Tag Archives: Doubt

In Recovery

I am in recovery.

Aren’t we all? Every person I know is recovering from something —

A broken heart; addiction; loss of a loved one; failed marriage; estranged relationships; eating disorders; disease; depression and anxiety; foreclosure; abandonment issues – let me tell you, the list goes on. This is life. This is what so many of you are struggling with day to day, and it just breaks my heart each time one of you reaches out to me and shares your story. I feel your pain. I feel the struggle. I struggle too – you guys know this, and that is why I am so thankful I have this platform to share my story as it unfolds.

I am recovering from an abusive relationship with myself. You guys know this. It actually seems silly to say it like that – to articulate it in such a way that places me as the victim AND the offender, but this is my truth. It is the least I can give to you to show my appreciation for what you guys give to me each day. I’ll be honest; I am embarrassed to voice the terribly destructive thoughts that float through my mind just as a coy, fluffy cloud passes over a brilliantly blue, seemingly spotless summer sky. Within seconds of the clouds’ arrival, they chisel away at yesterday’s half-assed attempt to convince myself that I am worthy of anything. Sky is now grey with ash and soot – and all I’m left with are the tears that cleanse my soul. Back to square one, yet again. Confused, frustrated, angry with myself. How could I let this happen again? How could I let those innocent clouds become knives – cutting through each layer of my confidence? I bleed profusely, and my world is suddenly painted red with suffering and deception.

A fourteen-year-old Ki would have chosen booze…. Yes, alcohol was my friend at a young age. You’d never know it then. I was a ‘straight A’ student, a talented athlete, and I wore a pretty smile that I meticulously painted each morning as I awoke. Funny thinking about it now, I was never really awake. I was sleepwalking through my life. Yet, you saw all the potential in the world. I saw nothing but lies and pain. God, if I had only known then how much the world offers us each and every moment, every single day, I am certain I would not have slept for so long. You cannot sleep through life and truly live. As I think about her now, my heart breaks for fourteen-year old Ki. I carry a piece of her with me today. She’s still in recovery. I am teaching her slowly that hurt is a natural part of this life, but it can be managed and sorted through. Recovery is possible.

I recently found meditation. Or shall I say, meditation found me? For I am certain that the Universe offered it to me – crying out to me to take this opportunity and run with it. Fucking hold on tight, and run with it (I’m certain that this is how the Universe speaks – this is your cue to chuckle). A wonderful friend of mine sent me a link to Oprah and Deepak’s Desire and Destiny 21-day meditation class. Something deep within me whispered that day: This is a bit out of your comfort zone, but you have no other choice. You’ve exhausted all other options. This will be your therapy. This is where you – Ki — will rest easy. You cannot do this alone anymore. Being strong does not mean you must walk a path of recovery alone. Let this be your guide. You will not regret it. You deserve this. Yes, you DESERVE this.

And I never looked back. I have been quietly meditating since November 13, 2013. I am confident in saying that it has changed my view of this life completely. This post is not an opportunity to ‘plug’ Oprah and Deepak and sell you a CD on meditation (no, I did not get paid for providing the link). I’m telling you guys that you MUST find something that guides you in your recovery, whatever it may be. TRY EVERYTHING!! If exercise is your meditation, then get a gym membership today! If reading is where you find your bliss, then by all means get in the car and go to the nearest bookstore and stay until it closes. If going to church is where you feel your heart mends the quickest, go to the next available service – and if you’re too hesitant to try it out, send me an email and I will go with you! (Provided you are in the Midwest, USA)

Please, please, please take it from me – if you do not know your path in life and you do not know what helps you become a better version of yourself – then you must keep on trying. Dip your toes in foreign waters. Hell, I’ve tried on religion after religion; considered joining the police force (what??!); thought having a child would fix me (This IS NOT THE ANSWER, I PROMISE YOU. Children bring happiness and joy – but they WILL NOT FIX YOU); I even joined a local group of Instagrammers who share my obsession with photography, and this has worked out wonderfully for my social and mental health. My point is you must keep searching. You must keep testing new waters. Some of these endeavors will do wonders for your recovery. Some, well… just won’t. But that is the beauty of this life: You have the choice to try new things. You have the choice to overcome that which you perceive as a struggle. Release the fear. Let go of the thought that you are struggling. Recovery is positive. It is an opportunity to learn and grow. Your setbacks are beautiful because in the end, they provide you a new opportunity – a new direction – in this beautiful life.

The catch?? Only YOU can do this. Only YOU can walk your path.

As Oprah and Deepak often remind me — Moments themselves are the gifts. The journey itself, the rich reward. Find the gifts in every problem in your life. Start over today. It’s okay to admit you didn’t get it right the first time. Recovery is a second chance at life! A rebirth!

