Archive | June 2014

Ugly-beautiful

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“And she’s so pretty cause she will never be…
She’s so pretty to me, to me, to me.
It doesn’t matter what everybody sees.” ~ Jude
 
I’m reading a novel called “My Grandfather’s Eyes.” I don’t know which page I’m on since it’s a Kindle book on my phone and the Kindle books don’t always show a page number. I don’t even know how many pages are in the book. I’m not at the very beginning but not quite to the middle. I know because of the virtual line showing reading progress.

What I read up until now is thoroughly beautiful. The main character, Alexandra or Alex, is something like a psychopath. She’s around thirty-two years old. Alex has no concern, love, affection, care, empathy, or any positive emotion for anyone in the world except for one person, her best friend Lizzy. She loves Elizabeth, or Lizzy, more than anything and anyone else in the entire world and would even die for her if she had to to save Liz’s life. They were best friends since Kindergarten and Alex was always in love with Lizzy but never acted on her romantic interest in her.
Alex was born with a facial deformity, a bump on her forehead and dark moles, some of which are hairy, and grow darker and bigger across the side of her face as the years go on. Alex’s dad took her when she was a little girl, to a cosmetic surgeon to have them removed but Alex refused. She has always loved her moles.

Even as a young woman in college, she cherishes her deformity, she thinks they add to her beauty. But it has always hurt her how most other people would react to her for her whole life, even her own family, her own mom. Many just stare while others say cruel things to and about her.

What I read until now leaves me to believe, for now(i think later she may go on a killing spree or something but not sure), that Alex is more indifferent to people than vicious or cruel, although she does think about and desire killing certain people and she murders her own husband who she was never in love with but he truly loved her. The two loves of her life have always been reading and Lizzy.

She doesn’t care about other people’s pain, she shows no empathy or concern when others come to her with problems or when she witnesses someone suffering. Sometimes she just doesn’t care and sometimes she actually takes pleasure in it. She’s somewhat sadistic.  She has absolutely no regard for human life.

Except Liz’s life. She cries for her when she’s hurt or when she misses her.

Lizzy is a beautiful, thin girl, with long blonde hair, flawless in appearance except for one thing. In high school she made a mistake in chemistry class and burned her hand up her arm which caused severe damage and is now disfigured. She thinks it’s repulsive but Alex finds it beautiful in the same way she knows her own deformity is beautiful. Lizzy is aggressive and funny. She’s intelligent but doesn’t care to display her intelligence. She’s also a thief.

Alex’s facial deformity doesn’t and never has fazed Lizzy. And Lizzy defends Alex when people stare or say rude things. She even kisses Alex goodbye on her “ugliest” and biggest mole.

“As I try to read, there is one thought that overwhelms me: He did not look at my moles. I am sure of this. There is only one other person who does not see them. My Lizzy.” ~ Alex

This may just be the most beautiful line in the book. I just love how she says “does not see them” Instead of “does not look at them” or “does not have a problem with them…” It’s just they don’t see them. They look straight through and see her for her.

The book is Alex reminiscing and telling us about different stages of her life, flashing back and forth.  

What I find beautiful is that the author shows how beauty can be found in ugly things or ugly things can be beautiful themselves. There is beauty in pain and darkness, in sadness, and struggles. Sometimes we can overlook “ugliness” and see the beauty in it or we can actually see “ugly” things, themselves, as beautiful. Maybe something is beautiful because it’s sad or dark or unusual or different.

She loves reading so much that her decision for which university to attend is based on the beautiful library.

“…the Gothic Hall complete with turrets and gargoyles – where I will study English Literature. It is ugly-beautiful and will suit me very well. A fitting place in which to study the works of great authors. I feel the hairs bristle on the back of my neck with the excitement it generates in me.” ~ Alex

It’s beautiful because it’s ugly. It’s dark and aggressive and enthralling.

And even though Alex is like a psycho, her self-love is so very beautiful to me. She’s extremely arrogant but also has genuine love for all that she is in and out. She embraces her ugliness and flaws and refuses to conceal them for what others think and say.

Some people mistake self-love as conceit or arrogance but this character, Alex, with both traits, arrogance and genuine self love, is an embodiment of the sharp difference. Arrogance isn’t love. Someone can be arrogant or act arrogant but have no true love for herself and someone can love herself and not be arrogant. Alex is both. She even admits that she “wears her arrogance like a badge.” But she genuinely appreciates her own physical features and her personality traits. She’s an intellectual with no patience for simple, less intelligent minds and trivial drama.

I also like how Alex isn’t a very beautiful character on the inside but there’s so much beauty to be seen in her anyway. The novel isn’t about a sweet, loving, innocent girl who lives a life of goodness but happens to have a physical deformity where the author plays on our empathy to overlook her physical ugliness but see straight through to her obviously beautiful loving heart of gold and love her anyway.

That would be easy.

This? This is challenging because beneath her physical deformity lies a deformed or ugly heart as well. But it’s impossible not to see incredible traits in her anyway. Like her self love even though she was tormented for being deformed her whole life, her indestructible love for her best friend that she would do anything for even if it puts her out, her passion for literature, the way she appreciates and basks in the simple joys of living like lakes and quietude, the way she bursts out laughing uncontrollably for no reason when she meets the man she’ll eventually marry, her intelligence, and dedication to her goals. We see her humanness as well as her monstrous side. And there are little bits of beauty scattered throughout.

I have felt guilt and various other emotions reading this book. Guilt for judging and guilt for adoring a psycho’s positive qualities and even some of her ugliness. I love when novels provoke uncomfortable as well as beautiful and positive emotions in me, when they force us to question ourselves in awkward ways. I don’t promote what she does but I can’t overlook her beautiful qualities. 

It reminds me to be like that with real people who may not be my favorite, ones with qualities I don’t care much for. I don’t have to be their best friend or be head over heels in love with them but I can still work to see the beauty in them and appreciate it.

