Tag Archive | understanding

Understanding <3

20160221190621

Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these.” ~
Lloyd Shearer

This is true. Almost all of us have been young, will be or are old, have been wrong (both morally & incorrect), probably will be wrong again, are still learning and always will be, have good intentions and try our best, sometimes do not try our best, will fall and get back up, will need help, can help others, will be, have been or are weak in some ways…we are really not that different than each other. Chances are, whatever we are impatient or angry with someone else about, we have been or will be or at least have the potential to be that way or do that ourself. How about we look within, reflect, tap into our empathy and try hard to understand or see to a certain point how or why someone is or can be a certain way or do a certain thing…and show or feel compassion?

I have been guilty of negatively judging others sometimes, getting angry, not understanding or even trying to understand someone’s situation, lashing out, being selfish, seeking revenge….and probably will be guilty of some of these things again but generally I try to stay in tune with my empathy and ability to love and understand.

What a great reminder that can probably benefit most of us now & again. ❤

Much love to you, always…<3

xoxo Kim  

xoxo Kim

Compassion

1455585811292eSmart_1___fancy2

“Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”

This quote is attributed to Nelson Mandela. I don’t know if it really is. But it’s a beautiful concept! 
I agree! Compassion and empathy aren’t about feeling sorry for others but understanding and wanting their pain/suffering to end.
Empathy and compassion connect us to one another. We can take our own experiences of both pleasure & pain and use them to help others and see hope in them. ❤
There’s always love & light even in the darkest places. Let’s reach out and bring light to others.

~Hugs~ to you ❤

xoxo Kim

Random Inspiration {pics, quotes, thoughts}

IMG_14169428_2

Here are some of my pictures & just random thoughts & things!

IMG_14169312

Isn’t my baby cute?! He looks so happy and serene. Smiling. 😀
It’s that peaceful, calm kind of sleepiness but not exhaustion or fatigue. 

This is where he waits for me to come upstairs to my room. Two of my dogs love to stay in bed all day and they would if I was up there. I don’t stay in my room all day and sometimes when I’m downstairs they go up to the top of the stairs and bark and growl for me to come up! 
Lol Lazy bums.

They want to be in bed but only with me! It’s so cute! This is Woody in the picture. He was really sleepy and just waited there for me to come up. 

IMG_14169474(1)

This little baby crawled onto my hand and then I was faced with a difficult dilemma. Do I put him/her outside in the tree where it’s kind of cold or just let him roam the floors in work(which I’m certain my manager and boss wouldn’t appreciate!).
There’s only one ant that I saw so it wasn’t like infested. I’m not sure if there’s easy access to food outside for an ant. But in a store or something there may be microscopic 
crumbs around. But inside, an insect has a good chance of being crushed by people who have no regard for their lives. I don’t judge those people, which is like just about everyone in the world except for me. But I can’t bear the thought of a living sentient being, no matter how small or icky or ugly or scary or disgusting, or repulsive, no matter the species, human, insect, reptile, animal…being killed or injured. I really find it heartbreaking. So when I can, I help them to the best of my ability. I’m not in people’s faces with it or all sanctimonious about it like some pro-life people. That really annoys me when people act like their morals are above other people’s. I have been accused of this on occasion, especially by my sister who thinks I’m a snob, but it’s not true. I put the cute little ant in the tree outside in the crunchy leaves, hoping s/he would find food and warmth. ❤

IMG_14169408_1(1)

Recently I was out with my mom and took this picture. I love it! To most/many people, it may just appear to be a really bad picture. To me, it is symbolic of a few things. 
I love taking pictures of things that represent something to me even if they just appear to be meaningless. I never liked the idea of a creator/artist/writer/poet…anyone who takes pictures or anything, explaining the work or photo. I love when readers/viewers try to interpret it but I think it’s great if the creator leaves it to them and usually doesn’t explain its meaning. Occasionally I share my pictures and tell what purpose I find in them.
But often I like to leave it to the viewers. I love the abstract & mystery. And it can symbolize different things to different people, which I love!

IMG_14169443_2(1)

IMG_14169444(1)_1

It’s beginning to look a lot like Halloween!  
I love all the innocent looking Halloween decor! The ghosts, the pumpkins, the vampires and minions dressed up, the little monsters and scary houses set up in people’s windows. I love the cute stuff! Some of the stuff I have seen is, in my opinion, going a bit overboard! Like something that appears to be a person, hanging off a tree! A person appearing to be crushed in a garage door or have a gunshot wound to the head! Aaahh! That has my heart racing and not in a good way! I always feel so much compassion for people who have found suicide/homicide/accident victims. I can just imagine what it must be like for them to have to see that after seeing the real thing. ❤
Flash backs & panic attacks and nightmares and everything else!
I love haunted attractions but the “dead people” though they have fake blood and gashes all over them, don't actually look truly dead and they're usually walking around so obviously aren't dead or resembling true dead persons! (there hasn't been a real zombie apocalypse yet that I know of!)
To me, there is nothing at all fun about seeing a dead body or something that accurately resembles one.
If I was decorating I would be more thoughtful and mindful about what I put in public but I understand it's Halloween and that's just what some people consider fun. 
I saw people get into arguments over this before, certain decorations or displays being repulsive and people were saying some people are thoughtless and callous and others saying people need to lighten up that it's just for fun (when I was little I saw a real homicide victim {a very young woman} covered in blood dead on the ground, where I used to play, I was too young [or stupid] to completely grasp the full seriousness of it but I can tell you it wasn't fun to find that! [I never knew her but I still think of her all these years later.]) and I try to be understanding, accepting, tolerant, or just at least as civil as possible about all sides of any issue or topic even if I disagree. I do some things too that people don't like. No one is going to be perfect to everyone, we all have different concepts of perfect but that's ok.

