The Pride of Long Hair

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OOTD: Top – Ivanka Trump | Shorts – American Eagle | Sandals – White Mountain | Clutch – Coach | Necklace – Piercing Pagoda

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In many cultures, long hair is the symbol of being a woman. For some religions, it’s signifies that the woman is deeply invested in that religion. It’s a trait of standard beauty, and for many women, hair is something that identifies who they are.

It takes so much time to grow out, so much effort to keep it healthy, and diligence to maintain the quality of the hair as it grows. I remember oiling my hair everyday for a year, braiding it back into a single dutch braid. It limited my hair styles and flexibility. I took fish oil, biotin, a protein shake, MSM supplements and constantly researched how to grow my hair faster. I couldn’t dye my hair, style it with heat, or use abrasive products. It was definitely an all-consuming process, but it was worth it. Last summer I had my hair down to my waist.

In Japan, people take cutting hair as a symbol of loss. Lose the one you love, cut your hair. Feel ashamed by something you have done, cut your hair. In many Western cultures, people cut their hair to cure the boredom or to provide a change. For me, I think it’s a bit of both. I recently cut my hair to medium-short length. From waist length to just above my chest. For a lot of people, that’s still quite long. But for anyone who has long hair, you will understand when I say that it’s a huge change. Your hair isn’t what defines you any longer. When you have long hair, people describe you by your hair. They notice you because of it. But when it’s chopped off, maybe it feels like taking away a part of you.

I don’t want to be completely defined by my hair. I want a change for the better. And I’m still moving on from leaving my home of 13 years. Chopping off the length means change stemming from the loss to me. To not let it define me.

It kind of sounds ridiculous to me. But it’s true: I’m not the girl with long braids. I’m the one who is silently reaching her way to the top.

Nicole

Humans Need Humans

  

I am an INPF in the Myers-Briggs test. I like to be alone, and I generally find it exhausting to interact with people. And I’m happy being alone in nature. 
But what I’ve realized is that you cannot avoid the human emotions, interactions and exchanges because people shape who you are. Experiences are memorable because of the feelings you experience with other people. You can’t be an island; you must find a way to work the compassion for other human beings into your day. Especially because you don’t know what’s going on with other people. A single interaction can change someone. 
While I day dream about the distance of blue, the places I can see but never travel to, I have also realized that without telling other people about these feelings, I would never feel the warmth of sharing ideas and finding understanding. Understanding is everywhere; you will find it. Even if you think nobody understands you, or if you think your life has no purpose, you find that it does. 
Human minds are conditioned to think they are ugly, the human mind is corrupted. We forget that compassion and purpose is contagious, spreading like a wildfire once we are shown it. As life unfolds, you will find your purpose. But that might only be realized through human interaction. 
Keep your mind and heart open. It’s far more dangerous to be closed and never know than to be hurt and learn to be strong enough to have the courage to get back up and continue. 

Battling Depression as a Happy Person

  
I’ve always been an overall happy person. I might complain a lot some days, but I’m always optimistic about situations in life. I don’t get angry easily, and when I am, it cools very fast because I have empathy and understanding. But one thing that I’ve noticed happening more and more lately as a young adult is my thoughts directing me into holes of depression. 

It starts out a nice day, good weather, so I can’t blame it on the lack of sunlight. But then my plans for that day are deemed useless when I think too far ahead. 

My mind wanders through these empty skies. I am swallowed in the blue abyss. It makes me wonder what the purpose of my existence in this particular place is. Why here? The crisp air cools my fire in my heart, and the rays of the sun keep me here. It’s hard not to feel helpless in such a big sky. It makes you wonder what else is out there, what all is happening at this very moment, with every life on this planet. 

It’s a terrible thing to find depression in an empty sky. It’s meant to bring joy with the warmth of the sun, but the longer I stare into the ocean of the sky, the more alone I feel. It’s too quiet. Sometimes it’s good to find refuge in the nature, but other times it draws out the lonliness in your heart. Brings out the fear, the pain, the sadness of the quietest parts of your subconscious. 

