Category Archives: 30 Days of Truth

30 Days of Truth: Day 30–Self-Love?

Well, the last Day of Truth involves writing a letter to yourself and telling yourself everything you love about yourself. As you may be aware from reading my last two posts, I am far from feeling like I love myself right now. I have some good moments, too, but my moods keep rapidly cycling.

But I promised myself I would finally finish the 30 Days of Truth by the end of September, and dammit, I’m going to keep my word.

Who knows, maybe this will even be helpful.

A Letter To Yourself, Tell Yourself EVERYTHING You Love About Yourself

Dear Me,

As someone who struggles with confidence issues and often feels self-hatred, I don’t really love anything about myself. I’m such a Negative Nancy.

Okay, that’s one thing I love about myself. No, not that I’m a Negative Nancy–the fact that I use random expressions because they amuse me. Like Negative Nancy. They humor me. Even though this is fun to me, though, oftentimes people don’t get it.

What else? Sometimes I like my eyes, but then again sometimes I think they’re cockroach-brown. That’s rather gross. I like my hair–it is generally healthy, and it has different tints if you look at it closely. It’s brown, but occasionally you can see hints of red and blonde in it.

Hmm. Hmm. Hmm.

Oh, here’s one. I like that I’m intelligent. Even when I’m doing badly, I usually trust my intellect. Not always, but usually.

I like that I try to do my best to honor my word. I like that when I commit to something, I am serious about that commitment. This post is an example of that.

I like that, even when I’m doing my worst, usually I can still find things humorous and interesting. Thursday night, I did make myself feel a little better by watching part of an episode of the old Dragnet on YouTube. It amused me.

I like that I often find amusement and intense emotion in the same things. For instance, while watching some of my favorite movies or TV shows, I can find the same parts both amusing and touching. This doesn’t often work to my advantage, though. I mean, sometimes when I’m in a group of people, I’ll laugh at a moment many of them find inappropriate. Or I’ll be emotionally moved by an idea that seems ridiculous to most people.

I like that I don’t compromise when it comes to my life. Well, I do. (Sidenote: I keep feeling like I want to switch between “I” and “you,” but I’ll keep the tone consistent.) What I’m referring to regards what I dedicate my life to. I’m more inclined to pursue my passion than practicality, and there’s a form of integrity in that.

Also, I like that I do generally have integrity. I like that I can usually be tactful and honest at the same time.

I like that I can have deep empathy and that I listen to others.

I hesitate to say I like that I write. Yes, I enjoy it, but it’s a little hard to say I like that I like to write. It sounds like I have this pompous belief that I’m a literary genius or something.

I like that I have more imagination and creativity than my manner would indicate.

I like that I try to be fair.

I like that I can usually be stubborn when I need to be.

I like that I’m often self-aware.

Hmm. Okay. That’s all I’ve got.

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30 Days of Truth: Day 29–Fat! Fat! Fat!

I said I was going to finish the 30 Days of Truth by the end of September, and darn it, I will!

The title is a reference to this Wallace Stevens poem, “Bantams in Pine-Woods,” that suddenly popped into my head as I was thinking about this post. It’s a weird poem that has nothing to do with what I’m going to talk about. It seems like it has undertones about masculinity, actually.

Something You Hope to Change About Yourself. And Why.

I’m going for the somewhat superficial here, my weight. I’m ginormous. I weigh a lot, and I’m only 5’2″. (Fun aside: I often have to ask a student to pull down the screen for me when I need to project something. I’m that short. I’m pretty sure I’m shorter than most, if not all, of my students.) According to the BMI, I’m severely obese. I’m not going to say how much I weigh because it will sound disgusting. I will sound hideous. Then you’ll realize that it’s no wonder no one ever finds me attractive. 😦

There are two somewhat practical reasons I need to lose weight: 1) It’s giving me an enlarged liver and 2) If by some miracle I’m called to be on Jeopardy, I don’t want to look like a giant tub of lard on TV.

