“Almost Everything” (2018) | BES (Oct., Nov., Dec. 2021)


CHOSEN BOOK:

“Almost Everything” (2018) by Anne Lamott

Notes on Hope; ((nonfic))


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

Suicide, specific suicide methods, suicidality, OCD, depression, mental health conditions, addiction/substance use disorders, perfectionism, eating disorders, topic of weights/ED behaviors (specific weights), dysfunctional/otherwise unhealthy families, stigma, secrets, “behind closed doors”, intrusive thoughts, romanticizing EDs/active substance use, casual engagement of self-harm/”picking up cutting”, suicide pact, toxic relationships.


THEMES:

Philosophy, life, death, suffering, struggling, hope, memoir, life lessons, spirituality, paradoxes, dialectics, retail therapy, health, recovery, creativity, storytelling, existentialism.


SUMMARY:

Hi, so it’s been a while again since I worked on this blog post of a Book Exploration Station. That said, and the roughness of this post and how imperfect it is, I’m going to try my hardest to pull together all the last stitches and details and make this something I can finally post and then, finally, lastly, be done with it all and wipe my hands clean so I can move forward to the next thing (the next books, the next words, the next stories).

So this particular book is non-fiction and begins with a poem that I wish I was more understanding of its significance for the way the author relates to it and the story she later goes on to tell. Like, it was featured but I don’t know why. What did it mean to Lamott? What sparked something in her soul for it and why wasn’t or couldn’t that be explored within her text later on? It didn’t seem all that relevant. I definitely picked up that I was supposed to pick up something from it but I have no idea what.

It’s a tad frustrating and a let down, I’m afraid. Which, I suppose is a good way to summarize how I felt reading this story. I’ll get into that a lot more later. Hmmm, now that I’ve reread it, I suppose it makes sense:

I think Lamott’s entire book here is meant to show the paradox of a dialectic and that two opposing things can exist in the same space and that this small poem is also an example of that. It sets up what she tries to propose as her life and the way she’s viewed life. So, I guess just, on the surface it seems distant and unexplained and later it’s still unexplained and also very fitting. Poetic, even.

A good and simplistic way to sum up this book, I think, is this:

“This is a very profound book. A little nutty, but very profound” — Me, p. 34

I know this description isn’t going in the way I want it to, and that’s a frustrating process. But I’ve spent too much time on this piece and I’ve spent too much time putting off dealing with this post because of all that anxiety, stress and avoidance so I have to just see this through. I CAN say the rest of this review goes pretty well with some really great gems in it, so please keep reading when you have the time! I’d say this book overall was okay. It wasn’t super remarkable or something I’d carry along with me consciously upon the rest of my life’s journey but it was a nice blip and something to think about for a time. Like, I’ll carry a piece of it, it just won’t be on my entire world’s radar. Something faded and in the background works though. It’s definitely a very philosophical book if you like that kind of thing! And it also brings forth a lot of sharp points that are sometimes hard to digest–the types of truths you don’t want to hear but that you need to hear all the same, like from the mouth of a good friend who refuses to only tell you what you want to hear, instead they’ll tell you what you don’t want to be true and you’ll thank them for it later because you didn’t realize how MUCH you did in fact need to hear that. If you’re looking for a book to make you think this would definitely be it. Just be careful if you’re in recovery though because there’s a lot of inflammatory words and depictions in this. It doesn’t shy away from hard topics but it also doesn’t warn you about them either, which I think would have been better if it had.

Personally, I like trigger warnings because it hands back the power into my own hands where I can then decide for myself with all the information given if I wish to proceed or not. I didn’t appreciate or like that a book seemingly on hope and light and positivity, was immediately throwing me into the deep end because of the language it used and specific methods of suicide it gave ideas to. I almost tossed aside the entire book but we know how I am about reading. Still, it was super unexpected and threw me around for a bit. I just would have liked a head’s up. But yes, onward to the next bit!


BOOK LENGTH:

189 pages


MY RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

2/5


OUTSTANDING QUOTES AND IDEAS:

Let us note: Thoughts are just thoughts. Feelings are temporary. Actions are a whole other beast. And let’s work to continue to dispel the myth that suicide is ever a permanent “solution” to a temporary problem. Another, better, way of phrasing that would be “suicide is a permanent action to a temporary crisis.”

Let us also note and ponder this: At what point does being specific about methods of self harm or self induced death in a fashion such as a book or web post, when does that become too detrimental and dangerous for anyone else out there reading it? I know I’m not much of one to talk, I distinctly recall some of this factoring into my time online over the years, while I was struggling in recovery (that’s probs the most dirt you’d find on me, let’s be real) but yes, at what point is that information more suitable for a therapy session rather than a publishable material? It’s a wonder. A thought. I think we really can run into trouble when it’s more and more specific. I get generally defining a self harm mode, but things to do with what is used specifically or the gore and romanticization of it, that’s tricky territory.

For this book, I really felt at first that I wasn’t walking into a minefield of methods and diagnoses. It was a book on hope but it tackled really heavy things that I nearly walked away from it entirely. Also, there were no trigger warnings. So it could have been super hopeful or super triggering. It landed somewhere in the middle but damn. A warning would have been nice, I think. Hence why I do these reviews for the mental health conditions person out there who may be wandering about looking for some books to read or care to read my thoughts on the ones I choose for myself, haha. Best for me to read it first and then offer one perspective about it later, especially when there are warnings that should have been stated but never would (or is that too harsh a judgment?) be.

As for this particular book, it read to me that the author suffers more from OCD intrusive thoughts than genuine suicidal ideation. And that actually confessing it to those she’s with or in a book could actually be a compulsion stringing her along (which is what happened to me, too). I think because it seems more OCD in nature, it’s not something to be too worried about (easier said than done), because it won’t lead into other complicated territories (like what happened to me, damn you co-morbid diagnoses!).

 

“Parents are blown away by something this catastrophic [death of their children] and their roots barely stay in the shifting soil. But life holds on. Little by little, nature pulls us back, back to growing. This is life. We are life” — Lamott, 2018, p. 12

I really just love and enjoy this sentiment and statement a lot. Thought it was particularly moving and I’ve always enjoyed the little sapling/tree roots into the ground to stay within the premises of life. What do you think?

“And that seed pushes up through, no matter what, because this is how life is constructed–to live” — Lamott, 2018, p. 13

I find this to just be beautifully said. A gem within the darkness.

 

“I have felt ectoplasmic flickers of my father and best friends, life forces that have been snuffed out in the human realm but exist, like candles in another room” — Lamott, 2018, p.16

This is pretty much the best indicator of how this author writes in this book. Very philosophical and educated and with a depth that most others don’t possess or don’t quite wield in the same manner. It’s refreshing, albeit confusing at times, but still, refreshing. xx

Is it normal to question your perception of reality? Of your sanity?

Or is it more abnormal not to?

Descartes would have a field day with this. 😂😅😊

 

On p. 22, I highlight how this book is very philosophical but also question why I should take her statements and experiences of life as fact? It made me feel suspicious.

“Every day we’re in the grip of the impossible conundrum: the truth that it’s over in a blink, and we may be near the end, and that we have to live as if it’s going to be okay, no matter what” — Lamott, 2018, p. 25

The accuracy of this is off the charts!! It’s beautifully crafted, once again and what is the true alternative? We can have moments sitting at the kitchen table where we realize, one day I’m going to die and my life will be over and whatever good (or bad) I did will be what’s left and I’ll just be a memory to those around me. That one day, the story will end, in a final bow, and whatever comes next will come to be, though how aware of it we are is up in the air. And then after having that realization: well, time to get back to the present moment where I’m just drinking my milk with my cookies all over again, like I haven’t just thought of this big mega brain thing of how little things matter before that final fall, and somehow I have to transition back into my present day life and push aside this big moment that I can do very little to prepare for! It’s absurd to have these moments, what I call existential awareness. It’s not truly a crisis but it’s a weird moment where I realize this and then am aware that I’m realizing it and then I go back to whatever I was doing to cope with that realization (most probably a Youtube video, let’s be real haha). But yeah, just, so much truth is in this statement above. We have to believe everything’s going to be okay and we’ll be alive to experience it, even though our experiences of things is time sensitive, we just don’t know when or how or why. Life is a very, very strange mystery.

A hard truth, yet necessary:

“Peace of mind is an inside job, unrelated to fame, fortune, or whether your partner loves you. Horribly, what this means is that it is also an inside job for the few people you love most desperately in the world. We cannot arrange lasting safety or happiness for our most beloved people. They have to find their own ways, their own answers” — Lamott, 2018, p. 35

You cannot force another person to live or love or be in recovery, no matter how much we wish we could, lasting recovery and getting help has to begin and end with them, themselves. You cannot make someone do something they don’t want to do. You support them, you offer advice (if they’ve asked for it, and sometimes even when they haven’t, depending on how well you know them and especially when it’s hard to hear), you be there for them, you accept them and you hope to god that they find it along the way on their own, but you’re never really super sure on it. Lasting recovery and getting help starts with them. Unfortunately, you can try forcing recovery but it probably won’t stick. You can’t help someone unless they want to be helped. It’s a horrible affair, clearly. It’s just how life draws the hand at times. I wish it weren’t true. But it’s not up to you to rescue them. They have to find a way to rescue themselves. (Which is possible, by the way!!)

