ThumbelOona

You’re growing so fast Sunshine

Your clothes are getting smaller

Your face changing

You are getting bigger

Not in a conventional sense

But you are growing alright

Growing into Oona size

Thumbelina size

Forever

Compact slight petite

Tiny slight pint-sized

All elfin features perfect

A miniature person

Small beautiful Unique

I love the way your toes curl when I kiss them. I love how you look at people with your scrutinizing gaze as if you are studying them weighing knowing understanding. I love the sound of your voice when you are trying to convey your feelings in your own way, without words. I love how you smile when you hear your favorite song and how you listen attentively when your mother read you stories. I love the way your big eyes light up when you are happy and the way your eyelashes touch your cheeks when you’re asleep.

I want you to be happy and healthy Sunshine. I want you to be safe.  Remember that I will always be here when you need me. I love you my Oona. My ThumbelOona.

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The False Grinning Faces We All Wear

“I’ve never been lonely. I’ve been in a room — I’ve felt suicidal. I’ve been depressed. I’ve felt awful — awful beyond all — but I never felt that one other person could enter that room and cure what was bothering me…or that any number of people could enter that room. In other words, loneliness is something I’ve never been bothered with because I’ve always had this terrible itch for solitude. It’s being at a party, or at a stadium full of people cheering for something, that I might feel loneliness. I’ll quote Ibsen, “The strongest men are the most alone.” I’ve never thought, “Well, some beautiful blonde will come in here and give me a fuck-job, rub my balls, and I’ll feel good.” No, that won’t help. You know the typical crowd, “Wow, it’s Friday night, what are you going to do? Just sit there?” Well, yeah. Because there’s nothing out there. It’s stupidity. Stupid people mingling with stupid people. Let them stupidify themselves. I’ve never been bothered with the need to rush out into the night. I hid in bars because I didn’t want to hide in factories. That’s all. Sorry for all the millions, but I’ve never been lonely. I like myself. I’m the best form of entertainment I have. Let’s drink more wine!”

― Charles Bukowski

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The Mailman

Imagine death, as a corporate looking mailman.

with his black suit and red tie,
black pants, and black leather shoes.
a brown leathered sling bag all the way to his waist and a blue cap on top of his head as it overshadows parts of his face though you can still see his smile.
sure, it somewhat looks creepy, but he tries to be a cheerful person.
he leaves the house before sunrise and proceeds to work.
delivering presents in every houses, with a little note on top of every gift that says,
“you’ve made it today, here is a gift from me. sincerely, death”

inside the box, is your life, for you to use today. the dew of first breath in the morning, until you wake up.

death never fails to deliver his presents in every house,
because each house is different every day.

some look as bright as the sun,
some look as colorful as a rainbow,
others look as dark as his suit,
but most are pretty normal.
but nothing stays the same.

most days, no one is there to receive his gifts, but he never feels sad about it.
he just cheerfully knock on your door or ring the doorbell.
though, when no one answers, he carefully places the present in front of the doorstep and leaves,
for he has no time to wait — he needs to finish all his work before sunrise.

oftentimes, someone is already waiting by the doorstep to receive the parcel.
from then he tries to bargain, he is not a businessman nor business inclined, but he gives you the freedom to choose between the gift of life or the package of eternity.
if you choose life, then he will give it to you, whether you want it or needed it. a chance to see another day.
yet if you choose eternity, as he always had in reserve for you, when the right time comes, then, that is the time you need to leave your home and pass on,
but he will let you bring the boxes that you have,
the box which once contains life is now filled with memories, a gift for you to take with you.

funny, how death gives us more presents than Santa could ever give, no matter how naughty or nice you have been.
how he gives us more chances, more than God ever did.
and yet, he never asked anything in return.

death is your ordinary cheerful corporate looking mailman, that never fails to do his job. though he may be sometimes under-appreciated, he still finds his way to deliver his gifts each and every day.

Words by Clarke Stein

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The Past Comes Peeping Out Again

By accident, I came across a familiar name online, a name I know so well. A name I’ve seen written on railway sleepers outside our house once upon a time. A name which was converted into numbers as a part of coded messages written on walls around the neighborhood meant only to be understood by me but meaningless to others. A name that has now an extra name added to it, inserted in between and belonged to a familiar face of a stranger. How did it happen?

