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


CHOSEN BOOK:

“Almost Everything” (2018) by Anne Lamott

Notes on Hope; ((nonfic))


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

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


THEMES:

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


SUMMARY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


BOOK LENGTH:

189 pages


MY RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

2/5


OUTSTANDING QUOTES AND IDEAS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or is it more abnormal not to?

Descartes would have a field day with this. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜…πŸ˜Š

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

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

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

A hard truth, yet necessary:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I find this to be so refreshing and brilliant. A beautiful sentiment to share with others who may be struggling–particularly in my life, Fai and Vanessa (my partner). πŸ”†πŸ’šπŸ’œπŸ’™

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

I love this. Isn’t this just about everything? One could say….almost everything? πŸ˜πŸ™‚πŸ˜…

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

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

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

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


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THOUGHTS AND IDEAS I HAD WHILE READING:

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

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

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

    • I LOVE how this was said. It’s just so fruitful and amazing, I find. That, while life is so hard, it’s also so, so beautiful and gives back.
  • So there’s this interesting concept that got the gears turning in my head during this book: This notion that as the Reader reading the work of a Writer, you get taken out of your element either because you can relate or because you can’t and it reminded me of this realization I had in my early twenties (when I was far more creative than I am these days), where I realized that some of the life experiences I gave to my characters, particularly if they were set earlier than my chronological age, were experiences I had “missed” out on living but that I could live through them instead. I don’t know if that makes sense but like I remember I was sitting in the old science building of my university working on my laptop and maybe taking photos and I was just like “Damn, when I write about Susie in a mosh pit, I’ve never done that myself but I can live it viscerally through her” or just generally realizing that maybe the Craft doesn’t always reflect the Experience (like my recent creativity discussion post). It was just like a sudden dawning epiphany that I could write about Susie in a mosh pit all I wanted to but because she did that at nineteen, and I never had at twenty-one, I was never going to be able to go back to experience that or have that as a part of my own life. Like, I guess, it was just this notion that one day I will cease to exist but all these characters and things I’ve done will (hopefully) live on. Like, even if I was one person via body, I was made up of many more in soul because I was creative. Does that make sense? I could probs do a whole post on that separately if anyone is interested. Maybe I’ll start a Creativity Discussion series for this blog…. I don’t know, that was just something on my own mind. I just remember it as a sudden epiphany and existential awareness that was pretty wild at the time. It’s interesting to have a creative mind!! I think that creativity and the characters and plots and scenarios (our imagination, shortly put) we create in our minds is such an incredible talent and to craft that into something so believable that other people buy (physically and metaphorically) it is just such a wondrous thing. It’s wild if you think about it too long. But it’s cool. Art is nice, isn’t it? What do you get out of your craft? What keeps you going when maybe the audience for you is mute? I’d love to know and learn your perspective!!! I definitely will toy with this ‘creativity discussion’ thing too. I think that has some great potential….
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  • (I can’t tell if I highlighted this enough so here’s another short verbiage on it: It was that strange notion that my characters would get to experience things that I no longer could because of time passing and experiences and life happening that happens for them differently than it did for me. But that even if I couldn’t have experienced it myself based on how time fell for me, didn’t mean they couldn’t or I couldn’t live vicariously through them. It was that daunting realization that even if my characters were false, they felt very real to me. And they had their own hopes and dreams and stories to tell that I was just the messenger to. I don’t know, it’s… very interesting. I can almost feel them shaking about in my skull and coming out from under the cobwebs… I should do some reading soon about imagination and creativity and all of that. I’d love to re-access all that they have and had to offer. I miss that… A lot.)
  • I also liked the notion on p. 79 about those who have been nearly destroyed may explain why they also destroy. Reminds me of Loki a lot and was something I particularly liked and wanted to highlight here. 😊😊
  • p. 89’s got me questioning myself as to why I want to write and publish books. Is it for creative release? To add my voice to the many others out there? To create? To make a career out of it? To earn money? To do it like those who garden? Interesting question with interesting answers….
  • Any time I see the word “unmasked” it makes me think of my FFN and AO3 account’s name (Unmasked Potential). Same for when I hear “Lighthouse” by GRL the song. Reminds me to do videos, that and my BANNERS outro hahaha. Love it. But yeah, this book mentioned unmasked at one point and so I was thinking, oh! I should write some fanfic soon. Still in progress with that idea currently hooray!!
  • Trees are fucking awesome and we should have more of them (not less! Never less!) πŸŒ³πŸŽ„πŸŒ²πŸŒ΄
  • By the end of the book, when Lamott is commenting on school shootings, she raises the idea that instead of focusing on all that’s wrong with the world, what if instead we focused on what comes after–the humanity and goodness in that that arrives or the new land that still breathes and grows after a fire, etc. She suggests where placing our focus and attention could bring forth another perspective or incidence of thought (so instead of just focusing in on the tragedies themselves, where else could we turn for an uplifting narrative? Even if it’s one we’re just creating for ourselves). I bring that up because it reminded me of an interview story I watched (and was the original inspiration for miscellaneous reviews for this blog, though I never fully wrote it back then, although doesn’t mean I can’t next year!) about the Nice terror attacks a few years back and how the girl the storytelling focused on wanted to give more power to the man who was there to hold her hand after the blast than the guy who perpetrated the evil acts. That always really stuck with me. And it’s such a fantastic strength and spin on what would otherwise be a horribly terrible bad after taste for humanity but is instead a celebration that love always wins. It’s beautiful, honestly.
  • I loved this notion: “The characters in your story are real people to you and include you but they aren’t yet real people to your audience” — Lamott, 2018, p. 96-97
    • I just loved that this is so true for fiction. It’s so true and makes it such a wonder how imagination works and how storytelling is so powerful and so useful and so artistic. As the Writer, you know your Characters so well, but the audience doesn’t yet, and how you go about showing them that and pulling them along to witness whatever story you wish and are destined to show, that’s so remarkable. It also reminded me once again to do more writing soon which I have been able to do so far with my mental health fanfic! It’s actually the first time I’ve EVER written scenes out of order and am then pulling them together to form a cohesive chapter that I plan to update before the end of the year! Huzzah!!! More updates on that in the future (and I’m planning to get this post out by the weekend before Christmas, so, hooray). That’s the pull and the drive I have for today (12/16) at least! [[**Oops, got this out after Christmas, but the intention was there and this is still something (just one day late!)!!]]
  • “More than any other sentence I have come across, I love Ram Dass’s line that when all is said and done, we are all just walking each other home” — (Lamott, 2018, p. 109