 

[about rescuing your kids/friends/partner] “What’s the harm in that? The harm is in the unwanted help or helping them when they need to figure things out for themselves” — Lamott, 2018, p. 45

I found this to be a particularly hard truth. It seems very unnatural to my senses, as a helper and fixer. But it’s necessary and needed. It just hurts to learn and know. 🤔😕

“You can raise and care for your nearest and dearest the best you can, put them in the best schools, rehab, or condo, and never, ever give up on their having the best possible life available. But if you do so thinking you can rescue them with your good ideas and your checkbook, or get them to choose a healthy, realistic way of life, that mistake will make both of you much worse than you already are” — Lamott, 2018, p. 47

Well, damn, isn’t that some tough shit news to learn of. Not the type of information I’d seek out myself but very necessary as a reminder!! It’s hard to think it’s your responsibility to save someone or think you have to rescue them when really there’s little we can do to fix or help here on the outside of them. Of course, one can try and help with validation and good faith and words, but thinking it’s up to you to save them? No, that’s up to them. They have to save themselves. Which is really tough, of course, and necessary to be reminded of. Sometimes just shedding that layer of ‘rescue them’ like a cloak can uplift the burden we carry when we fail or it doesn’t work out. So, lift up this layer and carry on a little lighter for the next moment. 🖤🖤

Hearing the journey it took the author (and mother) of an ill son with substance use disorder to reach the point of removing her help (that was really enabling) from her son by keeping him in jail and how the parents of unlike kids asked, how did you do that, jail is so cold and dangerous, for Lamott to be like ‘Wow, bummer’ is just SUCH a glimpse of strength, power and inspiration. She still thinks keeping her son in jail and not bailing him out, helped him more than bailing him out would have, and that had she bailed him out, he would have wound up dead. Because helping him and enabling him wasn’t helping him at all, maybe just helping her own psyche, but when she removed this notion that she could rescue him and accepted that only HE could do that, she found freedom and she found the ability to let go for him to take up the reigns of holding on himself. Genuinely inspiring (p. 51) I found this so captivating, engrossing and true. xxx

 

Next, at the end of this chapter, Lamott also explains how she had to accept that her son wasn’t going to ask her for help as his mother and would instead look towards others in his meetings and how he would one day tell others the same thing they told him, etc. There was a sense of community that helped him most. I guess, my point is, that this makes me wonder how do I maintain my own sanity with my loved one Fai in a similar self-destructive cycle and where I fit in. Also, I miss a sense of community. I keep searching for that online. So far, results are mixed. 💔

 

“We see this toward the end of many people’s lives, when everything in their wasted bodies fights to stay alive, for a few more kisses or bites of ice cream, one more hour with you. Life is still flowing through them: life IS them” — Lamott, 2018, p. 63

A beautiful and captivating description of the fragility of life amongst all of its beauty and its meaning to hold on for one more second, knowing it’s too good to waste, too good to do anything but pause for a moment, recognize the absurdity that is life and what it contains, appreciate it and let it go to pass, so that other lives and souls and bodies can come to be and to experience similar states that is this thing called life.

“No one can take this hatred off me. I have to surrender it every time I become aware of it. But I don’t want my life’s ending to be that I was toxic and self-righteous, and I don’t know if my last day here will be next Thursday or in twenty years. Whenever that day comes, I want to be living, insofar as possible in “joy though you’ve considered all the facts”” — Lamott, 2018, p. 83

I felt at the time I read this book and at the point of writing and editing this review that this line hits like a sack of bricks onto my bare feet. It just rocks so much and radiates so much power to it. Which I wholly believe in. Some great, great words and larger even sentiments. Do you feel the same?

 

“My friends’ novels are taking years, because they have to dig deep, and insist on being true to the story, to the story they are called, assigned or moved to tell, and on being honest about what they found, instead of telling the story they thought or wished they’d found. Writing that carries truth uplifts us, teaches empathy, purpose, dignity” — Lamott, 2018, p. 93

I feel like this is such a true and deep running canal for story telling and writing. I know it’s something I always try and remember in my own fan fiction and even with my other more original based creative projects: be true to the story. Sometimes what I write about, especially in fics, is really dark and there’s a large weight in carrying that, but I also do refuse to dampen the blow of what I feel in my soul is the ‘right’ thing for that character or chapter or situation, that there’s some reason I feel compelled in that direction and that I have enough faith in myself and my characters that they can survive it and grapple with it and overcome it. Of course, I give proper warnings and such if it IS heavier material in the chapter or story itself but yeah I don’t really shy away from hard stuff and it reminds me to make sure I also take in and explore all the brighter spots that come thereafter too. To highlight all the hope and all the joy and all the purpose and meaning that comes with life, because life isn’t just pain. I think that’s important; to highlight the dichotomy of both: life is pain and life is beauty.

It always mind boggled me when I’d read a good fanfic and the writer would promise a follow-up to the story or a new chapter if it ONLY got a certain amount of comments or likes. I’m very much a ride or die kind of person, so for me, delaying something because of what other people think is just absurd. At least, in the sense that if you don’t comment X things I won’t continue the story. Like, for me, the story will always be continued. It might be literal YEARS until I continue it. I guess on a related note, these days I’m frozen sometimes in the fact that I’m worried that a couple of my stories with larger followings will be disappointing in some way or that it won’t be as good and “perfect” as I want it to be or that I have to be in the “right headspace” to write for it or what if people don’t like it…

But I always strive to be as true to the story and myself—all these issues NOW are a part of my process (and wasn’t before 2016 when I began most of my current present day ongoing fanfic stories) but like I wouldn’t just rely on other people on whether or not I continue something. Like, if I started it, I’m going to finish it. I’m not swayed by ‘Oh, I’ll only continue this story if I get 30 likes/reviews’ To me, it’s like, ‘No, I’ve started this story, I’m going to finish it. Whether people like it or not, I will write it how I see it happening and be true to what I think the story desires and calls for.’ I hope that makes sense!!!!

I have gotten more aware of how people might like or dislike something, and that that is okay, and I do appreciate feedback of course too, I just also can’t see myself downgrading a story to only if other people want it a certain way if I don’t myself believe that that’s the true way for the story. I’m probably rambling now ahaha. Sorry!! I guess my point is just: Be true to the story. No matter how dark or how bright it gets, be true to it. If you are truthful to how the story wants to be told and you’re pulled along for the ride and it’s authentic, that’s all that matters. Of course, you’ll want readers, but if no one read it at the end of the day and you were true to it and yourself then there will be satisfaction there and maybe if no one sees it today, maybe three years from now so many will and maybe it’ll give them some flicker of comfort or fear or wonder or awe. You have that power as the writer. Wield it wisely. 🦄💜💙🤍💚

“The universe is usually telling us the same story, that our lives are rich and fluid and infinitely mysterious; that we only thought we were stuck, that nothing stays the same for long” — Lamott, 2018, p. 95

I find this to be so refreshing and brilliant. A beautiful sentiment to share with others who may be struggling–particularly in my life, Fai and Vanessa (my partner). 🔆💚💜💙

“Gratitude is seeing how someone changed your heart and quality of life, helped you become the good parts of the person you are” — Lamott, 2018, p. 117

I love this. Isn’t this just about everything? One could say….almost everything? 😏🙂😅

“Of course, when certain people die, there is anguish. We will never get over their deaths, and we’re not supposed to” — Lamott, 2018, p. 117

Grief is a journey, not a phase by phase destination. It’s fluid and murky and yucky and necessary. It’s the cost to have loved and be loved. It is everything, almost, and ever present. But because you carry it doesn’t mean it has to consume you. Be aware of the journey you have with your grief and allow it space to hurt and be felt, that’s all any emotion really wants: an awareness of it, a letting the shitty-ness be felt and then, gradually taken up by other emotions and other life experiences and more that goes on, because life, life does go on and so we have to decide how we’re going to go along with it: are we stuck in the past and those damning past hurts or have we moved through and onward, over the next hill, the wolves only a distant howl to an otherwise bright sky? That choice, that is truly the only one, maybe the most important one, up to us. 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

“You can’t force people to be willing to face their pain and anger, to own the ugliness that is in all of us. You can’t. I’ve tried so hard” — Lamott, 2018, p. 142

A horribly true fact. This arises at the point of the book where two people in substance use disorders make a suicide pact so if that is something that could trigger you I’d miss over this book. It is still a horribly true fact though, you can’t force people to get better and that’s exhausting and draining and horrible. You can offer what you can and help support them and encourage. But it’s not your place to fight their battles. Only they can do that. And they have to want it, too, in order to do it. Phew.


