Esmé Wang is a writer that I follow. She's got this free series of emails called Encouragement Notes that's basically a positive email a day for 10 days starting when you sign up. They're not new and they're not personalized, yet there's something very heartwarming about them. Today was day 5 for me and I've really enjoyed each morning email. In the email I received this morning, she posed the question "what have you seen today that was beautiful?"

This is going to be a little cheesy. You've been warned. But today, I discovered a very specific silly phrase[1] and silly facial expression that, when combined, make my boyfriend laugh 100% of the time. Naturally, I said it over and over. About an hour ago, I recorded a video of myself saying it with that same expression and sent it to him. He responded with a whole bunch of Japanese text including a kanji that I don't know. I'm guessing it all translates to "LOL."

I think it's the little things like this that make a deep impression on me, the way his face lights up and he actually throws his head back to laugh. It was a dreary day today and I spent most of it at work, so I didn't see any beautiful scenery, but that 笑い顔 is beautiful enough to me.

Most of life is kind of a grind. I know it's often said "do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life" but that's bull. Even if you're working at something you love, you'll have days that you hate. I generally like my job and there's still days where I just don't want to do anything. I love writing, but sometimes it feels like I'm pulling teeth trying to get my ideas out into a tangible form. But I think that when you're diligent, when you put in that grind, emerging from it feels nice. I don't have to feel guilty—even if I fail—after I've done the best that I could. Having spent a large chunk of my life barely putting in any effort, I definitely enjoy and prefer the way I live now. Doesn't mean it's easy, but it's better.

The other night, I got home a little early from work (8:30PM as opposed to, say, 11PM) and was feeling good and inspired, so I thought I might go home and write. I ultimately spent the night playing games and reading instead. At first I thought it was kind of a waste, but now I'm glad I did that. Last night I slept almost a whole 9 hours. I tend to only get 5-6 hours of sleep a night on average, so it felt nice to sleep in. Rest is so, so important. I only wish I was better at going to bed on time so that I could better face the next day. My problem is that when I become focused on something, the rest of the world fades away. I can easily get sucked into coding for hours on end because I just...need to fix the problem(s). I can't leave my computer while knowing that there was more I could do or try. I've gotten better at not doing that with writing. I have left scenes half-written recently and picked them up again later or tossed out my old work and started anew. Still, coding is harder for me to give up on. I just love problem solving too much[2], I guess.

I read a spoiler on accident about a book that I wanted to read and it's about a villain that was killed. The comment said something to the effect of "Why couldn't the author find someone to fix them instead of killing them?" That made me think for a while. I dunno. I don't think you can fix people. We scar; we don't heal up as if whatever-it-was never happened. Maybe there was a better way to deal with that character than kill them off, but I don't think they could be "fixed", exactly. Take my anxiety, for example. It'll never be cured, I just learn to deal with it and manage it. Anxiety is like this little yapping dog that follows me around, tells me what to think and what to do. Some days I can ignore that dog better than others, but it never stops following me.

I know that fiction is not reality. I don't tend to read fantasy books and try to apply those lessons to real life. But I do think that the trend of "fix people with love" in fiction plants the seed of that idea. I have definitely stuck around in relationships for longer than I ought to have, based on the thought that I could fix that person—fix our relationship. Spoilers: it never panned out for me.

I guess all we can really do is continually work on ourselves, try to be our best versions of ourselves. I keep building and growing even though I'll never be fixed, never be perfect. And maybe that's just fine.

  1. It's a made-up phrase. I say some very random, made-up words when I'm flustered or angry or being silly, like "mimroo" and "babajo". ↩︎

  2. Yet I fly into a rage trying to do sudoku puzzles. I wish I was more consistent. ↩︎