Human, and Understanding

They’ve left me facing wall
To the left a landscape painting,
Under hard glass
reflects harsh lighting
There are no windows here

Doctors have lost their hearts
All surfaces are sterilized
No life forms allowed
No healing can happen here
The signs out front are wrong

Insides machines beep the time, and
Tubes drip cold fluid into my arms
But humiliation and fear
are what have frozen me
I have to get out!

Suddenly, the curtain pulls back
In this sterile maze
Life reaches out to life
A nurse, human, and understanding,
Has brought me warm blanket


Check out my weekly-ish newsletter for interesting reads + some of my own existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering, or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

Written in response to Daily Post Prompt: Blanket

Featured image via Steve Greer


10 Thoughts on Being Six Months Smoke-free

Today, dear readers, marks six months since I embarked on my most successful attempt to quit smoking since I started just about 15 years ago. I’m proud of myself and the people close to me are too but I won’t pretend it has been an easy or pleasant experience. It was very hard and I learned a lot about myself in the process. Here are my feelings on being smoke-free so far:

Every was right, cigarettes smell horrible. I never noticed very much before. I mean I knew I smelled bad right after I smoked but I didn’t think I did all day. When I first quit, when my sense of smell began to return to normal, the smell of cigarettes triggered cravings. Slowly the smell began to revolt me. I get why people do everything they can to keep smokers far away and out of smelling range.

There can be a social life outside of “The Smoking Area”. It might sound weird but my biggest road block to quitting was my fear of being alone. The smoking area of any workplace is where all the fun happens. It’s where people let loose and say all the things they can’t inside in front of the boring nonsmokers. It was hard giving that up but I actually enjoy the quiet time away from the loud mouths now.

I have so much more free time! When I quit I knew I needed to find something to do with all the time I used to fill up with cigarettes. Boredom is a chance for the addiction to wear you down so you have to avoid it at all costs. I started learning Spanish and putting more time into writing. More to be proud of :)

I can buy so many things now! I can now justify almost any purchase to myself and my girlfriend by simply saying “Well, I did quit smoking, so not only do I deserve this but I can probably afford it too.” I try to be careful so I don’t end up substituting a shopping addiction for the smoking but it is nice to have things to show for my money now.

My anxiety over the adverse health effects of smoking is at an all-time high. When I did smoke I didn’t worry about cancer much. My mind always pushed my worries away. My addiction made me think it wasn’t going to happen to me. Since I’ve cut my dependence on nicotine I realize I will probably pay a price for 15 years of smoking eventually and it scares the shit out of me.

Human emotions are not easy to work through. Before, when I got angry, sad, frustrated, lonely, or felt any unpleasant emotion, I could just have a cigarette (or two) and everything would be better. Now I have to actually deal with my feelings and find a way to work through them. I have to say of al the struggles I have gotten through since I quit this is what I am most proud of. I can face my feelings now without nicotine.

Nicotine affects you physically, and quitting can have unexpected results. My body was used to a regular dose of nicotine and other chemicals almost every day for most of my adult life. When I cut that supply my body felt it. I was very tired for the first week or two. I developed a cough and a runny nose. The returning circulation left my hands and feet feeling tingly and numb for days. Most of that has passed by now and I feel much better now than I used to.

Anyone can quit. I am fighting the urge to become one of those ex-smokers who lectures people who have chosen not to quit at this time. I hear smokers saying “I just can’t quit right now.” or “I have tried before and it’s too hard.” I get it. I probably tried at least six or nine times before this one. The only thing that was different this time was I knew all the reasons I thought I couldn’t do it was adjust my addiction lying to me.  Evey step of the way I told myself I could do this and I did. That was it.

I don’t regret quitting at all. I did for a long stretch of the past six months, though, I’m not going to lie. I missed it a lot. I didn’t like all the changes I had to make. I didn’t like feeling grouchy and uncomfortable. I didn’t like not have my friend and security blanket. I didn’t like not having a way to escape things that were making me uncomfortable. Now though, now I know it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I have a long way to go still. I am still tempted every so often. If I become too emotionally distressed or if I am outside enjoying some nice weather, the thought that a cigarette would be really good occurs to me. In those moments, I remember the feeling a good cigarette gave me. Instant relaxation. I am able to push the craving away easily but I think it will be a long while before those thoughts stop coming to me at all.

I did this and you can too.

