Kintsugi

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting back together broken pottery with gold or platinum lacquer. Every crack in the broken ceramic is repaired with a beautiful, metallic resin. The whole philosophy behind this is that the cracks of the object are not meant to be disguised, or the object to be thrown away. Instead, these markings and imperfections are part of its history.  When coming across this, I found it became deeper to me than the physcial art itself. So I started to apply it to myself.

This got me thinking, aren’t we all like broken ceramics. Obviously a person is more valuable than a bowl, but the idea that hiding our imperfections or cracks in our past is not what we should be doing. Experiences that break us should, in a sense, be celebrated. Downfalls in our lives show us that there is better. They make us work harder, make us humble. Why should we not repair our cracks with gold too? We aren’t disposable once we deem ourselves broken or unworthy. Many people let bumps in their journey, or on their skin, set them back. Don’t do that. Paint them in gold.

You don’t have to share your experiences to the world or physically put your insecurities on display, but for yourself, understand that like the philosophy the Japanese so beautifully believe, it is a part of you. You don’t lose your value or purpose when you get scuffed up.  What I love so dearly about this practice is how realistic it is. It shows that we can never be “as good as new” or “perfect”, but we can reinvent ourselves, pass on stories or advice, we can strive to become stronger. The cracks are unique to the person as well. There can be many bowls that are the same shape, size, color, but the cracks will never be the same. Like a finger print, everyone has a different journey, and things that pushed them off the path at one point. Again, that is a part of our history and it should be acknowledged and admired.

Take from this little philosophy and apply it to your own life. What cracks have you been trying to hide? Why are you hiding them? Know you shouldn’t have to. Remind yourself that you would not be the person you are without the negatives. We forget sometimes how full our lives are. Think about how many interactions and lessons you have every single day. Good bad, indifferent, doesn’t matter. They impact you wether you’ve realized it or not. It is by definition what makes a life, life. If you are unhappy with who you are now, give yourself permission to heal. Allow yourself to move on and conintue with this rich journey. Live with knowing the bad will crack you, but the good will mend you with gold.

O

 

 

 

 

 

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Kids

Once I was the center of the universe. Like many of the youth I believed that everything revolved around me. That the heliocentric model was incorrect, because what was the sun in comparison to me and my needs?

 Younger people tend to have such a frosted perception, not only of themselves but of the atmosphere around them. Kids believe that the world is their stage and everyone else just contributes to the performance. As children we didn’t have to plan ahead. Not by a year, not by a month, not even by a day. We lived minute to minute only acknowledging the existence of ourselves. It was so nice living in a world that only was what you wanted it to be. You didn’t have to acknowledge world crisis, or issues amongst humanity. You didn’t see evil or pain, because as far as we were concerned, things like that didn’t exist. If you were happy, the rest of the world had to be happy right?  I wish it was as simple as my underdeveloped mind perceived, but as the inevitable task of letting go of your child-self is up to be completed, the concept of stepping out of your comfort zone develops a whole new meaning.

 

Now I am a part of it, the universe. I am a part of history, the present, and the future. We all are. We are part of a system. Not the one that we call society, or the one that people tend to feel oppressed by. I’m talking about the system that everyone is involved in, whether they like it or not.  I am talking about a species. We biologically, evolutionarily, and capability wise, are all the same. I am in someway connected to all of you, and you to others, but we forget that. There are so many layers that are placed in between people, separating them. Color, religion, political affiliation, gender, even technology. We have adapted to see sensitivity as a weakness, and in turn have suppressed the ability to sympathize. No one can dispute certain facts, not even myself. We think that reading an article on Facebook makes us aware of what’s going on, or sharing a post to your timeline can help relieve someone’s ailments. Punching in your credit card number to purchase an item which donates a fraction of the profit has somehow become humanitarian. We have reached the point that when listening to a tragedy on the news, the death toll determines the severity. We breathe a sigh of relief when it is found out only one person has passed. “Thank god it was only one” is something that I have heard often. That was still a life. Someone connected to a family, friends, someone who worked and played a role in the system. One of the biggest falls in this human civilization, has been the rise of desensitization.

 

Everyone can agree that after helping someone it has not only benefited them, but is has also benefited you. Why do we ignore that? Human connection is so powerful, and it can help change the separation in our culture. It can remind us that we should embrace the fact that we are all the same, yet celebrate the things that make us different. We live in fear of feeling sad, or guilty that someone is suffering somewhere else. So we just don’t acknowledge it. Like we did as children, acting as if it does not exist. As we grow up we can no longer be our selfish, child-selves. As we go out into the world we start to affect others, and we have an unspoken responsibility to create a positive impact. If something you see or read causes you to have an emotional reaction, listen to it. If you choose to ignore that feeling due to the common fear, change will not occur. We need to help each other, we all occupy this same space, and everyone has value. We can no longer fear the unknown under the assumption that if we cage it, it can’t hurt us. You will never be able to cage the unknown, it will cage you. Engulfing you into its opaque walls, sucking the ability to experience from your lungs. We were not designed to grow up and remain as selfish children, thus, we should not act like so. In order to progress as a society we need to feel the pain so we can recognize when it’s gone. Get out there, help someone, feel not only for yourself, but for others. Let us regain our humanity.

