Tag Archive | self

Get to know me survey!!! yeeeaaa!!!

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This is a little “get to know me better” bloggy survey!  

So here, get to know me better! Lol ;-D

1.) Define yourself in eleven words.
Empathetic, compassionate, alive, mindful, positive, trusting, happy, depressed, loving, amused, inspired

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2.) Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
I’m a very shy extrovert! I love my own company but also love to be around people! I’m not the life of the party, I’m the quiet girl waiting for someone to come talk to me but I feel very uplifted and energized and hopeful in a room full of people whether or not I  know them, even if no one is talking to me. I may come off as reserved or socially anxious or introverted or a loner but that’s totally not the case! I’m just shy. But I eventually will open up. You’ll be sorry! Lol j/k

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3.) What kind of food won’t you eat?

Cantaloupe, Eww! 

4.) Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Ahh, this question! I never much cared for it. Lol I just go with the flow, bask in the beauty of now. I’m not much of a planner, especially not that much into the future!

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5.) If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would you be?
This would probably be interesting but I’m not so sure I would trade places even for only a day. There’s no one I want to be other than me. It would be enlightening though to see the world through someone else’s eyes, to live and breathe as someone else. I may like to trade with multiple people throughout the day to get various perspectives. If I can only choose one, I would probably choose someone very different than me in some way like someone of a different culture or religious view or someone with an unusual experience so in combination with my own views and experiences, I can try to deepen my understanding of the world and others in general. 

“She woke up every morning with the option of being anyone she wished. How beautiful it was that she always chose herself.” ~ Tyler Kent White

6.) What is your best quality? List two. 
My compassion. I’m not always compassionate but generally I have very deep compassion for all living sentient beings, even those who seem difficult to me. I don’t always feel or act on compassion, I can be cold, an asshole, angry…but for the most part I’m very compassionate. And I try to get better and better. 

Also my lighthearted attitude and how easily amused I am! I can be in severe pain, physical or emotional and still find laughter and lightness often. It’s a fantastic way to be. It’s so inspiring. Everything doesn’t have to be so serious. 

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7.) What book has changed your life? Why? A book called 3:00am. I wrote about it here before! It’s a fictional murder mystery with the main character being someone with a very rare  sleep disorder with no known cure and the book really conveys the message of how each minute, each moment, each breath we take is extremely valuable, important, worth acknowledging and savoring. The man in the book only has one hour each day to be awake so he plans literally every minute individually to get the most in life, he goes for a run, reads his favorite books, goes on the Internet, talks to his dad…and plans each and every minute to live to the fullest before he falls asleep for 23 hours. The story is a reminder that each of us only has these moments right here, right now. We don’t have this disorder but we too only have a limited number of minutes to be awake/alive

I don’t always live like this but after reading that book I am changed and realize and live in such a way more than I used to, so that each minute counts and is the best it can be. 

“Let’s cherish every moment we have been given; the time is passing by…” ~ Kool & the Gang

Here are a couple excerpts:

“Those minutes are my life, I nearly scream. Those minutes that you take so much for granted because you get a thousand of them each day are priceless to me. Your life is measured by title, wealth, and status. My life is measured in grains of sand, trickling from one teardrop to the other.
My nostrils flare when I’m angry and I wonder if Ray feels a small gust of wind. Taking a calm breath, I ponder telling her that I’m Henry Bins and I have Henry Bins. I don’t.” 

(Henry Bins is the disorder named after this man who was the first in the world to be diagnosed.)

“It’s like Christmas, each minute a beautifully wrapped gift just waiting to be opened. Should I allow myself an extra minute in the shower? Could I read three more pages of my book? Run another quarter mile? Watch a YouTube video? Watch the swimming pool scene from Wild Things, twice?”
Check out my post if you want:

https://inspirationalgem.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/300am/

8.) What is your biggest problem/s in life?
One would be my struggle with grief. Also my physical pain disorder and depressive disorder but they are not constantly severe or always a problem. Grief never goes away as long as we live and can be quiet and mellow then out of nowhere or as a result of a trigger (a certain song, place, memory, person, picture…) become raw and violent. The raw & violent moments of grief are very hard to deal with. I found a way for the most part, and I’m getting better and better with it, to make space in my head, life, self…for this grief and other pain, to live in harmony with the rest of me. It’s not always easy but it doesn’t have to interfere with life and happiness. I am blessed, I don’t have many problems or serious things going on. It’s mostly because of my attitude. I am generally, naturally optimistic and cheerful even though I also struggle with depression. So my natural optimism and cheerfulness strengthened with intentional habits and techniques can make problems seem less serious and easier to cope with. Also, problems and pain can teach and strengthen us if we allow them.  

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9.) Who is your role model?
I don’t have one. There’s really no one I try to be like and live up to. Except the Buddha, Buddha Shakymuni, I try to live up to his ways. I want my love, my compassion, my happiness, my selflessness…to mirror his. I don’t always succeed at it and still have a long way to go probably. I am very mortal, fragile, weak next to him, but it’s so good to try. I practice Buddhist meditation, listen to Buddhist songs, attend classes, have Mala recitation beads, and try to live each day inspired by Buddha and practice his Teachings. Dharma is my inspiration and guide. There’s so much I don’t know but I’m learning more & more about Dharma.  

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10.) Do you have any insecurities? What are they? Yes and I love to be open about my flaws, weaknesses, mistakes, problems…because it can inspire others to accept their own and reach out to people in need. I know I can be criticized or mocked when I share, which I do not want to happen, but I think it’s worth the risk. I have already had things I shared about my mental health condition used against me, I had Facebook friends who used it against me and wrote intentionally rude things about my psychotic condition. When we share our less than perfect aspects, other people can feel less alone and more accepting of themselves and others. It’s worth the risk of being attacked or assaulted verbally. (in my opinion) Also, I like people to know much about me.
If they love me anyway, very good, I’m so honored! If not, I will love them and send them on their own way. ❤ For the most part, I'm a confident girl, not insecure. But sometimes I have a limited thought or insecurity that flares up, especially when I'm depressed. Sometimes I struggle with feelings of worthlessness and loneliness. I have often felt the more people I know and friends I have, the more valuable and worthy of life I will be. And the less I have the less valuable I am. And I never had many friends, sometimes I had none or felt like I had none. Sometimes I get jealous of people with lots of friends and big families. The truth is, we don't need lots of friends or family or any to be happy and worthy. Most people probably are happier with friends/family than none. We are social creatures, meant to socialize and be part of groups. I am happier having friends but it's still possible to be happy without any. And other people and things outside of ourselves do not give us value or importance. I'm much better with this insecurity but still struggle now and again with it especially if I'm depressed. It seems like an adolescent problem but I still struggle with it.  Another insecurity, sometimes I feel that I'm not cut out for living or “meant” to live, not in a spiritual or supernatural sense but a depressed sense like I'm so done with living and everything even when I have no specific external problems going on, even when good things are happening, it's a very deep and dangerous feeling or delusion. It's a strong belief and feeling that I am not compatible with life and do not want to be here. It can be very brief lasting just a few minutes or hours up to weeks or months. When I experience it I think it's true and often this is when I come close to killing myself or seriously thinking about killing myself. Also, another insecurity I have very often when I'm depressed is that everyone thinks I should be dead, not that they want me dead necessarily but think I just should be and I feel I have to justify my existence. This is one of the more common things I struggle with. When I'm depressed I often have a strong sense of embarrassment like everyone who looks at me can see right through me and thinks “She has no reason to even exist, she should just die already, what's she still doing here?” This feeling or delusion is also dangerous and I am more likely to kill myself I think, when I experience it than when I do not. When I experience this I often feel that people are mocking me and whispering about me and thinking I am inherently flawed. It is a very difficult thing to endure. It's not that I think everyone always thinks about me but when I feel this way, I think they think it when they are around me or whenever they do think of me. And it's not uncommon for me to experience, unfortunately.  I would never want people to think I have no insecurities or flaws or am never less than happy! I want to be positive and cheerful but genuine. 

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11.) What do you believe?
??? Well let's see, I believe we are all One, One with each other, the whole uni-verse, nature, the stars and moon & sun, animals….I often feel very connected to others and the world around me. I always have since I was a little girl but never knew how to put it into words. I am all for universal love, wishing everyone the best, wanting everyone to be happy and well, not at the expense of others though. When one person wins, we all win. When one person or animal dies, a light goes out on all of us. Your suffering is my suffering, your happiness is mine. Even if someone gets the job I want, I can be happy for that person. If someone has what I desperately want and do not have, I can still be happy and congratulate the person. If it's difficult at first, I can tune into my wisdom of Oneness.
I don't always feel this way even though I believe it. Sometimes I'm depressed and do not feel connected to anyone or anything. Sometimes I'm lonely or jealous or uninspired. But I always find my way back. 

12.) Does blogging enrich or better your life? Yes! Both the people I meet/communicate with and my own writing. I write for others and myself. I know every post may not be read by someone or “liked” or liked but it's still worth it to write and share. It will always be here for anyone who may find it and for me. I don't always publish everyday but I do write for the blog every single day. I am inspired almost everyday, some days the whole day, some days only one moment but each day I find something to inspire me or just feel inspired. I am inspired by what I read, see, feel…..and love to share and uplift or inspire others as well. Writing for here helps me think more clearly and in a more deep way. Sometimes my own writing inspires me! I have a whole collection since 2012 to look back on whenever I want. Once in a while WordPress suggests an old post to read after I publish a new one and I check it out and it's years old and still so inspiring! It's especially helpful when I'm depressed or in severe physical pain and I look back on an old post of mine and know I felt that way and can feel that way again. Other people's positive thoughts and writing can be so uplifting, inspiring,and helpful but there's a certain kind of hope and inspiration knowing I felt that way myself once and have it in me to feel that way again. My cover photo on Facebook says “Life is beautiful.” I don't always feel that way. Often but not always. And when I'm depressed/suicidal or having an agonizing headache, when I see that, I am reminded that I once felt that life is beautiful and can feel that again. Can feel that way NOW! Or soon. 

Most of the stuff I post here is timeless and can apply to anyone. I share my own experiences but try to in a way so anyone at all can relate. Not everyone has depression or headaches but when I write of my experiences with those, I try to make it so anyone can take any problem no matter how minor or serious, and relate. Most of us have basic empathy to relate to one another and we can deepen it.

I feel that writing for here also strengthens my positive attitude in general. It reinforces it, maintains it. I would be positive anyway mostly, but this deepens it and helps me be positive in moments I may not be without it. 
It helps to strengthen my habit of looking on the brighter side of life. I write here of my struggles and my positive way of handling them. Sometimes I don't feel like handling them positively but I am reminded of what I share here frequently and often get inspired to be more positive. It's like a reminder to myself while also potentially helping or reminding others. And I love when I get comments, likes, and shares. ❤

Since I make this mostly a positive place but also genuine, I do admit my flaws and less than pleasant qualities and situations but I highlight my strengths and good qualities and it carries over into life off of the blog. I remember to admit my weaknesses but also appreciate my strengths and blessings more.