As I’ve said before, we can always begin again. I’ll be here; anxiously awaiting your emails, your pictures, your smiles as you tell me what it is that nourishes your soul and guides you toward a healthy recovery. I am with you.

And I will chat with you soon.

Cheers, readers.

Ki

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Inspiration for this post:

–The place where this little dove has flown and found a home; your heart; your love; all of YOU–

–Poet: Jules R. Ryckebusch

–Musician: Edward Maya

 

 

 

Just Be

Sometimes I think about how weird I really am.

  • Some of my best friends are people I’ve never met in person.
  • Being in a bookstore feels like Christmas morning; heart filled with joyful anticipation of the unknown. Eyes drooling over each untouched gift.
  • The smell of freshly brewed coffee makes my heart flutter. Coffee mugs, well, it’s embarrassing how much I love mugs (and coffee for that matter!)
  • I cry daily (to say the least).
  • I have too many obsessions to name: Hand sanitizer, soft pretzels with cheese (Oh my dear god), sugar, Instagram, poetry, the ocean, trees, the smell of fall, the sun…
  • There is an indescribable energy that floods my body each time I meet a new blog reader and connect with him/her on a level that far exceeds any expectation. The gratitude in my heart is insurmountable. I wish everyone on this earth could FEEL it.
  • Although I have an eclectic taste in music, I must admit that Romanian techno beats fuel spontaneous dance parties in my household, err, often.
  • The idea of backpacking through Europe and staying in hostels while simultaneously taking copious notes in hundreds of journals excites every inch of my being.
  • I’m a proud American, but the most flattering compliment I’ve received as of late is: “You’re looking rather Euro today!” (Ki heart gushing still!!)

The list goes on….

Are you getting the point? I’m So weird.

Then I stop and think – there is an honesty to my weirdness. It is pure, fresh, and innocent. It is the kind of honesty that breathes easily as it seeps from my pores – mirroring the honestly of very young children. You know, the kind that emanates from those who have yet to realize the vastness of the hurt, disappointment, and responsibility that hides in this life. Children play without hesitation. They laugh heartily in the present moment. They seek out answers with curious minds and hopeful hearts. In love with life, their souls effortlessly take flight. They dream. They believe. They live.

As the years blend – one into the next — We lose sight of this ‘zest for living’ with age. We become stale, young adults who complicate every facet of life and who spread suffering everywhere. We lose our curious spark only to make room for the desire to be like everyone else; to do what everyone expects of us; to be accepted in society. We are afraid to be happy just as we are. Blinded by fear, we forget to truly live.

Navigating choppy waters, we struggle each day to rise to the top; to be the best employee; to have the highest paying job; to live in the most adventurous city. As we climb the ladder of ‘success,’ we miss the gifts that reside in every moment – Smells that excite the senses; smiles that warm the heart; laughter that soothes the soul. We forget that loving others (and ourselves) is a responsibility and not a luxury. Instead, we are caught up in our extraneous activities and ‘To-Do’ lists, allowing the present to dissolve quicker than cotton candy in your mouth. Spontaneity feels like a foreign term. Schedules and appointments consume us – drowning us in our overworked, overbooked, overly exhausted lives. We forget the importance of simplicity. Sadly, we lose the grace of the child within each of us.

I laugh at my list of ‘weird’ qualities and gladly embrace them as I grow older. For as long as I can remember, I thought that life was one continuous struggle to be a better version of myself. I now know that life is about survival, and you don’t have to struggle to survive. Simply put, survival is existence. Exist and be who you are, right here. Right now.

Hey, I like weird! Weird looks good on me.

Embrace who you truly are. It looks good on you too.

Cheers, readers.

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@kileybw for more photos

LifeofKi is now on Facebook!

 

Life of Pi, I mean — Ki

What a difference a year makes. Where were you one year ago today? With what issues were you struggling? Which path in life scared you the most? What questions laid heavily upon your heart?

Religion was my answer, back then. Had you asked naive Ki these questions a year ago, my busy mind ticked: Why does religion scare me? Who is ‘God?’ and Why don’t I know God? I was confused about religion, scared by it, desperate for a connection with it – or so I thought, back then. I voiced my doubts concerning Christianity, hollered my inquiries regarding Judaism, and quietly hid my fascination with Buddhism. I laugh now because religion was not the issue at all! Religion was the symptom, not the root of the questions in my heart.

I blogged last December about uncomfortable feelings surrounding Christianity and ‘God’ in the post A New Year. A New Religion? (I know some of you remember!! I think I fluffed a few feathers). As I’ve said many times before on this blog, I was one lost, confused, desperate woman –pulling at the fray of ANYTHING that would prevent me from drowning in doubt, insecurity, and fear. I assumed religion was the missing piece of the puzzle. Yes, religion would save me from the negative feelings that flourished in my mind!!! I thought if I asked enough questions of each religion and fervently searched for a deeper connection that I would undeniably feel the presence of ‘God.’ I can assure you, life is never so simple.

