used to not be able to start a poem without making it about him. But here I’ve been, not really feeling as inspired by whatever we were, by whatever ache he left. I’m not entirely sure what that means, it’s too new, but maybe it’s letting go, maybe it’s not feeling that love anymore.

17. First dates. Sometimes one night stands aren’t one night stands, after all. When we were at dinner he asked me, “Do you always smile like this, or is this just because of me?” I wasn’t even aware of how much I’d been smiling, how much my cheeks hurt because of it, how good it felt, until he said that. I didn’t want to tell him I don’t usually smile like that, that sometimes I do when I’m nervous, that he makes me nervous, but in a good way, in a way nobody has in a long time. That it probably also is just him, how I find myself feeling general disinterest in anybody I meet, but with him I’m intrigued. That I feel like I want to know him. That there’s something about his energy that scares me because I love being around it, because it feels like it blends with my own energy, and when I get over the feeling nervous part, it feels too comfortable. I guess the honest answer would have been that I don’t usually smile like that and mean it, unless someone is making me, that not a lot of people can, that maybe it is just him.

18. Realizing how significant the word him can be. How it has its own identity and how that identity changes. When I’m with him, I don’t think about anybody else. I don’t know what that means, I don’t know where it’s going, and even if it’s nothing or nowhere, it’s still something. Maybe my heart can still beat, after all.

19. Feelings things that make me want to write poetry and prose that don’t hurt as much. TC mark

Natalia Vela

writer on the storm.still checking books out from your local library.

To love yourself should be no quiet affair, but a loud uprising.

“Never forget,
you are more powerful
than you are damaged
and you will rise
from any abyss
they drown you in.”

— Nikita Gill, Your Heart Is The Sea

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