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THOUGHTS AND IDEAS I HAD WHILE READING:

  • I really liked the style of the opening page for the book, with the gold dots on the top and bottom borders. That was really sweet. Plus I also enjoyed the symbols under the chapter headers for each one as well. Just a fancy nice touch
  • There are some great cardiophile moments in this book, huzzah! 💚💙💛❤
  • p. 41’s ending reminded me and made me think of Loki in my D&D fanfic. It made me think of adolescence and Loki and his family in that setting, a sense of belonging through new friends and how that will eventually grow and revitalize him and such. 😊🙂 At least, I think that’s what I liked about it hahaha It’s been a while again (12/11)
  • (of shoving food into your maw) “Maybe you do [have to shove it all down]. Sometimes one just does and there is nothing wrong with this” — Lamott, 2018, p. 44

    • I enjoyed and appreciated this small validation. It’s nice! 😋
  • “Life just damages people. There is no way around this. Not all the glitter and concealer in the world can cover it up” — Lamott, 2018, p. 59

    • Maybe it’s just me but I LOVE this line. The glitter and concealer… Maybe because I’m slowly getting into makeup myself but yeah I don’t know I just thought it really stood out to me. It’s fancy. And true. Life is hard and bleak sometimes (and also hope and light). Sometimes it’s really hard to sparkle up a dark picture. And sometimes such efforts are futile to begin with. Life is hard and unforgiving for whatever reason (and maybe not knowing why contributes to this pain) and in the efforts of paradox, it is also bright and opaque and beautiful. We haven’t quite gotten to this latter part for this chapter it’s from yet but the overall arching theme is there.
  • “We do get a taste of the spheres in birdsong (how nature is beautiful and restorative to the human soul), eclipses, the surf, tangerines. In the dark, we see the stars. In the aftermath of the devastating fire, the sun rose red” — Lamott, 2018, p. 62

    • I LOVE how this was said. It’s just so fruitful and amazing, I find. That, while life is so hard, it’s also so, so beautiful and gives back.
  • So there’s this interesting concept that got the gears turning in my head during this book: This notion that as the Reader reading the work of a Writer, you get taken out of your element either because you can relate or because you can’t and it reminded me of this realization I had in my early twenties (when I was far more creative than I am these days), where I realized that some of the life experiences I gave to my characters, particularly if they were set earlier than my chronological age, were experiences I had “missed” out on living but that I could live through them instead. I don’t know if that makes sense but like I remember I was sitting in the old science building of my university working on my laptop and maybe taking photos and I was just like “Damn, when I write about Susie in a mosh pit, I’ve never done that myself but I can live it viscerally through her” or just generally realizing that maybe the Craft doesn’t always reflect the Experience (like my recent creativity discussion post). It was just like a sudden dawning epiphany that I could write about Susie in a mosh pit all I wanted to but because she did that at nineteen, and I never had at twenty-one, I was never going to be able to go back to experience that or have that as a part of my own life. Like, I guess, it was just this notion that one day I will cease to exist but all these characters and things I’ve done will (hopefully) live on. Like, even if I was one person via body, I was made up of many more in soul because I was creative. Does that make sense? I could probs do a whole post on that separately if anyone is interested. Maybe I’ll start a Creativity Discussion series for this blog…. I don’t know, that was just something on my own mind. I just remember it as a sudden epiphany and existential awareness that was pretty wild at the time. It’s interesting to have a creative mind!! I think that creativity and the characters and plots and scenarios (our imagination, shortly put) we create in our minds is such an incredible talent and to craft that into something so believable that other people buy (physically and metaphorically) it is just such a wondrous thing. It’s wild if you think about it too long. But it’s cool. Art is nice, isn’t it? What do you get out of your craft? What keeps you going when maybe the audience for you is mute? I’d love to know and learn your perspective!!! I definitely will toy with this ‘creativity discussion’ thing too. I think that has some great potential….
  •  
  • (I can’t tell if I highlighted this enough so here’s another short verbiage on it: It was that strange notion that my characters would get to experience things that I no longer could because of time passing and experiences and life happening that happens for them differently than it did for me. But that even if I couldn’t have experienced it myself based on how time fell for me, didn’t mean they couldn’t or I couldn’t live vicariously through them. It was that daunting realization that even if my characters were false, they felt very real to me. And they had their own hopes and dreams and stories to tell that I was just the messenger to. I don’t know, it’s… very interesting. I can almost feel them shaking about in my skull and coming out from under the cobwebs… I should do some reading soon about imagination and creativity and all of that. I’d love to re-access all that they have and had to offer. I miss that… A lot.)
  • I also liked the notion on p. 79 about those who have been nearly destroyed may explain why they also destroy. Reminds me of Loki a lot and was something I particularly liked and wanted to highlight here. 😊😊
  • p. 89’s got me questioning myself as to why I want to write and publish books. Is it for creative release? To add my voice to the many others out there? To create? To make a career out of it? To earn money? To do it like those who garden? Interesting question with interesting answers….
  • Any time I see the word “unmasked” it makes me think of my FFN and AO3 account’s name (Unmasked Potential). Same for when I hear “Lighthouse” by GRL the song. Reminds me to do videos, that and my BANNERS outro hahaha. Love it. But yeah, this book mentioned unmasked at one point and so I was thinking, oh! I should write some fanfic soon. Still in progress with that idea currently hooray!!
  • Trees are fucking awesome and we should have more of them (not less! Never less!) 🌳🎄🌲🌴
  • By the end of the book, when Lamott is commenting on school shootings, she raises the idea that instead of focusing on all that’s wrong with the world, what if instead we focused on what comes after–the humanity and goodness in that that arrives or the new land that still breathes and grows after a fire, etc. She suggests where placing our focus and attention could bring forth another perspective or incidence of thought (so instead of just focusing in on the tragedies themselves, where else could we turn for an uplifting narrative? Even if it’s one we’re just creating for ourselves). I bring that up because it reminded me of an interview story I watched (and was the original inspiration for miscellaneous reviews for this blog, though I never fully wrote it back then, although doesn’t mean I can’t next year!) about the Nice terror attacks a few years back and how the girl the storytelling focused on wanted to give more power to the man who was there to hold her hand after the blast than the guy who perpetrated the evil acts. That always really stuck with me. And it’s such a fantastic strength and spin on what would otherwise be a horribly terrible bad after taste for humanity but is instead a celebration that love always wins. It’s beautiful, honestly.
  • I loved this notion: “The characters in your story are real people to you and include you but they aren’t yet real people to your audience” — Lamott, 2018, p. 96-97
    • I just loved that this is so true for fiction. It’s so true and makes it such a wonder how imagination works and how storytelling is so powerful and so useful and so artistic. As the Writer, you know your Characters so well, but the audience doesn’t yet, and how you go about showing them that and pulling them along to witness whatever story you wish and are destined to show, that’s so remarkable. It also reminded me once again to do more writing soon which I have been able to do so far with my mental health fanfic! It’s actually the first time I’ve EVER written scenes out of order and am then pulling them together to form a cohesive chapter that I plan to update before the end of the year! Huzzah!!! More updates on that in the future (and I’m planning to get this post out by the weekend before Christmas, so, hooray). That’s the pull and the drive I have for today (12/16) at least! [[**Oops, got this out after Christmas, but the intention was there and this is still something (just one day late!)!!]]
  • “More than any other sentence I have come across, I love Ram Dass’s line that when all is said and done, we are all just walking each other home” — (Lamott, 2018, p. 109

  • What I love about the above quote is that it has such a touching significance that I really adore. A beautiful soliloquy, a timeless tale. 💙🤍💙
  • “Get out of yourself and become a person for others, while simultaneously practicing radical self-care: maybe have a bite to eat, check in with the sky twice, buy some cute socks, take a nap” — Lamott, 2018, p. 131
    • This was cute and genuinely a sentiment that made me smile. I enjoyed it and wanted to share it, here, too with you. XX
  • “It’s another inside job: if you are not okay with yourself at ___ pounds, you may not be okay at ten less or even thirty less. The self-respect and peace of mind you long for is not in your weight. It’s within you” — Lamott, 2018, p. 157

    • Weight specifics aside, this is super duper accurate and so super duper important, for anyone out there suffering with an ED or on the disordered spectrum. A worthy component to keep in mind. Whenever you’d hit that next “goal weight” you won’t be satisfied, it will take more and more (or less and less) to bring you some kind of satisfaction and it honestly won’t be worth it. You deserve to take up space as you are. You don’t need to be “ill enough” or too ‘wide’ or ‘small’ in order to have help and seek support and be worthy of recovery. You are worthy, as you are right now. I don’t know, I thought this was important to also highlight in this review itself. And it will help to add to my fanfic D&D too.

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MY EXPERIENCE: WHAT KEPT ME READING & THE BOOK’S IMPACT ON ME:

Something that I really loved about this book occurs at the very end of p. 64 onto p. 65, where the author Lamott takes us through what it’s like for her to experience reading books and the imaginations of others’ minds she plays in for a time to forget her own struggles or just to feel something or feel inspired or learn wisdom and to have that accompaniment of humanity with her in her darkest (or brightest) hour. Personally, I loved that depiction so much. I absolutely adore and love books (and plan and dream of publishing my own!!) and they’re just SO transformative and wondrous. I just want to become a life reincarnated again as a whole ass library. That would be SO sweet. Maybe in my RecoveryHome I’ll have a room just designated for books (but let’s be honest, there’s so many I own (let alone borrow!) that I’d probs need a room and a half for all of them). Hahhahaha. Physical hard copies of books are just so… magical. Which, reminds me!!