IMG_14169429_1(1)

Isn’t this a pretty picture?! It’s my picture! But I edited it to make it look a bit more dramatic in a way. I love editing my pictures! It’s more creative and fun than just snapping a picture and sharing it. On my photobucket account, I usually share both the edited and the original because I like all my pictures. I never try to pretend my pictures aren’t edited to some degree. Most are(except for pictures of myself, sometimes they have effects but that’s all). They usually look better with effects than the original ones, sometimes I just make the colors pop or make the picture brighter or fade or blur out certain parts for a foggy or nostalgic look.

Here’s an example of two pictures that are the same but one is edited. They still look very much the same but the original is dull while the edited pops in color. Sometimes an original pic does no justice to the real thing and I edit it and it looks more similar to the real thing. Like the sky sometimes is so bright and beautiful and I take a picture and it’s all dull looking and I edit it to bring out the colors and it looks more like the real sky than the original pic! 

Original version:

IMG_14166755_zpsr35zu0gm

Edited version:

IMG_14166755_zpsp3kphydt

I got skills! lol jk I really don’t but hope to one day! This isn’t a good picture but I still like it.

IMG_14169431_1(1)

IMG_14169413(1)_1

IMG_4429

IMG_14169398_2_2(1)

We have all these big monopoly pieces all around in this one place in Center City. Is this just a Philadelphia thing or do they have this in other places as well? I love how we can see the reflection of the sky in the windows here. I blurred it a bit so the people in my pics can’t be clearly seen since they don’t even know they’re in my pics!

IMG_14169411_1

That church way over there has the rainbow flag outside to show their love for lgbtq people. Way to go! ❤
I don't think people necessarily should be thanked for supporting equality since it's a basic thing we're supposed to do just like we're not supposed to kill or be a racist or at least not act on it in vicious ways. I'm not going to thank someone for not killing me or for supporting a woman's right to vote or for supporting interratical marriage, it's not a luxary or gift, it's a basic right or basic equality but still good to express support so people know. Especially in a place where they are often known for or thought of as being discriminatory.
I think in some ways heterosexism is worse than homophobia because it's less obvious and may be overlooked but the impact still devestating, where homophobia is more obvious and can be called out and addressed more easily. Heterosexism is basically the idea of overlooking anything other than heterosexuality, like asking a woman we just meet “do you have a boyfriend?” just assuming she is romantically attracted to men. And in all the commercials and extras in movies, just showing heterosexuality. It's good to show things other than just heterosexuality in basic everyday contexts in movies like, people walking by holding hands and things. It's good to have movies & tv shows where the main topic is relating to lgbtq people but also just showing it in subtle ways.
Everyone should feel included in society.
I saw on tv recently a teenage girl who was born with what is considered a boy's body. She was thrilled because her parents allowed her to get hormone therapy to have her body become more physically female.
They gave her a surprise package and when she unwrapped it, it was something she been wanting, permission to get the therapy.
My dad (who is against homosexuality and transgenderism and anything other than what he is or claims to be) was appalled and saying offensive things and things like how can they let a child do that. And my mom who is not a homo/transphobe but still not as completely understanding of transgender issues as I am, said what if the girl changes her mind and decides she should have stayed a boy or how she was first. I'm not easily offended but I was here. Like, how can a person's gender identity just change?! It can't!! We know as long as we remember what we are! I never once thought “maybe I'm a boy!” Transgender people aren't confused, except maybe because of things society tries to put on them. That little girl knows what she is and always has. She's a GIRL! Even though her body is what is typically considered a boy's.

A t-girl is no less of a woman than I am. It's not our body that makes us what we are, male, female, both, neither, it's our gender identity. I am a woman because my gender identity is that of a woman's. We don't choose our gender identity or sexual orientation, just choose how to act on it. But anyway so what if it were a choice? It's not hurting anyone!
Some people say not to be against gay or trans people because they cannot help it! I know they have loving intentions saying that but it's rude! It's like saying it's still not good but it's ok because they can't help it.
I can just imagine the loneliness many trans. people and their familes must feel. Many parents who allow their children to express their gender identity even if it does not match their sexual identity, are vilified for it. But I support them and if I had a child who turned out to be transgender, I would let him/her express it at whatever age s/he wanted. People say they will be bullied and scarred over it and it's most likely true but if I tried to force my kid to be something s/he is not, that would scar her and hurt her too. I would prefer someone else to hurt my child than my own self! And I have nothing against lgbtq people or them expressing it however they want.

Also, I’m not a “politically correct” control freak who obsesses over language or words. I don’t like offending people, not usually because of what they may thjnk about me but because I truly care not to offend. And I don’t use terms that are blatant insults. But if someone isn’t trying to be vicious but says something that isn’t “politically correct,” I won’t go all apeshit. Intentions usually matter more, in my opinion, than what appears to be. It’s great to be thoughtful but we don’t have to be controlling and obsessed with how people talk.

This isn't an angry rant! lol I’m not angry. I'm just sharing my opinions and stuff.

A t-woman was murdererd recently by a person with a history of hurting transgender people. And my love & compassion go out to all affected by that. ❤

“In my household, being gay was, and is, no big deal. When my brother came out, we hugged him, said we loved him, and that was that. Just for the record, we don’t feel that there is anything alternative about our family values. I don’t consider my[self] just an ally to the LGBT community. I consider myself your family. If anyone, ever, tried to hurt you, I’m gonna give them hell. There are people who’ve said that I’m being brave for being openly supportive of gay marriage, gay adoption…with all due respect, I humbly dissent. I’m not being brave. I’m being a decent human being…” ~ Anne Hathaway

I agree. When I was in college and at a pflag event, there were parents of lgbtq kids who gave a speech about supporting their kids and all lgbtq people and people started cheering and they asked everyone to stop, saying it's not something to thank them for, that they are merely doing what is right, what is basic. ❤

“Never lie, steal, cheat, or drink. But if you must lie, lie in the arms of the one you love. If you must steal, steal away from bad company. If you must cheat, cheat death. And if you must drink, drink in the moments that take your breath away.”

