Tag Archive | experience

Go With the Flow


(meee! <3)

I was waiting for my good friend, Mike, earlier, we were going to get some Vegan pizza! yum! :-p

And this quote appeared in my e-mail box!

“Experience life in all possible ways — good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter. Experience all the dualities. Don’t be afraid of experience, because the more experience you have, the more mature you become.” ~Osho

I love it! Sometimes it’s so tempting to resist or deny or repress painful emotions but that just makes it worse. When we embeace them, accept them, sit with them, we can heal them and deepen our wisdom & empathy. If we experience them too often, it’s a good idea to seek to change this, but just about everyone experiences unpleasant emotions now & then. And that’s ok!

Sometimes it can even be tempting to resist positive emotions, maybe out of fear of losing them later or out of a feeling of not deserving happiness or joy, for whatever reason. But in my opinion, there’s no “deserving” or “not deserving”, it’s just what is. Emotions, positive or unpleasant, come and go and it’s good to accept them as they are.

What a great reminder!


The link above is the place where I get the e-mails full of inspiring ideas such as this!

Lots of love to you!!


xoxo Kim ❤

30 Days of Photos – Day 17 – {fake people}


Lol! Yep! Mannequins!

They’re the only fake people I know of! 

Monday, August 17th, day 17 of the 30 Days Photo Challenge, for me, is the day for getting pictures of mannequins!

I walked to the store “USA Blues” and got a few pics of the mannequins in the window. It was hard with the glare and reflections on the windows. I tried different angles and things and most showed up horribly. But I got a couple that are better than the rest!

It took some courage because it was kind of embarrassing taking pictures through a store window and taking pics of their mannequins. I was by myself so it was even more awkward. I was hoping no one would see me! Lol But I got up the courage! It pushed me out of my comfort zone and I am reminded that it’s a good thing to try to do things once in a while that are scary, awkward, embarrassing, uncomfortable, things we’re just not used to. 

Suck it up and go for it! 


When you see it, you will shit bricks.


A girl one with no head.

And here are a couple pictures I got the next day:


Just heads.


Mannequin bums! Sexy, right?

Ever heard of RealDolls (this is an adult website so if you are extremely young or just don’t like that sort of stuff, it’s probably in your best interest not to click it. There’s lots of dolls in the nude! Lol)? I learned about them in my human sexuality class in college many moons ago. They are dolls, the size of a real human and have all the sexual parts of a real one. And their mouth is human-like. They also look very real. They come in male and female and can move any way a person can but not by themselves. You would have to move it yourself. They are used for romantic and sexual purposes. Some people like to just cuddle with them while others like to do a whole lot more! Lol

The girl ones are very pretty!  

Some people think it’s freaky that people purchase these but whatever floats your boat! No judgment here! Lol 😀 

Fun fact: The phobia of mannequins and other inanimate objects intended to represent sentient beings is called,
Automatonophobia (how it’s pronounced? I couldn’t tell you…).

It’s theorized that mannequins give many people the creeps because, socially, we expect each other to act and be a certain way and when someone seems “different” or not what is considered to be normal, we may not understand it and we often fear what we don’t understand. And mannequins resemble people but do not act like people or how we expect persons to act
. So they frighten people or just provoke a bit of anxiety for some. Also, they may remind some people of a corpse, which can be scary.

They are kind of creepy but I’m not freaked out by them or anything. They’re just plastic and wax and whatever other kind of material. I always loved ventriloquist dummies when I was little and even had one! I used to creep people out with him! Lol 

There are museums of dummies and wax figures and things! I would love to go visit! I don’t know of any in Philadelphia.
If you are in Philadelphia and are afficted with automatonophobia, that’s probably a good thing, as those museums are probably your worst nightmare. :-O

I hope your day/night is going great!


Much love to you! ❤

xoxo Kim

Supreme Unchanging Friend <3


“Kindness is not an act. It is a lifestyle ” 

Kindness can be an individual act but it can also evolve into a way of life if we work on it and practice. Recently, an incident inspired me to ponder this concept more and to write this. 

Someone on Facebook who I do not know and is not on my friend’s list and never was but is somehow still able to post on my content (which I don’t mind, I welcome everyone into my world, lol) has been writing uncalled for comments/messages  to me somewhat recently. She has done this months ago, disappeared, and then came back. It’s nothing completely vicious, no personal insults, but definitely sarcastic and utterly pointless. She posts these unpleasant comments on/sends these messages about multiple things I post/share, I share lots of inspirational posts which I know do not resonate with everyone but can apply to people in general, stuff like “kindness is best not just when it’s convenient but as a way of life” and quotes by Buddha and other enlightened/wise people, just various positive things by various people, and she posts things like “yeah because that’ll really work!” implying that it won’t and “yeaaah, I think I’ll just leave this advice at the curb…” “uhh good luck with that one!” “hmm, can’t wait to see where this one gets you!” “ugh! You mean people really feel this way?!”  “no. I think i’ll just put ME first!” “let’s see where all that kindness gets you in life…”


I’m just paraphrasing but this is basically what she writes to me. And as you can see, it really has no substance and no purpose or so it seems to me. 

 And she writes hostile insults about Buddhist people and Buddha and disagrees with the concept of universal love, which is definitely ok.
There’s nothing at all wrong with debating against a religion or philosophy or disagreeing but there’s no need for nonsensical, intentional insults or pointless bitter sarcasm. Some people are a fan of that but I’m sure as hell not! 

 She doesn’t just comment about Buddhist posts but on various ones. She advocates for always putting ourselves before everyone else. And while I disagree, it’s ok that she feels that way and disagrees with me. And ok that she states her opinions. Her opinions are no less worthy of being heard than my own.
She has no less of a privilege/right to state her opinions than I do.  And I’m not preachy or wanting to annoyingly lecture people.

 And I won’t always be right. I welcome different views. Even the ones I find less than appealing. 

But there’s no need to have a flippant mouth/tone. If we insist on posting on like every thing someone shares or writes just to disagree and sending messages to people just to criticize, we can at least have a more pleasant tone and cut out the sarcasm, which I don’t care for.  

Also, I really don’t see the point posting on stuff like this and sending e-mails/messages just to disagree unless we have something valuable to contribute. In my opinion, sarcasm, just to get at someone, is not valuable. By valuable, I mean having an effective or positive outcome or intention, helping someone see different points of views, challenging people to grow…not just being a smartass for the hell of it. I really don’t see the point. It doesn’t mean there isn’t one, I just don’t see it. 

I know we may have different ideas of the word “positive” and the word “valuable” and on different occasions, in different contexts, the concept of each word can shift or change. I am aware of that. But this is my concept of the words in this case.

Because her comments/messages are usually just one sentence sarcastic remarks, I usually ignore it because really what else can someone write back that would be constructive? It’s not like she’s debating with me and also being sarcastic and I can just ignore the sarcasm and debate with her in a civil way. It’s all it is is shallow sarcastic remarks. So there’s really not much to say. Maybe she’s stressed out or something and for whatever reason uses my Facebook account to blow off steam. Maybe my sappy love posts and public settings are inviting and she sees it as a safe place to relieve stress or anger by spewing sarcastic remarks? 
I’m understanding of that. And if it really is helping her in some deeper way than just trying to tick me off, I welcome it with open arms. It’s ok if she reduces her stress or anger at the expense of my account. That’s why I post things and write, to help people!  If anyone at all wants to use my inbox, comments section here, or on fb, or e-mail to vent and relieve stress or anger, or whatever and go off, please go ahead! I’m here to listen/read or just let you vent without judgment!  But I really don’t know what her deal is. 

“Kindness is the sunshine in which virtue grows.” ~
Robert Green Ingersoll


I definitely wanted to write something rude back to her but that goes against everything I stand for. It was tempting after a while but I resisted. Also, how hypocritical would it be of me to post something unkind to someone on a post about being kind to everyone even when they do not deserve it! Lmao, the irony! But it sure was tempting! It would have actually been super hilarious because of how ironic it would be.  I was almost tempted to, just to be funny. Lol (like one day ages ago, when I wrote a blog post bragging about how I learned to put many pictures in one post and no pictures showed up after I hit the publish button! I was about to change it and put the pictures back on but I decided to keep it with no pics just because it was really funny and ironic how I said about all the pics on it, then NONE appeared! ) 

My main problem wasn’t just that she posted a rude comment but that she posted multiple ones and not once posted anything constructive or positive and the same for a few months ago when she appeared. It was like she just wanted to be an annoyance. 

I thought about writing something sarcastic but in a very subtle way. Something not obviously aggressive but gets my displeasure across to her in an implicit unkind way. But then I realized that’s also vicious and not loving. 

I began to have compassionate thoughts about her, at first forced. “Fake it ’til you make it!” it’s not really being “fake” but a genuine attempt to evolve into deeper compassion. It doesn’t mean being kind to someone’s face then bashing that person in a gossipy way later to someone else or on an fb status or blog post. 

I was a bit annoyed at her one night before falling asleep, but forced myself to have loving thoughts for her. It can be so hard! Not as hard for me as for some because along with being naturally inclined to being loving and overly easy going even when people are being difficult, I am a mindful, intentional universal love practitioner and Lovingkindness meditator. But it can still be difficult sometimes.  But I forced it while also admitting in my own head that I am displeased.

This is not repression or being “fake” but practicing Lovingkindness to become genuinely more loving and kind to everyone, all living, sentient beings, everywhere.

 Then I woke up and felt nothing but warm compassion and love for her. I realize she’s prone to suffering and death, loss and pain and tragedy just like me. Just like everyone.  At any moment she can be struck with an illness, a bullet, a cluster headache, a heart attack…just like I can and then will any of the nonsense matter anymore? Why not love her instead?

 She was once an innocent baby and will at one point be a very old person who is even more susceptible to unpleasant circumstances like disease, death, pain… And just like me, she has hopes, happiness, concerns, goals, dreams, interests, joy, love….a life and a breath. A story. A song. A name. 

This deepened my compassion even more. Her suffering and pain is no less than mine and her happiness and wellbeing are no less important than mine. I realized I do not want to inflict any kind of anger, unhappiness, pain, annoyance..or whatever, upon her with rude comments back even if she wants to inflict any of that upon me. And if she’s a troll who was merely pursuing negative attention in return for hers then it would just be perpetuating it. That ultimately does no good in my opinion.  And if she’s suffering or stressed and is taking it out on my account then she needs love, not rudeness back. 

“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” ~
Og Mandino

I was able to take advantage of this amazing experience to strengthen my habit/way of life/philosophy to always be kind even in the face of the unkindness and bitterness of others. It was the perfect opportunity to “practice what I preach.” 

She challenged me and the way of life that I advocate for and try to live, not just with her opposing views but the way she chose to go about stating her views, by actually acting in an unpleasant way, actually BEING an example, tempting me to give in and give up on my philosophy of life.

 It’s usually harder to be kind and loving when someone is actually being rude and bitter than when the person is just opposing my views with views I find to be distasteful. And it’s so much harder to be kind and loving when a person in reality is being rude and bitter than just an imaginary scenario in my head. I can think in my head and write/say that if people act rudely I will still be kind but when I am faced with the situation for real, not just in my head, in theory, in writing, or in imagination, it is usually much harder. She’s not the first person I have encountered who acts rudely in person or online. And she won’t be the last.  So each unpleasant seeming encounter I experience can be my teacher and my chance to practice universal Lovingkindness. 

This opportunity is so convenient and so “perfect,” it briefly occurred to me that she may have actually intentionally been trying to teach me, challenge me, help me strengthen, test my life philosophy by acting this way. It’s a kind of irony that she may have noticed if she’s exceptionally wise. I don’t think it’s the case though, it just crossed my mind. I know that many years ago, I used to argue against some people’s views, like political, religious, or philosophical, who I completely agreed with just to try to strengthen both of our arguments. They did not know I actually agreed with them and was just acting. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, it’s kind of shady and seems a bit trollish, maybe? But it did help my debating skills and maybe theirs. 

But she probably wasn’t doing this. 

I am very thankful for the experience and deeper wisdom I have come to experience as a result of this encounter with this person. She is my teacher. And I really do have compassion and love for her. Not in a way to provoke her to be unhappy, to “kill with kindness” in a passive aggressive way just because I know she doesn’t want my kindness and love. She seems to be an advocate for aggression and hostility so she may not appreciate my love. But because that’s what I am and want to continue to be and be even better and better at. I won’t intentionally use my love to annoy her by expressing it to her.  I’m ignoring her but in my head I wish the best for her and if she ever comments something that seems worth responding to, even if I disagree or it’s negative or rude, I will be pleasant in my response, not aggressive in an explicit or subtle way. I’m not going to sarcastically, excessively, “kill with kindness” but actually BE kind. She may or may not like it but I can’t help what she likes or not. It’s not my place to control her and I don’t want to anyway. I will not intentionally try to annoy her. It’s all I can do. 


I don’t judge people negatively, who disagree with my Way and think it’s better to lash out at those who are rude or post/say uncalled for things. It’s true I advocate for and try to live with kindness as a way of life but I still am compassionate and usually understanding for those who hold other views and live differently. Not always, I make mistakes too and do/say things that are better not said or done. 

