The year of 100 books.

– Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Throughout 2016 and in the months into 2017 I have said that 2016 was the worst year of my life. Even though there were bright spots of beauty and life that happened that year, it was also a year full of loneliness and trauma. Really, the only way I was able to deal with all that I was going through, was reading.

Books have always been a crutch of mine, a source of stability and escape that I’ve sought out ever since I was kid. My mom always nurtured my love for reading and never censored the content that I read, which looking back on, was a huge blessing. Growing up, my family moved around a lot and as cheesy as it sounds, I found my home in the books I read, and the characters I grew up with. There are books that I read as a middle schooler or high schooler that I’ll still reread today because it takes me back to a sense of comfort and familiarity.

Last year though, reading became a lifeline, or a drug. I had dropped out of college and moved home at the beginning of the year, after a traumatic death happened in my family. My mental health was the worst it had ever been, and I was really overcome with depression. It was a struggle to get out of bed every single morning, and as soon as I would get home from work I would crawl right back in bed.

I was depressed and numb, and extremely lonely. So as always, I turned to books. I read with an intensity that I have never felt before. When I read, I become so enthralled in the world I’m reading about that the characters are able to make me feel the full spectrum of emotions that was missing from my every day life. I would read in every spare moment, riding in the car, while eating, on breaks at work, and until I went to sleep. I filled every moment I had to my self with words, as if I was afraid to be alone with my own thoughts.

My go to genre was fantasy novels, worlds so unlike my own with characters that had amazing powers and strength who would have to overcome ridiculous obstacles in order to survive. I love the “chosen one” concept, and romeo and juliet type love stories. I love warring kingdoms, and magical battles, I read it all.

There’s probably a conclusion  I could draw here about the strength of the characters I read giving me the strength to overcome my depression but that’s not really the conclusion I want to make.

Reading was the healthiest way I could escape my life. It was a door that was always open to me, and I don’t think I could’ve survived 2016 without walking through that door every day.

When I tell people that I’ve read 100 books in a single year, they’re so impressed and say things like “wow I wish I could read like you do, or had the time.” I usually say something like thanks, I love to read so it wasn’t a big deal. Really though, I want to tell those people that I hope you never get to the point that you need to escape your life as much as I needed to. I hope you can live with your thoughts without seeking someone else’s. I hope you can find strength in real friends, and not fictional ones.

But if you do get that point, let me know, I have plenty of book recommendations for you.



Taking an L 

Wow. It has been a rough week.

(sidenote before we get started, I know, I KNOW, that this is not a happy fun blog, but if I’m going to be honest about life when I look back at this time then I need to be honest, this isn’t the happiest of times.)

SO when I talk about my job I describe it as any usual boring day job. I work in a cubicle and essentially I push paper. Imagine every single cartoon of a bunch of people stamping paper and moving it over and over again and that is me.


Or not, at least I’m making money am I right?

Anyways I had a chance to change up what I do on the daily and make a little more money but I opened my mouth to the wrong people and since we NEVER LEAVE HIGH SCHOOL, it ended up falling through.

It was a really hard slap in the face of a lesson. I got my hopes super high that there would be a change in my day to day life and painted a picture in my head just to have it torn down by someone I trusted. 

Man it made me feel naive and embarrassed.

When I talked to people in my life about what happened they got angry on my behalf and didn’t understand why I let this person do this to me without me bitching them out or telling them off.  Which I get, I was angry too. I stewed in my cubicle with a burning hot rock in my stomach wondering over and over again why this person would do this to me…but I knew that there was no point in projecting that anger outwards. 

Listen, sometimes people are just shitty and yelling at them or being passive aggressive or petty isn’t going to make them any less shitty. I took an L and it sucked and it hurt but damn if I didn’t learn my lesson. 

Trust no bitch my friends, and if you do and end up getting hurt, just burn that bridge and smile and walk away.

Shittt people aren’t worth your energy. 

The in between.

The in between sounds like a place magical creatures lurk, or maybe where spirits go right after they die but before judgment is passed on them. Either way, it has an ominous feel to it and yet this is how I describe my current life, as living in the in between.

This isn’t the first time I’ve felt like I’ve lived in the in between. I think the most obvious time of the in between was the summer before my freshman year of college. Everything was about anticipation, anticipating to start in a new city, with new people, in an entirely foreign situation. Also the anticipation of the goodbyes, the last time to hang out with high school friends, to last time to see my family for an extended period of time, and so on. That entire summer felt like an absence of time, in rifling through my memories it seems like my most vivid ones are from graduation, and then move in day. That summer is just another void in my brain.

