In a world where hatred runs rampant, it can be hard to be grateful for what we do have. When I have been down in the dumps I have failed to appreciate what is there in front of me and I am sure I am not the only one. We spend so much of our lives complaining and making light of negative situations that we often miss the good that was there all along. I used to believe that the principle of ‘positive thinking’ was a load of bull crap or a method used by adults to point out our melodramatic, drama queen ways. While I must admit I am a bit of a drama queen, dealing with depression and anxiety on a regular basis can make it difficult to think positively and it is something I am learning to deal with along the way.
Despite my mental health issues, I love to laugh and be happy in the moment, even if my online persona suggests otherwise. It is weird because I am more of a ‘serious’ than comic writer, yet in person people say that I am witty and make them laugh, but I guess we all have more than one personality trait. But as usual I am waffling; I had a few rough situations last week and had a good ol’ cry to help me feel better. While crying does not make ‘feel happy’, being able to purge the tears out of my system was cathartic and it got me thinking… what makes me happy? I thought nothing of my quest for happiness until I came across Anosa‘s ‘Happy List‘ blog series, where she focused on all the ‘happy events’ that had ‘made her week’. It struck me, in times where I am feeling low, there are 10 very important things that never fail to put a smile on my face, including pugs, RPDR and more.
I grew up being obsessed with cats and while the saying still remains true today, a day would come where I would fall hopelessly in love with pugs. My boss quite aptly put it as saying that ‘pugs’ are ‘ugly cute’; I love their scrunched up faces and their big brown eyes, even if they sound like a micro pig when they breathe. One day I will make it my mission to own my very own pug and I will call him Charlie (I have no idea why). Sadly the days of owning my very own baby pug is non-existient. After all I live in a shared house and while my room is spacious (and expensive), I would never confine such a beautiful creature to one room. No, instead I will wait until I have won the lottery and then I will be able to buy squillions of pugs, who will attack me with their adorable but slurpy kisses.
But what is it about pugs – asides from their ridiculously cute faces- that makes me happy?
A. Pugs are super friendly. From your next door neighbour to that douche along the street, it is the pugs humble mission to be-friend anyone and everyone.
B. Pugs have feelings. While many dog breeds are known as being empathetic, pugs are sensitive and know when you are feeling down in the dumps.
C. Pugs are the entertainers of the ‘dog world’. Not only can they put on a bloody good show but they ‘know it’ and will do anything to show off.
Cats are both beautiful and intelligent. While dogs are amusing, cats ability to replicate human behavior never fails to amuse me. From their need to have ‘time out’ from the real world to their ‘meme worthy’ expressions, cats are my number one animal for a reason. I remember when my beloved aunty had a beautiful white Persian cat called ‘Lilly’ or ‘Lindo’ -which means ‘beautiful’ in Portuguese- who I was obsessed with, until the day he died when I was 15. To this day my aunty has never got another cat, because she said noone could replace Lilly/Lindo and she is right. Lilly was full of so much character and while he was aesthetically pleasing to look at, it was his furry cuddles that made me appreciate the wonderful gifts a kitty could give you. Lilly might have been the main kit kat in my life but I have plenty of other kitty stories at my disposal.
I had a family friend called Alscina who gave refuge to cats and dogs that were strays in Madeira. A beautiful and kind soul, she sadly passed away from Dementia about 3 years ago and one of the fondest memories I have of her is losing sense of time in her kitty vs doggy house. She housed 25 cats and 20 dogs- she had a huge home- and fed every single cat and dog herself. The cats would mewl for attention and the dogs would lick visitors faces happily and for an animal lover like me it was a dream come true. I remember this one cat she had which would follow me all around the property with its beautiful blue eyes and practically beg to be cuddled.Safe to say I spoiled that kitty rotten.
Many of my friends are like family to me and have helped me through some difficult times. They have been a shoulder to cry on but most of all have taught me how to laugh again. From watching movies to hour long phone conversations, my friends are amazing and never fail to cheer me up. My best friend Anna in particular is my rock and always makes me laugh, even if I am crying at the same time. She is the first person I turn to when I have good news and the first person I ring when I feel like I can’t cope. My friends have made me a better person and I know that we will be there for each other no matter what. There is the saying that ‘bros come before hoes’ and while I object to its sexist undertones, the principle of ‘chicks before dicks’ is one I feel very strongly about. No matter what flavour of the month we all have or boyfriend we are commited to, the one thing we never too is forget about our friends. Having someone who can make you laugh and cry at the same time is quite special and not everyone knows how to find it.
Fake friends come and go but it is the real ones who stick around, who make you laugh and leave you in stitches until you can’t breathe that make them a welcome addition to my happy list.
Despite being abused by my stepmother, abandoned by my birth mother and neglected by father, family nevertheless remains intrinsic to my happiness. Two very special women have made me more positive and have never failed to put a smile on my face, even if it is only through a simple phone call. When I was being abused by my stepmother, my aunty was told to stay away but she still battled to see me, whereas my foster mum rescued me from an abusive stepmum and for both of their heroic actions I will be forever indebted to them. My foster mum was someone who I fought with a lot growing up but as I became a mature adult I realized how much she had sacrificed to take me into her own home, whereas my aunty’s ‘blunt talk’ often made me feel defensive, when in reality she was teaching me to stop the ‘self-pity party’ and be more proactive about my life. Of course there are other family members who I love too, but it is these two woman who have truly made me into the woman I have become today. After all it was my aunty who taught me how to be more positive and my foster mum who gave me shelter from abuse.
