Tag Archives: Fear

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

Dear August

Dear August,

Ahhh hello, my friend. So… lovely? to see you. Another year has come and gone, and we meet again. And so it begins. You steal my daylight, walk hand in hand with the cool winds of change, and leave me anxiously pulling my hair out by your 31st day. You bring so many questions to mind. Why do you do this to me each year? You come and go so quickly, leaving my stomach turning; my mind racing.

Feeling queasy and confused, I’ll be thankful as ever with your departing gift — Rich hues of red, orange, yellow, and brown; the scent of dried and crunchy leaves that tickle my nose; and a chill that sends me clinging to the first sign of warmth – You always do remind me of the necessity for human touch; a longing to be near others during my quarterly attempt to avoid the inevitable: change.

Your message is beautiful – find strength in change, solace in letting go, and comfort in relinquishing fear.

The circadian rhythm of your song is undeniably sung each year. Perhaps I will try to hum a few notes. Be patient with me.

 

Warming up to you,

Ki

Something beautiful

There are these moments in time

When you know you have done wrong.

And you know the world is laughing at you.

Pushing you.

 

Take it all away. This mess we’re in.

My body aches, my mind cries.

We’ve done this for so long.

Who are we now?

 

I see a different face,

Feel a weaker touch,

Taste a bitter kiss.

Who am I?

 

The same lies.

Worn out hopes.

Played out dreams.

We’re sinking, walls crumbling.

 

Inside I’m screaming. Oh how my thoughts let me down.

Let’s run.

Far away from these damn games. This damn place.

Our paths undone.

 

Breathe in, breath out.

Break down and move on.

I’ll push you, you pull me.

Hold tight. 

 

You’re so damn stubborn — but new hopes, new dreams, they form.

Life seeps from your pores.

Color in your cheeks, light burning in your eyes.

Passion in your breath.

 

The silence. Listen.

It is calm. Do not fear it.

Drink it in. It will become you, as I’ve always said.

Wake, again.

 

Good morning, my love.

Good to see you, again.

Here, now, awake.

Now, hold on to this.

 

Hold on tight.

Be still in the now.

Be gone with the old.

In time we’ll sort it out.

 

 

–Original Poem–

Lucas’ Life Lessons

I’ll just say it now – Mom and Dad, you were right. All those times you scornfully looked me square in the eye and preached, “You’ll never understand until you have children,” well …. I couldn’t agree more. Luckily for me, I’m saying this in a positive manner – as Lucas has yet to test the waters and challenge my strength of discipline. Perhaps this blog post is for you guys. Perhaps it is for all of my naïve friends who have yet to experience the joys of parenthood. Perhaps it is simply an opportunity to reflect upon what Lucas has taught me thus far.

Three years ago, I knew nothing about what it truly meant to be a parent. I assumed it was all about teaching the child — raising him to be an intelligent, responsible, loving adult. Fast forward to three years post childbirth; I smile at the beauty of my ignorance. Only a fraction of parenthood is about teaching the child. What most new parents cannot know is that an even greater piece of the equation involves forgetting what you know and beginning to see the world anew – with curious eyes and an awakened mind. We don’t have all the answers, and sometimes it takes new beginnings – even a new life – to truly understand this.

I love the thought that ‘we can always begin again.’ As Lucas takes my hand, I am beginning to appreciate the absurdity and preciousness of the present moment.

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Enjoy the simplest of lessons Lucas has taught me over the years!

 

The best snuggles require drool and lots of snoring

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Imaginary play surpasses toys/games any day

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The messier the play, the better the day

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Always give something/someone a second chance — first impressions are NOT everything

Copy of no sanks

It is OKAY to cry (thank you for reminding me of this)

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No dream is too big

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Have no fear

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If you need help, ask for it

Big and little

The best days are the ones we never planned

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I love you, my little man. Never stop inquiring. Never stop exploring. Never stop dreaming. And never, stop teaching.

Mommy and baby 

Love,

Mom

 

 

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Related:

My Birthday Wish

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?

