Archive | August 2014

Love’s Power <3

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“I have wept in the night for the shortness of sight
That to someone’s need made me blind;
But I never have yet felt a tinge of regret 
For being a little too kind.” ~ Unknown 

I work at a store. It’s window service and we sell ice cream and water ice all year long. We make ice cream sundaes, banana splits, gelatis, and sell soda, candy, and some other things.

I get tips a lot. When someone gives me a tip it’s often one or two dollars or some change. On seldom occasions someone gives me a big tip. The biggest tip given to me at once 
was around eighteen dollars. That is very rare. I’m always very grateful for tips no matter how much or how little the money is, and the person who gives me one, more for the kindness than the money itself. People don’t have to give me a tip but many do, out of the kindness and goodness of their hearts.

One of the most inspiring tips I ever received is 25 cents. 

One busy night at work I saw an old man in line. I love old people. I think they’re cute and am deeply inspired by their deep wrinkles, graying or white hair, their slow movements, laugh lines, their aches and pains, the gnarled joints that reveal strength, endurance, and determination, passion, longing, and vitality entrapped in deteriorating eyes and ears but set free through the power of Touch, their wisdom, that all reveal an undying desire and will to live and survive, to keep going, to push through it all with that sparkle still in their eyes, the smile that never fades, the long life of happiness, heartache, joy, and battles and beauty they have been blessed to know.

The man was looking to his side, smiling warmly. I felt an instant warm affection for him. I saw deep wrinkles around his eyes and mouth, white hair on his balding head. His arthritic fingers had difficulty moving, grasping and his posture wasn’t straight. But he still has something to smile about.

Then I saw what he was smiling at. His grandson. An adorable little boy.

The little boy also had a radiant smile. A joyous smile that seemed to light the night.

He was so eager to order his own food. Usually when kids come with adults the adult orders the food for them. But occasionally a child wants to ask for her/his own.

This little boy, probably around ten years old, was so happy to ask for his own food. A “special needs” child, it was somewhat challenging for him but he attempted, succeeded, and was so proud. He asked for food that costs $2.50. 

I spoke to and smiled at him encouragingly to show him how well he was doing. And his grandfather stood back and watched proudly.

The little boy handed me three dollars and I gave him his fifty cents back. He stepped aside to put mustard on his food and let the others in line come up to order. When I went back to the window the little boy said to me, “Excuse me, do you have a tip cup?” 

I gladly accept tips but I don’t ask for or expect them and never put a tip cup out. One of the girls I work with does though and her tip cup was on the shelf next to the window since it was just me working that night, so I put it out the window when he asked and he took one of his quarters he got as change, smiled at me, and dropped it in. Again, he was so happy and proud. What a kind and thoughtful 
little boy. Full of courage and love.
Glowing with confidence.

My heart welled up with love and gratitude and inspiration.

I said “Thank You so much!!” and smiled and he smiled that unstoppable smile and joyfully replied “You’re welcome!” and they walked away hand in hand. A little boy and an old man.

This little boy doesn’t let a disability stop him or a struggle or a challenging circumstance. He bravely speaks up, exercises his independence, and reaches out in love.

The quarter he gave me is a beautiful, tangible reminder of love, strength, and courage.

I love to help people. It’s one of my favorite things. I’m a very shy girl, sometimes a little bit too reserved, and sometimes I let it limit me. 
And sometimes I let my depressive disorder limit me.
Sometimes when I’m deeply depressed I let myself sink and not be the best me I can be. I submerge into a deep abyss and stop everything. Stop writing and reading and sharing uplifting quotes and ideas, stop smiling, repressing all of my creative urges…
And there have been occasions I was in a position to reach out and help someone or speak up or even just make eye contact with and smile at a stranger or someone, to give all of myself, to express my love and compassion and instead, I held back, stood back or looked away in fear. 

Fear of what I would look like to others, fear of not being good enough, fear of trying to help but actually making something worse, fear of making a misjudgment and someone really did not need my help or want my kindness, fear of messing up in front of someone and looking silly not in a good way, fear of someone negatively judging me for some reason, fear of coming off as useless or rambling, fear of being misunderstood, fear of someone seeing me truly, seeing me for me and not liking it, the real me, fear of someone not “properly” receiving whatever I wanted to offer, fear. 

Fear.

I let it interfere with my loving compassion, the tenderness that my heart longs to lavish on the world, I let it interfere with my desire, my longing to reach out and embrace, console, heal, and love.  

I don’t always let it stop me. But too often, I do. 

And a little boy reminded me of that one summer night when he reached out through the loving kindness in his heart and showed me love even though it was a challenge for him.

He was bold enough to ask for what he wanted. And brave enough to love.

And through his own love, kindness, and courage, he was able to encourage and teach/remind me of a lesson. Love is more powerful than fear. More powerful than pain of any kind.
It’s more powerful than any struggle or challenge or disability. It’s more powerful than pain and despair, depression and the desire to give up. If we summon the love in us, it’s more powerful than anything else.

“Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin'” ~ LeeAnn Womack

The only true disability is the choice to let fear or other unpleasant emotions stand in the way of love. And that disability can be corrected.

My love, my kindness, my willingness to help will not always be gratefully appreciated. I will experience forms of rejection, ridicule, apathy, people who see me for me and don’t like what they see. I will be misjudged now and again. I will be disliked, not appreciated, ignored. And that’s ok. I don’t love merely to be loved in return, to be appreciated and cherished. Those are amazing things to have but I don’t expect or demand them in return for my love, compassion, and kindness.

If someone does not receive my kindness and love the way I intend, it’s ok. It can be painful but it’s worth the risk. I will move forward and love some more. There will always be someone who does not care for my help, love, friendship, and kindness and there will always be someone who does. I won’t always know for sure who will open up and receive my love and compassion and who will not.

“Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin'” ~ LeeAnn Womack 

But I won’t stand back in fear of those who won’t. I will love again and again. And if it touches someone for the better, my dream is fulfilled. If it’s denied, ignored, ridiculed, criticized, and rejected, I will go on loving. My dream is still fulfilled. My dream to BE a being of love. To be an example of love. Love for others and the self. Love for people I don’t know personally and for people I do. Love for the most loving and beautiful people. Love for difficult people and ones who just don’t care. Love for those who aren’t easy to love.

“I’ve got a song
And I carry it with me and I sing it loud
If it gets me nowhere, I’ll go there proud.” ~ Jim Croce 

Love can be an emotion, an affective feeling and it can be a verb, an action, an expression. Whenever we reach out to make the world a better place or touch someone’s life for the better with the light of our own lives, we reach out in love. 

I hope you, too, will reach out in Love if it’s your true passion. If Love is your Way I hope you honor it and love. Love any way you can. Writing positive and uplifting comments to people on blogs, statuses, videos, encouraging your friends and family unconditionally, volunteering to help people or animals, being a loving mother or father or friend, working to help people, giving to those in need, smiling sweetly at people, helping homeless animals or people, sharing uplifting quotes, a warm hug or friendly hello, providing warmth and light to those in the cold darkness…you don’t need money or a specific job or even a lot of time. You can incorporate love into your every day. The most simple acts of kindness are enough to light up the world.
Even when you struggle to move your tongue, I hope you speak in Love.  And when your hands tremble in fear, I hope you still reach out to touch. When your heart is broken and scarred I hope it continues to guide you, anyway. And when you’re lonely and your arms are holding yourself tightly in your sorrow and despair, I hope you find the strength to let go and embrace another, someone else who may need your loving arms, your broken heart, your deep understanding. When your eyes are filled with tears and pain, I hope you find the courage still, to look deeply into someone else’s and find something that resonates with you, look into someone else’s eyes and see a reflection of yourself.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished. It’s about what you’ve done with those accomplishments. It’s
about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”

I am forever grateful to all of those who remind me. Remind me to love, to take risks, to honor me, even though it won’t always be easy.

“Everyone needs reminders that the fact of their being on this earth is important and that each life changes everything.”
~Marge Kennedy

I heard and read the word “encourage” my whole life and knew what it means for about as long as I can remember. It means to bring some kind of support to someone, to help give someone a push to keep going. But until now I never realized the word “courage” in it and the “en” in front of the “courage.” To inspire courage. Like the word “enable.” able=ability “en” to empower or allow. To help someone find the courage that dwells deep within.

It’s an interesting revelation.

We have courage or potential for courage deep within us already and someone can help coax it out for us, even a young child.

We often think about what we can teach and remind children but let us stop for a minute and think what a child can remind and teach us.

Xoxo Kim

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Be Average. Be Unique. Be YOU!

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“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” ~ Dolly Parton

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“Live to express, not impress”

