Sunflower Seeds

I like your tattoo, and your smile.

You like my height and my humor.

You’re goofy, and a wanderer, and a music lover, and insecure. Me too.

I’m affectionate, and outgoing, and silly, and awkward at times. You too.

I think together we’re perfectly imperfect.

I know I always get my hopes up after a good first date, but I hope this will be different; I hope you will remain the amazing guy you were.

I really like who I think you are. I really hope you’re as amazing as I think you are.

I really hope you like me too. I really hope you think I’m as great as I think you are.

I really hope this will workout.

There are some issues though, but why focus on the negative.

I don’t know how this is turn out, but I’ll see day by day.

So I’ll keep listening to Sunflower Seeds and admire snake tattoos.

 

Photo via Pinterest 

 

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Statistics

Everyone on my mom’s side suffers from depression. Some members on my dad’s side are alcoholics and suicidal.

Addiction is 50% genetic and 50% due to poor coping skills.

Depression is 40% genetic and 60% environmental.

Due to this, I am 90% screwed.

Mental health is something that has affected my life for years and will continue to.

When I was thirteen I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and OCD.

By fourteen I was engulfed in an eating disorder that controlled and altered my life. My eating disorder was a blend of all evils, a coping skill for all my problems.

I hated my body, felt out of control in many aspects of my life, experienced great anxiety around food, and believed people would love me if I was skinny.

Starving myself fixed my problems, or at least I thought it did. I lost weight rapidly. I felt in control when I refused to eat. I got hooked in my ways.

But like for all things, the high only lasted so long… Even after losing sixty pounds, being underweight, and having every rib and bone in my spine visible, I still looked in the mirror and thought I was fat. My anxiety began to get worse, the panic attacks were hourly occurrences, and my heart began to fail due to the lack of calories and nutrients. I felt out of control once again, so I restricted even more.

It was a vicious cycle, and it continued… leaving me falling deeper into darkness, insanity, and sadness.

By the summer of that same school year, I was in the hospital. My struggles with mental health were close to taking my life.

Years have gone by now, and much has changed.

I no longer cope with anxiety and depression by restricting my food intake, I no longer weigh 80 pounds. I’m back in school, back in sports, and am much more emotionally stable.

But some things haven’t.

I still have anxiety attacks weekly, I still hate my body and worry about weight, and I am still extremely insecure and it affects how I act (making me seem full of myself when in reality I just need someone to reassure me that I’m not absolute shit). And lastly, I still feel out of control around food. I am unable to stop myself around certain types of food and it scares me.  I feel like my previous ability to say no to food has disappeared, and it scares me. I feel like I have gone from starving my self to binging. It scares me a lot.

I need to find balance and balance is hard to find.

Due to statistics and my past, mental health is something I am going to have to deal with for the entirety of my life.

I don’t like this, but I can’t change this. So every day I strive to find healthy ways to cope with the way my brain thinks, the emotions I feel, and my general outlook on life because I believe, with effort and dedication,  everyone has the opportunity to be happy, no matter how hard it may be.

Photo via usablilygeek.com

comfort food

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

Maya Angelou, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes

From the smell of fresh baked goods always circulating the house to the comfort of a warm bed, the idea of home sparks warmth and happiness, and I have been so lucky to consider my home in that way.

The white door that creeks and the roof that leaks is where I find home currently, but I have a vision of where I want to be or see myself once I have finished growing up.  

Being a mix of all cultures, the Philippines in itself represents me. Living in a higaonon hut on one of the several islands, I would devour salty chicken adobo and lumpia.

Settling into my home, I would write in my journal about the culture that I experienced that day while looking out from my hut into the orange sunset reflecting off the ocean. 

With beams of warm colors bouncing off the water, I would feel my late grandmother and her mother, wrapping their arms around me with their soft, delicate arms. Eventually, I will feel a sense of comfort and understanding of my surrounding culture.

Living the simple life and knowing my roots, I would sense closure and be able to flee to my new home in San Fransisco, California. 

Even though I was not born there, my roots are in California and more specifically, San Francisco. Like my little Filipino grandmother, I would come from the Philippines and go to the Golden City.

My fate would bring me to the perfect two bedrooms and bathroom apartment on the seventh floor having an auburn red door. Decorated with poems written by my father, my apartment would have the smell of essential oils embedded into the walls, specifically lavender representing my mother’s spirituality.

This would be my sanctuary where tears would be shed, laughs would explode, and love would be felt. 