Here is a beautiful quote out of the book about her looking at herself in a mirror, by the main character, Alex:

“In the mirror, I see a woman sitting bolt upright in her chair, with her handbag on her lap. She has long mousy hair, parted in the middle, her scalp white in the harsh fluorescent light. There is a large, dark mass spreading across the side of her face. I think her elegantly middle-aged, sensuously beautiful. I cannot identify with her. I see her smile, first with her eyes, which remain young, and then with the whole of her face. We fuse together, and I feel an energy building inside me, so that my reflection seems to disturb the air in the room, like a breeze across the surface of a lake.  It is a lake I have visited many times in my dreams. We are luminous and powerful.”

This is in a hospital after Alex’s husband dies. No one knows she murdered or tried to murder him. She planned to kill him but after she did, she wasn’t prepared for the feeling that would hit her, the reality of his death. She wanted him dead but after hearing those words, it was hard to accept and come to terms with the fact that  her husband is dead, that she killed him. She wasn’t shattered and is ultimately happy with her choice to kill, but she felt awkward, uncomfortable at first. She started to dissociate. 
Like, feeling as if one part of herself is no longer connected to another. Like her body and her mind or inner self, disconnect. Some people feel as if they leave their body when they dissociate,  after a serious trauma like assault of some sort, for example.

People don’t choose true dissociation but this excerpt reminds me of how many of us often hold ourselves to greater standards than we hold others. We judge our bodies and self worth in ways we wouldn’t judge our sister or best friend. “I have rolls or stretch marks, or am not a size 2 or have scars or acne…or whatever…so I’m hideous, fat, worthless, no good, ugly, not beautiful….” But would you ever say or think that about someone close to you? Or even a stranger? Chances are, no! Try to look into a mirror and kind of dissociate, not like a mental illness or result of a traumatic experience but remain unbiased, not shadowed by self critical thoughts. Take a good look at yourself and pretend you aren’t you. 

Look at your beauty with new eyes, with a stranger’s eyes. If you weren’t you and not so judgmental, if you weren’t brainwashed by the media or society’s concept of beautiful perfection, would you think you are ugly, horrible, not beautiful? Would you think you’re beautiful? Now take the beauty you see and feel and know, and become you again, the whole you, let you and the person in the mirror fuse together. Love one another as the whole that is you.

This book is already so thought-provoking and inspiring.

But….

I read some reviews and I think there may be some violence later in the book, maybe violent sexual scenes. Sometimes I don’t read much about a book, reviews or even the basic description, before reading. I like to go into it completely unbiased, not knowing. Sometimes I read a few reviews and for this I did and a couple said something about there being some “uncalled for sexual violence” or something like that, in the book that does nothing for the story but be disturbing. I read so many books and reviews though that I don’t always remember which reviews are for which books. For all I know those reviews are for another book!  I can tolerate extreme violence in books if the book is really good or has a deeper message other than just violence for thrill. It doesn’t thrill me.

 I felt drawn to this book immediately but then read something that contributed to me deciding not to buy it. And I think it’s the reviews that said there’s uncalled for horrific violence. But then I bought it anyway because what I did read about it in other reviews, the love she has for her Lizzy is so beautiful and it pulled me in and I also love the title. Yes I do judge books by their covers. Lol And even if that’s true that there’s unnecessary violence later, I’m happy I did buy it because of the deep insights I have already come to know just by reading what I did. But I can’t actually recommend the book without knowing the rest, especially if it has scenes that can trigger distress in someone who may have experienced trauma of some sort. Empathy while reading a book is one thing for a person who never experienced serious trauma but for someone who has, it can be completely  different, like the person is reliving it, the body can be like literally living it over, causing severe distress and pain. So I am careful recommending books without warnings.

“My moles continue to grow and darken. I take less care to hide the bump on my head, and I wonder whether my deformities will eventually take me over. I am impatient with them, wishing they would stabilize. I think I notice people staring more, and imagine they are whispering to each other but I decide that I will not try to hide myself away. It will be easier if the people who are alienated by such things have the chance to avoid me, and I reason that those who are indifferent to them will not care.” ~ Alex

I love this and completely agree. I would never want friends or people who like me only because they don’t know something about me that if they found out later they would reject me for it, whatever it may be. We don’t have to like everything about a person we like but we can accept, tolerate, or overlook it and love the person as a whole. I don’t necessarily want someone to like every single thing about me, like all of my opinions or anything, and I won’t conceal something just to have them like me or not reject me. It’s like an asshole repellent,if you show your ugliness or controversial views or something right off, you weed out the assholes and the true ones are still standing by your side. Or if you’re the asshole and people are going to reject you for it then they can back off and the ones who don’t mind asshole-ness will still be there. 
I don’t always like people’s opinions but I often appreciate the courage it takes them to stand up for whatever it is and the passion that drives them.

I am what I am whether I conceal it or not and whether someone likes it or not. So why deny or repress it? Instead I will give people the chance to know me and embrace me or know me and reject me.

My love for fiction has deepened dramatically over the last year and one thing I love about it is how the novels can teach us even
 deeper empathy and greater compassion and understanding for real people and real life situations. We can’t always see or know why people do the things they do and it can be easy to judge and direct hostility towards them without any ounce of empathy or understanding but in books, authors bring their characters alive, stripping them raw, so we can hear their every thought and know their motives and intentions, and we can then, have compassion even more and understanding for the characters. We can extend that to real people and situations.

Understanding and empathy do not necessarily entail or require encouragement of or promoting something. I can understand and be empathetic of a person doing something wrong or not good but not promote or encourage it. I love when authors challenge us. This author is clearly brilliant, not just in writing but her deep understanding of life.

The girl’s wedding day is on June 25th in the book and that’s today for real! Lol what a coincidence that I read that today!

Is that something only I would be thrilled over? 

;-D
I hear that a lot “only you, Kim!” or “only you would think or notice that, only you would laugh at that…!”

Xoxo Kim

“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” – Scott Hamilton

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The Beauty that Stalks the Darkness

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“Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.” 

I saw this quote today, attributed to Buddha. What a gem! It’s so true! This is a habit that can be developed. It may not always come so easily but it can be developed and ingrained deep into our brains. Every experience, pleasant, unpleasant, neural, trivial seeming, fun and light, can teach us something! There’s a little spark hidden somewhere in each of our experiences, that can be ignited to enlighten us, teach us a lesson, strength, wisdom, greater empathy and understanding for others, and inspire us.