Monday Motivation // Please, Remember to Eat

Good morning and happy Monday to you all. The work week begins again and it’s time for us to rise and begin again with it. It has been awhile since I have written one of these but honestly, since I had been sick I haven’t felt very motivated. I am finally feeling like myself again and it occurred to me that for the past few weeks all I could think about was getting healthy again. A big part of that was being aware of what I was putting into my body and how often. Because I got sick, and because I quit smoking,  I have built a habit of remembering to

A big part of that was being aware of what I was putting into my body and how often. Because I got sick, and because I quit smoking, I have been better about remembering to eat every meal and being mindful of what I am eating. I do this because food is very important to our day-to-day lives. Food provides the energy we need to accomplish our goals and it makes us feel good so we can enjoy the day.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

// Hippocrates

There were many mornings when my breakfast consisted of a few cups of coffee and a cigarette to go with each one. I ate lunch about 50% and only because my girlfriend made sure to pack me some leftovers from the night before. Luckily she made healthy dinners and if nothing else I was getting one of my meals right. I never drank water, strictly coffee and sweet tea only, and I took in a lot of sugar and salt.

My eating habits were pretty bad but over the years, I’ve made small changes and things have gotten a lot better. I’m not here to tell you I know everything about nutrition and fitness. I don’t know much beyond eat lots of things that look they came from the earth (fresh fruits and veggies), drink less soda and sugary drinks and more water, and, most importantly, I know I just need to eat!

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”

// Virginia Woolf

If I had to recommend a place to start on the road to healthier eating it would be to start by remembering to eat at all. Too many of us are skipping one, sometimes two meals a day. Too many of us are just too busy to stop and think about food at all. We learn to ignore the stomach growling and hunger pains. We tell ourselves we’ll eat later. When later comes we say we don’t know what to get, so we get nothing. We go back to work, feeling tired, unmotivated, and blah.

How can we expect to accomplish our goals when our minds and bodies have nothing to convert to energy? How can we make things happen when we are feeling sluggish and light-headed from low blood sugar and lack of vitamins and minerals? We can’t do anything without first giving ourselves the building blocks we need to stay healthy, to heal, and to run at optimum energy and efficiency.

“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”

// Mark Twain

This week I’m not asking you to become the perfect example of healthy living. I am nowhere near that myself. I’m not even sure I want to be. All I am asking you to do this week is to just start by remembering to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Remember to ask yourself, “When was the last time I ate something?”. Remember to take notice of how you are feeling and ask yourself, “Do I feel tired, irritable, or weak/light-headed?”. If you do, would eating something help?

I truly believe that when it comes to food, anything is better than nothing, and skipping a meal is the worst thing you can do for yourself.

(If you are already eating at regular intervals throughout the day try asking yourself, “Is there something healthier that would satisfy me?”, “Is there something I could make myself?”, or “Can I add something fresh  to this?”.)

Nothing can get done if you do not have what you need to get it done. Eat because you body needs nourishment, and because you need your body. Eat because everything you want to accomplish depends on your health and energy. Eat because food should a part of our lives we enjoy, not something we skip or rush through. Eat because it feels good and because you love yourself too much to deprive yourself of all the good eating does.

Eat because you have a life to live and you want it to be a long and healthy one.

Just eat.

“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”

// Zen proverb

Monday Motivation – Had a Rough Start but I’m Still Trying

It’s Monday again and while I’m trying my best to get my ass in gear and get motivated I’m having a terribly tough time.

This week I’m going to try to prepare for my days in advance. Getting ready for work today did not go as planned and I ran late which put me in a bad mood. I don’t want to continue that tend for the next four mornings so before bed every night I need to pick out my clothes, get my food for the next day ready, and get everything I need to get through the day, such and books, keys, and charger cords, in my bag so I’m not searching for them in the morning.

This week I also have to find more time for myself so I can read, write, and draw. I’ve let this blog go a bit and I have a lot of projects sitting on the back burner that need to be worked on before I lose interest. I’m losing track of my writing ideas and my drawing skills need work. My brain needs replenishing and my creative muscles need a work out. My day job will just have to give a little.

This week I have to take care of my home. I’m horrible at chores and my house had become a cluttered mess. I can’t function in that much chaos. So every afternoon when I get home I need to spend 20 or 30 minutes organizing and cleaning, then I can work on my projects.

And finally this week I am going to start watching what I eat more. My diet isn’t the most unhealthy but it could use some improvement. More natural foods rather than processed crap and more water and unsweetened matcha, finely ground green tea leaves. Less sugar is the main goal which I hope will help with the sluggishness and food cravings.

So those are the goals this week, preparation, organization, creativity, and healthiness. It’s a lot but think I can handle it! What are your goals this week?

The Week’s End – A Round-up of Interesting Stuffs

Steal This Episode – copyblogger

As a writer, you should be swiping ideas nonstop. Stealing ideas nonstop.