I wander through these fields of nothingness, only the blue sky capturing my attention. There are so many stories in this world. Intricate, delicate, euphoric, depressing, and mundane stories. It’s hard to remember them when the nature has taken you away. 

And that’s when I know I have a skewed vision of the world. It’s not meant to make you feel like a helpless dot on the earth; this world is meant to give you a story. 

I think the key for battling this type of depression is to find something to ground you. Don’t let your thoughts carry you away so far up into the clouds that you can’t see the road anymore. Don’t let the sun blind you instead of guide your path. And if you can’t find what grounds you, let the possibility of new stories ground you. Everyday you have the ability to live and find a new story. Maybe that’s just the writer’s way of thinking about life, but think about it: life is unpredictable. And that’s why there’s always a chance for a new chapter to start. 

Alone in the Digital Crowd

  
It’s second nature to me, and to everyone nowadays, especially my generation and below. We are glued to phones, tablets and computers. It’s a normal thing in today’s world, and even though I’ll most definitely continue to stare at my iPhone screen for hours each day, it scares me. 

It’s an ongoing debate on whether this is a good or bad thing, and honestly it’s just a double edged sword, and it depends on the situation. But sometimes, for me, it feels so alone. 

We distance ourselves from people. Even though we are able to communicate with literally anyone in the world in just a minute, we hide behind our screens, encourage the distance, and for those prone to anxiety, it seems like the perfect way out. 

So why the does it feel so lonely some days? It’s caused us to devalue the present moment. We worry about things that are happening other places, have already happened, or rumors of things to happen. We disconnect from the people around us, scared to know if they will accept us, and plug into the digital world, knowing that we can hide in the vast information, opinions and entertainment. We can distract ourselves from hating the moment we live in by transporting our minds to somewhere we can feel safe. But what does that say about our society if that’s what it’s come to now?

Even as I sit here, writing this on my phone, I wonder what I am missing by having this conversation with a real live person, even the person sitting in the other room of this house. 

I wonder if we isolate ourselves because we want to or just because it’s easier. When did it become common curtesy to text someone when you come to their house instead or knocking on the door? When did it become a horrifying ordeal to forget your phone at home, lose LTE connection or go to a cafe with no wifi?

Yet I know we all will continue to stay connected. Because we’re addicted to information. Including myself. We’ve become a society that has access to everything and we can’t let go. 

But I’ll always wonder what only would be like to be just myself, with no media, nothing to hide behind, nothing technological to invest my time. I bet I’d be able to solve more problems by paying full attention and finding myself fully aware of the present moment.

Opia | The Window

She experienced opia in his eyes. They captivated her. Whenever he caught her eyes, he seemed to be reaching inside her mind, her soul. His gaze was powerful, demanding, mocking, yet understanding. They grounded her, melted her, and yielded her to him. It sounds ridiculous, but it was an unexplained power.

They smirked at her from across a room, from down a hallway, and when his eyes met hers up close, face to face, they seemed to reach inside her mind and pull out every thought she had about him. It was chilling, and invasive, yet exciting because she could see right back into his. He was somewhat surrendered to her as well. This is an example of the power of the feeling “opia.”

 opia 

opia

n. the ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable—their pupils glittering, bottomless and opaque—as if you were peering through a hole in the door of a house, able to tell that there’s someone standing there, but unable to tell if you’re looking in or looking out.

(from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows)

If you want to know the nature of a relationship between two people, watch how they look at each other. If they seem to understand each other without speaking, only a glimpse of each other’s eyes, they are close.

The tension between the gaze of friends holding in laughter in a moment nobody else can understand. The way a child looks longingly at their parent, asking for something without saying a word. How a bride and groom look at each other from across the room before getting married. And how strongly you can sense a past from an old couple who have stood the test of time. These are all opia.