Weight is a complicated (and even somewhat triggering) issue for me, though. I often don’t care. I wonder why I should conform to society’s standards about what I’m supposed to weigh.

But I’ve often been derided for my weight.

It just feels like it’s so much work to lose weight. And exercise is so boring to me.

But I realized one thing not too long ago. I could be decent-looking (nay, perhaps even pretty) if  I weren’t such a fatass. I feel like this knowledge should motivate me to lose weight, but the whole idea still seems too daunting.

I have problems with eating healthy, though. I don’t cook. Cooking is boring, and I’m not good at it. Plus, it seems like such a waste of time to cook just for me. If I cooked, though, I would eat better food.

I’ve tried exercising, but I have problems with that. In a gym, I’m too self-conscious. First of all, I’m so huge. Second of all, I’m afraid that I look dumb. Like I’m not being rigorous enough or I’m getting tired too easily.

The gym also makes me think of P.E., which is rather triggering. I was always the worst at P.E. I often didn’t dress out for it in middle school because some other students intimidated me. They didn’t want to have me on their teams.

Okay, so I thought I could walk around the neighborhood. I did that the other day. But–and here’s a confession that makes me asinine–dogs make me nervous. Barking dogs in particular. Even when they’re safely behind a fence. There were a couple of dogs who barked at me rather viciously, and they made me nervous. I hurried by so I could go home and get inside. Ever since before I can remember, I’ve been somewhat nervous around barking dogs. It’s an instinctive thing. I’d try to get over it and pretend like that fear didn’t exist because everyone made fun of me for it.

I don’t know what I’m afraid of. That they’ll attack me? (This actually isn’t that far-fetched. My mom was once attacked by a dog while she rode her bike. This happened when I was in college, though, not when I was a kid.)

Maybe I can go walk in a park somewhere. But does walking really burn that many calories?

I suppose losing weight would require a lifestyle change, but I don’t know how to implement it. How to do it without triggering myself or getting discouraged because I don’t seem to be losing weight.

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30 Days of Truth: Day 28–WWAD?

Or, What Would Angel Do?

It’s really bothering me that I still haven’t finished the 30 Days of Truth yet. I feel like it’s hanging over me. So onward with the next day I go.

What if You Were Pregnant or Got Someone Pregnant, What Would You Do?

If I got someone pregnant, I would wonder what was going on with the world. If I got pregnant . . . well, that’s not even remotely likely at the moment. But we’ll pretend it is.

Often I think that sometimes people have stronger morals when they’re children than when they’re adults. Like me. I used to think I would never hesitate to save someone even if it meant me dying. Now I’m not so sure. I’m also not sure about this.

My first reaction would be to panic, obviously. I’m in no way equipped to take care of a child. Let’s abort it.

Oh, and I also think that there’s a possibility that having kids would be detrimental to my health because of whatever it was that almost killed me when I was a baby. At least, I dimly remember someone telling me that once. They also told me that I’d have to go check with a doctor to see if it would be okay before trying to have kids.

Plus in general, I really don’t want a kid. I find kids amusing for a few minutes, but then I become annoyed by them.

But at the same time, I think I would feel enormously guilty if I actually had an abortion. I might not be able to live with myself. So, no abortion.

Okay, then what’m I doing with the child? I can put him or her up for adoption.

No. I don’t like the idea that I might never see him or her. Besides, who knows what sort of home he or she would end up in?

Okay. Well, I can somehow convince my parents to take the child.

No. I would feel like I was burdening them, which would equal guilt.

Fine. I’ll have the child. I’ll keep and raise him or her.

But I have no idea how to be a good parent. One of my biggest fears is that I would have kids and be a terrible parent to them. I don’t have much maternal instinct. Plus, I’m afraid I might screw up the kid by inadvertently doing something or other that hurts him or her. And the technology today . . . I’m afraid that my kid might make an unwise decision.

