The past two weekends have reminded me—more like smacked me over the head with—that I still have the capacity for happiness, for creativity, for connection and communion with people who share my interests and who care for me. I am happy for that timely reminder because my Inner Negative Voice does everything it can to shout the opposite conclusion. So I will try, in my meager 500 words, to outline some of the basic points, an incomplete but potent list, that I can use to tell my Inner Negative Voice it can fuck right off.
Last weekend I spent with four of my closest friends, sitting on a lawn, listening to musicians I love, whose work has meant so much to me over the years, simply enjoying the moment. I laughed, I joked, I danced, I sang. At one point, someone pointed out that they had not heard me laugh like that in a long time, and I was surprised and delighted to realize that they were correct. I smiled. It’s possible it was the company, it’s possible it was the entertainment, it’s possible the small edible I ate contributed to positive brain chemistry, but whatever it was, I felt good and centered and connected and happy. So happy I completely brushed off getting rained on and being cold, that’s how happy I was.
I always look forward to being with my friends, Terry and Ken and Tracy, but I am not always laughing when I am. Bad days happen. But let last weekend’s outing with them serve as one of many touchstones that I am still able to feel joy.
Then the work week rolled through and my Inner Negative Voice doubled its efforts, and it even caused me to miss a day of work so that when Friday came, I was not looking forward to going to Rose City Comic Con, something I’d planned to do with Terry for months. We even missed the first night of the convention because of my grumpiness. Then standing in line to get in Saturday morning, I felt overstimulated and on the verge of falling in to a dark cloud.
But a funny thing happened. Wandering the show floor and being surrounded by people enjoying their passions, I got a distraction from my Inner Negative Voice. And I remembered that there are things in the world I love, too. Sure, it’s superheroes and space battles and good and evil, but there is a moral center to the stories I care about. Heroes may not always win, but heroes in those stories will always fight back against the darkness. If they get knocked down, the best of us will always get back up. They can do this all day if they have to.
And even when one is surrounded by darkness, joy can be found. And the darkness can’t silence the voices of those around me who also need joy and light.
I have far too many little examples from this weekend to fit into one of my 500 word posts. Maybe in the coming days I can document some of them. But one of the mementos I bring from the comic con this weekend is a little silver-and-green ring, pictured above: Green Lantern’s ring of power. To some it may seem a cheap trinket, but for me, it’s a reminder of a few things I value: determination and willpower are what makes the Green Lantern a hero; connection and teamwork makes them stronger, being part of the Lantern Corps; and that even heroes need to recharge from time to time, even though they will never completely retire from the good fight.
I’m happy to be here, and happy to tell my stories. Thank you for listening. There are more, and many many more, to come.