STRESS: Blegh -not-feeling-grateful Days

I want to write a wise journal entry today about how I’m thankful that I have a roof over my head, food to eat always, and my family, friends, and still some independent ability, but all I feel is negativity.  Not depression at its worst as I’ve felt before, but on a scale of happiness, it definitely drooped more.  Especially considering it’s summer and should be the highlight period of my year.

Let me jolt down some actual and pessimistic thoughts and conditions lately:

  • I felt very frustrated and angry that someone at work falsely accused me of abusing my grandmas handicap placard to HR. First off, one grandma is deceased and the other is halfway across the world.  I felt very wronged and misjudged, and not even able to confront the situation as I don’t know who reported me.  I felt angry that with all the shit I’m dealing with, I have to justify my legal use of trying to help myself out and make life just a tad easier.  I also would rather not be short of breath and constantly exhausted that I have to take a poorly paid part time job. This incident has made all my other issues affected by my illness amplified, and I am aware that I am in a poor attitude mode these days and have been very short tempered with my mom, and barely tolerating incompetent or creepy people at work. Guilt- the definition of feeling and hearing someone’s elses feelings and thoughts louder than your own, and them fighting in your brain.
  • Leading to my next point, I also would rather not have to go to Upenn every single month and do a bunch of unpleasant tests like bloodwork, cat scans, following up and scheduling with doctors, going to a psychiatrist, therapist, taking 10 diff kinds of meds each day, and also having other symptoms exacerbated by my weak body.  Trust me, I want to appreciate my body that I have one at all and appreciate any functions it does have, but right now, I just want to complain about all the bullshit I deal with.
  • Relationships and Weddings:
    • Everyone around me is in or getting into a relationship, and it feels like their lives are all planning or moving on towards the next step:  moving in, getting engaged, getting married.  I want to feel confident in my singleness, but I don’t.  It’s kind of gotten to me and made me feel left behind even more so in all the other ways I feel left behind, and I wonder if it’s me or just the circumstances that I happen to not be in a relationship.  I went to a bbq this past weekend and literally there was only couples there, besides me and my bestie.  Possibly 3 other single people, out of 30-40 people.  Also, my friend is planning her birthday, and my entire friend group asked if they could bring their significant others.
    • Making the “left behind” feeling worse, I realize that while I am grateful to be a part of anyone’s lives at all, I also feel shitty that some friends I thought I was at least decently close with in college haven’t invited me to their wedding- I was told not to take it personally, but it just reminded me of all the times growing up and in high school where I struggled to find solid friends, and how I was always the one on the fence that people thought of maybee inviting to their parties and events.
    • On the other hand, it made me worry even MORE that if I were to be chosen to be part of someone’s bridesmaid or maid of honor, would I even be up to the task?  I may be too busy taking care of my health to even make it to their wedding or event, and that makes me unreliable (my health, but aka me).  It’s not fair, and I really want to do those things for one of my friends.  And my best friend isn’t even planning on dating or getting married, so I don’t even get to 100% be someone’s maid of honor -_-
    • I’m thinking, am I going to literally live with my parents and depend on them forever?  For awhile it felt like that was an okay situation, but then my mom would say little things here and there that would add up, and make me feel a little nuts and wish there was some space between us where I could have more independent choices, and not constantly have to put up with another opinion on my clothes, etc.
    • I had a major headache at the bbq this past weekend, and so I didn’t enjoy myself or socialize much with anyone at all.  It was all I could do to be present at the bbq at all.  I was so tired and just wanted to be out of the house and have a break from my house and parents.  I went to Upenn today, and had a fever of 99.8, and even though my cat scan shows that the cavity walls around my hole in my left lung is thinner aka less inflammation, the lungs have slowly but surely been progressively deteriorating.  So it’s like I’m falling down a giant decline on a mountain and this news was just a slight rock hop before continuing screaming and falling down the decline.
    • I want to break down and cry, and I feel all this pressure and tension inside my head and my neck and shoulders, but it’s not coming out.  It’s stuck.  I had an upset stomach and also my nose started bleeding again, and although it’s a bit dramatic I feel like my body is falling apart all over the place.  I literally just fixed my yeast infection and eye dryness.  There isn’t even anyone that I can target all my pain and anger at, that I can just direct a giant “FUCK YOU’ to.  It’s just luck, fate, whatever.
    • Trying to be mindful of human nature and not getting too greedy with what I want.  Two months ago, my main goal and source of happiness would be to just get hired for a job, any job.  Now I’m tired of it and finding the work very uninspiring and feeling like I’m undervalued and just doing bullshit repetitive work.  I suppose this is normal, and at least a “normal” problem to be stressed about.  But then I think about what could’ve been, how far my potential could be, and how I will probably never know because I am constantly being limited by my body.
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Crisis Textline Self-care Assessment