There’s a book I took out from a further away library that I had to return because it was so overdue and it was a whole thing but it was REALLY hard to let it go so I did order it on Amazon for my own personal copy and though I haven’t read it whatsoever I’m SOOOO enthralled and greedy for the aesthetic of it and what it captures, I think it was… yes, the “The Little Paris Bookshop” by Nina George and oh my gooooodddddd. I’m just craving other things like it by other authors/similar themes and it’s totes a thing for me now. Which, I think George has a few similar to that anyways (those little coffee shops/bistros and there’s some Christmas related one that recently came out by a separate author) and I’m just LIVING for it. I love it. It has piqued my interest ahaha SO, if you know any others out there like that, let me know in the comments what you’d recommend!!! And also, what type of genre would that be? It might make my search a little easier. I guess it’s like a hygge kind of thing, isn’t it? I love it. It’s like getting into Bath & Body Works sprays and lotions–I never knew I’d want to smell like a pastry but now that I can, I LOVE IT. I’m all in, 100%. Hahaha

Something that recently came up for this BES was this conversation I held in previous sections, particularly regarding more of a series from the creativity discussion panels and also from being true to the story that wants to be told, whether it’s what we set out to do at first or how it evolves as is. These are two really distinct moments I had writing this review again today (12/15) and they were really, really nice. I think a good part of me could see the bright spots of creativity from the writing in this book and relate it to other things like the MCU and Loki in particular (and all my fanfics as a whole). I just also loved this section on p. 94 where Lamott talks about her favorite stories being the shifts in points of view, from point B to point A, where something changed and hope unfurls its wings from a previous setting of pain and doom. The paragraph in Lamott’s story details how the details are so important in such changing tides of stories that move us and inspire us and let us see something funny or something remarkable. I guess, the overall framework is this: telling stories matter and how they are told matters and what they leave behind, that matters too. You could genuinely change someone with a story that you tell, so what are you going to tell?

To be fair, when I read the eating disorder heavy chapter, I was pretttttty confused as to what I should have taken away from it. It was a tad unnecessary in how triggering it could be for someone who struggles with that type of thing (and of course there are no warnings for such content) so it just left me perplexed and bothered. It was odd.

Something else I really took away from this book is that notion of how writing and creative writers and writers as a whole really hold a powerful light against the darkness that can crowd out the stars: this symbolism of characters who have gone through hell but came out the other side, this powerful attestation to hope and faith and belief in one’s self (even if for a time, it’s only because of the faith and light we find solace in from others holding it out FOR US until we can one day take it into our own palms). The way a story can be told to inspire and get other people moving…. it’s magical, writing is, and art in general and of itself, and that is so, so beautiful, so precious and so kind. Humans lighting the way for other humans is probably the best of humanity as a whole. (Theme from Lamott, 2018, p. 98).

This book holds a beautiful wrap-up that if this review has done anything for, is worthy of reading again. It’s a beautiful tight bow to everything that was covered. Maybe that’s enough of a tease for you to get it out at your local library or maybe the entirety of this review has made you say “Nah, I’ll pass.” That’s okay. Both can be true, just for different people.

Thank you so much for reading all my rambles here and my interaction with the chosen text for this BES. It was a wild ride. It took a long time to get to the point where I’m able to fully immerse myself and set aside all the time and all the page flags and jotted down notes, to fill in all the empty spaces, read it over again one final time for the editing process and then, finally, finally submitting and publishing it into The Void. It took a long time, it usually does, but after procrastinating on it again and again (and again!), I can finally say it’s done and I can let it go and move on from it to my next few books. Thank goodness. It took long enough!!! Ahahha. Here’s to cheer towards the next books to come!! Rejoice! You’ve made it. Thank you so much for reading and supporting. Sending light and love to all who made it this far. XXX 🌻🔆🌈🥂 I still have so much in store!!! For you, for me, for everyone reading. 🤍😊


THINGS I’D LIKE TO CHECK OUT:

Other works by the author:

  1. Stitches: A handbook on meaning, hope and repair
  2. Crooked little heart
  3. Blue Shoe
  4. Imperfect Birds

Book reference:

  1. The Magnificent Defeat

Quote reference and following book it arises from:

***”You must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on” by Samuel Beckett from “The Unnamable” (ref. p. 180, Lamott, 2018). This seems particularly profound and interesting, powerful and everything. Even the search results on Google were interesting so I want to check out this book some time for sure!! Very cool.


Next up….

Fiction books: “Shut Your Eyes Tight” by John Verdon

Nonfiction books: “A Teen’s Guide to Getting Stuff Done” by Jennifer Shannon LMFT

((Now, if I can actually read these today, that would be an entire miracle!!!!)


TRACKING DATES AND TIMES I READ THIS BOOK:

10/12/2021 (super late evening), 11/5 (evening), 11/6 (brief, early evening), 11/7 (morning), 11/8 (evening), 11/9 (noon), 11/11 (early evening, evening), 11/13 (early morning, morning), 11/14 (early evening to evening).

TRACKING DATES AND TIMES I WROTE THIS REVIEW:

11/14/2021 (late evening), 11/17 (evening at the library), 12/1 (afternoon in the library,) 12/11 (3am), 12/15 (evening, late evening), 12/16 (evening), 12/26 (late afternoon, early evening).

You Don’t Have Lived Experience Being a Serial Killer–So You Shouldn’t Write About One | Creativity Discussion

I’m feeling pretty agitated. Focused. Annoyed. Distraught. Forgiveless. Oh, I mean, of course: unforgiving. I just single-handedly obliterated my own therapy session from some BS online and so I’m just feeling at a loss. But I have a platform, like Agatha does as well, and I’m going to use that platform now because this comment has been bothering me for months (and it’s SUCH a good comeback, I think) that I’ll never get to properly utilize and all that jazz. So, I’m angry and I want to talk about this key point:

“If you haven’t lived through X, you cannot write creatively about it.”

So, Agatha isn’t their real name of course. And who they are will remain anonymous because it’s not even about them necessarily. I can have my own thoughts and some things don’t need to populate as they already do on the Internet.

Here’s what’s relevant:

Empathy exists but at the same time does not. At all.

And this notion that unless you’ve BEEN THROUGH something (let’s say, mental health struggles (as broad of a term as that is): substance use disorders, personality disorders, psychosis, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm, suicidality, homicidality, on and on–) you CANNOT or worse, SHOULD NOT (NEVER EVER) write about it because… well, I don’t know why you can’t.

But this really has been bothering me. Essentially we’re saying:

“You can’t write fictitiously about a serial killer unless you’ve BEEN a serial killer.”

“You can’t write about time travelers because TRUE time travelers would be offended and irked that you wrote about them so incorrectly.”

“You can’t write about completed suicides because you’ve NEVER BEEN a completed suicider (because how could you if you’re writing about it?)”

“You don’t KNOW because you haven’t LIVED through it!”

Do we see–can we ALL agree–that this notion, this concept, makes very, very little sense?

Can I not write about vampires and unicorns (hopefully separately, nudge nudge) because genuine vampires and unicorns may not agree with the way I convey them? Is this so inherently wrong–that writing about something you have not lived through, you don’t have actual experience in, things you could never (mermaids, fantasy, dragons, queens, kings, war, magic, creatures) and things you just haven’t (sickness, cancer, suicide, homicide, being an actual detective, being a medical doctor, historical fiction, being a prisoner of war, being a veteran, living through depression, and on and on) that that somehow means you could NEVER, SHOULD NEVER write about it?

That not educating yourself on the topic, to researching it, to finding that you could convey something so HUMAN, so natural, so beautiful and meaningful and hell, maybe even some form of relatable, is something you should not do, never do, because… because… because some people, and there will clearly be people, who can’t relate or don’t feel reflected in the categorization of your characters and your plot and your ideas?

That because one person, or five hundred, can’t relate and don’t feel adequately seen or heard, you should, as the writer, just never try to write about things that you may have never or just have not experienced firsthand?

What happened to empathy? What HAS happened to empathy? And why is that not enough?

 

I just don’t understand. I mean, yes, I understand that not everyone will feel represented so fully and wholly and completely based on just one person’s experiences. That’s true. That’s valid. I just… I can’t believe that because my experiences are my own (and not of those I write about) and no one will ever fully know what my experiences are (they are mine for a reason), that that is somehow an indication or warning sign that everyone else out in the world with imagination, empathy, understanding, willingness to be educated and bring forth more creativity and knowledge than I could even see in my situation because it is mine and I’m blinded to it–to even think of proposing to them “No, you can’t write about THIS because you have no experience with it.” Or, “because you haven’t experienced like THIS you can’t write about it. Because you’re THAT not THIS.” As if it were ever truly your choice.

