Recovery

Recovery feels like finally realizing that the sun is behind the clouds and that its been there all along. But it’s not the same thing as seeing the sun.

Recovery is acknowledging that your life is worth it and fighting like hell every second to remember that. Refusing the vicious thoughts and temptations you used to rely on. Resisting the ease of slipping into a dark hole and lying there because it’s easier not to get up.

Recovery is struggling to remember that there is good in every moment even if you can’t see it right now. It’s being grateful for the ten minutes of every day that you have a smile on your face and it’s real.

But that sinking feeling in your chest is still there. Once in awhile it gets a little bit lighter, but you know that it’s there. You have to remember that those dark habits you relied on have consequences. So now before you reach for your razor, you stop, you breathe, count to ten, think of alternatives. You remember that people care. You remember that you should care.

Recovery is knowing that the sun is there, but fighting every second just to catch a glimpse. And every time you lose sight of it, you’re filled with terror.

Forgive yourself. Be kind. Be patient. Someday, every day will be filled with sun.

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I don’t know when it happened

I don’t know when in my life I somehow convinced myself that I wasn’t worth it. That I would never amount to anything. That I didn’t deserve anything. So I stopped trying, doing the things I loved, striving, being who I was. I guess it was fear of inevitable failure. I’m not exactly sure what led to this. I mean I have a vague idea, but it wasn’t one thing in particular. And anyway, it doesn’t really matter.

I’ve turned a corner recently. Actually it was a really long corner. Razor sharp edges. But somehow I made it. I began to realize that this life was mine to live and striving for failure is inevitable. It is a rarity in life to be the best at something or to be perfect or to be the person that you want to be. But being able to experience and grow and change, that is living.

Life is shaped by those tiny glimmering moments, when a smile creeps up your lips unexpectedly. When you feel that little flutter in your gut and that warm glow in your chest. It’s the anticipation in your beating heart before you do something exciting or nerve-wracking. Life is sitting down with a cup of tea after a long day’s work and being proud that you went out and did it. Or spending the day in bed curled up in a blanket because its your life and fuck it.

I think I spent a lot of my life changing myself to be someone I thought I wanted to be. Trying to find a sense of belonging and self-worth. Maybe it was there all along. Because I’ve never been happier. I’m working hard, doing the things I love, and soaking up the moments.

I guess I’m writing now because I’m heading into a semester full of unknowns. Things that could go fantastically or horribly wrong. I’m taking a risk and doing something that tore me apart physically and mentally years ago. I’m afraid, but I hope that this time, I’ll be able to face everything gracefully, with my head held high, just there to enjoy the moments. But who knows…

Satisfaction

I’ve become quite obsessive this year. It seems like every time my life starts turning one way or another, I dive headfirst into whatever’s going on. When things starts to go wrong and I wallow in self-pity and give up on everything. This year has been fantastic. I honestly don’t think it could have gone any better. But I’ve become obsessed with perfection. And obsessed with flaws. It’s actually become quite an obstacle to my everyday life because once something goes wrong, just one tiny thing, I can’t stop thinking about it. What’s the point of life going well if you can’t appreciate what’s going well. I’m starting to formulate my New Years resolutions for 2016 and I know this is going to be an important part. Because I’ve made so much progress this year, but I’ve become to obsessed with planning out my perfect future that I literally don’t know how to just stop and relax anymore. Even now, I’m done with my semester, I have a job lined up, I couldn’t possibly plan things out anymore, but I’m still fucking obsessed. And even worse, the reason I haven’t been writing is because I kept telling myself I needed to set aside time to write out a perfect post. Planning was a good idea at the start of the year because I needed to figure out how to get my life back on track, but now that it is, I can’t seem to stop. So here I am putting an end to this madness. And just for kicks, throwing out some spontaneous ideas:

-consciously allot yourself one mistake a day

-start meditating again, even if its for five minutes a day

-pick an activity to do imperfectly (even if that means just watching netflix episodes out of order)

-take time to appreciate what is going well

-accept that nothing horrendous is going to happen if you make a mistake. your life is not going to spiral out of control no matter what you think. stop fearing the past

Don’t Wait to be Happy

Not too long ago, I found myself a complete and utter failure down in the depths of despair. Being abroad had done a number on my body and my soul. And, as I began looking for internships to apply to, I realized that my once flawless transcript had become something that I was less than proud to call mine. I found myself on a college campus with no idea who I was and beyond that, I was more or less utterly alone. To summarize, I was a self-pitying, depressed pile of poop.

Now because I was still on a positivity kick blah blahblah. Here’s what I told myself. In fact, this is what I wrote on tumblr:

I keep thinking that because i’m a failure today, i’m going to continue being a failure for the rest of my life. but then i remember how much has changed over the past year. How much i’ve changed. And i have a little sliver of hope, that maybe if i start changing things little by little in the right direction, in a year or two from now, i’ll be a completely different person. but this time it’ll be for the better. Who i am now isn’t who i’m going to be forever.

So basically, its okay to feel negatively about myself because one day, I’m not going to be this person anymore. And that’s the problem. Why wait for the future? I feel like we do so much of that. I will be happy when I get into college. I will be happy when I graduate and get a job. I will be happy when I lose 10 pounds. I will be happy when I get married and have children. I will be happy when I retire and have all the time in the world.

Looking back, I have rarely ever been satisfied or happy with where I was. Sometimes for a brief moment or two. Like the day I returned from Japan, proud of what I had accomplished and delighted to finally have a bed and my own room and functional legs. But this satisfaction never lasts. I am always left wanting more.

