Tag Archive | teach

Glimpses of my authentic self

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Except, not really. I was me.

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

Nothing can take that away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(me, ten years old)

Never forget who you are. 

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

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

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

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

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

And I know the woman I am.

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

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(me, two years old)

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

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(me now, lol)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Xoxo Kim

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

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

Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’ – One Year <3

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“What I am well that’s what I am.
I tell you, baby,
That’s just enough for me.”  ~ Alice Cooper

“I choose to fight back! I choose to rise, not fall! I choose to live, not die! And I know, I know that what’s within me is also within you.” ~ (Mayor John Pappas, City Hall movie quote)

Hello, lovelies,

Here is something I can’t believe I’m writing today. I never thought I would live to see today.  
Never in my wildest dreams. I feel a tingling in my wrists.

Almost everyone who knows me knows of my super long battle with severe, suicidal depression. I have suffered with long term mild/moderate depression for much of my life with recurrent severe, despairing, debilitating  long episodes of depression and psychosis on top of that. Day after day, year after year.

My entire life has been consumed by severe, agonizing depression, in a vicious way. And I won’t sugar coat it or butter it up. I was suicidal almost every day for nearly fourteen years. I fantasized, obsessed, planned, contemplated, attempted…in various degrees ending my own life.  Some days I thought I wanted to die but really I just wanted to end the pain, not everything. But many days I did want to die. Not just to end the pain or to find solace but to end my life, everything, good & bad alike. Everything.   It wasn’t always relief I was longing for. Not a purpose I was searching for. Not changes or a better life. Just my own death. It was that bad.

Many days I even had great self esteem, I liked myself, loved myself even, had no problems, everything was beautiful.   But I wanted to be dead. I had no idea why. And when I would try to analyze myself to understand why, I would become even more suicidal. As I have mentioned, there are different degrees of feeling suicidal or thinking of it. It has chemical underpinnings and attitude/environment/circumstance can contribute to it. Sometimes it’s just purely chemical.

Telling people doesn’t faze me. When I’m currently dangerously suicidal I don’t tell people usually, out if fear of being put away.

But I will tell people about the vicious darkness that has consumed me. And I will tell people about Hope & Healing.

I’m not embarrassed by this disease and it’s not pretty but I won’t conceal it. I spent hours upon hours a day for many years just fantasizing about ending my life, I have come so close on many occasions when fear would stop me, fear that it wouldn’t work and I would just be sick, injured, or paralyzed…

I have experienced “black outs” where I would “come to” and find myself in the process of ending my life without realizing I was doing this at first or consciously knowing how I got there.

Some days I would be happy but still have hours of despair in the middle.

I was never able to go more than four months without being suicidal or thinking about it to some degree, mostly though, I couldn’t even go a few days without it.

I tried different things, various medications, dosages, therapists, psychiatrists, hospitalizations, self-help, personal development techniques…until I found the combination that works best for me. Not a cure but ways to heal & cope.

I am generally very happy now.  But I still struggle with the severe episodes.   Not as frequently or as long usually But they still occur. I still struggle with horrifying Psychotic breaks. 

But today is October 1st. My last serious/semi serious suicidal thought/urge was one year ago, October 2012. I cannot remember the exact day. But I know it was in October. Since then I have experienced excruciating episodes of despair, depression, psychosis but I kept hope alive. Knowing it will end and the sun will rise again. 

Medication helps keep me stabilized so I can work on myself in other ways to care for me. I can’t say I’m recovered and don’t know if I will ever be. But I learned to live with it and to cope. 

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I have been struggling for the last few days, feeling an episode coming on. I learned to usually detect impending episodes and be able to prevent a full blown one by monitoring and consciously changing my thinking and actions.

But it’s so hard. I keep feeling suicidal thoughts trying to emerge, not just brief, fleeting ones, but ones that I will begin to entertain and dwell on. Over a year ago they would have taken over by now. But somehow now I am managing keeping them at bay.

 I know some of my triggers but it’s not always triggered by something necessarily, sometimes it just comes out of nowhere.

Last night while I laid it bed, I wanted to let it just have me, have its way with me and succumb to depression and those suicidal thoughts trying to creep into me. It takes energy and motivation that I just don’t always have or feel like working on. Sometimes I don’t even want to.

This is more than just a low mood but it’s not a full blown episode.   I still haven’t had one of those suicidal thoughts.   Something keeps me going. I keep feeling so hopeful then hopeless then hopeful then hopeless. Then hopeful again. 

I keep telling myself after all this, I won’t let myself succumb.   One year is a big accomplishment for me. Those thoughts and urges were so much an integral part of me for well over a decade that it’s incredible to think I finally lived a year without them.  And because of work I did for myself.  This thing has symptoms that must be managed just like other illnesses. It flares up every now & then. It comes & goes. It’s more bullshit than I could have ever wanted to put up with. I’m sorry. {not sorry}.  

Ever since I was a young girl I kept wishing over and over and over (on the rare occasions I wasn’t wanting to be dead) that I could go one year without those suicidal thoughts & urges but I never saw it happening. Until now. Yup, mind=blown. Lol

Depression, psychosis, suicide contemplation are traumatic. All of it. Even recovery or remission is traumatic. It’s weird.   It’s beautiful. It’s freaky.   It’s unfathomable.  Not having those thoughts day in and day out.

And I never get used to it. Every second of every day, almost, I realize how amazing it is to not only be alive but to actually want to be alive.   To be happy in general. To have a strong will and desire to live.

