The Joy Project

Little Moments of Big Love

Category: Joyfully sad

One Week And Counting…




I have officially been unemployed for one week.

I’m surprisingly mostly great so far (minus the part where I drank one glass of wine too many at my work going-away party and then came home, took my pants off in the living room and ate a hot dog while sobbing; that was just weird, but I’m hoping it was a one-time-deal).

I haven’t made any big decisions about my life yet, and so far I haven’t had any giant revelations.

But I have had lots of time to be quiet and think and it’s funny what has bubbled up:

1.  I am going to stop saying I’m “unemployed” and instead refer to it as my “career-change-a-palooza” or “seeking divine career intervention”. I’d say “life change” but that makes me sound like I am going through menopause. I’m also going to stop saying “I don’t have any money” or “I’m not making any money”  because then the universe won’t send me more money. But if we’re out together and I say “oh, no let me get the check, I am totally flush with cash”, it’s only because I am thinking positively and you can still pay for my wine.

2. I thought I would be afraid of the unknown of being unemployed. Turns out the thing I fear most is getting offered another office job. I want to work from home, or work from Mexico, or only work half the year, or work 12 hours a day because I’m so inspired, and write and create, and run and cook. I’m scared someone is going to offer me a really great office job and I’ll feel guilty if I decline it, and sad if I take it.

3. The dirty workout clothes in my hamper finally out number the business lady pants! Hooray for no more “business casual”!

4. I need a guru. Or a mentor. My own personal Oprah. I have no idea how to stop mid-stream and swim in another career direction. Who are the gutsy women who can show me the way?

5. Batteries…they’re weird, right? Also, what’s the deal with fax machines? You put paper in a machine and then it sends the message to another piece of paper OVER THE PHONE? That’s crazy. (I had to change the batteries in my mouse and that got me to thinking. It might also be a sign that I have too much free time.)

6. The universe is pretty fantastic. And it’s all connected. I’m certain it will take care of me if I just let it.




If You Are Sad…Spread The Light




There Is A Point To This Story

Hey guess what? I am quirky! Which was horribly painful in middle school, and continues to be so in most work meetings.

But lately nerd culture is “in”.  With the rise of Tina Fey, being a frizzy-haired woman with awkward hands and a big imagination is suddenly cool! Well, maybe not cool, but at least respected. Well, maybe not respected, but at least part of the zeitgeist. Wait, did I just say “zeitgeist”? Ya I did. I’m trendy, people, deal with it.

Seriously though, about a year ago, Zooey Deschanel brought her TV show “New Girl” to Fox. I personally don’t have TV, and watch most shows on the internet at my computer, with my cat. Which typically means I am way out of the loop on what’s current in TV land. For example, I just finished watching that show “24”. You try name-dropping “Jack Bauer” at lunch in 2012 and see how many crickets you hear–it definitely doesn’t help my quirky status.

As Zooey’s show grew in popularity, more and more people started commenting on the similarities between she and I. I like her, but I was really starting to get sick of being called “adorkable” (a mixture of adorable and dorky) by the accounting guy everytime I turned in my time card.

So I decided to check out the show. I think it’s great. The characters are well written, her character is vulnerable and trusting, the plots are funny and she made wearing glasses hot. Plus she plays a teacher who really cares about her students, which I think is cool and important. I’ll happily take any comparisons between Zooey and myself, especially if it means “‘being yourself” is now mainstream (don’t worry, I’m still the weirdest person in my office).

And then the show went on summer hiatus, and I continued being adorkable on my own.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. My co-workers started asking “had I seen the season 2 of the New Girl yet”?  No I hadn’t, because I was busy catching up on this awesome new show I just discovered called “Lost”; what’s up with that polar bear?

When I finally got some free time I sat down at my computer and watched the opening episode.

Here’s a scene (you must watch this clip. It is integral to the story and I am not going to tell you what happens)

And then, the next week, I was abruptly laid off too.

Yep. Like some cute harbinger of unemployment, I watched Zooey get laid off, and then I got served my own walking papers.

It sucks and my feelings are hurt, and I am sure you will hear more about it in the weeks to come. But at least I get a whole season of watching my silly and funny doppelgänger go through the same ups and downs that I’ll face.

Seriously though, she better not find another job before me.

The whole episode is funny. You should watch it:

It All Started With 2 Tickets To Europe…


Sorry I disappeared this summer.

I was on the biggest Joy Project of them all.

This is where I went.