The face belonged to a friend. A son of one of my father’s workmates and buddies. His father was trying to couple him with me even before I set eyes on him. I always nod and politely smiled whenever the topic was brought up but deep inside I was not the least interested. Judging by the appearances of parents and siblings, this phantom boy who worked in the city will never be anything to me. And so I thought.

Till one sunny afternoon, I was trying to read and heard a commotion outside. Peeping through the slit on the wall I saw two young men carrying air guns chasing each other across the train tracks. I found their accent funny. Clearly, they were from the south and speaking a dialect I heard my father used sometimes. I wondered who they were.

I saw the older of the two boys again during an old fashioned barrio fiesta dance. He was more good looking than I remember, looking like a city boy that he was, fresh and modern. I was charmed.

I wish he wasn’t a show-off. I wish he didn’t dominate the dance floor, I wish he wasn’t so sure of himself the one hundred percent crush I initially had for him reduced by twenty-five percent after his performance that night. On the way home, he deliberately stayed behind to have a word with me he said and I thought: This is it! He gonna professed his undying love for me. But what he actually said was he got an eye for my friend Rose and could I possibly help him to win her heart. The seventy-five percent crush plummeted to fifty after that revelation. When I heard that he was the phantom son of my father’s co-worker, the remaining fifty percent went all the way down to zero and we became best of friends. That’s the face the familiar stranger belongs to.

The name is totally another matter.

It belongs to someone else entirely. Same town, same neighborhood, same young dreamers club (he was the president, the other the vice) but different looks, different age category; he was older. Twenty-six to be exact. I knew right away he fancied me. Actions speak louder than words, right? He showed it in so many little things but he never made an attempt to voice out his feelings or formally court me. I confronted him with it and to my surprise, he didn’t deny what I already knew. When I asked him why, he said he was not a teenager anymore to give in to impulse, too old to be foolish. I was a handful he said. Starting anything with me was like picking a rock to bash your own head. I was too much for him he said. I called him a pussy and he laughed about it. We laughed about the whole thing. I was not the least insulted nor angry. The whole conversation was bordering on funny, a joke. But we understood the seriousness of what being said and not said. We accepted it.

He was a frustrated engineer to be, dropped the dream in favor of drinks. He carries a big scar across his stomach. A souvenir from a street fight which almost killed him. If he learned some lessons from the experience, it didn’t show. Life goes on.

I went away in search of a better future. I lost track of the people I once knew. Forgotten almost. Never seen them again nor I set foot on the once familiar turf once more. Now I saw online a stranger who is carrying his name wearing a familiar face of another.  Too much of a coincidence. It piqued my curiosity and started to dig deeper.

Well, it turned out to be this: Mr. Frustrated Engineer married a sister of my once best friend. (Why they all ended up together eventually? Too little choice? Too lazy to cast the net wider? Whatever) Mixing the name and the looks perfectly well. There are six siblings to the familiar stranger. All good looking, all degree holder. Three of them engineers. Not bad I thought. And the familiar stranger who is bearing the name of his father, well, he is an engineer too. Surprise surprise. Kudos to him and to the sister. Despite circumstances, they managed to raise a family of well educated talented young people who will be parents to more successful future generations from my past. Making me wish I am thirty years younger and back to the place I tried all my life to escape from. Fancy that.

And to him, he made the right choice by not choosing me. It would never work out. I am too much of everything for somebody like him. For anybody for that matter. The best way to keep me is to set me free. Something my husband understands so well. And by the way, he’s also an engineer.

Well, Mr. Frustrated Engineer… Do you still remember the song you used to sing to me while strumming your guitar?

This is it:

Something New In My Life 

by Stephen Bishop

I guess I wanted something new in my life
A new key to fit a new door
To wake and see a different view in my life
The one I’ve been waiting for

Dreams like everyone I had a few in my life
Who knew that this one would come true in my life
I knew the moment when you touched me
You touched me

You’re like a sudden breeze that blew in my life
A new face, a new smile, a new song
And now I know I wanted you in my life all along

You’re like a chance I had to take in my life
I found you and couldn’t lose you
And all the difference that you make in my life
The feelings I never knew

I guess I must have saved an empty place in my heart
For you to come and fill the space in my heart
That long before I said, I loved you
I loved you

Whatever happens, this is true in my life
When all the springs have come and gone
Whatever doors I may go through in my life
Whatever else that I may do in my life

You’ll always be the something new in my life
From now on
I know there always will be you in my life
From now on…

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HSP Tolerating Socializing

“Sometimes people who don’t socialize much aren’t actually antisocial. They just have no tolerance for drama and fake people.”

