Prompt Page 018: Self-Control Revisited



Prompt post from The Learning Network
to combat WordPress.


How much self-control
do you have?


I feel like I need to revisit this prompt. I feel like, after thinking deeper on it, that I missed an extremely important section of my life. Nothing was mentioned about relationships or sex or anything along those lines. I didn’t think past the prompted areas. I’ve always handled my career well. I’ve always been diplomatic even if the other person didn’t deserve it. In the public view I’ve always had fantastic self-control, and so from reading my previous post it may seem like I’m this amazingly wonderful, flawless person when that is so far from the truth.

I still stand by my statement that self-control is awareness, and I still believe my choices do not stem from a lack of awareness.

Some of the most recent decisions which would be seen as a lack of self-control I made out of the desire to be self-destructive; to allow myself to burn in agony along with my life. In others, it was with the hope that I would be wrong in the end even though I rarely am.

I can think of a handful of times over the past six years of my life when I have followed through on a sexual situation even though I didn’t want to. Most of the time it was because I knew the other person wanted it and at the time I felt unable to say no. If I did I would be a tease, or a heartless bitch, or any number of things people say when they don’t get their way. When they feel “led on”.

It’s a shitty feeling to know that you’re feelings as a person don’t matter when weighed against someone getting their way. As a young, insecure 20ish year old I didn’t know how to stand up for myself, and so yes, I went through with those situations.

You end up going through with it because it’s the least confrontational option even though it feels like a part of yourself is missing in the end. Something was taken and you’ll never get it back. You’re left wondering if you’re still a good person, if you were ever a good person. If you were wouldn’t they have listened when you said you didn’t want to? Wouldn’t they have stopped pressuring you?

The most recent experience of self-destruction was actually less than a month ago.

I was lonely. I was missing mom. The only thing I wanted was to be held and to cry.

A friend messaged me. She was playful and flirty, which is normal for her. We’ve talked several times about the level of sexuality in her comments and she’s always said that our friendship comes first. We’ve had past experiences which make me consciously doubt that comment, and even now I still do. I know she values our friendship, but she will always pick self-fulfillment if given the option. That’s been my experience at least. Her actions speak louder than her words.

I told her at the time that I was hurting emotionally. I told her my grief was raw and that I didn’t really want to be sexual. I wanted to cry.

We hadn’t hung out in a while, months. I have Big Bad and am fulfilled with him. I haven’t wanted other partners, and I especially didn’t want anything sexual with her due to our past. I knew if we hung out she would want it to evolve into a sexual situation, so I had been avoiding her. I knew it would be awkward and a situation I didn’t want to be in, so I avoided it.

In that instance, prior to our meeting, I suppose I was using the distance method of “self-control”. If I’m not around it, nothing bad can happen.

While we were messaging back and forth through Facebook, she said that since she had to be somewhere relatively soon she could come over for just a little bit and we could cuddle, just cuddle, and see what happened.

In my head, I knew it wouldn’t stay at the level I wanted it to be at. It wouldn’t be “just cuddles” but at the time I didn’t care. I wanted to not feel alone. I wanted to be held. Big Bad had his kids so I couldn’t see him. My blacksmith has been working double shifts due to a hiring freeze at his work since December. It was 11 pm and everyone else was asleep because they work normal hours.

I had all of these reasons for justifying her coming over even though I knew I would regret it in the end. I knew, conscious awareness, and I let it happen anyway.

If it’s conscious it’s not a lack of self-control. You willingly allow it to happen. You know your consequences and you made that choice.

She came over. We cuddled. It didn’t stay PG and though my body responded and physically it felt good, it wasn’t what my soul wanted or needed and when she left I couldn’t get the water hot enough to make my skin feel clean. You can’t clean chakras with soap and water no matter how much you try. All you do is rub your skin raw so there’s a physical wound to heal along with your emotional one, only the emotional wounds never seem to heal. You’re always different after those.

I was left feeling more alone.

She messaged me a few days ago to see how I was. I haven’t messaged back.

The closer we get to mom’s deathday the more I feel myself pulling away from people. I don’t want to be around anyone. I don’t want to talk. There’s nothing anyone can say to make it better or right. The only thing I want is silence and to not feel cold and alone.

That’s why I let her come over that night. I didn’t want to be alone and the immediate self-gratification of having someone near seemed like it would outweigh the loneliness of when she left. It didn’t, and I knew it wouldn’t, but I wanted to try it anyway because trying anything was better than staying alone in my room in the dark with silent tears running down my face.

I don’t know where that leaves me in regards to self-control. It’s hard to justify not doing something when I’m in the middle of my grief. I’m not going to like this outcome, but what’s the point of not doing it? It’s not like anyting matters. Mom’s dead. In the moments where there aren’t tears associated with that sentance, those two words, there’s such a level of flatlined apathy, detatchment from self, that there’s no real sense of self-preservation.

No. I won’t like this situatuion and I don’t really, honestly want this situation but what does it matter? They will like it. It’s what they want. And on a physical level I will like it, so that makes it 1 1/2 people who want it, right? Why not go through with it? It will give me something different to hurt about. Something else I can focus on. Something other than thinking, “Mom’s dead.”

Maybe that’s self-medication. Maybe that’s distraction.

I’m not sure, but this realization has sparked deep introspection for me. It doesn’t seem like the kind option when I know in the end it will hurt me more. I deserve to be kind to myself. I deserve self-love and these actions don’t align with that.

I feel I need to meditate on this.

Prompt Page 017: Self-Control



Prompt post from The Learning Network
to combat WordPress.


How much self-control
do you have?


