Friday, January 30, 2015

Slight Absence

I just wanted to write a little something and apologise for my absence recently.  I am still having ideas of what to write about and such, but I am experiencing a lot of vulnerability and trying to work through some uncomfortable things, and also I wanted to finish my Aurealis awards reading (finished, yay!).

I have been pondering a little more about making do, and being grateful for what I have. It's a mixed up topic in my head, but it is something I am mulling over - turning over in my mind and looking at it from different angles.

I have also been looking at the pain I experience from different angles, trying to understand it better - something I have been trying to do for years now. It still baffles me to a certain extent, and I feel like I am trying so hard to do something - move through it, focus on breathing, find a way to make the pain less present. It's a trial process, and I am feeling very tired.

I will be back soon with some book reviews and perhaps a few other things. Love to all who read!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

spoonie diaries #4: the fear of 'not doing enough'

Oh man, is this one I deal with regularly. This sort of thought leads to a mountain of guilt, which is really difficult to handle and can lead to making stress worse, making someone feeling more anxious, and also lead to depression and negative thoughts about yourself.

Here are some classic thoughts that I have had come up with this one:

~ "I should be better by now." - okay, this one can also pop up as me projecting or assuming that that it was what other people are thinking about me when they say certain things. And it is quite damaging, because it is something that is just not helpful. In some ways, I may never get 'better' (and what does 'better' even mean? it's different things to different people. for some it's pain-free, for others it's no symptoms whatsoever, for others it's just being able to function at a normal pace), and so putting pressure on myself to get to this mystical - sometimes unattainable - place is just frustrating. It's like pushing against a wall trying to convince yourself that one day you will be able to push it over.

~ "I should be doing more to find a cure." - oh man, this is just as frustrating as the previous one. I get advice from all over the place on stuff I should be trying out (note: aside from some of the most obscure stuff, I have probably tried it. Maybe twice.), there are times when I have fallen into a bit of a slump and not been able to even think about trying to get better. I eat poorly for a little while, and just focus on doing what I feel like. But I've come to realise that even then, I am still committed to healing myself. It may not seem like much, but I am thinking healing thoughts, I am trying to support my body and my mind by giving myself a break from pushing and pushing.

To be honest, I have actually... not so much 'given up' but ceased looking for a 'cure'. The overwhelming evidence has shown me that maintenance/management is the way to go for me. Improving my diet, getting more exercise that I enjoy, being more involved in things socially. I am working on being what Brene Brown calls 'whole-hearted' (check this link for more info on that lovely thing) and looking after myself, without feeding into the somewhat damaging belief that I will find this perfect cure for everything I deal with, after thirteen/fourteen years of not finding it. [that's not to say that if something starts working really well I won't jump on it.] I just feel like it's best for me at the moment.

You know what? I am more excited about management than I am about trying to see another specialist, try another drug, or, hopefully never again, have another hospital procedure. I like trying to eat healthier, trying new foods (particularly fermented foods like kimchi - yum!), and getting back into some exercise that I used to love (swimming and yoga!). I really think being excited and feeling some semblance of control over the management of my illnesses (of my life) makes me feel so much better, and less likely to get brought down from the fear of 'not doing enough'.

What about you? Have you experienced the thoughts I mentioned above? How do you cope with them?

Love to all who read.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tea Review: Green Tea in 3

So, here's the deal. I love tea. I love how it can help with an upset tummy, soothe a sore throat, put you to sleep or pep you up. It can even just be a general calmer. 
In Tea Reviews I will give you a few details of the tea, an overall rating, and some thoughts. If you see something you like, I encourage you to go and try the tea yourself! I'll often try and let you know where you can buy it or provide a link.
(Psst! If you want me to review a specific tea, just comment and let me know! If you can provide a sample, that would be great too!)

Green Tea in 3

Initial Thoughts: Fascinating and kind of fun product! I was intrigued by this after a friend tried it out, and then I started seeing it pop up in my instagram feed. Basically each sachet contains really ground up green tea (that's what I figure - it's really 'green tea extract', but I am confused as to the difference between the two) with fruit extract. It has three flavours - Peach, Blueberry, and Green Apple. 

Taste: I initially wondered if this would be too sweet or too bitter - green tea can sometimes make things taste wayyy too grassy for most people, and the addition of fruit can swing it over to the other side of things, making it so sweet you wonder how much sugar they put in, but this was the perfect flavour for me. Not too sweet, not too bitter. And all that's in it is 90% green tea, 10% fruit. Make green tea in three seconds... Are you intrigued yet?

Colour: Amber yellow.