When someone looks into your eyes, what can they see? Can they see behind the walls you’ve spent so much time mounting? Can they reach right into your soul and know exactly who you are? When you look into another’s eyes, how do you feel? If you feel afraid, you are afraid of not being strong enough to find the other person.

Eye contact is so important when getting to know others. It is how we connect. The action is so simple, but the meaning can pull you in deep.

Nicoco

 

Sonder: Watching Life

Have you ever stopped to think about the strangers that pass you by everyday? Thinking about how complex their lives might be, how much you may or may not relate to each one of them, but will never know. You will never know because it is only a fleeting moment in time that you come in contact with these people. This feeling is called “sonder.”

 
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Sonder makes you wonder how they carry on in their daily lives. The man passing by you on your way into the coffee shop could be preparing for the most important day of his life. The woman you share an elevator with may be going through a crazy love affair. The child you smile at when you are eating lunch might be thinking of how to run away from home. The possibilities are endless. The stories are endless.

 

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In a way, sonder is exciting, because it means that the lives we live are full of meaning and purpose. There are so many possibilities, so many changes, and so many opportunities to discover a new story. An intricate story for each, starting with their childhood and carrying on right up to the very moment you come in contact… then suddenly, never to be seen again.

 
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But sonder also intimidating, because it reminds you that while they were a small role in your story of life, you were also just a speck in their sea of memories and experiences. Sonder puts you in perspective of the population as a whole – a tangled, but beautiful web of stories, intricately intertwining with each other’s stories, no matter how little or how much we tend to cross each other’s paths.

 

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It’s crazy how quickly relationships can change. There’s a “short sad story” that reads: “Strangers. Friends. Best friends. Lovers. Strangers.” That can happen with anyone, and it’s just hard to understand how quickly people can walk in and out of your life.

 
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Lastly, sonder reminds you that you can relate to others. If you can empathize and understand, even if just for a moment, that other people have the same worries, joys, fears, and passion for things in their lives as you do in yours, you’re on your way to peace.

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n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk. (the dictionary of obscure sorrows)

sondersonder

Nicoco

Rückkehrunruhe |My Fading Memories

  
This is my fading memory.

I remember the walls of graffiti as our car flew through the Bronx. It was another world that I never knew, but wished to understand. I always thought about what it would be like to live in a huge city. The busy life, the great presence of society, arts and culture, they all fascinated me. But they were only an afterthought in and out of our way to Long Island, NY.

The drives back were even more captivating. The path through Newark, NJ was full of industrial messes scattered across the landscape. It was crazy to see how many stories there must have been in that city.

And sometimes when we reached the regular forest landscapes that we were used to, it was hard to believe any of what I had seen even existed.

It happened even more with our trips to other places.

Coming home from beach vacations were always the worst. It would feel like paradise for that week, or weekend. But on the drives home, I would lose myself in the memories while staring out the window into the pools of blue peeking out from the clouds. The sun was just the same as when I was at the sea, but yet different. It was hard to imagine that it was the same sun that lit up my memories at the ocean. It never mattered which beach we went to; it was always the same afterwards.

And in the weeks leading away, when we were back in our normal lives, it began to become difficult to differentiate those memories with my own fantasies. Did it really happen? Or was it just in my mind?

The mind tends to only remember that good parts about vacations and trips. Those times are when our senses were heightened and we savored each moment of happiness. We remember how we felt when we were away from home.

Was the sky really that blue and clear on that open road in the desert? Did the mesas turn a charcoal black in the sunsets? Did it really feel like soaring through the sky as we drove through the canyons?

And we forget about the moments that made the trip “imperfect,” and therefore “tangible.”

But this happens also when we move from one place to another. We remember the good places we lived and we feel bittersweet in the fact that they don’t feel like they were ever reality at all, despite the fact that they were some of the hardest times of our lives.

