Lighting A Candle For You | World Suicide Prevention Day 2021


They say, “Life is fragile.”

And, I thought I knew that.

I thought I knew that before.

But it seems like I didn’t. Or, the weight of it, it didn’t fully occur to me.

You know that I’m reaching out to You. Into this vortex of the Universe. Because I couldn’t be there for You when You felt so alone, when You were struggling so deeply, and I pray, I pray so hard that You’ll be here again for me to do better, do better by You, do better for You.

I am so, so sorry my dear that you were hurting so very deeply.

I’m so …. lost.

You’re not gone. Not quite, not…. not yet.

And it’s hard to be here without You when I can’t be with You.

I’m so sorry, my dear, that You were in so much unfathomable pain. That You felt so lost, so dark, so dull in the night sky filled with other bright stars–unable to see how brightly You, too, shined–because You don’t see how important You are, how loved, how needed, how necessary for THIS life You are, not the next one.

And I pray, I pray so hard that You don’t leave us here alone so soon. You are needed. You are wanted. You are worth the world.

And I wish You knew, I wish You knew how much Your brain is lying to You. That You DO matter. That You are cared for. That there are hundreds of other people out in the world who want to meet You, who will love You, who will accept You. Who want You to experience everything there is out here in this life.

So I sit and cry in my bedroom, trying to find the words for something so inescapable. Something so large. Something that posed so much of a danger to You, my love, so much of a danger to me, to Your family, to Your friends, to Your followers, to everyone You had yet to meet, to the other animals You had yet to love, a life You had yet to find faith in to live by and thrive through–maybe I should have seen the entity lying behind Your eyes. Maybe I should have known to listen to my gut when at 1a I thought of You. Maybe things would have been different.

If I’d just reached out. Reached back out to You through the dark, showing You that the clearing was just up ahead and You were going to make it, You were always going to make it there. And I don’t know what You thought. I might never know what You thought. The way You uniquely would have phrased it, the way Your brain made excuses for Your actions, the pain, the deep chasms of pain that blinded You to everything before You. Everything that would lay in Your wake.

And I don’t mean to guilt trip you. I know that’s not helpful.

I just hurt, too. And I’m trying to process everything and doing jack shit to be able to.

It’s just so hard.

And You don’t know yet what I’m thinking or what I’m feeling. And I pray, I pray so much that You’ll be able to find out about this. About everything.

I wish You knew. I just wish You knew.

I wish You knew how I’m feeling right now, how much I’m praying for You, how much I’m trying to piece together hope and a semblance of normalcy and struggling all the same. I wish You knew how desperately I’m looking for the signs that You weren’t okay online, that I’m wishing the happy events to come weighed more than the pain deep within Your soul. I wish You knew that I was writing these words, that I pray You’ll see them one day. That You’ll be able to comprehend them. I want so much more than this for You, and I know that You can reach it, You can make it through, it’s just hard. It’s so hard.

So I’ll light a candle for You tonight and every night until You come back to me. Come back to us.

And I won’t know how to live without You. I won’t.

And I don’t want to ever have to find that out.

….yet I know that this is ultimately Your choice. And I can hope, I can pray, I can be there for You to the best of my ability and encourage You and love You and want so much for You, for everything I, too, have found, I’d want that and more for You, and ultimately… I have to accept that this life and this fight is only Yours to make. You can choose to live or you could choose to die, but you cannot do both. And some people make it through their suicidal ideation and live happy and healthy lives. And some don’t. And I don’t want that ever to be the case that You are the latter, but, I don’t necessarily have a choice in that matter. That is Yours and Yours alone. I can’t choose to live for You, only You can do that for Yourself.

Yet I want You to know that You still would matter. That Your absence will be fully noted, fully recognized and fully mourned. I would miss You so, so much. I would long to look into Your eyes again, to hear Your laugh, to feel Your hugs, to love everything about You, to see You bake again, to have the opportunity to hold You…

So, You’ve gotta pull through, to give me that type of moment. Your story isn’t over yet, it’s so very, very far from being over. And I know that while resources can be limited, that that does not mean You shouldn’t do everything in Your power to survive, to live, to thrive. You’ve got this, my love, You’ve got this so much.

Please, please know that You can live. You can.

It’ll be so hard and it will be worth the entire world. You are worth the world. And I’m not ready to say goodbye yet.

So if the candle extinguishes before I get the chance to say it loud, to cry it for You to hear, from the vortex of my Universe, from the walls of my bedroom, with the warm tears streaming down my face, praying I get to see You one day again soon (one last time), I will cry:

I love you. I want you. I need you. Please stay. Please choose life. Please don’t go. Not yet. It’s not your time. You’re going to make it through this. And when you struggle to find the light, you need only raise your hand and I’ll part the curtain, and force the trees to move and then you’ll see, then you’ll see–you will be found.

Rest up, my love, this battle will be long and hard and I’ll be with You all along the way.

Music I think the Reader should check out:

  1. You will be found by Ben Platt; from Dear Evan Hansen
  2. Why by Rascal Flatts (trigger warning)
  3. Hero by Faouzia
  4. Black hole by Griff
  5. 1800 273 8255 by Logic ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid
  6. It’s okay by Nightbirde
  7. Run like a river by Jamica

Thank you so much for reading about my grief. Please do your part and hold onto your loved ones an extra bit longer tonight. And tell the people you love that you do love them. And let them know in a card or a text how much you appreciate them. This life is, in fact, short, and you don’t want regrets and you want them to know because in an instant, they could vanish. Take care of yourselves, my friends. I will be planning to update and write more in the oncoming future. May the Universe bless you endlessly. xxx (I’m going into more Mr. Ballen Youtube videos to sleep tonight. Sending all the best.)

**May all those we’ve lost rest in peace. And all those still here to find the determination, the strength and the perseverance to choose to fight another day. Your efforts are recognized. You are doing amazing. Keep up the good work.

“Once Again” (2020) | BES July – Aug. 2021



CHOSEN BOOK:

“Once Again” (2020) by Catherine Wallace Hope

((fiction novel))


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

pedophilia, crime, substance abuse, murder, preying on children, suicide, grief, assault, abduction, language, “crazy,” drug overdose, PTSD, depression, gaslighting, narcissism.


THEMES:

Grit, overcoming adversity (again and again and again), strength, time lines, time, time travel, quantum physics, alternate universes, pain, emotion, hope, light, meaning, psychological thriller, keeps you guessing, cooking, very descriptive language, quotes, parts (part 1, 2, etc.), healing, (group) therapy, flashbacks, mathematics, time stones, memories, consciousness, simulators, Colorado, what if chances, paving into a new future, change, detectives, medical scenes, black holes, white holes.


SUMMARY:

Hi hi, the summary for this book is tough for me because I want to talk candidly about what the story as it unfolds is about but I don’t exactly want to give it away either! Ahaha, SUCH a problematic pickle!

Either way, if I start off the review vague but get more specific in the Critical/Questioning Corner, it’s because I’m grappling with these decisions. Honestly though, I LOVED this book. It was such a good read. I definitely still struggled with my re-reading and having to go back at times because I couldn’t remember things (for instance, by p. 120 I was angry trying to figure out who Aidon was lmao) or things that I thought were one way turned out to be another way, etc. Overall though, I pretty much devoured this book in a few long sessions, which was super nice and wonderful!

Something I haven’t been able to do in a long time. It’s a complex read in terms of the quantum physics, alternate time lines and all the consistencies and confusions that arise from the popular and well-explored in movies (especially lately–I’m looking at you, MCU) time travel components, the makeshift of the science fiction involved and the tang of creativity that envelops it all.

There is betrayal. There is the darker sides of humanity. And there’s a mother who will stop at nothing to save her daughter. I should probably explain…

So, the story focuses on Erin Fullarton and Zac Fullarton, parents to the six-year old child Korrie. We start in present day where it’s June 2021 and slowly and gradually learn that the shell of what is left of Erin is because of the intense grief and pain that came with losing her child. We don’t find out right away how this happened exactly but it is revealed later. Zac is working on some time and physics type of thing where he has created two time stones, one as Erin’s wedding ring and a second a year or so later. He begins to spend his day in the ‘Clean Room’ of his workplace on the kinda anniversary of Korrie’s death; as time begins to shift and present itself, Erin is forced to realize that what she could potentially prevent is within her hands and only something she could do (she tried, valiantly, to get aid but it didn’t come readily, unfortunately).

She decides to put her everything into changing the story that her life had took a dark turn in.

We get the perspective a few times from Korrie’s killer, the icky yucky pedophile who–ooof, his chapters were particularly disgusting. Hated them. Hated him.

There’s also the Detective from Korrie’s case and that is tied up nicely at the end but I’ll leave it there for now.

Erin faces a LOT of adversity throughout this book–trying to get people to understand the gravity of what was happening and that things themselves were repeating and people treating her like she was “crazy” for it, etc. She realizes some of the pattern with the time shifts–one minute it’s summer and the next she’s stepping into winter. And when the simulation that Zac is running falls into the abyss, she recognizes that too. There’s a whole section I could talk about but I’ll say this instead:

This story will keep you guessing all the way through. You’re going to get pissed off, elated, enthralled, interested, sometimes bored (sorry, for all the physics talk! But, they lighten up, too!), wondering what certain things have significance, confused at all the time travel and how things are happening but then jumping so far aboard that it’s just natural and where the writer wanted to take us with this story that needed to be told. It’s such a gripping book. Every time I started to celebrate Erin’s wins–another thing impeded her path. “No!” I would internally shout. “You were so close!”

This book had a great balance and instances of things looking up, then going down, then looking up, then going down. It reminded me, towards the end of the story, of a video game I’m playing on the Nintendo Switch: “Journey of the Broken Circle.” Very similar I’m finding (in the sense that the story line paves the way from when things are seemingly at their most hopeless, there’s still a way through and out the other side to better times, better life and better health.) This book has a lot of those themes too.