I like to think I have a fair amount of self-control. I gauge what I say before I say it. I know, for the most part, when I’m being irrational and tend to refrain from making decisions during those times. I know, again, for the most part, what is good for me in terms of my short terms goals and long term goals and consciously try to weigh my actions before making them.

Does this action align itself with my goal? If not, am I ok with the results that will come from it?

I feel like self-control is awareness. It’s being conscious about your choices and how they affect not only yourself but the people and environment around you.

Awareness takes energy, time, effort. It’s not easy. It’s draining and might be one of the reasons as an introvert I find socializing to be as taxing as it is. There’s more input to contend with, sift through, and analyze before acting or responding.

It’s easier when it’s just me.

Are there times when exerting self-control is easier, and other times more difficult? For example, do you exhibit self-control with food, but not with your phone? Or do you have more self-control at school than at home? Why?

I think I have a same level of control in most areas of my life. I don’t have less control over myself in regards to food. I know what my health goals are. If I want a piece of cake I have it, but I keep in mind that having it all will make reaching my goals harder.

I know what the health effects are of too much sugar or salt in my system. I know I’ll have a hard time sleeping if I have that cup of coffee after 2 pm. Alcohol is fun but one beer is essentially 7 slices of bread. Am I ok with that?

Sometimes I am, other times it’s not worth it, so I don’t do it.

I don’t think of it as self-control so much as “there are consequences for your actions. Are you ok with your consequences?” Again, awareness. There’s the conscious thought of, “this will result in something later. Am I know with that result?”

I have less “self-control” when my grief flares up. And really I don’t think of it as having less self-control or awareness. During those times my goals drastically change. My goal while I am contending with my grief is survival. Health goals, social goals, even career goals fall to the wayside. The only thing that matters is making sure emotionally I remain ok.

Staying at home wrapped up in a warm blanket not having to explain to people that I’m sad because my mom died seems better than going out and trying to fake happiness that I don’t feel. I try not to let that interfere with my attendance at the dojo. I try not to let that affect what I eat, but sometimes I really do just want to stay home eating a pizza and to not having to worry about dishes.

Sometimes I really do what that cigarette or that drink that I make too strongly because I know it will help me get through a moment of intense pain. That’s most likely self-medication and I know there are other ways to deal with the pain I feel. To me, as long as I make it through the moment then I’m doing ok since the main goal in my life reduces down to survival. I can’t do anything if I don’t survive through the wave of grief, and sometimes that alone is the hardest struggle there is.

When the question ricochetting around in your head is, “What’s the point of living when mom is dead?” it seems more ok to eat pizza and watch mindless anime because there’s comfort. There’s breathing. There’s not having to worry or give a fuck. There’s a reason to keep going even if at the moment of my grief I can’t remember what it is. The main point is to not become lost in my grief and to find my way back to acceptance of the reality I live in. Sometimes indulging or having a “lack” of self-control allows me to find the comfort I need to keep going.

Actually… I guess it would be all the time since I’m still here…

What strategies do you use for exercising self-control, such as the distraction and distancing methods mentioned in the article?

I feel like don’t really exercise anything in regards to maintaining self-control. I guess since I analyze everything before I do it, I could say I use my brain, but that sounds sort of dickish.

I don’t buy boxed meals like Hamburger Helper anymore because I know it doesn’t line up with my health goals even though I’m sure I would still like the taste of them.

I don’t drink soda anymore for the same reasons. When I go out I might sometimes get a sweet tea, because I live in the south where that’s a thing because we’re civilized. #noHate #loveTheNorth

If I want to do something, why do I want to do it? How will it affect me? Am I ok with those results?

I try to look at things rationally, logically, which is why it can get dicey when I’m in an emotional state, especially if the emotions are anger, an outward expression of pain, or something like sadness, an internal expression of pain. I have found over the years that it’s better to give myself space and time to experience the emotions fully, to acknowledge them and accept them, similar to giving them a hug and saying, “I see and understand you.” I need to validate the emotions I feel are real and that they exist.

From there, after reassuring myself that it’s ok to feel whatever it is I’m feeling, I can step back and start to ask, “Why do I feel this way?”

Asking myself that question allows me to figure out the driving force behind the initial reaction. A lot of the time finding the root cause changes the course of action I actually want to be taking.

No, I really don’t want to curse that person out for being closed minded and hurtful to me. What I really want to do is come back logically and explain my side of the situation and how their actions made me feel.

So I guess if I had to pick something that keeps me in check, it would be logic.

Logic is my self-control device.



Prompt Page 016: Good At Being Good


Prompt post from The Learning Network
to combat WordPress.


What Are You Good At?


Tell us what you are good at.

I’m good at learning. I’m good at being curious and asking questions. I’m good at wanting to know why and how. I’m good at seeing how things can be applied to other things to make systems easier or more efficient.

I’m good at helping. At wanting to help. I’m good at caring about people and things. I’m good at understanding if something can be improved and actually improving it.

I’m good at understanding that people are more than “things”. People aren’t numbers. People are hopes and dreams and aspirations and emotions. People are families and friends. They’re living. They have experiences that make them feel the way they feel. They have fears and insecurities. They have scars from Life. They have memories. They have self-preservation instincts.

I’m good at seeing the big picture as well as the small steps that go into achieving the larger goal.

I’m good at explaining things. I’m good at breaking down information or presenting it in such a way that people are more receptive to it. I’m good at taking something intimidating and scary and making it seem not so bad.

I’m good at teaching and sharing, especially if it’s something I’m passionate about.



How and when did you first realize you had this aptitude or knack?

I can remember when I was in middle school there was always a “word of the week” at my school. Teachers picked a student at the end of the week who most represented this word. Honest. Dependable. Compassionate.

