Faith in Humanity Restored 

The title of this post might be a tad dramatic, but I think it follows up nicely after my thoughts on the way technology often gets in the way of friends interacting with each other. 

I continue to smile every time I have an interaction with a stranger that feels genuine. I like moments when the life of someone else and my own touch for just a few moments or minutes. Just because someone is in your life for a brief pause, it doesn’t mean that a mark isn’t left. That’s how I feel, anyways.

I took the metro downtown today to complete an assignment for my summer art class. The instructions were to draw a monument, not limited to the classic monuments we all associate with DC. I decided to check out one I’d never seen before: a statue dedicated to dogs that help firemen (my love of dogs may have propelled me in my choice haha).

I sat myself on a bench, pulled out my sketch pad, and began to draw as the sun beat down.  I was by myself, listening to music for about 45 minutes or so, until a man probably in his late twenties showed up to take a picture of the statue. I kept my headphones in, wary of being alone in a secluded area with a young man I didn’t know. I just wanted to mind my own business and hoped he wouldn’t speak to me.

And so of course, he spoke to me.

“You drawing that statue?”

“Yep, for my art class.”

“I’ll be right back… I wanna draw it too.” 

I put my headphones back in and watched him run in the other direction, amused slightly, while the other part of me was on my guard as you should always be slightly in a city. 

The man came back, smiling, with a piece of paper and pen. He sat down on a different bench, and began to sketch. After a few minutes he got up and showed me the beginnings of his work. 

“See I never learned how to draw lines, so I draw with shapes. To me drawing is very geometric.”

“That’s probably how I should be doing it,” I laughed. I was now intrigued by his drawing technique. 

For the next hour, he would show me his progress and I’d show him mine. He was very nice and seemed to appreciate that we had very different drawing styles, but didn’t seem to think one was better than the other. 

I left him well before his work was finished, but I really was inspired by the method he used to draw. 


I never learned his name and he never learned mine, but we did take pictures of each other’s drawings. It was a cool moment. With so many bad things happening in the world, it’s easy to be afraid of strangers. And with tecnhonology making us as isolated as ever, it’s easy to ignore people and stay in your own head space. I’m glad that today I got to experience an organic interaction and learn more about drawing. 

Twenty somethings and their phones at restaurants

Note: this is being written by the point of view of a 21 year old millenial

I haven’t written in a while– I guess I’ve had some classic writer’s block, or simply a phase where I felt I had nothing important or interesting to say. Today I just want to share some passing thoughts from while I was at work.

As of a week ago, I’m a waitress/hostess at a restaurant in Friendship Heights (DC/Maryland border). Today I sat a group of six guys and girls, around my age or a couple years older. I said hello as I handed them their menus, but they weren’t particularly friendly, a couple of them staring at their phones.

Eh, it’s fine, I thought. We all stare at our phones more than we should. Welcome to 2016.

However, throughout the hour they say on the restaurant patio, I couldn’t help but notice that conversation was sporadic and that the majority of the time, at least 1/2 the table had their eyes glued to the iPhones, scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and viewing their snapchats.

Is this what socialization has come to? Choosing to watch our friends “have fun” through a screen instead of having fun with the friends in our physical presence?

The thing is, I value iPhones for all they do. I also value social media and use it regularly, but not excessively. At the same time, I feel like it’s not a necessary thing be using while in the presence of family and friends that you are out with to spend time with. This has always gotten on my nerves, as in the past I’d hangout with friends in highschool and at least one person, if not more, would constantly be on/checking their phone within the group.

Anyways, that’s my little spiel for today. On the positive, I’m really liking my new restaurant job and the food is delicious (free meals and food samples have their perks). 🙂

Uber Adventures Continue

I’ve written previously about my experiences with Uber (a taxi service) and the interesting drivers I’ve met (SEE https://obsessionswordsandeverythinginbetween.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/the-turkish-uruguayan-uber-driver/) and I’ve got another one I’d like to share.

Just a few days ago, upon my return to Washington D.C., I had a driver who hailed from the capitol of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa.  He took me on a journey through different parts of D.C. than I normally would go from Union Station due to construction blocking the usual route.  He also took me on a unique spiritual journey as he preached his christian beliefs to me.

Being a loosely practicing Christian, I was familiar with many of his points, but I’ll admit that I didn’t spend so much time thinking about Jesus, a huge part of his speech.

“More people need to keep Jesus in their lives.  If we had Jesus in our lives, there would be less problems.  If we had Jesus in our lives, there would be less hate and everyone would be happy with what they do.  I’m a taxi driver, but I’m happy with what I do because I see Jesus everywhere.”