13.) What kind of music do you like to listen to? 
I love all kinds but especially Oldies, country, and inspirational! I love love songs and ones with deep meaning and positive messages. I also like angry death metal! Lol! When I was young I felt in some ways that I could relate to it and identify and also found it hilarious. Now I still find it hilarious and laugh hysterically at the same songs! They never get old!  

14.) four facts about yourself:

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1.) green & pink are two of my favorite colors 
2.) if I were to die I would love if my organs can go to someone in need “Don’t take your organs to Heaven, Heaven knows we need them here!” 
In fact, I would love to give one of my kidneys to anyone in need even when I’m alive. I heard the transplant is more likely to be a success with a living donor. Want my kidney? You can have it if you desperately need it to live(I’m not going to sell it to people trying to get money or something…)!! Just let me know. (if I’m allowed to give it, I heard living donors who want to give a kidney to a random stranger must endure some grueling hours of psychiatric evaluation. And I have severe, severe depression but I’m not trying to die, I know what I’m in for! But the doctors may think I’m not thinking clearly because of my history of suicidal depression. But I can assure them I am! I just want to help! It is not without risks and won’t be always easy, but it’s worth it and the medical people make it as safe as possible. I want someone to live. I have two perfect, beautiful kidneys, I only need one!! I have no money so hopefully it doesn’t cost anything on my part! Lol) I don’t want anything in return other than someone living.
Since I was a young girl I have been deeply touched and inspired by the idea of organ donation even though I have never been personally touched by it. 
I always had a strong desire to help. 
I have known for as long as I can remember that I want my organs to go to someone else when I no longer need them. The only reason is that I want someone else to live. There are so many waiting for an organ and there are many organs that would save people’s lives but the person does not consent to donation. Every single eligible person can help.  
I don’t care who they go to. People have asked me, “But what if your heart goes to a ‘nasty,’ ‘undeserving,’ ‘no good,’ …..or whatever other unpleasant adjective….person?!” First of all, most people are not nasty or no good. So that is unlikely. Also it’s better to take the chance of saving an “unworthy” person than not and a “good” person dies. But anyway, everyone deserves to live! 

But I don’t judge those who refuse to donate their organs before or after death even though I wish everyone would after death! I understand and it’s your choice. Organ donation is a beautiful gift and it’s amazing how doctors can perform transplants! What a gift! To have parts of someone else to keep us alive! To give parts of our self to keep someone else alive! Incredible beauty! 
Thank you doctors, nurses, technicians….& organ donors/families & beautiful people!! <333 ❤ Thank You, thank you!! So many people are alive NOW because of the love of organ donors and their families and the love and hard work of the medical professionals involved. 

3.) I'm reading a beautiful novel, that I just found accidentally, about a heart transplant and the pain & beauty of the families involved, how one young woman lives because another young woman died, the guilt and gratitude she experiences and the resentment the dead woman's husband has for the family who received the heart. It's called “Irreplaceable” and conveys so many mixed emotions both painful and beautiful that all involved experience. 
4.) I have hipbone length hair and don't ever want it any shorter. 

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15.) What eleven words do NOT typically describe you?
Motivated (I’m a lazy bum), organized (I’m a slob & a wreck), greedy (well obviously! See above, I’m ready to give you my kidney!), athletic(sports bore me…and I’m lazy!), aloof(i love being close to others both physically and emotionally – I love hugs!), stressed(I’m often calm and handle things well and work well under pressure), dramatic (I’m quiet and balanced – usually), loud (I have a tendency to scream when people walk in my room {it could be an axe murderer for all I know!} but other than that you won’t even know I’m here!), tenacious (the description for zodiac sign for me, insists that I am/should be stubborn but I’m quite the opposite!, I am extremely easy-going, trusting, and have even been called a “push-over” on occasion!), sensitive (in the sense that I’m not easy to offended or hurt emotionally, I can handle criticism, jokes, sarcasm…), moralist/sanctimonious (I don’t like acting like I always know what is right or acting like I live better than anyone else)

Is that eleven? I sort of lost count! 😉

I hope your day is going amazingly!! 

And hopefully you got to know me/know me a bit better?!

If you want, take the survey and let me know! I would just love to see your answers! One of my favorite things to read is “about me” pages & random facts about people. It’s so fun seeing little glimpses of who someone is. ❤

Hugs & love to you, always!

😀

Xoxo Kim 

30 Days of Photos – Day 13 – {I’m Beautiful Dammit} <3

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“Well, I woke up one morning,
flossed my teeth and decided,
“Damn, I’m fierce!” You look good!
You can be just like me! A goddess? Yeah!
Don’t just pussyfoot around and sit on your assets.
Unleash your ferocity upon an unsuspecting world.
Rise up and repeat after me: ‘I’m beautiful!'”

Day 13 of the 30 day photo challenge is to get a picture of our own self, specifically the face.

I got quite a few pics of me today! August 13th. Here goes:

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And without makeup:
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And here’s a few recent ones but not today ones:

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I’m not usually this vain! Although I do love taking pictures of myself! I’m just having super, super fun with this photo challenge, taking new pictures for the topic of the day and going back and finding previous ones! 😀 And today happens to be photo of the self day! lol ❤

And here is a song I love, featuring Bette Midler:

I’m Beautiful – mobile

I’m Beautiful – desktop

I love this song about celebrating our own and each other's beauty which includes physical beauty. There's nothing wrong with appreciating the physical beauty of a woman, including our own. It's fantastic to celebrate!  

We're often made to feel that physical beauty is wrong to celebrate, that it's shallow or stuck up or wrong to others who may not feel as beautiful. But it's not shallow or objectification  unless that's all we see and care about and it's not stuck up unless we act like we are better than others. And loving our own selves, expressing our appreciation for our own beauty in a truly loving way can inspire others to do the same with their own beauty. 

The most important beauty, in my opinion, is within. But that doesn't mean we should not also cherish the physical.

And physical beauty comes in various forms, dark, light, big, small, tall, short, long hair, short hair, blonde hair, black hair, gray hair, orange hair, blue eyes, brown eyes, wrinkles, curvy, scarred, stick thin, tattoos, young, old, middle age….there's no specific definition but we can cherish it when we encounter it. ❤

Also, non physical beauty comes in various forms, tender and quiet, fierce and assertive, loud and bold, simple and laid back, bitchy or syrupy sweet, inquisitive or just going with the flow, badass or gentle, witty and funny or thoughtful and warm, motivated or not…or a combination of all of these things. Let's embrace all that we are while encouraging, accepting, and building up others. 

Let's celebrate our own and each other's inner & outer beauty! ❤

I love how in the song she acknowledges her own beauty & strength while encouraging others to do the same. Confidence is sexy and it's even sexier when it's humble enough to allow other people to be just what they are and seeing beauty in it. 

And in this song, they make it clear that we are not “too” anything. We are perfect how we are. 

“I'm not too short, I'm not too tall,
I'm not too big, I'm not too small.
Ooh, don't lemme start lovin' myself!
Ooh, don't lemme start lovin' myself!
I'm not too white, I'm not too black,
I'm not too this, I'm not too that.
Ooh, don't lemme start lovin' myself!
Ooh, don't lemme start lovin' myself!
I'm beautiful, I'm beautiful, I'm beautiful, dammit!”

And it's our responsibility to live how we want to live and maintain our own happiness no matter what other people say, do, or think.

“Too wack, too smart, too fast, too fine,
too loud, too tough, too too divine.
I said you don't belong. You don't belong.
Too loud, too big, too much to bear,
too bold, too brash, too prone to swear.
I heard that song for much too long.
Ain't this my sun? Ain't this my moon?
Ain't this my world to be who I choose?
Ain't this my song? Ain't this my movie?
Ain't this my world? I know I can do it.”

It's one of those “feel good” songs it's almost impossible to hear or read the lyrics and not be inspired and uplifted. It's a combination of inspiring, upbeat, and funny. They encourage us to feel beautiful and not just feel it but scream it off the rooftops! 😀

If you got it, flaunt it! And if you don't, flaunt it anyway! 

(many years ago at work, my coworker, who was struggling with body image issues, said this. She came to work wearing tight, revealing clothing and decided to say to hell with society's definition of beautiful and sexy, just be what you are and flaunt it! It inspires me ever since. <3) 

Check out the 30 days photo challenge!

“I know who I am. I am not perfect. I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world. But I’m one of them.” ~ Mary J. Blige

Much love to you,

Xoxo Kim 😀

Retreat

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“There is no need to run outside
For better seeing,…
…Rather abide  
At the center of your being;
For the more you leave it, the less you learn.
Search your heart and see

The way to do is to be.” ~ Lao Tzu

I love this thought provoking quote!
(I think that irony inheres in certain quotes such as this one which is thought-provoking but about not thinking, not doing, not explaining, just being.)
Sometimes all we have to do is seek within, to the stillness and quiet at our center, deep inside, to find answers, to experience serenity and calm, to experience joy, wisdom, and peace. 

It dwells in your core even when you can’t feel it. It can be discovered.

I noticed that the more I meditate, the less I care about certain (often trivial) problems and the better I handle them. Even when I go days/weeks without meditation, the first day I begin again to meditate, I experience more calmness and if I’m depressed the night that I meditate, I often wake up with a sense of happiness and hope. Meditation really has an amazingly positive effect on the brain chemistry and a beautiful psychological effect.

Meditation doesn’t even have to be a deep guided meditation or a long meditation session. It can be just five minutes of sitting in a quiet place, eyes closed, wordless and gentle music as you focus on your breath. Your mind will wander and thoughts will take over. Wandering and thinking is the nature of the human mind. And that’s ok. Just gently bring it back to your breath and the sensations in your body. That’s a very simple meditative practice. You don’t have to know anything about meditation to engage in it. It doesn’t have to be scheduled or planned. It can be during your lunch break in your office, in your bed at night before sleep, when you wake up in the morning, anywhere….not driving though, obviously! lol Or in any other situation that would render it dangerous. 

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If we take a few moments each day to just BE, it can help greatly in situations that are distressing, even if we don’t realize right away.

Often, we are so wrapped up in doing, solving, working, worrying, planning, scheduling, explaining, thinking, wondering….that we forget just being.  

I hope you will take a few minutes to connect with your inner being and forget the world for a while. I’m wishing you much love and peace and happiness! ❤

Xoxo Kim

P.s. Thank You so much to the people who wrote me comments/messages!! I will get back to you very soon!! ❤ ❤

I love….in 400 words <3

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In my inbox, I was delighted to receive a kind of “blog challenge” post where we write what we love in 400 words. It’s basically just a list but in paragraph form. I love, love, LOVE reading about people, whether I know them or not. I love random, useless, interesting facts about people like their favorite color, book, TV show, movie, things that make them unique and make up the someones that they are. It’s great when people share these little gems. 