There is potential for some kind of growth in every occasion.

Maybe you’ll learn who you want to be or don’t want to be, how strong you really are, ways to teach or help others….maybe you’ll learn something you can’t really put into words, just a feeling of deep knowing, true enlightenment. The lessons and wisdom and things we learn and come to know won’t be the same for all of us. Only you can really know what your experiences are capable of teaching you and how receptive or in tune you can be to the messages. Some people can help guide you along the way but it’s ultimately up to you to pay close attention.

It’s helpful, while experiencing an unpleasant or difficult situation of any sort, or even a pleasant, positive one, to stop in the midst of it and think “What is this teaching me? What skills or wisdom or knowledge am I being equipped with by experiencing this?” It may not come to you right away, maybe not even until the situation is long over. But it’s great to ask yourself those questions. It will get your brain in gear and directed at finding answers.

Sometimes your only lesson may just be developing deeper compassion to help others later in a similar situation or inspiring others by sharing what you have come to know. And that’s beautiful! 

Your situation can even just be reading a book or a poem or mindfully listening to a song. It can be wildly entertaining and fun but underneath there’s always some beautiful lesson to be learned.

I think this is what it means to “live life to the fullest.” You know that old cliche, right?! 

When I think of that I often think of people skydiving, partying it up, traveling the world, bungee jumping and shit but “living life to the fullest” is another thing that’s different for each person. To some people that stuff is boring and “living life to the fullest” is sitting on a sofa every night watching funny TV shows. And that’s great too as long as you’re getting the most out of your own life and not interfering with others.

To me, living to the fullest, is being in tune with the life all around me, living in the moment, seeing what it’s teaching me, savoring the splendor I am blessed to experience. 

It’s truly being alive and active “listening” to life, not just mindlessly floating through each day.  

Everyday I keep myself in tune to the wisdom all around and within me, I try to learn as much as I can and I meditate upon it and write about it and share with anyone who wants to know about it! I find wisdom and beauty in books, poetry, songs, blogs, essays, and everywhere. 

Xoxo Kim

P.s. I found love today in my backyard with my dogs:

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;-D

Surrender to Universal Love <3

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“I choose to FIGHT BACK! I choose to RISE, not fall! I choose to LIVE, not die! And I know, I know that what’s within me is also WITHIN YOU.” ~ Mayor John Pappas (“City Hall” movie quote)

I have written here often about my struggle with a Depressive Disorder and my journey of healing and remission, suicidal thoughts and contemplation.

My recent post “A Hope in Hell” is about it.

As I mentioned I suffer recurrent episodes, usually for what seems like no reason but sometimes triggered by some environmental issue and even when the trigger is over, I’m already stuck in the depression and it’s no longer about that. Usually that’s not the case though. Sometimes I like to use environmental things as the scapegoats though because it can seem easier to have a reason for being depressed than being depressed “just because.” But the truth is, it’s usually just because. Because I have a chronic condition. A lifelong condition that must be managed and coped with. The initial onset was probably triggered by one or a couple environmental issue/s but even when those issues are no longer issues or not as bad, the damage is done. And it runs in my family.

And some days it’s better to know it’s “just because” because then I’m reminded it’s an illness and I’m better able to hold on and cope til it lifts and do what I have to to get myself better knowing that while I feel worthless and like there’s no purpose in anything, it’s not true, it’s just the illness deceiving me. And when there’s no pleasure in anything I can remind myself it’s because of my condition and I will again find the joy and pleasure I often feel. I find a healthy balance of acknowledging it as the sickness it is but also knowing I have some control of how to react to and cope with it. I can still empower myself even with a chronic illness such as Depression.

Sometimes I have real problems but I know they are not what are depressing me. 
Sometimes I think they are what is depressing me and later realize it wasn’t really the problems; they were just an easy excuse.
And sometimes it seems everything is going well but it’s still there hanging over me and dwelling within.  Like it’s not connected to anything on Earth and that’s usually the worst.

I no longer have the general depression in the middle of each severe flare up, usually, like I used to and severe episodes aren’t as frequent as they used to be. But they do occur and when they do, it can get bad.

As I also mentioned for nearly fourteen years until October, 2012, I struggled with suicidal thoughts and contemplation, in different degrees, almost everyday, without exaggeration. Serious urges, thoughts, contemplation, usually for hours on end day in and day out. When I turned twenty-one years old, I was able to go for three weeks sometimes, although not often, then eventually three months, then four months, throughout the years, without serious suicidal thoughts or contemplation. But after the three or four months, it would come back to stay until another extremely rare “episode” (interval in the middle of suicidal depressive episodes) of a few months/weeks without death urges would occur.

Usually I couldn’t even go that long though without them. But through the years I worked on my inner self to help me prevent impending episodes and cope much better when I can’t prevent them. Meditation, positive quotes, inspirational songs and lyrics, gratitude activities, various techniques….all help me greatly because I made them a habit. They are ingrained into me now to help me immensely, not cure me or pull me out of a serious depression but help me cope when it gets bad or prevent some episodes before they get bad to where I can’t get out of it for weeks or months.

In October 2012 I had my last serious suicidal thought/urge/contemplation until last month, May 2014! One year and seven months without death urges and serious thoughts of terminating my life! That’s longer than I ever dreamed I would be able to go without having serious thoughts of ending my own life.

I still suffered severe episodes of depression since October 2012 and felt suicidal thoughts/urges trying to emerge every now and again but I was able to keep them under control for the most part.

I’m sorry to say I had a bad relapse recently but it’s true, I did and there’s no denying it. But one year and seven months is a great accomplishment for me. For someone who was dangerously suicidal almost everyday for nearly fourteen years. And I know it’s in me now to do that again, maybe even longer.

So instead of viewing this relapse in a negative way and seeing it as me failing, I will view it in a more positive light as a great accomplishment and knowing I have it in me to live for over one year with no serious suicidal thoughts and urges/contemplation. I never knew I can go that long without those urges and serious thoughts. They were always so much an integral part of me.

