Tag Archives: Parenthood

Calling

Sometimes I find myself laying on the floor at weddings wresting ugly thoughts that scream at me, telling me I’m not beautiful, not worthy, I don’t deserve to be here on this Earth celebrating with wonderful people. And then I look up at tiny lights on the ceiling that are actually a direct reflection of lights within me. For the most powerful images are not those from our past, nor the ones that lay ahead; they are the voices and images that lay patiently within us. So I wrote a poem about that day, at a wedding, laying on the floor.

 

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My efforts to love you

Tossed away.

A severed connection,

You put me at bay.

 

Now I find myself in a beautiful house, with beautiful people, with a beautiful spouse.

 

And I lay on the floor only to find,

Nothing consumes me like you

On the mind.

 

I look up.

I see a miraculous sight.

Colors glowing, illustrious light.

I wonder why it is you treat me this way.

Flip of the switch

We’re strangers that lay.

 

One day you love me,

I’m beautifully so

Exquisite like diamonds

Inside, I glow.

 

Yet today we are strangers

With hollowed eyes

Ignoring passion

For you,

Hear the cries.

 

Tonight I know you have left my side

Your abandon, I surrender. You win. I abide.

How long will this last? Who me? I don’t know.

The mirror shouts reflections you refuse to show.

 

This love, it is patient.

This love is for you.

Though you won’t wait for me,

I’ll wait for you.

 

I say I, when I mean we.

For I am you

And you dear, are me.

I speak to you daily

Can’t you see?

I am the light

That only you can set free.

Love me completely.

This is how it must be.

Surrender yourself

Let go

And breathe.

This you know, we both truly need.

 

Love yourself,

That’s all I will say.

That’s all I want

For you each day.

 

Look up at those lights as you lay on this floor,

It’s me, I’m calling, please do not ignore!

Get up now dear

Please lay no more.

Reach out, be brave

Now open the door.

 

I’m calling.

for me from missy

–Original Poem (original artwork created by a beautiful soul and friend of mine)–

I challenge you to listen today. Listen to the voice within. Stop for a moment. Don’t look forward, don’t look behind, look at what is calling out to you in this moment. Can’t you feel it? Can’t you hear it? It’s you. Won’t you accept this beautiful gift?

Love and light,

Ki 

 

 

Would you?

Lucas

Your nostrils flare

Just like your dad’s

When you chew.

 

And your cheeks,

Rosy as hell

Like his, too.

 

I think you’re beautiful

When you lie to me

And say I’m beautiful.

 

For a moment

I believe you.

Each moment adds up,

Trust me.

Maybe instead,

I should trust you.

 

You don’t know it yet

But I started a book

For you

Filled with everything you say

That leaves me struck

In awe of your wisdom.

 

“The sun speaks with her light,

I can feel her.”

You said this,

Among countless other

Lucasisms.

 

Do you know how proud of you I am?

Do you know how amazing you are?

Do you know how much you scare me?

 

I’d do anything for you,

Would you promise

To forever and unconditionally be

Lucas?

 

would you blog post

–Original Poem, for my love–

@kileybw

Facebook

 

Luminous little Lucas

I offer to you, a ray of wisdom shown through a tiny little Buddha I call my son. During a conversation over scrambled eggs and Golden Grahams, his light filled the room and warmed my soul.

 

-Mom, I wish I could fly like a butterfly.

–Lucas, do you think people can fly?

-Yeah!!!

–Can you fly?

-No, but I can run!

 

Children play, wonder, believe, and live each moment – for a living. They see the good before the bad. They hear the song in a silent wind. They do what so many of us adults cannot, or shall I say what we choose not to do. Lucas bypassed his inability to fly and excitedly focused on his strength.

Why do so many of us lose this innate positivity? Why do we dwell on what is not? What we are not? What we cannot? How do we get that excitement for living back? How can we begin to appreciate what is in front of us NOW?

It’s as though we’ve conditioned ourselves to incessantly look to the future, at that place just beyond the horizon that seems so beautiful, yet slightly out of reach. We think, “Yes, we can and WILL arrive at a more positive, more productive, more successful, more satisfying life soon, tomorrow perhaps. I call bullshit.

