Songs in the Key of C

“C” for “Coping” or “Calming” or “Cheering” or even “Crying,” if that’s what you’re most in need of.

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Yes, Cookie, “C” is also for “Cookie” and we all need one of those every so often, eh?

Music is so many things to me, for me, about me. 聽I hear music and I hear a story about someone’s best day, or their worst day, or their douche of an ex-boyfriend or cheating ex girlfriend. I hear the joy at seeing their baby for the first time, or the bittersweet reminiscing of a dad about to walk his baby girl down the aisle. 聽I hear the pain of losing something or someone you thought was your life. I hear the happiness and wonder of first love and new love and old love and jungle love and…okay, that’s enough, I’m sure you get the love about the love.

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I hear these stories and my ears transmit them to my heart, so I don’t just hear the stories, I feel them. The music wraps me in a moment and transports me, and I’m there, feeling each of those feelings, and they become mine. I’m taken somewhere outside myself that’s deep within me. 聽I know, it sounds like new-age BS “somewhere outside that’s within,” but it’s true and that’s the best way I can describe it.

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I know, I’m waxing poetic, I can’t help it 馃檪 Anyway, I had a “DUH” moment the other day when聽I happened across this wonderful post聽by my new WP pal J.E. Skye. See, music has always been a staple in my life but I never appreciated it more than when I realized that it is, for me, the best kind of therapy. J’s post reminded me that I’m not the only one who does and can benefit from music.

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For me, any situation involving crowds kicks my anxiety into high gear and, in this area, my anxiety typically manifests itself as extreme agitation and a feeling akin to claustrophobia — too many people, store aisles that feel too narrow, exits that seem so far away, etc. This is why if you ever see me in public – whether I’m shopping, working out, going to the bank, checking the mail, whatever –聽9.99 times out of 10, I’ve got my headphones on.

 

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It’s like I get to set the music for the world when I have my earphones on and therefore, the world outside is not too much.聽I think it probably has something to do with my control freak issues, haha, but I accept that because it’s what allows me to continue (hey! another “C”) living my life while I’m working on my overall balance.

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In this world where there is so much…ugliness and waste and hate, music reminds me and my issues that with the bad, there is so much more good. 聽So, so much more. So the next time you think you’ve had it and you just can’t win and why is the world so聽(fill in the blank, but in this case, it’s probably a negative thing), and you just want to give up because you feel like you can’t win, or you feel your anxiety bubbling at the brink of eruption, and/or uncomfortable in any way, go find your favorite song, put on some headphones (or put it on the radio or in the car, up to you), and put that song on repeat. I’m sure you’ll feel better, lighter, and like you’ve got another round in you after a few loops.

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May I make a suggestion? Like J did and I’ve done, round up a playlist of songs that make YOU feel good, make you smile, lift your spirits, and try pressing play on that awesome list the next time you’re feeling uneasy or in any way “not right.”

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Okay, I know this is getting way long, but I want to share a beautiful quote that I think is perfect for this topic. The irreplaceable and immortal Maya Angelou says聽 “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” 聽

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My interpre-rambling is: Don’t get down on yourself or your life or the world, just because you don’t have the answer to every question that pops in your head. 聽Really, that just means you don’t know how to Google. Message me, I’ll give you some pointers. 聽Just kidding! I mean, I’ll happily give you pointers, no joke there. Just joking about being able to answer ALL of life’s questions via Google. 聽Most questions – yes. ALL questions – inconceivable. There’s only one G that can do that and it’s not Google.

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Oh wait, wait, one more thing (promise this is it!)! One of my favorite people that I’ve never met, Rabbi Brian, wrote a book that I read (and highly recommend for anyone searching within for their spirituality’s sake), called My Fun Theology Workbook. There are so many parts that I highlighted, where I laughed, cried, and connected with. But one particular part, in the beginning, as RB is encouraging you to find your spiritual voice, he quotes a line from Psalms as a way of explaining what your spiritual voice is and how its development can assist you. He says, “I want you to develop your spiritual-religious voice so that you can – in the words of the Psalms – ‘sing a new song to God.'”

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That really touched me because, to me, singing a new song to God means finding joy in life and sharing it. I’ve realized that’s part of my life’s purpose: find joy and share it. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it. Just like you are!