There was a hole in my story, back then. I can truthfully say there still IS a hole in my story. The difference now is that I am fully aware that religion is the LEAST of my worries! The obstacle is not in finding ‘God;’ the challenge is in finding my true self.

I ask of myself this year – With what issues do I struggle? Which path in life scares me the most? I can assure you, religion is not my answer this year. I am not actually looking for God. I am not looking for a religion that fits me perfectly. I realize that searching for fulfillment in a religion leaves me feeling frustrated and defeated. Although diving head first into Jewish religion courses has been one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life, I am finding each day that a desire to know ‘God’ is easily translated into: A desire to know myself.  

Hahaha funny side note: I named this website after a novel that unbeknownst to me at the time of naming, is in fact about a spiritual, introspective quest. I mean, come on guys!! The answers have been in me all along! I just thought “LifeofKi” was catchy, and I kinda thought I might get a few accidental ‘hits’ from those searching for Life of Pi …. I had no clue that “LifeofKi” was literally THE MOST PERFECT name for what was about to unfold in my life. Thank you, Life of Pi!! Or should I say, thank you subconscious, true Ki?!

Okay back to seriousness………..

What am I afraid of the most? Honestly?

Knowing myself. Forgiving myself. Accepting myself. Loving myself.

Which road desperately needs fresh pavement and immense TLC?

The path to creating a healthier sense of self.

There is no need to look for a God (or energy, as I see it) because it is already inside of my heart. I thought I was waiting for God when in truth, I was waiting for acceptance. Acceptance from myself. I am beginning to acknowledge that I have neglected the one person who cries out for attention, love, and acceptance. I have let go of my mental self, my physical self, my spiritual self. Where I once saw a ‘yearning for a connection with God,’ I now see I need the one person who is keeping me from me.

I miss Ki, the free spirit. I miss Ki, the playful lover. I miss Ki, the confident woman with aspirations and dreams, big dreams.

I left my true self on the side of the road years ago. I gave my ego permission to reign over every ounce of my body, allowing for the rest of Ki to feed on the false perceptions of who I needed to be, ought to be, would never be. Readers, this is THE most frustrating dead end to find yourself. But wait!! Need a silver lining?? Well, you’re in luck.

When you find yourself in this destitute place, you will soon realize you were never lost to begin with. It isn’t about finding yourself. The key is in cultivating a true sense of who you are and who you are destined to be. You, like me, will get there. I promise you. Although religion has helped to calm my busy mind (and open my world to culture, compassion, and love) the only TRUTH is in getting to know myself. Readers, give yourself permission to let go of whatever it is holding you back. If YOU are what is holding you back, then smile. A beautiful ride awaits you. This is the toughest job in the world. Tougher than parenthood; tougher than tackling issues with others; tougher than giving birth! I say truthfully that cultivating a healthy relationship with myself has been the toughest challenge in my life thus far – and some of you know the hell I have seen in my short 23 years.

Let me show you that you can be in the midst of a hellish downfall and come out of it stronger than ever. Yes, as I said I have demons, but don’t we all? We all bleed the same; some of us just have a few more scars than others. And trust me: your scars are beautiful, just like YOU.

 

Begin with this:

Look in the mirror and say to yourself every day –

I am beautiful.

I am doing a great job.

I love you.

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Your life begins with you.

Your love begins with you.

Take the first step.

 

Cheers, Readers.

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***Photo courtesy of Courtney Venable Photography***

 

Related:

Love Yourself

 

In a Sea of Unknowns

I’m honored to have a second opportunity with The Easier Softer Way! It is an amazingly inspirational site with thoughts on healing, meditation, spirituality, Buddhism, recovery, and much more. It provides profound insight for those in need. I wrote a post on the power of positive self-talk and introspection called In a Sea of Unknowns. Check it out if you have a moment!

Cheers, readers!

Every new day is beautiful, you know.
Each newly passing cloud is a reminder that all things are temporary; this too shall pass – whatever it may be.
New life drinks in the warmth of the sun as it rises.
It is always there, you know. The sun, that is.
Even though you may not see it, it is always sustaining life, your life…

For the original piece in its entirety — The Easier Softer Way

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Related:

Gratitude — (Post for The Easier Softer Way)

 

 

 

Say Anything

If I could say anything exactly one year ago yesterday – I can assure you, I would not have uttered a word. My head was crowded with thoughts; my heart, corroded by fear. I was crumbling. Screaming, yet you heard nothing. Crying, but you saw no tears rolling. I was hiding, clinging to the demons that quieted my dreams and fed my fears. What a mess I was. A mute, suffering mess. If your eyes met mine, I’m sure the fog was too thick for you to feel me, to know me. If we chatted, I’m sure I lied. I told you I was fine. I told you I was strong. I told you I didn’t need you. I didn’t need anyone. As I said, I lied.