This is what I want to say to anybody who accuses me of being antisocial.

I’m in a point of my life where I don’t care anymore what people think of me. I just want peace and quiet away from all the cacophony of a crowd. 

“As a highly sensitive introvert, I need plenty of quiet alone time to recharge. Loud talking and music drain my energy and make me feel claustrophobic.”

“I can function quite well in public situations but find myself completely exhausted afterward. I struggled to make banal small talk with groups of people, much preferring a deeper discussion with one or two others. I can stand up and give a talk and lead a group discussion, no problem, but then I have to retreat and rest for a whole day.”

Worse still, I need at least three weeks to recuperate.

“I love my family, and I can tolerate people in my space for a little while, but if they stay for more than a day, I get stressed. Picking up on their feelings, having to be ‘on’ all the time, not having my own space to retreat to — it’s too much.”

“I cannot tolerate chaos and disorder especially in my personal space. I need everything organized and clean. I cannot do clutter. I must have the house put in order before I start for the day. Otherwise, I’m just so distracted by the extra sensory input.”

“Others seem to need a radio or TV on in the background ‘for company,’ but it drives me crazy. I love shops with no music. I can’t cope with the sound of power tools, lawnmowers, or leaf-blowers — it’s excruciating.”

“Strong smells especially from perfume or essential oils. I find them overpowering and they make me physically ill.”

“I absorb and hold on to other people’s emotions, which can leave me feeling sad, upset, or drained.”

Like now, I’ve been out too long yesterday and here I am, 6:30 in the morning and still awake typing despite taking a tranquilizer and a sleeping pill. I’m too stressed to sleep even though my body is exhausted and ready to give up.

People don’t understand that being with them takes too much effort and energy. They asked but don’t listen and all ready to judge. Better to keep away than to cause a discussion or misunderstanding even. I just don’t want to waste time explaining anymore.

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Allowing Yourself To Be The Boss

Acceptance is for most people one of the fundamental goals to achieve if one wants to be deemed successful. In order to belong anywhere, to be respected, to keep self-esteem and dignity and to answer one’s need for interpersonal relationships one needs to be accepted; by one’s own family, friends, colleagues, and society in general. Only a few enjoy being an outcast (I’m one of them) and most if not all find themselves in this situation, not by choice. Predominantly, one becomes solitary because she or he failed to adopt a herd mentality or conform to what is expected by the majority. If one wants to belong, one must get the approval of society, so simple is that.

“What do you mean I have to wait for someone’s approval? I’m someone. I approve. So I give myself permission to move forward with my full support!” –Richelle E. Goodrich

For the vast majority, they don’t know any better. We are conditioned to adapt to what the society deemed appropriate from the cradle and we learned early enough what the consequences are if we don’t. So, from such a young age, we strive to be what the society expects of us at the cost of our true selves. We suppress our own individualities and uniqueness in order to be part of a group. Lucky are the ones who can portray their true selves and still be accepted and admired, but I am thinking, those rebels, are they really showing their true colors or it’s just for the show? For the sake of the art or whatever it is that motivates them to be different. I think of Van Gogh and all those eccentrics whose lives ended in tragedy. Is that the price to pay if you dare to swim against the current?

Most will think: why bother, it doesn’t worth the trouble. Why rock the boat if you can’t swim. Better to sit still and enjoy the ride and hope to reach the shore safely. It’s better to be part of the herd than make the journey on your own because for most people solitude means boring among so many other things. I wonder if they even tried to follow their own path and be who they really are. Just once, for a change, to test the water, see if they like it. I guess not. Why fix something that isn’t broken, right?

What about those jerks that get away with everything and advance on society’s ladder by stepping on other people’s back, are they being true to their own nature and being rewarded as well? Talk of having the cake and eat it too. To me, it only looks that way. Notice that most of those jerks used to be respected pillars of the community before the public learned their true colors? Appearance is everything. You want to be accepted, learn first to deceive.

How about you?

What do you think?

Do you need other people’s approval?

Of course you do!

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The Day You Said You Regretted Me

“And perhaps, you would still cross my mind after two, three, five or sadly, ten years later. Maybe after those times, I’d still wonder how it feels growing old with you. Maybe after those years, I would slowly turn into a blurred image sluggishly subsiding in your memory. Maybe, after all, you will remain as my could-have-been

and I, 
I will stay as your never-again.”