I am overwhelmed.   When I’m in immense physical pain or sickness and it goes away, I have this amazing feeling, a conscious awareness of not being sick or in pain.   But after a while I usually go back to no longer being aware of it, consciously. I get used to it again.

But not this.

This, this never gets old. Not being in an almost constant state of depression, not having thoughts and urges to kill myself everyday all throughout the day, it never gets old. Even after a year, I am almost always conscious of it.

So much zest. So much life. So much passion.

I still get depressed.   I get angry, sad, unhappy. I can be ungrateful and bitchy some occasions.   But in general, I am the happiest girl in the whole USA! Lol ;-D

As I sit here writing this, I feel so many emotions swirling through me. I feel pain, sorrow, and grief, love, gratitude, happiness, confusion, loneliness, elation, heartbreak, and hope. So much hope.

Sometimes when I think back to all my days of horrifying despair & depression & psychosis and I see where I am now, I feel inspired. I see how much I have evolved, I see my growth & all my lessons learned. I have come a long, long way.  But other occasions, thinking back to those days of agony when my depression was so ingrained into me and threaded throughout all my life, I feel drained, horrified at the mere memories. Now I feel a mixture of all those things.

Pain is real.   But so is hope.

I want anyone who is feeling hopeless about anything at all whether it’s something seemingly serious or something which seems trivial to know that thoughts and feelings and perspectives change.  It may take work and it may not change right this second but you won’t be sad forever. Hold on, you got this. 

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Look where I was & look where I am. Look at me now! 😀

“Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’,
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’,
Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider” ~ LeeAnn Womack

Go on, take chances. Live. Love. Maybe loving will be a mistake and you will be crushed, abandoned, rejected, ignored, devastated, not loved back…but love anyway. Live anyway. 

Love doesn’t ask for changes, it doesn’t ask for favors or to be loved back, love doesn’t demand someone to think or feel or act a certain way. Love simply loves.

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

“I am 99.9% sure it will never get better. But it’s the 0.1% that keeps me going. ” ~ Unknown

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” -Winston Churchill

“If we weren’t all crazy we would go insane” ~ Jimmy Buffett

“Come Monday, it’ll be alright.” ~ Jimmy Buffett. (Jimmy Buffett mentioned that he wrote this song in a C.A. Hotel room when he was suicidal and it saved his life.& I am so thankful. ❤ .)

For all those who don’t feel as old as they are and never will

I rounded first never thought of the worst
As I studied the shortstops position
Crack went my leg like the shell of an egg
Someone call a decent physician
Im no pete rose, I can’t pretend
Though my mind is quite flexible, these brittle bones don’t bend

Im growing older but not up
My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck
Let those winds of time blow over my head
Id rather die while Im living than live while Im dead” ~Jimmy Buffett 

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Pour me somethin’ tall and strong
Make it a hurricane before I go insane
It’s only half past twelve, but I don’t care
It’s five o’clock somewhere

I could pay off my tab
Pour myself in a cab and be back to work before 2
At a moment like this, I can’t help but wonder
What would Jimmy Buffett do?

Jimmy Buffett spoken:
Funny you should ask, Alan
I’d say
Pour me somethin’ tall and strong
Make it a hurricane before I go insane
It’s only half past twelve, but I don’t care

Pour me somethin’ tall and strong
Make it a hurricane before I go insane
It’s only half past twelve, but I don’t care
He don’t care
And I don’t care
It’s five o’clock somewhere

Jimmy: What time zone am I on?
What country am I in?

Alan: It doesn’t matter

It’s five o’clock somewhere

Jimmy: It’s always on five in Margaritaville, come to think of it

Alan: I heard that

Jimmy: You’ve been there haven’t you?

Alan: Yes, Sir

Jimmy: I’ve seen your boat there

Alan: I’ve been to Margaritaville a few times

Jimmy: All right.
That’s good

Alan: Stumbled my way back

Jimmy: OK Just want to make sure you can keep it between the
navigational beacons

Alan: Between the buoys.
I got it

Jimmy: All right.

It’s five o’clock.
Let’s go somewhere

Alan: I’m ready.
Crank it up

Jimmy: Let’s get out of here

Alan: I’m gone” ~ Alan Jackson/Jimmy Buffett

This song never fails to uplift me.
And this one:

Well you know those times when you feel like
There’s a sign there on your back
That says I don’t mind if you kick me, seems like everybody has
Things go from bad to worse
You think it can’t get worse than that
And then they do

You step off the straight and narrow
And you don’t know where you are
Used the needle of your compass, to sew up your broken heart
Ask directions from a genie in a bottle of jim beam
And she lies to you
That’s when you learn the truth

If you’re goin’ through hell keep on going
Don’t slow down if you’re scared don’t show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there

I’ve been deep down in that darkness
I’ve been down to my last match
Felt a hundred different deamons breathin’ fire down my back
And I knew that if I stumbled I’d fall right into the trap
That they were layin’

But the good news is there’s angels everywhere out on the street
Holdin’ out a hand to pull you back up on your feet
The one’s that you’ve been draggin’ for so long
You’re on your knees might as well be prayin’
Guess what I’m sayin’

If you’re goin’ through hell keep on going” Rodney Atkins 

“I may be lonely but I’m never alone.” ~ Alice Cooper

” I fearlssly walk into battle
With a shine on my boots and my teeth
Never flinch, never blink, never rattle
My blood is like ice underneath

Oh, I’m the reincarnation of patten
And I’ve got Hannibal’s heart in my chest
God told me I would have rivaled
Alexander the great at his best.” ~ Alice Cooper