We had a school news program and every Friday the names of the students who had been picked for the “Weekly Word” were mentioned and congratulated.

I was picked for a lot of those words. I didn’t try to get them. I didn’t strive or change things about myself. I did my homework. I was a nice person like my parents told me to be. I did what I was told when I was told to do it instead of giving my teachers a hard time.

At the end of the school year, there was an awards ceremony. I had been crushed because at the time I was in band. I focused a lot on band. Poured myself into it, really. It was how I was coping with my parent’s divorce. Band was my self-medication before the invention of World of Warcraft.

There was an award I had been striving for, but I had failed the music theory test during the solo and ensemble event. Passing that test was a requirement for the award so because I failed I wasn’t eligible anymore even though my “competition” was.

I remember being in my band director’s office and having silent tears running down my cheeks as he told me there wasn’t a way for me to achieve the award. I felt lost and hopeless. That award was how I knew I was doing something meaningful, that there was a purpose to everything. I NEEDED that award to have a reason to breathe.

She, my competition, was going to get to have her name called and walk across the stage and be acknowledged for her outstanding performance and I wasn’t. I had studied and practiced so hard. I knew ALL of my major and minor scales. I had passed every test in class. I had gotten a superior on my solo. I knew all of our musical terms and legitimately practiced all of the hours listed on my “practice sheet” while most students just randomly wrote in times so they wouldn’t fail the assignment.

I had done so much. So much. But because I had failed that one test, a test only offered once, I wasn’t going to be acknowledged. I had failed at something when I had put in so much effort into it and that hurt.

My effort hadn’t been good enough. I was a failure. Just like how I had failed my dad and that’s why he wasn’t around anymore.

I remember there was a while where I felt nothing. Depression. Apathy. It seemed pointless to keep striving when there was no way for me to reach the goal I wanted so badly.

Because I wasn’t eligible for the award I was surprised when I received an invitation to the ceremony at the end of the year. I very obviously hadn’t achieved my award, so why was I getting an invitation? At the time I thought it was a sick way for the system to twist the knife inside of my chest.

I remember showing mom the invitation. She was more excited than I was. We went out and got a special outfit so I could have something nice to wear for the ceremony. I remember sitting in the auditorium, the lights dim so the stage was brightly lit, displaying everyone who walked across the stage for their award. A honor roll. Perfect attendance. Things like that.

My competition was called for her band award and I wasn’t and I struggled not to cry because I didn’t understand why I was there. I didn’t want to see her achieving while I sat in my seat being reminded that I was a failure.

Eventually, we got to the end of the ceremony. The final part. It was the Empathy Award. This award was going to go to the student who embodied the idea of empathy. The student who most embodied every word that had been a “Weekly Word” for the whole school year.

My name was called.

I sat for a moment, not understanding as people clapped and cheered for me. I remember my mom poking me and telling me to go to the stage. I walked down the aisle, terrified that I would trip over my own feet, or that I would stumble as I walked up the stairs to the stage. I stood in front of my homeroom teacher as she gave me my certificate of Empathy and said I looked amazing in my outfit and that she was sorry she hadn’t been able to choose me for every word, but that she was proud of me and was happy I had gotten this award.

It was the first time I had heard the word empathy. I remember asking my mom when I got back to my seat what it meant. She said it means I’m a good person who cares about others.

I remember thinking it was sort of silly. I didn’t understand. I hadn’t done anything special. Caring for people is something you’re supposed to do. I didn’t do it better or more than anyone else. Everyone cared so how could there be an award for caring?

It wasn’t until later, as I got older, that I realized, no, not everyone cares. Not everyone is a good person. Not everyone has empathy.

It’s been something that I have always done subconsciously, and only gradually became aware of how it makes me different and sets me apart. Discovering my personality type of INFJ had a lot to do with understanding myself, my strengths, my weaknesses, but also my differences from the people around me.

That award was the first indication of how I was different, even though it took me a while to understand what it truly meant.


How do you use your skills and talents?

I like to think I use my skills and talents to help people.

Even seemingly random things like creating custom D&D character sheets goes back to the thought of, “This will help someone and make them happy.” A lot of the things I find joy and fulfillment in revolve around making someone’s life easier or more pleasant in some way. I help solve a problem they have.

In regards to teaching, I help my students absorb the information they need, whether it’s because they’re genuinely interested, or just want to pass my class so they can keep moving through the program.

Through my use of empathy, I’m able to see why they are struggling with the information. Maybe it’s overwhelming and they need it in smaller doses, or maybe there’s fear because it’s new and scary computer code and they’re doubting their own abilities. Maybe there’s a lot going on in their personal life and they just need someone to listen so they feel less burdened or can find some action steps in that area so their mind can move forward to other areas like school work.

Now, with my transition into the medical field, it’s with the hope that I can help people who are going through situations similar to what I went through. The uncertainty of seeing a loved one in the hospital and feeling weak and powerless to do anything to help them. I want to be there to help during those moments of darkness since I, myself, have had to go through it.

I can’t make bad things not happen, but I can be there to offer support and empathy when they do happen. I can be in those situations where someone needs to not only care but to understand. I can be in those situations where a person needs someone to co-suffer with them because I have suffered in a similar way.


How have your peers and adults reacted to your abilities?

I have been thanked during graduation speeches for my help and compassion as an instructor. I have received awards as an employee for my hard work and dedication to my job. I have received what feels like countless emails from former students thanking me for my help and how they feel they are successful because I took the time to help them believe in themselves.

I have received awards as a student, again for my hard work, but also for my ability to harmoniously interact with my instructors and classmates.

Even now, in my phlebotomy class, my instructor has offered to write me a letter of recommendation and we’re only a week into the class.