Well, I’d try my best to raise the child.

Oh, and saving someone’s life even if it means I die? I think I’d still do that, too. Otherwise I might feel so guilty that I’d kill myself anyway.

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30 Days of Truth: Day 27–Me, a Published Author?

What’s the Best Thing Going for You Right Now?

I need to finish off these Days of Truth. I’ve got four left, so I’m going to try to do them by the end of this month at the very latest.

I wrote about Day 26 over a month ago, and only now am I getting to Day 27’s topic.

Truth is, this is one I’ve been dreading. I’ve been stalling on Day 27 because I really don’t know what the best thing going for me is right now. It doesn’t seem like I have much. I have few friends, various part-time jobs, and soon-to-expire health insurance (for which I have recently begun researching my options). I’m not all too sure what I want to do with my life.

But there are a few things I should be grateful for, I suppose. This blog (and the adventure one) might be one of the best things going for me right now. It’s gives me an outlet for my mental health issues and allows me to connect with others in the same situation.

There’s also the fact that I have a little more time to write than I would’ve if I’d stayed in grad school. Two years ago, I finally began writing again after doing little of it for six years. At the beginning of college, I’d concluded that my writing was shite, so I just decided to forget about it. It is something that still gets to me a little. Oftentimes I think I’m too methodical to have a decent writing voice. In fact, I’m equally left- and right-brained. I’m a logical, systematic person, which detracts from my creativity, and then my creative impulses detract from my logical side.

But at the same time, being equally left- and right-brained is an advantage. I can sort of blend the best of both together.

I have three novels now. It’s a little too chaotic, and I’m afraid I’ll never finish any of them. Novel #1 is a hot mess. I can tell much of the writing isn’t my best work. Fantasy Novel I stopped in the middle of a few months ago. Then we have Novel #3, which is the one I’m working on now. I have a one-track mind, so I think I should focus on Novel #3 for the time being. Plus, as I’ve mentioned before, I think out of those three, Novel #3 would be the one most fit for a debuting author.

I really have little idea what’s going on in Novel #3, though. But even so, I’ve noticed one thing that’s an improvement at least with regards to Novel #1, and also probably Fantasy Novel. With both of those, I’m worried that some sections are too short to be effective. Don’t get me wrong; they’re both long as a whole. Fantasy Novel is nowhere near finished and is about 80,000 words, which means it’s likely to be Fantasy Series.

The pacing of Novel #3, though, is somewhat different. Instead of having maybe two pages before another scene, many parts have at least five pages before the next scene. Perhaps that means it reads in a more unified way. It’s about 12,000 words so far, and I’m only at the beginning of Chapter Four. (I’m kind of stuck there, though, so we’ll have to see how the latest scene turns out.)

I suppose this is just a long way of saying that my writing is the best thing I’ve got going for me right now.

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30 Days of Truth: Day 26–Suicidal Tendencies

Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?

As someone with mental health issues, my answer is that of course I’ve thought of giving up on life. I’ve thought of it often. Day 25 covers some aspects of my most suicidal moments. I’ll go into a little more detail here.

The first time I was suicidal, I was thirteen. I didn’t have any friends. There were a couple of people I talked to during lunch, but that was about it. My mom had forced me to take a home economics class, both in 7th and 8th grade, and because I had poor spatial skills (as I well knew), I did pretty poorly. Other students made fun of how horrible I was in home economics. In middle school, I made B’s in only two classes–home economics and P.E. I got B’s in P.E. because I often wouldn’t dress out for it. I hated P.E. because I was always the worst one at everything. I was especially bad at volleyball and volley tennis, and people would groan when they got me on their team. A few times, people intimidated me into not dressing out because they didn’t want such a terrible player on their team. And, oh, God, I remember this really embarrassing and terrible event. After P.E. when I went to the locker room to change, I found a note in my locker. It told me that I stank and should use deodorant. Well, I have always sweated easily; I can’t help it, and of course I used deodorant. I was horrified at the note, and this shy girl acted uncharacteristically. I brandished the note and started shouting and hysterically sobbing. A few of the other nice and not-so-popular people looked stunned at my outburst. This is a weird memory, like something that doesn’t seem real, but I know it happened.