But you and me ain’t no movie stars.
What we are is what we are.
We share a bed,
Some lovin’,
And TV, yeah.
And that’s enough for a workin’ man.
What I am is what I am.
And I tell you, babe,
Well that’s enough for me.” ~ Alice Cooper

Good day to you all.
P.s. This auto correct on my phone is more insane than I am, constantly changing words to weird things, even changing words to completely different words & bizarre symbols out of nowhere and spelling correct words incorrectly. Luckily I usually catch it before hitting send but occasionally I don’t and am embarrassed if I am writing to someone I don’t know well. The worst is when it changes a word to a different version. It changes “their” to “they’re” so embarrassing! Lol. It recently changed “unfazed” to “phased”! Seriously?! Shit’s off the walls! Thanks auto correct! Thanks a lot, I just love being mortified! It wrote this one day “jesus_20267475.html”. I saved it to show people. Lol I wrote some ordinary word and auto correct deleted it and wrote that thing! Whhhaatt?! Yup, my phone has lost its marbles! I guess we’re made for each other.

 ;-D. Remember, when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.

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Blue skies ahead.

Hope lives here.

Life Lessons to my five year old self & every girl <3

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(me – about three years old)

This One’s For The Girls 
Who’ve ever had a broken heart 
Who’ve wished upon a shooting star 
Your beautiful the way you are 
This One’s For The Girls 
Who love without holding back 
Who dream with everything they have 
All around the world 
This One’s For The Girls” ~ Martina McBride

What advice would you give the ‘5 year old you’?

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

I saw this question and think it’s fascinating and here are twenty-one little gems my adult self would love to tell my little self all those years ago. I would love to equip my little self and any little baby girl & every woman at any age with these life lessons. (And some of these are good for men too)

1.) always keep your sense of self – flawlessness. Little girls often have no sense of imperfection when they look at themselves. They’re proud & want to show off everything they are and know. They like to jump in pictures, be the center of attention.   They KNOW they’re beautiful & not afraid to flaunt it. They don’t deny compliments; they proudly accept.   They’re confident & comfortable in their own skin.  Sadly, probably for almost every girl, this sense of self imperfection gets buried, tattered, kicked to pieces, shattered to seemingly no repair the older they get. And it appears to happen younger and younger. We have 9 year olds obsessed with their own body weight, 5 year olds afraid of what other kids will think of their scars, their looks, their body weight. Look at some old little kid pictures of you. Weren’t you so cute? So perfect? So gorgeous? So un-tainted, a clean blank slate with endless possibilities & new beginnings. Feel the love & warmth for that innocent, sweet, beautiful child in that picture.   Now look at yourself as you are right this moment. That’s still you. And now you have even more experience, knowledge, & wisdom.  I want every little girl & every woman to always feel beautiful.

2.) Get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger – As LeeAnn Womack says in her song, “I Hope You Dance”. Be grateful for all you currently have & are but never settle and became stagnant. Always find motivation & inspiration to learn, explore, experience, love, & grow, and keep on going.

3.) Build and maintain an unwavering, strong, solid foundation of unconditional self love to always fall back on. Through the years you will encounter heartache, heartbreak, rejection & abandonment, loss & grief, pain, a sense of failure & falling.   You will be criticized by people with good intentions & people with malicious intentions. You’ll lose friends, be gossiped about, experience betrayal by people you never imagined could do this to you but as painful as it will be, you will be strong enough to rise above, to bounce back, to use these painful experiences to your advantage, to learn & to grow. And as long as you keep your sense of love for yourself alive, you will always feel loved. Always be loved.

4.) You don’t need everyone to love & accept you. Whenever you feel lonely remember there will always be someone somewhere who can love you. You may not know these people yet but they exist.  The way that you are, there are people who can love someone just like you.  Also, love yourself.  

5.) build others up, don’t ever drag them down – no one is better than anyone else. We all have good things & bad things. Tearing others down will never bring you up, it only serves to show more about you than the one you’re trying to destroy.

6.) always strive to see the good in people – even the kindest people may not always be kind. the most loving people still get angry sometimes. When people are hurt or numb they may act in ways that aren’t truly who they are.   Bless others by acknowledging the goodness in them and not just seeing or magnifying the bad. 

7.) Accept/tolerate people for who they are. You may have opposing views, different color skin, religions, opinions, ways of thinking, different appearances, cultures, or customs, sexual orientation, gender…but we are all equal, no one is less valuable. 

8.) always know your worth. You are more than a size on your clothing, a number on a scale, the image you see in a mirror…These things say nothing about who you truly are or how beautiful you really are. You can work to make healthy changes for yourself but you are already worth so much.

9.) Know that you are and always will be “good enough”. No matter what mistakes you make, what things you don’t succeed at, no matter what anyone tells you or says about you. You are good enough just the way you are. And if someone cannot see that, that person doesn’t belong in your life.

10.) always be honest, at least with yourself, about who you are. Don’t change for people who won’t accept the real you. Know your deep inner self, your needs, your desires, your loves, your longings, what you don’t like, what you never want to be…

11.) at one point you may feel that your life has not turned out to look exactly like your peers’ lives. It may seem like everyone around you has it good, better than you do. Maybe they’re independent with their own house, job, money, maybe they’re married with kids or in a happy romantic relationship, maybe they have lots of friends and seem to have it all. Don’t compare yourself to them. Everyone lives at their own pace, their own way. Your life doesn’t have to look like theirs to be just as beautiful. And as long as you are alive & still going, you can accomplish things & realize your dreams. You may not do everything you thought you would do by now or at all in this life but you can do other things and still be happy.  Just being you is a great accomplishment.