Sometimes when people hold certain views or live certain ways, they try to make others who disagree or live differently, feel unsettled or try to act like their morals are above everyone else’s. Have you ever met a “health freak” who only consumes organic food and works out like everyday and tries to make you feel like a lazy slob for not exercising and for eating junk all day? Or a vegetarian who tries to make you feel like you are less compassionate than that person is or like you are cruel for eating meat? Or a pro life advocate who acts like s/he lives with better morals than you or is more loving or trustworthy than you if you’re pro choice or had an abortion? Or acts like you’re a murderer? Lol Or a pro choice advocate who tries to intimidate you into thinking you are cruel or anti-woman or not for equality or women’s rights if you are pro life? Or like you’re a selfish control freak who tries to run people’s lives? Or a prudish person who acts like you live a very immoral life if you’re promiscuous? Or a very educated person with an advanced school degree who arrogantly acts like you or your education or lack of education is/are inferior to that person? Or a religious person who acts like that person is somehow above you with better morals and is more trustworthy than an atheist or a condescending atheist who acts like s/he is more intelligent or reasonable than you if you are a person who believes in g/ods? Or a person with a lot of money who acts like s/he’s better than those with less? Or a working class/jobless person who tries to guilt trip you for having money and having fun with it and having three family cars while “kids in Africa are starving?” or a Republican/Conservative who thinks you’re a barbarian with no morals and no brain  if you’re a Liberal. Or a Democrat/Liberal who claims you’re a heartless, sexist, racist, fascist, homophobic monster who only cares about rich people and corporations, or parents who act superior to other parents who bring up their kids differently…

Certainly not all people in the groups I mentioned above do this but some do and it can be awkward to be around them when they act superior like this. 
And it can be awkward even being around them when they aren’t like this because we may assume they are judging us for having opposing views or a different way of living. 

“Kindness is a gift everyone can afford to give.” 


Some people may become defensive and angry around them and some may feel that they have to justify their own lifestyle or views over and over or like they have to conceal it around certain people.

I am a vegetarian (for the animals, not for me) and have been for over a decade but I’m not going to throw ketchup on your fur coat or throw fire into science labs and throw wet dog food all over the cars of scientists who test on animals and I’m not going to assume I am more compassionate or love animals more than meat eaters. And I won’t go all apeshit if you eat a real hotdog in front of me. I have had people tell me sorry over and over for not being a vegetarian or for eating meat while in my presence even when I wasn’t saying a word or even thinking something negative about those people. Who the hell am I that I must be apologized to or have to have things justified to me? Lol And sometimes I have felt a bit guilty even though I wasn’t intentionally trying to make them feel uncomfortable or guilty. 

 I usually never even tell people anymore that I don’t eat meat unless it comes up somehow. When I was a girl and very young woman, I did used to be in people’s faces with my vegetarian views and other views and I was arrogant about it, and then I grew up, fortunately. 
Some occasions I was the arrogant one trying to inflict guilt and anger on others and other occasions I was the one feeling the need to justify my views and say “sorry” just for being a certain way.  
But usually, neither one of those is necessary for any of us.

No matter what side of an issue we support or how we live, someone can make us out to be a monster or to be dumb or say horrible things about us. Even if we’re not so bad. Some opinions really do suck. And some opinions probably are better left unstated even though we have the right/privilege to state them, it doesn’t mean we have to. 

 But really none of us are better no matter what our views are or way of living is like. I’m not better than people who do what I mentioned above. I understand that many of us do often feel that our way of living, our lifestyle, our views…are best, that’s why we live and believe how we do. But we don’t have to act like we are better than anyone else. We can judge opinions or actions without judging the person as a whole. Judging isn’t necessarily wrong. It’s how we go about it that matters, in my opinion. But of course, I’m not telling people how they should live or act or talk or be. I’m just sharing  my opinion and giving suggestions. People can give me suggestions as well! It’s good to help each other open to different ideas. 

“Be polite to others, not because they are polite but because you are.” ❤


I may be going off on a bit of a tangent but somehow I feel that it ties into my original topic. When I was writing about not judging and about being kind, I felt that it may be coming off as preachy and that isn’t my intention so I got into all that. 

I never want anyone to feel awkward around me if we have different views or ways of living. I don’t even want people who tend to act overly judgmental sometimes, like the ones I mention above, to feel awkward around me because I advocate for being not too judgmental. Also, like I said, I myself have done some of the things above. I learn more and more each day and practice more and more to be as loving as I can be. Like the Buddha, as mentioned in the Buddhist Liberating prayer (http://kadampa.org/buddhism/prayer-to-buddha), I want to be a “supreme unchanging friend” and “love all beings without exception” no matter what. And I will practice and learn and love as much as I can. 

I love the idea of “supreme unchanging friend.” Imagine having a friend you know without a doubt will be right here waiting to warmly embrace you no matter what you do or have done, a friend who will never judge you as the person you are even when you are wrong, stupid, cruel, even if you do something terrible to that friend. A person who will help guide you in life, in a loving way, not a condescending way, maybe judge your actions if they are seriously detrimental but never you. 

You can “steal” her/his husband, stab him/her in the back, betray that person, disappear for years, kill someone, even try to kill that friend! But s/he will be right here waiting with open arms when you want to come home again! She’ll meet you anywhere at any part of the day. She’ll answer your phone call at 4:00 in the morning, drive or take a bus to meet you across the city at 10:00 at night, miss a day of work to sit and soothe you when you are in pain, hug you when you are lonely, take you out for lunch when you’re having a bad day even if you just said cruel insults about her or betrayed her in some way…

There’s only one thing in this life I want more than to have a friend like that. That one thing is to BE that friend to others. And “friend” doesn’t necessarily have to mean a personal friend you hang out with but just someone who is always here when you want someone. This friend can be a teacher, a family member, an acquaintance, a neighbor, a homeless person, a religious person who teaches you, a monk or nun, a rabbi, or priest or minister, a coworker, your mamma,…. anyone.
Mothers in general and pets are inherently like this. We can look up to them. 

Many people see this friend as a pushover who is stupid or naive and let’s people get over on her/him. But it runs deeper than that. It’s about true love, not about fear or longing or need or attachment. It’s not about being too stupid to realize or fear of saying no or needing to be accepted by the ones who call on us.  It’s about genuine love for others. Selfless love with absolutely zero expectations. 

I hope you have that friend but even more, I hope one day you will BE that friend to others or at least just to one person. And even if we can’t or won’t be this way to this extreme, at least maybe we can keep reminding ourselves that it’s better to be kind than to be shown kindness, sweeter to love than to be loved, greater to accept, understand, and help than to be accepted, be understood, and be helped.
It’s better to be betrayed than to betray, better to be bullied than to be the bully. Better to be stabbed in the back than to be the backstabber. Better to trust and then be deceived or broken or betrayed than to never trust or take chances. Better to love and be crushed than never love. 

We can’t control what others are and do, say, or think, and it’s not our place to anyway. But we can help what we are and what we do, and I hope we will all be the best we can be in each moment and forgive ourselves and each other when we’re not. 


Some occasions it may be better not to be “soft” or “warm” but to be more assertive and to say what people may not want to hear. To stand our ground, say no, and criticize in a constructive way even if people are angry. The Buddhist concept of “offering the victory,” letting others often be “right” even when they aren’t and giving in, letting everyone else go first, it’s a great way to live in general but sometimes, at least in my opinion, we do have to speak up and be more assertive, maybe even a bit aggressive at some points, but that’s not necessarily unkind or rude. Sometimes “a kick in the ass” and clearly saying “NO!” is more compassionate than warmth and giving in. But often, I think gentleness is good. ❤

If we want to see more kindness, love, and light around us and all over the world, let’s BE kindness, love, and light everywhere we are. 
It likely won’t change the entire world but it will be a start and at least put a little bit more light around us and can inspire others to do the same. Even if we alone can’t change the whole uni-verse, we can change our own little corner of the world for the better and inspire others along the way. Then who knows?! Maybe together we CAN change the whole world for the better! 

I’m wishing you much love today & always and I hope you’re having a lovely day or night wherever you are! ❤


Xoxo Kim ❤

Befriending our emotions


“Life isn’t about learning how to weather the storm. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”~Vivian Greene

I read a novel, which I posted about last week, called “First Do No Evil” by Dr. Carey Baldwin, medical doctor and author, wife, mother, and with quite a few advanced degrees! She writes mystery books. The books are part of a series but can also be read individually. They’re mostly about doctors, usually a thirty something year old woman with a painful past who is now in some sort of trouble, like being stalked or the target of murder/homicide attempt, who meets a man who tries to help her and they begin to fall in love. The books are full of mystery, adventure, and romance. The characters are of substance and the stories are fascinating, page turners. Dr. Baldwin, the author of this book, former clinical psychologist, and now a family medical doctor, is a hopeless romantic and a genius! So her novels include romance along with the thrilling mystery and adventure.  Her books are intended for adults, not appropriate for teenages, as they contain explicit sexual scenes and adult language/content, and physical violence, even murder. Some romance novels are hallow, with no depth, not much of a plot, but these ones are not like that. They are full of beauty and amazing life lessons. 


Here is one such lesson: 

“Above the clunking of snow chains, at last, Danny heard his phone. Grabbing it, he checked the display. It was the captain. His breathing grew ragged, and the hairs on the back of his neck lifted. Fear can do funny things to a man. It can paralyze his diaphragm and vocal cords so he can hardly breathe, so he can’t even manage to scream for help; or it can pump his muscles so full of adrenaline he can fend off an army of aliens. Fear can be a man’s worst enemy, or his best friend. Danny knew he had a choice. 
He chose friend.” 

This is a fantastic reminder of how seemingly negative or unpleasant emotions can serve a purpose if we allow them to. 

Guilt – can trigger us to make things right – it can inspire us to say sorry if we wronged someone, tell the truth, and avoid doing things to hurt others and be more mindful of our actions.

Anger – can fuel us or break us. When we get super angry about a certain issue or at a certain person, anger can trigger us to reach out to do something. Reach out not in a destructive way but in a productive way to help or to try to make things better. If we are angry about a political cause, for example, we can reach out in compassion and love to help, not give into the fury and react in a hostile way. Love and compassion can inspire us to act and so can anger and fury when we use it in a constructive way. 

Sadness – When we are sad, we can reach out to help or uplift others in similar situations. Our own sadness can deepen our empathy.  

Grief and loss– grief can help us in a similar way and can inspire us to build our lives into something better, we can become like new, use our grief to push us forward and rebuild ourselves while also reaching out in love and empathy to console others. 

Disappointment/sense of failure/frustration – teach us lessons and motivate us to work even harder. We can acquire/develop more skills along the way and use our experiences to help others. 

Pain of any kind can be our catalyst for positive change in general and can deepen our wisdom and strength and empathy. Pain can bring us to ruin and then we can take that ruin and become even better. Sometimes after experiencing severe pain of any sort, we can change our lives to be better in general than even before that pain. 


Jealousy – When we feel jealous that someone has something we don’t, that jealousy can inspire us to work harder for what we want or to work on ourselves to accept how we are instead of wanting what we cannot have. It can also provoke us to look within and see what is going on, to see what we feel is lacking or why we feel that way. Then we can become even better/stronger than before. 

Fear/panic – fear can pump us to act or trigger us to collapse and we can choose which to allow.

Unpleasant seeming emotions can inspire and motivate us to create, to build, to reach out, to survive. 

Depression, anxiety, chronic pain, illness…anything that seems negative or unpleasant can be our friend, our teacher, our motivation. 


Think about your unpleasant emotions. How have they helped you? How can they help you now and in the future? How can you use them to your advantage instead of letting them drag you down?  What can they teach you? Tapping into the wisdom of each experience and emotion is a skill that we can develop to be better. 


~Let pain make you better, not bitter.~

I’m wishing you much love and light today and always. I hope you are having a beautiful day or night wherever you are! ❤

Xoxo Kim 😀

Fear & Hunger


(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.


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.



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.


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!


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.


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.


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.



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.


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


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.


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.


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
nights, the suffocating loneliness, the paranoid delusions, the puddles of emotional sickness, we laugh relentlessly in raw joy and all is momentarily Ok.


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!


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.


(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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



Read “The Secret Garden” for free here:

Read “Ethan Frome” for free here:

Xoxo Kim

On pain {suicide headaches} & prevailing


(this photo is not mine; I found it on the Internet and it comes close to portraying the pain I’m about to describe here)





(me ❤ )

I have tmjd “cluster headaches.”
And I have been having them for three days now. They are excruciating beyond belief.
They are unbearable.
It is a nightmare but it’s real.
I keep feeling a kind of dread knowing another one is probably going to hit me any moment.
I had one at work last night and it’s the first one I ever had at work. It lasted less than an hour and luckily work was slow and I was alone so no one had to witness it. And while it was severe, unbearable even, it wasn’t the most painful one I ever had.
I wrote about them a while ago but never posted it yet.
Here it is. It may be filled with spelling/grammatical/punctuation errors, I wrote some of it while I was in severe pain and I edited some of it also while I was in pain.
It’s long, somewhat disorganized, and so exhausting.
But it’s my story with a lot of detail and I want to bring awareness to the horror of this rare kind of pain. And bring a sense of hope or comfort to those in need.
I don’t know if anyone will ever read it but it doesn’t matter, it will always be here in case anyone ever wants to.
It’s an agonizing story and it takes courage and strength to put into words.
I have found that courage and strength within me.
About these headaches…..
They, themselves, are not life threatening but they are so physically painful they can drive someone to contemplate or think of suicide, even attempt suicide, even when the person isn’t depressed. They are not common in people with my disorder, TMJD, but not unheard of. I can have them any season of the year but in Fall & Winter they’re more frequent.
Tis the season!

“TMJD cluster headache” Isn’t the diagnosis. Tmjd is and “cluster headache” is another disorder that tmjd can occasionally mimic.