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XOXO-

K

Panacean Philosophies

pan路a路ce路a |聽pan蓹藞s膿蓹聽noun (pronounced PAN-UH-SEE-UH)聽
  • a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases. “the panacea for all corporate ills”聽 synonyms:聽聽universal cure,聽cure-all,聽cure for all ills,聽universal remedy,聽elixir,聽wonder drug;聽informal:聽magic bullet |聽“a panacea for the country’s economic problems”
Don’t feel bad, dude, I had to look it up to make sure I was thinking of the right word and I only know the word because there was a phase of my life (I think it was 4th and 5th grade) where I was all about mythology and there’s a God named Pan and– nevermind, long story, not immediately relevant here. Moving on.
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So remember when we pledged to be Snowflake Unicorns? Okay, “pledged” may be too strong a word, but you know what I mean. Fundamentally, Snowflake Unicorns: a) invented “cool”; b) have their own individual secret and unique combination of issues as well as super powers; and c) require a recipe for balance that is specific to each of us.
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As a SnowUni (鈫恘o? not cool? well, make a suggestion, please – help your girl out, here), you’ve likely heard many things that point to the opposite of these 3 fundamentals. You’ve been put in a box with a label that might speak to a part of your issues but doesn’t address all of them and doesn’t feel like it’s…right. Right?
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I don’t just mean being labeled as someone with an anxiety or other psych “disorder,” I mean in all areas of life, like being put in the woods section of the band when you know you belong in percussion. Or being made to wear a cute little pantsuit when you knew you’d rock it harder in a gown or vice versa. Or being made to feel like your brainpower isn’t as powerful because you have a va-jay-jay. This post is intended to speak to that, and when I say “that” I mean the sometimes well-meaning but usually misguided and way blown out of proportion Panacean Philosophies of the world.
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I hope that at some point in your life you’ve heard someone say, whether directly or in passing or on TV, that you are special and there’s no one else like you. If not, please allow me the extreme privilege…
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Now that we’ve got that out of the way, as a one of a kind wonder, you’ll have to put up with people who don’t get it or maybe they’ve never been told about their own one of a kind wonder-ness! Whatever the case may be, generalizing is something that’s done in every part of the world on every level and in pretty much any way you can think of. Is it right? No, but it serves a purpose. Generally. Hahaha! Okay, not that funny. But for real, generalization started as a means to provide a basic solution for the masses because, well, sometimes it was because there just wasn’t the ability to easily聽access each person in the group that would be affected, sometimes it was because only a few people would raise their hand and say they were affected. Unfortunately, what it seems to have become in today’s world is something that’s done because of some rich assholes who make a better profit by generalizing and don’t give a shit how that really helps. Sad, but true.
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But you know what? Don’t let those assholes win. Don’t be discouraged because what’s supposed to work for “everyone” doesn’t work for you. Drop the zero and be your own hero because you deserve a happily ever after. You just have to keep in mind and heart that happily ever afters aren’t promised, they’re sought after and hard won. But totally possible. Remember the first step is to figure out what your truth is.
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P.S. It took me 36 years to figure mine out, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes you more than an hour 馃槈 You’re worth it.
XOXO,
K

K.I.S.S. IT, Kerissa

I’ve been trying to put together a well-thought out and planned release schedule, you know, what I should say first, and then next and then next and blah blah. I still plan to generally follow a tentative guide, just to make things easier to process, but I’ve learned that I need to K.I.S.S. (KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID) more than just frogs to find my happy ending. SOOO, I’m going to start with something that helps me everyday, that I think can bridge any gaps between my unique combination of anxiety and yours. What is it? This:

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to succeed.聽 –聽Ralph Waldo Emerson

I know you can think of at least one life that has breathed easier, even for a second, because of you. It could be a family member, a customer, a significant other, a friend – they ALL count. This quote reminds me to appreciate the gift of success that’s given each time I make someone’s life a little brighter. Like the cashier at CVS that I made smile and take on a well-deserved preen by complimenting how quick she is and how I could never deal with rude customers with such grace. See, the guy in front of me was a dick that particular day and I would’ve totally read him a page from my Nasty Bitch chronicles, but I thought it was important for her to do it on her own, so long as he didn’t get loud. She was still so nice to him, that asshole, but I could tell she was very uneasy afterward and I could just imagine what I would have been feeling after that. I left her laughing by saying that I would have told him to go fuck himself, but then I probably would have gotten fired.

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Right there, I helped her breathe easier because instead of keeping her brooding about what a jackass that guy was and wondering if she should have said something more forceful or done something different, her grace was acknowledged, appreciated and exalted. In just a few sentences.