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3     3

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3     2.5

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2.5   2.5

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4     2.5

2.5   2.5

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2.5  2.5

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Why am I doing this?

I’m embarking on another challenging journey, personal in a different way. The past year, I’ve stared my inner demons in the face and really tried to make active steps to overcome them.   Granted, I’m not completely over them or “fixed” now, but I can look back and say I’ve definitely grown.  In being more accepting of my circumstances, on accepting that there are things I can’t control and to focus on what I can.  In dealing with looming health issues and finding a community that I can connect with in a different way than my other friends can relate to.  To understand when a place is not contributing to my life in any positive way and to say no and allow that to be okay to remove yourself from it, having tried.

Now I want to challenge myself by confronting another part of myself that gives me a lack of confidence. This is the part of me that feels useless and like I don’t do enough with my time here.  And I want to see if I’m able enough to handle  and help with other people’s problems since I’ve been through so many unique experiences.  I want to be useful with my time and intentional in my actions.  And hopefully I’ll grow from it too and learn more about myself along the way- my capabilities, my limit for compassion, my ability to be empathetic.

 

Self-Stress Management vs. Life Worries/Burdens

I don’t pretend to be a stress management expert, but I definitely have a lot of experience in stress and anxiety.  In comparison to how constantly overwhelming it used to be, I am much better now, but it is not about generally less problems, but more about being aware of your feelings and where they’re coming from, and then processing your feelings in a more helpful and productive way.  Sometimes, understanding if the problem is yours or someone else’s is useful in deducting whether you should spend any more energy focusing on it if it’s not something you can change or fix.  There are so many factors in the world that are out of our control.

When I used to be taught to pray, I wondered what I should pray about.  I guess first for myself, then I would extend it to my family and friends.  Then I would think, what about everyone else in the world who isn’t getting prayed for?  So at the end of my prayer, I would just add “and everyone else who needs a prayer” to cover it all LOL.  But if one were really to meditate on just the incredible magnitude of people and beings in need at any given moment in time, it is reallyyy stress inducing.  I’ve felt so many times like everyone else’s life is moving on and people are living, but I am stuck in one dark place, ignored and forgotten.  Even if someone did reach out to me, it felt like a temporary relief, and then I’d go back to the same feeling of oppression and depression.  It’s such a terrible feeling of being stuck, that I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone else, yet realistically, I’m sure many of us have felt/feel that way, particularly considering how big the world is.

So just some amateur thoughts on what I do personally to relieve stress, here’s what I’ve picked up to try to help myself and my racing thoughts out.  Believe me, I’ve tried a lot of different methods.  (it sucks that I can’t say believe me without thinking of Trump -_-).

  1.  Do some light yoga, stretches, especially the neck, shoulder, and back before bedtime.
  2. Take hot baths and smell mint or lavender scents
  3. Drink chamomile or any other decaf tea
  4. Get a deep tissue massage
  5. Talk to a friend and rant or discuss feelings to get a fresh perspective
  6. Listen to music/read
  7. Treat yourself to something you like, such as your favorite drink
  8. Jot down things on your mind (like now haha)
  9. Extreme measures – Xanax or see an anxiety/sleep doctor