My therapist mentioned not long ago how she knew from the first visit to her office that the energies of the Universe move around me differently. That most likely sounds weird and raises, “That’s a load of crap” flags for some people, but as an INFJ it feels like validation. I know I’m different. I’ve always felt different and that difference in my teenage years and early adulthood left me feeling alienated and detached. I didn’t fit in.

I’m not meant to “fit in”, though. I’m meant to be myself, and that’s ok.

Even the drunk guy who came down to talk to me the one night I was outside on my phone at Sir’s apartment. The one who said that I had a beautiful soul and that God had plans for me. A total stranger whom I had only seen in passing a few times and had never spoken to before felt the need to tell me he saw something “other” about me.

It has taken me a while to understand and accept my difference and it’s still something I am striving to understand fully. I might never “understand it fully” but the people I interact with seem to react positively to whatever difference there is in me, and I’m glad that I can use it to improve my sphere of influence.


Are you passionate about the things you are good at?

Yes. I feel it is my purpose in life. I’m meant to help people in whatever way I can. I’m meant to better humanity. I feel I will always gravitate to a teaching role. I like the idea of teaching EKG because I feel I would do well with conveying the information. I feel I do well at the dojo when I’m paired with a student who doesn’t understand the technique we’re practicing.

I enjoy showing people how to do something they are struggling with and seeing them finally understand or grasp it. That moment when their soul lights up from the inside with the feeling of pride and accomplishment within themselves. It’s a good feeling to build someone up.

In a selfish way, it charges me. I helped. I did well. It makes me feel good so I want to do it again. If I didn’t get anything out of it I wouldn’t do it. But I do, so I do.

It’s how my brain is programmed. It’s my core code. Instead of fighting it and trying to be someone else, something else, I have chosen to embrace it. I like my journey so far. I want to see where it takes me in the future.

Prompt Page 0015: Happiness


Prompt post from The Learning Network
to combat WordPress.


What makes you happy?


I want to take a moment to acknowledge the irony of this being my next prompt after all the posts I’ve made this week… Thanks, Universe. I got the hint. >.>

What makes you happy? Be as specific as you can in listing five things or more. (For instance, if “home” makes you happy, tell us what details about it are so happy-making.)

My cup of coffee in the morning makes me happy. I like the routine of getting out of bed, putting on my glasses, and quietly going downstairs. I love scooping out the instant coffee powder (don’t judge me) into my red cup that I’ve had for years. I love listening to the water run as I fill the cup. I love the minute and twenty seconds I stand in front of the microwave, breathing, waiting, calm in the moment, knowing my cup will feel warm in my hands.

I love the time it takes for me to drink my coffee. The silence of the apartment. Sometimes I sit on the couch. Sometimes I play music. Sometimes I sit outside on my doorstep and listen to the cars driving by on the road near my apartment. Sometimes it’s sunny. Sometimes I’m sad because I miss mom still. Sometimes I’m worried about the day because I have a lot to do, or I’m worried my grief will keep me from doing the things I feel I should get done.

It doesn’t really matter how my day starts. My cup of coffee brings warmth to it, physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. It’s “my” time. Lately, I’ve been able to share this time with Big Bad, and that, too, is something I love. I’ve never really shared this time with anyone else, and it makes me happy when he’s part of it.

Cleaning makes me happy. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. I like putting in effort into the spaces that are important to me. It makes me feel like I belong. That I’m part of it. I remember there was a Saturday class at the dojo I was going to for aikido. We were going to have a seminar that night for a visiting sensei. I was allowed to dust and polish the shrine. It made me feel like I belonged. I was a part of the dojo because I was helping to care for it.

It’s a similar feeling when I clean my room, or kitchen, or my car. These are my things and I put time and effort into caring for them. It makes me happy to take pride in things that are a reflection of me.

I hesitate to type this, but I think writing makes me happy. I hesitate because I think of all the times I have sat at my keyboard and cried as I typed, but I also remember the peace and acceptance I found after all of those painful, anguished writings. Happiness is not always easily attained. Sometimes it is a hard road to get there. Writing has helped me get through some of the darkest moments in my life. Very rarely are answers black and white. Life doesn’t work that way, so yes, even though it’s a confusing, gray yes, I have to say that writing makes me happy.

Training makes me happy. Going to the dojo for jujitsu and Muay Thai, taking my belly dancing classes, yoga, running, biking, pushing myself to be better than I was the day before. That makes me happy. There’s part of me who views all of these things as easy now. I survived mom’s death. I’ve made it almost one year. Everything else is trivial, easy.

The pain I feel of my body wanting to quit, the tiredness of physical exertion, it’s nothing compared to the pain of having mom’s urn handed back to me from the TSA worker. The fear I used to have about my car breaking down, or what people thought of me, of not being thin enough for society, that’s all white noise to me now. Silly. Petty.

I train because it makes me better. It teaches me about myself, about other people. It shows me how we all struggle and that even though the struggle is hard, that in the end, it’s worth it. Change, improvement, can’t happen without pain, sacrifice, and effort.

I train as a way to understand and accept the emotions I have in regards to my mom’s death. I train because she died. Finding acceptance and understanding makes me happy.

The people in my life make me happy. And again, that’s something I hesitate to type, though I feel it’s true. The support of my brothers, the thoughtfulness of my sister-in-law, the friends who have reached out to me with love and compassion, the strangers who have been kind to me without realizing what I have been struggling with, the drunk guy who came up and hugged me and said God loves me and has plans for me even though at the time I felt lost and alone.

Even the people who in my past have hurt me. Zane and his betrayal, Warren #2 and my rape, Joe and his manipulation and lies. I am grateful for them and the lessons I learned through surviving those experiences.