There’s this fear of being “average” or having an average life. A life that looks just like everyone else’s life. 
One that doesn’t stand out. One that isn’t radically “different” in some significant way. A need to find, list, and ponder ways in which we are very unlike everyone else.
And there’s this fear of being “too different,” of not “fitting in.” An urge to repress parts of the self that may come off as “weird” or “not cool.” An urge to mold parts of ourselves into things that look like everyone else’s things.
There are people who force themselves to do things, wear things, be things…they don’t really like just because it’s the style, trend, the in-thing.
Then there are those who are just the opposite.
They make it a point to resist what is currently popular just to be different and stand out, perhaps for shock value. So when they’re with a group of “clones,” they can say “I don’t have a smartphone” or “I don’t have a social media account ” or “I don’t watch tv” or…..and watch the looks on people’s faces, the “really?!,” “Are you kidding me?!!?” looks. 
They get to be different. Unique. Because they rebel against the masses.
This is great if it’s something they really don’t want because they naturally aren’t attracted to it or they feel it’s somehow detrimental to them but if we avoid things just to be different, we deny our true selves. Which is the same as conforming. Denying what we really want and who we truly are, merely to “fit in.”
Anti-conformity is denying who we really are or what we really want, merely to be or appear to be different.
But underneath you will always just be you.
And that’s ok.
No matter how much you resist conformity, there are ways you are still average, just like the next person.
No matter how much you conform, you are different somehow.
It’s a struggle to find the perfect balance of being “different enough” but “similar enough.”
Conforming but bringing our very own uniqueness to it.
A struggle that is unnecessary. Uncalled for.
We don’t have to be different in significant ways than the average person. We don’t have to be exactly the same, carbon copies of everyone else.
We’re all just average and we’re all very different.
I’m very much the same as everyone else but I also have my own uniqueness.
If I provide you with a description of myself, my personality, it will fit some other girl somewhere, very well. I love old music, stilettos, makeup, photography, chocolate, cake, dark poetry, happy songs, comedy movies, romantic comedies, love songs, vanilla frosting, personal development…
Someone else somewhere can say all this too.
 But we will still be very different than each other.
Just like if I provide you with a physical description of myself, my physical appearance.
It will fit someone else perfectly. Long brown hair, blue eyes, 5 feet, 5 inches, kind of thin….
But we will still look very different.
Because we are different. No matter how similar we will ever be to another, we have something that makes us different. Maybe that something can’t be identified or named. Maybe we can’t put our finger on it but it’s there.
We have our own perspectives, ways of looking at things, ideas, opinions, views, experiences, wisdom, knowledge, a combination of things that are unique and no one else will ever be. Even if we have an identical twin or triplets or anything.
But we are also average. Just like the next person.
We have desires, needs, goals, lives…hearts that pulsate, smiles that convey happiness and warmth, a longing to connect with others, blood that flows….just like everyone else.
The struggle of finding the perfect way to appear next to others and compare with others is not a necessary one. What is important is being our best selves. Living your passions. Basking in the beauty of life. 
Answering your calling. Whether it’s work, hobbies that are just for fun, travel, writing, watching TV, playing with your kids, adopting a child or pet, volunteering, helping people in some way…
Looking within to our authentic selves, honoring that Self, our Truth. Your Truth.
Forget conformity.
Forget anti-conformity.
Remember YOU. 

“So you think you know the answers, oh no
Well the whole world’s got you dancing
That’s right, I’m telling you
It’s time to start believing, oh yes
Believe in who you are, you are a shining star” ~Lionel Richie ❤

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. ~Oscar Wilde

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Xoxo Kim

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How To Find Your Power

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“I could sneer, I could glare say that
Life is so unfair and the one who Made it, made it ’cause her breasts
Were really big” ~ Jill Sobule

I have never been starstruck or celebrity crazed. I’m not into TV, the personal lives of celebrities just because they are famous, their drama or the drama people bring to them. I find it appalling that people chase them around with cameras, seriously invading their personal space, nearly getting them into accidents, stalking them, stalking and taking pictures of their kids!!!, verbally bash them out of jealousy, and all the other nonsense. The fact that they’re famous and knew this would likely occur does not make it ok or make the barbarians any less responsible for their dangerous and annoying actions. Not all famous people necessarily want to be famous. Some want to do whatever the job is and just have to accept the popularity that comes along with it. Some probably want to be actors, singers, and other things that will potentially make them famous, but not the fame itself, still wanting to live a life not being known and heckled by everyone who looks at them out in public. Fame is just a byproduct of certain jobs. Some like it. Some don’t.  But whether or not they chose or want the fame doesn’t justify other people’s reckless and negative actions towards them when it’s interfering directly with their lives.
I don’t believe celebrities are generally any more or any less intelligent or wise than those in the general population. 
They just have the ability to reach many more people and affect people at greater magnitudes because of it, usually.
When they have wisdom and a message and a cause and a story, they can reach millions upon millions of people.

But we who aren’t famous can still impact a number of lives somehow. And just reaching one, touching one heart for the better is amazing.
I don’t care that they’re rich. That’s the life they chose. They work for it. I can probably be rich too if I were determined, dedicated, skilled, and motivated enough to do what it takes and also desired a job that happens to have a mind-blowing paycheck come along with it. But I’m not. And I don’t care. The kind of job I want won’t make me financially rich and it doesn’t matter to me. It’s the satisfaction and value to others that the job will bring that I’m desiring.

Many people argue that celebrities don’t deserve the money just for acting or whatever. While that may be true, the point is, it’s the job they chose and most of us can choose the job we want as long as we have the appropriate skills and ability and motivation. Not all of us want to be actors or are driven or talented enough to be even if we wanted. Maybe our calling just doesn’t happen to bring with it such money. If you’re fortunate enough to strongly, passionately desire something,whatever it may be, have the skills it takes to obtain and maintain it and become financially rich, all the power to you!