Which damn referring to life as a void sounds like I live a shitty life, which I don’t. I just feel like I’m stuck in the in between, anticipating for something to happen without really knowing what that thing is. It makes it harder I think, than the in between from that summer, at least then I knew what I was waiting for. This time though, I live day in and day out in a predictable routine, working at a job that doesn’t challenge me, and not making any steps towards changing.

Wow this post is depressing me.

I wish I could say I was an achiever and that the thought of being stuck in the in between was enough motivation for me to get out of it but…it’s really not. I think the in between is safe, its predictable and comfortable but it’s also boring. and grey and listless. It’s where I’ve been for the past year through no ones fault but my own and that’s kind of a heavy thing to accept.

But accept it I will because the first step to getting out of the in between is knowing it well enough to navigate it. And let me tell you, I could draw a perfect map of the place.

4. Reasons to stay alive 

I just got done reading Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig and man did he really hit the nail on the head in regards to describing anxiety and depression. The book made me examine my own depression more and even though my days of wishing for death are behind me, I wanted to write a list of my reasons to Stay Alive.

  1. Mom. 
  2. All my siblings.
  3. My grandparents.
  4. Family game nights.
  5. Getting drunk at family game nights.
  6. Xbox party chats.
  7. Halo games with my best friends.
  8. Traveling.
  9. Food.
  10. Holding someone’s hand.
  11. The books I haven’t read yet
  12. The music I haven’t listened to
  13. The movies I haven’t seen
  14. The shows I haven’t seen
  15. Musicals.
  16. Sitting outside and feeling the breeze.
  17. Dancing.
  18. Singing.
  19. The joy of new outfits 
  20. The sound of new shoes on hard floors
  21. Lipstick 
  22. Coffee
  23. Latte art at hipster coffee shops 
  24. Boy bands 
  25. Screaming and dancing at concerts
  26. Stupid viral videos that make you laugh
  27. Baths 
  28. Hugs
  29. Freshly manicured nails 
  30. Feeling of sunshine 
  31. The beach and the water 
  32. Living on my own one day
  33. Striving on my own 
  34. Ice cream 
  35. Comic books
  36. Flirting 
  37. Laughing 
  38. Drinking just enough to be happy drunk
  39. The recap the next morning after drinking
  40. Weddings
  41. The smell when you leave your window open 
  42. Clean clothes after a shower 
  43. Podcasts.
  44. YouTube.
  45. The internet in general 
  46. To reach age 25
  47. To reach age 30
  48. To reach age 50
  49. To reach age 70
  50. Because staying alive is the bravest thing you will ever do and you’ll be damned if anyone calls you a coward. 

3. Things to do to avoid feeling nothing.

My form of depression manifests in an overwhelming feeling of nothingness. My body and mind become numb and all I can force my body to do is lay in bed, every other activity seems too daunting and exhausting.

Luckily, with antidepressants and talking through and understanding my depression, the times I feel like this are fewer and farer between. At this very moment I can feel the nothingness calling. It’s on a smaller scale, which is normal while I’m on medication, but I can recognize it and at this point have some ways that can help to fight it off.

So here’s a list of what I do to avoid the void, as dramatic and ridiculous as that sounds.

  1. Call my friends. Since my best friends live in different cities I don’t get the benefit of seeing them face to face but calling them and just talking about nothing and everything for ten minutes can really lift me up enough to get out of bed, when I’m feeling numb I focus a lot on what they’re saying, being an active listener distracts my mind enough to get me through.
  2. Read. There are certain books that I consider my go-to “I need to feel SOMETHING” books, I’ve read these books a ridiculous number of times and the ones that I have hard copies for are extremely torn and battered. I wouldn’t even say these are my favorite books, or the best stories I’ve ever read but they get the job done. For example,  I have a book about four friends who have a wedding planning business who all find love, and that book never fails to inspire me to get my ass out of bed and get to work. (The Bridal Quartet by Nora Roberts) There’s a young adult series about a woman who’s broken but still has to survive, and reading her finding her fire again and choosing to live just hits all the right notes for me. (A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah Maas) Sometimes a new book is enough to distract me, but if I read new words and they become a blur of ink and paper, then I know I have these to fall back on.
  3. YouTube. Like books, I can get lost in youtube videos. Whether it’s makeup gurus, kpop boy band interviews, vlogs, or book reviews, youtube can draw me in and lift me up better than a tv show or movie can. I think part of it is that I have to be active in choosing, an average length of a video is anywhere from 4 – 10 minutes and by the times the videos up I’m already scrolling through recommendations to find the next thing.
  4. Singing/Dancing. This takes a lot more action that any of the other ways I battle the emptiness but it works if I can get to the point of actually doing it. Since I live in a house with little privacy, going for a drive and singing my damn heart out can really lift my mood. (Shoutout to my musicals Spotify playlist) With dancing, at the moment, it is always Zumba which I’m actually going to in about thirty minutes. When I actually force myself to go to Zumba, I ALWAYS feel better afterwards, it’s just getting there that’s the hard part. (Driving in general, is not something I love doing, especially when feeling numb.)