I am happy for the darkness I was made to walk through because I know how to help others walk through it. I know how to be light and hope for others. I know how to be kind and loving. I understand how to empathize and relate.

I am happy for the people in my life who help me get through the hard times I’m still experiencing. Even when it feels pointless they stay by me. Even when it feels like I throw a fit like a child and cry about how “it’s not fair”, they stay by me. Their acceptance and understanding make me happy, and I love them for it.

What do you do to make others happy, whether on purpose or not?

I don’t feel like I do anything special. I am myself, and I guess a lot of people appreciate that. I call or message people randomly. When I feel sad I post something positive on Facebook. Without fail, there’s always one person who replies saying how they were having a shitty day and my post made them smile. That makes me smile. It makes me feel like even though I’m sad and lonely that I’m not alone.

I listen when others need to talk. I ask how their day is going and genuinely care about the answer. I hug the people who are important to me. I tell people I love them because I don’t want us to part ways and for them to not know that I care. In the chaos of life, I might never get the chance to say it again and I need them to know.

I smile and nod to people I pass. I laugh when something’s funny. I sing along with my music in the car with my windows down or songs playing through the speakers at the grocery store. We only have the moment we’re in and I told mom I would live life fully, so I am. I think people, at least some people, can sense that, and that feeling that makes them happy.

Do you agree with Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general, that “when we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched”? Have you ever had the experience of being made happy by helping someone else?

Yes. Several times. There was one night where I was at a gas station and a man came up to me asking if I could help him. He didn’t have any money and asked if I could buy him a can of soup. He didn’t ask for cash or list off any of the normal stories I’ve heard. He seemed so disheartened coming up to me and all he wanted was soup. We went into the store together and I bought him food.

We stood in line together awkwardly. I paid. He thanked me and I wished him well. I then went to my car in cried because that day had really sucked for me. If I went back through my blog I’m sure I could find the post. I’m pretty sure I was feeling lost and directionless again, for different reasons than what I do know. Mom was still alive then. But the fact remains that I felt so helpless and powerless with my own life that I wanted was to be a positive influence for someone else, and I was able to that night. Being able to help someone else made me feel like there was still a reason to keep going.


Do you ever literally “count your blessings,” as the Action for Happiness organization in Britain urges people to do? If so, what’s on your list right now?

Yes. I was at the gym before I went to Disney. I had run and was in the back trying to stretch my hamstrings out. I was going through different yoga poses but I wasn’t really peaceful or meditative while I was doing it. My heart chakra was aching. It has been recently, and at the moment I felt sad. I was in child’s pose with my arms stretched out in front of me and I was thinking about how I missed mom.

I pushed my right index finger more firmly against the ground.


I pressed my right middle finger against the ground.


Right ring finger.


Right pinky.


Big Bad.

My blacksmith.





I thought about them and why I’m glad they are there. I have more than ten people in my life who help me.  Taking the time to think of people, name them, and remember why they are positive influences for me shifted my day. Even though I hurt I still have good things in my life. Sometimes the pain becomes all consuming and I forget about the good that’s still there.

Maybe I should do that more often when the pain wells up. Stop and count ten good things. I wonder if that would help my grief.

Prompt Page 0015: Motivation


Prompt post from The Learning Network
to combat WordPress.

What motivates you?

Have you ever had a disappointment or setback that fueled later success?

Yes. Several times. I wouldn’t go as far as to say countless, but I feel like I’ve had my fair share of heartwrenching moments where I was faced with the feeling of “not being good enough” be it self-inflicted, work related, school related, or relationship related. I also feel like those moments in my life were defining moments for me. I had the choice to allow myself to feel defeated, to let something think it was better than me, or I could accept the blow to my ego and use it to improve myself.

Maybe it’s unhealthy but there’s usually anger involved. I’m angry that I didn’t reach my goal, or that I fell short of expectations. I’m angry that I didn’t get what I wanted essentially. Sort of childish when you think of it that way… but in my case at least, that’s the truth of it.

I have a choice of being sad or being angry and almost always I will choose anger and use that heat to drive my self-improvement.

Right Brained Me: Oh? You think I’m not good enough? I’ll show you. I’ll stomp you into the ground with my awesomeness.

Most of the time it’s myself who I disappoint. Rarely do I fall short of other people’s expectations. It’s my own expectations I feel I don’t reach. I’ve gotten a lot better about setting realistic expectations of myself, and even as I type that I’m reminded that I’m trying to do jujitsu every day in the mornings and then Muay Thai and belly dancing alternating in the evenings along with doing condition running for a 5k mud obstacle race in February and biking somewhere in there as well since I finally have a bike again…

Maybe I need to reevaluate how much I think I’ve improved on setting realistic expectations…

How common do you think it is to respond to failure not with discouragement but a renewed “I’ll show ’em” spirit?

Honestly, I don’t think it’s very common. I think a lot of people find it easier to give up and to move on to something else. Not many people know how to take critique. Doesn’t matter if it’s in regards to their work, a personal project, their life… No one likes to feel like they’re “not right” because in our society “not right” is automatically categorized as, “wrong” and, “wrong” is a bad thing.

Everyone, everything, can be improved. If I don’t reach a goal I was hoping for that’s because I need to improve. It doesn’t mean I’m bad. It doesn’t mean I’m a failure at life and that I’ll never reach whatever it is I want.

It most likely means I’ll have to adjust my timetable, which as a type-a personality will drive me bat-shit insane, but I don’t think a lot of people see it that way. It’s not a minor inconvenience. I think a lot of people see setbacks and such as personal insults or criticisms and so we become afraid to strive and reach. New things are scary and should be avoided. Stick to what you know so you don’t look foolish and run the risk of failure.