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

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

book-prints-thumb-2.19.21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


THINGS I’D LIKE TO CHECK OUT:

Other works by the author:

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

Book reference:

  1. The Magnificent Defeat

Quote reference and following book it arises from:

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


Next up….

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

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

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


TRACKING DATES AND TIMES I READ THIS BOOK:

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

TRACKING DATES AND TIMES I WROTE THIS REVIEW:

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

Feeling Low: Job, Twitter, MCU…Life


Today: I’m feeling low.

I don’t even know how I want this blog post to go.

I just know that I want to capture what I’m feeling and thinking for a frozen moment. Frozen in time, suspended, distilled, captured. In the hopes that I can move on from it. Be unleashed. Free. Liberated. Safe.

The words don’t come easily. I feel the twirling fan’s breath on my exposed arms, a hooded, soft gray blanket dispersed over my head making me look like a nun. Or… Yoda. I want to turn it off, but I don’t because it’s grounding. My iPod is nearby, shouting out music, but it’s never quite high enough, no matter how much I turn it up. It’s never quite enough. And the mind, the mind I have, with the fumbling fingers on the keys, constantly making mistakes, constantly having to go back a space to fix them, still, that mind is swirling. Thoughts are coming half-formed and fully formed. Emotions the height of a tsunami, threatening to overtake me, wash me with its ruin. I’m caught in it, for a moment, I’m caught in it.

Maybe, no, maybe that last song was good. Hmm, maybe I’ll play it back once more:

MIIA – Dynasty

The tabs are open. The links don’t do what I want. The annoyance is there, bubbling to the surface, then, just really formed into disappointment. I remind myself to turn on the repeat function on my iPod along the same time I can smell the sweat from my feet, hunched over, legs on top of one another, crouching before the laptop, from a day’s activities, a day’s work, I think to myself to take them off, maybe even take off all the layers, so I can be comfortable in my pajamas. But I don’t really move. I don’t really move to do any of that.

Too caught up in the words. Caught up in the stories.

No, I change my mind. Place the song on repeat. Crack my neck. Unleash one sock… Then two. The smell still remains.

I’m tired.

I notice it more now, in the crux between the music keys and the way I sludge forwards, onwards, into the mix.

What was I talking about before?

Oh, right.

Feeling low.

…… Where do I begin?

There’s so many avenues to start the story, and each would play across the right one.

I guess, I’m unhappy with my job. I’m unhappy with my place in the world. I want more, and…less. My avoidance is chipping away my soul, slowly at a time, so that I don’t notice it until I realize “No, I can’t do that.” Because my world is spinning and crumbling, ever so slowly, ever so smaller.

My job isn’t where I thought I’d be by now. It’s not the job I thought I’d get after graduating university. It’s, in some parts, not even the job I wanted. But it’s the job I got, and it’s the job I’ve been at and been trying to learn and grow and succeed and go forward.

But I find myself… craving, wanting more. Wanting something different.

But I’m terrified on how or if I’ll ever get there.