12.) always celebrate life. Don’t wait for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, promotions or any other “reasons “. Life itself is reason enough to celebrate. Wear your favorite earrings, that pretty lipstick, that sexy dress that shows off your lovely curves, buy yourself flowers, take yourself to see a movie, SMILE! :-D. Keep that sense of wonder & awe. Bask in the beauty surrounding you. Be mindful of your senses and body & all they allow you to experience. Whatever you’re putting off doing until that “perfect ” occasion to celebrate, whatever you’re putting your happiness on hold for, let go & do that now, be happy now.  Cherish the simple joys of living. 

13.) follow your own dreams, plans, and goals and at your own pace. Don’t succumb to the demands or expectations or desires of family, friends, society, or others who try to get in your way. Many may have good intentions for you.   Kindly listen to what they have to say, thank them for their input, and then go on your own way, following your own path.

14.) Be happy anyway. 😀

15.) Always keep your hope alive. No matter what pain you are currently experiencing and how difficult it seems, as long as you have hope, you will feel the will to keep going.

16.) Whenever you do not succeed how you wanted or planned, even if you feel like you failed, still be proud that you had the motivation to try, be proud that you ever had a dream. Take Jim Croce’s message: “I’ve got a song
And I carry it with me and I sing it loud
If it gets me nowhere, I’ll go there proud” ~ Jim Croce 

17. ) always acknowledge the true gift you are – you are a true & rare gift to this world. You, just like every other person, have something positive to contribute to the world around you. You can fill a space no one else can. Again as LeeAnn Womack says, “When you come close to selling out, reconsider.”. Never give up on yourself. There will always be people better at things than you and worse at things than you, people will have more & people will have less but there will never, ever be another you. Never forget that.

18.) “Always be a little kinder than necessary.” ~ James M. Barrie  <3. To yourself & others.   Treat yourself how you would treat your best friend or someone else you love. Remember you are just as much of a person as all those people you love. Go easy on yourself, forgive yourself, be gentle with you, set realistic goals for yourself, don't hold yourself to impossible standards and then feel low for not achieving them. Let yourself feel happy and allow yourself to feel sad when you do & express it in healthy ways. Nurture yourself. 
 

19.) Always know that you have choices, the choice to practice controlling your own attitude & that your attitude about something and how you react are important for how happy & peaceful you feel and think of yourself as a strong survivor,not a helpless victim.

20.) Be all that you can be. Always be the best you that you can be. This doesn’t mean trying to achieve perfection in everything you do, it means being as loving, as happy, as kind, as joyous, as forgiving, as caring about yourself and others, as compassionate as you can be.

21.) Love & laugh without holding back. Laugh out loud! Love with everything you are. You may be hurt but it’s a chance worth taking.   Bless everyone with your smile. 😀

So here are some of my lessons to myself, and every girl & woman. Of course if I was talking to an actual five year old I would say these things in more age-appropriate ways but I seriously doubt there are any five year olds reading this and older people probably don’t want to read something here written in a language for a five year old! Lol ;-D

These, I believe, are valuable lessons for everyone. Maybe we haven’t all learned all of these lessons growing up. Maybe we learned them the hard way, as adults, maybe we have yet to learn & really truly  apply & live some of these but it’s never too late as long as we’re living.

You may know these things intellectually but do you really truly feel them with your emotion, deep in the heart of your heart?

Whether you’re 5 years old, 10 years old, 16 years, 28 years, 35 years, 40..50..60..70..80..90..100 & beyond…

Always remember, you’re good enough as you are. You’re more than a number & an appearance and so much more than the painful words & concepts people, society, & the media throw at you.

You don’t ever have to be anyone else’s definition of beautiful, successful, perfect, or happy.
Be your own kind of beautiful.
Your own kind of successful.
Your own kind of perfect.
Do what makes YOU truly happy.

Don’t let anyone but YOU define you. Not your lover, your friends, your family, your society, your peers, your media.   You define you. 

Focus on your own strengths, your interests, your dreams/goals your unique beauty, your interesting and difficult challenges, look at the ways in which you have grown so much and acknowledge your potential and all of your opportunities to grow some more. Nourish yourself & cherish every moment you have been given.

This is what I want for you. 
For me.
For all of us.

I absolutely loved thinking about & writing this blog post. I put everything I have into it and it felt so weird but amazing writing these things to/about myself. And like I said this is to everyone who can benefit,not just me. I encourage anyone to write a post like this. I find it to be a beautiful experience.  I would love to read other people’s life lessons to their young selves. If you write a post like this, I would love to know!

Blessings & love & hope & laughter to you all!

“To be one woman, truly, wholly, is to be all women.” ~ Kate Braverman

Xoxo Kim 😀

“All around the world
This one’s for the girls

Yeah, we’re all the same inside (same inside)
From 1 to 99″ ~ Martina McBridE

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(me – four or five years old)

An Inspiring Conversation

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” I choose to FIGHT BACK! I choose to RISE, not fall! I choose to LIVE, not die! And I know, I know that what’s within me is also WITHIN YOU. “~Mayor John Pappas (City Hall, 1996)

About a year ago, I had a conversation with someone at work one night. At first, I found this conversation to be very unpleasant but shortly after the conversation ended, I felt energized, inspired, uplifted, and so hopeful.