Ultimately, the last thing I’ll say is this: The ending and those final scenes were so poignant and wishing to be captured, frozen in time as they were, forever and always. For time to retreat backwards without memory, with repetition and with different details… I don’t understand quite why they were different details, was it just the universe that was at play or did something change within the intervals of the waves on the simulation, it’s never quite explained but maybe it doesn’t have to be. Things are different and yet similar and surprising and then just are. They shine with the possibility that only having read the book’s prior pages, knowing how certain events unfolded and fell apart, only then could you appreciate those small changes that made such a different outcome. The ways it was described was very thought-provoking for me–that little bit of wonder when you take a moment to think and realize right then and there in the present day reality: how could this event unfold next? What if I acted on this thought now? Or what if I never did? What would change? What led to what? What would be different?

Time is an elusive beast. The universe works in strange ways. Maybe that we’re all here, for however long that is, is all that matters. 💙💙💙🤍


BOOK LENGTH:

276 pages


MY RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

4.5/5


OUTSTANDING QUOTES OR IDEAS:

  1. I love the way Erin in her grief is described in this book, particularly in the first act. Hope uses the metaphor and theme even with Erin’s husband and it’s such a magical little callback. I found this part particularly captivating and relatable at the start of the book: “{Erin is considering and getting ready to make some muffins} Did she even know where the whisk was anymore? And with that, she was overwhelmed and could not face it. There had been a time when she could have put muffins together without a thought..now she couldn’t handle the idea of even starting them” (Hope, 2020, p. 11)
  2. The pain of the grief that not only Erin has felt from the shock waves of Korrie’s death, but the fact that Zac was isolated in his own is rocked even harder and with more intensity in this description here: “The other Erin, as he’d begun thinking of her, the one who’d replaced his wife, this lifeless Erinesque version who had appeared when the love of his life was sucked into the void…When Korrie died, Erin departed without him for regions unknown” (Hope, 2020, p. 16)         Personally, I found this was very relatable and how I tell the story in my fanfic “Distorted & Disordered” (to be fair, quite a bit of this book reminded me of D&D but I think a couple other fics were also on my mind too).
  3. When the story behind the nickname is revealed of how Erin and Zac called Korrie, it’s just so breathtaking. Like, she’s in the midst of a dream and consciousness and just the way it was written, thinking she’s lost her Korrie from when she was just a fetus, remembering the bump and then not feeling it, looking for her in the blankets, damn it’s powerful writing.
  4. I’m pretty sure this was unintentional but the commentary for those who are suffering from severe or even just mild or moderate mental health conditions was something that needed to be said. For Erin, in an impossible situation, she was painted to be “crazy” or a “lunatic” or “losing it” etc. That her grief had made her go “out of her mind.” We know, as the Reader, that this is not the case. But we’re powerless to stop them from feeling and judging her so harshly. I think, also, when she’s trying to get help from other people who immediately dismiss her because of her intense grief, her intense depression and her just overall struggle from her mental health because her daughter freakin’ died–that commentary, that “other-ness” is such a strong stigma in place in our real life and society as a whole. It paints the very real picture that “just because it’s all in your head” it’s not valid or real or true to you etc. Or that your whole identity is that “illness”. Or that you’re somehow “wrong” and “broken.” These are disastrous ideals because we know that mental health conditions recovery is a process, a journey and there’s no one way fits all. Hope is out there. Help is available. You deserve to have nice things, to live a happy and fulfilling life and you can if you decide to still be here and choose life. Recovery is possible and we’re here for you. Sorry, side rant. Compassion, empathy and understanding can go a very long way. Validating doesn’t mean agreeing!!
  5. Another super relatable, emotional and grieving point of the book was how Erin described her feeling lost and broken after hearing the first news that no one knew where Korrie was: “In the time that followed, people kept introducing themselves… Erin fell apart and pulled herself together and fell apart again. People gave her drinks in paper cups and handed her tissues and patted her shoulder. And yet nobody managed to do the only thing that mattered: find Korrie” — (Hope, 2020, p. 89)
  6. This next scene is so horrendously and marvelously composed that I just have to share it with you all. It fits so perfectly into this story, it definitely belongs in it and the grappling of time and understanding amongst the confusion is so on point: “[Erin] dreaded the idea that she might stand where he had stood, where he had discarded what he stole. But perhaps if she were to stand there in winter before he did, she could find a way to undo what he’d done before he did it” (Hope, 2020, p. 130)       It makes so much sense, it gets us to where we need to go, it fills in the gaps and at the same time it’s almost insignificant. Truly fascinating.
  7. At one point, ending a phase of the book, Erin struggles with realizations and the questioning nature of time and its happening in a perfectly described token of: “She couldn’t understand how this had happened. Now she had no idea where she was, or rather when she was, or what to do, but she knew she had to get back, back to where she’d been” (Hope, 2020, p. 141)     To me, it felt totally wild and even MORE adversity. The adversity and the odds were truly stacked against her and her family. This book is a RIDE.
  8. There’s something so remarkable, fitting, human and true in the following scene: “(Erin to Korrie) ‘You have to keep talking. Let’s do a story.’ Korrie: ‘I don’t want to, I feel bad.’ E: ‘The trick is to keep going, no matter how you feel. That’s how it has to be.'” — (Hope, 2020, p. 217).         To me, it’s just something so striking, this scene. Erin’s fight and will to survive and thrive and do everything she can is super admirable. She doesn’t give up even when she has those moments where she considers it. Even with how much of a mess she is at times, she still fights. That’s amazing. It also again reminded me of that Switch game “Journey of the Broken Circle.” And really just life in general. (Which I can relate to very much right now with my physical health, as you get older ailments don’t seem to come individually wrapped but rather altogether to test your resolve. Bleh. 😫😭😖)
  9. What I really love about the way things ended in this book is that vague, distinct thought or phrase or almost memory that something had already happened before, something in another future, another place, that a perspective had been made and even though it came through distantly thereafter (fragmented in some cases, somewhat whole in others) it was a little glimmer of what once was even if it never became anything. I don’t know, just thinking about how these gut feelings at times or these conscious dabbling scenarios could hold so much more significance in a different time line is just fantastic eye candy to me: “As Erin stood, a feeling illuminated within her, the sense that she had the strength to take on whatever might lie ahead of her. She couldn’t know what the future was, but she knew she could rise to meet it” — (Hope, 2020, p. 255).    Again, I just thought it fit so well with the ground covered in this story and then was also just so mind-boggling, fantastic peeks into detail and yeah. A memory of what once was even though it never came to be.

THOUGHTS OR IDEAS I HAD WHILE READING:

  • Legit, I have no context to understand this now but early on in the book there was a scene that reminded me of this really great horror movie I watched on Netflix, I’m gonna pull up the name here: “Before I Wake” (2016) Something about how the story line in that movie went and how it’s relatable and similar to this particular story, I’m thinking specifically how the mother in the movie kinda uses her foster kid to purposefully see these tangible rehashed memories of her first son (who died) and how in this novel there’s that tangible aspect first going back in the past (so that Erin was back when Korrie was still alive and how she related and touched and could feel the very realness of the bedroom around her, in such stark contrast to her present day time line) and just… yeah. I don’t know if I explained that right or if it even fits here now having gone through the story but I think that’s what I was thinking of. That just holding on to what once was even though it’s no more (or wasn’t for a while). 😊
  • Shout-out to any other cardiophiles out there: this book has a pretty good plethora for them in case you’d like to read it and also be in for a great story! 😁🧡🧡
  • The way Erin reaches out to the next person she can think of that holds power in the situation to help alter or change the line of events that the first three quarters of the book presents, and that she’s told she can’t be helped and that there’s something wrong with her and just overall abandons her…. yeah, that reminded me of Luna a lot.
  • Hah! I did think of “This Would Be the End” fic at one point! Hah, I knew it!
  • Probably one of the coolest things about this book was seeing the way I write Loki in my fanfics being mirrored back to me. Like, I could so relate to what the author was conveying and the depth of which she did (though not completely, I may add) and the ANGST involved and the pain and grief and also see how I’ve achieved or already done and am continuing to do similar themes and cases of writing within my own fics. That’s cool. That’s nice. So, it works? Hahaha
  • I do love that the betrayal we witness in the majority of the time line DOES get brought up and addressed and it’s SO cathartic to hear Zac’s POV of it (the book is all written in third person regardless)
  • Calling time mischievous reminded me so much of Loki. I wonder how Loki and the TVA described and told a story with that (time, memory)… Maybe one day I’ll actually catch up with all of the MCU… We can dream, right?
  • It’s funny, there’s a green page flag where I wrote possible scenarios (three of them) of what would happen later in the book annnnnnnd none of them occurred. Ahaha, the ending/the conclusion was truly a surprise!!
  • There was a scene in this book, maybe because I had already been thinking of it in some videos I filmed prior, but Erin describes the old mill building and how it’s “derelict and shoved against the rock of the mountain” (Hope, 2020, p. 139) and it reminded me so much of another book I read called “Ash” Though I don’t remember the author or if I even have the review of that published online. 😗🤨
  • There were some great glimpses of thoughts, peeks into consciousness and thoughts the characters were having mixed in with their assessment of the world around them that I really, really liked. It made it more tangible and real to me, I think. Also reminded me again of my fics
  • For some reason, I thought the zip ties were white….. They were black.
  • It’s funny because towards the end of the book when there’s some medical scenes, I realized why it was so familiar, it’s because I had done similar types of scenes in my D&D fic haha So that was nice to see that research in someone else’s head!
  • There’s this really neat part of the story where Erin is thinking about how she’s going to explain the things she has done and how in the world she was going to convince anyone else that they had happened, this list of an outcome from multiple time lines–is just a nice reminder of how I write in my fics when I haven’t written in them in ages and I have to get a better picture and grasp again on the character and where they’re at with things hahaha (So, like often I’ll write a few sentences on Loki’s history laid out in the movies because I need to remember who I’m working with! Haha)

**At the end of the novel, our author shares that she read a particular book to help her understand and explain loop quantum gravity and it’s definitely something I also want to read and check out, here it is: “The Order of Time” by Carlo Rovelli


CRITICAL AND QUESTIONING CORNER:

More of a questioning corner but there was a point in time of me reading the book where I thought the power behind the time stones would prove too great and the money-hungry gaslighter would try to get involved and Zac would have to destroy the stones in some manner for the good of all mankind. Didn’t shape up like that though but hey, maybe a fanfic idea? 😉😛 I think that also makes sense why it never is quite panned out like that because when time does that weird thing it does and snips out certain details and changes others, then what the book ends with that Zac studies isn’t the same as what he began with. So, there’s that.

