“Willow Brook Road” (2015) | Book Review (April, Sep, Oct. 2020; Feb. 2021)


Chosen Book:

“Willow Brook Road” (2015) by Sherryl Woods

A Chesapeake Shores Novel; Fiction

Book Review - Multi. dates


Trigger Warnings:

“Crazy” multiple times, grief, loss, trauma mentioned, substance use (alcohol), mild suicide jokes, trichotillomania (hair pulling) language (‘they were ready to pull their hair out’).


Themes:

Grief, loss, drama, romance, adoption, family, meddling, straight couples, marriage, meaning, childcare, attachment, starting a business, dreams, adversity, challenges, emotions, snippets of emotional abuse, manipulation painted as quirky, desperate needs for DEAR MAN’s, relationships, interpersonal effectiveness, small town, through the seasons (summer to autumn), Southern town, forgiveness, understanding, career paths, definitions of living a fulfilled life.


Plot Summary:

This novel follows Carrie Winters and the meddling of her near and extended family as she tries to uncover what her own unique career path is and whom she may fall in love with along the way. Sam Winslow moves into the town of Chesapeake Shores with the single intention of raising his nephew Bobby after a horrible car accident killed his sister whom he hadn’t spoken to in forever and her wonderful husband. Thrust into a world where they no longer exist and trying his best to raise a kid he barely knew and completely change who he was as a traveler and not being tied down with a home and family and wife, Sam and Carrie’s paths cross and a spark ignites, following them as they continue to interact with one another and Carrie’s family rejoices that this match may be its true potential, even as they want her to be careful or question if it’s a healthy dynamic.

As time goes on, and Carrie works on volunteering at a daycare out of town and growing her interests (both in love and in career), her family has to accept that this is where her heart is going and it’s what’s best for her. Carrie takes care of her sibling’s and cousin’s kids and her cousin, Susie, is struggling from having recovered from breast cancer and wanting a child of her own. When an adoption falls through, Susie becomes distant, envious and unlike herself. She reacts by lashing out at Carrie and others in the family, and hating Carrie for walking into a romantic relationship that involves a small child to begin with.

As the relationships crack and break and drama ensues, the novel follows Carrie and Sam’s relationship and everything else as it seems to crumble around them. In the end, love strives to win and the dust settles. Forgiveness is passed around and the novel ends on a hopeful and existential awareness note.


Strengths and Weaknesses:

A. STRENGTHS:

Something I liked about this book was the notion of taking on other people’s issues or relating too much to them in a way that is self-sacrificing or just causes problems. Like, it was super relatable to read about falling into those traps or falling into the notion of trying to “fix” or help others even if it’s at a cost to yourself. Carrie did this at times with Sam so that was just something I could relate to as a Reader.

Another thing I could relate to in this story was the working with kids thing. So, like, I work at a residential for trauma informed youth primarily ages 4 – 12 so the insights into dealing with traumatized kids, regular kids in general and just working with them or having to do right by them or keep them safe was super relatable. One of the characters on p. 113 at the daycare was still trying to figure out that balance between being stern and being nurturing which was something I could HUGELY relate to. It’s that fine line between getting taken advantage of and sticking to your limits. I liked that about this novel and learning a little from some fictional characters. That, that was cool. πŸ˜€πŸ˜‰πŸ˜˜

In addition to the above, p. 119, picking up on body language cues is also something I need a lot more work on and my therapist actually recommended in the last month (at the time of me writing this review it’s Feb. 2021) to do some research and learn about typical body language cues from children or warning signs that things are going awry. I’ll try to write that down some time soon to start reading up on and such. It’s funny because when I do creative writing I do a lot of body language cues and such even if in real life I’m a little unaware of it. Sometimes when I’ve worked in other environments on campus though I’ve managed to pick up on it and can work with it more hands on so it’s a work in progress, for sure. Ahaha

Carrie’s snarkiness within the novel was so lovely and refreshing at times!! 😁🀣

Something that I also really loved and appreciated and stuck out to me was when Sam was waiting on Carrie to express what it was that was bothering her (which happens on p. 257). His patience was ever present and he was willing to be there for her because she needed it and it was just SO sweet and wonderful. He waited for her to be ready and that was just so lovely. πŸ’œπŸ’œ

Towards the end of the novel, Sam’s low self-esteem, low self-worth (from a traumatized childhood he had) is revealed as well as his own self-fulfilling prophecies that work against him to keep him away from Carrie and love and happiness that he feels he doesn’t deserve. It’s a note that he finds from his sister that restores his faith in the relationship he was developing with Carrie which was such a beautiful progression and I wish more of the novel could have focused on this and humanizing Sam and making him into really the main character he was supposed to be. All this drama with Carrie’s cousin Susie and everything took away from the heart of the matter, which I felt sucked a lot. I feel like if Sam’s history and his growth could have been focused on more and how he was handling these matters that were against him would have made a far better story to tell.

Β 

B. WEAKNESSES/Things I had issues with:

Emotional manipulation and streaks of gaslighting is painted as quirky and desirable because it’s coming from “family.” Meddling is seen as natural and something to be put up with, as if family cannot be toxic, neglectful or abusive. The book understands that this does happen and has happened to people within its pages but still paints this viewpoint that because it’s coming from a caring, loving place that it’s acceptable, okay and should be put up with.

Also, there are the traditional views of women in Western society that they should have a family with a husband and children in order to have a fulfilling life. There’s the notion that having a romantic partner is a goal in life, implying potentially that not having that is just as unexplored as anything else. This rubbed me the wrong way.

The drama in the book was present about 85% of the time and the romance only 15% which sucked because I was there for the romance. This is the third full book I’ve read by this author and I was pretty disappointed by it, sadly. I’ve never read the others in this series so maybe that affected my judgment as I could see some things as disastrous and problematic than maybe I would had I gotten to know the other characters better instead of walking in in the middle of a scene, so to speak. I also felt that it was an emotional roller coaster of a ride and I dreaded it a lot of the time and a lot of my symptoms of BPD came out with it (idolization of characters, demonization of characters, mood swings, attachments, etc.) I definitely went through waves of this book: I liked it at first, I disliked it, I hated it, I despised it, I loved it, I wanted to quit on it, I was still attached and involved, I started to like it again, I was disappointed as I finished it. It was a LOT. Just exhausting, really.

There was also this idea that Susie’s emotional abuse was something to put up with when really it just made me think of her as a bitch later evolved into a…well, not the most flattering of words. Let’s just say she became like a “mewling quim”. I hated her character and groaned every time she came on board. Her and Carrie’s reconciliation was not discussed explicitly which I would have liked because maybe I was being too harsh on her and despising her greatly, again this notion that because she was hurt she had the right to emotionally abuse her cousin was horrible, horrendous and a dangerous ideal, and I would have appreciated understanding more from her perspective and seeing why and how Carrie could forgive her. Carrie was far more forgiving and understanding than I would have been and really, really needed a DEAR MAN in her life. It was super frustrating and I almost quit the book entirely because of Susie’s bitterness, refusal to handle her emotions in an appropriate and healthy manner because she was hurt and hurting and that still gave her no right to be a bitch towards her loved ones. Ugh. Fuck Susie.

Manipulation by the family was painted in a “oh, that’s just them/that’s so cute” which was really dismaying and awful. It was like toxic positivity. It was super frustrating and definitely NOT something that even because it’s family is something you have to put up with. Ugh, no.

Β 

I think the novel could have worked with fancier page breaks than just simple spacings but maybe that’s just me. I also found the notion of all this manipulation and meddling as endearing was missing the mark in this book and it is a theme in some of the other novels I’ve read by Sherryl Woods but for this one it really rubbed me the wrong way and made the experience bitter and I really, really almost quit for real (but I can’t fathom not giving a book a chance so I’ll continue no matter how much I hate it!!).

On p. 146: We are introduced to the idea that a happy and fulfilling life is mainly one where a person has a love interest and isn’t alone (and down the line has a family of children and kids of their own). I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this exactly because I don’t know if it’s a good idea to paint the notion that romantic relationships and families are the only sound ways to live a happy and fulfilling life. Like, why can’t independence and “being alone” be okay, too? It’s just never really explored and I think it’s a little exclusive to only certain types of people that have to share those points of view and understanding about the world. To me, it’s like traveling the world. Some people where that’s integral to that part of their life love it and can’t imagine life without it and at the same time, will think a life without that is boring or not as complete. I personally am content with where I’m at and don’t feel the need to have to travel. And sometimes that perspective is painted as ordinary or not as good as traveling or having the family or having a partner, etc. Also, I don’t know if Woods ever writes about non-straight couples because I’d be very interested to read about that than just the traditional family views. But, maybe that’s just me!! πŸ˜›

Aaaa, yes, by page 155 we really live in the age and the thirst for meddling by the family and it’s painted as endearing when in reality it’s manipulative, overstepping boundaries and is super frustrating at least from my perspective of being the Reader in this novel. 😀🀬 This continues on p. 156 where it’s explicitly said that the meddling is typical and expected even though it’s not wanted. And when in reality it’s not something that has to be put up with just because “it’s family.”

Another thing I found super frustrating was Carrie’s lack of self respect and voicing her concerns about things or effectively managing her interpersonal relationships (sticking up for herself, saying what’s on her mind, saying what she’s comfortable or uncomfortable with, being true to herself and where she’s at, expecting people to “just know” rather than telling them) etc. She totally could use some help with DBT skills like DEAR MAN, GIVE and FAST. It was super aggravating.

Susie, (I hate to gripe on her more but…), had a problem with being manipulative and then playing the victim when things didn’t go her way or her ruthlessness was met with a broken record from Carrie and Carrie trying to keep her distance from her melting over cousin. Susie particularly shone like this on pages 276 – 277 and probably a little more beyond that. It was so annoying. Around this page I also felt that Carrie had an advantage because she knew more context about her cousin Susie than I did as a Reader. So I had all these mixed feelings about things but was still strong in my dislike for Carrie’s cousin. I still felt resentful on behalf of Carrie. We never get a full on scene of the apology which I would have benefited from greatly had there been one so that was additionally disappointing. I would have liked to read that. I think it would have helped to repair my relationship with Susie and understand where she was coming from instead of just glossing over that and having Carrie move on and forgive so easily and what seemed to be as unjustifiably. On p. 278 Carrie does in fact forgive and says to forget what Susie had said but really, I don’t. I still don’t think being hurt and in pain gave Susie the right to be abusive towards her family, especially when they had very little to do with it. Her lashing out at her cousin just wasn’t it. I hated how much the novel revolved around her and her drama rather than some ooey gooey romance stuff. Grrr.

I also think that not so much “hitting girls” is wrong, but just hitting anyone in general, regardless of their gender or gender identity is something we should be more strict about. Like, hitting a girl isn’t great but a girl hitting a boy or a boy hitting a boy, etc. also shouldn’t be condoned as okay or right, you know? It’s not like boys can’t be abused or assaulted too, and this notion that they can’t or it’s not on people’s minds first off is something we have to work on in society. (This comes up on p. 317).

What really helped me most towards all this hatred and despised nature I had towards Susie was actually in real life Mandy Harvey’s music, in particular her two songs: “Try” and “This Time“. These two songs really got me through my anger and my intense emotions as I grappled with the nature of this novel and all the feelings it brought up. They just diffused the situation right away and I could listen to them on repeat while I read and it gave me a chance to take a deep breath and just let it go as I continued onward. I am glad that I managed to finish this book, even if it was a hurricane of a time, but apparently I still managed to remember quite a bit of it as I did the review process, so, that at least was nice. Yeah, just, ranting and raving about this book and being so upset by it was tough but it’s over now and once this publishes, I can really wipe my hands clean. And I’m ready for that. I’m excited for that. It’s what I wanted all along. πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’š Peace, at last.


Book Length:

379 pages


Recommendation Score:

2/5

Dramatic stories

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What Kept Me Reading & the Book’s Impact on Me:

Definitely my intense levels of being stubborn kept me reading this book. I refuse, no matter how good or how bad a book is, to give up on it half-way through. Not only have I become invested with my time, my attention span, my mind and my craft, but I refuse to let the book make or break me. By that point, I want to see it through all the way. I can’t fathom giving up and not giving it a chance. I hold onto hope that it gets better and when it doesn’t, it doesn’t, but a lot more of the time it DOES. The satisfaction I can feel and the fulfillment that I got through it, no matter what, is something I want to give back to myself at the very end. The moment I can shut the book and sigh and then just plow through its review is immense and such a relief (even if more of the time I’ve written up reviews that I have yet to publish. It’s… a work in progress). And again, a lot of the time I will like a book, then dislike it for a bit (usually because I’m not reading it or not able to focus well enough for it) and then by the end I have liked it again. I usually have so much to say about the books I read that it’s only mandatory that I write a review of it.

For this book, again, I managed to remember quite a bit of what happened in it so I’m proud of that and I’m so happy to be letting it go again soon. My plan is to return this book and TAoCL tomorrow at the library so I can finally let go and say goodbye. It is so nice to be able to do that. To stick with something no matter how good or bad it is and know that you did everything you could to get through it and in the end, whether it was a happy or a doubtful experience, it’s done and it’s over and you gotta move on to the next one. For this book, I’m glad it’s over, I hope I never hear of another Susie again in a Woods novel and I can’t wait to uncover some of my other Woods books from the libraries that I’ve loaned them from. For now, I think I will settle on a psychological thriller I’ve had in my possession for over a year, haha.


Noteworthy Quotes:

  1. “Everybody has problems. Some are worse than others, but that doesn’t mean they don’t matter to the people trying to get through them” — Woods, 2015, p. 31

2. “He’d vowed not to show any sign of weakness in front of his nephew. Bobby needed to believe in [Sam]” — Woods, 2015, p. 43

I think it’s pretty arguable that emotions and grief are not weaknesses and instead showing them is a sign of immense strength.

3. “‘[Carrie to her Grandpa Mick] You mean I’m letting you down yet again…. Sorry, I guess I’m just destined to be a huge failure in your eyes'” — p. 217

Honestly in this exchange, Grandpa Mick was a total asshole and the hurt and pain in Carrie’s body language and words was SO palpable. It also hugely reminded me of Loki in the MCU and just in my fanfics as well. It was so rough. It definitely also reminded me of his relationship with his not-father Odin, too. It also made me think how much Loki, as well as Carrie, needed to verbalize their pain more. πŸ’”πŸ’”πŸ’”

4. “[Sam to Carrie] ‘I’ve already made mistakes.’ [Carrie] ‘Find me one human being who hasn’t. Or one parent who hasn’t made a boatload of them…. Mistakes are part of life. It’s what you do to fix things that really matters'” — p. 266

I thought this was just SO beautiful and really captures the romance which was what I was here for. I’m so annoyed that Susie and the other drama was the main focus of the novel and not just nurturing and blossoming this love interest. If it had been, I would have rated it a lot higher and it would have been a far more pleasant experience. Instead I just despised Susie and hated her so much.

5. “‘You can’t fix this,’ Bobby said to Sam, clearly resigned to suffering alone. His attitude made Sam want to cry. No six year old should be feeling this defeated. ‘Fix what? Maybe I can’t, but you have to tell me so I can at least try'” — p. 290

I really loved this scene and thought it was so poignant and something I have to try out at work some time!! The notion of this tactic to be honest and yet problem solving is so huge and something any kiddo struggling needs to hear. πŸ’”πŸ–€πŸ–€

6. “As Sam’s sister had told him [in her letter], it was time for him to start running toward something, rather than away from it. People who loved deeply got hurt. They suffered terrible losses. It was unavoidable. But loving deeply was the only way to truly live” — p. 372

Again, I’m not entirely sure how much I agree with this statement. In some ways, yes, I can understand it, but I’ve also not been a person who has had a long lasting or much of a lasting romantic relationship and I don’t have plans to have a family of children one day with a partner so I don’t know how much I can relate to or agree with it. I think being alone can be okay and not wanting traditional values is also okay. I feel like saying it’s the ONLY way to live a happy life is a bit insensitive and not all that inclusive. I think there are multiple ways to live a fulfilling and happy and healthy life beyond just having a partner (especially in a straight, heterosexual world only) and having kids and a family. I guess my avoidance patterns of behavior is blocking me from exploring this so much right now, especially since there’s a worldwide pandemic happening and I can’t exactly meet up with people for romance, let alone just my friends. It’s something I’ll have to explore one day but not for now. I do suppose it’s that notion of “to love at all is worth it even if you’re not loved back”. Hmm. I’ll have to mull this one over more.

There’s the additional quote later on where Sam says he’s ready for love to win over fear–I’m definitely not there yet in my life. Fear still trumps a lot in my life so maybe one day when I’m freer I can experience more of these benefits of life. I think I’ve gotten very used to being “on my own” or not having the backup of an emotional relationship like romance and so I’m more attuned to self-sustaining behaviors and ideals rather than opening myself up to putting someone else’s needs besides my own first. I guess I’m just in a different place than most.


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Wandering Thoughts I had while reading/Extra Notes:

    • p. 154: Equivocal and vocalized are nice words
    • p. 165: That’s definitely NOT what a threesome means and why does Carrie have to change because of someone else’s opinion of her and her influence in the setting with Sam and Bobby? I don’t think that’s particularly necessary and maybe something she should be more critical of and wary against
    • p. 167: I don’t understand why Carrie cares so much about what other people think. She takes the notion that Bobby may be attaching to her in an unhealthy way as fact when really it’s because she is nervous about falling in love with Sam and can’t separate the fact that other people’s opinions are just opinions and not something she has to change for her own sanity. I think she used the opportunity as an excuse to not get close to Sam or Bobby further until she could figure out what her intentions were and where she would be going with them. Which, was too bad at the time.
    • p. 168: Shows a good indication of manipulation with good intentions where Sam wants Carrie to stay with him for the evening keep him company with food and wine. Carrie is conflicted and definitely sending him mixed signals so this is annoying in one part and also an indication that Carrie needs to pick a side and stick with it. She struggles with this though and being clear about her intentions and what she wants and doesn’t want and is easily influenced by others. πŸ™„
    • p. 174: There is not a capital letter after a dialogue exclamation which I found interesting and will try to remember when I use similar wording/typography in my own work (my grammar/technical writing has become so awful since being out of school). “For example!” she muttered.
    • p. 185: Reminded me that I should (as of Sept. 2020) work on my fanfics and my memoir! I’m at a mixed state with this. I haven’t touched my memoir in months and I’m working in and out of different fanfics and a new creative writing endeavor I’m on at the moment of writing this review (Feb. 2021).
    • p. 216: There’s this notion with Susie and Carrie that taking care of other people’s children will never fully replace their need for having one of their own. For me, I find that it fills that pretty well (but I also don’t want children myself) and having the work I do gives me my fill of children and allows me to be able to go home and do what I normally would be doing without being bogged down with other matters. (Also it freaks me out that you don’t know what kind of human you could be creating and what if they become like a serial killer or a horrible person? I don’t want to get murdered. And it’s such a lifelong endeavor. Meh, not for me. I can have pets sure but I’m not all that inclined to have to have children.)Β 
    • p. 237: In regards to Carrie and Susie’s now estranged and strained relationship, I would NOT be as quick as Carrie to forgive her cousin because no matter how much pain she is in (Susie) that gives her NO right to be cruel and emotionless towards her family members (or even strangers!). I just wouldn’t forgive her right away and wouldn’t want to be around her for a while. Susie was being SUCH a bitch. That doesn’t give her an excuse just because she was hurting. On top of that, Carrie needs to confront the issue and practice a DEAR MAN and also not be alone with her thoughts.
    • p. 308: There’s a nice “rise and fall” of chest reference here which made me go (●’β—‘’●) because of the innerworkings of being a cardiophile. πŸ˜™πŸ€—πŸ€©
    • By p. 320 I was feeling exhausted and annoyed that the book felt far more like 90% drama and 10% romance. This constant back and forth between Sam and Carrie was just so ugh, eye roll worthy. Every time they made some progress, something else would slide back against them. And it wasn’t like there was a lot of pages left for the novel so it definitely ended prematurely and without having a saturated amount of romance throughout. It was definitely a bust for me. Which sucked. I’d invested so much into a story that just didn’t have a significant payoff. Surprisingly though, I still remember a good chunk of it so that helped in part of making this review–hooray, I suppose?
    • p. 363: I noted that about 85% of the time I didn’t understand why Carrie was mad πŸ˜‚
    • p. 379: The very end of this novel ends on a super existential awareness point of view that I honestly could have happily gone without. It ends with Mick’s perspective and was just too real, too soon, too much and immensely depressing and sad while also layered with a sense of hope, lingering feelings, family and love. It was a whirlwind for sure. It was also a bit horrifying. And just very surreal to think of life and the end of life and all of that jazz. 😨😭πŸ€ͺ

Dates I read this book:

4.5.2020, 4.7, 4.8, 6.18, 9.17, 9.18, 9.21, 9.29, 9.30, 10.1, 10.4, 10.5, 10.8, 10.9.2020


Dates I wrote this review:

10/12/20, 2.22.2021, 2.25.21

Any background music: “This Time” by Mandy Harvey, ambient nature sounds, a mix of songs including Demi Lovato, Shawn Mendes etc.