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Okay, I know, you’re saying, “Yeah, that’s a real cute story, Kerissa, but wtf does that have to do with my anxiety and why would it help me to remember this?” Well, chances are that if you live with, let’s call it “excessive,” anxiety, you also live with self-image and esteem issues. For various reasons, you think you’re not good enough or didn’t do enough or have to do more in order to be worthy of other people’s esteem. That’s certainly the case for me.

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I have spent most of my life chasing after approval I didn’t really need from people whose opinion wasn’t important – not then and certainly not any amount of time later. I don’t know, for sure, how it started, but I’m almost certain I created it because it didn’t start at home. My parents were and have always been proud of me and said so, even when I was a damn delinquent with truancy issues.

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No, I think the potential for anxiety overload was already present in my personality and as I got older and made mistakes and bad choices, like everyone does in life, it was ME that took those mistakes and magnified them, then proceeded to carry them around like invisible boulders. I lived in constant fear that someone would see them or find out about them and then…well, I wasn’t sure what would happen, but I told myself I didn’t want to find out.

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Over the last year, I finally asked myself why I thought people would react so terribly. At first, I was afraid it was because I was actually an asshole. For real! I was afraid that, deep down inside me, somewhere I didn’t know or want to know existed, I thought I would react terribly if I were the other person. It took me a few weeks to move on to the next step, but finally, I searched myself and collapsed with relief when the Asshole Bone was not found. So why did I think that everyone else must have one and would therefore react terribly or shun me or something? Well, obviously I’m still hashing this one out because I’m not going to list all the mistakes I’ve made here, haha!

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Turns out….

I’m a “work in progress,” and I probably always will be, but now that I’m conscious of my tendency to immediately assume I need to be twice as smart, work twice as hard and be twice as charming as anyone else in order to make the cut and gain their approval, I nip it in the bud. I take it step by step and I don’t let my instinctive approval-seeking mannerisms take the lead and steal my thunder — or my self worth.

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Everyday I tell myself that I don’t need anyone’s approval or confirmation that I’m enough because I am, period. I’m straight enough with myself to admit that I still聽want the approval of people, especially those I care about or work for, but as far as who I am as a person, approval is absolutely not necessary.

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NOTE TO SELF:

The quote I shared helps me to justify this to myself. If you have anxiety issues like me, you’re a lot more likely to understand how significant that is. If you’re scratching your head, what I mean is that when I’m telling myself I don’t need anyone’s approval each day, another part of me is hating on that idea and shooting it down, sometimes by mentioning recent bad calls I’ve made, and this quote triggers another part of me (I know, I know, schizophrenic much, Kerissa?!) that chimes in with things like the CVS cashier story and rallies in support of my being enough.

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My truth is that I LOVE making people smile. I can’t stand bullies and I consider any intentional unkindness, like that guy in front of me at CVS, akin to bullying, and I don’t have a problem saying something when I think it’s necessary. Remembering this helps shut that little hater inside me up. Temporarily for now, but that bitch’s days are numbered, haha!

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What’s your truth? What truly drives you and why? I think having a good idea what your answers are is a great first step towards balance. And balance should be all of our goals. Not being better than we were or as good as someone else, just balanced.

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If this elephant can do it…I mean, really?! HAHA!

So that’s it for this installment. I sincerely hope that you find some comfort here and that you know how amazingly special of a person you are.

And I’ll leave you with this, from one of my favorite authors ever:

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Take care of yourselves!!

XOXO,

K

Unicorns and Snowflakes

Okay, now that you’ve got my basic history, I think the next important thing for me to put out here is that you and I are completely different people. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “uh, yeah, thanks Captain Obvious.” Hear me out, because I know it seems like an obvious thing, but the reason I’m making a point to point it out is that I want you to always keep that in mind whenever you read something I share about what I tried and what does and doesn’t work for me. Key words: FOR ME.

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Each of us are like a super secret recipe. God doesn’t do cookie cutters.

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I know I put “snowflakes” in my title here, but between you and me, I don’t know about the whole “no 2 snowflakes are the same.” I’ve never actually touched a snowflake and I certainly haven’t done any research into that claim, but the general understanding of that particular idiom is absolutely appropriate for us here.

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I’d love to say we’re unicorns, but then wouldn’t I be saying that we’re either mythical or just extinct? Too much analysis, I know. Story of my life. I love to think I’m a unicorn. So let’s just say we’re Snowflake Unicorns. Who’s gonna stop us? HA!