Another Questioning Corner thing: I was very, very surprised to learn that, at least never completely written in whichever time line or any time line, that Aidon didn’t sexually assault Korrie. That, to me, was something I was expecting but there’s never the autopsy that pointed to that and such. But just the way he would describe Korrie and kids in general… Eh, I’m not convinced he didn’t try at one point of a time line.

Critical Corner! Maybe just a statement but I feel like with the detective’s story line that the guy is just WAY too hard on himself. We find out some understanding of this later in the book but the dude is just mega struggling and has a lot of cop PTSD and is just so, so unhealthy in terms of how he handles his cases in the sense that he’s not taking care of himself and beating himself up for things he couldn’t really control or had very little power or play in. It’s sad to see. And it’s also sad to see the stigma that he notices from his peer cops when they treat him differently and ostracize him. Also, it sounded more like mini heart attacks than PTSD/anxiety attacks but maybe that’s just me.

Critical Corner but it’s more of another commentary piece I don’t know where else to put: Aidon is SO dislikable. The dude is so narcissistic and arrogant and pompous and says a lot of fucks and just ugh. He is SO unsavory. He has SO MUCH audacity and just, no. No. *shudders* Brava though for Hope to pull this off. It really sounds like a different character/person/identity set different and apart from all the other characters. Nicely done.

Questioning Corner: I wonder if the question of time erasing itself, of the universe unfolding in a way that couldn’t be anticipated, I wonder if that being brought up explains why things were so different in the later time line. I honestly don’t know but it’s an itch in my mind I can’t scratch. From my understanding, everything in the adjusted time line had changed even what the original feedback had been before, the original carry out of events, so time corrected itself in that instance because it didn’t leave any room to be born again in the same way it was at that juncture. Hmmm.

Critical Corner: I don’t know this for FACT, but I found it odd that the EMTs would ASK Erin whether there was any neck or back trauma to guide them whether or not to give Korrie a brace and not just put one on themselves. Like, normally in shows we always see them just go do it just in case and it was odd to me that they’d ask her rather than just go with their gut and do it. But I guess…


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

I’d say for this section, the best thing I cannot harp on enough is the fabulous, dedicated and highly descriptive language and portrayal of this story through the author’s eyes and fingers, as it were. She takes you on a mystical ride, deeply colorful arrays of the science that can sometimes be too science-y but still breathtakingly understandable when explained a little further. Like, to me, she just rocked it. I found words I didn’t know and feelings I hadn’t come by in a while. It was a great type of distraction read for me too, because sometimes I went to it when I was feeling ill physically and mentally. Just being lost in someone else’s story for a while and to see all the triumph after so much hardship was genuinely inspiring. If her writing was this good and she continued on for another 100 pages, I don’t think I would have minded that at all–it wouldn’t have been a chore.

Another great thing I want to highlight about this book is that hidden clique experience where as the Reader we know far more what is happening, we have that inside scoop and a look into all the characters involved and there’s just something so magical and captivating about that. I know it’s run for the mill, par for the course, but it’s still nice to know certain things, even when the main characters don’t and we’re yelling at them to listen to us! Hahha, it just makes it more real, you know?

I’m personally experiencing a lot of physical pain right now but really want this post to go up before I get checked out so I just wanted to say, thanks so much for reading this post! It’s a truly beautiful story and I hope it sticks with me. I think parts of it will for sure. My next fic book I’ve decided will enter another time travel one so I’m excited about that and to learn more about these things… maybe I’ll understand them one day and carry them through further into my own writing haha.

Well, thanks so much for everything. Again, I hope Erin’s wit and her charm and her perseverance are something I remember from this book. And the strange ways the universe works and the fascination of the human memory and mind. Thanks again. See you all soon. xxx


My next book is….

“Why Don’t You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?” (nonfic); “Hazards of Time Travel” (fic), then when I finish WDYW, which I will it’s less than 100 pages with illustrations–I’ll begin (as of the current plan) “The Audacity to Be Queen” (nonfic)

*Next upcoming BES is for a nonfic I read called QI.


TRACKING DATES I READ THIS BOOK:

6/28/2021 early evening, 6/29 late afternoon, 7/29 late evening, 7/30 mid-evening, 7/31 evening, 8/10 mid-evening, 8/11 early morning and early evening, 8/12 early evening, 8/13 mid-evening, evening, 8/14 late morning, noon, early afternoon.

TRACKING DATES I WROTE THIS POST:

8/14/2021 (early evening, evening, late evening).

Watching Episodes and Filming Videos (& Missing You)

Hi again.

It’s me.

Hello from the outside.

Today’s post is going to be pretty brief, just an update of sorts and then me diving into some of my feelings regarding my statuses across multiple website accounts. So, basically some woe is me, complaining time type of shit.

So, hi, hello, how are you?

I’ve used the above thumb again here because it’s been dawning on me more and more as I babble aloud to the world of the Internet that maybe there’s not many people, or any people, out there reading it. At the same time, I KNOW that there is, based on the likes I get or interactions I get sometimes. It’s just a habit of my all or nothing thinking kicking in again, for sure. It’s just hard though because especially because of the pandemic I’m craving more social interaction and I’m looking for that online (good or bad) for someone to talk to and even when I DO get messages if they’re too long or too frequent it freaks me out and I’m not sure how to handle it. Sigh.

So yeah, I know there are some people out there who are reading or seeing or digesting my words.

But without the communication back and forth it feels like nothing. No one.

And it’s hard to struggle and grapple with this.

It wasn’t always like this. When I first began there were so many new friends and great bloggers. But 2017 took a hit. Then 2018 very much did. Then I was at a day program three times a week for over 2.5 years and that was enough mental health stuff to hold me over that I didn’t need to seek it online or through this blog. So my posts diminished and I faded away for a bit.

And now that I’m so much better and so much stronger and stable and good…. and wanting to come back, it’s just different. There’s not all the same people and the people who were there have moved on or lost their logins or something, who knows. It just sucks. I miss them. And it’s hard to miss them because all these feelings come up and I don’t like to feel my feelings, so it’s hard. It’s just hard.

So again on yet another website I feel…. abandoned. Lost in the grain of the wheat. Lost in the sea. Alone.

And family stuff is rocky right now too.

And my dating friend is in the hospital. And work was a helluva 10 hour day yesterday. And while Grey’s Anatomy episodes make the pain fade a bit, it IS still there, like my therapist said, when it comes back again. I guess, I guess I just have to feel it for a moment. I’ll listen to my favorite song “this is what self-destruction feels like” by Marina Lin. It’s a fabulously moving (emotionally) song and really helps to clarify the feels.

I filmed a video-two actually today. A haul video with a small rant and then a very, very short and odd life update. I basically ran out of things to say, surprisingly enough. I did a good spit-fire of it in the last 5 mins so that was interesting. I was a bit more goofy in my haul video actually ahaha. That’s what happens when I don’t film videos for a long while. 😉

I was having some physical pains today. Stomach aches and headaches (the headache is back, ugh). I managed through it all right. I did have therapy today and my COVID test. My Mom and I went out after and it was interesting to say the least. The most action and adrenaline I’ll get in my life (like the 5 min countdowns in movies before the world explodes) will be traveling with my gas light on and seeing if I’ll make it to a gas station before I run out of fuel. Not exactly the BEST of options but it’s kinda funny. 😊😅

It was nice to film a little today though. I was really surprised that I didn’t have much more direction or things to say in the life update video because I had plenty to say in the haul. It was quite odd. I basically didn’t want to get into everything else, I guess. I also knew I would and could have this space later on to do so though too.

My plan, as I touched on in my video, is that to combat this Void, I’ll keep networking, reading others’ posts and commenting on them. Some of it is self-serving of course but I know that I genuinely want to and getting myself out there more and networking is the best way to overcome the adversity of lacking in interaction. Also, practicing gratitude for what I DO have will also be key. So I’m going to work on that. Maybe I can brainstorm some ideas how to accomplish this tomorrow and also do research on types of phones I can upgrade to because mine is crapping out on me. I really have to do that, actually.

I also would LOVE to actually read a book because it’s been a solid week and I STILL haven’t done so, and I really, really need to. Oooof, there’s so much to do, honestly. Maybe I’ll square out a couple of minutes tonight, even just to dip my toes back in. I have to put away my meal.

I am listening to other music now and I got a pretty good friction burn on the bottom of my palm from an intense game of capture the flag last night (my legs are killing me for doing it too). But that’s a story for another day.

Well, I think this is all I’m going to say for now. I do want to celebrate soon (this week) my milestone of reaching 500 posts!! That’s AWESOME. I will also be celebrating a late Twitter birthday (Apr. 27th if I remember right) and my blog’s birthday this month as well! Yay! Maybe I’ll do a fun tag tomorrow. Ooo, I know a couple of people I could talk to about that, actually.

So yeah, if you’re like me and you feel like the Internet can be part of The Void for you, what have you done to help yourself out of that rut? Do you have any tips or suggestions? Ideas of improvement? I think part of the issue is I have to reclaim what my blog is about and what niche it falls into and accept (and even write about this honestly) that where my blog was back in 2016 isn’t where it is today and being okay with that and then moving on forwards from there. I think that would be really great. I’ve already brainstormed this a little bit. Yeah, I like that idea.

But yes, what has worked for you and what would help you for me to focus on certain things on this blog? Would anyone be interested in guest posting here? Or do you have business ideas or networking opportunities that you’re aware of or that you hold? And what keeps you going in the blogosphere?

I’ll see you all tomorrow.

Best of luck and many wishes we find each other soon in this big, big world and can communicate and become friends.

PS I plan to try crochet tomorrow, wish me luck!!

🍀🍀🌹🏵💜🤍💚

Let’s Talk about Suicide Prevention… My Response to Landon Clifford taking his own life (RIP)

Trigger Warning: Suicide death, mental health, addiction, discussion

Themes: Recovery, hope, positivity, wellness, light in the darkness, a couple of resources

I haven’t done a blog post like this in years. I also hadn’t intended for this to BE a blog post. I spend over an hour and a half crafting a lengthy Youtube comment on Tamron Hall’s video interviewing Camryn Clifford, the content creator behind a million and a half subscribers on Youtube’s channel Cam&Fam, but I had so much to say for her video, no place to put it and decided I’d just leave it under Tamron’s instead.