Thank you:

Annnnnnnnd so, we have made it to the end of this review!! This was more of a traditional book review for me and I surprisingly did not have a super lot to say regarding quotes and I originally had it set with this thumb above so I didn’t feel the need to make it into more of a “Book Exploration Station” post. So, you’re welcome for that! It was still about 4,800 words but by far simpler and not as intense and complicated as my latest TAoCL review/BES. So for now, I’m going to go to a support group and I’m gonna have dinner, take my meds, read a book and begin another review so that I can drop off books tomorrow to their respective libraries. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading!! Feel free to share this post across social media and let me know what you thought! I’m planning to get back into the blogosphere very soon. For now, I also have some print-outs for work I have to manage and some watered down versions of my fanfics for a kiddo at work I’m sharing with. As well as that creative writing story I am working on with them since this past week and on towards Sunday as well.

Thank you so much and I’ll see you again soon.

PS I really need to work on videos too, ooof. It’s a process. I’ll try to soon.

All the best, my friends.

xxx 🀍🀍🀍

“The Art of Confident Living” (2009) | BES: Nov.2020; Jan & Feb. 2021


Chosen Book:

“The Art of Confident Living” (2009) by Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

((Nonfiction.))


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

Brief insensitivities towards mental health conditions (“no one worries 24/7”; “[describing] depression as how everyone gets sad sometimes”; “crazy” equaling bewildered etc.)


THEMES:

Self-improvement, self-help, psychology, behavior, thoughts, cognitions, challenges, emotions, patterns, truth, perception, ten practices, user-friendly, self-love, self-compassion, kindness, quotes, insight, hope, change, learning, help, aid, confidence, exercises, empowerment, optimism, choices.


SUMMARY:

This book is comprised, as generically as possible: a contents, introduction, 10 chapters on the 10 Practices towards leading a Confident-Led life, end of chapter exercises for the Reader, a conclusion, a resources list, a bibliography, and an index. The 10 Practices include: The Practice of Separation, The Practice of Perception, The Practice of Choice, The Practice of Optimism, The Practice of Empowerment, The Practice of Harmony, The Practice of the Unmade Mind, The Practice of the Vacuum, The Practice of Magnetism and The Practice of the Boomerang. Some of the exercises that I completed include (these will be outlined via text and photos in the relevant sections below. If you would like an exploratory Youtube video on the matter as well, let me know in a comment so I can publish one to my channel. This will take me a bit of time, if you are curious for me to make one. Since I’ve written this post over the course of a few days, I’ve gotten very deep in the muddiness of this review and I no longer feel as much of a necessity to film a video on the matter, however I can use this post as a backbone/guidance towards it if there’s enough interest in that. Thanks!!) p. 38 Presence of the Eight C’s in my life [curiosity, clarity, calm, confidence, compassion, courage, creativity, connectedness]; p. 58 My Parts Detector, Challenging the Parts; p. 78 Reclaiming the Power in My Life/Conscious Choices: the problem, I can accept, I can choose….; p. 98 Mapping the Parts of my interpersonal effectiveness avoidances in therapy; p. 172 – 173 The Goodbye Exercise; p. 84 Thought Challenges and Belief Scores; p. 111 Group Activities and Ideas for work; p. 134 The Letting Go Exercise; p. 174 Removing Roadblocks Art Map; p. 188 My Magnetogram; p. 208 The Boomerang Activity; p. 207 The Looking Glass.

BONUS content that helped me get to this point of both reading the book, finishing the book, writing this review and posting it online as well as making a lot of GAINS and fulfilling activities in my life that I’ve been using thoroughly and happily: My Fanfics Story stats (AO3; FFN); My Expectations, My Fears and My Thought Challenges for Writing and Uploading Fanfic Again (2 pages); What I need to get back into writing fanfic; Master List of Videos I have to edit; Skills and reminders within the video editing process; Processing when things go wrong in video editing; after uploading self-care plan (videos); repairing my relationships with MCU movies, movies and TV; repairing my relationships with books; thought challenges regarding movies and MCU movies; thought challenges regarding books; thought challenges regarding blogging (2 pages); (IN THE WORKS: thought challenges regarding avoiding chores) and finally, the backbone behind these new BES posts.

I feel like that was a lot of listing and jargon that may seem unmanageable or overwhelming for right this moment. So, let’s just take a deep breath and find comfort in the fractions within this review and what we’ll be seeing in the time ahead of us and the words upon the screen. Let’s return to that now….

I’d say, overall, this is a great book for beginning the process of self-exploration, self-love, self-care and self awareness. It’s also great for quantifying and qualifying information that’s locked behind your mind and the functions and processes occurring in your brain that you want to gain some insight into and uncover old habits or challenge yourself in ways that maybe you haven’t dared to before or haven’t considered needing to in the past but find yourself hesitant to not look towards altering now. It’s a book for self-improvement and a lot of growth, depending on how well the Reader is open to that notion and moving forwards with more confidence, as the title would suggest, and also just being welcoming to a fresh perspective. It’s user friendly and I’d say not doing the exercises and just reading page to page would definitely lessen the experience and the help and guidance that can come from it if the Reader properly tackles the information and makes it their own. There has to be a willingness there to see what is and how, with time and patience and compassion to yourself, that you can unlock some improvements and big gains that maybe otherwise wouldn’t have happened. Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through my experiences and my fulfillments by doing this and the process I took through reading this book, playing in the sand and writing this review. So, welcome aboard! And let the Lewis Capaldi background music (a playlist) guide you through with as much ease and brightness as it did for me writing this intimidating but worthwhile post. πŸ™‚ ❀ xxx Also, “What Other People Say” by Sam Fischer and Demi Lovato was a wonderful addition to the background noise.


BOOK LENGTH:

214 pages


MY RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

5/5 thought challenges lists


OUTSTANDING QUOTES ALONGSIDE MY COMMENTARY/SHARING EXERCISES:

So, this book talks a lot about “parts” and how as people we are NOT our thoughts. We are instead vessels that have thoughts and think and feel and behave in certain ways. These parts wish to be acknowledged and understood and are inevitably trying to help us rather than hurt us like why they were created in the first place in the past. They are looking out for us even if their expression of this isn’t always healthy or helpful right off the bat. It’s our job to acknowledge them, let them in and breathe and be nonjudgmental and then say that we’ve taken their input into consideration and move forwards with our own Confident Led selves. So, you’ll see that mentioned, these parts, in the future. The parts are originated from the Ego, just to clarify, as well.

There is a SUPER excellent and powerful guided meditation explanation on pages 36 – 37 of this book that I would highly, highly recommend perusing as it’s so wonderful. If I can work on finding a similar already established guided meditation online on Youtube or something similar, I will try and make a future post referring to them. For now, it’s SO good. It basically talks about imagining you’re giving a speech on a stage and in the audience is each of your parts and your Confident Self is in the lead. You take the time to get to know each part, how individual they are, their characteristics, their mannerisms, what they have to say. You give them your attention and you recognize that they are not you and you are not them. You welcome ALL parts and let them take their seats again after they speak to you. Notice if your Confident Self is in the lead on stage and where you are if you’re separate from them. Then thank each part for existing and sharing and bring your awareness back to the present moment. That’s a super abridged version that doesn’t do the original text justice, but hopefully you get my drift!!! (Robinson, 2009).

EXERCISE 1: Me and My Eight C’s p. 38 [[Dated: Jan 7th 2021]]

For this exercise, the prompt was to record and rate on a 1 – 10 low to high scale the presence of each of the 8 C’s in my life: curiosity, clarity, calm, confidence, compassion, courage, creativity and connectedness. I color coded them for easier understanding and visual acuity. As you can see, the areas I need more improvement on include curiosity, clarity, connectedness and calm. πŸ™‚

EXERCISE 2: My Parts Detector, p. 58 (multiple journaling pages for me): [[Dated: Jan. 15th 2021]]

DESCRIPTION OF DEPICTION::

PART A: My Parts Detector. 1. “I’m better than other people. I have more advantages.” — Judgment. Better than others like in recovery or superiority? I will need to better explore and allow a presence of this. This makes me self-conscious and is something hard to admit to while I was being open to the thoughts and what was coming to me at that given moment. Thought challenges to arrive in PART B.

2. “I’m better equipped to handle tough situations” — Judgment. Core belief. Integral ((I’m thinking of situations arising criticism, hate, bullying, etc. Online stuff primarily))

3. “Nobody cares about me” — Dismissing, emotional

4. “I’m all alone” — Emotional, despair, abandoned

5. “No one is there for me. When I need someone, no one notices and/or is there” — Emotion Mind, all or nothing, mixed signals

6. “I can’t relate to other people’s perspectives” — Noticing differences not similarities

7. “I push away from uncomfortable situations because I’m afraid to reignite old neural pathways and behavioral patterns” — Yuuuuuup.

PART B: CHALLENGING THE PARTS:

  1. “I’m on a different plane and state of being, a different place in my recovery and journey. It’s not about who is first or behind rather supporting one another as we go along.”
  2. “I’m a better me than I once was. This strength has prepared me for the worst. It’s time now to put my skills to the test and I am ready.”
  3. “Sometimes I don’t get attention, praise or recognition that I am looking for from other people. I need to learn how to validate my own experiences and rely less on others. It is still okay for me to get outside support when I need it. I can also improve the way I’m asking for my needs to be met. People aren’t mind readers so I have to be upfront. I may not always get what I want and I won’t know or receive it if I never voice it. It’s a work in progress.”
  4. “Sometimes I feel alone in my experiences and in my struggles. I know that I am not. I know I need to reach out more than I do. People are within reach–I need to let out my call for them and only I can do that.”
  5. “I’ve struggled in the past with thinking that no one would notice if something bad happened to me. I know this isn’t true and is my brain playing tricks on me because my absence and presence of things matters, people count on me and people ask about me. I need help reminding myself of this and recognizing not everyone can be there every time however I can and will be there for me. I can choose to be my own hero or villain. That is my choice.”
  6. “Because I don’t hear back people with the same journey as mine I tend to dismiss other people’s perspectives. I tend to maximize the differences between us instead of looking, noticing and describing our similarities. I struggle with controlling that part of me that wishes to be fed attention and be the center of attention. This is something I have to work on by being more in the present moment. I may now always understand where someone is coming from. I can work on being more open, curious and fair and patient with myself and others.”
  7. “Flooding myself is as problematic as avoidance for me. I won’t always agree with someone and that is okay. I can take time to gather my thoughts and feelings and come at a situation in my own time. I am aware of the slippery slope however that doesn’t mean my awareness of it will definitely lead me down the wrong path. I can know that it exists, accept uncertainty and still move forwards. I don’t have to let the past be repeated.”

“You can always find the granule of good in the bad if you look for it: more beauty than flaws, more hope than despair, more blessings than disappointment… This idea of holding on to the belief that something good will come out of adversity…”

Robinson, 2009, p. 89

I personally just LOVED this quote and the situational lead up towards it and even the illustration of it after this part. Again, my favorite chapters were: Empowerment, Optimism and Choice. More on these to come. I additionally thought it was perfect for how I set myself about in my life, how I categorize random acts of kindness (and setting forth ideas on how to do groups like this at work when we get older kids) and helping and finding support in other characters that I’ll be using and welcoming into my fanfics and stories. πŸ€©πŸ€—πŸ₯°πŸ˜… xxx

EXERCISE 3: RECLAIMING THE POWER IN MY LIFE/”CONSCIOUS CHOICES” (p. 78):

Written 1.15.21

DESCRIPTION OF DEPICTION:

The Problem Column. > The I can accept Column. > The I can choose Column.

Example 1 (in book): My colleague is a negative person. > I cannot change her. > I can be a positive person regardless of how she thinks.

Example 2 (ME): My procrastination is getting in the way of achieving all that I can in a day to day basis. > I can accept that it’s a pattern of behavior I’ve become comfortable with. > I can choose to build up my resiliency, challenge myself against it and make more thoughtful choices instead of blindly reacting only.

Example 3 (ME): My desire for attention on Youtube* is leading me to emotional brick walls that cause a small spiral after uploading videos. > I can accept it’s my current relationship to Youtube and content creating. It may not always be this way if I work on it. I can accept that I won’t compromise my values and who I am for views and numbers online, which is helpful and healthy. > I can choose to challenge this with a routine for after I upload videos. I can look at other ways to network or get attention. I can notice when it’s happening more and choose to address it and not run from it. Try to understand it.

*This list spun off a few other lists like the video I filmed all about attention and validation seeking online (I haven’t edited or uploaded it yet but when I do I will LINK IT HERE) via lists like sites I get the least and most amount of attention, how easy it is to get noticed on those sites, how long I’ve been on those sites, what it’s like having attention and not having attention and what are possible solutions; the various thought challenges lists, the fanfic stats list and lists all about my videos which you can find further laid out on the table in the BONUS section of my summary (above) for this nonfiction book. (And again when those videos are edited and uploaded to my Youtube channel here) πŸ˜πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜™

EXERCISE 4: MAPPING MY PARTS (p. 98):

Written here: 2.15.2021

DESCRIPTION OF DEPICTION:

Mapping the parts avoiding doing interpersonal effectiveness DBT skills for review in this week’s therapy session:

  • Perfectionism (a book and writing utensil)
  • Procrastination (moon and stop sign)
  • Anxiety (a sun/black and blue coloration feeling and or star shaped item)
  • High expectations (skyscrapers and some tumble weeds) Feelings include uncomfortableness and nervousness. Beliefs include: “I should know these skills by now”, “I should be able to review my old materials”, “This is going to take a while”, “There’s my own expectations that I should be further along and not need as much of a refresher as I do need now”
  • Forgetfulness (thought bubble)

In red marker I’ve stated that with “The Confident Self of Me is located between high expectations and perfectionism. I still feel uncomfortable after completing this exercise. And I am not super confident but if I adjust my high expectations this should help and I can regroup and break down these expectations to smaller and simpler pieces.”

EXERCISE 5: Technically NOT an actual exercise but I’m tired and I mentioned it in the summary portion of this review so I’ll just dedicate some time to this here which is a list of ideas I thought of that I could do activities and groups on at work with some of the topics covered in this book: πŸ™‚

Written on 2/16/21

DESCRIPTION OF DEPICTION:

Random acts of kindness (positive messages, examples, giving away art, coloring pages, ideas, why, coping strategies, self/others, compliment writing; empowerment; choices; survivor vs victim; growth (art therapy ideas); coping strategies (focus on one each week); affirmations (3 examples, scrapbooking/collages); transformation coloring or drawing activity (what’s one way you’ve transformed in the last day, month, year).

EXERCISE 6: THOUGHT CHALLENGES AND BELIEF SCORES (p. 84):

I apologize in advance, because this review is getting pretty muddy and broken up but I see that I missed an exercise from before, on p. 84 so I’m going to address it here and down below now. Sorry about that!! I didn’t exactly write them down in this review on paper or in order of appearance so things are just kinda jumbled up. But I’ll address them now and get on with things.

Written: 2/15/21

MY THOUGHT CHALLENGES:

  • Life is full of problems.
  • REFRAME: Life is an inherent balance between solutions and problems. It’s all a matter of perspective.
  • I usually assume people will take advantage of me.
  • REFRAME: I believe the best in people on the outset. If I am wronged, I take issue with that one person.
  • Things never turn out the way I want.
  • REFRAME: Things don’t always go according to plan and that’s okay.
  • Nothing I do is enough.
  • RF: I am enough as I am. I can always learn more and improve.
  • Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.
  • RF: Life is comprised of so many variables and possibilities that cannot be predicted in one sitting.
  • I’m a born loser.
  • RF: I am fabulous.
  • Trouble follows me wherever I go.
  • RF: If this were true, maybe I have to look at the common denominators (me).
  • I’m not a worthy person.
  • RF: I was born with worth. I live with worth. My life is worth living.
  • I can’t change the way things are.
  • RF: I can only change and control how I react to it.
  • I don’t have what it takes to meet most challenges I face.
  • RF: Simply not having learned yet doesn’t mean I never will. Give it time. πŸ’š

EXERCISE 7: THE LETTING GO EXERCISE (p. 134)

2.17.21
  1. I am forcing… (offensive reaction) – my issues on others (identity, coping, resources), – not being open to others struggles and not making them mine. > I can accept and surrender open-mindedness to this part of my life.
  2. I am resisting….. (defensive reaction) – letting go, – moving on, – exploring new areas or things I’ve never done before > I can accept and surrender sacrificing my level of comfort(ability) to this part of my life.
  3. I am clinging to… (avoidance reaction) – familiar habits, – familiar routines, – rigidity, – perfectionism, – not learning and implementing life skills (at home and at work), procrastination. > I can accept and surrender moving towards experiencing that which I avoid, one step at a time to this part of my life.

EXERCISE 8: THE GOODBYE EXERCISE (p. 172 – 173)

DESCRIPTION OF DEPICTION:

What was it like being in a relationship with (person, place, thing)?

πŸš‘ Avoidance: my relationship with avoidance has been long lasting and lifelong. I’ve not gotten done as much or as many as I could have without it or less of it. It was a lot of unhappiness and lack of fulfillment.

Name each negative experience you had and after each say “I say goodbye to that”.

πŸš’ Avoidance has robbed me of my time — and I say goodbye to that. Avoidance has robbed me of my ambition and excelling to my full potential — and I say goodbye to that.

Name the resentments you carry for all of this and after each say “I say goodbye to that.”

I resent avoidance for not allowing me to grow and excel sooner and I say goodbye to that. I resent avoidance for swallowing my world and collapsing my perspective and making my existence small– and I say goodbye to that.

Name each positive experience you had and after each say “I say goodbye to that”.

My avoidance has kept me safe from perceived threats and I say goodbye to that. My avoidance got me to where I am now and I say goodbye to that. My acceptance of realizing I no longer need to be protected by my avoidance has cleared ahead a path for me. I can begin to avoid avoiding. And I say goodbye to that avoidance.

Name the fondness you carry for all of this and after each say “I say goodbye to that.”

I have fondness for avoidance protecting me and I say goodbye to that because I am strong enough now to protect myself. I have fondness for avoidance serving its purpose and now I say goodbye to that.

Name each dream you held for this relationship and after each say “I say goodbye to that.”

I dreamed of avoidance continuing into my future and I say goodbye to that. I dreamed of avoidance giving me more than it reasonably can today and so I say goodbye to that.

Finally say I am releasing myself from my past with you and I am getting ready to enter my future.

I am releasing myself from my past with avoidance and I am getting ready to enter my future.

And I say HELLO to:

I say hello to… better time management, I say hello to being more “on” and taking breaks to recharge, I say hello to less procrastination and more measured activities, I say hello to new beginnings, I say hello to ore motivation and perseverance, I say hello to new as much as I can and as patiently as possible.

EXERCISE 9: REMOVING ROADBLOCKS ART (p. 174)

DESCRIPTION OF DEPICTION:

BLOCK 1: Draw the Problem you’d like to change or move out of life. How does it feel inside you? Jot down any words, thoughts, emotions or beliefs with it.

For me: I focused on avoidance as the problem. I used signs like a STOP sign, a Turn Back sign and a Don’t Go sign. I also wrote down fear, lots of effort, anxiety, nervousness, inconvenient, needing to be “on”, procrastination, blockage, ineptitude, too much time, uncomfortable.

BLOCK 2: Draw the Resolution if it were to resolve and how you want it, how would you feel inside you, and jot down any words, thoughts, feelings or beliefs.

For me: I drew a shining sun with yellow and orange and wrote in the middle of it, POTENTIAL. I would have so much more potential and so much productivity, fulfillment, growth, facing challenges, living the reality of my dreams, love, light, hope, empowerment, improvement, happiness.

BLOCK 3: Draw the Block and what’s inside of you that blocks you from going to the Resolution. Words, beliefs, thoughts, and feels.

For me: I drew a barren, dead tree with FEAR written across it and some grass and growing flowers. I wrote that I have fear to bloom, fear to rise, fear to excel or fail, fear to burnout, fear to fear, fear to live, fear to drive (both driving a car and driving my life forwards), fear to let go, fear to realize.

