Boundaries

What sets you apart from everything else in the world? What defines you?

Boundaries between you and a loved one, you and your child, and even boundaries within your own self are vital in discovering your identity.

My therapist has helped me to find a boundary within myself: the line between my wounded inner child and the adult that I now am. A very small part of me is hurt by traumas of the past. I was left feeling emotional, reactive, and an imposter of adulthood. I didn’t feel like I could become a mother, or a wife or any grown version of myself without feeling like I’m stuck in the age of my trauma.

That is my inner child. She is wounded from the past and loves to take the reigns when I’m trying to grow. When I’m anxious about conflict, when I jump after a loud noise, when my stomach churns at any sign of yelling or fighting… That is when she takes over.

I’m learning to create a boundary between her and myself. She is only a very small part of me, not who I am altogether.

Now that I’m an adult, I am responsible for that child. I will give that inner child the love and attention and nurturing it needs because she never got it from her mother. She never will. This is also something I need to teach her. Let go.

Doing this, I think, is my first step in finding my self and living myself. Do you have an inner child you need to nurture?

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On Writer’s Block and Unhindered Genius

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I was reading an article about writer’s block and facing the blank page. It was several articles, actually, on Brain Pickings, a blog that I’ve come to really love.

I watched a video in the article which had eight different writers explaining what staring down the blank page meant to them. One writer’s thoughts struck me. American fiction writer Phillipp Meyer said that the blank page doesn’t exist. What exists instead is our insecurity – our insecurities that what we write won’t match our ideal or our insecurities that the conditions in which we want to write are just or right yet. There is no blank page. There is no writers block.

I don’t think “writer’s block” actually exists. It’s basically insecurity — it’s your own internal critic turned up to a higher level than it’s supposed to be at that moment, because when you’re starting a work — when the page is blank, when the canvas is open — your critic has to be turned down to zero… The point is actually to get stuff on paper, just to allow yourself to kind of flow. It is only by writing that you’ll discover characters, ideas, things like this. (Philipp Meyer)

So how do you overcome this self-perceived writer’s block? Just start writing. Write whatever is in your head and keep writing.

As a writer, your job is to write. Anything else, absolutely anything that keeps you from doing this one action, is a hindrance. No worrying. No fucking around, no doting, no twiddling your thumbs. Stop trying to be perfect (you’re not perfect and you will never be). In fact, “perfect” doesn’t exist.

You have to be willing to shovel out crap. That’s why I always think my past writing is embarrassing. Because it is! But guess what? I wrote more back then than I do now. That was back when I could tell everyone I was a writer during those awkward ice breakers and not feel like a sham.

You have to be willing to write like shit. You have to be that unhindered genius: that wide-eyed, curious child that doesn’t know any better and just keeps taking in information and putting out creation, without any of the anxieties and worries that plague us as adults. It reminds me of another Brain Pickings article I read on the genius of childhood.

I look back at the things I did when I was younger and I’m amazed. In high school, I auditioned for a play by singing up on stage and performing a monologue! I rode all sorts of death-defying roller coasters at the theme park King’s Island with fear in my heart but I pushed through it anyway. I even talked to all sorts of people and made all sorts of friends.

Where did that courage go? Or is it a blindness or ignorance to what bad could happen? Is it healthy and safe to have that? Is that where the genius of childhood lies? How can we tap into that again?

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How Many More Unmotivated Saturdays?

Dear Unmotivated Me,

It’s Saturday. It’s been approximately 318 Saturdays since you wanted to start and maintain a blog. Even more since you wanted to write that novel. Don’t forget the 104 Saturdays since you truly wanted to dedicate your life to getting out, exploring, and getting healthy. Aren’t you tired constantly fooling yourself with promises to be a better you when you can’t even remember the first time you’ve said that to yourself? “Tomorrow, I will.” It was years ago. How old are you now? Why do you not feel the sense of urgency here?

“Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.” (Paul Bowles in “The Sheltering Sky”)

It does seem limitless. Tomorrow does seem easy to come by. How can we overcome feeling like we have all the time in the world?

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Looking into my Late Twenties

Here I am: the late twenties. I just turned 26. Seven years older than my mom was when she had me, as she likes to remind me. Our phone calls become less and less frequent the older and busier I get – our only means of bonding as it has been since my parents divorced 16 years ago. My boyfriend and I, unmarried, are building the lives most twenty-something couples build. We’re also the parents of two dogs, and we just started replacing hand-me-down furniture with our own chosen pieces, and yes, they are from Ikea. And yes, we did have a fight in that same Ikea.

I started decorating the apartment, desperately trying to make it feel like my childhood home. Warm, comfortable, safe. This is the first time I have been on my own, and I’m not on my own. I share a bedroom with someone else. For 24 years, I had a space of my own to which I could retreat. A space to cry, to regroup, to create. A space without the influence of others. A small world I slowly built as I grew, a world that fostered even more growth.