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Here is what I love in 400 words:

I love…. tropical scents, Hawaiian Ginger, citrus, coconut, cucumber melon, body mist, scented candles, oldies music and sappy love songs, Center City Philadelphia buildings, hugs, tight red dresses, five inch stilettos, especially open toe, strappy ones, my long hair and the way it feels when it brushes my lower back and blows in the wind, photography, being creative with the pictures, nights in bed with doggies, reading fascinating books, philosophy, bright yellow mums, the way the moon stalks me at night and waking up to the incandescent golden sun, writing, receiving sweet blog comments/notifications, early mornings, hot tea, meditation, mindfulness, meeting people, seeing people, talking to people, both strangers and people I know, busses and trolleys, especially ours, snow and rain, listening to rain and hail pelt upon rooftops, the sounds of the city, especially at night, jury service, crunchy Autumn leaves, Summer bumblebees, the gray barrenness of Winter and the colorful life blossoming in Spring, big, warm, fluffy pj’s, the holiday season, feeling as One with all that is, helping people, inspiring people, being inspired, belly laughs that hurt so good, being amused in inappropriate situations and trying hard not to burst out laughing hysterically, shopping for clothes, the changing of the seasons, random acts of kindness, sweet friends(online and off)/family(including pets), feeling someone else’s happiness as if it were my own, simplicity, animals, people, deep connections with others, the floral fragrance of Spring, Love of all kinds, trees, rivers, bridges, especially the Ben F. Bridge, the bright blue sky dappled in fluffy white clouds, twilight, cobblestone streets, Kindle app, light conversations, deep conversations, personal development, thunder,  lightening, cola, old slow songs, the smell of doggy paws and fur, babies, my heartbeat and the way it feels against my hand, wrinkles, laughlines, gray hair, beauty marks, moles, wisdom, quiet, stillness, tuning into the present moment, old pleasant memories, country music, American Southern accent, English accent, packages in the mail, old books, free books, friendly smiles, denim pants, orchids, pitbulls, kids laughing, life itself, scary haunted attractions, Halloween, fiction mystery thrillers, inspiring novels, art journals, trampolines, cafes, myself, inspiring lists, blogs, cool nights, fireflies, flowers, Christmas, bokeh photos, sleet, paw prints in the snow, Philadelphia, pomeranians, romantic comedies, movies about friendship, being in a room full of people, long walks in warm weather, daylight, nightfall, empathy, quiet afternoons, poetry, dark poetry, obscure poetry, old literature, puppy kisses, gratitude, inspiring quotes

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What do you love?! This is a very uplifting activity. Whenever I make a list of all the amazing things I love, I feel so light, uplifted, and happy! I think it has an unconscious effect. I hope you will do this activity too and even if you don’t want to share it, you can just write it in a journal or on a computer or phone.

You can even put your own spin on it, make a list instead of a paragraph…

If you post what you love, share it in the comments! Or you can just post a few things instead of 400 words. 😀

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Here is the link I received in my inbox. This girl, Tanya Geisler, did this activity. I receive many inspiring e-mails by many places and this is just one.

http://www.tanyageisler.com/thinstugs-i-love-in-400-words/

Thank You for reading!!<3

Much love to you! ❤




Offering the Victory – Universal Love <3

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“May I take defeat upon myself 
And offer them the victory”

Hello loves! ❤

I hope you’re having a beautiful day!

On Valentine’s Day this year I attended a Love retreat at a Buddhist Center here in Philadelphia. It was a series of four classes on Love, each class was 45 minutes long, a lecture and meditation on Love, compassion, and kindness. Universal Love was the topic; universal love is all encompassing love. Completely unconditional love. Love for our friends, family, pets, strangers,insects, rodents, flowers, all sentient beings,  enemies, assholes, difficult people…Love for everyone. Love can be an affective feeling, a warm, positive feeling for someone but it’s also just a selfless, genuine wish for someone else to be happy With or without us, even if that someone is a person we view as a difficult person who we don’t have a warm affection for or a positive opinion of. That’s universal love, a wish for everyone to be happy no matter what. We can still want people to be happy and well (in a way that is not at the expense of others in a negative way) even if we don’t like them. It’s not always easy. It can be extremely difficult. It may take much work, thought, reflection, practice, and meditation to get to that point that we generally want even people we don’t like or ones we’re angry at, even difficult people who want nothing more than to see us fall, to be happy. But it can be done. Sometimes those thoughts and feelings may come very easily to us but sometimes we really have to try hard.

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Eventually it can become our general way of life. There may be setbacks, relapses, occasions now and then we want nothing more than to tell someone off, yell at someone, seek revenge, give someone a disgusted look to get a subtle point across without being too dramatic, or just hope bad things in our heads…but generally, with practice, we can cultivate an attitude of Universal Love. 

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The Love we were lectured on and meditated upon is completely, pure, raw, selfless Love. Ultimate, unconditional Love. With absolutely no expectations of anything in return.

Even when someone else is being selfish, unkind, uncaring, rude, vicious…we can genuinely wish that person the best whether out loud or just in our heads, speak with a calm tone, be kind. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it seems near impossible but with practice, it can be our Way.

And even if we choose to terminate a relationship with someone, it can be in a positive/productive way. We can lovingly let go, end on positive terms even if that person is not being loving or positive. On our part, it can be loving. 

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Some of the life lessons we learned during the retreat are:

1.) Offering the Victory and accepting defeat upon ourself (“ourself” as opposed to “ourselves” means people in general, like universally, as opposed to a specific group of multiple people such as a specific family or room full of people…- I just learned this! Lol :-O) even when we know we’re right and others are wrong, to be completely selfless and let go of self cherishing – self cherishing in this case means putting ourself, our own needs and desires(even seemingly reasonable needs and desires) above others.  Sometimes we know for a fact that someone else is wrong and being selfish, rude, unkind and we may have the urge to lash out, argue, be defensive, be rude back, give someone a dirty look or just think negatively in our heads…but it’s possible to get into the habit of offering those people the victory, show them love, let them be “right,” maybe even say sorry just to keep the peace and love around us. Not out of fear of confrontation or what they’ll think of or do to us if we don’t give in, or low self esteem or being weak or fake, but out of love, a genuine desire to make the world a better, more loving place. It takes a certain kind of strength to do this but it’s very worth it. It’s more important to be loving than to be right. 

It’s so tempting to meet someone’s negativity and rudeness with our own negativity and being rude back. It’s often temporarily satisfying to put people in their place or curse them in our heads or out loud but it accomplishes nothing in the long run. It just puts negative energy out into a world where there’s already enough. 

It’s important to keep in mind that just because you do, say, think selfish things does not make you a bad or even necessarily a selfish person. And it’s something that can be changed if you want to change it. If not, that’s ok too. The teachers of universal compassion and love and selflessness, Buddhists, and monks are not being negatively judgmental just as I am not being judgmental. Universal Love is about acceptance, even acceptance of people who are not being loving and people with drastically different views than our own, opposing views, polar opposite views. Some views and religions are incompatible with one another but the people who hold those views do not have to be incompatible with each other.  

We can not agree with people, not like what they think or do but still love them and show compassion and kindness.  

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I’m putting this into practice more and more each day. I’m not perfect at it. Sometimes it’s so hard. Every single day I am faced with a situation, as are most of us probably, whether very trivial or more serious, where I can choose to put my own needs above someone else’s or accuse someone of being wrong. Sometimes the person really is wrong, sometimes it’s me who is really wrong, but no matter which of us is, I make it my ultimate goal to lovingly accept the defeat upon myself and offer the victory, each day.  

On many occasions, it’s hard and some occasions I suck at it and act selfishly, some moments I give into selfishness knowing I’m acting selfishly, other occasions I’m not aware right away that I’m being selfish, but on others it’s much easier. And the more I practice, the easier it becomes. I’m still not perfect at it, I may never be. But my ultimate intention is pure. 

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For many people it’s difficult accepting defeat or admitting they’re wrong even when they are, so imagine how difficult it is accepting defeat, apologizing, letting others be “right” when you know you are right or they are definitely wrong, especially when they’re being rude and negative.  But it makes the world a better place. Imagine if we all, or even just many of us choose to accept defeat upon ourself and let them be right whether or not they really are! The world would be so loving! Totally worth it! And our actions and love will likely inspire others to become more loving. 

But it’s important to not let it wear you out, always letting yourself be defeated and others be right. You have to get your mind in the right state, train it to happily, lovingly accept defeat upon yourself and offer them the victory. Many people complain that they put others first constantly and it takes a toll on them, that they don’t get credit for the positive things they do, that they get walked all over, taken advantage of, give too much, are too kind and want to stop being so kind to those who “don’t deserve it….”

But that’s because they aren’t properly training their mind to do all this with no expectations in return, in a completely selfless way. They are being loving and kind but still expecting something of others or the world, that they aren’t getting, in return. They expect others to be sweet and friendly and helpful just because they are that way. But the world doesn’t work that way. And when their own loving compassion isn’t met with the compassion of others, they feel cheated, worn out, broken, like it’s unfair. But universal love, accepting defeat and offering the victory is about being loving, compassionate, and kind irrespective of whether we receive that in return. Love to love, not to be loved. It’s fantastic to be loved. But being loved isn’t the goal, the goal is to love. Whether the love is returned or not. To love is more important than to be loved. The solution isn’t to stop loving or caring for those who “don’t deserve it” but to build up our minds so we are not buffeted by the unpleasant circumstances we are in sometimes or the negativity of others. 

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To accomplish this, we have to meditate, reflect, practice and get to the point where we can give, give, give, get nothing out of it, be kind and not receive kindness in return, but still not feel worn out and wronged. Instead we feel even more energized and exhilarated. And even if we don’t receive the love and kindness of others, our own love we unleash onto the world and in our own minds is enough.

Again, we love to love, not to be loved. For this to become our Way and not just happen occasionally, it takes a certain kind of meditation. It must be done properly to be effective and not mess up our minds. I’m going to share the information for the book on training the mind in this here post, later towards the end. I’m nowhere near qualified to teach people to train their minds and that’s not what I’m doing here. Not only am I not a teacher, I myself do not yet have my mind trained much. So I’m in no position to teach others. I’m in the process of training my mind, which unless I attain full enlightenment, will be an ongoing process. But even short of reaching full enlightenment, it is extremely beneficial to just reach some stages. I’m just giving suggestions and sharing my own stories and struggles and experiences. 

Sometimes I am so tempted to “self cherish” and want what I want above what someone else wants. Even “reasonable” selfishness is good to avoid.
 