I’ve been talking about my dreams with new friends online lately. And it’s reminded me a lot of my dreams. And how what I’m doing now, doesn’t really feel like it’s cutting it anymore. Or, at least, it’s just starting to dawn on me that this may be the case.

But how do I go from here to there? To the land of my dreams?

I want, or I think I want, to go into Certified Peer Specialist.

It’s just…. complicated. I have to factor in the fact that I’d probably work for an agency, that I have to get trained and pass a test, that I have to carve out more hours of my time for actual work, that I’ll be expected in Clinicals and DRIVING peers around, the fears of that, the responsibilities and the strangeness of it all. I’d have to get certified. I’d have to get gas coverage (in the sense that maybe there’d be mileage reimbursement but also I’d be hefting over part of my salary, likely, to the never-ending need for more fuel). I’d maybe still only be earning what I do now.

But, would it be more fulfilling?

Would all of it, everything considered, be worth it? And when would it happen? Soon? A year from now? How do I get from here to there?

I know I have to start small. I know I have the tools ready for me. I’m just… scared. Overwhelmed. Unhappy.

I’m craving more advocacy work. I think that’s what I’m missing now. Summers are always slow for presentations at NAMI and I haven’t had one all month so maybe that’s a factor. Maybe the other factor is that I’ve been talking of my dreams this week. Reminding myself of my potential and how much I don’t want THIS job to be my end goal. It was always just supposed to be a stepping stone. And maybe, maybe I’m finding that I’m finally ready to move onto the next one. I want to go into advocacy work of public speaking, give a TEDtalk one day, build up my 4 main recovery art projects, share my story, write and publish books, etc. So, so, so much more than this.

And it’s taken me a while to get here. I… maybe because of the BPD have … intense attachments. Hell, whenever I take out a book from the library I get too attached–even when the book is past due and I’m accruing fines, I can’t let it go, not when I haven’t completed my end of the deal with it. I most often override this but it’s still a functionality of my personality. At Passages I was the same way, thinking me and my DBT-Intensive crew were a team and flabbergasted when finding out that they were going to go on their own way before the ‘true’ end date. I have problems with attachment. Even if I’m mulling over an item in the store to buy, I get attached, I start to ‘see’ it in use in my life, and once that’s there, I don’t want to leave it behind without buying it. Again, attachments.

So for me, what I’m trying to say is, for me to get to the point where I’m starting to think: Maybe it’s time now, is pretty big. And yeah, I’m afraid in some parts because a few of my co-workers in the last month tried to leave for another job and now they’re back again. So, maybe I’d be the same?

But this was never my end goal. And maybe CPS will be it, for a while. Maybe just blooming into more of that advocacy work, the work I really want to do, maybe that’ll be everything.

I’ve been thinking lately, I don’t have all my advocacy work like from when I was at university. I think I miss that, am missing that. Maybe even finding odd jobs for paid writing work would help, too. I’m just kinda tired. I want more and I’m realizing I have to be the one out there to get it.

So, alas, I find myself wondering:

How do I get from here to there?

And, I’m not sure, not entirely.

Obviously I’d overlap the two careers before I moved on officially, just to see if I’d even like it to begin with. And then, I mean, I guess I just start making little goals? Maybe like a road map or a vision board of my dreams and start plugging away at it a little at a time. I also want to start by asking some of my NAMI co-presenters how they’ve gotten into the field (at least two are in CPS work) and then start that way, too.

Mmm, I’m feeling a bit more hopeful now with that idea.

With my calves hurting (curse those hills at work!), with a newfound determination, I’m going to work on what I can for the rest of tonight: mainly, mayb– oh!

Twitter & MCU: I’m still a lengthy amount of movies and time away from properly watching and being in the loop about everything happening with the “Loki” Disney+ series. So, with less than 10 mins on my Twitter timeline today, I’ve officially decided that I have to now avoid it for the rest of time (at least until I’m more in the loop and caught up, which will probs be July ahaha, did I say that? I meant AUG! Let’s be honest). Soooo that sucks. Also, I just haven’t been as active on Twitter this week. I’ve been discreetly uploading these avenues of content WITHOUT placing it on there: fanfic, videos, blog posts. So maybe one day but not any time that near.

And as for life, I’ve covered the fact that my avoidance bullshit is getting in the way a lot. And I won’t be leaving my job any time soon either, but I’m gonna start chipping away at it. Find trainings I can attend to, roles within the peer support arena, continuing to craft my online presence, teach some classes, do (when the time is right) presentations. Work on my public speaking skills (really rusty on that). Drive around more. List out the pros and cons of my potential decisions. And just grim face and bear the rest as much as I can. It’s not something I’ll have solved tomorrow. But we all start somewhere.

So for now, I’m going to answer a few online messages/emails and texts, read a book, go to bed early tonight, take my meds, eat dinner, network, listen to music and just get ready for the hellhole that tomorrow will bring.

