Monday, February 23, 2015

Pontificate is a weird word

I have been pontificating on the meaning of my life and what I really want out of life. Like a lot. You want to know what the answer is?

I want to be happy.

That may not seem like a lot to some of you. In fact, it may seem like I am shooting below where a lot of you think I should. It's a good thing that I really don't care. Haha.

You see, it probably takes more to make me happy than most people. Not because I am impossible to please, or because I have impossibly high standards, or whatever. I don't have a specific life plan for happiness, but I know that the road to happiness takes a few things. It takes hard work. It takes humility. It takes gratitude...it also takes love. Let's talk about that. :)

I was born into a family that values hard work. I've been doing hard work pretty much all of my life. I am not a "delicate flower" that has never dug a trench or cut her own firewood. I know how to build a house, I know how to build a wall out of just rock so that it will stand for eons. I know what hard work is. I have my parents to thank for that. They are two of the hardest working people I know. Anything worth getting in life takes hard work and dedication. I never understood the "newer" generations complaining about having to "work" or do things they don't want to do. It's called work for a reason idiot.

I am a prideful person. I know I am. Humility is not something that has been easy for me to learn, and I'm still learning. I don't have a lot to say about humility because...well, I am super terrible at it. However, I read a quote once that says, "Pride is concerned about who is right. Humility is concerned about what is right." Or something to that effect. I try to remember that when I am being stubborn. :)

Gratitude. Gosh. One thing I have learned in life is that NOTHING is guaranteed, and everything in your life can be taken away from you...and at some point probably will be. Hitting rock bottom isn't something I would wish on my worst enemy. However, hitting rock bottom is helpful when you want to see what you are made of. It is also a good thing when you want to see who your true friends are...which leads me to the last topic in this happiness seminar.

Love. Love is a weird thing. It feels impossible to fall in love right now for me...but it also feels scarily easy at the same time. I am surrounded by some great men. Men that it would be SO easy to fall in love with. But...well...that's a conversation for another time. Romantic love is something that I'm trying not to focus on at this moment, because I'm learning to love myself. I think that learning to love YOU, no matter what you look like, what your job is...what you've done in the past...THAT is what is important. Anyone can be happy when they are with the love of their life. What about when you are alone? Can you find happiness in the quiet, lonely moments? I'm working on that for me. Love is something that can bring profound happiness to the people around you. If you just love the people around you...without reservation or judgement...life is just BETTER.

Happiness! That's the goal for 2015!

Okay. I'm done. I want some peanut butter now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What a ride!

I'm sure you all are wondering when the playful and funny Karyn will be back to blog for you. The little mini posts are all pretty much from her. However, if you have been reading recently, you know that I am currently in therapy and working through a lot of things. A part of that for me is to blog about what I have been up to and what is significant for me in this moment.

I will try to be more playful, but there is more to me as a person than the "funny girl" or the "crazy, fun girl." This is a part of that. So yeah. My blog, my rules (as if I were structured enough to have any). This is a serious post. So, read on if you'd like. Or just stick around. I'll have something fun and breezy in a week or so.

Have you ever thought to yourself, "It would be better to feel nothing than to feel like this way another moment"?

There was a point in my life where I wanted nothing more than to just turn to stone so I didn't have to feel anything again. There was a long stretch of time where I turned to drinking to numb the pain. Numbing the pain was a "quick fix," but it never helped anything. So, I tried to pull everything in my life together and make it better. It worked for a while...until "the pit of despair" (movie reference!) opened up after a series of heartbreaks, betrayals, and just plain terribleness happened that plunged me into a mire of negativity and depression.

So, doing what felt like at the time as a smart and logical thing, I turned off my emotions...or as my friend C says, I broke my "give a damn."

Apathy is something that has been an undercurrent in my life for a long time. I never wanted to feel what I was feeling again, so I turned it all off. Some people deal with their issues by hurting themselves, or emotionally vomiting everything all at once, or not eating, or abandoning the people they love. I did something equally terrible to myself by becoming apathetic.

