As all good internet stories go:
Once upon a time (last Sunday) I was reading fanfiction (this one) and I stumbled across something important, as explained by Bucky Barnes. (Look, you can have Shakespeare’s jokefic. I will read my emotional-pain heavy MCU fic). Ahem.
There’s a big war memorial in the park with both their names prominently inscribed. Rogers stands in front of it for 22 minutes their first day in the park. But there are no bugs on the workout gear, so if he says anything, Barnes doesn’t know.
It’s just past dawn, and a light frost tips the grass. It’s pretty but a reminder that no stores seem to carry any damn handkerchiefs. Barnes wipes his nose on his sleeve.
The fight with Stark brings the return of Rogers’s sad expression. Fucking Stark.
This is a particular difficulty of the mission: how to erase Rogers’s sadness while maintaining distance. How to suggest the comfort of a long bath or a grilled cheese with ham. A white mocha can fix almost anything for a little while.
Hey. Note: it is useful knowledge for living to have a list of things that are good no matter what.
No really, it’s very useful knowledge.
It’s hard to get up the momentum to get yourself into a place where you can relax. Especially when you’re agitated, on edge, or anxious,* the last thing you want to do is stop and search through your mind for a solution. Similarly, when I’m sad, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut of “I’m sad. I’m still sad. I’m sad.” Better option: “I am allowed to feel sad, but while I do so, I’m going to be kind to myself and do things that make me feel good.” When I’m ready to stop feeling sad, I will be able to climb out of the rut.
To this end, I suggest creating a List of Things That Are Unambiguously Good.
Step 1: Set a timer for five minutes
Step 2: Spend those five minutes doing nothing but writing down things that make you feel good without drawbacks.
Step 3: Add to list as necessary, keep in a common location. I store my list in the program that holds my daily agenda, because it’s on my phone, computer, and tablet, and open constantly. It’s unlikely I’d be somewhere without access to the list, which in turn makes it likely that when I feel bad, I’ll use it.
My list is below, and you’re encouraged to steal or test any ideas that strike your fancy.
-Drinking sparkling water with orange juice.
-Painting my nails
-A very hot bath with books.
-Lighting a scented candle.
-Watching something on my Netflix queue
-Tea with milk and sugar
-Going for a walk
-Reviewing ‘happy things’ file on my computer.
-Wrapping up in blankets, especially heavy ones.
-Cute animals on tumblr
*yes, these were synonyms. However, people seem to find recognition with some words and not others, so I use a variety. See also Julia’s excellent blog post.