Saturday, July 24, 2010

Project MoJo(y)

EDITOR'S NOTE: I wrote this in January, after the earthquake in Haiti. I was thinking then about resurrecting the blog, then decided I wasn't ready. Material wasn't coming often enough. And I didn't have the balls. I found this musing recently, and decided I liked it well enough to post. You'll see I wrote this in the twilight of a very dark period that has since blown over like one of those black, afternoon clouds we get here in South Florida. It also reminds me of what my mother likes to say when things are not working out as we planned "Wait six months," she says. "Everything changes in six months." Over the course of a lifetime, I have found this to be true.

I used to write a blog. People used to like it. Sometimes, they ask me to start writing again. And I say I should. Then I don’t. Because I like to write humor. And I’m not funny right now.

Plus, my old schtick, the perpetual single gal – is just tired, tired, tired. And my new schtick would go something like this: “Couldn’t sleep. Went to work. Worked. Watched HIMYM. Couldn’t sleep. Went to work. Worked. Watched HIMYM.”

But I’ve been told by more than one person (ahem, more than five people) that I’m a lot more sane when I’m writing than when I’m not. So I’m going to give it a shot. I apologize in advance for any boredom you might experience. And as I’ve always said to my parents, “keep your expectations low.”

My new schtick is Project MoJo(y). Because I want more joy in my life. And I need to find my MoJo, which is around here somewhere – probably buried under that hey-uge stack of books, magazines, dog-eared J. Crew catalogues and spiral-bound calendars I buy once a year and never use. (I swear I will organize that pile next weekend. Yes. Next weekend that stack will be history.)

I recently read a first-person essay in the New York Times about a woman who dodged divorce by simply ignoring her husband whenever he asked her for one. He would say “I don’t love you anymore.” And she would look him square in the eye and say “I don’t buy it.” And lo and behold, he never left. She said it turned out to be just a mid-life thingamajigit and he got over it and now they are happier than ever.

So I’ve decided I can do the same thing with this icky icky poo poo cloud that’s been hanging over my head the past year. I’m just going to ignore it.

Find Joy.

That’s what I jotted down on a yellow Post-It and stuck to my bathroom mirror January 1.

It’s my New Year’s Resolution, and when I stuck it there I thought the concept sounded complicated, intimidating and out of reach.

But today it just looks shameful.

Only a few hundred miles away, people are clawing at dusty piles of rubble with raw, bloody hands. They are trying to find babies, parents, brothers and sisters. They are trying to find food, water and shelter. They are trying to find diapers, Neosporin, bandages and doctors. They are stepping over the dead, looking for the path out of hell.

I, meanwhile, am cozy in my reasonably-priced one bedroom apartment two miles from the beach with soy milk in the fridge. I have toilet paper, Q-tips, face soap and clean socks. I have salt and pepper shakers shaped like little fish. I have glasses for both red and white wine. I have three pairs of sandy flip flops by my front door. I have a big, stained, comfy chair that has started to spill its stuffing. I have a lace curtain that hangs in my kitchen window.

I live in a heaven beyond comprehension.

Armed with this new insight, and not knowing what else to do, I gave more than I could afford to the Red Cross. And I’ll go to Wal-Mart and buy some diapers, medicine, bandages and granola bars and drop the whole lot off at one of the 3,000 Haitian organizations here in South Florida collecting for the cause.
Even though I know it’s not nearly enough.

I wonder how I have managed to be so fortunate, despite being so ungrateful this past year. I wonder why it wasn’t my home that toppled down on top of me. I sure haven’t racked up a whole lotta good karma, that’s for dang sure. Except for helping a little old lady find the caffeine free Diet Coke today, I haven’t done much for anyone lately.

Earlier this week, I actually thought I had a point with all my malaise and carrying on about the malaise and wearing my malaise around on my head like a great, big, hat that would make even Carmen Miranda pull me into the ladies room and say “Girl, it might be time to crank it down a notch.”

My biggest complaint is that I do not believe I have fulfilled my potential. And I am trying to figure out what I can do over the next few years to change that. And I’m weighing all the risks involved in doing so. Big freaking woop.

Can you imagine the fundraising effort that might go along with that crisis?

I picture the commercial, a video montage of people like me: driving Hondas and Toyotas bought after pouring over Consumer Reports magazine; standing in line at Starbucks, waiting to order a venti soy skinny mocha latte; buying Greek yogurt; and taking a Pilates class.

The voice-over would go something like this: “Look at these images. Don’t turn away. Right now, as you sit in front of the TV, millions of bored people need your help. You, yes, you, can save them.

Close-up on me.

Voice-over: “For the price of a mani-pedi, a bottle of Pinot and a Birkin bag, you can help this generic, white, western woman find joy.”

I look at my Post-It and wonder if I should take it down. It just seems so silly. But only the other hand, it’s a daily reminder of what I hope to do in this blog. Find Joy.

So I sat down in front of the TV with a glass of wine to mull the whole dilemma over and the answer came to me in the waning moments of The Karate Kid.

I grabbed another Post-It, jotted down another message, and slapped my new mantra right next to the old one.

Don’t forget. Life is Good.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVE this!

7/27/10, 2:11 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

Here's the thing though Kel: your finding joy is what enables you to bring joy to others. It sounds trite but it really is the truth. When we're busy walking around in pain, physical or psychic, we are too near-sighted to care about the rest of the world until a giant disaster strikes. But if we take care of ourselves enough to be joyful (whether that means eating right and exercising or finding a career/person/home we love) we can make changes in people's lives who live in our very cities and towns. You can bring joy big and small to people from a smile on the street to donating your time and money. You aren't selfish for wanting joy and fulfillment. That's all anyone wants: freedom from suffering. And the more free you are, the more you can ease the suffering of others.

8/19/10, 12:19 AM  
Anonymous Christina DeNardo said...

We have to make that video. I'll be your producer ;-)

9/4/10, 8:59 PM  

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