Tag Archive | books

Book recommendations! 📚💜 (Mostly suspense/horror) 😱

Book recommendations!!! 😍📚

(Screencap of my Kindle App – I did not read that black book in the middle, called “Asexuality,” that says “read;” I accidentally skipped to the end and it recorded it as read. And for some reason it won’t let me delete it off of downloads. I’m going to read it but later and I don’t want it showing up here now but can’t get it off.)

This is something I posted on FB last week! 😁

List of books I read in August! All on Kindle! I prefer e-books because I can carry them around more easily, carry multiple ones without it being heavy, can’t lose them, and can read in the dark/falling asleep, my favorite! Also can click a word to see a definition or quickly copy & paste into search box. Then when it’s through, I can easily put it away instead of having to carry it around if I’m out. And they take up less physical space. I travel for work a lot and read when I’m out and about. I can use the highlight function and copy and paste quotes/excerpts. I find e-books much more convenient all the way around.

I love reading but don’t always keep track of the books I read or how often. This month, I decided to list the ones I read. I read various kinds of books, fiction suspense/thriller/mystery, educational, personal development, science fiction, cute romantic love stories, best friend novels…. sometimes I read more suspense, sometimes more educational, sometimes more personal development,….but overall, the ones I seem to read and favor most are fiction suspense/horror/mystery/thriller. I don’t like true criminal stuff unless it’s fictionalized and loosely based on true events.

I love all of these and recommend them all to people who like these kind!

Here is a list with just the titles then I listed them again with descriptions!

1.) The Perfect Son -fiction – horror/suspense
2.) The Moonlight Child – fiction – suspense/mystery
3.) The Best Of Friends – fiction – suspense/mystery/psychological
4.) A Little Book of Ace by Clara Dehlin – educational book on asexuality
5.) One By One “A gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming.”

I’m currently reading a thriller called “Victim Of A Delusional Mind” about a young woman abducted by a disturbed person. I may have it complete before August is through. After that, I’m going to read “Layla,” a paranormal thriller. I may read the “Haunting” one here after that.

I think the two books here I found most to be page turners are “One By One” & “The Best of Friends.” Couldn’t put them down!

1.) The Perfect Son -fiction – horror/suspense

DESCRIPTION
“‘Mrs. Cass, we were hoping your son could answer a few questions about the girl who disappeared last night…’

Erika Cass has a perfect family and a perfect life. Until the evening when two detectives show up at her front door.

A high school girl has vanished from Erika’s quiet suburban neighborhood. The police suspect the worst–murder. And Erika’s teenage son, Liam, was the last person to see the girl alive.

Erika has always sensed something dark and disturbed in her seemingly perfect older child. She wants to believe he’s innocent, but as the evidence mounts, she can’t deny the truth–Liam may have done the unthinkable.

Now she must ask herself:

How far will she go to protect her son?”

I don’t like the characters but the book is excellent!

2.) The Moonlight Child – fiction – suspense/mystery
TRIGGER WARNING ⚠️ This one involves child abuse. We don’t know until we begin reading it. I thought it was going to be a paranormal thriller.

DESCRIPTION
“A gripping and emotional novel that will leave you wondering about the neighbors next door…

On a cold January night, Sharon Lemke heads outside to see a lunar eclipse when she notices something odd at the house behind her backyard. Through her neighbor’s kitchen window, she sees what appears to be a little girl washing dishes late at night. But the Fleming family doesn’t have a child that age, and even if they did, why would she be doing housework at this late hour?

It would be easy for Sharon to just let this go, but when eighteen-year-old Niki, a former foster child, comes to live with Sharon, she notices suspicious activity at the Flemings’ house as well. When calling social services doesn’t result in swift action, the two decide to investigate on their own.”

Very likable characters (not all of them, but the protagonists).

3.) The Best Of Friends – fiction – suspense/mystery/psychological

TRIGGER WARNING ⚠️ – involves gun violence

DESCRIPTION
“An unthinkable tragedy forever changes a group of teens and turns family against family in this edge-of-your-seat thriller that begs to be read in one sitting.

Best friends Lindsey, Kendra, and Dani endure every parent’s nightmare when a tragic accident befalls their teenage boys, leaving one dead, another in a coma, and a third too traumatized to speak.

Reeling from the worst night of their lives, the three mothers plunge into a desperate investigation of the bizarre incident. How could something so horrible happen in their wealthy Southern California suburb?

They soon discover that the accident was just the beginning, and troubling discoveries lead to chilling questions: Do they really know their children? Do they even know each other? As more secrets surface, a fog of doubt and suspicion threatens to poison their families, their friendships, and the whole community.

With the illusion of happiness and safety long gone, these women must now confront the hazards of heartbreak, the consequences of jealousy, and the dangers of living double lives.”

This totally is a book that tempts us to read all in one sitting. I did not want to put it away! In my opinion, none of the characters are likable but the book is definitely great!

4.) A Little Book of Ace by Clara Dehlin – educational book on asexuality

DESCRIPTION
“Learn more about asexuality in this easily digestible book, filled with illustrations, metaphors, definitions, and spaces for your own personal reflections. In a world that isn’t always kind to marginalized communities, it is important to continually educate yourself to better understand others’ experiences. Whether you are hoping to show up better for someone you love, explore your own identity, learn something new, or anything in between, this book will provide you with an understanding of what it means to be asexual.”

Short, easy to understand, and very informative. It seems directed at young people; it’s written with a tone and way that appeals to asexual children(yep, they exist!), but I recommend it for any age.

5.) One by One – “A gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming.”

DESCRIPTION:

“One by one, they will get what they deserve…

A night spent sleeping on dirt and leaves is not how Claire Matchett expected to spend her vacation.

She thought this would be a break from the stresses of work and raising her young children.  A chance to repair her damaged marriage.  A week of hiking and hot tubs with two other couple friends.  It sounded like heaven.

Then Claire’s minivan breaks down on a lonely dirt road. With no cell reception, the group has no choice but to hike the rest of the way to their hotel. But it turns out the woods aren’t as easy to navigate as they thought.

Hours later, they are lost. Hopelessly lost. 

And as they navigate deeper into the woods, the members of their party are struck down mysteriously one by one. Has a wild animal been hunting them? Or is the hunter one of them?

But as more time passes, one thing becomes clear:

Only one of them will return home alive.”

All great books! 📚

I hope you are having a beautiful day or night wherever in the world you are! 💜

Xoxo Kim 😍❤️

Today – <3

IMG_14166337_1

July 20, 2015 – I wrote this at work today but I’m posting after 8:00pm so it will say July 21st.It’s not. It’s Monday, July 20th. 

I woke up not in the happiest mood. Last night I was hit with a depressed mood, not the kind almost everyone experiences now and then but my real depressive disorder flaring up. First I was just angry over nothing and everything. Angry and exhausted and kind of numb. Then the pain began to sink in later. I was having dark thoughts and a night of fitful sleep and anxious feelings all over me. I kept being jolted out of my sleep, like jumping up not knowing why. It was nothing external, but in my head. There were no dreams that I know of. I usually remember my dreams. 
I kept thinking of all the negative things that ever happened to me, all the people and animals I ever knew who died(this brought me so much anxiety and pain), thinking that anyone I know can die at any second (more wretched anxiety and pain), every wrong thing I ever thought someone did to me, all of the mistakes I ever made, all the flaws I thought of in just about everyone I know, I felt jealous, lonely, and other negative emotions…i just wanted to end it all. I’m only like this when I’m very depressed, it’s not a general thing but when I get like this, it feels like it was always constant. 

Then there was this serious physical pain in my head that came out of nowhere(for a few seconds I thought something was rupturing and that I was dying. And I was happy about it. Thinking, good, just end it all now. So yes, my depression was bad.). But I wasn’t going to succumb to this vicious disease (or whatever you want to call depression).
It is a serious sickness that just devours me like being consumed by some vicious entity. It can flare up out of nowhere and linger on for months or end quickly. It has to be managed like with physical diseases. 

I decided to get to work, kick this depression in the balls, whatever it takes.
Being able to recognize it like this, that it’s depression, a true condition, and not just me being worthless is a gift. I do not always realize when I’m depressed and believe I’m just hopelessly flawed and worthless and that my life is nothing. Through the years, I learned to often detect this as depression and realize the pain or numbness and emptiness, along with other symptoms, is really the disorder and then I can do whatever I have to do to ward it off or cope as best as I can.  

 Last night/early this morning, I practiced Buddhist meditation and Mala recitation which helps greatly. The mantra I chose for these specific beads, the Mala, which I made at a workshop at the Center where I attend classes, is, 
Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ, the mantra of compassion for all sentient beings. 

Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ – dharma-haven.org

We can recite various mantras using one set of Mala beads but Buddhists believe that each recitation, positive energy goes into the beads and every recitation session with that mantra, adds more power to them. When we use a different mantra on the same Mala, all the energy for the previous mantra is obliterated and the power of the new mantra goes into them, then we have to start all over again if we want to go back to a different mantra. This is not that good for people who have been using one Mala for very long with the same mantra! You can just get a different Mala for each mantra. I have two, the one I made myself and one I ordered online (not as pretty! Lol)

Here’s the one I made:
I chose the colors and the beads. 

IMG_14166550_1

Gorgeous, right?!

I get lots of compliments on this beautiful thing! 

Here’s the one I ordered online to help me cope with my cluster-like headaches. It only came in black. 

IMG_14166556_1

Not quite as lovely but I still love it!!

The mantra I chose for this is: 

Om ah hum

This is just a quick one to keep focused and used for purification of the body, speech, and mind.

I love the idea of compassion for all living beings of sentience (even though I don’t always live up to it as much as I intend and want to) so I chose the compassion mantra for my main Mala. Also, I attended the Empowerment for the Buddha of compassion, Avalokiteshvara, last month, where the mind of whatever Buddha the Empowerment is for(like Tara, the medicine Buddha,…)in this case, Avalokiteshvara, is believed to enter our own mind,empowering us with that Buddha’s wisdom and light. So during our Empowerment (they occur once a year I think, here at the center in Philadelphia and maybe two a year in NYS at the Temple, I don’t know where else, and until we receive one by an ordained monk or nun, we cannot engage in certain Tantric practices, it’s believed we aren’t strong or wise enough and will make us sick), the mind of Avalokiteshvara is believed to enter our own minds,empowering us to love like he does, flawlessly, deeply, without condition. We still have to practice to get where he is but the Empowerment helps us get there.
His compassion for all living beings is so complete, so flawless that he can handle anything. No problem is really a problem and nothing is insurmountable when your compassion & love for the world is boundless. We look to him for strength and wisdom and love, as his flawless love runs so deep that nothing can break him. I also wear his necklace. He has four arms! Two of them are folded in prayer at his chest. And he holds a crystal Mala in one hand. He is beautiful! 

Here is my necklace:

IMG_14166554_1

And here is me a couple weeks ago, wearing it but it got turned around in the pic. 