Recommendations and thoughts: So far I have only had this cold, but it really is helping me drink more water. I would say that if you have a sensitive stomach, maybe balance it out by drinking normal water as well as tea, because it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming if you just keep making more and more green tea (as I did on my first day of trying these because it was delicious...). Also, I would recommend trying one of the sample packs first if you can (pictured above) so you can figure out what flavours you like and dislike (if any).

Price: I found the sample packs in a local health food store for $3.95 each (comes with a sachet of each flavour). Check the website for prices of bigger packs.

Next time... I have really been enjoying The English Tea Shop teas lately, so I would like to review one or two of them if I can!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Review: Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven

I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...

Title: Bad Romeo
Author: Leisa Rayven
Series: Starcrossed #1
Publication Date: January 2015

Synopsis: "When Cassie Taylor met Ethan Holt at acting school, sparks flew. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy about campus. But one fated casting choice for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet change it all. Like the characters they were playing, Cassie and Ethan's romance seemed destined. Until he broke her heart and betrayed her trust. Now the A-list heartthrob is back in her life and turning her world around. One touch at a time.

Cast as romantic leads once again, they're forced to confront raw memories of the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their secret college affair. 
But they also discover that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks."

My thoughts: I honestly don't mind the occasional (or frequent) jump into what is generally known as "chic lit", and the new genre of New Adult is intriguing, but also confusing, to me. I don't mind a trashy novel here and there - readers can happily suspend belief of certain things happening for a decent couple of hours of gentle (sometimes steamy) entertainment, after all. And some of the trashy novels I have read have left me feeling happier than quite a few of the more 'high brow' literature pieces (let's not get into the fact that often literature is there to make you think, rather than feel good, right now).

However, I have to say I was a little disappointed with this one. Okay, very disappointed. Aside from a few sweet moments and the odd steamy make-out session, the storyline and characters of Bad Romeo kind of put me off. It felt like a big jumble of stereotypes and misplaced affections rolled into one, and that made it feel like it was setting young women (as this is classified as New Adult) up for long periods of lusting after someone that was just emotionally unavailable to them.

The acting scenes were certainly interesting and held me intrigued for some time, but I found myself feeling like I had read this before. And then I realised that I was getting a very similar tone from this book as I had from Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James - just, obviously, without as much sex.

The story ends quite nicely (if a bit ambiguously) in the end, and I still got an inkling of that happy-romance feel, but I feel like this book just wasn't for me - I have read many other chic lit/romance/erotica-type books and felt like they had a better, more interesting storyline with more believable characters. A low score from me on this one, unfortunately.

You would like this book if: If you enjoy books that make you feel a bit frustrated, but leave you with a fairly sweet ending.

Rating:  5/10

If you'd like to keep up to date with what I'm reading, follow me on Goodreads here!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

KPop CloseUp #5

Hi guys! This week I'm going to look at something that I call 'fan control', where the fans seem to have more control over the idols than they do over themselves, and also when fans kind of go... wild.

There have been many instances over the years where artists have broke down into tears over feeling like they have been 'lying to' their fans, or letting them down in some way. Taeyeon of Girls Generation did this late last year (2014) because it was discovered that she had been secretly dating Baekhyun of EXO. And then, once the fans found out and it was confirmed by SM Entertainment, both Baekhyun and Taeyeon made apology posts on social media - apologising for lying to their fans, for hurting them, and also to try and alleviate some of the betrayal that fans were experiencing because of what had come to light.

Bear with me here.

When it was revealed that Jonghyun of SHINee was dating someone (I believe an actress called Sin Se-kyeong), fans of Jonghyun attacked Sin's personal website, causing it to be shut down. Apparently they were leaving multiple unsavoury and vicious comments, because they were angry that she was dating their favourite idol. (For a look at some of the other things SHINee has had to cope with over the years, head to this fanpage. It stops around mid-2013, but it gives an idea.)

These are just two examples, but there are many others. Privacy is apparently not a thing in the world of a KPop Idol. [as a side note, I just want to say that I think this is ridiculous. But we will get to that more later.]

And that's not all. There's also these people called sasaeng - sometimes referred to as 'sasaeng fans', but I'm with other people here in that I will not call them 'fans', because they just go so far that they seem to only want to hurt the objects of their obsessions.
Sasaengs are stalkers, people that take their affection so far into the realm of obsession that they have been known to grope stars as they walk past, break into their homes and steal their underwear or try to kiss them while they're sleeping, hire cabs to chase their favourite band's van on the road - often leading to horrific car accidents, or even to drug drinks that they give to idols, because it would be 'funny'.