I Miss Your Face Like Hell (Rivers and Roads)

It used to be that everyone I loved lived in a five mile radius of my house.

These days you are own your own adventures in Kansas and London and the City of Angels.

This morning I am missing you.

A lot, a lot.

I sing the lyrics to this song out loud so you can hear me (can you hear me?). But when I get to the line “and my family lives in a different state” I get choked up.

Not because I’m sad, but because I love you.

PS: Who wants to be in my band?



Being Worthy



In the past I’ve been that person that yells “I LOVE YOU!” but I really meant “PLEASE LOVE ME!”.  I was that naked person without a shirt that Ms. Angelou warned you about.

I’m not so certain anymore that the people I dated in the past were the “bad guys” I made them out to be, but maybe just normal guys who dated a really insecure person (me).  I’m still pretty sure they were really lame; did I mention one of them broke into my house and ate all my toast after breaking up with me, (click here to read about that one) but I now realize I also played a part in our demise.

If I had honored myself enough to just walk away, my toast never would have been stolen. Literally and metaphorically.

Sometimes it’s still a struggle for me to consider myself “worthy” of love. So I push buttons, test the boundaries, I yell “I Love You!” just to hear it said back to me. In the beginning of my current relationship I would say things like “I’m not sure this is going to work” when I really meant “I’M SCARED! Hold me like a child and tell me it’s all going to be okay.”  I don’t do that as much anymore.

Mostly I know in my bones that, though flawed, I am a good person who deserves good love. And when I say “I Love You” it’s because I really do love me, and I love you, and most of all, I love us.

But I still like it when you hold me like a child.


Me Talk Pretty

I have been seriously overdosing on the allergy pills lately.  And still my eyeballs feel like I rolled them in tiny blades of grass and then set fire to them.

What the pills give in lack of snot, they take in words and clarity.  Several times I’ve been on the phone for work and completely forgotten English.

ME:  “So by becoming a volunteer, you’ll be helping the, uhhhh, umm, uhhh, you know, the little people in schools, uhh what’s the word?”

VOLUNTEER: “The children?”

ME: “Yes, that’s right. The children. You’ll be uh, with the children, doing stuff, and uh it will be good. And stuff.”


And now I am flying to our nation’s capital to present to my peers about my life’s work and my head is so foggy that I am just hoping I’ve remembered to pack pants.  I don’t want to be the presenter who most resembles a stoned Donald Duck.

All this has made me realize all the tiny synapses that I take for granted.

So today, I am thankful for my normally functioning brain and my general command of the English language.  May it return to me one day soon.

Better Daughter

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but lately I’ve been having a pity party for myself.

Life is hard, I wish I were better, if only it were different, why do I always get the weird skin diseases, etcetera.

And then a friend turned me on to this really great writer who blogs professionally.  And she blogs about her two beautiful children, and their cute dogs, and her loving husband who works beside her on the blog, and they are artistic and fashionable and creative and she has a cute pixie haircut.  And instead of being excited to have stumbled upon this great source of writing inspiration, it only made me feel frumpy, and single, and uninspired.  For crying out loud, I don’t even have a dog.

I put the cute blogger on my goal poster for 2012 because I wanted to be more like her and her perfect life. And I stopped reading her blog because it only added fuel to my pity party.

Today, after severals weeks away, I went back to the cute blogger to catch up. And I was blown away.

Sadly, in just the few short weeks since the last time I read the blog, her marriage was over, her husband moved out. Her children asking where daddy was, her cute pixie hair messy from stress.  You could feel the pain radiating from the computer screen.  Just. utterly. shaken.

As much as I hate to admit it, it really made me see my life with fresh eyes.  And more than any other exercise or prayer or jog that I have taken in the past few months to try to shake me out of my funk, her sadness made me happy.

Not because I was glad she is sad.  I’m actually quite sad that she’s sad.

But because it made me realize that no one is perfect. And that your world can flip upside down in an instant. And that my life is pretty darn good, even when it’s bad.  And there is no sense wasting time coveting other people’s lives or wishing for something different.  I should be spending my time appreciating what I have now.  And maybe also go adopt a dog already.

Growing up my dad used to say “you can wish in one hand, and poop in the other, and see which fills up faster.”  I think that was his way of saying that it’s a waste of time sitting around wishing, when you could be out enjoying life.  He’s not the most tactful man, but he is right.

So enjoy your yourself, be grateful, and hug the ones you have.  Don’t wait for the universe to make things really bad before you appreciate what gifts you’ve been given.