IMG_14165982_2

And here is a song about love & compassion:

Compassion – mobile

Compassion – desktop

When I woke up this morning  it was better but not completely and I consciously, forcefully made lists in my head of all the good things I can think of. And tried to actually feel how good they are, not just list them.  And I read writings by Orison Swett Marden, and philosophy texts by Plato and others, and am much better! It wasn’t a full blown episode yet so I was able to work on it before it got too bad. With my condition which flares up now and again for hours, days, weeks, or months, I had to develop techniques to fend it off or just cope with it when I can’t. I’m not letting this thing get me for months now! No way! I may have to battle it for a while now until the threat of it becoming a full blown episode ends and I’m doing a good job! It’s just what I have to do and is a blessing that I can do this and learned to. It’s like a real disease with symptoms and like a whole entity inside and all around me. Crushing me in complete darkness. Way more than just a mood or attitude. But I have come a long, long way…and am here to stay! lol j/k that’s not what I was really going to write but it sounds cheesy and funny in my head so I went with it! I was really going to write I have come and long, long way and that itself inspires me to keep going and not allow the vicious darkness to consume me when I can help it! 😀 There was a day when I couldn’t do this because I haven’t yet learned how or even realized it can be possible. 

I’m reading a wonderful book by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, “How to Solve Our Human Problems” about how to always maintain a calm, peaceful, and patient mind no matter what pain or problems we have. A problem is only a problem if we allow it to be. No matter who doesn’t like us, rejects us, or even attacks us physically. How to respond with compassion, not anger or any other unpleasant emotion. It’s a Buddhist book but much of it can be helpful to people in general. It’s entertaining and can be read philosophically for intellectual purposes but is also intended to be very practical. I am usually very patient (I have been told I have the patience of a saint! Lol) but even I can work to strengthen my virtue of patience. The book is helpful for all kinds of problems, even handling physical pain. 

I drank a cup of hot cocoa with whipped cream and chocolate syrup! Yum! 

IMG_14166543_1

I’m also reading two fictional horror books! One takes place in a snow blizzard and these people, two brothers who are very close, and their girls, get trapped in it somewhere in the woods, I think, and something evil lurks there. Thrilling! I only read a few pages.  
😀
And I realized even more how empathetic I am. I’m not referring to compassion at this moment but a deep ability to feel and understand a person or situation. I’m at work with a broken air conditioner and four freezers blowing HOT air on me while it’s 90 something degrees out but is said to feel like over 100. Drinking hot chocolate. It’s like torture in here! In the book it’s Winter in Virginia and the group of friends are in a car with the heat on, all warm and cozy. Then the traffic got backed up because of an accident and a police officer came over and they had to put the window down and the author describes how a blast of bitter cold Winter air blew into the window and overpowered the heater keeping them warm. I’m serious when I say I literally felt the blast of cold air on me. Right in the face! 
For a split second I thought the air conditioner may be working again, and looked up to see if like the air conditioner came on suddenly and was colder than ever. Unfortunately no. It was just this empathy of mine. It is beautiful but it can also be a nuisance. Like when someone takes a blow to the face, even just a character in a book/movie, and I’m keeling over as if it’s me it happened to. :-/
I think this book is called “The Snow and the Darkness” but I don’t feel much like checking at the moment. Lol Just a warning, it has great reviews but someone wrote a review saying it’s overly, unnecessarily, disgusting, dark, and disturbing. I don’t like stuff that I think is that dark & disturbing but this person may have a different view about what is “overly” dark. Horror and thriller is one thing but some stuff goes overboard, imo. I don’t know what the person means by this and I already got the book so I’m reading it. But I have read books that I found so disturbing I regret reading them. I hope this isn’t one. So if you’re planning on reading it, watch it! lol

A customer at the store I work at told me I make life so complicated! Ummm…whhaaat?! lol 
He was saying it mostly in jest but he was kind of serious! I was just trying to be helpful! Lol I like to give people exactly what they want and pay for so I ask for more details than I really have to. He wanted two different flavors of water ice together so I asked in which order. 
He took so long to answer I thought he did not hear me then realized he really couldn’t decide if he wanted lemon on top or blueberry and it was a distressing dilemma! It just added another problem to his day.
I find the whole situation to be thought-provoking. And funny too. As simple as I am, I am also deep with wonderful analytical skills! But I don’t go overboard with the analyzing either. It’s a positive thing! Yes, I’m bragging! Lol 

I realized even more how one person can think something is amazing and thoughtful(my desire to get as many details as possible about how someone wants the person’s food prepared, for example) while someone else can find that same trait to be a hassle! It’s all how you look at it. Which brings me back to the book I mentioned at the top, by Venerable Geshe Kelsang, how nothing exists inherently. It’s all how we look at it. Some people find my cheerfulness to be pleasing, I get compliments on it a lot, while others find it annoying(i have been told I’m so cheerful it’s disgusting! Lol).

I’m eating Moose tracks ice cream! It has peanut butter cups! I don’t care much for food pics. Unless the food is pretty. This isn’t very pretty and it’s all melted but it’s delicious. And part of my day. So, why not?! 

IMG_14166544_1

I was the stereotypical girl when I woke up. I was getting ready for work after a shower, trying to decide what, out of my like 500 shirts, to wear and thought all frantically, “I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!!!” while flinging my clothes everywhere. :-p

I came out without an ounce of makeup on, my hair all ratty and pinned up wet after the shower, sticking up every which way. And don’t care if I look like hell to everyone. Lol I think I look alright. And even if I don’t, whatever. I’m a confident girl, even with ratty looking wet hair and absolutely no makeup, not even mascara or lip gloss! Confident in two ways, first, I still know I look good or at least ok. And even if I don’t, who cares?! Lol There’s worse things than someone judging my appearance. I really just can’t force myself to give a shit. oh yeah, and my hair often looks kind of wet in my pics because it is. Because I have ass-length hair that has to be put up for work and when it’s very hot or windy I put it up before going out just after a shower then when I let it down later, it is still wet. eww. I promise it’s not oily or anything! lol Ass length hair just tends to get in the way and has to be put up and I don’t wait for it to dry.

Here’s a pic of me today!

IMG_14166548_1

I’m in the closet at work! Lol

And…here I am again! 

IMG_14166546_1

One of the things that cheered me up is reading funny/inspiring blog posts. Just one simple uplifting/funny quote or post can do wonders for someone! If you have something to say/write, pics to share, don’t hold back! Post it now, it can really help someone immensely! Not everyone will appreciate it but even if just one does, that is enough!  And if no one does, at least you have the motivation to try. And even if no one sees it now, maybe in thirty years someone will stumble upon it! Who knows?! Once you put something out into cyberspace it’s there to stay! Even if you “delete” it. This can be good or bad. So watch what you put out there! 

My coworker came and fixed the air conditioner, something to do with the breaker and switches in the closet! I’m not the one you call if you have a practical problem. While I’m great at remaining positive in problematic situations, I’m not very independent in this sense. My automatic thought when a problem occurs is “who can I call to fix this for me?! I NEED someone!” instead of getting creative and assertive and trying myself, I run to someone else. It’s kind of embarrassing because in many situations, (like today) kids have been the ones I relied on to fix stuff for me. Like my sister and my coworkers. My sister is over ten years younger than me (like my coworker who just fixed it) and she’s a great problem solver. My sister can figure anything out and fix it, phones, exercising equipment, any kind of technology…. And I work at a store so my coworkers have been various ages, some decades older than me and some over a decade younger, through the years. And I had sixteen year old girls, take charge, and know what do do during a problem/emergency before I did! I think it’s not just about practical skills, that too, but a mentality. My mentality is “I need someone to come and help me and fix this problem…i can’t do this myself!” or “this is a man’s job/i need a big strong man to help me out, my job is just to stand here and look pretty!”  (I’m sure the rad feminists just love this one! Lol) I often feel relieved knowing someone can come and solve all my practical problems. lol oh well! I’m just not miss independent! Never have been, probably never will be. But it’s ok, we can’t all be good at everything now can we?! ;-D

I discovered some old forgotten songs by Hall & Oates, Michael McDonald, and some oldies but goodies and am now a very happy girl! ❤
I'll share a few! 

What a Fool Believes – mobile

What a Fool Believes – desktop

You Lost That Loving Feeling – mobile

You Lost That Loving Feeling – desktop

Love & Compassion – Parachute Club (mobile)

Love & Compassion – Parachute Club (desktop)

She’s Gone – Hall & Oates (mobile)

She’s Gone – desktop

Takin’ it to the streets – mobile

Takin’ it to the streets – desktop

I hope you will be happy listening to some of these too! I listened to these songs frequently when I was a young girl and some I have listened to more recently and somehow forgot about. 

I listened to a song called “The Power of Your Name,” which is a Jesus song about compassion that I discovered last night but my wifi wasn’t strong enough to let me play it. Then when I got to work today I listened to it.  You don’t have to be a Christian or Catholic person or even believe in Jesus/God to be inspired by the message. It’s about taking the compassion Jesus has for everyone and putting it out into the world, loving others as Jesus does. I love it! ❤ This message can apply to every single person, religious or not, atheist, christian, or whatever you are. 

"And I will live to carry Your compassion, to love a world that's broken
To be Your hands and feet
And I will give with the life that I've been given
And go beyond religion to see the world be changed…" ~ Lincoln Brewster 

Awww ❤ so beautiful!!

mobile:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AwKpbbnWPgs 

desktop:

I would classify today as a good day! It did not start out very happy but I was able to take control and turn it happy by focusing on the good. Of course that will likely not always completely solve all the problems and pain we have, merely focusing on the good. But it sure helps! 

So you see, even if our day doesn't start out well, it can certainly end well! And it's not even over yet! 😀

I'm sending you lots of love & compassion today and always! ❤ <333

😀

xoxo Kim 😀

Fear & Hunger

image

(me then & now)

“Winning isn’t everything. The will to win is the only thing.”

It seems that some emotions or feelings such as fear of death or fear of anything really, and desire for things or people we can’t or shouldn’t have are viewed negatively by many people. Viewed as a weakness, a flaw, something to avoid at all costs. There are self-help books and teachings designed to help us not be afraid and to not desire. Not to fear death or how to overcome the fear of death, not just overcoming an unhealthy phobia but even just any natural, primitive fear of death. Not to feel desire, to not want things we do not have, to just be content with what we already have or to be happy with very little. To not want more. To not want material things because material things are bad and desire is reprehensible. To not feel disappointed if we can’t get more.

It’s like a rebellion against the media, advertising, commercialism, and consumerism.

These are good things. We don’t want fear taking over our lives or being too frequent. And it’s not good to ignore our current blessings just to want more, more, more.

Too much restlessness and ungratefulness are not good.

We often think of disappointment, the feelings we have after not succeeding or getting what we want, wanting what we can’t have, as a bad thing. Sometimes we may feel guilty for acting or feeling ungrateful.

Maybe we feel wimpy for being afraid.

