When I started this blog, I was not in a happy place.

I was laid off from my second TV writer job in a row. And my loving “boyfriend” (he didn’t care for the term), a budding filmmaker, called CUT on our year long relationship with an impressive disappearing act that left me questiong whether he was even real or a made-up character in a long, not terribly imaginative dream.

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn’t exist.

I felt hurt, rejected and a little lost. But mostly, I was mad. Really. Mad.

So I hid away in my cozy L.A. apartment, where I could work through some of these angry feelings and wallow a bit, while keeping up a happy, gainfully employed false Facebook front. I needed time alone to heal. And think. And rebuild. And formulate my awe inspiring I’ll-show-dem-bitches comeback plan!

Mostly, I just wanted to find my joy again and get back on a happier track.

During this time, I also started writing a blog, that I called Mad. Shady

Because I was mad. (And shady).

It began as a way to chronicle my quest for happiness and vent my frustrations about unemployment, certain “people” and the tiny annoyances that steal my joy daily. It kept me writing, which was good, and also helped me remember the good stuff in life that makes me smile, like food, my fabulous niece and soul restoring music.

In hindsight, I should’ve named it: One. Bored. Bitch. Because like its author, it lacked direction and purpose, and I lost interest as I grew increasingly tired of writing about my failed life. It bought me no real joy. So I quit it. And sulked.

That’s when shit got real. Real, son. Really real.     

My unemployment benefits stopped. I had zero job prospects. And I was forced to give up my apartment, put my stuff in storage and move in with my extended Dominican family in nowheresville, aka The OC. Land of the Lost. 

So, yeah…

I had no apartment

I had no job

I had no money

I had no “people” or genuine, non FB friends to offer support or encouragement

I had no health benefits *sigh*

And worse, I had no more quiet, stuck in a chaotic house filled with constant noise, a small army of germy kids and pretty much no privacy…

I’d officially hit rock bottom. My failure at life was complete.

My joy tank was on empty.

I’s feelin real down. I’s feelin mighty low.

Don’t get me wrong. I was grateful, I wasn’t homeless. And I could do far worse than live in a house with a loving family, in-ground pool and magical garden, where I dreamed of a better life surrounded by butterflies, humming birds and bunny rabbits. (Like Cinderella, who lives one exit away, at Disneyland).

But I felt completely isolated and removed from civilization in wooded suburbia, like I was Henry David Thoreau, living in Walden. And I had even less desire to venture outside and mingle with these bored, obscenely chatty OC housewives.

Plus, I wasn’t really in a talking mood. So I mostly kept to myself. In my room. With headphones. Growing angier and more depressed each passing day.
I am alone…I am, utterly, alone.

And I took a lot of long, pensive walks through the hiking trails along the coast.

All. By. Myself. Away. From. All. The. Noise. Chaos. E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E.

What I wanted, more than anything, was to be happy again.

That's when I had one of those Oprah-like aha moments that stopped me in my tracks, which began when the shady voice inside pointed out, “you ain’t NEVER happy.”

Was she right? Could I every really be happy? Just, you know, like be…happy?

Without an impressive, high paying job? Or a man? Or steady paycheck and benefits? Without stuff or things or fancy clothes or even an apartment? Could I find happiness, in the moment, and be joyful? Without this compulsive need to impress and gain approval or acceptance? Without any sort of outside validation?
Without a single, solitary thing.
But me. And myself?

What a concept! To be confident in your own skin. And find your personal joy, pursuing it without apology, despite what others say or think. Or your current predicament.

In short, to find joy within and be the direct source of your own happiness.

What a lovely way to live!

I got that. I really got that.

But Lord knows it ain’t easy when faced with the realities of everyday life.

Especially when I must contend with bills, unemployment, my own anxieties, people, ailments and all the meaningless everyday bullshit that can escalate and bring me to the “bad place”, triggering that fight-or-flight response as my brain warns:  

Nope. I can’t no more with this right here. Seriously. Make it stop.

Maybe the best course would be to tread lightly.

Truth is it’s a daily struggle to stay positive when life proves challenging.

And I still have days when I’m plenty stressed and pissed at pretty much everything. But I’ve learned to accept that it’s part of my journey. And I can try to find the humor in it, laughing at myself and the petty stupidness that eats away at me.

I am in far better place, growing happier and less miserable everyday. 

So it seemed like a good time to revisit this blog and chronicle my personal quest to find some damn happiness, as I start fresh, in no-wheres-ville, with nothing but my Mad Shady self. Because aren’t we ALL, struggling to just, you know, like, be a tiny bit happier and not let that evil voice or other foolishness weigh us down? 

What steals YOUR joy? Makes YOU mad? And brings YOU to the “bad place”?

I’ll share my struggles along with practical tips that work for me, as I try to rise above and laugh away the bullshit to find my happy place…away from everyone.

If it inspires joy, in even one weary soul, that would make me ridiculously happy. 


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