However, upon crafting it, reading it over and editing it, adding the final touches…. the comment button told me it was too long and that I needed to shorten it.

Granted, it was long. I wrote about 3,000 words and either the channel itself or Youtube just wasn’t about that life. I get it. I understand.

So I went about highlighting and copying a part of it, after I copied the whole thing, just in case any slip of the keyboard happened and I’d lose all my work.

So I did that. I made the comment. Then I went to reply to it.

Except Youtube was all “this reply cannot exist” like a big middle finger to my work and I refreshed the new tab to see why….

My comment was not listed under new.

Visible confusion settled on my face.

But how could this be? Maybe it just hadn’t loaded yet?

So I hit refresh, and refreshed. And refreshed. And nope, whatever happened, whatever Youtube or the channel didn’t like just wiped it clean as if it never even took place (which is strange and hey, maybe it’s possible there’s gonna be a delay of some kind, which I hope not but I guess it’ll have me checking back in later regardless).

Anyways, I decided, “Well, okay then.” and mentioned it on Twitter, pasted it to a Word document and now I’m going to share it here because I wrote it, I spent all that time on it, and why the hell not at this point.

So, here it is:

For some further backstory (and there will be a TL;DR at the end, don’t you worry!) I found out all about this story yesterday at, ironically, a doctor’s appointment for some other physical health issue. It was on TV and the show had spoken about the memoirs of a family generational thing about bipolar I disorder. It was interesting, a bit stigmatizing at parts, but interesting. The next story was about Camryn’s family, her life and her husband’s Landon, untimely death by suicide. It was very moving and awfully sad. I found the video today where she spoke about the suicide in much more detail, which I’m hesitant to share directly here because it does cover explicit details of the suicide, the method and her reaction (which my heart absolutely goes out to her and I want her to know that it wasn’t her fault, she didn’t know and couldn’t have and hindsight is always so much brighter and understandable than the worst thing happening right in the moment, and my wishes go out to her to get through this hard time with the support of her fans, friends and family) which was very sobering and somber and pretty responsible while still be potentially triggering. There are some flaws in it, of course, which I tried to cover in my recanting of my own story and experiences. I’ll see you guys at the end:

“;”;”

Hello to anyone who finds this comment in the forest of other comments. I’d like to add my thoughts and share parts of my story on the matter because Camryn’s main video on the subject was showing disabled comments. The opinions I’ll be sharing are my own and have been carefully laid out in my mind this morning since I watched her main video discussing Landon’s death. Most of my thoughts are backed up by regulations and experiences with suicidality and suicide prevention measures. For now, feel free to skim this comment or if you have the time, read it word for word (which I shall give you a ray of sunshine for!)….

So, as far as myself, I am a mental health advocate deep within the throes of sharing my own story living with mental health conditions across professional and personal endeavors. I’ve been doing advocacy since Mar. 2016 and am still going strong. I’ve lived with OCD on self-harm and suicide obsessions (not genuine intent, rather intrusive thoughts that I feared would equal action even when the last thing I wanted to do was hurt myself), secondary depression, genuine thoughts of hurting myself, Borderline Personality Disorder and most currently trichotillomania (hair-pulling) and dermatillomania (skin-picking). I became involved with advocacy in 2016 through my state’s National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) which is all about sharing stories of recovery, hope and the darkness in order to de-stigmatize these conditions and spread the message that recovery IS possible and better days are ahead and our lives inherently matter. I also used to write publicly about my recovery journey in my university’s newspaper. At the time, I really struggled with my mental health and trying to find peace and freedom and over the course of three years I was hospitalized for suicidal ideation 12 times. The longest I went being hospital free was in 2016 for 9 months. I relapsed and in 2017 was hospitalized a total of 5 times. I’ve made three minor attempts on my life and one moderate one.

In 2018 the depression came back worse than ever after about two months of stability/symptom free management after having six treatments of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). When that depression hit, everything got very, very dark. I stopped believing that my life was important and that things would get better. I wrote about 7 articles for my paper that were all shrouded in darkness and chronicling how I felt so alone and so worthless and so intent on ending my life. My parents called the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and it kicked off my 11th hospitalization and note-worthingly, the first time I ever didn’t ask for help myself. I went in to that hospitalization and came back out feeling no different. I was still intent on my plans and preparing my method, carrying it around everywhere I went on the chance that something would “push me over the edge” and it would all be over with. I felt this immense amount of calm. I was so happy and it felt like I could breathe again for the first time in a long time. I knew I wasn’t going to have to face tomorrow but even with these feelings… I would still question my decision, I would still be ambivalent and wonder “But what if… What if tomorrow everything changed? What if I feel differently in a month or three or a year?” but I was scared. I was scared because I felt in so deep. Like, I had wasted all this time planning my death, going over every excruciating detail, setting up fail safes–ways to reach out in the end just in case I changed my mind–and it was an agonizing process.

The game changed for me when one of the articles I wrote….came off darker and more concerning than I ever thought fully through. My uni called me directly while I was attending a long term day program, and it was a mixture of freaking out thinking I’d have another wellness check waiting for me at home, the chaos that was erupting at school, the fact that some of my peers at the day program were honest about where they were struggling and how that reminded me that /I/ used to do that and it made me wonder if I could do that again (be open and honest about my struggles)…

I wound up talking with my friend from the paper at school the next day and it was really that conversation, that moment of hope shone into the darkness. My friend said how I wasn’t myself and my articles had taken such a dark turn. That normally in all the time before this my articles would shine with hope and positivity but they were lacking in that now. For me, fearing that nobody would notice or nobody would care if I died meant everything so even just having this insight that my friend wanted me to be okay and wanted me to live to see that day meant the world. I decided, after talking with another friend who seemed off around me, that I could either tell them what was happening, go to the counseling center on emergency or I could talk to my day program the next day. I decided I’d wait another moment and the next day I was driven to the day program, for easier phrasing I’ll call it Passages, and at first I was still going to go along with it but then I got a little triggered by something that was said and then I got angry and upset and I was adding another method to my plan and was already planning my exit strategy when in, I think, a group therapy instance it was asked directly if I was safe and I said, “No.” The group leader, who happened to be my clinician on my case, said we would speak privately after.

When she and I did, it was determined I needed to get help right then and there. The thing people don’t always realize is that mental health and especially in cases of suicidal ideation, they are public health emergencies. Just as someone having to go to the ER for a heart attack, the same is true for suicidality or homicidality. There is an excellent acronym for warning signs of suicide from the American Association on Suicide Prevention called: IS PATH WARM? Luckily, over time I had managed to learn when I needed help and when a hospitalization would be more necessary.

I was still afraid. I was afraid to let go of what had become so… comfortable in order to trade it in for a life that felt uncertain to take a risk on. But I did go. I got picked up by ambulance and taken to the ER. I was stripped of my clothing and items. I waited in there for a few hours, was assessed by the crisis team and deemed necessary to be admitted. I honestly don’t remember that much from that instance but I remember the last hospitalization I went through. I remember the weekend psychiatrist made a remark that I found relatable and hilarious when he said, from the hospital previous that had actually decreased my antidepressants, “They kinda fucked you over, didn’t they?” And that’s exactly how it felt. I was hospitalized that last time on Feb. 14th 2018.

Hospitalizations for mental health aren’t like a lot of the movies. There aren’t padded cells and a lot more of the people there are broken internally and just need help and support. Everything is watched and documented and we aren’t allowed laces or belts or strings or spiral bound notebooks and in some places not staples or pens. It all depends on the place. The rules in some places are more strict and in others more relaxed. Sometimes it’s a shit show, other times it’s a moment of restabilization and where the story is just beginning.

I got out of the hospital about a week later. The better days didn’t start right away. But by May 2018 I was recommended to join the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Intensive program at Passages. This meant that (and I should probably mention for anyone who doesn’t know, this day program meant that I’d go three days a week from 9:30a – 2:45p and go to various groups like art therapy, mindfulness, group therapy, DBT therapy groups, goal groups, communications etc.) I would only see a therapist on site at Passages, I would be in the Intensive program for 6-8 months as one cycle and that I’d have to complete homework assignments each week and fill out these things called diary cards that would track my moods and behaviors each day.

I made the decision to enter into it and began it. It was hands down the best decision I ever made. DBT covers four main modules: interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, mindfulness and emotion regulation. Across this time frame I managed to enter my final semester of schooling, I wrote again positivitely and healthily for the newspaper, I ended a codependent friendship I was in (which was so hard but so, so necessary; I didn’t even realize it was codependency until a year later when my friend mentioned they had noticed that pattern, when I told my therapist and family about it and when my family therapist, June, finally said straight up that if I continued with the friendship I was going to wind up back in the hospital, and at the time, I didn’t want that.) I also made the realization with this codependent relationship ending that: “No one and no thing is worth being suicidal over.”

It was such a profound statement that I never could have anticipated would be such a game changer. I went from chronic suicidality to an issue that faded away. I still get urges or I can still get triggered but through DBT and learning the skills and practicing the skills and telling my story and building that life worth living–I don’t ever want to go back to the darkness. And it’s still hard sometimes because my brain likes to glorify those dark thoughts and suicidal ideation was always about fantasizing it in a way for me, I guess like how others would fantasize about sex, I just did it with the ultimate avoidance which was death. Not exactly the healthiest or happiest relationship, by far. But every day I made it closer and closer to being out of the hospital, closer and closer to finding health and happiness and stability, the further away I made it from my struggles.

It took a lot of work. It took a lot of effort. It took a lot of handling pain in a different way than ever before. It took definitely something about signing paper ‘safety contracts’ that always had a great habit of me having that voice in the back of my head saying “I can’t hurt myself because I said I wouldn’t. I meant what I said. I can’t go back.” So I wouldn’t.

I wound up graduating from college. I wound up getting retrained for a few NAMI ventures. I ended the DBT-I in January 2020 and moved on from Passages by June 2020. I got a relief job at a trauma informed residential for youth and, besides NAMI, it’s been my longest standing job (Sep. 2019 – present). I’m so much happier now. With the pandemic hitting in 2020, it was probably the best time for things to go to shit. Because by then I had all the skills, all the time and the effort and the training to be able to handle it in a creative and healthy way.

