Candid Karina

{September 8, 2011}   Movie Review – The Help

“You is Kind, You is Smart, You is Important”…

I’m going to be honest, I didn’t read the book “The Help” and I had less than zero interest in going to see the movie.  In fact, I had a few friends mention the movie to me, and I pretty much would avoid the subject, just in case they suggested going to see it…I wasn’t interested.  I didn’t really know all that much about it, I just knew that it hadn’t really sparked an interest for me.

And just when I thought I’d managed to avoid getting dragged to see it, I made movie plans with a friend tonight, and she picked The Help.  It was her turn to pick the movie, since I picked last time, and fair is fair, after all.  So, even though I really didn’t want to, I agreed…after all, I’d heard it was a really good movie, and I was sure I’d like it in the end.

I am so glad I went to see it.  What a wonderful movie this was.

In case you don’t know what this movie is about (just as I really didn’t), it is about “the help” or basically black maids during the civil rights era in the deep Mississippi south.  And about one woman, a white woman, who decides to tell their story, from their point of view.  That about sums it up, but it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what this movie was really about.  It was about humanity, about friendship, about family, about women and their fight for independence, about fighting for what is right, even when you don’t think you can make a difference.

I felt every emotion you can think of watching this movie: anger, shame, pride, pain, sadness, happiness…I was on the edge of my seat trying not to stand up and punch the seat in front of me at some points (ignorance and racism really rile me up), I was sitting back in my seat hugging my arms, wanting to hug the characters on screen.  I had tears in my eyes.  Followed by out loud laughter.

I really didn’t know what to expect, but I walked away from the theater feeling inspired, fired up, and…fulfilled.  Like…I needed to see this film, I needed to listen to those stories, and to take away some message…

I tell you, you have to go see this movie…that is all.

{September 7, 2011}   Constant Metamorphisis

It has certainly been said that as a caterpillar needs to die in order to become a butterfly, we too, need to allow ourselves to change.  At a certain point in our lives, we must let go of our “old” selves, our inner caterpillars, and spread our wings as newborn butterflies.

But what I think is lost in that analogy is that unlike the butterfly, a beautiful, almost mystical creature in its unique powers of rebirth, and yet, subsequent short life span, is that we, humans, don’t live but a day after our metamorphosis.

No, we have our whole lives ahead of us after such a change takes place.  Therefore, it should be expected that our rebirth may very well happen more than once.  In fact, I would venture to say that it happens again and again…over and over…as we progress through life.

If we are doing things right anyway.

Because really, to be alive is to be constantly growing, changing, learning, adapting and challenging.

I suppose one could (and many do) go through life without ever feeling any significant change.  It is all together possible to live life one day at a time, each day following the one before it, no big shakeups, no major epiphanies, no significant changes.  Day to day, month to month, year to year, going through the motions.

But is that really being alive?  Never challenging the status quo, never pushing beyond your limits, never testing the boundaries of what has been set before you?

I spent the latter part of my 20’s, and the beginning of my 30’s in a state of what I’ve been calling “limbo”.  Life wasn’t bad.  I had my own home, a good job, a healthy shopping budget and certainly, on the surface, I was successful, and by all intents and purposes, should have been happy.  I believed that I was.

But life wasn’t good either.  I would get up in the morning and go to work, I would work 12 to 14 hour days, come home, and enjoy the comfort of my home in front of my television.  Once in a while, I would have dinner with friends.  I would spend time with my family (which should be noted, did not include a husband or children).

If you asked me then, I would have told you I loved my life. I had everything I wanted, I could do whatever I wanted, I answered to no one, and needed for nothing.

But it wasn’t until I began to challenge my norm, until I started to dig into my faith, to peel away the external layers of my superficial life, and peek into what was really inside of it all, that I began to see the truth.

It took losing my job due to budget cuts, and being suddenly thrown off kilter to make me realize exactly how miserable I was.  In the comfort of my status quo life, I was alone and lonely, I was bored and boring, I was rested and restless.

Life has changed drastically for me in the last 3 years.  But although I underwent a major metamorphosis upon losing that job, the change hasn’t stopped.  It wasn’t a onetime event.  I did not emerge a butterfly, ready to take flight.  Or perhaps I did, but I find that time and again, I climb into another cocoon, perhaps higher up on a different branch, and then, fight my way back out, to fly once more, before the process begins all over again.

It hasn’t been an easy journey.  In fact, finding the real me has been painful, challenging, frustrating and downright depressing at times.  It has been both emotionally and physically exhausting.  It has had some incredible high moments, and some unbelievable lows.