Anyways, that’s it for me. I’ll either shower tonight or tomorrow, just want to make sure I do before Mon when I go to visit my partner! And maybe tomorrow I’ll watch the rest of Thor!!

All right, guys, thanks so much for reading. Do you have any tips or advice for how you made different career plans in your own life? Jumping from one job to a whole new one?

I’ll see you guys next week.

πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€

PS There is ONE last thing I didn’t quite cover here but that I had thought of for the ‘Life’ category: the slow burn acceptance that my previous mental health problems and complications (i.e chronic suicidality) will probably be something I always have to deal with. More so in the sense that my automatic go to within my mind and body is to end everything, though I am now EONS away from ever, ever acting on those thoughts now. Regardless, I’m thinking like with most recoveries, the thoughts and emotions will always be there, just the behaviors are up to me. Which, is … nice, in some ways, and empowering and also frustratingly disappointing. But, alas, such is life. I can realize it, recognize it and do the opposite of it. Which is what I will do. Don’t worry, I’m safe!! Just something that popped into my head while at home, after work, before I started writing this post.

My Letters to Avoidance | #itsokaytonotbeokay


Dear Avoidance,

It should come as no surprise to you that I’ve been avoiding dealing with you lately. Properly. As it should be dealt with.Β 

I dislike you, very much. That much is obvious. You take away my time, my satisfaction in life and yet you still seem to serve some type of twisted purpose for me.

Why are you so hard to get rid of? Why won’t you leave me alone? What type of self-sabotaging bullshit do you exist in?

I wish you would leave my house already. You’ve brought it back into shambles and I hate that for you. For us. For me.

But every corner I turn, you are there. Waiting and lurking for me, watching me stumble and trip and then swooping right in to waste another hour of my day, another moment of my breath, another video to watch and lurk in but one is never enough, never enough. More and more you crave and more and more I find myself slipping into you. Into your cool embrace and maybe the feeling is just comforting enough that I forget how much I hate you and how much I am frustrated at myself for once again falling in love with you.

Because you’re so, so, so hard to resist these days. You beckon me forwards. You cling to my soul and you dampen my moods and distract me from everything I’m afraid of. You’re a dangerous pill and I wish I could stop–if only it were that easy.

In moments of revelation, I get myself to break free. To run. To hide.

And in other moments, I let myself slip away, into your grip, your hand (locked) on my wrist, dragging me under and making me believe that I’m okay with this torture and the taking away of everything you want me to (not) feel.

You drag me in. And I let you. That’s my mistake, I’ll give you that.

Β 

Dear Avoidance,

It’s a new day. A new sun has arisen and new clouds are passing through. I thought you were going to pass on through too but today I found that I re-engaged in the same behaviors that for some reason, I was thinking would yield different results. But here I am again, locked in the shadows of a dismantled household and here you are again, watching over me with a sinister grin upon your darkened face. I still find myself broken and with cracks run so ragged my skin bleeds at the tears. I wish to leave, I whisper. I wish to go.

But no, you say. No.

And I whimper close. But no one hears it. No one hears here. They never do.

Β 

Dear Avoidance,

Take me away again, I beg. Take me away from my thoughts and my feelings. Numb me out, make me laugh, provide me with the comfort I’m so incapable of giving to myself. Shield me from the world and make the hard easy again. Make the fear of tomorrow, the worry of regret, make it all fade away. Make it run dry, make it soundless. With you here, you’re all I need. All I need. I need no one, no thing, nothing else but this. You give me peace. You give me pride. You give me life.

Even if you’re the same one taking away my soul and taking away my motivation and my inspiration. You’re taking my life just as you manage to breathe it back into me.

For that, you are a fool. Because one day I will realize and I will leave and you’ll be all alone again, with only your dark thoughts and the shadows to keep you company. One day I will break free because I was born to fly and these wings are not defective, not like you. One day I will scream and cry and someone will hear me and then the beauty of the lies you hold will break the facade as I crawl my way out of your grasp and out of your darkness.

Mark my words, Avoidance, I’m coming for you. And you can’t ever dare to break me again.

I will find you. I will erase you. I will not stop until you are but a speck of dust in my vision. I will tell this tale loud and I will tell of this fight proudly. I will make a road map for those who are also caught within your grasp and through that, I will find purpose and meaning all over again.

My feelings may be large, but my inspiration is endless. All I have is this moment. All I have is this breath. So I will take it from you and explore it for myself. For me, by me, to me. And maybe, Avoidance, that’ll be the greatest gift of all.

Β 

Dear Life Outside of Avoidance,

I may be too scared today to release you. I may be too scared tomorrow to understand your worth and your place within my speck of space in this world. I will try to have an open mind. I will try to do something better for myself, to make beauty out of pain. I will try to take charge of the situation I’ve been placed in and I will try to do better for me because I’ve earned it, no, I LIVE it and that is more than enough.

