One small action
A tale of a woman and the creature who wants to steal her joy
The woman sat on the couch, dog at her feet, coffee at her right, and music in the background. The snow from the prior day had turned to a cold, spitting rain and even though the sun had come up long ago, the skies were dark and gloomy. She didn’t mind though; it happened to suit her mood.
She’d been trying to figure out what the hell was going on with her life. Ever diligent about avoiding the victim mentality, she couldn’t believe she found herself feeling overwhelmingly like, well, a victim.
She began neglecting her daily gratitude journal practice months ago; the journal, which sat on her nightstand and used to be the last thing she looked at every night, now wears a light layer of dust and dog hair.
Days that used to consist of at least one workout, a lot of walking steps, reading, and writing are now filled with couch sitting, television watching, food binging, and skipping the gym.
Friends came around quite often; she’s wasn’t lonely. But she longed for feeling of being in a relationship—having that one person that you want to share everything with. It’s been years since she has committed to anyone, though it’s unclear if that was her choice or her curse.
When she was younger, she made art. A lot of it. It was therapeutic and fulfilling, losing all sense of time while she was drawing or crafting. She longed for this feeling of old, too.
She knew what she needed to do. It was clear that steps—no matter how small—in the right direction were needed. She just needed to take action. To choose action.
But she felt powerless.
A creature sat on the couch, watching the woman. He was dark and had few discernible facial features, save for his menacing green eyes.
He loved to see her like this, all sad and contemplative. Sometimes she seemed to have good days and to be truly enjoying life. He found this behavior revolting, intolerable.
At times like these, it was almost as if a million tiny lights within her physical figure began to shine so brightly that it hurt his putrid little green eyes. It weakened him, doubling him over. He didn’t appreciate this kind of inconvenience.
It was happening all too often several months back, her feeling happy. Furious, he started changing her environment, one small thing at a time. He hid her sketchbooks, put extra blankets on the bed, made sure she had junk food and wine, and put all her bills in plain sight on the dining room table. He shrank all of her jeans so she could only wear sweatpants. He declined incoming calls from people she loved and made sure her social media feeds were full of sad stories. He found more and more ways to keep her down.
Looking at her now, the creature saw what looked like those damn lights starting to come on again. He growled and readied himself to attack.
The woman couldn’t help but feel like her dog wasn’t the only presence in the room. The air was warm, thick even. If was possible, she could swear she smelled something resembling a rancid case of halitosis.
The stench was enough to get her off the couch and she went to get her sketchbook, having decided that she had to try to take at least one small action today. Before she could get out of the room, she tripped on a dog toy that she was certain was not there a few minutes ago.
She picked herself up and went back to her comfortable seat on the couch. She sank a little lower and reached for her coffee, now cold, and brought it to her lips. With a jolt, she spit the cold coffee back into the mug and aggressively sighed, leaning back even deeper into the couch.
Quite thrilled with himself, the creature let out a haughty laugh. He felt like he wasn’t out of the woods yet though, and continued to sit next to the woman, watching, making sure she didn’t dare get any more bright ideas.
The woman thought maybe she’d get a snack or take a nap. What else was she going to do? It was all useless anyway.
And then, somewhere deep inside, her inner voice, her higher self said, “Nothing comes easy, love. You have to fight. You have to choose. You have to take just one small action. Just one. But you have to do it now.”
The woman closed her eyes and tried to make sense of the source of the message she’d just received. She concentrated on being fully present, taking several deep breaths in through her nose, filling up her belly, and letting them out loudly through her mouth. She brought awareness to herself and her surroundings.
The woman opened her eyes, smiled, and grabbed her sketchbook and a few pencils before returning to the couch. She began to doodle on the blank page, not drawing anything in particular, just letting the pencil move. It felt so silly that it has taken so much effort to do this one small thing, a thing that was already filling her with joy.
The creature was nearly bent in half from the searing pain. The woman was angelic, practically made of light. It poured out of her body like golden rays of sunshine, forcing him to squint. He howled, his taloned hands reaching straight for her. Before he could make contact, he realized he was vanishing into thin air, being transported out of her living room.
As she worked, she looked up and to her left. She swore she saw two green eyes looking back at her but when she blinked, there was nothing there.