Even if I could say anything one year ago yesterday, I didn’t know how. No motivation, no courage, no confidence. I was shivering; I was sinking; I’m surprised my bed didn’t swallow me whole some mornings. When you called, I didn’t answer. When you wrote, your letter collected dust. I wrote you off. I wrote me off. Nothingness was bliss, for a time. Faith in nothing. Fear of everything. Darkness dug my grave, shoveling the heavy dirt that would suffocate my existence. I wasn’t living. I was sleepwalking in daylight.

What a beautiful time to start a blog, eh? I don’t remember the who, what, when, where. I don’t remember who encouraged me to write again. I don’t remember much. But I do remember the overwhelming sensations that rushed my body as I felt the sudden urge to brainstorm ideas for the blog. The creative flow flooded every inch of my being. Appearing like a sharp winter wind, line after line, word after word bit my flesh, awakening my senses to the core. It was the most intense experience I had felt in months. My heart raced. I began to cry. It just kept coming. The thoughts. The ideas. My spark. I felt it again. I was alive. I had a purpose. I had a duty. I had to share, with you guys. Something woven in my soul had had enough of my bullshit drone of an existence. It was my time, it said. And for the first time in years, I listened.

So I started a blog, and for twelve long months I cried, I wrote, I was frustrated, I was happy, I was terrified. Publishing a post felt like I was running naked in the streets of my hometown. Eyes upon me, judging, laughing, snickering, joking – or so I thought you would. I never thought anyone would take me seriously. I never thought anyone would see beyond the forced smile that I painstakingly painted upon my pale, sunken face each morning. I never thought you would look at me and hear what I was not saying – the desperate cries for a connection with YOU. A longing for support. A desire for acceptance.

Each new post was a little less scary to publish than the previous. I received wonderful feedback, and you have your favorites – but it wasn’t until Weeks Like This that I truly started to feel your warmth. It was as though my chilly, morning air was lifting – allowing for the sun to rise again. Peering through the blanket of trees that surrounded me, I could feel something more just beyond the brush. Within reach I felt something so familiar, yet so foreign. Something lovely and terrifyingly close. My dream was being realized. I called out for help, and finally my answer arrived.  

You guys trickled in through the cracks, my wonderful readers. I was broken, and you snuck in somehow. You took my hand as you witnessed my struggle. You celebrated my triumphs; we’ve laughed together; we’ve cried together. You know I doubt strongly and love passionately. You know I would do anything for my son and family, and I continue to take care of myself lastly. (I’m working on it! I need your reminders!) You guys know it all, and you still come back – to this day, this is not real to me. The reality of your support is something I am learning to accept and understand. It is difficult for me to accept that which I am not sure I truly deserve. I am indebted to you guys, really.

A year has slipped from my fingers again. Like sand through the cracks, it has disappeared forever, kidnapped by Father Time. I’m left alone with memories, burnt quietly into my flesh. I sit here just as I have many other afternoons during nap time, thinking quickly – pondering my next post. I’ve thought for a few months now – what do I write for my ‘one year’ post?? How profound do I need to be? Gosh, there are countless people to thank, where do I begin? You guys – I’ve cried over this, I’ve laughed, I’ve obsessed – as always. Yet now as I sit here, it’s funny because I’m just sitting here like an idiot, smiling. Grinning from ear to ear. In this moment, I am so thankful. I know without a doubt that in the end, I can say anything. And you guys will continue to support me. You’ll come back for a post here and there. I know that as long as this blog is a labor of love, you guys will be with me. Along the way. In the end, I just need you with me. I don’t need a thing from you. Just knowing that the passenger seat next to me is warmed by your presence is all I need to write my next post. I don’t expect much from others. I don’t expect a massive following with this blog. Honestly, I don’t even put faith in humans. I put my faith in love…  and as long as I’m sending love out there –to where you guys are – I know you’ll send it back, in whatever way you have to love.

That is what is so crazy about this life, my life – I receive so much love from you guys in many different forms. From ‘likes’ to ‘comments,’ emails to Skype phone calls – hell even some of you ‘argue’ with me until 1AM insisting that my views are limited (you know who you are – and you know I appreciate your efforts) you guys are with me, encouraging me to say anything. To always say anything. So for you, I am thankful. This outlet allows me to love and to be loved; to share and be shared with; to connect once again with my heart and now, yours. You know….. you really don’t break when you decide to let go. I am living proof. As I shed these layers, I feel nothing but a warm embrace from each of you as I continue to say anything.  