The most terrible time I experienced this was when I came back from Chiang Mai, Thailand. I had left my husband there, my memories, all of my feelings. Everything was definitely ingrained into my mind during the three months I lived there. And when I returned home, I remember the deepest sinking depression. It was as if nothing I had experienced had been real. Nobody could relate to it. And worst of all, it was almost as if he wasn’t real either.

I would dream of wandering through the mountains in Chiang Mai. I would dream of strolling through the dusty streets in the summer heat. I would dream of the way the sun slowly faded behind the mountains and the cool breeze would rip through my skin as we rode through the city on the motorcycle. I would dream so vividly of the feelings, the aromas, the visuals and the tastes of Thailand.

It would hurt so much whenever I would awake.

Because I never knew, until each time I awoke, how much was slipping away from my memory.

I still long for those experiences I had in Thailand, and that was four years ago now.

Even now that I’ve moved here to Texas, I have bittersweet memories of my hometown in PA. And I know that it’s the same feeling as always setting in.

The feeling of Rückkehrunruhe.

Rückkehrunruhe

n. the feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness—to the extent you have to keep reminding yourself that it happened at all, even though it felt so vivid just days ago—which makes you wish you could smoothly cross-dissolve back into everyday life, or just hold the shutter open indefinitely and let one scene become superimposed on the next, so all your days would run together and you’d never have to call cut. (from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows)

Kairosclerosis | When Happiness Slips Away like Sand

Happiness is relative to everything that is not happiness. We can distinguish it because we know what it is to not be happy. We understand there are emotions that are not happiness, like anger, sadness, confusion, and most of all, apathy. Even contentment cannot be called happiness. Kairosclerosis is when we over-analyze our moments of happiness while we are experiencing them, therefore shattering it into just apathy.

The definition from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows reads as follows:

kairosclerosis

n. the moment you realize that you’re currently happy—consciously trying to savor the feeling—which prompts your intellect to identify it, pick it apart and put it in context, where it will slowly dissolve until it’s little more than an aftertaste.

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We remember happiness because we crave it. When we can push away the feelings of kairosclerosis, we can truly live and enjoy those moments in the present moment that it occurs. Analyzing destroys the feeling, the meaning of it all.

Why is it that when we are suddenly surprised by something good that we did not expect, we feel the maximum amount of joy? It’s because we are living it, not thinking about how or why we felt it. We are wired to analyze our situations, but we respond without thinking to surprise.

I think this is what people mean when they say things like, “Live without expectation,” and “live in the moment,” or even like “be like a child,” because children aren’t so skeptical to analyze their feelings yet. They aren’t afraid that this moment of happiness might be their last for long periods of time. As adults living in an unforgiving world, we try to savor these moments. And subconsciously, we try to hold on tighter and tighter to something we can have if we just let go.

Nicoco

Nodus Tollens – Tips for Mindset

The lines are blurred between depression and boredom. What makes you happy? What happens when you’re no longer excited about your life? What do you do when you feel like you’re running out of time? Maybe it’s the feeling of nodus tollens.

You stumble in and out of love with yourself. None of your interests amount to anything and your fire is put out quickly. Do you have hobbies just to pass the time and distract you from your pain, or do you really enjoy them? A symptom of the feeling nodus tollens.

You fall victim to watching others become successful, meanwhile your life slips from between your fingers. You begin to wonder what the point of all of your actions are, if it makes a difference anyway. You stop taking care of your health. You forget to appreciate the details of life because they’ve been blurred by your boredom.

 

From the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:

nodus tollens

n. the realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore—that although you thought you were following the arc of the story, you keep finding yourself immersed in passages you don’t understand, that don’t even seem to belong in the same genre—which requires you to go back and reread the chapters you had originally skimmed to get to the good parts, only to learn that all along you were supposed to choose your own adventure.

But you still have hope of a purpose. It’s that small spark that will never fade. You feel unprepared, but have no choice but to follow the light.

