We need to talk about Forest fairies & French ladies

Good morning gorgeous, it's so lovely to see you this morning— I've missed you all week. You're looking fresh— do I detect a new eye cream? We have so much to catch up on, the world is a soggy compost bag and we'll get into it. Before we do, I want to chat quickly about happiness.

I was in Montreal for the weekend, and on Sunday I walked into a beautiful little store. The lovely salesperson asked me something in French I had to apologize for not understanding her question— so she tried again in English:

Have you found your happiness?

I paused, dumbstruck by the unexpected potency of that question. I realized that no one has ever asked me that before. I knew that she was trying to ask if I found clothing I liked, but her mispronunciation intrigued me more than any shift dress could.

Have you found your happiness?

I pondered her accidental question all weekend. On the train ride home I finally came to an answer (for myself, I wasn't going to storm back in there and confuse that nice French lady).

I decided that my answer would be a simple no.

No, because I don’t believe that happiness is a treasure chest hidden for us to find. No, because I don’t believe happiness is a destination that can be reached. No one can provide it for us, no partner or family member can make you happy. No job, achievement, promotion, or amount of money can unlock it either. We treat happiness like a mystery forest fairy, chasing her endlessly— thinking if we run fast enough maybe we'll get a glimpse of her light.

But that's just not how I've found happiness to work.

Happiness is a decision. No, it's more than that— it's an insistence. Something to be actively chosen, day after day after day. It's the practice of cultivating a life you love living in. The happiest people I know aren't happy because it's their natural predisposition— usually, it's the opposite. They're happy because they've decided to take their messy, imperfect, often fucked up life and work at it. They've decided to choose joy whenever they can.

Happiness is a decision we can make any time, but it's not a one time deal. We have to insist on it each day, and then back it up with consistent self-work and care. It's really hard stuff, but oh so beautiful.

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Pumped up kicks

I'm writing this in a coffee shop, and the Foster The People song Pumped Up Kicks just came on. At the line "Better run better run faster than my bullets" I had to take a moment. This stuff is hard but so important. Please engage with it, talk about it, call your representatives, and if you hate them— run for their jobs. We deserve to feel safe in malls, dancing in clubs, and in our schools. Take a break when you need to, and when you're done, get back at it. Love you.

This weekend we saw one of the deadliest shootings in US history, and then another mass shooting just 13 hours later. In the two attacks this weekend 84 people were shot and 31 people were murdered. The first shooting occurred in El Paso, Texas when a 21-year-old man used a military-style rifle (that shit is legal to own!) to open fire in a WalMart, murdering 22 people. They have a suspect in custody we won't name (he doesn't deserve fame) who has been charged with capital murder. He wrote, let's not make it sound more important than it is by using the word "manifesto", he wrote a shitty, racist, hate-filled essay letting us know he was a white supremacist radicalized online. The second shooting was in Dayton Ohio and left 9 dead and 27 wounded including his sister. The 24-year-old shooter was killed by police.

Trump took a quick break from golfing to make a statement where he called the attacks an act of "cowardice". Bro, you pronounced domestic terrorism wrong. He also expressed his condolences to the people of Toledo, which did not have a terror attack. 45 always keeping it classy.

We all know that selling military-style weapons to civilians is a. bad. fucking. idea. The US has 4.4% of the world's population but owns half the guns. That fact is only good in a zombie apocalypse situation, in all other situations that is terrifying. More young men are being radicalized online by white supremacist groups who use 8Chan, but also Youtube, Facebook, and Reddit to recruit angry, disaffected, lonely men into violent hate organizations.

It's getting worse. In 2018 every extremist killing in the US had a link to right-wing extremism. President Trump has accelerated the problem with his dog-whistle racism, yes, but also his FBI policy which has redirected resources away from investigating these groups. They are his base after all.

If you're a Canadian patting yourself on the back for our strong gun legislation, take your hand off your back son. Let me remind you that Andrew Sheer, the Conservative candidate from Prime Minister, and Canada's right wingiest boat shoe, owns guns and wants to repeal Canada's gun legislation in the Criminal Code. Toronto also had 14 shootings in Toronto this weekend. Canadians need to stay engaged on this issue so the problems of the US don't creep north of the border, 'cause like cockroaches and fuckbois— they're hard to get rid of.

We need to call for gun control everywhere, now.

If you want to help, here are some resources.

Something magical
Lizzo stopped by the "tiny-ass-desk" at NPR and was magic.

Something to make you laugh hard
Common, stop trying to change Ted. You can't change Ted.

Something to make you throw a brick through another brick
A bunch of Mitch McConnell volunteers groped and choked a cutout of AOC. Because of course, they did.

Something to read
I learned a lot about happiness from an incredible book called Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson— it's about battling mental illness and living a big ass life. It may make you cry and pee your pants— but I hope not at the same time.

Something to get you through
I won’t back down, give me my thunder.
- The Chemical Brothers

Thank you for coming by today friend. It was so lovely to see you! Stop by on Insta or Twitter this week to say hi.


P.s If you enjoyed the letter, please share it on social or forward this email to some friends who might be dtr (down to read). I'm so grateful that you keep this community going, thank you.