This conversation is one of the things which has had the greatest, positive impact on me in my journey to recover my suicidal depression.

A person was talking to me about drug addiction and people who struggle and have struggled with addiction. She had a very negative view of people who have suffered substance addiction, even the ones who have overcome it and no longer consume illegal/recreational drugs.

She basically held the view that drug addicted people are lost causes who are bound to go nowhere in life. And even when they recover or heal, they will always be “druggies”. “Druggies” who even after recovering will never find redemption or worth.

I couldn’t have disagreed with this girl more. I see so much potential and hope and light in almost everyone I look at. People are remarkably strong and resilient and can overcome and move forward even when it’s hard. Even when it’s painful and all seems hopeless. Even when it seems impossible. Even when it’s all just so dark. 

There can always be light. When I look at a person, even a troubled, difficult, broken person with great obstacles and challenges, I don’t see an addiction or an illness or a mere label or a “lost cause”. I see a person.   A light. Possibility and hope. Hope for healing.   Hope for change.  

Everyone has something to contribute to this world and everyone around us whether or not they realize it and even when it feels impossible.   You may feel so empty, so broken, so devoid of life, so hopeless but you are not beyond healing or hope or love.

A person who has struggled with addiction and has overcome or healed that addiction and no longer takes drugs/alcohol has acheived an incredible accomplishment. It takes great strength and courage and dedication to pick up the broken pieces, the shattered parts of self and put them together again and become whole. There may always be scars, cracks, breaks, pain..but it’s possible to move forward and find true happiness, true joy in existence.

Why judge someone negatively for previous mistakes or a health condition or a choice that got out of control?

I have never struggled with addiction of any sort and cannot possibly know what it’s like.   All I can know is that it is painful, devastating, heartbreaking and difficult for the person who is addicted and everyone around that person and that it IS possible, with help & support of various kinds, to get better enough to live and be happy living. Whether or not the person is completely recovered with no more urges or still has urges that are difficult to resist. Even someone who relapses now and then.

It’s not always easy for an addicted person to know this or to ask for help or to not relapse.   And people struggling with addiction deserve empathy, understanding, compassion, love, encouragement.   They aren’t monsters. Many of them may steal and assault people and become unrecognizable to those who knew them before the tragedy of addiction but they are not all bad people . Underneath the devastation and the addiction is an amazing person who can find hope and healing.

After this girl I had the conversation with left me that night I started to think about our contrasting views. She viewed people who struggle with addiction as some of the lowest people on Earth, worthless, bad, taking up space in a world they don’t deserve.

And I view them as the people they are. Worthy of love, empathy, care, acceptance, compassion…

And I started to think about how we need more people in this world with my view. We need people with better understanding and compassion.

I thought of my own struggle with suicidal depression, which back then, a year ago, was not as healed as it is today, right now.

I thought of all the moments I wanted to kill myself in this life, feeling as if I had nothing to live for and never ever would , as if I was worthless, empty, nothing, as if the pain was just too much to bear, weighing too heavy on my life, to go on.

And I realized if I ever kill myself, I kill my compassion for others, my love, my empathy, my understanding, my acceptance, my open mindedness. If I kill myself, I kill all the chances I will ever have to help another, before those chances even begin. If I kill me, I kill the opportunity to tell someone s/he is not a lost cause, not an addiction, not a loser, not deserving of callousness and abusive insults and cruelty. I kill the chance to tell someone there is hope.

I’m not an expert on addiction. I don’t know exactly how to handle an addicted person, especially one who is acting out. They may need firmness every now and then and not all sap and gentleness, I don’t know. But that’s not my point anyway; my point is that we need more people with compassion and positive views of troubled people. We need people who will not destructively criticize and tell people there’s no hope for them.

This goes for any troubled person or anyone who has made mistakes with serious consequences, not just addicted people. 

And that if you ever kill yourself, you kill every positive aspect of yourself, your opportunity to eventually be fulfilled and healed and find or create a sense of purpose, and your opportunity for growth and your opportunity to impact the world and maybe even just one life for the better.

You’re under no obligation to live for others, it’s yourself you should live for. But there are people who need you to live, you may not have met them yet and maybe won’t meet them for many years, maybe you never will but your life will somehow touch theirs.  Someone, somewhere needs YOU to LIVE.  And eventually you will find or create a sense of purpose for your own existence.

Live for yourself and your own empathy and care and love. And live for all of your good qualities and possibilities.

I vowed to myself that night after that conversation which at first I believed to be unpleasant, that I will never take my own life. We should all live for ourselves. But when I used to get suicidal, I did not want to live for me. I saw nothing in me worth living for. But that night I vowed to never, ever end my own life even if I feel like it because if nothing else, there’s  one thing in me worth surviving for, my concern and care for others.   My empathy, my ability to see beyond illnesses and difficulties and troubles and mistakes, my desire, my longing to help heal and console in any way I can. This fulfills me.  I know those aren’t my only reasons for living, my reason is just to be,  but when I’m contemplating suicide I usually see nothing to go on for.  But this view is something I will always believe in. Helping others, also helps me. We are all connected.

I don’t live to be a “slave” and used by others, I allow myself to be fulfilled by helping and positively impacting anyone I can.

There are many, many people like me who feel this way about people, that they can heal and are deserving of compassion and love. And if I kill myself there will be one less of us.

(No one should kill themselves even if they aren’t compassionate or empathetic or caring.

Since that night, I haven’t seriously contemplated ending my own life. And if I ever do again, I have a sweet reminder of something worth living for.