BLOCK 4: Draw the Release. What needs to happen inside you to release the Block?

For me: I drew an egg breaking open (which “Soldiers” by Rachel Platten was a perfect song to be listening to as I was doing this page) with light and color streaming out of it. I wrote down that I need OPENNESS. Openness to try, just try. It may not always go well but be willing to try. Give it my all. Do something new and different. Be open to the risk because it could all go uphill and be so wonderful. Accept and cope with the risk and grow, grow, grow. Breaking open doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Similar lyric “We might [break] but we won’t [fall]” πŸ˜›πŸ˜¨

EXERCISE 10: MY MAGNETOGRAM (p. 188)

So this exercise served the purpose of identifying the types of relationships you have in your life with 8 main people. I wrote about my Mom and Dad, myself, my coworkers, my friends David, Madeline and Vanessa and online friendships overall as well. I wrote that most of my relationships encourage my confidence. I am hesitant in some relationships due to past trauma and codependency so I don’t always reach out when I need to. My ego parts need to be heard and seen by me over fears to revert back to old unhealthy behaviors, even if they haven’t happened in years. My ego parts on fear of old behaviors need to be recognized and allowed, fears of abandonment and previous/ongoing jellyfish clinging. My exploring these parts with compassion may be the perfect key.

EXERCISE 11: THE LOOKING GLASS (p. 207)

The exercise of the Looking Glass is to see how conditions or flaws we perceive in others is actually more so a reflection of our own flaws and mistakes. So for part A the instruction is to write 5 negative traits to someone you dislike. Notice how many apply to you and this may say more about you and your ego parts and areas needing work in your confidence than how much of it is about them.

I did not just one person but traits in a few people I dislike. Those traits were: too many jump cuts in Youtube videos, popularity, threatening by being themselves (usually in work relations), using filler words (uh, um), me feeling left behind. For what actually applied to me in this category: I don’t do enough jump cuts in my videos, I get lost in my judgment about me, my place and them, I have the fear someone will grow more than me, I say uh and um a lot and feeling I should be in a different place myself and the uncertainty that comes with that.

In part B it’s now to list positive traits in someone you admire. I wrote openness, fairness, confidence (speaking their mind in a polite and sustaining way), lifting up others and staying away from attacking or purposefully harming someone. To be honest, I have no idea what the second blurb is below this because I don’t think it’s about me, I think it’s about someone else that I admire so maybe I accidentally did this twice? Honestly, I have no idea and I’m burning out pretty quickly but as for that I just wrote that they were very open and honest, fair to individuality and experiences, radiates positive energy and is easy to trust and talk to, does so much to help peers and themselves and has good accountability and responsibility.

EXERCISE 12: THE BOOMERANG ACTIVITY (p. 208)

In terms of this actual, FINAL, exercise here is how it went…. I will introduce confident thoughts to ego parts that need my attention today. State them each.

Parts: Jealousy/envy over coworker’s presence and my fears of losing my job. Feeling left behind by my friend’s moving on and upwards in ways I haven’t yet.

Confidence: I can bring more awareness right now to my parts and thoughts. Awareness is the first step and then I can problem solve appropriately.

I will introduce confident feelings to ego parts that need them today.

I will be open to my parts and compassionate towards them. I will let them have space in me and not be overpowered by them. I will be kind and patient to them and myself. They are there to protect me.

I will speak confidently for ego parts that need to be spoken for today. State them, the person you need to speak them to and the confident words you’ll use.

I need to speak them to myself. I have many ideas and ambitions and noticing these more and being attuned to my body will help me achieve my goals. I will allow them acknowledgment and the freedom to let them go.

I will project confident thoughts, feelings and actions to someone today. State them:

I will finish these exercises and repeat them back in the BES process and a video (potentially) on Youtube in the days ahead.

Honestly, I was going to film a video for this blog post as well but having gone through all the information and sharing the photos and sharing text based descriptions of each image, I don’t feel AS much of a need to film a video on it as well. So for now, unless there’s more interest in it, I think for now I will NOT be filming a video for this review. But, you let me know if you’d like me to talk about it via one if anything here was confusing. Keep reading or take a small break because this post is BIG and I hope that you can enjoy it and learn something from my experiences or perspective as well as gleam some understanding about the book just from my POV. PS Subscribe to my Youtube channel here: RecoverytoWellness


THOUGHTS OR IDEAS I HAD WHILE READING:

  1. On page 2, the author discusses the concept of how our brains and inevitably our behaviors, thoughts and emotions are things we carry with us wherever we go and how it doesn’t necessarily matter where we live geographically because (even like with new year’s) we cannot run away from what insecurities or struggles lie deep in our minds, souls and hearts. This reminded me especially of when I struggled with my mental health in university and I was always against leaving UMass Boston and attending a different school because I realized that the problem wasn’t necessarily the environment but how I was interacting and viewing it. And I was stubborn, as well. And I was also codependent in a few ways which didn’t help. But it was true, I knew that my brain would always automatically find self-destructive pathways because that’s what it was used to and that’s what it did. With time, recovery and a lot of healthier coping strategies and a lot of hard work with DBT, I’ve graduated from uni and I don’t have my first thoughts about harm or death, rather they’re either seventh or eighth thoughts, and that’s from all the work I’ve done on myself over the years. So, that’s something wonderful and something I can celebrate!!! I had to change the relationship I was having with myself before I could change the way I was looking at the world around me, so to speak.
  2. By p. 26, where Robinson is exploring how the parts of us that are angry or selfish don’t eclipse us as people or eclipse our Confident Selves because we are not each of our parts or individual thoughts or experiences (our identities are much larger than that) I felt that I could relate in terms of my avoidance behaviors and procrastination and found this to be a very interesting concept to explore and manage as I read this book.
  3. Being kind and compassionate to our parts when they arrive and we notice them reminds me of a group/therapy activity I was given before where the goal is to imagine your hurt part and giving yourself a hug to that part and that part to you. πŸ™‚
  4. p. 33 had me pondering what my parts were saying to me and what it was that I was not hearing from them. Also, the author used a stage/CEO corporate metaphor that really works and was super helpful. He also mentions quotes from other authors and people’s experiences and writings so that was a cool inclusion at times. πŸ™‚
  5. p. 35 talks about a great meditation metaphor about letting the parts speak in the corporate office and asks the Reader to lend compassion and mindfulness and nonjudgmental stances towards each part and allowing them the space to exist and not have to either fix them or shut them down etc. It’s a curious look into why they are there and what they’re trying to accomplish and then moving forwards yourself with your Confident Self. ❀
  6. p. 42 discusses those feelings of inadequacy, never being enough and worthlessness for not striving to do better that can sometimes happen in people’s childhoods and how that pain can carry over into their long, enduring adult life. I thought this was particularly poignant to draw from with Loki in my fanfics and other characters I use here and there in my writing life. (But especially with Loki in D&D etc.)
  7. p. 44 Reminded me of the perceptual illusions I carry in my life mainly regarding work experiences (fear that people will find out how little life skills I have (cleaning, cooking, etc.)), and with social media (no one is watching my content, I’m not as good as X at this, Y doesn’t struggle with Z, etc.)). This helped me to start being more aware of my own parts while I was still early on in reading this book
  8. This is more of an observation than anything else but it took place on p. 53 where I could partially relate to the issue of connectivity with people and how certain people can behave in ways that remind you of other people who have hurt you before so like some transference type of stuff and it made me think I struggled with that especially in support group settings where I’m still working on whether or not it’s more helpful or damaging for me. I think I walk in with such a closed mind that even when I DO relate to someone, I’m so quick to judge it and push it away and point out all of our differences than being open to the experience. Also, I don’t like when people bring up my past which can happen in a way to show how much I’ve grown but I don’t interpret it like that. Instead it makes me long for different times, even if those times sucked. And it glorifies it too. And then it reignites old pathways that I make it a point to ignore or avoid today. πŸ’”πŸ–€πŸ–€
  9. I really liked the concept on page 54 where current everyday problems trigger off old hurts or parts and how working to notice these changes and not react to them today as you would have in the past was very telling for me. Like, it’s important to practice recognizing when the current situation isn’t exactly the problem but rather what it’s reminding you of or where it brings you back and how those parts are just trying to help to protect you from pain. This reminded me of things like my friends bringing up my past for support groups as well as my friend Griffin on Twitter and things to that effect. So, it had real world applications for me and I can continue to see where I would benefit a lot from working on interpersonal effectiveness/DBT skills again.
  10. p. 63: I can choose to look at circumstances that are proving to be difficult as efforts for which my self-efficiency will be preparing me for easier times ahead so in the context of engagement on Youtube, if I can be there for myself than over time others can be able to step up the helm and we can all be happy. Also, putting myself more out there by commenting and networking is super, super important and critical!! As long as I’m there for me, anyone else is bonus. (And still needed and wanted, don’t get me wrong!!) I must in some part be doing it for me so that’s what has to matter at the end of the day, did I make something I love and am proud of given my skills in the present moment? Then that can be enough. XXX
  11. End of p. 75 reminds me of the describe and observe DBT skills. πŸ˜πŸ˜…πŸ€—
  12. p. 85: So there’s a really awesome concept introduced in this chapter on the Practice of Optimism that the author calls the “zoom lens” which is about focusing in on pessimism of the things you lack, don’t have and how you’ll never have them. It’s a black and white thinking or all or nothing type of deal. By hyper-focusing on what you don’t have, you dismiss and lessen all the things you DO have. It’s a faulty comparison, seeing what everyone ELSE has and then not seeing clearly what you DO have yourself. I can really relate to this with work at Amaryllis. I always catch myself comparing how my co-workers down the hall are “having more fun”, “more needed/necessary” down there without me rather than me recognizing we are ALL doing our best work and we are all valuable members of the same team with a common goal. I have to tweak the way I’m looking at it and thinking about it, which, is of course, another work in progress for me as well. I can also see how one of my close friends does much the same too, and I’m going to make it a point to recommend them this book. πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™ PS The way to combat the zoom lens is to engage with the wide angle lens of your Confident Self.
:iloveyouplz:

13. p. 87 speaks about the concept of yes, knowing our limitations is important, and that also recognizing all of our “tallcomings” is just as important to get a clearer picture of who we are: to others and to ourselves. Finding ways to love ourselves and respect ourselves as much as we show and respect others is so crucial. I think I still seek a lot of praise, attention and validation from other people so I could really relate to this bit and I want to return and enhance my experiences of providing myself my own validation, care and praise and doing this in the fashion of: “by me, for me, from me.” πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸŒˆβ˜€ The way I’ll do this is by writing lists, cards and journal entries to myself along with scripts (for scripts: I really want to do a lot more writing exercises regarding roleplays for work issues I have as well as just practicing visualizations and fanfic based stuff).

14. “[this] shows us that we can transform our lives into meaningful life experiences, no matter how horrendous the circumstances” — Robinson, 2009, p. 108

For me, on 2/16/21 I wrote down on my page flag that I had an art idea for watercoloring/drawing of this concept regarding transformation and meaning-making and purpose. I’m thinking a butterfly with a rainbow/rainbows in the background of it. Something I can do in my sketchbook, or at worst a watercolor based paper that I got before from Target. πŸ˜πŸ™‚

15. p. 126 There’s talk about how avoidant and perfectionistic ego parts were getting in the way of someone’s experiences because they were inevitably trying to protect her from a fear of failure that she had carried with her from childhood and I thought it was SO relatable to me. Way back when, in college, I had fears of failure and fears of success and I think this might be an insight into how they are still acting in my life today in more shielded and masked ways. So yeah, I definitely struggle with those two issues of avoidance spawning from perfectionism and finding that key could prove super vital for me going forwards in time as well. This book gave me a LOT of insight into myself and that was partially because I took the initiative to look into these matters myself and that I didn’t just stay complacent and bored with where the matters circled old thoughts, patterns and my awareness levels or even levels of my subconscious. So, if that’s not clear, I don’t know what ever will be. It’s taken a LOT of work just to write this post but hopefully it was worth it all, all the hours and the listening to music and the flow and the information and the pictures and descriptions. It was a lot. But I got a lot out of it, too. If you can tackle this book yourself in some of the same ways I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of it yourself, too.

16. I really appreciated, in the Harmony chapter (p. 127), this idea that tackling something I haven’t worked on in even the smallest of ways or challenging myself in a small way each day was particularly impactful. It suggests things like even taking a different route home from work. For me, that’s going to prove to be cooking at work and at home with the proper amount of support and feedback and handling more meds/MAP based principles, too. It reminded me that not everyone has everything figured out and we can always find more ways to improve ourselves and it’s okay to ask for help and get support in these matters because we’re not alone!! ❣❣❣

17. I also liked the reframe on page 161 (The Practice of the Vacuum) that an example person forgave her husband and her best friend for having an affair and running off together leaving her behind as not an act of forgiveness for them but for her own peace of mind and her own self. It was a compassionate act for her to give herself, rather than to absolve them of what they did to her (they were no longer in the picture in her life but she was still holding onto resentments). So I think that was an important thing to note here as well.

18. “I release, one by one, all the upsetting thoughts and feelings that I have carried and that have weighed heavily on my mind and heart. I wish you no harm. I bury the hatchet once and for all and set myself free. As these burdens lift, I am open to receiving life’s blessings in this empty space”

Robinson, 2009, p. 170

What I really liked about this quote above is that it is a great exercise in accepting forgiveness’s and letting go once and for all in an effort not unlike radical acceptance in DBT. It’s just this really nice, kind and compassionate/caring act for one’s self and a nice reframe to otherwise difficult situations. Not returning to the hatchet in any way and finding more creative or artistic ways to identify and explore these parts is also critical and poignant.

19. Art Idea #1 from Feb. 18th 2021 on p. 187 regarding radiating positivity, a person in a triumphant position with light and sparkles surrounding them as a nice homage to my slogan “[survivors] radiating badassery”

20. The conclusion of this book ends with that 5 part poem about falling in a hole and I can’t recall if it was this poem or a similar one about falling in a hole and someone coming by to fall in too and help the narrator out, but it was super awesome to see it or similar things again and I really loved that it was included in this book!!! I can relate to being in Chapter 3 with the trich right now. It’s the “Autobiography” poem by Portia Nelson.


THINGS THAT I DISAGREED WITH OR DIDN’T SIT RIGHT WITH ME:

In terms of the trigger warning I placed for this book, there were a small handful of instances where more severe mental health conditions were painted as things that they’re not, in the sense that depression is something EVERYONE experiences which just isn’t true as a condition (if we’re talking sadness or low mood, then yes that’s different) but that’s not how it was worded initially. On top of that, things like “no one worries 100% of the time”, eh, maybe, but what about people with a severe anxiety disorder? Is that still the same then? I’m not sure. Additionally, there’s this “making friends” notion between the parts inside of the Reader on p. 27 which I think the INTENTION was to accept the difficulties of the parts (for instance, anger or it even mentions depression specifically) and allow them space for a while and then move on forwards with a more informed and cognitively aware Confident Self, however, it came across to me as more like “make friends” with the conditions which could be really dangerous because sometimes, in my experiences, when I made friends with OCD and depression, things like treatment, treatment teams, medications, behavioral changes etc. felt threatened and I felt like it had been Us Against the World and it’s not like those conditions really had my best interests at heart (read: harm and death). Like, they would have done everything and anything to make me go down with them so I just think this has to be worded more carefully. No one’s fault really. Just… it’s tricky.


MY EXPERIENCE: WHAT KEPT ME READING; THE BOOK’S IMPACT ON ME….

Even when I started reading this book, it was hard hitting with spitting facts and making me existentially aware of myself, my surroundings and what I’d be expecting to get out of this read (which I could never have properly expected, I realize now). It was emotional but necessary. And it made me realize I was in it for the long haul–through the ups and the downs and the procrastinating, avoiding and eventual returning to it to finish it off. Man, it was a journey. It was an experience.

There was an awareness by the author in the very beginning of the book where he realized that what the Reader would take away from his book could have so many endless possibilities and existences because we’re working from our own unique Perspective and what we already think, believe and interact/act/react with the world around us. So, I found that to be pretty refreshing and an interesting point of view to state from the get-go.

I did appreciate the push towards proactive/active practitioner in this book versus being a passive life experiencer. Meaning, taking charge of your experiences in life and choosing to plow forwards by identifying the limiting thoughts, beliefs, emotions and behaviors that are holding you back in life and preventing you from living the way you want to live (Confident-Led). That, I found, was refreshing. My favorite all time chapter was the one on Empowerment (with Optimism as a close second!!). I LOVED and LIVED for that chapter, (Empowerment) ahaha. More on that soon.

So, there was also a really meaningful and profound moment that I had on p. 82 (and it’s now a new day that I’m writing so I’ve been flickering between which section to place this thought but….) it talks about this concept that sometimes we, as people, get caught up in looking ahead to future experiences that we forget or dismiss what it is happening RIGHT NOW. So, in this example the author talks about a colleague he had that loved long, summer days and on the longest day of summer, he asked her how she must be so happy and she said that she was so sad thinking of the fact that all the days ahead were going to be so short (Robinson, 2009). That was SUPER relatable for me because I’ve been doing a LOT of that lately in my life. I keep putting down milestones in the days ahead of me: so like, yesterday (Friday) I had a doctor’s appointment and it’s what I wanted to get done and rush through it each day before then I looked towards that appointment and then when it was there I was busy thinking about how I was feeling physically, mentally and looking towards the next thing I had upcoming. So like, even with work tomorrow (Sunday), I’m thinking of wanting to rush to get through that experience so that the next thing I have to do on Monday, hopefully, will be going up to the library to return this book and another one ((it’s now Monday so I’ll actually be doing this on Wednesday instead)) and then once that experience is there and happening, I’ll be too busy focusing on the next thing. I’m just NOT being mindful and patient with the experiences in my life and I’d really, really like to work on that and just get back to the present moment. So, there’s that. I think I got really good at distracting myself which can be great but also a slippery slope into avoidance and over-distraction, if that makes sense.

Like, I can learn how to enjoy this moment or take just a second to ground myself and be okay with what is happening or at least accepting of it. Something that I did when I filmed a video about my book thought challenges list was encountering the absurdity and unfathomable notion that I’d read a book just to read it (not to review it here) or stop reading a book if I don’t like it (not finishing it) and I was SO animated about that process that I was actually able to let go a little bit and start reading a book I’ve had for YEARS on mindfulness and challenge myself in that way to just be in the moment, listen to ambient noise and read through it little by little. It was REALLY great and I gave myself time for just me for like 15 mins and it was SO refreshing and I’ve been able to consult it a couple times since so yeah, it was a really great milestone and achievement. So basically I have to work on enjoyment of the moment and being in it as much as possible. A stroke of progress for sure.

Another thing that really struck me was from the chapter on Empowerment on page 108 where Robinson, 2009 talks about how everyone in life is faced with challenges, some small ones and some seismic ones and how we choose to respond to them was up to us and it was very much possible to turn obstacles into opportunities and it reminded me a lot of my fiction novel and the other ideas, dreams and aspirations I have in my life so that was really wonderful and cool and something I wanted to share with you guys. ❀❀❀

Personally, I found a lot of inspiration and guidance in the Empowerment chapter, where Robinson details how it’s the work of a survivor that transforms their suffering and hardships into meaningful experiences via shifting their views of life’s challenges into lessons from which they can grow and learn about their Confident Selves (Robinson, 2009, p. 109). This in particular also reminded me of my fanfics and that was really refreshing at the time. :] As another example from this chapter:

“When life’s adversities come your way–as they surely will from time to time–perhaps you can be reminded to look for meaning, strength and growth in how you face and cope with hardships. Cosmic slaps are not choices; how you handle them is a choice. You can take the ‘cosmic taps’–those everyday challenges that are much smaller in scale than devastation–and rework them to your advantage. Finding the gains in your losses will help you lead your life with confidence”

— Robinson, 2009, p. 111

The above quote gave me another wonderful round of ideas for groups at work and I just love the way it was written and how that perspective of optimism and seeing the greatness in all the shittiness of life was just so relatable and inspiring. It also highlights the choices the Reader can regard and recall for themselves and I think that is so, so powerful.

There is also a cool visualization exercise for meditation and imagining positive experiences coming out of p. 155 that is noteworthy to mention. It’s a meditation to envision some good fortune happening and noticing any parts that come up and then moving forward as though all the endless possibilities did physically occur and repeating to yourself that I am experiencing X thing etc. Just thought I’d mention it. β˜€β˜€

Something I really want to end with as a highlight from this book is this extraordinary instance that I’ve had to manhandle into my life recently as well….

