After dealing with some severe health issues this past fall, I have been turning my focus to things that truly bring me great joy. As Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye tells us, “You have to find those little pockets of joy, honey!” They’re so right. No matter what is going on in one’s life, you need to find those little places of happiness to get you through your days. I want to share a few of mine with you.
My Kids and their Friends
I have two amazing kids, Serena (7th grade) and Nate (5th grade). My husband and I were blessed with awesome children. They are both bright, active, and truly kind and caring people. They are amazing friends to their friends. Each of my kids have a group of friends that are so fun, and they do so much together. When schools reopened after the pandemic, we made the choice to drive our kids and others to school instead of taking the bus. We are fortunate to live close to both schools in our town, so this is a reasonable thing to work into our days. We’ve been calling it the “Friend Bus.” I love these rides home from school with my middle schooler and her friends. Middle school is tough, and our conversations about “how was the day” and “what’s the tea?” brighten up my day. They feel I am a safe space to talk it out. Even the tough conversations. One of my daughter’s closest friends has even started calling my home workspace “her therapist’s office.” These kids bring daily happiness to my life, and I hope I can continue to be a support like this to them for many years.
My Cats and Cat Videos
I don’t know how anyone can live with out animals (besides those with allergies). The only time I have not lived with a cat (or several) was when I was in a college dorm. In my early twenties, the cat distribution system delivered me Xander and Amber—both found me in parking lots of two separate workplaces at two different times, and they were by my side throughout my young adulthood. Our current cats, Lily and James, joined us about five years ago after Amber crossed the rainbow bridge. They are a bonded pair of littermates and bring so much joy to our household. Unlike my old cats, these little furry angels entered our lives as our cats, not just my cats. They comfort all of us daily, and completed our family when they joined us. Because of our love of cats, my daughter and I share cat videos with each other throughout the day. If you ever need a good laugh, I recommend going to watch a few. I even recently shared with her my favorite vintage YouTube cat video, Stalking Cat, and explained to her it was the cat video that started my love of cat videos.
RuPaul and Queer Eye
I fell in love with Drag Queens about twenty years ago when my restaurant coworkers (who since then are truly my forever friends) and I would often go to Diva’s Night Club—the drag shows started at midnight. Jujubee was the first queen I ever saw perform and that was it. Jujubee later became a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race and watching this show not only brings me happiness and laughter, but listening to how Mama Ru interacts and talks to his contestants I find emotionally healing. He regularly brings up dealing with one’s own “inner saboteur” and boy does that resonate with me. So much is in your head when trying to accomplish things, and when they get tough, you very often listen to that inner saboteur that’s in the back of your head saying, “you aren’t good enough” or “you can’t do that.” RuPaul reminds them to “fight her—she’s a liar!” I try to listen to Ru, too. The men from Queer Eye on Netflix have had a similar effect on me.
I’ve watched the first iteration of Queer Eye and the current one. The first series also held the tagline “for the straight guy” while the newer season takes on all types of people. They not only help makeover people’s lives on the outside, but they also take time to work with them on self-care on the inside. They reiterate to all types of people who are going through, or have overcome, great obstacles how important it is to take care of yourself. That, if you can’t take care of yourself and manage your own needs in life, you can’t truly give and care for others. And boy, is this something I need to hear regularly. I watch episodes from both shows over and over, to keep reminding me how to manage that inner saboteur and self-care, so I can strive to be my best self.
There are other things the bring me joy—books, yarn, and video games—to name a few. But these are the pockets that remind me how to be my best self, that other’s feel this way too, and that life is good—especially with kids, cats, and queens.
Read the full issue of the Fall 2023 Messenger
Meet Beki Greenwood
Beki Greenwood is the editor of the Messenger. She is a board member of the Fryeburg New Church Assembly in Fryeburg, Maine, and a long-time member of the Bridgewater Church in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.