Okay, so I did it. Fourth interstate move in as many years, check. Total reinvention on virtually every level, check. Internet successfully installed at new location. Possessions unpacked. Check and check. Sanity… basically in check.
I’m here. In my new city. Almost a month after loading up the truck and hauling my stuff into uncharted territory, I can say with total certainty that I am here. The view of ducks outside my patio doors is starting to seem familiar. The routes across the river bisecting this city feel less spaghetti-like, and I no longer have to use GPS to help me forage for laundry detergent or soothing carbohydrates at what has fast become my local grocery store.
Carbohydrate binges aside, I can describe this move as nothing short of magical. So magical, in fact, that it has earned me the nickname Disney Princess among my loyal compadres who have been cheering me on from their respective corners of the country. I effortlessly rented the perfect apartment in what is reported to be a very competitive market. I landed a job within weeks. I’ve even met someone who has turned my life (and my heart) upside down with love.
Holy hell, what kind of sing-along bubble life is this? Am I even living in the real world? Don’t I realize that said real world is in total chaos and tumult over everything it is possible to be in chaos and tumult over? How dare I be so… happy.
Please be assured that it hasn’t lasted.
The bubble has burst, as I knew it would. Said it would, actually, eight days after arriving. “I feel so wonderful,” I texted a dear friend. “I’m a little worried this bubble can’t hold.” Dear Friend responded with assorted breeds of happy-face emojis and applauding hands. Assured me that the bubble didn’t need to burst at all. Life could simply be like this from here on out. That the winds of forever-ever-after-loveliness would only e’er more gloss my cheeks and kiss the backs of my receptive hands.
I had a good run, though. I lived under my dome of bliss for three solid weeks before old niggling worry started to drag its mucky boots back into the enchanted castle. Wherever you go, there you are… isn’t that the adage? Yeah, I like that one about as much as someone flippantly telling me it is what it is while I’m in the middle of a good rant—you know the kind of rant that’s built up some real steam and you’re swilling epithets with bitters on the rocks, followed by a beer back and something fiercely deep fried.
It is what it is. Yuck. Who coined that one, anyway? But wherever you go, there you are… that sounds like a truism. And bubbles always burst. Isn’t that also true? They may wobble in shiny perfection for what seems like an inordinately long time, but they will, in the end, brush up against something (like the winds of forever-ever-after loveliness, for example) and BURST.
Gawd, why do we even bother?
I asked myself today: what is different? Why has the rosy glow that permeated my world dulled? Where is my Disney soundtrack? And could I have willed all of it to stay if I hadn’t anticipated its end with that &#@! text message and my insistence on beating disappointment to the punch?
I’ve decided that this whole manifesting what you expect business can sometimes be the placebo effect’s bastard stepchild. Instead of a positive benefit you get the negative outcomes you secretly fear. It’s worst-case scenario syndrome run amuck. Pessimism and good old-fashioned guilt doubling down as punishment for us feeling… oh, I don’t know, content?
Because contentment doesn’t last, right? Joy and happiness are fleeting at best—to be snatched at and held for as long as they might deign to stay. And then to be released into the inevitable, unfathomable then. Or when…
But worry, anxiety, dread, existential angst, and outright rage can all be counted on. How often have I lined up this crew for their regular rotation? And how ready they are to obey. They are never late, this lot. They do not dance the muse, rob the ghost. They are as dependable as toast, and we know each other all too well by now to pretend that anyone expects blueberry pancakes for breakfast every morning.
If the above paragraph strikes you as bizarrely backward as it does me, well then maybe we’ve got a starting point. I’ve been having a long, deep stare into this backward weirdness we refer to as the way things are. The adages. The belief systems. The expectations for pain over joy… the preoccupation with other shoes dropping and similar depressing phrases.
Why? Why expect the bubble to burst? Or deeper yet: why create a bubble at all?
Whoa. Now that’s going too far. Of course happiness is a bubble. It encapsulates and protects and frames our experience with its fabulous shimmer. It wobbles in as if from another dimension, all rainbow-hued and reflective and untouchable. It is the fantasy made real for a few brief moments. To be chased again and again, and to burst, returning us to normalcy once more.
Well, I call bullshit. Okay, not quite. I almost call bullshit, how about that? Because I’m starting to suspect that there’s a big charade going on, even if I’m not totally sure yet. I’m still used to living pretty backward, but bear with me a moment on this…
What if the enchanted castle isn’t really enchanted? What if it was real all along and filled up with limitless happiness that didn’t start or stop with circumstance? What if that’s where we really live, and what if the worry-dread-anxiety-angst crew is the fantasy?
It’s a pretty inside-out theory, I know. But then we’re used to backward living, aren’t we? Inside-out should be cake. Blueberry pancakes, even.
Moral of the fairy tale? THERE ISN’T ONE. And what a beautiful thing that is! There’s no hard and fast take-away from all this, and thanks be that this also applies to the notion that you can’t be happy indefinitely. Who says you can’t? Who says that bubbles burst and shit happens and everything just is what it is, anyway, so you might as well be as you have always been right along with it?
So—is the bubble back? I’m happy to report that it is not. But I’m here. Really here. And I’m ready to create a new truism. Here goes:
It is how I is.
How bout that?