One year ago today, I opened my world to you guys. I started a conversation about love, parenting, sex, religion, challenges, sacrifices, fear, you name it. As a friend of mine often reminds me, I am an incorrigible dreamer. I love that, but I can honestly say I never could have dreamt of the adventures that this blog would take me on. I have met some of the most intriguing people around the world. I have reconnected with long-time friends over issues first discussed on this blog. Support from my family is astonishingly pure. And quite amazingly, some of my best friends are people I’ve never even met in person – people who at first simply connected with something at LifeofKi.com, and who over the months have grown to be a part of my life.

 

A year ago yesterday, silence ensued.

Today I can say anything.

There is nothing left to say now but Thank you.

 

-Ki

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Harvest

I don’t know when I lost my mind.

Sometimes I really wonder if what goes on in my head is normal. These thoughts, these dreams, these insanely absurd fears – where do they come from? Why do I have them? Why do I feel them so strongly? Why do they speak to me just as a lover whispers sweet nothings: So faint, yet I feel them so deeply, within myself, resonating in the pit of my stomach.

Often it is the fear within that corrodes my heart. My ambitious dreams are always present, yes, but those damn fears – they are like the lingering sweat on my flesh after a playful night’s encounter with a stranger. I shamefully carry them with me each day. They are the morning dew that lay gently on blades of grass alike – cold and obnoxious, transparent and dissolvable. Their residue lay heavily on my mind, always.

In my most recent post, I touched on the topic of modeling and the energy that is injected into my soul surrounding each experience. Modeling opens the door to knowing me better and allows me to hurdle over those difficult comfort zones. Lovely, yes.  However, I would like to dive into the difficult issues surrounding modeling for you, readers, now.

Why do it, Ki? Why put yourself through such stress? I receive the same questions from family and friends. If I have such overwhelming anxiety each time, then why do it?? Why? Why is it so stressful for you? What are you seeing that we are not?

I think a seed was planted years ago. By whom? By what? That, I can’t answer. I’m not sure. All I can say for sure is a seed has grown exponentially over the years and is now seen wildly overgrown in my mind. That seed — stubborn and proud — has flourished, reproduced, and conquered. Where there once lay a small and immature seed, a forest lush with lies and untruths now stands firmly in the ground.

Today, I look in the mirror and see nothing similar to what you – my readers – see. No, I do not have an eating disorder. I am very healthy and active and take care of myself to the best of my ability. When I say I see something different – it is as though my mind tells the looking glass what to show me – an overweight, flawed, ugly human being. Each imperfection is amplified. Where you see a nose, I see a mountainous error that will one day be ‘fixed.’ I see hideous breasts, abused and battered by pregnancy. I see wide hips and chunky thighs; I see all features as shameful extensions of a less than worthy body. As I said, my lies and untruths are very firmly planted. This post is not for pity, but for strength. In sharing with you, I shed yet another layer of myself. This moment, I thank you for being with me as I do so.

Compliments from others are appreciated, yet it changes nothing about how I see this body that walks with me each day. There is nothing a friend, a relative, or a passerby can say that will allow me to see the truth that stands before the mirror. My truth is distorted and manipulated by the inner, deceptive workings of my brain – and I am slowing pulling the weeds and tilling the soil; desperate for a harvest one day soon. Maybe my heart feels so heavy because it is growing. Maybe the holes are filling in, repairing themselves. Hey, not a bad thought.

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Are you struggling? Does your soul feel lonely at times? I know, it is so tough to get past those moments of insecurity, doubt, and fear – and I’m talking about all aspects of life – personally, professionally, everything readers. Let me offer you this: Realize that you cannot hide forever. Make it a choice each morning as the sun kisses your skin to greet her and choose life, to live. If that is all you can do, then hold onto that tightly. Wake up each day, choose to live every moment, and you have taken the first step. You see, with time this will become natural, a habit of sorts – and you will see that the less you think about ‘doing,’ the more you will simply ‘be.’ I promise you, you will slowly become less of an observer and more of one who chooses to be active in the world again.

Quiet the incessant thoughts that tell you to use caution; silence them as best you can. Sometimes the heavy confusion within is really just our way of denying the natural course of our lives.

For twenty-three years I have been a victim of my mind’s deception. I have listened to it, obeyed it, and continued pursuing a life without imperfection. If you can relate, I beg you to stop. Now. You will never be perfect. You will never know perfection. Remember that ‘perfection’ is simply a word. It is not achievable. It is a word that carries immeasurably high hopes and devastating upsets. See that word, visualize it now, erase it, and let it go. Never use that word again.

