The Ultimate Guide to Being Happy

One question that I am constantly asked is, “How are you always happy?” My answer is simple: it’s all about perspective. If you have a great perspective on life, it’s so easy to be happy on a daily basis.

Please know that my life is nowhere near perfect. At 23, I currently live with my parents and I’m still on the hunt for my first “big girl” job. Also, I recently started waitressing again because I have about a hundred dollars to my name. I can’t tell you the last time I went shopping or was able to go on vacation, but I am happy. I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, a lot of people who care about me, I’m doing what I need to move forward with my life, and I have a future that is going to be a billion times better than the present.

Here is some of the best advice I can offer about being happy:

Accept that people are different. People are different in so many ways.  Some people are skinnier than others while some people are bigger. Some people are religious while others are atheists. Same goes to politics, race, gender, the clothes people wear, etc. How people keep forgetting this is beyond me. It makes me want to puke that people hate one another because of their different opinions and beliefs. Accept it and move forward.

For example, I don’t like the color orange. I think it’s a gross color. Does that mean it’s okay to not like someone because orange is their favorite color? No. Should I call them degrading names and tell them they are wrong because I don’t like orange and they do? No. Does their liking of orange have anything to do directly with me? No. If someone likes orange, does that define who that person is? Absolutely not. See what I’m getting at? So stop slut shaming, gender shaming, sexual orientation shaming, fat/skinny shaming, race shaming, you name it. Stop it. Once you accept that people look, think, and believe differently, life becomes a lot easier.

Stop comparing yourself to others. All of my friends are engaged except for me. Some of my friends have already started their dream career. One of my best friends is spending her summer in Hawaii. I used to be extremely jealous that I didn’t have a ring on my finger, the love of my life by my side, land a job, etc. Boo hoo, right? It didn’t take long to realize how ridiculous I sounded. I can have all of that stuff too; when the time comes. Instead of being jealous, how about being happy for my friends?! I suggest you do the same!

Get rid of the negative people in your life. The only thing that a Debbie Downer is good at is bringing people down. You don’t need that in your life. For example, does your Facebook have a lot of daily complainers? Turn off their notifications. Or, say you have a long day at work ahead of you. If you or your co-workers are complaining the entire time, work is going to go even slower. Be the person to lighten things up and inspire them to cheer up. “Time flies when you’re having fun,” so make it a good day!

Do more of what you love and dedicate time to it. Make time for the things you love. Don’t get caught up in working 24/7. Dedicate a small amount of time each day to something you like. If that’s taking away too much time, try once a week. Dedicate Saturday mornings to going kayaking. Or take up a painting class every Thursday night. I’ve started playing the piano again, and let me tell you…it’s amazing! Doing this will make you question why you stopped in the first place!

Become an opti-realist. There is nothing wrong with being optimistic about something. However, you need a good amount of realism in your life to balance being happy. For example, you want to become a graphic designer but you have never created anything. That being said, you apply for an open position at your favorite company that you’ve dreamed of working at. It’s great that you have this dream; but, are you really going to get the job? Make sure you are doing what you need to do in order to get where you want to be!

Explore. Try something new. Doesn’t matter if it’s food, a new reading spot, or a new place to travel. By trying new things, it keeps life interesting!

Axel (my fur nephew) and I are happy campers!

Accept who you are and own it! There are some things in this world that you cannot change about yourself. My one eye is slightly smaller than the other. My laugh turns into a cackle if something is really funny. I trip up the steps but never down them. I crack up at my own jokes. Really awkward things happen to me and I can’t do anything but laugh. Five years ago, I was humiliated by these things. Today, I wouldn’t change these things about myself for the world. Know who you are and fall in love with yourself. You’ll sleep in peace at night and wake up on the right side of the bed in the morning!

If you do these things, I promise you will have happier days! Not every day is going to be filled with rainbows and sunshine. Keep an open mind, accept that life happens, and move forward.

Don’t forget, “Today’s a good day to have a great day!”

-T

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Pour Yourself a Glass of Curious Wine

Lately, I’ve been reading things that I normally wouldn’t even look at in bookstores. It’s important to explore other genres to see what they have to offer and what you can learn from them. So, I decided to give a lesbian fiction novel a chance. One of the books that Goodreads suggested from the 100 Best Lesbian Fiction list was Katherine V. Forrest’s Curious Wine. Four hours later when I finished the book, I was amazed by how empowering this love story is.

Regardless of your sexual orientation, everyone should read this book. While some parts of the story are slightly dated (who does trust falls on a week vacation in a cabin with their friends?) it is a beautiful story about two former heterosexual women who experience their first discovery together.

But there’s so much more to it than that!

The best thing that this book teaches you is that these two women, Lane and Diana, had no intentions of falling in love with each other. They didn’t even know it could happen, but it did and it was beautiful. Both Lane and Diana’s previous lovers were male. They weren’t expecting anything of this sort to happen during their time at Lake Tahoe. But a friendship was built and it progressed from there. This goes to show that you might think you’re dead set on who you think you are, but all it takes is one person to come into your life and change everything.