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You know what the funniest thing about this meme is? I didn’t make it, it came up when I googled “snowflake unicorn”!! That means it IS a thing! Okay, no it doesn’t, but it DOES mean there are others out there, haha!

As always, I’ve gone off on a tangent, but you know what? I’ve learned to appreciate the renewed mental freedom to do so. There was a time when my tangents were almost extinct.

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What I’m hoping to get across here is that you, me, and every other person out there, are unique. And because none of us are exactly the same, there isn’t just one single, cure-all solution for our personal issues. What works for me may not work for you, but that’s as it should be. Your solution will be tailor-made for you — customized exactly so just for you because you deserve a solution that addresses everything YOU need it to.

I know I may be beating this point to death, but I just want to make sure that you remember that you’re so special that you must have your own specific solution and that you aren’t discouraged if I say “oh, I just love making jewelry, it calms me down and makes me feel less stressed,” and you think jewelry making is stupid or tedious and it doesn’t help alleviate your anxiety at all. That’s okay! So jewelry making is not for you, that doesn’t mean there isn’t something out there that can be for you what jewelry making is for me, because I’m absolutely sure that there is.

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I’ll be sharing things that did AND didn’t work for me. I’m sharing what didn’t work for me because it could work for you. Try it! Just because I say it didn’t work for me, doesn’t take it out of the running. If I tried it,that means that I read something somewhere that I thought made sense (trust me, I’m quite the skeptic, so if I tried it, whatever I read was very convincing). I’m going to do my best to provide links, whenever applicable, to where I found an idea that I tried, so that you can check out the actual source for yourself, but honestly, I didn’t keep track of most of them. BUT I think I’ll be able to find most of them again. Research is my middle name.

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Just kidding, I don’t have a middle name, haha! But if I did… it would be something Samoan. Probably.

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Okay, so we’re clear now, right? I mean, you know that your recipe for balance is going to be one of a kind and probably not exactly the same as mine or anyone else’s. And that’s absolutely cool. We’re Snowflake Unicorns, remember? We invented cool.

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Take care of yourselves. And in parting, I leave you with this:

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“Anxious” Just Doesn’t Do It Justice

The word “anxious,” to me, brings a mostly positive image to mind. Like when you’re anxiously awaiting a phone call from your sweetheart or your test results or that call from the company you just interviewed with. Not to be rude, but “anxious” is way, WAY too, well, “soft” a word to describe my anxiety issues.

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If you are one of the billions of people who didn’t catch my last post: Hi 馃檪 My name is Kerissa and I have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which is pretty much a “catch all” for anything that doesn’t fall within the set parameters of GAD’s fellow disorders, which include the likes of OCD, PTSD, IUD (just kidding – oh, for any guys reading, IUD is actually a birth control method), and all the fun phobias you can think of. After learning that 2 of my nieces were also dealing with similar issues, I realized that what I’ve learned since being diagnosed could possibly help one of the millions of people out there, someone who may not even realize what they’re experiencing. I know I didn’t.

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OK, now that we’re all caught up, I figured I should start with my story (very CliffsNotes, I promise) as a foundation for this “series.”

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I was a workaholic. I would never ever have described myself as one, but then again, I would never ever have described myself or thought I would be a control freak. Surprise! I mean, I wasn’t BORN a control freak, quite the contrary, but I became one because I told myself that it was necessary in order for me to keep up with “my” responsibilities.

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I realized I was a control freak about 4 years ago, but I thought it was okay because my job, the vast and varying intricacies and nuances of it, required a very tight reign. So, yeah, okay, control freak, I know, but workaholic? Me? No way. Oh wait. Yes way. I was either at work, at home doing work, thinking about work, at the gym, getting drunk or passed out. Seriously.

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The first of the conscious dominoes that fell was the passing of my dad in May 2015. I mean, it wasn’t his passing, he had been in deteriorating health for 14 years and I would never wish him back in the state that he left this world. I truly am happy that he is now without pain and can be and do all the things he was exiled from due to his immobility and other shitty unfortunates. It was my stubborn decision not to deal with my feelings after he passed that led to my having, basically, a breakdown. It wasn’t a “nervous” breakdown, it was an everything breakdown. Not just nerves, not just mental, not just physical, not just emotional; everything. It was not pretty.