Life is not beautiful despite imperfections. Life is beautiful because we climb, we fall, and we choose to overcome. There are many days where you WILL be on top, and there are many days where you will not. Take it all in. Take every moment. Accept the ‘bad’ just as you would accept the ‘good.’ Life is not meant to be continuously ‘happy,’ ‘joyful,’ etc (insert your favorite adjective here).  Let go of the emotions. Let go of thinking. It is in this release that you will begin again. We can always begin again.   

 

I don’t know when I lost my mind.

But I’m so thankful I did.

I’m feeling again. I’m loving again.

And I’ve only just begun,

Again.

 

 

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Musical inspiration behind this post — “Miss You” Ed Sheeran

Layers

What makes you uncomfortable? Public speaking? Airplanes? Social gatherings? Visiting your in-laws? Regardless, we all have our ‘things’ that make us uneasy, hesitant, unsure of ourselves – right? It’s all about that ‘comfort zone’ and what brings us out of it. How do you break out of yours? For some of us, it’s not so easy. Here’s a look into my world…

I’ll be very honest in saying that the thought of being a normal, functioning human being was inconceivable after having my son three years ago. Thrown into a new world of parenting, I was exhausted, fat, and scared to death of simply ‘being.’ I’m sure most first-time parents are terrified, but let it be noted – I was an extreme case, to say the least. For practically the first year of my son’s life, I was not just a stay-at-home mommy – I was a recluse. I did not enjoy being outside, I did not enjoy seeing other human beings, I did not enjoy most aspects of life at that time. Depressed? Maybe. Okay, yes, I was very depressed. More so, I was trapped in my safe little world that I had created. My comfort zone was suffocating me.

In retrospect, I can’t say specifically what happened over the last couple of years that slowly brought me out of my home and into the world again. Baby steps, perhaps. But steps in the right direction, nonetheless. Readers, it’s a bit embarrassing to admit how closed-off from literally everything I really was two years ago. During the early months of Lucas’ life, it was all I could do to muster up the courage to take a shower and go outside to push him in the stroller for a few minutes. The simple thought of being around people gave me anxiety. Trips to the grocery store were out of the question. Shopping – was a disaster. Going to a park to get some fresh air – forget about it. I was frozen in time, desperately trying to care for another human being while I could hardly take care of myself.

As I said, embarrassing. I felt like a failure. I saw nothing but the negative in myself. What had I amounted to at that time? College dropout, new mother, and struggling to simply ‘be.’ I was spinning. What was this life I had created? What was this life that I painstakingly refused to live? What would it take to get me out of my comfort zone?

Friends, this is difficult to talk about – but honestly, it’s the first layer of myself that I am peeling away at; the layer of guilt, shame, and fear that I want to share as a reminder that it is possible to keep living when the world seems like an impossible place to be in. It took a couple of years to realize that I needed help. REAL help. Therapeutic help. I needed an outlet to stay sane; to feel again; to remember who Kiley was. This blog has been my saving grace. An outlet to purge my thoughts, fears, regrets, everything. And YOU, readers, have been my motivation to keep going. All of you. Friends, family, ‘strangers’ who have become the best of friends to me.  You guys are the ones who challenge me to not only keep going, but also to keep breaking down the walls of comfort.

I think there is always more we can do to challenge ourselves. With extreme social anxiety, I’ve used my son as my security blanket for social situations. He has become my ‘go-to’ guy when anxiety surfaces and I feel I’m losing control. Lucas centers me; he distracts me at times from my nervous feelings; and above all else he is the smile on my face during those panicky moments in public. So, lately I’ve wondered: What can I do to challenge myself? What can I do to get out of my comfort zone?

Thus, I’ve found modeling. This really is quite an amusing topic. Who would have thought that I – anxiety-ridden, self-conscious Ki would take up modeling as a means to break free from comfort? But hey, I’m quite the impulsive, odd woman, so friends and family shouldn’t be too surprised by this decision (This is your cue to chuckle, guys – I’m learning to laugh at myself as well). You know, it really doesn’t make sense that I would choose such an industry to be involved in – seeing as how I have many body image issues, it would probably not be advised to take on a world where confidence is THE most important quality to have, when I seemingly have very little, if any, confidence at all. Okay, I digress. Maybe the point here is I make everything difficult on myself. BUT! I’m DOING something that is beyond freeing, beyond therapeutic, so far beyond my comfort zone.

There is something to be said for the sheer panic that I feel right before a fashion show or photo shoot. There is that ONE moment where my mind screams, DON’T DO IT. YOU WILL FAIL. And I have a choice. To do it now, or be swallowed up by the thoughts that have been bringing me down for years. I have a choice. Do I listen to the, “You’re not pretty enough; You’re not skinny enough; You’re not good enough?” Or do I walk out in front of everyone, fully exposed, and say – Fuck all of this self-doubt and self-loathing – you are here, now, be you and no one will take that moment away from you...

