July was full of Universal things, bizarre happenings, and stuff I honestly can’t explain. If you had told me that my bird would go missing and one of the cast members of The Breakfast Club would email me, I would have yelled, YOU ARE SHITTING ME.
In the middle of July, I purchased this book from Amazon:
I originally purchased it for Anna to take to college with her as a going away gift. She’d been talking about manifesting things all summer, and I thought it would be a fun little gift for her apartment during such a dark time. But after it arrived, and I paged through it, I knew she probably wouldn’t read it.
She’d be preoccupied with a heavy course load, moving into her first off-campus apartment, and of course, seeing friends. I get that we are in the midst of a pandemic, but she hasn’t seen these friends since March, and let’s be honest.
She also took three online classes over summer, bless her heart, so I knew my child. who wasn’t a huge reader, to begin with, wouldn’t be doing a lot of recreational reading once she returned to school. So I took the book for myself and decided I would do the Universal homework for the both of us.
On a sunny Sunday in July, I sat on the couch and read a few chapters as my beautiful white parakeet sung her songs in the cage next to me. I highlighted words like SOUL FAMILY, and dog-eared pages that I knew I’d need later: sadness, scared, pain, etc…
I started a minimalistic challenge set out on the Instagram page of The Minimalists; a lifestyle I have adopted and enjoy, which I shared with you earlier in July by getting rid of or donating the exact number of items each day per number of days.
So, for example, on July 1st, get rid of one item, July 2nd, get rid of two items, and so on. With the prospect of getting rid of 31 items on July 31st looming, I had no idea how I would do it. I thought I might save things like paperwork, or the garage, or maybe the shed for the big days.
While I was talking about this project on Instagram, a friend said something really interesting to me. She said, “removing clutter makes space for something new-not necessarily something material-more like growth or change in some aspect of life.”
I began getting clarity to write my book seemingly out of nowhere in July.
As I started clearing the clutter out of our bedrooms, closets, basement, and cupboards, my mind, which had been foggy with migraine medications as well as the lack of estrogen from my impending menopause, was finally crystal clear with words.
The less I had on the surface of my world, the more I had underneath if that makes any sense.
But there were so many other Universe stories going on behind the scenes while this was going on; so much amazing that I had to write all of what was happening down in my phone to keep track of it all.
Then, sadly, Joy literally left our home on July 23, when our beloved parakeet flew out of our house and out of our lives. To say I felt defeated would be an understatement. I couldn’t understand why the Universe would do this to me, why when I listened to it so closely, followed it so diligently, why would it do me so dirty?
For three days, I was sobbing on and off, walking around my home in a daze like a crazy person.
Over a fucking bird.
My girls couldn’t understand why I was so upset. Their normally “together” mom was unraveling at the seams over a parakeet, and honestly, I couldn’t understand it myself.
I mean. My GOD, I love my pets, but I wasn’t this upset over the death of our beloved 14-year-old goldfish, Lucy.
Even though I was bereaved, I continued with the Minimalist challenge, faithfully getting rid of or donating the number of items required each day, then heading to Goodwill each Sunday to give away the goods I had accumulated by the end of the week.
I had told Mike I had no idea how I was going to locate 31 items to give away on the 31st, and he joked about how would I find 29? Where would I find 30? Somehow I never fixated on those numbers, always focusing on 31 items on the 31st.
I’ve been checking in on my fellow writing friends here and there over the last few months. Because I sort of told them they needed write for others during the pandemic, I’ve made it my mission to support my writer friends. I have made it my passion to encourage my writer friends because I sort of told them that they needed to write during the pandemic.
So I have checked in on several of my writer friends when they’ve gotten quiet over the past few months. One of whom is Ani. I love Ani. She is not only a fantastic writer, but she is also a wonderful person.
So here is the cool Universe twist: she is also the person who encouraged me to write the book I am currently working on. I was actually writing (within my book) about her encouraging me to “write the book, Kari! Write the book!”, the morning of the day Joy flew away.
Ani (unaware of her influence on any of the above) messaged me on Facebook the day after Joy flew away, asking me a series of questions that would lead to a message on the following Monday morning:
Ani was checking in on me because I was the one who was quiet this time.
The video she was referring to was a Cameo she had booked from Anthony Michael Hall, in which he was speaking to me.
Because he gives out his email address, I am not comfortable sharing it. I’m not sure it’s public information or not, but I’m not going to reveal it. BUT I grabbed screenshots of my reactions since they were too good not to share with all of you.
My sweet friend Ani had sent me a video of Anthony Michael Hall telling me the following things after she had told him about some background information:
That I am a “soulful, smart, and talented writer”…..
He “wished me all the best for my book project” (the same book project Ani had encouraged me to write).
And then he asked if I could email him my screenplay so he could give me feedback on it.
The screenplay he is written into.
Ani had requested that someone record me watching it because she really wanted to see my reaction, but the fact that Ani had said, ” I wish someone had recorded me watching it” was really special to me.
When you have women in your life that are as excited for you about things that aren’t even for them?
That is the most beautiful fucking thing ever.
Such a JOY-ful moment.
I even said to my mom later that day, “I feel like Joy had something to do with this”.
On this day, my Universe was so full of Ani and Joy and all of you guys and connectivity. I felt so surrounded in the best way possible.
I posted this video to my personal Instagram account, and later that day, a friend of mine commented on the hat I was wearing. My Chasing Joy hat. I bought it (also in July) purely on “accident” when shopping for a birthday present for a friend. I liked it and didn’t connect it to my sweet bird child. I only liked the saying.
I was wearing my hat on neighborhood walks, looking for my bird, literally Chasing my Joy.
I contacted Anthony Michael Hall (do I use all three names?) a few days later, and he emailed me right back like the gentleman he is. He was kind, and he plans to read my screenplay, and give me notes on it. I told Ani that even if it doesn’t go any further than this, this whole thing has just been so much fun and given me so much life. This year has been so heavy to carry, this week alone has given me the gas I need to get through the rest of 2020.
I told Mike a few days after Joy went missing that I believe the 31 things are all of Joy’s belongings. I believe she knew she had to leave, and I believe the Universe did as well. I believe it was fate, and that she was only intended to be in our lives for a limited time.
He said there was no way she had 31 items, but I told him I wasn’t yet ready to count them. That if she wasn’t home by Friday the 31st, my closure had to be to donate all of her things. If she were to return, we will just get her new things.
But I needed that closure.
A week to the day that Joy went missing, I discovered why it was so hard for me to get over losing her.
Anna had been watching High School Musical in her bedroom the night before. We had just received Disney Plus as a result of a blog post that Ani had written, ironically (although I feel like nothing is ironic any more). Anna was in her jammies, eating a snack, looking like she was 12 years old all over again, and I said to her through heaving sobs, “I know I shouldn’t say this to you, but I don’t want you to leave, I wish you could stay forever”.
I wanted her to be a little girl again, to keep her in her little girl’s room, and protect her from every horrible thing.
And then it dawned on me.
Spreading your wings is so terrifying right now.
Maybe that is why when Joy spread hers, it was difficult to get over.
Too many parallels, I guess.
I counted Joy’s items, and there were 31 of them.
I counted them five times, just to be certain.
Yep, 31 fucking items.
Joy was clearing the way.
Spreading her wings for extra joy in my universe