I’m out of school now. I’m half convinced I went into graduate school because I was uncomfortable with veering off the stepping stones of early life. Kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school, college. Some people stop there. I think maybe I didn’t want to face the big, “What’s next?” Now that I’ve got my Master’s, I’m working full time, wondering what to do with myself come 5 PM.

I’m contemplating going back to school, because maybe I’m secretly a busy-body. Maybe I want to stave off my student loans just a little bit more. Or maybe I still can’t handle the big, “What’s next?” In 101 Secrets For Your Twenties, a gift from my boyfriend after my 26th birthday as I lamented crossing over to the “late twenties”, Paul Angone’s 48th tip is one that sinks a twenty-something’s heart straight to the stomach.

The biggest surprise about becoming an adult that no one ever talks about… Adulthood. Never. Stops.

As we go through school, we are used to these predefined periods of time. We go to school, we go from semester to semester, we stress over exams and then summer break hits. We leave town, have fun, try to redefine ourselves and form bonds – our biggest responsibility on hold for two months, and then we do it all over again. But not adulthood. There is no time set aside for a break. The bills don’t stop coming once June or July hits. And that stress from your exams? You feel it tenfold, all the time. There’s no study guide here.

There’s something beautiful about being in your twenties though. It’s the challenge. It’s the resourcefulness we were raised to have, being born into and growing up in the recession. The mess our parents made. It’s the potential we have. The adaptability we obtained through the rapid growth of technology. It’s prime time for redefining.

This is where we plot our trajectory into the stars – all the tools lain before us, It’s where we throw our own stepping stones… where ever we want. It’s the first time we have to deal with “real shit”. The time of our first life crisis – one of many. And for those of us who learn to ride the waves and struggle through it all, making our own way despite fear of failure? We come out beautifully somewhere on the other side of 29. Where I am now? I’m on the cusp of adulthood. The most opportune moment to plot my trajectory. Adulthood is not going to stop and wait for me. No – this train will keep on going. But I will lay the tracks.

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Are We Too Occupied to Recognize the Little Things?

I feel I should explain the meaning of my blog’s title, Deliciae. (This was back before I migrated my site.)

It is a Latin noun for what we would call a “delight” or “pleasure”, sometimes even “darling” or “sweetheart”. Some may even recognize its similarity to “delicious” or “delicate”.

All of these words encompass what I’ve wanted this blog to project: life’s little, delicate, and beautiful things.

While listening to an old favorite band, Atreyu, I remembered a quote I came across long ago. It’s from the vocalist, Alexander Varkatzas. It reads:

“I was driving to a friend’s house, kind of daydreaming and the sky was this gorgeous shade of pink.

I just couldn’t take my eyes off it, it felt like I really forgot to breathe, and forgot about life in all its obsessive materialism for just a few seconds.

When I snapped out of it, I almost rammed into the car in front of me.It just made me think of how many perfect sunsets we miss at work or school or how many beautiful starry nights are spent on the Internet or in front of a TV.

We do all these materialistic things and we seem to neglect that each sunset is totally different than the last or the next and that the wind will never blow exactly the same way. It’s always 9-5, better do this, do that, deadlines, excess, bullshit that just isn’t that important.

Now, I am as guilty as the rest, but for a few blissful seconds it was remarkably clear.”

(Alexander Varkatzas)

He mentions beautiful starry nights missed while sitting on the Internet. It struck a sad chord within me. Have you gazed up there lately? On a quiet, dark night, it gives you a feeling like no other.

Unfortunately, I never really hear my cohorts speak of delicate, and beautiful night skies; constellations have lost their meaning and origin, and a lot of us are too occupied to look up and feel the intensity of colors in a morning sky – something little, yes, but so powerful.

In the ebb and flow of the work week and the strong influence of technology, I too forget at times.

I’ve spent, or I should say, wasted an unbelievable amount of time on the internet, social media websites and the vapid, mind numbing games and applications that come with them (read: Facebook). But that was before I decided to overhaul the way I use my “life” time. Before this overhaul, I naively surrounded myself with quotes I never truly followed such as Jane Austen’s:

“Teach us, that we may feel the importance of every day, of every hour, as it passes.”

And I would have tear-outs of old articles such as this one from a Newsweek edition in 2008 entitled, “What Old Age Taught Me” in which 91-year-old actor and film producer, Kirk Douglas, says he truly believes “the best is yet to be.” However, I never gave it a glance or any more thought like I once had.

Now I try to take these once cherished items back to heart. I realized that, after wasting two days of my vacation browsing Facebook, watching “Lost” on Netflix,  and checking my email ten times a day, I had to do something different with my precious time.

