Thumb Thursday #4: Climbing Mountains in Recovery

Every Mt. in Recovery - THUMB - TT4 - 7.14.19


So, it’s another Thursday, and you know what that means, as of the last 3 weeks:

It’s Thumb Thursday!!!

Thumb Thursday is a post featuring graphic designs I’ve made on the lovely website ‘Canva’ in which I talk about whatever that thumb is about that day as well as spread (hopefully) positivity, compassion, love and storytelling to whomever comes across each post!

A noble mission by all accounts and purposes, of course. πŸ˜‰

So, today we’re going to talk about mountains. About setbacks. Hurdles. Obstacles in the road to our recoveries.

No recovery journey, at least that I define it as, is ever completed and finished. There’s never a way to wipe out whatever history you once had: with yourself, with others, with the past. Instead, you learn how to better cope and manage your urges and struggles. I think especially in regards to mental health, there’s not necessarily one day where you wake up and you’re 100% cured. Even when it’s not as severe as it once was, it’s still kinda there, lingering, in the shadows, waiting. Whether that’s from the perspective of self-sabotage or just within the normal realms of the human experience, we ALL have a past and we ALL run the risk, living each day, that something or someone somewhere will trigger our memories of remembering harder times where maybe we weren’t as skillful or even if it’s something we once struggled with and we’re reminded, “Aaa, yes, that. I remember that.”

My point is, no matter how hard we try, it may not be feasible, let alone healthy, to separate ourselves into compartmentalized pieces because, in truth, we are complicated and multi-faceted human beings with lived experiences that will sometimes (or frequently) collide with the expectations and experiences of those surrounding us. If it’s easier for me to think of myself merely in the last 5 years, or the last year even, than to consider ALL of me for all the years I existed before then, that’s fine.

But it’s not factual.

It’s something I’m choosing to look at in a particular way. I haven’t actually been separated into the segments of time that I feel comfortable allowing myself to dwell on. In many others’ eyes I am the ENTIRETY of my experiences, rather than how I choose to present myself today. How I choose to focus on myself today.

I can separate myself and recognize that in reality, I am integrated, I am whole. And because I have had these struggles in the past, they do run the risk of re-appearing again in the future. I think I’ve forgotten that in many ways when I reached stability as my new baseline. And it’s not just something that I, someone living with mental health conditions, will struggle with, rather that others–those with and without conditions–may struggle with at some point as well.

Recovery isn’t linear. There is no ‘I recovered and that’s the end of the game’. There’s always more room for improvement, new issues that arise, co-morbidities, maintenance of past problems making sure they don’t develop into new ones, blah blah blah. You get my drift.

So, instead of looking towards the mountain and being frustrated that they continue to arise out of the sharp rocks after we just finished climbing the last one–we need to change our relationships towards them.

Because in truth, mountains are there kinda for us to kick their ass and overcome. Who doesn’t love the view from the mountaintop when you’re overlooking the area around you? It’s freeing and frightening and wonderful and fascinating.

Why would this be any different regarding our mental health accomplishments?

Because accomplishing tasks we weren’t able to do three days ago or three months ago or three years ago, should be celebrated just as much as having reached the top of a arduous mountain. It’s truly the same thing, when it comes down to it.

And life and, in itself recovery, will never be superbly paved with no construction zones or pot hole free roads or without struggle or without storms.

So, I think, it’s better to prepare ourselves for the fact that life won’t be easy. Recovery is not easy. It’s hard work, often a lot of the time. And that sucks AND it’s absolutely worth it at the very end of the day (and sometimes in the middle, too!). Recovery and finding stability is an amazing process.

I know that I like to think that I’m so much better off than where I once was–and for many areas that IS true–and I also know that life can be unpredictable and tomorrow I could wake up to the worst news ever and feel like my whole life is falling apart–because that’s a PART of my past.

Yet it doesn’t define me.

And just because I struggled with it once doesn’t have to mean I will always struggle with it in the SAME way that I did before. Life changes, people change and circumstances will be circumstances. Again, it’s how we choose to play the hand that matters most.

So, yes, I could be triggered. In fact, I probably WILL be triggered at some point, and I am sometimes more vulnerable at times than others.

And I’m going to face another mountain. I’m going to have to dig deep within my soul to use every skill from DBT that I’ve learned and really make use out of it, actively, in my life. And I’ll always choose to stand up again, even when all I want to do (or feel I want to do) is to lie down and give up and let life end.

Even then, I will still rise.

And I’ll keep rising. Moment after moment, I will choose to rise. Especially now, for where I am in recovery, since I KNOW there are better days ahead and healthier ways to cope, it makes it more manageable to keep going, keep searching: for the light, for the hope, for the faith, for the peace.

It matters.

It’s worth it.

YOU are worth it all.


So dare to give yourself some credit today! Really sit down for a minute and figure out what you’d like to do for the next hour or the next minute and witness all your accomplishments, no matter how big or how small, because you did it, you got through another day and sometimes that is more than enough. ❀ ❀ ❀

Thank you so much for reading!

If you have any ideas for graphic designs regarding color choices, types of elements, words, meanings, etc. feel free to shoot me a message either here, on Twitter or on my public email address!

I’m hoping to write a life update later this week and just gush about some things I want to get off my chest that don’t necessarily fit into today’s post (like reviews/analyses, song a day’s, fanfic etc.)

Once again, thank you!!!

xxx

PS I especially love this thumb and can’t wait to continue to share all my others! πŸ™‚

PPS I reorganized my room today, which it so desperately needed and I’m actually at my desk writing this post, having sprayed some lovely perfume, yay. Listening to ‘Hold On’ by Chord Overstreet. Hoping to work on some reading and fanfic before the end of the night. Needed a break on my back. As a small update without much detail, I let go of the job and am in the search for a new one. Any who, take care though!!! xxx Sending you all so much love and support! πŸ˜€

Thumb Thursday #3: You Are So Very, Very Loved

You are Loved, Forever and Always - THUMB - TT3 - 7.3.19


I think sometimes we have to work with where we’re at.

Not before, not after, but right in the middle.

This post is going to be uncomfortable for me, because I’m going to challenge the notion that I HAVE to (by my own rules, no less) write LONG blog posts, that I cannot justify writing a blog post that’s 100 or 500 words long, that anything less than 1K or more is just not possible, not feasible, not ENOUGH.

Sigh.

Additionally, I am doing this post late at night. Not my ideal circumstances at all. I’m tired, I want to sleep soon and I have to get up early tomorrow for program and my job is being difficult and stressful and it brings up a lot of stuff for me that’s very uncomfortable and unfortunate.

So, let’s talk about that for a minute.

My first day was Saturday 7/13. It went, if you follow me on Twitter or know me in real life, less than well. It was A LOT of driving in unfamiliar places and a lot of anxieties were faced and I kinda burnt out in the middle of it and wanted the ULTIMATE AVOIDANCE levels AKA meaning I wanted to die. The entire time. It was great!! (*Note the serious level of sarcasm here*)

I wanted to quit, I wanted to run away, I definitely wanted the experience to be over, I wanted to hide, but really, I wanted to die. And it was all the intense feelings present with NO suicide planning at all, which is reminiscent to how it was back in my last semester of college. Thanks, DBT!

But I entered a new arena:

Where I don’t feel “sick enough” to require a hospitalization. And that brings up bad tastes in my mouth, because I distinctly remember a time 5 years ago where I went for help at the Counseling Center on a Friday and was not an imminent danger to myself so there wasn’t much they could do so they sent me home. And I remember I had faced a fork in the road:

I could either choose recovery or I could choose to become “more serious” (more severe may be a better way of wording that).

So, what did I do?

I chose the latter and got my ass hospitalized the coming Monday.