As soon as the end of Summer is giving way to Fall, I’m bound to get those recurring “headaches” which are head attacks not mere aches. I don’t have them really frequently. Sometimes they’re frequent and sometimes they’re not. Usually not.

Tmjd or TMD stands for temporomandibular joint dysfunction. A temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a joint in our faces. We all have one as long as our body developed properly. TMJ is not a disorder. It’s a joint in the body. TMJD or TMD is the disorder. The D is for dysfunction. So many people call TMJD just TMJ as if that’s the disorder when really it’s just the facial/jaw joint most of us have. I have TMJD or TMD. My jaw joint doesn’t function properly and some nerve is struck or affected by it causing me severe, sometimes unbearable pain that can literally knock me to the ground. Literally.
TMJD, It’s not rare but thankfully it’s not real common that people have the severe pain and complications that I have with it.

It’s not exactly known what the cause is of tmjd but it can be hereditary or brought on by an accident or a blow to the jaw and there’s a nerve involved called the trigeminal nerve. I don’t know what the cause/s of mine is but there is someone with it on both my mom’s side and dad’s side of the family. I have never been in an accident or had a jaw injury. I had it since I was little but not nearly as bad or as frequently as now and wasn’t diagnosed until some years ago and as a young child, I did not have the horrific tmjd “cluster headaches” like now. TMJD is often under-diagnosed because it can be confused with migraine headache disorder and sinus and other problems, and for years I thought it was my sinuses acting up but worse than ever. I was at doctors offices and emergency rooms quite frequently in excruciating ear, head, and facial pain but when I grew up, it was fairly easy to diagnose because I have so many symptoms even when I don’t have any ear/sinus infection/cold.
Sinus problems can trigger a “cluster” flare up.

It can get better and worse. Symptoms can come and go or remain constantly in more seldom cases. Mine are almost constant but not always severe or cause me trouble. Symptoms can fluctuate mild to severe, back and forth. It causes temporary deafness, temporary voice loss, pain(which is my most difficult symptom to cope with) in the head, ears, shoulders, neck, back, teeth, jaw, face, it causes the jaw to temporarily lock open or closed, my jaw doesn’t line up properly and my teeth shatter easily, especially when I’m falling asleep and my jaw clamps closed, it causes a full feeling and other sensations in the ears, a popping, clicking, grating sound/feeling in the jaw, dizziness, ringing in the ears, it can make the roof of the mouth feel strange, and many, many more symptoms.

Tmjd can also feel like Trigeminal Neuralgia(TN), another excruciating disorder, one of the most painful disorders in the world. It’s even called “the suicide disease” because people sometimes kill themselves over the physical pain.

It causes sharp, shock-like bolts of pain through the face because the trigeminal nerve is aggravated. It is sometimes confused with my disorder because they can feel very similar if someone has tmjd very bad like I do. However, Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) has no other symptoms that tmjd has and TN tends to be more serious.

It can be awkward when I’m physically close to people I don’t know like on a bus and I get one of these horrific shock bolts going through my face, I can’t help but jump and gasp and no one knows why I would do that. Thankfully though, it’s not very frequent.

There’s a rare disorder called Cluster Headache (CH) which is one of the most painful conditions known to medical science. It’s actually said by some researchers to be THE most physically painful disorder in the world. It’s one of the four basic categories of headaches which are sinus, tension, migraine, and cluster. Cluster headaches are said to be the most devastating of all the headaches. It’s said to be more painful than amputation of part of the body without anesthesia, natural childbirth with no drugs, kidney stones, broken bones, and just about anything else you can think of. Women who have experienced both cluster headaches and painful childbirth say they would give birth every single day over having a cluster headache if they could.

I don’t have this exact disorder,(CH), but I have those kinds of headaches and three other(less severe and more frequent) kinds because of my jaw dysfunction which affects a nerve in the head, the trigeminal nerve and affects other parts of the head.

My tmjd “cluster headaches” don’t necessarily come in clusters like for people who have Cluster Headache (CH) where they have a cluster of headaches for weeks or months then can go into remission til the next cluster.
Mine can do that but they don’t necessarily.
Especially in Spring and Summer, I can just have one and not again for months.
There’s no known cure for my condition or for Cluster Headache (CH). And not all treatments are effective for everyone. Some people struggle finding treatment that works even just a little bit.

Cluster “headaches” are very different than migraine headaches and any other kind of headache. Cluster headaches are most common in Fall & Spring. Most people cannot be still or lay down with a cluster headache like with migraine or other pain. There’s no sleeping or resting with cluster headaches. Laying down tends to worsen the pain.

There are cluster headache sufferers who say they would take a whole month of severe migraine headaches every single day, all day over just ONE, fifteen minute, cluster headache that month. A whole month of severe migraine headaches over just one fifteen minute cluster headache!

That’s how bad it is. When someone would choose one whole month of excruciating pain over just a couple hours or even minutes of another kind of pain, you know the other kind of pain is to a ridiculous, unimaginable level.

Cluster Headache sufferers can have less severe pain, called “shadow pain”, in remission intervals. It can still be quite painful.

I don’t know if my condition, TMJD, causes/triggers literal/actual “cluster” headaches, like cause the exact headaches even though I don’t have the actual disorder, or if the headaches just feel the same.
But they are fucking EXCRUCIATING.
Like you just can’t believe.

The nature of tmjd is different than the nature of CH so it’s possible that treatment for ch would not work for me if I tried it.

Someone can have both disorders and they can trigger each other.
I don’t have migraine headache disorder but can have similar headaches as people who have it. They are painful hassles. I usually have to lay down when I have them. They can be debilitating too. In a different way.
Cluster headaches are much more devastating but I can still get up and do things when I’m not collapsing and screaming. I have to get up and do things; I just can’t be still. But with migraine-like headaches I have to lay down.

Sometimes I can probably physically work better with a cluster headache than a migraine one. Because with cluster-like headaches I’m always on the go. And I have to try to distract myself which seems near impossible to do.

People ask sometimes what’s the difference with a migraine and cluster headache. The symptoms and pain level are the difference. And I occasionally see photos and statuses posted by people who are currently experiencing a migraine headache telling everyone about their pain. “This is me laying in bed with a migraine headache!” Not everyone with them can do this but some do. When I’m having one of those dreadful cluster-like headaches I can never even think about posting a status or picture just for fun or to notify everyone, of “me having a tmjd cluster headache.” Totally not happening.

There’s absolutely no desire and social media doesn’t even exist anymore to me when I have one. All I can focus on is surviving one minute to the next. Holding on for my life and my sanity. It’s an urgent feeling. Some people do post videos of themselves having a cluster headache or a photo so people can see what it looks like for educational purposes and to help deepen the empathy of people who aren’t aware of the immensity of the pain. But no one does this for fun or just for the hell of it. One side of the face gets messed up. Whichever side the pain is on. My face sometimes swells up and the eyeball waters and nose runs or gets stuffed.

Nothing I ever felt comes close to the level of pain as the tmjd “cluster headaches.” Nothing.
It’s not completely understood how my condition works. But like I stated earlier, a nerve is involved, the trigeminal nerve, which innervates the TMJ.

These disorders, migraine, tmjd, cluster headache, and TN are all excruciating, devastating disorders that wreak havoc on people’s lives.

People with Cluster Headache (CH) sometimes say they get frustrated when they say they have cluster headaches and someone responds with “I have/had those” when really the person has no idea. If you ever have a cluster headache because of CH or a tmjd “cluster headache” because of tmjd, you won’t EVER forget that experience as long as you live. It will forever be etched upon your brain, scarring you for life. Even if you only ever had one of those headaches in your whole life for fifteen minutes and never again. You would be changed forever.

It’s like nothing else I have ever felt.
Like nothing you can even imagine.
Even some people with my condition, tmjd, who tell me they know what it’s like really don’t because they don’t have the cluster-like headaches. Severe tmjd related pain is not the same as the unbearable tmjd “cluster headaches.” Most with tmjd don’t get them. No matter how severe it gets, it’s not that. Tmjd can cause someone bone deep, soul shattering pain, unbearable pain, I know, I have that too now and again and it’s devastating but it is NOT anywhere near as bad as cluster headaches and tmjd “cluster headaches.”

I have pain that makes me want to escape my body, crawl out of my flesh it hurts so bad and as bad as it is, it’s not to the level of pain that cluster headaches and tmjd “cluster headaches” are.

These headaches can come on suddenly without warning. Last for hours then end just as abruptly as they began. In an instant.

Imagine someone slicing the back of your head open and ripping your eyeball out of its socket.
These kinds of headaches themselves won’t kill us as if our heads were really sliced but they are said to feel like that, like someone gauging our eyeball out through the back of the head.

When one of those headaches attacks me, I can’t see how I ever cared about anything else in this life. I can’t see how I ever cared that someone made a rude remark or looked at me the wrong way. I can’t believe I ever cared what people thought or said about me or what grades I got in school or what job I will have. I can’t believe I was ever disappointed over what now seem to be trivial things. I can’t believe I ever wondered what someone thinks of me. I can’t believe I ever cared about any concerns I once had. I can’t believe I ever thought anything else I experienced, physically, was really pain. Because next to this pain, everything else I felt is nothing. Just nothing.

When one of those is attacking I don’t care if I lose my job or become homeless. I have just about no fear other than fear of that pain. And this pain scares me. When one of these attacks begin I am frightened to the point my mouth dries up and my heart pumps quickly and my body feels the urge to run as fast as I can as if a murderer is chasing me with a pickaxe. And it feels like the murderer is hitting me over and over in the head and eye with that pickaxe, splitting my head, slicing through my brain, but I just can’t die. Like a woodpecker pecking away at my temple non stop, pecking away at the last tattered shred of my sanity.

The pain is so bad it’s like being trapped in a box with nowhere to go, it’s a feeling of panic and there’s no way to escape. That feeling itself is scary. I can’t lay down or sleep or sit or do anything but scream and run. Sometimes I cannot even do that.

When those “headaches” attack, nothing else exists in this world. It’s just the pain and me. The pain is all consuming. It consumes my body, my mind, my very essence. It consumes every square inch of my existence. It’s blinding and terrifying. Blinding waves of despair washing over me. Everything else around me suddenly disappears as if it never was.

They come out of nowhere. Usually waking me out of sleep. There have been flare ups where I screamed through the night for hours ’til my throat was raw and I lost my voice and the sun came up. It’s pure torture and my heart speeds up just writing this. My body wants to crumble to the floor and shake just thinking about it. This pain threatens my sanity.

A few weeks ago, I woke up at 4:54 am with one. Luckily it did not last long, even a minute of this pain is too long, but this lasted less than usual, about 20 minutes, and it wasn’t the worst one I ever felt. But it was bad. Really, really bad. There are no words for how bad it was. But it wasn’t the worst.

None of these attacks are mild or moderate. They are all severe, unbearably severe, but some are more severe. They are all unbearable. All of them.
A few weeks ago when the one hit me, I wanted to run out into the street and crawl under a parked car and curl my body into a ball and hold myself. It’s a bizarre thought, it’s true, but pain to this level can make someone think bizarre things. And do bizarre things. This pain destroys me. It feels as if it can literally drive me to insanity. Not as an expression or figure of speech, the pain is at a level where I seriously wonder if I will lose my sanity. I don’t know if it’s possible to literally go insane over physical pain but I fear that it is.

These headaches shatter me, completely. They shatter every part of my being in every way possible. They shatter me physically, emotionally, every way there is to be shattered. I’m not saying this in a negative way at the moment, even though it is negative. I’m saying it as a matter of fact. They shatter every part of me. Every part of me. All I can think when I’m having one and even when I’m not is that it just makes no sense how such pain can possibly exist. I can’t make sense of it. How can someone’s body experience this kind of pain to this level and how can we keep surviving it? I don’t even know how I do.

To try to put into perspective how severe the pain is I ask someone to imagine the intensity level of having brain freeze. It’s the closest thing I can think of to use as a reference but cluster headaches are worse, still. You know the headache you get for like three seconds if you consume something cold too quickly? Imagine pain to that level and worse for HOURS, not merely a few seconds or even minutes. HOURS! Can you imagine brain freeze and worse for hours non stop?! Or even fifteen minutes?
Imagine how it must feel to have a hot poker stabbed into your eye socket and held there for hours.
Most people probably don’t know what it’s like to be literally stabbed through the eye socket with a hot poker and if they do they are probably dead so it may be hard to imagine. It’s somewhat unrealistic but many of us know what brain freeze is so it may be easier to draw on that.
Sharp, burning bolts of agony along with an agonizing ache, not a regular headache but an ache beyond any headache you ever felt, like a toothache and earache and sinus ache but much, much worse. Like my skull under pressure, more and more pressure like it is about to split. Like it’s about to explode.
It’s just building up as each second goes by.
Like someone poking something through my ear closer and closer to my eardrum until it touches and presses and it’s about to burst. Like my temple being drilled.
Like an explosion in my head.
Like my teeth being pulled with no anesthesia and all the nerves exposed are being pinched constantly with tweezers.

How can anyone handle pain to that level for so long and recurring? I don’t know how I do or how anyone does. And there are people who experience this every day. Instead of having episodes and then remission for a while, they have the chronic kind. Every single day. No remission.

Imagine the pain of your eyeball being scalded with something scorching hot. And someone pouring boiling water over your head and face on the one side. For hours. And then it finally ends. Then before you know it, it’s back.
Imagine a toothache or dental surgery with no pain meds and earache like your eardrum about to burst, multiplied by infinity. Like someone taking a long, sharp, pointed metal object and stabbing your eardrum over and over, relentlessly. For hours.