My positive habits and life philosophy that is ingrained into me are still with me, etched upon my heart forever but depression is like an illness and it can still get so bad. The positive habits, techniques, and philosophy I live every day are no cure but they’re helping me cope when it’s bad and just be happier and more joyous in general.

Sometimes I get depressed and it’s a heaviness weighing on my life, my body, squeezing my insides and I struggle with feelings of inherent worthlessness and a general sense of hopelessness even when I’m not struggling with or hopeless about any specific problem.

Sometimes I know I can accomplish things just as well as anyone, I know I am blessed, I know I have so much, I know environmental problems will end, I even have basically good self esteem, but still, I’m depressed and want to die. I am well aware people around the world have “worse problems” but reminding me of that often serves to worsen my guilt and depression, not lessen it.

I don’t get suicidal easily over things people say to me and little things that happen in my environment. It’s no one’s fault and even if someone says or does something negative to me and I kill myself after that, that will still be no one’s fault. It’s a sickness. Although sometimes when I’m depressed I don’t realize it’s a sickness and just believe I’m inherently flawed and must escape this life.

I felt this way for weeks, recently. The episode started out as they usually do. Slow and mild. Those are the ones that usually last for weeks or months. Sometimes I’m hit hard with depression and it’s severe, right off, without beginning as mild then getting worse. It’s bad right away, it hits hard, almost physical, like something hard and heavy slamming into my whole body. The darkness takes over me and I am overwhelmed in complete despair and blackness. Sometimes I have to succumb to my bed or sit down somewhere if I’m not at home when it hits, until the heaviest part of the darkness eases enough for me to move again. 
This was a great struggle for me in college, I would miss classes, be late, fail exams, have to lay or sit somewhere and just not be able to get back up until way later.
Those ones that come on so fast and hit hard like that, usually only last a few hours or days though, when they come on quickly like that. They aren’t considered by professionals as “clinical” or “major” episodes since they last less than two weeks but they can feel just as bad and be just as dangerous.

This one started out slow and mild and gradually got worse. And lasted just over one month.

I lost interest in almost everything. I mostly avoided most things that I do for fun, like posting here and other places. I mostly just did things I have to do like work, shower, brushing teeth…most of which felt like life draining hassles. I did still read a lot though, light reading, mostly, so I wouldn’t have to concentrate much, nothing that required much thought usually.

In my recent post, “A Hope in Hell,” I stated that a specific, distressing incident triggered the bad episode and relapse of suicidal urges and thoughts and contemplation.

Last month I was crossing a busy street with lots of traffic, cars and trucks speeding. I saw a caterpillar crossing the street as well. They are very difficult to pick up. They slide out of my hands, constantly moving. I try to rescue them and other insects/kreepy krawlers whenever I can, putting them in grass so they won’t be stepped on by accident or intentionally. 

I’m afraid when I pick them up though,that they will be so scared they’ll have a heart attack and die. So I’m so afraid to put them in my hands for that reason. I was crossing the street weeks ago and wanted desperately to pick up the caterpillar so s/he wouldn’t be crushed by a car. But the light was changing and as I said, it’s a busy street and big with traffic going both ways. I knew I probably couldn’t get the caterpillar to safety before the light changed and cars and trucks started speeding. I would be holding up traffic so I stopped, contemplated attempting to pick up the insect (or whatever caterpillars are) and decided against it. That it probably wouldn’t accomplish much other than holding up traffic. I believed that the caterpillar would be safe probably, just slipping under the cars, not getting hurt. 

But I was wrong. I watched the poor thing get crushed then crushed again and die. I was already slightly depressed for a few days but that day was good before that happened. I instantly felt like ending my own life. I felt it physically all over, my body aching to die.

I was overwhelmed in pain and guilt. I’m still devastated when I think of it. 

It took a lot of strength and energy for me not to do anything to put myself in mortal danger that day. I came so close. It would have been so easy. The only thing that stopped me is the fear of hurting anyone else physically while I was attempting to end my own life and the fear of inflicting psychological damage upon anyone forced to witness or be involved in any way. 

I’m almost always conscious of how things I do may impact others. And I try to act in ways that are best for all of us or just for everyone else.

Usually the only thing that stops me when I come close to killing myself is fear that it won’t work and I’ll suffer the consequences like damage to my body and along with it, look even more like a loser.

But I don’t always feel that fear. And that day last month, it wasn’t that fear that stopped me. It was concern for the others who would have been directly involved. That’s the main fear that stops me when the method I’m contemplating may somehow involve others.

So I had to hold myself against a wall and battle the urges violently flowing through me in waves, pressing my body against it hoping desperately they would soon subside. Hoping desperately I would be able to walk home without the violent urges threatening my life.

I had to try hard to not have one little lapse in judgment that would result in a serious catastrophe for a lot of people. It took all I had in me.

They’re not always mere thoughts; they escalate to urges, almost physical, almost seeming impulsive. Like I have to go. And it has to be now. Right now. It’s not a choice to experience them but it IS my choice to give into them and end my life or battle them and not give in and end it. Physical actions are NOT beyond my control. I have a choice how to act even though I don’t always have the choice how to think or feel.

I don’t go into great detail in person or in writing about my suicidal urges and fantasies out of fear of triggering distress in someone who may already be unstable or distressed. Especially in writing, for anyone at all has access to it and can read it over and over whenever they want. I’m very open in general about my condition but I don’t take chances like that.

Also I don’t usually tell people when I’m currently struggling or I try to lessen the blow by down-grading the severity of it til it’s over, then sometimes I tell how bad it was.

I said before I’m so used to it that sometimes I’m way too casual when speaking of it and talk about it as if I’m talking about my plans for the weekend or my favorite book or movie or like someone would speak of a trivial problem s/he’s having. I tend to forget now and then the way it shocks the hell out of people and that it’s not a problem most people are used to encountering like that. And I don’t always like the reactions I am met with. 

Lol As devastating as it is it’s also quite amusing in a way. 

Or maybe I’m the only one who thinks so. I got in trouble my whole life since I was a little girl for laughing at inappropriate things, like something spilling, someone falling, kids being bad in school, someone putting a worm on the teacher’s desk in high school and her screaming…and I’m very easily genuinely amused even over stuff most people would probably find just plain stupid. I have belly laughs that hurt almost everyday, even when I’m by myself, over the dumbest things that wouldn’t even faze anyone else.