I can hear your collective gasp. To try to articulate what I mean in one sentence... I believe that the emotional pain we inflict upon ourselves is as much or more hurtful that any physical harm we do.

No one that is as outgoing or extroverted as myself can stand being alone for any given amount of time. I crave human connection. I need it...like a drug. I need it to be happy. Even if it is just sitting with a friend doing absolutely nothing...that means more to me than anything.

So imagine what it was like for me to sit in a room filled with people and to not connect to or feel anything for anyone in that room. To actively choose to cut off the one thing that I actually need to be happy---human conenction.

It is so incredibly lonely, but the mental state I was in didn't let me acknowledge that as a symptom of what I was doing. It was because of the people around me. It was their fault I was feeling lonely. It was their fault I was sad. Couldn't they see past my fake smiles and laughs and see what was just beneath the surface?

Spolier alert: the answer is NO.

There is a music video that I think translates my journey. It is a bit of a controversial video. None of the people I have shown it to really got it. It is the "Elastic Heart" music video by Sia featuring Shia LeBeouf and Maddie Ziegler. (<--CLICK IT!) If you don't mind the tangent, I wanted to pontificate about it.

People only focus on the fact that a grown man is doing weird and vaguely intimate interpretive dancing with a girl in a cage. Yeah. That's what is happening in the video. However, I was never weirded out by it. The first time I watched it, I cried...for hours. You see...it isn't two people in that cage. It's just one person. Shia and Maddie are parts of the same person.

Just like my apathy (the cage). I locked away a part of myself... the most beautiful part of myself (Shia's role). The more powerful part of myself (represented by Maddie...and the innate need I have to connect to people) wanted to just break free. But you can't be free unless you unlock all the parts of yourself.

There are so many things I love about the video, but the part that haunts me is at the very end. The girl is pulling at his arms and trying to get him to step out of the cage...there is a moment where the hopelessness of being trapped within yourself...where all the worries and sadness and heartbreak is evident on his face.

It is so raw and beautiful. I have always admired Shia as an actor, but that raw emotion...that is what true acting is. I feel like he took a note right out of my heart and played it in all it's melancholy glory. WOW. Anyway...back to the story.

It took me a long time to figure out that apathy and indifference wasn't a viable life plan. It seems like a no-brainer....and for some people I'm sure that it is. For me it wasn't that simple I guess. There was a lot going on that I didn't have the skills to cope with. I'm SO lucky that I have the most amazing friends on the planet, because they were the ones to pull me through. They stuck by me...apathy and all and showed me it was okay to open up again. That I was worth working towards being healthy and happy...that I deserved it. Some of them didn't say that in so many words, but there is something transformative that happens when people love you unconditionally.

At first I was like a feral animal. I couldn't trust anything or anyone around me. I was rebelling against any kindness or love that anyone gave me. I hurt a lot of people. I can only say (again) that I am truly sorry for the pain I inflicted.

I started working on me. Moving away from the apathy, and really FEELING what I feel. It's harder than I thought it would be, and more wonderful as well.

For a long time I was terrified of my own feelings. I tried to minimize the risk of my life by turning to apathy. As time has gone by, I've been contemplating a lot of things about where I want to end up in the future and I decided that I can have a safe, comfortable life where I would never be in fear of pain or hurt, but what is the point of a life like that?

I think it was Hunter S. Thompson that said, "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!"

Sometimes finding yourself and bearing your soul is the only way to find what makes you happy. It's time to make risks and take chances! Mistakes will make me better...and the people that hate me in my mistakes and sins aren't worth my time. Look past your fear and face life head on!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Let's toast to 2015...or not.


"Hi, my name is Karyn and I'm an alcoholic. "

I can't tell you how terrified I was the first time I said that. I still get butterflies 10 years later. For those of you that are shocked at that confession, don't feel bad that you didn't know. No one really knew unless I told them or they saw me out drinking...which a lot of people in Kona did...