And if you have all that but don’t get financially rich for it, still all the power to you! What really matters is if you’re fulfilled and living how you want!
I don’t see that it’s necessarily unfair in a way, that they get so much money, more than I have and more than other jobs.  Because we can all choose to seek well-paying jobs if we have the skills. We won’t always get the job quickly, it may take a while, just like some celebrities struggle for a while before a big break and sometimes even after. And if we don’t have the skills, it’s not unfair. Some people are talented and geniuses at some things and not others. Some people have natural talents while some don’t. Some people have disabilities, illnesses, obstacles that others don’t. It’s just the way the world works. Many people have so much more than me. More money, more skills, more knowledge, more wisdom, more friends, more experience ….and many have less. That goes for most of us. It is what it is. 
I think some people with certain jobs deserve just as much money as celebrities, and appreciation they don’t always receive, police officers, doctors, and others who save lives and risk their own.
I don’t think it’s the celebrities’ fault though that they don’t get paid like that and they do.

We can make a choice to take what we have and do the best we can while letting others also do that even if they seem to have better circumstances. 
We can “bloom where we’re planted” while  encouraging one another, celebrate each other, cheer each other on, celebrity or not. We’re all in this together. We can allow the success, happiness, accomplishments, and fortunes of other people to inspire us, motivate us, and guide us instead of letting it depress us or make us bitter or jealous.
It’s true some people have it easier but no matter what obstacles stand in our way, we can prevail somehow. And even the most successful and happy, joyful people can encounter problems, pain, and stress.

Famous and rich people are not gods, not invincible, not necessarily people to look up to merely because they are celebrities, not people to hold to greater standards than other people and criticize harder when they fall, in my opinion, not people to hold grudges against or not takes seriously merely because of their celebrity status.
I know some people disagree and think they’re morally obligated to be responsible and send positive messages to others. It would be great if they do but I don’t think they’re really obligated. It’s great if we all set positive examples for each other. But it’s usually not our obligation. 
 But some are worthy of being looked up to as positive examples just like some non celebs.
Rich and famous people are susceptible to pain, death, tragedy, illness, breakups, bankruptcy, bullying, abuse, breakdowns, loss, eating disorders, substance abuse, grief, mental health conditions, stress, discrimination, being detested, suicide, accidents, overdoses, being stalked, attacked, killed, assaulted….just like the rest of us.

And rich and famous people can also share deep wisdom and inspire us, and bring light & love to our world. Just like people who aren’t famous or financially rich.

“I don’t wanna get bitter like you
Like you, with the darts in your eyes
Like you, with disdain for mankind
I was charmed, now I wonder” ~ Jill Sobule

I just found now, a celebrity who has quickly won my heart. Yup, I’m in love. 
Her name is Selena Gomez. 

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And the fact that she’s a famous person isn’t what inspires me. But if she were not famous I probably would not have the opportunity I now have been blessed with, to know her beauty.
I was doing self discovery/authentic self/art journaling activities, cutting out things in random old magazines when I came across something about Selena Gomez. I heard/read her name on various occasions but never really knew anything about her, never cared to, really. Just that she’s famous. I was never sure what she’s famous for, what she looks like, or anything else.
I do love reading celebrity personal interviews sometimes, no matter who they are, because I get a feel for the person’s true personality and we all know how much I love people. I’m just not more interested in celebrities than other people because of their status. 
I love looking at pretty girls in magazines and getting hair, makeup, clothing style….ideas and see lots of gorgeous faces and beautiful bodies all throughout the magazines but I don’t always read about celebrities, just look and cut stuff out for arts and crafts activities.
I saw this page in a magazine with incredibly inspiring phrases and I was thrilled! I was about to cut them out and glue them into my journal when I saw one that says “Support Your Girls.” I assumed it was about boobs and a great bra and looking pretty. And I thought wow can’t go wrong with that one! Until I read the phrase underneath which reads “I love my girl friends more than I’ve loved any of my boyfriends….
I realized it’s Selena Gomez who said that. And what she has to say is beyond amazing.
She loves her best girls and other girls she knows of, even ones she never met personally. Her friends love and support her and  stand by her always, including when the men she has been romantically involved with did not. She loves women who empower other women. Taylor Swift is one of those girls she loves who empowers other girls. And this other girl Demi. 
I love Taylor Swift also. She’s all for love and seems like a total sap like mee!!
Selena Gomez wants girls and women to stop comparing negatively, stop the competitions with fashion, best friends, and lovers and betrayal and just love one another, empower each other, support each other unconditionally.
 “My wish is that girls would love girls more.” 
Selena even loves girls who don’t love her back! Talk about amazing! She wants the best even for women who don’t return the love.
 “I’m going to support her whether she likes me or not because I think she’s doing great things.” She says this of a girl, Lorde, she never met but truly adores. This girl, Lorde, doesn’t like Selena, according to Selena, at least when this interview was going on, March 2014, I think.