Dear Life Outside of Avoidance,

You’re so beautiful, it’s hard to look at you for long. But I will try. I will try. And with your grace, I shall move ahead towards the next opportunity. And when I am afraid, because I will be afraid, I will try for one minute to be with you. I will try for one minute to just be here, now, and look not so far ahead but rather just up to the next corner. I know it’s just hard sometimes. Sometimes, life is just hard. I can’t even quite see what you look like, but I’ll keep trying to diminish the blur before your face and live my life as mindfully and spiritually calm as possible. And with the faith that everything else will fall into place, I will live.

Because that is what life calls for. That is what the Life Outside of Avoidance calls for. And I will heed this call. I will take notice of it. And I will follow it. Because it’s right. It’s right.

And after all, there’s only ever so much time in the world.

Β 

All the best,

— Raquel

Β 

Also, PS Avoidance:

Fuck you, too.

Creative liberties taken up on about 8:50p EST Tu, May 11th 2021. A creative nonfiction release of thoughts and emotion. Grappling with the big questions and the big adversities in my life at the moment. I know one day it’ll get easier. Today isn’t quite that day, not yet. Thank you for reading. I have a new video up on my channel if you’d be so kind as to interact with me there. There will be more to come. Always, always more. xxx πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›

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

Book Analysis - THUMB - 7.3.19

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

Chosen Book:

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


Trigger Warnings:

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


Themes:

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


General layout/Information Delivery:

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

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

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

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

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


Summary:

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

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

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

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


Book Length:

261 pages


Recommendation Score:

2.8/5 losses


Unforgettable Quotes and Comments I’d like to add:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So be kind to yourself!!! ❀

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

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

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

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

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

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

An emotional roller coaster of a quote. </3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wandering Thoughts or Ideas I had while reading:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dates I read this book:

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

Dates I wrote this review:

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


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


Another late post, sorry about that!

Check out Entry #7’s poem here.

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


THE RULES

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

Week #8’s Entry:

No One Was Meant to Deal with This Life Alone

β€œβ€¦You are not hopeless

Though you have been broken

Your innocence stolen

Β 

I will send out an army to find you

In the middle of the darkest night

It’s true, I will rescue you

Β 

There is no distance

That cannot be covered

Over and over

You’re not defenseless

I’ll be your shelter

I’ll be your armor

Β 

I hear you whisper underneath your breath

I hear your SOS, your SOS

Β 

I will send out an army to find you

In the middle of the darkest night

It’s true, I will rescue you

Β 

I will never stop marching to reach you

In the middle of the hardest fight

It’s true, I will rescue you

Β 

I hear the whisper underneath your breath

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

— Lyrics from β€œRescue” by Lauren Daigle

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

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

your shoulders are weary.

Β 

your vision is lost.

Β 

you struggle to gasp for breath,

to pull in the air,

to let it out again.

Β 

you long for death.

Β 

but you cannot make it occur.

Β 

you’ve chosen a different path,

and still the pain bleeds blue,

and you feel you wish you could

surrender to it.

Β 

I see you.

I hear you.

I know your pain,

as it’s become mine.

Β 

I want you to know:

you’ll get through this.

there will be hope again.

this isn’t how your story ends.

there is more strength within you

than you realize.

the waves will leave and they will come again,

but they will always leave,

they will always fade,

so where you struggle,

you will find courage

and with that courage

you can find aid,

because no one was ever meant to

deal with this life alone.

Β 

so I will search for you,

I will search for you in the light of day

and in the darkest caverns of the night.

Β 

I’ll exclaim your name

because I know it to be

my own,

and I will find you,

I will find you,

and bring you back into the beacon

of the light that I know you will

feel again.

Β 

I will hold you,

tightly,

and remind you of all the reasons

you have to stay alive.

Β 

because you’re needed here,

you’re needed.

Β 

and we want you here,

we want you.

Β 

you are loved.

you are strong.

you are a warrior.

you are a survivor.

you are worthy.

you deserve to take up space.

you deserve a happy and healthy life.

you are amazing.

you are brave.

you are wondrous.

you are you

and no one can ever replace you.

Β 

so please,

please don’t try and replace yourself.

Β 

I see your shadow in the darkness,

the outline of grey that hangs in the air,

and I’m coming for you now.

I’m coming like the waves,

and when I find you,

I will secure you with the firelight

and you can sit back and hear the sparks

crinkle into the atmosphere around us

and you can find something in it,

something there,

that allows you to breathe an easier breath,

for your heart to beat another tune,

and for the world of pain to ebb away slowly,

finding yourself again

exactly where you thought you lost yourself.

Β 

you will be whole.

you will fall into acceptance.

and you will fight for a brighter day ahead.