There are lots of things on my mind lately.  Not to the point where I feel like I completely can’t handle everything.  But close to the edge.  I worry about my future.  My parents future. That I won’t have them forever. That they might not have me forever.  That it’s one or the other. The world’s future.  If there is no God or greater being, is this all that we are?  Life would seem meaningless and humans are just another small spec in the vast spectrum of the universe.  Where am I headed? Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much?  I don’t want to lose faith in people, but I find myself more cynical than I want to be with each day.  I don’t want to grow weary and bitter of men.  I don’t want to go for something and feel disappointed yet again – in relationships, in believing in a better future, in being lost, in career, in personal goals.  Dealing with setbacks and not having the strength to carry on and face it all again. That choosing to give up would mean the ultimate seal of death.  Yet that death is inevitable even if I chose the opposite.  I worry that I will die alone.  I worry that I get trapped in an unhealthy marriage.  I worry that realistic marriage really is as painful as it looks.  That this is all there is to life.  That I stand out for the wrong reasons, that I’m different. But also that I’m forgettable.  I make no difference or impact in other’s lives.  But that doing good means nothing anyway in the grand scheme of things.  That we are not to be complacent, but we are also not to stay unsatisfied by yearning for the next best thing.  Yet we keep chasing something that is unreachable forever, but that is all progress works.  I’m sad for all the human life that is dying and suffering from lack of basic needs, sustenance, that all these children are born into endless agony and their life ends briefly- what is the point of this?  I want to be kind, but I don’t want to be naive, tricked, taken advantage of, but there is so much fucked up in this world.  So much bs.  Is this bs and fucked up shit necessary to sustain an imperfection that creates a balance of the ultimate imitation of perfection?  We know communism doesn’t exist.  So many concepts don’t exist because humans are greedy.  We want, we take, we want to grow, to expand, to reach the next personal achievement. We want acknowledgment, power, status.  We want validation, we want to be more beautiful, more wealthy, more successful, we want what others have.  And yet if we didn’t want, the global economy would crumble as we know it.  Without the ones who suffer as those who receive the short end of the stick in fate, we would not have ones to compare who drew the long stick.  Comparison and perspective.  If I did something good, what is that motivated by?  Wanting to feel better about ourselves?  To feel like a savior?  Maybe I should forgive myself, cut myself some slack.  But maybe I shouldn’t, and I am just as fucked up as the others around me.  But I just don’t see it because most people are blind and righteous.

It would be comforting to truly believe in and belong in a religion.  Yet all religions could have been manmade, the bible could have been manmade, because history is so prolonged that at this point, we have no clue what the truth is.  It is rewritten by those who have won.  Does this make us close-minded, to not examine ourselves and to not constantly question what the truth is?  If we are perhaps abusing or misinterpreting what we believe to be “truth”.  You could think you have it all figured out.  But you could be wrong.

 

Losing My Rhythm

Yeah… trying to stay on the wagon and the momentum but instead of keeping my eye on the ball, the eye is kind of wandering and looking elsewhere, the prize is looking a little out of focus.

One day I can wake up feeling relatively upbeat and feeling that drive, but the next I’ll wake up feeling the physical aches and translating to mental energy loss as well.  I start to second guess myself and wonder if I’m worth ever being hired, and if I were, if I was ever meant to be able to hold onto a solid career and maintain it without sacrificing my health and ending up in the hospital again.

I scroll through my private Instagram, and to watch the journey of a woman close to my age go through the whole lung transplant process, and to slowly die, waiting for another chance to breathe and live, I am getting secondhand agony and secondhand anxiety:  is this the predetermined path for me as well?  The answer is yes, and yet I want to look away.  Because if I stare at it too long, then I will lose all resilience in the other goals I want to accomplish in the meantime.

I’m reading this really enlightening book called “Sapiens:  A Brief History of Humankind” and it’s a very thoughtful, well-rounded reflection that is bursting with info from evolution, biology, history, to religion and revolutions of the human species.  I have to say, it held a lot of questions about Christianity and all the strange potholes and contradictions that have always made me a bit uneasy.  But to imagine that we are truly alone in our struggles and are left to suffer mindlessly is also pretty depressing.

I feel lately like I am doing so much yet nothing at all.  Accomplishing nothing except making it to the next day relatively healthy, and trying to build at doing normal productive things like exercising, spending time with family, reading, learning, and hanging out with friends if the weather and my body allows it.  I sometimes feel proud of myself, but then I’ll look at a friend or someone else’s life, and it makes me so overwhelmed wishing so hard that I could do better, and that it is never enough.  To have a job to go to everyday, to travel with friends, to have someone hire me and believe in me and validate that I’m worth it despite all my problems.  I want to have a moment where I can look at myself like, yeah, I made it.  I did this.