But fear, hunger, and desire are beautiful things. They are not bad. They are not an indication that we are bad or wrong or ungrateful or that we need fixing. We don’t need self help books or anything to help us completely obliterate fear & desire.

It’s fantastic to be happy with very little or with everything we already have but there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging those things with gratitude while also desiring other things now & then.

image

I see things in a way that I would never have if I never suffered with depression. I see through a lens of depression, even when I’m not depressed. (it’s a good thing) I see through depression tinted glasses. Even when I’m very happy. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

No matter how happy I am, no matter how healed I am in general, I will never lose touch with my depressed self and the deep wisdom it has shown me. And I don’t ever want to lose touch with that part of me.

There are lessons and observations and truths bubbling in my core, ingrained into me, resting in the crevices of my brain, that I would not have come to realize any other way.

For many, many years I suffered with depression and often, very little to no desire, hunger, or fear. Many days, I did not want anything. I did not fear anything. I did not care about anything. There was no hunger for life. No hunger to win. No hunger to get better.

I often did not care if I lived or died. This was not always true. My depression would always lift after a while and I would be happy again. And often, even with depression, I would still have desire, hunger, fear. Often, I would see a carnival or amusement park or jewelry and just have to have it, even as an adult and even while depressed, I would experience joy at seeing an amusement park and run to ask my dad to take my sister and me. Even with depression, I felt the joy. But there was also that other kind of depression that would come and go and I would not have any desire at all. This depression would occur too often but was not the most common. Then all depression would leave me and I would be happy.

When I was a little girl I wanted everything. I wanted every toy in every store. I wanted to go out and play with my friends. I looked up at the sky and I hungered for more. I hungrily devoured the scents, the feels, the sights and sounds, the tastes of Nature. The taste of salt water as the strong Ocean’s waves washed over me, the feel of the dirt that got under my fingernails as I rolled around in the lot my friends and me played in. The blueness of the sky that pierced my matching oceanic blue eyes as I stared innocently into the sun until it blinded me and all I saw were specks of unknown galaxies and dark black shadows of mystery. Mysteries lost in the whites of my eyes, sparkling amidst the invisible spaces of my corneas.

Mysteries I longed to know. But loved the obscurity of.

My immense love for water bugs, roaches, and my wonder at maggots turning into flies almost matched my love for caterpillars, butterflies, songbirds, and the
colorful flowers that bloomed into Spring. This seemed to baffle most of those around me, both the other kids as well as adults. How could anyone love such ugly, repulsive things? The other kids would run screaming at the first sight of a big brown roach while I would drop to my knees in awe and watch closely as one would turn over and play dead. Then I would playfully imitate the scene, lying on my back with my arms and legs crumpled up, tongue sticking out, trying hard not to laugh. I loved the disgust on the faces of those in my audience.

Or I would watch a white maggot squirm and wonder what they’re made of. What makes them white? What gives them the ability to move? Do they have insides like people? Like me? Does a maggot have a heart? My innocent, curious little girl thoughts swirled around inside my head. There was no Internet I was aware of. I couldn’t easily look it up like I can now. So I wondered. I contemplated. I entertained an infinity of ideas, in my little girl ways.

The Internet is a great gift to the world but the absence of the Internet in childhood is also a great, valuable gift. I am happy I had no Internet.

image

image

Bumble bees never scared me like they scared the other kids, even after I was painfully stung by one in the neck and my mom had to remove the stinger as I yelled in anguish and confusion. I would chase them just to catch a glimpse of that yellow fuzz that decorates their bodies, getting as close as I can, feeling a deep connection to another living, beautiful creature. Not very unlike myself. I wanted to run my finger along that fuzz. I never killed insects or bugs out of fear, dislike, or to capture that magical green glow of fireflies in my hands, on a hot Summer night.

I knew that would be one of the worst offenses anyone can commit in this life, like stealing a star out of the sky and keeping it all to myself or taking a jellyfish out of the ocean just to see through that thick clear gelatinous body
all the way through to the spineless depths of her being.

I would look up at a navy, starless midnight sky and just know somewhere deep inside there were no stars because they all burned out, not being able to stand the heaviness and constancy of my endless, annoying wishes. I felt that they had secrets I was never meant to know. I felt both sadness and awe. Awe, a feeling of great wonder, deep inspiration, and a strange kind of fear and respect.

I couldn’t think in these words or concepts at such a young, innocent age. But I felt it in my bones. I felt it venturing throughout my veins and electrifying with each pulsation of my beautiful heart that pounds through my chest. The rhythm of life pounding through me.

I still feel it.

image

As a little girl, my friends and me would build tents out of sleeping bags and sheets and blankets and beach towels, building tents to huddle in and play house together, and pretending as if these tents were our hideouts deep into some lost, secluded woods where we were being chased by a big bad wolf or a deranged stranger, I noticed the rough and smooth sounds of the sheets and nylon sleeping bags as they gently brushed together. I was struck by the infinite beauty of something so simple. Time stood still.

Listen to that! It’s like music!

Kim, you’re just crazy!

Maybe.

I would eat fun-dip candy until my tongue bled and stung, like catching a mini falling star on the tip of my tongue as if it were a snowflake. I would stare at the white stick streaked with my blood, my beautiful life sustaining fluid, in awe. There was something wondrous about eating delicious colored powder until my little tongue started leaking pink-red blood onto white. There was something thrilling about that sting. The coppery, metallic taste in combination with the sweetness of powder. I loved the burn in my chest. I would happily run to inform my mom, as if it were my greatest accomplishment. Holding up the white stick to show her this magic I discovered. But my wonder was never met with satisfaction and praise as I always hoped. Instead my mom would tell me to quit eating the candy.

image

Unlike most kids I knew, I happily anticipated going back to school when Summer ended and shopping with my mom for school supplies, shoes, and clothes. I couldn’t sleep the night before my first day back. Happy, grateful thoughts raced across my mind. I wanted to get up and dance. I wondered who I would meet. What would I learn? Even now the memory of that feeling thrills me. The great potential of meeting new friends, seeing old friends, the thrill of new teachers, and learning new things I would run home to proudly share with my mom and dad. Wondering what desk I would sit at, what kids I would be grouped with, who would my work partners and playmates be…

I loved shopping not just to get the stuff but the whole feel of shopping for it with my mom, seeing all the other shoppers, the feel of the back to school spirit all around me, the endless commercials advertising impressive things for going back to school. The scent of new, blank notebooks with white, lined pages just waiting to be filled and freshly sharpened pencils and broken crayons in a multitude of fascinating colors with fascinating names. “Tickle me pink.”

The big fruit scented markers in a disarray of colors and soft, squishy pencil erasers that felt like rubbery cement upon my fingertips. The various shapes of pencil sharpeners. I even loved the idea of white-out and couldn’t wait to make mistakes just to get to white it out. I loved the containers it always came in, the little bottles and then the other kind that came out, no longer like liquidy liquid but a little sponge that smoothly glides across the paper.

I always loved how it smelled mixed with paper and ink as it wafted up to tickle the scilia in my nose. In school we were not usually permitted to use pens so I had no use for white-out so my mom and dad would buy me it for home. I cherished the opportunity to give out valentine’s day and Christmas cards with paper hearts and candy canes taped on and would usually make one up for every kid in class. It felt so beautiful making them all happy with a sweet little card and I always had some to bring home too with sweet little messages of friendship.

I loved the feel of being in school surrounded by other kids, cared for by teachers. Immersed in the glow of the whole environment. My hungry curiosity soaking up all the information my little brain could hold. I took in all the fragrances of the classroom, the smell of food, pencil lead and shavings, washable, markers, non toxic paint, clay…,the chatter, the laughter, and all the emotions swirling about, through the air. People, children & adults alike, always told my mom how “crazy” it is a girl can love school so much.

image

Each day after school, I couldn’t wait til my friends came out and we ran through the streets and the abandoned lots. We snuck up onto the railroad and secretly climbed the gates to trespass into people’s backyards with the possibility of getting caught hanging over our heads, both thrilling us and frightening us.

As I sit here and write this, I can smell the fragrance of the green grass that filled my nose and lungs in the Summers all those years ago, I can smell the sundrenched metal on my hands after climbing the fence surrounding the big lot we played in, I can feel the richness of the soil we buried treasures in and searched for wiggly worms in with our bare hands and little fingers, I can taste the magic of the glistening snowflakes as they landed on my tongue in the dead of Winter, I feel the crisp Fall air as it caressed my skin, I feel the rainy mist and the floral beauty of Spring as it bloomed into my essence after that long, cold slumber finally ended. I hear the childish screams and laughter, the innocent taunts “takes one to know one! Last one there is a chicken brain…! I’m rubber you’re glue whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you! Traitor! Dirtball! Kimbo Bimbo!!

I can still hear the songs we listened to as our small bodies happily danced up and down the street, the songs that skipped and stopped and started back up as a result of my scratched up CD’s I never took good care of. I can feel the sunlight dancing upon the rain puddles after a heavy storm and the bruises and burns of the scrapes, like little sun beams, that adorned my knees as I did somersaults, went tumbling endlessly down the hills we used to play upon near the railroad, only to smack hard into the low concrete walls that surrounded the sandy, rocky spaciousness when I reached the end, and burst out laughing.

My Earth colored hair soaked in mud and sweat and grit as it tangled into an unrecognizable mass of chaos and beautiful destruction.

I can taste it today.

I sit here and my head overflows like cauldrons of emotion, nostalgia, longing, joy, happiness, pain, a deep ache way deep inside in some mysterious place of me I can’t quite identify, crackling and sizzling to the brim, on an old stove as brilliant purple and orange flames swallow it up. I see colors and stars and thousands of burning suns and glowing moons, everywhere.

It reminds me of a line in LeeAnn Womack’s song, “I Hope You Dance”. One I reference often.

“…get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger.”

I was satisfied with the beauty all around me but I always wanted more. I got my fill but I kept that hunger. Each day I couldn’t wait to go outside and play in the dirt, the snow, the grass, the rain and oily, muddy puddles my feet loved to dance in, the leaves, the worms and rolly pollies….I was astounded by the beauty in every form it came to me. My senses passionately, greedily devoured every bit of it. I was filled with wonder & awe. And I was very aware of this wonder and awe that always breathed in my lungs and flowed with my blood like a starry serenade.

image

image

I desired things I couldn’t always have. I wanted every toy, every book, every pair of shoes the instant I saw them and I would throw brief conniptions Sometimes on the rare occasions I was told no. I thought it was the worst thing to want and not get.

I also felt fear. I feared my own death even though I was too young to truly understand the full concept. I feared getting lost. I feared getting sick. I feared deeply. Fear did not take over my life but I experienced a healthy dose.