Β 

because they come.

they do.

and we need you here

more than the heavens above require you.

Β 

so fight.

fight hard and fight loud.

we are here.

Β 

I am you.

Β 

and I want us to see another sunrise.

in the fading billows of the smoke,

in the joyous taste of a s’mores,

into the day ahead,

continuing onwards,

continuing over and over.

Β 

because we need to.

because the world is better

with us still in it.

Β 

and when you struggle to see the light,

I will hold it out for you.

Β 

and one day you’ll find,

that you can hold it out

for the next person you try

and save–

kindness and humanity

falling out of your palms

as you climb the highest hill

and call out their name.

Β 

because it’s you again,

in a different vessel,

it’s you,

and you’re as determined as I was

to find them,

to encourage them,

and to show them the world,

because they deserve to see it, too.

Β 

and on and on the story will pass,

endlessly into the dawn ahead,

and when the moonlight and the starlight

come out to shine,

someone else out there will find guidance in them,

peace in them

and be able to smile satisfactorily and feel

their soul beat with the crowd of souls that linger

by their side,

warming the air around them,

reminding them that

they

are never alone.

Technical aspects of the poem:

Written 7/10/2020

No mood music specified.


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

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

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

Have a pleasant weekend!!

❀ ❀ ❀

Β 

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

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

Why, hello there!!!

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

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

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

Now here’s where I come in:

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

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

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

  • each post will start with the thumb above
  • each poem will be individually titled and labeled by the entry number in both the piece itself (at the end) and in the title
  • each post will include any background music used to “set the mood”. I may sometimes use the Calm App, potentially, and will credit that as sees fit.

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

 


(Thanks) To the Music in Her Soul

 

She heard the lyrics

Of the song within her soul,

Heard the pitch,

Heard the beat,

As she strolled along the shore.

 

She swayed her hips,

Rounded and pure,

Her shoulders knocking back

Moving with the music.

 

She wore a peaceful smile

Upon her full cheeks,

And the pink lip gloss

On her lips

Sparkled in the setting sun.

 

She was aglow with light,

As it wafted down from the large,

Fluffy white clouds.

 

It parted through the shadows locked

Behind her brown eyes,

And it swept away the doubts

And insecurities that would cling to her skin

Late at night.

 

It washed over her like the waves

Lapping at her bare feet,

Chilly in the summer wind

Yet comforting all the same.

 

The scent of the ocean

Flocked over her,

And she dared to break out into song,

Verbalizing the words that had haunted

Her dreams for days.

 

She did this,

Serenely,

As the sun departed behind the hills

Far, far away

As the beach was empty save for a few

Passing gulls

 

And when she left that day,

When she, too, departed from the world,

She did so with a blissful heart

And a song that felt richer

Than it had ever been before.

 

(Technical information about the poem:

Entry #1: #SummerComer

Written: 5/23/20

Background music: β€œHappier” by Marshmello ft. Bastille)


 

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

I will have more blog posts coming in the future.

Thanks again!!

Best! ❀ ❀ ❀ xxx

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
Source:Β LyricFind

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. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ (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

Graphic Design Website Review: Visme

Visme-Review-THUMB-12.7.19

Hot off the press and take #2 on writing this post, this post will feature various creations I’ve made using the website! Enjoy!!!

The Visme Review on RecoverytoWellness is finally here!

It’s taken me a few hours and many renditions and re-rendering renditions (and then the next day, fuuu) to get this post out to you all but I hope it finds you all well. To the artists, creators and graphic design whizzes in you, I bring to ye a graphic design website review for: Visme.co

In this post, I hope that you’ll learn from each of these components of my review:

      • The Origins of How I was Introduced to Visme
      • Pricing, Plans and Perks
      • The Mechanics of Visme (How Does It Work?)
      • My Thoughts & Impressions. What Works and What Pitfalls Exist For Me
      • The Competition Between Graphic Design Websites
        • Examples of my designs (dispersed throughout)
        • Any valuable links that Visme itself hosts (throughout)
      • My recommendation score

So, sit back, buckle in and let’s jump into this!!!


Part 1: The Origins of How I was Introduced to Visme

So, I can’t believe it’s been THIS long ago (I swear, 2019 went by in a blur, most of which I don’t remember, ahaha) but I was originally approached by a candidate of Visme back in July 2019. They saw that I had tweeted about my longest running graphic design website account that I use to make all of my Youtube thumbnails, blog post thumbs and the like (Canva–which I hope to create its own review for some time in the future) and remarkably, they contacted me via my blog’s Contact page (**hint, hint, if you want me to review anything of yours or check something out, feel free to message me!).

After linking me to this helpful video which depicts what Visme is and what makes it different to other similarly based websites:

we wound up discussing their gratuitous interest in having me try it out so that I could review it here for you all (at least, I hope there’s an “all” of you out there, otherwise, I’m talking to myself which would be quite silly–“One day! One day I will be discovered!”) to consume, consider checking out or creating for yourself!!