Even though I struggle with severe depression, I’m still a lighthearted girl who can find light, love, and laughter just about anywhere.

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One night, a few weeks ago, I really contemplated ending it all. It was on my mind frequently everyday, day and night. When I would wake up in the morning, it was on my mind. That one night I felt I had to make a choice. I could only feel two strong emotions for the most part, severe emotional pain with the desire to end everything good and bad alike, and powerful love. I still felt love in me for everyone, universal love. It wasn’t completely masked by the pain and desire to die. It was at my surface. Swirling in me, tempting me to give in and surrender to it. It was in my consciousness, breathing, pulsating strong as ever in sync with the rhythm of my heartbeat.

Like it always is and is now. 
Venturing through my veins.

It was like a tug of war game.

One force, a deadly force, pulling me one way and a loving, life affirming force pulling me the other way. It’s exhausting.

As much as I wanted to kill myself, I gave into the love instead. I let the death wishes and suicidal pain take the back burner, summoning my love to the forefront of my brain and my whole being, even more. I decided to stay alive and battle the deadly urges, threatening my life, just so that I can go on loving. Everyone and everything I can. In any ways I can.

Love is so healing. Even when it feels I’m not loved in return. I believe it’s better to love than be loved if I can’t have both. Throughout my days I have experienced rejection, in various forms, on some occasions, by people I wanted to be friends with, one’s I hoped to develop some form of relationship with. While it can be quite agonizing, there’s some kind of comfort knowing I’m still able to love those who reject me. I’m still able to love in many ways. In the form of a positive affection directed at the person even if just in my head, wishing people the best whether or not they want the best for me or even care, still thinking and speaking positively of those who don’t love me.

Love heals.

Love can be a strong positive affection(romantic or platonic) for someone or something with no action taken. Or it can be a verb, an action, an expression.

When we reach out to help, heal, comfort…we reach out in love.

Maybe I will never accomplish anything great, maybe I’ll never save someone’s life but I can do simple things with great love. Share an uplifting quote, go the distance to help someone in need, provide hugs and smiles to all I can…there are limitless possibilities and reasons for carrying on in the midst of all the pain.

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I couldn’t pull myself out of the depression or completely stop the thoughts of killing myself but I was still able to choose to live and not give into them. 

Now I’m very happy again, so hopeful and inspired everyday again. It’s so strange and fascinating how that can happen like that. How nothing can change environmentally or in any way but my general mood changes dramatically. I’m inspired to take pictures again, to write, to put on my makeup and look pretty. To look up at the sky and feel an even greater depth of joy than I felt in the midst of my depression when I looked at it in awe. The feelings of worthlessness are gone, the hopelessness, the darkness, the despair. It’s all gone, just because I held on. Time itself healed it. It was nothing I did. I just carried on and coped as best I could and here I am, back again!

That itself is inspirational, the fact that I did little else but hold on and it eventually ended.

If you ever feel like giving up or giving in whether it’s something like suicidal urges or something not so dramatic like maybe just lashing out in anger or carrying out actions based on strong unpleasant emotions or thoughts, I hope you will instead tap into the love in you, bring it to your consciousness, and act on that instead. Like I did when I came so close to selling out. Maybe it’s love for yourself, another person, an animal, a thing, an activity, anything, universal love for all sentient beings….anything. Just summon whatever sweet love you have in you and act on or bask in it. 

It’s ok to experience and acknowledge those unpleasant, painful, destructive, thoughts, feelings, and emotions but you don’t have to give into them and let them conquer you. Let love conquer instead. Let love prevail.

“When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider.” ~ LeeAnn Womack (I Hope You Dance)

“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” ~ Mother Teresa

“I am here to serve. I am here to inspire. I am here to love. I am here to live my truth.” – Deepak Chopra 

“Love everybody for who they are. We’re not supposed to try to change people. We should allow people to be who they are and love them as they are.” ~ Dolly Parton 

“The meaning of life is to love yourself completely, free yourself and others of guilt, and become totally visible no matter the risk.”

Surrender to universal love.

Xoxo Kim

P.s. When you get the choice to sit it out or dance…….

I hope you dance.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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Some lovely quotes! Out of Shakespeare’s play!

“And though she be but little, she is fierce.” ~ Shakespeare/Helena 

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”

“The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, are of imagination all compact.”

“My soul is in the sky.”

“Lovers and madmen have such seething brains
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.”
” Are you sure/That we are awake? It seems to me/That yet we sleep, we dream”

” I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.”

” I’ll follow thee and make a heaven of hell,
To die upon the hand I love so well.”

” Love’s stories written in love’s richest books.
To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes.”

” So we grew together like to a double cherry, seeming parted, but yet an union in partition, two lovely berries molded on one stem.”

” Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgment taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste.”

” And sleep, that sometime shuts up sorrow’s eye, Steal me awhile from mine own company.”

” Ill met by moonlight, proud”

” The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots and wonders
At out quaint spirits.”

” The iron tongue of Midnight hath
told twelve lovers, to bed; ’tis
almost fairy time. I fear we
shall outstep the coming morn
as much as we this night over-watch’d.”

Today is one of those days…..<3

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I woke up after a night of restless sleep. I have been struggling with a bad flare up of my chronic facial pain disorder. I haven’t slept much in over a week and haven’t consumed much other than water in four days. I try to eat something everyday and can’t. The pain is just too much. Even soft things are hard to chew.

People think I’m losing weight because I want to. That’s not the case at all. I don’t want to, I just can’t eat. I’m kind of sick looking. My face is swelled slightly and my eyes are pink looking and puffed underneath because of the pain and lack of sleep. My skin is pale looking.

I’m exhausted and fatigued. Today I decided to walk to a store and buy mashed potatoes with beef flavored gravy! Yum, right?! I came home, put it on the kitchen table and my dog had to go in the backyard and doesn’t like the yard door being closed with no one out there with her. So I went out with her and came back in and guess what?! My cats ate my potatoes! And they were kind of on the expensive side for someone like me with very little money! Can you say, disappointed?! Lol oh well there goes that.