Here is a real life example when I was so so so tempted to self cherish and be selfish and put my desires or needs above someone else’s. But I chose to offer the victory instead. 

Recently I was at home one night, on a wonderful cold, frigid, Winter night in Philadelphia, drinking hot tea, in my pink winter pj’s, warm on the sofa with a snowstorm going outside, all warm and cozy and sweet. I was sickly and in pain in my right kidney – something that happens quite frequently. I’m prone to kidney stones and what I think are (mild) infections.  But I was very content. My sister decided she wanted to go out for ice cream. I really did not want to but my sister wanted me to go. I was tempted to say no. To say I’m in my pj’s, in pain, I’m not going out. But I kept in mind the teachings of the Buddhist classes I been attending and my desire to more frequently put others first. I was never a horribly selfish girl, even before the classes and my interest in Buddhism, I often selflessly put others first, changing my plans, willingly putting myself out to the point I have been called a “fool” and “pushover” and other insults on multiple occasions by multiple people,  but who isn’t selfish every now and then? Especially when others are wrong or rude or selfish? We often react similarly to that person, reacting with less than kindness or putting our desires first even if we are usually very kind and selfless. So I said ok I’ll go. 

And at first I really wasn’t happy about it, I was reluctant. But determined to “fake it til I make it.” Keep practicing doing what I don’t want to do as long as it’s making others happy.
Not to be “a fake” but to practice acting more selfless to feel more selfless. To BE more selfless. Even if you aren’t happy putting yourself out to help someone else, as long as you aren’t helping just to get something in return, like a positive reputation or favor in return, you are still being selfless if it’s purely to help others be happy and help make the world a better place. There’s nothing wrong with feeling a bit disappointed once in a while. The fact that you put your own needs last even when it’s reluctant indicates that you are being selfless. Even though you are disappointed for you, you are still happy for others.

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 I want to help people be happy. Even if it means not getting what I want in other ways. Just helping others be happy so often helps me be happy even when I’m not getting my own way and am disappointed about it. But sometimes it’s harder to be happy when I’m not getting my own way. But I’m trying to be better.  

I had to go to CVS to get a picture enlarged to give my friends of us in New York City together. We went for a fun trip a couple years ago and I bought the large photo. They did not want to spend the money. So they got pocket size ones. I got the larger one but lost it the next day. The other day I found the pocket size one I had and decided to get it enlarged as a gift for each of my friends. So I decided after getting ice cream with my little sister, we would go to CVS. And my sister said no! She said no! She wanted to just get ice cream and come home! I felt a pang of anger surge through me. I was so tempted to say “fucking seriously?! I’m agreeing to go out in a snow storm sick and in pain, getting all dressed for you and you can’t stop at CVS with me for two minutes just to scan a picture?!” I opened my mouth to speak then held my tongue. 

That’s not the kind of woman I want to be. I want to help others even when they are not being very agreeable, even when they’re being selfish and unreasonable. If I would have said what I wanted to, that wouldn’t be terribly selfish. It’s actually quite reasonable. I was doing her a favor and it would have took less than 5 minutes to stop at CVS. But she did not want to do me the favor, stopping there with me. Even though it was reasonable selfishness it was still selfishness, self cherishing. Putting what I wanted (going to cvs) over what my sister wanted (just coming home). And I still don’t believe I would have been wrong to respond saying I really want to go to cvs. 

And I wouldn’t negatively judge others who would say that. But I want to become completely selfless (like the Buddha) and always put others first but still being peaceful in my mind. I want to be this way because I want people to be happy, even those acting unkindly and selfishly, even ones who don’t return the favor. And I want the world to be better. 
Even though this is, generally, my ultimate goal and truest desire, on certain occasions, it’s hard to live up to, difficult to not get caught up in the negativity or emotions of that specific occasion. It takes practice. 

After I held my tongue I was still pissed. But I saw it as practice to become better and better. And I took advantage of this wonderful opportunity to practice. I thought about the Buddha’s teachings and the monk’s lessons in our classes and my meditations and the woman I aspire to be. And my anger eventually melted away. Even though I was still resentful for a while, at least the environment was still more peaceful and my sister was happy and everyone was happy. If I would have spoken up, expressed my displeasure, it may have relieved my own anger or annoyance a bit but she would have become infuriated or devastated (she’s very sensitive).

So holding my tongue was good even though I did not get what I wanted. And in the end, all the things I want won’t bring me as much peace and happiness as a peaceful, compassionate, selfless mind that puts others (family, friends, strangers, difficult people, even assholes….) first. My meditation and teachings help me so I can put everyone else first but not feel lowered, degraded, worn out. It’s a journey, a process, it will not always come easily. I will always have selfish intentions now and then but I will become a more selfless being with practice. Like I said, I have never been extremely selfish. But like many or most of us, I want what I want occasionally and I think it’s more important than what someone else wants sometimes and I try justify it by showing how it really is more important….but I intend to becomes less and less that way. I offered my sister the victory. I accepted defeat upon myself. 

I’m not bragging. I’m using my own real example because I believe when people are open and honest and share their own stories, they are easier to take seriously. If I’m going to preach or give suggestions, it’s good to use a real experience of my own, right?  And a genuine example, if I have one, is often better than an imaginary one I can make up in my head. 

You can practice Love and selflessness every single day in very simple but significant ways. For example, when you’re walking in back of slowpokes, instead of thinking unpleasant thoughts like “I wish these people would just move already!, How selfish walking so slow when they know people are in back of them!,  Assholes!” 

I’m not innocent of these thoughts occasionally. I thought all of them at some points. 
And actually during one of the breaks the very day of the retreat I found myself almost late for one of the classes in back of very slow people thinking “Move! Move! Move! I’m about to be late!” and not in a pleasant way. Lol And I caught myself and realized the irony of it.

We can instead think “I wish these people well, I hope they’re happy or become happy, I wish them health, joy, friendship, love…” it puts positive energy into the world and if nothing else, it gets you in a positive, loving habit and then you begin to act more lovingly also,  unconsciously and consciously. 

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The Buddhist monk teaching our class most weeks, and the retreat, gave an example of someone going to Starbucks and asking for a latte and thinking how slow the worker is being and thinking “just hurry up with my coffee!” but instead we can think “Yeah! Pump it up! I hope he’s having fun pumping my coffee!” lol! Everyone burst out laughing! It’s funny but it’s true! Let’s hope the workers are having fun or are peaceful and happy or at the very least, not suffering.

And when our pet chews the sofa or our shoes, think how much we love him/her instead of being destructively furious. It can be so hard but with practice, it’s possible.  

For many of us, no matter how loving and positive we are even to strangers, we probably almost never even think to hope the person making our coffee is feeling happy pumping the coffee, or the person who cuts us off in traffic is well, or the pizza delivery man is healthy, or the person who writes us an incredibly rude comment online feels loved today and always….those are incredibly small (but significant) things we completely do not think to do no matter how loving we generally are. But they help significantly. Us and everyone around us.

Soon we begin to exude love and compassion and positivity.

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Outside the Buddhist Center, after the classes, I saw a man crossing the street, walking a dog, and he was almost ran over by another man in a car. I don’t know which one was in the wrong, I wasn’t paying attention, but they both did not handle it well. The one man beeped the horn much longer than necessary. The one man yelled “watch where you’re going asshole!” and the other yelled “suck it you fucking asshole!” and the other responded “not on your life, asshole!”. And they both gave each other vicious looks and the one walking with the dog flipped the one in the car off. I couldn’t stop laughing because first of all, again with the irony, outside a Buddhist Center where they preach nothing but Love and on the day of a Universal love retreat! And because how they both just kept yelling “asshole!”

Lol I probably shouldn’t be so amused but I am! 
  
2.) Mindfully focusing on all the kindness and love we have been shown since we came into the world, the love and kindness shown by family, friends, teachers, animals, strangers…

We are alive today and much of where we are is because of the love and kindness of others either directly targeted at us or indirectly. Since we came into the world we have been shown kindness and love. Even in the simplest, smallest ways but are still significant.

The doctors and others who took care of you and your birth mother before you were born,  took care of you and your unborn children, your family who kept you alive and safe, your friends you had in and out of school growing up, who taught you things, your teachers, professors, instructors, the law enforcement officers who keep our communities safer, the people who grow/make our food, doctors and nurses, cashiers in stores, government workers, janitors who keep our buildings clean, fast food workers who serve us, strangers who showed us random acts of kindness throughout the years…

During the meditation, I was surprised at the emotions that welled up in me when we were meditating on this concept. While I felt warmth, love, gratitude, joy, happiness, inspiration, awe, I also experienced guilt, contrition, awkwardness, sadness, embarrassment, grief  about all I have been overlooking all these years, completely disregarding. As grateful and reflective as I often am, I still overlook, ignore, close my eyes to so much.  But this retreat awakened me even more.

 At some points during the meditation, it was difficult to focus, too painful, too awkward, too uncomfortable ,at some points, I felt so small,  but I once read that the best teachers bring us to ruin, instead of having his/her students clapping and cheering, s/he has them in silent awe, mouths gaping open in disbelief, astonishment, heads held low in embarrassment, remorse, guilt at all they have been ignorant of. These aren’t the words that I read but the same concept. I’m paraphrasing, capturing the sentiment. And it’s what I felt during the classes. 

I invite you to try this activity. Just sit or lay in a quiet place or listen to some gentle, wordless, music and reflect on and feel gratitude for all those who have shown you kindness and love, even the ones you never met, the people who grow/make the food to be sold in 
stores, your family and all the things they have done for you through the years, your friends, acquaintances, pets, neighbors, strangers you remember who showed you love in some way, the doctor who was your biological mom’s when she was pregnant with you, the persons who safely delivered or assisted in delivering you when you were born, your ancestors who all led to you, singers, celebrities who inspire you, all of the people in this life who help you or have helped you in any way no matter how seemingly simple or small.

We are also encouraged to think of and give thanks for those we haven’t yet met but will meet in the future. Future best friends, coworkers, family members, future children, strangers we’ll meet at a Busstop, walking up the street, a new neighbor who may move in near you and become like family to you, the employees in restaurants and cafes we will go to, future lover/s, there are infinite opportunities waiting to unfold for us to meet various kinds of beautiful people.  And experience many more beautiful things. This brought and still brings me so much hope. To think of all those people and all those experiences and opportunities that are still to come to me, tomorrow, next year, in twenty years and more….

Think of and give thanks for all these people and animal friends and experiences who bless and will bless your life.

And let us give thanks for all our blessings.

Also let’s remember to accept defeat upon ourself and offer the victory to them. Even when we know without a doubt that we are right and they are wrong. Love is more important than being right.

You may think “why should *I* be the one to give in?” We have control over our own selves, not others. It’s up to them to decide what to be and up to each one of us to decide for ourself. 
I hope you choose to be all that you can be in each moment. You probably won’t always live up to that goal but on many occasions you will and that’s fantastic. 