The pain seems worse than this.

It’s HELL! It’s beyond Hell. Immense sharp burning and throbbing ache. Non stop.
I’m not comparing this to a toothache saying it’s similar, it’s nothing at all like a toothache, that’s just part of it, “toothache” pain.
And it can end then begin again right away! Over and over for days/weeks/months.
Mine usually only last for days but even that is too much. Just one is way too much.

It’s worst than a kidney stone. I know because I had a kidney stones. And kidney stones are excruciating. I would take a kidney stone every single day of m ver these headaches any day. It’s worse than post-surgical pain. I know because I had emergency surgery on my kidney/bladder when my kidney was enlarged and almost ruptured and the pain pills wore off way too quickly and the post surgical pain felt unbearable until I was able to take the pills again. It felt like the stent in my kidney and my bladder was made of barbed wire and cutting my kidney and bladder to shreds. Whenever I would move and sometimes even just lay, I felt my kidney and urinary bladder being sliced. And cluster headaches and tmjd cluster headaches hurt worse than that!
Also, even with the severe kidney and bladder pain I did not feel I would go literally insane if it wouldn’t go away. It was hard to handle but I wasn’t bordering on literal insanity. No other pain I ever felt, even the most severe ever made me believe I would go insane if it wouldn’t end.

My headaches used to be more of the severe ache than they tend to be now. The burning/sharp/stabbing gets worse now.

When I am struck with this pain, I am consumed in despair. The entirety of my being is consumed by this monstrous pain.
It’s like I want to run, run, literally run and crawl out of my body to escape the madd horror.

It is the worst physical pain I have ever felt in the history of me. The worst physical pain I will ever feel.

Someone can physically torture me any way imaginable for hours, stick pins under my fingernails, rip my fingernails out with nothing to numb the pain, rip my teeth out, and it won’t feel worse than these “headaches.”

They are the ones that wake me in the middle of the night where I jump up screaming hysterically. My mom gets frustrated and angry saying I have to stop because it sounds like I’m being murdered.
They are debilitating and occur on the one side of my face and head. There are no words to describe it. The word “ache” doesn’t quite cut it.
Sharp, burning/squeezing/throbbing/aching/stabbing throughout my face, eye, head, ear, and temple, sometimes radiating down my neck into my shoulder blade, I can have it on either side on different occasions but it’s usually the left. Almost always the left side. But in the last couple years, I now can experience it on the right. It never comes on both sides at once.
Lately it has been occurring on the right side. For these last three days, it’s the right.

People with Cluster Headache (CH) describe it as feeling like a hot poker being driven through the eye stabbing over and over and over or being held in the eye socket for hours on end. It can also be described as an “ice pick” headache. Those descriptions sound about right, to me.
It’s so traumatic and immense and even when they end, I am traumatized. Just thinking about them later can traumatize someone even when there’s currently no pain. It’s frightening. It’s horrifying to know someone can hurt so much.

For as long as they remain there’s no break in the middle. It doesn’t let up for even a few seconds. It goes on and on and on(even escalating) with no relief til it finally ends until the next flare up which may be right after it ends or not until months/weeks later.

I usually have pain in the middle of the severe attacks(usually mild to moderate), sometimes unbearably severe(usually not though) but less severe than the tmjd cluster head attacks.

Cluster headaches can last up to three hours then end and another can begin right away.

Cluster headaches are also known as “suicide headaches” and for good reason! They drive people to contemplate and even attempt/complete suicide because the physical pain is literally unbearable in the moments they occur. Imagine physical pain that is to a level that can make an otherwise healthy, non mentally ill person consider suicide not because of mental illness, depression, or necessarily because the physical pain is frequent but because just minutes of a kind of pain to that level is just unimaginable, unbearable.

The tmjd cluster headaches I have sometimes drive me to consider suicide just to end the physical pain right then. Not every little thing makes me want to kill myself, this is just so bad. I don’t seriously think about killing myself when I have them as much as I used to though, when they’re occurring. I know better now that killing myself is not the way to go. I will endure the pain until it ends. I will be strong and keep going. I know I can. In my head when it’s occurring I just keep thinking or saying out loud, “I can’t take this anymore” or “I can’t go on, I just can’t…” but now more I often keep telling myself “I CAN go on, I CAN conquer this, I am stronger than this pain…”

I am stronger. I really am. This is what I have been telling myself yesterday, the day before, and today to cope with this. I’m not having one right this minute but I’m still in excruciating pain. I wrote most of this a while ago and just fixing it up to post. The feeling that I feel this moment is brokenness.

When I think about killing myself over this, it’s not like a depressed kind of suicidal when I have those thoughts like “my life is so horrible, I’m so worthless…” It’s like “I literally cannot take another second of this throbbing, stabbing, pounding, squeezing, aching, burning through my face, head, eye, temple, ear….”

It’s like my head being in some sort of torture chamber.

Like invisible bullets one after the other, blasting through my temple.

I’m telling you it’s cruel and relentless. It is callous and no one deserves it.

When I have them I think maybe the pain itself will kill me or knock me out. To be knocked out would be a blessing.

But it never happens.

Instead I am forced to endure it while remaining conscious and fully aware of what is happening to me. When we have these, we cannot possibly sleep or lay still. Almost no one with these can remain still.

Unlike some migraine headaches, they usually come on without warning and unlike migraine headaches, we can’t stay in bed with cluster or tmjd “cluster headaches.” It’s impossible to be still. And laying down worsens the pain. They’re not just an achy, sickly, headache; they’re like sharp and stabbing. Blasting. And for almost everyone who experiences them, they are not accompanied by nausea and vomiting like with migraine headaches for many people. I don’t know what to do with myself when I have them. I keep thinking over and over “How much more can my body endure? How much more am I expected to take? HOW MUCH MORE?!?!?!?!?”

I become furious and devastated. And I literally just don’t know what to do or how much more I can take when I’m having one. I want to run to one end of the Earth and back again, I have thoughts like this that just make no sense when I have these headaches. I feel trapped and I don’t know if I should run outside or run into the street or bang my head against a wall or collapse to the ground or floor and scream. I just don’t know. I have done all of this at one point.

I want to scream and so b (not crying sobs as I do not cryobsabit things and break anything I can get my hands on. I am in complete and utter despair when I am struck.
Despair. And I can’t sink any lower.
Sometimes when I think about it later, it’s so unfathomable I almost want to laugh out of disbelief. It’s just like how can this be?

Sometimes all I can do is hold on physically. Hold on to a railing, a sink, the bars on my bed or on a bus…anything. Just hold on, literally. It’s all I have sometimes.

If you ever saw me having one, it would probably look like I’m having some kind of convulsions at some points and going completely insane at other points. And you would probably be petrified. Some poor strangers have already witnessed it and probably thought I was insane. And I kind of was. This pain will drive even the most mentally stable person to near insanity.
I sometimes run up and down stairs and pace, slamming doors, screaming, drop to the floor, collapse with my face in my hands, and shake violently, clawing at my face and eye. Smacking things with my hands, throwing my body against things, slapping myself hard all over my body.
I twist my body in ways it’s not meant to be twisted, like one possessed.
And it is a kind of possession. Not a demonic one but we are possessed by this cruel, unrelenting force just stabbing and pounding at our brains non stop, unforgiving. There are much better ways to handle the pain than this. I’m still learning.

I used to intentionally inflict pain upon other parts of my body to try to take the focus off my face and head. It never worked.
Sometimes I was afraid to touch my face for fear of making it worse and I would hit myself in other places or hit other things and sometimes the pain was so bad I would be in a panic just hitting my head and face over and over with my hands or a soda bottle or anything I could reach.

These “headaches” seem to reduce me to half the woman I am. They take away all of my knowledge and awareness of just about everything. All I can think of is how to survive and not lose every ounce of sanity I still posses.

I become some sort of feral being, something uncivilized, a sort of barbarian when they hit.
I become crazed and mad.
They push me to do things I never thought I could do and be something I never thought I could be, think things I never thought I could think, they unleash in me some kind of maniac. I can’t always scream or cry or sob but I feel like it. I want to watch things break and shatter, I want to throw and destroy objects, I want to scream until my throat is raw, I want to break through walls with just my body. I want scream and scream until I collapse into the ruin that was once me, until there’s nothing left of me. I did used to scream through the night until my voice became non existent and my throat hurt and my mouth tasted like blood and I had to gasp for air. But sometimes I can’t scream. I can’t scream or cry or sob. All I can do is sink into my despair and writhe and keep going until it ends. Keep going and going and going. Keep going. I am greater than this pain.

It is unfathomable, incomprehensible. Unspeakable. And it makes no sense. I couldn’t dream up this kind of torment in my wildest nightmare. But somehow my reality has found a way.

This screaming, this pacing and hitting, kicking, slapping, collapsing and taking violent fits, pawing at my head is not uncommon in people with these kind of headaches. This kind of pain and to this level is not at all common but like I said, not completely unheard of. Some people may be tempted to say acting like this is an exaggeration but there’s no exaggerating with this kind of pain. It’s never an exaggeration. It can never be an exaggeration.
And if you have ever felt it, you know.
I can learn to handle the pain better than this, be more calm, and I’m working on it. Some people with CH have learned how to remain calm and find that it helps them.

People say if you’re in so much pain you want to stay in bed. This is true for migraine headaches(and some other pain). They are sickly headaches and staying in bed is required, moving can make them even worse and increase/provoke nausea and vomiting for some people. But cluster and tmjd “cluster headaches” are something else.
The word “headache” is deceiving. There may be an ache involved but it’s not an ache that most people have felt. It’s worse than a backache and pulled muscle, worse than a pinched nerve. It’s not the ache you may be thinking of.

It’s like being in another dimension. Like an unearthly kind of pain. Something that can’t possibly exist in our world but it does. It’s like I want to claw at some walls of pain confining me to another world where nothing exists but an aching, throbbing, stabbing, burning kind of agony, I want to claw and break through to the world I knew the second before the pain hit, the second before my entire world crumbled and came crashing down on top of me. But all I can do is writhe, shake….and desperately hope it will soon end. They are mind blasting, out of this world headaches. They are so bad that if they were dramatically reduced, mitigated to just half the pain they are now, they would still be utterly, hopelessly unbearable. I know this because I have experienced ones which are way less intense, way less agonizing but still quite agonizing and still extremely difficult to handle. It is impossible to be still. It’s just anguish.

Years ago, during one, I came close to killing myself one early morning before the sun came up. I wasn’t depressed. Not depressed at all. I was actually happy before the pain hit. I recently went shopping for new clothes, hats, and stuff and couldn’t wait to try them all on again. Then it came out of nowhere, this cruel, callous, torturous pain that made no sense. I felt it before and assumed it was a sinus complication although it’s much worse. I woke up early in the morning in anguish. I screamed and screamed for hours. I held my head in my hands and held the bars on my bed and I screamed and paced and ran up and down the stairs and thought I was dying.

I fell to the floor screaming and pounded the floor with my hands endlessly until I felt I literally could take not a second more and I decided I had to end my life. Like I said, this is not a depressed kind of suicidal. But it’s still dangerous. I was recently at a doctor’s office for it, back then. But it got worse. I am someone who hardly ever goes to doctors offices or hospitals, especially if I know what is wrong with me or think I know and think nothing can really be done.
I have been to doctors for this pain on various occasions and was told I probably have sensitive sinuses and given nasal treatments which did nothing for me.
I have to be near death or in agony, usually, to go get medical treatment and believe I can be helped. Not because I’m afraid of medical things, I just think it’s a hassle all the waiting and stuff and I don’t always have money or health insurance.

That morning, I looked around at all the stuff that made me happy just a short while earlier, new clothes I bought, makeup, my phone…and it hurt me that I felt I had to die. Especially because it wasn’t a depressed suicidal pain and I wasn’t empty or experiencing lack of pleasure in things. Depressed suicidal is so different. I was happy and hopeful before the physical anguish and despair hit. I truly felt and believed that it would never end and that I just could not endure anymore. I slipped into dark, desperate despair I thought I couldn’t get out of. I got ready to go, my hands shaking, desperate. But I just couldn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to go through with it. So I stopped.

And I woke my mom and told her. Then, I was recently at a doctor’s office for the severe pain and treated for a sinus problem. But the severe pain I suffered wasn’t caused by a sinus condition, I believe it may have been triggered by a sinus cold/infection though. Sometimes they seem to be. Eventually the severe pain ended and I was thrilled. But it soon came right back and I slipped back into the darkest despair of my life other than the despair of depression. My mom called my doctor back and I went in for an emergency appointment. My ear felt like it was about to burst. My head and face felt like they were being crushed and split. My eye felt as if it was being ripped out of its socket. My jaw was locked. I couldn’t scream. I could hardly talk. It took all I had in me not to crumble while she was talking to me. But her voice was distant. It was just me and the pain. Nothing else could get through.