I remember the first time I took a drink. I was working late at the theater and a bunch of my friends had been pressuring me to drink with them after work. I was in a weird place emotionally. I was pretty messed up actually. I can't think of one particular instance where I made the decision to drink. It was 100 little things that built up to the decision. My first drink was sitting outside of Makalapua theaters with people I thought were my friends, sipping on a Corona.

The stupidest thing is that I didn't even like drinking in the beginning. People that LOVE beer or alcohol in general are CRAZY. It does not taste good or rather I should say it is DEF an acquired taste. Despite this fact, I didn't care. The more I drank, the better I felt... actually, the more I drank, the less I felt. Feeling less meant I felt better. And just like the decision to start drinking began with 100 little things, the path to alcoholism were little "mistakes" that built and built this dependence. A dependence on something that was illegal for me to drink, and against everything that I was raised to say no to. It started as just something I did for fun. Something I did to forget my problems...but they were all there when I was sober, only they were magnified by about 20 now because of all the issues that came with drinking.

I read an article today called, "10 Things I Don't Miss About Drinking" and I can honestly say that every one of them except the one that didn't pertain to me (hangovers...I don't know if I can actually get them) are TRUE! Drinking was a mistake that I wish I could go back and just erase. It got so bad that I would take alcohol to school and work just to get through. I was always in some form of drunkenness. I hated beer and would just have people buy me the hard stuff...and I have an alcohol tolerance that you wouldn't believe. Haha.

It all came to a head when a couple things happened. The first is that my brother and his new wife and baby moved in with us. I don't think I ever loved a baby more than I loved my nephew Keala. He was the first and I loved him so much. The second thing was that I decided to drive home drunk. It wasn't any different from any other night driving home. I was plastered (as usual) and started on my way home. Driving drunk in a town where you know all the cops and they all know you from when you were a kid is an interesting thing. I had been stopped so many times before and warned to pull it together. No one ever gave me a sobriety test or even made me get out of the car.  Anyway, back to the story--I had decided to drive home.

I should not have been on the road. I drank an entire bottle of vodka, half a bottle of tequila rose, a bottle of peach schnapps, and just for kicks 3 or 4 beers. I was buzzing, and I remember feeling buzzed, but pretty clear comparatively. I hopped in my car and started home--which was only about 10 mins away. The next thing I remember is swerving to miss a car. I spun out and the other car spun out. It was around 2 or so in the morning and no one was on the road (thankfully). I got out of my car and stumbled over to the other car to make sure they were okay. I heard the baby crying before I got all the way across the road. The mom (still don't know her name) was crying and came to meet me in the middle of the street. She saw how wasted I was and started yelling at me. Her baby was sick or something and she was on her way to the hospital. The last thing she needed was a drunk idiot killing them on the way.

I felt pathetic. Pathetic isn't even a big enough word. I felt like nothing. Worse than nothing. When did my life become this? I remember crying and saying I was sorry over and over again. I got in my car and went home. That night I decided to stop. Why did I even start in the first place? I felt so stupid. I was better than that.

Ten years. It's a long time to be done with something. Quitting drinking was one of the hardest things I've ever done. And I'm still working at it everyday. Some people think that it's just quitting and then you're finished. I wish it was like that. I may have stopped drinking cold turkey, but the addiction was still there. I still think about drinking when things get hard. For a while I used other things to take the place of my addiction...none of which were healthy or good for me. Swapping out one addiction for another is like using a different brand of cigarettes. You're still smoking, it's just a different brand. I was still an addict, I just moved through different things to be addicted to.

