hello 2017

happynewyear

greetings!
i can’t believe it’s 2017 already.

in fact, it’s a week into the new year.
not that my life is any significantly different from what it was 2 weeks ago,
but i feel like the whole “new year” thingy has a symbolic effect on me.
it represents a new start, a reset.

some may argue that this reset button can in fact be activated any time, any day, any week that you like.
we all have 24 hours a day, and every morning is in fact a brand new day.
that means, i can feel as refreshed everyday as i want, even down to the hours, minutes or seconds if i bother to.
but a new year has more meaning to me than that.

it represents a chance for us to evaluate what happened in the past year,
if mistakes were made, it’s time to stop crying over spilt milk, because it’s no big deal you see.
don’t let your past actions drag you down from achieving more.
just because you failed last year doesn’t mean you have to fail this year.
just because you strayed off the path for a while doesn’t mean you can’t return back to the original path.

i also use this chance to see how far i’ve come.
i noticed i tend to focus on how far i am away from my goal, that i forget to take into account the distance i’ve covered thus far.
not giving myself the recognition i need sometimes backfires, eating away at my motivation and faith,
i start questioning if i even made the right decision in the first place.

life isn’t like movies, where one miraculously skips ahead in time and reach the destination within 90 cinematic minutes.
yet i admit my mind has been affected by such magic, i sometimes forget reality is in fact, in real time.
there’s no fast forward button,
no narrator who can foretell what will happen in the future.

simply put,
i’m finding out about my own life story as it unfolds itself.

so many times i’m so engrossed at my final destination, looking straight ahead and thinking how far away i’m from that coveted destination i’ve only dreamt about since i begun this journey.
this only makes me feel discontented, because i’m not there yet.

what if i take a look back and count how far i am away from where i originally started?
maybe it’ll make me feel so much better that i’ve made it so far, regardless of all the hardships and adventures i’ve encountered.

do i know how long more do i have to go?
no i don’t. i don’t have an answer, and i won’t have an answer for you until my journey ceases together with my life.

do you know how daunting it is, to embark on a journey that you have no idea how it’s going to unfold?
all you know is the destination, and you know that no matter what you need to do,
how long it takes,
you are going to get there eventually.

can i just take a moment to commend all of my fellow skin friends how brave you are,
because you did very much that!
embarked on a journey to better health and better skin, with not much of an idea of how long it will take you,
or what prices you have to pay to get there.

the funny thing is, i never actually noticed how scary this journey is all along.
i just jumped into it, and faced what i’m dealt with head on.
it’s in retrospect that i realized how brave i am.
how, if i were presented with these difficulties at the beginning of my journey, i would have said it’s impossible for me to solve them.
yet my journey so far proved otherwise.

and i only had this realization because i had a dream one day.
i was in a space ship, investigating a distress call made to my space patrol team.
i entered a long and black corridor, the room at the end of it dimly lit.
i saw some figures shuffle within that room.
at that moment, i felt pure fear.
the fear of not knowing what’s lurking in that room,
but i know i have to go on and investigate.

fortunately or unfortunately, my dream ended there because my fear response got the better of me and kicked me out of my dream.

that was the kind of fear we faced, whether we realize it as mortal danger or not.
when you look at it like that, won’t you feel amazed at yourself for taking on such a dangerous task?

whether it turns out positive or not,
i’ve already learnt so much along the way.
detours were made, sceneries were admired,
but i’m already further from where i begun, and closer to where i’ll reach eventually.

it’s just a matter of time.

what matters most now, is finding the strength and energy to keep going,
to keep believing.

and recounting how far we’ve come helps with that.

of course, realigning all your thoughts and belief with reality will certainly make it easier to stay on course,
the simplest thing we can do is to remind ourselves that our track record for facing obstacles so far is a perfect 100%!
every time you think you can’t go on any further,
every time you think you can’t take it any longer,
every time you think you’re gonna give up because you simply don’t know what to do,
you end up doing ok.

so don’t forget that.
don’t forget how far you’ve come.
sometimes the future may seem bleak at that instant,
but no one can tell the result of it until they have trekked the whole distance.
life is full of unexpected outcomes, just sit back, and take it as they come.

what you’ll gain at the end of it all, is the ability to stay calm despite the chaos around you.
this internal peace might end up being the greatest prize of all,
because it detaches you from pain and suffering.

in other words, you will be free.
not because the world becomes orderly and things are now within your control,
not because everything goes according to your plan and wishes,
but because nothing can affect you anymore, unless you choose to.