“[Claire’s envy] was eclipsing her Confident Self because the good fortunes of others were reminders of Claire’s own inner unhappiness and lack of confidence. Until she could celebrate the good fortunes of others, Claire was blind to her own gifts…Envying what others have can keep you from seeing your own blessings and prevent you from realizing that you have other gifts that they don’t”

Robinson, 2009, p. 196

The reason I want to highlight this is because it’s relevant to some experience I’ve currently have with work relationships at Amaryllis and with a friend of mine moving out on their own. I can get threatened by other people improving and doing really well at work and it’s something I have to keep an eye out for more. With my friend, I was super jealous at first that they were moving out because I thought I should be the one doing that and I’m not even at that stage yet. However, I’ve challenged this like it describes here that participating in other people’s joys helps you to feel and experience those joys as well, and like the above quote, I do have other achievements I’ve made since being friends with this person that maybe they haven’t managed just yet on their own (and that that’s okay and we can each celebrate our differences and where we’re going in life!). There’s also this secondary quote in the next paragraph that says “Confidence comes from being grateful for what you have–not from wanting what others have”. So, yeah, this really stuck out for me and I wound up deciding I could give my friend some house warming gifts so I’ve compiled together objects regarding that all from TJ Maxx and it was very exciting and I can’t wait to give it to them and share that with them. Things are definitely a work in progress; and I’m proud of me!!! πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€©

Something else I’d like to put together more is writing out roleplay scenes for work and creating writing exercises and listening to meditations and doing those visualization exercises so that is something else I am carrying with me from having read this book and done so much dabbling in it and everything. (And I’m challenging my all or nothing tonight by setting aside the Editing Process of this post for the next day (sorta) to give myself a break and maintain my own sanity ahaha).


TRACKING DATES I READ THE BOOK:

11.16.2020; 1.7.2021; 1.13; 1.15; 2.15; 2.16; 2.17; 2.18.21

TRACKING DATES I WROTE THIS POST:

2.18.2021, 2.19, 2.20, (took a break completely on 2/21), returned 2/22 to edit and post. :))

GOSH, THAT WAS SOOOOOO MUCH.

Thank you ENDLESSLY for anyone who made it THIS far into the post. You’re so AWESOME and you deserve all the good things in the world. I am definitely gong to leave the editing process up to myself for Sunday evening Monday evening because I gave myself an even larger break from Sunday rather than trying to squish it all in on Saturday because honestly I’m tired of looking at this screen and fumbling with my spellings repeatedly. I need a break ahaha. Just some time to myself, which I’ll be taking very shortly. Maybe I can try and download two or three new songs because I’m gonna NEED them tomorrow.

Welp, that’s all I got. Thank you so much and I hope that this post was interesting for you and at the end of the day…. FAREWELL. I will see you guys VERY soon. I’ll be doing a few other reviews and then most likely scheduling some posts. πŸ˜œπŸ’™πŸ’™

PS Books referred to in this main text that I do want to check out some time…

  • Pema Chodron, 1997 “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
  • Viktor Frankl, 2006, “Man’s Search for Meaning”
  • Shakti Gawain, 2002, “Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Life”
  • Eckhart Tolle, 2004, “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment”
  • Eckhart Tolle, 2005, “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose”

I’m So Done. (Vent)

Honestly, I could have used this already in my last post–which has been an unbelievable 2 months ago–but I don’t care and I’m going to use it here anyways.

Hi.

It’s… been a while.

I’ve worked on a few book reviews in the months of Nov. mostly but it’s January 2021, a whole new year now, and I just need to find a place to write out my thoughts and work through my feelings and since a fanfic chapter wouldn’t work, here I am.

Returning to my roots.

I just need some space. That’s all.

And then I’ll try and handle everything else.

So, it’s been a while.

I don’t remember what my last post was. I don’t even really care right now either. I’ve had a helluva day and I’d like it to be over very soon. I’ve been more active on my Youtube channel, I attempted a Vlogmas 2020 but that kinda fell flat although I have plenty of footage from trying so that’s something. I posted a video last like two weeks ago, I think. I have more to work on and edit and handle soon. But as with everything in my life these days: I tackle one small thing and thirty others that I’ve been avoiding reappear and pop back up and I’m in a sliding scale of trying to maintain my sanity and my head on a level front and I just… I can’t.

And I don’t know where to go from here.

I’m just so lost, and lazy, and sad, and confused. My headphones jack wasn’t working on my new laptop so that was a hell of a 15 mins of trying to reconfigure that. I tried to install my second–third? Does having Windows Movie Maker built into my old laptop count?–video editing software back on Sun (or was it Sat?) and that blew up in my face and didn’t work because I’ve lost the serial number somewhere and I can’t work with the program. So, that sucked. I’m still only able to edit on WMM on my old laptop. And if that stops working? I’m basically fucked. I haven’t tried Pinnacle yet so I will do that next. But not today. I can’t handle one more letdown.

I managed to do some laundry which I’m glad about. I just have to toss them into the dryer now. I was trying to fix my bed because my Mom’s been complaining about it and made me aware of how much I’ve been avoiding it the past few months but somewhere in the middle of trying to fix it, I lost 1/4 of the space I had due to my pillows, (I almost said planets, ahaha), blankets, pajamas and toys. So that REALLY pissed me off. I tried to listen to music and the washer has been having problems. My ankle hurts today, I don’t know why, it didn’t before, but since 4:45p it was hurting and it hasn’t stopped. Maybe I twirled it wrong trying to crack it. It still hurts. But I was SO close to kicking with a socked foot the washer machine ’cause I was angry and all but I managed to not do that, luckily. Probably would have broken something. I listened to music instead and then I used opposite action and rubbed and talked to my doggo, Mokeys. That helped a lot.

Then the headphone jack happened. That was annoying. Luckily I managed to fix it (the sound was only coming out of the laptop’s speakers and not on my connected headphones)–I fiddled with it from a Google search and then default and disabling functions from speaker to headphones. Luckily it’s okay again. There is some hope yet that it won’t be a further issue in the future.

I fell asleep at 7:30p last night. I woke up at 4:30a today. I was up for two hours. I got together my laundry clothes and played Animal Crossing on the Switch. I woke again at 10a and tried to uncover the reasons for why my memory is so shit now and why and how I can be so distracted and all the things I had to do, spoke to my Mom and felt more overwhelmed and somewhat invalidated here and there and just worried about work and how I’ve been struggling in that realm even–mixing up rules and being too lazy there to do certain things, my difficulties with it, how to fix it or where to even start–and then I fell asleep a little again and was a little late to my saliva COVID-19 test. But I got there and it was okay. I got more gas for my car and the check engine light is permanently on but apparently it’s just from a misfiring connection from under the seat so it’s okay for now. I had work on Sun (as well as Th and Fri for the holidays) and it was a HARD shift. I had a day off and now tomorrow I have another work night. I hope it will go better. I don’t really believe in it that strongly though.

I’m just tired. I’m so tired of my bullshit and I’m just disappointed. I just want to coast by on my little irreparable boat and not have to worry about one thing or another. Like, why can’t I just coast for a while? I’m so tired. I just want it all to stop, for a little while. A break. Something nice. A reprieve. A small vacation.

I’m supposed to be working up to 3 days a week soon and I’m kinda dreading it right now. I’m just so burntout in life and I don’t know how to fix it. I’ve been sad, I’ve been worried, I’ve been rage-induced the last two days, I’d like to just be okay. That’s all I’m asking for.

Someone on third shift tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday evening so the whole cottage (there’s only 5 kids right now though) is under quarantine. Which means we can’t be bringing the kids to the gym or the computer lab so they’re all kinda cooped up in the cottage and we can only be outside the front if no one else is. The kids all have to get tested too. It’s kinda a mess. We’re gonna be in that for at least 10 days, I think that’s the new–next?–quarantine mission.

I feel a little better now. Listening to music and just getting it out somewhere. I really do have posts I can work on and everything, I just have been severely avoiding it all and procrastinating with Youtube a lot, filming or editing some videos here and there, being busy in general, picking up more holidays for Amaryllis, managing to write for SOME fanfic here and there and just rinse and repeat for the last two months.

I don’t know what I need exactly. I would like to listen to “Hold On” by Chord Overstreet but it’s not on the laptop. Maybe I will plop it in….

Ooop, I discovered some extra level bullshit: my headphones are in use and the music on Youtube just played through my speakers instead. Fuuuuuuuck. Maybe my whole “fixing” things didn’t actually. Great. Awesome. Wonderful. Why would it? πŸ˜«πŸ˜£πŸ˜‘

I’ve listened to music so much today that now it all feels stale and boring. πŸ€”

I have been painting a lot more lately. I’ve been using those glitter explosion paints and really falling in love with them. I’ve done some wood and some coloring pages from my hygge book actually. I’ve had some photos up on Twitter. Honestly, I think that’s about all from me for now. I have to just slingshot my way into (that JUST reminded me: I have to get a new slingshot in ACNH but I think the store closes at 8p, Nook’s Cranny, unless it might be 10p…hmm) other tasks, as per usual. I’m tired but keep getting back up anyways. It’s a never ending cycle.

But I guess that’s life.

So here’s hoping I can write some more fanfic soon. Reread things. Read some BOOKS. Do some reviews. Watch some movies and MCU movies. Write more fanfic. Challenge avoidances and procrastination. Go to work. Manage my moods. Do all my therapy homework. Enjoy my massage. Practice for my presentation. And enjoy a few more days off.

We’ll see.

I’ll try not to be gone for two months again. 😊

Thank you for reading what I wrote. I’ll try my best. That’s all I can manage right now. Say hello or tell me how you’re doing (really doing) in the comments and I’ll answer them as soon as I’m able to. Stay safe and take care during this whole pandemic thing.

xxxx

πŸ’œπŸ’™πŸ’šπŸ€πŸ–€πŸ’–

PS I am safe by the way. Other than a few instances where I could have self-harmed, thought about it, considered it, saw it in my mind (the washer and scratching) I did not do them. I won’t do them either. I know where to get help when I need it. I just needed a place to spew it all out for now. And this served its function. I genuinely do feel better now, at least better than when I began, which is a whole other thing I could talk about (mixed signals, not getting satisfying amounts of help, interpersonal effectiveness, friends who are actually there when I need them and not just when they say they will be and just vanish otherwise etc.) but for now it has to be enough. I need to move on. So, I’m going to. Safe, safe, safe. Just don’t always feel that way. πŸ’”πŸ€πŸ–€

Farewell To the Old Me; Finding My Way Through, Free.



Post Written: October 26.2020

Sometimes when we reach new places we’ve never been to before, we are able to notice how we would have reacted in the past had it happened to us then. Sometimes we’re able to see that how we’re reacting now is different to then. Sometimes we’re able to understand we want to go backwards, to regress, rather than progress further forwards.

Sometimes the battle we are fighting is within our own worlds. Our perceptions, our interpretations, our urges.

Sometimes I get stuck like that, too. Sometimes I see things happening that aren’t the greatest but that my brain interprets as being desirable. Sometimes my Ill Mind wants things for me that I would never want for me again.

It’s all a part of life and the cost of living in this life. Sometimes we want things that aren’t good for us–unhealthy ways of getting attention, junk food, drug substances, disordered behaviors, and more. Sometimes even when we can rationalize how much they aren’t good for us, we still find ourselves wanting it regardless.

That’s surely happened to me before and I’m almost certain it’s happened to you too.

So for now, in this space, I’d like to talk about my own experiences with that lately in as open and candid as a place of any. This is my safe space. It’s also a very public place–and it’s also where I feel most comfortable. I’d like to discuss some struggles I’ve been facing lately and how I’ve handled them well along with the times where I’ve deeply struggled.

Because I believe the story matters. I believe that my voice is worth sharing and I believe that living in my truth holds more power over my experiences and the narrative I wish to convey to the world, to my friends, to my family and to my peeps that is necessary and dare I say, vital, in situations such as these, in perspectives such as mine, even when there’s an intense and detrimental pandemic occurring in the world and a political system within America that’s horrid and unimaginable and makes it feel like we’ve been living in a reality TV show for the last four years. Regardless of ALL of this, my situation still exists and I am still valid in my feelings. The World of 2020 has been falling apart and it’s been very close to The End of Days and right now is as important and crucial as a time to discuss the topics of mental health, mental health conditions and recovery processes. So, here’s a part of my story and what I’ve been dealing with lately and at the end, I hope you’ll have taken something away from my rambles. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll reflect on some of your own struggles. And maybe you’ll leave this post with a newfound sense of how you can pave over your problems going forwards. And if the cards lie just right, maybe you’ll even add a word or two of your own thoughts down below. Whatever you’re comfortable sharing, of course. So… let’s begin…

Β 

“We must bring our own light to the darkness…”

(Nobody is going to do it for us.) — Charles Bukowski

I got caught up in trying to find a quote for the above section but what I’d like to talk about here involves the concept narrated above:

How do we become our own light within the shadows of darkness that surrounds each of us at night? How do we choose to be brighter and better than our previous selves the day before? How do we choose to not compare against each other and instead focus on shining our brightest, appreciating our differences and head into the battle ahead with as clear a mind as possible, knowing we’re worth it and we’re able to overcome this fight? How do we get to rely on ourselves instead of looking for attention and validation from others?

Β 

These are a lot of questions and I think the important thing to be reminded about life is that…. we don’t have all the answers. Look towards science and modern medicine, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the brain and what it does and how it does what it does. We barely know about the universe that surrounds our tiny little planet, the solar system that exists, how the world began to begin with and if there are or aren’t any other creatures out there for us to interact with (which would be pretty scary!). Hell, we don’t know how to even live amongst ourselves peacefully.

So, it’s okay to not know. Life is a giant puzzle and its purpose lies in being uncomfortable and living DESPITE–no, WITH–that which is uncomfortable. A lot of stuff that life throws at us, wasn’t something that we asked for. We usually don’t get a say in what thing it is we struggle with.

Yet how we react to things life throws our way… that, that is within our control.

We can’t control much but ourselves. We learn, particularly those facing illnesses either mental or physical, that self-care isn’t selfish. Self-care is crucial and critical for existing in life. Having balanced meals, getting enough sleep, taking care of physical (and mental) illnesses, spending socialization time with other individuals (and pets!) as well as having a few other things like hobbies, roles in society, a career, an education, and more. We live, we grow, we age, we die.

We procreate, we find love, we make friends, we make enemies. People like us. People don’t. Some people can’t stand us. Most people project their issues onto other people. We fight, we argue, we struggle, we survive. We are warriors. Some in quite a literal fashion.

We are human.

And being human isn’t something to be ashamed of.

We all have emotions–mostly. We all have preferences and habits and crave interaction with one another. We all need attention. We all need love and care and nice things. We all depend on one another, we are inter-connected. We are human. We will face adversity, sometimes a lot, sometimes not as much, but we will all lose something some day and we will all perish just the same.

But what does this have to do with anything?

You’re right, I got a little sidetracked (such is my attention span for today). What I mean to say, what the point of me saying all these things to begin with, is that life is an uncomfortable phase. Life throws things our way that we weren’t expecting or anticipating or were prepared to deal with.

And still, if we want to get the most out of life, we have to find a way to alight our own flame. While it is absolutely imperative to ask for help when you need it, you also need to learn how to be there for yourself.

You’re the only you there’s ever going to be.

You’re the only you always with you.

No one can live your life for you. They can try, they can help, they can enable you but your life is ultimately your choice. Whether you choose to go down into the dark chasms or instead hike up the next hill and the next and the one after that–that’s your choice. That’s within your control. You didn’t choose to have to go up or down, but the up or down IS your choice. You didn’t prepare the map but what you do with it is your own.

Emotion regulation, your ability to soothe yourself, handle yourself, handle your problems and knowing when and where to get help when you need it, those are all critical and necessary tools for surviving. A friend and a loved one can point you in the right direction. They can be there to hold signs and vigils in your honor. Whether you choose to follow or flee is up to you. No one else can make that decision for you.

We all need to learn how to be there for ourselves. ‘Cause we can be there for others but others won’t always be there for us.

But we are.

We are always with ourselves. It’s the one vessel that will withstand all the hell and all the light. It’s important, as humans that evolve and change and grow, to find healthy avenues and know the differences between unhealthy avenues. It’s important, as healthy humans to control and withstand ourselves. When we feel things, we need to have plans on how to handle them. When we are stuck in the darkness, instead of looking for everyone else’s lights, we need to learn how to ignite our own.

Because this light, this life within us now, is the only light and life we’re given. And it will burn out. One day. Somehow. It will. And what we got to do with it, that’s the only thing truly up to us.

Β 

“I am enough.”

Let me move away from the “you”‘s and the “we’s” because I’ve done a lot of that so far. Let me start with where I am at. And that’s in this moment.

I am enough.

It’s such a complex yet simple notion.

I am enough.

I am enough to handle my own circumstances, my own life. Just like with the light, my own light is enough to wash over the road ahead of me. I don’t rely on other people’s lights to guide me home because I know, deep down, that all I need is my own.

Yeah, that’s a pretty lonely road if I only look at it from that angle, but who makes the rules in my reality?

Me!

So if I don’t like what I see, then I can change it. Why not, right?

The big thing I want to talk about here is being able to validate myself. Because a lot of the time I get this idea in my head that I need other people’s validation or praise or attention rather than my own. And yes, that’s nice and it’s needed sometimes too. But I need to learn, in this next new phase of my life, how to be there FOR me, BY me. If I’m going to be the only one in it from start to finish, I better start liking myself, ahaha. Excluding when I need outsider’s influences–like their input, their support, their conversation–I can learn how to validate myself by validating others.

If my friend were struggling with my struggles, what would I say to them? How would I put myself in their shoes? What would I say? Act? Show? Now what if it were me, what would I say, act or show to myself? Maybe once I start to see the rules I make for myself, the cognitive distortions I fall into, the old traps and cycles that my brain easily confines for me, maybe after all of that, I’ll find a way to be there for me–I’ll find a way to be ENOUGH for ME.

That brings me back around to the main topic of this post. I know, I know, it’s been scattered through this and I thank you immensely for continuing to read if you HAVE read this far. I’m sure the Editing Version of Me will have some fun with this post ahaha. But I want to talk about that validation piece again–I want to paint a picture to what started this moment for me in general and that involves the dreaded word:

ATTENTION.

Remember at the start I was talking about the fork in the road between regression and progression? Yes, well, attention has a big play to do with my experiences thus far.

When I was at my worst, I often sought attention online (as well as in person, I think is fair to say). But it was unhealthy, every time I did it, it was unhealthy. Because:

the Internet is not an appropriate crisis space.

This, of course, is excluding the actual places online that ARE designed as crisis spaces. But the reason I say this is twofold:

  1. It truly isn’t a good idea to place intimate, vulnerable thoughts into a space where it can be taken advantage of, manipulated, tossed into a void or come back to bite you later (the Internet is forever of course, and yes, I see the immense irony or hypocrisy for this notion to exist within this own post, however, I’ve accepted my position far in the past for this type of situation.)
  2. Not everyone is going to know what to do, what to say or how to properly and healthily identify what to do in that given situation. Not everyone is going to respond well, not everyone is going to respond at all, not everyone will be kind, some people may instigate further, some people will just have different opinions, some people will speak their mind or some people won’t have anything to say, to add, to note, to express.

And that, when used in crisis, the Internet that is, can be deadly. It’s certainly dangerous.

And it’s not ultimately, entirely, other people’s responsibilities. It’s asking too much from the Internet, in many ways. Yes, the Internet is changing somewhat and there are definitely amazing, great and compassionate individuals and places on the Internet, however it is also dangerous, unsafe and crippling in other places (or within other people).

So wanting more views, wanting more comments, wanting more of that attention, more of that vocalization, more of that validation, more of that pick me up, more and more and more–it’s all a culmination to a potentially very bad outcome.

This is where balance comes into play. This is where being enough for myself comes into play. This is where I recognize I need to take an Internet break. Because as always:

“No thing and no one is worth being suicidal over.”

— Me, from an article speaking on my codependency to luna, ~fall 2018.

And that’s where regression can happen. Or, recovery progression.

So what happened was I saw or found out about someone online who confessed they were in a difficult spot and wanted a certain type of reaction out of the Internet. In response, their story, their life, kinda blew up in a very positive fashion.

And it made me SO envious. Like I was legit pissed off.

Because that hasn’t been my type of experiences.

But WHY do I want it to be? And hasn’t it? In some ways, by some friends, hasn’t it been?

