Battling the Blues

Yoga stretches.

Deep Breaths.

Jimmy Fallon Clips.

Self Help Books.

Ed Sheeran tracks.

Chocolate chip cookies.

Staring at my dog.

In no particular order, these are the things that have made me feel slightly okay with some of the tough days I’ve been battling. And I’m still looking for other ways to help distract my mind from stress. Overworking and planning for the future has exhausted me. When I first started this blog, I was imagining that I could frequently share with you the grand details of my “quest.” However, the only quest I have been on lately is more so of an internal one. The details of which are not as grand, or picturesque as the ones I am so eager to share usually.

But then I thought…man…if the only time I ever write a post on here is to share some grand adventure, then I would really just be giving you some falsified sweetened version of my life. I love to travel. I love to go on adventures. I love to take pictures. I love to share these happy moments and radiate positivity as much as humanly possible, but sometimes…or rather, most of the time…I definitely am not feeling as joyous as I may portray. I never want to be that negative person who is always complaining, bitching, and whining about life and how shitty my day is. Trust me, I’ve been that person in the past and I cannot go back to her. She’s exhausting, unproductive, and downright unpleasant.

So why am I sharing this with you? Well, part of me is writing for my own benefit of release but I figured there’s probably more than a few of us who battle the blues quite frequently. Those of us, who try so damn hard to crack a smile even when we feel like shit. So what happens when we suck at trying so hard to suppress those crappy feelings we all have from time to time? Well, let me share with you the UNSUCCESSFUL ways of how I’ve been trying to “Keep calm and carry on.”

AUTO PILOT MODE: My 1st line of defense against any negative thoughts or feelings is to simply still my mind. Silence the inner and outer voice in your head. Don’t let your thoughts overpower you. CONTROL YOUR MIND. I’ve gotten so good at this that I could literally sit for several minutes at a time with not a thought on my mind. I could work for hours and drive for miles and not give any REAL attention to what my hands and feet are actually doing. They call it “going through the motions.” I call it auto pilot. And it has worked in the past for battling the blues, aka the shitty times in my life, but the downfall? Nightmares. Yep, I’m damn near 30 and I have horrific acid like dreams that wake me from my sleep either in tears or in sweat. The dreams are so vivid, so real…they are always my greatest fears, concerns, and pains amplified in my subconsciousness. Before I graduated from college,  I had a reoccurring dream that I was forever stuck in high school, glued to a student desk always behind from graduating when I should have. I dreamt some varied version of this dream for years. Failure, death, heartbreak, and deception are all repetitive themes in my most horrific dreams. These are the same things I fear the most in my conscious awakening. Silencing them during the day only has made those feelings 100x more disturbing during my rest. The mind is relentless.

FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT. I’ve always hated that line of advice, but it seems to work really well for some people. Some people are better at masking their true feelings than others. I, however, have never been one of those people. Even when I try my absolute hardest to fake it until I make it, I end up just making it worse. For instance, a few days ago a client of mine came in to see me and she asked the common question “How are you?” Being in the business of beautifying peoples’ hands, I looked down at her hands as I answered her with a simple “I’ve been okay. I’m good.” Right after I answered her, she took her hand and lifted up my chin so that I would be looking straight into her eyes. I was immediately taken back by her abrupt gesture. She wasn’t buying it. “Look at me. How are you REALLY doing, Kimmy?” She asked with her hand still forcing my head forward and my gaze. In that brief moment, all of my “faking it” and my auto-pilot mode abruptly shut off on me and I thought I was going to cry a pool of tears into the hands of this intuitive woman. I teared up, my eyes got blurry and I stopped faking it. I told her what was up with me, and after a good hour or so of back and forth venting…I felt much better. So the lesson here? That whole “faking it until you make it” bullshit doesn’t work for most of us. And if you think it is working, you’re probably only lying to yourself. Not to mention, if you suffer from chronic bitchy resting face…you aren’t going to fake shit to anyone. Know this, the better advice then would be to “Be real and deal.”

