my parents.

growing up, I always looked at my mom as a hero and my dad as a villain. she seemed to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders, but in a way she was always saving the family. my dad seemed to cut us down every chance he got. he was distant, cold, and critical. I don’t remember him every being affectionate, telling me I was beautiful or special. I remember being the go-between for my parents as they argued. my mom in the car outside and my dad in the duplex. I remember my mom’s tears and my dad’s yelling, and hugging my younger siblings in our room as my older siblings tried to stop the fighting.

My mom is the 2nd oldest of 13. She was a beauty to behold in her youth, before all the stress of being married to my dad, moving to the US, her fight with breast cancer, and raising 7 kids. My mom had thick, dirty blonde hair, and gentle green eyes. She’s constantly reinventing herself, creating for others, not herself. She learned to knit at a very young age from a book with no pictures and sold her creations at the local market to help financially support her family. She sewed her sister’s wedding dress and my sisters dresses when we lived in Russia. I love seeing photos of my sisters and I in her creations. My mom took every opportunity for us in the US, like when she fought for us to go to the nicer schools in the neighboring areas; she was always our advocate and didn’t let her thick accent stop her from getting what’s best for us. I used to be embarrassed of her in elementary school, she wasn’t like the other mothers; she dressed in long, mismatched skirts, her hair was always in a messy bun, and she looked tired. She was an outsider and foreign, and I’m ashamed I treated her that way. We owe most of our success to her. She pours too much of herself to others, I take after her in that way, but she taught me that I need to teach others how to treat me. She’s taken care of me too many days as an adult as I grew sick and sicker. Amidst adjusting to a new country with 5 growing kids, and 2 more to come, while learning a new language, my mom got her AA degree in Library technology. I remember her taking us to her astronomy class and it sparked my love for the stars. Now she works as a librarian at the very same community college she attended, and she made us all readers. She tries to guide me and prevent me from making the same mistakes she did. She doesn’t always understand me or my choices, but she supports me and prays for me. She is the strongest woman I know. I’m proud to take after her and hope to make her proud.

My dad is a mysterious man, even to me, his own child. He’s the youngest of 2, and his dad abandoned the family when my dad was in his teenage years. My dad is great with toddlers and children, but doesn’t know what to do with teenagers. He’s a man of few words, but many actions. For much of my childhood, I hated and feared him. Now I see that his anger came from a place of stress, missing his home and family in Russia, and not knowing how to properly express his frustrations. I don’t excuse his abuse, but I’ve chosen to forgive him and seen him as a changed man. I never saw my dad any more vulnerable than when he teared up and told us to cherish my mom and each other as my mom was battling cancer. In high school, sometimes he would go running with me around the block. I slowed down for him, but those times were some of the closest father-daughter things we ever did together. My dad has piercing blue-grey eyes, jet black hair, and olive skin, physically I take after him most in the family. It makes me proud to look like him out of everyone, and I hold onto that special bond we have. My dad is hard to understand and he’s critical of our every mistake, and it’s his voice I hear when I make a mistake. My dad was a soldier in the USSR arm and spent time in Eastern Germany, he talks about his time in the military with longing. The military drilled into my dad a love for running, which he passed onto us, and discipline, which I struggle with. My dad is a lonely man, he loves his children, takes care of his many fruit trees, loves the cats my sister and I brought to the house without his knowledge, and he loves me more than I can understand. His best friend is his cousin that lives in Utah, grows weed, and converted to buddhism recently, I love hearing their lively debates and attempts to facetime each other. His sacrifice to my siblings and I was his body, he’s spent the better part of two decades as a night-shift custodian, and he almost never takes a sick day and vacation hours. Because of him, we’ve always had healthcare, a steady income, and my parents are proud home owners. My dad’s sacrifice to his health meant that my siblings and I could pursue college, and all of us have graduated debt-free. My dad is a complicated man, he grew up fatherless and doesn’t see his family in Russia, except for every few years. He failed us in big ways, like making us feel loved and protects, but in other ways he’s shined, he taught us to be diligent and grateful, and how to laugh. My favorite memories of him are the ones of him making us laugh in the kitchen, and him dropping me off at college after a visit home (which meant a four hour drive for him).