I have cried, I have laughed, I have loved and I have had my heart broken…I have achieved the impossible at times, pushing myself beyond limits I never even imagined within my grasp.  And I have failed…gloriously…at times.

And every day I get up knowing that today could be the day I emerge the butterfly once again…or, it could just as likely be the day I climb back into the cocoon, unwilling to face the harsh reality of the world.

Life is but a series of changes.  But I know this…for the first time in a long time, even with all the grief, the pain, the struggle…I am alive.

When the lows hit, I’m not numb to them…I feel them, deeply.  And this allows me to process, to learn, to grow.  And in turn, when the highs arrive…I soar not on butterfly, but on eagles wings, high above everything…aware, alert, alive…

It is always worth it in the end…always.


{September 6, 2011}   Begin Again

There’s something about September that just signals a fresh start.  

Even all these years after being done with school, September still has that feeling of starting new, starting over, making new plans and giving yourself a shot at all those things you possibly put on hold over the “summer break”.

So it is with that feeling in mind that this feels like the perfect time to debut my new blog address…

For now, as you can tell, this blog is a work in progress.  I had some issues with my old blogger blog, and I’d been wanting to move over here to WordPress for a while, so it seems like the right time to do so.  But, due to the fact that my blogging has been “sporadic” at best, I figured perhaps I should attempt to become a more regular blogger once again before I waste someone’s time designing a new blog template for me.

So, this is what you get for now…

Hopefully, it’ll be a case of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” and I can provide you with quality content so you won’t mind the “temporary” look of my new home. 😉

But here we are, and with fresh starts in mind, join me as I embark on my mission to becoming a blogger again…

{July 14, 2011}   Shall We Dance?

I am getting pretty tired of this song and dance.

I promise you (I promise me) that I’m going to blog more often, I get you (I get me) all excited that THIS will be the time when I will once again return to my regular blogging habits.

For a time, all seems well, I’m here, I’m present, I’m blogging.

And then…it all falls apart again.

I miss a day. I miss a week. And suddenly I’ve missed a whole month.

The doubts creep in, the judgments, the accusations…

Do I even have a right to call myself a blogger anymore? Should I just throw in the towel? Is there a point to any of this anyway?

But like a dysfunctional relationship, I come back, again and again…unable to break away.

Unlike one of those relationships, however, there is no downside to blogging…even sporadically.

Truth is, whether I’m writing daily, weekly, or even monthly…I’m writing.

Whether anyone is even reading is no longer the point anyway.

Like most things in my life nowadays, I’m doing this for me.

I have learned that if I do things for me, without any expectations of praise or recognition, without feeling the need to be validated by the outside world…then I’m doing something right.

So, here we go again, another tango, another dance, another try at this…

How long will the music last this time?

{June 17, 2011}   Close To Home

First of all…yes, yes, I know, I failed miserably at the “posting every day in June” challenge…now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on. 😉

I watch a lot of television, and I have always been a fan of crime procedurals, police shows, and the like. I don’t know if this is because I wanted to be a lawyer at one point in my life (grateful now I didn’t choose that path after all), or simply because most of the stuff that happens on those shows is really like an alternate reality to me. Sort of like my vampire shows. Those things don’t happen, not really, in my life.

Unlike my vampire shows, I realize that the crime stuff is all too real for many people, but I am blessed to not be faced with those harsh realities on a daily basis.

I mean, there is plenty of crime and devastation in the city where I live (trust me, we are far from a Utopia here), but I’m removed from it. And in general, I don’t really even watch the news or read the paper. This is a topic for another day, but I’m a bit of an emotional sponge, and watching the news always ends with me in tears, aching for the world we live in.

Now and again, however, something hits so close to home, that it is impossible to avoid. And last night, it couldn’t have gotten any closer to home…literally.

I came home to find out my upstairs neighbor had shot and killed himself earlier this week.


Here’s the thing, it didn’t exactly come as a total shock. The man was obviously suffering from a deep depression and we all knew it. He’d lost his job, he was always holed up in his condo, and recently, he was foreclosed on, his unit was sold, and he wouldn’t open the door to the new owner. Last year around this time his family sent the police over to do a wellness check on him. We found out then that he was estranged from said family. The few times I saw him recently, he’d put on a large amount of weight, and lost most of his hair. He had aged noticeably. He was only in his early 40’s. He had, quite obviously, given up.

This neighbor gave me grief for years with the parking situation, and I spent the better time of the first 6 years of living there disliking him. But recently, my tune had changed. As much as I was still annoyed that he never moved his car ONCE this entire winter, leaving me without a parking space due to the tremendous amounts of snow we got, I realized that something was obviously wrong. So I began to pray for him whenever I’d get frustrated. I prayed he would get the help he so obviously needed. I’m sad to say he obviously didn’t.

