how to get through a bad day

Ask why.

I’ve been told one too many times by one too many people that the best way to get through a bad say is to just ‘choose’ to be happy, and I do believe that happiness is a choice. The important consideration though is how.

How do you choose to be happy when your hormones have been betraying you for the past 24 hours or more? 

Over the years, I’ve learned simple remedies, like I’m content snuggling under the covers and letting the pages of Murakami lighten my mood or munching down a whole pizza – yes, by myself. They’re the fairy dust to my weary soul.

Pizza Bianca’s my current favorite, but a simple pepperoni or cheese pizza’s perfect too.

I know I mentioned Murakami (and I’ve read most his words… twice, fine A LOT of times), but this is the book series I’m finishing up right now; they’re by Tahereh Mafi. You may wanna give it a read.

Although if the bad days keep recurring, you may wanna consider a different approach. Those little pockets of happiness we reserve for ourselves when we’ve had a particularly long week at work or taxing, borderline inhuman final exams are insignificant bandaids that may feign as solutions to what truly makes a ‘day’ bad.

I won’t pretend to be an expert, but from experience, I realized that often that the heavy feeling we get for, most likely, juvenile to no reason at all may be unresolved issues triggered by the most minute of events. They will keep nagging at us, capitalizing on the simplest flaw, until we finally resolve them from the roots. All that, it starts with one question:

Why?

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weight for me

Get it? Weight? Forgive me, my very patient readers, I feel unusually punny this morning.

I was still young when I first discovered the social standards of what’s an “acceptable body type”. Even then, it perplexed me. How can there be a standard for bodies when there are at least 7 billion people in the world, with obviously very different frames and figures? What’s even more confusing is the decreasing number on the scale that’s religiously celebrated by TV ads, magazines and fashion shows—soon enough in the streets of cities and the hide outs of far flung towns too.

Body image is both a personal and a social concept. Much of how we objectify beauty  is caused by the culture we live in. Beauty in an African town, not yet reached by the claws of New York runways, may be an exquisite, dark-skinned lady with a short, curly hair and hefty womb, ideal for child-rearing. In Japan, it could be captivating doll eyes and a petite frame, emphasized by a bright eye make-up and pastel, baby doll dresses. In fashion week, it’s a size zero, thigh-gapped, perfectly-sculpted, 5’7 and above model walking down the runway for some of the biggest names in the industry.

What’s my point there? That even in a very superficial and judgmental society,  beauty is and always will be relative.

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This isn’t the part where I say, well be unhealthy and and raise you middle finger in mock salute to those who eat greens. That’s not my intention.

If the world gets to set standards on beauty, so can you. Make it personal; make it about you. Embrace your curves, your slim figure, your bum, your muscles—everything about you. If you still wanna lose some weight, fine. Go for it! Before you do that though, make sure you love yourself first because if you’re counting on loving yourself when you’ve lost all the weight, it might not work. Often, body image issues aren’t even physical. It’s what you see, not what really is.

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I want you to look in the mirror and see someone beautiful.

I hope you’ll step on that scale and love yourself whatever number it shows.

I beg that you walk in any store and ask for your size confidently, not caring if it’s in one or two digits.

I pray that you’ll be happy with who you are, proud that you’re beautiful in every single way.

 

#SuicideAwarenessDay

That moment when you’re so eager to write about something you feel so strongly about that a million words are begging to burst out and be written but at the same time as the pen hovers over the paper, nothing comes out- not a single word, well I’m having one such moment. I’m just unsure of how to begin this. Do I start with statistics or quotes or pictures or my own experience or someone else’s that has helped shape my own? Something compelling enough to interest you but honest still that it remains as meaningful as it should. Let me start with this:

Suspend your judgments. Suicide isn’t just about statistics, it’s about stories.

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Some of you will judge this entry the same way you judge every person who committed suicide or have tried to, with extreme prejudice and I ask for the sake of this day and this discussion that you open your mind to opinions other than your own. The fault of this bunch, which I don’t find a fault at all but many will, is how we see things. You see them at eye level, for what it is. We see them from overhead, standing on a table and seeing ourselves in comparison to others, in association with things we don’t have or the person we can never be, happy.

I will not generalize the neigh sayers, they come from different backgrounds and varied beliefs, nor will I stereotype those who have had this problem. Trust me they’re not always the guy with the heavy eyeliner make up and a blade pendant secured around his neck. It’s not as plain and black and white as that. Sometimes it’s the town’s golden girl who maintains straight As and is quietly drowning in the pressure of perfection or maybe the quiet kid who sits at the back of the class who is invisible to everyone but the restroom mirror where he spends his lunch dismantling a sharpener.

