A project that builds gratitude day by day to build resilience.
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.
Whenever I go out for my walks, I discovered new songs. I love Amazon Music for that very reason and I love when the app makes suggestions for my walks. Let me share some of the songs I’ve been listening to with you.
This is such a sad song, but I love the melody to it and the way the artists play with sound. Death Bed (Coffee For Your Head) is catchy.
Another catchy hit. I hope to hear more from 24kgoldn in the future.
I love Birds of Prey, so when this song was featured, I squeed. I love “The Joke’s On You.”
Another from Birds of Prey that I love. I might have to get the album some time.
This album has been out for almost 18 years and I finally listened to it in full. CG2, Country Grammar part II, is a catchy follow-up to my favourite, Country Grammar. Country Grammar will be 20 years old this summer. Can you believe it?
I’m not much of a Maroon 5 fan, but I like this piece and it reminds me of scrapbooking.
Stay tuned to next week, when I post new finds from different playlists on Amazon music. As we are under quarantine, don’t forget to support local artists!
Happy First Thursday in April! Can you believe it’s April already? Time flies, especially when we’re in a pandemic. However, all is well and I’m keeping positive.
We’ve been eating a lot more family meals together and I’m grateful. We usually ate meals together 4 days/week, but now it’s 7 days/week. Mom and I have been cooking and I’m thankful for not only the togetherness, but laughter.
Passover is next Wednesday and usually I go out. Can’t go out this year, but both of my parents said they’ll eat the foods I make for the holiday. The Jewish Federation of Philadelphia invites me to their daily meetings on Zoom, but I attended the Zoom chat today because it was about preparing Passover. I typed that I live in a multi-faith house, this would be my first Passover not going out, and my folks agreed to it.
The Rabbi and the other member gave me some good advice. Treat it like a regular dinner and find some scriptures that would relate to everyone. Mom is non-religious (Atheist), and while dad is C&E Catholic, Jewish groups used to invite him to events, so he’s comfortable with things. However, most religions are similar and we can find common ground. I’m grateful for their advice, their help, and of course my parents for being open.
We were going to go out for Easter and the place we usually go to has Kosher options and it’s nice. We can’t go of course, but mom is going to keep my meal this year Kosher. She’s going to get me foods I can eat. I’m grateful for that too.
I’m also thankful for my friends this week, especially Kathleen. I’ve been having some professional issues, I’ve been confiding in her, and she’s been really helping. I’m also thankful for Marsha, Jac and all my other friends too. Oh, Rachel, the one I met at Shabat last year, invited me into her Zoom group. I normally can’t meet with them in person because of the library (they meet weekdays), but since the library is closed indefinitely, I’ll be chatting with Rachel and the Shabat group on Mondays. I can’t wait.
My blog also turned two yesterday and on the 7th, the Instagram page will officially turn 2. I can’t believe it! I am grateful for all of my supporters and readers.
Today marks five years since Brandon died. Today marks five years since my rapist took his last breath.
Last month I read Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. Sandberg used to work for Facebook and in 2015, her husband unexpectedly died of a heart attack while they were on vacation. In one of the chapter, Sandberg was keeping a journal and one day she decided to end the journal and move on with her life. While she would never forget Dave, but by keeping the journal going and going, she feared that she would fixate on too much of what she has lost and wouldn’t be able to focus on what she could do herself. I found these two paragraphs to be powerful: “But at the end of the day the only person who can move life ahead, make me happy, and build a new life for my kids is me. 156 days in. Hopefully many more to go. So today I end this journal. And try to restart the rest of my life…”
I thought about this last month, way before COVID-19 came into the picture in the US. Brandon was originally from the Seattle Area and after he did the unspeakable, he moved back. He died in Washington State. I was going to order a report of his death. However, since everything is shut down, I’ll wait until a later time.
This is what I wrote about doing last month on Soundtrackers 31 March 2020 will mark five years since Brandon died and on 31 March 2020, I will stop writing about him. I’ve been meaning to order a copy of his death report; I want to read about how he died and I will put it with my Happiness Box, attached with the note, “He is dead and gone. His bones are now ash and he can’t hurt me anymore. Seven years in, five years since he has been gone. I have many more years to go. So today I end remembering his death anniversary and when I found out. I have restarted my life and even though he raped me, taking my virginity, that does not make me less of a vibrant young woman. He has not taken my spirit, in fact what he did to me gave me more life and spirit. I thank him for teaching me that not every sweet face has the best intentions and the importance of listening to my gut. By surviving this, I have become a strong person.”