– Mica Meñez

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The Damaging Effects of an Inauthentic Life & How to Change It.

By Tracy Crossley

Depending on how we define authenticity, we may believe we are being very real with ourselves and the world.

Perhaps, we come closer to the definition of who we are, when we’re alone. It would be true, if we still didn’t carry the same beliefs with us, no matter where we go.

Our beliefs color our perception, creating limitations or possibilities and how we view others. Our beliefs aren’t necessarily our truth, they’re often what we’ve given meaning to through our earlier experiences.

Does it mean we are lying to ourselves? Yes, though it’s unintentional.

Many of us have contrived patterns to avoid loss. We fear our beliefs are true about abandonment, shame, not doing the right thing, not belonging and so on. We also fear not getting our way, because it would change the image in our head of how life is supposed to be. 

We often don’t say what we mean, because we’re on auto-pilot. It’s our same old reaction we offer, without much thought to its validity. We skip truth, so we instead live in past projections now.

Being inauthentic means we beat ourselves and others up because we place so much value on expectations. Most expectations aren’t ones we even created, many are inherited through our environment.

To be authentic is to dig deep and look at why we believe what we do, see how we uphold these beliefs through our patterns and question if this is truly who we are inside?

Authenticity is to accept all parts of ourselves. Through acceptance, we build an authentic relationship with ourselves first and then others.

If we get off of autopilot, even for a moment, we can learn who we truly are and learn about others as well.

Until we do, we’ll continue to believe old truths without bias. We’ll unconsciously create situations, which prove to us their truth! So, if we believe all relationships ultimately fail because we don’t deserve to be happy and healthy, then we’ll do what we can to make it true.

We get others to help us confirm these inauthentic beliefs too.

Teaching people to lie to us, is something we do unconsciously. Though if we physically pay attention to our bodies, we notice we feel off when we allow it. They’ll tell us what we want to hear because they fear our reaction or fear of losing us. How often do we let inauthenticity breed in our relationships, because we’re afraid of loss?

When we live out these inaccurate beliefs and force them to be true through our relationships—our experiences become inauthentic.

Many of us are stressed out and believe that life is dictating that we must have experience in the same way, each time. Every time we do something against ourselves, we suffer and yet, we have a belief that tells us, this is the way it is…..and it’s not.

When we show up for things out of duty rather than desire, guilt rather than truth, telling someone what they want to hear, rather than what we really want to say. Acting in ways that feel disconnected, but meant to please. We are living inauthentically. We want approval.

The scary thing is we don’t want to lose this inauthentic connection.

Fear lies in knowing our truth because it often means change, loss and everything we’ve been afraid to let go of, including a perception. In choosing authenticity, some will leave us, some will be pissed off, but in the end, we feel better.

When we can face ourselves with truth— we face another. We won’t let lies be brushed under the carpet, or pretend; we’ll lovingly stand for our truth. Even when it’s hard to do.

Authentic relationships have little to do with a list of qualities. It’s about learning who we are every day and attracting someone to our lives with the same openness, the same desire to live life fully and passionately.

The benefits of authenticity means we are comfortable in our own skin—alone or with others—confident while embracing our flaws, truly kind and yet truthful, even if there is a cost.

Every time we challenge an old belief, through thought and then counter-intuitive action, we release ourselves to have a more authentic relationship with life.

To develop authenticity requires a deeper awareness. Paying attention to our autopilot reactions, sussing out the past projection from the present situation and being honest when we’ve been wrong in our perception too, helps us to get closer to our own truth.

Photography by Nigel Tomm

6 Ways to let your Wounds Breathe after a Toxic Relationship.

By Cynthia Madison

Letting go of a toxic partner is a sign of courage and strength.

After years of emotional manipulation and suppressing your personality, you’re finally free and you’re ready to look for a meaningful relationship.

So why don’t you see the silver lining yet?

Getting out of a toxic relationship should feel empowering and liberating, but we may not feel like that right away. The first months after the breakup can be very confusing.

Our ex-partner is physically gone, but the negative energy they built around us is still there, preventing us from healing and being kind to ourselves. After being under someone else’s shadow for years, we may feel alone and vulnerable, and we may find it hard to trust ourselves. With time, this will all pass, and we can learn to value ourselves for who we are.