Sure, I still struggle nowadays with hair pulling and skin picking and avoidance in other ways and procrastination and all of that. But I finally found a life worth living. I spend my days making Youtube videos (though I’m seriously behind in the editing process!!), reading books for fun, blogging, writing fan fiction, journaling and shopping and working.

As of 2021, I’ve been hospital free for 3 years. I know life can be unpredictable and I have come to accept I may need further treatment and support like in a hospital setting in the future. I am wary of it but I know, too, that if I need it, it’s there. I plan to one day become a Certified Peer Specialist and to share my story more through videos, blog posts, public speaking and writing and publishing books. I have SO many dreams. So many things I want to accomplish. It’s been such a hard road here and I’ve faced recovery burnout last year and it still marinates into today at times however I wouldn’t change anything about my journey because it all lead to this moment. I’ve made my mistakes, sure, and I’ve been slow to accept that these times were traumatic, yet how I handle my emotions today is so different than 3 or 4 years ago. Now, stability is my baseline. Now, I’m happy and I’m so grateful that I didn’t end my life. That that didn’t have to happen.

I know suicide, a lot of the time, because of mental health conditions, seems like freedom. But in death, can we truly be free? Because in death, we can’t experience anything really. Nothing good, nothing bad. Just dead. I believe that knowing pain makes appreciating life and the beauty in it–recognizing that it can be absolute shit at times and be so horrible–and still seeing all the beauty in it, that’s life. It’s hard to understand and it’s very difficult to have conversations about suicide.

But we have to have them. Because it matters. Because our lives matter and we’re all interconnected. Sharing suicide methods in those whom have ended their lives isn’t the best and isn’t part of the regulations for suicide prevention programs because it can cause copycat suicides (encourages others to try those types of methods). Being specific about methods is most appropriate in a one to one conversation with treatment teams. Additionally, in the US, people do not “commit suicide”, they die by suicide. They kill themselves. They take their own lives. “Committed suicide” is more like terminology of someone “committing rape, committing murder”, because those are crimes. Suicide, suicide is a public health emergency. And it’s not going away any time soon. All of this social isolation is troubling and mental health systems, the very, very broken systems, are at their wits end and it’s time that reform and true change can happen.

I have no doubt that Camryn sharing her and Landon’s story will help so, so many people out there. I watched her video and it brought me to tears so many times. It’s so, so hard. Landon likely didn’t die, like in most suicide cases, by just ONE thing, it’s almost always a complicated, multiple layered reason. Asking if someone is thinking of hurting themselves or ending their lives will NOT put the idea in their head. It actually can provide so much space to have a conversation, for someone to realize “Hey, you’re not okay and I’m really worried about you. Are you having thoughts of suicide?” because in my experience, I’ve wanted so badly for someone to notice, someone to ask or someone to just say “Hey, I see you. You’re in pain. It’s going to be okay.” And sometimes, maybe even a lot of the time, I didn’t really need advice or platitudes or anything like that. I just needed someone to see it and offer specific ways they could help me or just encourage me to see the hope that I felt so blinded to or to call for the ambulance.

I don’t think suicide is ever the solution (particularly in terms of mental health conditions). I think suicide is a permanent action to a temporary crisis. I think it’s important to know that not everyone’s experiences are the same, that it has to be adjusted and tailored to the person in question. For instance, telling me how much people would be in pain if I ended my life only made me feel shittier and more like I should do that. Telling me I had so much to live for invalidated that I was in pain NOW and that I couldn’t cope with it NOW. Mentioning different types of methods or saying how certain things would or would not kill me also wasn’t helpful.

We could spend all day wondering what would have happened differently, that’s the horrible pain left behind on suicide survivors (which are the people left behind from a loved one’s suicide, not suicide attempt survivors themselves). We could spend agonizing time wondering about things that just didn’t play out in this reality. Again, there’s so many factors involved. Had I said something else, had I mentioned this, had I been faster or quicker or… these are the unanswered questions. They will carry pain and hurt for a long time. Even when dealing with a friend in crisis, it’s so, so important to take care of yourself, too. Think of the water pitcher, we can’t pour from an empty cup. You have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can put on others. The NSPL is available for anyone struggling with ideation, their friends and family, and others who just need some support or someone to bounce ideas off of. I’ve used the hotline on my phone and over chat many times and if it wasn’t always super helpful, I found it to be helpful to at least be a starting point.

Overall, if there is life, there is hope. I wish for Camryn’s story to help anyone else out there. I wish for Landon to rest a little easier. I wish for those who were fans of them to find not so much closure (grief never ends, it’s an ongoing and changed relationship) but acceptance of the untimely death and to learn how important it is to tell people you love them and you appreciate them or just say a kind word or thought to them. Additionally, I’d like to thank anyone who managed to read this far. Honestly, I didn’t really expect to say this much but that’s how it wound up rolling. I will leave a TL;DR at the very end. I hope that if you’re struggling out there, that you know one day you’ll be okay again. That you’re not alone. That your life really matters. And you’re worthy of this life and you were born strong enough to live it. If anyone needs to speak to a hotline, you could use the US one if you’re here at 1800 273 TALK (8255) or Google your local hotlines in whichever country you’re from. Thank you so, so much for reading. I don’t expect this to make it super far, yet I feel more peace now too. In loving memory of Landon Clifford, who was taken too soon and didn’t get to see, like so many others killed, that there were better days right ahead. For all those grieving, I am with you in spirit and I am sending as much healing and bright light as I can. Be well and above all, stay safe. XXX

TL;DR: This video sums up my experiences with mental health conditions and suicidality and then you can skip to Paragraph #6. I know it’s a lot. I don’t fault you for not reading. Take care out there. xxx 🖤🖤🖤🖤

“;”;”

And that is all that I wanted to say. If you can spare a moment, send a prayer to Camryn and her family–her two young daughters, her loss of Landon, and his family and her own family going forwards. May she find hope and blessings in her future endeavors as she continues to share her story of also living with depression and anxiety, sharing on a large platform her story, his story (that he can no longer tell) and more. She has begun a nonprofit organization in his memory and will be doing a podcast about it too. May everyone find peace, on this plane and the next.

Thank you so much for reading all of my words.

Landon, I didn’t know you before. I only heard of you yesterday. But it feels like I knew you. I would have liked to get to know you. I’m so sorry you were in so much pain. I remember the feeling. It is so, so hard to bear alone. I wish things could have gone as differently for you as they had for me. And I knew, and took some odd comfort in the idea in my recovery and my journey of life and dealing with suicidal thoughts, that some people live to tell the tale and some don’t. And was I going to be the person to tell my story myself or was I going to be one of those that didn’t make it? That choice, ultimately, was my own (which is not to say things couldn’t have stopped me like an ambulance, a hospitalization, worries, etc.) whether I took my life or I took the cards I was dealt and played the hand differently. I wish you could have gotten that chance. I’m sorry that you didn’t. Rest in Peace.

And may all of you else out there find hope and comfort soon. Please take care of yourselves and strive to be the best human out there possible. We all need more love and appreciation. And if we wait too long, sometimes we never get the chance to show it. A difficult truth, indeed.

Relevantly, The Overnight (Out of the Darkness) walk for suicide prevention and for those survivors of attempts or loved ones dying is coming up virtually online in June 2021. If you’d like to join there is a $20 sign up fee and a fundraiser for the event. I believe it occurs on a Saturday. I’ve left the link above. Take care everyone.

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


Chosen Book:

“Willow Brook Road” (2015) by Sherryl Woods

A Chesapeake Shores Novel; Fiction

Book Review - Multi. dates


Trigger Warnings:

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


Themes:

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


Plot Summary:

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

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

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


Strengths and Weaknesses:

A. STRENGTHS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

B. WEAKNESSES/Things I had issues with:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Book Length:

379 pages


Recommendation Score:

2/5

Dramatic stories

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

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

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


Noteworthy Quotes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Wandering Thoughts I had while reading/Extra Notes:

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

Dates I read this book:

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


Dates I wrote this review:

10/12/20, 2.22.2021, 2.25.21

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


Thank you:

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

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

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

All the best, my friends.

xxx 🤍🤍🤍

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

Book Analysis - THUMB - 7.3.19

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

Chosen Book:

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


Trigger Warnings:

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


Themes:

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


General layout/Information Delivery:

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

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

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

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

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


Summary:

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

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

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

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


Book Length:

261 pages


Recommendation Score:

2.8/5 losses


Unforgettable Quotes and Comments I’d like to add:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So be kind to yourself!!! ❤

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

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

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

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

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

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

An emotional roller coaster of a quote. </3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think this is so beautifully and poetically stated. ❤ 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wandering Thoughts or Ideas I had while reading:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dates I read this book:

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

Dates I wrote this review:

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


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


Another late post, sorry about that!

Check out Entry #7’s poem here.

Also, let’s just jump right into it! 🙂


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

Week #8’s Entry:

No One Was Meant to Deal with This Life Alone

“…You are not hopeless

Though you have been broken

Your innocence stolen

 

I will send out an army to find you

In the middle of the darkest night

It’s true, I will rescue you

 

There is no distance

That cannot be covered

Over and over

You’re not defenseless

I’ll be your shelter

I’ll be your armor

 

I hear you whisper underneath your breath

I hear your SOS, your SOS

 

I will send out an army to find you

In the middle of the darkest night

It’s true, I will rescue you

 

I will never stop marching to reach you

In the middle of the hardest fight

It’s true, I will rescue you

 

I hear the whisper underneath your breath

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

— Lyrics from “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle

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

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

your shoulders are weary.

 

your vision is lost.

 

you struggle to gasp for breath,

to pull in the air,

to let it out again.

 

you long for death.

 

but you cannot make it occur.

 

you’ve chosen a different path,

and still the pain bleeds blue,

and you feel you wish you could

surrender to it.

 

I see you.

I hear you.

I know your pain,

as it’s become mine.

 

I want you to know:

you’ll get through this.

there will be hope again.

this isn’t how your story ends.

there is more strength within you

than you realize.

the waves will leave and they will come again,

but they will always leave,

they will always fade,

so where you struggle,

you will find courage

and with that courage

you can find aid,

because no one was ever meant to

deal with this life alone.

 

so I will search for you,

I will search for you in the light of day

and in the darkest caverns of the night.