I'm scared | via Tumblr

To them suicide is a way out, not selfish but reasonable. To stay in a cycle where you’re constantly unhappy and alone, feeling either like a huge disappointment or anonymous is not worth living over every single day. That thought consumes you and dulls every form of happiness most people savor. TELLING US TO GET IT TOGETHER AND DISMISSING OUR WORRIES WON’T HELP BECAUSE REALLY WHEN YOU DO THAT, YOU’RE BRUSHING US OFF. Were you even listening or were you too busy judging us and labeling our problem  non existent because it’s not cancer or ebola virus?

I am in no way advocating for suicide, not because it’s cowardly but because YOU’RE WORTH A LIFE. Trust me when I say that no matter how bleak and dark your life is right now, I need you to hang in there. YOU ARE WORTH EVERYDAY YOU FIGHT FOR. YOU WILL FIND HAPPINESS ONE DAY AND IT WILL BE EVEN MORE WORTH IT BECAUSE YOU KNOW HOW HARD YOU FOUGHT FOR IT. I’m sorry you had to in the first place but trust that your strong enough to overcome this and know that wherever you are, no matter how alone you feel, you never are. 

And to those whose made it and are now happier and better, I am so proud of you. You deserve every praise for deciding to stay and choosing to stick with it every single day since. I wish you the happiest of days, you deserve no less for the courage and strength you’ve shown. There may still be rough patches ahead but find comfort in the fact that the enemy you fought already lost a few times before and you have the upper hand because you’re stronger than all you demons.

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My friend mentioned a few days ago how pointless suicide hotlines are because if you really wanna kill yourself, why would you want someone to stop you? She has a good point actually and I’ve considered coming up with alternatives. Although I’d like to think that it’s because most of them, deep down just want a reason to stay. Here’s one:

Everyone is worth saving. YOU ARE WORTH SAVING.

So be it on #SuicideAwarenessDay or any other day of the year, if you ever feel like throwing in the towel, talk to someone. Sometimes we only need reminding of how much we’re worth. There’s no shame in that.

And to everyone else reading this post, I hope you’ll find it in your heart to be nicer, more open-minded and understanding of people whose circumstances may be far from your own. Give that shy guy beside you a chance. Talk to the girl who consciously fiddles with her shorts at gym class. Avoid stereotyping the abrasive jock loitering the hallway. Tweet someone you’ve never talked to words encouragement when she seems down and ask about her day. Get to know to know them and give them more reasons to love the lives the they have and the people that they are. A simple act of care and kindness will go a long way especially to someone who doubts he’ll ever get any.

You matter.

choices

CHOICE

It’s probably one of the most overused words in the English dictionary. Often we don’t even know the gravity of the word when we make them. We hurry with our lives making one choice after another unaware of many who cannot exercise them or are too afraid to while the other half overuse and manipulate them without fear or caution because they can and we’re too oblivious or apathetic to notice.

Personally choices scare me, not that ‘what should I order’ or ‘is this pink enough’ kind but the ‘do I know where my life is going’ kind. That fear that wakes you up at 3 AM and leaves you sleepless until the light seeps through your shades. I lay there, staring at the ceiling asking myself if all the choices I made up to this point are those that I can live with, much more be happy with. I play different scenarios in my head. What if I went to a different uni? What if I majored in something else? What if I never met my best friends? What if I followed my heart more times that I followed my logic? Where would I be? Would I happier?

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Robert Frost wrote, “Two roads diverge in a yellow road. I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.” Doesn’t it get lonely though? Looking at the path few took, seeing only your track marks. Knowing full well that each time you look back or to your side, you won’t see anyone. You took the road less traveled by.

You know in your heart you SHOULD be happy because you made the good choice but there are days and more nights when you think there was a BETTER choice. Maybe you didn’t have to give up so much to get to where you are or where you wanna be.

I guess we all doubt our choices sometimes. It doesn’t matter if you’re a 5 year old deliberating on another cookie before dinner or a dad setting aside money for his daughter’s college fund instead of spending in on booze in the pub with his work friends. There are days when you’ll wallow in the ‘what ifs’. There’s no shame in that. Find comfort in the fact that it’s human nature to wonder especially when we’re given reasons to.

I’ve made a lot of screwed up decisions in my life and I’m sure I’ll make a few more. To be honest, there are times when I want a do over, a reboot, another shot at the opportunities I missed or trade for those I took but then I look at those people I’ve met, things I accomplished and who I’ve become, I feel a bit better. That’s not to say my demons are always silent, they still claw at me some days and make me feel like an utter failure.

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I guess I want tell you that if you ever feel stupid or annoyed or defeated about the bad choices you’ve made, don’t beat yourself up further. You’re allowed to make them and you can feel bad for them. You can hang around under a dark cloud for a bit and think about why it didn’t work out. You don’t have to move on in an instant as people expect you too. YOU CAN FEEL, YOU’RE ALLOWED THAT MUCH.