The Mission district, where my brother was born, would give light to the art forward theme that I created in all the rooms but made sure that every area had its own distinctive flair.

Wanting to explore more about my culture and ancestors, I would travel to the plains of Africa. Settling down in Nairobi, Kenya, where the lifestyle is filled with the history of the Bantu people and the Swahili language, my home would be in a Kikuyu house with no rooms.

Compared to my other homes, I would be connected with the earth where elephants and antelopes have carried their children on their migratory voyage.

This home would give me insight to my African heritage before Europeans came into their territory, before slavery, and before segregation. Instead of learning about the hardships of my culture, I will learn about the rich tradition that the country brings. 

I have always been a homebody. I find extreme comfort with the idea of my home and enjoy its atmosphere. I am excited to see where my future home may be.

photo credit: pinterest.com

The Smoking Reaper

Photo credit: pond5.com

Worried about the potential health damages cigarettes might do to him, my father quit smoking a couple years ago. Before his abstinence, he had been smoking for over a decade. Cigarettes were a major category of his life for all those years, but he still abandoned it steadfastly. Why? Because smoking kills. 

Many are unaware of the damages that come with smoking, whereas the others are unable to stop smoking. As a hobby, people don’t see the harm; as an addiction, people find it hard to abstain from. How is cigarette-smoking such a bad thing? To begin with, smoking jeopardizes your health, the health of the people around you, and the health of the planet. 

If you were a smoker, smoking cigarettes can induce lung diseases by damaging the airways and the alveoli located in your lungs. The regeneration in your lungs is slow and according to the studies of stem cells in the past few years, there is little to no effective way to regenerate lost bronchioles or alveoli in humans. Smoking damages your lungs while you have little chance to regrow.

Nicotine is a major part in the making of cigarettes. The nicotine-intake from cigarettes decreases the amount of oxygen your heart gets and elevates your heart rate. More stress is put on your heart because of smoking. That’s how smoking induces heart diseases. However, that’s not all cigarettes bring you, they also bring death.

The statistics speak volume. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), more than 1 in 10 deaths worldwide from Cardiovascular Diseases in 2000 were attributed to smoking. “Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States,” the CDC stated. 

Photo credit: wikipedia.org

In total, diseases that can be caused by cigarette-smoking are: lung cancer, heart diseases, strokes, aortic aneurysm, oropharyngeal cancer, esophageal cancer, diabetes… There are many other symptoms triggered by smoking. However, it’s not just the smoker that’s affected by smoking, secondhand smoke kills as well.

According to the CDC, More than 41,000 people die in a year because of secondhand smoke exposure. All these people are going to be gone because there is a smoker in the office, in the hallway, or in the family. You are slowly killing your family if you smoke next to them!

Cigarette smoking also leads to environmental pollution as it releases pollutants into the atmosphere. The cigarette butts are littered everywhere—you would often see them on the ground. The leftover chemicals in cigarettes would also seep into the ground or waterways, inducing further pollutions. By the way, cigarettes can also be an environmental hazard as smokers often fail to put out cigarette thoroughly. When they dump the still lit cigarette butts on the ground, it’s a dangerous fire hazard. In a report from the Los Angles Times, on Nov. 8, 2018, a wild fire in California killed 85 people when it ripped the Butte County apart. 

Photo credit: laist.com

In my eyes, smokers are reapers. They come not with a sickle, but with the smoke that chokes, with a fire that burns. If you are one of them, listen to me: the one that’s eventually get reaped is yourself.

Photo credit: DeviantArt.com

Burned Bridges

The United States has a complex and deep rooted relationship with the rest of the world. We stood beside Europe on the march to victory in the first two world wars. But then the 60s and 70s yielded economic and political corruption centered in Latin America, casting us in a malicious light. Then the 1980s saw the fall of the Berlin wall/ Soviet Union, which the US had a large part in. We were the heroes – until the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan, when we invaded places where there was no need to invade, while withdrawing from regions at crucial, inopportune points. Now, in October of 2019, we burned a bridge that had been forged with blood and brotherhood, united under a common desire for justice and peace. For decades, the Kurdish people, an ethnic group living between Syria and Turkey, helped the United States with intelligence, manpower, and resources. In turn, we drove radical insurgents from the surrounding area. But as of this week, the Kurds no longer see us as the ally we have always been. Despite strong warnings from various agencies and the pentagon, President Donald Trump ordered American troops out of a buffer zone between Turkey and Syria, which had for years stopped the Kurds from fighting with the Turks over land. By essentially opening the gate for the Turkish Army, the United States turned its back on the Kurdish people, which has resulted in a plethora of problems. Two issues that stand out greater than the rest are the fact that we betrayed a long standing and loyal ally, and that because of Turkey/Syria’s concentration on the impending conflict, large amounts of prisoners that belong to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have escaped from prisons that as of recent lack security. Many fear that an old and strong bridge has been destroyed, and that the future of the western Middle East may be drastically changed for the worst. The events that are to unfold are likely to be harrowing and unpredictable, so please read from reputable sources if you wish to learn more.  