I don’t know much, but I do know that you will never be satisfied with who you become IF you do not see – today – that who you are right now is enough. Tomorrow will be no more satisfying than today if you do not take a moment each day to recognize all that you are: a beautiful, worthy, successful, ALIVE human being.

We are so caught up in our plans for tomorrow, how do we live for TODAY? How do we, like Lucas, see our strengths before being swallowed up by the reminders of who we are not?

We’ve all heard the saying, “Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction.” Well, STOP! And start over again. Right now. Start small. Look around you, in your office, in your home, wherever you are. Think of a few things that are right in front of you for which you are grateful. Sit with that. Admire the ‘things’ around you. Even if it’s as simple as a cup of coffee, smile – and take a sip, enjoy it. Be grateful.

Then think deeper. What are a few things about yourself that you are grateful for? Who are you, what do you do well today, here and now? What are those characteristics that make you uniquely YOU? Sit with that. As silly as it may sound, think to yourself: I am beautiful; I am doing a great job; I love you. Try it. I dare you!

See the positives in your life, and if you can’t, it’s okay to ask for help. I ask for help every day of my life, really. I email friends; I ask the sun; I consult trees, often. I ask Lucas for extra hugs and kisses when I need more affection. You, too, can have many sources of light in your life, if only you’d ask. If it scares you to ask for help, it might be a good idea to try. There is an abundance of love and support in the Universe. Are you willing to accept it?

You see? Start with gratitude. Be grateful for what IS now. Be grateful for the support you have in your life, and be grateful for who you already are. With gratitude in your heart, you can truly start to live today, now. I promise you, you WILL start to see your strengths. You WILL be able to make plans for the future while appreciating what today offers you.

For my constant sources of light – Thank you. I have an abundance of support, and we take turns, one helping the other. Some weeks, I encourage and hold those in need. Recently, my light sources instinctively know to shed tremendous light on my path. Holding my hand when I’m hesitant, allowing my worried head to rest upon their laps. I need help at times. We all do. Come back to square one. Start with gratitude. Your heart will thank you.

Cheers, readers. Take care.

 

lucas

 

 

Light

I wrote a poem a few months ago for a man who is and has been a constant source of inspiration as I continue to write, parent, live, and breathe. I met his ‘book of poems’ in a humble bookstore near downtown Indianapolis. My hands were drawn to his book, and I sat on the floor of the bookstore, devouring his words until digestion of each poem was complete. 101 pages later, I bought the book – and it sits patiently on my desk each day, awaiting our inevitable encounter. One poem in particular, ‘Delicate,’ I will never forget. I read it over and over and over again. I read it weekly, sometimes multiple times a day. I cry every time. It touches me in a way not many poems have touched me. I am asked by readers, who inspires me? Where do I find inspiration? What ignites the fire within? Trees and nature inspire so many posts and poems, yes, but Jules R. Ryckebusch is a very beautiful source of light that I keep close by – literally. On days when I am feeling defeated, I take his book with me – to run errands, go to the library, even to the gym! How do I even begin to thank him for his bright presence in my life? The only way I know how….

 

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I pick up your book

And remember why

My stubborn fingers refused departure

The first time.

 

Your poem, ‘Delicate’

Did you write that for me?

It’s as though you reached

Into my soul and stole

A piece for yourself.

That would explain the title of your book:

Tangible & Other Poems.

 

You are a man intimate with death,

Love, Sorrow, Joy.

Surely you have suffered in this life

I can feel it, I do. I hear you, too.

Thank you for sharing this with me.

 

I find solace in the gifts we share

As writers and parents,

Roles plagued with uncertainty

And woven with unspeakable bliss.

 

You say what I cannot.

Gracefully,

Carefully, concisely,

Eloquently,

You speak.

How is it possible that I know you

Though our eyes remain foreign?

 

I touch these pages

As if to reach you.

I wonder if you touched the pen

Used to write these poems,

In hopes of reaching me?

 

–Original Poem—

photo

 

Delicate

-Jules R. Ryckebusch

 

“The finest china and glass is delicate,

The fragility hides the extremety

Of its fire born life.

 

Sometimes there is a beauty in things

Easily broken because they are precious

And have to be handled with kindness.

 

The gods, it seems, made you delicate.