 

I’ll exclaim your name

because I know it to be

my own,

and I will find you,

I will find you,

and bring you back into the beacon

of the light that I know you will

feel again.

 

I will hold you,

tightly,

and remind you of all the reasons

you have to stay alive.

 

because you’re needed here,

you’re needed.

 

and we want you here,

we want you.

 

you are loved.

you are strong.

you are a warrior.

you are a survivor.

you are worthy.

you deserve to take up space.

you deserve a happy and healthy life.

you are amazing.

you are brave.

you are wondrous.

you are you

and no one can ever replace you.

 

so please,

please don’t try and replace yourself.

 

I see your shadow in the darkness,

the outline of grey that hangs in the air,

and I’m coming for you now.

I’m coming like the waves,

and when I find you,

I will secure you with the firelight

and you can sit back and hear the sparks

crinkle into the atmosphere around us

and you can find something in it,

something there,

that allows you to breathe an easier breath,

for your heart to beat another tune,

and for the world of pain to ebb away slowly,

finding yourself again

exactly where you thought you lost yourself.

 

you will be whole.

you will fall into acceptance.

and you will fight for a brighter day ahead.

 

because they come.

they do.

and we need you here

more than the heavens above require you.

 

so fight.

fight hard and fight loud.

we are here.

 

I am you.

 

and I want us to see another sunrise.

in the fading billows of the smoke,

in the joyous taste of a s’mores,

into the day ahead,

continuing onwards,

continuing over and over.

 

because we need to.

because the world is better

with us still in it.

 

and when you struggle to see the light,

I will hold it out for you.

 

and one day you’ll find,

that you can hold it out

for the next person you try

and save–

kindness and humanity

falling out of your palms

as you climb the highest hill

and call out their name.

 

because it’s you again,

in a different vessel,

it’s you,

and you’re as determined as I was

to find them,

to encourage them,

and to show them the world,

because they deserve to see it, too.

 

and on and on the story will pass,

endlessly into the dawn ahead,

and when the moonlight and the starlight

come out to shine,

someone else out there will find guidance in them,

peace in them

and be able to smile satisfactorily and feel

their soul beat with the crowd of souls that linger

by their side,

warming the air around them,

reminding them that

they

are never alone.

Technical aspects of the poem:

Written 7/10/2020

No mood music specified.


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

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

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

Have a pleasant weekend!!

❤ ❤ ❤

 

Goodbye, Athena: My Grieving Process.

this isn’t easy, I don’t know how and what to feel. Keeping busy: it does the job but it doesn’t heal.

It’s getting harder to feel. And they all say: “You need to take care of yourself, my darling.” but they don’t know how it feels to be broken. I can’t help it, I feel numb. I’ll wait for the waves to leave and come. I think I’m breaking… I’m a mess in the making.

I’m getting tired of the same old feeling in my chest. I’m not a liar, but I’ve got secrets I can’t confess.

Don’t say you love me: ’cause I don’t understand those words.

And they all say: “You need to take care of your health, my darling.”

I’m holding on a tightrope and know I’m not coming home. Hurting, searching–you know I’m not coming home.”

lyrics from Marina Lin’s “this is what self-destruction feels like”


Dear Athena,

….but also dear any other eating disorder or mental health condition survivor Reader out there:

Hi. You don’t know me. You maybe never would. We interacted a couple of times online but I was a fan for a while. I started following your story and your YouNow’s and your Youtube videos back in 2017 when there was one of the first large pickups of your story and the speculation that you were living with an eating disorder. I even made a blog post here about you and what you might have been going through.

Over time I watched more and more of your videos. Just as every other person in the world was, I was slowly watching you kill yourself. Anorexia, eating disorders in general, are those slow, gradual killers–sometimes. I saw you waste away video by video. I cared about you deeply. …I still do.

And then there was that all time low in the beginning of 2019, where Jaclyn Glenn and her friends forced you into treatment for your disorder(s) because you were, you are, a danger to yourself. Your own hand, or maybe even multiple hands behind all the screens, smoke and mirrors, are your ultimate demise.

So you went away for a while. A month in treatment and 4-5 months off the Internet.

You returned with an improvement in your physical health in about May or so 2019, helped along by Shane Dawson’s documentary on you and your story. You didn’t get into specifics, you did admit to an eating disorder, but you didn’t want to label it yet. You said you were better. You said things were getting to be okay.

And we believed you. We always saw the best in you, we saw you for your amazing kindness, compassion, positivity and endless amounts of potential.

It seemed to help for a while. It seemed like things were looking up for you, finally.

And then, then time passed. And you started to have similar behaviors visible to the human eye: placing your fingers around your wrists in a body-checking maneuver, standing up for long periods of time, watching yourself in the image of your camera rather than in the lens, wearing more revealing clothing, streaming on Twitch for 6-8 hours at a time with no breaks, no bathroom runs, no eating and no drinking.

And as it went on like this most people were still saying praise and supportive (enabling) comments. On videos, in streams, everywhere. Except the place you sometimes lurk on, sometimes read about yourself on and definitely a place of honesty and reality that I’ve found myself on many, many times now: Reddit.

People there were more honest, more bold, more informative, more witnessing and putting out their thoughts, their feelings and their fears about the winding road you, Athena, were traveling down towards.

And as the days rolled on, the less and less life shone in your smiles, in your green eyes, in the way you carried yourself. The less Recovery Athena existed the more the hope faded from us passerby’s witnessing you slowly fade away.

And I’m so…annoyed. I wanted you to do better. I wanted you to be more. I wanted you to live.

but you didn’t.

And I have to accept the hard reality that if you stay in the environment that made you sick, if you continue with these eating disorder behaviors, if you continue to restrict or purge or all of the above, if you continue like this, Athena:

you are going to die.

you ARE already dying.

Your skin is so pale but not just from lack of light but because it’s tinged with grey. Your hands and your legs are red, sometimes at the knuckles, sometimes just the back of your hands. You’ve had rings of red around your mouth. Your chest has been red before, too. You stutter more, and maybe that’s nerves, maybe that’s from the weight of the world that you’re holding trying to present yourself as “so much better now” and “fully recovered” and “I really am okay and everything; that was a long time ago and stuff”. But you’re not. You’re not, Athena. You are struggling. You are dying. And you’re doing it in front of the entire planet. You’re doing it for reasons we’ll probably never know, not, not unless some health scare happens and you’re able to get out of your household and away from the people who are so likely hurting you–because it’s NOT normal for a mother or a father or a family to watch you waste away hour by hour and not do a THING to stop it. That’s not love. At worst it’s abuse, at least it’s neglect.

And if anything does happen to you, if you lose your fight in this that I so very much wish would never have to happen, then I hope proper justice is brought to your case. I hope that the millions of people you’ve influenced will see that you were NOT immune to the disastrous and tragic consequences of an eating disorder so severe, so crippling, that you were lying about your recovery and your journey and wanting to be better, that you were struggling and in pain and unhealthy and DYING–I hope they see that this is a real and serious disorder and issue, and I hope that if nothing else, it destroys the illusion you’ve been painting for years that “everything is fine” and you’re “really okay and everything” and that eating disorders, mental health conditions, kill. And they will kill. Anorexia is the number one leading condition that kills its participants. And you will be one too if you don’t change your behaviors, your thoughts, your emotions, your actions.

And maybe as unfortunate and not worthy of a trade it is, maybe the laws and legislation in the United States will decide another life lost–one so public, so out there in the world, so resonating and so deliberate–was enough to finally change how eating disorders are treated; how wellness checks are necessary, how to not have the law and the people in power see someone so ill and believe whatever bullshit falls from themselves because of the fact that eating disorders just aren’t seen as the real and dangerous disorders they are–they’re not seen as IMMINENT danger to the self or others and so they’re allowed, time and time again, to slip through the cracks and failed over and over again by a system that refuses to change its citizens and make their lives whole again. Something has to change in these cases, these lives, something has to be DONE on the matter, like in other countries, in other places, in other situations. There HAS to be something. There has to be.

I don’t know how many people we have to lose in life before the world takes it seriously. Before the state does. The family. The country. The psychiatric system. The educational system. The healthcare system.

I hope that when you go on to the next life, Athena, that you will find peace. And that we’ll remember you. God, I’m crying. I hope that people will remember you for how kind you were. How much life you had in you. How compassionate you were. I hope they remember you for everything that you could have been. That you had so much potential to make a positive impact in the world, and in some ways you did, and in many others you didn’t. People see you as an inspiration–whether that’s from when you started a recovery process (for healthy reasons) or because of how frail and damaged your body allowed you to become (unhealthy). You impacted so many people, whether you realize it or not. And you had a responsibility to teach others, a platform you could have used to teach others, about the dangers of these disorders, about the REALITY of these disorders, but most of all you had a responsibility for YOURSELF.

To get better. To become well. To be happy. To be YOU.

You had this responsibility and it never clicked in your head. You kept up all the old body-checks you’d done in videos and photos, you kept up controversial videos, you apologized for everything that didn’t matter and nothing at all for everything that did, you let yourself go when the world just wanted to hold you close. You denied your influence on others and turned a blind eye to predators and lurkers who meant you harm and who meant others harm.

But at the end of the day, you never took on that accountability. At the end of the day, you went on, down the shadowy path. You didn’t want help. You got comfortable in your disorder and you didn’t want to change. We can’t save everyone. And sometimes, sometimes people don’t want to be saved. And you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves.

So all of this is to say, all of these tears and words and ideas, all of it is to say that I have to say goodbye now.

I know how this story ends. That if you don’t get help, that if you don’t enter into recovery, that you die. And I… I can’t be waiting for that to happen anymore. I have to walk away. I have to get out all my thoughts and just never look back. And it won’t mean that I’ll never think of you again. Far from it, hun. But I can’t do this. I can’t consume your content when it fills the void of my hunger pains. I can’t keep seeing you shrink and shrink away and for my mind to play its own tricks on me. I can’t go on Reddit for hours to see how you’ve gotten worse, to see the comparisons, to read the truths there, to see what new way you’re using to distract yourself (usually makeup) from the reality of your situation, the way the mods in your streams try to protect you in the name of “care” but is really just veiled attempts at getting your attention and winning over your praise in the same breath that you struggle to take. I can’t do it anymore.