But then I gradually developed mild depression and I saw beauty still but not to the same depth. I couldn’t quite feel it as much. But it was still there. Then my lowgrade depression turned to severe, unbearable depression that consumed me in its darkness, pulling me into the secret black waters of its depths, I was submerged in despair, hit like a bag of bricks, with this thick, heavy darkness, and I saw beauty but almost never felt it as deeply. It jumped out at me and I noticed it to some degree, still noticing the simplest things it seemed no one else noticed or cared for, like the taste of cold air, the sounds of crickets, the smoothness of floor tiles, the cars and trucks sloshing through the rain in the flooded streets, the soles of shoes squeeking on bright white floors, the light reflections bouncing off of metal, the smell of hospitals and medicine and healing, the salty taste of longing, the way my soft hands feel in warm weather as they softly stroke utility poles and the wood of public benches, in fact, I seemed to notice it even more now…but it was shadowed by gray and darkness. I wanted to want it. But I just couldn’t to the extent I once hungered for it. And on some of those instances I paid too much attention and I did begin to really feel beauty again, I would shield myself against it, feeling as if I don’t deserve it, that this world is too beautiful for someone as ugly as me.

I noticed the city lights softly bathing the pavements and streets, the sounds of trains rolling across the tracks, the Beauty of the

soft rhythms of car horns in the distance late into the night while most of the world around me remained asleep, laughter out in the streets, the starlight illuminating the night, music notes riding the air as neighbors played love songs all night long, the wind that danced through my long hair. The scent of soil after the rain, the taste of cold air, the feel of soft fleece against my delicate, sensitive skin that brought me a sense of comfort, the sense of unity that surrounded me during the holidays, the creaking of floorboards beneath my feet, the green glow of fireflies, the gentle creases on people’s faces, the laughlines and the wisdom, the curve of shoulders, the little hairs in the big, dark, moles on the face of the girl I used to see on a bus often, the things I have always known are beautiful that others believe are ugly or not worth noticing. And it was all incredibly beautiful but too often I closed myself off to it.

I forced myself not to notice it. I wanted that beauty but I did not want to want it. I believed I wasn’t deserving and it hurt me. I have always been blessed with an ability to notice, acknowledge, and appreciate things, incredibly simple and mundane things, in a way it seems most around me almost never do or never notice and appreciate in the same way I always did. I have always loved simplicity and monotony. And not just the things themselves but the fact of experiencing them, the whole experience itself. And I have always lived in gratitude and some degree of mindfulness even before it became my intentional way of life. Even before I knew what gratitude or mindfulness even is.

I was never quite able to put it into words.

I was not brought up this way. It just lives in me. It always has. It always will.

Most children are more mindful and grateful than adults I believe, it’s a child’s nature, but mine seemed on fire and still is to this day. As we’re growing up, we often lose that sense of childish wonder to some extent, just getting caught up in the obligations and expectations and stresses of everyday life. Mine was hindered by depression but then brought back to life by depression way more intense than it was before depression.

Now even in the throes of a deep, deep depression, I don’t shield myself against that beauty. Instead, I cling to it for my life.

When I’m depressed, I can’t feel it to the same depth usually, as when I’m not depressed but I still easily notice it and can feel it to some degree. And I seize it and hold on tight.

Like a lifeboat out on some distant shore waiting for my grasp, promising to save me if only I reach out.

That wonder never left me completely.

image

Even in a psychiatric hospital under suicide watch for weeks, as a young woman, when I got my hands on a pen without anyone knowing (mental patients weren’t allowed to have pens) I was thrilled beyond belief. A doctor accidentally left it on a table and the second he walked away I snatched it up and it hid it and when we had to sign in for a group therapy session I was just the coolest thing around, signing my name with a pen in big bold, blue, letters, while every other patient had to use a pencil. ;-D

image

And the day I found a paperclip in the visiting room and hid it because it was just the most amazing thing to have a prohibited and somewhat sharp object in my possession while under suicide watch. I got both the pen and the clip taken off me when they saw me strolling the halls with them in my hands.

:-/

My mind drifts back now
to that moment my sense of taste returned while in the cafeteria, after what seemed like an eternity.

I am sitting around a small table with my friends who are not my friends but intimate strangers, all held together by some kind of lonely bond. No laces in our shoes, plastic forks and spoons, strings removed out of our hoods, plastic bracelet around my slender wrist bearing my name that then seemed
anomalous to me.

Struck by the sharp taste of the potatoes, struck in a delicious way, like meteor showers.
blasting through my whole being. Still so deeply and heavily depressed but

holding onto that moment as if my life depends on it. A moment surrounded by people who understand my pain and bizarre thoughts.

When they took me to the court of mental heath and I was the star of the show, I was fascinated. It felt so bizarre and so intriguing to be the center of attention, everyone talking about me but not to me. I wasn’t allowed to speak unless spoken to and no one spoke to me til the end when my lawyer and me lost the case and I was involuntarily hospitalized even longer. I sat in a zombified state, lifeless, sedated not by medication but deep emotional pain. But some moments my hunger returned. My hunger for knowledge, my fascination for how laws and courtrooms operate. Even in the midst of depression, there were always moments of joy, life, zest, beauty…Often, my depression was deep pain but on less common occasions, it was numb, lifelessness. This was even worse but especially made everything more beautiful when it would lift.

Even in my deepest, blackest despair in a mental hospital I stood with a young man, another sick patient, as we marveled at the vibrancy and color of the life in the courtyards outside the windows, just beyond our reach.
Tantalizing and beautiful. And heartbreaking. And breathtaking. We stood in breathless wonder, even while held in the agonizing bondage of our sickness, invisible fetters keeping us chained in darkness and psychosis.

image

He brought my attention to it, bringing a small spark of life back into me, a thin sliver of feeling to my zombefied state when he showed me the solitary flower that seemed to blossom just for the two of us, reminding me that life still exists beyond the pain as he showed me a bright red flower bathing in the golden, fiery, sunlight. Even the thin sliver of life, that

sparkle of electricity that surged through my body was enough in that moment. Just enough. This reminded me and continues to remind me to grasp and embrace whatever gems of beauty are before me, surrounding me, within me, in any form they exist. No matter how much it hurts or how lifeless or hopeless it feels. There is always something to hold. Something to move forward for. Even if it’s just a tattered thread blowing in the bitter
cold winds of despair.

image

I think of the nights we are kept awake by the sound of each other’s insomnia and the silent but screaming tears the night weeps onto our surface and into our core, and those moments we are able to laugh with one another as if we were never sick, as if we never knew the lifelessness and horror of depression and psychosis. Laughing uncontrollably without holding back, everything else is pushed aside for a moment, all the despair, the hallucinatory voices & figures that
stalk
the
nights, the suffocating loneliness, the paranoid delusions, the puddles of emotional sickness, we laugh relentlessly in raw joy and all is momentarily Ok.

image

I recall the day a group of us got together and decided to trick the psychiatric technicians and pretend we were talking to people who weren’t really there. She knew we were faking and laughed with us playfully warning us “just wait til the doctors get here and see if you get to go home any time soon, you’ll never get out of here!” We quit real fast!

image

And the day I was going to be discharged to go home which happened to be the day they were having an ice cream party but not until later, after a couple of us had to leave. I wanted ice cream and to sit around with the others and I seriously, very briefly considered telling them I was still suicidal. I wasn’t. But it was almost worth it to pretend. Just weeks before I would not even get out of bed for breakfast. My hunger got stronger each day.

I have always known a certain awareness that most others I know or encounter seem oblivious to.

There are moments I have felt lonely in my ability to see and appreciate the things it seems many or most overlook. It reminds me of a scene in Edith Wharton’s, Ethan Frome.

“He had always been more sensitive than the people about him to the appeal of natural beauty. His unfinished studies had given form to this sensibility and even in his unhappiest moments field and sky spoke to him with a deep and powerful persuasion. But hitherto the emotion had remained in him as a silent ache, veiling with sadness the beauty that evoked it. He did not even know whether any one else in the world felt as he did, or whether he was the sole victim of this mournful privilege. Then he learned that one other spirit had trembled with the same touch of wonder: that at his side, living under his roof and eating his bread, was a creature to whom he could say: ‘That’s Orion down yonder; the big fellow to the right is Aldebaran, and the bunch of little ones – like bees swarming – they’re the Pleiades…’ or whom he could hold entranced before a ledge of granite thrusting up through the fern while he unrolled the huge panorama of the ice age, and the long dim stretches of succeeding time. The fact that admiration for his learning mingled with Mattie’s wonder at what he taught was not the least part of his pleasure. And there were other sensations, less definable but more exquisite, which drew them together with a shock of silent joy: the cold red of sunset behind winter hills, the flight of cloud-flocks over slopes of golden stubble, or the intensely blue shadows of hemlocks on sunlit snow. When she said to him once: ‘It looks just as if it was painted!’ it seemed to Ethan that the art of definition could go no farther, and that words had at last been found to utter his secret soul….” (pp. 24)

I was shocked the moment I first read those beautiful lines. Pleasantly shocked. I feel myself in those words and in the small but profound spaces in the middle of each little lexeme.

It can be frustrating and also beautiful to feel as if those around me cannot or won’t share in my sense of wonder at the simple beauty all around us. The forgotten. The ignored. The abandoned.

The things I make it a point each day to reclaim.

image

(I STILL do this when I get happy, thrilled, overwhelmed in joy!) 😀

It’s one reason I love poetry and photography and novels. They have the potential to capture beauty, ugliness, pain, and ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Shedding light on dark, abandoned places and spaces. Places and spaces I have always longed to color with the beauty of my Truth.

And it’s beautiful.

They have a way of replicating wonder and awe and fossilizing them. Bringing them to life. Bringing them to the surface of consciousness. Threading them throughout eternity like a beautiful tapestry of gold and red, fire and ice.

I have always had a poetic way of seeing things. My head spins the world into poetry and song.

It doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes it’s incomprehensible even to me. But it’s always wonderful.

So even in my desperation, my depression, my despair, and lifelessness, I often noticed and wanted these beautiful things but I closed my heart to them, shut it off as if encased in thick cement.

Sometimes I wanted to want things and couldn’t.

Other occasions I wanted things I did not want to want.

Still, other occasions I wanted nothing and did not want to want anything but to vanish into nothingness or die a horrible violent death to match the horrible violent feelings inside me. This was rare.

This went on for years and years, and more years, off and on with genuine happiness thrown into the mix here & there. Until I finally decided to get myself better. I asked for help. I work on myself relentlessly to be the best me I can be(not a perfectionist).

Now I feel beauty everywhere, every day. And I feel fear more. Fear for myself.

Have you ever been crossing a street or standing at a curb on a pavement and a car seems to be coming too close to you and a bolt of fear runs though you? Or have you ever been in a car and another car almost hits the one you’re in or actually hits it and you feel a bit shaken for a while after and you feel it’s a bad thing? I don’t think most people have true near death experiences but I think many/most of us have experienced at least one of those mundane occurrences like with cars coming a bit too close, maybe an encounter with a creepy stranger, walking up a dark street alone and hearing footsteps or seeing/hearing something that makes the hairs on your neck stand up. Or a person driving a car you’re in a little too fast and you fear for others but also yourself.