Addiction is so weird. It can manifest itself in so many ways. Eating too much food, not eating anything, sex, exercise, media consumption (you know, like video games, TV shows, etc) ...we can get addicted to so many things in so many ways, but the root of it is the addiction itself. It spreads its tentacles through you until it controls what you say and do. You lie and manipulate your way through life to get what your addiction is. I know I've hurt so many people with mine. I've spent the last ten years trying to pay for what I've done. I'm trying to get to a place where I feel...forgiven. Not really by any deity or person in particular. Mostly I want to forgive myself.

Who knows when that will happen. The cool thing is that I think living a life where you are trying to be the best version of yourself and trying to make up for all your faults and shortcomings isn't that bad of a life. It works for now.

Thanks for reading my story. Hopefully it can help you with whatever you happen to be dealing with. If not, I hope you still can deal with your issues with a little more grace and confidence.

Here's to 2015. It's going to be amazing...because we make it that way.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The ones you hate

I don't really hate anyone on this planet (or off this planet...since I haven't met anyone not of this world). Hating someone takes too much energy. I'd rather just empty my life of people that don't make me happy than spend any energy hating anyone.

That being said, this is the best website I have ever seen. I have a couple people I would love to send these to. That is all.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

#thestruggle

Hello people in the blogosphere.

First of all, Happy New Year. It's been a crazy 2014. Let's make 2015 memorable as well, shall we?

Today I had a pretty long conversation with a co-worker and friend of mine. While we were talking I had an epiphany. Well, I knew it, but the conversation we had made it more poignant.

Struggling in life makes us appreciate what we have.

As one of my favorite movie characters (bonus points if you can name them without looking it up) says,
The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!

I've gone more than a few rounds with life. 30 years of #thestruggle and it legit takes everything I have some days to make it through. Despite what some people think, life hasn't been easy for me. Everything I have achieved...everything I can do...everything I am is due to working my butt off and more than a little faith that the Lord will provide.

Life can be tough. More for some than others. Life can grind you under its heel until you call, "Mercy" and will still not let up. Life gets so hard sometimes that people shut down, shut off. I've seen it happen. I've seen the light go out in people's eyes when they are too tired of fighting. I've seen the toll giving up on #thestruggle can take.

Life will knock the living daylights out of you and not blink twice. There may be times that you might want to give up. There may be times that you'll want to check out and never look back. Don't do it!

Life can be hard, but it is also beautiful, joyous and fleeting. Seize every moment! If you're feeling like you want to give up or surrender, get back up and keep moving forward. No matter how small the step, keep going forward.

I know how hard life can hit you. I've been down for the count more times than I've liked. The measure of your character is getting back up and moving toward the goals that you want to achieve. You probably are like me and never seem to catch a break. Well, the one thing I can guarantee you is that #thestruggle is your chance to prove to yourself what you're made of.

I think sometimes I forget that being perfect and never getting knocked down isn't reality. That failure is okay. I forget that everyone is struggling and that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have. Life can catch you in the jaw and knock you out. Get up, grab life by the throat and go after what you want.

This year is just beginning, and I feel like it will be one of the best yet. I might get knocked around...but I'm not giving up and neither should you.

Something for the road:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why brothers are the s***

Just a little forewarning. There will be swearing in this post. Also--my grammar filter is basically off right now, so deal. :)

My brothers are the best ever.

Seriously. When I tally up all the crap that has happened to me....betrayal, heart break, and basically the emotional battering ram that is taken to my emotions on the reg...there are only three people that have stuck through thick and thin. They have always been there for me. I know that I can count on them to tell me the truth...or to tell me a lie when I need to hear it. They are my brothers.

My brothers are amazing. Seriously. They are the s***, and no one really knows because they are all kicking butt and taking names.