20 Somethings

Unfortunately I am – at times – an immature 20-something, so I’d like to share a quote that is the inspiration behind this blog post (sarcastically, of course).

 
“I miss being the age when I thought I’d have my shit together by the time I was the age I am now.”
 
 
I can’t help but share my thoughts on today’s 20-somethings:
 
Let’s start with the obvious: I am not your typical “20-something” by society’s standards. I haven’t graduated from college, yet. I’m not looking for my dream job, yet. I’m not living for myself while enjoying every spontaneous moment, ever. I don’t know the feeling of complete self sufficiency, loving my ‘9 to 5,’ and meeting with friends weekly at a downtown bar to discuss the single life. However, is anyone really living up to that glorious post-college dream that we assume will fall into place immediately following the four years of papers, exams, and binge drinking that is college?
 
Most of the amazing 20-somethings in my life are college grads (or soon to be), and I cannot help but notice that life, as we had all dreamt it would be, is not quite falling into place as we had planned. Living a sheltered life for the past few years as a stay at home momma, I assumed everyone was embracing life, loving his/her job, sticking with the plan, being what society expects of us 20-somethings. The more I come out of my shell and allow my friends back into my daily life, I see that my questions, my fears, my struggles as a mother are very similar to those of my fellow 20-something friends. Sure, we do not fully understand each other on a day-to-day level, but our uncertainty in this world, as individuals – is very much the same.
 
Don’t we all ask similar questions of ourselves?
 
Surface level questions – Will I find my dream job and never have to ‘work’ another day in my life? Will I be able to live the lifestyle I desire and still pay the bills each month? Will I find a partner and get married? Have kids? If so, what age? Am I ready for anything that serious?
 
What we’re really saying – Will I have to settle and work at a job I hate in order to pay the bills, or be passionate about my life’s work and sacrifice elsewhere? Does it have to be one or the other? Am I living in the right city? Should I have traveled more? Should I be selfish now before settling down? Should I use my ’20-something’ pass and live it up while I can? Why does everyone say the 20s are the best time of our lives, when all we know is we wake up every day with questions in our minds and doubts in our hearts? At what point do we say screw you, society; I will not live to your standards? Does anyone have the guts to see the fork in the road and go straight?
 
Are the 20s really all that they’re chalked up to be? Perhaps we are blinded not by society, but by ourselves…
Is it simply our minds working overtime that drives us into insanity, thus preventing us from embracing this youthful, naïve stage of life?
 
20-somethings, I think it is time we love the questions in our hearts.
“….have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer….”

To Want

Have you ever thought about not wanting, just for a second? Have you ever thought about what would happen if you asked about the world, instead of just asking for it? Who do you think you are? Who do you think I am? Why would you think you have any idea of what you want? Most nights you still go to bed confused, angry at yourself. When are you going to start considering the possibility that you are exactly who you want to be?
 –-Paraphrased from Charles Yu’s – Sorry Please Thank You
 
I came across these questions a few months ago. Up until that point in my life, I can honestly say I always assumed my life would be more – I needed to do more, be more, give more, love more, ask more, live more. More, more, more. But at what point does more melt into enough? Is there a finite ending?
 
Is life about continuously asking these questions of ourselves while filling our days with compulsive activity, only to avoid the real issues? Is the real issue ourselves? Are we the answer? I am told I want to be a certain type of person…. And yet I have never considered that who I am, at this very second, is exactly who I need to be, want to be, ought to be…
 
Who tells us we should do better? Know better? Be better? Who are they? Who are those people? At what point do we stop asking those questions and accept that who we are at this very second is exactly who the world needs us to be?
 
It’s an interesting spectacle – living with a child. He does not know anything but his own life. He does not covet, does not envy, does not fear. He is exactly who he needs to be. He is exactly what the world expects of him.  He is exactly what I need him to be. So at what point can we live like a child and expect nothing more of ourselves than who we are in that exact moment? Is that ever achievable?
 
Some answer no; I answer yes.
 
