let it go

last week i was going through yet another cycle.
no big deal, just some minor rashes on my arms and legs living the time of their life..
they’re dying down now, and will not be missed.

i didn’t feel too bothered by that.
after going through the manic phase of trying whatever i can do change things,
only to find out things are actually out of my control,
i’ve learnt to let it go.

trying to influence things out of my control is a futile effort.
initially it made me feel empowered, like.. I CAN DO THIS! I CAN CHANGE THINGS AROUND!
well, looking back, it’s a false sense of empowerment.
when i realize nothing changed because of what i did, i felt twice as bad.

is it worth it?
i don’t think so.
that’s why learning to let go is so important.

letting go is freeing.
giving up control rids you of responsibility.
religious people say “you already tried your best, now leave the rest to god”.
if you don’t believe in a god, then “things are as they are” works too.

letting go isn’t the same as giving up, even though the action one take is often similar.
the difference is in the motivation.
you give up because you feel hopeless, frustrated, angry even.
but you let go when you’ve come to terms with reality – the inability for us to have complete control over every single aspect of our lives.
you’re at peace, perhaps even happy, to finally let things be the way they are.

the need for control in itself isn’t bad.
you need a certain degree of authority/autonomy to get things done.
yet, we often forget that our range of control is very limited, as compared to the vastness of this world.

people often say the only thing we can control in life is how we respond to it.
even then, we do not have complete control of ourselves, let alone to control others/events.
we can barely control our own emotions, which has a weather schedule just like nature.
sometimes it just happens.

i think i’ve given up almost all control over my health,
and by that i mean i no longer try to force my health to align with my ideal within a stipulated time frame set by yours truly.
we can’t have it all.

by seeing my TCM doctor, i put my health in his hands and let him be the captain.
i stopped reading literature trying to figure out what’s wrong with me, or what i can do.
i continued my new plant based diet, but no longer using it to directly affect my skin. i’m continuing on because this diet makes me feel happier as i have peace of mind that i’m not eating unhealthy animals.
i continued taking strolls as a light form of exercise, but not because it benefits my heart and lungs. i just enjoy the night breeze, and the blurry night lights (as i don’t wear my glasses).

letting go allowed me to be peaceful.
and peace of mind, as i’ve come to realize after battling TSW for 6 years, might just be the most important factor in healing.
anger is my mom telling me to do the chores, i do them out of love and respect, but she’s just going to see it as me following her orders.
peace and love on the other hand, it’s me offering to do the chores for my mom because i know she’s tired from work, and she knows i’m doing it because i love her.
both elicit the same result, but one leaves me grumpy and feeling unvalued, and one leaves me feeling like a god damn saint.

my favourite phrase now when a new rash pops up is
“we’ll see what happens!”.

it might be just me, but i feel like my skin has been calming down even more after i consciously remind myself that i’m actually ok with the way things are.
that encompasses a lot more than what it seems – it means i love myself, i love my broken skin, i love my healing body, i accept it for what it is right now, even though it’s not where i’d like to be.

i definitely don’t feel this way when my skin was way worse.
but now that it’s not as bad, it’s easier to love it.
and maybe that’s why i feel like things have been getting even better.
that self love might have helped 🙂

letting go is a process and not an over night thing,
especially when it’s intangible stuff we’re talking about.
it isn’t as easy as taking out physical trash – out of sight, out of mind.

something to think about.

[brain fart] happy to smile

there are days when i find it easy to laugh,
and days that i just can’t find my laughter even when i saw something funny.

as of the past few weeks, i noticed that whenever my lips are going through a cycle,
by that i mean drying out, tightening of the skin, shedding, and cracking open,
whenever the ability to smile is limited,
i feel worse.

even looking at cute animal photos and videos doesn’t ellicit so much as a giggle.
what’s wrong with me!?

then i remember this little fact that said the act of smiling can make you feel happy.
surprising isn’t it?
usually, we smile when we feel happy,
but the opposite is true too!
we can influence our emotions with our physical behaviour.

unfortunately, the area around my lips happened to be areas i used plenty of steroids on.
elomet in particular.
i think it’ll be several more cycles before it will get back to normal.

till then, i’ll try to savour every moment when i can actually smile.
i can get away with 1 or 2 days of flexible skin near my lips that allows me to smile.
i’ll just have to smile harder during those days to stock up on my happiness level i suppose?

if it works that way, that is.

 

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. 🙂

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 🙂 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 🙂
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.