… and not the kind of false “look at me, look at me!” kind of happy, the kind that demands outbursts of “see how many times I’ve gone to the gym this week” or “I got all the promotions and pay rises at work, look how successful I can be” (maybe that’s a little insensitive). It’s the kind that creeps in slowly while you’re not looking, that makes you smile outside in the rain with no umbrella, that nudges your eyes open when you wake up with promises of a good day. It’s the kind of happy that feels gentle on my skin and soft around my shoulders and I don’t plan on letting it go any time soon.
I feel centred, utterly grounded in a way I haven’t felt in a long time. I am holding myself up all on my own, delving into university work like I probably should have two years ago. It’s my work that’s keeping me stable right now. Today I got up at 5am and made my way from Ammanford, through Swansea, back to Cardiff to get to uni for 10am. There is a reason that my father’s world exists on the other side of the place which both built me up to be who I am and dragged me down to depths I didn’t know I was capable of surviving, but that’s a story for another post. I arrived at uni, completed the workshop set for us, and was actually a little disappointed when it ended four hours ahead of schedule. I stayed on until the mid-afternoon then headed to Halfords to get my bike looked at before cycling home and spending the evening working on an alternative piece of design for my last university project. It has been a good day.
I feel like every hour of today has been utilised, I feel alive, and responsible and awake. My work is easy to immerse myself in; I don’t have to worry about it like I have to worry about how long it is okay to not get a response from that Tinder date, the one with his shit together, with the floppy hair and the tattoos and oh my goodness I can feel the chaos already, or writing messy metaphors and apologies to myself for the curiosity of a guy who was lovely, but not worth the mess or the trouble. It is easy in a way unlike writing blog posts and worrying about the responses I’ll receive from whoever reads it. I am in control, unlike when I am waiting for responses from volunteering abroad agencies and relying on the UK Government to approve my internship in China, it is more like dancing slowly in private after a bit too much wine or controlling my threshold for the pain when getting my tattoo; I can ride it out for the final outcome, it is my choice to keep going, even to enjoy the process.
My work isn’t chaotic like working out the right way to say I’m busy to last week’s date, that I’m not sure I want to see him again, or right now, that I probably shouldn’t have kissed him goodbye but part of me was curious, part of me is still curious. It isn’t like worrying about my brother making me ill after my father let me buy train tickets without warning, or knowing my savings are running out and I have no solid plan for the summer, or like the irrational urge I have to jump on a plane and go somewhere, anywhere. This work and the space available to me is what I am paying for, what will get me into working as a professional designer or photographer, or both, it is what will push me to meet more people and share my enthusiasm and creativity, it is what will keep me sane while I am still without routine or commitment, and focused when I am tired, dehydrated or lonely.
Right now I am feeling so good, minus the occasional illogical “fuck you and your fucking seagulls” and tomorrow I will get up and I will go to university early, and I will continue to feel this controlled and confident for as long as I possibly can. I only hope that everyone else, at least those on my course working on the same projects, the same issues and struggles, can feel the same. It’s a stressful time right now but we will all make it through.