My parents have a complicated marriage, but God has redeemed many aspects of it in recent years. They take vacations together to Mexico or Hawaii, somewhere by the ocean, and they enjoy each other’s company without kids. I can see them forming a steady love, and my dad’s softened his demeanor with my mom. I love seeing my dad help my mom in the kitchen, or see them talk about work in the mornings. They are my parents and their dysfunctional relationship has hindered me in many ways, but they’ve also shown me what it’s like to be human, to be broken and also how to look for redemption. They stuck by my side when I had no life left in me, and I’m grateful I’m theirs.

places I want to visit

  1. Niagara falls and Toronto with my mom. She’s always dreamed of going and I want to take her once I’m earning money again.
  2. Italy with my baby sister, Natalie. This was a place we talked about going once I was better for her high school graduation, and even though it’s been delayed, I still dream about going together and celebrating life. We’ll eat gelato, pizza, pasta, and visit all the beautiful sites.
  3. Vietnam. I’ve dreamed about going here since the beginning of college. The rice fields and mountains look so green. And the french food incorporated into their food sounds so exotic and delicious.
  4. Paris with my lover.
  5. Lake Powell with my family and lover almost every summer.
  6. The forrest with my future kids and husband every year.
  7. Portland. The city that is more of my soulmate than any other boy I’ve dated.

things that make me happy

  1. summer afternoons in Portland with the sun glistening in the forest and over the city
  2. coffee and coffee shops
  3. evening walks with dogs and good company
  4. finding new fish while snorkeling
  5. surfing with a cute boy that laughs at me when I fall off my surfboard while just sitting there
  6. face masks at the end of long days
  7. watching survivor with my favorite person, my baby sister
  8. cooking new recipes and eating while watching a cooking movie (Julie & Julia is a favorite)
  9. bon fires and deep chats while camping
  10. first-kisses while stargazing
  11. dressing up for special nights or for no reason at all
  12. red lipstick
  13. getting really into a book that I can’t put it down for any reason
  14. laughing with my baby sister and feeling innocent and whole
  15. my moody & aloof cat Mishka
  16. quiet mornings for journaling and reading the Bible
  17. rain boots, rain storms, and cozy nights in
  18. singing along to taylor swift on road trips
  19. long trail runs with great views
  20. looking at old photos and getting lost in the memories of that time
  21. getting a cute new haircut
  22. sunday evening church service
  23. when babies fall asleep in my arms
  24. red wine while cooking for friends
  25. swinging on the swings on summer nights
  26. ocean days, tan skin, and salty hair
  27. lazy saturday breakfasts
  28. thinking about the future and feeling excited
  29. packages and letters in the mail
  30. long naps (meaning 2 hours or more)

Things I love about my baby sister

  1. the way she admired me so much as a child. she proudly showed me off in elementary school & told her teachers I went to UC Berkeley. It melted my heart. I hope I still make her proud.
  2. how intensely she loves. she might hide it because she’s been hurt so much, but she has the capacity to love so much, that I know it scares her.
  3. she was the cutest and most inquisitive baby. she was so observant to the world around her. she was a magical baby, so special and so sweet and I still remember her first steps.
  4. how self-confident and self-assured she is. she’ll accomplish anything she sets her mind to and she won’t let anyone push her around. she isn’t a people pleaser the way I am, and I love that in her.
  5. the way she can always cheer me up and understand me. no one in the world gets me like she does.
  6. how she loves the rain and the forrest and book stores.
  7. the way she talked about becoming a cat lady when she grew up. she always broke the mold in our family and it made me so proud of her.
  8. the encouraging notes she writes me every time I move. I looked at the notes in Portland everyday and they helped me so much. she always writes exactly what I need to hear.
  9. how she’s able to craft a whole world, feeling, a nugget of wisdom into a short phrase or poem. her writing is a gift and I’m thankful I got to see that grow in her.
  10. her sense of style. so confident and laidback and girly. I wish I had the confidence to wear what she does.
  11. how mature she is. she has seen the worst in life and she continues to fight. and she grows from each event. and someday it will all be worth it.
  12. how much she loves coffee and coffeeshops. when she’s there, she’s in her element and I love watching her intensely focused, like she’s no longer at the cafe, but worlds away.
  13. how she spent 2 summers with me in Portland and all the amazing memories we had.
  14. her eyes. they are blue and yellow in the center and sometimes they look green. they are wondrous and breathtaking and innocent at the same time.
  15. she’s financially smart. she knows when to not spend money and doesn’t impulse buy like me.
  16. the way she can still fit in my arms and it makes me want to make everything safe and beautiful for her.
  17. how tough she is. she is the strongest person I know.
  18. how she hasn’t given up on me despite all the heartbreak I have put her through.
  19. how she loves nutrition and good food. and how I know she will change many young girls lives that struggle with eating disorders.
  20. the woman she’s become. strong and loving, resilient and vulnerable, adventurous and steady, beautiful and sweet, powerful and patient.
  21. the discipline she shows in her faith. she wakes up bright and early and reads the bible, spends time with God.
  22. how good she is at appreciating me. I hope she knows how much I appreciate her.
  23. her taste in music. she always finds the best music.
  24. I love that she is my baby sister, someone I watched grow up in front of me, and I love that I get to be her best friend and her confidant.