We will have setbacks and succumb to selfish ways again and again. We will expect things that others will not do for us, we will cherish ourself and ignore the needs and desires of others, we will be ungrateful, angry, and negative sometimes because we are not fully enlightened. And that’s ok. We can just be as loving as we can and when we fall, gently remind ourself that love is the Way. 

When we keep putting others first over and over and being kind to people being rude, we will very likely still feel annoyed or angry even if we don’t act on it. That’s ok. Eventually we will be better and better at putting others always first while still feeling happy and pleasant about it. 

3.) And remember to view each unpleasant encounter with someone as an opportunity to practice becoming more loving, more patient. It’s a habit that must be maintained to keep it going. It’s an ongoing journey. Practice, practice, practice. Challenging encounters are a good thing.

“No one ever learns to be a great driver by just driving upon a straight road.”

4.) “It is like a diamond, like the sun, and like a medicinal tree.”

That is to say that when we train our minds by following the instructions of Geshe Chekhawa’s text on being more compassionate, loving, kind, meditative, offering the victory, accepting defeat, any little thing we do is good. Even if it’s just a sliver of what he teaches. When a diamond is cut into little pieces, every fragment, even the most microscopic piece, is extremely valuable. Geshe Chekhawa’s text is best when practiced as a whole, but like a broken diamond, even the smallest part is extremely valuable. Priceless are his teachings, even when only part is followed. Sunlight completely dispels all darkness but even just a few beams of golden sun provide some light. If we practice his full text, we completely dispel all of our darkness of ignorance but just engaging in some parts of the practice is incredible. Even just one moment you choose kindness as opposed to lashing out, it is like a beam of sun. Beautiful. 
And just as every part of a medicinal tree (roots, trunk, branches, leaves, flowers, and fruit) provides medicine, so every part of the instructions on training the mind provide insight, relief, invaluable information to us.
Every word of his is infinite wisdom. 

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And you don’t have to be a Buddhist or plan on becoming one to incorporate some Buddhist views such as these, into your world. Even if you have another religion, universal love is compatible with it. 

I purchased a book at the retreat called “Universal Compassion” by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who is the teacher of the monk who teaches our class. I love his books and have many. This is the book I mentioned above on training the mind to be completely selfless but still completely happy and peaceful in general. It is a beautiful and practical book that helps us train our brains to be all that we can be. 
 Geshe Chekhawa’s teachings are mentioned there. It’s based on his wisdom. 

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These are just some of the things I learned during the retreat and practice, meditate upon  in class every week and at home during my meditations and everywhere I go. I’m so thankful I attended and have awakened to so much wisdom and experienced amazing things during meditation and lectures. It’s amazing to be surrounded by people who have similar goals and interests as me. I hope I can remember and share bits of wisdom I learn each week/day and share it along with my own experiences and struggles, to help others.  

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Links on Metta(universal love):

http://www.buddhanet.net/metta_in.htm

http://www.wildmind.org/metta/introduction/what-is-metta

Lovingkindness meditation: 

Desktop:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM&app=desktop

Mobile:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM&app=m&persist_app=1

This page, below, has free mp3’s for songs and meditations/guided meditations about love & compassion.
 
http://www.buddhanet.net/audio-library.htm

May you be well.
May you be happy. 
May you be peaceful.
May you be loved.

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Xoxo Kim ❤ ❤

My (somewhat recent) Dream {you can be greater than anything that can happen to you}

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As I posted here previously, I have vivid dreams that I frequently remember. Sometimes they’re inspirational.
My dreams aren’t usually bad, negative, or scary. They’re often strange. Bizarre beyond comprehension. And when not bizarre beyond belief, usually just quite ordinary like an extension of a normal day.  But I can often gather little parts of them, bizzare or not, that can be analyzed or interpreted. I like my dreams. They seem so real. And I love that I remember them so easily, I even remember dreams I had years ago.
My dreams are so profound and so intense, like I can experience my emotions in my dreams just as strongly as during my waking hours. 

I believe that dreams are usually just stuff we have been thinking about consciously or unconsciously whether it’s important or not so much. I think it’s often just our brains releasing everyday stuff in symbols or images as we sleep. Like a kind of replenishment. I think sometimes we have certain dreams for a certain reason that we aren’t consciously aware of. Some deep, seemingly unreachable, part of the Self is attempting to reveal something.  I love the mystery of dreams and I think they often try to take unconscious thoughts and put them into the conscious mind.

Sometimes I know things unconsciously that I don’t realize in my waking hours. These messages come to me during my slumber and I’m often blessed enough to carry the message out of the dream and into my wakening. 

In another post I mentioned that I have a recurring dream while I sleep sometimes, when I’m depressed and suicidal or having suicidal thoughts. The dream is someone chasing me and trying to kill me and in my dream I want so desperately to live and will do almost anything to survive. I’m passionate about living. My desire to live in this dream is overwhelming and I would do almost anything to save myself. This is a dream I usually only have when I’m depressed and having some degree of suicidal thoughts.

I believe it’s my unconscious mind letting me know I really do want to live, deep inside I want to live, not to listen to and give into the deadly thoughts and urges, that the depression is deceiving me into thinking I should die. The depression is clouding my Truth. My Truth is pure like sparkling white snow glistening on a cold Winter day. But depression comes along like a speeding truck headed straight for me, leaving tracks of mud upon my pure Truth. But no matter how much mud and soil and sludge it leaves upon my Truth, my inner self, my Truth and my authentic Self is still pure and sparkling, still fierce, still strong. No pain can take that. My Truth is that life is always a blessing even when it doesn’t feel so, that there’s always beauty and hope and something to carry on for, something to smile about and be thankful for even when pain or circumstances are overwhelming. No matter how much it hurts. Even when it feels like it will never get better, like all hope is lost. My truth is that I have a purpose and always will. My truth is that I want to live to inspire anyone I can, to share my own story, my happiness and sadness, my joy and pain, my beauty and my uglines, my strength and my weakness,and bring hope and healing to anyone in need.

A few months ago, I have been depressed again and had another dream. I dreamed that someone died. A woman named Angie. She’s not someone I know for real, I don’t know where my mind got her. I don’t think she’s based on a real person that I know of. But I read a fact about dreams that says when we see faces in our dreams they are people we once saw in our reality whether we remember seeing them or not, even if those people were never significant in our lives, even if we saw the face only once, and even if we haven’t seen them in decades. Our brain can’t make up faces. 

The faces/people we dream may not, in the dream, be based on who they really are in reality. It’s just the same physical face/appearance, nothing more necessarily. The example I read is that as a child we may have watched a man pumping gas into our dad’s car then years later dream of a serial killer and it’s the man pumping the gas! His face! Lol So while the face is real he wasn’t necessarily really a serial killer, he was just a man pumping gas whose face made it into a dream years later and the brain made him a serial killer. In the dream the serial killer isn’t that man we remember pumping gas at one point. It’s that our brain just took his face to incorporate into a dream.
Now, I have absolutely no clue how true this is. And if it’s true I have no idea how someone found this out. How does someone know our brains can’t make up faces that never existed? Maybe it’s common sense how someone knows but I’m lacking that common sense or maybe some research reveals it somehow. Some kind of neuroscience? It’s fascinating but I don’t know much about it. I did go to college for psychology and took many brain classes, even held an actual human brain in my hands, along with a spinal cord. My professor had/has a human brain collection in her basement. They float around in jars of fluid. Lol please don’t ask because I don’t know! 

She’s some kind of brain researcher in a lab and keeps the brains for her own entertainment. I would too! Lmao
This sounds like something out of some kind of science fiction or horror movie but it’s reality. So yeah.
I don’t remember over half the shit I learned back then. But it’s ok at least I’m humble enough to admit it! ;-D
It’s funny because sometimes I dream about this fact about dreams and faces that I’m not sure is really a fact. Lol
As a matter of fact, it’s only in a dream that I remember first learning it! 
I don’t remember learning this “fact”/fact while awake. I dreamed about learning this then one day I woke up and thought it was just some weird thing I dreamed out of nowhere. Then I looked it up and saw it’s actually said to be a fact! So I must have learned it and forgot but my unconscious self remembered and had it tucked away until I fell asleep one night.
I haven’t found any reliable sources to support it.
So anyway, if this is true, Angie in my dream who died, must be real since I saw her clearly in my dream. Maybe her name isn’t really Angie. 
Maybe in reality she’s not who she was in my dream. And hopefully she never really died.

Maybe I saw her on a bus one day years ago or in a class in college or in a picture on Facebook….who knows?
But in my dream she died. In my dream I did not know her well at all but the news of her death devastated me. This isn’t quite a stretch or unrealistic as in my reality I find the death of someone to be devastating, even the death of people/animals I hardly know or don’t know at all. Of course, it’s not as deep as for people who actually knew the person/animal but I am just filled with sorrow over the losses I hear of. I can see on the news that someone died or I read a Facebook status and am somewhat somber the rest of the day off and on or even the next few days. It’s not always equal for every one that I see. Some things hit harder for whatever reason.
But in my dream I was in a room full of people who all knew the woman who died. I don’t know where I was in the dream but in the dream it made sense. I think it may have been inspired my the building of the mental health clinic I go to for medication. There were big wooden tables and chairs, like lunchroom tables,  and a lady in charge….in charge of what I don’t know…., she was going around to different people with a clipboard and paper and pen and when she got to me we sat on the chairs, facing each other. I was grieving and felt a kind of fear and I sensed this woman before me was trying to push the problem under the rug, not wanting to talk about the issue directly or in depth because it was painful and uncomfortable.
She asked me questions I can’t remember. She wrote down my answers. I even remember the paper in the dream, clearly. It was white with black text and black boxes to write the answers in. 

Then the last question she asked me I do remember. She said something like: “What is the one quote you want to live by, choose a quote you truly believe in, one that is important, a quote you want to be the foundation for your life?” I thought about it for a few seconds and almost instantly a quote popped into my head. For real I was depressed and in my dream I was depressed and grieving. When I’m depressed I often have certain insecurities thinking I’m not good enough for anything or anyone and in my dream that’s how I felt.
I was afraid to answer. Feeling as if my answer wouldn’t be good enough. Just because it’s my answer, because nothing about me is ever good enough, it seems. I don’t always feel this way, only sometimes, especially when I’m depressed. And in the dream I felt this.
In reality I was feeling a bit hopeless. 
It carried over into my dream.
And the quote that came to me in my dream:
“You can be greater than anything that can happen to you.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

I told the dream lady(who I must have also seen in my waking hours if that fun fact is in fact true, but I don’t remember her either, in my reality) and she happily wrote it down. She seemed impressed and she said to me “Now, you always remember that, don’t you ever forget it.”
And then I woke up.
I was and still am in awe of the beauty my brain creates when I sleep.
Of course my brain did not make up this quote. If only…lol if only my slumbering brain were THAT brilliant!
This is one of my favorite quotes that helps remind me whenever something bad happens, whenever I’m in pain of any kind, depressed, struggling with insecurities or painful memories of any past event or day, grief, struggling with tmjd “cluster headaches”….that no matter what it is, I can be greater if I let myself. I can be greater than anything that can happen to me. No matter how painful or devastating or tragic or sad. I have the power within to rise above it. And that goes for you as well. We can all be greater than anything that can happen to us. We don’t have to give our power to other people, situations, events, pain, things, or anything. Generally and ultimately, no circumstance, no person, no thing has power over you unless you allow it.
We have the power over ourselves. 

