A Letter of Gratitude – 2021

WOW has today been a day. I’m officially 24 years old, age seems to be a very visceral thing to me these days. With my older sister being 30 now, one day I will look back from that age and feel so dang OLD!

But really, so many new blessings to be grateful for. I was so stressed about finding a job straight out of college (much less during a pandemic), finding my independence (which is still an ongoing thing mind you), learning to break old habits and be forced out of my comfortable, dependent square (also ongoing).

Today was probably one of the least “restful” birthdays I’ve ever had, but it was actually OK. The first birthday where I felt like a true adult, going to work and coming home to celebrate a quaint Korean meal with the family. The surprise was when my coworker surprised me with a birthday gift, which was very kind given that I didn’t expect anything from any of them (though at the same time, part of me also felt like the same coworker would be kind like that anyways). Something she said stuck with me, she had promised “next year would be better.” I think the most meaningful part of that polite exclamation was that she insinuated there would be a next year, with the company, with the work family there – and that made my day alone.

Compared to a lot of birthdays, 2021 was relatively quiet. I realized having been more secluded as I spend more time with my boyfriend (which by the way, is a welcome change and blessing in itself that I met and am with such a wonderful guy) and thus as a result, it’s a lot easier to forget about me, and space myself from them with that distance. I think I am finally getting what I need: a mental and emotional space from the “mass” that are the guildies, the friends online – and all the while it made me feel like a celebrity, it also ate away at my mind. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t nice (or even at peace) to be cherished like that, but I think this is my cue to move on with my life too – this time, with the people I find that matter, instead of making others matter to me in mine so that they can participate in the slices of my life.

I’ve never been one to care about what other people meant to me during my birthdays. I remember once my younger sister would be silently upset because it would bother her that she didn’t have X amount of friends even say happy birthday to her in elementary school. Somehow, I feel that I was always blessed with the right kind of friends who cared about me the same way I cared about them. In some ways, I feel that I’ve slacked in giving others my energy in a fair way like that. But in an online space, it can be hard to determine if the investment is worth it because cue the last two times I had to have a mental break from people…

In any case, I am so thankful for these blessings. I have a loving boyfriend who has become my purpose, amazing coworkers and a job I actually enjoy and feel that I can learn from and work up to, an older sister (read: role model) who is happily married (which makes me happy to see that – she absolutely deserves it), and new promises and plans for this year that I have high hopes for and am excited about. It will be a LOT of change, one that I am both anxious and excited to embrace, but one that I will walk alongside God. All of this was possible because of Him and I am eternally grateful for that.

To all my friends, family, and to Him – thank you. 🙂

The Abyss

Lae and I were chatting the other day how he got stuck in an uncharted area of DDO that he has still yet to tell me, and he sent me this:

Image courtesy of Laeris


“I stared into the abyss, and the abyss stared back.”

Something about that was SO beautiful and profound to me, and when he told me it was a quote by Nietzche, a German philosopher, I just had to look into it.

The true quote, taken from his work Beyond Good and Evil, goes as follows:

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”

After doing some quick research on the meaning behind this… I have come to fall in love with this particular philosophy. The abyss doesn’t necessarily represent an endless chasm of good or evil – rather, it is representative of the reader’s truth.

Exploring the theme of monstrosity and humanity is a common one in many of literature, like Geek Love and Frankenstein. When presented with the moral dilemma of fighting for justice, who is to say that you yourself cannot be corrupted? That you become a monster in the process of it all? It’s something I’ve been watching as of lately, a lot of vigilante/war/action TV shows and movies I’ve been watching with War. Especially Dare Devil. The exploration of understanding where that personal line is for you is precisely what the abyss refers to; when you’ve reached a point to where you can see the end of the abyss, is when it “stares” back at you. It is a beautiful, powerful, and eerily evocative statement that tells you, “the only way to find out is to stare – deeply – into the abyss”. An “endless search for truth”, and when you find that the abyss stares back, that’s when you know you’ve hit rock bottom.

The question is, where is that personal limit for you?

The Poisoned Therapist

Water. The sounds of dripping water reverberated often in Mercer’s head. It would drip into a puddle, sometimes pour out like a fresh pail feeding spring’s floral children. But when Mercer hears her ears fill with water, all she is able to do is to be entranced as she drowns in an endless, wondrous, cosmic ocean of oblivion.

Tonight was one of those nights for her, and Mercer remained still for hours, laying transfixed in bed. She was just about to get ready to wind down for the night, maybe check her schedule for tomorrow’s clients, and then drift off to sleep. As soon as the plinking sound of water started, she was paralyzed with a soft sensation – was it adrenaline? It rushed through her veins like channels of streaming water, and her mind washed away of all thoughts and consciousness.

It was the blaring ringing of her phone that finally snapped Mercer out of trance. She jumped, in a daze, and grabbed her phone to answer the incessant noise.

“Hello?”

A nervous voice spoke up after an uncomfortable shuffling moment. “Oh hi Mercer, I was just calling to see if we could actually talk tonight? I finished my project early so I actually have… some time now.”