All these experiences may shake you up a bit but that is an amazing thing!

It shows that you are healthy. You’re meant to be afraid when you think you’re in danger.

Desire.

Have you ever walked through a store and saw expensive things you strongly desired but couldn’t have? Jewelry? Designer clothes? Beautiful furniture? Antiques? A lovely handbag? A gorgeous dress? Ever laid eyes on a beautiful house you couldn’t buy?
And then you felt low for not being able to buy them…for not having them…

Have you ever wanted to win a game so badly or a competition of some sort? Ever wanted to be accepted to a certain school and graduate? Or applied for a job you desperately wanted?

And it did not turn out how you wanted it to and you felt devastated…

This too is a great thing! It’s healthy to want, to need, to hunger….and to be disappointed when it doesn’t turn out.

Just like when a very physically ill person is too sick to eat or even want food then the person begins getting better and appetite and physical hunger returns and the person’s doctor or mom says how great it is. Because it’s healthy to want to eat.

Have you ever shielded yourself against beauty and things you want, feeling as if it’s wrong to want them or feeling as if you deserve none of it?

I encourage you to embrace the beauty around you and within you. Embrace your hunger, your fear, your desire. Whether or not you act on it.

It’s healthy to want.

Wanting is more important than getting.

Desiring, itself, is to be cherished, valued for all that it stands for. For all that it is.

It shows you are an active participant in life.

I had this epiphany, I guess you can say, in greater depth one day recently walking through Target. I saw so much jewelry, real and fake, I wanted but could not get. I felt disappointed. The way I wanted it was more than desire. It was hunger. The bracelets, the earrings, the necklaces, the bags that can make a girl go weak at the knees!…and then I remembered various occasions years ago walking through that very same store, seeing all that jewelry but not caring to have it even though I loved it, or wanting it but not with the same enthusiasm I would now, because of being depressed, or wanting it and becoming more depressed for not being able to have it. (There were definitely occasions back then when I was not depressed at all and wanted it all but depression was frequent back then.)

That’s when I realized more how great it is and feels to desire what I love. Even when I cannot have it. I don’t always desire material objects like that even when I’m not depressed; generally I’m so happy with just the things I already have. I can often walk through stores without wanting everything I lay eyes on. And that’s a good thing too. But it’s not good to have no interests because depression or guilt saps it all away. Some people have reached a certain level of spirituality where they want almost nothing and do not fear death even when it’s currently staring them in the face but not because of an illness, because they have trained their brains to not be concerned with material things or external factors. They are happy this way. They are not numb. They are alive. This is a good thing. Most of us, though, are not spiritual like this or to this extent. So when we have desire and fear, it’s good.

I think it’s hard for non depressed people and maybe even some depressed people to realize this. It’s ok to want and not get and then be temporarily devastated or angry or disappointed. It’s healthy to a certain point.

After years of pain, numbness, and lifelessness, off and on, I realize this. I was stuck and stagnant. I was half dead.
This was not always, I definitely experienced happy intervals along with depressed episodes and waves but it was too frequent.

When I used to think I was going to die, I was sometimes either happy or indifferent.

Seeing a speeding truck coming at me only provoked my concern for others, not myself.

When depression lifts completely or layers lift…

I realize how beautiful it feels to want to paint my nails, to want to put makeup on because it’s fun, to want to walk through a store and buy things even when I don’t have the money.

I wanted these things sometimes even when I was depressed but not to the same extent. They often felt like hassles or obligations. Or just tainted in gray. Dull gray. Or the color of vomit. A faded kind of green. A lifeless shade of green-gray.

Often, when depressed, I would see things I wanted to want or see things I knew I would want if I wasn’t lost in a vicious kind of darkness tearing me to pieces, choking me, swallowing me whole.

When not depressed, or even less depressed,
I want to paint my nails. I want to choose eye shadow of various pretty colors to complement the vibrancy of the blue of my eyes. I want to wear pretty clothes that look amazing on my beautiful physique.

I want things I can’t have and it hurts.

And it’s beautiful.

I still get depressed and am consumed by the dark pain or I get the other kind of depression, the kind that numbs me and I feel nothing, which sometimes feels worse than the unbearable pain. Before, it was not constant but it was frequent. My happiness was genuine when it would lift and my happiness would stay a while but that depression would always come back and sometimes quickly or it would come and go quickly off and on.

It is less frequent now. And I realize more and more the deep, primitive beauty of hunger & fear.

When I come out of a severe depression, when it starts to lift, I am hungry. Ravenous. Not hungry for food but hungry for life and everything in it. Hungry for the colors in the wind, the textures, the tastes, the sounds, the feelings and fragrances. Food tastes better than I can ever remember, an out of this world kind of deliciousness.. Music and songs are beautiful in an unfathomable way, my mind feels clear and hope is restored. This is how it has always been for me since I was 13 years old and a depressive episode would lift. It was never mania, just true happiness that really stands out after so much darkness and pain.

My judgment can be trusted.

I become ravenous, rapacious, like a starved, wild animal. My eyes, my mind devour anything they can.
It’s like I can’t get enough.
It reminds me of a blind person who was blind his/her whole life then all of a sudden can see and it’s overwhelming. Everything jumps out at once, the sensory input is too much to bear at once, dizziness, confusion, clashing, mind-blowing.
But it’s beautiful because the person can see.

I was blind but now I see.

It reminds me of the novel “The Secret Garden,” a beautiful story of growth, hope, and rebirth.

It reminds me of when I had emergency surgery on my kidney when I was a girl of twenty-one years. I couldn’t eat for days, I was in pain and had an IV drip for a couple days. When I got a little bit better, I was starved. I was hungry.
I craved food like never before.
And pizza fries and Coca Cola never tasted so good. I was so happy. At 21 years old, like at most other ages, I experienced deep depression off and on but also, deep, deep happiness.

I feel the entire universe inside me in all its perfections and flaws, all its beauty and pain. Its joy and misery, happiness, and despair. And I am born again.

When I look up at the sky or at a bumblebee or at thin blades of green grass or weeds, I see poetry and music and paintings. When I’m in a dark room and I look at a door, ajar with just a streak of light seeping in through the narrow crack, I see photography. When I look at strangers on a bus or walking up the street, when I see traffic speeding in the rain on a dreary gray day, I see novels flash across my mind. When I think of my pain, I feel a story. A story to be written and told again and again to reach out and touch someone else for the better.

image

I’m not manic. I know what mania is. I don’t have it. It’s an illness and the people struck with it can’t think clearly even when they think they can and have clouded judgment. I can remain and think in a calm manner even when I think and feel this way. I know I am not invincible. My judgment is sound and I am not delusional in this case I mention here. And I know there are reasonable limits and rules I must adhere to and I do. Mine is not dangerous like mania can be. But what I describe here may resemble that illness. It’s not to be confused with it. Mine is an awakening, an awareness triggered by an illness of the mind, one that has ravaged my brain for years. It’s not an illness itself. I don’t always feel this ecstacy when I’m happy. Sometimes it’s more of a calm serenity, a quiet joy. But it’s just as fierce.

image

If you want something you don’t have, it’s ok. It’s best not to let it take over your life and make you miss out on all the goodness you do have and it’s usually best I believe, not to feel our worth is dependent upon external factors but it’s ok to desire, to hunger. And it’s ok to be angry, disappointed, devastated for a while, that we can’t have it yet or ever. Even if it’s something trivial like jewelry or a fun vacation. Bask in the beauty of that hunger to be better, to have more, to get away…bask in that desire and the disappointment.

Sit with it.

Then remember all the greatness you possess and are and let that disappointment And desire dissolve.

And be happy now.

Did you ever think of disappointment as a good thing?

I’m here to open you up to another perspective.

image

You don’t have to be someone with longterm depression like me to get an idea of what I write of. That’s one reason why we write, to help others understand and discover wisdom without ever experiencing what we have. And to let those with similar experiences know they are never alone.

The worst thing is not to want and not get. The worst thing is to be dead. And half dead. To not want at all because you are too lifeless to care. Or too lifeless to have the energy to even begin to desire or fear. And it’s ok to be half dead. If you are half dead then you are half alive. And you can awaken that other half.

image

When you have a brush with death and your body turns to jelly, bask in the beauty of that fear. Embrace it. Keep tasting it. You’re alive. And you want to be alive.

Revel in the wonder of that trembling.

Trembling in awe. Trembling in fear.

Trembling.

Don’t shield yourself against the beauty you know. Try not to mask your desire and fear with feelings of guilt because we’re taught it’s wrong to want, to need, to fear, to get.

Let’s be happy, thrilled, overjoyed with the simplest of all the beauty around us. And nOt too

disappointed too long when we don’t get what we want. And let us keep reaching for the stars. I have always been naturally inclined to notice and love the simple beauty but I learned to strengthen my nature, make it more conscious, intentional.

Keep wanting more, keep desiring, keep trying, keep fearing.

Get your fill to eat. But always, always, keep that hunger.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nICs–86Vng

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RV-Z1YwaOiw&app=m&persist_app=1
😀

Read “The Secret Garden” for free here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/113/113-h/113-h.htm

Read “Ethan Frome” for free here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4517/4517-h/4517-h.htm

Xoxo Kim

Ugly-beautiful

image

“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

image

My sweet, looong List of Happy. <3 :-D

image

I recently stumbled across a blog post about “List of Kinds of People I Seriously Hate”

And to my dismay I am on that list! Lol Well not me personally but one of the kinds of people she “seriously hates.” lol How rude!

;-D

She seems like a very outspoken girl though who is very sure of herself and isn’t afraid to state her views and just be herself, not fearing what others will think or say about who she is. And I think that’s generally something to be appreciated and respected so I wasn’t too annoyed and she also loves animals so that’s alright with me!  Anyway, she can’t stand girls who wear low cut shirts, especially when they post pics of themselves and that’s totally me! She said it’s totally slutty and any girl like that will be taken right off her newsfeed or any social media list! But it’s just my style is all! Always has been, always will be! ;-D

She said her and her friends tried to write a list of happy things and it was so much harder than writing the list of negative things.  

It surprised me that so many agreed with her. I’m the opposite.   I find it so much easier thinking of things I love. I only planned on writing like 20 something things and just couldn’t stop!   Now it’s way over 100!

But when I try to write a list of things I don’t much care for, I get stuck before even getting to ten usually!   Lol! I guess I’m a little too accepting or easy going?! 😀
Mostly the things on my negative list are : unjust discrimination, animal cruelty, prejudicial attitudes, abuse, homicide….things like that. 

Also, I think “happy lists” are often more unique than “sad lists” because the unhappy lists are often universal. If you think about it, who really does like unjust discrimination, diseases, sore throats, child or domestic abuse, homicide…? Pretty much no one.  

But not everyone loves the color pink or rainbows or babies! 

So happy lists are quite unique.