In some special cases, people do have the power to control us, situations get the best of us but in the long run, overall, we have the power over ourselves. We can choose to take it back when it seems to be taken away and pro-act.

Sometimes I let my pain, both physical and emotional, repress my Truth. I let it conquer me and my life’s philosophy. I let everything else, everything I know to be true to me, take the back burner and my pain prevail. But then it comes to me in my sleep because it never really left me. It’s still my Truth. It was there all along. And my dreams remind me… 

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I encourage you to listen to your dreams and your truth. Not everyone can remember their dreams at all or enough to interpret them or glean any inspirational or useful insights but if you do remember them, it’s possible a part of you deep inside is trying to tell you something. Listen. Listen to your inner Self. Not just your dreams while you sleep but your waking Truth. 
You may have values, opinions, philosophies, virtues that you generally firmly believe in or live by or want to honor and live up to eventually if you don’t already. But pain, either physical or emotional, situations, unpleasant experiences can cloud those truths and they become muddled and repressed and the pain becomes your truth instead. 
Maybe the pain tells you you can’t go on or that there’s no reason to. Maybe it tells you you’re worthless or that there’s no hope, no point, no purpose, no beauty, nothing but pain. Maybe it tells you that you aren’t good enough, beautiful enough, not equal to everyone else. Maybe it’s just so painful it feels like you have to die to end the pain, whether physical or emotional, or just curl up in solitude and give up on everything.

You can find and develop your Truth and authentic Self through reflecting, thinking, tuning in, meditating, writing, looking for evidence throughout your every day and your whole life to see what you really believe deep within, think about how you handle or have handled various situations and how you felt about the situations and how you handled them(were you sorry you reacted a certain way? Proud of your actions? Was there some sense of dissonance with how you reacted and how you felt? Did the two match up?), think about how you really feel deep inside around certain people, in certain circumstances, reaching out to others, photography if it’s your interest, searching through books, magazines, images and words and seeing what jumps out at you. What captures your heart and resonates with you? It doesn’t matter if you know why something captures you or not or if you never knew something appeals to you til now. Your deeper self knows. I got this idea off of author, Sarah Ban Breathnach, searching through magazines, stores, catalogs without the intention to buy anything, just listen closely and see what calls to you, what clothes, objects, jewelry, vacations, people… call to you? Which ones tug at your deepest parts? Which ones make your pulse speed a bit faster? Which ones make you tingle all over?….glue pictures to paper or a journal and it’s your self discovery journal/journey….keep up with it often to keep in touch with your deep inner Self who may be buried beneath layers of expectations of others or society as a whole or yourself that you think you should be, buried beneath fear, anxiety, pain, and anything else. 

Your pain is very real. But pain clouds our judgment making it not sound so we forget our authentic Self and our deeper Truth. Don’t listen to that pain when it deceives you. Definitely listen to your pain, tend to it, embrace it if you can, accept it, let it teach you and strengthen you and deepen your wisdom, but not conquer you and delude you. That’s not you. It’s part of you for sure, maybe even a significant loud part that screams in your eardrums, screams in your face. But screaming and throbbing and being loud doesn’t make it true. The true you is what deserves to be honored even when your Truth isn’t screaming and loud. It’s quiet and gentle and calm and warm and deep, whispering  inside but it’s evermore worthy of being honored than that loud, screaming pain that demands you to give up and lose all hope and joy. It’s more powerful than pain and delusions, quiet and gentle as it is.

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Sarah Ban Breathnach is amazing! I love her and she’s one of my greatest heroes, though I never met her in person. I would love to though! The book I referred to above with the self-discovery activity is “Something More – Excavating Your Authentic Self.” She also mentions self exploration and authentic Self activities in her book “Simple Abundance.”

Her books are mostly directed at women but they really can help anyone.

I wish you much love, hope, healing, happiness, and joy. And I hope you will always make the choice to honor your deeper self, your authentic Self, your Truth. Even when other people don’t like the true you, even when it’s hard to honor yourself. Always choose life, always choose you.

Xoxo Kim

Fun facts about meeee <3

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I saw a random blog challenge “get to know me facts” and I love to get to know people and love listing random, useless, but fun facts about me! So here goes!

I did a couple of these before too.
;-D

1.) I love dogs (and all animals) and have six! Three boys and three girls. They are my princes and my princesses! They are the center of my universe and are the most spoiled little things! Four of them sleep in bed with me regularly at night and sometimes five do. They steal my blankets and pillows and it’s annoying but also adorable and I let them keep them.  I’m quite serious when I say my world revolves around them. Lol I usually make sure whatever food I’m eating is safe for dogs so when they’re begging I can give them some even if I prefer a different kind of food that they can’t have! My family celebrates their birthdays and all the anniversaries when they were adopted or came to live with us! They get their own Christmas stocking and everything they want. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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2.) I’m a very shy extrovert but probably live more like an introvert. I  would love being surrounded  with people day and night if I had the opportunity but I can be just as happy being in my room reading, meditating, or listening to music alone. I love people but also love my own company

3.) I have almost always had a positive body image. When I was a little girl I thought people on TV could see me through the screen and I thought they thought I was the most adorable thing. I had a short denim skirt that was my favorite and I would put it on and dance around the room, showing off, while watching TV, especially that old movie “Pillow Talk” (it was my favorite movie) so they would all see how beautiful I was! Lol

4.)  I don’t watch tv because I just have no interest but I love the TV show “King of Queens” when it’s on in my house. It’s so funny! I have the theme song on my phone! 

5.) My favorite music is Oldies music. Like old old. I’m not talking about 70’s or 80’s although I like some of that too. I’m talking about 50’s music and also 60’s. Ooollllddd ass music! Lol Oldies was my favorite for as long as I can remember but I used to be too embarrassed to tell people, especially other kids, until I was in college. As a teenager I would look up lyrics to all the “coolest” and latest songs just so I was able to join conversations with other kids about music and act like I loved all the same music. I wouldn’t dare spill my dirty little secret that I only listened to those Oldies but goodies! I even used to change the dial on my handheld radio when I put it down in case anyone picked it up and “caught me” listening to oldies. Lol! Now I will proudly scream it off the rooftops. I don’t care what they say I won’t live in a world without Oldies! (I think I shared this fact on here previously somewhere!) 

6.) I love so much when I’m selected for jury service. I love every single thing about it. I love the criminal justice building, center city Philadelphia, learning about the process, the juror sticker, the lunch break, the chairs, the people, the forms, the TV screens, the hallways and rooms, the feel of it, the big room, all the energy I feel being surrounded by all those people ….i would volunteer every week if I could. I wish I were selected every year instead of every other year.  I was never selected as a juror and I am so disappointed. 😦 I always wanted a civil case but criminal ones are interesting too.  
I heard if someone gets put on a trial the person may not get selected again for like over a decade so maybe it’s good I don’t so I don’t  have to go that long without being called again! Most people I hear of try to go to great lengths to get out of it. I would go to great lengths to get into it. Lol like maybe coming up with a fake last name just to get selected more than once every other year! ;-D

“It’s your turn!” lol

7.) I think it would be so amazing to be a lawyer. And I’m good at debating. I can blow your mind with my skills. Lol If I were going to I would like to be a criminal defense attorney. 

8.) I always thought I would love to be a model. To try different hair and clothing styles, expressions and makeup and poses! So fun!

9.) When I was a little girl and wouldn’t get what I wanted (which was rare- my mom over spoiled me!) or things wouldn’t go my way, I would often run around on my ankles all angry, like bend them and run all around, even in school!  Now my ankles collapse unexpectedly on various occasions and I just fall or almost fall. My mom and me laugh hysterically and my mom is convinced it’s because of doing that when I was a kid. If so, I guess it serves me right for being a spoiled little bitch!

10.) I am so easily amused over the dumbest things all throughout everyday even when I’m not in a happy mood and it gets me into trouble but it’s ok, at least I’m having fun and it’s uplifting to be this way! I am so annoyed when I’m angry at someone but also amused and I cannot stop laughing because then it makes it so people probably won’t take my anger seriously! 

11.) I love dark poetry better than the happy kind – not because I’m sad and dark, I’m not usually dark and gloomy and even when I’m happy I love it! I’m just in tune with the dark side. It’s beautiful to capture the darker side of life in photos or poetic writing. But I love happy songs, movies and endings to books, usually better than sad ones.

12.) I’m very interested in things that have to do with law. Philosophy of law is a fascinating subject!

13.) I sit around completing logic problems just for fun and I have as much fun as people when they’re on vacation or traveling, just doing this! It gives me the greatest thrill! 

14.) I don’t drink alcoholic beverages ever and the only reason is it doesn’t appeal to me just like certain food doesn’t. I’m not morally against it or afraid of becoming addicted, although addiction runs in my family severely. I never had more than a few sips in my whole life and that was years ago. 
But alcoholic bottles, cans, and signs are some of my favorite things to takes photos off. Along with cigarette packs.

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I found this under a bridge one night.

15.) I’m not afraid very easily and generally not prone to anxiety. I’m not afraid of needles or blood or hospitals or surgery or rodents or insects or anything. And I have a strong stomach and don’t get queasy over that stuff. 

16.) I would never go skydiving or bungee jumping and roller coasters terrify me. Hell no! Lol I guess it kind of contradicts the above fact! 

17.) I love holidays but I don’t go all out to celebrate, only in my head. I love the feel and I just bask in the energy, sense of unity in the air,  and decorations and beauty all around during the holiday seasons!

18.) I’m not very thoughtful with buying gifts. Some people are so good at choosing the most personalized, touching gifts. Not me. I have no idea what to buy people. My thoughtfulness manifests better in my words or intention to help in some ways, I’m good at writing and expressing my appreciation or well wishes for people even if it’s just a brief Facebook message or blog comment…or thinking of little details that may help make something easier for someone.