So that’s my list. It’s pretty standard, simple, and doesn’t always work but I’m satisfied to be at the point of trying to get myself out of a dark hole instead of letting myself sink into darkness.

I might have to add blogging to my list, since I went into this feeling like shit and now coming to the end of this post, I feel a little less heavy.

Now off to Zumba to sweat it out with older ladies and that ONE Hispanic girl who dances so much better than me. (Not that I’m jealous or anything.)

(Okay maybe I’m a little jealous.)



Attempt Two: First Kiss

The guy was blonde and he was definitely a fraternity pledge, which makes sense considering I was in a frat house, at a frat party, surrounded by frat dudes. I have no idea what his name was but I’m sure it was somewhere along the lines of a Jason, Matt, or Andrew. Actually typing the name Andrew seems right so maybe his name started with an A? It doesn’t matter, what matters is that this forgotten name blonde frat boy was my first kiss.

Romantic, I know.

I was 18 and a freshman in college, it was my first or second party EVER; my eye shadow was heavy and my flirt game was strong. I’d only had a couple of sips of alcohol before so chugging four lokos with my roommate gave me enough confidence to conquer the world. Which was how I ended up in some random dudes room, sloppily making out with Andrew(?)

I don’t remember if the kiss was any good or not, considering I was drunk for the first time and also having my first lip to lip contact, I’m sure it was awful. The clearest thing from this encounter that I can remember is that my eyes were wide open and I was actively thinking “this is my first kiss, so this is what kissing is? oh his eyes are closed, my eyes should be closed too right? but how can I close them when this is my first kiss! I need to see what’s going on!”

I also was very aware that at any moment this boy could open his eyes and catch me staring at him and realize that this was my first kiss and he’d, god forbid, laugh at me. But that didn’t happen and luckily, nothing else did that night either. It wouldn’t be until later that I realize going off with a boy you just met while drunk is not always the smartest thing to do, no matter how cute and nice they seem. (But that’s a lesson for another day)

I ended up seeing that boy randomly around campus for the next couple of months and then promptly forgot everything about him until this moment when I really had to strain my memory to come up with an image for him.

I can picture my younger self being extremely disappointed in this story. I mean your first kiss is supposed to be memorable right? You should at least, remember the guys name! Well sorry younger Kendyl, but you should really stop putting a lot stock into first experiences because they are almost always going to be very, very disappointing. (You really don’t want to know how losing your virginity goes, just get rid of any and all expectations now kid)

Really though, I wish I could tell my younger self that the first moments aren’t really going to matter, sometimes not even the last ones will. Milestones are relative, and you shouldn’t live life as if you’re checking things off of a list, because lists are boring and life isn’t always laid out neatly like that.

Sometimes your first kiss is in a loud frat house with a guy whose name might or might not be Andrew, and you probably couldn’t pick him out of lineup but that’s okay, because at least you got a blog post out of it right?

Attempt One: Deleting

Looking around my room I can spot only three sentimental items that I keep out; a framed picture of my dad, a bottle of bonfire ash from my first college homecoming bonfire, and a necklace from my first communion (please don’t be fooled into thinking this is because of religious reasons, I had that necklace hanging from my rearview mirror all throughout high school and only think of that every time I see it.) I don’t keep birthday cards, ticket stubs, or letters, I donated all my shirts from high school and college, and I don’t own a single high school yearbook.

I’m not someone who’s afraid to get rid of things. Whenever I go through my old journals and see all the ripped out pages I don’t mourn the loss of my adolescent thoughts, I know teenage Kendyl needed to tear up those pages as much as she needed to write them.

And yet I have started and deleted a countless number of blogs, and this frustrates me. Blogs are different than personal journals. I actually want people to read this, even if I’m just shouting to the void I want my shout to echo and not be snuffed out by that big white delete button. I want to commit to writing, no matter how shitty, embarrassing or just straight up bad it is.

Even with the countless number of blogs out there I don’t want to feel ashamed to be writing mine. So, this is my promise in attempt number one that I will not delete this blog. I might lose the pictures of my dad, I might break the bottle of ashes, and I might drop my communion necklace somewhere to never be seen again but this blog will stay on the internet.

At least, I hope it will.