And there’s also another lesson to be learned here, anyone can be our teacher even those who are unpleasant, even unpleasant encounters can be inspiring and teach us valuable lessons. This young woman who I debated with that night, this at first seemingly unpleasant encounter, provided me with the chance to think about things which have filled me with hope & inspiration. 

And here I am today, still inspired, still hopeful, still going strong.

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Xox Much love, blessings, & hope to you all.

~Kim

“Don’t judge me by my past, I don’t live there anymore.”

“Possibilities are everywhere.”

“Always go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.”

“Your past is a gift to guide you, it doesn’t have to imprison you.”

27 Lessons Learned

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In May, this year, I turned 27 years old. I have learned much in my 27 years, inside of school and out of school. I find that many of the most important lessons are ones learned through experience (good & bad) , adversity , challenges, blessings, and some even through reading or hearing about or witnessing other people’s experiences and techniques. I decided to create a list of 27 of the most valuable life lessons I have learned in my 27 years. Here is in honor of the 27 years I have been blessed to know!

1.) Attitude & a strong  and pleasant life Philosophy  is just about everything. It usually doesn’t matter what happens to us, it’s how we respond and react to and view the situation or event, that contributes to or results in our happiness, joy, & peace of mind or suffering and chaos. We cannot always control every thought, every emotion, or our attitude at literally every second but with practice we can become good at basically & generally choosing how to respond and what thoughts and emotions we dwell on.

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

2.) True, pure love is selfless. If I truly love someone, whether it’s in a platonic or romantic way, I want that person to be happy & healthy, & fulfilled with or without me no matter how painful it is to me. I won’t try to stand in the way, sabotage, or drag people down for leaving me or living their own lives even if I don’t agree or like it and even if the person’s plans don’t include me. “True love doesn’t have a happy ending; true love has no ending.”

3.) We all have things that someone else doesn’t have and we all lack things that others do not and we may want. We all possess certain characteristics or material possessions  that others won’t. No matter what I have there is someone who has more and someone who has less. Someone who has better and someone who has worse. Someone who is more skilled and someone who is less skilled. Someone who can do the job better and someone who will do worse.   And this fact will never change.   But instead of dwelling on lack, I will dwell on abundance and gratitude, and blessing, for all that I do in fact possess and everything I am. Why focus on lack?   We all lack something and always will. We all have something amazing and always will that we can focus on instead. And it’s a choice to see in terms of lack and loss or to see in terms of prosperity & abundance. It is best for me to fill my head with positive  thoughts of abundance and gratitude, and blessings. We can just look around and look within and count our blessings. It may take some practice to begin to generally and frequently *feel* blessed and gratitude but if we develop the habit of looking and taking notice of the positive, we are likely to start feeling blessed and not just making lists of our blessings without truly feeling it.  No one can replace YOU as the person you are. No one can be better at being you than you. If the grass appears to be greener on the other side, water your own grass.

““You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

4.)  This world is full of ugliness, craziness, greed, tragedy, bad people, discrimination, inequality,  and heartache.   But it is also filled with beauty, love, perseverance, growth, friendship, kindness, blessings, consolation, lessons learned, hospitality, healing, hope, strength, and great, incredible, good people.  When a tragedy occurs and it’s blown up in the media, we see strangers reach out in love and kindness to strangers willing and eager to help heal and allay the pain. We can focus on and dwell on the ugliness or learn to dwell on the beauty and healing instead. This is never to say we should ignore and deny pain and tragedy, we should definitely acknowledge it and make true attempts to help in any way we can but never let it drag us down and keep us there, seeing the world through negative, dark lenses. We will on occasion experience difficulty and be overwhelmed by what we witness and feel and experience and this is ok but we can muster up the strength and passion to go on positively and keep going and find joy in being alive.

When it rains it pours but soon the sun shines again.

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

5.) When you’re at your lowest point and can get no lower, the only way now is up. When you’re lower than your lowest depths of despair, there is a light above waiting to be seized and held. When it feels as if there’s no way out other than to stop existing, to stop breathing, there is new air, new life, and new opportunities to be felt and taken. No matter how low you are, you CAN get better. I know.   “If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” Winston Churchill 

6.) No matter who you are or what you are, no matter how good or bad or average, there will ALWAYS be someone to want to drag you down,  reject you, make fun of you,  negatively gossip about you, make you feel low, point out only your flaws, magnify your imperfections, see you fall, laugh in your face, want you to lose, not like you and even loathe you. And there will be lots of people like this, the more people you meet and the more successful you become, the more likely you are to encounter negative people & rejection(and positive people too & acceptance). You cannot please or satisfy or be loved or liked by everyone. It’s not happening. And that is ok.  When someone does not like you that is that person’s problem, don’t let it be yours!   Be true to yourself. Love yourself. Live your dreams and plan your goals how YOU want, not how anyone else wants.   And if you change to please a person who doesn’t like you now, then you’ll have someone else not like you. Trying to please everyone is not only detrimental to you, it’s not practical. It’s a physical impossibility.   And you are under no obligation to dedicate your life to please anyone else at the expense of yourself.   Be you. Love you. 