 

No one on this earth will exactly experience the same event in the same exact way. That’s what makes us human. Our perception is everything but not everything. It shapes us and how we see things–and how WE CHOOSE to react back to it, that’s up to us. And some people are more aware of this than others. And some people will never get it. It’s true. But for those who are curious, who are willing, who are feeling–maybe we should do less judging of them and how they go about their research and their feelings to not cut them out from a full experience of life and the lives they can write about so flawlessly, so believably that we don’t have to question it, whether it’s true or not, whether it’s been lived through or not, maybe we can let those writers feel and experience and engage with the world in a form of art that other people, that maybe some people may not feel heard or seen, but others, maybe they will.

 

I think it’s naive and silly (and silly doesn’t have to be bad, inherently) to police what people can and cannot create and for not having lived it to be a huge indication of what can or cannot be written about. Will it reflect everyone’s experiences? No. There will be differences. Maybe accepting those flaws, those inherent cracks, those demented dimensions, maybe the fact that some people, maybe even a lot of people if you’re lucky, will understand, and will feel seen and heard and uplifted, maybe it’s for those and mainly only those that we write for. Because we have stories to tell. And stories to heal. And stories to begin.

Maybe that’s what it’s all for.

 

What are your thoughts? Where do you fall on this line? What determines something to have art and value and purpose? Or is it all just a waste of time to twiddle our thumbs and feel absurd connections to others that exist until we all become dust again and the world is obliterated into oblivion? Or is there something here? Something worth exploring? No matter how much time we have left?

 

As for Agatha: Please don’t make puppet accounts to come after me. Your identity is safe with me. And if we can agree to go our separate ways and do our separate things, that will be all I ask for. I hope you feel better one day. I hope that Life gives you more than it has.

 

As always, be safe, my friends. And be kind. And wonder and ponder and question. Question it all. Because maybe we’re bound to find some very interesting answers….

 

Until next time. xxx

💙💜💚💛

PS Do you like that I made this thumb on Canva JUST for this post? Ahaha. First time I have in months. Next posts will be book reviews, once I can finally get them done!! XX

Just a Temporary Post

Hi hi!

Besides being sweaty right now and feeling far too hot, I’m doing rather well! I have to go brush my teeth because I just ate some mini Heath bars and they are soooo sugary, gwah!!

I’m jumping on here just to make a super quick, fast post and then I’m gonna challenge myself to take just 20 mins to read a book, my current graphic novel I’m calling IYF because that’s the abbreviations of its name, and then I’m going to go to bed and fall asleep. I’ll probably have to take a melatonin to help with sleep because I didn’t last night and didn’t fall asleep until 1a!! 😱😨 I napped for only an hour or so today which, hell, I’ll take.

Gah, so hot. Tomorrow I really want to spend some time blogging a more standard post, edit a couple of videos, upload a video and film one for what will later be released next Tuesday. I also want to read for a couple of hours or at least one and shave my legs and take another shower. I also want to do the dishes as a chore and maybe go out and shop a little tiny bit. I also want to continue to answer my social media and phone texting messages, as that’s important to me and either engage in some adult coloring, creative writing fanfics version or even some work based creative writing and preparing for the weekend ahead with work. (Leadership, leading routine and things to that effect)

I am taking up a morning shift on Wed next week so that should be interesting. It’ll only be two kids plus it’s a school day so it shouldn’t be too bad and if anything probably uneventful. It will be interesting to see how it’s run (first shift) on a school day and I’ll get to work with someone I’ve only met before in trainings so that’s nice.

But yeah, my dating friend is back home now and we spoke today so that was lovely! I also watched Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy tonight, hooray. Well, I should go. I need a fan like DESPERATELY. Ahaha I got like EIGHT bug bites last night when I forgo my shirt sooooo that was FUN to wake up to this morning, haaah, not.

Any who, I hope you guys are well. I will be shutting down my laptop for the day and getting on top of a few other things soon after.

May we all sleep well and keep on creating and making fun things that this life has to offer!

Stay safe!!

xxx

💜💚💛

What are your favorite quotes? | #mentalhealthrecovery #hereforyou


Hi again!

This post is going to be really short as I just downloaded some new music to my iPod for half an hour and I have to go into work very, very soon. I’m a little intimidated because I have Clinicals today, a diabetic training and a program meeting then soon after (I may get half an hour to five minutes to myself) I start my 8 hour shift. Luckily, I’ll get paid for all that time and clocked in before then but I’m not sure what cottage I’ll be in or how the shift will go, but I’m toying with an idea for a group with the little kids and trying to take charge a little more and be more present.

Any who, I thought this idea would be interesting!

I remember years ago I linked mental health related quotes on my blog and that went well so I’m thinking maybe on Friday this week I’ll do another updated round of that. I have a few books I can also refer to about it (both mindfulness books, one new!) as well as just images and quotes and even some original Canva creations that I can do about all of them/that, so I’m excited!

So, down below, share in a comment or a tweet with me or a DM what your favorite quotes are? What are your favorite jars of inspiration? Motivation? Recovery? Goals? Dreams? And then we shall see what we all come up with by the end of this week!!!

Sending light, love and an infinite supply of rainbow lighthouses.

All the best,

— Raquel

xxxx

🌈🌞🌠💚💚💚

One Woman’s Persistence (An Original Story) | Chapter 1

Hello!

Welcome to May and it’s Mental Health Awareness Month (alongside borderline personality disorder (BPD) or Emotionally Unstable personality disorder (EUPD) awareness month as well). For the month of May, my goal is to return to the world of blogging each day (if not five or maybe six times a week) with some sort of blog post along the topic of mental health conditions awareness, some fun stuff and recovery oriented endeavors.

As today is the first, I will be sharing a fresh new story that I’m apparently embarking on. It’s actually an original story (so, not fan fiction) with original characters and a timeline that I have no idea will be explored. I’d say the chapters will probably act more as one-shots but that may change at the same time too.** (**If you’d be interested to see my character description for our main character, let me know in a comment and I’ll do a dedicated post to that in the future!! Or you could just wait until I describe it more naturally as the story goes on. Either way 😁😊)

I basically needed to vent from work today so this is what I came up with to do just that. All the names and characters and true inspiration has been changed for confidentiality purposes and so I won’t be discussing so much what happened to me in real life but rather through the bits and pieces of what really happened and how I’m going to handle my reactions towards those things.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to handle either being disrespected or teenagers, thaaaaaat’d be great. Leave them in a comment down below!!! Teenagers are definitely pretty ruthless so any feedback on how to not take their scathing replies personally or how to leave work stuff behind at work and not take it home with you would be SO helpful for me!! I’d love your feedback in any way that I can gobbler it in.

My plan with the rest of today (as I do have work again tomorrow morning): is to reread and edit this first chapter, place it into this post without further much ado, watch maybe a Grey’s Anatomy episode on Netflix, brainstorm ideas for tomorrow’s post (whether that’s a tag, an old film review, watching a new MCU movie, etc.), reading a book, gaming with Animal Crossing and then just going to sleep early is well, erm, that’s it, that’s my plan. 😁😅🤗

So, here is my story and let me know in the comments what you think!! I’ll be back tomorrow to see you all again. I’ve honestly been trying to write a couple of blog posts behind the scenes but this is the first time it’s really gotten further than just rewriting the same sentence or working only a little on a MCU movie review.

Any ways, that’s it. Thanks for reading!!!


“One Woman’s Persistence”

Chapter 1

It wasn’t exactly the type of job she’d ever imagined for herself.

 

Sure, she’d worked with kids before.

 

Okay, they were her siblings. No surprise there.

 

But she didn’t realize, didn’t think, couldn’t have imagined that she’d be where she is now, scrubbing running mascara off her face in the bathroom, her shoulders shaking uncontrollably as hot tears rolled down her white highlighted cheeks.

 

“Damn,” she croaked, her voice breaking between her sobs.

 

I really thought I was stronger than this.

 

And, naturally of course, following that was:

 

If I knew I’d be crying today, I wouldn’t have worn so much makeup.

 

She couldn’t help but let out an airy chuckle bitterly.

 

This wasn’t exactly the way she thought her job would go. She was working at a trauma informed residential for youth where they were placed to protect their safety and to stabilize their moods before they went through either adoption or foster care.

 

They were rambunctious little five-year old’s up to twelve-year old’s that needed a hefty amount of redirection but it wasn’t them she had trouble with. Rather, this crying spell was because of the cruelty in words the older teens had unleashed.

 

Sure, she understood it wasn’t (necessarily) personal. They were going through hell and abandonment themselves, lashing out at anyone not just because they could but because, maybe, they thought these other adults could take it?

 

But Jazz would be kidding herself and making a mockery of her tear-stained face if she ever dared to think she could have taken it—because, obviously, she couldn’t.

 

And it was more than just the disrespect that stung. It was more than the power struggle, the embarrassment that sizzled on her skin for having other teens present to witness her humiliation, it was more than all of that and had everything to do with the frequent verbal leadup that eclipsed the entire event, pushing Jazz past her breaking point.