What I keep reminding myself is that it is already a huge accomplishment that in comparison to my taking steroids 5 times last winter, I did not get sick at all this winter. Of course, it was at the expense of staying home most of the time to minimize risks and exposures, but it is still a good thing to stay safe.  I have spent my time wisely lately and in dragging my ass to the gym and watching what I eat.  I am almost at my target weight of 105 lbs, and I have been eating cleaner- mostly filled with oatmeal, boiled egg, chicken, and lots of fruits and veggies.

If I cannot obtain my career dream at this point in time, I will continue chasing my other, which is to push my body to the fittest it can be.  I want abs of steel, stronger thighs to walk with, my bicep and tricep lines to show when I flex, a butt, and a better posture with chest presses.  I was walking yesterday and realized that I was much more aware of the muscles in my legs, and it encouraged me to continue being persistent.  To feel like I got hit by a truck every time will be worth it in the long run when I can look at myself in the mirror and be proud of what I’ve built.  This is one of the days I can work towards in my control, as long as I don’t get sick and I keep up with what I’m doing without getting stagnant again.

My body is kind of what I deem a bad charger- it needs a lot more rest and charges at such a slow pace that while other ones are hitting 100% in 1 hour, mine is hitting 19% by then if I’m lucky.  So when it keeps hitting close to 5% and I’m getting warning signs, I must force myself to rest so I can get back up a few percents.  This has taught me to be much more efficient in the 19% I have- and while I’m at my version of full capacity, what am I going to spend that energy on?

On Toxic Relationships: how long do you hold on before giving up?

So… I grew up pretty desperate to have friends.  I didn’t realize this at the time, but wow.  Any friend who would take me, I was pretty happy and excited.  Being homeschooled sucked in that regard- nobody in school really bothered to invest in you as a friendship, so I was invisible.  Even when I was there, I was always so lethargic I don’t know how I made it through looking back now.  And I realized that some people who vaguely knew I had some sort of illness didn’t want any part of me there.  That feeling stayed with me for years, and entering college, I thought freshman year that I had gained some tremendous confidence… but it was fake confidence.

At my core, my confidence was riddled with holes of insecurity, so the foundation was crumbling still, but I didn’t know.  I thought with the fresh start at a new place, I could keep my illness as hidden and buried as deep as possible for as long as I could, and in situations where I had to end up bringing it up, I felt like a torn individual holding my breath, backed up against the wall by their pending judgment.  So… it wasn’t true self acceptance.  Yet.  People thought I was cool, really nice, and even attractive (LOL).  Some people even thought I had dated a lot because I seemed so confident?!  Haaaaaha.

And the time came when I met new friends who were nice to me.  Who seemed to accept me.  I gave all of me, and more into building those relationships… it was exhausting.  I was in a new place, I needed friends to eat meals with, to just hang out with, study with.  I was content to find just one or two solid friends, but hunting was hard when most people were hyped up to party and go nuts, especially the first year.  I wanted to fit in, so I tried.

But I felt burnt out a lot, giving a listening ear even when I was stressed out about my own issues.  I had a ton of music pieces to learn, yet I had this one friend, the first solid friend I found, who often needed my help.  When I first mentioned it to my mom, she warned me not to give away too much help so freely.  Especially my efforts and time.  I didn’t understand what she really meant at the time, and got annoyed.  I felt my mom was too jaded with the world and pessimistic. My friend needed me, so I wanted to prove that I was valuable and worth it.  I didn’t know how to say no, I need to focus on myself right now.  I never said no.

By the third year, I started to get fed up more and more as I noticed this consistent trend where the friendship was a one way street.  She found a boyfriend soon, I was always the leftover one.  She only made time for me if she needed something or if her boyfriend was busy doing something else.  She would out of the blue ask me to grab coffee, and I would excitedly say yes.  But then she would somehow whip out her chinese homework and sweetly ask me what the answers were one by one.  She would ask to study together, then ask me to see my Works Cited page.  She would barge into my room 10 minutes before class started to ask me to use my printer for our senior project class, making me late because I walk slower, multiple times.  The one time my printer actually was malfunctioning and I told her, she got mad at me.