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Sidenote: Is ANYONE a “pretty” cry-per, like ANYONE in this whole world? Because, I mean, I am not. I won’t subject you to a hideous picture of me during or post crying, don’t worry. But I will share this with you – it’s a screen shot of what I got when I googled “ugly cry” hahahaha 馃檪

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I don’t know what your situation is with regard to your religious or spiritual beliefs, but for me, I think that God (as I understand Him, completely respectful of all other understandings) looked at me, shook His head, sighed and started pulling the plugs on everything that was overloading me. Seriously. There’s no other way to explain the sequence of events that happened since that first domino fell. Even today, when I look back, I am absolutely certain that it was Divine Intervention. And everyday I thank Him for it.

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The actual catalyst for change didn’t hit until just over a year after my dad left. In July 2016, in the first week, I got in 2 car accidents – 2 within the space of 3 days. I was at the end of my rope, I had already run headfirst into The Wall of Overwhelming, but I was still telling myself I had to hang in there just for a little longer. Then on July 19th, my family experienced a huge loss and I experienced a huge barrel full of ice-cold Wake The Fuck Up, Kerissa. (But no one was laughing behind me)

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I remember that night. I was trying to finish some crap for work and my phone started buzzing. I looked at the caller ID and rolled my eyes, irritated by the interruption. I’m an asshole because the caller ID said it was my mom. I didn’t answer. I finished that stupid meaningless fucken report for work AND THEN called my mom back. As soon as she answered, I could tell she was or had been crying and I immediately shot into a panic, followed by a plunge into – there’s no other word that works here, but sorrow – as I heard her say that my sweet, albeit troubled, 19 year old nephew, had hung himself that morning. Cue the water works. That was the straw for this camel’s back. A few months later, after another fucked up email from my boss which had me sitting at my desk in tears, I walked out of that office and never went back. Best decision I ever made.

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Okay, not financially, but I would describe it like one of the MasterCard commercials. Mortgage: $1,987.00; Car payment: $453; Monthly Costco Receipt: $525; Other bills: A LOT; Mental Emancipation: Priceless.

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So that’s what was happening outside, but what was happening inside was even more alarming. I can’t even say for sure when my stress levels reached the red zone, but I’m pretty sure it was way before my dad, I was just too busy to pay attention to myself and just active enough to let off enough steam to keep my stress tank from exploding. I had my first, what I now realize was a panic attack on my birthday, which is in August. The first birthday after my dad passed. I don’t even remember what happened. I felt tingly, short of breath, and my neck hurt. I remember standing up to stretch and that’s it. The next thing I knew, my boyfriend was yelling at me to wake up and I had the worst headache. Oh, and my chest felt – bruised. My boyfriend had been there, sitting next to me, the whole time. He said I was crying and wouldn’t talk to him, just sobbing. Then I started hyperventilating and he panicked but I couldn’t or wouldn’t talk to him and then I collapsed. Oh, and I never got up to stretch like I thought I remembered. Weird, right?

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After that dam broke, the migraines joined in. Right above my left eyeball, in the brow bone. They were monstrous and fucken frequent, too. I got one, at least, every other day and nothing helped but taking a walk with my headphones on. Dude, I was miserable. That was the darkest time in all my life.

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Okay, I have to stop talking about this for now, it’s totally bumming my trip right now and I’ve learned that I can stop most of the melancholy-ish crap if I just stop thinking about it. Easier said than done. I also learned that singing is my whatever the opposite of kryptonite is. So I’m going to leave this story here for now and go sing some karaoke on my new favorite app – SMULE, Sing it! For anyone who’s also musically inclined in the vocal arena, it’s a free karaoke app. I love it. Oh, and I’m Assirek2L2Q if you decide to check it out.

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Take care of yourselves. I’ll be back. (Imagine me saying it in the Terminator- Schwartzeneggar voice, it’s funnier).

Oh, and before I go, remember this:

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Truth & Trappings

When my brain first started percolating on the idea of a blog, I was SO excited. I mean, I love writing, I love telling stories, I love the idea of sharing stories across the world (potentially, haha) and I love the idea that I could speak my piece about, well, whatever. I still love the idea, but I unfortunately did not end up doing that – speaking my piece about whatever, I mean.

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See, I did research prior to starting my blog, cause that’s just one of my “things,” and over and over I kept reading that I had to have a “niche.” I couldn’t just write about whatever I wanted, I had to decide on my niche and stick to it. With no experience to contradict the overwhelming majority of sources that spoke of the mandatory “niche,” I reassessed and decided that, above all, I wanted to help people. I wanted to make people smile. I wanted to be a place where anyone who stopped by would feel welcome and included and could relate somehow. I wanted to share my spirituality and my faith and my understanding of love. I still want all of those things, but I recently and very unexpectedly, was hit in the face with how I could actually help people.