30 Day Writing challenge

I’ve been in need of writing inspiration and I came across a writing challenge on my sister’s Pinterest. Below is the specific challenge for the next 30 days. It’s simple and I’m hoping it will help me develop better writing discipline. Here goes nothing!

Who am I?

I love rainy days, bookstores, grocery shopping, and running. On the enneagram I’m a type 2 wing 3. Type 2 is “The Helper” and type 3 is “The Achiever”. I have a deep need to be needed and a deep want to be successful. My relationships are the most important thing in my life, but my career is second. I have a sort of martyrdom complex, I’m willing to sacrifice my health and wellbeing for others and for my career, and many times in my life, I have.

I’m an ISFJ. I love spending time by myself and delve into deep discussions with small groups. My feelings have often guided my decisions, but I’m learning not to be so impulsive and sit on major decisions, instead of jumping the gun on major life changes. I’m used to have a gut reaction to simply move as the answer to my troubles, and I’m trying to unlearn this lesson.

I love being challenged and I’ve always been a go-getter. I want to be accomplished, but for the past few years I’ve seen physical and professional failures, and I’ve realized that I can still be proud of myself for facing those tough failures (and this is a lesson I’m still struggling with) . I attended UC Berkeley and those college days feel like the most prime years of my life. I met some extraordinary friends (some life-long & some for a season), I ran a marathon, got through a heartbreak, opened up about the abuse I went through growing up, and found strength in myself & in my faith.

I’ve been through a lot of traumas in my life and my physical health feels very broken right now, but I have hope that God will give me healing. I love cooking health(ish) food and watching cooking shows while I eat. I love researching health ideas, but try not to go overboard like I did in the past. I saw my mom battle a very aggressive breast cancer while I was in high school, and it made me almost idolize perfect health & fear illness.

I feel fragile and lost right now and out of place and so damaged, but I spend time outdoors and I feel grateful I fought to live, even when everything was lost, and much is still lost now, but I’m still here and I’m still fighting.

I love public speaking and gave the salutatorian address at my high school graduation (even thought my dad liked my friend’s speech more LOL), it was a great accomplishment for me. I hope I can do more public speaking in the future, maybe with Moth radio.

I love adventures and discovering new places, but I also have a deep longing for familiarity and routine. I cried out of fear when I went to Istanbul with my sister after college (my first big international trip) because it was so new and uncomfortable, but now I look back and relish those memories and moments in Istanbul.

I’m a family girl, but my family hurt me the deepest during my health crisis (with the exception of my youngest sister & mom), and right now I don’t know how to process that heartbreak. But I’m proud that I stuck up for myself and called them out for not caring for me when I was so close to death. I’m trying to forge my own path outside of my family and one day I will forgive them for the hurt.

My little sister Natalie is my favorite person and my inspiration. She understands me most and she saved my life. I owe her everything and I pray that one day we will be healthy and happy again.

I love the outdoors, I’m more of a forrest girl than an ocean girl, but I hope to fall more in love with the ocean while living in Kauai. I’m slowly learning to surf and I hope it’s a hobby that centers me again.