She would say she’s hungry, if I could make ramen for us, and that she would do the dishes. This was the final straw, and the moment I truly burnt out.  Throughout many other examples such as this, I kept trying to convince myself that it was just a phase where she was going through something difficult and really needed me there for her.  I woke up the next day and realized she had not done the dishes, so I grudgingly rolled up my sleeves and did them.  It was this moment where she came out her room and needed to vent about something serious- it was in the morning, and I was not in the mindset to listen, I was tired of our entire friendship to be honest.  I tried to say something helpful, but knew it was useless.  She actually stared at me, then went back into her room and slammed it.  Yes.  Slammed it.

A few nights later, we ran into each other in the art building and decided to talk it out.  I wanted to explain to her for the second time ever that I felt this was a one way friendship a lot of the time.  She got angry with me that I was upset about the dishes not being washed when her problem was more important- I agreed.  But I realized that it was not about the  dishes.  It was the entire friendship that was wearing me down.  She said she felt it was pretty equal, but that she was sorry.  It was always so easy for her to apologize.  After a while, it felt a bit like it had lost its meaning.

I wanted to care about her and be there for her, but I was finding it extremely difficult to juggle on top of everything I was going through on my own.  There were a few moments where she listened to my problems or something, but each time, she would count it.  She would bring it up the next time I tried to explain how I felt and recount how she had done this one thing for me.  I never kept track. It rendered me speechless how she always remembered anything she had done for me and wanted public credit for it (she would ask me if my professor knew she had helped me with an assignment one time… I got a B- on it anyway).

After that talk, a part of me completely burnt out.  During this friendship, it made me paranoid about my other friendships- did I perhaps treat my best friend at home this way?  I tried to look back on our serious talks- all of them had been me ranting or being upset to her, almost never the other way around.  I called her up one night, crying because I was so upset.  I asked her if it felt very one way to her, that it was always me who needed her help.  Even at this, she excelled at comforting me.  She told me, if she ever brought up feeling that way to me, how would I respond?  I said, I would feel so awful.  And she said she knows that if the time ever came when she needed me, she knew she could rely on me to be there in return.  That was probably one of the most comforting responses I’d ever heard in my life.  She told me that while it was important to be there for that friend in school, I was going through a lot of bullshit in my own life.  Was that friend ever truly there for me back?  The answer was not really.

And this was the moment where I wondered… did I hold on enough?  Did I give up on her in a time where she needed someone to hold onto?  Was it selfish of me to let go?  I knew that if I was going through a rough time, I would be so sad if a friend faded away from me.  But what I didn’t realize was that was already kind of the case.

Self care.

Looking back at times, I wondered if perhaps I was too harsh regarding her.  If she wasn’t really that bad, but I was too sensitive and had made it up in my head.

Recently, I realized I went straight the opposite of who I was.  I became the jaded person who tried to care less about relationships with people, especially new ones.  To expect disappointment as an eventual outcome.

The truth is somewhere in between.  There will be disappointment for some of the people you meet in your life.  But not all of them.

You should still keep moving forward.  Still try your best in regards to how you treat people, but also understand reasonably that it’s not likely they will all have your best interests at heart or reciprocate.

My senior year, at our small college I felt that I had met everyone I was likely to become friends and was very close to accepting the fact that I’d be a loner and graduate with no friends.  My therapist at the time encouraged me to keep trying to get to know other people outside of my prior friend group, in which all ties to each other were burnt bridges.  Despite feeling close to certain that there was nobody left and that was probably something perpetually wrong with me that drove people away eventually, I found a really good group of friends that remain strong three years later.  We don’t see each other often, but I know none of them would backstab me or treat me like I was treated.

I should still treasure the friends I have now the way I did, but not to prove my worth as a friend.  Just because I genuinely care and I know both their worth and mine.  I do not deserve to just stick on to anyone who will take me, I deserve more than that.  I can bear to choose who to invest what energy I have in.  At least on my part, I’d like to continue being remembered as the dependable friend.

Prayers for Motivation

I remember growing up, when I blew out my candles I always prayed to be healthy.

