The Art of Feeling Better is a series of articles where the author undertakes the adventure of finding out what it means to truly be happy. This is the second of five explorations. If you missed the first installment, click here to begin from the beginning.
Friends and Adventure
I had a boyfriend once who, along with a broken heart, amazing sex and infidelity insecurities, gave me one of the best insights of my life: “The greatest feeling is when you are able to do something you never imagined you could do.”
He was right, especially for a planner like me. Those moments when you climb a mountain, try a new skill, show more patience than you had assumed possible—those moments when either by circumstance, or sheer will, you stretch beyond your own concept of yourself?
It’s exhilarating and the ultimate cure for personal claustrophobia.
So for my project, The Art of Feeling Better, I knew I had to go on an adventure out of my comfort zone, out of L.A.—and who better to go with than a dear friend?
Connection is another huge golden nugget of wisdom that my nearest and dearest would drum into my being. No man, or woman, is an island. Like the book “Into the Wild” finds, “Happiness only exists when shared”.
So, if I was to feel better, it seemed like I couldn’t do it on my own.
“We’re lost, sorry,” my friend Rose said, while rolling down the window to her dusty Prius.
We were in the middle of landscape akin to a Dali desert painting. Joshua trees, a craggy, oddly-elegant desert tree, sporadically forested the land. Along with some fabricated houses, all of which looked fragile, as if one great wind—or the big bad wolf—could blow them over like stack of cards. Bright blue sky above, there were no roads before us but to our left, an upside down piano, just sitting there, collecting desert dust.
Nearby a tattooed woman stepped up to the car, pointing toward a house in the distance. “Get off my land.”
Rose leaned out further. “I’m so sorry, you see, we’re looking for our Airbnb—”
“I said, get off my land. Now.” Her tattooed muscles flexed. The “can’t we all just get along?” part of my brain was reviled at her lack of interest to help out two friendly-looking women, but the shy, retiring side admired this Mad Max-worthy warrior. She was pure aggression.
Behind her dogs started barking and I noticed a shotgun resting on the kennel fence.
“I’m sorry but we’re lost.” Rose continued unfazed. “We’ve been looking for our Airbnb. I can’t find it. It’s Bingo’s place.”
The woman softened. “Bingo? You’re with Bingo?”
“Yeah”. I chimed in. That was helpful Jessica, very helpful.
“Oh, you went too far then. Go back down the path to the road, make a right and you’ll see it. Be safe, ladies.”
That night and we were safely tucked into Bingo’s place—amazing desert oasis outside Los Angeles, with a fire pit outside and a great view of the stars. Rose and I lit a fire and pretended we were cowgirls, kicking our feet up by the flickering fire and looking up at the night sky. I wanted some beef jerky to gnaw on. I wanted a horse.
I suddenly became convinced this was me in my natural habitat. I was no longer the “Woman Who had a Hard Year” or “Woman Who Watched YouTube in Her Small Studio”.
I was free. I was the Bonnie to Rose’s Clyde. I was the “Wandering Woman on an Adventure”.
The Art of Feeling Better takes a self care topic each week and explores the how each contributes to making one healthier and happier. Week One explored awareness. Next week, the author will tackle the the idea of indulgence. Stay tuned!
(Photo: Holly Burns Photography. Used with permission).
Author, screenwriter and director, Jessica Fox’s love of stories began at five years old when reality betrayed her and dressing as Superman did not grant her superpowers. Thus a life of play was born. Jessica graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Mythology and Astronomy from Franklin & Marshall College. Currently, she is writing a rom-com with Unlimited Pictures based on her award-winning memoir Three Things You Need to Know About Rockets, directing a Mars documentary with Passion Pictures and is co-developing a family programming series “Never After” featuring Gillian Anderson. Her shorts been featured at U.S. film festivals and she was the band documentarian for the Dresden Dolls. Fox was also a storyteller for NASA and currently satisfies her inner nerd as the Chief Narrative Officer for HiddenGenius and story consults for tech organizations. Connect with her via Facebook.