I know it isn't a cakewalk to be my brothers. I am pretty much one of the hugest jerks ever. As Louis C.K. says,

"Here's the difference, to me, between boys and girls: Boys fuck things up; Girls are fucked up. That’s the difference. Boys just do damage to your house that you can measure in dollars, like a hurricane. Girls, like, leave scars in your psyche that you find later, like a genocide or an atrocity. […] That’s the difference between boys and girls. And it becomes the difference between men and women, really. A man will, like, steal your car or burn your house down or beat the shit out of you, but a woman will ruin your fuckin' life. Do you see the difference? Like, a man will cut your arm off and throw it in a river, but he'll leave you as a human being intact. He won't fuck with who you are. Women are nonviolent, but they will shit inside of your heart."
I freely admit that I am a huge jerk. I am trying to change that now, but unfortunately my family are the ones who have seen me at my worst. Yep--all that glory of "crazy Karyn" was theirs to behold. They've seen me in tremendous pain, anger, embarrassment, happiness, excitement...the whole range of Karyn emotions (even the ones I hide). They've seen it all.

And guess what? They still love me. They still care. It's sort of a miracle. With all my mistakes, all of the times I tried to ruin them...they still are there for me. In my entire life, the three people that have always been there for me are my brothers. Occasionally we have differences of opinion, but overall we love each other and have stuck together through it all. They are so awesome. If you haven't read this blog before, or if you are semi-new, I have three brothers: Adam, Josh, and Sean. Adam and Josh are older than I am and Sean is the baby. My brothers are all freaking geniuses.

Adam is a genius when it comes to people and anything mechanical. He has taken a while to figure it out, but Adam has so much potential for success. He has a burning passion for life and I think that's why he sometimes gets so emotional about things. He is so passionate about the things he cares about. He has had to be. He needs to just let go of what everyone tells him he "should" do and go after what he wants. He has the mind and the talent to be successful at whatever he wants to do because he understands how people think. I often tell him that he needs to temper his emotions and chill out. He does...but it would be a waste to quiet that passion for life. I think if he redirects it into the projects he gets into and his family, that he will be set...forever.

Josh is a genius at music (for real...like savant-style). He got beat with the family talent stick. He has more talent and ability than I could ever hope for. He's a triple threat. He can sing. play, and write his own stuff. I think Josh's great talent is that he immerses himself in a moment and takes everything he can away from it. He has a hard time relating to people because (other than the fact that people in general are basically the worst) he sees the world in his own unique way. He and I are a lot alike because we keep our feeling pretty deep down, but people often mistake that for not having any. However, I think another part of that is that he (as a typical middle child) feels like he needs to scream to be heard. Life happens to us in the quiet moments. Josh's talent is undeniable. I think his biggest challenge is learning to tone things down and releasing the same amount of emotion with a quieter voice.

Sean is a genius when it comes to breaking things down and solving them. I think that is why he likes video games so much. No matter how many layers they have, he has a knack for seeing the goal and following through. That is his true talent. No matter what issue he faces--he can see into the heart of the issue and see a solution for it. I think his biggest challenge is trying to figure out how to balance his dreams with the time it takes to achieve them. He is a rising star, and I know if he can figure out how to balance everything in his life that he will achieve everything he wants to in his life.

All my brothers are married and have children. It's weird to think about for me because even though they all changed when they got married and then again when they had kids...it's still so cool to see how great they are at being Dads and Husbands. It's also really cool to see the effort they make to stay in touch with me and show me how much they care about me. Family means pretty much everything to us...and I feel it every time they call or email or facebook or whatever.

They have always stuck up for me, beat people up for me, counseled me, and just listened to me when I needed them to. They have stood and weathered the storm with me...and still do no matter how busy things get for them.

Since they are all so far away, I have adopted brothers too. My adopted brothers are so awesome, and I love them as much as my real brothers. I won't call them out in this post like I did to my real brothers. I don't have the luxury of blood protecting me from embarrassing them publicly. Haha. I will say though that it isn't worth it to hold yourself back because of something someone said or did to you. You have so much potential. Start today to go after your dreams. Life is there for you to take and run with...you just have to choose to do it.

My brothers are the fucking best, and I'm one lucky girl to have them in my life. Thanks guys. I love you.

Something for the road.