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I say “hit in the face” because it’s been here all along.

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I say “hit in the face” because part of me feels like that’s what I deserve for choosing not to see it until now.

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I say “hit in the face” because I walked right into the wall surrounding the eye of the storm in my niece and I hadn’t even seen the clouds.

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I say “hit in the face” because I’d really rather be hit in the face than open myself up the way this method of “helping people” requires of me.

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But I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it right now. For my nieces. For anyone that might find comfort or aid in what I have to share. For myself.

I know, I know, that was a WHOLE lotta preface, I bet you’re thinking whatever I say next will be anti-climatic, at the most. Right? Well, that’s up to you.

*AHEM.

ANXIETY

I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (“GAD”) in December 2016. GAD is kind of like the “catch-all” disorder amongst its peers, which include PTSD, OCD, Social Anxiety Disorder, and the various and plentiful phobias. Unfortunately, GAD is so “generalized” that it does nothing to help me convey what I experience to those who are in some way affected by it. Or to myself. So, me being me, I embarked on a crusade to figure out how to manage whatever this is and help my loved ones understand and do the same.

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Over the last year, I have done quite an impressive array of experiments, tried SO many different methods from every part of the spectrum of “wellness,” or whatever you want to call it, and I have read every piece of information I considered viable. I have certifications achieved through courses I’ve taken regarding Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Essential Oils, Healing Crystals, Chakra Balancing, and a few others of similar subject matter. Mmmhmm, that’s right, I don’t bluff, I gets to the learning straight away 馃檪

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BUT, one of the things I haven’t done is talk about it. My experience. Well, not really. See, part of my anxiety issue is what I call The Charade. I pretty much do anything not to appear anything other than the cool, sarcastic, funny, calm, and collected person that I think everyone around me expects. I’ve done this for so long that I, seriously, don’t know how not to. I’m working on it, but…well.

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When I found out that 2 of my beautiful nieces were also suffering from a similar malady, I realized that this is probably something that A LOT of people – especially of the female persuasion – are going through. And A LOT of those people are probably just as scared and freaked out as I was at the start of last year. And I can HELP!! Well, I can certainly try.

This was my long-winded way of saying, formally, that my posts in the immediate future will be about things I’ve tried and what I’ve learned in my journey to Balance– which is still ongoing, for sure. It is my first and most fervent wish that something I say along the way, at least one thing, will make a difference for someone. That’s all I can ask for, and all the reason I need.

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Happy New Year!!

 

Change.

The most difficult part of life is one that is inescapable and poetically bittersweet, as a whole. Sometimes it’s wonderful and exciting and you feel like you’ve got it all worked out now. Then other times it’s a wrenching loss that you always knew would come along one day, but always hoped it would be another day.

It’s present in us and manifests itself on all levels.

Physically, it takes us from a tiny embryo to the shell that we find ourselves in today, and all the amazing things that happened on the way.

Mentally, it takes us from knowing more than we thought we knew or was possible, to realizing we don’t know much.

Emotionally, it sloshes us around, bashing us up against things we didn’t expect and away from things we don’t want to let go of.

Spiritually, it takes us from an infinite connection that is each one of our birthrights and sets us on varied paths that test that connection and under the influence of things that can sever or strengthen it.

The one thing that we have, always, to help us navigate many of the things that this inescapable force brings us face to face with? Choice. Free will. If we would only remember that, imagine what that could mean for this world.

If every person was held accountable to themselves, by themselves, and forced to treat themselves as they treat others, imagine…

For all those who point fingers at a religion or a family tradition or whatever else they imagine they can pin their choices on, remember that. It is your choice.

Change is inescapable. So is accountability.聽 Make choices that you can be proud of as an individual and would stand behind if left to face the consequences for that choice, as an individual. Because that is exactly what you can look forward to.

Love is the most powerful force and we all have the capability of producing an infinite amount of it. Choose love.