But I don’t really want that now, five years into the future. But I think I’m mourning the fact that I don’t get to go to a hospital. Because I am safe. And being safe doesn’t equate to being in the hospital. Like, people go to the hospital when they’re unsafe to be safe.

And even though I have all the FEELINGS there, and urges somewhat too, I’m NOT unsafe. So, does that mean I can’t go to the hospital?

I guess not, right?

I mean, I know that hospitals are the places to go to for stabilization, medication adjustments, safety concerns, etc.

But I’m getting ahead of myself–Sat was a hard shift and I had to end it early. I legit cried the entire way home (and I hung out with David for a while after which helped immensely by the way (his Mom gives great hugs!) and I got to pet his cats and go by the beach and laugh and enjoy myself, it was really lovely, when we parted ways he gave me a big hug and told me to stay safe too, which was really sweet and compassionate, just FYI) and had a MASSIVE pep talk from my parents after when I showed back up and we chatted a bunch, I cried, I pet The Mokeys and watched “A Dog’s Purpose”. It took me until about Monday to re-stabilize out. I also made a chain analysis for it, too.

My therapist may have picked a terrible time (for me) to get married. XD

Tu 7/16: I faced another work shift, only 3 hours, and we spent it easily at the movie theater to see “Crawl” (2019) (which I will review soon!) and it was an easy day and not very complicated and it went great. Loved the job again!

Today, Th 7/18: I hate the job again. I met with my supervisor before I headed over and we went to the Z Mall (which is pretty abandoned by this point) and it was okay, but the caregivers of my client were really pushing my boundaries for travel areas (Boston) and such and for events that I’m unwilling and uncomfortable doing plus the additional hours that ARE within my cluster but that are difficult to judge and implement with the timing of my other commitments and the availability of my client.

Tough stuff.

So, I got a bit stressed out and wanted to die again so there’s that. And I cried a little on the way home but no where near as bad as Sat.

Ultimately, it is my decision. We’re doing problem solving in DBT-I right now so I’m gonna do it on this situation but I’ll probably give it 2 months before I quit. I think there is the driving aspect of it and the behavioral aspect of it and I struggle with balancing BOTH of those (whereas if I didn’t have driving anxieties I wouldn’t have to worry about that). I know I can get more involved with NAMI work but my Mom isn’t happy about that, either.

I’d like to give it 6 months but that might be unrealistic. And I don’t know if it’s really worth it all. I’m thinking the mileage isn’t, as 2/3 of my travel time/cost wouldn’t be covered by the agency. But then it’s like, do I want to gain some experience? Would working with another client closer be better? What other hours could I put in? All that jazz.

But as of right now, I’m gonna wait a couple more weeks before I make my final decision. Sorry, I’ve gotten tired again, another wave of it, and I think I may have to tap out for now.


I guess, some things don’t have easy answers.

I wish love were enough to not let, not allow, people with (or without, even) mental health conditions end their lives. I wish love were a force to be more reckoned with, a hug so tight and pervasive that it couldn’t be argued otherwise that it didn’t exist.

But just know that you are loved. As the thumb says, with all the love hearts across it. I know that I am loved. I know that my mental health is my first priority. I know that while this job may turn out to be not the right fit for me at this time, it could be better fitting in the future.

And that either way, I’ll find a job I can do, that I’m competent at and that I enjoy and love as much as anything else. Maybe that’s in advocacy, maybe that’s elsewhere. And I guess I have to come to acceptance of taking myself where I’m at and not where I think I should be or how much further along I feel I should be.

So, feelings be damned, I say! And I’ll keep plugging away. Reminded daily of where I’m at in my recovery and where I want to be next. And maybe, maybe in the end, that is all that matters.


I’ve been aching to write some fanfic this week, so I hope to do that soon! I have updated D&D this past week, which was awesome! I’ve also had family therapy which is great. But I really have to go and somehow this managed to be 1K words, sigh. Maybe next time?

Thank you so much for reading all of this!!! ❀ ❀ ❀

Background song: “Do Not Go Gentle” by Josh Woodward (yet another song to mention in a future post).

Thumb Thursday #2: Blot Out the Night with Your Shine; Bringing Hope to the Hopeless

shine. then, shine brighter. TT2 - 7.3.19 - THUMB


Okay, so, I actually only logged onto my computer in the last 20 minutes (it’s 4p now) because I had to check with when my job requires us to submit our hours online (weekly or bi-weekly; it’s bi-weekly, by the way) when I remembered, via the tab on my Firefox browser above, that, oh shit, right, I need to do a blog post!

So, this is going to be a smorgasbord of posts because I have a LOT on my mind and a lot to say and some of it is on topic and some of it just isn’t. Let’s try and live with that even though it’s uncomfortable, shall we?

So, what’s been happening?

My friend Vanessa is still in the hospital and I am visiting her today, it’s her birthday actually! I have made her a happy birthday and get well soon card that some people from program signed and for which I still have to fill in some of my final thoughts and color a couple more pictures in it.

The visiting hours for Vanessa are 6:30p – 8p. Which means I’ll be leaving by 5:30p to get there as it’s a little bit of a hike with a giant bridge (eeeps!) that I have to go over to get there, but it’s not a suuuuper bad ride.

Next, my friend Madeline has gone back inpatient too. She was in back in June and was out for a week or so and just had to go back in yesterday. Unfortunately, and she double unfortunately wasn’t sent to a good hospital so there’s that. But she’s safe. And she’ll be starting at Passages soon too, and I think that will really, really help her.

So besides thinking my friends are dropping like flies, with more struggling and more that have second thoughts about reaching out, I also started my period today and my back and front is killing me.

And my first shift for work starts Saturday.

And I had a psychiatry appointment today.

And I’ve been scalp picking like a motherfucker lately and I’m not sure when…when I’m going to stop.


But this isn’t all bad, really! I don’t know if I’m trying to convince myself of this or you as well, but, we’re here.

And I guess I have to celebrate and rejoice that although fragmented, all of my friends ARE still here. Still alive, still breathing.

It’s true that I can’t breathe for them. It’s true that I can’t love them THROUGH their pain–not to say I won’t support them or to say I won’t care about them, but rather that love is not a strong enough force in making people realize how amazing and wonderful and lovely they are. I don’t think that’s come out the way I wanted it to.What I’m trying to say, is that love isn’t often enough to save people from themselves. And it sucks, a lot. And it doesn’t mean you’re not there for them, because YOU ARE and you remind them how much you care and love them and you also accept that at the end of the day, they’re their own person and all decisions are ultimately up to them.

It’s a powerlessness that knows no bounds. A helplessness often chalked up to enabling. And it’s hard. It’s really, really hard. But all we can really control is ourselves. And sometimes having to do that is a mission to the moon all by itself.

I was talking to my Dad today about this in the car (I asked if he could drive me to my appointment to help conserve gas for me; fun fact: my psychiatrist got to meet my doggo! :D) and I’ve never spoken about it online before (although I’ve wanted to), so here it all goes:

I’m not going to be 100% positive and supportive 100% of the time.

That’s a really, really difficult thing to say.

I’m basically saying that I have my OWN doubts sometimes, regarding my friends. Regarding the people I interact with, the people I don’t even know yet.

Sometimes I wonder if they will recover. Sometimes I’m unsure that they can find stability, like I have. Sometimes I don’t know what to say. Sometimes I doubt their strength.

But I don’t tell them that.

I guess I put up the continued front that I do believe in them 100% of the time, and I DO believe in them, don’t get me wrong, it’s just not always 100% every day, all the time.

And I think that’s probably something that makes me human.

We can’t be happy and positive ALL of the time. It’s natural to have doubts, to second guess ourselves, to wander into the darkness.

And I don’t know if it’s right or wrong to hide that doubt from people. I don’t know if adding that doubt to their already full plate would be detrimental to their recovery journeys or helpful to be reminded that they’re not alone in wondering the worst and they’re not bad for having second thoughts, for having struggles. It’s really all a part of the process itself, to be honest.