I love the sentiment. I don't see anything wrong with adults drinking alcoholic things as long as they are responsible about it. 😀 Like not drinking themselves to death or operating machines/vehicles or anything while intoxicated! And not getting angry and pushing people because that can accidentally kill someone! Alcohol itself isn’t usually a problem, it’s how we handle it.
I suspect the “drink” is referring to alcohol because most of us have to drink, I think. Unless maybe we have an iv drip. I don’t know why this quote says not to drink it but I like how it says drink in the moments that take our breath away! sweet!

IMG_14167272_1

And this is me! ❤

I feel as if I just rambled through this whole thing which wasn’t my intention! lol I was just sharing my pictures and the thoughts came to me! Hopefully they are coherent!

😀

Lots of love to you!!


xoxo Kim

Your Brain on Fiction

IMG_14166750_1

I have known that reading fiction can help deepen our empathy, understanding, and compassion for real people and real life situations. I experienced this myself in some ways and it just makes sense. When we see people in real life acting certain ways that seem unusual or negative, we may be quick to judge that person. We have no idea why this person is acting this way. We don’t know exactly what is going on in that person’s life or head. But in fiction, the author let’s us into the heads and lives of the characters. We have a very good idea why the characters do certain things where in real life, we often have no idea. In fiction, we can judge less because we understand and know better.  
For example, I recently read a novel (Killing Me Softly by Bianca Sloane) where a lady is being abused by her husband in every way there is to be abused. Sexually, other physical ways (hit, knocked to the floor, locked in a closet…), emotionally (he treats her as if she is less than him), and verbally(calls her insults and things). 
This lady is basically a prisoner in her own house. The neighbors would judge her thinking she’s freaky and a weirdo. She would act strange in public, hardly speaking to anyone, even neighbors, always being in a hurry to get home, acting fearful and urgent, dressed in very bland, unusual clothing because he forced her to, out of fear that other men would be attracted to her.
These neighbors had no idea what was going on with her but we, the readers are aware and instead of judging her as being a “freak,” we can have compassion instead. 
But what if this were reality and we were the real neighbors to her. We would have no idea what’s going on with her. We couldn’t get into her head like we can when she’s the character in a novel. 
Would we judge her, think of her as the “weirdo” of the street? Would we stop and think maybe the poor girl is suffering or just needs some love & compassion?
My compassion & empathy have always been very developed in general but I notice that fiction opens me up even more.

I have also read many other realistic novels where characters would act in a bizarre or very unpleasant way, provoked by horrific things that happened to them.
Some characters, I judged negatively myself and also would have if they were real people. Some of these characters are violent or bitter or just not appealing. 
Then the authors let me into their heads, allowing me to observe and feel every emotion and thought the person has(we can’t always do this with real people because we aren’t in their heads but the characters are realistic and have similar experiences to real people), and I understood better and made it a point to try to show and have more compassion in person to real people. 

I think this is a good reminder to develop stronger compassion and understanding for people in general. Unlike in fiction, we have no idea why they do what they do. Maybe they are suffering, being abused, mentally ill….we can’t possibly know completely what someone else’s life is like. Let’s try to better understand and be slower to judge. Compassion is always good even if someone isn’t suffering, compassion as a way of life is beautiful.

I think fiction can help open our minds and help us deepen our empathy & compassion in general.

And I just discovered this essay, while reading various things about psychology, the brain, neuroscience, and studies. This happened to show up and is fascinating! 

The Neuroscience of Your Brain on Fiction by Annie Paul – mobile version

I can’t for the life of me find out how to get the non mobile/desktop link.

Maybe this?

or you can just look it up if you want:

Your Brain on Fiction
The Neuroscience of Your Brain on Fiction

By ANNIE MURPHY PAUL
MARCH 17, 2012

It brings two of my favorite things together, brain studies or research and reading fiction! Very interesting!  

It shows that while reading fiction, our brains have extremely similar reactions as when we are involved in real life situations.
The brain, in some way, can’t tell the difference even though we know it’s not real. Our brain can’t completely distinguish fantasy and fiction. Some parts of our brain takes fiction for being real. 
This is a good reason to be careful what we read. Too much horror and heavy stuff can drag us down and generate negative energy. It’s good to mix it up a bit and read things to immerse our self in positive energy. 

Also the studies suggest that reading fiction does help deepen our empathy. And to rule out the possibility that it’s just people who happen to be more empathetic who read more, the researchers accounted for that. They did studies with pre-school children. When they read stories to them, the little kids seemed to develop better understanding for real life. It makes perfect sense to me! And I think it also applies watching movies. 

I hope you are having a great day/night!
😀

Xoxo Kim ❤

Love is not blind <3

image

I recently read an absolutely AMAZING fiction book. And I don’t use the word “amazing” loosely. I am not someone who uses “amazing” and “awesome” very casually in place of the word “cool” or something. 

To me, the word “awesome” especially, and the word “amazing” are words to generally be reserved for something or someone who inspires literal awe or wonder.  But I’m not a “political correctness” control freak either, whatever floats your boat! 

image

Anyway, the book is incredible and has fantastic reviews. I got it at no cost on Amazon Kindle app for BlackBerryz10. It’s called “After the Cure” by Deirdre (I love the name!) Gould and takes place 8-10 years after an outbreak of a vicious and infectious disease that sweeps across the world taking out most people. It’s extremely contagious and there’s no escaping it. A few people in the world are Immune because of their genetic makeup which happens to be able to resist the Plague.  And so they don’t contract the Illness. But they still suffer greatly.  