5. Ru Paul’s Drag Race
I remember that fateful summer evening after a second year lecture, where my friend N invited me round to her house for a sleepover. Once she had shown me an episode of ‘Ru Paul’s Drag Queen Race’ I was hooked and binged watched all six seasons (there are 8 now- including two all stars) within mere weeks. A cross between Project Runway and America’s Next Top Models, beautiful and talented drag queens compete for the prize of $100.000 and a chance to reign as ‘Drag Queen Supreme’. While the runway challenges are ‘sickening’ and the episodes are comedic, RPDR often challenges contentious topics like ‘transphobia’, gender labelling and ‘body image’ making it an ‘educational’ as well as ‘entertaining’ show to watch. Hearing some of the drag queens stories of how they were abused, bullied, tortured or made homeless alongside a struggle with dealing their sexuality makes me hope that our world will become more tolerant and appreciate what amazing people these drag queens really are.
In case you are wondering who my favourite Drag Queens, we have the following beauties
A. Kim Chi- make up artist, avante garde fashion icon and Korean Drag Queen, Kim Chi’s effortless blend of avante garde imagery and ability to read you to filfth makes her a drag queen to follow, especially on Instagram and Twitter.
B. Valentina- Un-apologetically Latina and undeniably beautiful, Miss Valentina competed on Season 9 of RPDR and is one of the most tipped Drag Queens in the world. Her beauty, grace and elegance is what sets her apart from many drag queens and while not ‘shady’, she will forever be my Miss Congeniality.
C. Tatiana- make-up artist, performer and dancer, Tatiana is one of the most ‘femme drag queens’ I have ever seen and sure got my guy friends confused. Not only can she dance but her spoken word poetry on All Stars 2 ‘See Me With Them Hands’ is one of the most sickening performances I have ever seen. Not to mention her ‘Shut Up and Drive Lip Sync’ against Alyssa Edwards is a god damn lip sync for your life.
C. Adore Delano- Libra, Musician, Performer, Adore Delano is who I like to call my spirit animal. Not only can she sing but she is unafraid to be unique and describes herself as a party-loving Libra, mermaid.
You’re probably thinking… well everyone loves food right? Well yes but I don’t see why I can’t put it on my happy list. I love to eat and one of my favourite pastimes is to eat out at my favourite restaurants with my gals. My favourite cuisines are Thai and Indian, but I have listed my top 5 foods that make me happy below.
- Chickpea Curry- I love chickpea curry and two of the best that I have tasted have been at Needos and Dishoom.
- Tiramisu- While I love cheesecake, nothing comes close to this Italian classic. In fact when my aunty brought me a giant tiramisu from Lidll’s the last time I was home I nearly cried with happiness.
- Green Vegetable Thai Curry- I love Thai food and their cuisine is packed full of flavour. An amazing Thai Restaurant-Chaopraya Eat Thai uses tofu, sweetcorn, mange tout, broccoli in lovingly ladled green Thai sauce
- Mango Lassi- if you try a lassi, please make sure your first time is at Needos in Whitechapel. I promise you, you will not regret it.
- Vegetable Samosas-the best I have ever tried have been at Dishoom, which also comes with a selection of chutneys
7. My Blog
It sounds weird to say but I couldn’t imagine a life without a blog. It has been my safe haven and has helped me weather personal storms. Above all my blog has made me a better writer and a better person and I don’t know what I would do without it. When I first started blogging in 2015, I had no idea how blogging would change my life and I am thankful for the opportunities it has brought me. From events to blogger mail right through to readers, knowing that I have my own little website, is enough to make me feel giddy with excitement. While I might not have the biggest following or the prettiest pictures I am still god damn proud that against all odds I was able to create Faded Spring at a time where I needed it the most.
8. My Readers
To anyone who reads, comments and interacts with my social channels, thank you so much for being part of my blogging journey. Your comments never cease to make me smile and I am so thankful for all your love and support. I love how you are always there to offer advice and congratulate me when things are going well. It truly makes me happy to know that I have such wonderful, loyal and commited readers and I haven’t stopped smiling since.
Despite the ups and downs- okay mostly downs- dating still makes me happy. After all, putting on a new dress and getting treated to dinner and drinks- FYI I pay- regardless of the outcome is so much fun and I love to date. While the rejections are a blow to my ego-haha- and make me wonder why on earth I signed myself up to another date- I remain positive that my Prince is out there someday and I don’t care how long it takes me to find him. Besides dating is such a confidence booster, especially when you have spent half of your life being scared of the woman in the mirror. I am not 100 % happy with the way I look but I am thankful to be just who I am regardless.
10. Street Art
Ever since I discovered street art a year ago, I knew what my blogs Unique Selling Point would be. Street art makes you feel, street art makes you happy and above all street art is a culturally and politically enriched medium that is so integral to the way that we percept society. Murals vary in size and colour but behind a comedic art piece, is a deeper entrenched message that often refers to topics like mass media, technology, the government and more. It is my mission to go ‘global street art’ hunting and I cannot wait to discover more street art pieces worldwide.
What Makes You Happy?