Anyway, the point of all of this is to show that my school life was hell. My parents seemed to always yell at me and hurt my feelings. Then my parents finally separated and got a divorce. Even though my parents constantly fought, I’d always told myself that one day they would start liking each other again and live happily ever after. The crappy school life and stressful home life led to me contemplating suicide.

In high school, I continued to have suicidal urges. I had a few friends, but I was really on the outside of the social circle. They’d known each other longer than they’d known me, and they’d often do things without inviting me. I was probably the best teenager anyone could hope for; I did well in school and didn’t take drugs, smoke, or drink. Despite that, I often fought with my parents. These fights would end with me locking myself in my room, hugging my stuffed animals, and crying. My tumultuous relationship with my parents made me suicidal. That and the fact that no one seemed to like me that much. Sometimes when fighting with my parents, I would threaten to commit suicide. I resented that they didn’t take me seriously. My mom even once told me that I was too cowardly to try, and I knew it was true.

I continued to be depressed in college, but I wasn’t really suicidal. I stopped writing because I couldn’t find the time; I was dedicated to my studies. I also gave up writing because I realized I wasn’t that great and didn’t see a point in writing stories if I wasn’t the best writer out there. This is symptomatic of a broader outlook on life that probably holds me back. I think I learned it from my father. Basically, I believe that if I’m not the best at something, I’m not good enough. If I can’t become the best, then I’m just wasting time. I know that this mindset isn’t necessarily true, but it’s always my first instinct.

During my senior year in college, though, I became suicidal again. I don’t know why. I think it’s because I had suppressed my depression for the past three years. I didn’t want people to be worried about me, so I always pretended like I was fine. I knew that if I showed the extent of my feelings, my dad would say I was depressed because I hadn’t chosen a more practical major or college closer to home. The fact is, it would’ve been worse if I’d gone to a college closer to home. Then I wouldn’t have an excuse for knowing barely anybody because tons of people from high school would be around. Never mind that I’d never talked to those people in high school.

I’ve already covered the rest of this story in my post about the big break (what I call my two-year breakdown). I don’t want to repeat and relive all of those details right now. Besides, I often sound like a broken record on here.

Then of course there was the trip to the ER incident in 2011.

Even now I still have suicidal thoughts, some more imminent than others. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever gone that long without thinking about suicide. Why? My mental health issues. I despair about life in general. I’m afraid I’m always destined to be alone. That deep down I’m unlovable. That everyone who ever likes me will one day realize why I’m unworthy of their regard. Also, I just don’t know what I’m doing here. What’s the point? How am I helping the world? How can I help the world if I want to hide all the time? Would it really matter if I wasn’t in the world? Sometimes I wish that It’s a Wonderful Life could happen to me so I could understand what makes my presence worthwhile.

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30 Days of Truth: Day 25–Why Life?

The Reason You Believe You’re Still Alive Today

There have been a few pivotal life-and-death moments in my life:

1) When I was nine months old, I had a kidney removed. I don’t know much about why, just that it gave me high blood pressure and that I would’ve died without the operation. This is more important to me than it may sound. In some ways, this incident gives me the strength to keep going. Why didn’t God just let me die when I was nine months old? Why keep me alive? There must be a reason I’m here, or I would’ve died then. I know this thought trajectory hinges on an unprovable matter, but it helps.

2) When I was thirteen, I was going to try to kill myself with a BB gun. That probably wouldn’t have killed me, but it was the only gun I had access to. I put the barrel to my temple then lowered my hand. I suddenly felt like I’d had an insight from God. I was put on this earth for a purpose, and so I must not die. Plus, I think I was a little afraid I might go to hell if I committed suicide.