I don’t have the report to put closure on things, but today for the fifth anniversary of his passing, I am going to still write that note to for my Happiness Box. I am a strong person and I am the only person who can move my life ahead. I am still living and hopefully have many, many more years ahead of me. I want to show everyone my strength and courage and I want to use those gifts to lift others up.
I started the Happiness Box Project in response to what happened to me. It has inspired others.
A few months ago, I was listening to Ted and there was a talk about how many of us feel like an imposter when we aren’t in our natural element or we feel like we don’t belong. I’m not a naturally happy person, I’m neurotic. I’ve always been neurotic and while my project does help me, I still have off days. We all have off days, however,with my anxiety, with those off days I feel like an imposter. How could someone run a project like this?
I took a chance and I decided to run the Happiness Port Project activity on Writing.con. This makes my heart flutter and I’m crying tears of joy that my activity is helping others. ❤️
I can never change what happened to me and Brandon inadvertently became a small part of me. However, if I didn’t undergo this trauma, the Happiness Box Project and the Happiness Port Project would have never happened. If these never happened, I wouldn’t have inspired others in this way. This is strength and grace.
I tend to ruminate and since I do that, I research and research. I think the Happiness Box Project is a form of a journal, just not in book form.
I Googled “Journaling Doesn’t Work For Me” and it took me to this site. I read through it and I believe The Happiness Box Project counts as Life Affirming Writing:
Choose topics to cheer you on and lift you up. It’s too easy to spend time off the page with the inner critic, self-doubt or the voice of ED. This is a chance to break free. Write about
Triumphs of recovery
Successes of the week
Steps taken forward in your life
I used to have a private blog that I used as a diary. Dead Journal never really took off and there are only a few members since in 2003 the creators limited it to people who already had journals could invite others. I still have that blog, it’s friend’s only, and as of three years ago, I only had one follower. I’ve meant to update it more often, but I think my Happiness Box Project helps.
I would rather have someone tell me, “I’m sorry, I just have too much on my plate and I can’t really handle your emotions right now, as I’m going through something” instead of saying my journaling method doesn’t work and maybe I should try prompts. I still want to talk to people and I still want a dialog of things that are bothering one another.
Corporate at my job has started this COVID-19 Zoom chat and they give tips every weekday of how to handle the anxiety and gives us a safe space to talk. I find this really helpful and it’s nice to talk in a safe space.
This weekend, Story Master and Story Mistress, graciously held a “stay at home weekend” with half off of merit badges, with new merit badges commissioned, extra gift points for reviewing, and more awards for interacting with one another. We may have to be physically distant, but we don’t have to be socially distant.
I took a half day on Friday and to get into the camaraderie spirit, I decided to create an activity for the Writing.com community. The Happiness Port Project, a take on my Happiness Box Project, where people can write and show what has made them happy and grateful during this time period. Here is the link: The Happiness Port Project
Although I’ve had increased depression and anxiety and have been bothering friends over it, they think I am being hard headed, especially with my job search. I hate my full-time job and I said to quite a few people, “I wish I could get furloughed. I hate working in health care, I hate working in appeals, and if I could get furloughed I could find a new job.” I don’t want Philadelphia, I want to move. Many suggested journalism, but honestly I don’t drive and that could be big. However, it’s not even that… I’ve been networking with a few journalists and they have told me that it’s not really great pay. That in of itself doesn’t bug me, but benefits are the most important. That was drilled into me as a child and I now I see why it was drilled into me. My current benefits SUCK, they are high deductible and I don’t like United Healthcare. I wouldn’t care if a new job matched my current salary ($17.59/hour), but the benefits have to be awesome. Many journalists have confided in me that it depends on whom you are a journalist for… some companies don’t even provide them. While there is the ACA, medical insurance is expensive.
I also don’t have any recent or relevant writing experience in anything. Some friends think that is a lie, but it isn’t. I’m ashamed of the crap I wrote in college, it was negative and I don’t want to share negative. College was also 7 years ago, that is old. I don’t want to share this project with future employers either, I would be laughed out of an interview. My manager was right.
I also think my Happiness Box Project is a journal. One suggested journaling and I journal through this. I also told them that I can write to my heart’s content, but I have found when I also confide in others, I gain perspective. I like writing, but I have found it more helpful to share my feelings too. I guess I need to find therapy again. As I learned through therapy, I shouldn’t be afraid to share my feelings and I can tell you I learned this too: you can’t know what you don’t know. I’m not going to learn that from myself, I have learned that through talking to others. I’m not knocking journaling because the Happiness Box Project has helped me, but I also think it’s more beneficial if you have a therapist or a group you can confide in and help you. I’ve found that I can write goals all I want, but when I’m held accountable by others, I accomplish those goals more so than relying on myself.