this 2017, i hope to gift to you the ability to find strength when you feel the weakest,
i hope to gift to your the idea of staying afloat despite of the crazy storm,
i hope to gift to you the ability to take all this challenges in stride and view them as an exclusive gym where you train your mental muscles,
because like it or not, there is bound to be difficulties in everyone’s life.

the key, is to realize that it’s the very pressure and challenges in life that builds up our tolerance, our strength, and our tenacity.
the difference between diamonds and graphite, even though both are made of the same carbon atoms,
lies in the pressure they had went through.

do you want to be a diamond, the hardest element known to us on earth,
or a graphite that crumbles under force?

life is not going to make it easier on you just because you wish for it,
the only way is to strengthen ourselves, to ride the waves and rise above it as they come.

so keep your heads up, as do i.
we’re only getting stronger each day, and that’s something comforting to know.
also, it’s kind of bad ass to think how i slapped life in its face when it tried to take me down, isn’t it?

hello, it’s me

hello

for a long while, i didn’t feel like noting down my thoughts here.
my thoughts were in a mess, didn’t feel comfortable sharing anything when i don’t know the consequences of my actions.
every once in a while my mind undergoes an overhaul.

old beliefs are shattered, new ones are erected as it lays foundation for new things to be built.
perhaps something bigger, stronger, and better is being built, that’s why the foundation requires so much time and effort to set up.
it’s gotta be a sturdy base that can’t be easily broken down, not even by the strongest earth quakes or natural disasters.

i don’t know if i want to continue sharing my monthly documentations at all, because i haven’t really been observing my skin very meticulously.
i didn’t want to, you see.

seeing how my skin is on a daily basis doesn’t make me feel any better,
in fact it easily makes me feel worse.

i thought by this time of the year, i’d have more happy news and photos to share,
even though things are a lot better, i’m not completely out of the woods yet.
i don’t feel it’s right to share all the ups and downs knowing how much it tortured my little mind, and how it might negatively impact others.

it’s easy to feel like this moment is eternity,
that’s why i’ve spent a lot of time and effort grooming my internal garden of peace,tried to practice cultivating positive states of mind to keep it in the right head space.

just gotta keep reminding myself that nothing is permanent.
everything has a beginning, and an end.

i also do not know if i want to share any thoughts,
this is down to personal reasons that i’ve been pondering for a bit.

it’s still extremely cathartic to write.
but maybe, writing in private is a better option.

i’m still undecided on that, so we’ll see. ๐Ÿ™‚

in other news, i’m still alive,
still staying afloat.
can’t say i’m the happiest i’ve ever been, but there were happy moments nonetheless in this darkness.
at the very least, i’m not sad.
i am at peace, and i’ve learnt that peace of mind is more attainable and sustainable.

i hope anyone who’s reading a good day,
and keep staying strong.
because staying strong is the only option we have, and this is for the better.

/edit

after giving it some thought, I realized my personal reasons for not sharing would be getting in the way of the greater good: giving support and hope to others in need of it. 

also, here is a small comparison photo, some time in May versus now, December. so it’s been 7 months apart.

  
compared to my worse, I look a lot more normal now. if I remember to use that as the reference point on a daily basis, I’ll be so much better off mentally than if I compare it to normal skin by default.

it was definitely not a linear process, as many might already know. it took countless ups and downs to get to where I am right now.

discouraging? a little. hopeful? definitely, because I know for a FACT that with every flare comes better skin afterwards. 

  
not back to normal yet, but getting there! as long as there is progress, as long as it’s moving along, I’m happy.

everytime when I feel a little down, I think of how much I envy others who have gotten so much better. seeing their photos makes me think “I wish I have their skin”, but then I tell myself..

“how many people out there are wishing to be in my place right now?”

and this thought makes me more grateful of the progress I’ve made so far, be comfortable with where I am. 

I have to disclose that my skin looks better in photos though. even though I know that, I still derive comfort thinking my skin is better than reality. of course, that means when I look at my skin I feel a little worse, because it looks worse than in my photos. that’s why I don’t look at my skin so much.

protecting my mind, is my top priority.

still lots of work to be done on the rest of my skin.. 

my hands, my abdomen, my legs.

everywhere.

but I’m hopeful ๐Ÿ™‚ and with a heart of gratitude, a mind of peace, I get by each day with more ease than before.