I’m walking away. So even when it kills me inside that I won’t know what you’re doing, HOW you’re really doing (did anyone ever anyways?), if you’re getting better, if you’re getting worse, that I won’t see you until I hear the news of your death and wonder why and how and everything… I still will stay away. Because I have to. I have to protect myself because I can’t protect you, only you can.

I won’t be checking in on you anymore. I’m not going to click on any Youtube videos about you (maybe save for Jaclynn here and there), certainly not any you make and minimize any about you, I’m not going to go to Reddit until I hear that awful, awful news one day, I’m not going to look at comments or tweets from you (I’ve muted, blocked and everything). And I’m not going to write another blog post, not, not until we hear the news. Because I’ll probably have to process then and this has helped already to process it.

If I want to read about anorexia and the dangers of it, I’ll do so by finding some blogs, some other advocates, hell even Jessie Paege or books on the matter. I’ll finish my own story about it (by that I mean a fictional fanfic) and I’ll move forwards.

With or without you, Athena, I will move forwards. Because that’s all we can ever really do.

So, I’m gonna wipe away my tears and set this into motion.

You’ll never see this, Athena but I really do wish you the best. I wish you could be whole again. I wish your life mattered as much to you as it does to so, so, so many people out there. I’m not sure if it would be a curse or a blessing for you to one day realize how severe your condition is and the legacy that you’ve tarnished and left behind because of some bullshit in your brain that you weren’t able to overcome for some reason that we’ll never ever truly know.

I wish you were stronger. I wish you had more time. I wish we could have seen you grow and evolve and become more than everything else. I wish you didn’t have to suffer. I don’t know why some people do more than others, but I’ll have to believe in the Universe and know that it works in mysterious and often unfair ways.

Most of all, I’m going to remember you like this:

Athena.

I’ll remember you smiling. I’ll remember your killer makeup looks. I’ll remember those green eyes and long hair. That hopefulness and life there within you. The idea, the promise, that things were really getting better. I’ll remember you like this. Because I can’t remember you like how you are now. I’m so sorry, Athena. I wish this wasn’t how you left.

Goodbye.


This post got a lot more emotional than I could have ever imagined. If you are struggling with an eating disorder or some other mental heath condition: know that you are NEVER alone, that you CAN get through this, that there is HOPE and HELP available and that you’re so strong, you’re so amazing and you DESERVE to be here and take up space. I wish you all the best. xxx


There’s strength and a certain amount of courage to write so publicly about your life, to share the journey is a blessing and a beacon for others who may be struggling, because it says, ‘hey, I’ve been where you are and you can get to this stable place, too.’ And that, above all, is what really matters.” — “My Hopes for My Legacy” by Me back in 2018 (article)


Resources: 
NEDA , National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA) , Healthy Place .
thank you for reading and if you have any thoughts on this matter or about Athena or want to encourage her or share your story, please feel free to do so down below. if not, that's okay too. i believe in you and i always will. i want the best for her, i do, it's just hard. it's just hard. thank you for stopping by. sending you light, love and hugs. xxx <3 <3 <3

 

#SummerComer #PoetryChallenge Entry #4: Do Not Make This Funeral Her Home

Hello there and welcome back to another poetry related blog post!!! I apologize for disappearing off the face of WordPress the last few weeks, I’ve been busy being forgetful and often procrastinating on my adult responsibilities, having lack of motivation at times, an otherwise glum type of mood or pretending like certain things don’t exist if I preoccupy myself with something else in the mean time, so, you know, the usual. 😉

I wrote today’s entry’s poem a couple of days ago as you’ll see noted down below, and I pulled from a few different elements which I’ll get into after I paste it all here. Overall, my life’s been all right and I’m happy to have been able to reconnect with some online friends of mine, starting back up where we left off which has been amazing and very heartwarming and rewarding. I have a few other messages I have to attend to soon, a book to finish somehow and in some manner, tweets to make and a couple of emails to write up. I’ve been trying to do some fanfic related reading and messages too so there’s also that. There will be a few new blog related posts to come into fruition soon as well. For now, let’s start off the end of this week with the poetry challenge!!!


QUICK! WHAT ARE THE RULES?

This post marks my fourth entry into the weekly Summer Comer poetry challenge I’ve made for myself to last from the end of May 2020 to Sept 4th 2020. The rules include:

  • 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

Let me know what you think of this week’s poem down in the comments! (And as for how I was feeling last week, I’m a lot better and I was able to do some fanfic writing that helped get out of my sexual frustrations ahaha.)

And if you want to help support my mission with this poetry challenge, leave me a prompt, theme or character name/subject you’d like to see me cover and I’ll incorporate something in and give you a shout-out, too!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ Stay tuned until the end to hear my process of this poem, what song I listened to and all that jazz. 🙂 Also here is last week’s entry if you want to reread it!


Do Not Make This Funeral Her Home

Trigger Warning: Grief, loss, death

 

One day,

he knew

the sparkle would

return to her eyes,

the sunlight that

wafted down from

the thick leaved treetops

would part through her

blonde hair as alive and well

as she had been.

 

In the summer night glow

he’d smell her favorite perfume

again,

and he’d hear the shrill

whine in her voice as

she called his name,

“Tyler!

Tyler!”

growing louder and louder

as her heart sang and her

voice rose to the clouds

up above.

 

Her laughter would turn his

insides to goo. He’d be

swinging his head back to meet her,

chuckling as his brown hair

met the rays of iridescence.

 

And it would feel like someone

had planted rainbows in his chest

and his heart would flutter

in anticipation and just as he

was turning towards her—

it would have happened.

 

the truck came barreling

out of nowhere and

his face had enough time

to contort into horror and

he just managed to see

Madeline’s eyes twitch in

confusion as her slim brows

rose in question

before a thunderous roar

escaped and

somewhere between heaven

and Earth,

their shouts and formless

words were blinded by the

truck’s horn and

in the flicker of a second

everything he had once

cared about was

obliterated into nonexistence.

 

He’d thought there’d be

more time.

He’d only wanted

more time.

 

More time to:

hug her,

love her,

cherish her,

need her,

want her,

build a life

together

with her,

carry her,

dream with her,

be–just simply be–

with her.

 

But some dreams shatter

and some fates

are just

not meant to be.

 

So with a mournful look,

he watched as she was

laid to rest–

a rest he couldn’t

fathom would be easy.

 

She had so much left to do,

so much left to change

and impact

and he couldn’t understand

why her life would be taken

instead of…

instead of…

another’s?

His?

 

His.

 

She’d wanted only

the best in life

and it should have been

a sin to take away

such a radiant beam

when the world was

only growing dimmer

and darker by the second.

 

He knew he had

to make a change,

take a stand,

have something be

different

because Madeline Cross

had been alive

and existing once on

this planet.

 

And now that she

wasn’t–someone

had to know what

they were all missing

out on.

 

So he spent months working upon

awareness and reading

agonizingly boring

books on law and

legislation until he

found the way for the

city to commemorate

her death and

build not only a

memorial walkway

where Madeline

lost her life,

a guard rail

to better seclude the

nature trail and install

a stoplight to further

separate the rough framework

between nature and

manmade civilization.

 

And for a while it

eased the ache left

inside his heart

but it didn’t all go

away,

he was pained instead

with a loss so deep he

had no plan on how

to mold or change it.

 

So he didn’t.

 

He mourned.

 

And when he thought

it was over,

it returned again–

until one day

he was out on the

sandy beach,

watching the tide

come in and fade

and he felt her–

he felt Madeline–

take his hand and

squeeze and if he

wasn’t mad,

he heard her giggle and

he heard her say,

“It’s all right, Tyler.

It’s okay to let me go.”

 

Because now he knew

he never really would

and their relationship and

her loss would shape him

and refold him

for all the time and

years he had left.

 

He couldn’t control how

much time Madeline had–

and he certainly

couldn’t control his–

but it was time for him

to move through his

grief–not as a destination

rather a process,

a journey.

 

So when the salty air

pricked the tears

forming in his eyes,

he let himself go,

and he wasn’t surprised

to find all of himself

 

still. there.

Technical aspects of the poem:

Handwritten: 6/11/2020

Typed and Edited: (any minor spelling errors resulted from the typing up portion, in case you find any lingering flaws) 6/12/2020

Music: “Where the Shadow Ends” by BANNERS ft. Young Bombs. Train ambiance also used in the writing process.


About the poem itself: This is honestly the first true original characters/setting poems that I’ve done in a very long time and it was incredibly refreshing and helpful to just take a moment in the pause between my reading a book (of which many frustrations arose) and just create again. It was really, really nice. There wasn’t really much I was upset about but I could use what I learned from the grief book I’m reading as well as tossing in some images I could relate to (for instance, the truck accident made me imagine that scene in “Pet Sematary” the original movie) in addition to some sad news I found out about a friend of mine. It all just wrapped together well and like I’ve already said, it was nice and soothing and I felt calmer after I had written it. I’d had vibes earlier in the week but it was nice to sit down and just let it all flow and see where it would go.

For the title I thought of “Funeral homes” and how that shouldn’t be Madeline’s home and so the title is a call to how we have to learn to move forwards and through our grief rather than expecting it to come and go in expected, structured manners. That her home, or anyone’s home, isn’t in the death and casket or urn itself but her life was the home all along, instead. It’s a way of remembering her and finding justice and peace in her untimely death, it’s a way of trying to make her life have meaning and have her leave behind a positive legacy. It’s also all about the relationship and attachment that happened prior and the end of the relationship isn’t really the end, it’s just a new normal so to speak. Again, when I do this book review on GIAJ this theme will make more sense.

PS In my mind, both Tyler and Madeline were in their mid to late teens. 🙂

Any who, that’s it for me for now!!!

I hope to have much more posts in the coming weeks and to find ways to motivate myself again and finally finish this book!!!

Thank you so much for reading!!! Stay safe! xxx ❤ ❤ ❤

SADIA1: I Needed to Lose You to Find Me | & Life Update

Song a day THUMB


Chosen Song:

“Lose You to Love Me” by Selena Gomez


Trigger Warnings & Themes:

Loss, grief, letting go, dependency/co-dependency themes.

