Jessica Opens Happiness Box 2019 | Happy New Year!

Hi readers!
Happy New Year! It’s also a new decade – the Roaring 20’s 2.0!  I had a few discussions with a few people who don’t see the new decade until next year and I was reading that while it’s true that life started in Year 1, with our social constructs, it’s easier to see a decade starting in a 0 and ending in a 9 (Say, “The 80s, The 90s”, “The Roaring 20s”) and I’m going by the social construct.
I opened Happiness Box 2019 this morning and it took me about three hours to read through the notes (and take photos and organize them) and all I can say is WOW! 2019 was truly a year of personal growth!
It was fun reading through my decision to get my first tattoo, how I decided on Wraith, getting Wraith and the body positivity surrounding joining the Inked Club. It was also amazing reading through how I decided to get tattoo #2, the appointment I made a month in advance to get it done, and then how awesome it felt getting it on a difficult anniversary.
I was also pierced on 27 December and decided on a dermal anchor on my chest. I had one of my favourite piercers, Zach, who put me back together after my MRI in 2018. It was great having him again and we enjoyed chatting, as my anchor was placed. I’m babying it right now, as it is healing.
In some of my newsletters, I wrote about some of that personal growth and I want to share it with everyone now because I saw this throughout the year and I am proud of myself:

After I made the Wraith tattoo appointment on May 24th, I decided to pay Dia Doce cupcake shop a visit. I haven’t been there since November 7, 2013 and since they gave Brandon the means to take me out, I avoided the place like the plague. I decided to bring some closure to my life and planned a visit. I was nervous at first and when I first tried, I walked away to get my hair cut and I ran into a friendly college student who gave me some advice (West Chester has changed since I graduated) and wished me luck. After my haircut, I decided to go back, I took a deep breath in and then out, went in and that college student was working behind the counter. She told me she loved my undercut, we laughed, and I ordered a gluten-free vegan cupcake. Thais never came out and peace seemed to wash over me. I wouldn’t go back; I can’t justify paying $7 for a cupcake! However, that day was nice, and it was a lovely memory to bring closure.


In June, at Pride I was telling the volunteer my story, he empathized, said it’s never too late to ask for help and handed me the card to William Way Center’s counseling services. I started counseling in July and worked with an awesome counselor for two months. Through the tears and validation, I feel brand new. I am currently working through everything and being honest with my feelings; it feels good to feel good again.

I also met some wonderful people this year! Jack, a kind young man I met on the train and had the joy of getting to know over the summer. He found a new job in the autumn and doesn’t ride the train much anymore, but I reached out to him today. I also met Jac, who was my Lyft driver in March, and he gave me a CD. I’ve been seeing him perform from time to time throughout this year. It has been fun. I also met Luke, Alli, and Amber when Anna visited Pennsylvania in July. It had been ten years since I last saw Anna and that was really nice!
I also met one unsavory character. Devin, aka Savage, but I’m proud that I had boundaries and I stood by my boundaries. I listened to myself and my inner voice is never wrong. It felt good to listen to my nudges. I also saw that people truly care about me and that I am never alone. That was powerful. I wrote about these stories for my Box. When Christian reached out to me on 25 December, he truly was correct.
Last night I ended the year with the Philadelphia Orchestra and had a blast. Bramwell Tovey was the conductor and he added humour to the night. What a magnificent show! New Year’s Eve with the Philadelphia Orchestra
I can’t believe in two weeks it’ll be one year since Mimi died and we started bringing the Boy into the house. I cherish the pictures I took of Mimi in her final weeks and I cherish the song Mariah made for me, I burned it onto a CD. I also cherish the condolences friends and co-workers sent to me as well. Some days aren’t very happy, but often in these unhappy moments, people are there for me and I am blessed. I’m grateful and blessed.
I also opened some mail I didn’t open at the beginning of last year AND I finally opened John and Jim’s holiday card. Pleasant surprises. 🙂
There will be some changes to my Happiness Box Project Instagram page. I’m not going to post a lot about the notes in the box because I’ve found that if I look back before I open the box, it spoils the surprise. I’ll take more photos for the book, but none of what the notes actual say until the new year. I’m mostly going to do the #selfieswithstrangers, and stick to photos that bring me joy. I’m also going to delete old photos from this blog, for more space. I’m already 58% full!
I hope everyone has a wonderful year ahead! I can’t wait to see what a new year and decade brings to each one of us. ~Jessica

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Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

One thought on “Jessica Opens Happiness Box 2019 | Happy New Year!”

  1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    It looks like you savored every moment as you opened the Happiness Box and reviewed the highlights and lowlights of the past year. It was another very eventful year for you filled with travel, attending cultural and educational events, enjoying delicious GF foods, gift giving and receiving, meeting new people, making new friends, dealing with awkward relationships and processing painful memories. You did a great job of putting the past behind you and moving on, your inked skin bearing symbols of strength and empowerment.

    May 2020 bring many blessings your way, dear friend JM!


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