 

“Go back to your fucking little kids house where you belong.” The teen, red-faced and blue eyes narrowed in a glare had growled. “Who do you think you are? Telling me what to do?” the teen, Pez, spat, because his words slid out like the candied pieces of a Pez machine, his white skin, freckled and red, resembling more of a caricature than a real human being. “I ain’t some three-year-old you can boss around. I’m seventeen. I’m human. You can’t tell me what to do.” Pez looked down for a moment, hairs bristled. “You ain’t my Momma.”

 

Hate sliced through him again, “Get the fuck outta here.”

 

He leaned back in his chair, the wood smacking the wall as it angled.

 

Jazz had wanted so much to have a clever retort, a witty comeback, a swift end of discussion maneuver, a challenge to return even if it was only verbal.

 

But instead, all she felt were the tears coming. And she was alone.

 

No other staff on this side of the house within the facility of five other houses and she couldn’t just run away, either.

 

Instead, she just bit her lip taunt, teeth clamping onto hot pink, like she was doing now, between the hiccups of pain and the scars of a fresh wound.

 

When she did manage to get away, about twenty minutes after the air had returned to cool and she could see the lashing fading from the teen’s body, and cast a glimmer of pain at her none the wiser co-worker (save me, please) she drifted away to the bathroom where she was bawling in now.

 

Jazzelle hadn’t had it easy growing up in her dysfunctional household: with parents that split on each other in a nasty divorce, her mother ending up taking her own life and her father drowning in his guilt as he remarried—Jazzelle often had to be the parent for herself and even more so later when her two younger siblings came into the picture, at least twelve years younger than her, by which Jazz was then sixteen.

 

By the time Jazz was a junior in high school, she had to lay herself down to the grass and give up: the trauma had been too much to bear alone and she realized she could no longer keep up in school (what was the point anyhow? She’d never make it to college) and had to drop out.

 

She got small jobs here and there, not much to help in rent or fun excursions, but it was better than nothing which was what she would have had without them.

 

Yeah, most nights she went hungry, but her sisters Margarette and Janese got to eat and that’s all that really counted.

 

By eighteen, Jazz was on her feet better than ever, or at least for the time being, as she moved out and got her own apartment with two roommates and assisted state living, succeeding in getting her GED and beginning cosmetology school.

 

Two and a half years after and thrust in the workforce, she found that while still passionate for her own self-expression and handling jobs on the side focused on hair and makeup, it wasn’t her main source of fulfillment anymore and the thought of doing it for the rest of her life was both nauseating and choke holding.

 

She had to crawl her way out of that existential crisis alone, too, but once she managed, she found her growing love for photography was maybe something worth pursuing professionally.

 

So, that’s what she had done.

 

She applied to a school in the city, packed up her bags and dove right in.

 

Four years into it after taking one year off, she was still working for her degree when she landed the position, part-time, at the residential.

 

While toying with the idea of wandering into a sociology degree, in the spare time that Jazzelle never had, she’d be entering into her forty-second week working before she was introduced to the older teens facilities upon her work’s campus. Sure, she’d have covered breaks before or arrived at the very end of the night or given out medications, but this time was her first time really thrown to the wolves as in being alone working on that side of the house with the teenage boys.

 

So, while things hadn’t exactly gone to plan: between her muffled cries, the snot and all the tears; the disrespect; the incessant tomfoolery; the blaming herself like when she did after her mother’s passing and the high natural order that she’d have to be back to work tomorrow morning—between all of that…maybe Jazz could have done more to prevent this from happening.

 

She was still slowly getting used to the fact that she didn’t work in a vacuum of space: she and her co-workers were a team and they protected one another, laying upon each other when they needed it, supporting, not always agreeing, and definitely offering feedback and posing the necessary questions.

 

…Jazz knew this.

 

She did.

 

It was just hard, still, to ask for help. To not just be the independent, strong woman she had needed to always be for herself, and to finally say, ‘Hey, maybe I can’t and don’t have to handle this alone.’

 

It was help that totally would have, if supplied right and given at the most opportune moment, completely prevented this sob story for having played out.

 

Jazz couldn’t have been crying for more than ten minutes but it felt like a forever sense of eternal damnation that she just wasn’t and couldn’t have properly prepared for.

 

But one small knock on the door, a tapping really, and she was reeling herself back in.

 

Forget what she could have done, what she could have said, what should or shouldn’t have happened, it was done and over with and while her voice was still hoarse and shaky as she mentioned, “Just a second,” her blue-green eyes fixed their stare at her reflection. She could see the lines on her face, the wrinkles like the Grand Canyon upon her forehead, her face battered from wearing the storm and when she scrunched up her pink lips, half crumpled with gloss and still half in place, she let out a long sigh and put that game face of hers back into play.

 

She’d handle the rest of the shift.

 

If she was lucky: away from Pez.

 

If not, tolerating him would have to be enough.

 

And while she may have a shake in her step or the hypervigilance to be aware of Pez and where his arms were at, she knew she’d be okay.

 

She knew she’d make it in tomorrow.

 

Because that’s just what Jazz did.

 

In the face of adversity, she persisted.

 


Written: May 1st 2021 between 4:45p – 6p; typed at 6:15p, edited by 7p, uploaded by 7:30p EST.

Thank you all so much once more, and let’s all hail for tomorrow’s upcoming return!!!

When you’re stressed out, how do you manage your emotions? Is there something you can turn to pretty easily to self-soothe and practice self-care? What could you do to challenge yourself in one small way going forwards?

All the best,

— xxx

💚💙🖤

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


Chosen Book:

“Hero” (2013) by Rhonda Byrne

Part of “The Secret” series. 


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. 🙂


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. ❤ 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. ❤ 🙂 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. 🙂

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. 🙂 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. 😀

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. 😀  
  • 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!! 😀

 

  • 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. 🙂
  • 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 😀 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 of  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. 😛 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. 🙂
  • 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! 🙂 Get some exposures going again and all. 😛
  • 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. 🙂 More work ahead of myself, for sure! XD I also have an existing idea about what the cover image of my memoir would be. 😉
  • 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. 🙂 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.

 

  • 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!! 😀
  • 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. 🙂
  • 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. 🙂
  • 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. 😛 (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

 

  • 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! 😀 ❤
  • 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. 🙂
  • 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. 🙂 (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. 🙂 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. 😛 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. 😛 (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. 😛
    • 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? 😛

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! 😀

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. 🙂 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. 🙂

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. 😀

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!! 😀

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. 😀


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.


#SummerComer #PoetryChallenge Entry #6: Humanity is Measured Not in Hate But in Kindness


Hi again.

When you find this post, I will have scheduled it the day before. Or, the evening before, more so. Regardless, here is the sixth entry into this Poetry Challenge that I’ve made for myself.

Enjoy!

PS Here is last “week’s” post.


What are 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 “set 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. 🙂
  • the goal: one poem each week from the end of May to the start of September under the hashtag: #SummerComer

Humanity is Measured Not in Hate But in Kindness

it was somewhere

along the way

that they

didn’t

have the heart

to say ‘No.’

it was some place

along the trail

that they

didn’t

have the strength to

bark back ‘Please.’

it was in some manner

where the sun

sparkled through the trees

that they struggled

with the courage

resting in their breast

to say “Stop.”

there was something in the way

that the moonlight

glittered on the ocean front

that made their experience

quantify into thousands of

insects’ wings fluttering up

into a cacophony of sound,

the air vibrating with their pressure,

the breath of life that leaked

from their open mouth

spun into kaleidoscopes as they

shouted from the ground,

“Let me free!”

the sticky, black goo

that rose from the tarmac

threatened to take their

existence from them,

but they were strong,

they were holding on tight,

and they never backed down,

grumbling out instead,

“Try to take me,

And you’ll fail.”

The goo transformed,

turning to a face that

they recognized

as painful,

but still they reiterated,

“Try to scare me,

And you won’t win.”

Their expression was harder now,

softer in some respects,

and their blue eyes flashed

with purpose.

“Try to take me,” they uttered with

a voice as strong as Plexiglas.

“I’d like to see you try.”

The goo changed again,

curling its tendrils around their legs,

legs rooted to the ground in a

steadfast position.

The goo curled them into a tight hug,

but they weren’t afraid any longer,

instead they smirked and said,

“Is that the best you’ve got?”

The goo hissed and moved to strangle them,

and they laughed instead,

pulling away easily and

humming to themselves,

“Your weakness baffles me.”

They narrowed their eyes at the

monstrosity before them.

“You’ve fought wars

and sought out pain,

yet here you are,

incapable of taking me down.

Do you know why?”

The intensity sparked further in their eyes,

just as they began to remove their arms,

stretching the goo’s material

as it cried out in discomfort.

“Because I am Loved.

Because I am Worthy.

Because I am Arose in Purpose.

Because I am Faith.

Because I am More.

More than you’ll ever be,

And when I struggle for breath,

When I fade in the dying light,

I’ll still be Strong,

I’ll still know my Worth,

Because unlike you,

I don’t need to tear people

Down in order to shine brighter.”