I am always on the look out for new podcasts and this one looks pretty interesting. It’s called Rough Draft and it “delivers the essential writing advice you need to succeed online, in about four minutes a day, four days a week”. This episode in particular looks interesting because as a writer I am all about stealing ideas, the right way of course, and anything that admits openly and honestly that this is what any creative art is about is something I want to hear!

The Science Of Superiority: Why The Firstborn Child Is The Smartest One – Elite Daily

Firstborn children are literally smarter, better, faster and stronger than you.

As a first-born myself this makes me very happy :)

Blueberry Lavender Chia Seed Pudding {Gluten-Free & Vegan} – Free People Blog

Not only are chia seed puddings a breeze to whip up, but they taste wonderful, are super satisfying, and they’re loaded with healthy and nourishing goodness.

I recently watched a documentary on obesity that scared the crap out out of me. I am a skinny girl but I have been gaining weight lately and I learned that being skinny does not equal healthy, not even “healthier”. So I am looking for new recipes that use fresh, nutrient rich, ingredients. I haven’t made this one yet but it does sound tasty so I thought I’d share.

Fed Up – Netflix

An examination of America’s obesity epidemic and the food industry’s role in aggravating it.

This is that documentary I mentioned that scared the crap out of me! I admit I had no idea how much sugar I was ingesting a day, or how it affected my body, or how the food industry was working to keep me ignorant. This has changed the way I think about what I eat. I realize now that a lot of things I thought were healthy choices were not.

You have to watch this documentary!

Cheryl Strayed on how to write like a motherfucker – Brain Pickings

 So write, Elissa Bassist. Not like a girl. Not like a boy. Write like a motherfucker.

A Manifesto for Self-Love

I will talk to myself like I would someone I love. I will remember that I am a human being, and as such I will make mistakes. I will remember that making mistakes does not mean I am a bad person or unworthy of love. I will remember to take time to recover from my mistakes and forgive myself.

I will not compare myself to others. I am unique and have many strengths. I will take pride in my accomplishments and character, they stand on their own without the need for comparison. I will stay positive and grateful for everything I have, everything I am, and everything I and have done. Failing to do so will only lead to bitterness and suffering and I love myself to much to do that to myself.

“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.”

― C. JoyBell C.

I will love my mind. I will strive to always grow and learn. I am intelligent and that will not waste or take for granted. I will try new things and meet new people because that is the only way to grow and learn about the world around me. I will be my own cheerleader. I will encourage and push myself because I know I can be great.

I will accept myself for who I am. I will be authentic in everything I say and do. I will stay true to myself and remember that I am made up of many parts, all of which are to be loved and accepted. I will allow myself to feel my full range of emotion and never deny nor belittle any part of myself.

“As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.

― Charles Chaplin

I will love my body even when society tells me I should hate it. I will never engage in negative self-talk about my body just because it is “what women do”. I will remember that this is the only body I will ever own, and I will honor and respect it. I will remember that the images I see on TV and in magazines are not true representations of what women should or do look like. I will not push myself to look like the women I see on TV and in magazines. I will remember that trying do so is unrealistic and sets me up for shame and failure.

I will love my body enough to take care of it. I will strive to be healthy and only put good, natural things into my body so that it can function and heal itself. I will remember that my health directly affects my mood and energy levels throughout the day. I will remember that my body cannot go on forever and I must maintain it in order to live a long, happy, and healthy life.

“The human body is the best work of art.”

― Jess C. Scott

I will surround myself with people who love me too. I will surround myself with people who are positive and encouraging. I will voice my feelings and needs to those around me so that they have a chance to make things right when our relationship has suffered. I will also be open to listening to other people’s feelings and needs so that I make efforts to preserve the relationships that I value.

I will not allow toxic people into my life. I will not allow others to put me down or put negative thoughts into my head. I will remember the saying “misery loves company” and I will not engage with people who’s only goal is to bring me down.

“Protect your space and circle. Invest in people who you know will feed you just as much goodness as you do them.”

― Alexandra Elle

Above all else I will remember that self love is always a work in progress. I know I will make mistakes and fall back into old habits. I know self-love requires constant effort and vigilance. I know that the way I feel about myself directly affect my relationship, my work, and my mental and physical self. I know that the way to find true happiness is through acceptance and love for myself. I will be present and ever aware of my thoughts and actions. Every morning when I wake up, I will look myself in the mirror and I will tell myself I am beautiful and perfect, even in my imperfection. I will then conduct myself accordingly throughout the day.

Weekly Writing Challenge – Manifesto