This disease turns people into cannibals. They become violent and vicious and eat anyone they can get their hands on. They uncontrollably devour their friends, family, strangers, animals….but it’s not their fault as their brains are ravaged by disease. 

But the novel isn’t really about the Infection itself; it’s about the psychological damage almost every person who survives, which isn’t many, is faced with after the disease is cured. Somehow a Cure is found and the “zombie-like” people get better but they remember everything they did. They remember viciously attacking, killing, and eating everyone they came in contact with.
They remember what they felt, what they heard, smelled, and tasted as they uncontrollably attacked innocent people and animals.
And now many of them feel like monsters and are accused by many of the Immune as being monsters.

They are overwhelmed in guilt. They are good people who just got sick. Many of them die by suicide. And many of the Immune people die by suicide because they also are guilt-ridden and lost almost everyone they know to the Infected killing them. They had to kill many of the Infected people who tried eating them. Then after the Cure was found, they felt guilty that they killed innocent, sick people who could have healed, even though it was to save their own lives and the lives of others. 

It’s also a story about segregation (segregation based on health status) and how many Immune people are prejudiced against the Cured who were once Infected. They think of them as “zombies” and monsters and repulsive because they once ate humans. They aren’t zombies though. They never died and just like anyone, can be easily killed in any way. And once they are dead, they can’t come back. It’s kind of like a zombie thriller but more realistic. Realistic because, they are just people with an Infection which causes their brains to change, not people who died and came back and can only be killed a certain way.

 They even have separate neighborhoods for the Immune and the Cured.

Immune people are supposed to register with the government as Immune and only marry another Immune person and Cured are only supposed to marry other Cured and eventually die out. The government doesn’t want their dna to keep going since it’s not resistant to the Infection.  

They aren’t supposed to mix.

The book takes place after most people are Cured, not during the Outbreak. There aren’t many people left in the world, even ten years later and the government is trying to force everyone to have kids. 

As I said, it’s not really a thriller in a zombie attack way, it’s more about the psychological effects on the people. But there is a big mystery throughout the book that Mr. Frank Courtlen, a lawyer, and Dr. Nella Rider, a psychiatrist, are determined to solve because many lives depend on it. 

image

There won’t be any really big spoilers here, most of this info you will know by reading the description of the book or find out in the beginning of the book. But if you would prefer to not know without reading, click it off now! 

;-D

It’s entertaining and thrilling, a kind of mystery, but it also has a deeper message about compassion, understanding, and true, unconditional love and acceptance as well as hope. I believe the underlying message can apply to our real life situations.  

Some people are afraid to confess to others what they did while they were Sick or what they did to survive if they were Immune. They are afraid people will no longer like them and will reject or think less of them. 

The two main characters are Mr. Courtlen, the defense attorney for a doctor in trouble for something involving the Disease and Dr. Rider, the psychiatrist who is to evaluate and check the defendants in a Trial over the Infection outbreak. She was also involved in helping Cure and care for the Sick during the initial Outbreak. 

They are both very loving and compassionate people who want nothing but the best for anyone and everyone and they risk their lives to do what they believe is right and to save the lives of others. They both have deep empathy and compassion even for those who many people would think do not deserve it.

 Dr. Rider is Immune but she’s completely compassionate and accepting of the Infected and Cured. She doesn’t see them as any different than herself. She never viewed them as zombies or monsters or repulsive, even when they tried to attack her. And she doesn’t support the discrimination and segregation. She accepts all people just as they are, no matter what whether it’s in relation to health or anything else. She believes that everyone belongs together. She’s my favorite character. 

She and the lawyer become very close and they both have dark, painful secrets or things they are hesitant to reveal to each other out of fear of losing the other’s respect and love. 

I wrote about this concept before, here on the blog. My opinion is that it’s best not to cover up parts of our true self just so people will like us or not dislike us. No matter how much we love those people or how afraid we are of losing them. 

Maybe some things people just want to keep to themselves and that’s ok. But it’s something else to conceal something just so we are liked or not negatively judged by others.  

I don’t want someone to like/love me just because there’s something that person doesn’t know about me where if s/he found out, s/he would no longer care for me. I would prefer people to know and reject me right then if it’s going to happen. 

This can be anything: religious or political views, certain choices we have made, opinions on anything, scars, flaws, mistakes, health issues….if someone doesn’t accept you for all that you are, all that you have been, and all that you will be, in my opinion it’s not real love and not worth it then. There’s always someone who will embrace all of the person even if that person doesn’t like or agree with some things. We can accept the good with the bad, the flaws with the perfections, maybe even see the beauty in those flaws. 

 If we take the chance and open up about various things we can and sometimes probably will be criticized or rejected in some way. I believe that it’s worth it. And for all the people who dislike us, there are so many who will love/like us. They can’t replace the ones who reject us but at least you know that someone out there in the world somewhere desires just what you have to give and all that you are. I’m not just referring to romantic love but also platonic. 

In my opinion it’s ok to care what people think of us, to be concerned and even afraid sometimes but without going overboard to the point we obsess over it frequently or change or pretend to be something we’re not. It’s not good to be like a zombie, completely unaffected by those around us but not good to be obsessed and anxious often, either. We can find a good balance of generally caring but not too much. 

And I think there are at least two ways to not want to offend people. One is because we feel awkward about confrontation or what they think of us, that they are judging us, the other is because we genuinely care about the person’s wellbeing and do not want to inflict/contribute to unpleasant emotions. I think the second one is better. It’s rooted in selfless compassion where the first is rooted in selfish fear or awkwardness.