Inaccurate grammar, Girls who do the duck face, post pics of their messy kids and food all day, piss and moan about their drama, are slutty, post 50, million pics of themselves in restrooms, half dressed, political rants…..don’t annoy me. I don’t mind seeing their stuff or whatever.   Whatever floats your boats, girls! Lol

I’m not the most judgmental girl in the world which also means I don’t really judge people too hard who judge me negatively.   I’m mostly, understanding of your lack of understanding, compassionate even with your lack of compassion, empathetic for your lack of empathy, accepting of your lack of acceptance.

I don’t like it much but it is what it is, right?!

🙂 

Anyway, though, Here’s my list of happy!
Inspired by that girl’s list of not so happy! Lol

1.) animals

2.) shopping for makeup, clothes, books

3.) iced coffee especially when it’s really sweetened 

4.) meeting people I never met before

image

5.) finding new quotes, songs, and poems that resonate with me in a deep way

6.) snowstorms and the first snowfall of the season

7.) When the seasons are changing to the next one – it’s something magical

8.) photography

9.) looking into a mirror and loving who/what I see

10.) the feeling of accomplishment, even if it’s something small

11.) making someone smile

12.) random acts of kindness

13.) helping someone 

14.) the way it feels to put on comfy pj’s and fall into bed after a long day

15.) hot tea

16.) cake

17.) rain

18.) Hello Kitty

19.) journals and stationary stuff

20.) blogs

21.) my long hair

22.) gentle summer breezes

23.) all the different shades of green that appear throughout Spring & Summer

24.) novels and plays with deep, profound meanings

25.) poetry 

26.) getting a new handbag

27.) learning a new life lesson or being reminded of ones I previously learned

28.) salt n vinegar chips

29.) babies!

30.) art journaling 

31.) walking in warm or cool weather 

32.) seeing people happy and doing well

33.) friends

34.) mindfulness meditation and activities 

35.) Buddhist teachings 

36.) philosophy 

37.) dreams while I’m sleeping and remembering them when I wake up

38.) being aware of beauty all around 

39.) my senses

40.) restaurants

41.) gratitude 

42.) parks 

43.) beautiful buildings 

44.) kind strangers 

45.) Oldies songs, country songs, love songs 

46.) Happy songs and sad poetry 

47.) the sky

48.) the moon

49.) getting caught in the rain

50.) taking a picture that turns out more perfect than I expected 

51.) love of all kinds, romantic, platonic, universal

52.) walking through a large shopping mall

53.) being surrounded by people

54.) hugs!

55.) making someone else happy

56.) Belly laughs that hurt

57.) the way it feels when laughing almost lifts me when I’m depressed sometimes or in physical pain

58.) Center City Philadelphia and all the beautiful buildings 

59.) buying someone a gift or cup of coffee/tea

60.) people who are open-minded, understanding, and empathetic for other people’s situations, problems, lives…

61.) all the colorful leaves of the fall

62.) Blueberry coffee (coffee with blueberry flavor in it) with cream and sugar

63.) fun/deep conversations with a stranger on a bus or at the bus stop

64.) connecting with people

65.) feeling one with all that is

66.) pretty candles with a sweet fragrance 

67.) being able to listen to the same song over and over and never get tired of it!

68.) unsuccessfully trying hard not to laugh at something hilarious that I know I shouldn’t be laughing at

69.)  serving people at the store where I work 

70.) coca cola

71.) romantic comedies

72.) anything sappy and cheesy 

73.) the sun and sunrises and sunsets

74.) Morning

75.) nightfall

76.) sunny afternoons

77.) hot cocoa with whipped cream on a bitter cold day

78.) gray days as well as sunny ones

79.) miserable weather 

80.) bright, clear blue sky with big fluffy white clouds

 81.) different kinds of accents people have

82.) learning phrases in other languages I don’t know

83.) getting a new or old book

84.) bookstores

85.) nail polish that stands out

86.) bright colored socks

86.) anything pink

87.) the color red – especially dresses and handbags, and lipstick on girls who can pull it off

image

88.) the color green 

89.) sweet messages

90.) feeling deeply inspired 

91.) feeling motivated and taking action for the better

92.) twilight

image

93.) finding beauty in unlikely places

94.) sweet memories

95.) When a certain scent takes me back to a place long gone. The bittersweetness of nostalgia

96.) old writings, books, plays

97.) flowers

98.) remembering a song I forgot long ago

99.) When pain isn’t as bad

100.) being filled with deep wisdom and sharing it with others or people sharing it with me

101.) Girls in five inch stilettos 

102.) animals playing 

103.) my online friends on Facebook, the blog, 365project…

104.) the feeling when a package comes in the mail for me!

105.) Happy surprises

106.) everything related to weddings 

107.) animal rescue organizations

108.) movie theatres 

109.) the feeling of laying in bed at night reading 

110.) trampolines 

111.) learning something fascinating 

112.) teaching someone something fascinating I learned

113.) making someone’s day better

114.) physical closeness – waiting for a bus with people, standing in lines at a store with people, sitting next to people….

115.) finding something with the letter “K” on it

image

116.) peanut butter

117.) french vanilla cream horns

118.) university/college campuses

image

119.) things not going as planned but then working out even better! 

120.) posting sweet song lyrics 

121.) snuggling under blankets with dogs or cats

122.) skyscrapers 

image

123.) street signs and city lights

image

124.) the sounds of the city

125.) busses and trolleys

126.) people who build each other up instead of dragging each other down

127.) tomatoes 

128.) walking in a light mist

129.) Indian food

130.) fruity or Hawaiian body spray 

131.) the way it feels using a new shower gel or hair product 

132.) facebook

133.) lemons in soda and iced tea

134.) warm places in the Winter

135.) being deeply inspired to create 

136.) birds flying around outside 

137.) the love of being greeted by my dogs when I walk into a room.

138.) lovers holding hands

139.) old people – they’re cute.

140.) reading about/hearing about someone’s dream finally coming true.

Wow! Life sure is good, isn’t it?! 😀

I never expected to feel this way at the end of this. So uplifted, warm, and in awe at how many amazing things there are to be so happy about. I did not list these all in one sitting; it took like two days but at the very end I felt so warm and light and like I can jump for joy!

Sometimes I create lists like these in my head at night as I’m laying in bed but it feels even different when I write out a super long list like this. When I think like this at night, the joy often keeps me awake! Lol. So I try to think of more mellow, serene things. You know your life is good when you can’t sleep at night because of too many GOOD thoughts!   

I don’t have a “real” job, not much money, I live with family, not on my own, I have a depressive and chronic physical pain disorder but I can still say that life is beautiful.   Beautiful with all the simple joys, all the sweet wonders that cost nothing or next to nothing.  
😀

May you realize all the treasures you are truly blessed with and feel inspired to list them and not be able to stop!  

Xoxo Kim

For the Love of Antiquarian Books & Things Touched

image

“Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.” ~Author Unknown

I love old things. Very old things. Used. Worn things. Especially books. Old books are beautiful. Not just the content but the physical oldness (lol) of them. The fading covers, the crisp yellowing pages, the broken spines with loose pages….everything….

“A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend.” ~Author Unknown

I prefer old books over new books. In college I used to intentionally buy used books. And unlike most students the main reason wasn’t the reduced prices. It was because I loved that someone had it before me. I loved the highlights and little side notes in the margins. Sometimes I found them helpful but mostly I just loved seeing what people wrote and highlighted, knowing someone previously walked the journey before me. In high school I loved seeing the years and names listed on the back covers, especially when the years listed aren’t even of the same decade I had the book.

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” ~Paul Sweeney

I remember sitting in class laughing with other students as we looked at our textbooks at the list of names next to years long gone, and talked about how students used those very same books in years that we weren’t even yet thought of.

The more tattered, marked up, the better.

image

“A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.” ~Franz Kafka

“Lord! when you sell a man a book you don’t sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue – you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night – there’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book.” ~Christopher Morley

Old books.

One of the things I love most about them is the fact that through the years and decades they have been touched. Touched by various people, various lives, various breaths, the pages flipped by the fingers of people I’ll never meet. Words, concepts, sentences, comprehended by brains I’ll never know, books held in the arms of people who lived through years long gone. A world gone away. I wonder at the fact that the very books I hold in my hands were once part of someone else’s life. Someone who lived over ninety years ago.

I imagine my touch embracing the touch of people who felt the pages I feel now. My fingerprints lacing with old fingerprints that may still be on the surfaces, forever etched upon the yellowing pages before me.

I imagine the wonder that may have surged through curious brains long ago while devouring the words, tears that may have caressed the pages at night, thoughts that pondered the content, emotions that swirled like magic, giggles that echoed through the air, sadness, happiness, joy, and fascination that breathed while people read, felt, and cherished the books that are still around today.

I always loved the idea of old things. Old, beautiful things, used things that previously blessed the lives of various people, before making it into someone else’s hands.

“The smallest bookstore still contains more ideas of worth than have been presented in the entire history of television.” ~Andrew Ross

And I don’t just love literal old things but even modern or new things made to look or seem old, things with an old feel to them. A nostalgic, reminiscent tinge. I love modern books which take place way long ago. Just lovely.

“Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.” ~Jessamyn West

I recently realized I have a few very old books. There’s this used bookstore in Center City, Philadelphia called “Book Traders” and I love it! Especially the personal development, philosophy, and Psychology sections.

Sometimes I just grab a whole armfull of books that seem appealing to me. I found that I have a few very old ones, a couple 1940 ones and one 1913, and one 1920 one. And probably more laying around somewhere. I have so many books and online books on the Kindle, links, and pdfs that I don’t get around to reading them all yet and some I forget about until coming across them later.

I bought none of these books because of the age but because I find the subjects genuinely interesting but I’m sure if I saw a super old, inexpensive book somewhere with a topic I care nothing about, I would purchase it “just because.” lol

I found one last night in my dresser I never knew I have til now! I found myself giggling because it’s an American History book that was published in 1912 and updated in 1913. It’s faded, yellowed, crisp, and falling apart somewhat but still in great condition for a book of that age. Most of the pages are not falling out. It’s funny because so so so much has happened involving the U.S. Since then and it’s interesting to see it so incomplete. It’s funny to think how important that book was back then but how useless in an educational context, it is now. It’s so underdeveloped. It’s difficult to explain in words. It just seems so simple next to now. Our President Taft was president back then. And our President Wilson.

I know in 100 years though, when someone picks up one of our history books now, it will be so incomplete. So useless, educationally. And there will be new history books packed with so much more than we can imagine right now. Maybe in years to come, in the way distant future, someone somewhere will hold one of my books in her hands and giggle, her fingerprints joining mine on crisp, yellowing pages.