Some day I will see her and we’ll be cool.

So sweet! I have loved girls and wanted to be friends with certain girls who did not feel the same about me. I would be thinking “we would be perfect BFF’s, soul sisters, she just doesn’t know it yet!”
Lol!
Have you ever met a girl and think you two would just be amazing friends but she doesn’t seem to think so? It can be painful but we can still love and empower one another even if we’re not or don’t want to be friends with each other. We don’t have to wish to see each other crumble or see each other fail even if we don’t like each other. Girls who don’t like me back still have my love.
There are also girls I would not want to be friends with but still send my love and well wishes.
I never felt that romantic love is necessarily more important than platonic love. It’s different but not more important to me. I don’t believe romantic relationships are more worthy of special recognition than platonic friendships no matter what the gender of the people are. I love all love.


I agree that it’s best for women to build each other up, not tear each other down. 

“Wise women don’t compete with each other; they empower one another.” 

Selena also teaches a lesson on saying no. She says “You can’t be afraid of what people are going to say, because you’re never going to make everyone happy.
She encourages girls to speak up when they don’t like something. She says saying it out loud is the first step to taking away fear. Say what you want. Express it when you don’t like something. She says that it took her a long while to learn this. Her friend Demi taught her this great lesson. Now she is teaching others. She explains that it’s effective to be direct, not aggressive. 
I had to learn this too. In cases with people taking advantage of my desire and willingness to help, I had to learn to say clearly and directly, NO. Not because I don’t want to help or be kind, not as a punishment or to seek revenge. 
To show people they can’t keep getting what they want by taking advantage. 
When people take advantage of our generosity and kindness to the point it takes a toll on us, we have to think of ourselves as well. Our own health and well-being is just as important as everyone else’s. If something doesn’t feel right to you, say no. And if you wear yourself out just constantly doing for others, eventually you may be too exhausted to help anyone well.

Selena provides a lesson on finding your inspiration. She looks to others for inspiration sometimes. Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Demi. She finds inspiration in their music, songs, in the different moves they make. What inspires you? Who inspires you? Look around and look within and and allow your heart to open to the inspiration all around. Then create. Do. Be.

She also encourages to “Pick your power song.” She loves her song “Who Says,” which she declares is her anthem for girls. She says that when she performs it, she stops singing and allows the girls to sing it to her so they can hear themselves say “Who says I’m not perfect? Who says I’m not beautiful? Who says I’m not worth it?” She wants girls to feel that. This is so empowering. The fact that she let’s girls sing it themselves, become active and actually engage instead of just listen is truly amazing. What a wise young woman this girl is.
I feel my heart well up with love.

 

She encourages us to “never change for a guy” and talks about how some men may be intimidated by strong women but it’s important to remain ourselves. This goes for anyone though not just a man/lover/boyfriend/potential love interest/husband. I encourage us not to change for anyone but ourselves. Don’t change who you are for parents who want you to live out their dreams, jealous girls who want to see you fall, friends who won’t accept you as you are, society…don’t change for anyone except yourself if it serves you well to change because YOU want the change.

One of the most beautiful lessons she teaches here is “Give Your Whole Self.
Selena says “I don’t feel like I can do enough for my fans. I work a lot, I work hard, and I get tired. But when you walk on stage and see these people who wait hours outside just to see you, it’s the greatest thing in the world.“. She states that she feels that her fans do so much for her and she doesn’t feel she can do enough for them. Her lesson is to give your whole self to people, all your love, your passion, your beauty. This can apply to any aspect of your life. Your work, hobbies your love, people you know, whatever you do, where ever you go, go with all your heart. Give it your all. Put your whole self into it. This is a beautiful way to live and love to the fullest. You don’t have to be perfect, you can be passionate and loving in all that you do. We don’t need perfection. Being passionate and loving is perfect enough.

And I think loving and truly appreciating and being grateful for her fans is enough. She embodies love so perfectly.

Selena Gomez is a wise and beautiful girl. Inside and out and our world is blessed to have her. Not for her music or work(that too) but for the powerful love she projects out into the world and the deep beauty of her life’s message. What a bright light. I would be honored to have a friend like her.

“So I’ll smile with the rest
I’ll wish everyone the best
And know the one who made it,
Made it cuz she was actually pretty good” ~ Jill Sobule

Xoxo Kim 😀

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(this photo isn’t mine)

A Monster called Depression…

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Let’s talk about a monster that’s always lurking in the shadows shall we?
It’s a beast called Depression.
This monster makes many victims every year, has the ability to show up out of nowhere and is a tough one to battle.

