Tag Archive | experience

Go With the Flow

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(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!

http://www.enlightenedbeings.com/

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}

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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! 

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When you see it, you will shit bricks.

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A girl one with no head.

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

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Just heads.

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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

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“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…”

Lol

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

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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. 

Also,

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.” 

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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.” ❤

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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. 

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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

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“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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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~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 😀

Serendipitous Strength

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(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.

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(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!)

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(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.

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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.

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(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

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

For years, I struggled with depression almost every 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(me, ten years old)

Never forget who you are.

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

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

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

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

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

And I know the woman I am.

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

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(me, two years old)

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

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(me now, lol)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Xoxo Kim

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

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

On being humble

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“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. 

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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.

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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. 

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~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.

Ugly-beautiful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That would be easy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This book is already so thought-provoking and inspiring.

But….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is that something only I would be thrilled over? 

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

Xoxo Kim

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

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A Hope in Hell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-spoiler-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten beautiful lessons:

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

This book is all about hope.

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

Xoxo Kim 

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List of Jobs I would love to have! :-D <3

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Here’s a list for part of the 30 Day List challenge! I was searching for jobs of my interest online. I only work at a store right now which I love! But I also would love another job!

It’s hard to get a job with very little work experience other than working at a store!

List of jobs I would love to have! Ones that I’m qualified for because of the education I have (B.A. In psych and Phil) Not in any specific order

1.) Peer specialist – helping people with mental health conditions live a happy, healthy life. Using my own experience to help inspire and show empathy to others with similar conditions. 

2.) Mental health counselor 

3.) job in business – maybe marketing or advertising, working with teams helping a business grow and expand, helping members with personal growth and teamwork…
It’s hard though finding jobs available in this field because there’s so many, many scams for this topic. Some to rip off the person applying, others to use innocent, unknowing applicants to rip off others. Some people have been selected for the job only to find out later they were unknowingly working with a fraud company ripping people off, scamming and illegal  stuff!

4.) life coach – helping guide people on whatever journey they want to take like career, finances, other stuff..
– I need more life experience for this job though! I believe I have the potential and other skills for this job and with more of my own experience I would probably be great at it!

5.) working with special needs kids – I have so much love and patience which is something most people need but “special needs” kids often need extra care which I’m so ready to provide! I value every single person and understand that each and every person has their own unique gifts, struggles, needs, and desires and potential. And I can work closely with kids or adults to help with their own situations. 

6.) adoption consultant – I would love, love, love to help children and families find each other and expand their families, making the process go more smoothly and showing compassion and encouragement throughout.   This is one of the best gifts ever! A birth mother who isn’t ready for or doesn’t want any kids and selflessly gives her biological child a more appropriate family and an adoptive family opening their hearts to a child to give the best life possible and lavish all the love they have onto their new family memeber!   Yes, I would love to be part of that!  

7.) psychiatric technician – worker in a mental health hospital or department, assisting therapists and psychiatrists to help patients. They often work closely with patients and help them with recovery and stabilization and sometimes do fun, healing  activities  with them like exercises, arts and crafts, group therapy..

8.) paralegal/assistent – I have a B.A. In philosophy and I’m very interested in law and legal studies, took lots of law related classes in college and would love to try out a job of this sort!

9.) Server – I love my job at the store. I love serving people and preparing their orders, meeting so many different kinds of people.   Even if I had a counseling/paralegal/consultant…job I would love one or two days a week at a restaurant or cafe or something serving people. Nothing can replace that feeling. The happy families, the little kids, the amazing smiles when I make someone an ice cream sundae! It’s a low-paying job, not a real “real” job, not an important job but at the moment people come to the store, it’s important to them. It’s important to be kind and friendly, important to be attentive to their needs and desires, important to guarantee their satisfaction to the best of my abilities.   You probably wouldn’t think this but seven years of working at a store really, really prepared me for future work as a counselor/technician or whatever I will eventually become. It’s nowhere near as challenging as being a counselor for people with mental illness or children with “special needs” but I learned more how to interact with people and tend to their needs. I have more experience with compassion and patience. I have become less shy and more open. I have learned so much.  
There’s also the challenging struggle of doing what’s best for the business while also assuring the satisfaction and contentment of the customers. There have been occasions where the interest of the business and the interest of the customer has clashed and I had to choose. I am very people oriented so I tend to choose the customer.   Their needs trump the needs of the business. Now, I never put the business out but I do what’s best for the person first when it comes to it. Finding the appropriate balance is essential. 
Sometimes people want a small ice cream for their kids but in a large cup so it doesn’t spill all over. That’s against our rules but it is a very reasonable request.   I have been known to break that rule on occasion.  I have learned more because of this struggle.
Most of my experience here is very pleasant. 

While most of these jobs require a more advanced education like a college degree, I think that’s not even important.   What IS important is having love, empathy, compassion, understanding, and patience for the people we’re working with. No one needs an education or degree for that!
I loved college and learned so much and was able to grow in ways I wouldn’t have without it. Each and every class I took and each and every professor/instructor/teaching assistent I have come across opened me in various, deeper ways. I learned many invaluable things that impact me for the better today. Some I can’t explain in words but can just feel it. Many lessons I learned in college go beyond the classrooms and books and academic things.
College was for ME! I always loved school and learning. I was never a genius or straight A student or involved in all extracurricular activities but I did love the classroom and people all throughout school/college.   I would never allow myself to even miss a day of school if I could help it in K-12. No matter what the weather was like, no matter how much pain I was in, no matter how tired, no matter how much my mom tried to persuade me to stay home for whatever reason like unsafe weather. Or pain,  …I rarely got sick so I was able to go every day for many years without missing one day. And I loved it!
 Even though I’m in debt I don’t regret my choice to go to college! But I do believe most of the most important lessons I learned in this life are not ones I learned in school. And college is not for everyone.   I think the two most important reasons to go to college are if you know the job you want definitely requires a degree in college OR you are genuinely just interested in learning more, taking classes…not because you feel you need a college education because society or your family and others demand it. or because you feel like people who go to college have more of some sort of status(it’s nonsense in my opinion), not because of the social aspect. That’s my opinion though, it’s really up to you!   Some people have a true calling that doesn’t involve going to college and that’s just as great as the ones who have a calling which does involve it, like me.

You can get a job without a degree. It’s often harder but not impossible.   You can be just as intelligent without a degree as someone who has one. There are people who never attended college and know more than I do, have more money and impressive jobs! And it’s never too late to decide to go to college later no matter how old you are. You’re going to be that age anyway! So don’t let it hold you back.

I hope you will follow your heart with “big” decisions like this.   Not the heart of society or the heart of your friends or family.   YOUR heart. You can respect their suggestions and have gratitude for their attempts to help, while still following your own path. It’s your journey so be true to you. And it’s not the end of the world if you make mistakes or change your mind and realize college or a certain job really isn’t for you after you get in or if you realize it is for you and you’re doing something else. It’s never too late!   As long as you’re living. Remember no matter how long you have been traveling down the wrong road, as long as you’re alive, it’s never too late to turn around and begin again.

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Xoxo Kim