I’m very analytical and math-minded, but I love figuring out inter-personal dynamics & how to persuade people. My last job was working as an inventory analyst for Pottery Barn and it combined all of my passions: retail, excel, and working with people. I thrived there and was on the verge of promotion before my health crisis. I hope I can have this sort of job again, but I’m open to new beginnings and new dreams.

I love being creative, writing, photography, and fashion (or maybe I just love cute clothes). Sometimes I dream of being a writer and living in Paris.

I love sad music and I cry too often and too easily, but I’m learning to let go of the sadness and cling to joy. I do not want sadness to swallow me up again and steal my present happiness. I used to live too much in my past mistakes and I analyzed my decisions night and day, but that drive for perfection almost killed me.

I love roses because my dad planted roses in our first house in the US and would give them to my mom. those rare sweet moments between my parents are etched in my heart. And my mom would give me a beautiful bouquet of roses on my birthdays and it always made me feel so special (and that was a rare feeling in a family of 9).

For better or for worse, that’s me.

my safe haven

walking through my favorite grocery store, New Seasons in Portland, I’m immediately greeted with the sweet scent of fresh flowers tempting me to pick them up and bring them home. I walk through the baked goods and I’m drawn to the buttery croissants, reminding me of walking through the streets of Paris early in the morning with my sister Marina. I make my way to the produce, eyeing the colorful bell peppers, the fresh kale, and the ripe papayas. I always stop by the chocolate aisle and get wrapped up looking through all of the chocolate bars, checking out the new ones and revisiting old favorites. at least one chocolate bar always makes it in my cart.

my love of the grocery store hasn’t been just a passionate fling. it’s been a tired, tested, and true love affair stemming from early childhood and has become a theme throughout adulthood.

my first experience with the grocery store was with my mom. I was around 7. we had immigrated from Russia a year ago and lived on food stamps and prayers and hope. our house was a small duplex that was a fourth of the house we had in Russia. even though it was in a bad part of town and brothers had to sleep on the couches every night, it was a short walk to the community college where my mom took classes to get an AA degree, and my dad tried to provide for us by working in the kitchen. in those days, my mom would fill us up with lots of love despite our material lack, she gave me American style short haircuts that I loved, and I had Russian neighbors that became my first friends in this country and taught me to play baseball (I eventually broke a neighbor’s window…).

about a couple miles from our duplex was Raleys, a higher-end grocery store that my mom would take us too. there she shopped and managed to get enough groceries to feed our family of five through food stamps and a resourceful mind. my sisters and I would make the mile trek there and back, probably complaining about our tired feet as my mom tried her best to distract us from our hardships. I remember walking through the grocery store where everything had a place, where every need could be filled, and possibilities seemed endless. it was a sharp contrast to the chaos of our lives, where we were trying to learn a new language, culture, and facing tight finances, which brought out the worst of my dad’s anger. but at Raley’s, I loved walking through the prepared food section and looking at all the different foods we’ve never tried, it made my belly grumble. I can still remember the wondrous scent of fresh orange chicken and chow mien that my mom would treated us to years later. I loved seeing all the different options in front of my eyes, the pretty flowers and balloons that I always secretly dreamed of receiving on my birthdays. even though the trip back to our small home was tough, and the hot, dry Sacramento heat would beat down on us, we all tried to keep our spirits high for my mom and all of her sacrifices for us as we carried the grocery bags together.

those memories of feeling safe and hopeful at the grocery store echoed throughout my adult life.

some of my favorite memories from college was when I worked as a nanny for a sophisticated, wealthy family in the North Berkeley hills. even though my part time job made it difficult to focus on my school work late at night, I developed a deep bond with the curious and intelligent 3 year old I cared for, Cecily. she was a curly haired, tiny girl with a strong will that refused to wear a jacket when it was cold and yelled directions at me when I would drive in an unfamiliar part of town.

