A few years back a string of bad luck and bad decisions left me shit-out-of-luck. Here's why those were some of the happiest days of my life.
  1. Taking Pride in My Survival
    Over the course of a couple of years my best friend died, my boyfriend repeatedly beat the shit out of me, my kid was in and out of children's hospitals, my new boyfriend was in and out of jail. Life was in a tailspin and I was proud as hell to still be standing. Then I met Chad, a good man with a good job, and we immediately got married. Things evened out fast. Did I flourish? Hell no. Turns out I was great at surviving, but not so great at thriving.
  2. Making Do
    "Making do" meant "making memories" for the kids and I. We drove to out-of-state medical appointments, which meant a series of epic road trips through the American West. We heated by wood to save money, so the fire was always roaring in winter. We rarely ate out, so yummy smells were always wafting from the kitchen. Now we trudge trough airports, I crank the thermostat when I'm too lazy to chop kindling, and we get plenty of take out.
  3. Railing About Injustice
    I felt pretty fucked and abandoned by polite society and I let everyone know it. The night my husband and I met (at a bar after the rodeo) someone pulled him aside to tell him not to bother trying- "she hates rich people, plus she always says stuff like shart." I've had to give up my rants, but sometimes after a couple drinks, I can feel them bubbling up. I have not, however, given up words like "shart".
  4. Mowing Lawns
    The summer I met my husband I was doing yard work for people. And I was GOOD at it. Plus I drove around town in my '76 pickup with my shovels, rakes, etc in the back, feeling like a badass.
  5. Sharing Appliances
    My neighbor and I shared a lawn mower, a vacuum cleaner, a clothes dryer, and thousands of cigarettes. Housework was never lonely.
  6. Giving and Receiving Creative Gifts
    Three of my friends who couldn't afford to buy us a wedding gift instead broke into the truck of the guy who beat me and relieved themselves all over the the upholstery. It will forever be the best, most heartfelt, present I ever got.
  7. Having a Distinct Identity
    I wore all of the above like a badge of honor, the queen bee of this traditionally blue collar town. I knew who I was and right where I belonged. Now life is easy, and sometimes that's hard. I'm just another wife and mother trying to make it to yoga class.