“While it is natural to feel some degree of
need for the approval of others, be careful.
If you find yourself unwilling to
take actions that others disapprove of,
you have lost control of your own life
and have given your destiny to others.
An excessive need-for-approval
is a sign of low self-esteem,
and in severe cases, a condition termed co-dependency.”
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

7.) You’re never too old. It’s never too late as long as you’re living. You can wear cartoon characters on your clothes if you want, You can wear bright clownish/ parrot -like makeup as a middle aged or old woman if that’s what draws you.   You can read children’s books and sleep with stuffed animals and that’s ok no matter what people say or think.    As long as you’re mature enough to care for yourself and not hurt or interfere with others, it’s ok to be youthful and child-like and find wonder in every breath. Child-like is not the same as childish or immaturity. There are no 7 wonders in the eyes of a child; there are 700, 000 +.   Go to college if you want, take fun classes, hold hands and giggle out in public, jump rope outside, wear those cupcake earrings….do what you want! Don’t let your age or what people think of it restrain you. “As long as you’re living no matter how long you have been traveling down the wrong road it’s never too late to turn around and start over.’ ~Unknown

8.) Kindness even to people we feel may not deserve it is a strength and not a weakness. We are not always kind and we do not always feel like being kind. Maybe sometimes we want to be vicious, even cruel but that accomplishes nothing but putting more pain out into a world where there is already too much. Avoiding this is a great strength. “Don’t treat people as bad as they are; treat them as good as you are. “. This is not being fake, it’s being mature enough to know that kindness and being civilized is better than drama and negative arguing and uncalled for negative encounters.

“The Old Ones have always said that no matter who despises or ignores you, no matter who keeps you from entering their circles, it is right to pray for them because they are like us, too.”. ~ Larry Aitken

“When you are in an upsetting situation, try loving everyone involved and pray for them, hard as they may be. Loving doesn’t mean sentimentality but rather a rational esteem for them as persons.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

9.) Money & material possessions and even a great job are not the only or ultimate successes. They are great and can bring us some senses, often fleeting, of happiness or thrill or make us happy about those specific things but they will likely not make us truly, genuinely happy in the truest, purest general sense.  Love can do that, self- love and unconditional love for life itself.  .   Life -satisfaction as a whole can make us happy but material possessions often will not. We never need big things or lots of things to be truly happy.   The simple and beautiful things can be enough if we let them. Look at the beauty of the sky. Soak in the beauty and richness of this life. The sunlight, the moonlight, the stars, your senses….we never need a reason to celebrate. No birthdays or anniversaries, LIFE itself is reason enough to jump for joy and celebrate! Sweet simplicity.

“Oh the wild joys of living! The leaping from rock to rock … the cool silver shock of the plunge in a pool’s living waters.” 
Robert Browning

10.). You are the one ultimately in charge of your happiness and well being.   Others can help greatly along the way but you are the one who has to work the hardest for yourself.   Therapy can help but cannot, itself, cure you, most likely.   Therapists can help, friends & family can help but you are ultimately responsible for yourself.

11.)  I have the power to choose. I may not always feel like I am responsible for my circumstance but, ultimately, I am. Even the choice to do nothing is a choice. When I look at where I am right now and truly think about it, I will realize I play or have played a significant part in it. I may not have realized all along that I was making choices to get where I currently am but I was. This thought empowers me because I am aware that I can get where I want to be. If I am ultimately responsible for my pain, suffering, and unhappiness then I am also responsible for my happiness, joy, and fulfillment.   I do not choose everything that happens to me but I choose how to respond and I have more control than I may sometimes think. Often, if I’m in a situation I do not like, I can think back and see how I was/am in some ways, responsible and I can now make more positive choices to change it. If I have a victim mentality that life merely happens to me, then I have no control but when I have a “life architect” mentality, that life responds to me and I have the ability to choose and proact, then I am empowered and in control. 
I can’t choose and control everything but I can choose and control enough. 

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” 
― William Jennings Bryan
12.) Many of us live in a stressful, fast paced, demanding society which pressures us into thinking we should live a certain way or we’re not living “right”. We’re expected to overwork ourselves or we’re “lazy” or “dependent” , to have families of our own by a certain age or we’re “old spinsters” or outcasts or “alone” or going against tradition.  We are pressured to obtain advanced school degrees or have impressive jobs to bring purpose to our lives….but There is no one specific meaning or purpose of life. There is not a reason out there waiting to be grasped. We each create our own purpose and meaning. There is no “one size fits all”.    Maybe it’s to have a job helping people, healing with compassion and kindness or being a stay at home mom, basking in the joys of being a mom or daddy, or maybe yours is a specific hobby like drawing or sculpting, or maybe you dedicate your life to research of some sort. Or maybe your purpose is simply to live, to be, to breath.   Maybe you live for the simple moments, the beauty around you, to help people every chance you get, to inspire and to be happy just to be, to be the best you that you can be. Whatever you choose, that is ok. That is great. Find your purpose and embrace it. Live it. Love it.

“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.” 
― Joseph Campbell

13.) It’s ok if people don’t like you or appreciate you. It’s ok to be disliked by people, even ones who you really like. You CAN go on living. You CAN still succeed. If you like or love people who don’t like or love you back, it will hurt, but you can move forward and heal. Or stay stuck and dwelling on the fact and that is detrimental and will interfere with your growth. It’s healthy and it’s normal to want to be accepted and included.   Humans are social creatures and have a need, a longing to belong but we do not need everyone to love us or accept us.  Like yourself. That’s all that matters. And for all the people not liking you, there’s so many more who can and will, and already do like you.

14.) We don’t need a new year to start anew. How many people do you know who have goals and dreams they plan to achieve and realize at the start of a new year? They can’t wait for the current year to hurry up and end already.  They get pumped and inspired and energized at the mere thought of a new year about to begin. And they make resolutions they plan to start on Jan. 1st.  But imagine feeling that inspiration at ANY part of the year?! New Year is good & symbolic of new beginnings but new beginnings can happen anywhere, any place, any time.  How about now?

