And, here I am, days away from turning 43, and I have found myself in a sorority. As it turns out, we have chapters across the United States.
So--while our core purpose, our charter, or raison d'etre is to indeed offer each other support--I prefer to call us a sorority.
Because we are sisters. We are Earthquake survivors.
Pulling yourself from the rubble crashing down on you can feel like a Sisyphean task. But we--as a group of amazing, intelligent women--are developing our course on Earthquake survival. And, with every addition to our ranks, we are perfecting and sharing the syllabus.
Let me share with you all one of the best Earthquake survival tips that I have learned.
There will be days that you will wonder if you will ever find happiness. Find Joy. And here is the secret to feeling happy after the Earthquake:
Schedule some Joy. Put some Joy on your calendar, then circle that Joy in red and draw little hearts and stars and diamonds around it.
Joy, it seems, has much in common with Lucky Charms.
I've scheduled my next Joy. In March, I will be going to a women's writing workshop in Cork. I am headed to Ireland for 20 days of castles and cliffs and writing and stones. I will visit Guinness, and Waterford, and Claddagh, and pub after pub after pub. I will visit art museums and maritime museums, then spend five intense days working on the novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo. After that, I will hop on trains and buses to see the Trinity Library and St. Patrick's Cathedral. And speaking of St. Paddy, I will be spending March 17th in Dublin.
Such, such Joy.
The person with whom I am sharing this next Joy with is one of my favorite people in the world. She is one of the handful of people to whom I would give both of my kidneys if she needed them. She will make my next Joy an amazing, shit-free journey. She will be by my side as I am working though the most difficult parts of my book. My book--a memoir disguised as a novel--has not seen much attention in the last little while. It's difficult subject matter. But like a splinter, I need to let it fester out of my system.
I need to finish the book because--if for no other reason--it probably should be added to our syllabus.
And I need to read it myself from time to time. Just to remember.
A little while ago, I was talking to my Earthquake sister Melanie about the men in my life and their escalating degree of injury they cause me. I posed the question: How do these men keep finding me? Melanie had an interesting insight. She postulated that once you have been the victim of one bad man, you are more likely to encounter more bad men. It's like getting a concussion. Once you get one, you are susceptible to more concussions. And they build and compound on each other. They just get worse and worse.
Welcome to all of our many, many sisters out there in the world. We are here for you when you are ready. We are your support. We are your safe place. We are ordering jackets.
They will have a silver linings.