Loss, grief, relationships, interpersonal effectiveness, identity, finding yourself, rescuing yourself, love, hope, trials and tribulations, overcoming adversity, triumph, letting go, dependency/co-dependency, growth, empowerment, moving on, regret.


Video:


Chosen Lyrics:

You promised the world and I fell for it
I put you first and you adored it
Set fires to my forest
And you let it burn
Sang off key in my chorus
‘Cause it wasn’t yours
I saw the signs and I ignored it
Rose colored glasses all distorted
Set fire to my purpose
And I let it burn
You got off on the hurtin’
When it wasn’t yours…
We’d always go into it blindly
I needed to lose you to find me
This dance, it was killing me softly
I needed to hate you to love me,
To love, love, yeah
To love, love, yeah
To love, yeah
I needed to lose you to love me, yeah
To love, love, yeah
To love, love, yeah….
I gave my all and they all know it
Then you tore me down and now it’s showing
In two months, you replaced us
Like it was easy
Made me think I deserved it
In the thick of healing, yeah….
….And now the chapter is closed and done
To love, love, yeah….
And now it’s goodbye, it’s goodbye for us
SourceLyricFind

My Interpretations/Related Experiences:

So, hi again. It’s been a while and this post is a bit of a smorgasbord of multiple things but we’re gonna go with it and wing it, right? Right. Good.

So, I heard this song a few months back, maybe even as far as Nov. 2019 and I always wanted to do a song a day entry for it and just never got around to it, got busy with other posts, forgot, lost inspiration and motivation and then it got buried underneath everything else. Because, quarantine and work and all that jazz.

But I’m here now. And that’s what counts.

I’ve been reading this book on grief, or at least trying my hardest to, (it’s a dull read but I’m so invested now that I feel like I HAVE to read it, and I don’t give up on books either soooo…) and it’s made me think of some things I’ve been both ignoring and avoiding for months now.

Which, roll the credits, brings us to this song and this message and this interpretation.

As I read about loss and I am reminded that grief is a response to any type of loss–through death of course but not always–it can be items, it can be divorce, separation, leaving relationships, moving away from relationships etc. Even pets. And so it’s made me think a little about things I purposefully and deliberately avoid and pretend like they don’t exist in my life because that’s what I DO. I’m a Master Avoider. Wish I could put it on the job apps but I keep avoiding it. 😉 😀 (Imagine a cheeky grin here.)

I haven’t dealt a lot with death in my life, yeah some pets here and there, and god knows when I was more creative with original fiction back in my high school days, it would seem like I was enthralled and mortified about the subject as that’s typically all I wrote about (death, harm and destruction) but really I haven’t lost too many people…yet. Not, not yet.

Sure, there’s been the celebrities, the waiting death reports for Athena because we can all pretty much agree that she’s not in her ED recovery and has relapsed badly but that’s a topic for another day… (that I probably won’t even get into because I’m working to actively not give in to that type of addiction, because it is so detrimental to me and my mental health, bleh.)

But without having lost people to the deep, dark chasm of death, I’ve lost people due to mental health complications and co-dependency. More so my own co-dependency on others. I think of two particular individuals for this: Steve and Luna.

With Steve, I was forcefully pulled away from them by the smart choices of my university’s Counseling Center. Every now and then, as I’ve described in few Mass Media articles back in the day, I would look up Steve online, find his accounts, find some of his information and then taunt myself with the IDEA of reaching out even though I knew it was a giant no-no (and luckily, I never did).

But Steve was from a different time ago.

Luna…Luna’s been on my mind more these days. I have more tokens, more physical items, from Luna that I cannot begin to dream about parting with. Not now, maybe not ever. The idealization is strong with me from them and I wish things could have ended differently.

And let me be clear, I was the one who left the relationship. I was the one to enact The Ultimate Avoidance into my social life as I was in my last semester of school. And I wrote about it in some articles, some I think that I still don’t even have up on my blog, (sorry about that!!!) and I got through it, but it was hard. Really hard. And I had, like this song says, to lose them to find me.

I had to lose Luna to rebuild the broken shards of glass that was myself, my identity, my soul, my worldview, my RECOVERY.

I had to realize, hell not even by myself but by my Mom and my family therapist (turned individual therapist now) June that it was NOT a healthy relationship and if I continued to try and hold onto the past with Luna and be around them, then ultimately I was choosing to return to havoc-wreaking emotions that would destroy everything in its path, especially me, and land me in self-harm, suicidal ideation, potential death and definitely a hospitalization.

And I had to realize and accept that it wasn’t healthy for me or for them and that I had to move on, move away, move forwards. And I could only do that by realizing that no one and no thing was worth getting suicidal over, a profound lesson that has still aided me even today. And I had to also realize the way I was being treated wasn’t necessarily healthy either. And that it was for my best interests to pull away. And that the relationship we had wasn’t necessarily even friendship. And that I had to forgive the fact that Luna had lacked several boundary laden territories and overextended themselves more than they should have in retrospect. And I had to come to the terms that as a friend, they had abandoned me more than once and that ultimately it wasn’t THEIR job to save me.

It was mine.

And there were red flags. More than I realized at the time, more than I could begin to fathom and certainly more than I could reasonably encounter and acknowledge, especially within my unstable mindset.

They had to pull away a couple of times, they couldn’t be there to support me and at that time all I had wanted was THEIR support. I wanted only THEM to save me, to help me, to rescue me. And I could be aware of this at times, but I still ignored what it meant.

And I didn’t realize, at the time, that there were other individuals around me who could see, sense and interpret and recognize this co-dependency.

However, what matters now, what matters most, is that I got out. I got away. And even when I cringed to see them, when my heart aches in missing them, in missing what once was, I’m so much stronger now than ever before. I’ve grown so much and I’ve developed boundaries even within myself that I don’t cross or barely ever cross anymore these days. Yes, it puts me at somewhat of a disadvantage for particular art projects but somehow, someway, I know I’ll make it through.

 

So for now, I cannot part with the things that Luna has given me: the art, the reminders, the memories I don’t really spend much time at all looking back on, the good that was there, the pain that was there, the bad that was there. But I keep a piece of them with me, a piece I had returned to fondness over without actually reaching back out to them.

I’ve thought about it, a few times more lately than usual, but I don’t act on it. I recognize that I can have the thought and the curiosity and that I don’t want to, I don’t need to, look into it and find out what they’re up to and what’s going on in their life. It’s over now. I’m new. And the rest doesn’t really matter.

So to this song, to what is sung here:

It reminds me of letting go of the co-dependency and finding myself from all the rubble. And I realize that I can grow and learn more about grief and the MCU hole that exists within that grief and I can prioritize and…just LIVE my life without Luna, without Steve, without even the pain most days of moving away from them. You know, it’s been almost two years since letting go and things are pretty badass lately, ahaha. I think I’m a lot happier and definitely far more stable. I have to accept the lessons I was taught and recognize my own needs and work with myself to develop better self-validating remarks and comments. Instead of seeking validation and attention from others, instead I can work on completing that myself by myself with myself.

That’s not to say I don’t reach out for supports too, because I do. It’s…a balancing act for sure, one I haven’t completely figured out yet, and that I look forward to doing so in the future. ❤ (The balance between when do I need to self-soothe and when do I need a sound board.)

I think this song is a good depiction of the troubles with idealization (putting people on pedestals and thinking they can do no wrong) and demonizing people (putting them down so low that they have flaws and only their flaws). When the reality is that people have both good and bad qualities. People are flawed. People are not all good or all bad. Grey exists in the world, especially when it comes to humans, because we’re so diverse and so special and unique one by one. It can be easy to try and see and think in absolutes, however, the world is not one big absolute thing. It’s muddled and murky and sometimes we don’t get “closure”, in fact, in this grief book I’m reading it even states how “closure” isn’t often closure itself because grief is a continuum, grief is not something you get over rather something you learn to live with and alongside as you continue your life’s journey.

And as for the life update of this post…


I’m doing pretty well, overall. I just subscribed to Disney+ and I’m pretty excited to get into that and hopefully create more online content in the form of reviews for it and because of it. The grief book has also inspired me to attend to my MCU avoidance by re-immersing myself into the entire timeline from start to finish, which will probably take me over the course of the next year and therefore help me to come to terms with my grief through the individuals and characters we so recently (it feels recent, at least) lost. I’m actually quite looking forward to this.

I have been reading somewhat here and there behind the scenes and I have plenty of blog posts to catch up on and work on and eventually, hopefully soon, publish. They include:

  1. My sexuality
  2. Book Reviews
  3. Film Reviews
  4. Fanfic stuff
  5. Song a day’s
  6. Part 2 to my Recovery and Music post
  7. Maybe some more interactive type posts.

I’ve also returned to all my tracking stuff in the last week and that is so far up to date currently. I’m making daily goals for myself with a few that carry over when I don’t achieve them (the reading a book to the half-way point and completion, ideally). I’m considering creating Movie Monday’s for myself and Film Review Friday’s. I still have work at Amaryllis I go to twice a week. I have fanfic ideas, particularly one inspired by covid-19, that I’m trying to pick through and work on here and there but lately, the last week, I’ve been having zero writing vibes (which obviously related to blogging issues, too). I’m juggling a lot, probably the same as usual, if I’m being honest, and I want to try and interact more online with 3-5 tweets a day and then step up my WordPress game too. I have to break down the fact that I make so much more work for myself and projects out of everything, to be honest. I reorganized my room a few times though so that’s helpful. And I’m trying to get ideas and input on how to properly set self-care time and activities for myself so if that can get going I’ll be in REALLY great standing. Additionally, I have a Youtube video I have to finish editing and then work on uploading, which, again, hopefully, I can do this week.

I will probably make a tweet soon because apparently today is my 3 year Twitter anniversary. I want to celebrate that, even within some character limits and maybe that will make me feel a little better, too.

Overall, life is going, even while life outside these walls of my home are absent, crumbling and deteriorating. I’m trying to get by as best as I can but I can definitely say I can’t wait until it’s all over. For now, I have extended loans on the 36 books I have out from the library so I will take that in stride. I’m going to go eat dinner, take my meds and watch a movie now.

Thank you all so much for reading, learning, understanding and, if you please can, commenting. I hope to return to this blogosphere more going forwards.

Thank you.

xxx ❤ ❤ ❤

 


Worked on: 4/23/2020, 4/27/2020