19.) I don’t have an aversion to any part of the body, mine or anyone else’s. I see/hear of so many people who claim to not stand people’s feet, even their own (it’s strange how many people I see writing this! Like it’s a trend now or something?). Ummm…it’s part of the body, the way it’s made to be. And some people are disgusted over brain or stomach related things like the acid or fluid! Again, it’s part of the beautiful human anatomy! Not disgusting. Lol
Imagine not having those things! We would be in trouble! The whole body is beautiful. 

20.) I wear old fashioned kind of clothes I guess. No leggings or skinny jeans for me! I love only flare pants and low cut shirts. The same kind of clothes I have been wearing for over a decade. I also don’t care that my bra straps often show even though I see people making fun of girls online for their under garments showing. Lol

21.) I go out with my hair wet right after a shower. I read about a study that says most people perceive girls who go out with wet hair as being lazy and sloppy. Oh well, I am lazy and sloppy, think what you will! 😀

22.) I have a strange memory. I can remember birth dates and other dates extremely well and I can remember facts really good but I cannot for the life of me remember to do things I’m supposed to do or all the things I’m supposed to buy at a store. I can’t remember phone numbers either, including my own!

23.) my mom says I have the mentality of a man which she thinks is disgusting and she’s convinced I was a man “in another life.” I like “dirty” songs and memes. I think perverted jokes are hilarious and things that have to do with bodily functions and text them to her just to freak her out. I can be very immature. Lol

24.) In high school, I had perfect attendance all four years, not one day missed. I loved school and rarely got sick. No matter how much pain I was in, how tired I was, how badly I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, how horrible the weather was….i got up and out the door. There were even some days my mom encouraged me to stay home like if there was a snowstorm but school was still in session or when I would be in severe head/face pain which was related to my pain disorder but I did not know back then, but I was determined to soak up every day of school I could. Luckily I never had anything serious like influenza or something where I would have had to stay home or I would have put everyone else in danger because I wouldnt risk getting others sick! So it’s all because of my health and my determination. At our graduation, three of us had perfect attendance all four years. More did for three, more for two, and even more for one year.

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and there’s this as well:

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It seems I have a thing for showing up.

25.) physical description: I’m 5 feet 5 inches and always wished I was taller but I love wearing 5 or 6 inch stilettos and I feel super tall when I do! And I love it! I have blue eyes with a large green splash in each one. So when I wear green eye shadow or green shirts, my eyes usually look completely green. I have long hair, a bit longer than waist length and it’s naturally a medium shade of brown with natural orange and blond highlights. Some lighting can make it look more blonde while others can make it look more red/orange. But it’s brown. I love it and never put hair dye in it. I don’t change my hair style ever, I never get tired of it. I just trim it occasionally. 

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26.) I never needed glasses or contacts but I think glasses are cute and if I needed glasses I would choose them over contacts. Also, less dangerous even though they probably have more complications than contacts. 

27.) I have always loved brown eyes. They are so warm and lovely. But I think all colors are pretty.

28.) I don’t really plan things and don’t mind having plans change at the last minute or planning things on the spur of the moment. I’m easy-going and procrastinate with things and am messy and disorganized. I’m not a perfectionist(although sometimes I wish I were perfect – whatever “perfect” is.). It’s not all good but it’s also a lot less negative stress to be this way, I think, than one of these “type A personalities.”

29.) I love when there’s something I swore up and down I would never like, do, or wear then I come to love it! Example: flats. I always disliked flat shoes and said I would never wear them. Ever. I thought they were ugly and just Eww but now I love flats and have a few pairs. I actually had many pairs but my dog chewed them along with a few pairs of my stilettos! Also, cheeses fries with ketchup on them! Eww! I used to see kids eating them in high school and it was disgusting! Then one day in college I ordered cheese fries at one of the window stands and clearly said no ketchup when they asked and they put ketchup on but I was so hungry I tried them and loved them! And I promised I would never read fiction books. I thought it was a waste and only wanted to read education stuff now I LOVE fiction after reading a fiction book just because I liked the title and it inspired me to try more now I’m hooked! And I love how fiction isn’t restrained by the rules of reality even in realistic novels and anything can go!

30.) I’m extremely forgiving and probably couldn’t hold a grudge if my life depended on it, especially when people say sorry or appear to be sorry. It comes very naturally to me, it’s not even like I have to make it a point to try to forgive usually, it just comes easily, automatically. But sometimes it doesn’t and I accept or work on it. 

31.) I’m also extremely trusting to the point I’m stupid. And I trust the same people over and over and over no matter what they keep doing.

32.) I believe people are basically good. Some go above and beyond the goodness of the average person and most everyone does not good stuff now and again but I believe deep inside we’re pretty much all good.

33.) I am very easy to please. Very, very. I’m satisfied with nearly every movie I watch, every book I read, all the food I consume, every gift I receive. But once in a while(rarely) I do read a book I dislike and am not used to the feeling it provokes in me. I recently purchased a book about a Christmas story and a mystery baby and it really isn’t that good. It made no sense to me, like the point. I have some sense of it though. And also it just isn’t that interesting and I felt that my night was wasted because I stayed up all night reading it just to find out the answer to the mystery. I usually just stop reading when a book isn’t good but I wanted to see the big mystery! And it was a disappointment anyway! 
Lol I don’t care about the wasted money and anyway it was only $1.00 and someone is probably being helped by the money that goes to the book so that’s good. It’s my wasted night I can’t get back. But it’s not really “wasted.” It was my choice and I would never have known if not for staying up reading. I love thinking back even a long while later, to when I read certain books and the feelings they bring back. 

34.) Greasy food is heaven to me, the greasier the better!! I love Mcdonald’s french fries but they were better when they were more greasy and less healthy, they tasted better but now they got healthy I think. Still delicious though. I think our president’s wife got to them with her health freak ways! Lol

35.) Coca Cola is my favorite soda!! I drink it everyday! I think it’s the least healthy soda too. I drink water at night now and early in the morning more than soda but all day it’s Coca Cola all the way! I can tell the difference right away with Pepsi and Coca Cola. Many people say they taste the same. Not to me! Pepsi is weaker. And less and different flavor. And I take pictures of Coca Cola trucks whenever I see one! 

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36.) I love animated, kiddie movies like Toy Story, Arthur Christmas, and the Nightmare Before Christmas!! My dog is named Woody after the doll in Toy Story. It’s actually Dagwood and we call him Woody! He’s less than four months old!

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37.) I’m not a crier(sp?) for me, it’s not my cup of tea. No matter how happy, joyful, sad, or depressed I am, I will not cry over it. I have breakdowns but only in my head. Lol I am good at remaining calm and composed. I experience deep sensation/emotion but it doesn’t provoke me to cry. The only thing that can have me wanting to scream and sob hysterically out loud is a certain kind of physical pain. 

” Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head
But that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning red
Crying’s not for me
Cause I ain’t gonna stop the rain by complaining” ~ Bj Thomas

38.)  When I was a little girl, I had a bad habit of picking stuff up off the ground. Anything I could get my hands on. My mom used to scream in horror over the stuff I picked up. Unsanitary stuff, leaves, earrings, pins, old razor blades, hospital bracelets, stones, acorns and pine cones…sadly I haven’t outgrown that habit for some reason. Not so long ago I picked up a tube of something thinking it was paint. It was testosterone gel, that stuff advertised on commercials warning women and children not to touch. I touched it. 

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(a little something I found under a bridge one night – it’s empty and I don’t smoke cigarettes)

39.) I like to dance around my room late at night and very early in the morning while the world around me is sound asleep. I listen to music and dance dance dance…usually gratitude meditations can trigger this.

😀

Xoxo Kim


Princess – a short fictional story I don’t recommend…

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“Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.” – Jawaharlal Nehru

Unless you want to be scarred for life like I am. Lol j/k but it’s seriously twisted! 

Recently I read a short story on BlackBerry Kindle like 47 pages and it’s another kind of insanity. An insanity you don’t even want to think about.

It sucked me right in and reading it was thoroughly entertaining but then it just got insane. At the end I had one of those “DAFUQ DID I JUST READ?!?!?!” moments. 

I’m going to write about it here, including the end so if you would prefer to read the short story before reading this then you know to click it off.

But like I said, unless you want to be traumatized forever, don’t. Lol

It’s a psychological thriller and in the reviews it is said to be dark and deeply disturbing. And it is!

It’s BEYOND disturbing.

It starts out with a mother helping her teenage daughter get ready for her prom, fixing her hair in front of a mirror in her bedroom, and her date is late showing up. The daughter is concerned that he’s standing her up and going with another person.

Her mother gets furious at this and spins the chair around that her daughter is in and yells in her daughter’s face that she is second to no one and the boy is probably just experiencing car trouble. Then in a split second the mother is back to her sweet self again smiling cheerfully at her daughter telling her that she’s the most beautiful girl in the whole county and everyone always knew it. That to me is a red flag right there that the mom may have some kind of issues going on getting furious in a split second to the point of screaming loudly in her daughter’s face then just as soon puts on a sweet smile and goes back to fixing her hair like nothing.
And the way she seems kind of obsessed with her daughter being “the most beautiful girl according to everyone.” It’s just weird.

The story switches scenes to where the girl’s dad is in a shopping mall. The wife is horrible to her husband and controlling and sent him out to find their daughter’s date or he would have to suffer her wrath.

So here the father is searching for a teenage boy to take to his daughter. I was confused at this point because the daughter seems to know her date, Josh, but it seems as if the dad is looking around for a random boy to take back.

Here, that’s exactly the case. Her father is looking for a random teenage boy to abduct! 

And call him Josh. Even though he’s not Josh.

The dad gets the boy in a parking lot, drugs him with a needle and takes him home, forces him to dress in a tuxedo before going into the house.

The scene switches back to home where the daughter is getting ready for her prom. They live on a secluded farm in the middle of nowhere and don’t know anyone.

The mom answers the phone and is 
relieved to hear that “Josh” just had “car trouble” and is on his way to pick up their little girl for the prom.

Here, the “daughter” is a mannequin! With a wig! Wtf?!  And the mom switches roles. First she’s the mom and the daughter is the mannequin. Then the mom takes on the role of the daughter and the mannequin becomes the mom!

The mom put on the wig and became the daughter and was conversing with the mannequin who is now the mom.

Then the dad came home with the abducted boy who they call Josh. The boy is utterly confused (as am I at this point..)as the dad tells him to wear the tux, answer to Josh, and do whatever his “daughter” (who is really his wife) says. The dad says he’s not explaining anything to just do as he says because he has a gun and will use it if the boy resists.

The “girl” walks down the stairs calling for Josh and she’s wearing a dirty pink dress that is too small. She’s clearly not a teenage girl but a middle aged woman. At first the boy thinks it’s a twisted joke and smiles then quickly realizes it’s a nightmare of reality.

The “prom” takes place in the basement of the house and there’s no other guests. Just the abducted boy and the husband and wife who is pretending to be the daughter. The husband and wife act as if there are other kids there though but they focus mostly only on “Josh.” They have punch and music and decorations and dancing. They pretend there’s a room full of kids and talk on a microphone to the audience.