It disheartens me to hear of people giving up on something because it gets “hard”. If it’s hard that means it’s challenging you to be better. Stick with it. Nothing worth having is going to be inside your comfort zone.

What personality traits do you think help someone transform a negative experience to a powerful motivator?

Persistence, which may look a lot like stubbornness on the outside.

And at some point confidence. Confidence in yourself and your ability to eventually, at some point, get to where you want to be, and confidence that whatever you are hoping to achieve is worth it.

Like I said, anything worth having is going to be a struggle. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to take planning and dedication and often times sacrifice. You have to KNOW it’s worth it or you’ll falter.

You have to know that if you mess up that it’s ok. You have to put more weight in the act of trying rather than the act of succeeding.

I think a lot of people lack confidence, including myself. I think a lot of us let the evil voice of Self Doubt talk us out of a lot of the things we want in life.

Evil Voice: It’s too hard. It wouldn’t work out. What if we don’t make it? Then everyone will laugh at us and will never be able to show our face ever again.

If the words you’re listening to inside of your head cause you to hurt or make you feel bad, then it’s most likely not your true voice. It’s the evil voice trying to keep you down.

Fight it. Prove it wrong. Show yourself that you’re awesome. So what if it takes longer? So what if you’re not the best? You don’t have to be the best. It’s not about other people. It’s about you. As long as you’re better than you were then you’re improving, and if you’re improving then it’s just a matter of time before you get to where you want to be.

“Don’t give up and believe in yourself,” is pretty much what it comes down to.

Super simple sounding, right? It’s most likely something we’ve been told all throughout our childhood. I think we lose sight things like that, the simplicity of things, through all of the noise and chaos of life.

Let’s not forget that today. Let’s not give up and believe in ourselves. Deal? : 3


Prompt Page 015: Personal Credo


I haven’t written a daily prompt post in so long… Not surprising the ones from WordPress still suck, which is sad.

No matter. I’m going to continue with the prompts from The Learning Network since those are pretty cool. Luckily for me, it seems I stopped writing prompt posts right when I reached the end of the “religious” section.

I think I’m going to work my way through the “personality” prompts. I feel that will aid me in finding myself in the wake of mom’s death, which is what this year of mourning is supposed to be; figuring out myself.

So, first prompt from the personality section…


What are your core beliefs?
What would you say is your personal credo?
How does that credo guide you in life?


I believe most people are inherently good. I believe everyone has potential. I believe grades do not measure intelligence and age is not an indicator of maturity.

I believe love is real. I believe emotional pain can be felt physically. I believe in being open-minded. I believe there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. I believe actions speak louder than words.

I believe everyone has an evil voice in their head which fills us with self-doubt. I believe it’s possible to overcome that evil voice. I believe every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

I believe honesty is the best policy. I believe there are ways to be honest and not be a dick about it. I believe effort is more important than success. I believe failure can be a good thing.

I believe in being happy and singing along with the music I play in my car and driving with the windows down so I can feel the wind. I believe in playing outside in the rain and splashing in puddles. I believe in color pencils and glitter and paint and figures sticky with craft glue.

I believe in smiles and laughter. I believe in tears and sorrow.

I believe in running outside with the sunlight streaming down through the trees. I believe in sinking my toes into the sand on the beach and watching the waves crash against the shore. I believe in living my life for myself and not for the happiness or comfort of others.

I believe my mom is still with me. I believe she loves me and is proud of me. I believe in myself and my ability to figure out the situations I am faced with.

I believe I really will be ok.

I’m sure there are other things I believe in, like how the Earth is round and all that jazz, but I think that is a pretty good splatter art representation of what I believe.

My personal credo is:

“I realized one day that if my friends talked to me the way I talk to myself that they wouldn’t be my friends anymore. So I started being my friend.”

Often times I hold myself to unrealistic standards. I used to be extremely bad about trash talking myself inside of my head. My projects weren’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough. I would never be good enough.

Really depressing shit, that yeah, if anyone on the outside said those words to me their face would be happily acquainted with my fist, or a brick, or hot sauce in the eyeballs, or being locked in a dark room barefoot with legos strewn all over the ground because I’ll show you I’m not good enough.

Those words, “I started being my friend,” fundamentally changed my life. They changed my internal dialog from one of negative reinforcement to one of positive reinforcement.

I acknowledge my effort more than the success or failure of something. I’m more understanding with my emotions. I keep in mind that I’m human and I still make mistakes.

I don’t know… It just seemed to make a lot of sense when I stopped to think about it. I’m the only one trapped inside my head with myself. Every day, all day, 24/7. Instead of being a bitchy, shitty person to myself the entire time, why not be a nice, caring person so I don’t hate  myself? I’m nice to everyone else. Why shouldn’t I be nice to me?

The evil voice is still there. It still tries to talk shit, and sometimes I still listen to it for a little while. But compared to where I was at when I was 16, or 21, or even just seven months ago, I feel like I’ve come a long way and I’m proud of my progress and growth as a person.

Prompt Page 014: Different Strokes


Prompt by The Learning Network to combat WordPress.


Today’s Topic:
What Can You Learn from Other Religions?



Would I ally myself with a particular religious tradition?

Like participating in Christmas? Or going to Sunday service? I’m honestly not really sure what this question is asking. I don’t like the word “ally” though. I don’t really ally myself with anything religious. I practice how I feel I should, not how I’m told. Because I’m a rebel! /flex


Could I get any more caught up on semantics? Most likely. That would require putting in more effort though, and I’m pretty content with the level I’m at.