Her conversation with me seemed fractured. I was able to pick up on and understand some things but mostly I squeezed the bed thing I was standing against and tried so desperately not to scream or begin sobbing hysterically like notcryisng

U but gasps

or collapse to the floor. A girl in a room next to the room I was in, close to my age back then(about twenty-four/five years old), was in some kind of pain and she was crying and sobbing loudly. She kept saying she was so sorry for crying but it hurt so much. Her crying and sobbing was the only thing I could really understand then. It spoke to me in ways nothing else could. It was the only thing that made sense. I felt her, I felt her crying, her sobbing, her despair. She was describing something to the doctor, in her quivering voice, I can’t remember now but I felt myself in her words, in her voice, in her sobs. I felt sad for her and a strange, small, sense of comfort as well. Like someone understood me, deeply.
Also, there was a small child there that day who one of the medical assistants brought with her to work because she couldn’t find a baby sitter for her child. The little boy was giggling loudly and running around through the office, nothing but pure joy. A sharp contrast to my pure anguish and despair. It brought me a sense of joy even in my agony and I wished she would always bring kids to cheer people up but it’s kind of dangerous exposing a kid to germs and stuff. I found it in me to smile at him. Another small sense of comfort, a faint sliver of hope.

The doctor said there was no ear or sinus problem, no cold, no infection. That my pain and locked jaw was being caused by tmjd. Since I was having a severe episode right there, she got to see for herself, see it in action along with my history.
She told me about the categories of headaches and that it can feel like them all. She told me there’s no cure, no truly effective medical treatment, just home remedies to keep it under control. She said there was nothing she can do but explain things I can do to help myself. I thought the pain itself was going to kill me. I had no idea how I would live with this the rest of my days. I wanted to run out of there and collapse somewhere. I wanted to die. It ended again. Then began again.
Over and over for weeks. I struggled so hard to think about how I would survive.

I had my first very severe attack when I was twenty-four years old(although I had much less intense but still very bad ones before then, I remember waking up screaming in the middle of the night when I was fifteen years old with sharp stabbing, burning/achy pain on the left side of my face/head/eye and I cracked my head against the wall in my room near the doorway, because the pain was unbearable, I laid across the steps in my house with my legs and hands flailing into the night, moaning and writhing, and wanted to wake my mom, the next night I went to an emergency room and embarrassingly freaked out in there, throwing myself on the chairs, screaming, shaking chairs screaming about my sinuses while a few people watched in horror and disgust, clearly believing I was exaggerating. The doctors thought I had sinusitis and gave me antibiotics even though there was no sinus pressure or anything they could see like that. I had a runny nose and pain, watering eye on the left side, symptoms which are common in cluster headache, (CH) and sinus colds)

When people hear “sinus pain” it probably doesn’t seem real bad but this is unbearable and has some things in common with sinus pain. I never heard of it back then so I assumed it was my sinuses.

Four years ago, at age twenty-four years, I had no clue what hit me. It was a life-changing experience. I thought it was some complication of a sinus condition because I had no idea what else to think.

I never heard of cluster headaches back then or Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction /TMJD. And I had sinus colds since I was little and I know certain sinuses are in the face and can affect the head so I assumed it was something to do with that and that the burning in my eye and stuffy/runny nose was an infection. I remember writing on Facebook after the first very severe attack, that my life has changed and I never knew sinuses can hurt so much and that I truly never knew what pain is until this, that it completely obliterates anything else I ever thought of as physical pain.
I remember thinking that about post surgical kidney pain before I came to know the true horror of cluster/tmjd head pain.

I tried everything I could think of for sinuses, nasal spray, saline solution, all kinds of prescription and non prescription meds. During tmjd cluster attacks I would spray bottles and bottles and more bottles up my nose all night long hours upon hours, before I was diagnosed. Sometimes the burning seemed to get worse. I took handfuls of Tylenol, over the counter analgesic stuff, prescription pain killing pills that someone gave me, sleep medicine, oragel for my teeth, sore throat spray to try to numb everything, icy hot all over my head, neck, face, , vicks vapor rub, everything. I rubbed neosporin with pain relieving properties all over my teeth because they were aching so badly.

Nothing worked. Nothing touched the pain. Nothing kills that pain.

Pain like that doesn’t sleep.

Doctors often don’t like to prescribe pain medication for chronic pain conditions and I understand why, because many people struggling with addiction try to get them. This isn’t anyone’s fault in particular, it’s just how it is. Doctors usually want to do the best they can and people with addiction experience a heartbreaking struggle and they’re desperate. I know what it is to be desperate. Pain pills don’t work for this anyway. Except maybe to take a bit of the edge off sometimes. But I would take that over nothing during these attacks. I feel shattered by this pain.

I am so desperate and in complete despair when a headache like this or even ones not quite as severe but still unbelievably painful attack me. It’s so unbelievable and so mind blowing that something like this can exist.

I don’t understand it. And my insides shake at the knowledge. I have thoughts about and triggered by this pain that make little or no sense.

I never knew someone can hurt so much. I never knew pain to that magnitude can exist in someone. It doesn’t make sense to me how it’s even possible. I don’t know how anyone can experience pain like that and come out of it still standing. It makes me realize even more how fierce the human spirit really is, how fierce our will is. How truly fierce and strong we can be.

Even if I only ever experienced just one of those “headaches” and never again, my life would still be changed. Not in some tangible way, not necessarily in an inspiring way or in a positive or negative way or any way that can be explained in words, not a way I’m always conscious of, necessarily, those things come along with it but those aren’t the only aspects. It’s just that knowing this kind of pain exists in this life and especially knowing it directly and intimately, changes someone forever.
It shifts something inside me.
In some kind of quiet way, it changed me.

It’s heartbreaking to think how much suffering some people are forced to endure and there are those who have this pain frequently with very little or nothing to help because nothing works to stop it.


You may or may not know pain to such a level as this but maybe you can use your imagination to try to get some kind of idea if you never felt this. There’s no way to come close to really knowing though unless you felt it. It’s truly, literally unimaginable to those who have no clue.

It’s not as much the sensation or kind of pain you won’t understand but the magnitude or level of it. That is what no one will ever truly understand without feeling this. The pain level is indescribable. That’s why it’s extremely difficult to draw on your own experiences to empathize. No matter how many agonizing toothaches, surgeries, migraine headaches, kidney stones, pulled muscles in the neck and back someone has experienced, nothing can be used as a reference point for the level, extent of this pain. I don’t know how pain to this level doesn’t knock us out but it doesn’t. But you may get a fraction of an idea of what some aspects are like. Think of the worst physical pain you have ever felt. Maybe a backache, a toothache, post surgical pain, being burned on your skin by coffee spilling on it or soup…..imagine that pain coming out of nowhere throbbing for hours on your head and face and nothing takes it away.
And it’s not over an injury right then or an illness. It just is.

Your entire life comes to a sudden halt, everything you knew just a second before is gone and you are left chained to a world of unspeakable horror. Imagine.
And your basic empathy that most of us are gifted with can allow you to understand in certain ways that we can all understand each other when we tune into it.

I think we can all relate to one another even if we don’t all experience the same thing, most of us have pain that is less and worse than someone else’s but less or worse doesn’t matter. What matters is underneath we’re the same. We are capable of empathizing and imagining. We can’t literally know each other’s pain because we are our own selves and we each have experiences that are unique to us even if we experience the same situation as each other.
I never cared, negatively, when someone who has no clue what my pain is like for me says to me “I know how you feel” as long as the person is saying it in a genuine comfort -intentioned way, a way to identify with, to connect. The person is trying to bridge a distance and have our experiences become one. And I feel beauty in that.

I don’t like when they say they know how it feels in an abrupt, careless way, just to say something or if they say it to act like they know and handle it better.
People say you can’t know how someone else feels if you have never experienced it and while there’s some truth to that, for sure there is, people often exaggerate that notion, in my opinion. There are different ways, degrees, and depths of knowing or understanding someone else’s pain or pleasure. It’s a little something called Empathy which is an ability, unless we’re a true psycho or sociopath or whatever(which most of us aren’t), that we all have to connect with and relate to each other.
Some have a deeper and a more developed ability to empathize but we can all tune into it to some degree.

While I would never say “I know how you feel” to someone or believe that I know exactly how someone else feels, I am not hurt by a truly well intentioned person saying it to me.

The first most severe tmjd cluster headache I experienced (and all the ones after)had me reeling.
I ran out of the house at 5:30 in the morning on a cool November day, after a sleepless night being ripped out of my sleep by something pounding and stabbing the side of my face, screaming all the way to cvs, not caring what anyone thought when they looked at me. It was super early so most people were in cars, probably on their way to work. I remember wearing a light pink, sleeveless shirt. My long, waist length hair flowing in the gentle breeze. I ran screaming for pain pills in the back of the store, knowing they can’t just hand over pain pills but desperate enough to implore for them. I had to hold onto things to keep me standing. I shook things on shelves, banging my hands on the counter, wringing my hands. I couldn’t remain composed.
The immensity of the pain then was unlike anything I have ever felt.
I keeled over in the middle of the pain reliever aisle.

I told the people in there I’m having some kind of bad sinus complication so they gave me a box of things for sinus pressure that they just pulled off the shelf right there like it was that easy.
I hysterically told them that that won’t work. That my pain is indescribable and it needs to end now.
I yelled to please, please give me something to make it stop right then and there. I pleaded so hard. I fantasized about jumping over the counter and ransacking the shelves for prescription pain killing pills. I was desperate. But there wasn’t much they were able to do. A couple of workers came over trying to talk to me but I couldn’t stand there and talk. I paced up and down aisles. I ran in circles around the aisles. I hit myself in the head. I pinched myself all over. I wrapped my shirt around my hands and collapsed at the knees.
I wanted to turn myself inside out.
I don’t think they have ever seen anyone act that way before. And that wasn’t even the worst of it.
When I think back now it reminds me of that scene in the movie “Liar Liar” where he kicked the shit out of himself in the men’s restroom.
“I’m kicking my ass!”

That scene is funny, hilarious. And I’m even laughing at it now. 😀
But as easily amused as I am, as much as I laugh at everything and myself even over things that were very painful before but later seem amusing, I cannot laugh at this memory of me.
There’s not an ounce of amusement when I think back to that day or any other day experiencing that pain. There is no laughter there. There’s no amusement thinking of all the others who suffer similarly, everyday or in episodes that come and go.
I did not want to scare the piss out of anyone but my pain was immense. Cluster headaches and tmjd ones can look like a serious medical emergency but they are not life threatening as long as the person isn’t about to attempt suicide because of the pain or driving or in any other situation that can make them dangerous.

I wanted to scream through the store that this isn’t mere pressure in my sinuses, that no one understands, this is pure anguish, an agony I never knew can possibly exist in this life.

This is what Hell is. If Hell were a real place, this would be it. It was destroying my life, destroying me completely because of the violent, vicious intensity of it. I was in a full blown panic. People were staring, I did not care. All that existed then was the throbbing, stabbing, aching pain in the side of my face/ear/eye/head/temple. I couldn’t see, hear, feel anything but pain and panic. I was blinded by the violent pain. Deafened by it. Throttled by it.
I had no idea what exactly was happening to me and I feared it would never end. I wondered if it was an infection spreading throughout my head and face.

And all of this is an understatement. There are no words to properly convey the agony to the degree it really is. And no words can ever be an exaggeration. No word that I can think of bears enough weight to convey the true extent of the pain. Not even the word “agony” is adequate. The word “torture” does no justice.

And none of this is over-reacting. Different people handle things in different ways. Some things that make some people collapse and yell out may not have that effect on others. And some people do over-react to some things. But there’s no over-reacting with this. Pacing and hitting and self-aggression and screaming are the result of the unbearable pain and panic. Even strong people with cluster headaches and ones that are related to tmjd often have no choice but to act out in some way like pacing, rocking…

Some people pace, some thrash and kick and punch, some throw things and attack themselves. Some find better ways to cope like trying to hum or run in place, anything instead of the screaming and hitting.
But for people who handle it worse, it’s not over-reacting. This pain is bad.
Some people collapse with their head in their hands and scream and sob. Some can’t scream, sob, and cry till it’s over. The aggression is self-aggression, not violence against anyone else.

CryIng is not my reaction but am hysteriCal in other ways

They don’t make me want to attack any living thing, in fact, when I’m experiencing them, I often think of the others who know my pain too well and my heart breaks and I want to take it all away.

The pain is immense and the agitation and restlessness is overwhelming. If I think of the strongest people I have ever met, both physically and emotionally, there is no doubt in me that they would react similarly or have similar thoughts if they were forced to feel this pain to this extreme. There is no laying down or resting. I read that over ninety percent of people with cluster headache syndrome are restless and agitated during an attack like I am with my tmjd “cluster headaches.” Being still, laying down often exacerbates the pain. It’s just not possible. We can learn to remain more calm but when people do not stay put and remain composed, it’s not over-reacting.
Whoever says that, clearly has never experienced something as horrific as this. Experience it first, then see if you can tell someone like me to stop exaggerating.

Experiencing something like this then telling me I’m over-reacting, is somewhat more acceptable than someone who has never felt anything even remotely as painful and having the gall to say I’m over-reacting. I’m sorry but no. It’s bullshit.

I lose weight like crazy when I have these headaches. I am naturally a very thin girl but I consume a lot of junk food and while I don’t put on much weight, I’m still not as thin as when I don’t eat as much junk food. I don’t eat for days when I have them and in just two days I lose a noticeable amount of weight. I lose weight very easily but I don’t put on much weight no matter how much I eat day and night. And people ask me why I am losing weight like this and I try to explain but of course no one understands because who understands this? I don’t even understand it! I seriously have had people tell me they would love to have tmjd or cluster headaches!!!!!! So they can be motivated to not eat and lose weight!!! People have told me they are envious of me for having a good way to get thinner! I don’t know if I want to laugh or cry when I hear this.