Unfortunately, there are still so many negative connotations with people who are gay. While I read this book, I wasn’t thinking “Oh my gosh, this is so wrong! How could two women do this?!?!” Instead, I was impressed by how natural this relationship formed and how delicate and delightful it was. Their relationship is admirable.

Due to the story being a first discovery novel, I should have expected detailed sex scenes. Trust me, they were there, but I wasn’t quite ready for them! However, these sex scenes are in the story; it happens. Was I weird-ed out or disgusted by it? Nope. It was interesting to read. Their love was so tender and gentle, it’s no wonder women go/become/are lesbian!

Even if one of them was a guy, it is no different from any of the other romantic literature out there (I would imagine from descriptions I’ve heard that Fifty Shades of Grey is way more graphic than this…so if you could read Fifty Shades of Grey, you can’t complain or judge Curious Wine).

All of your ideal qualities you would want in a person of the opposite sex can be found in someone who is the same-sex as you. It starts with a friendship. If given the opportunity to make a move, and you become interested in them, there’s nothing wrong with that! When you start falling for someone, the last thing you are thinking about is what gender they are. Diana and Lane prove this. Quite frankly, I think it’s beautiful.

People need to realize that their feelings and beliefs are not set in stone. Again, one person is all it takes to change your life. Katherine V. Forrest does an excellent job of describing a first discovery love story. There’s also great imagery, witty humor, and characters you love to hate! Read it!

-T

The Wonderland You Never Knew

Over the years, one movie that has captured the hearts of many adults and children is Alice in Wonderland. Whether it is the Disney version, Tim Burton’s, or any other adaptations, we love it. Why? Because we are intrigued with the creativity, the colors, the variety of characters and the uniqueness of the film.

I have always watched Disney’s Alice in Wonderland for the sake of just watching it; I never really thought about what was going on. Wanting to know more, I decided to read Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. What I discovered is that there is much more to the story than you think there is! My interpretation of the story is unlike the rest, but it makes sense. Wonderland is not just about a random dream that Alice has…

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass is the story of Alice on her quest to figure out (and accept) her true sexual identity. Whether she’s a lesbian, bi-sexual or bi-curious, it doesn’t matter. She knows how she feels and heterosexual isn’t one of them. Sounds crazy, right? Absolutely not.

Lewis Carroll’s story starts off the same as Disney’s: Alice’s sister is reading to her, but she’s not paying attention. She is distracted by her thoughts. She also gets distracted by the White Rabbit that she sees and decides to follow it down the rabbit hole.

Let’s talk about that rabbit hole for a split second. It is a long, dark, and narrow tunnel. Sound familiar? It should be! It’s a yonic symbol, aka a vagina. How does this tie in to her not being straight? She tells you herself, she’s “Curiouser and curiouser” as she gets further down the rabbit hole.

As she finally stops falling, she sees the rabbit and continues to follow him. As she enters a room filled with doors, she finds the one that she has to go through is locked. Just as the Disney film, Alice goes through the process of becoming the right size so she could get through the door to continue on her journey.

Did you notice how when she drinks, she shrinks? Or when she “Eats me,” she gets really big? It’s only until the room becomes a “pool of tears,” that she succeeds in getting through the door. What does that sound like to you?

That’s not the only time that happens. When Alice finds the White Rabbit at his house, he asks her to go find his white gloves. Where does Alice have to go to find his gloves? In the White Rabbit’s bedroom. What happens to Alice when she’s in his bedroom? She grows erect again, becoming rather large.

This part of the story is also important to look at because Alice isn’t interested in men. The White Rabbit is one of the first men that Alice rejects. The narrator states, “Presently, the Rabbit came up to the door, and tried to open it; but, as the door opened inwards, and Alice’s elbow was pressed hard against it, that attempt proved a failure. Alice heard it say to itself “Then I’ll go around and get in at the window.” “That you won’t!” thought Alice.” She clearly is not interested, and the White Rabbit is not as cute and innocent as we have always perceived him. After Alice told him no, he was still going to try to “get in.” He is definitely not making men look good here.

After this episode with the Rabbit, the next character that Alice meets is the Caterpillar. Here, we see where the Caterpillar shows interest in Alice, but yet again, she’s not interested. The Caterpillar is a phallic symbol, and we see that through her interaction with him. Alice and the Caterpillar don’t get along, but it isn’t hard to figure out why. It also doesn’t help that he keeps asking her “who” she is. Alice doesn’t have an answer. She might be confused, or maybe she just doesn’t want to explain herself for fear of rejection.

Before Alice meets Duchess, she meets the Cheshire Cat (who belongs to Duchess). All throughout the novel, this cat is constantly smiling at Alice. You know the slang term for a cat/vagina… There’s no need for an explanation of why this cat is smiling at her. After a quick talk with the cat, she finally meets Duchess.