Now that I’m older, I try to aim for more realistic prayers… I know there is a high chance I won’t ever get to experience what it’s like to be healthy or “normal”, but I pray instead for the motivation to want to push myself to want to be the best version of myself I can be.  The courage to actually strive towards working my hardest even when I know my ideal version might not ever become a reality.

I feel like my prayers have somewhat been answered lately?  I am far  from who I want to be, yet I actually wake up feeling… motivated.  I’ve been working hard not just to write up what my goals are, but doing them.  Diving headfirst into the world of data science, and going when I am able to the gym, despite knowing it’s going to be a long journey and I will always feel out of breath and never quite “there”.  This is already an improved version of the mentality I used to have, drowning in depression and fighting simply to get through Step 1 of: wake up and feel motivated.

Any haters in the world whose judgment and attitude towards me used to cut me like a knife… turn it into noise

On the calmer days lately, you know when you’re having a good day or good phase of your life, you kind of think, wow, I remember having such a bad phase and feeling so frustrated and easily stressed by everything, including other people’s problems and the world, but it’s almost hard to imagine what it was like because I feel so chill and okay in this moment?

I’ve definitely been chiller lately, but today with some of the crashes and yelling, just like that brought back with ease a bunch of memories and buried tension and a taste of the major anxiety I’d tried to run away from forever.

It made me think, oh well, this is why that happened and why I felt that way for so long.  Like there wasn’t a light at the end of the tunnel.  No way out.

#Bummedstatus

I think it’ll eventually be better though.  It has to.  Focus, focus, focus.

3.06.18 – Appreciation in Food Culture, Friends, and Motivation vs. Depression

I find that I don’t click well with people who have their heads so far up their ass and are so far stuck up their little bubble that they don’t see anything else outside of it.

Aren’t you curious about the rest of the world and how they live their lives?  That’s the only way to pursue truth, to open your eyes and really grow as an individual, to humble yourself.  To understand other people’s way of life and beliefs, and have a greater appreciation for your own, and to fully understand what privilege or lack of it is.  That’s why it’s always so surprising to come across someone unbelievably ignorant.

That was a bit harsher than I intended.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that while I wish I could have the means to travel all over the world and learn about other people’s experiences and culture and way of life, I have been lucky.  Despite all the issues, my parents have always made it a point to try to travel to other places to see and absorb and learn, and I realize I am fortunate because of that.

My friend came back from Ethiopia recently and was generous enough to give me some pre-mixed shiro-bebere powder that her coworkers gave her.  It was amazing because I know I’ll probably never have the chance to visit Ethiopia, but making it and having it for dinner was a unique and exciting experience.  I was thinking what, puree onions and tomato?  Who does that?  Ethiopia does. And it’s freaking delicious.  And it was obviously more authentic too because a native Ethiopian made the mix.

We made a trip to the Indian grocery store and I got so excited by things like their roti, badam, and of course, bru (instant coffee.  TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE DIVERSITY IN AMERICA.  EAT ALL THE FOOD.


Blessings:

  1. My friends and I were planning our next upcoming get together, which would be a bit more venturing and walking.  I was a bit worried that I might get exhausted.  My friends said they would be happy to push me around in a wheelchair so I could save my energy.
  2. My friend told me I would be one of her bridesmaids when she gets married.  I didn’t realize how happy that would make me when I heard it.  ❤

I had gone through a phase a few months ago of “I can do this!” planning to work out every couple days.  That only lasted for about three-four weeks, and then it got cold or something and I fell off the wagon, unmotivated and sinking into a bit of depression on my limitations.  The physical limitations really do weigh on your mental health.  Misery can be a constant companion, but you gotta remember to reach for your other friend too, perseverance.  Consistency… whatever it is, I need more of it.  I need to get on my own ass regarding my goals that I wrote in my previous post.  I want to transform my chicken legs and get some abs, just become fitter and lose 3 pounds.  Will stop just saying, must do too.

Must not let depression, limitations, and other people’s problems stop me.  It’s all noise.