3) When I was a senior in high school, I went on a camping trip with some friends. A couple of girls and I were in a rowboat on the lake. We got off on the floating dock, and one of them thought we should pretend we’d “accidentally” unhitched the boat and so needed “rescuing.” My memory about the logistics of this is somewhat hazy. I just know this also involved us jumping in the water and swimming to shore. Well, no, I guess we didn’t need to be saved, but the boat did. I was afraid to jump into the water because I’m not that great of a swimmer, but since everyone else was excited about this plan, I didn’t say anything. Instead, when we were supposed to jump off of the dock, I halfway jumped and halfway lowered myself by clinging to the dock. I scraped the whole inside of my left arm and had a large bruise for a few weeks; it was even there when I went to prom.

We were swimming to the shore, and the two guys in the other boat were going to get our boat. I was flailing and not getting much of anywhere. I felt exhausted and disheartened when I saw how far I still had to go. One of the guys yelled, “Are you okay, Angel?” I pretended that I was because I didn’t want to embarrass myself by being the weak one.

As I continued haphazardly swimming, I realized something. I really wasn’t okay. I didn’t think I could make it. I went under, and I felt how peaceful it would be to simply give up right then. It almost felt like going to sleep. It was much harder for me to stay afloat than give in. During this time in my life, I’d once again felt suicidal, and when I argued with my parents, I would even threaten suicide. They’d scoff, saying I was melodramatic and too cowardly to try it.

I realized then that I didn’t really want to die, not yet. I called back to the guys that I thought I needed help. I struggled to keep my head above water while I waited for them, and they eventually got me.

I showed everyone my bruise and claimed that my arm had been too weak for me to swim well. They grimaced because it was quite a sight.

But I know better. I think I just wasn’t a good swimmer; it had nothing to do with my smarting arm.

Either way, I realized that I should stop threatening suicide because I obviously didn’t want to attempt it. If I had, I would’ve given up then.

4) The big break brought my next suicidal moment. I resolved to kill myself on my 23rd birthday. No one cared about me. I’d been isolating. In general, I was behaving erratically, but not where anyone else could see. A few weeks ago, I’d drifted into regular bouts of self-harm. In defiance, I wore an obvious bandage on my wrist under my watch, daring someone to notice. No one seemed to; at least, no one said anything to me about it. I really didn’t want them to notice anyway.

As my birthday approached, I became more and more afraid of what I would do when it arrived. I talked about this to my acquaintances in a depression forum, and they claimed they would fear the worst if I never came back after that day. So they saved me.

But what saved me more was my brother’s letter. My family knew a little of what I was going through. He sent me a birthday gift with a heartfelt letter, and I wept when I read it. I knew then that I couldn’t kill myself, not that day.

Also, I was on my period. TMI, I know, but I don’t want to die when I’m on my period.

In the long term, though, during those hazy few months, the thought of my novel saved me. The novel I’d written various iterations of and thought about since I’d been fourteen.

I thought I needed to live to write that, but now I’m not so sure.

I wrote another version during NaNoWriMo 2010, but I’ve been procrastinating on the editing, afraid of how much work would need to be done. I know it’s really messed up . . . I don’t even remember all of what happened, but this was supposed to be a literary piece about the nature of evil and somehow eventually cults and occultists became involved?

Like that would ever work. And I don’t know how to fix it.

Oftentimes I think I’m still alive because I need to write. But for someone who claims to be a writer, I spend a paltry amount of time actually writing. (Excepting this blog.)

(Wow, that post was much longer than I thought it would be!)

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30 Days of Truth: Day 24–A Playlist of Artistic Inspiration

Make a Playlist for Someone, and Explain Why You Chose All the Songs

I don’t really make playlists, especially for others. I’m afraid they’ll laugh at my music taste. But more than that, I pathetically know few people. I can’t very well make a list for someone if I don’t know them. I don’t know if I’d make one for a family member, either. Still, it is a little fun to make a playlist.