I participate in the traditions my family acknowledges, like Christmas. It’s not a big deal for me personally. Neither is my birthday. Or Halloween. I’m sure some of the people who have read my past writings are thinking, “Wait… What?… Aren’t you like, part Pagan or something? Wouldn’t that be the one holiday that is important to you? Wouldn’t there be some weird tradition you participate in?”


Days are just days to me.


Traditions sort of suffer from the same mentality. Traditions are just things, actions. It is up to us as individuals to give them importance. If it is important to you, than practice it. If it’s not, then don’t. It is meant to solidify something about your faith to you, for you. If it doesn’t do that, then it’s just a hollow action taking away from finite time. I have better things to do then something I feel is pointless and empty.


My personal opinion, don’t ally yourself to anything but yourself. Be true to you and what you feel. Just because it doesn’t line up with what other people collectively think doesn’t mean it’s bad… And I say that from the Wiccan rede, “And if it harm none, do what ye will” mentality.


Do I know people from other traditions?



What do I think I can learn from the faith and beliefs of others?

So many things. Mostly acceptance. The more I learn about other people, cultures, religions, customs, and traditions, the more I learn that my way is not the only way. My belief is not “right”. But neither is it “wrong”. It is merely a way. One single way of existing within a world, a single, tiny planet spinning through the vastness of space.


There are so many other things to get caught up over, so many actually worthwhile issues, other than, “The way I’m told not to kill people is better than the way you’re told not to kill people!”


I mean, essentially, in my limited experience, that’s what most of religion / faith boils down to. Don’t be a jerk. Treat people how you want to be treated. If we’re all following the same rules, they’re just written in a different book, isn’t it really still the same thing?


Can’t we look at how we’re similar rather than how we’re different? Couldn’t we be happy that someone has a connection to something that brings them happiness and inner peace rather than being pissed that it’s not the exact same thing that we choose to follow?


A good example of this the Day of Ashura. On this day of the Islamic calendar some people, not all, still practice the tradition of self-flagellation. For those who don’t know, that’s where you whip yourself. Participants will use chains with blades attached to them and whip themselves across the back to show their sorrow for not being at the Battle of Karbala to save their martyr, Imam Hussein.


We’re so quick to jump to saying how this practice is wrong. I know I was when I first started writing my paper on it during my Social and Cultural Anthropology class. How can causing yourself harm be an ok thing? We are only given one body. How could they defile the most precious gift we are given? It didn’t help that almost everything I found relating to the tradition used language such as “self-harm” to describe it, which self-harm is considered an extremely negative thing connected to depression and mental / emotional instability.


My teacher helped me see it in a different light, though. How is plastic surgery or tattooing or scarification ok, but self-flagellation is a huge, uber, unforgivable no-no?


Really, it’s all body modification. How is some of it ok, but others not, and who are we to say which is which?


With Day of Ashura at least there’s some spiritual significance for the pain rather than the shallowness of feeling like perkier breasts will improve your life, or that a drunken tribal tattoo on your bicep makes you more badass.


Those words may be harsh, and they may sting for some people, but how can you berate one person while not holding up a mirror to yourself? So you don’t agree with what they are doing. Does it affect you or your body? No. It doesn’t. Does it go against something you believe? Maybe. It’s not like they’re forcing you to participate.


What good does it do to be angry, disgusted, or to hold onto whatever other negative emotions within yourself over something that literally doesn’t affect you or your life?


Live and let live.


They’re not saying you can’t go get Botox shot into your face. Give them the same respect and freedom to do what they want with their bodies even if it’s not something you would do to yours.


Do I agree with the Dalai Lama that in our interconnected world understanding across different religions is essential?

Yes. I do. I feel like religion and culture are very closely connected. In a way it’s like another language. How can you interact properly with a person if you only understand half of their language?


Yeah, you might be able to communicate to some degree, maybe even have full conversations depending on the topic(s). But to truly understand another person you have to understand, in my opinion, their core values and where they stem from. For most of us that in some way incorporates religion.


The more involved you get with someone, the more likely you’re going to step on toes or cause some sort of offense by not understanding, or caring, about another person’s mentality. Again, you don’t have to agree with it, but when we are conscious of how another person is different we increase our chances of having a harmonious interaction with that person.


One the flip side, don’t be super sensitive if someone accidentally says something that goes against your beliefs. If you tell me Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays I’m not going to hunt you down and jump you in a dark ally.


Not everyone is out to cause offense. Sometimes we need to bite the bullet and accept that no everyone is as aware of other religions. They may not even know you belong to a different faith. How often to you walk up to someone and ask, “What religion are you a part of?” And what do you do when the person you asked is atheist and now feels alienated because they don’t actually belong to a religion?


Again, live and let live. Don’t intentionally give offense and don’t go out of your way to take offense.

Prompt Page 013: I Didn’t Pass



Prompt by The Learning Network to combat WordPress.


Today’s Topic:
Could I pass a basic religion test?




How did I do on the test?



This was interesting. The test online was only six questions for me. I answered three of them correctly, but I was pretty alright with that. The ones I got wrong I was torn on the answer.


Brain: Should I go with A or B? I think it’s B… but I’m going to answer A because I’m second guessing myself and that always leads to a right answer…


… Said no one ever.


Oh well. For not being Christian, having never read the bible, I think I did pretty well, and I got all of the questions correct about other religions. And those words sound really big and cool until you go back and realize it was only six questions…


How much do I think I know about religion in general and about my own faith in particular?

I think I know a decent amount about a decent amount. Sad that I feel like I know more about other religions than my own. But there’s the truth of it.


Why is that?

Because I grew up Christian, and because Christianity the major faith of my country, I feel I have the most exposure to it. As I journeyed through my own faith I picked up bits of knowledge here and there. Things I heard, things I read. Things other people told me about their faith.