But I guess I fear what that reaction might come across as–and some people might react warmly or coldly to it, not every person is the same and can we truly guess who will react one way versus the other?

So for now, for now I keep it in. And I feel relief at the fact that I’m often not face to face with my loved ones when I have these doubts, because they’d probably read it on my face. And I’m not sure if they should see that or not. And I keep it in and thank the universe that I’m speaking to them through text message because then when I have my doubts, I can step away for a while, recharge myself, return to my burnout regimen and once I’ve feeling more clear-headed, then I can tell them that I trust them, I believe in their strength, and I have hope for them that they will get better and things will be okay again soon.

And I genuinely do believe in that. And when I have my own doubts, I turn to music where others have that hope for me, too.


Songs like, “Have it All” by Jason Mraz (the video below has a lot of incorrect song lyrics but I still love listening to this copy of it!):

To me, this song is so positive, happy, upbeat and wishing the best for our loved ones on one hand, and also to the rest of humanity on the other. πŸ™‚ ❀

Now, I will segue into today’s chosen thumb.

“Shine. Then, shine brighter”

This quote, that I pulled from the recesses of my own mind, means to me that when the going gets tough, when life feels like shit, when you’re so lost in the darkness–that you dare yourself to shine on. You dare yourself to brighten up, you dare to feel hope, you dare to trust in the process, have faith within your bones and give yourself up to the night sky where you are then carried by the light of the stars and become one with the universe, with all its hopes and promises and better tomorrow’s ahead. Having hope, to me, is believing that things will get better, when they have before and ESPECIALLY when they don’t seem to have happened before. Hope is the reason to keep going. Hope is fighting when all you want to do is lie down and stop the fight. To stop the war.

Hope, to me, is roaring when your voice feels hoarse. Hope, to me, is wandering through the dark woods, knowing that you’ll make it through to the other side–and believing that you WILL when you feel like all is lost and you are broken. Hope, to me, is trying for one more second, one more minute, one more hour, one more day. Hope is the stars twinkling in the night, finding their shine even within the darkness (or even because of the darkness).

And rainbows–well, rainbows are my very foundation. I love rainbows, I love color. There’s a reason that my slogan for my blog is based out of a rainbow lighthouse:

IMG_6318

Circa April 2018; in which the eye of the woman houses a lighthouse because, in her mind, in her imagination, is where her passion lies.

IMG_6316

Circa May 2018; the lighthouse, the ribbons for mental health awareness month, the slogan, everything. Here it is. ❀

The rainbow lighthouse would be my logo to everything that I’ve built–to this blog, to my Youtube channel, to my Twitter, to my projects—everything. It’s where my dreams build upon harder ground. It’s where things are bright, and shiny and colorful.

Color to me is transformative. I used to draw back in 2015 with blue or black ink.

Now, I use watercolors and I use lots of COLOR and I make everything into something extraordinary, in the way that only I can truly do. Color to me is in your face, and I think that’s really how my soul radiates badassery and power these days, ahaha! πŸ˜€

The tree with the hands was the perfect thing for this thumb, as well. I’m so happy and proud that I found it because it reminded me of this drawing I once did (all the way back in 2015!):

IMG_7411 Upd

A hand/tree combination holding onto hope and shining with light and power. ❀

I was probably getting ready for all my tree and roots metaphors this far back in the day! XD

I remember showing this particular drawing to Steve as we waited in the Counseling Center for the ambulance to show up.

I didn’t know then where I’d be now but it’s been one helluva ride and I wouldn’t change a thing.

My story, my life, has a brighter light than most. Most people struggle with acceptance and getting help and getting treatment.

The majority of my recovery, that hasn’t been the case for me. I had people rooting for me early on, I had people’s hope, I had people’s love. I didn’t go through trauma. I didn’t have a genetic vulnerability to mental health.

I just got handed a shit stick in life and I transformed it into my passion. I took the cards I was dealt and flipped them differently. I often sought help directly from myself (or, as it were, indirectly through other individuals). I know that wasn’t entirely the case last year but I hope to call upon it further in the coming years when I move forwards inch by inch. I think I can help others. I think by sharing my story, my voice, that I can help someone else out there. Whether it’s just making those conversations with people, simply sharing what did and didn’t work for me, by writing walls of text onto an Internet bubble, I think I can do that. I know that I have already. And I hope for more time in the future to share all the darkest bits of myself, and focus instead on all the ways I’m growing, shining brighter and brighter with all the color and sparkle in the world!

So, I hope you, too, will choose to shine with me. I hope that you will have hope for yourself and others, too. And when you falter, and when I falter too, I will hold onto hope for the both of us. And it’ll be us against the world, against our minds. And we’ll make it through.

Because that’s what survivors do.

Welcome to RecoverytoWellness. Welcome to Recovery. Welcome to Humanity. Welcome to empathy, kindness and compassion. We’re happy to have you here. Please, choose to stay a while.

 

Thank you soooooo much for reading!!!

Sending you all love and positivity! ❀ ❀ ❀ xxx

“Stravaganza: City of Masks” (2002) |Book Analysis (June-July 2019)

Book Analysis - THUMB - 7.3.19


CHOSEN BOOK:

“Stravaganza: City of Masks” (2002) by Mary Hoffman

Book #1 of 3; but with popularity became a six part story, hooray!! πŸ˜€ (I just learned this online)

**BEWARE: SPOILERS AHEAD (Summ.) w/ My Commentary**


THEMES:

Politics, fantasy, thwarted assassination attempts, foster parents, magic/science, travel to different time dimensions, friendship, budding romance, masquerade masks, Duchessa’s, good and evil, historical fiction, spies


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

Substance use (alcohol) and murder


RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

4/5 Italians


SUMMARY:

Lucien Mulholland is a fifteen year old living in twenty-first century England when he is diagnosed with brain cancer. He lives with his parents, Vicky and David, and upon his Dad giving him a marbled purple and red journal that he sticks into his pocket one evening, he discovers and is thrust into a world of a different time. He begins his quests into what is known then as Bellezza, the sixteenth century version of present-day Italy, where he meets a young, rebellious teen, Arianna. Arianna is not as mystified with the ruler of Bellezza, the Duchessa named Silvia, as all her other citizens in the lagoon. Arianna has some radical, feminist perspectives (that women should also be able to be the mandoliers rather than only men) about the Duchessa and has a plan to attack her before this plan is thwarted. You see, Arianna has two older brothers and has entered the city of Bellezza during one of the most restricted times (a citizen not of Bellezza cannot be roaming the streets on this day or otherwise will face death) when she bumps into a black, curly haired Lucien (whom she names Luciano).

What Lucien additionally discovers in Bellezza is that he is healthy and with his hair, strong and passionate. Their friendship blossoms over the time where Lucien arrives in Bellezza every night in his world and every day in Bellezza’s time. He meets the Senator Rodolfo who is a scientist by today’s standards and a magic wielder by Bellezza’s. He helps bring Luciano into his wing to teach him about how he is one of the brethren of the Stravanganti: a person who, with a talisman from the other dimension, can travel between worlds. Because he is a guest in Bellezza, Luciano does not have a shadow (this is important later). He learns of another Englishman who traveled to Bellezza from Rodolfo and they are successful in finding out where he is.

During this entire time, Arianna is punished by her parents to spend time away from her hometown and in the city of Bellezza with her aunt to take care of her. This works out all right because Luciano and her often hang out and she teaches him about her world and the hotspots around it. Also, the Duchessa at this time is in a committed relationship with Rodolfo, and we are introduced to their enemies Rinaldo di Chimici (who wishes for Bellezza to join under his rule of Remora). It turns out that during celebratory events, that the Duchessa uses a body double. One such body double, Giuliana whose fiance is Enrico, is sworn to secrecy and given silver for her performance as payment. Except, of course, she does not keep quiet about the Duchessa’s body doubles and tells her fiance Enrico about it, who works as his profession as a spy. As such, Enrico decides to work with Rinaldo to uncover what is so special about Luciano and Arianna, following them around as they go from island to island and upon their many adventures.