I don’t consider myself highly spiritual, however, this talk did strike a chord within me.  While I don’t believe everyone necessarily needs to believe in Jesus or Christianity to do good and find fulfillment and happiness, I think that spirituality and the beauty in religion is often forgotten, especially with technology constantly bombarding us.  I know most people [around me] who are my age (late teens, early twenties) generally don’t spend as much time today thinking about religion as they probably did decades ago, or perhaps as those in other countries and cultures.

I don’t think I’ll suddenly become religious because of this man, but it definitely got me thinking. While I don’t typically go into an Uber or cab ride expecting to be preached, I was fascinated, and I could see how happy it made him to have me listen.

Here’s to more interesting experiences with Uber drivers.  I always enjoy them!

Dear OCD…

Honestly, I usually don’t feel a lot of anger.  I spend a lot of time feeling anxious, euphoric, depressed, and content, but I don’t find myself angry often.  But as life goes on, I’m finding that I’m pretty unhappy with OCD.  While I’ve previously written about embracing my mental disabilities (and these writings still hold true), right now I just need to vent TO my disorder about what a pain it can be for me.  So here goes…

Dear OCD,

Seriously, stop being so mean.  I’m tired of you being a [insert not so nice expletive here].  I wish that you’d just cooperate with me and get out of my life for a little while.  You do disappear sometimes, but just not enough.  You never really go away.

You’re always lurking behind every corner.

And I hate you for that.

You’ve tried to ruin relationships that I’ve had with both others and myself.  You’ve made me question my sanity, my intentions, my sense of being, the world around me, many, many times.  It’s the nature of what you do– “the doubting disease” being your other name.  

You used to make me engage in more obvious compulsions but these days most of them are silent and internal… covert.  In some ways this is more torturous, as others don’t see the pain that goes on over and over again inside my head.

I used to think the worst part about you was the anxiety, but lately I’ve decided it’s the guilt.  The guilt and the doubt.  The constant state of confusion you leave me in.  It’s torturous and I’ve described it countless times as it feeling like having thorns scratch and poke through my brain.  

While you change your shape and form, I’m often able to recognize you and your irrationality.  However, just because I know you’re full of lies, it doesn’t mean I can escape your grasp.  Medicine helps alleviate you, but only a little.  My therapist and I are going to work harder to stomp out the fires you’ve been creating inside my head.

You make me feel uncertain and fearful, and oftentimes, it leads to self loathing because I never really feel sure.  I’m going to keep fighting you, but it’s my right to tell you I’m pissed.  I’m tired of your games.

Sincerely, someone who’s exhausted

P.S. I believe I’ll be okay… it’s you who should be worried.

2016 Resolutions

Almost a year ago I shared 14 lessons I learned in 2014 along with 15 things to look forward to in 2015.  This time, I would like to write 16 resolutions/goals I have for 2016.

I recommend doing something similar for yourself (of course, it doesn’t have to be the number 16– any amount will do!).

  1. Stay in recovery for anorexia/eating disorders.
  2. Continue down the non-drinking path for now.
  3. Work on coping better with my OCD/mood swings.
  4. Get my fiction novel published this year. 🙂
  5. Write down something good about each day before bed every night.
  6. Do more volunteer work in DC with APO (volunteer co-ed fraternity that I am in).
  7. Run the 10-mile Cherry Blossom race but focus on proper nutrition and not obsessing about times/numbers: do it just for the experience of running among the gorgeous flowers.
  8. Tell more people how much I appreciate them.
  9. Become more politically aware so I can make an informed decision during the election.
  10. Meditate (I tried that somewhat this year but I wasn’t very good at it haha).
  11. Listen better to others when they speak to me.
  12. Slow down.
  13. Go to church every once in a while.
  14. Spend less time on Facebook.
  15. Maintain my French and keep learning Portuguese on my phone (while of course taking my Spanish classes for my minor).
  16. Keep writing!!!!! (most importantly!)

To whoever may be reading this, feel free to comment and let me know what you plan to do with your 2016! Hope everyone got something good out of 2015.  It was a tough year in many ways but amongst the difficulties were many precious and beautiful moments.  I also learned a lot too.

–Kelly

[Featured image taken by me on a running trail in Washington D.C.]

Coloring my moods

Aside from writing, I’ve also discovered this past semester that coloring and drawing is an amazing way to relieve stress and express your feelings.  You don’t need to be Van Gogh or Picasso to do this– While I do think my patterns look cool, it’s more for the action than for any other purpose.

Feelings stressed or overwhelmed (or bored)? Pick up some markers and see what you come up with!

 

Think Positive

Today is a nice day to think positive.