The scary part of it all is that looking back on it now, talking to my other neighbors last night, I realized…I actually heard the gunshot earlier this week. I shudder at the thought, but I remember sitting up on my couch and going “what the hell was that?” And then, when I heard nothing else, I went back to watching television.

My heart breaks for his family, and obviously for him. How hopeless must he have felt…how I wish I could have done something to help.

But all I could and all I can do is pray…it still seems inconceivable…and far too close to home.

{June 10, 2011}   Mirror Mirror On The Wall

(Yes, I realize I missed yet another day yesterday…eh, whatever…the goal was to revive this little blog of mine, and I’m posting almost every day…that’s enough for me).  Moving on. 😉
I’m the sort of person who projects an air of confidence to the outside world.  I’m pretty sure that the average person meeting me would think me to be strong, confident, independent and comfortable in my own skin.  In fact, if you ask most of my friends, they will likely describe me the same way.  I know this, because I’ve been told often that this is how people see me.
And some days, this is, in fact, exactly who I am.
However, the truth lies deeper than that.  Behind that confident demeanor is a shy little girl, mercilessly teased and bullied in junior high, practically invisible in high school, and still, daily, completely unsure of herself.
I am a social butterfly, but am, in truth, painfully shy.  I am the life of the party, but much prefer the position of the wallflower, people watching, taking it all in.  I walk with my head held high, but whenever I walk in a room and heads turn my way, my immediate reaction is “are they laughing at me?”
I could go into a tirade of the effects of bullying, and how it has affected me into adulthood here…but this is not what this post is about.  I could also, just as easily, launch into a speech about the detriment of the media, specifically the “beauty” industry, and how it’s made me (along with millions of other women) feel less than.  But again, not where I’m going with this.
No, this post is about growth.

It is about the change taking place within me as I get older.

And I’m not talking about external change.  I’m not talking about my weight loss.  I’m not talking about my successes as a new runner, or about my improved level of physical fitness.  I’m not talking the shape of my abs, the texture of my hair, or the quality of my skin.  I’m not even talking about the more positive feelings I get when I see a photo of myself, or catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

I’m talking about internal changes.  I’m talking about the fact that there are days I realize I haven’t looked in a mirror at all since I left the house.  I’m talking about the fact that I can walk in a room so much more often and not care IF they are in fact talking about me.  I’m talking about the fact that being comfortable in my own skin now means that it really isn’t so much about how I look as it is about how I feel.

Don’t get me wrong, the insecure, and sometimes vain girl still lives inside me, and is present way more than I would like her to be.

But every day I’m more and more able to live by this quote which has been my email signature line for years now:

“What you think of me, is none of my business” – Terry Cole-Whitaker

{June 8, 2011}   People Pleaser

People Pleaser
I’m starting to realize something about myself that I wasnever really aware of before.
I’m a people pleaser.
I’ve always been a “people person”.  I love being around people, spending time,helping out, having fun, whatever…
I’ve also always tried really hard to be a nice person.  I get true pleasure out of doing somethingnice for others, and that part of being a people person I’m comfortablewith.  I like that part of myself.
But this is something else. This isn’t so much about being nice as it is about being…well, for lackof a better word…a pushover.
Let me explain.
I am the sort of person that is blessed with a lot offriends.  I have always had a lot offriends, though; as time would progress I would realize most of them were morelike “fair-weather friends” or even acquaintances than real friends.  However, I find that I am consistentlysurrounded by people I consider friends, and for that, I am blessed.
Due to my large number of friends, I have a very activesocial life, when I choose to take advantage of it. (When I’m not hibernatingand hiding out…but this is a story for another post).
However, what I’ve begun to realize is that my social lifeis very one sided.  What I mean by thisis, as long as I’m willing to do what my friends want to do, my social calendaris filled.  As long as I work my scheduleto meet their availability, my plans to meet their interests, my fun to meettheir requirements. 
Because I am an easy going person, because I happen to havemany interests, and be open to trying and enjoying new things, this works outwell.  I have little trouble having funpretty much anywhere, as long as the company is good, and I’m in the rightmood.  All is well.
That is, until, I want to do something that revolves aroundmy interests instead, or fits into my schedule instead.
Suddenly I am hard pressed to find someone willing to go tothat concert I want so badly to attend, even though I’ve trekked out tonumerous country music shows (not my favorite). I didn’t make it to a single Boston Celtics game this past seasonbecause I couldn’t convince a single friend to go with me, even if I succumbedto mind numbing hockey game after game for them…(again, not my favorite).  I didn’t make it to an actual beach, with anactual ocean, once all of last summer, even though I was always agreeable for ajaunt to the lake or the mountains…(which was always fun, but I love theocean).
We won’t even discuss the numerous Friday and Saturdaynights I spend at home alone, because if I don’t pick up the phone to call andmake plans…my phone doesn’t ring on its own.
I should stop here and make it clear that I am not bemoaningmy life.  I am not knocking my friends oreven blaming them.  I don’t believe theydo any of this on purpose, and with any intention to hurt or snide me, toignore my interests…
Simply…I’ve enable this behavior in everyone around me,because I am a people pleaser.  I go outof my way to make sure everyone around me is having a good time, doing whatthey want to do, living their best life. To a fault.  Forgetting, at times,that what I WANT matters as well.  Partof this is a fear that if I speak up, if I fight for what I want, I’ll end upwith either my ideas or even with myself being rejected…but the alternativepretty much looks the same, doesn’t it?
As I started to realize this recently, I started to evaluatemy friendships over time, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it has alwaysbeen this way.  And not only that, but Icarry this behavior into my romantic relationships as well.  Is it any wonder then, that I, eventually,feel frustrated, unloved, and like I am not an important part of theserelationships?  That I feel I disappearand am no longer a participant?  That Iwithdraw, and the relationships fail?
So, now I see the problem. Tell me friends…how do I go about finding the solution?  How do I learn to still be a good friend, butstop being such a people pleaser all the time? How do I learn to speak up for my own interests at 36 years old?  Because I have a feeling this is yet anotherof the things I need to master before I can fully be ready for a partnershipwith my future husband (whoever he may be)…
Working on myself has been a lifelong process, but more soin recent years…finding my faults, and learning to use them for betterment…thisis just another one…instead of taking this realization and turning it into a“woe is me, nobody wants to do what I want to do” moping session…I need to useit to find my footing and push off from here…
So…how exactly do I do that?? 