But I have discovered that there can be positivity in every moment, but sometimes it is harder to find than others. Take right now for instance. I wouldn’t say my life is particularly in order. And if asked, I could list infinite things that I are horrible right now. I feel more alone now than I’ve ever been before, but its also hard to say for certain. It’s easy to be negative, to pinpoint things that you wish could improve even if you believe that they will. But that doesn’t really do any good. Instead, I choose to breathe, take my stress in stride, be proud who I am. It doesn’t mean I can’t look to the future. It just means that I can also look to the now and be happy with where I am on my journey.

I’m writing this because I often see posts where people talk about how their lives are going fantastically now: they are married, expecting their first child, and have their dream job, when only five years ago, they were severely depressed and self-harming. And these posts are wonderful no doubt, they give people hope, hope to keep living because of the prospect of such a future. But it doesn’t address the depression that people are in now. The depression that sucks someone in because their life actually is in shambles, because they feel alone and abandoned and like a complete failure. And I wish someone had told me that none of these things make you a failure. That everybody experiences these feelings no matter how complete they look on the outside. And that you don’t have to wait for things on the outside to get better in order to be happy on the inside. Because these things do not make a person a failure, it makes them human, a little too human.

I know this isn’t really a complete thought because I’m still learning myself how to be happy with who I am right now. But its just a thought. Yes, things will get better. But that doesn’t mean that things right now are bad. You are not a failure. You are a success for living and for being brave enough to keep going.

Stop

I had a rough time in Japan, but there is one thing that I do miss. Awareness.

We live in a culture of rush. It’s glorified, especially here in New England. Trying to make plans with someone inevitably becomes an argument about whose schedule is busier because for some reason, being busy equates to being accomplished..

Kyoto was not a particularly happy place for me. We had curfews and restrictions, lots of restrictions, especially at the monastery. A lot of that had to do with trying to diminish our thinking, decreasing our choices, forcing us to do rather than spending every moment anticipating the future. It was hard, but it worked.

But my favorite part of Kyoto? Every night at 8:00, I set out on my nightly walk. I finished all my work in anticipation of my nightly walk. Then I would set out, headphones in. 20 minutes to the river. Just me and myself. Once I got there, a thirty minute walking meditation. And finally, I would pick my favorite rock, sit, and just watch the Kamo River in all its glory. The lights, the city, the water. Then I would stroll home just in time for 10:00 curfew.

I miss it. And its not like I couldn’t do it here. But, I keep telling myself that there isn’t any time to stop. That I have to keep going even though I know its not really true.

Taking time for yourself isn’t a waste of time. In fact, its probably the most productive use of your time. Those are the moments when you are literally living. You don’t even have to be straight up meditating. Just being aware of where you are, not just physically, but in life. Being aware of the people around you, people with just as many feelings and emotions and experiences as you. There’s this unspoken belief that we don’t want to waste our life and in order to accomplish that, we have to do as much as possible in as little time as possible. We have to avoid failure. I am just as guilty in going along with these sentiments, but lately, I’m trying just a little bit harder not to. I personally believe that we are just passing through. Its okay to take life little less seriously.

Look up.

The river from Gojo Dori

The river from Gojo Dori


The river at night

The river at night

Reminders for Me

Wrote this a while back. Reminders for the bad days and the good…

1. Things won’t always be this way. If you put in a little bit of work each day, things will get better. Doing that one little thing each day that’s a challenge for you will go a long way, but know that it will take time. Nothing is instantaneous.

2. Don’t worry about things you can’t control. Focus on doing what you can do in the moment. That’s how you get where you’re going. Things happen. They aren’t your fault. They’re part of circumstance, or fate, and bad things happen to everyone. Don’t look back, look to the now.

3. Don’t compare yourself to anybody else. Anyone else at all. You don’t know who they are, or what they’ve been through. Misery loves company, but looking around doesn’t help you at all. Nobody has a perfect life, no matter what it looks like. But you can’t understand or see someone else’s pain.

4. Things move up and down. Remember that. Having a good day? Take it all in. Having a bad day? Know that that’s all it is. A bad day. And when that happens, take every chance you get to start over. There’s no reason your day has to stay bad.

5. Don’t give up. Don’t give up for that day in the future when you can look back and see what you’ve become, but always remember what it took to get there.

6. No one has a perfect life, but the people who are truly happy being themselves? It wasn’t an easy journey getting there. Happiness isn’t a matter or whose life is better. It’s dependent on perspective and outlook. The hurt that you are experiencing now? It’s all part of your journey in getting there. Don’t ever think that its a waste of life. Nothing is a waste of life. Everything leads you somewhere, and wherever you are, its where you are supposed to be.

7. Always be appreciative of yourself and the things that are going well for you. Its easy to be dismissive, to focus on the negative because they seem so horrible, but give yourself credit, affirm yourself. That’s worth more than anything else in the world.

Blogaversary!

Whoops I missed my blogaversary but I wrote my first blog post January 6th,2013 and I have officially made it full circle! I honestly thought this effort would have been abandoned long ago, but in the past year I’ve written 55 blog posts and gotten more than 2,000 views! I know its actually not a lot compared to the serious blogs out there, but I’m proud of myself for following through. This blog is more for myself than anything and it has been a great release for me over the past year especially during times when I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. This also marks a full year of my taking cold showers (because eczema).