They grasped the creature’s limbs

in tight, closed fists.

“You can come back for me,

And you will,

But I’ll win again,

Because I have strength,

I have power,

I have unlimited potential

Compared to you.”

They tilted their head slightly,

the intensity in their stare never

wavering.

“But I won’t kill you,

I won’t destroy you.

Because I know what that’s like too.

So I will help you,

I will uplift you,

And I will heal you,

Because that is what you need.

And if you refuse to change,

If you refuse to become better,

Then I will let you go.

Because even you deserve not to be

Hindered.

Even you deserve freedom.”

The ghost of a smile

Lit up their features as they

Pushed down the creature,

Back into its small pocket

Upon the floor.

“It takes more love to treat

Those who crave it,

But aren’t aware of it,

Than it does to easily

Spill apart hate.”

They dusted off their palms,

The ashy hue left upon their

Fingerprints

And as they did so,

As they did,

Their spirit sparkled and they said

Lowly,

“I’ll trust in you,

Even when you don’t in me.

Because that’s the biggest

Difference between us:

You hate, you destroy, you crave power

and I am loved, I create and I

already exist powerfully.”

They slid a lone finger down the side

Of the aching creature’s face,

“And all you needed was the same.

And I’m sorry you didn’t receive it.

For I am here if you change your mind,

But tearing down others to

Build yourself up,

Is not the way.”

They sighed, lightly.

“Maybe one day you will see that.

For now, I will hold onto it for you.”

They began to walk away, but not before

Saying over their shoulder,

“I’ll be back for you at a later date,

And I will hope for you

And dream for you,

What you never dared to dream for yourself.

Rest easy, my dear.”

A torched piece of parchment

Flew free from their hand

And fell down near the shadow’s

Skin,

Etched upon its surface were the words:

Spreading kindness in a world of hate

Lifts all souls that deserve no such fate.

For humanity is measured not in which

All there is light, but rather when there exists much fight.

And no matter what cost,

What they engender must be no less than crossed.

For it is not only how a person acts within a crowd,

But the way they act alone and proud.

Forgiveness is a force that can only be decided

By those at war,

Who crave more,

Who desire a roar.

And at the end of the night,

They can only choose to shine bright.

Because where there is dark in light,

There is light in night,

And they, too, shall never lose sight.

Technical Aspects of the Poem:

Written and Edited: 6/26/2020

Mood Music: “Where the Shadow Ends” by BANNERS ft. Young Bombs


About the Poem: Kinda thinking of Kill Monger and T’Challa in “Black Panther” (2018) along with other related types of events occurring in the world and just having a creative spirit birthed this poem. I’m not sure if it even makes much sense (and I’ve tried my best rewriting/rewording some parts to make more sense, but I still can’t tell ahaha) but it’s what I got for this week and so that will have to be enough. Also, I’ve been doing a lot more lower cased poetry which isn’t something that I would do a lot of in the past, just an interesting thing. I tried to keep the change when our narrator they started talking more and their confidence grew and so the stylistic choices changed as well to match that. But yeah, let me know what you think!! Thank you so much for reading and feel free to share this work along with my others! Stay safe. xxx

#SummerComer #PoetryChallenge | Rules and Entry #1: (Thanks) To the Music in Her Soul

Welcome to the #SummerComer thumb and blog post poetry challenge!! All photographs by me and the thumb itself was made on the ever so lovely Canva! 🙂

Why, hello there!!!

Welcome back to another blog post on my WordPress account! 😀 This one is especially nice as I’m bringing to you all an idea that I got inspired by this author’s blog post (Jason A Muckley) which was also inspired by this author’s blog post (Brooke Cutler) .

Basically (and I had to switch back to the Classic Editor I know and love because the top bar was missing in the new block editor and I have no idea how to get it back nor do I have the patience for that level of fuckery right now, PLUS we just temporarily lost power so now I feel like I’m racing against the clock, ahahha, sad.) I will layout the outline of each of their respective challenges here:

  1. Brooke’s challenge was to come up with a new poem every day in May using the word “darling”
  2. Jason was then inspired to create his own type of challenge. His involves (and you should totally check them both out, by the way!) writing a new poem every day from May 10th (Mother’s Day) until June 20 (first day of summer) all about summer themed activities and going-on’s. He then came up with a hashtag for the event calling it #FunInTheSun

Now here’s where I come in:

My challenge, inspired by Jason’s, is to create a new poem each week (just one!) starting from this week (originally yesterday, but today is still the first week for me, I’m going on the assumption that Sunday’s are the starts of the week rather than Monday’s) May 22nd 2020 — September 4th 2020 where the theme will be summer but a little looser so it can apply to other topics or happenings that relate beyond summer itself. 🙂 I am calling this series: #SummerComer

So, essentially, I’m going to be doing a creative poem each week starting now until the start of September! Whoooo!!!

If you have any ideas or prompts or things YOU’D like to see me cover, leave them all down below! The layout for this series is as follows:

  • each post will start 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 “set the mood”. I may sometimes use the Calm App, potentially, and will credit that as sees fit.

That said, here is this week’s first poem:

 


(Thanks) To the Music in Her Soul

 

She heard the lyrics

Of the song within her soul,

Heard the pitch,

Heard the beat,

As she strolled along the shore.

 

She swayed her hips,

Rounded and pure,

Her shoulders knocking back

Moving with the music.

 

She wore a peaceful smile

Upon her full cheeks,

And the pink lip gloss

On her lips

Sparkled in the setting sun.

 

She was aglow with light,

As it wafted down from the large,

Fluffy white clouds.

 

It parted through the shadows locked

Behind her brown eyes,

And it swept away the doubts

And insecurities that would cling to her skin

Late at night.

 

It washed over her like the waves

Lapping at her bare feet,

Chilly in the summer wind

Yet comforting all the same.

 

The scent of the ocean

Flocked over her,

And she dared to break out into song,

Verbalizing the words that had haunted

Her dreams for days.

 

She did this,

Serenely,

As the sun departed behind the hills

Far, far away

As the beach was empty save for a few

Passing gulls

 

And when she left that day,

When she, too, departed from the world,

She did so with a blissful heart

And a song that felt richer

Than it had ever been before.

 

(Technical information about the poem:

Entry #1: #SummerComer

Written: 5/23/20

Background music: “Happier” by Marshmello ft. Bastille)


 

Annnnnd, that’s it!! Thank you so much for reading!! I hope that this can be something neat to look forward to each week on this blog and that you can be inspired in some way by it and hell, maybe someone else will be inspired and continue the challenge-inception spiral! Ahaha.

I will have more blog posts coming in the future.

Thanks again!!

Best! ❤ ❤ ❤ xxx

Hello to A Mid-May 2020 Life Update

Life Update Thumb

Why hello there!!

I saw on Twitter that WordPress is changing to the newest editor (I’ve always been using the classic mode that I encountered when I first joined the site in May 2016 (which reminds me of another blog post I forgot about that I want to do, actually :O)) but this new one is… okay. I’ll get used to it in time, I imagine and if I struggle, there will be the classic block option that I can tinker with instead. 🙂

Any who, that’s not entirely what this post is going to be about.

I wanted to actually talk to you guys one on one again, as it’s been a while since my last post and I haven’t been on the blog too much this last week and I have PLENTY to update you guys on in regular old life update fashion. So, for the new things and also some of the old….


If you missed my last post  where I talk about some of what I’ll be doing for the NAMI Walks Your Way Virtual Event on Saturday, May 30th from 11:00a- 1:30p EST (a live stream where I’ll interact with you guys on Youtube, you can donate if you’d like (all the money is going directly to NAMI), you can ask me questions and I’ll talk about my experiences and my involvement with NAMI and my recovery as well as produce some artwork that you’ll be able to see as I make it) I have a small update for it!

Tomorrow, Friday May 22nd 2020 at 3:00p EST I am going live for about an hour on my Youtube channel, RecoverytoWellness  to just experiment with the live streaming service so that I work out any kinks before the big event next Saturday! 😀 (Working with this Editor and it hates my trying to link things, grrr.)

For tomorrow’s stream, which I will link out on my Twitter (you can find me under RecoveryRaquel), I will be chatting with you peeps if you happen to stop by because I probably won’t be up to much else on my own, ahhaha. I am planning to film outside on my back porch so that should be especially nice! 😀

Additionally and relatedly, I am choosing to make it a daily goal of mine this summer to spend at least 1 hour a day outside. I decided to start doing this just this past Saturday and then I was thinking up how I should get a blanket for myself to use purely for outdoors purposes and all the different places I could go with it (parks, beaches, small areas nearby) and I also found out that if you put the blanket or article of clothing into the dryer for 15 minutes, the heat kills any ticks that may be on it. Then you can plop it into the washing machine and then back into the dryer but in the wash, they don’t die because they thrive in dark, moist places, so there ya, something new to learn!