 

O

I don’t want to die, just not exist

Without the research into the statistics, or diagnosing the youth of the general population, I can safely say I have witnessed such an increase in depression. So many resonate with constant feelings of sadness, or not even realizing they are sad because they’re constantly numbing themselves with whatever they can. Not just drinking and smoking, but with risky behavior. Adrenaline rushes help distract from the empty pit slowly being filled with these anxious, dark feelings. I write about this because I feel it too. More recently stronger than I ever have. When I was a senior in high school, I was internally a mess. I had anxiety that no one could have imagined and a pretty intense eating disorder. This was sparked by an emotionally abusive relationship I was in, and the fact that I felt so poorly about myself that I didn’t think I could make it through college. I went to therapy, dumped the boy, and yet I still wasnt happy. I wasnt eating, and when I was, I was secretly bingeing. I felt like no one liked me even though I logically knew that wasn’t the case. I was getting attention from guys and when I explained I didn’t hook up or send naked pictures, I guess word traveled. I then wasn’t the first pick anymore. It started to turn me further into myself.

Over the summer of my freshman year in college, I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore and I started eating again, whatever I wanted. I will always be a health conscious person, but now if I want a damn piece of cake, I have it. This helped me regain some of my lost high school confidence and I felt more mentally strong. Yet, even in my now sophomore year, I have moments where I don’t want to be here. Where I feel so alone and without purpose that I dig myself into thoughts so heavy, I feel like I’m sinking. I stay up at night thinking about irrational fears in which people, who I know at the forefront like me, really don’t. Or about how I’m never going to find someone who values the fact that I do, in fact, have a brain. There are even moments I cry uncontrollably because I’m in such distress. The worst part is, I do it alone. I am so embarrassed about expressing my true feelings because I have fabricated this girl who has it all together. A challenging job for my age, a hard major, good grades, even works out. Those around me explain that sometimes I’m “intimidating” and that I’m this “savage” because I can read into people. The truth is, I can sense people’s hurt and insecurities because I too feel that way. We spot what we know, and what I know is sadness.

Within the past few months I have had a couple of days in which I think closely about not existing, not being here in this life, even just for a moment. When I wait on the train platform, I feel the breeze and see the lights approaching. I then I close my eyes and think about how easy it would be to just jump. But by the time that half-second thought is over, the doors have already opened to board, and I have to continue with my day. I am scared to die, but frequently I don’t want to exist. I say this because I feel misunderstood and frustrated. I don’t know what I could do better. It’s not like I could get sober, work harder in school, or go get a job, because I already have these things. So why the hell do I feel so horrible and unmotivated?

A problem I think many people have is the fact that we are glued to our phones. Glued to looking at people’s profiles and getting discouraged at the fact that they seem to be having a better time in life than you or me. Remember though, would you post about your bad grades, a picture of those jeans that no longer fit, or your puffy eyes after crying about a breakup? No. We post what we think makes us look the best, but its hard to remember that. Social media feels so real to us, yet it’s such a mirage. I used to think about working out solely for being able to look good for Instagram.  That is a sick thought, but it is so commonly the driving purpose for many desicions made.

We are influenced by every interaction in our lives, and not just human to human, our lives on our phones impact us too. I’ve been thinking deeply on it, and I’ve realized that it makes me sad. I’m living my life through the pictures of others, or in my imagination depicting what I want in my future. I’m wishing time away because I don’t like my now. We need to enjoy our now. Indulge in these current moments as best as we can or else we will always be fantasizing about the future instead of building it. Its hard, its lonely at times, and it takes strength to fight depression and anxiety. It’s a scary place to be, because like me, most are very good at hiding it. I dont want to hide anymore. These emotions take up space in my head and in my body. They consume your thoughts and  goals then turn them into seemingly impossible tasks. Self love is a term tossed around by everyone these days, but no one explains how damn hard it is. How hard it is for everyday people, who dont have a modeling career or a huge successful business, to learn to love ourselves when those claiming they’ve reached this self-love Nirvana are commonly not every day folk.

This comes back to my point about being so engulfed in the lives of others, especially online. Turn of your phone, go for a walk, write, sing, pet your dogs, tell your mom or dad that you love them. Do something that centers around your life and not others online. Do for other people. Volunteer if you can, even just give a stranger a compliment. This could help someone who may be having a dark time like you feel a little hopeful, and it could fill something in you as well.