after picking her up from her pre-school, we would often go to Monterey Market, an up-scale market where the produce seemed to be freshly picked from the farm and the ingredients seemed to taste better than if they were bought at Safeway. at Monterey market, the produce would take up half the store, and there was different varieties of the same produce: apples of every kind, all types of potatoes and yams, and an assortment of greens. this was where the intellectuals of Berkeley would shop and where Cecily and I would wonder the different aisles, sometimes shopping for her family, and sometimes just browsing on bored days. on special days, we would get a special chocolate appropriately named The Tea Room. our favorite chocolate bar was a black masala chai milk chocolate. we savored every piece of this chocolate with some earl grey tea flavored with whole milk and a generous helping of honey while sitting in the kitchen with the sun shining down and we watched glimpses of humming birds outside. we’d call this our tea time and imagined we were fancy ladies living in victorian England. I hold those memories close to my heart. for a short while, this girl gave me her love and I gave her mine, and this love gave me security and strength as I transitioned from college to a working professional. Though Cecily has grown up now, and she has long forgotten me, her family and I lost touch, those special memories at Monterey Market are ones I look back on fondly and hope to create those memories with my own daughter one day.

grocery stores have given me life and hope when my days are sad and my struggles seem insurmountable. they are a special place where possibilities seem endless and new discoveries are around the corner, and everything has a place and order. they are places where my little sister, Natalie, and I pick up special treats on bad days, and visiting the store gave us even a short amount of relief when I was fighting for my life after my brain injury. even though most people treat the grocery store as an everyday, mundane task, it’s one that’s magical for me, where life seems to be breathed back into me, and I become that awestruck immigrant kid again, stopping to stare at everything but also trying to keep up with my fast-moving, determined mom.

{new list} a few of my favorites & random thoughts

Throughout my 20’s I encountered a lot of trauma, in some ways I was dealt a bad hand, and in other ways, I inflicted myself with circumstances I should have walked away from. Though I’ve learned and grown so much from those hard days, I’ve also faced a lot of physical illnesses as a result of the chronic stress. Most recently I’ve been dealing with a brain injury as a result of a prescription drug that I wish I never touched. And though I still have so much progress to make until I feel like myself, I need to acknowledge the progress I’ve made and the things that have made a difference in my recovery. Below is a random list of things I’ve done, decisions I’ve made, supplements that actually make a difference, and the perspective I’m trying to have in the midst of so much pain and illness.

1] saying that I am strong again.

for a long time I could only think and say was how my head trauma broke me, what abilities it robbed me off (running, socializing, having a job, ability to focus, my independence, my ability to travel, feeling anything…etc), and that I could not see what normalcy I could get back too. I was and still living with a lot of pain associated with my brain injury on a daily basis, but lately I am choosing to recognize that to remain standing in spite of agonizing pain is incredible strength. This shift has helped me focus on healing rather than the grief of illness and what it’s taken away. and by saying that I am strong enough to get through this, I want those words to remind my body that I can get better, that it’s not impossible, that my body can let go of the illness and it’s bondage. I try to dwell on the many times I was strong enough to get through other very hard circumstances. some days it’s hard to remember to say I’m strong, but switching my language has made the pain easier to bare.

2] moving to a sunny, sunny place: Kauai.

though I made this move in hast and in desperation, Kauai’s been a place I can see that healing is possible. this move has pushed me to stand on my own two feet again, and it’s pushed me to see that I can stand on my own again. I arrived before the COVID-19 pandemic started to effect much of the world, and if I had arrived even a few days later, I would not have found housing, bought a car, or really get situated as the “shelter-in-place” restrictions have made things tough for big moves. changing my physical environment was the last thing I could think of doing, and though it was my last ditch effort at healing, it’s made the most difference.

3] spending time exploring the ocean: swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, and beach reading.

before I left for Kauai, I was crying from head pain every day. it was getting to the point where I did not know what else to try (I’d done green juices, supplements, therapy, acupuncture, saunas, exercising, massages, sleeping, baths, you name it, I tried it….), and I was increasingly experiencing terrible insomnia where I couldn’t fall asleep till 9am most days. I noticed that the only improvement in the head pain was when I would spend time in the sun, and this small insight into my body lead me to take a big leap of faith to move someplace with lots of sun. Kauai. now when I swim in the ocean, my head pain ceases, and when I sit in the sun, I can feel the rays slowly penetrate into my head and I believe they are repairing what’s broken. I still notice a lot of scary symptoms of brain damage: my lack of cognitive abilities, random times of blurry vision, poor stress tolerance, emotional numbness & body numbness, body tremors, but I also see big improvements, like my energy levels coming back, sleep normalizing, my writing improving, and my internal voice coming back. it’s a pendulum that swings between getting better, and getting worse, but it’s increasingly coming back to a center of wellbeing.