At the same moment, the Duchessa is curious about Arianna and has her own spy follow the two teenagers around as well.

Later, there is an assassination attempt on the Duchessa’s life during one of the fireworks showings and Luciano has stayed the night there in Bellezza and happens to save the Duchessa from death. He is rewarded for his endeavors in silver and becomes closer to Arianna as they muddle through the uncertainties ahead of them. Meanwhile, Rodolfo and Luciano are able to find Doctor Dethridge who escaped from being burned alive in England for practicing magic and regained his shadow in Bellezza when his physical body died back in his own world. Dethridge helps to support Luciano and Rodolfo in their quest to understanding who is after the Duchessa and how to keep themselves safe and alive despite the risks.

With Rinaldo and Enrico working hard to thwart the Duchessa, Giuliana incidentally goes to the Duchessa’s mother to help make her wedding dress out of the impressive lace she makes. Being particularly talkative, Giuliana talks of Enrico’s mission to kill the Duchessa and her mother makes a secret, hidden message within her lace to send to her daughter and warn her of what was transpiring. Because of Giuliana’s fickleness and because of how greedy she is, the Duchessa asks her to come in to impersonate her again and turns her into the Glass Room where Enrico comes to kill the Duchessa (not realizing it’s his finace). While Giuliana gets taken care of, the real Duchessa seeks comfort and assistance from Rodolfo, Dethridge, Luciano and Arianna.

Annoyed that another assassination is thwarted, Rinaldo works with Enrico to come up with a new plan. They find out, from the Duchessa’s own spy and a bartender that both Luciano and Arianna had been in the city during the forbidden day. With this knowledge, Enrico makes a case against the two teens. Also during this time, Lucien’s parents in the present take him on vacation to Venice where he is able to cross the boundaries lightly (although getting physically ill because of it) into Bellezza and where he realizes with a dreadful feeling that something is going wrong in the city where he ventures to at night. Because he’s on vacation, he’s unable to Stravagate to Bellezza for a week in his time and a few days in their time. When he does arrive back home, he gets the bad news that his cancer has begun to grow back and he faces an unfortunate reality that he will not survive past it.

Back in Bellezzza, Arianna is sent a warrant for her arrest and placed into the dungeons. However, the Duchessa by this point has learned that Arianna is her very own daughter. Because of this, she was born on Bellezza then sent to one of the nearby islands to live with the Duchessa’s sister. She was brought up as though she were her mother’s sister’s daughter. She is shocked to find out this news and has many mixed emotions. She isn’t told right away who her father is.

When Luciano returns to Bellezza and informs Rodolfo and Dethridge of his very real, potential demise in his world, he is hugged and comforted by the two elder gentlemen. He finds out that Arianna is the Duchessa’s daughter and that the Duchessa has chosen to step down from her role of ruler of Bellezza after the second assassination attempt and has elected for Arianna to take her place instead. She plans to live her life as an ordinary citizen in a town called Padavia.

Then, Luciano is captured by Enrico as a new plan has surfaced for Rinaldo and his spy. They want to claim that Arianna cannot possibly be from Bellezza (to question her ability to rule Bellezza after she’s elected) and to show how Luciano isn’t from Bellezza either and is actually a witch (upon which the sentencing for Remora individuals would be death and which the citizens of Bellezza would be afraid of).

While he is captured within Rinaldo’s dungeons, his physical form in his world slips into a three week long coma. Arianna is brought into the courtroom to face the judgments of her new people, that question the legitimacy of her birth–which is where she finds out, among her citizens, that Rodolfo is her true father. The case is then dismissed.

But Luciano’s isn’t, not yet. Luciano is brought before the courtroom to see his lack of a shadow, however, in his world he has just been pronounced dead and because of this, he DOES have a shadow in Bellezza, so that Enrico’s and Rinaldo’s claims are immediately dismissed as irrational.

With time, Arianna steps up to be the ruler of her people, Luciano comes to terms with his death in the present world and how he is meant to live his life anew in Bellezza, he is able, with help from Rodolfo, to find some ways in which to say goodbye to his parents, and a romance begins between Arianna and Luciano, while Dethridge and Arianna’s aunt begin a romance as well. Rodolfo and Silvia also further their relationship and the story ends on a high note.

Everything up to this point was written June 8th 2019


STAND OUT QUOTES:

1. “Lanterns swung gently between the trees, illuminating the flowers and leaves, bleached of their vivid daytime colours” – p. 14-15

MT: I thought this was a particularly beautiful description. ❀

2. ” ‘What a waste,’ thought Arianna” – p. 23

MT: I found this book initially very difficult to get through and I thought more than once about abandoning my efforts (although I’m glad now that I stuck with it!). In particular, I found it confusing that the author used single quotation marks for the thoughts rather than Italicizing the phrases and while also using half a quotation for whenever a person spoke. I don’t know if it was a stylistic choice to represent the time period this book covers or if the author is unfamiliar with this notion. By this I mean not using: ” ” and instead using: ‘ ‘ . I also just don’t think it makes sense to use the same symbols for dialogue as for thoughts, as it’s difficult to read at first. Also, towards the end of the book I found a few other grammar and misspelling moments. :/ They were a little distracting for me, and sometimes when I read certain sentences I had to double back and read it again as it didn’t make sense to me the first time. Sigh.

3. “The lessons were hard. There was a lot about matter and geology but that was as close to what Lucien might have described as science as they got. Mostly it was more like meditation. Rodolfo was very keen to develop Lucien’s power of concentration. ‘Empty your mind,’ (Rodolfo) would say, which Lucien found impossible. ‘Now focus on a point in the city. Visualize it. Describe it to me. Colours, smells, sounds, textures'” – p. 86

MT: I honestly do find this whole world building thing to be pretty amazing. For right now (6/11/19) I found it to be very reminiscent of the MCU’s “Doctor Strange” and also “Captain Marvel” for the whole Skrulls and Kree thing. I guess because it was dabbling with emotions and not expressing them as the Kree population was about. I have reviews on CM and eventually DS that I want to do soon, too. πŸ™‚

4. “[Lucien] knew that however fascinating he found the city, he was a tourist, in time and space” – p. 87

MT: For now, he was a tourist. But yes, he wasn’t fully participating and living his complete life in Bellezza, rather sharing it with his time in 21st century England. It’s too bad he couldn’t bring others with him to Bellezza, that would have been cool.

But for today, this is where I’m stopping. Since I took out a few of the flags and skipped some, I’m at least happy to say we’re 100 pages in now, hooray! Until the next paragraph, tomorrow! ❀



Soooo, there’s no real way to get back into this analysis/what started off as a review but will probably be renamed an analysis from this point on, but it’s been over a month since I worked on this post and I reaaaaaaaally need to get it completed and finished so that I can get this book BACK to the library without getting charged for having to replace it. SO! That said, let’s jump back in! (It’s currently July 9th)

**EDIT: I’ve also completely changed around and revamped this post, adding sections and rearranging them, hopefully it makes more sense and covers as much as I’d like without also being too long and complicated**

5. “What was he doing here, hundreds of miles away in space and hundreds of years in time, and who knew how distant from his own family?” – p. 117

MT: I think this is a great example of how even if he’d had a choice to continue living his life in B versus his own world, that it would come at a great cost, even still. He would miss his own family and although he has friends and family in B, it wouldn’t quite be the same. He obviously misses them and it’s sad how things turn out for his present day life. But there are things to rejoice in his B life.