So I wondered for a moment or two in that sea of anger and envy, I wondered why they had such pleasant experiences when in the past when I’ve done the same, I’ve gotten a small handful of responses or (more often) an echo of long, long silence.

And this ultimately means to me that I’ve been searching for attention and praise where it’s not the healthiest place for it. So I learn that I need to validate myself more. I need to check in with myself more than I am. I need to recognize what is cognitive distortions and when it is that I’m not practicing as much gratitude as I could be and then re-evaluate the way I’m interacting with the world around me–online and off.

Because validation is very easy to become unhealthy with. And I really don’t necessarily need it from other people or at least not in the same way that I once sought for it.

This means, to me, that I need to find ways to boost my projects, my life and my endeavors in a healthy manner that doesn’t rely on how many views it gets or how many people interact with it or even just analyzing what it is I’m hoping to get out of things that I put out on blast. And then maybe, maybe one day I’ll get picked up and maybe I’ll have a few other people to interact with more than I do now, but gratitude will be a good thing for me to practice more too as well as checking the facts and providing my own light for no one else but myself (and then by extension in living my truth and my authentic life, it will burn brightly for other people, too).

Because I have to ask myself: do I want attention for the hell I’ve been through or the growth I’ve made because of it? Do I want attention for who I am rather than what I’ve been through? And which direction is most sustainable?

I know I have a lot left to learn and to experience. I know I have a voice worth sharing and a story left to be told. I know there is so much more I want to do with my life and it doesn’t all have to be about mental health. I know that my identity extends beyond this plane of field and that I can work on getting there each and every day, every moment, and that sometimes I will succeed and sometimes I will fail and it’s in making mistakes that I will learn and grow. It’s within the darkness that I will find my light. It is within the night that I will find my day. The world is a presence of constant dualities and constant instances to try and do better, be better and improve.

I know I’m so much more mature than I was just a few years ago and I know that my happiness and my love for life and light these days is so immeasurably wonderful and not ever something I’d want to trade for a little bit of attention that’s not going to affect my life more than anything else. I, of course, like praise just as the next person, but it’s not my lifeline or my blood or my air. It’s … a bonus.

I have to understand why I create and for what purpose I am sharing it. With time, everything else will follow.

But for now, it’s time to Edit. It’s been a good hour and a half of full-on writing and I’d like to take a break and do something else for a bit. So, thank you for reading and for sticking with me. I really, really appreciate that.

It’s somewhere in the process of breathing and living for myself that I find the most freedom. The ability to be as gracious and thankful as I am able to be now isn’t something I could have ever positively imagined for myself two to three years ago. My stability is amazing and my ability to self-regulate has improved immensely. There are things in my life that I’ve excelled at recently that I’ll lightly touch on here: things like doing ERPs from support groups on OCD; getting certifications for work that seemed daunting and unavoidable (MAP); working more at my job Amaryllis; facing safety issues from youth and exceeding at not getting triggered (and yeah, so I got triggered from a support group but I’m gonna handle it and I’m gonna be okay again, I just need a little bit more time) and other moments that would have crippled me years before are now mere blips in the timeline.

I know that I can use this triggered moment to take a deep breath, then two, then five. I can mindfully listen to music that’s playing on my iPod and work on grounding myself. I can eat some cold ice cream with some yummy pound cake and treat myself WELL and doing the opposite of what’s in my brain because fuck OCD!! So yes, I can manage this, I can use this moment to self-regulate and deal with it with maybe a couple rant-y tweets online ahaha. I’ll even watch some “Kitchen Nightmares” episodes, that would be nice (I’ve been off Youtube ALL day!!!). So yes, I have plans: they include tweeting some more, coughing a bit (I’m getting over a cold), maybe re-reading some fanfic, tracking what I need to track, reading a book, playing Animal Crossing on my Switch, etc. I’ve got this. And I know now that I can believe in that answer, even with all the emotions that FEEL, only feel, otherwise. I am my own hero. I am my own savior. ❀

Thank you so much for reading. If you have the time, you can leave me your thoughts down below. Or don’t, because after all, at the start of the day and at the end of the night, as always, I am (and you are) enough.

❀ ❀ ❀


Background Music to this post: Shuffled playlist; “People Like Us” by Kelly Clarkson and “I am Enough” by Cimorelli; “Wolves” by Emma Blackery.

Time length: 6p – 7:15p EST; 8:45p – 9:30p

“Hero” (2013) | Book Review (Sep. 2020)


Chosen Book:

“Hero” (2013) by Rhonda Byrne

Part of “The Secret” series.Β 


Trigger Warnings:

None!


Themes:

Hero, “the hero’s journey”, maps, guidance, inspiration, compass, advocacy, stories, aspirations, advice, worldwide, global, dreams, belief, how to get there, perseverance, pursuit, visualization, hope, graphic design, art, expectations, potential, encouragement, success, self-worth, self-esteem.


General Layout/Information Delivery:

This book is uniquely defined in a way that I haven’t seen any other book do before. This book follows twelve incredible human beings and their successes in businesses and life and finding meaning in their struggles along with advice for the reader to understand and grapple with, to become inspired and searching for their own dream either locked away or uncovered again from within their soul. The book has this beautiful aged paper look to it and it communicates wisdom and power just by the look of it, let alone the words of hope and help that are bound into it to begin with. Each “hero” is determined by a relating graphic design that appears beside their name as they add in quotes or sharing their own lived experiences about various parts of the “hero’s journey”. The separate but continued parts of the story are comprised of hotly orange, yellow and red landscapes and each chapter has the title at the right with the introduction to the chapter below in text and to the left, the area of the map and title with a red flag to mark where the hero is upon their journey. There are trees, mountains and often bodies of water. It makes for a book interactive and intuitive along with being aesthetically pleasing and inspiring.

I also happened to find the art not too overwhelming or distracting and I really quite appreciated that notion. πŸ™‚


Summary:

Following the advice and wisdom of every hero’s journey along with Rhonda’s interpretations and spirit through each page and paragraph, comes alive a book about dreams and making them a reality that I have not encountered before in my life. It wasn’t without issues, of course, because at the beginning of this book I felt their notions of optimism and faith to be forced and pretentious in some respects, I found it to be a little annoying and seemed like it was trying too hard to be uplifting and inspiring without putting in the work yet to show me that it was uplifting and inspiring. I’m glad I stuck it out though because eventually I fell in love with the book and I’m grateful to have read it and have the opportunity to properly review it on here. ❀ πŸ™‚

Additionally, “The Secret” is a widely acclaimed international film that made strides and leaps in bounds in hundreds of ways. Although I would have liked some type of explanation to what the film was, what it was about, even just a small blurb about it, we never get that from this book. There is apparently a book about the film out in existence as well as two other books in the series. Personally, this is the FIRST time I’ve ever come across this information so I have purely NO opinion or formulated thought about this series, the books or the film and I would have appreciated some introduction or blurb about anything on the material, but alas, I never received this. It does make me wary and also grateful that I can go forwards into this topic further without preconceived notions or judgments. πŸ™‚

Overall this is a great book to read if you’re looking for inspiration and wisdom and guidance based on other people’s successes and how they made their dreams come alive like never before. The book really doesn’t cover any triggers so it’s safe in that respect, as well! I think a lot of people could get an excellent benefit from this book if they took the time to read it. πŸ™‚

Keep reading this review to check out my thoughts on this book and how I interacted with it as well as some pieces I thought could have been better defined or explored.


Book Length:

227 pages


Recommendation Score:

4/5

accomplished dreams


Outstanding Quotes with My Commentary:

  1. “You might think ‘I’ve got time to follow my dreams.’ You don’t have time. Life is short. The current life expectancy is more or less 24,869 days. You do not have time to put off your dreams” — Byrne, 2013, p. 31

I found this quote to be particularly: necessary, anxiety provoking, important, true, crucial and terrifying. :O

2. “Realizing that no one else is going to make your dreams come true is a big step. Your boss, friends, partner, family cannot live your life for you. You are responsible for creating a life that makes you happy and fulfilled” — Byrne, 2013, p. 32

I really felt this quote and it reminds me once again how other people can’t exactly write a story or a fanfic in the same avenue that I am–not to say I’m particularly unique but that the plot, the way it happens, the details there, come from my head and while they can be influenced by my life and others, no one can replicate it in the exact same way that I do. So, if I passed on before I could get everything I wanted out in the world, people left behind could try and piece it together but it would never be quite “me”, you know? No one can live my life for me besides me. No one can make my dreams come true besides me. I have to live and live the way I know how. The rest will come into play later. ❀ πŸ™‚ I definitely find quite a bit of truth and wisdom in this quote.

3. “We can’t take material things with us [when we pass on] because they are not who we are; while they are part of the joy of living on earth, they are not the purpose of our life” — Byrne, 2013, p. 37

I thought this was an incredible, poignant and resounding quote to read. Just, wow. I think a lot of us could use this reminder in our lives. I love the notion of it, and it reminds me of estate sales and yard sales even, because when we do pass on from this world into the next–whatever that may be–none of our personal belongings or ties to this world will go with us, not exactly. Certainly not physical items, some things like relationships will carry on but likely they won’t follow with us exactly. It’s fascinating, really.

4. CONTEXT: On p. 45 Byrne asks the reader to take a moment to listen to their subconsciousness, to find an inkling of an idea of what their dream is and what action step they can take towards completing their dream. She asks questions like ‘What is my purpose in life?’, ‘What am I meant to do?’ and ‘What is my reason for being here?’ She suggests to notice anything that arrives and says that the answer will come (from the Universal Mind) while we’re busy doing something else and try not to judge it or ignore it. Mine? Here:

“I am an inspiration not because I am flawless but because I am flawed.”

5. “It often takes courage to do the thing you love and go against the majority. Resist the temptation to try and please anyone and be true to yourself. It’s not your job to please anybody else, anyway; it’s their job to please themselves and find their own happiness. This is your life and you must follow your own heart” — Byrne, 2013, p. 60

I thought this was such a beautiful paragraph that needed to be seen by everyone’s eyes who reads this review. It’s so true and so well said. Again, it’s a wonderful reminder. We are not responsible for the actions of others or their reactions, only they are. And remember, not everyone is going to like you or approve of you, and that’s okay!! ❀

6. “Believing in yourself doesn’t mean there won’t be moments where you question your ability to achieve your dream….you can only take one step at a time on the Hero’s Journey and one step at a time is all that every successful person took” — Byrne, 2013, p. 74

I felt this was particularly important to note and if the journey at length becomes overwhelming, just break it down into the smaller pieces because everything has smaller pieces and it’ll be easier to carry that load than the entire tree. One log at a time. ❀

7. “The energy you put into the world comes back. In other words, the fruit is in the seed. You can’t sow an apple seed and expect to get an avocado tree. The consequences of your life are sown in what you do and how you behave” — Tom Shadyac p. 118

I really, really liked this and it has inspired me to do more art shares on my social media platforms and get back into doing that because I used to do it a lot before so yeah. Yay, inspiration! If I do it for online like with Twitter I can actually use some hashtags ahaha.

On top of this, the intention isn’t to put good out to get good back rather it’s to feel good about giving out good and being happy and fulfilled in that exercise.

8. “In fact, there are no walls (for your dream); there is only the appearance of walls. There are no dead ends; there is only the appearance of dead ends. Both are actually only detours for the purpose of redirecting you to that greater version of your dream” — Byrne, 2013, p. 141

I thought this was an excellent thing to be reminded of. That sometimes the roadblocks we face in the pursuit of our dreams really are ways the Universe is working for us to see the other side in a different way than what we may have imagined and maybe this new way could be even better and greater for us than what limited view we had from our own perspective (Byrne, paraphrased). It also made me think that I may try and get my memoir compiled and done within one and two years. As well as work towards more of the TEDtalk I’d like to give, my recovery projects, books and artwork. πŸ™‚

9. (Liz Murray) “Every time something got in my way, what if it was just another hurdle? Because a hurdle’s not separate from the track; a hurdle is a part of the track, and it wouldn’t be an indication that I was off my track. When things were in the way that was just part of the course and eventually if I jumped those hurdles enough I would reach my finish line” — p. 163

I really, really, really LOVED this metaphor. So good and so easy to visualize and have such a fresh new perspective on obstacles and adversity in this way. πŸ™‚ I really want to continue checking out Liz’s work trampolined from this book: she’s an author, has a movie about her journey and she’s a motivational speaker, which is really up my alley! Can’t wait to check her out. πŸ˜€

10. “(Liz Murray) [This woman] told me, ‘I can’t do much, but I can do that’ and if everybody on this planet would get that lesson–I can’t do much but I can do that…I learned that you can help other people in small ways that are available to you right this second” — p. 171

I love this!! It’s so profound and such a wonderful glimpse into a person’s life and what they wanted to do to help make a positive impact in the world (or in someone’s world; the woman wanted to do Liz’s laundry). It definitely made me think of the articles I wrote for the paper and one of my friends dealing with homelessness. I hope that she’s okay!! ❀

11. “(Peter Foyo) Some people say, ‘Why do you still work?’ and I say, ‘Because I’m making a difference and I’d like to continue to do that while I’m here.'” — p. 191

Straight up in love with this. What a perfect answer to an interesting question and so deep and profound at that, too!! It’s honestly so beautiful. *_*

12. “(Laird Hamilton) I only wish to figure out how to do more and make a bigger difference, and as I continue in that direction I think I may realize, at the end, that my goal was more to make a difference than it was all the other things” — Byrne, 2013, p. 204

I just thought this was breathtakingly beautiful. I’m not sure if it still is out of context but it was a great juncture to make at this point in the book.


Wandering Thoughts or Ideas I had While Reading:

  • How much do cruel comments about another person’s potential successes or failures wind up making or breaking an individual and what they can go out and do in the world? Can these remarks be unintentionally inspiring? Even if their intention was to hurt and put down–what defines whether a person will rise to the challenge or give in, give up and never try?
  • On the notion that how you were raised or the “circumstances of your beginnings” don’t dictate the life you lead made me wonder how much this is true for cases of trauma? Abuse? Neglect? Having finished the book I suppose it makes sense that one can aspire and become greater than those circumstances and at the same time it may be important to recognize the very reality that some people won’t. But that that power is up to the individual’s choices themselves. (Paraphrased, Byrne, p. 16).
  • I did find it frustrating that I was never told plain and simply what “The Secret” film/book/other books were about or what they even meant. Also, I was reminded early on about “Ashes” by Celine Dion in the film “Deadpool 2” (a film review that I could do very well in setting aside time to address and upload for myself and you all just the same; p. 18). :3
  • On the notion about how your hobbies are clues into what you’re most passionate about, what you make time for and that they can even be avenues for you to explore to make money out of: came the idea and reminder for myself to work on my fanfics synopses and place these and the dates they were created into my memoir. Of course, since then I uncovered a rule about them on FFN that clearly states to not use song lyrics in stories (how I missed that I’ll never truly know) which will be a difficult roadblock for my memoir, but I hope that I’ll figure it out or one day with an editor I can have my uncertainties answered properly. For now, it’d be nice to work on it again, I actually thought of it today, the last day of Sept 2020 but yeah. Haven’t quite made it there yet again but it’s on my mind. ❀ (Reference to paraphrasing: p. 20, Byrne, 2013).
  • From the section on receiving the call to my dream I was able to link and uncover the fact that reading GIAJ got me to make a Disney+ membership, YAWI (you haven’t seen this yet) inspired me to title my memoir “SOAR” and begin to work on it and this book, H, well, I haven’t completed figured it out just yet. But I was approached by someone on Twitter along the same time as I got my memoir title idea that prompted me to think about writing my book so there’s that. I think this book, H, helped to redefine goals and motivation and inspiration and structuring for myself, at least, from what I can remember! I’ll have to see at the very end of this review if there were any other lingering factors. πŸ˜€ Β 
  • At one point of reading this book I thought of Chadwick Boseman and his passing and hoping that he, himself, had led a fulfilling life and was happy. It’s so sad to have lost him. And it was wonderful to have him for a while. ❀ </3
  • Being around books, reading books, ingesting books and watching movies really lights up my world. I’m drawn to books so much even if it’s more difficult these days to read, still I crave them. I find them hard to let go of, too. I also find photography helps me to pass the time by fast… which actually reminds me, I need to do some tracking tonight!! Art in general also serves that function. It’s what I’m most passionate about and I’m really glad I have that as one of my main outlets. In so many mediums, too!! πŸ˜€

Β 

  • p. 47 talking about the Universal Mind and asking it for questions or advice reminds me of my Thinking Rock out in my backyard that I would refer to for instructions and guidance to any problem I was having. It was a large oval rock by a beautiful tree and I would feel the coolness of the rock against my clothing and the mossy bits here and there. I’d sit saddling it and close my eyes, looking up at the tree’s leaves, imaging what life was like when the dinosaurs existed and pretending this big rock was a dinosaur egg. Those were good times. πŸ™‚
  • From tips about how to ask for advice or guidance from people who’ve made their own dreams come true I thought of how: 1. getting help and advice from others mattered, 2. getting inspiration from others and 3. immersing myself in reading and writing helps, too. (Particularly in regards to being a published author, of course!)
  • I really want to work some day soon on mind mapping in my planner, setting aside and brainstorming monthly SMART goals in said planner as well as creating a cool and awesome mini vision board in my memoir’s journal πŸ˜€ Hopefully some day soon!!
  • I’ve definitely fallen into the trap of not putting in as much effort and work and time into the things I enjoy yet still expecting to be hitting it big regardless. So, as ofΒ  p. 50 I need to work on this and work on interacting more online and blogging and such and doing more than the stationary level I’ve reached as of the last few years. πŸ˜› I suppose all in due time.
  • I don’t know how much my dreams involve popularity versus community but it’s definitely something I’ve been searching for for a while, once again reminding me I have to put in the effort myself to network and boost myself while also supporting others in their journeys and such. I’d like to do more shout-out posts and things to that nature to help with this. Maybe October will be a good month to start with! (Again though, I need to track tonight and fill in my planner a bit with these goals and ideas!)
  • The idea of navigating and expanding on daily blissful moments reminds me a lot of building mastery in DBT and the pleasant events diary homework assignment. πŸ™‚
  • While I do want to write my own memoir and have that journey be the way it is, I also do want to return to reading other people’s memoirs, I think that’d be nice! πŸ™‚ Get some exposures going again and all. πŸ˜›
  • Opening your subconscious mind to believing in yourself…and you will find that others new or old begin to believe in you too (paraphrased, Byrne, 2013, p. 73). This reminded me of Amaryllis again. :3
  • (About the keys and use of visualization…) I definitely want to practice more of drawing and writing about situations and dreams coming true and going well so I found the information on page 81 to be really helpful! I’d like to do practice scripts and things to that effect. πŸ™‚ More work ahead of myself, for sure! XD I also have an existing idea about what the cover image of my memoir would be. πŸ˜‰
  • One of the successful people talks about a book they only ever read the title of and no other mention of the author but I’m incredibly curious now: “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” ❀
  • There’s a nice few sections on gratitude in this book that I enjoyed. It made me think (p. 104) about my fanfics like D&D, S, ALU and also made me think of someone whose mental health/ED journey I follow online as well as even just practicing gratitude when I’m at work. Which I still need to come up with activities for this week! Eeep! :S
  • I also think I can use gratitude for an old blog post idea I had back in the day and for my current online presence and community (maybe in shambles in some respects) but yeah. :3
  • I also think all this gratitude stuff came to align with a new twice daily journal that I got at Michael’s on clearance which has a prompt about gratitude and such. So, that’s nice. πŸ™‚ Thanks, Universe!
  • On the idea of intuition being a flash of reasoning from the Universe: I need to work on trusting my intuition more at work especially. It is growing and becoming to exist/blooming in my chest.