 

Coincidence and Synchronicity

I’m going to start us off here with some Real Deal Holyfield definitions, courtesy of Merriam-Webster.com, just to keep us on the same page ;):

Coincidence (noun)聽co路in路ci路dence聽\k艒-藞in(t)-s蓹-d蓹n(t)s,-s蓹-藢den(t)s\
1:聽聽the act or condition of聽coinciding:聽correspondence.
2:聽聽the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection聽
Interestingly enough, MW thinks “coincidence” is either super important or super confusing because it provides links to alternate definitions following this main one.
There’s a link聽for kids that takes you聽here,聽where you’ll find almost the exact same definition as the one above.
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Then there’s a link for those who are not native English speakers, which takes you to the “Learner’s” version of MW,聽where they break it down a little further, and in a way that is actually more relevant in to my point here, especially in the example sentences that follow the definition. Check it out:
Coincidence (noun)聽co路in路ci路dence聽\k艒-藞in(t)-s蓹-d蓹n(t)s,-s蓹-藢den(t)s\

1:a situation in which events happen at the same time in a way that is not planned or expected

2:聽[singular]formal:the occurrence of two or more things at the same time.聽 聽鈥⒙Scientists have no explanation for the聽coincidence聽of these phenomena.

 

3:聽[singular]formal:the state of two or more things being the same – often/of.聽 鈥⒙犅There is a聽coincidence of聽interests between the companies. [=the companies share the same interests]

 

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COINCIDENCE, illustrated.聽

Synchronicity didn’t get the same treatment as its friend Coincidence, but it is the proud owner of additional definitions belonging to different words that define it, within its definition – haha! Take a look:

 

Synchronicity聽聽(noun)聽syn路chro路nic路i路ty聽\藢si艐-kr蓹-藞ni-s蓹-t膿,藢sin-\

pluralsynchronicities

1:the quality or fact of being聽synchronous, 聽which is defined as:
聽 聽 聽 聽1:happening, existing, or arising at precisely the same time
2:recurring or operating at exactly the same periods
3:involving or indicating聽synchronism
4a:having the same period;聽also:聽having the same period and phase
4b:geostationary聽(being or having an equatorial orbit at an altitude of about 22,300 miles (35,900 kilometers) requiring an angular velocity the same as that of the earth so that the position of a satellite in such an orbit is fixed with respect to the earth)
5:聽of, used in, or being digital communication (as between computers) in which a common timing signal is established that dictates when individual bits can be transmitted and which allows for very high rates of data transfer
2:聽the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (such as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causalityused especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung
I would bet that you’re more comfortable and familiar with “coincidence,” right? You’ve heard people say it over and over all your life, and you’ve probably used the term dozens, maybe even hundreds or thousands of times in your life. In ways like: “What a coincidence!” “It was such a coincidence that we happened to be there at the same time!” “Coincidentally, we live on the same street!” etc., etc.
I know I’ve said it more times that I could even begin to count and most of those times it was more like a reflex, like a “filler” word that I used in the appropriate context, but that kind of lost its meaning somewhere along my life.
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What I mean is, I didn’t end those example coincidence sentences above with exclamation points for no reason. “Coincidence” was like a treat when I was younger. It was amazing in a way that I never appreciated but always felt. Then sometime, I don’t know when, it stopped feeling like magic and more like commonplace. I didn’t even realize there had been a change until I stopped believing in the word entirely. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself, my bad.
As for “synchronicity,” I barely knew the word. It seemed to be either super geeky “synchronize watches, men!” or super hippy/artsy “whoa, the synchronicity you have with that plant is exponential.” Other than while reading someone else’s words, I can’t think of a single time that I would have thought it the most appropriate word to leave these lips. Well, until a couple years ago.
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Now that brings us to my spiritual health. Now, I’ve never been an atheist, not at all, but I had neglected my relationship with my Higher Power for…well, longer than I care to admit here, and through a series of life-changing events, including the passing of 2 people that I love dearly, I was lovingly, but quite assertively plopped down in front of myself by Himself, and made to observe…myself.
It wasn’t pretty, but it was one of the most significant events of my life. In the darkness that ensued, I found my light.
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Well, I shouldn’t say “found,” because that insinuates that it was hiding somewhere of its own volition, which isn’t true. I had stacked some worthless crap that the world told me was important in front of it, as well as my ego and a lot of booze. A little spring cleaning and we were back in business.
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I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that it was easy to dump things that I had placed such huge values on for all of my adult life, cause that would be bullshit. It was tough – it still is in more ways than I’m comfortable with, but I’m working on that.聽 Bottom line was that, at the end of the day, I gave way too many f&%ks about all the wrong shit and for all the wrong reasons and for a whole mess of the wrong people.
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Once I let go of the false dependency on meaningless things, it was like a door — no a fricken drawbridge! — opened and a whole horde of connections that I had never made but that had, apparently, been there all along, stampeded across my heart — in a good way!
I think a great way to explain it is like learning another language; a language that had been spoken to and around you always; a language that you thought you knew how to speak until you finally understood it.
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My point, the one I’m rambling about, is — wait for it…. there is no such thing as a coincidence.
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Nothing in life is coincidental or accidental, there’s lots of transcendental, but mostly, there are synchronicities. Forget what you read up top, the real meaning of synchronicities is聽connections.聽Coincidence alludes to the connections of events, but as more of a secondary, “honorable mention”-esque sort of thing.聽 In truth, the connection IS the event.
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XOXO- K