Be kind to yourself.

If you’ve been in a destructive relationship for years, you may not remember the last time you received a compliment. Maybe your partner told you that you’re not good enough, that you’ll never find someone else who loves you, or that you’ll never be happy on your own.

These words are not true and they have never been about you. They are the way your ex expressed their own fears and insecurities. Allow yourself to heal at your own rhythm. Don’t force yourself to start dating right away if you don’t feel ready yet, and never, ever blame yourself for how you are feeling.

Don’t replay all the hurtful words your ex has said about you. Focus on the positives instead: you had the strength to say no and break the cycle. It’s the beginning of a beautiful journey, and you shouldn’t let the past haunt you.

Surround yourself with positive energy.

After ending a toxic relationship, you may realize that all your old friends are gone and you’re not as close with your family. A toxic partner doesn’t want you to develop healthy, nurturing friendships that cherish your independence and help you grow as a person. They want you to be isolated. They want to build a wall between you and the outside world so that they can control you better.

This you versus them mindset needs to stop, and now is the best time to reconnect with people you lost contact with.

Did your ex have a problem with your best friend? Call them to meet up for a coffee. Did you stop attending family gatherings because your toxic partner didn’t like them? They’d love to have you back.

Celebrate the things you love about yourself.

Forget about the things your ex said they loved about you—if they mentioned any at all. What do you love about yourself? What do you think your strengths are?

Make a list of all the things that make you feel confident and focus on nurturing them. Try to break free from your ex’s perspective and rebuild your own image. When you know what makes you special, without comparing yourself to someone else, no one will make you doubt yourself.

Experiment and have fun.

Toxic relationships often make us suppress our feelings and prevent us from exploring. Now that you’re single, you may feel that you wasted years wearing clothes you didn’t love, you didn’t visit any exciting places, you missed out on many great parties, and, let’s face it, your sex life wasn’t amazing either.

Don’t assume that it’s too late and that you’ll just have to live with regrets for the rest of your life. It’s never too late to learn, grow, and have fun.

Go ahead and dye your hair a crazy color. Book that trip to a Bali retreat. Go clubbing, flirt, and see the sunrise. Buy that plunge-neck dress and wear it with pride. Buy your first vibrator and explore your body without feeling awkward or ashamed. Take the time to discover what you love, and later on, it will be easier for you to find someone who’s right for you.

Set boundaries and learn to say no.

One of the dangers of being in a toxic relationship is that it puts you in a destructive mindset where you’re attracted to toxic people. Ending one toxic relationship doesn’t help if it’s followed by a second one, so learn to spot the early signs of toxic behavior and say no before it’s too late.

Does spending time with this person leave you drained instead of happy? Do you feel pushed around and like you don’t have a voice? Tell them you don’t tolerate this kind of behavior.

This doesn’t apply only to romantic relationships; toxic friendships are just as harmful, and you’re likelier to accept them if you already tolerate destructive behavior from someone else.

Channel your kindness toward something or someone who deserves it.

The fact that you were in a toxic relationship doesn’t make you weak or inferior in any way. In fact, toxic partners thrive on smart, kind, caring individuals who want to help and be supportive. This is a great quality, and a bad relationship shouldn’t stop you from honing it.

What you should do is direct this kindness toward a good cause—something or someone who deserves it and appreciates it. It can be a new friend who respects you and shows genuine interest in your well-being, a charitable cause you’ve always believed in, or you can channel this energy toward your own personal growth.

Loving yourself is not a sign of narcissism or arrogance; it’s a condition of happiness and self-growth.

When you love yourself with all your strengths and flaws, this love will transfer to everything around you and will build the basis of healthy relationships.

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Measuring Our lives And Achievements Against Others In Social Media

“Long before the advent of social media psychologists knew that one of the fundamental barriers to our well-being is social comparison. It’s hard to be happy if we constantly concern ourselves with how we measure up to those around us. When we derive a sense of worth based on how we are doing relative to others, we place our happiness in a variable that is completely beyond our control.

Within moments of logging on to social media, we have instant access to others’ accomplishments, vacations, job promotions, home upgrades, and culinary creations. It’s nearly impossible not to get swept into the cycle of comparison. Scrolling through the highlight reels our friends’ posts inevitably fills us with envy because of the things we now want.” Read the whole article here.

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