This led me to go to Target on Sunday, braving the quarantine for reals, and I did find a very nice and soft light gray blanket ($15!) but I’m kinda falling more and more in love with it sooooo I’m not entirely certain that it’ll become my outdoor blanket. I also got a few books while I was at Target and a couple of stationery gel pen packs (which I’ve been utilizing already since).

Hmmm, what else is new?

I’ve been writing fan fiction a lot lately. I finally have another article for my column on The Oddball Magazine  (Recovery Home) that I wrote up today, actually, during Journal group at Passages (my day program). I will be typing this up tomorrow, fact checking it a little and then linking or naming some links within it before I send it off completely.

Speaking of Passages, I am going to be transitioning out of there and my last day will be Thursday June 4th. That’s going to be interesting. I’ve decided because we’re in very strange times, that I’ll be writing letters and sending them to the building so that the therapists there can re-envelope them and send them to some of my peers that I plan to write letters of farewell to. I have about 10 peers that I want to do this with. Then I have to do the letters for the staff/therapists too. I’ll be doing quite a bit of writing for the next couple of weeks in preparation for this, basically.

It feels really weird to be discharging (and technically, I still have to get fully cleared for this to commence) but yeah, it’s kinda scary BUT also really good and really nice. I wish quarantine wasn’t going on because I definitely would like a farewell party, ahaha. I’m going to ask if there’s some kind of contingency plan I can do when the quarantine is over where I could return just for a goodbye, kinda thing, you know?

As of late, I haven’t been able to complete a lot of the groups and I only go to the ones in the afternoon. And I just haven’t been getting as much out of it and I was already going to end in May anyways but yeah, June 4th will be it. Weird. But exciting. And sad. And I’m not entirely sure where I’m going to find the community of validation and nonjudgmental support, but I’m hoping to find some of these characteristics in support groups I enter and online communities that I find for myself, like blogs and videos and stuff. I’m hoping too, that with this mental health focused area out of my life that I can return to mental health related blogs/bloggers and get my dose of it that way. I haven’t done that since I’ve been going to program in 2018, so it would be especially nice. (HINT: If you have anyone you think I should follow or you want to leave their info down below, feel free to do so!!)

I’m also thinking, as of today, that I’ll want to do some other type of weekly blogging where I choose on Sunday a topic to focus on for the week, I pool resources like blog sites and Youtube videos on the topic and then I write a response blog post about what I learned, if anything, from it all. I think that’d be neat and I’d like to get back into looking at different types of research-like article stuff. I don’t know, I think it’d be cool.

The wonderful world of WordPress

Speaking of blogging… I have these ideas going forwards:

  1. Continuing my Tracking Practices (this will probably come in next week, and I have a follow-up point to this later! Also, a simpler post is becoming lengthy and annoying with this new Editor!! Ugh!)
  2. Film Review Friday’s (I am planning to have one up for tomorrow)
  3. Fan fiction related
  4. Promoting others works
  5. Life Updates
  6. Research based/knowledge stuff from the thing I mentioned earlier (okay, tired brain is really here now, awesome, great. )
  7. Book reviews!!
  8. SummerComer (NEW, CHECK BACK TOMORROW)
  9. Anniversary posts/awards and tags
  10. that’s all I can think of right now

I have PLENTY of Youtube channel ideas going forwards too.

But the good and sad news from the first tracking post is that I completed my Calm the Chaos journal yesterday!!! I am now moving onto my next one.

I’ve also been ordering and looking at books a lot lately. I am in progress of reading a nonfic book and I didn’t get the chance to read AT ALL today but maybe I can squeeze in a couple of pages. I’m excited for the books I have already gotten and the ones that are heading to me next! 🙂

I’ve already gotten quite a tan already from the week I’ve been outside ahaha. I am currently listening to music and I have to make time soon to download new songs to my iPod. The other thing, which I will be posting tomorrow, so two posts tomorrow, will just be this: SummerComer. That’s all you get for clues. 😉

Oh, I’ve been making some origami stuff lately too, mainly paper frogs and paper stars.

My work, Amaryllis, schedule has changed. Instead of working Tuesday’s and Saturday’s I’m NOW working Monday’s and Saturday’s. So that’s something.


Okay, sorry, but I have to cut this post short. It’s almost 10p and I’m literally falling asleep right now ahaha. I will see you all fresh in the morning. Good luck and do leave me your thoughts somewhere down below!

This post was powered by: “Circles” by Post Malone ❤ 😀

Thank you for reading!!!

xxx

PS I just remembered: I’m hoping to be structuring my time more in the future and setting SMART goals monthly, weekly and daily! Yay!

Join Me in a National Day of Hope | #NAMIWalksYourWay Virtual Event

NAMIWalks THUMB revamp - 5.14.20

Join me on my Youtube channel on this date/time slot and we’ll have some fun!! See more information in this post down below! ❤ xxx Thumb revamped 5/14/2020


Hello and welcome back to my blog!!!

I have some exciting news to share with you all today, and I apologize for the fact that this post is coming at you guys a bit later than I had originally planned. I’ve been wanting to share this for over a week, but this past week has been tough for me mentally as I’ve been struggling with some ruthless depressive symptoms.

I’ve been sleeping A LOT more than usual (as opposed to last week where I was awake throughout the day, motivated a lot of the time, creativity was pouring out of me and I was interacting with other blogs and writing up a bunch of posts too) and have just been face to face with a lot of lack of motivation, lack of energy and lack of overall interest. Today and yesterday I’m beginning to come out of it, oscillating back and forth if nothing else, and I’m trying to make the most out of it in the best way I know how.

So, really, what I had to do was revamp this blog post! Something new, something fresh, something without old tied knots of forgotten wishes and dried up dreams, something that wasn’t attached to old feelings and past regrets, something refreshing and spontaneous mixed in with creativity and fun colors!

Thus, here we are. ❤

NAMIWalks THUMB 2 = 5.14.20

I am running my OWN TEAM that YOU can join here:

RecoverytoWellness Beacons Team Page

If you would like further information on who I am, what I’m about and more of my own story, you can check out my individual page here and donate either to my singular page or donate to the team page itself:

My Participant Page

Either way, ALL the money raised is going DIRECTLY to NAMI Massachusetts. I will get 0% of the money I gather, so just remember that! If you want to donate, please do, or if you can spread around the message, that works too. If you’d like to join my team, feel free to sign up, or if you’d rather join or donate to other people’s teams/pages, you can do that, too!

Ultimately, the NAMI Walks Your Way MA event is going virtual this year because of the state of the world and the pandemic which opens up the ways we can all participate in this national day of raising mental health awareness for the variety of conditions that encompasses by spreading hope, fun and light to topics society so very often wants us to hide and be ashamed of.

This is OUR DAY to make a difference, our day to celebrate each other and all of our successes, celebrate our triumphs and celebrate one another. I am very excited for it!

I still have yet to completely decide if I want to take up more of the day (Saturday May 30th 2020) for the event by calling off my work shift at Amaryllis or if I want to still attend work that day after the event (which is why I’ve tentatively named the event occurring for me between 11:00a and 1:30p EST).

That’s actually, probably, important:

This event is running from 11a – 1:30p EST

I will be doing a:

Youtube Live Stream on my channel (RecoverytoWellness)

on the day of the walk, to help spread mental health awareness, share my recovery story, ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS YOU HAVE, and share artwork that I will be creating during that time.

I am thinking I will do:

– Some origami (from watching tutorials on my iPod)

– Some painting/water coloring (new pieces or old, possibly)

– Some coloring

– Some creative writing or journaling if the Muse participates willingly

– Some photography or outside time (depending on the weather!)

– Some scrapbooking

– Beaded bracelets

– and possibly a little more!!

 

I NEED YOUR HELP!! THUMB 3 - 5.14.20

RecoveryRaquel is my Twitter handle; RecoverytoWellness is my WordPress and Youtube channel!

I would like for you to send me in some of your questions, ideas, topics or things you’d like to see me discuss! I can talk freely about my journey and what treatment has been like for me and why advocacy is such a big part of where I am, where I’ve been and where I’m going!

But first,

I need you to share this post! I need you to spread the word as LARGE and FAR as possible! Share on social media, donate even the smallest bit to my page for the NAMI Walk, interact with me, leave me your thoughts and questions, and be there with me during the support of the walk on Saturday, May 30th 2020 11:00a-1:30p EST!!

My personal page’s goal was to reach $175 and my team’s page goal is to reach $250, which we’re NEARLY there at so far being at $200. I put in some money towards the cause, myself, too. I will probably talk more about NAMI and how it’s supported me in my recovery, life and advocacy on the day of the walk, too. We are so close to reaching our goal and I KNOW we can do it!! If you donate at all, I will send you a personalized thank you message! Just leave me your contact info or email me at my public email address (which you can connect through my Contact page here on WordPress) or more simply at this email:

recoverytowellness@hotmail.com

All right, that is it for this post! If you have any further questions, comments or concerns, you know where to find me! Have an amazing May day and I hope to see you around again.

Thanks a bunch!!!!

❤ ❤ ❤ xxx

All thumbs in this post were made with the love and care of Canva. Thank you!! ❤