[special post] healing thoughts

this is my secret to staying positive ๐Ÿ™‚
want to share this with anyone who wants to exercise their last bit of control in their crazy lives.

remember,
inflammation is the way our body regenerates.
in fact, inflammation is the actual healing process, sped up to cause a little discomfort even though it’s for a greater good.
i know it sucks to see/feel dry, cracking skin that sheds daily,
at the same time, it’s also amazing i get to witness the entire healing process with my own eyes.

plus, isn’t it more convenient that we can see the actual progress?
can you imagine if our symptoms were all hidden inside our colon,
and the only way to see its progress is to get colonoscopy on a regular basis?
last i heard, it’s a very unpleasant procedure.
thank god i don’t have to do it!

our body does amazing things that may not make sense to you,
but do not doubt it’s design.
it’s the result of billions of years of evolution, and it’s definitely smarter than we originally think.

if you disagree, think about this:
we’re all in this state because we think we’re smarter than our body by medicating it with poison.

we can’t control what happens to us, but you are in control of your mind and perception.

xoxo,
juliana.

taking a break

aurevoir

after much consideration, i’ve decided to take a break from blogging for my own sanity.
when my skin gets bad, i find this constant need to try to find answers and explain things not just to myself,
but to everyone who might be reading my blog because i know how my ups and downs can instill hope and fear, respectively, to you all.

deep inside i feel like i owe everyone an explanation,
even though on a conscious level i know i don’t.
but subconsciously, i do.
maybe some day i’ll talk about how crazy i am.

i realize blogging has become a source of stress for me,
especially when things aren’t going great.

the process of seeking answer is stressful in itself.
and putting myself out there invites not just encouragement (which i truly appreciate), but also questioning and doubt from people who care.
i know everyone who questions probably didn’t mean harm, but it can’t change the fact that i’m currently too weak (mentally) to subject myself to that.

i believe in my own judgement, and that’s what matters.
as such, it’s best to stay away from the public eye until i’m capable again.

when i get better again, you’ll be the first to hear it from me on my blog ๐Ÿ™‚
looking forward to sharing with you my journey once i’m done with it.
i know how it feels like reading a half written book, being stuck at the cliff hanger..
i’d rather give an account of what happened when the storm is over,
especially when this journey isn’t going to be as speedy as i wish.

i’ll see you when i see you.
i have no doubt i’ll be back again, because my body always heals.
it’s just a matter of time.
and i wish yours does too.

good luck, and stay strong everyone!

MONTH 61

i know that when i look back at these years i’ve spent rebuilding my health,
it will all make sense because i’ve finally arrived at the conclusion, the one question i’ve been asking – what caused my skin to go bad again?

it will all make sense, eventually.
every thing i’ve experience is but a data point that paints the bigger picture i’m trying to see.
i need time, and more patience. Continue reading

MONTH 60 [AKA 5 YEARS]


for the first time in the past 3 months, i actually look like myself again.
this month was particular harsh since i was healing pretty well in month 49 and suddenly things went in the opposite direction. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
good news is, after the low comes the high.
skin seems to be back on track again, for now.

this is just life reminding me how change is always present,
and we shouldn’t hold on to the belief that our skin will heal in a linear fashion, because that’s just not true.
failure to align ourselves with nature will only bring about disappointment.

scroll down for some photos. Continue reading

[brain fart] making things work for me

i just finished another book, “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by charles dugg.
the author analyzed how habits form, and how we can change them and form new habits.

the more technical parts like finding out what’s the cue and the reward isn’t what i want to talk about today though.
i’m more interested in changing the environment to make adopting a new habit easier.

i speak from experience, as i noticed i’ve managed to work around many obstacles in constructing good habits.
and it’s really quite serendipitous how i discovered them.
i had an “aha” moment when reading the book because i realize i’ve been doing some of the suggestions outlined in the book long before i know how habits work.

one of the hardest thing for me to do when my skin is bad is waking up.
after being dried out for 24 hours (from my last shower), and an 8 hour period without water,
i wonder if this is how rising from the graves feel like.
i have come to believe that our will power is a limited resource, if we don’t find other sources of motivation,
we’ll soon wear our will out and end up not doing anything.
getting myself out of bed used to be a problem, but over the past 5 years i’ve found routines that can help me get into motion.

the habit i want to talk about today is getting myself to leave bed even when i don’t feel like it.

last time, i used my breakfast to motivate me.
lately, it’s been the morning shower that i freshen up my skin with that keeps me from staying in bed all day.
even then, there’s still room for improvements – not just to get myself out of bed, but to minimize stress.

i’ve been through several versions of my morning routine even though they’re all me doing the same thing.