Image result for kurdish fighters
Credit: The Times of Israel

You gain some you lose some

It’s a philosophical paradox. Am I gaining or losing? People often say that you get abs from training. But without losing the fat, you can’t see them. So is it really gaining or losing? I don’t know. Just like life, when you gain something, you’re automatically losing something. 

From ancient epics to nowadays trivia, the paradox applies. Achilles’ mother dipped her son into the styx, which made him powerful—except that Achilles got the fatal weakness in his heels. He gained strength but also weakness… you gain some you lose some. But was he really losing when he got the weakness in his heels? Although it was bad for him, he was gaining something. Or is it really a bad thing to have weaknesses? Immortality is considered miserable by some—gaining everlasting life while losing your humanity? Or should we stay animals, return back to the caves? Our existence does stop the evolutionary path, like Ishmael said. If we are animals, our IQs lower and we keep evolving. Is losing intelligence really bad? “Ignorance is strength,” George Orwell said in his novel… This is a paradox indeed.

Am I gaining or losing by being here right now? Not having an existential crisis, but what really am I? A person born to die, I would say. So, is my birth a gain (because I’m added to the world) or a loss (because I’m destined to die)? I fancy the idea of an afterlife and envy the people who believe in it. Everything turns out to be paradoxical when you look at the perspectives. Brutus loved Rome just like Caesar did, and he killed Caesar for it. Caesar was his friend and he murdered his friend for politics. Did he gain from his participation in the conspiracy or lose honor from killing his friend? Would I make the same choice if I were Brutus?

You gain some you lose some, so is there anything to be gained in life when you’re losing while gaining? I guess thinking too much about something can only make a simple subject complex. We should make choices that are good for us, and sometimes they come at a cost… Are you willing to make sacrifices for your desires?

Photo credit: urbanlife.org.za

How to Have a Zero Waste Period

Surprisingly, one of the top questions I get asked being low waste is what I do when I get my period? I know many girls that have wanted to make a change from using Tampons, pads and panty liners but don’t know the next step. So I thought I would come on here to give a complete guide to having a zero waste period. 

There are many issues with disposable tampons and pads but the top two reasons why we should make the switch is:

  1. For our health: Most mainstream tampon and pad brands use a combination of bleached rayon, conventional cotton, and contain plastics.
  1. For the environment: The average pad contains the equivalent of four plastic bags. And all of the excess product goes straight to landfills and our oceans. 

There are a lot of different approaches on having a zero waste period which personally have been easier and saved me a lot of time. 

Option Number one: Swapping tampons and pads for menstrual cups: 

Menstrual cups are a great option for any female on their period with heavy to low flows. You’re also able to sleep while wearing a menstrual cup which is a great alternative to wearing bulky plastic filled maxi- pads or tampons which are not designed to be worn for more than eight hours of sleep.

My experience over with menstrual cups is good, it takes a while to master the process using it, applying it, but makes life so much easier… now when I’m on my period I barely even notice.

Option Number two: Switching to period panties:

This option is good for girls with light flows to medium, or girls with heavy flows at the end of their cycles. The period panties are just like regular underwear with a thin built in lining to soak up the blood. It’s just like using a pad without the waste, so you just through the underwear in the wash afterwards and then you can reuse it. 

My experience with period panties is some leakage so it is a good option if you have a heavy flow.  You can use reusable pads or the menstrual cup in the beginning of your period and when it gets lighter switch to reusable pads/cloth pads. 

Option Number Three: Reusable pads/cloth pads: They are just like regular pads but you have to wash them out afterwards to reuse.  

I haven’t used reusable pads/cloth pads before but I think it’s a good option to have along with other products. Some women I know use reusable pads and it works well for them.

Overall people have different preferences so not every product could be for you. It could take some adjusting but this is the future trend for our female hygiene products. It will help you and the planet at the same time. So it’s a win/win!

Image from Pinterest.com