Dear Diary,

Sometimes, I find it difficult to get out of my own way. When things get upside down—as they are wont to do—it takes a lot of internal strength and determination to right them, or to accept them, or to navigate through them.

Many days, I’d rather just eat Oreos instead. It’s easier to eat Oreos than to do the hard work. And lately, I’ve been indulging in generic duplex cookies, the kind with the chocolate wafer on one side and the vanilla wafer on the other. They’re deliciously bad, and they pair well with my evening wine. (Also: cheaper than Oreos, which is especially important when you’re unemployed.)

But today, I woke up determined to put one foot in front of the other. I’ve begun a new novel, and I’m actually enjoying the premise. It’s spicy and dicey and funny and poignant and a little bit heartbreaking. (Stay tuned, there will definitely be more to come…)

I was stuck in memoir proposal hell (maybe because the memoir itself is kinda hell), so I just decided to set it aside for a bit and write something fresh. Turns out that was a good idea.

It’s a gorgeous day here in Central Florida—unseasonably cool and a little bit windy, which is my favorite. When my hair is windblown, no one can claim I didn’t fix it. And I love sweatshirt and sock weather. Wearing them serves a dual purpose: They feel like a warm hug, and they both hide things I’d rather keep from the public eye, namely, stomach flab and janky toenails in need of a pedicure. There’s no money for pedis right now, and the stomach flab gets in the way of doing my own. It’s a conundrum for sure. A vicious cycle, easily stopped in its tracks with tie-dyed Bombas.

Anyway, after meeting with some pretty amazing LGBTQ+ writers and listening to their gorgeous words this afternoon, I decided to take my laptop outside to enjoy the breeze. Sissy and Ruby are here with me, and I can’t help but notice how content they are to just be.

Ruby’s contentedness looks a lot like pacing back and forth and barking at all the neighbors, but she’s not hiding, and she’s not digging, so I’m calling it content. She is, after all, a working breed. She’s probably just hoping for a paycheck.

But Sissy. That girl knows how to slow down. She especially loves to roll around in the dry grass and kick her legs up in the air. I imagine the ground feels like a backscratcher on her bare, furless skin. And when she’s done rolling, she just flops. Wherever she is, she flops. And if that spot gets too cool, she does as little as possible to shimmy her way into a sunshine spot. And then she flops again.

Sissy, post-flop.

I have a lot to learn from these two about being present, about choosing joy, including these life lessons:

  • Interact with friends and neighbors (sometimes barking works best)
  • Smell the flowers (or the grass or the light posts or the neighbor’s ceramic turtle… just smell something)
  • Avoid loud, scary noises (especially fireworks and gunshots)
  • Always stop for cheese (except for generic Walmart cheese… that can go straight into the trash)
  • Let someone you love give you a belly rub
  • Take a golf cart ride if it’s offered
  • Find the sunshine spot

After all, there’s always a spot of sunshine. And if you can’t find it today, just put your warm, cozy jammies on and look tomorrow.

It’s bound to show up sooner or later.

That’s just the way life works.



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