So what kind of day is today?

 I woke up fatigued, restless, hungry, in pain, exhausted, and achy and I feel nothing but…..pure joy! That’s right, sheer joy! 

I’m generally very happy but the joy I feel all day today isn’t a regular, general happy.

You know that joy you experience when you hit the lottery, buy a new car, meet a new friend, a new romantic love interest, get a job offer…it’s kind of like that! But none of that happened to me today or recently!

I can often tap into that kind of joy when I try but today it’s just here unexpectedly but definitely welcome!     😀

I had a flashback memory today of when I was a little girl and my mom and dad would take me to Center City Philadelphia at night and we would buy hot chocolate chip cookies and lay out on the grass under the black or navy starlit sky and eat them. There were so many fireflies lighting up green and all people would just lay out and look at the stars and stuff and one night a man said to the fireflies “Hey turn out the lights!” lol it was so funny and we all just laughed.

There’s a kind of childlike joy that we often don’t feel as adults. Things that were so amazing and thrilling back then just often don’t have that feel anymore. We may still love them but they don’t as frequently provoke that deep joy. I love when I can tap into that now. And I believe we all can more often with mindfulness.

Today

Music sounds so great, the air is sweet and caressed by a sweet floral fragrance. Outside is bursting with green, flowers, sunshine. There’s a sweet breeze in the air.And my long hair got stuck in a tree walking to work today! Lol 😀 It’s always fun when that happens! ;-p

It’s a beautiful Spring day. Except today is the first day of Summer here in Philadelphia! My least favorite season! 

But it feels more like Spring.

I love the wonder all around.

This just goes to show that someone CAN be happy even when things aren’t perfect or there’s problems and lots of pain.

And when I say pain, I’m talking about bone deep pain, soul shattering pain, like it’s gripping my very essence. But you know what else is gripping my very essence? Love. Deep love. Not just the the love directed at certain people and objects, and things but just deep all encompassing Love.

My pain disorder can leave me feeling and being so broken. I’m not referring to depression. But the broken-ness that comes along with having a chronic physical illness or pain disorder. I’m broken but I’m so beautifully whole. There’s a kind of irony to that but it’s beautiful.

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joywill burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell

It doesn’t completely burn out the pain but it does lessen the power of it, it breaks the bondage.

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” ~ Kevyn Aucoin

I hope you are well wherever you are and experiencing bone deep joy and love.

Xoxo Kim

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A Hope in Hell

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Last month, in May, for about the entire month into June, I was struggling with a severe depressive episode, worse than I have felt in a while. I have recurrent episodes but they aren’t as frequent as they used to be and they often don’t last as long as they used to.

When I feel an impending episode about to hit, I can often prevent it now using self-help techniques I have learned through the years. But this episode that hit me recently hit so hard, I slipped into it without the ability to go back. So all I was able to do was cope with it as best as I could. 

But it takes great strength and energy to cope with a severe episode of depression and suicidal thoughts and urges. Strength and energy I don’t always feel as if I have or even want to have. Depression saps it all. It weakens my will and desire to live. Weakens my motivation to get out of it. Some moments I let my self slip and choose not to battle it but let it have me, I struggled against violent suicidal urges, almost physical. I wanted to give up and give in, let it take me.

But unlike a few years ago when I would be hit with severe depressive episodes, I am now equipped with certain skills, attitudes, life philosophies, knowledge, and wisdom. All of these I lacked back then.

They are ingrained into me now because of all of my practice through the years to get myself better. While they cannot always help me prevent an episode or get out of one and they cannot cure me, they can help me cope and hold on.

Some moments I give into the weakness but then I soon find my way back. Sometimes I need reminders like quotes, songs, books, tips….to help bring me back.

For just over one month I struggled with inner darkness, a general sense of hopelessness, not about any specific situation, just in general, although it was triggered by something in my environment. I haven’t been struggling with any specific problem in life other than a sense of inherent worthlessness and darkness but an incident set off the episode. No matter where I go, there I’ll be. That’s how I felt. Like it doesn’t matter what I do, what I accomplish, how beautiful I am, how many people I know…It’s not environmental. My whole disorder, it’s like chemical and may or may not be triggered by environmental issues. Although environmental things can occasionally help somewhat or contribute more to the darkness, it’s not about my environment. I have been in different environments through the years, different stages of life….but the overall disorder remains. And I’m sure it always will. It will come and it will go. Come and go.  And I have come to accept that for the most part.

My entire body felt heavy and fatigued. I wanted to crawl up in solitude. I wanted to die. My interest in things almost completely evaporated and the few things I still managed to have a shred of interest in weren’t bringing me anywhere near as much joy or pleasure as they usually do.

Food had no flavor, music had no rhythm, there was almost no feeling to anything. Occasionally I felt beauty in things, like a walk in the warm gentle air, birds flying and chirping, reading books, helping people at work, looking up at the sky, sweet, warm and cool breezes, and a few other things. 
I also saw my good friend on different days, which was very helpful.

Reading is one of the few interests that managed to still get my attention, although it was difficult to concentrate completely on the content.

A while ago I began reading a novel called A Hope in Hell about a young woman who struggles with suicidal thoughts and contemplation and severe depression which she calls “Black Moods.”  This reminds me of when I was a young girl and young woman, before I knew what I have, before I was diagnosed, I called it the “Black days” or “black things” and the “gray days.”

It’s not a long book. I stopped reading after a couple pages, not for any specific reason, I just read multiple books at once and sometimes stop reading one until a while later, even when I like the book a lot.

Recently I felt drawn to it again. I have it on BlackBerry Kindle. So I started reading it and completed it.

It’s not a realistic story as it is about demons. Not just the demons that come along with suffering with depression but actual demons in Hell. In the book they can interact with humans on Earth.  The demons don’t know what happens to humans after they die; one demon, Lil, said no humans ever end up in Hell.

There will be some spoilers here in case you want to avoid them.