When I have these headaches there’s really nothing to help me reduce the pain so I have to find ways to cope. Sometimes I try icy hot cream or patches or unisom sleep pain reliever desperately hoping to touch the pain somehow mitigating it even just by a fraction or help me focus on another sensation somehow. It’s often futile. Nothing touches it. I have a stress ball I squeeze to try to focus on that sensation a bit. I have a plastic massage thing I press into my face and head. I also found that walking and other physical movement helps, not to lessen the pain but to help me endure it better.

There are better ways to handle these head attacks than freaking out, destroying stuff, screaming….It may take some practice and a lot of strength and courage but there are better ways, some people are able to remain more calm and find that it’s better that way. I’m scared to remain calm and always think it will make it worse or that I will go insane and not find my way back. It’s frightening. It’s possible to move physically but not get hysterical. I’m getting better with it. The last three days I think I did very well. But even though they were unbearable and devastating these last three days, they weren’t as bad as others I have felt. Very, very excruciating though. I wanted to scream. I really did. I tried to consciously think, how can this teach me, what can I learn, how can this strengthen me and help me be more mindful in general….it’s not easy and it’s so terrifying but I managed. I am managing.

I have no choice but to endure these. They are thrown at me without my consent. What else can I do? I can break down and scream and sob hysterically and I can also be strong and know I can go on. It’s ok to collapse but I will always get back up.

I read one suggestion to help people cope with cluster headaches is to get a basket filled with different kinds of material strips like velvet, satin, wool…and just mindfully feel each one til each headache ends. I think this seems like a good idea.
I have an aversion to touching soft material. I find it disgusting rubbing on it so it’s out of the question for me to fill a basket with soft material strips but I can find another object to feel the textures of. If rubbing that material would take the pain away or lessen it, I would be rubbing it day and night.

I also have Buddhist Mala beads to recite positive, life affirming affirmations or quotes for each bead to help me cope. The point is to touch each bead and think/say a positive thought and meditate upon that quote or affirmation. This helps me focus on that and not just the headache. It’s so difficult though. But it helps to instill hope in me. It’s something positive to engage in. It’s a way to cope.


For other kinds of pain related to my condition, I practice guided imagery and mindfulness meditations for pain relief and gratitude but for these tmjd cluster headaches, I can’t, since I can’t hold myself still.

I thought my first attack was bad. And it was. But since then I have experienced even worse ones. But now I know what they are and that the way I handle and have handled them is actually commonplace in people who have similar headaches. Some of them break their own bones while hitting things because of the anguish. Like me, they wake up screaming, they have strong urges to bang their head against walls and rip their eyeball out of its socket. They scream and sob and cry and pace and shake on the floor, hitting their head over and over. They shake their hands and want to turn themselves inside out as this hand-wringing pain throttles their entire existence. I know.

When it finally ends, the physical and emotional exhaustion kicks in and I can sleep for days if I let myself. I am wrung and shocked and dazed.
But so thankful that it’s over.
Sometimes I feel especially elated for days when they end. And sometimes I’m just in a state of shock or a fog for a week.

It’s frightening and the most physically painful experience of this life of mine. Nothing can hurt me more.

Sometimes I wake up thinking about those head attacks even when I’m not having one right then, even when I haven’t experienced one in a while. Or I lay in bed at night wondering how have I survived each one and how will I survive the next one. And the next one. And the one after that one….but I know I can.

It usually, (almost always), happens at night after I’m already in bed/asleep but it can and does happen anywhere, any hour. It feels like my eardrum is about to explode. And I feel so broken just thinking about it.

I remember having an attack some years ago in Pizza Hut one afternoon, standing in line. I had one the night before. I was waiting for food with my mom when it struck the left side of my face. I ran out before I could make a scene. I ran around to the side of the building and collapsed onto the ground. I was so overwhelmed in despair. I had no clue how I was going to survive what was coming to me. I knew it would soon escalate as these headaches tend to do. And I held my face in my hands laying in a ball on the ground in front of the big glass window. I got up and ran around in circles, back and forth, hitting walls and the ground, trying not to scream and become too hysterical, I kept thinking how am I going to survive this for as long as I live when it keeps coming back.
This was back when I feared I may actually kill myself during one, shortly after I was diagnosed, not because of depression.
This is when my depression started to get generally much better and I was so happy, finally happy to be alive.
I wasn’t depressed. My suicidal inclination was only because of the unbearable physical agony and only when the physical torture was currently happening. It’s torture. I don’t want to kill myself when I have them because they will keep coming back; it’s because the moment they are occurring is so unbearable. It feels like it will never, like it can never end. And like I just cannot take another second of it.

I know I won’t kill myself now. I wasn’t depressed when I seriously considered killing myself while experiencing the headaches but I wasn’t as strong as I am now. I realized this more last night at work during an attack.

It’s moments like this, being attacked, where I truly cannot care what people think of me at all or care about anything at all. Under any other circumstances I would have been embarrassed acting that way but as I have previously stated, pain like this unleashes something in me, something that knows no bounds, something that can go days and days without sleep day or night, something that roams the night restless and agitated, something that wants to break down walls, someone who freaks out in front of people without an ounce of embarrassment about what they must think of it. Anyone and every single person who has ever known me knows how calm, quiet, laid back, easy going I am, how I handle things more smoothly and calmly than most people, how nothing much gets to me, how I remain composed, especially physically, and patient in all kinds of stressful and distressing situations, how I never lose my temper too much, like ever, even people who just meet me can often automatically sense my calm, shy and quiet and gentle nature, my warmth and light. Every teacher in school would tell my mom that, all the kids who took the school bus with me would tell my mom, all the people at work were shocked how calm I was after I had a gun held to my chest and my life threatened by a criminal who wanted to steal money.

So for me to act like this? You know it’s something. Something indescribable, something horrifying, something devastating.
Something incomprehensible.

After the incident in Pizza Hut, I went home and took prescription pain pills that weren’t mine that someone gave me. Nothing happened. The throb remained.


(this is not my photo but it’s cute isn’t it?! :-D)

Later I took them again and they took the edge off but it quickly returned. I sat in my bed alone in my house, feeling as if my life was over. My face swelled up on the left side because my condition can cause that. I was afraid to touch my face so I kept pinching my legs and squeezing the bars on my bed. I hit my head over and over as quickly as I could with my hand. I screamed hysterically. Hitting myself again and again and again.

It was better then because I lived in a different and bigger house where it was easier to scream without people hearing well.

I stayed awake for four days straight with it, not one second of sleep til the worst of it finally ended after four days. But I stayed in severe pain for twelve days straight. I stayed positive for the most part. As positive as someone can in a situation like this. I did not let it depress me.
I knew that I was able to handle it because of all the years of depression that strengthened me. It turns out depression is good for something! 😀

I found beauty and joy in every day, anything I was able to grasp onto. And I continue to even when it’s incredibly painful.

There is an incredible and terrifying loneliness that stalks me sometimes when I’m up at night battling a tmjd cluster headache. Knowing all the world around me is fast asleep while I’m up pacing through rooms trying hard not to scream and kick walls so I don’t wake my family or the neighbors. It’s just me. And my hellish nightmare while I’m wide awake.


(this photo is not mine – it’s Edvard Munch’s The Scream)

Pain disorders are horrifying and so devastating and I would never want one for me or for anyone else ever. But when we have them, we can’t change it. All we can do is let them strengthen and teach us and just hold on. It’s difficult to allow that but it can be done. While there will be moments of dark despair, we can learn to live in light and love in general. And that’s what I do. Life can be loved even through the pain. And it’s important to make a conscious decision to go all out looking for everything to love when pain is taking over. It’s nearly impossible to do that with a cluster/tmjd cluster headache going but it’s important to remain positive in general.

We can choose not to let pain conquer us. And to get back up when it does conquer us some moments. It can ravage our body but we don’t have to let it ravage our spirit.

It’s so difficult and scary but even with all of this pain, I am generally a very happy girl. It does get the best of me occasionally and I am so broken. But I still find strength and joy and courage and happiness in me.

I don’t believe that it usually matters whose pain is worse. What matters is awareness, empathy, compassion, education, understanding, caring.

I don’t like pissing contests, like my pain is worse than your pain and this kind of pain is worse than another kind pain and this painful experience is nothing next to this one and….I can’t stand that. I see/hear it around and it’s uncalled for. There’s usually no need for comparisons except sometimes to explain things and to educate, to get people to understand, to put things into perspective like I’m doing here, not to have frivolous contests to see who is more of a victim or has it worse or to see who deserves more sympathy.

While those head attacks lead me to think of every other painful experience I ever had as “nothing” next to that, I wouldn’t think that someone else’s painful experience is nothing. It’s just that for me and others who know this pain, once we know it exists, nothing outside of it we ever felt comes even close to being to that level. Someone can hurt less and still suffer.

Everyone deserves compassion and empathy and even if you have never been in serious pain, you very likely have felt some kind of pain and it’s still pain. No one’s experiences should be invalidated, in my opinion.

Some things, like cluster attacks are way beyond excruciating to everyone who experiences them. But there are other things that may be very painful to one person and not another and something that appears to be less painful than something else, may not be. We can’t always judge correctly for how something looks or sounds or how something is to us.
And we can draw on our own experiences no matter how different or similar they are to someone else’s, to empathize with each other to some degree.

When I am experiencing a tmjd cluster headache or even less severe but still unbelievably excruciating pain, almost nothing else in the world matters to me anymore. Other problems are no longer problems, I have almost no other desires but for the pain to be dramatically reduced or end, my pain and everyone else’s. I know when I’m having one of those that if I could I would take away everyone else’s head/facial pain even if it means I have to endure even more of it and bear the burden for all of us. I would. I don’t want to imagine the terrible pain the others feel who have this. All the trivial little things I once thought were something are now nothing. Sometimes when my tmjd pain becomes nearly unbearable, I manage to notice even more how very beautiful the world around me really is, how blessed I was/am, how much beauty I was overlooking before the massive pain hit and consumed all of me, before it became unbearable. Before the pain reaches the point of utter, ridiculous madness to where I can’t notice much of anything else, I notice even more than usual, little things, like the moisture on soda and water bottles and cans, the city lights and sounds in the streets, cars and trucks, and people laughing, the sounds of fans swirling…beautiful things I sometimes overlook and am desperately sorry for it when the severe pain hits me hard. I can’t take pleasure in them to the depth that I can when I’m not in that kind of pain. But the pain triggers me to notice them. I am able to tap into these thoughts and feelings even when a headache isn’t attacking but the attacks remind me even more. It teaches me to be more thankful. Each one is another reminder. Not that I want these reminders but since they’re there, I will use them to my advantage.

And when I experience something unpleasant, I sometimes remember to stop and think but at least I’m not having a cluster/tmjd-cluster attack. It doesn’t always cure my problem I’m having but it helps me have a better attitude/perspective.

I noticed that after I have these headaches, for about a week after they end I seem to not care as much about things and especially what people think. I don’t obsess over what people think anyway but to some extent I care, but right after a “cluster” flare up it’s like I can’t even bring myself to care at all. For example, I don’t always pay attention when I’m walking outside and sometimes I don’t see someone I know and don’t say hello then realize after the person walks by and I always care thinking the person probably thinks I’m rude. But after the headaches it’s like whatever. Let that person think that. I develop a kind of “take no shit” attitude towards life like “fuck it or don’t give a fuck” attitude for a while.
And when I get physically hurt no matter how much it hurts it’s almost nothing to me. One day my finger got slit open and slammed when a milkshake machine fell on it at work and was bleeding and bruised and swelled and I couldn’t even care because a headache like that just ended days before.
If I never experienced those head attacks, I would still care about stuff like that.
And more recently, scalding hot soup spilled on me and burned the skin on my leg and it hurt so badly, a somewhat similar pain to the tmjd cluster attacks, but nowhere near as bad, it burned worse than hell, then it blistered my skin a bit and the pain was bad and was just going and going but one of those headaches ended a few days before and the burn pain on my skin was just nothing even though it really hurt. It hurt but I had not as much of an emotional reaction to it as I would if not for those head attacks. It was like a kind of emotional detachment to the physical sensation. It’s like I can handle anything now.
Anything. And it’s not a completely good thing.
I’m not even writing that to be inspiring or to be positive.
It is good in a way but it comes at a great price. A price that’s not worth it but since I had no choice in the matter, I will look at the bright side. That, I do have a choice in. And that is inspiring.

I’m still kind and caring after that but just not as caring in some ways about certain situations. I start to have a slightly altered perspective and become more forgetful because of the psychological consequences of experiencing such wretched pain.

And an interesting thing is just imagining those headache attacks even when I haven’t experienced one for a while can lead me to adopt that “fuck it” attitude again like everything in life is just so trivial compared to those headaches. And it’s like just about everything else comes second to that pain.
And it’s interesting to see the world going on as usual with everyone just going about their lives like nothing but I’m stuck frozen in the knowledge that some kind of monstrous and hideous pain exists that most no one else in this world knows about, at least not in an intimate, direct way. Way too many people do know this pain I speak of. A very small percentage but just one person is one too many. But the fact that it’s so uncommon that most people probably haven’t even heard of it and that it’s so bad no one can even imagine really, it makes it feel like a secret pain. A secret world only very few people have access to. Access that no one wants.

Less than one percent of people in the general population have CH. Many go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years. It’s often mistaken for a sinus problem though it’s infinitely worse.
Many more people have tmjd but almost never have these headaches I get and usually have no other serious complications.