  1. wake up around 7+ when the sun rises, have my breakfast, shower, meditate (on a side note, i sleep with my curtains open so that the when the sky lights up, it’ll act as a natural alarm clock)
  2. wake up around 7+ when the sun rises, shower, meditate, have my breakfast
  3. wake up around 3/4am, shower, meditate, have my breakfast

that’s 3 variations of my morning routine.

some things don’t change, like meditating straight after shower because that’s the most convenient time for me.
i need to cool down after my shower anyway, instead of spending half an hour doing something aimlessly, i might as well use it to calm my mind and focus on my breathing.
in fact, this is exactly why i find it so easy for myself to keep meditating day after day – because i have a very convenient time slot for it to happen.

when adopting a new habit that might not give you immediate rewards, creating the environment that encourages the action is very important to help you stick to it.

it’s as though i built a set of rails over the uneven terrain, all that’s left for me to do after that is to turn on the train and it’ll make its way through the designated stations instead of having me drive a car on the road through the different roads, requiring my mind and effort at every turn.
it’s like auto-piloting!

what surprised me is how a small little change in my waking time can impact my mood so much.
i’m really just working with my body – i’ve been having trouble sleeping lately and i’d wake up around 2 or 3am, scratching and itching while being half awake.
even if i were to fall back asleep, i’d still wake every 2 hours and i feel extremely frustrated by the interrupted sleep.

one day i was watching some health videos, and as the chiropractor talked about how to get a good night’s sleep,
one should go to be before 10pm and then wake up at 4am so that over a month,
the body will be adjusted to sleep soundly throughout the night.
that was what gave me the idea of “why don’t i try waking up at 4am instead of trying to fall back asleep? i should wake up before i scratch myself to death!”, and that’s what i’ve been doing the past few days.

my sleep isn’t good yet, i’m clocking around 3-4 hours at night if i’m lucky.
the thing that bug me the most is falling asleep late. like way later than i would like to.
for optimal health, i really want to knock out before 11pm. there’s a bunch of TCM theories behind this time ๐Ÿ™‚
some days i’ll have to supplement with day time naps, but i’m trying to cut it out so i can be tired enough to sleep earlier at night instead.

it’s only been 3 or 4 days since i tried waking up so early, but i’m really loving it!
very unexpectedly loving it ๐Ÿ˜€

one of the best thing about waking up at 4am is that the sky is still dark.
i can’t see my skin when i wake up – and it makes a hell of a difference when my skin isn’t that good yet.
seeing it dry and red stresses me out, and surely that’s not the first thing you’d want to feel in the morning!
not seeing it makes me feel better. a whole lot better.

also, the temperature tends to be cooler in the dead of the night,
i wake up feeling comfortable – not too hot or cold.

because i’ve only been in bed for 7 or 8 hours (as opposed to 10, because i go to bed early but i toss for several hours till 7am the next morning), my skin isn’t as dry at 4am, which means more comfort.

lastly, because i wake up after 1 sleep cycle at 4am (instead of an accumulated of 3-4 times if i were to try to sleep till 7am),
i don’t feel like my sleep is interrupted when i don’t expect myself to go back to sleep.
i don’t feel as frustrated!
and the thought of knowing i don’t have to force myself back to sleep takes away the pressure when i can’t fall asleep.

all in all, i actually look forward to waking at 4am now.
it gives me even more motivation than breakfast, but that’s partly because my diet is quite pathetically simple at the moment.
the lack of a savoury meal takes away a chunk of the original motivation.

luckily for me, i’ve found better ones.
and it happened so accidentally.

i guess if we can all keep an open mind and constantly try new stuff,
we’ll chance upon better options and routines for ourselves.
i seriously can’t remember the last time i felt so stress free in the morning,
and i think having lesser stress would contribute to a better well being and faster healing too.
so it’s really a win-win situation for me: i get out of bed happy, and a happy me means a faster recovery!

if you’re currently having a hard time living life the way you should,
see if you can shift things around to create a conducive environment for you to live easier with lesser effort,
because you need to save all your other will power to keep your mind positive.

it’s one of the tricks i learnt while dealing with TSW last time,
and it’s definitely proving to be a very valuable skill.

of course, some habits are easier to form than others.
i’m still trying to break the habit of scratching mindlessly when i’m stressed out, or bored.
when it comes to matters that require my own consciousness, it needs more effort,
and mindfulness.
so far, i find that whenever i catch myself scratching when i’m not itching, taking in a deep breath usually calms me down so much that i don’t need to continue scratching anymore.

xoxo

juliana.