15.) Everyone has pain and struggles and they all deserve love and compassion and empathy even when someone else’s problems seem worse. Just because a person has or seems to have a worse problem or greater pain than another, it doesn’t take away the person’s pain who seems to have a less severe problem. Everyone can benefit by kindness and empathy and having a loving, caring, active listener. There should never be a “pain contest or competition ” to see who has worse problems and pain and judge people negatively. What doesn’t seem so bad to you may be to someone else. 

16.) About friends. Quality over quantity. One true friend is better than 20 or more acquaintances. And blood doesn’t really have to be “thicker than water”. True friends are better than family who doesn’t even care about or even think of you. 

17.) Kindness & compassion should be bestowed in general, not just to people we know & love. We don’t have to like or love everyone equally, that is unrealistic anyway, but we can still be kind and empathetic in general. Remember each person you meet has a life and a story and a breath, pleasure & pain, needs & desires just like you and the ones you love.

18.) My intense, extreme empathy is a gift and a blessing to me and to others even when it feels like a curse.   It’s good to care and have the true ability to deeply understand. I have the tendency to literally feel pain when someone else does. Feeling immense pain at the knowledge of someone suffering is often agonizing and sometimes despairing.   But it helps me connect with people and provides me with more depth and the ability to identify with another even when I haven’t exactly experienced it myself.    I would never say “I know how you feel.”. I don’t know how someone else feels and never will but I can understand to some degree and experience much compassion. But I would never overstep my boundaries and assume I know more than I do. That is pure arrogance.   Some things I can never even begin to imagine but can still be understanding and compassionate.  While I take on the world’s pain, I also have the ability of taking on the world ‘s pleasure and basking in the success and happiness of others even when I, myself am not feeling happy or successful. When one wins, we all win.

19.) The past can be a gift to guide us and doesn’t have to imprison us or hold us back. It can be our teacher. Let the bad strengthen us and the good bless us with sweet memories to cherish forever.

20.) Every person, young & old can teach us something valuable. No matter how pleasant or unpleasant that person or our encounter with that person is, we can learn something.   Inspiration is everywhere.

21.) Life is a gift. It doesn’t have to be taken so seriously. Let small things slide.   It can be painful and unpleasant but that is the price we pay for being blessed with a gift so priceless. If someone gives you a beautiful gift you were never entitled to to begin with (or even if you are) and it is an unexpected and truly incredible gift that just is shockingly beautiful but isn’t perfect, you likely would not complain about its flaws. You weren’t expecting it anyway. It wasn’t something that had to be given to you in the first place.  So you would probably bask in it and cherish it and embrace or accept its flaws.   Life is that gift.

 22.) Other people are just as important as me even if we have strong opposing views. They are as convinced as I am. Their conviction, their compassion is as strong as mine is. And often, even their longing and attempts to do what is right and their sense of justice is as passionate as mine. They frequently have good intentions. And it’s wise to step outside of ourselves often and attempt to see how and why people do the things they do and feel the way they do even when it’s hard and startling.   I may disagree with people, even get angry at them or their views but they deserve a chance and my respect. It’s ok to have differences.   You don’t have to change your views but it’s good to make genuine attempts to understand a view other than your own.

23.)  People are often misunderstood but well- intentioned. They often aren’t trying to be assholes or cruel even when it seems that way. Sometimes it’s thoughtlessness or differing points of views. It’s hard sometimes, to think about things and the world employing a perspective other than our own. I try to understand people as best as I can and give them a chance.  I believe that people in general are basically good with good, selfless intentions but often seem cold, selfish, arrogant, and uncaring. Many people or their actions are just misunderstood and misinterpreted or miscommunicated. I try my absolute best to understand people and give them a chance.

24.). The present moment is the only moment.   It is priceless and great. It is all we have right now. If you learn to live in the present you will be amazed. Let the past teach you and cherish your memories and plan appropriately for the future but LIVE for now. Then you won’t constantly mourn or be destroyed by your previous experiences and won’t fret or overly anticipate your future experiences.

25.)  Pain can strengthen us and make us more whole than we were previously.   Underneath my wholeness lies a broke- ness  that has led me to where I am NOW. Beautifully WHOLE.  

26.) People don’t have to be like me, think like me, look like me, live like me, or breathe like me to be beautiful like me.

27.) Age doesn’t matter as long as you’re alive.   There’s no reason to wish to be younger or lie about or conceal your age. You don’t have to feel the desire to keep it a secret. Shout it off the roof tops! You are blessed, truly blessed to be your age.  Every age has its blessing. However old you are now, you know more than when you were younger. You have likely evolved in ways that was not true before now.   So why want to regress back to a less developed age? And if you want to be younger but know all you know now, what’s the point then anyway? It would be the same as now but just with a different numerical label. And maybe you look older now but so what? It’s part of the blessings of living. Your “flaws” are reminders of all you have survived and learned. You can feel young, BE young, at any age! Cherish it! Embrace it! Many people die tragically young. You are still here, allowed to live this long! Beauty deepens with age. It’s better to be over the hill than under it!! :-D. You are a survivor.

These lessons I find to be true to me; I do not attempt to force any of them upon anyone. You may disagree with me on some or all of them and that’s ok. Different people have different views.   I hope you can find light & inspiration  in some of them.    

X0xo Kim

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