Almost everyone knows physical pain, even severe pain, probably. Breaking a bone, pulling a muscle, banging your toe on a table leg, stepping on a thumbtack or nail with no shoes….but this head pain I write of is like another world, a world most people have never entered and I desperately hope never will.

I so desperately want no one to ever feel this that I would take on more of these headaches just so someone else can be spared if that’s what it would take. I don’t want to imagine someone else ever feeling this. Ever. It makes my skin crawl to think of.

Sometimes when I’m outside I look at all the people on the streets around me and I think of cluster headaches and I wonder “does he know what they are?” “does she knows this pain?” “would they ever understand?” And I’m sure they don’t and never will and I feel a sense of protectiveness and a sense of heartbreak knowing that any one of those innocent people can be struck at any moment with this horror.
Just like me.
It’s not likely but I just think it. And I want to stop it and shield anyone I can against this agony.

I feel it tugging on my heart in my chest as I write this. Just knowing this pain exists just stirs something in me I can’t explain, something I can’t get over. I feel my heart sink.

I’m not a victim of this pain or a victim of my body. I am blessed with a life and this beautiful body and I wouldn’t give my beautiful life or my beautiful body up to have a different one instead, this is just something that comes along with me being given life. I choose this life over no life. If I had a choice to be someone else and not have these headaches I would not. I choose me. I choose this life, the beautiful one I have been given. I get angry, devastated, I feel that no one should ever have to endure this. It feels so cruel. But I see beauty and love and hope and joy glimmering through my darkness.

I see light. Light through the blinding pain.

I want this pain to never come back to me.

And I definitely complain about this and there are moments I definitely feel sorry for myself. I won’t even pretend like I don’t. I piss and moan about it, I get angry, devastated, furious.

And that’s really ok.

But I don’t make a habit of dwelling on the negative or bitching too much. I don’t usually feel sorry for myself and wallow in it.

Suicide is not the answer to these headaches or anything else and it will never be the answer. We are strong enough to endure it even when it doesn’t feel like it. We can empower ourselves and each other.

If you are in pain of any kind, whatever the nature, severity, or frequency, I wish you much hope, love, strength, consolation, courage, and healing. It can be so difficult and lonely and agonizing but we can prevail and go on.

“You can be greater than anything that can happen to you.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

“When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider.” ~ LeeAnn Womack

Xoxo Kim

Serendipitous Strength


(that’s fake blood on my face for a haunted house attraction for Halloween)

I love funny and silly surveys for blogs and Facebook, like a list of weird, stupid, funny questions…would you rather be ridiculously rich financially but butt ugly physically or amazingly gorgeous, beautiful beyond belief physically but dirt poor financially? Would you rather eat hair or lick a toilet seat? Would you rather be in a dark, creepy room alone or in a well lit room with Michael Jackson? lol They’re funny questions. I would choose to be poor and beautiful. And I would lick the toilet seat over eating hair any day. Loose hair is disgusting. Aack! And I like Michael Jackson but not creepy dark rooms alone so I would choose the lit up room with him. ;-D

But anyway….i came across this question

Would you rather be buried alive or stabbed to death?

Horrible thought, right?!

But I find it enlightening. It provoked me even more to think about the strength deep within me that I accidentally found and accidentally developed.

I would choose to be buried alive.

Not so long ago, I couldn’t even imagine saying that. I just couldn’t imagine.

First of all, if I am buried alive, maybe I can find a way out or someone can find me before it’s too late. Being stabbed is so violent!
There are rare(at least I hope being buried alive is rare!!!) cases where someone has been buried alive and somehow escaped or was found before it was too late.

I used to have an extreme fear of being closed in with or without others there with me. Closed in anywhere. Even a large room or building. I would avoid closed in places like the plague. Then my fear got somewhat better when I was eighteen years old in college. In this one building I wasn’t aware that we were allowed to use the stairs. It turns out, we actually were but I never knew til a long while later. Everyday I had to go in that building I had to desperately hope there were others waiting to go on the elevator when I was because I couldn’t bring myself to go on alone. I used to go early and just linger around the hall waiting for someone who was going on. (creepy, right?! :-O lol) I never said that I was waiting. Just when I saw someone going on, I would too. If the person got off before the floor I was going to, I would get off too then walk up the steps to the floor I was going.

Then I met a girl. When I was 18 years old. One who had the same class and we got talking to each other and I found that she had the same problem!
One day I got to the elevator and she was waiting too! And she told me she’s seriously afraid of small places and won’t get on without someone else! What are the chances?! I was embarrassed at first and wouldn’t really tell people but I opened up about it when I met her.

We conquered our fear together. 😀

I always thought of this fear as a weakness and never met anyone else that I knew of who has it this bad, my dad is like this but his never seemed as bad. Everyone I knew could get on with no problem, it seemed.

And when I met her, I was sooo happy! Lol Also, we were both very shy until getting to know someone better but we both had no problem with public speaking because it’s just something we had to do for class. We both loved meeting people we never met but were often too shy to initiate socialization first. But somehow we found each other! I haven’t seen or talked to her in many, many years. But the impact is everlasting. ❤

After that, I got more used to going in small places, elevators with people and I was mostly only panicked when I was closed in alone. I often had nightmares of being closed in or trapped somewhere alone.
I couldn’t even stand walking by elevators or being in the same building with one. This was always the only thing that scared me about hospitals. I would shake walking through narrow staircases even with people. I felt like my body was turning to jelly.

One day when I was a teenager I had to get on an elevator alone. I was in the US Constitution Center at some event and the only way to leave the building was to get on an elevator. They said I had no choice. There was no one else around and the security guard said I had to get on the elevator so I did. I went into a serious panic and I pressed my fingernails into the skin over my hip bone and just kept scratching until it bled and the doors opened. I was so scared, that was just what I did, unconsciously.

I never worked on this fear specifically but during my personal development journey, my quest to find healing, working on myself to help heal my depression and cope with tmjd “cluster headaches” without realizing it, I was conquering my fear of being closed in. With my personal development plan I teach myself and train my brain to know I can handle and conquer anything. To know I will always be free no matter what position I’m in in this life. To know life is a gift no matter what. To see positivity and opportunity in any situation no matter how dreadful. I trained my brain with meditation and quotes and music and songs and writing to stay calm and composed for the most part, in any situation no matter what, no matter how painful physically or emotionally. I still struggle with this a bit sometimes, especially with severe physical pain. I’m much better at handling deep emotional pain than very severe physical pain. A certain level of physical pain that I experience occasionally can still seem too much to bear.

It’s at a frightening level and it’s not common that people ever feel it to this extent. Not even prescription pain pills can touch it.
But I work on myself constantly and even when I’m freaking out aggressively over a tmjd cluster headache, I still keep telling myself I will survive.
I was trying to heal my depression and cope with it and cope with those head attacks.

And much to my amazement this was helping me all along with my fear! My phobia(i wasn’t actually diagnosed with a phobia but it may have met the criteria, I don’t know for sure) wasn’t destroying my life because I was just able to mostly avoid small places but there were some occasions I couldn’t and had to be closed in somewhere.

Some people have a phobia where they can’t avoid the thing they fear or even if they can they can’t help but dwell on it constantly and it runs their lives. That was never me but there are occasions I embarrassed myself in public, especially as a kid, when I had to go on elevators or narrow staircases. And occasions I was extremely fearful knowing I had to go in a large building where there’s elevators. Somewhat recently I went on a job interview. I did not get the job but I had to go on an elevator by myself, they wouldn’t let me on the stairs going up, I asked, I was told no. I wanted to run out but I had the interview scheduled and I knew it wouldn’t be good to have them waiting and I never show up, years ago I would have been out the door so fast with the interview the last thing on my mind. So I reluctantly got on the elevator, alone, and while my heart started to speed a bit because of being closed in and for a few seconds I was overwhelmed in immense fear, like panic, I handled it so well. No panic. No breakdown. Just staying calm. It was so surprising. And just as much of an accomplishment as getting a job! Maybe more?
It wasn’t a happenstance. I worked to get to this point. (though unknowingly lol) I am so strong now. In so many ways.

Then leaving the building I had a choice to take the stairs or the elevator. Just a couple years ago I would have taken the stairs without a second thought. Even last year. But on the interview I made the CHIOCE to take the elevator alone to get more practice and was even more calm than the first occasion going up! What a great accomplishment for me!
It may not seem that big to some people but for someone like me, it is a tremendous thing.

Also I don’t like closing doors to small rooms even in my own house but in the bathroom there are parakeets flying around and we have to close the door. I was getting a shower one day and had to close the door. The handle is broke and I got locked in! I went into a bit of a panic. Not a full blown panic, but an intense fear, I guess you can say. Not how people with panic attacks do. Not that bad. But I was pulling the door and banging on it hoping someone would hear. No one did. But I calmed down and reminded myself. Life is beautiful no matter what. I have the sunlight streaming in the window, I have my senses, the parakeets, meditation, Buddhism and Stoicism ….the window is too small for me to fit through so that wasn’t an option. And it’s on the second floor, it wouldn’t be safe to jump. I don’t want broken bones or whatever. But just some years ago I would have jumped if I could, risking injuries. I was there for like 20 minutes before I finally got the door open.

A couple nights ago I went to the Philadelphia Eastern State Penitentiary with my sister and my dad for the Haunted attraction. It’s a real abandoned prison that is in a state of semi-ruin, almost 200 years old. It’s said by ghost investigators to be truly haunted all year. Lol It’s open all year but the rest of the year is just a prison exhibit to learn of its history, which is very interesting.

For the Halloween attraction every October, we get to walk through the dark prison inside and out in the courtyards when it’s at night, in groups. It has lights flashing, people screaming, monsters walking around, “prisoners” trying to attack us through their cells, monsters, all kinds of creepy, scary stuff. There’s lock down, the infirmary, night watch, an abandoned bus in a junkyard and other attractions we walk through. Things randomly and unexpectedly jump out at us, sometimes screaming and with weapons! There’s 3D things and people jumping through walls at us. They come right up to us with weapons holding them over our heads or up to our faces. Lol Isn’t it insane that people actually take pleasure in this? But something about a certain kind of fear is quite thrilling for people. Like amusement park rides and sky diving. And scary movies & books.
Also, I think our brains are not aware of the difference of what is real and what is not. Seeing, hearing horror in movies and things, the human brain cannot distinguish the difference. We know it’s not real but some part of our brain does not know and it has a negative/fearful effect on is, even later. That’s why too much fake horror isn’t good for us. I used to have a psychiatrist who told me that and I noticed it too when I read too many horror books close together. It has an unpleasant effect. He advised me to avoid fake horror all together. It’s not good for anyone and especially those prone to anxiety or depressive conditions.

It’s fun. And scary. I’m not afraid of monsters and ghosts and stuff but it’s kind of startling to have people looking all dead with blood all over them, screaming and with weapons jumping out in the dark at me with just an eerie glow around the prison.


(inside the prison – imagine walking up this long hallway knowing at any moment something or someone can and probably will jump out at you. Lol creepy!)


(it was the perfect night for a haunted house – or prison – because there was a full Moon or almost full Moon and I kept seeing it when we walked in and out of the prison into the courtyards)

They’re not allowed to touch us and we are not allowed to touch them. But this year they had something different where the bravest of the brave can wear a bright pink glow necklace they give us and this gives the monsters (the actors working in the prison) permission to touch us, grab us, snatch us, hold us back, separate us so we lose our groups, toss us into secret passageways, and do other terrible stuff. I haven’t been there in a couple years until a couple nights ago. So this was new to me.


I love haunted houses and stuff but my one fear has always been being separated and ending up in a small, dark place alone. This still scares me. I fear dark places as well but not as much as small or closed in places.

But I decided to be brave that night and wear the necklace. I was abducted, strangled, held back, got my hair pulled, forced by two monster dentists to sit in a dentists chair so they can pull out all my teeth…they put the loud thing all the way to my mouth then I escaped!

I was almost forced into a small cell and into a weird tunnel but I ran screaming. And the monsters laughed at me. Lol

Most people did not take the necklaces and some who did decided to take them off and toss them so the monsters could no longer touch them. Even my dad took his off and hid it.

Chicken shits. Lol ;-D

I was one of the brave few who kept mine on throughout the entire prison, not once taking it off. Yay me! Lol Although at one point the thought occurred to me but I sucked it up and kept going.


(me with my medal of honor lol)

It took nerve. Especially when most people were not wearing them so there was not many choices for the monsters and so the few of us who were wearing them were the ones who kept getting all the attention. At one point I was the only one wearing a necklace where I was and two monsters came up and said since I was the only one wearing one right there, I was the “chosen one.” I was snatched while everyone around me ran away, even my dad and sister (thanks everyone! Lol) and had my hand held under some device that came down and was supposed to pierce my hand but when it touched me it was just rubber. Lol

I knew I could have been dragged and possibly tossed into a secret, small, dark place alone. But I took the chance. I would have NEVER ever been able to make that choice, probably even a year ago.

The thing that really inspired me to take and wear the necklace is in the beginning a monster said “you came here for fear so get all the fear you can get…” encouraging us to take the glow necklace. This also inspires me in general, to take advantage of every opportunity in life to live to the fullest, whatever “the fullest” is to me at that moment. To soak up all I can, all the thrills, the beauty, and feeling there is to feel.

Being alive is an opportunity to take in everything we can, to feel. To live. To experience. To grow. To love. To make mistakes. To learn. To feel pain and beauty, sorrow and joy. Misery and happiness. To take full advantage of our senses.