Really, the choice is a daily battle in my head. No, I don’t model every day. But my mind speaks very loudly, readers, and some days I struggle so very much. I can’t even begin to tell you how tough the battle with myself has been recently. I think I offer this story to you because in pushing myself I have come to know myself better. I’ve learned that I break easily, but each time I break, I grow a little stronger. Each time my mind aches and I see nothing but ugliness in the mirror, my heart grows a bit stronger as well. I mentioned baby steps earlier in this post. I am the epitome of baby steps. And I am okay with that. My journey is very slow, very hesitant, but fluid nonetheless. Readers, make it a daily challenge to yourself to get out of the comfort zone you have created. You will see the good, the bad, the strong, the weak. You will see all sides of yourself.

There is nothing more beautiful than getting to know oneself. There is nothing more beautiful than loving yourself.

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***Photos courtesy of Mike Washington Photography***

 

 

Cheers, readers

 

Lost and Living It

Would you agree if I said, All journeys begin with a question?

What type of journeys? You might ask. Well, any. Let me ask you this: What is beginning in your life? What is ending? What is changing? What is shifting? New job? New classes this semester? New students? Friendships forming? Others fading? Lost a relative? Newly retired? Regardless of where you are on the spectrum of this life, think for just one moment: What is this cycle that catches us as we live each day and pushes us to face the friendly foe that is: change and impermanence? More importantly, are you prepared to face what today is offering to you, dear friend?

My ego often speaks very loudly, saying I’m the only one going through this; no one understands. On those days, I submissively give in to fear and doubt, inevitably feeling lost. I wish I could see the power of those weak moments. I wish I could say to myself: Kiley! You feel lost, yes. But you stand here, now. You’re sad, yes. It shall pass, soon. There are tears, yes. They will dry, as always. Kiley, be proud that you continue to live each moment. You may feel lost now, but you’re lost and living it.

Each moment is so precious in this life. A dear friend often reminds me that there are no ordinary moments. I agree. Every person’s journey is his own to take. Each person’s journey is his own to experience, to live fully, to enjoy. I’ve found that the many paths I’ve walked down have taken me to beautiful, yet perplexing corners of life. Some paths are very obviously paved for me to follow; others, overgrown weeds stand as stubborn obstacles for me to overcome. Any way I look at it, each path serves a purpose in my life. Each path I take, each path I explore brings me closer to knowing my true self.

You know, we walk these paths – as parents, teachers, doctors, artists, salespeople, caretakers, etc. Sometimes we walk numerous paths simultaneously. The ego says, You must be good at everything you do!! Get the job done, and do it well! But do not be dismayed, dear friend.  These journeys we take, they are not mere ‘things’ to be conquered and completed.  They are not simply obstacles to be overcome. We should not take on new journeys with fixed plans and final destinations in mind. These shifts in life, these new paths, really are a gift to you. A gift to be cherished, not a race to be completed. These moments are gifts and lessons, wrapped up in one. Your journey should take time, be questioned, explored. Be patient with yourself, on each new journey.

Change — Impermanence — New beginnings – they do not discriminate. We all experience them. Maybe instead of asking: Why do I feel so lost? Why is this happening to me? Why now? Instead, acknowledge the change. Embrace the shift in your life. Know that you feel lost, but that there is nothing to search for. Every answer to each question that lay heavily on your heart lies quietly within yourself. Why not be Lost and Live it? Why not be Lost and Love it? Search for nothing, my dear friend. You are whole from the very beginning.

Ask those questions and take the next step on this path of yours. This is your life.

Why not live it?

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Cheers readers!

Reflections

Do you ever have moments when you feel ‘alone?’ No one understands. No one hears you. No one sees you. No one gets it. No one gets – you. What do you do in those moments? Do you cry? Do you work harder? Do you reach out to someone? Or do you just look in the mirror?

You know, it’s funny – I started this blog, feeling alone. Drowning in self doubt, I started to ‘speak up’ about my struggle. My fears. My depression. Funny because I wasn’t speaking at all. I was hiding out, behind my computer screen. Talking to no one. No human interaction. All that stared back at me were my words. A reflection of Me. Myself. My deepest feelings. My craziest of thoughts. Nothing more. Nothing less. Never really knowing ‘who’ was reading. Never really knowing ‘who’ cared enough to come back for the next post. Never really feeling ‘connected.’ Once again, alone. Once again, looking in the mirror.

Unsatisfied, soul exposed, thoughts free floating on the Internet – a representation of me – I longed for support. Dreamt of the day I received an anonymous email from a stranger just to say, “Hey – read the blog. I can relate.” For months, family and close friends smiled and said – be patient, Ki – you’ve only just begun. And I waited, reflecting about each post, wondering how I could be more exposed, how I could go beyond the point of comfort and into the realm of reality…. A destination just past my feelings and within reach of touching another’s soul. Embracing empathy and relating to others’ pain. But how? I didn’t know. So I ended each day perplexed, looking at the girl in the mirror.