4] shilajit, DHA supplements, moringa, & lots of high quality chocolate

I was introduced to these incredible supplements through the Kauai Juice Company, and they have made huge differences in my brain function.

my rule of thumb about supplements is not to overload your body with supplements, but try to eat well, eat organic and local when you can, and buy high quality sources of protein. learn to listen to what your body likes and doesn’t like, it’s usually pretty smart at telling you what it needs. avoid processed foods, and foods with natural flavorings or msg. usually if a product has a laundry list of ingredients, my best bet is too avoid it. and develop a passion for cooking. when cooking with real food becomes fun, you tend to gravitate away from the potato chips and takeout pizza.

with supplements, I’ve learned that a few really help me with my head pain and brain function. the ones I listed above are the ones that’ve made the biggest difference in my recovery. if you decide to supplement your diet, make sure you get the highest quality form and from a trusted source. the ones I’ve found at the Kauai Juice Company, the Kauai Farmacy seem to be the purest & most potent form, but there are many online that can help you if you do your research.

5] take up new interests: investing in the stock market & snorkeling

I’ve let my mind focus on other things besides my healing or my pain. even though it’s hard for me to learn new things because of my brain damage, I’ve tried to challenge myself to invest a few hundred dollars in the stock market and try to snorkel every time I go out to the beach. these two activities help me channel my energy into new discoveries and help stimulate my mind. this process of focusing my attention elsewhere helps me have less anxiety about my healing and helps me fight off the hopelessness I feel towards my brain/body on the worst days.

6] being patient with my healing, and treating my symptoms as temporary steps prior to my body & brain returning to my normal

when I first started experiencing health issues, I would often get really scared and overreact.

{a little back story} my health started to deteriorate in the fall of 2016, I faced a work trauma, being caught without a job after my sister sued my boss (both were co-founders of the company I worked for). at that time I got braces and was ghosted by this boy I was starting to fall for, with all this stress I would take 5 mile trail runs almost daily and not eat enough to try to save money. all this added up to severe anemia. from the anemia I ended up having an allergic reaction to my iron supplement, and from there I got a severe nerve pain on my scalp from all the trauma and stress. I got an mri and nothing was found. my head felt like it was on fire 24/7. I wish I followed my gut and took a vacation to a sunny place, but instead I took one of the highest doses of gabapentin, a nerve pain relaxer. by that spring I was weaning off the gabapentin, and developed an OCD like anxiety about my skin (which looked terrible at that point) and started feeling like I would have an allergic reaction at any point (which made it so stressful living on my own). I was visiting the doctor every other week, and my mom was constantly flying up to calm me down. all this lead me to talk a pill I never should have been prescribed. an antidepressant, which I took for 9 months. during those 9 months, I was almost euphoric about everything and had this manic like energy. little did I know I was poisoning my brain. after 9 months I tried to follow a 1 month taper my previous doctor suggested, and I entered hell. the antidepressant withdrawals filled my head up with suicidal thoughts, and threw my whole body into chaos. ever since that withdrawal I’ve dealt with sever ocd (the kind that actually made me suicidal), the worst head pain of my life (like electric shocks thoroughout my head, I would sleep for days & cry non-stop, and my energy was at zero, and I could not experience any joy, I have numbness in different parts of my body, and I lost my ability to think, and my internal voice was almost mute. within one month, the person I was no longer existed.

this whole experience has traumatized me, and gave me severe ptsd. I can no longer set foot in the city where my withdrawals started and I could sue the doctors for malpractice. my family is very broken because of what I went through. my baby sister lives in fear for what could have happened to me and holds memories of the darkest days that I didn’t think I would survive. two of my sisters abandoned me, and my parents threw up their hands from how helpless they felt. I lost good friends and my career and my youth to a pill doctors say is harmless.

{back to my main point} all this personal and medical trauma was a living nightmare, but in order to move forward, I have to break the cycle of trauma. for me, part of the thing that got me to take antidepressants was my overreaction to things. and part of my journey to heal has been to learn to calm myself and my body down when I have severe withdrawals or notice weird symptoms I didn’t before, like muscle tremors. sometimes I call one of my dear friends or my mom and I tell them to tell me that I will be myself again. because my body and brain are resilient, and these symptoms are temporary. and when they are unavailable, I pray to God and ask for His help. and I choose to fight despite what I am facing at that moment.