Ta-da!

And thus, my adventures, journey and creative explorations with Visme began!

Over the course of these past 5 months, off and on, I’ve created some wonderful designs or have had the chance to at least START some (we all know how forgetful and absent and avoidant I can be, after all) and they, early on, had offered to boost my account from the general perspective to a premium perspective, just so I could offer you guys more details and information from what I tinkered with, what options I had and all things from that conceptualization.

So, over those 5 months, that’s what I did, and that’s what’s set in stone my being able to tell you guys about that! Therefore, without further ado, we shall explore what I uncovered, the things I made (some are still works in progress, just FYI) and what my overall opinion of them is, in hopes that some of you who may be willing to create artsy things can check them out or if you know of other graphic design based websites that you’ve tried, you can leave them in the comments and we could make a little review series out of it! Hooray to the functionality of the Internet! πŸ˜€ ❀


Hope-in-a-Jar-THUMB-7.27.19-TT9

Oops, I just realized now that I made 2 ThTh9’s, I’ll have to fix that later, but this is one I made on Visme! Free jar/fairy light images. πŸ™‚

Part 2: Pricing, Plans & Perks

Here is a link to Visme’s official page discussing all the pricing of plans and perks for each type of category whether you’re looking for an individual basis, a business basis or an education basis.

For each category (the three I listed above) there are three options to choose from at different rates that gives you different sets of perks. I’d suggest looking at their website in full rather than reading this section here (although, keep reading, too!!) because theirs is a lot more interactive, loads easily and has a more striking visual caption than this plain text.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure which one Premium falls under for the time that I was using the site, but it offered a lot of access to more templates, more configurations and more, more, more. We’ll get into that in a bit though (see the section where I discuss my thoughts and the mechanics of the site itself).


RtW-Youtube-Banner-NEW-8.26.19 (3)

This sleek, professional and phenomenal creation is my newest logo/representing image to the introduction of my Youtube channel’s videos, the icon for this blog and the banner for my Youtube channel. Made in August 2019.

Part 3: The Mechanics of Visme (How Does It Work?)

So let’s set the scene: I have an account on Visme and I want to create something.

First, I have to identify what I want to create. So, I go to the Create button. I then am shown various options ranging from: presentations, infographics, documents, various types of printables, web graphics (and their own various types), social media graphics and/or my own custom dimensions. Of course, social media graphics are further organized into these types: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pintrest and Instagram. In fact, if you want to see a more stylized play by play of what you can create here is this helpful link!

So, say, for this example’s sake, that I choose:

A template for a presentation, whichever one catches my eye.

Here’s what I CAN do:

    • I can upload my own photograph/image for the project OR choose from various free images that I can use by typing in what I want into the search bar
    • I can work with icons or shapes supplied by Visme, often through searching or the category they may be in (Both of these are found under: Graphics)
    • I can tinker around with the basics of the program: headers and texts; stats and figures; graphics and text or diagrams
    • I have plenty of font styles that I can play with and choose from
    • I can change the color of the font through a small choice of colors or through the larger color wheel
    • I can add data
    • I can add media
    • I can change my theme colors
    • I can save the project to whatever fits my aesthetic
    • I can download the project in whichever way I see fit

Those are the basic, bare bone components to what Visme offers, as best as I could describe it. πŸ™‚

**Additional Section**:

Hi again, this edited section is to inform ye all on a few other scopes of interest that you may be thinking up in your noggin that you’d like to use Visme for but that I didn’t really go over in depth above. So! Visme can be used to create flyers, scatter plots and social media graphics!

  1. Check out this link for making graphs and charts
  2. Check out this link for FLYERS and other printables
  3. This one makes SCATTER PLOTS
  4. This one you can publish SURVEY RESULTS

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Part 4: My Thoughts & Impressions. What Works and What Pitfalls Exist For Me

I don’t know what it is exactly about Visme, but I find that when I have started previous projects, especially within this review, I get really overwhelmed and I have a great idea at first and then somewhere along the production line I get an incredibly large art block and then can no longer create what it is that I wanted to. It’s sooooo frustrating.

Essentially, I go from FRESH IDEAS to NOTHING–really, really fast and it’s really, really irritating and discouraging. However, when I AM able to create with Visme I like what comes out! And I am able to tinker and move with it more than I can on sites such as Canva. I guess we have to take the downfalls with the climbs.

Here’s some of my thoughts in the process originally written from the last section:

I click on whichever one my heart desires and for whichever one my artistic soul is speaking through to me from. **Let’s be careful in our choices though. If I choose to create a custom dimension creation I do NOT receive a template (I suppose, understandably) for it, unless I’m ready to add in all that I want to to it specifically. Personally, this feels a bit overwhelming so I’d rather just work with a template, once I pick one from any of the categories, so that I have some form of a baseline that isn’t just completely white and blank and distressing.