I think I might be understanding why

They took a young girl and taught her to fly.”

 

May 18, 2006

From: Tangible & Other Poems

 

Forgive

I’ve been thinking for a while now how I might approach the topic of forgiveness. I could write a poem with metaphors, catchy alliteration, and laughable prose. The product, at least in my hopeful writer’s mind, would be a lovely illustrative vision that dances freely in one’s mind. My fear is that the meaning would be lost on many. I think it is best that I say what I need to say with honest and raw emotions.

Honestly, my aversion to forgiveness is one of the biggest sources of anxiety in my life – and has been since I was a young girl. I am the fruitfully sponned child of divorce. A nasty, exhausting, ‘heart-pulled-out-of-your-chest-and-to-this-day-still-learning-how-to-breathe-again’ divorce left me colored with a rainbow of dysfunctional qualities. Statistics looked at me and thought, “Yep, she fits in with us quite nicely: Binge drinking, pill-popping, suicidal, teenage mother. Couldn’t have predicted it better ourselves!”  

There are days, many days, when I look at myself and think, “You pathetic fuck; get it together!” And quite the opposite, there are the occasional coffee-induced bursts of confidence that allow me to smile at my story of survival and strength. But nothing is more constant than my aversion to forgiveness. I think to myself every day, “When will I let this go? When will I let my past be my past? When will I forgive myself for all that I did wrong for so many years?”

During my childhood years, my parents were faithful providers, careful teachers, and undeniably miraculous, loving human beings. Anything my sisters and I truly needed was provided to us without hesitation. Anywhere we wanted to go, we were taken. Anything we wanted to do with our lives – productively, of course – was supported, and more importantly – encouraged by my parents.

As I mentioned, this post is about forgiveness. You might wonder: Well, what is there to ‘forgive’ when you were so clearly loved back then? What is there to be hurt about when everything was provided to you before and after the divorce? Why suffer despite the fact that your parents did everything they could for you? Why carry this burden from childhood into your adult life? Well, my answer to you is this: When a change like this takes place gradually, it is difficult to comprehend its meaning, especially for a child.

It was a slow transformation. My parents continued to provide for us, take care of us, love us, and support us. But there was a shift, a moan of sorts in my soul. An aching moan for the loss I had endured. The loss of a united family. The loss of a faith in marriage. The loss of a sure and steady foot in this world. That little girl in me lost all sense of control and all sense of herself. She was loved, yet had no love for herself. She was taken care of, but had no will to take care of herself.

I made a choice that day when the ground broke underneath my feet and tore my family in two: I chose to give up on myself.

I tell ya, I was one angry little girl at fourteen. I don’t think I blamed myself for the divorce, but I sure blamed them back then. “They fucked this up! They didn’t try hard enough. They didn’t love enough. They should have found a way. They want us to suffer. They did this to me!”  Verbal cries of ‘fuck you’ and ‘fuck this!’ soon faded and crept inward, seeping into the dusty shadows of my mind. A silent poison echoed throughout my body: “Fuck my life. Why should I give a shit? They didn’t try; why should I?

It is so easy to give into sadness and pity for oneself. Even more so when you’re a child. All you know is ‘your’ life. All you know is what YOU want; what YOU need; what makes YOU happy. I was certain that divorce didn’t ‘feel good’ to me, so therefore it must be ‘bad.’ I had no capacity for compassion, love, or empathy for my parents or anyone affected by their divorce. I couldn’t fathom it. I couldn’t attempt it. I gave up – on them, on me, on the world. I just gave up. I gave into my suffering. I fed it, every day, every hour, every minute. Like a starving lioness in search of food for her young, my suffering would pounce on any ounce of resistance. So I gave in to every emotion, to every negative thought, to every path toward self destruction.

I am still haunted by that little girl’s voice. Her fangs latched onto me ten years ago and infected me with the vilest thoughts imaginable. Her suffering is my suffering. Her tears salt my face. I carry her with me. She is a friend. She is a foe. A downright parasite, if you ask me! I hear her when I hear no one else. Yet recently I tire of her weight upon my back. My once playful strides in life are now heavy trudges across the floor, and I wonder what it will take to forgive myself in order to set her free.