6. “[The canal was filling with flowers at the funeral] some landed in the mandola, so that its severe black lines were now blurred into a mass of color. But most fell unheeded into the water, where they floated along in the wake of the cortege, alongside cheap golden ornaments representing the goddess” – p. 262

MT: This passage honestly reminded me of Frigga’s death in The Dark World and Tony’s in Avengers: Endgame ❀ ❀ ❀

7. “(R to crowd) ‘We have all lost someone we loved. Some might say that this loss of ours is not capable of restoration. And in some ways I would agree. But out of despair has come forth hope. In the darkness there is a gleam of a new dawn’ ” – p. 283

MT: I feel that this quote is especially necessary to highlight and showcase in this analysis because it’s heartwarming and truthful for most other situations as well. πŸ™‚

8. “[The doctors to L’s parents in his world] ‘I’m afraid, as we told you, there are signs that Lucien must have undergone some brain damage. I must repeat there is no sign of any brain activity at all. To all intents and purposes, he is dead already.’ … ‘So, you’re saying there’s no hope? No alternative to turning off the machines?’ … Both consultants remained silent. The two parents clasped hands beside their son’s body” – p. 308

MT: I thought this was a very sad scene and I actually teared up a little because of how sad it was and that the parents had to lose L in this way when he is so vibrantly alive in another world and time dimension. This is tied up somewhat nicely at the very last chapter, however.

9. “(L’s Mom to his Dad) ‘I never thought it would be like this, without any time to say goodbye.’ She thought she had cried all the tears she had in her but still more seemed to come when L’s father said, ‘At least we had that holiday with him in Venice'” – p. 311

MT: I really feel for this parents here and it’s such a blow to the gut that we really don’t ever know when the last time we see someone will be the last time. It sucks and it hurts, a lot. Sad. 😦 ❀

10. “(R to L’s parents in present day) ‘Your son still lives, you know, only in another place. And he will never forget you. He will think of you all the time as you think of him. He will grow up strong and happy and one day you will see him again'” – p. 325

MT: I thought this was extremely heartfelt and sweet. πŸ™‚ ❀

11. “L had made lists both mental and real of all the things he would never experience again. They were so small but seemed suddenly so important. He would never go to a football match, or see a film or eat a pizza or take a hot shower again. Never watch TV or eat popcorn or travel by Tube or swim in a swimming pool. Never sleep under a duvet or buy a lottery ticket or use a GameBoy or chew gum. Never fly in an aeroplane or ride on a rollercoaster or wear jeans. … But gradually, with the help of R and his new foster-parents, Luciano had begun to see that there were pluses to spending the rest of his life as a citizen of Bellezza” – p. 337

MT: Although this is mostly just the start of this analysis for you, it is the end for me and I think it’s important and a nice reminder of all the things we can have gratitude over and of course, the obvious (if you continue to read all the way to the end) relation to the novel I wish to write. It’s important to see both sides of life and death–the good and the bad. It’s not all of one or the other, rather a blended mixture. There are reasons to stay alive and life will get better, no matter what it is you’re struggling with.

Stay safe, my friends. ❀ And thank you for reading!!!! This was a LONG time coming and quite a bit of work, ahaha. See you on Thursday! πŸ™‚


Unanswerable questions from my reading/Re-working of the plot for my own understanding (as I read this in chunks spread out over multiple days):

  • If Luciano gets drunk in Bellezza, does he also get drunk in present day? (because he is gaining weight in present day from what he eats in B)
  • So when L leaves B his body goes with him? And when he’s out of B his body is resting in PD?
  • Β “…And what would happen to the other Lucien if he were killed here in B?” – p. 74
  • MT: Yeah, this is never officially explained. Most things with how Stravaganti’s worked weren’t. 😦 But I know that him dying in his own world gave him back his shadow in Bellezza, and what he did and ate in Bellezza effected him in his world. I think it was assumed that if he got hurt in Bellezza he would be injured in his own world as well. But my main question here was whether or not there were two Lucien’s or just one (and it seems like there was just one albeit a different one since he had hair and was cancer-free)? It’s a bit confusing, I’ll admit. When he would be alive in Bellezza in his world’s nighttime, he would be in a coma-like stance, not quite sleeping because it was deeper than that. I guess that makes a little more sense, even though it still doesn’t, completely? Sigh.
  • So if B effects him in PD wouldn’t he be able to sustain injury? And hangovers? Is not resting effecting him in PD (as I found out later, yes).
  • RECAP so far: Duchessa vs Chimci, assassination attempts, spy plans, Stravagantis, rules over Strav. night/day in worlds (If night in B it’s day in PD), people following A & L (from D’s ruling and C). Fireworks soon and maybe complicated assassination because of Enrico and Giuliana
  • On p. 147 it is explained that Dethridge now has a shadow in B world because he died in his PD world (which is significant later in the story for L)
  • From p. 168: Does L wear his normal real life clothing in B under his B clothing? How would his boxers be gone in RL if he didn’t have them on in B? Why are his boxers gone in RL? Why did company laugh when he took off his B clothing and he had the boxers on? Sooooo confused.
  • “Lucien wondered what would have happened to his body here in his own world if he had been stabbed in Bellezza” – p. 179

  • So this is EXACTLY what I’d been wondering for the duration of this entire S. business
  • On p. 185m why didn’t A and L notice the spies following them? There are spies everywhere, after all. What will the rest of the series cover (plot-wise)?
  • (So I can’t actually remember the plot line for this next notation but… on p. 198) Why didn’t R and Dethridge think of this option sooner? I believe the option is to go back into L’s PD world. Will A & L have to do this to escape being punished for witchcraft?

Things I found noteworthy:

1. The book begins with a Contents page where each chapter is titled individually

My Thoughts: Each chapter rounded up to about 15 pages in length and they all started with a small drawing at the top of which the chapter itself and the title corresponded to. I thought this was a really nice detail and I wonder if it was maintained throughout the entire series. πŸ™‚ Additionally I’m from the perspective that chapter titling is like extra level shit, so I found that especially impressive πŸ˜€

2. “[Lucien] was as out of place as a dog in the Council chamber. And yet he seemed totally oblivious of danger, warming himself in the sunshine and wearing an idiotic expression like a sleepwalker. Perhaps he was touched in the head?” – p. 36

MT: I thought this was a fairly mild phrasing of describing another person as “crazy” so, er, thanks for that, author! XD

3. Simply an observation at page 103

MT: For some reason, and I can’t remember why now, but this little paragraph about Enrico being a spy and having information to tell the Ambassador reminded me of Dr. Strange, The 100 and The Girl at Midnight series. *shrugs* Okay!

From May 7th 2019:

4. “There were turreted castles, fully rigged ships, winged rams, peacocks and whole gardens of glass trees and flowers, with delicate spider webs, accurate right down to the dewdrops (decorative glass in a museum)” – p. 107

MT: It’s interesting how things change and evolve in terms, yes of life in general, but also in terms of art. Fascinating what can be showcased in museums and the life and how that is different everywhere (yet also the same).

From May 26th:

5. “Lucien had a hunch that if Arianna’s grandfather had lived on Merlino, where all the houses were white, he would have painted his bright pink. He was that sort of a person” – p. 115

MT: I am that sort of person!!

6. How jumps in time are noted with an asterisk (*) and open journals signify jumping dimensions (from B to PD or PD to B)

7. “(R to L) ‘I didn’t bring you here. I merely left the talisman. I did not know who would find it. The talismans have a way of finding the right person’ ” – p. 129

MT: *small forming grin* You can guess what this reminds me of!!! (Dr. Strange)

8. Each chapter begins with the title and a corresponding image/sketch of what that chapter will be about (often a representation of that chapter’s title)

From June 4th:

9. On p. 146, D knows more about A than she is saying. I thought at this point that A would become her replacement

10. “(About Dethridge) and the man who had created the whole process more than four centuries ago and was now stranded for the rest of his life in another world” – p. 148

MT: The reason I’ve kept this notation is I really think L is over-reacting here. I think he’s catastrophizing and not realizing that with acceptance he’d be able to find peace and come to terms with the life he lost and the one he’s now gained. I think L is not accounting properly for the manner in which so many humans adapt to worst case scenarios and that we’re often terrible at judging how well (or not so well) we would cope with life-altering changes. Just saying!