Today’s Favorite Songs:

 

Empty- Olivia O’Brien

“I wonder if I’m good enough… pretend there’s no tomorrow…. I wish there’s no tomorrow. But I’m empty inside x2, I just don’t feel alive, and I don’t want to live but I’m too scared to die”

Pursuit of Happiness – Kid Cudi

Happy birthday to me~

The time in college when I felt like all was lost and there was no one there for me, there were a few people who were there for me actually.  But I couldn’t believe it because my mind was so locked in a dark place, that when anyone actually extended a kind hand to me, my mind just kept telling me that they pitied me and were too nice to not help me out, that they were doing it not because they wanted to, but because it was the right thing to do.  I was not myself, I was the most desperate version of myself I’d ever been.

I remember rambling to my best friend and telling her about this feeling, and she told me that just because they were kind to everyone, didn’t mean their care towards me meant any less.  I never felt like I had any true worth or added anything valuable to someone else’s life.

I also kept denying that I was turning 25, because it felt like I could no longer make excuses and dumb it down to me just figuring it out in my early 20s.  My friend told me how she felt our other friend was really living the life, with a great job and a great boyfriend, like all the puzzle pieces fit together perfectly for her.  For me, if my friend had not shared her worries and her problems with me, as an outsider looking into her life, she had it just as great too:  great boyfriend, great job.

I always kind of hated birthdays… instead of celebrating myself, it brought me anxiety, it was a reminder of another day where nobody seemed to care much or reach out to me.  I’ve worked hard to shift this mindset to focusing on the people in my life who are important and here to stay:  they are not necessarily intrinsically important.  They prove themselves important by the constant actions and the relationships we work hard to maintain and cherish throughout each year for each other.    The people who care will come forward in times like this to show you love.

I hate using the word “blessed” but today I do feel blessed.  I felt mopey and was in denial of being so old.  But my friends have popped up without having to, to simply show me they matter and I matter.  Today, I didn’t feel depression even though it was gloomy and raining.

I even had positive dreams for a change and woke up feeling good.  My mom left a box on my bed, and I found a dainty beautiful necklace inside.  My friend showed up last night with a cake from one of my fave places, and today my friends took me out to dinner and then we spontaneously visited another friend’s house and played intense games of Mario Kart.  I just don’t remember the last time we laughed this hard at stupid things.  Another couple friends drove to my house at 11:30pm to give me bubble tea and wish me happy birthday.

I also have my puppy.  It was a good birthday. #Blessed.

P.S.  The birthday celebrations continued!  Yesterday (Tue. the 27th), my friend treated me to dinner and we got drinks (I got some odd bourbon pear cider thing), and THEN she told me she also got me a gift she forgot to bring and donated a lot to my fundraiser to WWF. MAN. I am just, inspired and overwhelmed by her generosity.  I GET SO EXCITED when I come across a great human being in my life ^_^

P.S.S. I am adding these PSes on the 28th today.  I got cramps.  Life sucks again.  Not so exciting anymore.

Storytime: That Time I Got Robbed and Other Musings on Gratitude and Empathy

~StoryTime~

There was this one time when my parents and I were on vacation in Canada and my mom and I had gotten into a fight the previous night; I was about maybe twelve years old.   The next morning, we ate at the hotel complimentary breakfast with the expected aftermath of awkwardness in the air- I kept my eyes lowered to shield my puffy red eyes under my hat.  There weren’t many other people around, but I remember seeing two tanned men sitting near us at the next table.  I was in a foul mood, angry with the world and still upset at something my mom had said earlier; my feeling ashamed reflected clearly in my flushed face.

I was so lost in my own world of sulky thoughts that I only barely took notice that my mom had left the table to get more food.  Soon after, my dad also got up to head to an aisle leading to the men’s room, leaving me alone.  The next minute, I was whipped out of my thoughts by a man who approached me, pointing furiously towards the direction my dad had left in and jabbering in a foreign language.  His panic was infectious.  The first thing that came to my mind was that something had happened to my dad: he had a heart attack, he had passed out, there was a fire.  I hesitated and stood up as the man bolted off – confused, I wondered if I should follow him or call the police.

Next thing was my mom’s alarmed voice; she had come back and immediately exclaimed, “Where’s my bag?!”