I think sometimes for many people, when we get to know someone then find out things we don’t like, we will still want to be friends with that person where if we first saw the things we do not like, before getting to know the rest, we may not be as thrilled to be friends with the person. (Imagine someone rudely spewing obnoxious views the second you meet, you may not care to know more. But imagine meeting a funny, loving, passionate person you instantly love then later hearing those obnoxious views, you may be more likely to accept it even if you don’t like it. I think most of us have love and offense, beauty and ugliness, can be rude and also respectful…and it’s good to give people a chance.)
I know many people refuse to discuss controversial views or refuse to tell details about themselves that may not be accepted by others, because of fear of rejection, fear of no longer being liked by those who once or would have liked them if they did not know this about them.

But if people only like you because they do not know a certain thing about you, is it really a genuine relationship? Is it really authentic love or an authentic sense of liking? Is it really worth it? I really don’t think so. Or at least, in my opinion, it’s not a relationship worth keeping around by pretending to be something else or covering things up. Just because you don’t express your views or certain things about yourself doesn’t mean they aren’t here. 
Even if no one ever finds out, those things still exist about us. So why not just embrace it? It’s part of us whether we like it or not. It’s not going anywhere no matter how much we want it to. So who cares what “they” think or say about it or us?! 

Someone can be very likable to many people because they aren’t very open and people only see the surface but there’s more than that surface for all of us, and repressing, concealing, or lying doesn’t make it go away.  Those people who never ever discuss politics, for example, or reveal much about their life still have those views (unless they are truly politically apathetic but even then, they likely have some sort of views) and still have that life. They still have those “flaws.” 

I understand not discussing controversial views or details just to avoid trouble/arguments on some occasions or because it’s embarrassing to have people know certain things about us or because we genuinely do not want to offend a person right then because we care about the person’s happiness and not just because we feel afraid of confrontation or what they will say to us, that’s one thing. Or because something is painful or something we just don’t care to discuss. 

But intentionally covering up things about us or trying to change certain things just because people may no longer be our friends either in person or on social media accounts or because people may not like or respect us as much, is, in my opinion, not good. I prefer people to reject me if they are going to because at least it’s genuine. I have lost Facebook friends and the love of some people in person merely because of my views on some things. Not always even because of my attitude about it, I did not always have an unpleasant attitude. I was just firm and assertive in my views. Which I will continue to be. 

I have also lost acquaintances online and off because I revealed my struggle with depression and suicidal thinking. I have had people look at me weird, look at me like I’m a freak. And men who were interested in me back off after they found out. This does not happen often. Most people seem understanding and accepting. But it’s not pleasant when it does happen. 

But I will continue to be open and honest.  

I used to see this as being true to myself but now even more importantly, I see it as being true to others. I genuinely don’t 
want people wasting their energy or time on me just because they think I’m something I’m not or don’t know something about me where if they found out, they would move on. 
Whether it’s on social media or in person.

I don’t want people to be rude and discriminatory and I think it’s great for us to be accepting but that doesn’t mean we have to surround ourselves with people we would rather not. I want people to mostly be surrounded by those they feel nourish, love, fuel, inspire them, people who are open and honest with them, not people who intentionally go out of their way to cover up stuff just not to lose “friends” which in my opinion isn’t true friendship.  We don’t all have to want to be friends with everyone. It’s ok to choose not to be friends with certain people. We can still be loving or positive about it and go our separate ways, wishing everyone the best. 

I’m not saying to just spill everything constantly in every situation and every occasion, ignoring boundaries, of course not, I’m talking about when it comes up in appropriate contexts or if we truly feel the urge to reveal something about ourselves.  Then I think it’s good to be open and honest and lose whoever I will. I will continue to love those people and wish them the best (if only in my head, I’m not going to keep contacting people who want nothing to do with me but I won’t have animosity for them either.).

Also if we change something about us or pretend to be someone else just so people will like us, there’s still going to be people who don’t like us. You can change or lie about your views, your body, your hair color, your job…then there will be people who don’t like the “new” you. For all of us, there’s many who like and will like us and some who won’t. And that’s ok. 

image

I think this novel is beautiful and challenges our views of beauty and provokes thoughts on unconditional love and acceptance.  It conveys the message that every person makes mistakes or does something that someone else will not like, does things we aren’t proud of, and can be judged by someone somewhere and how it’s good to not overly judge people in negative ways. We usually do the best we can the best we know how in each moment and even if we don’t, there’s a chance later to be better. We aren’t the person we previously were. All that matters is who we are now. We don’t have to be imprisoned by our past. We can start now and be as loving as possible to everyone we encounter. We can take all that we were and all that we are and use it for the best, to build our- self into more greatness. The seemingly unpleasant facts about ourselves can be used as a catalyst for positive change. 
What matters most is that the heart is in the right place and that we see each other’s true inner beauty, not get lost judging mistakes and flaws. 

image

The book has about 399 pages, I think, and is very much the page turner! I seriously couldn’t sleep night after night because I stayed up reading and thinking about the book. I felt so involved in it and so empty and so full when it ended. I miss the characters and the world in the book. I want it all back! Lol I even plan on reading the book again! I feel that way with lots of books but not usually to this depth. The author is so skilled and a gift to the world. She really brings her characters alive and the two main ones are very well developed.  The book is fairly long, nearly 400 pages, but for this one, that’s not long enough! 

The story is grounded in so much hope.

It conveys the message that no matter what happens, no matter how dark, ugly, agonizing something can be, the next morning the sun will rise, the stars will shine in the night sky, the Earth will spin and flowers will grow. And that people are basically good. While there are those with cruel intentions who want to hurt(probably because they themselves are suffering in some way), there are many, many more and always will be more, who want to love and help and show compassion. 