Addicted To Doing became LifeofKi and something shifted. My confidence? Maybe. My free spirit emerging? Probably. I noticed my writing became my therapy. My lifeline to healing. The inevitable therapist who would hear me – scared, suffering, desperate for change. Writing brought the tears. Writing wiped those tears away. Writing brought the fear out – and set it free. Looking at this blog now, I see the past. I see the change. I see the shift. I see the good, I see the bad. I see the reflections. The shades of Ki. Neurotic, crazy Ki. Loving, mommy Ki. Confused, desperately longing for something more Ki. Lover Ki. Fighter Ki. I see it all. Right here. In the mirror that is LifeofKi.

I’ve dreamt of days like today – when I wake up and see emails from all over the world. Italy, Canada, the States, Israel, etc. My friends, reaching out to me, reflecting on life – struggles – work – dreams. You see, when you tap into your authentic self – when you show who you are, who you want to be, who you’d rather not be – people feel it. People see it. People empathize. People reach out. People respond to that.  Maybe these friends see something good in me. My hope is that they are responding to the good within themselves. My hope, to you friends, is that you look into the mirror too, and know you’re not alone. Know you have my support; you have my help; you have a piece of the shades of Ki. When you look in the mirror, see more than just the reflection that stares back at you. Remember who has helped create and continues to support that beautiful being in the mirror.

 

 

Musical Inspiration behind this post; thank you Danny —

Mirror

 

 

 

**Featured image courtesy of Righno Boutique***

 

Related Post:

Weeks Like This

Weeks Like This

Sometimes I wonder if I’m truly getting better.

The seed of doubt enters my mind and spreads like wildfire. Am I really defeating the anxiety, the depression, the fill in the blank, you name it? – Maybe I’ve unknowingly perfected the art of convincing my ego that “Yeah, Ki you’re doing great! No panic attacks this week, good for you! You’ve finally got a hold on this thing. This thing called life.” Bullshit.

Well, it has been one of those weeks. The kind of week where emotions plan the daily agenda. My intimate Waltz with Fear is practiced every day at noon — followed by Stretching with Tears at 1PM and Dinner with Self Loathing at 7PM. It is the kind of week where I find myself staying preoccupied at home, avoiding friends, and choking back the tears when anyone asks, “How are you doing, Ki?” It is the kind of week where even small chat with neighbors is terrifying – terrifying because frankly, I don’t even know what the hell to say to people anymore. My smile is painted for show, conversation is forced, and quite honestly – I am really terrible at pretending like I care about weather forecasts and association fees.

This is the kind of week that leaves me stuck at the corner of What am I doing with my life? and You will never amount to anything short of a total f*^ck up. Yep, these thoughts are real. I go through them every now and then (And by that I mean, every couple of days, ha). I allow fear into my life, and this is what it does. I let it drag me down. I fear opportunity. I fear advancement. I fear life. I fear living.

Aside from continuous support from friends and family (even text messages every morning reassuring me that I am worthy, beautiful, and not alone – love you Lindsey), the only thing getting me through weeks such as this is a quote I read a few weeks ago. I will paraphrase terribly, my apologies in advance. The quote says something along the lines of, “It is as though people nowadays are more afraid of living than they are afraid of death.”

I’ll admit: I am among those people who are afraid to live. I am terrified to take chances. Terrified to ‘put myself out there.’ Terrified of change. I’m terrified of people reading this blog. Terrified of people seeing me. Yes, literally just walking past unfamiliar people gives me anxiety because I hate the feeling of other people looking at me. Side note, please do not inquire about why I’ve pursued modeling lately – as that is still an unknown to me. Bottom line, I fear everything… during weeks like this.

I know some of my readers experience anxiety and depression on a daily basis. A few have commented on how I seem to be doing better – as it has been a while since I have written about my struggle. I thought I would share these feelings because although I am doing much better than, say, a year ago — I do continue to have intimate encounters with these devils quite often. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if it ever goes away. I’m not sure if there comes a time when you just have to accept it. I’m not sure if there is a perfect concoction of medication that will be enough – for those of you taking any. All I know is that the struggle is real, but you must continue to fight. There are so many beautiful moments in life that are worth fighting for. Don’t fear living because if you are reading this right now, Life is on your side. Live every day as best you can. Force the smile if you have to, engage in the small chat that you would rather avoid. Keep pushing through it. Live your way into the answers of the unresolved issues in your heart. Life is meant to be lived, not avoided. Take a deep breath and remember: During weeks like this, you are not alone.

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Related posts on anxiety&depression:

Reflections

For Lucas

Cabin Fever

Panic

How do you know?