Anyway, this Happiness Port Project has gained a lot of fanfare and people think this is a great idea. I have 6 participants and while I hope it grows, I’m grateful. I can’t wait to read their entries and I can’t wait to work together in a community.
It is with a heavy heart that I’m announcing the death of one our longtime friends, Mary. Mary and her sisters live next door to where Nan used to live and that’s why they are our longtime friends. The three sisters were unmarried; Joan died in 2013 (6 months after Nan died), so it was just Mary and Flo. Now it’s just Flo and I feel for her. After this quarantine is over, I’m going to spend more time with her.
I’m thankful for all the times spent with Mary. Mary was a nurse for 35 years and when I was a young teenager, she helped me with period issues. I’ll spare the one story, but I am grateful for the help. I’m grateful for all the times she took me to the movies when I was a little girl, and never forgetting my birthday or other special occasions. I’m glad I visited last month and spent one last time with her. I wanted to visit her a few weeks ago, but with the outbreak of COVID-19, I was too afraid. Dad called and they both said they were afraid too. However, I am grateful for all the times I spent with her.
This was from Aunt Millie’s going away party, 14 years ago today. Aunt Millie was moving to Denver to be with her daughter. Mary is the one in pink.
Today Wraith turned 10 months. I can’t believe that in two months, Wraith will turn the big 1. I think I might get a small cake and celebrate the one year anniversary of joining the inked club. I’m thankful he is healed (and I’m thankful that tattoo #2 is healed) – both healed smoothly. I’m grateful that today was a gorgeous day and I could flaunt him a little bit at the playground.
This week I am thankful for my friends and family. We’ve been getting each other through this by checking in on each other every day. I’m thankful that my parents and I have grown closer. We’ve been enjoying cooking and family meals together, as well as many laughs. It’s nice sitting with dad at lunch since I am working from home. I am going to cherish this time.
I’m also thankful for Jewish groups who are reaching out to our community, especially since Passover is approaching. I’m thankful for all the religious groups that are helping out everyone. Even the non-religious groups; it’s nice to see the kindness flowing through everyone.
I’m also thankful that spring has sprung and I can take photos of the gorgeous scenery.
Also, someone agreed to a COVID-19 safe selfie with me on Wednesday.
Today’s entry is about the older sister year of 2020: 2009. I mentioned that starting 1 March 2020, 2020 has the same days as 2015 and 2015 had the same days as 2009. I wanted to share some of 2009 with you.
At the end of 2009, that’s when I learned of my asexuality. My first relationship ended in January 2009, after four months. I was devastated because I liked Jacob for a while. He was my friend while he was dating my friend and I lost two friends. I got into my second relationship on 4 June 2009 and that ended four months later. I think Danny was rebound, but I wasn’t really into either one of them like that. After how painful those two were, I realized that I like being single and I wanted to invest in myself.
Danny also told me I was too depressed and I went on an anti-depressant. Unfortunately, that caused more issues for four years and led to antipsychotics as well as anti-depressants, all misdiagnoses. Once I focused on my thyroid disease, then Celiac disease, my mood has improved a bit. Depression still hits me, but I don’t want to take medication. When I’m feeling depressed, I write it out, and I talk to trusted people. I’ve learned to lean into my village and anyone who doesn’t understand or wants to change me, they are not my people and they are not part of my village.
2009 is when I visited Anna in South Carolina and celebrated her 21st birthday with her. That week in Greenville/Greer was so much fun, especially visiting Ashville. Her 21st birthday is an evening I won’t forget: after dinner, Anna’s of age friends took her to the bar and I stayed at Lindsay’s house with the guys. They were also underage and we hung out in Lindsay’s jacuzzi. Lindsay also lent me a bikini. Cam and Justin were your typical Southern good ol’ boys and I had fun hanging out. Cam was also cute and Cam spent most of the time talking to me.
I met Samantha, Reese, and Marsha in 2009. Marsha and I are still friends; I fell out of contact with Samantha and Reese. Oh, I also met Kendra, Mary, Brandon (not evil Brandon), Theresa, and Alex, Mary and I are still friends too.
2009 was a year where I started to learn who I am. It’s a journey I am still on, but I know I will be on for the rest of my life.
Photos from 2009 are being a pain… so they will be added at a later date. I have to save some from Walmart.com and they aren’t saving right, others are on Photobucket and Photobucket is down.