This one is for you, readers. It’s a list of 20 songs I find artistically inspirational. It doesn’t have repeating artists, nor do I know a lot about all of the musicians behind these songs.

1) Sinnerman–Nina Simone: The full-length version is epic. I like to write stories in which people seek redemption . . . and this song sets the vibe.

2) Down In It–Nine Inch Nails: I’ve only recently realized that I like Nine Inch Nails. The whole album Pretty Hate Machine has the dark vibe of moral messiness.

3) So He Won’t Break–The Black Keys: I already discussed my love of the Black Keys on the 13th Day of Truth. After much deliberation, I’m putting this song on the list. Because it reminds me of the need for connections, connections to keep us from shattering.

4) Gospel Song–Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: I once wrote a short post about a couple of this band’s songs. The mood, the totality of the sound, is magical.

5) Mohammed–The Dandy Warhols: I love the mood of the whole album Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia. This song makes me think of the introspective quest for truth.

6) Skeleton Swoon–Esben and the Witch: Entrancing. Hypnotic. It makes me think of unexplained supernatural happenings. Plus, it teaches you the etymology of the word “X-Ray.” 😉

7) House of the Rising Son–The Animals: The emotion. The dejectedness of taint and a sorrowful sordid background that endures.

8) Cornflake Girl–Tori Amos: I haven’t heard much Tori Amos, but I like this song a lot. I couldn’t find a good standard version, so here’s a live version. It makes me think of isolation and the need to express oneself.

9) Infinity–the XX: Irresistible attraction, stronger than any force.

10) My Secret Friend–IAMX featuring Imogen Heap: The androgyny in the video matches the song’s mood of the forbidden and almost unhealthy nature of losing oneself in another, the other being somewhat unspeakable.

11) December–Collective Soul: This has long been one of my favorite songs. I especially like the harmony of the last half or so. The song’s sound, the mood it evokes . . . a slightly upbeat melancholy.

12) Risingson–Massive Attack: A dark sexy vibe.

13) Never Let Me Down Again–Depeche Mode: When I was in college, I went through a phase during which I loved Depeche Mode. This song triggered it. It makes me think of loneliness while with another one cares about.

14) Heart-Shaped Box–Nirvana: The passionate sound, the conflict.

15) Riders of the Freeway–Kira: I heard this song during the end credits of a Danish movie called Terribly Happy. It resonated so much with me that I spent a while looking on the Internet for the song’s identity when Shazam couldn’t identify it. It makes me think of the need to reinvent oneself. But even as one does so, one is drawn into a flawed world, sucked in. That’s probably partially because of what happens in the film.

16) Anenome–The Brian Jonestown Massacre: It’s the psychedelic sound, really.

17) The Truth–Handsome Boy Modeling School: “The truth hurts because the truth is all there is.” “You can’t hide from the truth because the truth is all there is.” Plus, there’s a nice rap verse in the middle.

18) Wicked Child–Radiohead: The feeling of guilt and uncleanness, the desire to please a higher power.

19) Brother Louie: Either version, the cover by Stories or the original by Hot Chocolate. The former’s mood is more haunting for me, but they’re both plaintive.

20) I Against I–Mos Def and Massive Attack: This one is slightly cheating because I said I wouldn’t include any repeat artists. But the idea of self-conflict and of the enemy being an extension of oneself informs a lot of what I write. “My images reflect in the enemy’s eye and his images reflect in mine the same time.”

I spent lots of time looking for links to those songs, so some of you better take a look. Also, I’m always afraid people will laugh at my musical taste, so please don’t. And it’s possible I got the intentions or meanings of these songs wrong.

I haven’t really effectively explained what makes any of these songs artistically inspiring; that’s an intangible, indescribable, instinctive quality.

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