Sometimes, I have bad days. There are days where I’m just in a bad mood for no reason and things just kind of inexplicably annoy me, and then there are days where I’m feeling alright, but something happens, - a rejection, some really bad news, or something that I really got my hopes up for only to be let down, - and I end up feeling a little bit lost. I’m quite good at hiding my disappointment or how much stuff really affects me, but I do get affected, much more than I should, probably. And I end up thinking much worse thoughts just because of one bad thing that has happened. I’ve learned from my experience with this though, so when I’m having one of “those” days, I do a couple of things to make me feel better.
I have a safe haven. It's weird and childish, but it’s a place I feel safe in. It’s a small space that I can make and take down whenever I want, its walls and ceiling are a soft fabric and it’s not held together by anything, only hung or draped over some chairs. Sometimes it’s blue, sometimes it's yellow, and sometimes it has more than one color. I like using blankets with multiple colors best. My favorite one has a pattern of different colors, it has green, blue, yellow, red, and white. When the lights are on or the windows are open and the sun is out, it makes the colors on the blanket glow and I feel like I am inside a kaleidoscope. I get this feeling when I get inside it, like I am safe, like the world outside has paused and it will only continue when I come back out, like I’m in my own little universe where time doesn’t exist, like I am alone with my thoughts. The nostalgia is always strongest when I am that cocoon of cloth, flashbacks of making it and playing in it as a child make me feel as if I am back there again. I remember thinking about pirates, treasure maps, princesses, princes, witches, and knights. Going in that space, it’s like I’m entering a time machine and going back to my childhood. The worries and stress all suddenly fade away, and I can conjure up all those carefree feelings I used to have that I so badly want to hold on to. I can escape, if only for a little while.
There is a thing I take with me in my little hideaway place. The letters, colors, size, and weight differentiate depending on which one I choose to take with me, but somehow, they are all the same. There is that familiar weight and thickness in my hands, the roughness of the papers stacked together that sometimes gives me paper cuts when I am not too careful, the flat and smoothness of the front and back cover. As I open it, the distinctive and weirdly intoxicating smell that haunts libraries and bookstores wafts in my nose. The smell of pressed ink, paper, and adhesives with a hint of must mixed in is one of my favorite smells in the world. I hear that unmistakable crack and snip as I turn the crisp pages. The sight of black ink, off-white pages, and words that make up sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters, and stories causes a flutter of excitement in my belly. The story can be about love, magic, dragons, vampires, werewolves, wizards, and it can be about a normal person with a normal life. It can be tragic, funny, happy, romantic, exciting, thrilling or sad. When I want to escape the world and hide in my little sanctuary though, I tend to pick the funny, romantic ones, or more often, the ones with dragons and magic, and excitement. The romantic comedy ones always makes me feel good and hopeful. I get this giddiness reading about people falling in love. I feel the butterflies right along with them, my heartbeat quickens and stutters when theirs do, I fall in love with the characters just as they fall in love with each other. But there is really nothing like fiction and magic and fantasy to ease away real life troubles. On the other hand, when I read about those fantastical people in a magical universe, I get excited, I feel as if I am in that universe, and that I am the hero. Suddenly, I'm having all of these crazy adventures and feeling all of their emotions. I fear when they fear, I gasp as they gasp, and I rejoice right along with them when they succeed. Although, in a way, it almost makes me feel insignificant. Here is this person with this amazing and exciting life, with the weight of the world on their shoulders, and my problems suddenly seem so inconsequential compared to theirs. It's weird because I know it's fictional, but still. This is why I like the thick ones best. The ones that I can barely wrap my hand around, with small, packed letters, a heavy weight that strains my arm when I carry it. The longer the story, the better. I always get so sad when I see that there is barely any paper on the right side of the stacked pages. When I finish, I’m usually left to ponder the ending for a little while. I shut my book with a breathy thump and lie there staring at my kaleidoscope ceiling thinking about the story until I finally have to come out.
There another little thing I take with me and that makes me feel better on any bad day. Even without the other two things that I mentioned, or even if I’m just a bit cranky or sad, it will brighten my mood. The wrapping crackles as I open it, and I reveal the brown indulgence inside. I like it best when it's soft and melty. As I take a bite, I taste the creamy sweetness with a hint of bitterness, and it melts in my mouth. I savor the flavor on my tongue every bite before I swallow, the pleasure of tasting this amazing treat washing over me. By the time I finish it, it will have melted on my fingers already. Some may find it a bit gross or unhygienic, but I think it is one of the best parts. I suck on my fingers to get the melty, brown, tastiness off of them. Always a mood lifter, this sweet little bar of happiness.
When I do come out of my little safe haven, I come out feeling relaxed and content. There is still that little hint of anxiety when the problem that I wanted to escape in the first place pops in my mind again, but it is eased quite drastically just from doing my little “bad day” routine. For about a year, all I did was worry, overthink, and stress about this stuff. I just about made myself crazy. Now, when I can sense all that emotion threatening to drown me, I take a step back and try not to let it overwhelm me. I do the things that calm me and make me feel better, no matter how small or silly.
PS. This was for school so if my prof reads this (hi, ma'am), this wasn't plagiarized! It's me! Lol.