Anyway I been thinking about it a lot today and it reminded me of another book I read. A book I planned to write about here but never have yet. A breathtakingly beautiful but devastatingly heartbreaking novel. Published in the 70’s, It takes place in Ohio during the years just after the “Great Depression.” It’s called “The Bluest Eye” and is written by author, Toni Morrison. It’s about a little girl, Pecola, and how she struggles with self-esteem/self-worth issues because of the way society treats African American people. She’s an African American girl, around eleven years old, who desperately desires blue eyes. African American girls were often made to feel less beautiful than white girls and it was ingrained into them that blue eyes and light skin are worth more than dark eyes and dark skin. I know some of that sentiment still lingers today and it’s very real and detrimental to those who are affected by it.

Then this little girl suffers a serious tragedy.

It’s heartbreaking that throughout her whole life she suffered unjust racial discrimination and also her peers, even ones of her own ethnicity, excluded her. In the book, she’s considered to be less than beautiful, not just because of her skin/eye color but all of her features. And her family isn’t very well liked by the community people.

All she wants is love and acceptance and a feeling of being worthy. And no one gives her this or helps her see her true beauty. She is convinced that a pair of blue eyes will give her meaning and beauty.

And she’s convinced that it’s possible for her brown eyes to turn blue.

Her family struggles financially and also with domestic violence.

There’s a scene in a candy store where this sweet little girl wants candy and she’s afraid to ask. She knows the man won’t care for her. He’s rude and abrupt and impatient and treats her as if she’s nothing. It’s heartwrenching.

It’s amazing how the absolutely brilliant author, Toni Morrison, portrays the characters, so real and has the ability to convey the depth of the emotions and feelings experienced by them.

Throughout the book, I felt that I was able to identify so strongly with the characters in some ways. I wasn’t alive in the 1940’s, I’m not a child, have never experienced discrimination based on my race, and although I have experienced financial difficulties, occasionally, it’s not to the degree that this little girl’s family experiences it in the book. They are practically living on the streets sometimes. I can’t possibly know what most of those things are like. But the author is able to reach through all that and poignantly convey the very basic humanness of the little girl, Pecola, and the other characters. She conveys the longings and the needs, the heartache and suffering. The kind that is felt to some degree, at some point, by most living humans.

So many things struck me while reading. Like how sometimes our comfort zones are more comforting to us than the unusual even when our comfort zones are painful, chaotic, destructive, horrifying, and miserable. Even when the unusual is more sane and calm than our traumatic but familiar routines. Sometimes we can’t handle being out of our comfort zones or usual routines and become restless for what we have always known. Sometimes when all is quiet and calm and serene, we may find ourselves not only yearning to go back to what we know but actually intentionally bringing on trauma and drama and horror just because it’s what we’re used to, and actually finding some kind of twisted comfort in it even though we don’t want it and it’s not good for us. The chaos, the pain, the trauma and drama somehow fills a sense of emptiness in us that the lack of it all creates.

There’s so much in this novel I believe most of us can identify with in some ways no matter what decade we grew up in, no matter our skin color or culture, class status, financial situations, age, or any situations….

It’s beautifully and poetically written. It inspires me. The lady who wrote it is mind-blowingly understanding, empathetic, and amazing at writing it. When I say empathetic and understanding I’m not merely talking about compassion and caring. That too but I’m referring to an even deeper ability to get into the heads of certain kinds of people, create characters in ways that are so very realistic.

She gets in the heads of perverts, sexual predators, bullies, prostitutes…and portrays the human side. She writes of the awkward, painful, uncomfortable aspects of life and brings to life the characters who are responsible for the devastation and the people they impact.

She depicts their monstrous sides but also their human sides. She tugs at our heartstrings, seemingly tempting us to feel for these characters, to see their humanness, their basic, essential, marred innocence, daring us to identify with them in some ways. But never justifying their atrocities.

Her writing is beautiful. In an astounding way.

There’s a character in the novel who is a pervert. He’s mentioned earlier in the book but readers don’t know yet at that point that he’s really a pervert so I won’t mention this character’s name to avoid spoilers. I’m going to quote some things about him out of this book after readers find that he’s one. So in case you haven’t read the book and are reading this, planning to read it, I will not write his name.

The quotes here won’t give too much away but if you don’t want to know then I would recommend you stop reading here. I’m not giving the ending away or any big shockers or anything.

I find the description of the pervert to be very beautiful even though it’s dark and awkward and uncomfortable, and to some people, quite disturbing.

Lines taken out of “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison:

“Once there was an old man who loved things, for the slightest contact with people produced in him a faint but persistent nausea. He could not remember when this distaste began, nor could he remember ever being free of it. As a young boy he had been greatly disturbed by this revulsion which others did not seem to share, but having got a fine education, he learned among other things, the word ‘misanthrope.’ Knowing his label provided him with both comfort and courage, he believed that to name an evil was to neutralize if not annihilate it. Then, too, he had read several books and made the acquaintance of several great misanthropes of the ages, whose spiritual company soothed him and provided him with yardsticks for measuring his whims, his yearnings, and his antipathies. Moreover, he found misanthropy an excellent means of developing character: when he subdued his revulsion and occasionally touched, helped, counseled, or befriended somebody, he was able to think of his behavior as generous and his intentions as noble. When he was enraged by some human effort or flaw, he was able to regard himself as discriminating, fastidious, and full of nice scruples.”

&

“All his life he had a fondness for things – not the acquisition of wealth or beautiful objects, but a genuine love of worn objects: a coffee pot that had been his mother’s, a welcome mat from the door of a rooming house he once lived in, a quilt from a Salvation Army store counter. It was as though his disdain of human contact had converted itself into a craving for things humans had touched. The residue of the human spirit smeared on inanimate objects was all he could withstand of humanity. To contemplate, for example, evidence of human footsteps on the mat – absorb the smell of the quilt and wallow in the sweet certainty that many bodies had sweated, slept, dreamed, made love, been ill, and even died under it. Wherever he went, he took along his things, and was always searching for others. This thirst for worn things led to casual but habitual examinations of trash barrels in alleys and wastebaskets in public places….
All in all, his personality was arabesque: intricate, symmetrical, balanced, and tightly constructed – except for one flaw. The careful design was marred occasionally by rare but keen sexual cravings.”

&

“He abhorred flesh on flesh. Body odor, breath odor, overwhelmed him. The sight of dried matter in the corner of the eye, decayed or missing teeth, earwax, blackheads, moles, blisters, skin crusts – all the natural excretions and protections the body was capable of – disquieted him.”

I just love these descriptions. The beauty, the concepts, the words, the substance. And you don’t have to be a creepy pervert or a misanthrope to appreciate the simple human aspects of life, the residual human touches, footprints on a doormat, an old coffeepot that someone else’s coffee was made in long ago, scents that linger on objects, a blanket that comforted someone through the night, a typewriter that someone else’s fingers created a masterpiece with….even the dark parts and the bodily descriptions are beautiful. They are part of life.

I know many people are totally, utterly grossed out by the thought of many people touching one thing and touching what countless strangers have touched. It probably makes some people’s heart skip and not in a good way. But I just find it beautiful.

image

I wish I could tell little Pecola that she’s beautiful. She IS beautiful. Her brown eyes, her dark skin, her innocent ways…everything. She’s beautiful just as she is. She doesn’t need blue eyes or fair skin. She’s perfect the way she is. I wish I could embrace her and tell her she’s beautiful in and out. All little girls and women should be encouraged to feel beautiful and worthy and encourage other girls to feel beautiful and important as well.
I wish I could have been in that candy store to help her pick out her candy and inspire her to be a happy, innocent little girl filled with joy just looking at the candy. Just like little girls should feel.
I found myself shattered by this novel. Beautifully shattered.
Characters in fiction aren’t real in our world but they do exist in the worlds of books, stories, writings, movies, in the brains and imaginations of all the gifted authors/writers.
And they are real in some strange sense.

image

I strongly recommend it to anyone who loves novels, drama, profound messages and depth and beauty in writing.

“A good book has no ending.” ~R.D. Cumming

There’s another book I read and wrote about here called “314” Book II in a trilogy and in the book one girl is able to put her hands on any object and see everything that previously happened involving that object, even years ago. She can touch a pen and see who else touched it and she can touch walls and see all that happened within the confines of those walls. It’s overwhelming so she keeps her hands in her pockets a lot. I don’t believe in psychic stuff like that but I love the concept. It reminds me of life all around and how some parts of us still remain on the objects we touch and live on long after we do.

image

“Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” ~P.J. O’Rourke

(LOL!)

It reminds me of all the mundane things we take for granted, all the simple things that make up our lives every single day. The things. Things that contain our breaths, fingerprints, scents, particles, sweat, tears, imprints…..

“My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter.” ~Thomas Helm

“I adore the feeling of being completely taken in by a book. When the tears of joy or sadness wet your cheeks. When you snort with laughter in a crowd and when you shout at the pages in anger.” ~ Unknown

Xoxo Kim

image

Anybody can beat anybody on any given day

image

I recently read a novel by Morton Reed called, “Proof of Innocence,” which is a legal suspense thriller. It takes place in California, U.S.A. In the early 90’s and is about a young boy who is accused of attempting to kill his severely abusive father while his father was in bed sleeping.

While I found this book to be very enjoyable in various ways, I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone as it depicts horrific violence in graphic detail.

Serious domestic violence /abuse, extreme child & spousal abuse, horrific sexual violence.

At some points I wanted to put the book down and quit reading .

Some parts are deeply disturbing.

I have experienced domestic abuse and while it’s not nearly as bad as the abuse carried out by the character in the book, I can still relate in so many ways, especially to the emotional abuse, extreme anger outbursts, horrific threats…

It’s terrifying. And painful.

But there are many insights and valuable lessons conveyed in this book.

Some themes are:

❤ Risking it all for love (platonic & romantic)
❤ Hopelessness & restored hope
❤ Deep friendship
❤ How one life can impact another and how one person can suddenly, unexpectedly walk into another person's life and change it for the better.
❤ Redemption
❤ Justice and what it is to be just
❤ Self exploration
❤ Trusting others
❤ Never giving up on people even when they are difficult
❤ Emotional scars and learning to live happily with them
❤ Insecurity & confidence
❤ Seeing humanity & potential even in very troubled people/criminals
❤ The benefits of psychotherapy
❤ Morality

&

Some lessons I find to be valuable which are conveyed throughout the book are:

❤ We should learn to trust ourselves and when we learn that, it won't matter so much what others do, say, or think about us. If people fail us, deceive us, or try to rip us off, we will have ourselves to fall back on and survive no matter what. We can learn to be strong, capable, and competent.
❤ Mistakes often say nothing about who the person is. Even great people make mistakes.
❤ Not all people who are considered by society to be lost causes, losers, or failures, are bad people.
❤ The past doesn't have to imprison us.
❤ Sharing our stories of pain can truly help us

My favorite character in the book is a confident defense attorney who tries to get the boy accused of attempted murder, to be found not guilty.

In the book, there is a flash back to the day this lawyer cross examined a police officer/detective in a courtroom.

Most of the details are not relevant to my post so I will not go into them too much but will provide a brief description.