I been to this prison for the Halloween attraction a couple occasions years ago. The first day I went for the haunted attraction I was hugging, holding hands with, and clinging to people I did not know. Lol It was my first year in college, I was eighteen years old, and I went as a group with other college students, all girls and one boy. The boy wanted us to go first because he said he was the only boy. But we told him no, since he’s the boy he had to be in the front.
Lol we were holding onto each other like our lives depended on it.

It’s one of my favorite memories. And after the event was over and we were walking up the dark street outside the prison, a drunk person jumped out at us and we all screamed. He wasn’t trying to scare us and just looked at us like we were all nuts.

Now, being buried alive would be way, way more terrifying than going on an elevator for less than a minute! And being locked in a room.
And way more horrifying than a fun tour through a haunted prison for Halloween.

But I know now that I would survive emotionally as long as I survived physically. I would go into a deep meditation and have my Buddhist and stoic principles and my life philosophy and inner Truth, my authentic Self to help guide me til I become physically free. I would still be frightened and panicked at some points. And maybe feel as if I can’t go on but I know I can. I have my life philosophy that I work on every single day without fail. I can survive anything as long as I stay alive. As long as I’m free in my mind, I am free. Truly free. You can be free too if you’re not already, with lots of hard work and practice. We don’t have to allow anything or anyone to restrain us.

If you work to heal one aspect of yourself you can be strengthening yourself in deep ways you don’t even realize in other aspects as well.

I want this for everyone. Whatever pain, physical or emotional, whatever fear or problems, I want us all to find a way to conquer it. A way to cope.

I never ever thought my fear of being closed in could be vanquished but it is. It’s also not completely cured. My heart still races in small or narrow places, sometimes I still think there’s no way I can be closed in alone and survive with my sanity intact, I still avoid closed in spaces for the most part, but I conquered it and can handle it now. ME! I can’t even believe it!

If you are ever in a situation you are 100% convinced without a doubt you can’t or won’t survive, remember, it feels that way, it’s not true. I never knew I can ever survive the depression and tmjd cluster-like headaches but somehow I did. I survive each one. My conviction was deep, that I couldn’t survive but I do survive and now my conviction is even deeper that I can and will survive whatever comes my way.

And you can too, whatever it is. It can get better. <333 ❤ Much love, hope, & strength to you.

Xoxo Kim

Glimpses of my authentic self


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

For years, I struggled with depression almost every day, recurrent severe episodes on top of less but often still severe, long-term depression. It would lift, sometimes for weeks or months and I would be genuinely very happy. But it always came back. I was suicidal or wanting to die, in different degrees, nearly every day, sometimes just brief thoughts all the way to dangerous contemplation. Then it would go away and I was so happy, sure it would never return. But always, it did. My depression was not always environmental or circumstantial, although it can be triggered or worsened by environmental factors, it was sometimes more of a biochemical depression. The initial onset was triggered by things in my environment and certain insecurities but once it manifested, it wass here to stay, even when my environment was pleasant and I’m was not struggling with any specific problem. I’m not depressed as much anymore.
It’s in my genes and unpleasant situations I have experienced brought it out as the whole disorder.
This condition confused me for many years. I couldn’t understand why I was so depressed. I know why it began. Sometimes it felt like I had every problem in the world which was causing my despair. Other occasions, it seemed like everything was going amazingly well and I was still devastatingly depressed.
I often made excuses for why I was so depressed. I took every little problem I had or ever had and said that’s what was depressing me. Sometimes I exaggerated the problems, making them out to be worse, more dramatic, or more frequent than they were, to make sense of my depression.
I said it’s because I had no friends(this did truly trigger it), because my family argued, because I experienced a verbally/emotionally abusive environment previously, because I’m worthless, because my friends were arguing, because I got a low grade in class or on an exam, because I haven’t accomplished much, because it’s all too late, ….while these things were sometimes true or seemed to be, they weren’t always what triggered or caused my depression and they weren’t always as frequent or bad as I made them out to be.
Sometimes they were the culprits, but often they were just the scapegoats I used, sometimes consciously, some occasions, unconsciously, to make sense of something that made no sense to me.
They can trigger or contribute to my depression but that’s because it’s in my genes already, I’m already prone to it. And even when things are going great in other ways, I can become depressed. Those problems would likely make anyone unhappy about them but not everyone would fall into a deep, full blown suicidal/psychotic depression in the face of them.

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

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

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

After struggling so long, off & on with depression then happiness then depression for months again I was sometimes not sure where the despair and pain ended and where I began. It became my identity after months then I would be happy then it was back. It was threaded throughout my every day, throughout me, throughout my entire existence for months. I couldn’t separate it and me. We were one and the same. Then it would end and my happiness would return to me for weeks or months. Then more depression.

When I looked into a mirror, into my own eyes, it wasn’t any kind of me I saw, it was the dark entity lurking about deep within me, all around me, crushing my body til I couldn’t stand up straight and my speech was often slow and slurred. People pointed this out occasionally. It was more alive than I was. It choked me and suffocated me for months on end. When it would finally end, sometimes, it was genuine happiness waiting for me. Sometimes, a lesser depth of depression.

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

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

For many, many years, nearly every day except when my depression would lift for hours to months, I had no clue what I was. I saw myself as a monster, as the pain itself, as “different” than all the other girls I saw, knew, encountered. When I was in a depression, literally i never thought of or referred to myself as a person or as someone. To me, I was no one.

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

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

When my depression would lift , or I wouldn’t be suicidal for a while, I sometimes felt like I wasn’t completely me until more days of happiness would go on. Even though I would be so happy, sometimes it felt strange, uncomfortable when it first would lift. Sometimes I almost welcomed the suicidal pain back into my heart. I was me again. Home again. I felt relief. It was agonizing, pure anguish. It was a kind of comfortable there.

Even now when I think back to my years as a girl and young woman, many of my memories are clouded with pain, though many are not, many are pure happiness. I can remember when everything was going right, many happy occasions. But still many depressed.

I have many pure happy memories. Even some memories in the midst of my depression are happy. I loved high school and had lots of friends in school and some I saw outside of school. I loved college and met a couple great friends there. I loved all my classes, the professors, and people I met through the years there, the campus, the experience.


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

But I still often struggled so hard with suffocating loneliness and deep emotional anguish. Not always but too often.

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

Except, not really. I was me.

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

Nothing can take that away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


(me, ten years old)

Never forget who you are.

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

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


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

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

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

And I know the woman I am.


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


(me, two years old)

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


(me now, lol)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Xoxo Kim

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

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

On being humble


“When we embody love, we are the most powerful being in the universe.” ~ Emmanuel

I wasn’t always as developed as I am now. While I have always been empathetic, compassionate, loving, and understanding of others, not all of those qualities of mine were always as deep or as vast as they are today. I used to be more judgmental than I am now, sometimes criticizing people or things without thinking it completely through if it’s really necessary, sometimes overlooking the fact that I also do things that can, maybe even “should” be, judged critically.

“The praise that comes from love does not make us vain, but more humble.”
 ~James Matthew Barrie

I think for most of us, we evolve the longer we live, the more we experience even if we don’t realize we’re evolving. And when we do realize we are becoming wiser, more educated, more aware,  it’s possible to let it run away with us, let ourselves become a little bit too stuck up or arrogant, too proud, let our heads get too big.

Sometimes I feel so enlightened in some respects. I see things so much more clearly than I did before. I see how wrong I was in some ways about some things. And there have been occasions when I caught myself becoming too full of myself, arrogant, judgmental when I would have an encounter with someone who I perceived as not to be as “enlightened” or aware as I am.
Someone who still holds opinions that are not very evolved or opinions I disagree with or someone who handles those opinions in ways I don’t appreciate or wouldn’t do myself.

Like when I would meet someone who did not realize things or know things that I now know or realize.  And I would criticize the person for it, totally neglecting to realize that at one point I did not realize this or something else, either and that right now at this very moment there are things I don’t know or understand, that I am so less developed than I will be in years to come, with age and much more experience. I’m not the most enlightened being on Earth and likely never will be.  And that’s ok.

It reminds me of when I would take certain Logic and critical thinking classes in college. In the beginning of one class, our professor told us that in a few weeks we would already know so much more than the average person about reasoning, arguing, debating. He said we would begin to see all the flaws in people’s reasoning in everyday life. People around us, people on TV, commercials, everywhere. He said him, as a Logician with extremely advanced reasoning skills and nearly flawless logic, couldn’t turn off his ability to instantly detect flaws in reasoning even when he would be out with friends having a simple or trivial conversation, watching TV whether it was comedy movies or political or religious debates, reading, everywhere. His knowledge of Logic, fallacies, arguments…is so superior he can’t help but just see how everyone else’s logic is just so flawed. He often had to resist the urge to correct everyone everywhere. 

I had a few philosophy professors who told us, although probably mostly in jest, that we may soon regret taking the class because all of  a sudden everyone around us becomes so “stupid,” unenlightened, or unreasonable that it’s nauseating. Lol 

They said we may become arrogant, inpatient, intolerant of everyone who has never taken a logic or critical thinking class. And it was true. I did start to detect flaws in people’s reasoning everywhere I would go, even in simple, everyday conversations. I noticed how fallacious so many arguments really are. Sometimes it was so frustrating to know so much more than the average person about certain things.

And years later when I began to actively practice and meditate upon universal compassion and general tolerance more than ever before and realized it’s the best way for me to be, I started to sometimes catch myself judging others who weren’t that way.

Sometimes I would give myself a pat on the back for being “just so much more evolved” than most people I know or come in contact with.

When someone would get worked up during an argument, sling an explicit insult at an opponent, argue in flawed ways like I used to do, I would be critical of those people, praising myself for being “beyond that.”

Now I quickly correct myself if ever I catch myself doing that. I’m usually patient in the face of other people’s impatience, gentle with other people’s aggression, non judgmental of someone else’s judgments, tolerant of other people’s intolerance and accepting of someone else’s lack of acceptance. I understand that not everyone will be understanding and I have more compassion than I used to, for those who lack compassion. 

Constructive criticism is often a good thing but it can be delivered in a humble way. Assertiveness is necessary in some cases, firmness and unwavering confidence and strength in the face of some injustice.

Love & compassion & acceptance that I write or speak of, in no way means backing down and not speaking up. It doesn’t mean letting people get away with things they should not get away with. It simply means knowing bad things happen, injustice exists in the world, people have differing and horrible opinions and do horrible things but we don’t have to sink to the level of getting even, wishing horrific things on people as punishments, slinging insults and hurting others to seek retribution.

It’s possible to be firm, assertive, grounded, loud, opinionated but loving. 


It’s important to stand up for whatever our Truth is, to advocate for what we believe in, speak out against injustice, abuse, cruelty in any form, to defend those who need us, speak up for those who need supporters…but we can do this while promoting love instead of bashing those who disagree. “Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.”

It’s not always easy but I believe it’s worth the struggle.

I’m very into Buddhism which teaches universal love and compassion. I’m not a Buddhist but I read about it everyday and practice many of their principles. There are more things I don’t know and understand about Buddhism than things I do know and understand. But I learn more and more each day.

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to incorporate many of their virtues into your own life.
And it’s compatible with religions including Christianity, Judaism, and others. Some people disagree or don’t realize. But Buddhists don’t necessarily believe in any specific god and their principles can go along with the principles of various religions.

You can think of Buddhism as a philosophy or as a religion.

Monastic Buddhists are seriously dedicated, hardcore Buddhists who follow everything in the Lamrim, every principle in excruciating detail and lay Buddhists are looser in their views or lifestyles. They take Buddhism seriously but don’t necessarily follow every principle of Buddhism.

One of the things I love completely about genuine Buddhism and true Buddhists or pro Buddhists is that they teach and promote certain principles and ways of life but they do not enforce them or judge those who do not adopt those views, attitudes, and ways. They teach, guide, advocate for but fully accept that others will not and they embrace those people anyway. This way they remain peaceful within and allow others to be what they will.

I think sometimes when some of us become enlightened on something or think we have and realize we were wrong or utterly ignorant or clueless previously, it can instill embarrassment into us, embarrassment that we did not know or realize this all along, it’s now so obvious, how wasn’t it always this blatant? And the humiliation is so strong we want to avoid it, repress, deny it and run fast away instead of facing it. So what do we do in this case? What makes it easier to avoid confronting ourselves on how wrong or clueless we were before? What’s often easier than admitting I was wrong? Judging, criticizing others who are in the place I used to be in, those who know less about something I now know more about, those with an opinion I once shared but now converted to a “better” one. It’s easier than confessing that I was wrong before and now realize or have become enlightened or changed. It’s easier to verbally attack the me I see in someone else than the real me, my own flesh and blood.


I believe it’s important to stay humble no matter how much more I think I know. Or how right I think I am.

There will always be those who know more than me and those who know less. Those who are more primitive and those more evolved, people who are cruel and seem stupid and those whose intelligence is way out of the average person’s league, people with extreme compassion and deep understanding of others and ones who couldn’t care less to try to understand, open minded and narrow minded, educated and uneducated, enlightened and still in the dark….and to me, they all deserve compassion, empathy, and to be embraced in universal love even if they don’t display that same love or care to be embraced in it. I can still wish them the best and let them go their own way while going my way. That is true, pure, selfless love. At some point I have been and will be again, many of those things I mentioned above. 


~Hug the hurt
Kiss the broken
Befriend the lost
Love the lonely~ 

I believe in Universal Love, higher love, all encompassing love and compassion, being One with all that is. 
Not everyone will agree and that’s ok.



“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.


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? 

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