I want to do something artsy, so let’s see which style I go for. Something colorful, maybe. Something simple, for sure.

I go with a black&white photograph presentation because it speaks to my soul and I can see my own black&white photos shining here.

…Then I get frustrated because my creative juices all just flew away like ravens wings batting the air and I can’t think of what to create. Pretty much, the untold story of this entire post….

 

But yeah, I find that I get a lot of ideas or a really great mental image of what I want to create and then somewhere along trying to find the bits and pieces the dream shatters and then I have nothing left. It’s so disheartening and it doesn’t happen as often on other websites so I don’t know what it is exactly that gets in my way, other than my own brain. Sigh.

 

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For example, this attempt at creating…it has so much potential…but it’s just not there, you know?


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Part 5: The Competition Between Graphic Design Websites

Even with this cautionary tale, I do still enjoy Visme. I find there exists some more freedom on it and using it than with Canva. Even if I feel I’m more productive and out-put faster on Canva.

I guess, in many ways, the previous section bleeds into this one, in that the competition that exists between businesses is very, very real. I don’t think I run into the creative block process as much with Canva, and maybe it’s because Canva still offers more to templates than what I feel Visme offers when I first get started trying to change a project into what I want it to be. (As in, what objects I can use, the photographs, the free sources, etc.)

Both sites offer printing availability which is wonderful, although I’ve only ever used this option with Canva and not Visme, so I can’t express too much on how that all works and how it comes out quality-wise.


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Part 6: My Recommendation Score

Overall, I feel that my experience with Visme has been nice. Aggravating at times and nice all the same. I may have more projects that I’ve abandoned than what I’ve created but maybe that’s just a depiction of where I’ve been mentally rather than a direct reflection on the site and the business as a whole.

I think Visme would be particularly helpful for students and businesses and wanting to show and create informational brochures in an effective, sleek and crafty manner.

I think places like Canva work more with a creative edge, with templates that are well defined and curated and can be minimally edited and changed and still work as its own thing.

Visme, I feel, is more for someone who has either less of a perfect vision going in or knows more about how they want to convey their information than just to create something different, you know?

Overall, with all of this said, I’d say my recommendation score for Visme, purely from my own experiences is rated as:

3/5

When I can create on it, it’s lovely.

When I can’t, it takes me forever and I get really frustrated with it and acquire so many strange, strange art blocks.

I’m probably more of a Canva girl than I thought going in HOWEVER it was super, super nice to try something new, something different and something still worthwhile and fun to play with.

So I mean, you can make your own decisions up of what Visme has to offer you and what you can potentially expect if you do decide to use it for your own craft. It’ definitely worth a shot and hell, maybe you can give me some pointers on what to create next or where to go for other services and everything to that nature.

Overall, I hope that you enjoyed my review!!! I wanted to be honest and fair and real and authentic and I think all my work from yesterday and today shows that. I really worked hard on this post so if you could comment on it or share it around that’d be sooooo great!!! Let me know what you think of Visme now as someone from the inside (myself) who used it and if your interest has now piqued to use it yourself!

This is my first real review on a product so I hope it read all right! I’m sure there will be other opportunities to hone my craft in the future. ❀ There’s a first time for everything! Ahaha.

Thanks again for reading, visiting and liking or commenting!

See you all in the next one, which will be soon! ❀ ❀ ❀


And here are images, though they make ME cringe because they were placed on hiatus and weren’t “finished” and meant to be “seen” yet that I’ve decided to go all in and place here REGARDLESS, these are drafts that I’ve made, some are banners I did for someone else and some are ones I was trying to do for the blog here as well: (I hate how wordy this is and it makes me soooo frustrated. Ugh. Sorry that this review isn’t much better!! :/ I really, really tried.)

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Sept. 2019. REBRANDED for a friend on Twitter, this is the old version.

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July 2019, just playing around, seeing what Visme does. My own photograph.

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OG for a friend, abandoned soon after. Sept. 2019

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Dec. 2019. Started getting closer, then hit the wall again. D:

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Sep. 2019, another banner attempted.

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An abandoned thumb that went out of season, to be honest.


Thank you so much for reading!!

And thank you to Visme, for reaching out to me and letting me play with your website!! I hope this review is okay, I really did try, it just proved to be more difficult than I imagined it to be! Story of my creating on there, ahaha. Honestly though, I really appreciate your kindness and letting me have some creative expressions on your site. Sending you this as soon as I can! Best, ❀ ❀ ❀

Music that helped create this post:

“Rescue” by Lauren Daigle; “Broken and Beautiful” by Kelly Clarkson; “1800 273 8255” by Logic & COVER by Lynnea M….