 Tips for a Better Mindset When Experiencing Nodus Tollens

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1. ) Learn to find the beauty of your environment. It’s easy to forget the small wonders of life when you’ve lost your way. Take time to appreciate the light that warms you slowly in the morning sun, the feeling of the breeze on your bare cheek, and the sensation in your body when you drink pure water. You have a purpose.

2.) Know that you are enough and you are doing your best. It might be confusing now, but it will work itself out. Time will tell if you will find your way. For now, know that you are doing all you can, and even if you have realized you are lost in a sea of depression, know that something will always pull you back to shore. (Sentence credit to A.McBeth)

3.) Tomorrow will probably be better. Today is a bad day. This moment is a bad day. There is misery. There is emptiness. There is boredom. But that does not define you. You are so much more than this. You will find each day at your own pace. And tomorrow you will have the knowledge to face the new day.

4.) Exercise. Although you may feel like doing nothing, getting up and moving will remind you that you are alive. Remind you that you have a body, you have feelings. Do not let the feeling of nodus tollens overwhelm you. Exercise by running, walking, doing an activity. It will be good for your body and good for your soul.

5.) Listen to mood lifting music. Even if you don’t want to. You will gravitate towards the music that expresses your feelings. Most likely the music will be bittersweet, lonely, or full of sorrow. Choose the opposite of that. Find something upbeat. Something beautiful. Something that will remind you that happiness does exist.

6.) Dress up. When experiencing nodus tollens, you wonder what the point of looking your best might be. But it’s the other way around; the purpose of dressing your best will allow you to see the effect that it has on you and others. People will see you have put in effort. You will feel like you’ve accomplished something. It will lead to better things, I promise this.

7.) Do a social media cleanse. Sometimes the feeling of nodus tollens comes upon you because you’ve become desensitized to the feeling of reaching a goal, planning an adventure, or even dreaming of where you would prefer to travel and what you would like in your life. Social media portrays only what each person wants others to see. You might be living through others, thinking they have perfect lives. You might be getting caught in unnecessary drama. Whatever the case, unplugging will help you quiet the noise and find your own voice.

8.) Force yourself to eat. What’s the point of eating? Nodus tollens takes away the feelings of pleasure because you no longer see the point of the things you once loved. And everyone loves food. Food exists to nourish us, yes. But it also exists to be an art; a culinary art, one that lets us experience feelings through taste. Force yourself to eat, if not for some pleasure, but at least for the nutrients. Your body will thank you later.

9.) Take a walk. Be out in nature. In the quiet, sometimes you realize that although you are small in this vast world, and although you will never understand everything, you are here for a reason. Even if you feel like you haven’t found it yet, you are living your reason right at this moment.

10.) Learn about other people with human interaction. Hearing other’s stories is vital to understanding ourselves. Relating and learning from others is how we begin to find our own story. Just by talking about their day, listening to others’ opinions on every and any topic, you can find your place.

The key to understanding and using nodus tollens to your advantage is not letting it overwhelm you for too long. You will find your way, no matter what.

Nicoco

Weekend Diary: Adventures with You

Dear Ice,

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I’m glad we found each other. There’s no one I’d rather wander this Earth with…

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Through all of the difficult times, you’ve supported me…

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You’ve lifted me up to continue to find my dream…

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We’ve laughed so hard together…

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And we understand each other’s silences….

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I’m sorry because I’m not a perfect wife…. But I promise I will try ever day to be there for you….

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Think of all the places we still have to discover…

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This Earth is so vast….

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I hope I can always make you smile the way you make me smile….

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And that we’ll still be able to enjoy food together without getting unhealthy….

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Thank you for taking care of me…

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And for staying with me through all of this time…

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Here’s to many more adventures.

Sincerely,

Your wife.

 

OOTD: Jacket – Forever21 | Yoga pants – Victoria’s Secret | Purse – Calvin Klein