TALK IT OUT. Now this has got to be one of the most common ways that anyone who’s battling the blues will try to find comfort. It’s always helpful to talk to someone about your problems, right? WRONG. Why? Because that answer will always depend on WHO you choose to talk to. Of course it feels good to air your problems sometimes, we all need someone to be there for us in times of need and listen. But that same problem can seem even bigger if those people don’t know how to listen. Or maybe they do know how to listen, but they don’t know how to help you. Most people only HEAR what you are saying and they hear only with the intent of offering a response or reaction. The only ones that can really help you are the people who LISTEN with the intent to understand you. Sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate between these types of people, but it’s important to recognize them. They could make your problems seem better or worse. I still battle with this. I’ve always been very expressive of my feelings and thoughts to most of the people in my life, and I have to constantly remind myself who’s worth talking to because it hurts more when the people you love don’t seem to understand you and don’t make the proper efforts to do so. Anyone who has ever been through hard times in their lives know that most people do not know how to cope with someone else’s sadness. Most people can’t even sort through their own feelings, much less help you with yours. That doesn’t mean they don’t care, or that they love you any less. It just means that you need to care who the hell you share your feelings with, because often times, the ones that you want to help you don’t even know how to. We must be selective with who we turn to, don’t go cryin’ on just anyone’s shoulders!

These are just my personal accounts of the unsuccessful ways I’ve tried to help myself when I am feeling down. What hasn’t worked for one, may work for another but it always helps to consider different ways to start feeling better about whatever it is you may be dealing with. I am still always in search of new remedies so that I don’t burden those around me with my stale mood. I’ve learned that giving up on yourself in times of great need is the worst you can do to yourself and everyone around you. Scream out loud. Cry it out. Punch a sack of potatoes. Do whatever it is you need to do to battle the blues that we so commonly deal with in our daily lives. Find what works for you, and be prepared to change it up every now and then. We all deserve to be happy, but let’s be honest, it’s unrealistic and kind of creepy to be happy all the damn time.

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Letting go of Hope, for good reason.

It’s 10:00pm. Both my hands are wrapped up in gloves drenched in hair dye as I attempt to give my best friend a new do. Then, the my cell phone rings. I look down at the phone, and it’s the recruiter I’ve been working with since late September for the teaching position with South Korea’s EPIK program. This is the phone call I’ve been waiting to receive for what has felt like forever. (Okay, more like…6 weeks) I quickly pull off a stained glove and answered the phone. 5 minutes later…conversation was over.

What I thought would be the most exciting news of my life turned out to be one of the most disappointing. After weeks of anxiously waiting for news about a job placement, I am told that “all placements have been given” by the co-owner of the recruiting company, Reach to Teach. He’s strategic in the delivery of this fragile news. First telling me the good news, “All your paperwork for Korea has been received.” (all $300 dollars worth of official documents)…Then, he hits me hard with the bad news that I’ve been wait listed for a position and the likelihood of being placed now is highly unlikely.

He tells me to think about what I want to do, and ends by saying, “Best wishes to you.”

My initial reaction to the phone call and the days since then can be summed up in 3 words. “WHAT THE HECK?”

That’s it?

All my time and effort down the drain.

I was upset to put it lightly, but I pushed my emotions aside for the night. It’s okay. No big deal. I did not think about it. Then I woke up the next morning, tears streaming down my face, chest heavy, mind clouded from a sad dream that I could not recollect. The news from last night hits me like a train again, before I could even get off my bed.  I am upset. Let’s deal with this. Get it all out now. It’s okay to be sad, disappointed, and hurt. After all, I had been wrapping myself so tightly around a dream that I felt was already well into the works. I had been telling every one that I should be leaving soon, any day now. Boy, was I wrong. The sting of devastating outcomes always hurts. I cannot lie to my heart or my head. The truth of it was I wanted something bad and I wasn’t going to get it. At least not now anyway.

Everything happens for a reason. Right? I keep telling myself so, maybe Korea just wasn’t in my cards. Maybe I wanted to go there for the wrong reasons. Maybe everything that seems logical in my planning really isn’t. I thought it was the right choice, but now I’m not so sure. Will I try again? YES, without a doubt. But will I try for Korea again? That, I’m not so sure.

I’m a bit lost in my way at this point with this whole teaching English and moving abroad deal. I still want to do it. But now I’m back to the drawing board with where to go, when to leave, and how to go about finding a job.

I’ve always been the type of person to research and plan every detail I can, but at this point. I’m tired. I’m tired of thinking about it. I’m tired of planning for it. I’m tired of weighing what could go wrong. I’m tired of thinking about what my family will say. How I will get by. How I might feel.

Instead, I’d rather just hit the ground running and see what happens. Because no matter the amount of planning one may do, shit happens. And I’m tired of shit happening to me, I want to make shit happen for me. And that, I think, requires the willingness for me, the controller of everything, to let go of some control.

I watched Jim Carrey’s Full Commencement Address recently, and he said something that really hit me.