Mercer quickly sat up and reached for her compact notebook from the nightstand. “Ohh! Yes, yes of course Cordelia, this is perfect. I can meet with Wallace tomorrow evening, then. How did the painting go?”

“Well,” Cordelia let out a soft sigh. “It was good, it was good. I’m still adjusting myself to finding that outlet for me, you know? Sometimes I’m filled with thoughts that are always racing, never ending. Like a loop. They just keep on flowing and I don’t quite know how to stop them. I painted this infinity sign in gold and then I just repeated that pattern. It’s rather hypnotizing, Mercer, but today I felt proud. I was able to channel these thoughts into my artwork and it was adorned in this beautiful golden paint I had purchased from Joanne’s. It was like, I could engrave my thoughts with each infinite band. I couldn’t stop painting until I realized the time.”

Plink. Not now, Mercer thought. She took a quick breath and walked to the kitchen to make herself a small cup of coffee. “That’s wonderful Cordelia. Having that outlet to express your thoughts, it’s one of the best things humanity created as a remedy to our own struggles. Art is, that is.” Mercer pulled out the coffee pot to pour out her rich black blood. “What were some of those thoughts you were having, Cordelia?” She opened the cupboard for some sugar cubes to stir in her piping mug.

Cordelia paused for a moment, and quietly gathered her thoughts. That she was a failure for not graduating college, for having a broken family and a broken heart. Being 25 and unemployed because of her depressive state led her to live with her aunt Terrissa out in the countryside. Cordelia always thought things would get better over there, especially because Terrissa was kind and gentle to her as a child, and the exposure to nature could brighten her mood. But Terrissa was toxic within the confines of her home these days – she was constantly pressuring and reminding Cordelia of how much her presence set back Terrissa’s lifestyle of tranquility and remarking on Cordelia’s much changed stature. One day, Cordelia had taken a stroll out back along one of the fences that gated the south pasture, where her favorite mare grazed, and Cordelia saw Terrissa disposing some strange parts. She circled back later that evening and vomited on the spot from what she had seen: Malary, the house cat, was butchered viciously with charred bits and pieces of fur.

“I was just… trying to get some breakfast sorted for me this morning and Terrissa just snapped at me. And then she just started yelling at me about how ungrateful I was to not ask if she was hungry and how I had no manners. She always makes me food and I did feel remorse, but I just wasn’t thinking properly when I was so hungry. And honestly I wanted to throw the knife I was using at her throat and just, I don’t know… just scar her forever, and make her mute. I wanted to hurt her, Mercer.” Cordelia’s voice quivered.

Mercer took a sip of her coffee, felt a strange shiver, and drowned it down with more coffee as she clicked her pen to jot down notes. “I know you’ve tried your best. You stay out of her way when possible, and you’ve tried talking, reasoning, even bargaining. I want you to consider, possibly now, to change your environment instead of your relationship. You’ve been out of work for a couple years, I want you to prepare a list of potential jobs you see and like for me next week.” Mercer paused as bubbling sounds floated past her ears. “Cordelia, she’s emotionally abusive to you.” A small sniff stuttered from across the line.

“I knew it at heart, but you know, I can’t leave her. She’s sick, Mercer. And I’m sick.” Her voice was strained and weighed down.

Mercer felt her eyes droop with empathy. “Every day is a fight, but you’ll be the one to win the war. Okay? You have to believe in that, that’s the only way it becomes real. You’re sick, so you’ll find that remedy, even if you carry scars as a part of you for life. Heck, maybe even you have it for life but you will manage it. You don’t just stay down, that would have happened 5 years ago and you very well know that.”

More sniffles and a shuddering breath stifles through the feed after a long pause. “Thanks Mercer. I appreciate this tonight, I’m sorry if I took up more time this session than slated but this really helps me and I think I can sleep tonight.”

“Happy to help, darling. That’s what I’m here for. We can correspond over email on confirming the next appointment.”

“Okay, that sounds great Mercer. Thank you again for the session and the wise words tonight, good night.”

“Good night.” Click.

Mercer felt herself slipping in the sofa chair as she clinked her coffee mug with her metal spoon. Clink, clink, plink, clink. Another long night. The therapist is not exactly religious, but Mercer believes in a soul, in spiritual energy. The souls, vessels and conduits, or reservoirs of internal energy is transferred to another soul, or a spiritual body. Perhaps a ki or a chakra of some sort. Cordelia was filled with uncertainty, and thus Mercer felt a growing sense of trepidation. Mercer “knew better” but still allowed – or perhaps, unable to stop – it to happen. These days, the sighs grow longer and wispier.

Soft ethereal sounds of falling water cascaded in her ears again. Mercer closed her eyes and felt a cold wake splash against her temples. It corrupted her, clouded her mind with billowing fog of emptiness. She felt like the hand of a clock, ticking mindlessly, inanimately, in the race of time. This watery sound knew how to render her a kind of stillness she never knew before. She listened, and understood her heart was beating to the drip of the water. It filled her spiritual body and was drowning her, and where dread once resided, there was nothing but solace. Alone in her chair, she sunk to the depths of this oceanic torrent. It was poisoning, and Mercer let it flow through her with a single breath.

Musically Inspired by Matt Nasir – The Last Train