In my heart I know I don’t want to die, I really dont. I want to exist because I value my abilities. I will continue to sweat to love myself, to cry to love myself, and to laugh to want to be in my own skin. I never want to allow my mind or body to leap off that train platform, and I dont want yours too either.

O

I survived Tinder and back

Over the past three days I have managed to flirt my way through the many layers of Tinder, which became increasingly similar to those Dante managed to scathe in the Inferno. Difference is, Dante was never bombarded by eggplant emoji’s and water droplets (romantic, I know).

To start at the beginning of this drama, I need to explain why. I hated the idea of Tinder. I understand the appeal, but I think the reality has become creepy. Yet, I had friends doing it as a joke and I wanted to laugh too. So I went to my local App Store in the settings box of my phone, and downloaded it. At first you log on, post a couple of pictures of yourself, create some goofy bio, set up your location, it’s cute. However, it doesn’t stay that way. Swiping left and right is all fun and games but Tinder plays into one of the greatest flaws within society today. Going off something based on how it looks. The same goes for those who swiped right on me. Granted, I wasn’t the one sending pictures of my lower extremities, but they still don’t know who I am either. When you and someone swipe right on each other, you become a “match”. There’s little hearts and whatever that surround your pictures and you become free to message each other.

I started off getting messages from 22 year olds, 25, 20, a decent age range that I had selected, just to avoid the older men. In my naivety, I didn’t know creepy comes in all ages. The first couple of messages were complimenting how beautiful I was, what was my number, things of that sort. This was what I call the “Surface Layer”. Then I reached another layer, the one of “Double Messages”.  I quickly learned that people’s egos are on the line here apparently, and they don’t hold back. I found if I didn’t reply, I would get hit with mad face emoji’s, or “Damn ok, you don’t wanna talk now”. I swear, the time in between the initial message and the following wasn’t even enough for me to go make myself a cup of coffee (which is exactly what I was trying to do).

Then I reached the level of “I Need To Follow You On Everything”. I had linked my Instagram to try to get more followers, even though I knew it was dumb because I don’t post, so why would I care? But, everyone else did it, so like a sheep in a herd, I followed. Those I was not responding to started going in on my Instagram. Then on my Facebook once they found my name, asking for my Snapchat, my number, where I live, etc. This got creepy. I was getting afraid I was going to start getting Christmas cards. Once I blocked and changed my profile to solely be able to contact me on Tinder, I had made my way to a more personal level. One I was heartbroken by, the “I use pictures of my Dogs in my profile to distract from the fact that I’m a Douchebag”. That’s like tripping an older woman in the street but explaining that you volunteer at a senior center, so its ok. After my interactions with the assh*les on this level, I was ready to call ASPCA, because no dog should be subjected to people like that.

On this level,  which was possibly the lowest, is when the aggressiveness kicked into high gear. The messages were straight up vile. Granted, they were honest, but I was stunned that men actually speak this way to women. I got a message which so delicately read “I hope you have pet insurance, cause I’m about to destroy that p*ssy”. Now, given my friends were doing it as a joke, I figured some of these guys should be too. In my world no one really uses a line like that and expects to actually make a move. So I replied with my little laughing face, “Damn. You didn’t even ask me what my favorite color was”. To which my man Brock’s reply was “don’t care, just want your p*ssy”. And with that, I stopped answering. These men were going into detail about their desires and to be quite frank, many of them were disturbingly violent. Then with such ease, they followed with “so when are you free”. That’s the same question I should be asking them, on the phone, when they end up in some county jail after fulfilling a fantasy. But I digress.

Tinder was not fun, I didn’t even get a laugh out of this. It gave me anxiety in all honesty, having to block and secure my profiles, make sure everything was deleted for real, take down pictures. And I know “I did this to myself”. I understand, however, wrong is wrong. And the way we speak to each other is vile and quite sad. No one, even on a hookup app, should be spoken to that way. Hooking up doesn’t disregard the fact that we still deserve respect. So if I could give you anything from this journey through Douchebags Inferno, it’s don’t be distracted by a nice profile picture, but MOST importantly, remember that some people use pictures of their dogs to do evil. Just saying. It’s a sad, inconceivable truth, but all things are possible apparently when you’re on Tinder.

 

O

Oxymoron

You are the bitter seed in a candied apple.

You are the maturity in a playground. The salt over my left.

You are the definition of undefined. An antiqued youth. The integrity of a crook. The silver lining to a tragedy.

The color of chaos. For you are everything I am not. Everything cautious beings should avoid. However, I find myself attracted to you.

Attracted to those red flags stitched with warnings that you hold so boldly in my face. You insist to me that you are not the one, that the open difference is what keeps love from ignition.

I scream the opposition of this separation.

You are my sacred solace in the trauma they named life.

For you are everything I am not, and that is why I need you.

O