My cute sad blogger just posted this song by Rilo Kiley.  It’s helping her through the dark times.  Listen to it and send her some positive thoughts.

Please Make a Box For My Heart and Line It With Cotton Balls

Sometimes (most of the time) I am too damn sensitive.  I swear it’s like I’m Temple Grandin‘s more stylish sister.  Only without all the cows.

For example, on a pretty regular basis, I sit down at my computer and I sort all my songs on itunes by # of plays.  And then I scroll down all the way to the bottom and I pick a song that has only been played once, or maybe never played at all.

And I listen to it.

Just so that the song can have a higher play count.

Which means when I should be spending my mornings before work fist pumping to the new Florence and the Machine anthem, instead I listen to a crappy Joan Osborne song. A song that I downloaded for a mix CD ten years ago that I gave to my Mom but never listened to.

Let’s be honest. My Mom probably never listened to it either.

And I do all this just so the song feels better about itself compared to all the other songs.

Ya. Really.

It wasn’t til tonight that I sat down to listen to another zero song that I realized having empathy for music is effffffffing WEIRD.

Even more embarrassingly, my number one top played song ever on my computer is…It’s Like That by Mariah Carey.

Ya. It’s like that ya’ll.

To Be Known

I was having lunch the other day with two lady co-workers who are both my age-ish, and both in committed, but unmarried, relationships.  And they were talking about how they wish their boyfriends would hurry up and propose already.  Because that’s what ladies my age-ish talk about at lunch.  Unless of course, their boyfriends have already proposed and they’re married and pregnant and then they talk about placentas.  Which is gross.  So of the two choices, I prefer marriage lunch talk.

And then, because I was nodding my head and making eye contact, and saying “me too”, which all indicated a safe environment for sharing, my lady lunch friends admitted that even though they really want to get married, they are also scared.  Scared of the marriage ending, of being hurt, because the men change, or the men refuse to move back to Wisconsin so they can have babies near their mom, or what if their husbands leave them for young pretty blondes who aren’t in non-profit, and look good in skinny jeans.

And then, because they also were making eye contact, and nodding their heads, I felt safe and vulnerable. And I said I was scared too of failed marriages.  But not scared for the same reasons they were.

I took a deep breath and revealed my greatest fear to my lady lunch friends.  I admitted, “I’m scared I might be the asshole.”

You see, the scary part about marriage isn’t that I might get left behind because marriage was just too tedious for my partner, or that my partner will someday turn into some icy cold version of themselves who says cruel things and no longer thinks my Tina Fey impersonation is funny, or that one day the person I love most will hurt me in the most painful way because they know exactly where my most vulnerable spots are.

What is scary about marriage to me, is that I might, one day, do all those things terrible things to the person I love most.

I might be the asshole.

When I hear stories about marriages ending and the terrible things people do to each other, I never would have thought that those people had such nasty things hiding inside of them.  What if it’s hiding in me too?

Do I have what it takes to be true and generous and loving and committed and vulnerable and altruistic and steadfast and interesting for the rest of my life, so help me God, amen, to the same person who will also be changing and growing and imperfect and scared? What if I get bored, or lonely, or weak?  Will I still be kind?

Sometimes when my cat is annoying and wakes me up too early in the morning, I have fantasies that he would run away and never come back.  And he’s basically just a chubby, hairy, hug who loves me unconditionally.

I fear I might be the asshole.

So I say all this to my lady co-worker friends over lunch, because I thought they might understand.

But they don’t.

And they stop nodding their heads and it’s suddenly very quiet and I am keenly aware of the birds chirping and the traffic in the parking lot.  And they stare at me unblinking and my hands flap around awkwardly and now they know me.  The real me.  And they don’t like what they’ve learned.

And then I am certain I am the asshole.  And now I am also alone.

But then a few nights later I had wine with my real, good, long-term girlfriends, who know me and are honest and funny and gusty and happily married.

And I take a deep breath and I try one more time.

I admit that I am scared that I might be the one who does the hurting. And then I hold my breath and wait.

And immediately my girlfriends nod their heads and make eye contact and say “me too”.  And they tell me that already in their marriages they have been the asshole.  They have hurt and been hurt.  And have been forgiven, sometimes quickly, sometimes over a long period of time. And that they are always trying to be a better person in their relationships.  To keep the asshole at bay.

And then I feel understood.  And I feel better.  I’m still scared.  But I feel better.  Because they know me and they still love me.

Even the part that might be the asshole.

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