Freya clicked with me, and I did a fair amount of research in the beginning to make sure the feelings I felt were right.


Should I explore my faith more? Of course. Along with learning C++, creating a new demo reel, working out 6 times a week instead of 4, sleeping more hours and more consistently, cooking every meal instead of skimping out the handful of times I do because going out is faster than doing it myself, working on personal projects, drawing everyday, practicing aikido and taekwondo, putting time into my homework assignments, and a whole slew of other things that I should, aught to, need to be doing on top of all the things I already have to, need to, must do or else my world falls apart, like showing up to work on time.


… I’m out of breath just typing all of that, much less doing it…


I’m doing the best I can. My faith is important to me. Am I a master of it? Could I recite everything about it word for word? No. I couldn’t. But apparently neither can 3,400 other Americans, so I feel I’m at least in good company.


I know enough to feel comfortable and at peace with my choice.


Would I be interested in learning more? Why or why not?

Yes. About everything. Always. I love learning. I love nifty, interesting facts. I like being able to compare and contrast different belief structures. How are they similar? How are they different? Who mainly practices? What regions is it prevalent in? Has it spread to other areas, and if so, how? How has it changed? How has it affected cultures?


I find the evolution of cultures fascinating and I feel religion is interwoven into that. I feel I will always be interested in expanding my knowledge of other people and cultures, and that includes their religion.

Prompt Page 013: More or Less?



Prompt by The Learning Network to combat WordPress.


Today’s Topic:
Are you less religious
than your parents?


I’m pretty proud of myself that I have almost completed the morality and religious section writing prompts. Only two more to go, not including this one. For some reason it feels a bit like an accomplishment.


I almost skipped over this one, thinking it wouldn’t be captivating, but I read through the article and it did end up sparking my interest, so here I am. Thinking. Pondering. Letting my fingertips dance over the keyboard as my thoughts move around.


Do I consider myself affiliated with a particular religion? Do my friends have any religious affiliation?

This harkens back to a prompt just a few days ago. If pressed to pick something it would be Odinism, but I don’t feel that is the right term and so inside of my head, no, I don’t really consider myself affiliated with a particular religion. I follow Freya. I don’t need that to be called or considered something for it to feel right to me. I also pull mentalities from many religions and philosophies. There isn’t a specific name that encompasses the hodgepodge of things I believe in, at least I don’t think there is, and I’m ok with that. I don’t need a name or term for my beliefs.


My spiritual beliefs are for my inner peace, not for societal classification or acceptance.


As for my friends, they’re pretty all over the place. I have friends who are Jewish, Christian (lumping all sects into one overarching category, no disrespect meant), Pagan (again, larger category containing many different branches), atheist, and agnostic. I love them all and I’m grateful for the unique perspectives their religion, or lack there of, gives them.


Have I noticed that my generation is less religious than my parents’ or grandparents’ generations?

Yes. I have. I find that, at least with the people I tend to befriend, that we are more interested in science than religion.


Why do I think young people are less religious than in the past?

I find it hard to stand behind someone who claims faith above science, rejecting the reality we live in, and I feel that is something I share with a majority of later generations. We were raised to be educated. To go to school. To learn facts. To prove things. And I think that emphasis extends itself to religion. If it can’t be proven we have a hard time accepting it as a truth.


I understand faith is important to people. My faith is important to me. But I do not let it blind me to how the world words. The world isn’t flat. We are not the center of the Universe. Clouds are made of condensed water particles and, to date, no airplane has ever seen angles playing harps as they fly through the clouds. To date, no scans of the Earth’s core have found a pit with demons tormenting souls of the damned.


That’s not to say these places do not exist in some alternate dimension or Universe, or other as of yet unexplained thing. We just discovered gravitational waves. How amazing is that? How fantastically awesome that we are still discovering how our Universe works and that mysteries are still being found and unraveled.


Faith doesn’t have to be proven, or “right”. Who am I to say that Jesus or God isn’t real when I can’t prove Freya isn’t just as made up or legit? To me, faith is just a collection of ideas and concepts, and people are fully allowed to believe what they want as long as it adapts to accept the undeniable facts of our reality.


Do I think young people are expressing their values and morality in other ways, outside of the attendance at worship services?

Yes and no? I think some people do. I also think that attendance to worship services doesn’t show any type of morality. It shows discipline maybe, or devotion. But the act of going to a service doesn’t really prove that you live by any sort of moral code.


Some people do more than live their own life. Some people go out of their way to make the world a better place, which does express their values and morality, and I think that’s the important thing. As in the previous post, I don’t think religion is needed for people to be moral or to prove their “goodness”. There are some religious people who do awful things, and then there are some atheist who do outstanding, commendable things.


I think instead of encouraging religion we should encourage compassion. But that is because I believe morality and religion are separate things.


What do I think the decline of religious affliction among young people means for America?

I don’t think it means anything bad if that’s what this question is asking. I don’t think I am a bad person even though I don’t consider myself very religious. In fact, at the expense of sounding a bit arrogant, I think I’m a pretty good person. I like to think, for the most part, that I am a logical thinker. I try not to overreact. I try to think of the larger picture and how everyone fits into the situation. I try to think about fairness and equality.


You don’t need religion for that. You need compassion.


So, do I see my culture falling into turmoil and destroying itself due to lawlessness and sin from not going to church every Sunday? No. I don’t. I would like to think that the decline in religion has a correlation to the rise in education and science. Educated people, in theory, make better, more informed decisions.


I’ll let you know if I still believe that after the elections. I swear if Trump wins all of my faith in humanity will be lost. At least the humanity of my country.


I’m counting on you America. Don’t fuck this up or I’ll pray for Odin to smite you where you stand.