“Take a chance on faith. Not religion, but faith. Not hope, but faith. I don’t believe in hope. Hope is a beggar. Hope walks through the fire and Faith leaps over it.” ~ Jim Carrey

I had plenty of hope that I would be packing my bags, and be teaching English in a Korean classroom and enjoying bulgogi and soju on my weekends. But all that hope? Amounts to nothing.

Perhaps, all of this is a blessing in disguise. The possibilities are endless, once more, as they always are. Maybe I could go hike Machu Picchu, run the Great Wall of China, get drunk on some Vino, and salsa my way into uncharted territory.

So I’m thinking maybe it’s time for me to take a chance on faith. Leap to wherever my heart desires, and just see, for once, without so much forced planning, where life will take me.

Let’s hold faith’s hand and leap over mountains together. Wanna come?

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Big Question Mark

“When are you leaving for Korea?”

This is the most frequently asked question that everyone has been asking me since I revealed the news that I will be taking an English teaching position in South Korea. The answer to that question though? Still unknown. Yep, it’s still one big question mark. EPIK, the English Teaching Program in Korea, has a lengthy drawn out hiring process. I have been waiting for weeks to find out about the details of where the job will be and when I will leave. It’s been a continuous waiting game during every step, from the time I submitted the initial application, the interview, and all the paperwork. That waiting game has been going on for about 4 months now, which doesn’t seem like such a long time when I think about it but the days are dragging on without any news of what’s to come.

Every time someone asks me that question, I get a little uneasy. It’s a simple question, but the fact that I can’t answer them is what bothers me. It’s the not knowing. Patience, Kimmy, patience. That’s what I keep telling myself. Because I know that once they send me that contract and the plane ticket finally gets booked, I may not even have a moment to catch my breath. Life will be moving in the fast lane, and things will change quickly. Whether or not I am ready for it, it’s coming.

There have been times that I already feel as though I am far away. When family and friends make future plans for this year, I can’t even engage myself in the conversation because where will I be? Oh yeah, on the other side of the world. Don’t get me wrong; I am delighted about my own personal plans. I just can’t help but feel sad that I cannot be a part of everyone else’s future.

All I have been trying to do in the mean time is enjoy the familiarity of my daily life, as I’ve known it thus far. All of life’s simple little pleasures that I often take for granted. Something as simple as being able to call my best friend without worrying about what time it is because we’re in the same time zone. Petting my dog until his little leg wiggles uncontrollably because he loves being rubbed. Driving…there’s this never-ending list of random things that I won’t be able to do once I leave. It’s bittersweet, to say the least.

Soon I’ll have an answer to that big question mark. Until then, I am here. This is my now and I need to enjoy it as best I can.

Inserting a little excerpt from an emo- poem I wrote at 22 because it seems appropriate. Simple corny end rhymes, but a reminder still:

So let us be who we truly are

No molds, no conformity 
Break the box
Strike the clock
It’s time to live in the now

Fuck the past
For it’s gone
And though the future comes fast
It is not yet here

Today is the focus
Right now is the moment
The only thing we will ever have
And I just can’t waste another minute of it 
Worried, scared, and sad.

“Let’s Just Be”

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Farewell 2014!

Whoa nelly! Just a few more minutes left of the year! It always feels like the older I get, the faster the years fly by. I’ll do the cliché thing and take a moment to reflect on my year. I am blessed to say that 2014 was a wonderful year for me. I quit my miserable corporate desk job at the beginning of the year, left Atlanta, and moved in with my mom. This year started out in complete uncertainty and I had no idea what was to come of my backwards steps. My justification for all this was to take a “gap year.” A year to just do whatever the hell I wanted in a new place while still being able to work here and there. Moving to Kentucky allowed me to do so. I grew up in Atlanta with my aunt and extended family for the majority of my younger years; so moving up north to live AND work along side Mama Mai every day has been quite an adjustment to say the least. I have always felt that my mom and I never had the mother daughter bonding time that most do. This year has allowed me to make up for some of our lost time.

This year has primarily been all about “figuring it out.” It’s been about giving myself the time that I needed to really hone in on what I wanted to do with my life and how I was going to do it. All I knew was I needed a change. Little did I know it would take me nearly 10 months to figure out what that change would be. I remember at the beginning of this year, the first guy I went on a date with told me that I have no goals or aspirations. It definitely struck a chord. But at the time, he was right. I had goals, but no definite ones. I had aspirations but no way of getting there. Come 9 months later, the last guy I went on a date with told me that I’m intimidating because I seem to know exactly what I want and how to get it. Having strangers give their critical evaluation of the person they think I am has always been both amusing and enlightening. I don’t usually put much weight on what people think of me but their opposing opinions of me forced me to compare where I was at the start of 2014 and where I am now.