11. By p. 155 we get a nice glimpse into the budding romance between L and A that I hope is explored in future stories!!

12. From page 163, gloating before realizing the outcome of your assassination attempt is no good. Poor form, Chimici!

13. On p. 171 I complain about how I wished the author would stop introducing new characters into the ongoing plots as it meant I had to remember more people when I was struggling with all the current ones XD

Noteworthy quote marked on June 5th:

14. “‘(D to the boy who was sent to kill her) ‘Then it’s high time (his age) you had a respectable trade. You can’t go round knifing people for a living’ ” – p. 178

MT: I honestly just laughed and enjoyed this part! XD

15. “(R to everyone) ‘But for now, you have nothing to be afraid of’ ” – p. 200

MT: Okay, so the Chimici would use Stravagation as a means to reveal secrets and ban magic and punish anyone who practices it to death. Sooooo, there is actually MUCH to be afraid of, Rodolfo!

16. “Arianna could not bear it–she screamed out loud. But there was no one to hear her” – p. 213

MT: Not gonna lie, this reminds me of how I’ve written Loki in my fanfic D&D

17. “Valeria and Gianfranco not her parents? That was like saying that Bellezza wasn’t a city. It just didn’t make sense. And the Duchessa her mother? Everything Ariannna had known about herself until today seemed to be untrue” – p. 224

MT: I cannot imagine the woes of being adopted or fostered but this scene again reminds me very much of Loki in Thor. 😦

Interesting development was that Dethridge and Leonora became a couple πŸ™‚

Chimici by page 252 isn’t all evil but Enrico is. He does come up with excuses why he can’t back out of his conniving assassination attempts on the Duchessa though.

18. “[That Arianna’s grandparents were her grandparents] That was a rock to cling to in a sea of swirling uncertainties” – p. 241

MT: Nice description!

19. “The two [R and D] seemed to stand in the dark tunnel for a long time, until their heartbeats returned to normal and they walked slowly back to R’s side of the passage” – p. 257

MT: See my cardiophile post to get this little reference!

Also, may I just note that G wasn’t nearly as “innocent” of a woman as L thought her to be! She had what was coming to her!

20. “Lucien thought again that [the Duchessa] was the most ruthless person he had ever met. He thanked his good fortune that he was on her side in the dangerous and violent world of Talian politics” – p. 259

AIwFF#1 **MT: As of June 6th, I thought this might make for an interesting Thor/Loki fanfic to explore Loki’s ruthlessness and just play around with the characters. πŸ™‚ (AIwFF = Art Idea, writing, fanfic)

21. “(R to L) ‘You are a Bellezzan now, by night and by day. Your life in the other world is over. It is a bitter ending and I shall never forgive myself for it.’ Lucien blinked hard to keep back the tears. This was it then; he was dead” – p. 317

**MT: This reminds me so much of my fiction novel I wish to one day write more consistently for and publish tentatively called “The Cards We’re Dealt” where the entirety of the novel actually begins in the afterlife. So, all the characters we’re introduced to have already passed on yet that is where the story begins rather than ends which is so typically done. πŸ™‚

22. “(L to everyone) ‘Even if I hadn’t been kidnapped, I was going to die in my world anyway. But I can’t bear it that I didn’t say goodbye to my parents’ ” – p. 318

**MT: Once again, this also reminds me of TCWD because it’s the matter of saying goodbye (or not) and accepting that and grieving with it for all that has been lost (and yet what is also yet to come!).

23. “Bellezzan from now on he might be, but he would find a way back to his own world. He had unfinished business there” – p. 329

**MT: Unfinished business theme to exactly you know what. πŸ˜‰


Thanks for stopping by!!! xxx

Welcome to [Me] Being A Cardiophile

welcome to being a cardiophile - 7.5.19 - THUMB


So I have this thing that I’ve only ever alluded to in previous blog posts and certainly not to this magnitude but I’ll be honest in this post to say aloud and admit:

Hi, I’m Raquel and I’m a cardiophile.

I mean, I feel like my fanfics “A Little Unsteady” & “My Heart Beats, Too” already covered this area pretty well but you know, I wanted to do a blog post all about it so–if you’re bothered by anatomical human hearts, first: sorry because you already saw one at the start and second: stay away from this post then because I’m putting a SHIT TON OF THEM in here. Lmao


So, as far as a story goes…

It all began when I was seven years old and I peeked at my first echocardiogram and saw my little ticker going at it. I don’t know, something about hearing the musical notes of this fluffy red organ just sparked high amounts of interest in me that has followed me until this day.

My immense amounts of curiosity trailed me down the route of becoming a cardiologist one day, especially after I started to watch a lot of House MD (a USA TV show, you’ve probably heard of it, honestly).

But, as the fates were, I never went to medical school and could barely pass the chemistry course part two in university after it took fifty shots of steroids and came to ruin my GPA. Not that I’m bitter about it, clearly. πŸ˜‰

I don’t know, I always was just so fascinated by the organ, even more so than the brain (although we ALL know how fascinating the brain is, too!). Maybe it’s because the heart makes a sound. The brain doesn’t necessarily make sounds. Stupid brain.

But I guess it’s like a fascination to have with life itself, even. I mean, for sure without a brain we couldn’t exist (and even then, how the HELL do jellyfishes exist??!!) but without a heart, can there really be progress?

I mean, I think the human body let alone every little organism on the planet Earth (especially those micro-organisms that exist out there trying to kill us all the time) is fascinating in their own rights and in their own ways.

I feel like I’m infatuated with the idea of life and disillusioned by the infinitely numerous ways we can be erased and taken out of existence at any given moment of time and the harsh reality that once we’re done here, we’re done and is there anything beyond? But even if there were, would we really be able to consciously experience it? I don’t know, death is so strange and unrelenting and one day you’re there and the next…poof! As though you were never there to start with.

Let’s not forget the amount of space in the universe as well. Hence why I went with a cosmic theme for this thumb, yes, you’re welcome, it is lovely, thank you, thank you. Made on Canva! That’s for sure! πŸ™‚

Space is a weird and intangible concept, yes? The idea that there are thousands of planets and aliens and discoveries yet to be found out there is like thinking about how deep the ocean is and what lurks hideously beneath the surface. *shudders* Eeeuuugh, let’s not, and get back to hearts, okay?

I’ve shared with you the origins of it but I skipped some stuff, so I’ll mention it now.

I can remember clearly that I, in high school–but also beyond that in university and some day to day considerations of it–would have that sudden moment of recognition that the lecturer before me had this beating organ giving them life and I’d like to imagine it working and pumping away in there all by its lonesome, near the lungs and that god damn gallbladder (what does that even do?).

Then I’d have the realization that EVERYONE in that room had one too, and so did I! And it was weird but in a really kinda cool way.

I think when you really think about it, it’s amazing how our bodies work and the basic similarities we all have YET also all the differences we have as well.

But IS it a fetish?

That’s what you’re wondering, I bet.

And I haven’t mentioned it until now, either. A CLIFFHANGER!

Honestly, for myself...sometimes but not always.

I only find it sexually pleasing and potentially arousing (remember my sex education is as good as a 5%…out of 100%, yeah, not the best so this is only a basic estimation of what I’m assuming is sexual pleasure and desire [*to myself* ewwww, sex]) when it’s a fast heartbeat.

Which opens up the other can of worms–do I seek out videos regarding cardiophile things? Am I on secret forums?