The young woman, Tasha, a very beautiful and extremely intelligent girl, suffered with depression since she was a teenager, over fifteen years. She tried some treatments but not many and none helped her so she stopped it. She has no friends and her family refused to help her financially and cut her off so they are estranged. She has had many lovers but it never worked out with any of them. She becomes homeless and decides to end her life at 3:00 in the morning by jumping off a bridge.

She jumps but there happened to be a man there who witnessed and he saves her life.

After she is released out of the hospital she was taken to, the man, John, who saved her life, let’s her live with him until she gets a job and a place of her own. He experienced his own tragedy and like Tasha, he knows true pain.

Tasha quickly falls in love with him but he rejects her sexual invitations over and over.

This book is very sexually explicit with vulgar language. I don’t mind but if that’s not your cup of tea you probably won’t like it much. It’s definitely an adult book. It does have a deeper message to it though.

Tasha constantly feels like a failure and feels rejected always just by life itself.

For much of her life she turned to sexual/romantic relationships and encounters to help her ease her lifelong despair but they only helped temporarily and eventually the men would leave her, usually because her illness always got the best of her.

One day she walks in and finds a stunningly gorgeous, female, demon participating in sexual activity with John, the love of Tasha’s life, her savior, the closest thing she has to a friend. Tasha felt broken and despair finding this. In the book it’s not shocking to find a demon walking the Earth so while Tasha was broken, she wasn’t freaked out. 

The demons aren’t “its,” they are very human-like, they have real genders and sexual identities and this demon is a beautiful woman, thousands of years old but sill looks like a young woman.

Tasha is jealous of her because of her physical appearance and because of her ability to put John under a spell and make him lust after her. During the sexual encounter with the demon, John isn’t all there. He’s kind of unaware of what is happening but his body responds in ways that make Tasha envious and more depressed. 

The demon was summoned to Earth for another reason and while she is there she senses John’s strong sexual desire for Tasha.

He has a certain reason why he won’t act on his sexual desire for Tasha and it frustrates him and the beautiful, sexy demon senses it and pays him a visit just for fun and decides to kill him while she’s there. The demon can sense that Tasha is suicidal and offers to kill her as well if she wants. Tasha desperately wants to die to end her depression but she doesn’t want John to die. So she tells the demon that she can kill her but to spare John’s life. The demon refuses. She will either kill just John or kill both John and Tasha. The demon, Lilith, explains that in Hell a person can’t give her life to save another. Tasha used to hang with Wiccans so she has some background knowledge of demons.

She knows they accept contests so Tasha initiates a contest with the demon. If Tasha loses, John and Tasha both die but if Tasha wins John lives and just Tasha dies. Tasha wants nothing more than to save John’s life and if she can die saving his, it’s even better! Lol it’s kind of amusing even though it has a depressing nature. 

The demon explains that no human stands a chance with a demon. A human will always lose a contest with a demon.

Tasha already feels like a failure so she’s almost certain she’ll lose to Lilith.

Tasha has no energy or life in her because of her depression but she will do anything for the man she loves so she gives it her all. The demon explains that the contest has to be sexual in nature. Tasha is no stranger to sexual experience as she spent years being seductive and doing whatever men wanted her to do so she has some confidence that she’ll do ok but she’s fairly certain she’ll lose.

The demon has John under a spell where he is completely lusting after her. He can’t take his eyes off of Lil. Lil is arrogant and not sympathetic to Tasha. Lil explains that if Tasha somehow manages to get John to take his eyes of her and look into Tasha’s eyes, she’ll spare John’s life but it’s agreed to that Tasha will die no matter what.

Tasha at first takes this to mean that she has to engage in physical sexual acts with John. The demon leads her to believe this is true. So Tasha does just about every physical sexual thing she can think of to John. He’s somewhat conscious but doesn’t realize what’s happening. Tasha knows he doesn’t want to have any sexual encounter with her but she apologizes and does anyway to save his life.

Nothing works. He won’t take his eyes off Lil.

-spoiler-

As I have mentioned, Tasha is extremely intelligent and has knowledge of how demons operate. She is able to realize that to get John to truly look into her eyes, sexual contact won’t work. So she takes him into her arms and touches him with her words, in a deep place, tugging at his heartstrings. She tells him he deserves true love and happiness and he deserves a beautiful relationship and that she would be happy to give him all that he wants, needs, and deserves. He’s under a spell so he can’t completely, consciously understand but some part of him does. So for once, he takes his eyes off of the beautiful demon and looks directly into Tasha’s eyes. He chooses true love over lust.

Tasha won. She outsmarted the demon, much to Lil’s dismay. But now Tasha has one little hangup, she now wants to live. But there’s no negotiating with the demon. She already “signed” a contract written in stone, written in blood, that the demon can take her life.

Tasha began to feel more alive, more confident, and her will to live strengthened.

I’m going to tell part of the end of the story now because of the lessons it teaches. If you would prefer to read the story and not read the end first, you can just click this off. I love the life lessons this story conveys.

“The Black Mood was still there, tugging at the new-found buoyancy of her soul, but she felt stronger now, made more powerful by defeating the certainty of her own failure. Her only disappointment was that she had gained the strength she had always lacked just when she had sold her soul.
Tasha wanted to live, she knew. She wanted to hold John’s hand in the doctor’s office while the doctor explained medical side effects that she already knew by heart. She wanted to hear pride in her father’s voice, and see respect in her mother’s eyes. She wanted to walk across the Michigan Avenue Bridge, spit in the ice water below, and smile at the people on the other side.
It was unfair. The only thing she had known for sure an hour ago was that she wanted to die, so she had promised the demon her life even if she won. Now it was forfeit. She could ask the demon for mercy, but one did not anger demons and expect to be given quarter, particularly if Tasha’s survival increased the risk that Hell would discover Lilith’s failure. Lilith would want her dead for her silence, if nothing else. It was impossible – just as defeating Lilith had been impossible.
Which meant Tasha could do it.
Think.”

Tasha chose life. But it was too late. She realized life isn’t so hopeless. She came alive.

But she found a way to live and the demon spared her life at the end.