I worked most of my days away helping my mom at her nail salon and blew all my money on a dream that I didn’t even know I was building. Whenever possible I simply did what I loved…I traveled. Domestic. International. I ventured outside my boundaries by land, sea, and air. San Francisco. Kentucky. Atlanta. Savannah. New York. Dublin. London. Scotland. Amsterdam. North Carolina. Florida. Chicago. I didn’t go on vacations. I went on explorations. Exploring new places breathes new life into my hungry soul. All these trips led me to realize that I want to move abroad so that I can satisfy that hunger.  Thus, the idea of teaching English abroad would become the answer to my problems. South Korea awaits! There’s nothing I love more than to see the world so I am extremely grateful that I have been able to travel throughout this year.

I also met a lot of new people this year and grew close to a few. There were some bad ones that revealed the ugly side of human nature and the rare few who come after to restore my wavering faith in humankind. No matter how short lived the moment, I want to thank everyone who has crossed paths with me this year. All the memorable family functions, parties, daytime adventures, night outings, music festivals, bad dates, and good times will be cherished forever in the my life’s story. I sincerely hope that many of you will be part of my new year, because I’ve grown too fond of some of you to let you only be a memory! Farewell 2014.

My year in photos (in order):

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Frolicking on the sands of Baker Beach in San Francisco, CA. Did you know people go nude here?

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My precious niece, Madelyn, turned 1 this year!

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Eating like pigs in London’s Borough Market.

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Went to Hogwarts to see Harry!

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Hands down the most scenic spot of the year! Sat on the edge of a ledge with MT for over an hour overlooking Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland.

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The coast of Northern Ireland.

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White water rafting @ Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina.

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Labor Day Weekend in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida with the fam.

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Early morning deep sea fishing trip in Destin, Florida.

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2nd annual Tomorrowworld Festival: Chattahoochee Hills, GA.

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Aboard the Shoreline River Architectural River Tour of Chicago.

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TEFL Classmates in front of Cloudgate: The Bean. Chicago, IL

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Congratulating MyThanh on her graduation from college! Savannah, GA.

2015, I’m ready for you! Happy New Year!
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Digital Detox

OFF. That’s what I’ve been lately and it’s the main reason why I haven’t wrote anything in weeks. It felt necessary for me to shut off for a while to recharge and reboot my mind and body. Tis’ the season for hibernation and anyone who knows me well can tell you that I sleep like a champ. It feels good to do absolutely nothing sometimes. I think I’ve semi-mastered the art of being idle. We live in a day and age where having low cellular battery power feels like losing an appendage. We feel as though we constantly have to be plugged in, charged up, and logged on to capture, connect, and share everything we do at every moment. The new age world is all about being connected, but look around you…have we ever been more disconnected? People don’t even talk to each other when they sit and dine together. We’d much rather instagram our food pics to see how many likes we may get. I’m guilty of it. I hug walls trying to charge up all my devices. I juggle 3 different cameras just to capture and share every fleeting moment unfolding before my eyes. I’ll sit there and thumb through 8 different photo filters until I find one that I fancy. Then I look at my IG and Facebook feeds and get annoyed because almost everyone I know is posting the same shit as the last. When things go viral, it’s gotten more annoying as ever. Why? Because originality is dying. So thus…I must disconnect. I have to shut off the phone, unfollow the pretentious posers whose posts only annoy me. Digital Detox! Log off! Shut down! Unplug! Disconnect! I’ve digitally detoxified every so often all in the hopes that I can really reconnect with my family, my friends, and most importantly myself. Our generation cannot be F*CKED! Check out the funny video below for shits & giggles.

A reminder to myself and everyone else:

Be in the moment darlings.

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Can We Stop Trying to Be Happy All the Time?

In this day and age, I’m not sure who still reads magazines. Truth be told, most people don’t read period. I enjoy flipping through the colorful pages of a magazine as much as I do reading insightful columns. I casually flipped through the January issue of Glamour magazine and wanted to share this great article with you.

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This short little article packs a powerful message that spoke volumes to me. Happiness is such an obscure idea. This reminds me to be grateful for my happy moments, because the rarity of their occurrence is what makes it so special. Are you trying to be happy all the time?

Just some food for thought. Ta-ta for now my loves.

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