Β 

  • Learn more about humility.
  • As told from Liz Murray’s perspective and how she moved from homelessness into a degree and motivational speaker: “what if that’s the school that lets me in? So I went and that was the school that let me in–that very next school. You never know when you’re about an inch away from your dreams. You have to do it one more time. Even if the one more time didn’t work, then do it one more time” — p. 133 For this, these positive what if’s, reminded me of the first IOOV and even the second IOOV from NAMI presentations I saw about mental health conditions and it always made me aware of this snagging reality that recovery is possible and maybe I could feel happy and fulfilled and live a life with mental health conditions. And, I’m where I’m at now. So, it IS possible!! Having a story and a purpose in that way was so beneficial for me. I’m grateful for that!! πŸ˜€
  • I don’t know if I ever did a proper blog post regarding this thumb/graphic design I made but it talked about how there are no one ways in life, that there are rotaries and side streets that will get you to the same destination in the end regardless. πŸ™‚
  • Life Works Itself Out - No One Ways - THUMB - TT6 - 7.16.19
  • Art Idea Drawing #1 (9/14/20) : Lantern with rainbow light pooling out of it with a dark black background. Watercolors.
  • There exists an interesting comment on page 143 about how dreams evolve and how they will always be greater than you imagined, never smaller. πŸ™‚
  • On the idea that as sensitive beings you’ll always be affected by naysayers but how you react to it is up to you (p. 147): This is exactly right and trolls and insensitive comments will always be there, how you handle it is up to you. Even in fanfics this would arise. It’s the consequence of putting yourself out there. Also reminded me of the lyric from “10 Feet Down” by NF: “it’s not about what you did, it’s what you became from it”
  • On the concept of other people taking your ideas and running with them before you get the chance to… yes, this is why I don’t want to be overly descriptive of some of my more pressing projects like my memoir, SOAR and my own fiction novels, etc. I’d rather keep some things under wraps whereas a few years ago I would have (and planned to) put it all out there. πŸ˜› (By the way, SOAR isn’t the actual name of my memoir’s working title for now either, it’s just the pseudonym I’m using for it. :D)
  • On about p. 159 Byrne discusses how facing adversity and overcoming it gives you a set of strengths that forms your character and changes who you are into something greater than you were before…. This reminded me of an article I wrote during my final semester at uni titled “How I Earned My Degree Despite Adversity”. It was a pretty great article. It also makes me think of these words: ambitious, persistent, perseverance and determination

Β 

  • Concept: obstacles prepare the hero with the abilities to handle maintaining our dream when it comes true; without the skills to handle success [the dream] would not last (Byrne, 2013, p. 160). — I felt this was a good reminder even to myself to have more gratitude and patience with creating an online presence and following. ❀
  • I’m still pretty confused because on page 177 one of the hero’s mentions chronic fatigue to a debilitating degree and I’m not sure if they meant in general like tiredness or chronic fatigue syndrome/ME. It was never spelled out. :/
  • Liz Murray has a movie and a book!! I definitely want to check them both out! πŸ˜€ ❀
  • I liked this quote a lot from another hero saying essentially that living her dream is satisfying in respect and that she’s grateful for the fact that her doing what she wanted to do was inspiring to those who look up to her! p. 187 ….. I felt this was relatable even if just for my IOOVs and having hope within the darkness like I try to mention in my story’s script. πŸ™‚
  • Out of nothing, you made something” Gwah! Love that! Byrne, 2013, p. 188
  • A hero is someone who’s made their life about something more than just themselves” — Byrne, 2013, p. 196; Amazing. Once again: interaction, promotion, encouragement. ❀ Bringing back the glory for everyone else to communicate with it, see it and engage with it.
  • I feel like giving back with writing blog posts and reviews and reading books in general is a great way to contribute to the larger good in the world. And my recovery projects and acts of kindness are also ways that make me feel like and inspire me to do more. πŸ™‚ (Not gonna lie, at this point I’m getting very sleepy).
  • There’s a really great quote and experience that Liz Murray shares on page 209 of this book where she talks about how we are the sole authors of our stories and that we can change the way the plot goes at any point in time, that our interpretations make up our lives and it’s up to us to answer why we’re here and who we are. πŸ™‚ This also reminded me of ALU.

At the very end of the book’s hero’s contributors pages (p. 200-227):

  • What’s the difference between a nonprofit organization and a foundation?
  • I wonder if Laird Hamilton ever made his goal for assisting 700k of people with the global water crisis. Also, did they help Flint, Michigan?
  • I would like to also check out Mastin Kipp (The Daily Love)
  • Mastin Kipp has Daily Love published by Hay House Publishing, 2014
  • Liz Murray: Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard; Hyperion, 2010.
  • Rhonda Byrne: The Secret film, The Secret book, The Power, The Magic.

A List of All the Things I Disagreed With:

    • I feel that on p. 25 it’s flawed logic to always look for the good in negative situations because it could be interpreted as dismissive and invalidating while having some kernels of truth locked away inside: that there is that duality in life and that something good can come out of the bad, some strengths can be found in the moments of weakness, etc.
    • Something I really didn’t agree with was on p. 31 where one of the heroes talks about how sitting on the couch moaning about what could have been and not living life by meeting people and traveling to new places was just unnecessary because just because they live their life one way doesn’t mean that’s the way EVERYONE has to live theirs, you know what I mean? It just didn’t sit right with me and really drags people down when you could easily use “I statements” or change the way you’re saying something instead of demeaning an entire population of people. πŸ˜› Again, just because it wasn’t their definition of a life worth living doesn’t mean that they have to drag someone else’s life through the dirt like that. Bleh.
    • Another thing I didn’t agree with at all was this notion that mental health problems occurring throughout the world (p. 58) more these days is because it’s evidence that people are living miserable lives with jobs they were pressured into taking or had the expectation placed on them by others or society to do instead of their dreams. Like, no, that ain’t it chief. You can’t, or shouldn’t, define every case of a mental health condition to that of job dissatisfaction. Like, no, it’s a helluva more complex than that and doesn’t do the topic justice. Grrr. >:[
    • On the idea that people who are living with a pessimistic attitude suck the joy out of life and they suck the energy out of you and they’re miserable…. at what point is this insulting and demeaning to those who have these world views because of trauma or because of living with a mental health condition that clouds their perspective? Hot damn.
    • On the idea that whining, blaming, complaining and criticizing can’t fulfill a person’s dreams and give them happiness….. Whoa, whoa, whoa there. When is critique such a bad thing? When is having critical thought or skepticism or looking at all angles of a situation something so insulting and below a person? Like, not everyone is going to have the same opinion on things and they may tell you about it but what you do with that information is up to you! No one is forcing you to compile, change or do something at all in response to that. Besides, I admire those who can speak of their own opinion when it’s different than the masses. That’s helpful. Unless it’s just hate and is derogatory statements, than no, that’s not helpful/constructive criticism yet painting all criticism as a bad egg is one dimensional and doesn’t allow for enough freedom of speech and exploration of other things that the person in charge may not have realized. Again, saying nay when EVERYONE else is saying only yay, can be courageous too and just as helpful. Again, you don’t have to take their opinion into consideration. I don’t think it’s fair to begrudge and damn all of people’s opinions if they’re not just asspats to your ego. πŸ˜› (p. 92) Critique, at its best, helps to spur on growth not diminish another’s worth.
    • Again the idea continues that a hero cannot ever be self-deprecating, miserable, a negative person could never be a hero, they can’t blame or complain etc. Honestly? That’s just mega judgmental and invalidating. I think having these flaws matters a little more than measuring up to whatever belief this author has about those types of things. I’d still watch if Tony Stark was more ‘negative’. It wouldn’t diminish him in my eyes! Ugh. Ranting and venting doesn’t equate to complaining. Having moments of despair doesn’t equate to being negative or pessimistic. It’s a part of being human. πŸ˜›
    • I really, really, really dislike this dangerous notion that certain feelings are “bad” and shouldn’t be experienced and never are by heroes, etc. Like, no, that’s not it. Emotions simply are and as long as we’re taking a more balanced approach to what our action urges are and what we want to do healthily with those emotions, than it doesn’t need to come down to “should’s and shouldn’ts”. Again, I think eliminating the experience of darker, less fun emotions is dangerous and not it at all. A person can’t exactly control their emotions and trying to suppress them could ignite a whole other flame of problems.
    • Continuing my level of disagreement with this book is what happens on p. 95 under the presumption that a hero is consistently optimistic, predominantly having a positive mind (eh) and the notion that your thoughts and your attitude become your life: 1. Yes, thinking it and believing it are related. Reminds me of that quote “Believe you can or believe you can’t, either way you’re half right” Also though, the idea 2. that your thoughts become your life is hardly the case in situations like MHC’s and OCD for instance. So, um, no. Maybe don’t make sweeping generalities that could be misconstrued and painted false easily by incorporating other perspectives? Or is that too much criticism from me? πŸ˜›

What Kept Me Reading and the Impact this Book Had on Me:

What really drew me to this book was when I found it at a great library by my psychiatrist’s office and I was looking for helpful and inspirational nonfiction books. I saw this cover and read the inside and outer flap and flipped through the pages and really wanted to try it out. I accidentally read it as “The Secret: Hero” rather than just “Hero” up until the point I actually dusted off the book and started reading. I’m glad that I stuck through the parts that made me disagree or exasperated and that I was able to read it pretty well, got pretty into it and got it done in a month. I’m proud of me for that! There is something very satisfying to me to get from page 1 of a book all the way to the end! πŸ˜€

One thing I really did like about this book was within the introduction when it was described by Byrne that the world is comprised of duality: that there is good and there is bad, there is hope and there is hopelessness, there is light and there is dark and it’s about how you perceive and interpret these things that paves ahead the road you’ll walk upon. Also, it’s emphasized that everyone has something great to offer the world and so it’s uplifting in that sense as well as encouraging and good for the soul and one’s self-worth. πŸ™‚ And it’s up to you whether you achieve your dream or not, too.

I think this book has a great quality of being relatable in a lot of ways and sometimes also I found that it focused too much on business only dreams, but I took that in stride with the rest of its enthusiasm, patience, and practice. :3

I also think this book reminded and validated some of the areas of my life that I’m existing in right now, too: like, my work at Amaryllis, which it’s been a year now once a week and for a little while twice a week, is NOT my end goal destination job path. Rather, I want to write and publish books, do public speaking and the like. Those are my real dreams. *_*

Another thing I liked about this book is the way I could relate to it and how it made me think deeply on what I want to accomplish in life and how I might work towards getting there. The way I interacted with my own memoir, the preparation, the incentive and just being reminded that my dreams were possible and I could achieve them just as much as the next person, like the heroes stories in this book was very encouraging and uplifting. It definitely kept me reading more because I wanted to see not only where the book would head and end and how much inspiration and motivation I could even pull from it for myself–something no one else will have exactly in the same way I have. πŸ™‚

On the idea of visualizations, I’d like to practice them going well with things like: IOOVs, work days, my memoir, my TEDtalk, reading and reviews. πŸ˜€

Something else that really inspired me about this book and from this book, really, was Liz Murray’s story and how she got into public speaking and sharing her story of adversity and overcoming it into success and triumph. It’s exactly the type of thing I want to get involved in and I found it particularly inspirational and I’m really, really happy for her!! πŸ˜€

For my own self, I’ve been doing advocacy work since March 2016 so that’s great. I am hoping to line up some of my ventures (interviews) in this avenue onto my blog within the next month. πŸ˜€


So, yes, overall those were ALL my thoughts about this book and the review. I tried to do a few things differently in this work of art so I appreciate you sticking with me until the end and around as I try and compact all of my thoughts, commentary and resounding opinions as I carry on reading books and reviewing them on this blog.

Thank you so much for reading!!! I am adding the final touches to this entry now on the first of October. I hope you all are doing well and I hope to be utilizing my planner very soon to revamp the way I do some blog posts, shout-outs etc. I desperately need a schedule ahaha. Thank you again! xxx ❀ ❀ ❀


Dates I Read this book:

8.30.20, 9.1, 9.8, 9.9, 9.12, 9.14.20.


Dates I Wrote this review:

9/24/2020, 9/30/20, 10/1.


“Grief Is A Journey” (2016) | Book Analysis (Mar-June 2020)

Book Analysis - THUMB - 7.3.19

Edit: Aug 31, 2020; I changed this post from a “book review” to a “book analysis” so the thumb is now different and the rest of the post should reflect this change. This is a LONG post, I had a lot to say and I’ve been procrastinating on it for months. Bleh. It’ll be so satisfactory to end this analysis, publish the post and return the book to the library**. Happy reading!! ❀ xxx
**As it were, I finished all the quotes section and the wandering thoughts section on a time crunch because I wanted to return this book and 4 others (that I never read, yes, I know) to the library today, Sep. 10th 2020 so technically the rest of this analysis is being written without the book in my possession. But it’s still going to feel so GREAT publishing and finishing this after so, so long. πŸ˜€

Chosen Book:

“Grief Is A Journey” (2016) by Dr. Kenneth J. Doka


Trigger Warnings:

Emaciation, skeletal reference; grief; loss; disenfranchised grief; death.


Themes:

Losing and repairing relationships, legacies, anecdotal scenarios, grief, definitions, checklist, myths vs facts, finding meaning, adversity, triumph, grief is a process, changing relationships, inspiration in some aspects for me reading it at least, reminding the Reader that they are not alone, comfort, informational, a bit dull and boring at times.


General layout/Information Delivery:

I didn’t like at first the way the myths were spoken of and then the later descriptions as to why they were instead false. It seemed a bit redundant to me and didn’t always hold my attention well. To emphasize the myths and how they came about made me see how they seemed rational but then only paragraphs later Doka was dismissing them and that just rubbed me the wrong way and made it confusing. Like I think if the myth was stated and then the focus was emphasized on WHY it was inaccurate and like have it be like: Myth X; Reality Y would have been better, like right from the get-go have it be disproved, would have made more sense to me and would have improved my experience of the book, especially so early on. (For instance, in the way the book is styled itself it shows a Myth, explains all about it, THEN it says the reality and explains all about that at length too. It’s just a little wonky to me.)

Sometimes the general sentence structures would confuse me, too and I found that to be taking me out of the immersion of the story being told and made it really frustrating, too. It wasn’t exactly the cleanest read through I’ve ever had and it really seemed to draaaaag on and on for me and I’d get annoyed with myself multiple times so that I had to read it in little exposures here and there over the course of a few months.

It was a little overwhelming at times however once I did get into it, it wasn’t so bad. It gave me a bunch of inspiration for my fan fics, novel and other things. For that, I am grateful. It is a pretty dull and boring and at times, ironically, lifeless read and I did learn quite a bit from it either way. These factors will come into play in my final recommendation score. Also, it was pretty gender non-inclusive too, only ever referring to people with “he” or “she” so I think it could have been better in that aspect too (“they” is a good option).

The chapters were split up by general myths and facts on grief, what type/style of grieving the Reader may be, each type of loss from: adult siblings, parents, child, then into disenfranchised grief and each topic underneath that. I would have liked for it to go into more detail regarding homicide/suicide and what changes would have been explored in the case of abusive parents passing on, etc. but it never really goes into it. Also, celebrity deaths, it mentions it, but never really dives into it, which is what my expectation was of it, so if you’re looking through in from that lens, this probably isn’t the book for you.

But, before I say anything more, onto the rest of the analysis….


Summary:

This book carries with it a caring and delicate deliverance of realities and news regarding grief, grieving styles and grieving processes per individuals, circumstances and the relationships involved. Grief is not in stages, as is popularly referred to, rather death and dying is. Grief is more of: a continuum spectrum, where the loss of life or loss of the relationship isn’t the end of the story–instead, grief and loss is about having an unbroken bond with that relationship because the relationship is forever and it remains intact even when death or other circumstances (moving, divorce, separation, ending relations) take away the physical aspects. The loss itself is felt and shared throughout loved ones (family and friends) and even death cannot sever this enormous tie. So thinking otherwise or thinking that grief has an end date is particularly damaging and simplifying the large and intense complexity of the matter to a minor or dismissive state, which helps no one and can disenfranchise some people’s experiences with grief even more than society may already be doing so (suicides, homicides, AIDS deaths etc).

If you’re looking for a book to provide you with examples and information in the form of unrelated, pseudonym based characters, this may be the book for you! This book is rich in information and the necessary replications of repetition that go into handling these emotionally difficult matters. It also has a great source of resources and opening the door towards understanding more about this phenomenon than what I’m used to. I definitely read this book as an insight into grieving, to relate, to understand what I’ll have to deal with at some point in my life and it did get me thinking a lot and even was the reason I signed up for a Disney+ account! :O

While meticulous in some spots, this is a good informational book and a starting point to the topic of grief. Grief and loss will happen to each of us at some point in our lives–objects, people, pets, etc. It’s helpful to know what style of grieving you possess and how to manage that.

If nothing else, it was helpful for me to read about how reading books especially means I can control how much I expose myself to and I definitely used that for this book because it was just heavy and felt like a lot at times. I found that taking those breaks really helped me to come back at the book and attack it. It definitely has its faults and it also has its wins. I’m pretty stickler about finishing a book once it’s started so that definitely came into play here, however, I’m still glad I stuck it out and finished reading. πŸ˜‰


Book Length:

261 pages


Recommendation Score:

2.8/5 losses


Unforgettable Quotes and Comments I’d like to add:

1. “[Grieving] takes you as long as it takes. There are no rules that make one person’s response normal and another’s abnormal” — p. 5

I particularly think this is a nice quote and a fundamental part of the book as a whole. This book explains how there’s no true stages to grief as what is often misconstrued as existing (those are the stages of dying rather than grief), and it really drives home the point that grief and reactions to loss will be different for each person depending on how their relationship was, how the loss or death occurred, how that person has dealt with loss in the past and more. There’s no right or wrong way to deal with grief necessarily, and each process and each loss is different and unique to the individual. There can be circumstances that make it more difficult or engage the person into self-destructive behaviors which Doka encourages seeking professional counseling or group support for as adequately as possible, while reiterating the normalization of grief and that it’s a process we will ALL go through at one point or often multiple points in our life’s journey. Yeah, those are probably the biggest take-aways from this book that I received, which is great.

2. “There is no closure to grief. Grief is not about letting go of past relationships or closing yourself off from them. Even in bereavement, you continue your bond–albeit in a different way” — p. 6

Again, this helps to further reiterate the biggest take-aways from this particular nonfiction book. There is no real getting over part of grief, it can come and go and the emotional reactions can be caused by reminders or certain memories and while there do exist parts of it that can become unhealthy or disordered, it is an ongoing journey that you embark upon differently for each case and each death and there are ways to grow and learn from them as you continue onwards in your own life’s journey. You will find ways to grow in strength, to make peace with what was lost and what never was and so on. You will be able to survive it and you may be able to even thrive despite the nasty repercussions of that painful, painful bereavement. It’s not about moving on but moving through.

3. Be specific in what you can do to help (p. 9) i.e. instead of just saying “I’m here if you need me” or “Let me know if you need anything” mention specific ways you can help, like “If you want, I can pick up someone from the airport; I can bake you a cake; I can call you at X time” etc. Platitudes of generality are nice but if not followed up on or through they’re more like empty words. Plus these nice intentions when not followed through on can be lacking perceived care when it comes to the grieving individual, potentially accruing more pain onto them and their isolation, if they are doing so. It helps to name specifically what you can offer as they try and understand for themselves what they need during this difficult time. This is true as well for those struggling with their mental health conditions and wanting to best support them. Follow-through is HUGE. πŸ™‚

4. “The bad days will come less often, will become less intense, and will not last as long” — p. 13

As we move through grief and the grieving process it will become more manageable and if it doesn’t or the pain spikes again, then there may be other underlying issues beneath the surface that require professional help and support to identify, uncover and manage. This will take time. And again, there’s no real closure in grief, you carry on with the relationship in ways that the other person isn’t physically present to interact with you on but the relationship is still there. That cannot be severed and you have your memories and your feelings and your thoughts to sift through, as well as rituals to remember them by or legacies to unfold or other meaning making ways to celebrate them and grow from the experience.

5. “People we love become part of our own biographies. We cannot really separate ourselves from them. They have left an indelible mark on who we are and how we see ourselves” — p. 15

Again, this is the part of the chapter where Doka goes into labeling myths and then asserting their true realities. The idea that loss is about letting go of people or things or pets is inaccurate as really we still have a connection and a past relationship with them that is just now challenged by the metaphysical world and what our brains can imagine and see. The people we encounter in our lives all have a special place and we are so intrinsically interconnected that leaving them “behind” as you “move on” isn’t really true. You still have them even as you move through the pain of loss. It’s just in a different way. ❀

6. “One task of mourning is deciding how to carry those memories and feelings with you in ways that still allow you to reengage fully in life” — p. 16

Once again, the point driven home is the ongoing relationship regardless if the person is still on this physical plane or not. Part of the grieving process is finding ways to live with it and through it and memorialize the person or perform rituals in their honor or compact your feelings into a visual and significant process that makes the most sense to YOU and what you need, not necessarily what you think other people think you should be doing or acting or behaving. Your process is your process and you have to own it. How you choose to remember this loved one is up to you. Allow people to grieve as they will, unless it’s detrimental or harming themselves or others, of course!