I glanced around to the chairs around me, and only saw mine.  That was the moment  I realized that I had been hoodwinked.  The men who were sitting near us were gone.  The police arrived and questioned us, and after watching the security footage, confirmed that the two men had dashed out the backdoor.  The police told us that it was one of a few cases that had happened recently in the neighborhood hotels in the same exact fashion.  The next hour was filled with my mom calling various places to cancel her credit card accounts, phone accounts, and anything else the police advised her to do.  My mom’s camera, phone, and unfortunately, more than half a thousand dollars cash had been in her favorite bag.  She said she had forgotten to remove all the cash since her recent trip to Taiwan where she wanted to exchange some of it for Taiwanese money.

The shock that had hit all of us that early afternoon had us immediately forget, or rather, let go of any ill feelings harbored towards each other.  I remember feeling a mixture of emotions.  I felt guilty that I had not watched our things more carefully, that I had so naively been fooled by that guy, who must’ve distracted me to one side so that his accomplice could grab my mom’s bag to the other side of me.  I felt a bit regretful that so much money had been lost, especially since my younger parents worked hard to save up money.

I also felt tremendous relief that nothing in fact, had happened to my dad; he was okay.  My mom was okay, I was okay, we were all okay.  Nobody had held me at gunpoint or knifepoint threatening to kill us if we hadn’t handed over our possessions.

I also felt the weight of grudges just a couple hours ago melt into incredible gratitude, realizing by comparison the full pettiness of my sulky world.  One argument was a bad grain of sand in the spectrum of our lives.  Even though I don’t count myself as particularly religious, I remembered thinking that this incident must have been God’s reminder to me to wake up and understand that much worse things could happen at any given time.

We really tend to see what we don’t have, and what others do have.  Even on days where I’m in tremendous pain physically or emotionally, or my car broke down,  I would just think, if only I didn’t have to deal with this shit.  How much better the day would be if I just wasn’t in pain, if the car just worked and I could get to my friend or my groceries.  That’s how we see that the ordinary, “boring” events are actually extraordinary.

Today, some tragedy could’ve happened that left my family homeless.  Today, I could be so destitute that I don’t have enough money to buy dinner.  Today, I could’ve lost a loved one.  Today, I could’ve found out someone I loved didn’t love me back anymore.  Today, I could be feeling so depressed that I want to kill myself.  Today, I could be lying in the hospital again, just wishing that I could sleep in my own bed and get a hot shower.

Today, none of those things happened, and I did get to feed myself, sleep in my own bed, and take a hot shower.

I was in the car the other day and musing over the whole “glass half full, glass half empty” cliche.  Maybe we’re missing the point when we look at it that way.  Maybe the truth to finding Zen and acceptance of everything around us, including the shitty parts, is to see the glass itself.  That the glass exists at all.  That we have a glass.  That we have water at all.  It could all so easily be nothing, just empty space floating into more nothingness.


-Just a passing thought about how to find happiness and peace since that is something I’ve struggled with my whole life.

Reminder though, that even though we should strive to be more appreciative and notice all that we do have, it’s still okay to let yourself feel the sad parts too.  We’re wrapped up in a society that expects us to feel fine all the time or try to get us there (“Feel better!” “You’ll be okay” “I’m sorry” other crap etc.).  Is that true healing?  No.  You have to walk through the tunnel to get to the other side, there is no shortcut.  You can’t magically Apparate or sprout wings over the tunnel.  What we can do for each other?  For true empathy, be there for one another.  Rather than a “Feel better”, I want to live in a society where we hold each other’s hand.  We offer an embrace, we tell them yes, what they’re going through sucks, but I’m here for you.  I will walk with you through the tunnel.  You’re not alone.

There’s a difference between finding pleasure in sulking in misery, and brushing off any pain like it’s nothing.  Validation, entitlement, to your feelings… I guess it’s a bit of a fine line sometimes depending on perspective.  There’s a balance.

I’ll admit that this is one of my faults too.  I’m a hypocrite, because I have told people to “feel better” before.  Because when I feel their burden, I just can’t.  I can’t even handle my own burdens sometimes.  “Put the oxygen mask over yourself before helping others put their masks on” <— wise words of a flight attendant.  But I’m working on it, and I wish more people would just give more of a shit to be honest.


Today’s Obsessions (Music):

-Heaven by Julia Michaels

-Sacrifice  by Black Atlas & Jessie Reyez

-Wait by Maroon 5