This defense attorney, a strong, confident woman is cross examining a police officer and asking him questions regarding a confession.

This officer is being questioned as to whether a confession provided by an arrested person was really completely voluntary or coerced by police.

He assures the lawyer that the police did no such coercion and that the arrested person did in fact confess voluntarily.

But the officer is frustrated, forgetful, contradicts himself, and is awkward in this moment, among other things.

He is uncomfortable with her questioning and it really shows. As soon as she dismisses him, he runs out of the courtroom, quickly.

She later contacts him and has this to say:

“I wanted to let you know that, like you, I was just doing my job. Also, like you, I’m very good at it. On that day you weren’t so hot. Someday I won’t be so hot, either. It’s like the tennis pros say: ‘ anybody can beat anybody on any given day.'”

I love this and it’s so true. Each one of us will have occasions of winning, being our best, coming out on top, and owning it but then we’ll also have those occasions of falling, losing, seemingly failing, not being our best. It’s great to show compassion, forgiveness, understanding, love, and gentleness to ourselves and each other.

This lawyer is kind enough to reach out and empower the humiliated man and offer him friendship as opposed to smugly rubbing it in his face like she could have, like often does happen in cases where one person gets his/her ass handed to her/him by another.

Sooner or later, you ‘ll get your second wind.

I think we can all benefit by being like this brilliant and loving character.

She is a retired criminal defense attorney who mostly worked for more of a hobby than a career. She never cared for money and was very selective of the cases she took on, only taking on ones she truly felt compelled to work at.

Unlike many of the other defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges, and other law people, she truly cares for her clients and people in general. She warmly embraces those that the rest of society brands as “losers” & “lost causes.” She sees potential and humanity in seriously troubled people.

She retired because of burnout. She got too involved in her cases & the people.

In the book she is described as a beauty. A tall, slender, African American woman with long, lovely legs. Her reputation is that she is not one to be messed with, she’s confident, strong, knows her stuff.

She’s a tough broad but with a soft heart. Truly compassionate and caring about people in general. She’s financially well off, dresses expensively, has a large expensive house decorated impressively, drives an expensive car but she’s not arrogant. She has a bit of an alcoholic drinking problem that she’s not ready to abandon.

I am so inspired by so many parts of this book even though I’m so put off by other parts.

The author is not condoning the horrors in his book,, in fact he conveys the wrongness of it.

If you like legal thrillers/suspense/mysteries and don’t mind gore & graphic details of horrible violence then this may be for you.

If not, I wouldn’t read it.

I love novels about perseverance, happiness, Redemption, heartache, hope, and healing, learning to live again, love & life…and this book does display this.

I love the insights & the lessons throughout it.

But the violence & horror isn’t my cup of tea.

Xoxo Kim ❤
k

You Can’t Please Everyone

…. ..so you got to please yourself. ~ Rick Nelson

IMG_00001151

May you soar on eagle wings, high above the madness of the world.”
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Just be you. Which means, live how you see fit for you, not how you think you “should ” live. As long as
Continue reading

Beauty All Around

buddhakim

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I woke up somewhat early. Early for me. 10:00am The night before, I slept very well. I have been struggling with lower back pain, bordering on severe. Along with my facial pain disorder flaring up. Right now it’s because of my sleeping schedule being kind of messed up with my dog’s waking me up throughout the night and morning and the central air thing in my house broke so it has been excruciatingly hot some nights. I’m telling you, not getting the right amount of sleep for me really messes me up like nothing else! I get sick, coming down with sore throats, my hair falls out in clumps!, my whole body aches like hell, and on and on

But anyway,

When I woke up yesterday morning, my family was already awake and decided we would all go out together before I had to be in work at 5:00pm. We had no specific plans so we ventured on out just to see. And we drove by a Buddhist church in South Philadelphia! I never seen anything like it! Ever! I have never even known Buddhist churches exist! I don’t even know if it’s called a “church”. I’m uneducated on this topic. My dad saw it before though but he doesn’t know anything about it.

It’s AMAZING looking! The whole outside is very colorful with large statues all around it! So beautiful.

I wanted to go in SO badly!! But we are not sure if it’s open to the public or if only Buddhists/members are allowed in. I am not a Buddhist. I am an Atheist. But I love to learn about Buddhism and read the quotes and wonder at the concepts and things. So we just took lots of pictures outside with the statues!

bk8

bk9

I LOVED walking around in the wonderful weather. It was warm & sunny but with a slight chill.
In Center City Philadelphia, outside some stores, there are free books and things and my dad wanted to check some out! And I found a few treasures! This one book I found and was going to give to my sister. It’s a book of poems amd quotes mostly about things pertaining to a God. The Biblical God it seems. My sister, just like my dad & mom, is into God, Biblical things, and the supernatural things. I, however, am the oddball of the family who turned out a skeptic. lol 😀

But when I checked the book out better I soon realized it’s more my cup of tea than her’s! It’s a book of poems and quotes about appreciating the gifts all around that are considered by many to be “God’s blessings.” While I am quite the skeptic I am anything but closed minded. I find inspiration everywhere. Even in things with a religious or theistic tinge. I close my mind to nothing. I am very blessed and more and I LOVE all things about appreciating the beauty around us and helping those in need, people & animals alike.

I am so grateful that this littlen gem has fallen into my hands!

And I want to share an amazing short poem in this book.

Love Should Blossom

“So many loving words to give
To those with whom we work and live;
So many words heal and bless
Another’s hurt or loneliness.

A friendly smile, a glad hello
Can cheer someone who’s feeling low;
Or just a little thoughtful deed
Will help fulfill another’s need.

So many things that we can do
To help another’s day ring true;
So many ways to show we care –
Love should blossom everywhere.

Written by Kay Hoffman

Seriously, how true is this amazing message?! It’s a beautiful poem that rings so true! Any kind word, warm smile, friendly hello, loving gesture can brighten someone’s day and turn someone’s life around. So when you see a mother (or father) struggling with a screaming kid, offer them a helping hand instead of disgusted glares, adopt a furever friend at a shelter, hold doors for people, smile at strangers, make a true attempt to understand another person’s point of view or emotions, volunteer, help carry someone’s bags, buy someone a drink, genuinely compliment someone! There are an infinate amount of ways to make someone’s world a little or a lot brighter!

Why not be the one bringing light to that person struggling in the darkness? ❤

I also found a novel which I have just begun to read. As of right now, it's thoroughly entertaining. It's about a girl who is looking for a man and is unhappy that she is single and 32 years old. People keep nagging her about when she's going to get married and they won't just let her be. I think I know how it will end!

It's ok to be single at any age though. It's ok to want to be romantically tied but it should not interfere with general happiness and love of life itself. You don't need anyone to complete you. Fall in love with yourself and then romantic love may come your way soon! Or one day in the future. ❤

The book is called "Romantically Challenged" by Beth Orsoff.

I hope you all have a great day and appreciate the simple pleasures of life and being YOU! ❤

x0x0 Kim

“Carry Me Like Water” – a novel

ImageI love to read but I usually don’t read novels. I have read random ones throughout the years that I love that somehow randomly made it into my hands but since I don’t have a favorite topic or favorite author I usually don’t know where to start to find novels I may like to read.

But recently I found one that captured my heart completely.

I go to used bookstores/thrift stores mostly for books and some of them have plastic bins full of free books. One day recently I bought a shitload of self-help books and was walking out the door and noticed a book in the free bin called “Carry Me Like Water”. I never heard of it before then and did not think for a second that I would actually read or like it before I read the description. But the name, that lovely name, “Carry Me Like Water” drew me in, touched me in an indescribable place, inspired me, and so I snatched it up just for the hell of it!

And whooooaaa am I glad I did!!

I read the back of the book and just knew I had to give it a try. But when I got home, I threw the book aside and promised myself I would read it later. A few weeks have come and gone and I finally picked up the book again and began reading. Since the very first page I was hooked!

Hopelessly, desperately hooked.

There are some books I have read and love but certain parts of it or pages kind of bored me somewhat but this book? Not one word bored me. Not one! What a page turner!

I read it day and night and was through with it in just a couple short days. If it wasn’t for having to sleep and a couple of other essential things I would have read it in one day or less! It has 502 pages.

When I read novels I come to get so attached. I come to love the characters almost as if I know them! And I mourn them when my reading is complete. While I can never wait to get to the end to see what happens, a part of me dreads it because while I can read the book again and again it just won’t be the same as the first read!

This book truly has my heart. I love it. It’s beautiful, captivating, heartwarming, heartbreaking, inspiring, painful, breathtaking, agonizing.

Brilliantly, brilliantly, breathtaking.

It explores some deep sorrows that our world endures such as unjust discrimination against people of certain races, incestuous sexual abuse, homophobia, classicism, HIV/AIDS.

It is a beautiful story of hope, healing, forgiveness, moving on, trust, honesty, friendship, love, and family, romantic as well as platonic/friendship love, self acceptance and the acceptance of others, even those who are different than the character or who have made seemingly unforgivable mistakes.

It takes place in the 80’s/90’s in San Francisco & El Paso and involves a group of people including Caucasian and Latino people and Homosexual & Heterosexual people who are all connected somehow but do not know or realize it. Their lives have crossed or touched somehow at some point. Some do not know it and some want to forget. Their lives are all broken and they all struggle with some sort of emotional pain and very difficult problems that are extremely hard to face and admit.

It explores borders, both geographical as well as emotional borders.

I would fall asleep at night reading it and wake up and begin again!

It shows how people can heal even after horrific tragedies like abuse and loss and abandonment and social injustices and how family is not always biological or blood.

This is thoroughly entertaining and gut-wrenching. I felt every emotion conveyed by the author and experienced by the amazing, incredible characters. I felt like I was involved with the lives and hearts of those people. I haven’t felt that way over a novel since I read my other favorite book, the semi-fictional, “A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey about his beautiful, agonizing struggle to overcome substance addiction. 

It is a lovely story! ❤

 

“Carry Me Like Water”

Published in 1995

Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz 

 

My favorite kind of books/novels, other than self-help, I realize, are ones of hope & healing, perseverance, and overcoming problems that once seemed impossible to overcome. I have a hunger for more of those books. I just have to see what subject they fall under. There are murder mysteries, science fiction, romantic comedy….I guess I have some exploring to do!

 

😀 ❤

 

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” 

― Francis Bacon, The Essays

 

 

“If you are going through hell, keep going.” 

― Winston Churchill

 

 

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” 

― Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

“I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.” 

― Abraham Lincoln

 

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” 

― Nelson Mandela

 

“When you get to the end of your rope. Tie a knot and hang on.” 

― Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

“That’s one of the remarkable things about life. It’s never so bad that it can’t get worse.” 

― Bill Watterson

 

When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” 

― Elvis Presley

 

“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” 

― H.G. Wells

 

 

“It’s not how we fall. It’s how we get back up again.” 

― Patrick Ness, Monsters of Men

 

Let pain make you BETTER not Bitter!! ❤