I didn’t want to get sucked into the “what’s his status now? …and now? And now?” addiction, so I stopped visiting Facebook for a whole two weeks.


It was difficult at first, but now I don’t feel the need to look at pictures of an acquaintance’s dad’s birthday party or check the status of 300 friends. (And, let me tell you, it is nice!)

I care to read some of these things, but my mind can only store so much information before becoming too cluttered. Whatever Timmy, Janice, and Emily ate for breakfast is not really something I’d care to store in my already crowded memory.

Unless I want to contact and keep up with a few close friends or get in touch with new ones, I try to avoid Facebook altogether. It’s a little scary to think that I was once yearning for this useless information. I was addicted, as many people still are.

My brain is no longer the attention-deficit mess that it used to be. Cutting off Facebook time and other mindless internet browsing has done wonders. I have time (that I never knew I had) to pursue more productive endeavors, and take a breather outside and watch the sun go down. I am so grateful for it.

Of course, I do believe technology has helped us tremendously in being ever-so-convenient. It even helps us spread the appreciation for beautiful sunsets and the little things. There is such a thing as too much, however.

The planet has never been more interconnected, and yet, could technology be taking away from our relationships and our lives?

What do you think, readers?

photo credit: MayrNeil Ritchie | livepine | laurenseagull

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Who, What, When, Where, and Why?: The Benefits of Asking Questions

What is the one thing that drives you to live a better life? One thing that helps you to progress in thought and knowledge? Albert Einstein did it, so did Oscar Wilde, Dr. King, Nietzsche…

Asking questions is the answer. Questioning everything has many benefits and zero disadvantages. While watching home videos, I saw myself as a child asking my dad every single little thing that came to mind. Of course, I had that never-ending, unsatisfiable toddler curiosity, but who says that has to go away?

“What is the hull on a ship?…What is a radiator?… What is this bug called?…  What’s the difference between a fruit and a vegetable?… Why do I have to go to school?”
The answers to my questions stuck to me, and at a very young age, I already had a small bank of knowledge I was able to take into my later years.

Though it’s been proven that it is easier to learn at a younger age, it doesn’t mean that you should give up as you get older.

Surely there has to be something you come across every single day that you are confused about or are interested in.

On the first day of class, my Statistics professor told us flatly,

“I will not guide you through these problems unless you show the drive to want to know. Ask me questions… even when the slightest tinge of confusion pops into your head.”

It makes sense, what he said. If you have the resources and need to know something, why not just ask?

Asking questions:

  • fosters your creativity
  • foster critical thinking skills
  • can help you advance in your field
  • increases your knowledge and aids your memory
  • can help you discover new ideas and information
  • can help you make better decisions
  • and can help you to identify the unknown

Be Careful!

Besides the benefit of learning whatever you want whenever you want, asking questions is a tool we all have in our arsenal to protect ourselves from false claims.

Don’t believe everything that’s fed to you without first questioning it. Any one – and I mean anyone – has the ability to alter stories to however they see fit.

I’m not saying everyone does this, but you should be open to the possibility that it can happen, and does happen, and it can severely alter the way a large number of people think, act, and even live, which leads to greater problems.

It doesn’t just happen in the news. Commercials give false claims, businesses give false claims, magazines, product labels, and even advertising on anything should be questioned.

We can’t always tell what’s true, but here’s what we can do:

  • Always be skeptical about new products, stories, and statistics that haven’t had much time to be researched and analyzed.
  • Know that anyone can be biased or can give out false information.
  • Look for a quoted source for all claims and statistics.
  • Do your own research. My doctor never told me that my medication causes me to sleep eat. Only after doing some searching online, I found out that this is a fairly common symptom!
  • Search for reviews of the product in question or essays and articles of the topic in question. People post reviews of everything on line, from books on Amazon to laptops on Cnet.
  • There are also official statistic websites on many products and services, which display actual results and if products claim to do what they say they do.
  • You don’t have to question literally everything, but you should lay some standards on what or who you feel you can trust and what you feel you should question.
  • Standard administrations like the FDA filter claims, but even they are bypassed. Companies recall products from the shelves every month.
  • It may take a while, but doing research will help you to identify a trusted source in the field of the topic you are researching.

And to close, here’s a small, but handy resource I use daily for those random questions that pop in my head from time to time!

ChaCha answers any questions you send to them (#242242) via text message (or a phone call). It’s a free service, and you can ask for literally anything. You may have seen a similar service,  KGB, on commercials, but this service does cost you.

You can ask for the nearest and cheapest  gas station or you can ask them to send you a joke. ChaCha helps you to name your pets, and even look something up online for you when you don’t have internet!

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

-Albert Einstein

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