First of all, let’s see what the specialists can tell us about this monster:

65570_20130204_215035_BQWjava.util.Random@2b14fbe0“Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being. Depressed people feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, worried, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, hurt, or restless. They may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions, and may contemplate, attempt, or commit suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of energy, or aches, pains, or digestive problems that are resistant to treatment may also be present.

Depressed mood is not always a psychiatric disorder. It may also be a normal reaction…

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Glimpses of my authentic self

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“Don’t be afraid to be weak
Don’t be too proud to be strong
Just look into your heart, my friend
That will be the return to yourself.” ~ Enigma

For years, I struggled with depression almost every single day, recurrent severe episodes on top of less but often still severe, long-term depression.  I was suicidal or wanting to die, in different degrees, nearly every day, sometimes just brief thoughts all the way to dangerous contemplation. My depression is not environmental or circumstantial, although it can be triggered or worsened by environmental factors, it’s more of a biochemical depression. The initial onset may have been triggered by things in my environment and certain insecurities but once it manifested, it is here to stay, even when my environment is pleasant and I’m not struggling with any specific problem.  I’m not depressed everyday anymore.
Now it comes and goes. It’s in my genes and unpleasant situations I have experienced brought it out as the whole disorder.
This condition confused me for many years. I couldn’t understand why I was so depressed. Sometimes it felt like I had every problem in the world which was causing my despair. Other occasions, it seemed like everything was going amazingly well and I was still devastatingly depressed. 
I often made excuses for why I was so depressed. I took every little problem I had or ever had and said that’s what was depressing me. Sometimes I exaggerated the problems, making them out to be worse, more dramatic, or more frequent than they were, to make sense of my depression.
I said it’s because I had no friends, because my family argued, because I experienced a verbally/emotionally abusive environment previously, because I’m worthless, because my friends were arguing, because I got a low grade in class or on an exam, because I haven’t accomplished much, because it’s all too late, ….while these things were sometimes true or seemed to be, they weren’t always what triggered or caused my depression and they weren’t always as frequent as I made them out to be.
Sometime they were the culprits, but often they were just the scapegoats I used, sometimes consciously, some occasions, unconsciously, to make sense of something that made no sense to me.
They can trigger or contribute to my depression but that’s because it’s in my genes already, I’m already prone to it. And even when things are going great in other ways, I can become depressed. Those problems would likely make anyone unhappy about them but not everyone would fall into a deep, full blown suicidal/psychotic depression in the face of them.

Also, depression can make problems seem exaggerated, worse than they really are. Sometimes when I’m depressed, even just mildly depressed, I care so much about little problems or things I would never care about when I’m not depressed.

It can be completely chemical, coming on for no known reason, it can be triggered by an unpleasant environmental factor, or it can be psychological, triggered by certain thoughts I have, painful memories I dislike, an insecurity I may be struggling with, a negative self-image, a hopeless feeling about certain situations…this kind, I can sometimes reverse before it gets out of hand if I catch it quickly enough, I can change my thoughts or perceptions or attitudes before it sucks me in too deeply to where I can’t pull myself back out,  when I realize my own negative thinking is the main contribution. This is a technique I learned through the years.

If you’re not susceptible to depression, you can most likely struggle with a negative thought, situation, insecurity, environmental issue….and not sink into a deep, dark place where you want to die, lose all sense of hope, joy, pleasure, energy for weeks or months. For someone with depression even while not currently depressed, these things can trigger that.

After struggling so long, I was never sure where the despair and pain ended and where I began. It became my identity. It was threaded throughout my every day, throughout me, throughout my entire existence. I couldn’t separate it and me. We were one and the same. When I looked into a mirror, into my own eyes, it wasn’t any kind of me I saw, it was the dark entity lurking about deep within me, all around me, crushing my body til I couldn’t stand up straight and my speech was often slow and slurred. People pointed this out occasionally. It was more alive than I was. It choked me and suffocated me.

I saw things I would have liked or loved if it wasn’t for the pain, the emptiness, the loneliness, and nothingness. I could detect things that would have won my heart if I were “a regular girl.” I saw things I wanted to want.

I knew which things would bring me joy if I wasn’t so worn out and wrung. And sometimes those things would bring me joy but it was tainted joy. I felt pleasure but not to the fullest.

For many, many years, nearly every day, I had no clue what I was. I saw myself as a monster, as the pain itself, as “different” than all the other girls I saw, knew, encountered. I literally never thought of or referred to myself as a person or as someone. To me, I was no one.

I remember writing in a journal when I was a young woman about this one moment I actually pretended to be someone. I pretended to have value. I looked into a mirror and told myself I’m someone, knowing it wasn’t true. And I wrote about how pathetic that was. And that it was a lie.

I had no dreams, no goals, no plans other than to die. My main interest was my own death and planning it. Everything revolved around that. It was often the only thing I was passionate  about, the only thing with some sense of purpose or meaning to me. Everything was wrong with me, I was deeply flawed, irreparably broken, shattered to pieces. A million little pieces.
Pieces that could never be put back together.

