Two people whose eyes meet across a room, and they feel a connection that can't be explained; Through life we are slowly finding pieces of our puzzle to put into place. Sometimes the cat steals a corner piece, or we think we found a perfect fit and a few rows later we realize that the piece was jammed in the wrong hole (sometimes the square pegs look like they fit in the round holes). Even though we try to reach nirvana (heaven) and fill in the entire puzzle, that isn't always what will happen in the this life. It might take a few. It might take the puzzle falling apart a few times before we figure it out. Finding someone who makes us feel like we are home, someone to help us with our puzzle while we help them with theirs, that can be the most satisfying feeling in the world.
Maybe we are meant to have more in this life, or maybe less. Life is definitely not fair, but maybe through this puzzle we find pieces that make sense and we can fit them in. And maybe sometimes the only pieces that make sense are the ones in the middle, the ones that make up the face of a sloth, and the jungle is a tangle that we can't seem to sort through. It can be frustrating to see what makes sense, to feel it so close, yet not be able to connect it just yet.
When we meet our "puzzle sloths" (insert whichever favorite animal you prefer), it can become easy to fixate on them. When you've built up your border, and year after year through resilience and fighting you have found and pieced together corners of the jungle, maybe a tree here and a canopy there, but you feel lost and stuck after that...and then you stumble upon a complete, familiar face, how do you not focus on it? It gives you a center, a familiarity that you finally feel like you can see what the whole picture will look like. You are filled with a sense of strength that you forgot you had, and you are reinvigorated to continue piecing the puzzle together, to find where the sloth will be.
Sometimes there are days when I want to flip the table, everything feels upside down, the puzzle might as well be too, right? But then I see that sloth, and it reminds me, even its distance, that it's ok. Today might suck, hell this whole year might, but it will be ok.
It's hard to find where you want to be and what you want, but to be unable to get there makes it even harder. All through life we take steps towards a state of nirvana (or heaven, whichever you believe). Sometimes knowing what you want in life is a blessing and other times it feels like a curse. In some lives we may not ever know what we want, so to be sure of it and to know that we are on the right path can be reassuring, and perhaps this life we are meant to learn patience as we travel to where we are meant to be.
I do cherish the moments in my life where I was wrong. If I had not been so bigoted in my younger years, I couldn't have had such a strong "come to Jesus" awakening in high school of how much more to life there was. And I don't mean that in a "being an adult" sort of knowledge, it's much more existential than that. One lesson I am grateful to have learned is how to live and be non judgmental. (Ok I will admit I am not perfect and I do judge....but only stupidity and ego.)
Happiness...what is it? Talking and having an honest conversation with an old friend who is genuinely there and cares about you enough to actually respect you? A quiet walk by the creek with a trusted companion? Or a cup of tea and a pile of blankets with a warm cat in your lap? Happiness can look like a lot of different things and at different times mean either more or less. To be in a position where you know what happiness looks like for you can sometimes be the hardest part.
Along with that is being comfortable and confident in yourself. Finding happiness within yourself, knowing who you are and what you're feeling, that's vital in life. It's one thing to be told that you're beautiful, it's another to feel it. And when you are raised in an environment that was real and honest, but maybe never told you these words, does it make it harder to believe as an adult? Perhaps. To hear the words "you are so incredible, and so wonderful...Such an amazing woman and so beautiful.", how can these words mean so little?
I've learned that you can't simply tell someone with low self esteem or poor body image something and make them believe it. No more than you can tell someone with anxiety to calm down or someone with cancer to not be sick. If someone feels unattractive (even if they shine like the sun on a summers morn over the Atlantic Ocean), the last thing they need to hear is "you're so beautiful!", because I can guarantee that they will feel hollow and empty inside if they don't believe it. To go back to the puzzle metaphor, if they have a few staggered pieces here and there with no foundation, it will slip through the cracks and drain them of their energy.
What can you do say to someone in that position instead? It's hard to write a script for that moment. You have to truly care enough about them to understand how they feel loved, how they feel heard, and how they are feeling even when they are lying. Reading the signs, riding the waves, it's a constant change. Building them up, finding ways to give them indirect compliments that help build their self esteem...that's the tricky part but can be easy if you know them well.
Trying to figure out where to go in life, having bad days and good moments. Some good days with bad moments. Knowing that happiness is a state of mind, a choice, and shouldn't be found in a person.
That's enough cliches for this chapter (maybe), but the truth of it is that while I am happy with who I am, I'm not perfect. I do still derive some measure of happiness from those around me, perhaps that is the empath in me, perhaps its' simply the human part of my emotions.
Hearing from someone who means a lot to me can sometimes be enough to make me smile and cheer me up. Even if they are telling me "F*** you, ;-)" in jest, in a way that makes it feel like even more of a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. And likewise, telling someone that I didn't have a great day and simply having that 'ignored' and only followed up with a "good night, love ya" can be enough to bring me down a little. In a hollow and empty way; because it seems that I have discovered where my heart truly lies and that in itself has been an interesting discovery.
Every once in awhile we take our puzzle apart a little before a bigger piece falls into place. Sometimes we have to take a chunk somewhere else and get fresh eyes on it to see how it fits in. And then sometimes we look away from building ours to help a friend build theirs, and occasionally we discover that both are interconnected in someway, or that they had the missing piece that we had been searching for.