I mean, I don’t know how secret they are, but I don’t have an account on any because that’s a load of work I’m not interested or involved in opening up.

I have watched and listened to heartbeat related things before. I wouldn’t go out to stethoscope another person (yet, I mean who knows, maybe one day, I’ve seen shit about that before, not gonna lie)Β let alone my own damn self, but hey, it’d be kind of cool while also humiliating and terrifying and embarrassing.

But, great otherwise!!

Which opens yet another realm: how taboo is it to have a thing for hearts and all things heart related?

I mean, it’s a functioning (mostly) organ that does its job transporting blood vessels and cells and things all around the body, which is awesome. And it makes sounds, hehe! Plus it can change rates–and why do I sound like a sales pitch here?

I personally find the topic vastly intriguing and also very embarrassing to talk about. It makes me squeamish, really. Just squeamish to mention to doctors or people or the Internet…. you know, just bleeehh-eeeugh.

BUT IT’S THERE AND I CAN’T IGNORE IT FOREVER.

And should I have to, though? Probably not. I’ll be real. It’s probably just something that makes me me. And if people don’t like it, I guess they just don’t like it. Not much else I can do about it than that.

So I will go back and write my cardiophile-related fanfic stories and insert other poetic and lively metaphors and heart mentions within all other parts of my creative exploration within this world.

I mentioned years ago when I was self-harming in this and a little more complicated way, but while I still am haunted by dreams of re-engaging in that behavior, I haven’t actually and it’s been at least 2 years. I won’t go into details, but I thought I’d mention it, I guess? I don’t know, made more sense in my head, ahaha.

Ultimately though, while I like to be soothed by the vast nature of listening to someone or something’s heartbeat (I like to listen to my doggo’s :3), it’s pretty innocent in nature. And god only knows how much heart related (although, I’ll admit, not anatomically correct) stuff we get shoved down our throats either with heart health information or Valentine’s day arrangements or candy hearts or jewelry and all the “follow your heart” related quotes and lovey-dovey stuff that also exists, too.

Who knows, maybe one day it won’t be so squeamish for me to talk about it.

I’m not gonna talk about it on film though! Not for a long, long time.

Text is fine for now, geez! Don’t get so ahead of yourself there, junior.

But, I am done now. That is the END of this post but not the end of this life, not yet and hopefully not for a long time. πŸ™‚

I hope that you enjoyed this story AND NONE OF IT WAS TRUE, I kid, I kid. And I hope someone else out there feels a little less squeamish and a little less alone.

We’re all just hearts beating in (sometimes) unison. πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading!!

Check out all the file links that I pretty much just got off of Google! Have fun and stay safe, peeps. ❀ ❀ ❀



Also, I’m gonna add this one last thing: I also totally look for and admire other people’s venous patterns (did you know they’re as unique as our fingerprints? It’s amazing) and other such related things but yeah, that’s all, I’m going to go hide now until I write another post to push this one down! XD

Thanks though!!! πŸ˜€

Thumb Thursday #1: Being Worth the World

You are & Will Always be Worth the World - THUMB Th. 1 - 7.3.19(1)


So, I’m unveiling this new thing for me to do each Thursday where I just sit down to blog and share my hopes, dreams and positivities with the world in the hopes that someone out there, either struggling or not, will come by it and be soothed with my words of comfort and light.

Now that I’m out of school and have been for the entirety of this year thus far, (not that I’m planning to go back any time soon, either, I might add) I don’t have as much easy access to sharing myself and my hope for humanity with the world, which really just means I have to be more inventive and creative with how I share and spread my kindnesses.

With that said, I have been severely neglecting my blogging experience, my blog itself, as well as other various social media accounts.

For that, I truly apologize.

Right now, I don’t know exactly what my hours will be for work, so I imagine that I will write my weekly Thursday posts either on a Monday or a Wednesday or a Sunday the week before. Luckily, my main working days will be Tu, Th and Sat, so that should still give me some freedoms and controls on the days surrounding them. Meaning, mainly, that I’ll have time, it’s just going to be more structured and flexible time.

My Internet addiction is going to be kicked to the way side which is both parts liberating and nauseating (or maybe I’m already just feeling nauseated xD). It will give me more focused time to do what I want, however, rather than what my addiction wants me to do. It will be a rocky transition, for sure, though. But I’ll get out of the house more and I’ll be facing my driving anxieties head on. Just hopefully not into oncoming traffic. ❀

Overall, life’s been really good.

I’ve been working on reading some books, watching some films, and the processes of reviewing/analyzing them both in equal parts. I’ve been making a LOT of progress and gaining a lot of attention from some of my fanfics (Distorted & Disordered, A Little Unsteady, If I Only Could, Come to Pass and finally, Severed) across both fanfiction.net and AO3. πŸ™‚ I’m especially proud that D&D is getting more traffic, I’ve always wished for that (it’s my mental health fanfic) and ALU was getting the majority of it for a while, but now they’re evening out together, which is lovely.

I still have tons of old blog posts to review revive for you guys. Bunches of book reviews, film reviews, fanfic discussions, old articles from last semester, the works–really.

I started getting back into filming and video editing, which is a miracle in and of itself. I juggle a lot more these days than I used to, I feel. Some things I try to do in increments, others I have the urge to do and complete all in one but I usually can’t. I’ve gotten better at switching tasks though so I don’t get as burnt out. For instance, I’ll be working on a book review then after an hour switch to reading or switch to coloring and filming, etc.

I actually just saw “Spider-man: Far from Home” today, it was really good, I felt. Maybe I will have a vent piece all about that soon, too.

I’d like to begin again on my blog and my social media accounts. At the same time, I have plenty of documents I have to fill and actual paid work I need to get done, too. It’s a balance, for sure, and I’m not entirely sure I’m all that great at balancing it all.

I’m hanging out with a friend this Sunday for what might be a bi-weekly make-up session. I have to upload contents from my camera where David and I went to a festival onto my computer in the hopes that I can film some of this make-up stuff on my camera, along with my laptop. Basically, my friend, whom I have yet to name here, is licensed in cosmetology and enjoys the make-up artist portion of it rather than the hair stuff, so for them to have someone to practice on and for us to hang out in general will be fun!! Maybe if, or when, my channel picks up more headway, they can be discovered and they can get some feedback and interest in their own social media stuff and everything. A person can dream, right?

Since we’re heading full circle here… I’ll get into the meaning of this particular Thumb Thursday, er, thumb and some of the reason as to why I made it, plus a song lyric that it makes me think of as well. And then I will end with how my blogging style has seemed to transform since I stopped writing for my uni’s newspaper.

Okay, so, I honestly forget how much I mentioned it to you guys online, mostly on Twitter but for my blog purposes as well.

My close friend, Vanessa, from my day program made a very severe suicide attempt back at the start of June 2019. She actually went into the ICU and a coma for quite a few days. She’s alive now, and she’s doing better and worse day by day, let’s be honest, she’s still struggling and she’s still trying to find purpose and mattering in her world. I wrote her a poem, actually, that none of you will probably ever read because I don’t plan on posting it (maybe not in full, at least) unless things take a turn for the worst and she passes. For now, it’s for her eyes and mine, as well.

I can tell you the gist of it: it was a poem (4 pages in length) where I mentioned how she’s impacted my life, the little reminders I have of her implanted within my existence and that, while I wouldn’t agree, I understand it’s her choice to do what she wants with her life, even if that means not being here anymore.

It’s heavy, I know. And there’s some radical acceptance in the fact that I cannot control what other people do. I can do everything in my power to help but I cannot fix others, I cannot save others, and if they truly wish to save themselves, they have that ability to do so. Otherwise, I’m as helpless as the next person.