When my depression would lift very briefly, or I wouldn’t be suicidal for a short while, I felt like I wasn’t completely me. Even though I would be so happy, it felt strange, uncomfortable. Sometimes I almost welcomed the suicidal pain back into my heart. I was me again. Home again. I felt relief. It was agonizing, pure anguish, but it’s mostly all I ever knew. It was a kind of comfortable there.

Even now when I think back to my years as a girl and young woman, most of my memories are clouded with pain. Even remembering when everything was going right, even happy occasions. Sometimes now it brings me pain to reminisce. When most people think back to each stage of life, they can probably think of many things they were interested in during each one of those stages, the thrilling obsessions they had back then, the happy memories they created, even the trivial little problems that were the end of the world then but now are laughable.

My memories are mostly of vicious darkness. Despair. Pain. Suicide contemplation. Year after year. Day after day. My struggle with depression and certain experiences contributed to some insecurities I have now that come and go. One of those is struggling with feelings of worthlessness, sometimes even when I’m not depressed. This can lead me to a Depressive episode then leading to deeper feelings of worthlessness. It’s a vicious cyclic process. 

I have a few happy memories. Even some memories in the midst of my depression are happy. I had a very happy childhood until the depression hit making me sluggish and uninspired then worsened to a vicious darkness, a deep kind of despair. I loved high school and had lots of friends in school and some I saw outside of school. I loved college and met a couple great friends there. I loved all my classes, the professors, and people I met through the years there, the campus, the experience.

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(me when I was fourteen years old, one of my truly happy, non-depressed days, at Wildwood NJ, on vacation with my family)

But I still often struggled so hard with suffocating loneliness and deep emotional anguish.

The depression was me. I was the depression. I was nothing but pain itself. The pure agony that suffocated me everyday but still allowed me to live so I would continue to suffer. 

Except, not really. I was me.

The me I am now and the me I have always been, the me I always will be.

Nothing can take that away.

I have a few profound memories that to this day are poignant life lessons.

One of those memories is of one day in college I was sitting alone in the student activity center/cafeteria planning my own death. 

I had a notebook out. An educational book about U.S. Politics in my hands, not for any class but because even back then I read about politics and government and law and philosophy for pure pleasure. So I bought the textbook for thrills. And reading did bring me some sense of pleasure occasionally, even with the pain and despair of depression. I had an opened pack of Reese cups on the table that I bought at 7/11 because just like now, back then Reese cups were my favorite and I had a bottle of Coca Cola on the table half full. Although back then it was half empty. Just like now, Coca Cola was my favorite then as well and has been since I was a little girl. I have a picture somewhere of me as a three year old girl guzzling up a glass bottle full of my sweet Coca Cola. 

I had my plan all devised and was about to execute it very shortly. I was going to walk out of the University building and up the street and end my life. Then I looked down at the book I was holding. The political book that wasn’t for class but for pure pleasure. An unbiased book about how the political parties in the U.S. came to be, their similarities and their differences, their evolution through the years. I looked at the Reese cups and the soda and my notebook with the pink frilly cover that I picked out for some class because it was pretty. And I was struck with the reality of my uniqueness. My very own personality. My individuality. 

I had interests that not everyone has. Interests that had nothing to do with pain. I was drawn to certain colors and designs not everyone else loves. I became filled with some small sense of compassion for me. I, very briefly, saw myself as someone. An innocent girl I was about to kill, for what, I don’t know. Would I kill some other girl for whatever reason I ached to kill myself for? That answer is always, never.

I was overcome in the clarity of what I was about to do to myself. I thought it would be nothing because I was nothing.

Through the pain I saw glimpses of me. The real me. This experience was very brief and I soon went back to wanting to kill myself but I was and still am able to use the memory of this mini awakening as a reminder now and again that no matter what, no matter what pain or problems occur, I am me. The pain is not me, I am not the pain. Problems are not me and are not even extensions of myself. If I look hard enough I will catch glimpses of myself in everything I do even when pain is consuming me. All of these things I saw that day were evidence that someone exists beneath the layers and layers of pain. Someone. Someone who is more than just pain. 
Someone. Me.

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(me fourteen years old, another happy day, in the Fall. I was laughing with my sister in the backseat, she was four years old and took all her clothes off!)

I have a strong ongoing sense of self. My identity is crystal clear to me. And I take pleasure in my own company whether I’m alone or surrounded by people.