Yes, I seriously recommend it! I read some of the reviews and even some people who aren’t into zombie thrillers love it. As I said, it’s not really about zombies because first, they aren’t zombies anyway, just sick people. And also it takes place years after the Outbreak and is mostly about the aftermath. There are still some Infected people who have yet to be Cured where the Cure hasn’t yet reached and there is some adventure. There’s two other books about different aspects of this Infection, by the same author but can all be read separately, I think. I haven’t read those yet. 

“Love isn’t blind; it sees but it doesn’t mind.”

image

To love, we don’t have to be “blind” to each other’s flaws. We can open our eyes, open our hearts and see. But love anyway.

I’m wishing you much love & happiness today and always.

Xoxo Kim

Living for the simple moments {beauty all around}

image

“Underneath your blackest emotions,
far above your brightest wishes,
stands a world for you to hold” ~Samael

I was watching videos about children who suffer with severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia. It’s currently incurable and is a lifelong struggle for them. They suffer immensely and so do their families and those close to them who do the best they can to cope and help them cope.
They suffer hallucinations and delusions, some pleasant and some not pleasant.
They talk to things no one else can see.
Unlike some children, these aren’t imaginary friends playfully made up for fun, they are hallucinations the brain makes up as a result of an imbalance in its chemistry. It doesn’t function the way most people’s brains function. They literally see, hear, feel things that aren’t there for everyone else and often, they believe they’re real. And to them they are very real.

You can tell a hallucinating person that what that person is seeing, hearing, or feeling isn’t really there and it’s possible the person will know it’s not really there but that knowledge will not make the hallucinations any less real.

That can be an additional stress on someone. Knowing what the person is seeing, hearing, feeling isn’t really there but not being able to make it go away, even feeling the need to respond to certain hallucinations knowing they’re not really there. It can be so frustrating.

Sometimes their mental illnesses provoke some of them to act violently against other people not because they’re bad people but because their brains don’t function properly. Not everyone with a mental illness is violent as a result but some can be. Most aren’t.
In other ways they can be just like other little kids. They like to play, go outside, run around, swing, laugh….

People with mental illnesses, children and adults alike, are a whole person underneath, a person separate than the illness. But sometimes the sickness seems to take over.

It’s a heartbreaking struggle.

One of the most inspiring parts of one of the videos I watched is when a little girl’s dad said he has only two hopes for his little girl. One that she stays alive and two that moments of happiness will always find her throughout her days even when most parts of her days are an agonizing battle, he hopes she will always find something to be happy about in the midst of her pain and struggle.

image

This can be viewed in a more negative light like that it’s too bad that all someone has is little moments throughout the day because everything else is just so bad.
Or it can be viewed in a positive light that there are always moments we can embrace to be inspired and joyful, single moments scattered throughout each day that we have, to seize and hold on for. No matter how much pain we’re in.

It’s a beautiful coping mechanism. Mental illness and physical illness is heartbreaking and devastating but as long as we stay alive and hold onto any little bit of happiness or joy or anything that can make us smile or giggle about, we can make it.

We can’t always hope to be cured or to be generally recovered or to go in remission right now. We can’t always hope that pain will end right now. Some things just won’t be cured and some people will have to struggle most days or everyday just to survive and do basic things. Some people will have severe flare ups every now and again, of an illness physical or emotional that will feel near impossible to cope with.
And even temporary pain or struggles that we know will end eventually, can just seem so overwhelming, so absolutely unbearable.

But as long as we live and can find those glimpses of magic hidden in the midst of the pain and darkness, we can have something to hold, something to hope for, something that encourages us to keep going, to get out of bed, to move.

The reflection of the sun on windows and signs and water, the blueness of the sky, white fluffy clouds, a steaming cup of hot tea, a funny movie, the depth of inspiration a beautiful song can bring us, a poem, friends, family, animals, photography, books, the vibrant colors all around, random acts of kindness, strangers, hot fudge sundaes, peanut butter, the gentle flapping of butterfly wings, helping someone, funny jokes….whatever touches you in a deep place.

These things, the simple beauty all around, are always beautiful no matter what our situation is but for some people with certain illnesses or disabilities or in certain situations, they are all we have at the moment. Just moments of simple beauty and joys. Sometimes it’s really all we can hope for, to have solitary moments of joy or happiness or some small sense of pleasure in the midst of our darkness.

And it can be enough.

I know this because when my depression would be flaring up for hours, days, weeks, months, whether it’s a full blown episode or just some symptoms, here and there, sometimes all I could do to stay alive, to find the motivation, the inspiration, the courage, and strength to carry on, was grasp onto all the single happy or joyous moments throughout every day of my darkness & despair. Focus on the goodness that still does exist until it would end and I would be happy again. I had this since 13 years old.

Having depression or any mental illness or pain can feel like a different world than where everyone else is. It’s like another place, another time, another world. To know we have this dark place we can slip into.
To have random suicidal thoughts and urges and depression that can appear suddenly for seemingly no reason.

People say there’s no such thing as “normal.”
And that it’s good to be different and “crazy” and unique.
But in some cases there really is such a thing as “normal.” People who always want to live, those who don’t have to battle random or frequent suicidal urges, ones who don’t have unpleasant images and thoughts flashing across their brains, people who don’t have their whole body crushed in an invisible heaviness where they can’t even stand up straight, ones without panic attacks and flashbacks and frequent anxiety, food obsessions, seriously disordered eating habits ….(i don’t have anxiety or panic attacks or body image issues/eating disorders and never have but many, many people do and it’s a serious problem that is very painful for them)
This is normal to not have all this.
And for people who have any of it, it can be a difficult struggle to try to be regular.
I know people without health conditions like this may not be “normal” in other ways but in this context they are.
And it’s not good to try to force ourselves to be society’s or someone else’s idea of normal while not being true to ourselves.
But that’s not what I’m talking about here.
Yes it’s good to be “unique” but not when unique means battling violent urges to take myself out for days/weeks/months.
And “crazy” is good when it’s all fun and games and playing, acting funny and silly but it’s not good when “crazy” is a true illness.
It’s not always easy to handle and it provokes pain in me, even when I’m not depressed sometimes. Just thinking about it.
Not always. For the most part I feel and am normal. But it can be a struggle sometimes when depression flares up.