All in all, I hope this list helps empower you wherever you are in your healing journey. sometimes things get worse before they get better, but you are a strong and beautiful person that God breathed life into. nothing is beyond repair in God’s eyes, especially us, His most precious creation. Please message me if you have any questions or would like me to pray for you. Mahalo ❤

o c ean waves

sickness feels like that place in the ocean where the waves break into each other, constantly turning water over and over, restlessly. creating sea foam that my sister used to called ocean snow. its this breaking point, where one wave coming in crashes into the wave that is coming out, an imbalance of forces clashing, that it creates a turbulence on even the most calm days. it is the same with my sickness; its a turbulence that I’ve learned to dwell in, where i’ve tried to stand up weakly, but then a big waves comes and knocks me down. i live with an anxiousness of awaiting a bigger, stronger wave, and increasingly growing uncomfortable when things are calm.

in those turbulent waters, I’ve spent the better part of my 20’s. i’ve nearly suffocated from the waters, but in them i’ve also grown and aged. i’ve shed my youthful naiveté, my belief that life can be fair if you work and try hard enough. i’ve shed my invincible exterior, and all of life’s forces dealt me blows: unemployment, family betrays, depression, heartbreak, rejection, ocd, ugliness, and my head rotting from a poison prescribed by an apathetic doctor. in these turbulent waters i’ve shrunken to the smallest part of myself. gone is the smiling face, the resilient laughing. now, the tears flow constantly, and my ambitions are absent. all i do is try to focus outside of myself, because in these turbulent waters, i’ve lost who i am and where i want to be, where i can go.

decomposing matter

I want to write again, but I’m afraid I no longer know how. Words and phrases fill my head, but instead of the ease that they would spill onto the page, into stories and wondrous phrases, they come out FLAT and jumbled together. So I decided to bury them inside of me, instead of facing their hideous appearance. But instead of disappearing, the words started to die within me. I thought they would feed my insides with their substance, but they caused everything else to grow damp and overwhelmed at the decomposing matter. No matter my effort to rid myself of the compost, more would appear, pieces of me that would usually spread on a page, dying within me.

Land of the sick, home of the broken

It’s been in the land of the sick for a long time. At first I was an obedient guest, but I’ve overstayed my welcome.

In this land, there are so many rooms and houses I’ve spent time in. For a while, I was pounding death’s door. My mind was in turmoil, my heart faintly beating, and my spirit was ready to be embraced by sweet death, an end to the suffering. I’ve been in the room of denial, pretending that my body and my mind weren’t altered, and masking my pain with a faint smile, which friends couldn’t see past. I visited the house of OCD, where everyday activities brought about scary thoughts and images, and they whirled around in my head for hours, leaving me gasping for a moment of peace and solitude. I’ve spent hours yelling in the room of unforgiveness about the injustice of my circumstance, berating the ones who abandoned me, and seething at the doctors responsible for my suffering. I covered the walls with the names of those who refused to comfort me, those claiming to love me, but left me in my time of need. I cried to God to send a miracle, but I faced His silence. I sat in the pit of despair many nights, looking for a ray of light, or a helping hand. My tears mixed with the dirt on my face, and I turned black from all the pain.

The land of sickness, the home of the broken was an unexpected stop in my life. And even though the place pulled at me to make it a permanent destination, I planned an escape. With the help of my co-conspirator, my little sister, my angel in disguise, I forged a path where none existed. I packed my belongs and took an early flight to an island known for healing, dreaming of feeling the sunshine on my skin again.

I long to join the land of the living, and with God’s help, it seems more possible every increasing day I spend here. Even though my sickness hangs off of me like an old ratty sweatshirt, I sit in the sunshine, and it finds a way to pierce through my darkness. I face the ocean and my eyes often fill with tears thinking about the past. Yet, I look around and remember my progress. Though my mind feels foreign to me, reality feels distant, and I struggle to think. My bones and my muscles feel stiff, worn out. But I continue to fight. Everyday, I fight to join the land of the living, the land of the free. I’m braving new territory while holding my father’s hand, though hesitantly.