Take A Knee: What most people don’t know about the President’s latest asinine remark

The President of this country says the most ridiculous and hateful things and, as of yet, there doesn’t seem to be an end to his ignorance. Please see the wonderfully penned article below, by Phinneas Rueckert, who writes for Global Citizen.聽

HERE

The Political History Behind the NFL鈥檚 #TakeAKnee Protests

Baltimore Ravens players kneel down during the playing of the U.S. national anthem before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday Sept. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

On Sunday, as more than 100 NFL players took a knee, sat, locked arms, or stayed in the locker room during the national anthem, Questlove Gomez sent out a powerful tweet urging Americans to look to the historical antecedents to Sunday鈥檚 protests before joining in on them.

鈥渓ook #TakeTheKnee = powerful,鈥 Gomez tweeted. 鈥淏UT don’t bandwagon something u don’t get: point is to UNDERSTAN [sic] why @Kaepernick7 is protesting. start there.鈥

look聽聽= powerful. BUT don’t bandwagon something u don’t get: point is to UNDERSTAN why聽@Kaepernick7聽is protesting. start there

Gomez is right.

The roots of the NFL鈥檚 鈥淭ake a Knee鈥 go beyond Sunday鈥檚 spate of NFL games, and even beyond quarterback Colin Kaepernick鈥檚 kneeling protests that began in 2016. They go beyond sports to address one of the fundamental issues of our time, and one that Global Citizen campaigns on: entrenched racial inequality, within and among countries.

The Global Goals for Sustainable Development enshrine聽reduced inequalities聽鈥渨ithin and among countries鈥 as one of 17 requisites for ending extreme poverty by 2030. They call for policies that 鈥減romote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.鈥

These policies, ultimately, are what Kaepernick,聽Stevie Wonder,聽Miley Cyrus,聽Dale Earnhardt Jr.,聽Pharrell Williams, J. Cole, Shonda Rhimes, and Martin Luther King, Jr. before them, are calling for by taking a knee and lifting their voices up.

Speaking in 2016, Kaepernick outlined his reason for kneeling or taking a seat during the national anthem in no uncertain terms.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,鈥 he聽said聽in August of 2016. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

According to the Mapping Police Violence project, black people are three times more likely than white people to be the聽victims of police brutality. And 99% of police officers involved in police brutality cases are not convicted.

Read More:聽How the NBA Is Quietly Becoming the Most Progressive Pro-Sports League in America

The act of taking a knee to protest police violence and systemic inequality goes back to the Civil Rights Movement.

On Sunday, King’s youngest daughter, Bernice,聽tweeted out a picture聽of the Civil Rights leader聽and others聽taking a knee before being arrested for advocating for voter registration rights at the Dallas County courthouse in Selma, Ala in 1965.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

The real shame & disrespect is that, decades after the 1st photo, racism STILL kills people & corrupts systems.聽@POTUS

Former US Attorney General Eric Holder聽posted a similar picture of King聽from that same protest, saying: 鈥淭hose who dared protest have helped bring about positive change.鈥

Taking a knee is not without precedent Mr. President. Those who dared to protest have helped bring positive change

Despite King鈥檚 protests, and the many that have followed, economic prospects for people of color in the United States have stagnated since 1983, and are expected to fall between now and 2024,聽Forbes reports.

According to Fortune, the United States is the聽most unequal nation in the world.

Reporter Mehreen Kasana,聽writing for Bustle, drew a direct line between Kaepernick鈥檚 protest and the entrenched inequality that continues to exist in the United States and around the world.

Read More:聽Global Citizens at GC Fest Have a Lot to Say About America鈥檚 Role in the World

鈥淜aepernick’s protest is against a form of violent racial inequality that predates the current president and is firmly embedded in the social fabric of this country in the form of discrimination against African Americans in education, professional places, and more,鈥 Kasana wrote.

The Global Goals offer a vision for how to change this, urging governments to 鈥渆nsure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard.鈥

In their own way, the NFL players who took a knee on Sunday made this same call to action.