For the past few weeks, I haven’t exactly been feeling my best. It was as if the moment the air got cold, my heart froze. So for the past few days, to try to make myself feel better, I’ve been documenting my favorite things. Things that made me smile, even if for only a second. Things that made me laugh. Things that sparked just a little bit of joy. Things of which I can’t get enough and things of which I never want to run out. Things that make life just a little bit better, a little bit more bearable.
1. Center Hall
This building, in the middle of campus, is the first building I’ve entered at UCSD that makes me really realize where I am. Its classrooms look and feel like college classrooms from the movies; and as cheesy and horribly cliche as it sounds, I can’t help but be astounded by where I am, by who I’m becoming and who I’m striving to be, by the people I’ve befriended, and by the fact that I walk up these stairs to study the passion of my life. It’s a cool couple of seconds, experiencing that.
2. Colorful eyeliner jumbo pencils
Since first purchasing colorful eyeliner last quarter, I now have the colors dark green, lime green, teal blue, dark blue, sparkly purple, dark purple, white, light pink, brown, and black. I also have two blue liquid eyeliners and two magenta. Colored liner makes my eyes pop and reminds me that my eyes are green. It makes me feel pretty.
3. My in person class, specifically on Friday afternoons
The class that I have in Center Hall is the first in person class I went to all winter quarter. Maybe it’s because the class is mostly women, taught by a hilarious woman, and has one of my close friends in it, but it’s become one of the best parts of my day. I like the small waves shared between classmates as we tentatively become friends, the jokes my professor will make at the expense of herself, and sitting in the front even though I don’t want to do so.
4. My rice water face wash and moisturizer
Recently I started using Tatcha skincare. It’s a lovely lavender color, and I genuinely believe that no face wash has ever been this good for my skin. I swear my skin has never been clearer. Something about the rice water base reminds me of how my mother used to save plain rice water after cooking, with the intention of washing her face with it. It’s a little strange, but it oddly enough makes me feel closer to her, even being eight hours away.
5. Laying in hammocks
The Warren hammocks are my favorite place to reside. The other day, in between my 12 and 2 o’clock classes, I laid there in the sunshine and fell asleep. I made it to my class on time, but I could have stayed there in the sun for hours. And for the three days before then, I found myself in the hammocks in Price Center, dozing off and doing homework. It reminds me of my cousins and the hammock we had growing up.
6. Drawing daisies, lavender, and roses
I’d never been big on doodling, but a friend of mine sort of sparked an interest in it for me, and I quickly discovered flowers were my favorite things to scribble in the margins of my Latin textbook. I draw lavender around my poems even when they have no significance to the writing. I drew roses on an envelope to my friend and I draw them along the cuffs on my oldest jeans. I just think they’re pretty.
7. Recording myself ramble during night walks
When I make the semi-long walk from where my friends and I hang out back to my dorm, I tend to open up voice memos and talk out loud. By now I have around four rambles: one about love, one about concerts, one about being real, and one about the beach. It’s therapeutic to talk to the air, to talk into the phone for your ears only. It helps when I feel overwhelmed. I’m starting to enjoy the company of my own voice.
There’s just something about the lemonade that’s sold at the markets, in the nice glass jars I’ve been collecting to put flowers into. I’ve had all three flavors, yet I can’t seem to put my finger on a favorite one. But they’re exceptionally sweet and satisfy the sweet tooth I got from both of my grandfathers.
9. Music so loud I feel it in my chest
I don’t just mean concerts for this one. Of course, I also am talking about concerts with this point. I went to a concert just this Tuesday, and the phrase that kept coming to mind was “human excellence” and an Albert Camus quote: “If something is going to happen to me, I want to be there.” And yes, at concerts I can definitely feel the music beating in my chest. That’s one of my favorite feelings. But I mostly mean on quiet nights when I have my headphones on; nights where I turn the volume up so loud, it’s as if nothing exists except for the music. It makes me feel alive.
10. Reading Greek myths
Thirty minutes before I fall asleep. For an hour after I wake up. Out loud to my friends as we walk along the beach. To Artemis, the moon in my window. Laying on the grass, thanking Apollo for the sunshine. When I feel overwhelmed and need to escape. When I’m calm and full of love. Reading myths I’ve read a million times before, taking me back to being a little girl learning about the gods for the very first time. It’s healing.
I suppose that by making this list over the past few days, I’ve been making attempts at gratitude, at mindfulness, at getting better, even when I don’t feel like getting out of bed. And I think that effort is what matters. The fact that I’m simply trying to find the smallest bits of happiness within my everyday life is proof that these slumps of hopelessness aren’t permanent. Being stuck in the mud doesn’t mean you can never get out.
It just means you’ve got to try a little bit harder.