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oh joy, where art thou?

i can't remember the last time i laughed; like really laughed. i'm talking, can't control the embarrassing sounds or bodily fluids escaping my body, kind of laugh. in my defense, there's not a lot to laugh about right now. we are living in some pretty grim times. but isn't now, when life is hard, precisely the time when one needs to feel some kind of joy? and i

miss laughing. like, i really miss it.

anyone who knows me, knows i don't just sit back and wait for everything i've ever wanted in life to just magically show up on my doorstep. although, universe, if you're listening, i'm not opposed to that. just saying.

i'm seriously out there, actively looking for joy. i've looked everywhere; in the kitchen, in my shopping cart, at the bottom of my empty wine glass. and you know what i found? extra pounds that i now have to lose (oh joy!), more shoes that i have no reason to wear and well, the wine? that one, i actually did enjoy. but nothing i'm doing is making me feel genuinely happy.

and i'm worried because don't happy people supposedly live longer, healthier lives? i mean, this absence of joy isn't boding well for me. so, i do what any normal, rational person would do. i reach for the deck of oracle cards my chaos & tonic business partner and bff gave me at christmas. i hold the deck close to my heart and ask, "what do i need right now to get out of this funk?" i shuffle the cards and lay them out on the floor in front of me. i take a deep breath and clear my mind. i soften my gaze so as to allow the card that holds the answers to my deepest questions to jump out from the others and speak to me. i see the card i want. i reach for it. i turn it over. and you know what it said? joy! freakin' joy! no shit sherlock. thank you, captain obvious. so, the answer to my lack of joy is to find joy. message received. i lace up my new boots, google, "best autocorrect fails" to get my giggle juices flowing, raise my glass of chardonnay to the sky and declare, "joy! i know you're out there. i'm coming for you!"

and as if on cue, my dog, joe jumps to attention and starts barking at me as if to say, "yeah girl! let's get us some joy!" either that or he is saying, "giiiirrrl, you are craaaayyyzzzyyy." i choose to believe the former. he stops barking and just stares at me. i take a long sip of chardonnay and stare back. he's definitely trying to tell me something. but what? i look at the oracle cards for the answer, but think better of it. i look back at joe and this time, instead of chardonnay, i drink in his deep, soulful eyes and without thinking about it, without being able to control myself, i start to laugh.

i'm reminded that as a child, every time i saw a puppy or a dog, i would giggle. and that got me thinking. does the answer to finding joy exist inside a time machine? like, if we take a step (or several steps, in my case) back in time to when we were children, would we be reminded of what joy, of what happiness looks like?

i allow my mind to travel back through time in search of happiness. i find myself sitting outside my brother's closed bedroom door. i have no problem seeing, or more accurately, hearing what brings my bro' true joy. music. my brother is a natural born musician. and to his credit, he never allowed adulthood to interfere with his passion for music.

but where in my time travels am i? where's my joy? oh! there it is! i see myself on my high school stage strumming an air guitar and lip syncing to wham's "wake me up before you go go." yup, it was a thing. and yup, i'm that old. oh, there i am again, performing in the high school musical. picture frame after picture frame is a flashback of me happily, joyfully engaged in some creative art form from singing and dancing in an open field on my parent's farm to sitting at the kitchen table writing prose to sketching portraits of my latest boy crush.

and as i take my trip down memory lane, you know what i'm feeling? dammit, i'm feeling joy. i'm actually the happiest i have felt in a very long time. why? because i came face to face with who i am at my core, before the battle scars of life, before the weight of adulting wore me down.

i'm just a girl, a quiet girl with a creative mind and a penchant to perform to entertain.

in the present day, i'm a grown-ass girl with adult responsibilities. i still have to spend more time than i like, doing tasks i don't particularly enjoy. but in between the adulting, what's stopping me from finding new ways to be creative, finding new stages on which to perform? i guess that's what i'm doing here. performing. is anyone out there? i suppose it doesn't matter. i found my joy. but if anyone is out there, i do hope you enjoy the show.


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