The psychological consequences of having these condition, and for some, even when they are not currently acting up, are profound and may have to find ways to cope with the pain and struggles and the very fact of having them when they are someone with a mental disorder. I don’t mind and can handle it.

I know I’m not a victim. That’s why I’m posting this, because I have found a way to be empowered and I hope it helps someone else. This life is still a sweet blessing. Just because we have bad things and painful things happen to us, doesn’t mean we are victims.

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” ~Jawaharlal Nehru

image

I’m alive. And as long as that remains true, there is hope. Even when I can’t feel it.

Sometimes the simple things are lifesavers, crucial parts of my coping mechanisms.
They are all there is.

I honor all the brave families and other people for sharing their stories, for sharing their pain and struggles with the world. Mental illness, medication, mental illness in children, specific ways of coping, treatment…are all very controversial. People disagree on the nature of some illnesses, whether or not they really exist, if certain treatments are ethical, the way people handle these illnesses and so much more. Anyone who shares a story like this that reaches a large audience, on blogs, YouTube, tv…, is bound to receive criticism of all kinds, some intended to be constructive, other critics intending to be malicious and inflict pain or anger upon those sharing their story.
There will always be loving supporters and those who just want to hurt.
Anyone who shares their story is brave and strong and deserves love and compassion whether or not we agree with everything they do or say or believe.
The people who share their pain with the world do the best they can the best they know how.
No one chooses to be mentally ill. We have to take the life we were gifted with, healthy or not, and do the best we can with it, bloom where we’re planted, create a firm, strong foundation with everything we know, everything we experience, everything that is thrown at us.

“Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it.” ~Anne De Lenclos

Mental illness, pain, being suicidal…none of these are choices but acting on them is often a choice. Acting negatively or acting positively. Giving in and giving up or finding it in us to keep going with everything we have. We have the choice to do something to better ourselves, to hold on, to inspire, bring hope, consolation, encouragement, and understanding to others.

When I am depressed, I choose to hold on, to keep going, to inspire myself and anyone else I can along the way.

image

And I hope you will always do the same whatever your situation is. And if you need reminders every now and again, look for them. Take photos of happy things, write positive quotes and affirmations in a book so you can always look at them when you need inspiration, always remember words, books, things that have helped you and let them continue to help you. Remember an occasion when you were happy and filled with joy and hope and full of life and know you have it in you to feel that way again. If you can’t remember when you last felt that way, then know there’s always hope as long as you’re alive. The world is full of pain but it’s also full of hope, healing, happiness, love, and possibility. Endless possibilities.

image

“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 Pappas, “City Hall” movie quote)

Xoxo Kim

Beauty, Acceptance, Diversity, Awakening

image

❤ I was blind but now I see. ❤

“Always be a little kinder than necessary. ” ~ J. M. Barrie
I am really loving how compassionate, accepting, tolerant, open-minded and loving I have become. I have always been someone who is open-minded and accepting of others, their views, and diversity. I have always been loving and not at all likely to reject a person as a friend because of a difference in perspective, attitude, or view, or because of mistakes or decisions that person made that I disagree with. Even when strongly disagreeing with one another. 

But there are occasions I have been or felt unkind, unfriendly, arrogant, bitter, or timid, or unhappy, meek, or just negative, uncomfortable,  or hostile over differences in opinion on certain topics or how the opinion was presented.  I was never cruel or outright horrible to people over disagreements and I wouldn’t reject a friend or potential friend but on too many occasions I liked that “us and them” or “us vs them” feeling. Now, I can’t even imagine why.   Now, I always want us to all be in this together, working together, no matter what differences we encounter, for a better world, a better life for us all. 

There have been occasions for almost as long as I can remember where I felt that I was lacking in personality because I have this ability to understand both sides of a debate or argument so thoroughly even if I strongly agree with one and not the other.  I can still see how someone else can feel that way. Even when I would argue or debate taking one side, I can still feel for the other. It’s like that with almost every political and philosophical topic I can think of and in personal arguments that I witness, hear of, read, or engage in.

Now I see this as a gift.  As a unique personality trait.  I have been told that I have the priceless gift, the uncanny ability to understand so deeply, and just “know” things about people, to deeply see the heart of the matter, to feel for all sides and angles, to empathize with my opponents and with people and other sentient beings, in general.

And now I’m even more this way. This natural gift is stronger.  And with conscious intention and work, I can develop it even more.

There will always be disagreements.

Some people will be wrong.

Maybe some things will never be resolved but we can choose kindness, love, compassion, and understanding as opposed to cruelty, rejection, unkindness…

Usually, when I would be bitter, it wasn’t even over a disagreement itself but the way people would present their opinion, their attitude, or way of speaking/writing. When someone would have an “in your face,” defensive, rebellious, or negative attitude, I was more ready to be hostile where when someone would be civil, gentle, accepting, I was more ready to be kind and friendly even when strongly disagreeing. 

But someone else’s unkindness or cruelty does not necessarily justify my unkindness or cruelty. No need to perpetuate that.  I prefer to perpetuate love and lavish love and kindness on others.   Sometimes the cruelest and most unkind people may need it the most.

 I have come to realize more and more that it’s ok to have strongly opposing views, it’s still possible to get along well with those who strongly oppose my views, love, compassion, acceptance is more important.  Opposing a view does not mean opposing a person. I can overlook disagreements or even see the beauty in them.