Of the hundreds of choices we make in a day, at least one is bound to be wrong. That’s okay. Just remind yourself that there’s always a takeaway in every choice, bad or good. Savor the good and learn from the bad and hope that you’ll make not just better choices but CHOICES THAT ARE BETTER FOR YOU.

CUT NO MORE

Someone in the world commits suicide every 40 seconds.

That is a terrifying number, as if encountering one suicide attempt in your lifetime isn’t traumatic enough. I was in a senior in high school when it happened. Before the commotion, all I could remember was being sleepy in Math class, seated beside my best friend and trying my hardest to look the least bit interested. Then we heard screams and feet running. Because we had quiet hallways, you immediately knew something was up.

I tugged at my friend and motioned towards the door to check it out. Half the class, including my teacher was headed to the same direction. Most of us thought it was a drill or a school emergency. Very few, if not none, would have guessed what we were to see next.

In the middle of a four storey building was a student holding on to the ledge already about to jump. At that moment, I thought I was seeing everything in slow motion. She was struggling to maintain her balance as there was very little foothold on the other side of the ledge while her hands were slowly slipping from gripping the safety bars too tight. Students from our side of the building were running towards her in a desperate attempt to help her because it won’t take long for her to fall off. If she does, it doesn’t look good. There are a bunch of decorative rocks and statues in the middle of the garden where she’ll fall. We already know she might do it as she has always been depressed and we often see her with cut marks on her arms so we were all hoping for a miracle.

Miracle there was.  James and Ken, guys from our batch, came swooping in and carefully lifted her away from the ledge and into safety. She was still crying and inconsolable though- according to my friends who were right there with her as I did not get to see her up close. After our math teacher ushered us back in, I remember thinking to myself what if she did jump?

photo from theeonlyeexceeption.blogspot.com

I’ve had my personal battles with depression and what it reduces you to but this isn’t the time for me to talk about that. I’m still trying to muster the courage to narrate difficult times in my life, times when I was too vulnerable for my own liking and too devoid of understanding to be better. I wanted to share this story not just to show you that there are people who feel as hopeless or as depressed but to persuade you to think twice or thrice or a million times before you hurt yourself.

I know it seems that nobody cares, that nobody understands. The latter may be true, the pain may be unique to your experience but I don’t have to understand the premise for you pain to care about you, to be here for you, to just hug you and tell you I love you. At that moment when she was about to jump, I wanted her to know someone cares. Someone always cares- often more than you think they do.

The next time you feel like hurting yourself or ending it altogether, give me call or send me message. I’ll tell you how big a loss you will be, not just to stop you but because it’s the truth.

You’re worth a life.

for those who want to forget

Do you have a memory so painful you’d rather go through a complicated process just to erase it?

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Click on the link if you’d like to read the full article. http://gizmodo.com/finally-a-real-life-memory-erasing-technique-for-human-1488613923

If you answered yes then my tweet this morning would sound like a great feat to you. According to that article, neuroscientists have successfully found a way to erase memories through electroconvulsive therapy. Although it’s far from being made available to mainstream users as they’ve only ever been tested on mice, it makes me even sadder to think that anyone could get so lonely, hurt and agonized that they would choose losing a part of who they are and what they’ve gone through just to get by, to be happy again.

I wish I could tell people in those times in their lives that it gets better. Soon enough you’ll realize it always gets better.

sitting and waiting

That afternoon where you sit alone on a bench at that station, already waiting for almost an hour. Still hoping he’ll show, that he’ll come running, breathless, explaining why he wasn’t there on time. Then you finally realize, there’s no point he’s not gonna show.

I learned two things from being that girl, from being that hopeful and excited then extremely distraught bystander. First, anticipating something is one of the most powerful feelings in the world. You feel excited and nauseous, happy and nervous all at the same time. A part of you wants to run away while the other pulls you down to stay.

Second, when all the waiting and anticipating ends up disappointing you, it’s one of the worst feelings you’re ever gonna feel. At first, you’d be confused and would ask why and how anyone could be capable of hurting you so much then you’d be angry and decide never to trust anyone to fulfill their promises or care about you as much as you care about them.

This is probably how we grow our callouses and learn to build walls around us. This is where I learned to keep trusting and keep hoping, maybe not in the same people but keep that will to wait for something or someone with excitement and hope. Have faith, not everyone will decide not to show up. One might even walk by 5 minutes early, bouquet of flowers *or if I’m really lucky, a dozen books* in hand and with a big smile on his face.

photo from weheartit.com

Some are still worth the wait.