I think the most beautiful aspect of childhood is the freedom to be oneself with ease and grace, without hesitation or fear. This way of life and living is free from the restraints and concerns of the ‘ego,’ so much so that the influence of the outside world is paid no attention. It was at fourteen that I chose to see a world, once so open and fresh, as a dark and hateful place. It is in this choice – ten years ago – that my life stopped. I didn’t want to feel. I didn’t know how to love anyone – myself most of all. I didn’t want to live.

So, forgiveness of what? –You asked earlier … As I said, with such a slow transition I could not see the depth and meaning of this life event. Ten years have passed now. Ten years of neglecting myself. Ten years of not loving myself. Ten years of looking in the mirror and repeating over and over: You are not now nor will you ever be beautiful, worthy, or lovable. You are broken, you are bruised, and you are worthless.” Readers, I have ten years of hate, lies, and deceit built up in my mind. And forgiving myself is the only option I have left in order to stay afloat.

Only now can I begin to feel compassion for a suffering little girl. I can’t tell you exactly what has changed or allowed me to see the necessity of freeing her. Only now can I see that she was drowning in fear, choking on the waves that crashed against her once pleasant and playful childhood. I now know that had she dived just a little deeper into the ocean and not stayed so closely to the shore, she would have found what she truly needed. As many others far more articulate than me have said time and time again, being caught by these waves of discomfort is our downfall when we fight it. Wildly fighting the undertow, we remain in the same place, allowing for fear to grow stronger and resistance to reign.

Maybe I’m at such a dark place that there is no option but to see the light. Maybe others closest to me have shown their lights upon my path and allowed for me to see the depth of my issues. I don’t know what this is – what’s happening in these moments. I think when I have these flashes of insecurity, of fear, of vulnerability; I’m beginning to see a tiny little light within. It’s not very bright, and I don’t have an eclectic vocabulary to express the vast array of emotions I feel or what is being shown to me. Really, these moments are very quiet, very still, very unfamiliar. I hear the voice of the little girl within me, yet simultaneously whispers are faintly echoed throughout. They are subtle, almost silent, but I hear them. They are compassionate and loving and momentarily guide me to feel compassion and love. It comes, and then it goes. As all things do. But I find that when this compassionate and loving feeling reappears, I begin to trust and love myself more and more each time.

I think the only ‘truth’ in my life will come when I can lay down all of the lies, the hate, the disgust I feel toward myself  – and put all of it to bed for good. I hope that in releasing this scared little girl, I will feel profound compassion and love for myself and everything around me. Perhaps that will allow me to accept my perfectly imperfect life just as it is. I’ll let you guys know when I get there. Until then, my journey continues.

I think in the end, you have to find your own way home. You have to find that place of comfort, of stillness within yourself. You must own your truth and take that first step toward healing.

My first step is forgiveness.

I hope you find the courage to take your first step too.

Cheers, readers.

photo (2)

 

Hopes and Dreams

A poem for my son – with reference to his polite refusal of his mother’s milk

 

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Salty waters swelled

As you announced your arrival.

Slow and steady,

Graceful cries of

“I’m here!!”

 

Cleansed,

Tears freed,

Aquatic relief danced upon my cheeks.

Panic, planning, patience,

Love —

Released.

 

I love how you lit up the room,

Bringing color to those cold, white walls.

I love how you light up my life

And how my eyes light up at the thought

Of you.

 

Your refusal to take to me –

Allowed heartbreak to swallow me up,

Intimate with frustration and patience.

You stubborn thing, you.

I should have known then

Your desire for independence.

 

I see in that mind of yours,

Countless wheels spinning,

Immeasurably paced.

Won’t you blanket me

With your curiosity?

 

If only I could bathe

In the freshness you emanate,

Soak up your youth.

Won’t you share it with the world?

 

Lucas, teach them

Like you taught me.

Show them how to let go

And be free.

Please, do this for me?

 

The way you dance through this house,

I hope you dance through life just the same.

I hope I teach you to

Love yourself.

It is the only source of truth.

 

Who you are,

Who you will be,

I already love.

 

When you say you love me,

Do you know how I love you?

 

IMG_20130807_075154

 

—-Original Poem—-

 

 

 

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

photo (3)

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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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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