Image result for cheshire cat

Here, we learn that Duchess does not like her baby. She purposely beats it because it sneezes, but the baby sneezes because she puts too much pepper in its food. Needless to say, Duchess calls her baby a pig.  Later, Duchess is walking happily with Alice, and Duchess is so close to her that Duchess’s chin is resting on Alice’s shoulder. Duchess also wants to put her arm around her, but she’s afraid that the flamingo in Alice’s arms would bite her. Clearly, Duchess likes the girl. That also makes Duchess a lesbian and explains exactly why her child is repulsive to her. Obviously, lesbians couples cannot produce children on their own.

After walking with the Duchess for a little while, the Red Queen comes out of nowhere and catches them walking with arms linked together. The Queen does not like this and ends up “frowning like a thunderstorm.” Why would the Red Queen be angry with seeing two girls walking together and acting they way they were? Red is symbolic of blood/ menstruation, meaning that the Red Queen is symbolic for Mother Nature. To the Queen, Alice and Duchess are going against the Mother Nature and their actions are seen as “unnatural.”

Later on in the story, Alice ends up at the Queen’s castle. After playing croquet, the Queen realizes that somebody stole her tarts. Making a big fuss out it, she decides to hold a trial. Having no idea who stole the tarts, she calls three people to the stand. The Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and Alice. Why would she call Alice to the stand? Because society thinks she has done “wrong.” The trial goes on, and Alice ends up growing as tall as the ceiling and she throws a fit. What happens next? All the little card men end up attacking her until Alice wakes herself up. That’s a little messed up, don’t you think?

In Through the Looking-Glass, Alice is still experiencing problems with her sexuality. When she enters this new realm through the mirror, Alice becomes a part of a game of chess. She immediately meets the King and the Queen. Right afterwards, Alice wants to explore this new world. She walks outside and sees this beautiful garden that she wants to go see.

When you think of flowers, which gender do you think of? Females; flowers are very feminine. This garden is bursting with flowers of all different species, all different colors, yet all beautiful. Also, they are all women. It’s not hard to figure out why Alice wants to go there. Yet when she does get there, it’s not as pleasant as she thought it would be.

Right away, all of these women are judging her appearance and criticizing her. They say she looks the right color, but her petals aren’t right and she’s not smart. Long story short, she’s not like the rest of them. Again, this is because of her sexuality. While they tell her that she’s not like the rest, they do say that there is another flower like Alice that roams around the garden. Low and behold, it’s the Red Queen.

Upon meeting, Alice informs the Queen that she would like to be a Queen as well. The Queen tells her that it isn’t hard to do and she gives Alice instructions. After their talk, the Queen tells Alice that they must start running to get somewhere. They run “faster and faster,” and Alice is all out of breath. And when they stop running, they are still in the same place. It’s quite sexual. When they are done, the Queen gives her the instructions on how to be a queen. Next thing you know, Alice continues on her journey.

Over time, Alice meets a lot of different people. She meets more creatures, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the White Queen, and Humpty Dumpty. While talking to Humpty Dumpty, they come to a good understanding of each other. He teaches her what impenetrable means, and they start bonding. What makes his character so important in all of this, is the fact that regardless of what her sexuality is, he points out that she is still human. Right before they part, Humpty tells Alice, “I shouldn’t know you again if we did meet…Your face is the same as everybody has–the two eyes, nose in the middle, mouth under.” Props to you Humpty Dumpty for being the first man in the novel to accept her!

Alice continues to meet different creatures as she goes on her way. The next important event is when Alice becomes a prisoner to two different knights. Alice tells both how she doesn’t want to be a prisoner, she just wants to be a queen. The knight in tin armor tells her that she’s close to being a queen, she just needs to cross the next brook. Instead of capturing her, they start talking. Alice sees that the knight is tin armor cannot sit upright (erect) on his horse properly, he keeps falling off. Alice has her first one-on-one interaction with a man, and he can’t “keep it up.” But, because she showed the slightest interest in him, Alice was rewarded with the title of Queen. Nothing like bribing someone into doing the “right” thing.

However, the bribe doesn’t work. After Alice becomes Queen and everyone is at a dinner party celebrating, the Red Queen and White Queen begin criticizing her, just like the flowers in the garden. Being a queen, Alice thought she was finally going to be accepted and be able to be herself. Unfortunately, that’s not how things worked out. Not being able to stand how rude everyone was, Alice destroys the dinner table and acts violently towards the Red Queen. Can you blame her? Next thing you know, Alice wakes up.

Still don’t believe me that the story is about is about the struggle of Alice’s sexual orientation? In the chapter “The Lion and the Unicorn,” Alice keeps getting referred to as “the Monster.” As a side comment, the narrator says, “She was quite used to being called a ‘monster.'” It’s sad that such an innocent little girl is seen as a freak. Which leads me to a great question; if Alice’s dreams are this bad, what is the real world like for her?

Everyone always assumes the story is about drugs. I don’t believe it is. Yes, it might play a part in the story, but that is not what the main focus should be on. As for the nonsense factor, Alice is always being told what she should do and how she should act. The reason why she’s so confused is because who she “should” be is not who she is.

Cheers to Alice for staying true to herself, accepting who she is, and staying strong while battling for her acceptance!

-T