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(me eleven years old, at Wildwood New Jersey, very happy, on vacation with family)

Not all people with depression have dark, gloomy personalities. It’s a mood disorder, nothing to do with personality. Not all depressed people are always negative and too serious and want to live in the dark, alone. Not all depressed people loathe everyone and the world.  I’m just the opposite. I’m very easily amused, playful, curious, I laugh a lot even when I’m depressed, I listen to music and love everyone even when I’m deeply depressed. Sometimes I feel that the depression violates my personality. My cheerful, pleasant personality. Even when I’m deeply depressed, if I pay close attention, I can catch glimpses of the true me underneath, the natural personality of mine. Even now if I skim through journals I used to frequently write in when I was deeply depressed and on the brink of killing myself, every single day, I see my true self through the pain laden words.
Even back then in the midst of suicidal pain and psychosis, I expressed gratitude for things I loved, I can see my sense of amusement, the laughter, the inspiration I felt in me even back then in my seemingly endless struggle, the things that interested me, issues I was passionate about.
It wasn’t always as deep and not ingrained like it is now but it was there. 

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(me, ten years old)

Never forget who you are. 

Even when it feels like your whole self is being consumed, swallowed up in pain of any kind, stress, being busy, taking care of others, working, depression, anxiety, grief, other people’s definition or ideas of you, or whatever it may be, remember you are still you, a unique individual person with a combination of interests, pleasures, thoughts, desires, ideas, experiences, points of views, and ways about you that no one else on Earth, no one who has ever lived or will ever live, has. You can define yourself. Pain itself doesn’t define you but the strength and courage and Truth you know in the face of it can. What other people say or think doesn’t define you.

“Her work, I really think her work
is finding what her real work is
and doing it,
Her work, her own work,
her being human,
her being in the world.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

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(me – that’s pure, raw, joy showing on my face!!) 😀

“You need to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly posses all you have been and done, which may take some time, you are fierce with reality.” ~ Florida Scott-Maxwell

My reality is that I am not a victim. Not a victim of any sort. I have and have always had choices. I have the ability to change for the better, to try new things, to love and live and learn. I am alive.

And I know the woman I am.

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 I love Coca Cola and drink it way too much.
Still have that love for sweet treats.
Oldies music is still my love.
I still read educational texts for sheer joy.
I have these same big blue eyes that see beauty, compassion, and love everywhere they look.

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(me, two years old)

I have long brown hair
I have a desire to help and make things better.
I still laugh until it hurts every single day.
Root beer flavor and ginger ale soda are things I dislike.
Watching TV is not my cup of tea.
I don’t really like butterscotch flavor.
I still have a strange obsession with letters.
My dreams are still something I recall very easily.
I love stationary stuff, pens, notebooks, markers….
Love songs and country music still have my heart.
My heart is a grateful, loving one.
I love people and animals.
I still have chicken legs

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(me now, lol)

I have felt an intense craving. A hunger, a desire for Self. For myself. To look within, to explore, to Know. To know my Truth and to Nurture it, cradle it, to piece together all of the broken little pieces of me and make me whole. I have been starved. famished. Starved for Self. for self-love, self-knowledge. I paid too much attention to the pain, to problems, to everything outside of myself. I neglected the inner-me. I let me starve.

I am not without scars and flaws and cracks and breaks. But I am more beautiful for them, more Whole.

As the Hassidic saying goes, “There is nothing more whole than my broken heart.”

I encourage you to make a list of the things that make you, you. The things you like and dislike, things you love and loathe, things that make you laugh, cry, smile, inspire you, lessons you learned, profound memories your brain created through the years, your strengths and weaknesses. They can be new things about you or the same old things or a mixture of both.  Look for the evidence surrounding you and within you that you are someone separate than your pain and problems. You are worthy of your own love & compassion. Nourish the self you see, feel, know underneath. Listen to those glimpses of self calling to you. Nurture them, pay attention to them. 
Strengthen them. Take part of each of your days, no matter how brief, to focus on you. Do something for yourself. Walk, run, meditate, write, draw, paint, create an art journal, read something just for fun, something that inspires and speaks to you, the authentic you, listen to music, just lay in your bed and reflect….do something for you. And you only. You can live generally selflessly, helping everyone else but sometimes it’s good to do stuff for you to be in tune with yourself even more, to connect with you.

“Direct your eye right inward, and you’ll find a thousand regions in your mind yet undiscovered. Travel them and be expert in home-cosmography.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

No matter how many painful memories you have, you can create new, beautiful, joyous, happy memories, even in the midst of pain, insecurities, stress, anxiety, grief. There’s always something to be happy about and thankful for. I learned that lesson in my quest for healing and I hope you learn it too if you are struggling. Our experiences with anguish and pain and despair and broken hearts can teach us if we allow them to. Teach us greater compassion for ourselves and others. They can strengthen us, help us know ourselves deeper than ever, deepen our empathy and wisdom, help us evolve in ways we would not have without the pain.

“It’s when we’re given choice that we sit with the gods and design ourselves.” ~ Dorothy Gilman

Xoxo Kim

“They can change their minds but they can’t change me. I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream. Oh, I know I could share it if you want me to.      If you’re going my way, I’ll go with you.” ~ Jim Croce

” The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~ Rumi