Ten beautiful lessons:

1.) love is not mere physical/sexual acts- the story shows that true love is more than just lust and sexual acts. Tasha’s loving words are what convinced John to look into her eyes, saving them both.
2.) accomplishments can help – once she accomplished something great she realized she can accomplish more and more. It showed her that her life is not just one big failure. One accomplishment, big or small, is evidence that we CAN accomplish more and more.
3.) deeply rooted beliefs can be wrong – Tasha was convinced that she was a complete failure and that her life could never serve a purpose but she discovered she was wrong. As deep and ingrained as these feelings were, she was able to eventually see past them. Deep convictions take a while and much work to vanquish but it can be done.
4.) hope in extreme darkness – in the midst of so much, overwhelming darkness and pain, there can still be one slither of hope and that one slither can be just enough. 
5.) love can be strong and powerful enough to keep someone alive – 
The night before I read the end of this book I was contemplating. Wondering if I should choose life or choose death. I felt two strong emotions. Pain. Deep emotional pain. And LOVE. Metta. Universal love. My love was not masked by the pain. I felt it through it all. Love for the world, for people I know, for strangers, for people I have yet to meet who may need me in some way, some day. I may never accomplish much. But one day someone may need a smile, a hug, a helping hand, encouragement, inspiration, comfort, and how can I provide that if I’m dead? I contemplated hard. Should I end it all? Or choose love? I chose love. I choose life.
Just like Tasha in the book. She chose to live for love. Her love for one man inspired her to live. That’s not to say we should only live for romantic love or someone else. But her love inspired life and made her realize how her life can impact another for the better. How someone can come out of nowhere and need her in some deep way.  Just her presence helped heal John in his own pain. He shared some of his pain with her and how her life touched his. Even if she couldn’t have John as a lover right then, her experience showed her that her life does matter and can touch someone else’s. Even if John wouldn’t accept her as a lover or accept her sexual/romantic invitations, she chose to live, to love him in any way she can whether or not he will have her.
I chose love that night too. Not romantic love but universal love. Love for all sentient beings and all the beauty in the world.
Love of any kind can inspire life. 
6.) the “mind” can be changed after it’s too late – it’s possible to change your mind in the middle of or after a suicide attempt and it may be too late. In this story, the suicide attempt – asking a demon to end her life – is not realistic but it mirrors real life suicide attempts. There are people who attempt suicide in various ways then change their mind, realizing that life really isn’t so bad, it’s not so hopeless, life deserves another chance, they deserve another chance, and are sorry.  Some people are saved but for some it’s too late, there’s no going back. The damage is done. As long as we’re alive we can always choose to die but after we choose death and die or cause serious damage to the body to a certain extent, it’s done, there’s no going back. Sometimes this may be what we truly want because the pain is too much but pain can end without ending our lives and we can learn to cope while currently in pain. And often, it’s not an end to life we really want, just an end to the pain.
7.) think – there are other ways out
THINK. There are endless possibilities. Death is only one option. There are many more choices, things to try. We can use our creativity, our knowledge, tap into the love deep within and come up with better ways to end and cope with the pain.
8.) the depression part is realistic – the girl’s depression doesn’t magically lift but even amidst the darkness, she finds the strength to choose life. And has hope that she can get better. No matter how much it hurts you can find strength and hope. Tasha knows she still needs help and plans to ask for professional help and get herself better. 
9.) Something may seem impossible but not be. 
She thought it was impossible to win the contest with the demon. She also thought it was impossible to survive after she won the contest but she was wrong. She won and she lived. At the end of the book, Tasha’s life is spared. Her and John remain close. In real life outside of books, we may come across things that seem so impossible but we may just be wrong. There’s so much potential we all have that can be tapped into and realized.
10.) suicidal urges/desire for death is only temporary(even though it may always come and go) – it can end as fast as it can begin. Tasha made a choice to end her own life but just an hour later she wanted desperately to live. This is realistic. Someone can want so desperately, more than anything, to die. And that very same day, in a matter of minutes or hours, choose to live and want so desperately, more than anything else, to live. I know, I have felt this way myself. It always comes back but it always goes again and it’s worth it to hold on and live. It’s startling how fast a suicidal mind, once convinced it wants to die, can change dramatically and then choose to live. If you’re on the brink now, about to end it all, just think, in one hour you may want nothing more than life itself. This isn’t just reality for a fictional girl in a novel about demons, it’s my own reality in this real world.

This book is all about hope.

The most beautiful message: hold on, live, hope, keep pushing through it all, choose love.

Xoxo Kim 

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Love <3

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“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

This is a beautiful quote for the sentiment. “Love” can be a warm affection, a feeling (platonic or romantic) whether or not it’s expressed and it can be an act, a verb, an expression. We can love strangers, enemies, everyone by reaching out to help, heal, bring comfort to, uplift, inspire…or just wish them the best. We don’t have to only love our own family and friends. I see and feel so much love in the media when there’s a tragedy or struggle that is publicized and strangers reach out in love to bring hope and comfort to those in need.

But there are people around us each and every day who we can lavish love upon (in what ever way we choose) in big and smalls ways. All love is great.

 I also love how he chooses the words “A purpose” Instead of “THE purpose.” There are so many writings, quotes, and people who try to tell people what “THE” purpose of life is or should be. But really there’s no “one purpose fits all” for everyone. What provokes a sense of strong purpose in me may not bring you the same sense.  I believe there’s no ultimate “purpose” or even a different individual one for all of us. To me, the purpose is just to live, to be. If I decide that something or someone brings me purpose and then I no longer have that something or someone or I’m no longer interested in or capable of some work or activity that once brought me a sense of purpose, I’m not now purposeless. Although it can feel that way sometimes for people who lose something that was very significant to them.

But for many people it’s important to them to create, discover, have….something that brings them a sense of purpose. Some people like the challenge of this, of discovering and creating but for others it’s a devastating struggle. To feel as if we have no purpose or are unsure what it may be, can be quite painful. But you don’t have to do anything extravagant to do something great. You don’t have to travel the world, have some big impressive career, be rich or famous or ridiculously, physically beautiful, have a college degree or education…or anything like that. While those things can be amazing, you don’t need them to have a purpose. 

You can do something as simple and as great as loving all who are around to be loved.

Xoxo
Kim