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I’ve discovered since moving to LA that there’s a distinct indicator of my mood, an indicator that I look to when I’m trying to decipher my mental state at any given time. When I’m depressed, I look back and think — was I happy then? Am I happy now? And there’s one way to tell: the state of my evening commute.

When I’m driving home from work with the sun at my back, with nothing to do but listen to music and lose myself in thought, I’m free to commune with my emotions and really tap into whatever’s going on deep inside me. You know, in my chest, where feelings happen. If I’m having a good time, if I’m “happy” as they say, I’m full on singing. Like, belting out Bon Jovi, doing hand movements and air guitar, dancing as much as physically possible inside my Hyundai Accent while also maintaining a steady speed of 8 mph.

And I’m excited to get home! I have so many things I wanna do when I get there: eat dinner, see my dog, play video games, watch movies, relax, whatever the fuck. So I spend the hour drive home (I live 8 miles from my office, by the way; I am literally driving 8 mph) just bathing in the elation of having a life that I enjoy living! Happy.

On the other hand.

On the other hand, if I’m depressed (which, in my case, is most often my only other mental state aside from happiness, unless you count “24/7 anxious” as a mood), my evening commute is never-ending hell on wheels, a wretched festival of anguish crawling slowly along toward the Misery Station (my home). Who even knows what I’m doing during the depressed commute. Honestly, probably crying.

“Spent another commute weeping!” I’ll tweet on the private Twitter account (which you’ll never get access to). “Love 2 spend my entire life having an existential crisis on the 10!” Because really, in LA, when else are you going to have an existential crisis?

So. When I’m depressed — and I had been for pretty much the entire fourth quarter of 2017 — I ask myself: “When was the last time I smiled during my commute?” It’s a scary question to ask, because when I’m deep in the emptiness, I often genuinely can’t recall the last time I was happy. I’ll try very hard, and I’m sometimes able to summon a vague image or feeling — usually through a car window, blue shadowed palms against a pink-orange sky, or a feeling of lightness — but it always feels like I made it up, or dreamt it.

But almost every time I do this, when I to manage to recall brief memories of myself feeling truly happy, it’s a moment during my evening commute.

I usually hate to talk about how good I feel, or how long it’s been since I last slipped into a depression, because I’m always afraid I’ll jinx it. Which, now that I think about it, is a terrible idea! If I never talk about my happiness, how will I be able to look back and remind myself that hey, Meg, you depressed idiot — it is possible to feel joy in your life! You dumb sad sack. You (clap) can (clap) be (clap) happy (clap)!

So I’m documenting the happiness. I will come back here the next time I feel the void inside me, and remember HEY! Life is good. The emptiness is temporary bullshit.

And, like. Life is really good. I’m staying in LA. I had originally kinda been waffle-y about it, thinking maybe I’d just push back the date of my move to Montana, but you know what? Fuck that. Ever since I made the decision to stay here, it’s felt like a massive weight disappeared from my shoulders. I fell in love with the city again! And the sense of relief coupled with the knowledge that I had almost gone through with it, that I might have left this garbage metropolis behind before I was ready to go, but I didn’t and I’m still here — it’s overwhelming.

Circling back to the commute thing, because I swear I was going somewhere with that, today I was driving home at 8 mph and listening to Echosmith’s “Get Into My Car” (please watch this music video by the way, it’s literally just an extended Fiat/McDonald’s/Uber commercial), and while singing along I started crying? But happy crying?? Because I just love LA and my dumb boring life so much???? (And it’s a great song but not that great but still pretty great??)

I mean, listen, I’ve been sleep deprived for pretty much all of 2018 so far. Lyall had a UTI and was peeing all over the house and puking up his antibiotics for days. Friends came to visit. My pillow stopped working. My BED is now about to stop working. I have made zero progress on my novel. I’m achey and stressed about a lot of things and I’ve had to write in the paper journal, which really means fucking business, as it’s the place in which I put my most pathetic sad loser thoughts (not even private Twitter could handle that shit). But even in the midst of it, somewhere in this mess of my life, I’m… happy??

I’m happy!

LA is opening its arms to me, bitches! I’m making friends, I’m making plans, I might be catching feels for someone (please don’t tell him I told you), and I had a really great tarot reading the other night. Shit’s just good! Life’s good.

It won’t last forever, because nothing does, but you know what? I’m going to fucking celebrate it while I can.

So, hi! I’m happy! (Hi Happy, I’m Dad.)


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