The boy begins crying because he’s so scared but the woman/girl assumes/acts like he’s just so happy and moved over the whole prom thing.

The husband is relieved at this because if the boy doesn’t cooperate, the husband will suffer his wife’s abuse for him not doing a good job.

Then they go into a small room and the girl/woman shows her date a photo album and in all the photos is a mother and real daughter. The mother in the photos with the real daughter is clearly the woman now pretending to be a teenage girl. The photos are mostly of them at beauty contests.

The little girl who is the real daughter wins the beauty contests every year, she’s holding a trophy in every photo. But soon she comes to look very much like her mom (the lady now pretending to be the daughter) who is considered less than pretty and overweight.

So she starts getting second, third, last, then no winning place. The mom is obsessed with beauty and being/looking perfect. She tries to force this on her daughter. The woman pretending to be the teenager tells her “prom date” about how her mom was obsessed with physical beauty always trying to force her to live up to impossible standards, claiming that the judges of the contests were just jealous or something.

Then she puts the photo album away and forces the abducted boy to engage in sexual activity with her. He doesn’t want to but the dad has a gun and threatens him. 

So here’s a husband forcing a teenage boy to get it on with his wife! Who is pretending to be a teenage girl! Can you say, TWISTED?!

Something in the punch made it so the boy can be aroused enough to get it up even though he doesn’t want to.

Then they go outside and have some thing where they are elected prom queen and king.

Throughout the story the dad keeps reassuring the boy when he asks, that he will be let go and can go home at the end.

It’s a lie. They are planning on killing the boy.

It’s clear throughout the story that the husband is distressed over this whole situation and doesn’t want to participate but feels he has little say in it; his wife is emotionally abusive and forces him to do stuff.

It also becomes clear that this whole “prom” thing happens every year where the dad reluctantly goes and abducts a random boy, brings him home, he’s forced to engage in a “prom” and sexual things with the wife, then they kill him without anyone ever knowing.

Since they live in the middle of nowhere they’re less likely to get found out. No one ever thinks to look for the missing boys there.

I kind of guessed the end but got a couple things wrong. I thought it would turn out that years ago their real daughter was killed on prom night, I thought maybe a car crash going to the prom. And that the mom got so messed up over it she does this shit every year.

That’s kind of what happened but not quite.

At the end the boy wants an explanation since he’s going to be killed anyway.

So the husband tells him. 

Spoiler alert….
.
.
.

Five years ago on prom night his real teenage daughter was supposed to go to the prom with a popular boy named Josh. His daughter was unpopular and horribly bullied for her physical appearance and body weight. So when a popular boy asked her out it came as a shock but the girl was thrilled. She got all ready on prom night and Josh never showed up. So when she called him, he laughed at her and said all insults about her, said it was all a joke, that he would never go out with her, he was going with someone else.

She was devastated. Her mom showed no compassion and said it was all her daughter’s fault for not being good enough, for not being pretty, for being second to other girls.

So the girl ran outside and her dad went to run after her but his wife demanded him not to and said let their daughter think about what the mother said, that it will do her good or something. The dad reluctantly listened to his wife as he always does. Then later he found that his daughter hanged herself off the rafter things outside. He had to cut her lifeless body off the thing and watch her fall to the ground getting her pink dress all dirty. The pink dress the mom wears now for this freak show.

Then every year after that the mom set this up.

As the dad is telling the boy how his wife destroyed their daughter, he’s crying and says he misses his daughter terribly and how his wife couldn’t even show her some sympathy after her ordeal with the boy on the phone. He doesn’t even know why he goes along with this every year. He suspects it may have something to do with his own feelings of inadequacy that no one would ever want him, that he will always be alone. Years ago he always felt like that and was relieved that the girl who became his wife, wanted him forever. So he always did everything she told him to out of fear of losing her and being forever alone.

At the very end, the boy promises he won’t tell if the dad let’s him go, he says out of respect for his daughter he’ll keep it quiet. The dad is holding a gun to the boy.

Then the husband gets up, goes inside to the wife where she’s still pretending to be the daughter. And he tells her he misses their daughter so much. The wife looks confused since right now in her twisted head she is the daughter.

Then he points the gun at her and blows her away then does away with himself.

The end.

Bizarre ass shit, isn’t it?!

It’s sad and tragic and bizarre. 
The whole thing.

Not an uplifting read.

And some things you just can’t unread.

No matter how desperately you want to.

Lol

My heart breaks for that poor girl who died, feeling as if that was the only way out, like she was worthless and not good enough. My heart breaks for the dad who lost his little girl who he loved. He was wrong for killing the innocent boys he killed all those years and for killing his wife. But his anguish for his tragic loss is clear. It’s only fiction but it’s still sad. And unfortunately, stuff like this really happens(suicide, bullying, abuse…hopefully not the prom thing as well).
 
I believe the wife knew exactly what she was doing. That’s why she had to get a mannequin and keep making it a point to reverse roles, switching wigs and all. She knew to keep switching and to have to get a physical figure in place of a mother/daughter. She knew to relentlessly criticize her husband if he did not do exactly what she wanted. She knew to keep the thing a secret so she wouldn’t be in trouble.

While mental illness and feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, being verbally/emotionally abused are not the person’s fault and no one can just make them go away, when a person struggles with these things, that person has a choice. A choice to seek help, to overcome, get better, pro-act. The man couldn’t help it that his wife was abusive to him and that he had low self-esteem but that is no justification for abducting people, drugging them, and aiding in sexually assaulting them.

It’s not the wife’s fault that she had unhealthy views about body image but it’s no justification for forcing her own standards on her daughter, emotionally torturing her ’til she killed herself. The woman could have worked on herself to shift her views to more positive ones. She was projecting her own insecurity onto her innocent daughter. She could have chosen love over the abuse and bitterness. It’s not her fault she felt the need to have a fake prom every year, maybe she had some kind of mental illness(???) but she could have got professional help or worked on herself with self-help techniques to help this. So it wouldn’t have all ended in tragedy. There may be real people out there somewhere with something like this, people who dress up mannequins and pretend they are real for whatever reason. If that’s just a hobby for fun it’s ok even if people think it’s strange, but if it’s the result of serious emotional problems I think they deserve some compassionate motivation to seek help of some kind and deserve some sort of understanding. This is just a horror story but maybe there’s real people with these sorts of disorders or something. And if there are, it doesn’t mean they’re all dangerous like the people in the story.

And the poor daughter. She was emotionally abused her whole life by her peers and her mother. But suicide isn’t the answer. It’s a tragic, senseless choice. There’s always hope. 
Being bullied, humiliated, abused, depressed and suicidal is not a choice but acting on it by killing herself is. 
She could have worked on herself to realize her worth and know it’s never dependent upon her physical appearance, her body weight, or what her mom or anyone else says or thinks of her.
There’s always hope. Where there’s life, there’s hope. There’s always a way.

None of these people took responsibility for themselves. They let other people, unhealthy views, situations control them into doing tragic and twisted things. I think this is a great reminder to take responsibility. No situation or other person has the power if we don’t let them. We have the power over ourselves. 

I think this story isn’t meant to be thought provoking like this. It’s probably just supposed to be dark, twisted, insane, disturbing, thrilling. And that’s ok! Some people are into that kind of thing. I like some stuff like that too. But I still found some insights in the story that serve as great reminders. I’m happy I read it. Lol

We must know we have choices. Not realizing we have a choice can be almost as bad as really not having one but it’s not quite as bad as really not having a choice. We can learn we have a choice, be reminded, realize, see the light.

I think the only character in this story who really had no choice is the boy who was abducted. He had a gun held to him so basically he had no choice if he wanted to not be killed or threatened. 
But he has a choice how to handle the situation and his attitude, and reaction when it’s over.

People who have a choice but don’t yet realize it or are scared and act/think like victims deserve compassion but also deserve to be firmly reminded that it’s all up to them to change their lives and selves. Depressed people, homeless people, unhappy people, financially struggling people, suicidal people, addicted people, ones in abusive environments, ones letting a situation or other people dominate them, people working dead-end, life draining jobs…they all have choices. Positive, healthy choices. They don’t always know they have choices but they do, even if right now the only choice is something as simple as working on their attitude or taking small steps to get out of the situation. Small but significant steps.
Maybe they don’t always know what decision to make but they can seek guidance along the way.
Not everyone has a choice to change something significantly right this very minute. 
Not everyone is making conscious or intentional choices to get where they are.

But we can all make the decision to plan to change, our attitude or situation or both. Starting now. In small steps. Small steps are still significant.
And then we can work on that. For some it will definitely be more difficult than others.
Some people have more obstacles and disadvantages than others.
But we all have this life and twenty-four hours each day to do something. Something. Anything.
No matter how hard it is, people can change for the better. Even if it takes longer than desired. Even if it takes a lot of work. Even if it’s painful and seemingly impossible. 

We can’t help how we grew up, the people we have been surrounded with, the things they do or say, disabilities or illnesses, job losses or rejections….but we can always make the choice to do something to better ourselves and our situations.
Even if that choice for now is just meditating upon or planning to live up to a positive philosophy of life, quote or affirmation.

Even if that decision is planning in our heads to develop certain positive qualities we don’t yet have or strengthen ones we do have.
Even if that decision is to make a phone call, send an e-mail, walking into a building to ask for help.
 Many people feel that it’s cold and callous to say that certain struggling people have choices, that it’s not true, that it’s not being compassionate but none of this is true. It is being compassionate to help empower people to know they can get better, can take action, responsibility for their own lives.
To help people know that we are all dependent in some ways and can be independent in some ways if we really work for it.
There’s a healthy balance of gentle compassion and firm reminders of taking responsibility.
 
Some people really are cold and not understanding and and do criticize people in a toxic way when they have a choice but act like they don’t. But that’s not what I’m promoting.
We can be firm in reminders but still compassionate and loving and express deep empathy. 
The choice to do nothing is still a choice.
Sometimes we can find ourselves in places we are unsure how we got there.  It’s like we just ended up there with no say of our own.
But often it’s because of choices we have been making all along. Not always but often. Choices to do nothing, to settle, to take no action, to give in, to succumb to limiting beliefs. Choices to let other people and situations drag us down.
I have found myself in situations I was so sure I had no say in, no control over, I was a “victim” of sorts. But I later realized the roles I had in situations and what I can do now to begin getting out of it. If we realize we made choices that contributed to unpleasant situations then we can be empowered knowing that means we have the ability to make new choices that contribute to more positive situations.
If you make choices that contribute to unpleasant things then you can make choices that lead to positive things. 
 And it’s true we don’t always have choices for everything.
But whether or not we had control all along, right now the choice is ours.

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