A little over a week ago, Paris and Lebanon were attacked.  And since then, the world has been reeling from the chaos caused by terrorism.

So yeah, today is a nice day to think positive.

IMG_2292IMG_2134

Embrace the colorful details in life; the way art catches the eye.  Think about the different places we find love in our lives– in varying people, in hobbies, in words, in creation.  Remembering all the good memories of the past and the many to come: sitting on the beach licking a
snow cone as a kid, typing away at my computer as I create stories of my own design, and one day graduating from college with a grin on my face.

Whoever might be reading this: have a nice day, today. 🙂 

[Photos taken by me in Washington, DC]

Observations

I’m sitting on the bus in Honolulu. Sitting two seats in front of me is an adorable baby girl. She is staring at her reflection in the window– tapping the window, putting her face to it. Laughing and smiling. Her eyes are wide in excitement and surprise as she sees herself staring back at her. She is seeing herself for maybe the first time, or maybe not. If only we all had the wonder that an infant has in the world: the way that every little thing is exciting, sparkling, new, waiting to be touched or even smelled or licked. This baby makes me smile, not only because of her adorable face, but because of how babies live… The only way they know how: in the moment.

Just some thoughts as I continue my Hawaii adventure.

“Spring Break” 2015: Life’s Changes

Okay.  Deep breath.  Okay, closing eyes.  Okay… trying to understand what is happening here.

Today is the last day of my spring break.  Tomorrow I head back to Washington, D.C.  I would hardly call this week a break.  You know how they say bad things happen in three’s?  Well I learned first hand this week that this is true.  I also learned this week that timing has a strange way of working.  I also learned that nothing can beat out love.

Last Friday, my first day of break, my sister got into a car accident.  I’m thanking god everyday that she is okay, even if her car (named “Diego”) is not.  That was event number one.

Last Saturday, a week from today, I learned that my beloved cousin, so full of life, had become terminal.  He had been fighting brain cancer for more than a year, and things had suddenly taken a drastic turn for the worse.  He had weeks to live.  Tuesday he passed away at the age of 23.  I didn’t get to say goodbye.

The day I came home, my 13-year-old dog, Maxie, had stopped eating.  She had been aging a lot this past year, but she became ill the day I came home.  She passed away on Thursday, just two days ago.

My spring break has consisted of waiting.  Of crying.  Of hugging my family members and remaining dog.  My spring break has consisted of nothing fun or break-like at all.  But I’m not complaining… I don’t want anyone to think I’m complaining.  I’m just telling the facts of what happened.

So what are the feelings?

I can’t believe my cousin Brad is gone.  He was the most charismatic, loving, fun guy.  The life of the party.  The older cousin that I always wanted to approve of me and my sisters.  The cousin that went skiing to France and Utah with us.  The dare devil.  The charmer.  The one who joked about the ‘lamp sock’ in Grandma’s house and how it looked like a condom.  We all laughed.  Brad always knew how to make us laugh.  Brad lived to have fun… he lived to TRULY EXPERIENCE LIFE.  He beat cancer in his own way: he beat it with his optimism, his smile, his drive for life.

Brad’s funeral is today.  I have to face the family and face the music of death.  I’ve never been to a funeral, and I can hardly believe that my 23-year-old cousin is gone.  It’s not fair Brad had to leave.  That stupid asshole, Cancer.

And then there’s my dog, Maxie.  I’ve had Maxie since I was 7-years-old… and I feel that I shouldn’t be upset about losing a dog when I just lost a human family member.  But I am sad– that furry companion was one of my best friends.  She was my entire childhood and teenhood.  She even saw me off into adulthood.

I cried my entire week, and today I am empty.  I can’t cry right now… instead my OCD is acting up and I have to touch different surfaces to counteract the thoughts of death.  It’s crazy because although all of these horrible things happened– and I can’t deny that they’re awful– I’m glad I was home when it all happened.  I don’t know how I would’ve handled it at school.  Honestly, if I were at college during all of this instead of on break and with my family, I probably would’ve stopped eating.  I probably would’ve slipped into my eating disorder– but no, I am stronger than this.

Brad would want all of us to live life the way he did.  With joy, with passion.  With excitement and vitality.  His spirit will live on, and I hope today provides some closure for me.  Because Brad, you were and are an amazing human, and I’m so glad that our lives touched.  I’m so glad you were my cousin.

I miss Maxie too, and I know that I’m allowed to be sad about her departure as well.  It’s just all too surreal.

Thank you world for my amazing family.  Thank you for the love and support in my life.  I vow to truly live from this moment on… once the mourning as decreased and I feel more present, I promise, Brad, to truly LIVE LIFE as you had.  I promise.