7. “Even in grief, you are not without resources or devoid of any power. In acknowledging your grief and in recognizing that your emotions are normal and natural responses to loss, you can begin to cope with your feelings” — p. 31

I feel, as I’m now returning to this review turned analysis (although arguably it was always going to be an analysis) in August 2020, this particularly hits strongly now with the recent news of Chadwick Boseman’s (Black Panther/MCU) passing. It may actually do me some good to finish commentating on the content of this book not only for you guys who may still be grieving whatever you happen to be losing and for myself as well to come to some terms and baseline with it. It’s sad news indeed. I’m not sure how this year will get worse, but I’m prettttty sure it’s gonna find a way to do so. :/ Maybe it’ll help someone else out there too, if they’re able to read long and hard at my thoughts, ideas and that of this book itself. So, thank youuuu!! ❀

8. “Rituals of affirmation celebrate the life of the person who died and recognize his or her legacy or accomplishments” — p. 33

Relevant for today’s end of August truths. </3 As well as being potentially just as helpful while people are still alive, to appreciate and say that you love them more and more. We never know what someone else is going through by just looking at them, like how we can’t tell their story by their face today, yet we can learn. We can try to grow and get better. It matters to be as kind as possible, and critique constructively where needed. Overall, being kind is worth it. It is.

9. “‘I have come to terms with the death of my daughter… I have not yet come to terms with the loss of everything I believed'” — p. 43

Hot damn. That’s powerful and says a lot!!

10. “Our different ways of grieving may create conflict. Some grieving individuals avoid reminders of their loss, while others seek them. One person may want the home full of photos while another wants to put away all these painful photographs” — p. 46

Grief, however it is felt, thought of and expressed, is never either “right” or “wrong.” Grief just is. Allow yourself as much as you can to feel your emotions and express them towards those you trust. And if you’re still struggling much time later, get help from a professional. It’s okay. The grief will subside somewhat, at least in its frequency and intensity, even though the relationship will always remain intact, just in another way. Sometimes it comes back in smacking waves, sometimes it’s quiet, sometimes it is loud and painfully felt, it all depends on the relationship, when you heard the news, how you heard the news, if it was a singular death or multiple at the same time, what else was going on, if you’ve dealt with other losses before this one, and so forth. Additionally, if it’s been unclear from before this point: Grief/Loss can happen with any one or any object. Loss is still loss. ❀

11. “You are having these [grief] reactions because you lost someone–or something–you loved. You are grieving” — 50.

So be kind to yourself!!! ❀

12. “The intense pain of grief will not be forever, but grief is not something you get over. It is a process that becomes part of a new, meaningful life. Certainly the pangs of pain will continue. But you need to mindful that, over time, it is not helpful to the deceased for you to live in a state of chronic loss” — p. 65

And promises you made to the deceased prior to their dying don’t necessarily have to be something you’re locked into for life. Like, if you swear you’ll never love again, your significant other probably never wants that misery of loneliness for you. If it would make you happy to love again, they’ll be glad that you’re enjoying your life and moving along as steadily as possible even when–and especially when–it hurts.

ALSO: This reminded me of Thor in Endgame and Tony Stark. And my avoidance of all of that. And how fics work. XD I keep wanting to rewatch the MCU movies but I’m getting bogged down in the perfectionistic bubble that I should watch them in order and review them all. Gwah. I do have Disney+ now so that’s a start. I don’t know, I’ll have to work on it and challenge myself. Maybe I’ll watch one or two out of order to just get into it again, you know? We’ll see. I am listening, at the time of writing this part on Aug 31st, to an MCU soundtrack/instrumental music video that’s about an hour long, so I mean, progress! Baby steps, ahaha.

13. “The good memories or life lessons that a person left us create a legacy that lives with–and within–us” — p. 72

A true point. This also reminded me of Luna but in general to other grieving relationships as well. Sometimes, as is mentioned after this quote, the memories of the illness can become more prominent however it is possible to work on bringing the lighter moments back into the forefront. They will always be with us, some even standing the passage of time like through photos or videos. ❀

14. “After all, the greatest legacy your loved one can offer are the memories and life lessons you can take from them as you learn to live without their physical presence” — p. 74

An emotional roller coaster of a quote. </3

15. “Sometimes you may feel you are not getting support when, really, you are asking people for support they cannot offer. It is good to remember that some people are good listeners; others are doers, while still others offer respite–or time off from your grief. Use your support system wisely” — p. 96

I feel that this quote is ESPECIALLY important and critical to keep in mind and is a fabulous take-away from this book if nothing else is. Or at least with newly frame grief experiences alongside it. ❀ I also think it applies well to even physical health and mental health conditions. xxx

16. “You may be giving mixed messages–saying you are all right when you really can use support. You cannot expect people to read your mind and guess your intentions. If you need others’ support, you have to ask for it. Only then can you know if it is available or not….. Sometimes people may offer help so generically–for instance, saying ‘Call me if I can help’–that you really do not know that they are willing to follow through with their offers. If someone offers to help, ask them for something [specific/] tangible” — p. 96

So this is actually two quotes I wanted to get through. For the first: advocate, advocate and advocate. You have to advocate for yourself in your treatment, relationships and life in general. People can’t know how to help you if you don’t ask for what you need. So yeah, that’s HUGE. For the latter: it’s so, so, so important to follow-up after the initial message is sent. I know we get busy and everything and that’s okay and if we really want to be a part of the solution for that person we’re trying to help help themselves, we HAVE to follow-up. If you say you will, follow through! And be specific too. Like the previous quote, ask for what you need and if you’re not sure, try and do some soul searching to come up with some idea, or try out what you think you need and depending on how you feel about receiving it, adjust your expectations from there. Good luck!! ❀

17. “Book services such as the Centering Corporation (centering.org) and Compassion Books (compassionbooks.com) [may be helpful resources]” — p. 97

Just spreading the word on a couple of the good amount of resources mentioned in this book. ❀

18. “While there is an inherent loneliness in your journey with grief, you do not have to journey alone” — p. 101

Just a nice reminder. ❀ There is help, there is support and you have to do a lot of work to manage it. It’s a process. Never-ending, always there. That doesn’t have to always be a bad thing. :3

19. “In other cases, you may overwhelm your support system. Sometimes neediness can drive away other people…You may be expecting too much from those around you” — p. 114

Oops, can relate to what all went down in 2017, my codependency and a friend I tried to reconnect with this summer who wanted nothing to do with me. Whoops. :/

20.Β  “You may never have the opportunity to respond [to an invalidating comment on your grief] but just thinking about what you could have said reaffirms a sense of control and empowers you not to be a victim again” — p. 118

I thought and think this is an important and nice comment to refer to. Sometimes doing role play for the future or the past can be really therapeutic and prevent future issues or at least prepare you in case they happen again and you have a template on how to deal with them. :3 ❀

21. “Acknowledge to yourself that some days may be more difficult than others. Flexibility is important. When you have a rough day, you may not be able to accomplish all that you wished. Other days will be more productive. Be gentle with yourself” — p. 119

This is relatable not just towards grief but to mental health conditions and life itself in general, too. I think this is a very important and critical lesson to be reminded of. We all have bad days, with or without health issues. And it matters to self-validate and remind ourselves (and our loved ones) that sometimes days are off and it’s okay and we can work towards making tomorrow a better one. ❀ πŸ™‚

22. “It is important to remember that there is no single, right way to experience grief. Nor does grief have a timetable. Your experience of grief is what it is and comes from who you are. You cannot compare your loss to the losses of others, or your reactions or responses to those of others. Differing experiences of grief have little to do with how much you loved or cared about your loved one (or thing)” — p. 132

Just a really important thing I wanted to highlight, have you focus on and remind myself of, too. I think lately with my mental health conditions I’ve been struggling with this notion, the whole comparing myself to others and it’s important to notate for myself even in an analysis that those types of depictions aren’t reality and aren’t comparable. It’s also nice to be reminded what grief really is and how it takes its course is how it takes its course. ❀ :3

23. “You do have choices within your grief. You could choose to live your life in perpetual mourning for your child. Or, as difficult it is and may seem right now, you can choose to live a now different life–but to live it fully, keeping alive the memories of your child and lessons that, however long or short your child’s life was, you gleaned from them” — p. 149

Honestly, this is just beautifully stated, worded and conceptualized. ❀ xxx

24. “Family holidays offer an opportunity to name the elephant in the room and to acknowledge that someone who was so much a part of your life and other lives is now missing. It can be as simple as a toast that allows the name to be spoken, stories to be shared, and the cloud of silence to be lifted” — p. 181

I think this is so beautifully and poetically stated. ❀ πŸ™‚

25. “Sometimes you have to have the courage to share with others what you are feeling and to ask for the support you need. This may mean that you educate your community about the meaning of your loss. Sometimes you can be your own best advocate” — p. 195

Vulnerability is a strength. ❀ Advocacy is crucial, even when, and especially when, it’s hard and exhausting and you’re tired of it. You have to tend to your reserves until they’re recharged and use your support network appropriately and as healthily as possible and then go from there! ❀

26. “A loss of functionality tests your sense of self. Your identity is challenged when you lose the ability to do things that were once important to you” — p. 208

I think this can relate especially towards disability as a broad term and also with the cognitive impairment of mental health conditions and also apparently I’ve severely limited my capacity and ability to read books as effectively as I was once able to do. Grrr. Each page and paragraph and book done is a test to the amount of concentration and mental gymnastics I had to uphold to remember what happened, who was involved and all the information I feel abounding my soul because of all the commentary I have to say about it and the experience of reading it as a whole. Phew. That was a lot. πŸ˜›

27. “‘Anything that you have, you can lose; anything you are attached to, you can be separated from; anything you love can be taken away from you. Yet, if you really have nothing to lose, you have nothing‘” — Quote by Richard Kalish p. 211

I thought this was particularly interesting and worthy of being mentioned in this analysis. :3 Blap!

28. “You may even find that your loss generated significant changes that in some way made the world better–creating new laws, or something more local such as a safety rail or traffic light where none had been before. However significant such changes are–in yourself or in society–they do not bring the person back. Yet that is not the choice. The choice is how you deal with the loss you experienced” — p. 254

This important quote is something I referred back to and referenced in my #SummerComer poem entry #4 HERE.

29. “Grief, too, takes time. Sometimes you want to get over it so rapidly that you lack the patience to let the process unfold. You expect to wake up one day and be “better”. You need to give yourself time to grieve, but like watering a plant, you can sometimes test how far along you are in the process. You can experiment by testing yourself as to what you can do” — p. 259

So this final quote is a testament to the idea that we take grief as a moment by moment kind of thing, a process, and some days the thought of doing one little action can feel too insurmountable and so when that happens we know to back off and try again another day. Then, each day we find ourselves getting closer and closer to actually and actively acting on the thought. Like, for me, I’ve been getting closer and closer to watching various MCU movies or working on a journal entry in a guided journal or things like that. Each day and moment I’m getting closer and I’m warming up more and more to the idea, it just hasn’t quite fully happened yet. But I know it will. I know it will. ❀ πŸ™‚


Wandering Thoughts or Ideas I had while reading:

  • p. 7: I used to be really stickler about keeping my artwork and dating it properly and having trouble letting go of it. Nowadays, I still date religiously but I’m also able to give things away and let go of other things that at one point were mine but no longer need to be. I found this a fascinating thing to come into awareness of as I read this book myself. And the way that I related to other parts of the book itself, seeing how I could incorporate certain concepts into my creative writing, how I’ve dealt with loss in the past, what techniques I can try in the future, etc. I still struggle letting go of physical things (pieces of clothing, lists, tracking things) but it is becoming more of a natural pace for me to save some things and share others elsewhere with the world or with those I come into contact with. πŸ™‚
  • p. 24: Here I had the idea that I could incorporate the ideas that whatever we grow attachments to and love can be lost and when those ties are severed we will grieve. I think this could be especially relevant to some of my fanfic stories, including “Severed,” as there is a loss of health in that fic (and honestly most of my stories) where Loki has to come to grips with things he’s unable to do now and grieve that loss, while also building ways he can soothe himself and still carry on forwards. Just a thought I had. πŸ™‚
  • p. 27: Doka explains the physical symptoms that grief can ignite in the human body and this made me think of my fiction novel I wish to write and how I can incorporate some of these symptoms into my story’s main character and sibling relationship. πŸ˜€
  • p. 31: “[Causation guilt, something we did or didn’t do caused the death] We may be fixated that if only we had taken the person to a doctor or recognized a symptom, death could have been avoided” — This is a great inclusion I’d like to make in my fanfic “A Little Unsteady.” ❀
  • p. 34: I really want to focus in on a “Distorted and Disordered” alternate universe spin-off where Loki actually does die from his suicide attempt and how that impacts his family and tears them apart, really. It would be multi-chaptered, focusing on each family member. Thor would be like how he is in Endgame and develop a difficult and harrowing drinking problem. Odin would leave and grieve to himself, pushing everyone away and Frigga would be trying to find meaning and purpose through her life’s work in the nonprofit and probably dedicate something within it to her son. I think I could even explore the side characters/the other Avengers as they react to the death. It’d probably be each character as a chapter, I think. But yeah, this page here discussing anger in grief made me think of this at the time.
  • p. 35: On the topic of constructive ways of channeling anger, it reminded me of how I got started writing in my uni’s newspaper on mental health and my recovery journey. :3
  • p. 35: “Fantasies can be an effective way to cope with anger” — This made me think of my own travels with art and fanfics/writing in general. It makes me think of how I transform my grief. I wonder how many T’Challa related fics there are out on FFN and AO3 right now. Maybe I will look into this. I feel like I don’t know his character well enough to write about him but it would be cool to see like Black Panther and Chadwick meeting on the other side. I know FFN doesn’t allow you to write about real people though, I guess maybe Black Panther leaving behind his family instead? Like his ghost seeing each of his family members one last time as he moves from this plane to the next? I don’t know, it’s an idea, at least. ❀ [AIwFF: 8/31/20]
  • p. 42: Reminded me of the movie “White Noise” (2005) that I watched a summer ago and am still in the middle of a film review notes section on. πŸ˜› I’d have to take it back out again though too. (Which won’t happen until I bring more books back…. Like this one. Sep 20: Now I’ve brought it back but haven’t got out any movies. :3)
  • p. 75: There’s no option within the talk of spirituality for what to use religion/prayer with grief when you happen to be an atheist. D: It’s never explored in the book, either.
  • p. 87: What style out of four is Thor through my fic D&D? (Head grievers are impacted most by the cognitive impairments that arrive from loss) In D&D he’d be fixing Loki’s bed sheets etc. What about in “Lead Me Home, Brother”? Or in Endgame?
  • p. 88: “[Reading books about grief] may appeal to your mind and allow you to “dose” your grief. A book after all can always be put down for a while…. John Gunther’s book Death Be Not Proud
  • So for the above statement: I’m pretty sure I read that book in high school and absolutely LOVED it. Also just in general, I feel the former is very true. When I get frustrated or upset by a book I can take space away from it for a while unlike some other things. I did that a few times with this book (it’s just lengthy, informational and boring. Deathly boring, ironically enough). But yeah this just reminded me of what I was doing with this book itself and researching for my fanfics even. πŸ™‚
  • p. 93: I would like to rewatch “Being Human” (US) version, find “Saving Hope” and watch that too as well as get Disney+ and watch MCU movies. Which, I have had the account for for the past few months (D+) and it was actually reading this book that brought that into existence, so, thank youuuu, book! ❀ I have seen a couple MCU movies on TV at least, so that’s some re-watching. πŸ˜›
  • p. 117: Estate and yard sales are pretty cool. I got a few books and a couple paintings and such from an estate sale my Mom and I went to a couple years back. So that’s nice. :3 (About re-purposing items left behind from loved ones for other people to cherish and enjoy. πŸ™‚ )
  • p. 130: In my AU spinoff from D&D where Loki does die in his suicide attempt, Frigga would find some relief in the notion that he wouldn’t be in pain anymore and that even though that painlessness meant he was taken from her too soon, it would also comfort her in the smallest of ways. Odin would leave them and Thor would, as I mentioned earlier, would dabble into alcoholism to bury his own pain. 😦
  • p. 132: [Parents having lost a child can sometimes reach a state of renewal where…] “They choose to move forward, to live a meaningful life despite the loss. They find a meaning that makes their lives a tribute to their child”
  • Commentary on this quote: I really liked this and again I think it conveys a sense of pain and rebirth to a very tragic and unfortunate situation.
  • p. 132: Yes, your memories of your child (or any other loved one) will always be with you…unless you die or you get dementia of some kind. :S
  • p. 144: I was raised in a Christian household but in my teens I turned more towards atheism. I don’t know exactly what I believe now, maybe agnostic, but I do like to think of “god” as the Universe. That is comforting to me. Also, ironically, for someone who didn’t believe in an afterlife, I wrote and still write a LOT about it ahaha. This ‘rebuilding faith’ section made me think of this and reminded me of my plot for my fiction novel. ❀
  • p. 144 cont: For that novel, I’ll list out a couple of themes mainly for myself to remember and jot down into the future (and which probably will make no sense to you ahaha) – RxR, breakdown, remembers decisions to stay after 1/2 through, afterlife. ❀
  • p. 147: Again for that D&D AU of which I don’t yet have a title for: Focusing each chapter on the immediate family, then to the Avengers as would have been friends and then other characters as the people Loki had yet to meet and how his absence impacted and changed them. ❀ :3
  • p. 148: “Your child’s death will affect not only your spouse and children but also other relatives and friends. Your parents have lost a grandchild, your siblings grieve the death of a niece or nephew. Neighbors, coaches, teachers and friends all experience that loss. Their own ways of dealing with that loss may influence their own abilities to offer support” –> This is exactly why I want to do that additional AU fanfic where this is explored properly and fully. I hadn’t even thought of the further ramifications and how plenty of other people would be impacted by Loki’s suicide. So, yeah, super important! If only I could actually do some D&D writing for what’s happening now and then come up with a title and start working on it. I have a title for the AU where he gets help instead of attempting first, too (“Failure to Pass A Psychiatric Evaluation”.)
  • p. 168: “As parents age, we realize that they are not the awesome or awful powerful figures we once imagined them to be” –> This also, once again, reminded me of the relationship between Loki and Odin (both in D&D and in general). 😦
  • “(Your parents’ deaths reminds you…) of a central truth. Your parents left their mark on you–left you legacies and perhaps liabilities–not only in their lives but also in their deaths” — p. 169 I thought this was particularly poignant and necessary to be brought into the discussion of this book analysis. :B
  • p. 176: The name isn’t said here but I do like for one of my future characters somewhere to be named “Nardia”.
  • p. 205: “Experts recommend open and ongoing communication between adoptees and adoptive parents to allow information, thoughts, and feelings to be acknowledged and processed. This is unlikely to be a “one time tell all” but rather an ongoing process” –> This reminds me of the Thor movies where Odin pretty much did a one time tell all and how it’s referenced in the movies thereafter. Also makes me think of my sequel for D&D. :3 BUAHAHAH
  • QUESTION: p. 207: (How visiting within the prison system can be humiliating for the search of property and person) Can psych hospital admissions be grief provoking? And related, can you grieve what no longer is (like for me it’s been 2.5 years hospital free, can I grieve times I was in the hospital or times I’m not in it now? Like, mainly for “free” meals or meeting friends etc. I don’t know, it’s an interesting thought. :3
  • QUESTION: p. 218: Does a positivity bias [“in those with intellectual disabilities they may have positive bias where they have a sunny disposition that masks their deep sense of loss”] exist in other realms and contexts too? Because I think I can be like that sometimes too because of my optimism and positivity and kindness whereas it’s there because I’ve been through pain, you know? I thought this was interesting and I was curious about it. :3
  • p. 257: Exercise on life imprints by asking how a person we’ve lost affected our mannerisms, way of communicating/speaking, hobbies and pastimes, basic personality and values/beliefs can be like sea shells making indents in the sand–we can have imprints from people’s legacies placed on us, liabilities from them, and just imprints in general. This could be a good group activity for my work at Amaryllis. I may need to flesh it out more or research a bit more but it could be excellent. ❀
  • p. 258: Strengths group for work as an art activity. What strengths have gotten me through hard times before and what can they do for me now etc.

What Kept Me Reading, How I Read it & The Impact of It All on Me:

There are sweet moments within this book that made me cry, smile and laugh. Ahaha. Also I have rules for myself and while I can change them, I just don’t yet. (Like if I start a book I have to finish it. If I read or consume something (books/movies), I have to review them, etc.)

