Wednesday, June 18, 2014

the rules of being happy

Sometimes I feel the gravity of the entire world heavy on my shoulders. Every microscopic nick starts to gush in the fast spinning pace of every day. The tiniest offenses make me feel annoyed, uneasy and overwhelmed. I want to silence all the chaos but I can't figure out what matters and what doesn't so I do half of all the things which never ends up being enough or even the right things in the first place. And I want to cure cancer and bring home every rescue dog and mop the kitchen floor, but I can't, so instead I do nothing. Or I buy some overalls at the mall and feel better. But not filled.

And I've filled that ache with different things before. Some that works in big ways. Some that covers it with a little patch. Some that end up making the hole bigger- my voice echoing though.

Sometimes I think I think too much {Pink}

Me too Pink. Me too too. Like what is the purpose of life? What are we supposed to have or feel at the accumulation of the ends of our days? Why is it so fast and so slow? What is the meaning of it all?

It's not about autism
Or the past
It's not about trivialities
Or a complete lack of them either
It's not about a shiny clean floor
For me.

The details of our days are so different for each one of us, but I think there's something bigger and deeper that allows us all to connect. Something to do with sharing and honesty and pain and connection. I used to think the pain and the ache of the hole was the unlucky part, but I think most of us have this. Sometimes the pain and the ache is the gift that pushes us forward and causes true connection. It helps us figure out what really matters the most. I think there are rules to follow in the pursuit of happy, I just don't know what they are.

At the beginning of 2014 I picked three words I wanted to focus on this year. Things I knew mattered to me. Things I knew made me happy. I like rules and guidelines to follow. Words to chase. To choose as often as possible again and again and again. I picked- learning, adventure and giving.

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Grey isn't the only one in our house that likes all the things lined up.

I need learning to be happy. To keep my mind full and engaged and entertained. I love to learn new things. In fact, this Monday I start an online writing class through Stanford Continuing Education. I am nervous and excited. I need adventure to stretch and grow because I get extremely stuck in my days. It's hard because I crave safe. And order. And the same. And then long bitterly for the type of adventure that goes against every single one of those threads woven together that makes up me. I chose giving, because I'm not good at it and I want to be better. I blame too busy or not enough or not now but soon- and I want to be better at it now because we all need each other and I need what giving gives me. In fact, if you live in the Central Valley- please come. 

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We are each our very own project manager and we can choose the words that we want to chase. Pick yours. You deserve it.

Do you know what scares me most? Not death or heights or public speaking or the boys future. I am afraid of not embracing life for all it offers. I am afraid of hearing a call and ignoring it. I'm afraid of being afraid of the daily little ridiculous things. I am afraid of focusing on petty things- things I know aren't important but I get caught up in anyway. I'm afraid of thinking I can't- so not even trying. And in little ways I do that every single day. Talk myself out of what I sometimes think I need the most.

It's funny, I make him conquer his biggest fears because I know it's good for him. Both boys are doing swimming lessons.

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Grey LOVES the water but he HATES getting his hair and face wet. He can't bear to have his hair washed. He can't stand to have water flow into his eyes. He screams like he is terrified and in pain. This is our third lesson and it's finally starting to come together. The constant crying and screaming stopped. It is a miracle born from hard work, grace and a willingness to try.

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 photo _MG_5498_zpsa667729b.jpgHe still tries to keep his face out of the water- but that's just the thing. HE TRIES. Even when he's scared and he hates it- he tries. He goes all the way under again and again.

Doodle is an Olympic hopeful.

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Sometimes he is even smiling under water.

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I just watch them both in awe. Amazed. Something about the way they conquer the world is an important element of happy. 

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Afterwards we went to The Farmer's Market to celebrate with icecream. Icecream in Summer has to be one of the rules of happy.

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And live music.

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And being with people you love--which is probably the most important rule of happy.

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And spinning and dancing and living so loud it sounds like life to everyone around.

I guess no one is going to make us do the things that we fear that will also make us better- like I do for Grey. So I must make me and you must make you. It's so hard to do though- isn't it? To push ourselves past the part of fear and pain and to the spinning happy dancing parts? I think sometimes we just need that grace and a willingness to try.

I'm in if you are. We can help each other. 



  1. How, how do you always do it? I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks which have kept me from living for a while. My words for this year have been less fear BIGGER faith. I'm tired of living in dear. Tired of being scared. And I don't want to teach my girls fear. I was already seeing it in my special girl, her fear, her anxiety was stopping her. I need to show her we can be scared and still do. It's so hard but I'm doing it. I'm trying. Thanks for doing the hard with me.

    1. Corrie! That is an amazing BIG love you have for your girls. To work on your fears so as not to pass them on. You are an awesome Momma! Your girls are lucky to have such a wonderful role model. Best of luck in your journey to conquer those fears. Jennifer


  2. Dear Chrissy!
    I'm a fairly new reader of your blog, and I will be back, many times!!
    I'm also a mother of a beautiful son. It so happens to be that he too has autism in his suitcase...
    When learning to swim, he also feared the water on his face and in his eyes. He was so stressed out, and sank like a stone. Swimming googles was the big turning point, the kid suddenly started to float, to enjoy, to relax and finally... He swam. Firstly under water, like a dolphin. Today he simply swims. With or without googles.

    Love your writing, I feel and know deep inside of me the emotions you describe. I know the LOVE.

  3. I'm in ! I think we have already helped each other so much. Just by telling our truth. We can learn so much from swimming lessons. My sister was the same way in swim......trying to figure out how to go underneath the buoys without getting her face wet!!!! It broke my mom's heart. xoxoxoxox I'm diving under today! I'm in CK

  4. I love this. The things that I fear the most are the same things you fear the most. But my daughter pulls me out of my fear - wayyyy past my comfort zone to do the things that stretch my life and help me grow and LIVE OUT LOUD. It's painful and scary most times but I am so grateful to her. She's only 2. I can't imagine what these next years will bring. Thanks for sharing -

  5. I'm in too. I've always had the philosophy that the hard things are there to make us better in the end. It's my hard things that have made me love the world more and be more understanding of others and want happiness more and hold onto happiness longer.

    Also, in regards to the swimming, I used to hate the feeling of water in my eyes when I was swimming and so I would try to swim above the water. But once I got a good pair of goggles I would swim underwater all the time. The feeling of being underwater is like freedom, but when you can't see anything because the water is stinging your eyes, it makes it hard to enjoy the freedom.

  6. As usual I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post....and your photos are spectacular...