Sometimes I have felt guilty when I would have a certain opinion on a topic and then meet someone I really liked who would have an opposite view.  I felt like I was doing that person wrong.  Like I was offending…hurting..

But other occasions I was at the other end. Feeling arrogant, pompous, full of myself, telling myself I was holding the better view, the “right” view and I was the one offended, the “victim,” the reasonable one.

Now…

I have been seeing beauty in things much more than I used to and in things I never thought I would see beauty in. People who have the courage to speak up and advocate for themselves and their views whether or not I agree with their views, certain kinds of selfishness(the word “selfish” tends to have negative connotations but isn’t always a bad thing), things shattering so better things can fall into place, realizing I was wrong all along and admitting it and evolving into something better.  At one point I was so mortified when an opinion of mine would change or I would realize I was initially wrong, either incorrect or morally wrong. 

I did not want to admit that I held an inaccurate or “wrong” view.   But changing an opinion based on truly realizing that the old opinion in some way is wrong either morally or factually/logically, admitting it, and moving forward is a sign of great strength, growth, and is worthy of admiration.   According to Roman Stoic Philosopher, Gaius Musonius Rufus, we should study Philosophy and it should affect us personally and profoundly and when a philosopher lectures, his words should make those in his audience shudder. They should experience feelings of contrition or rue.  Instead of applauding the philosopher, the audience should be reduced to silence. (source, Epictetus, “Discourses,” III.xxiii.29.)

In awe and embarrassment for not knowing and now coming to know. It’s not a bad thing.

I find myself more and more “liking” comments on places like Facebook even when I disagree with them because I can still see a kind of beauty in them or because I am grateful for being introduced to a new perspective or point of view or because I find it fascinating or it gets me thinking. I don’t have to agree to like or accept it.  Or to like and accept the person who holds that view.

Charlotte Davis Kasl, Ph.D., in her book “Finding Joy,” writes 

“We have a great deal of division in this world that dictates who you are allowed to love at a personal, intimate level. Black-white, Protestant-Catholic, Muslim-Hindu, Jewish -Palestinian are a few of the many divisions people are taught not to cross.
Fortunately, people ‘s deeper level of spirituality allows them to fall in love and in doing so break down these barriers.”
And this :
“Because love and joy are so totally intertwined, bringing joy to the planet means supporting all love between all people on the planet. Part of the consciousness of joy is realizing we are all more alike than different. The desire to belong,be respected, live free of fear, work with dignity and purpose, and find joy are common to all people.   Of course we all have different customs, histories, and traditions, but when we reach deep enough, we will find the commonalities and in doing so find joy.
Every time we cross a barrier, we build a bridge. And as we build bridges on the outside, we heal the division within us. As a result, we all have more territory to walk on, and more people to love, and more peace on the planet. “
 (p. 130-1)

Isn’t this beautiful?! 

And it’s true. It’s not to say we should ignore differences, just accept or cherish them.   Love anyway.   We can acknowledge diversity but accept it, love it, promote it..

liberal-conservative, pro-life-pro-choice, Democrat -Republican, rich -poor, atheist-theist….love anyway. We can debate, argue, disagree and love still.   Love deeper. 

Still respect.
Show some level of understanding.

It’s true, some people are wrong, either morally, factually, logically…but we can still love.  Platonic or romantic love.  Still accept.  Still cherish. Still embrace.

It won’t always be easy. But it’s possible.
I won’t project my standards or morals onto others assuming that because they act differently than I would have in a certain situation, that they must be less loving, caring, compassionate…than I am.

They can be just as loving and caring as I am. We all have convictions and reasons for making certain choices, coming to certain conclusions, having certain views.  No person is better than another. I believe people in general are basically good, with good intentions, some more good than others.

Also, we don’t have to like everyone or want to be around everyone or be friends with everyone we meet.   That’s unrealistic and not necessary.  But when we do meet someone we really like or love, a potential friend or lover, or we must be around certain people, we don’t have to not like them or abandon or reject them based on distasteful differences.   If I love/like you, and then find out you strongly oppose my views or you did something horrible, made mistakes or that you feel I have made horrible mistakes…you will still hold my heart.

There are things about me people don’t or won’t like also.   And who am I to negatively/hostilely judge?   Some people have lousy attitudes, discriminatory views and are just detrimental to be around and it’s ok to avoid them but we don’t have to avoid or lash out at every person who we disagree with.

I have been seeing opinions I once would have been absolutely appalled by, maybe even ready to lash out, and sink to insults or a vitriolic attitude or tone and even now start to feel a sense of distress but it often quickly melts to compassion, mellows out to understanding that that person who holds that view is not me and has a reason, has experiences, ways of thinking for holding those views just as I do for having other views.  That’s a person first.  A person who is no less than I am.

I can understand to a certain extent even if I cannot possibly know how someone else feels. I never claim to exactly know, just deeply understand as much as I possibly can for someone who is not that person and has not experienced what that person has.

Some opinions seem to really suck and are offensive but I can break through.  I am so enlightened now in ways I haven’t been previously, in some ways that can’t even be explained, only felt.

And there’s room for growth and always will be. No matter how enlightened and “whole” I am or become, there will always, always be room and opportunities for further evolution of the self as long as I’m living. And I now see the beauty in that fact. There was a day when I wanted to be whole and fully enlightened and know all there is to know, experience all there is to experience, and be perfect and felt incomplete and seriously unhappy about it but now I see beauty in incompleteness, in the unknown, in all that is to come.

Where some people see mistakes or flaws, where I once saw mistakes, flaws, wrongs…I see creativity, deftness, beauty, strength, opportunities for growth, for progress.

Yes, I am humbled.  And I bask in this humility.

Much love to you.

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” ~

Benjamin Franklin

Xoxo Kim