I can be there to listen and guide and praise and remind them of hope, yet ultimately that final decision is theirs. Sometimes people don’t make it through suicidal thoughts. Sometimes, even with all the help in the world, we still lose our loved ones. It doesn’t make it right, it doesn’t mean it’s not foreign and wrong in so many ways, it’s, frankly, reality.

Of course I don’t want to lose Vanessa. Of course I don’t want to lose you, reader, and I don’t want to lose myself either. I just know how hard this world can be to live in. And sometimes the pain is so blindingly bright that it seems like the only way out.

Yet, it’s not.

Life is …. a very strange and confusing thing. And it’s absolutely worth surviving all the bad days, all the bumps and bruises and scars we may accrue upon our journey. Because it DOES get better. It DOES get easier to handle, it DOES yield to an amazing transformation and deep levels of potential compassion for other human beings, even when we’ve been wronged so deeply in the past.

Kindness is given most often from the very souls that were damaged the most by hatred.

But kindness reigns. There is good yet in people. There is brightness in the world that still exists. This darkness will not last forever.

You matter.

Your life matters.

Your voice is worth sharing.

You are inspiring.

You could be someone one day. And if you hold on for a little while longer, you’re giving not only yourself that chance to shine but others around you and who have yet to meet you that chance as well.

So, please, ask for help. Please be vulnerable, because it is in our vulnerabilities that we are the strongest. Sharing our hurt with others makes us stronger than lying and meagerly getting through each day with a mask.

I’ve been given the opportunity to make a difference in this world, and you are no different to that rule. I’ve been given–no, I’ve WORKED for a stability in life that I hadn’t experienced in years. I’ve been born with a voice to speak out from the darkness and tell others, whoever will listen, that I am here, that I am alive, that everything will somehow work out and be okay and that it really, really does get better.

But don’t let me be the only person thinking that–find others who believe in you and believe in your soul, too. Find others who will lift you up. Find others who you can feel safe with. Find others who you can share your pain with. Find them–because they’re out there. They are. And you’re worth it. You’re worth the world.

While Vanessa is still in the hospital, and my make-up artist friend went in one too, while all this was happening, I also found out about the tragic passing of a talented Youtube content creator by the name of Etika.

I’m sorry, Etika, that you struggled so deeply and felt there was no other way out of your pain. I did not know of you until after your death, and I wish I could have been someone to help you. I wish I could have helped to turn on the light for you. Because you deserved to live this life and find happiness and peace, because it did exist, it existed within you so, sooo much. And now that you’re gone… I hope that we can take cruel lessons from this tragedy in the aim to prevent other struggling souls from wreaking the pain in their hearts to all those around them.

Because you will impact others when you go so soon.

It’s the nature of humanity.

I believe, honestly, in empathy. I believe that we go through pain in order to help others out there struggling, who may be reaching that point too, who we may be able to help prevent from feeling it all at once. I believe in people. And maybe that’s blind, maybe that’s naive, but it’s my belief. And I believe in you. I believe you’re going to make it through this extraordinarily difficult time. I believe in the lightness. I believe in the brightness. I believe.

Genuinely, I don’t believe there’s a soul in existence who will refuse to mourn for you if you leave this earth too soon. I mean, maybe there’s someone, somewhere in history who won’t. Maybe that’s true.

Yet I think more people than you can ever begin to imagine will notice your disappearance. They will notice your missing smile, your missing happiness, your missing wisdom, your missing authenticity. More people will mourn for you than you could ever possibly imagine.

So, please, please, try to hold on for another second, another minute, another day. And you’ll get to where you wanted to be at in your life, just not six feet under. And that’s soooo hard, that’s soooo exhausting, and when you make it to the top of the hill overlooking the beautiful sunrise, you will smile and you will be so very, very glad that you’re still here to smile and to experience all the bright, magical things about life.

Because they’re out there.

They are.

And so are you.

So please stay.

Please.


The song lyric that came to my mind when I made this thumb:

“You matter more than all the stars in the sky”

The Fire In You by Juliet Weybret


Lastly, this production was brought to you by the hope that better days are ahead, the hope that recovery is possible, that symptom management is a thing and that we can all go out into the world and be someone that we’re proud of, someone that we’re happy to be, someone that can bring change and beauty once again to this world.

So, go out there and be that person. Be kind, be brave and most importantly, be you.

With love and light,

— Raquel

(AKA Your fellow survivor radiating badassery πŸ˜‰ )


PS: Without writing for the newspaper these days I find I take on blog posts as lengthy and thoughtful assignments. I kind of look at them as large tasks. …Maybe I can work on breaking this down better for myself, too. We’ll see, ahaha.

Also, this post is powered to you by: “Bad Liar”/”Rise Up” by Imagine Dragons. πŸ™‚

Post written: 7/4/2019


PPS: I meant to add this at the end but I forgot for an hour…

USA National Suicide Prevention Lifeline #: 1800 273 8255

Other helpful resources:

Life Update & Things to Come (Thumb Thursdays)

my goals_reaching for the stars THUMB


So, it’s been a while.

 

I am very, verrrrry tired. But I wanted to write something earlier, and the tab’s been open for an hour or so, so I thought I’d pop in real quick and say hello!

I’ve decided, in the last hour, that I want to create a blog post every Thursday for

Thumb Thursday

Essentially, a nice little graphic design and blog post for that day on a weekly basis to spread some positivity, creativity and inspiration (hopefully!) for anyone who stumbles upon it! Maybe this will help my traffic stats too, what can I say? Does altruism truly exist?

But I think this will be nice and an easing in kind of project for myself. πŸ™‚ I’ve already made 3 of them on Canva. At the end I’ll share my graphic design that started it all again this evening (a quote). As well as another quote I discovered yesterday and shared on Twitter if you happen to follow me there. (I tweet a lot, but my feed is on my blog too, if that helps! Links in plenty of places!!).

It works out well too, because I’ve been itching to get back on Canva for at least 2 months and just never got around to it.

But in other worlds, I’ve done a little bit fanfic writing lately, a “new” story and more for D&D, which is coming along great (although I totally need to work on Chp 21 this week! Typing, mainly).

I got that job, by the way. I’m in many parts intimidated but also hopeful. It’s really going to cut down on my time online but hopefully I can adjust well enough. I’m soooo tired right now, amazingly.

I have some more papers to sign and much to read over and check off. I will be doing that more tomorrow and the next day. Then I can start to work!

I’ve managed to do some book reading lately too–I mean, this Monday I spent about 7 hours of my time reading. I know, amazing!! XD

I’ve also been challenged for my book reviews not being reviews and trying to not over-page flag a book (the concept of reading just to read is so foreign and alien to me these days!!). Which, of course, means this last book I have at least 150 flags in XD

I’ve decided I will change the names from ‘Book Reviews’ to ‘Book Analyses’. Otherwise, I will try to only flag particularly important quotes (20).

I went food shopping today and I’m happy that I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I’m excited for food and eating, ahaha.

I’m so tired, shit.

I saw my first ever car accident today. The guy in front of me blew a tire and he swerved around before going off road where there was luckily some grass and nothing there. I totes got out of the car to help/ask if he was okay. He pulled into the nearest Dunkin Donuts parking lot and said he was okay. Not hurt or anything, which was super relieving, but it was definitely really scary and shook me up!! Maybe I will talk more of it tomorrow…

 

However, for now, I’m beyond exhausted. I’m going to jump into my trich prevention techniques (since I relapsed with trich last night, unfortunately) and go to sweet, sweet sleep.

 

I’ll see you all in the morning with a fresh post! πŸ™‚

Sending you all love and light!

❀ ❀ ❀

Also, I just remembered:

Humanity Quote

Honestly heard this in one of my online training videos from the president of the company I’ll be working for. :3

Fully Human Quote - ORIGINAL DESIGN - 7.3.19

Here is the design I used today that started off a chain of graphic designing! πŸ™‚ Photograph is my own! (from 2012, even)