Overall, what kept me going was that I was closer and closer to finishing it. I knew that I had to get through it to get to all the other books I really, really do want to read so that helped. I found that putting on perfume or lotion helped too, ambient music like train sounds on Alexa and Calm app scenes like the mystic water fountain, sunset on the ocean, gleaming sunshine, etc. Even just reading on my bed or curled up on the floor. Definitely having a view of the stack of books helped, too.

So yeah, once I was reading it I wanted and knew I’d be in it for the long haul. I’m so glad and relieved I’m almost completely finishing off this post and everything about it. I’m excited for my next review or analysis. I think this book overall served a great purpose for me and that’s reflected in its score as well as the fact that I made this review and stuck with it, regardless of all the procrastination involved and finally it is done and I can wipe my hands clean.

I’d say it made an impact on me and definitely got me thinking and trying to find ways to relate it to my stories and everything, so that was really nice!

Lastly, thank you so, so, soooo much for reading!!! Leave me your thoughts down below and if you have a post you’d like me to read and review, leave it down there, too! ❀ ❀ ❀

As always: stay safe, take care and be well. Much love and light to you. xxx


Dates I read this book:

3/23/2020, 4/8, 4/23, 4/24, 4/26, 5/16, 5/18, 5/19, 5/27, 5/29, 6/11, 6/12, 6/15.

Dates I wrote this review:

6/15/2020, 8/31/20, 9/1, 9/10/2020.


I’m Tired of The Void

Just made this thumb for this post, 9.2.20

What exactly IS “The Void?”

I’m glad you asked!

(Although, this is The Void we’re talking about so you probably didn’t πŸ˜‰ )

I’ve used this term, “The Void”, much lately, mainly on Twitter but on Youtube and the like, too. I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about it or complained somewhere online about it before.

Basically, to me, The Void is:

    • Feeling like you’re talking to blank air
    • Feeling like you’re talking to a brick wall
    • Feeling like you’re talking to the Grand Expanse of the Universe except it never returns your calls and never gives you any ounce of recognition that it’s noticed you
    • It’s feeling alone when no one else around you seems to notice
    • It’s rifling between wanting to advocate for yourself and just bearing your teeth and getting through it
    • It’s trying, and failing, to create some type of online community. Whether the mission is to get ass-pats or constructive criticism, you’re no longer sure. Whether you’re looking for something that the Internet cannot, could not or should not, give you because for whatever reason you keep coming back to it and your real life is nonexistent since you spend so much time searching outside yourself for something only you can give yourself within and in real time.
    • It’s seeing other people manage communities online when you’re just having no attention
    • It’s hating that you need attention, that you WANT attention, you want recognition and you’re tired
    • You’re so, so tired of having to put in the effort, the time, the connection, the experience, the work, the avenues. You’re just tired. Too tired. And it never ends. It never freaking ends.
    • The Void is talking to no one that’s actually there. Feeling lost and confused and wanting to deactivate accounts just so SOMEBODY will say something, anything.
    • The Void is creating and creating and creating but for WHAT purpose? If no one sees it, no one acknowledges its existence, does it even really matter?
    • The Void is quiet. Very, very quiet.
    • And yet The Void remembers. One day, whatever you posted online will come back to haunt you, so make sure it’s something good and okay.
    • The Void sucks ass.

Β 

I hate The Void with a passion. I’m tired of working for it. I’m tired of putting in some effort, to become drained, to become busy, to become consumed with SOMETHING else and then hitting another bump in the road only for my car to spin out and no one to come to my side again. I hate making things for no one to watch. For no one to see. No one to notice. I don’t know when it became about other people, and I hate it, but it did. I get so few interaction and even when I DO, because sometimes I DO, it never measures up. It’s never enough. It’s timed, it has its own expiration date, and it comes too soon, too close, only to be snatched away again.

I don’t know what I’m searching for. Searching outside myself for. But I’m not getting it. I’m not getting it and it’s not lasting and it leaves me (leads me?) back into The Void again and I’m so tired of it.

Why share the story if no one is going to read it?

Β 

Β 

I don’t know. I don’t have any answers. The Void sucks up my creativity and I’ve returned to another week devoid of writing vibes. I can’t write fanfic right now and while I have been doing my weekly poetry, I’m terribly behind in posts. Maybe I need to re-evaluate. Maybe I need to be more honest with myself. Because I think I want popularity, I think I want what I can’t necessarily have, not something that’s going to come easily. Something that’s going to take a lot out of me and even then, it may not be enough.

So I’m tired. I’m tired and I’ve tried. And yet here I am, talking to The Void again.

Β 

Β 

But maybe it’s okay.

Because I know The Void won’t answer back. One of the few good things about The Void is that no one is gonna leave you hate comments or trolling comments because they don’t even know you exist in the first place!

Sigh.

Welp, that’s it. That’s the post.

Β 

Β 

Β 

In the end, to me, The Void is people seeing, observing, noticing, and never saying anything. Maybe I’m craving interaction more now than ever before but I’m not getting it. And it’s frustrating. It feels like I’ll never receive it again. It feels like it’ll always be this quiet. So, so quiet.

But then, I guess it does start with me. Maybe if I interact more, and do more again and in a timely fashion (hah!) then maybe the interaction, the people will come to me.

…..Maybe only for them to leave again.

Maybe only to hit another lull in followers, in comments, in likes, in re-postings. Maybe once you enter The Void, you don’t come back out the same on the other side. Maybe there is no Void, maybe it’s all just an illusion. People lurk, people see, they don’t always say something. Maybe The Void is there for you to question what you want and then go about changing your perspective to match it. Maybe The Void is there to help.

But it hurts.

It just hurts.

Β 

Β 

Β 

And maybe what’s painful is a sign that something else needs to change. But just what that is…. I don’t think I’ll ever know. </3

Mood music: “Hold On” by Chord Overstreet; Editing: my spacings are getting all kinds of fucked up. Grrrrr

the world is on fire: and maybe it’s with the scar that reminds | #SummerComer #PoetryChallenge Entry #10


Hi again!

I’m a few weeks late with this post after a lengthy amount of procrastination and not using my time wisely–which, honestly sounds like a Me Problem, ahahha.

But, I’m here now and we’re back with weekly poems. So this was written as entry #10 in the challenge from July 24th 2020. I hope that you enjoy it because this was one I really remembered and was quite proud of! I even mentioned it to my friend Jirah in my last full post for the challenge, which I will include a link to below. Thanks for reading!!! ❀


THE RULES

  • each post begins with the thumb above
  • each poem will be individually titled and labeled by the entry number in both the piece itself (at the end) and in the title
  • each post will include any background music used to β€œset the mood” which will be listed at the end of the entry
  • each poem loosely exists within the context of summer but is not strictly limited in constructing that imagery. I.e. it’s a summer project but may venture outside of that topic/theme-wise. πŸ™‚
  • the goal: one poem each week from the end of May to the start of September under the hashtag: #SummerComer

Check out Entry #8 here and the Life Update that took place instead of Entry #9. (Which would have occurred the week of July 12th – 18th) πŸ˜€

Now, without further ado…..


the world is on fire:

and maybe it’s with the scar that reminds

Β 

Trigger Warning: metaphorical self-harm, gun violence (USA), pandemic COVID-19

paper to pen

clacking fingers to

fading keys

Β 

sunlight interwoven

with moonlight.

Β 

dancing in the breeze,

an owl hoots,

wondering how many licks

gets to the center

of a Tootsie pop.

Β 

music filters through the air,

hanging in the invisible

structure,

carrying to hairs in the ear

that distribute sound

and a brain that works

to identify the garbled mess

into that of something-ness.

Β 

wounds lay bare,

arms heavy with the

weight of metal holders

and casket bearing bullets.

Β 

waiting for another

one to crack.

waiting for another

one to slip through the surface.

how many this time?

gun violence

a normal occurrence,

when it shouldn’t be.

Β 

it shouldn’t be.

Β 

pandemonium:

causing dry mouths

and hacking coughs.

Β 

quarantine, they say,

stay at home,

but they don’t.

not all.

Β 

some go out

and some face the world

without a shield

and call themselves heroes,

proclaiming that the world

is safe

when it’s neither

all safe

or

all destructive.

Β 

it’s somewhere in the middle.

Β 

life is a series of shades of grey.

Β 

it cannot be defined by such

strict parameters.

Β 

but while those who go out

to the world with confidence

in their chest that

they’re doing the β€œright” thing,

more people get exposed,

some who cannot handle that

exposure,

and so death rates and infection rates

soar.

Β 

i grow weary with these realizations,

shoulders aching from the pressure.

Β 

i grow weary with these predicaments.

Β 

the world keeps turning,

the earth revolving–

another shot fired,

was it intentional or accidental?

self inflicted?

or buried into the flesh of a

person who was taken

far too soon?

Β 

i sit back,

i watch.

Β 

and i type these words,

not contributing to anything,

only in the smallest senses.

Β 

the world is on fire.

Β 

it is.

Β 

and somehow,

the burns

don’t sting quite so bad as before.

Β 

maybe it’s with the scar

that reminds

that healing has taken place

after all.

Β 

healing has taken place,

after all.


Technical aspects:

Written and edited: 7/24/2020

Mood Music: Multiple (unspecified)


About the Poem: Was going to say the “scar remains” but reminds showed up instead and so I went with it. Kinda like a stream of consciousness type poem and very helpful for me to have written. I didn’t know I was feeling or thinking some of these things. This piece also reminds me of a beautiful poem my friend on deviantART made here about the Parkland shooting (which I’m now writing poetry this year like them, I don’t capitalize very much these past few entries, which is very interesting to me). I’m actually really proud and happy with this piece. I wanted to do some writing and other artsy activities but didn’t want to reread old fanfic chapters in case it broke the writing vibes (I haven’t had any in the last two weeks as of the third full week in July) so this was refreshing and very helpful. I hope that you enjoyed it! Deciding on a title was the hardest part! I really wanted to showcase that scar line so I’m pretty happy that this is where it wound up.

So, that’s it for this post! Thank you so much for stopping by, reading and if you would be ever so kind as to leave me a thought or two, I’d love to reply to them! πŸ˜€

Until a couple days from now.

xxx

❀ ❀ ❀

Music for typing this post: “People Like Us” by Kelly Clarkson (and the inevitable dance moves sitting down can provide) πŸ™‚

–#SummerComer #PoetryChallenge Entry #9 DOES NOT EXIST– Ft. Life Update


Hi there!

So, it’s been a VERY, VERY long time since I last posted anything onto this blog. I ran into a lengthy writer’s block for the last month and a half (July most significantly) and while I’ve worked on a few blog posts behind the scenes (stalling with two book reviews however and one music based one, as a follow-up post to my first music and my recovery entry back last year in the fall) I really just haven’t written or blogged in a long time.

So, sorry about that!

I’ve wanted to do a few posts but they just never happened and then time went on and I’m a Master Avoider so I hightailed my avoidance behaviors to an almost fantastical degree, it’s actually kind of impressive.

However, I just received Writing Vibes again this past weekend so I’m running on that now. I actually just uploaded a NEW fanfic story to my fanfic accounts (fanfiction.net & AO3) called “Torn Apart and Bound Back Together” which I’m really happy with and very excited to explore going forwards.

Besides missing this poem’s entry I’ve been able to write for the week’s since. I haven’t started for this week but I may do one referencing the new fanfic story. I haven’t completely figured it out yet though. :3

But yeah, in general I was also doing a lot of filming and video editing and uploading but I fell off this past week, almost two weeks. I’ve also been working a few shifts at Amaryllis so that’s taken up some time. I have work all this weekend, one second shift and one first so I’m not entirely sure how that’s going to go exhaustion-wise, so I’ll probably be out of commission for most of next week. I’ve been sleeping a lot during the week and that’s been cutting down on my productivity level as well.

I’m hoping to film a small unboxing today and I’ve just ordered myself a daily pill container because I’ve been having trouble remembering if I’m taking my night meds.

I also got MAP certified for work so that’s fancy. I’m still anxious and avoiding actually doing the medication administration but one of these days I’ll probably go in and have to hold the med key. That makes me nervous for sure.

I’ve been pulling and picking lately and trying to get on top of that.

Mother Redbird just arrived late last night and I made the mistake of sitting on the floor for six hours watching MCU movies on Sunday so each night at bedtime for the last three night’s has been very painful at my back. I’ve had to sleep the opposite direction to get some relief because the angle of my pillows was not allowing me to have a good time.

I have a lot of videos I can edit but with my sleeping lately I just haven’t been able to do them. I’m hoping and planning to do a small unboxing today though so that would be cool.

I’ve been doing some baking lately, in the last two weeks. They’ve come out great.

I had a heavy and daunting and very painful OCD experience last Thursday. Luckily I’ve re-stabilized since.

I am almost finished with a book “YAWI” that I started a couple of weeks ago and haven’t completely finished (or made the time for to finish) since. I’m hoping I can today.

I’ve been itching to watch either Netflix or a Disney+ movie so I’m hoping I can make that happen today.

I’ve been listening to music and getting coffees and I started a new coloring page this weekend which is fun. My Mom and I have been hanging out and we stopped by the “beach” over the weekend and will probably return after my first shift on Sun. πŸ™‚

Any who, besides some hauls and some other things I want to get out for you guys, that’s been what I’ve been up to lately. I started watching clips of “Impractical Jokers” in the last week and that was very entertaining (and then very procrastination worthy) and made me laugh a lot so that’s something. I’ve been getting into movies and TV shows that I’ve never seen before or haven’t seen in a long time by finding clips on Youtube, ahaha. It’s been fun.

But, I’m gonna try and get my other poem posts ready and here’s hoping I’ll be back on track soon.

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll definitely try and put back in the effort to read and comment on your posts as well! So, if you have anything in particular you’d like me to read and share my thoughts on, feel free to leave them down below and I’ll do my best!

Thanks. πŸ˜€

xxx ❀ ❀ ❀

As always: stay safe, take care and be well. Much love and light to you.

πŸ™‚

SUMMER COMER ENTRY #10 TO BE POSTED MOMENTARILY. ❀

PS I have a new presentation to be done tomorrow for NAMI so I’ll be working on that later today as well. I did my first virtual presentation back in July, it went well! Tomorrow’s is in the afternoon so that should be nice. I really have to reorganize my room and tidy up soon so that I can do some other videos going forwards. I will probably soon be adding some videos from my Youtube channel to here as well to keep bumping them and highlighting some important stuff.

PPS I joined another website to help with the trichotillomania so I’ve been kind of blogging there a few times too, so there’s that. :3

Entry information: Music: “1800 273 8255” by Logic ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid; Written: 8/12/2020

PPPS I had to back-up a bunch of my computer/art files because my computer finally ran out of space. So, that happened too. And there’s probably a couple other things that’s happened since I last blogged that is slipping past my mind now, ahaha. Okay, that’s it for now though.

No One Was Meant to Deal with This Life Alone | #SummerComer #PoetryChallenge Entry #8


Another late post, sorry about that!

Check out Entry #7’s poem here.

Also, let’s just jump right into it! πŸ™‚


THE RULES

  • each post begins with the thumb above
  • each poem will be individually titled and labeled by the entry number in both the piece itself (at the end) and in the title
  • each post will include any background music used to β€œset the mood” which will be listed at the end of the entry
  • each poem loosely exists within the context of summer but is not strictly limited in constructing that imagery. I.e. it’s a summer project but may venture outside of that topic/theme-wise. πŸ™‚
  • the goal: one poem each week from the end of May to the start of September under the hashtag: #SummerComer

Week #8’s Entry:

No One Was Meant to Deal with This Life Alone

β€œβ€¦You are not hopeless

Though you have been broken

Your innocence stolen

Β 

I will send out an army to find you

In the middle of the darkest night

It’s true, I will rescue you

Β 

There is no distance

That cannot be covered

Over and over

You’re not defenseless

I’ll be your shelter

I’ll be your armor

Β 

I hear you whisper underneath your breath

I hear your SOS, your SOS

Β 

I will send out an army to find you

In the middle of the darkest night

It’s true, I will rescue you

Β 

I will never stop marching to reach you

In the middle of the hardest fight

It’s true, I will rescue you

Β 

I hear the whisper underneath your breath

I hear you whisper, you have nothing left….”

— Lyrics from β€œRescue” by Lauren Daigle

Trigger Warning: Depression, self-talk, implied suicidal ideation

(but also hope, rebirth, love, compassion, care, humanity, facing adversity, triumphs, worthiness, positivity and recovery)

your shoulders are weary.

Β 

your vision is lost.

Β 

you struggle to gasp for breath,

to pull in the air,

to let it out again.

Β 

you long for death.

Β 

but you cannot make it occur.

Β 

you’ve chosen a different path,

and still the pain bleeds blue,

and you feel you wish you could

surrender to it.

Β 

I see you.

I hear you.

I know your pain,

as it’s become mine.

Β 

I want you to know:

you’ll get through this.

there will be hope again.

this isn’t how your story ends.

there is more strength within you

than you realize.

the waves will leave and they will come again,

but they will always leave,

they will always fade,

so where you struggle,

you will find courage

and with that courage

you can find aid,

because no one was ever meant to

deal with this life alone.

Β 

so I will search for you,

I will search for you in the light of day

and in the darkest caverns of the night.

Β 

I’ll exclaim your name

because I know it to be

my own,

and I will find you,

I will find you,

and bring you back into the beacon

of the light that I know you will

feel again.

Β 

I will hold you,

tightly,

and remind you of all the reasons

you have to stay alive.

Β 

because you’re needed here,

you’re needed.

Β 

and we want you here,

we want you.

Β 

you are loved.

you are strong.

you are a warrior.

you are a survivor.

you are worthy.

you deserve to take up space.

you deserve a happy and healthy life.

you are amazing.

you are brave.

you are wondrous.

you are you

and no one can ever replace you.

Β 

so please,

please don’t try and replace yourself.

Β 

I see your shadow in the darkness,

the outline of grey that hangs in the air,

and I’m coming for you now.

I’m coming like the waves,

and when I find you,

I will secure you with the firelight

and you can sit back and hear the sparks

crinkle into the atmosphere around us

and you can find something in it,

something there,

that allows you to breathe an easier breath,

for your heart to beat another tune,

and for the world of pain to ebb away slowly,

finding yourself again

exactly where you thought you lost yourself.

Β 

you will be whole.

you will fall into acceptance.

and you will fight for a brighter day ahead.

Β 

because they come.

they do.

and we need you here

more than the heavens above require you.

Β 

so fight.

fight hard and fight loud.

we are here.

Β 

I am you.

Β 

and I want us to see another sunrise.

in the fading billows of the smoke,

in the joyous taste of a s’mores,

into the day ahead,

continuing onwards,

continuing over and over.

Β 

because we need to.

because the world is better

with us still in it.

Β 

and when you struggle to see the light,

I will hold it out for you.

Β 

and one day you’ll find,

that you can hold it out

for the next person you try

and save–

kindness and humanity

falling out of your palms

as you climb the highest hill

and call out their name.

Β 

because it’s you again,

in a different vessel,

it’s you,

and you’re as determined as I was

to find them,

to encourage them,

and to show them the world,

because they deserve to see it, too.

Β 

and on and on the story will pass,

endlessly into the dawn ahead,

and when the moonlight and the starlight

come out to shine,

someone else out there will find guidance in them,

peace in them

and be able to smile satisfactorily and feel

their soul beat with the crowd of souls that linger

by their side,

warming the air around them,

reminding them that

they

are never alone.

Technical aspects of the poem:

Written 7/10/2020

No mood music specified.


About the poem: So it looks like I wrote this poem the following day from my Goodbye Athena blog post. I was still dealing with the ramifications of that post into that day and I found out that late Thursday evening that I started Mother Redbird’s appearance (which would make more sense why I was so emotional). So I was still feeling the effects from it and needed to vent and had a harrowing day. I did it in the hopes that I could write or edit some fanfic afterward. It captured my mood pretty well,Β  I think, I found myself hanging on every word just now rereading it, and it is a hopeful poem even if it starts off dark and depressing. Such is life at times, huh? I think it’s a pretty worthwhile poem altogether speaking. I believe this preceded an email I sent to a friend called “Struggle Lane” and in between me working on a new fanfic chapter update.

If you are struggling with your mental health or suicidal ideation and you live in the USA you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline either by phone (1800 273 8255) or through their chat service. I used the chat service this day which I felt the person I spoke to didn’t understand either the OCD I live with or the situation of me writing about Athena however it DID allow me time to talk with my Mom and initiate help-seeking behavior in THAT way. So, it’s still worth a shot!!

So yeah, that’s what’s behind this post at least. I hope that you are having a nice day and I’ll be updating this blog with a few new posts in the coming week.

Have a pleasant weekend!!

❀ ❀ ❀

Β