“An adult is one who has lost the grace, the freshness, the innocence of the child, who is no longer capable of feeling pure joy, who makes everything complicated, who spreads suffering everywhere, who is afraid of being happy, and who, because it is easier to bear, has gone back to sleep. The wise man is a happy child.” – Arnaud Desjardins
 
Sometimes, when all we have are questions, the simplest answer is to wake up. Be awake in this present moment – Love those who are right in front of us – Taste the kiss that is offered and gone in a heartbeat’s second – Breathe the air for a moment longer.
 
Be exactly who you are in exactly this moment.
 
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How do you know?

Most days I wake up and I just know. Some days, I’m really good at fooling myself. I am greeted every morning by the sweetest little face I’ve ever seen and think to myself, “Today can be a really good day… that face will make it all better.” Lucas and I make breakfast, run around and sing, but something’s just not right. I remind myself, “Stay positive Ki, it is only 9AM.” We get dressed and finish the morning routine, and I’m more certain of it now: it’s clear. After the sweet, innocent snugglyness of a newly awoken Lucas wears off and the terrible-twoness sneaks in, there’s no fooling myself anymore… it’s going to be a fever day.
How do you know it’s a fever day?
It’s really difficult for me to explain to people the difference between being in a bad mood (and being able to come out of it) vs. being clinically depressed. Let’s face it, I’m not a doctor and don’t try to recite the fancy terms that go along with the laundry-list of symptomatic feelings linked to depression. Rather, I just like to tell it how it is. I’ll be honest, I’m not ecstatic about using the term “clinically depressed” because it is a very limiting title. I do not believe I’m limited exclusively to depression, or anxiety, or OCD, or (fill in the blank) … I experience symptoms from all of the above.
 
Let me just start with this – if you’re reading this and suspect someone you love is going through something that you don’t quite understand (or necessarily agree with – because I acknowledge some people believe depression can be cured by pulling up your big girl panties and getting through the day, HA) here are a few tips to help clue you in…
 
How she/he is dressed – I mentioned in an earlier post a recent panic attack I experienced at a mall. I expressed my conflicting emotions about a hat I was wearing at the time of the attack – the feeling that I was hiding behind it. Often times if I am struggling, I cling to tangible items that I feel will hide who I am – I.E. hats, jewelry, baggy sweatshirts, scarves – anything to divert attention from the person I am. I steer clear of fitted clothing (that may bring unwanted attention) and wear less makeup. So remember, if your loved one displays drastic differences in appearance from day to day, it may be a red flag.
 
Excessive crying – If your loved one is a woman, this may be a normal occurrence especially during “that time of the month.” (haha, okay now let’s get serious) For me, however, this can be a dead giveaway that the day is going to be paired with speed bumps… or more appropriately, mountains.
 
Fears & Obsessive behavior – Does your loved one express irrational fears about the world around him/her? Ex. – Fear of leaving the house, avoidance of specific places that in reality pose little threat of danger. Or perhaps you notice repetitive actions such as excessive cleaning or checking… all of these examples can be serious signs of anxiety. Here is a great summary of everyday anxiety vs. an anxiety disorder.
 
Irritability  If you call your loved one and he/she gets upset that you called at 12:04PM instead of 12:05PM, then perhaps he/she is having a rough go that day (yes, this is an actual example). On days when my fiancé comes home from work, exhausted and hungry, and I start bitching that the dog needs to go to the vet before I even utter “Hello, how was your day?” – it probably hasn’t been one of my better days. Make sure to really listen to what your loved one is saying… if he/she is stressing over minuscule tasks, is quick to argue, or is making rude comments out of the blue, try to take a step back and empathize with that person. It is easy to be offended and argue back; it is beneficial to observe and take notes.
 
The first step in helping someone is understanding his/her behavior. Like anything else, you have to KNOW before you DO.
 
**This list of ‘clues’ only skims the surface of signs of mental health disorders. In no way am I saying if you experience these, you have a problem… but these CAN be serious signs that should not be overlooked. It is better to be annoyingly observant of your loved one than to accept his/her actions as quirks and ignore the severity of what the signs could really mean.