{June 6, 2011}   Spa Day

Monday morning, the alarm sounds, and another week begins.

If your weekends are anything like mine, by Sunday night you are even MORE exhausted than you were before the weekend began.  My weekends are never dull, always fun and enjoyable, and pretty much, with very few exceptions, ALWAYS EXHAUSTING.

So, on a Monday morning, work seems an unfathomable task, and yet, almost (note I said almost) a welcome escape to spend a few hours sitting in one place…taking a break from the hectic runaround of my weekends.

But wouldn’t it be nice, if on a Monday morning, when the alarm went off, I could wake up to realize that today, instead of heading into the office, I was going to hop in my car, meet up with a friend, and head to a spa in the mountains for a massage??

In fact…that just sounds sort of heavenly, doesn’t it?

Actually, now that I think of it, after a weekend of a few TOUGH workouts, a weekend spent helping friends run a festival at church, running errands, cleaning house, a sore body, aching back, tired legs…it sounds like I have simply no choice but to take a mental health day and do just that.

What a beautiful coincidence then, that my friend Traveler and I had actually planned SUCH A DAY for today…

Ah yes…today is Spa Day!!!  Happy Monday everyone!

{June 6, 2011}   2 in 1

When I decided to do this whole “write a post every single day in June” thing…I knew I was setting myself up for one heck of a challenge.  Mostly because, my schedule for June? Is INSANE!

My little brother is getting married July 2nd. I am a bridesmaid in the wedding. And that’s just one of the big events I have lined up. I have concerts, races, a Warrior Dash, and let’s not forget about work.

But still, I figured it would be a good challenge, so I’d just roll with it.  So yesterday, I began my post…but then I needed to run out and do a quick errand, so I hit “save” and went off.  Then the quick errand turned into “a few more errands” turned into “a full on grocery store run” turned into “a quick stop over at the Church’s feast” turned into “staying at the feast all night helping out behind the bar” turned into “let’s head to the local bar to watch the rest of the Bruins game” turned into closing out at the bar and arriving at home at 2AM…

But this? This is what life is all about folks…living. You make plans and God laughs.  But if you just go with it and appreciate every moment given to you…I’m pretty sure He smiles then.

So this is my Saturday post.  Right above this…yep, that’s it.

On to today, Sunday…I got up and went for a quick run with a friend, then came home for a quick shower and some housework.  The plan was then to stop by the feast for lunch, help out for maybe an hour and be home by 5pm at the very latest…It is now 10:35 pm and I just got home.  I spent the entire day helping out.  I also, however, spent the entire day surrounded by friends, and having a great time…so you see…that’s life…

And my life? Is such a blessing…no regrets.  And no excuses…and no failures…consider this TWO posts in one…as far as I’m concerned, I’m still on track for June. 😉  So there.

et cetera