One of the worst affected groups is JYJ, the group formerly part of TVXQ that I mentioned last week. JYJ has had it all and then some - fanatics (not 'fans', fanatics) that follow them 24/7, take photos of their houses, sell their contact information online, even send them their menstrual fluid (I just... what?). A couple of articles detailing some of the things that have happened to them, including being physically injured by fans throwing rocks at them can be found here. Read if you're in desperate need of a way to be angry at the state of the world.

I'm quite new to the KPop fandom, I must admit. I dabbled in asian pop back in early high school (when I was about 13 or so onwards), but have only recently started buying albums and supporting my favourite artists, but I have to admit that I am often horrified and disappointed by the behaviour of fans and sasaengs towards idols. The sasaengs are obviously way over the line with their behaviour - legally, morally, emotionally - but I do find that sometimes 'normal' fans upset me, too. They feel like they own these people, and thus are allowed to dictate who they date, what they wear, and comment on their choices in life. We do this with pop stars in the Western world, too, but at least then assualts of idols are few and far between. In Korea it seems to happen on a regular basis, which saddens me greatly.

Generally, when stuff like this happens and idols are forced to comment, they often state that they just wish they could have a normal life - dress how they want, write music about what they want, date who they want, without people attacking every little thing they do. I know some people are going to say 'but that's what happens when you get famous. they should have known what they were getting into', but shouldn't a line be drawn somewhere here?

And, to return to my favourite two people at the moment, here is another video from Eat Your Kimchi that talks about why they would never become KPop Idols - it pretty much sums up my feelings here.

I haven't yet thought a lot about what I'm going to write next week, but maybe I will go into more detail about specific groups! I'll try not to cover SHINee first... XD


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Somehow 'Compromise' Became a Dirty Word

I am often very thoughtful about the concept of being unapologetically myself - of meeting myself where I am, giving myself what I need, being true Bethwyn around others. And I love that work, I love that feeling because it lights me up and makes me glow.

And I encourage that in other people. I show the value of true self-care and self-love, and I wax lyrical on the values of giving yourself the space to just be.

That hasn't changed. It's still something that I feel, and that I think on.

But lately I have also been considering the value of compromise - not compromising on who you are, but compromising on the way you exhibit that inner you-ness. Because, the thing is, if you are in a relationship - any sort really, including a friendship or the relationship between you and your mum or cousin - you are going to have moments when true you bumps up against true them, and it doesn't feel comfortable.

Hopefully, the other person is all about people being themselves and being kind, too, and so you can feel comforted in that way. And yet, there is still a level of discomfort there, sitting idly, making you feel...troubled.

You start (well, at least I do) to ask questions about your true self and why it's bumping up against this other lovely human - is true me actually not that great? have I been caught in my own world for too long? why is this happening? - until the discomfort grows a bit.

If this happens to me (and it does), I tend to notice some old depression triggers surfacing. I don't know what to do, and so my brain goes back to the old tried-and-true methods of 'coping' - shutting down, getting emotional, shutting OUT. And I have only recently started to question those reactions.

The fact is, I want to show compassion. Not just to myself, but to others. And that means sitting with the discomfort and working with it, working with the other person so they don't feel shut out or neglected, and showing myself that I don't have to go down those old pathways and end up in a confused heap.

I still don't really know how this works or how to do it that well, but I'm working on it every day. And, while I think people definitely benefit from being unapologetically themselves, they may need to compromise (there's that word again) a bit so that they can make space for others to be unapologetically themselves.

Being you doesn't always have to mean shutting down on other things, it can mean joyfully exploring differences with someone you love. Because being me doesn't just involve reading a lot, or being an introvert, it can also mean gently stepping outside my comfort zone with someone I love, doing something they love because true Bethwyn loves to share experiences like that.

True Bethwyn just hopes that this post makes sense beyond the realm of her own brain.
Love to all who read.

Friday, January 9, 2015


I've been in a bit of a state of thought lately, considering what I want to do with my year. But not just that, I have been considering what my skills and talents are (sometimes something that is hard to remember, for many people), what I want my life to look like ideally, and things that I have been avoiding for fearful reasons.

I'm still not sure what these things mean, or how they will come together. When I think about my blog, I want more for it, but I don't have solid ideas, just a few little wisps of things in my peripheral vision, trying to get my attention.

Different thoughts somehow linking...

My bias from my favourite KPop group (SHINee's Jonghyun) is releasing his first solo album in a few days time, and I'm extremely excited. On Wednesday, he released his first full-length song, called Deja-Boo. I enjoyed it so much that I started listening to it over and over again - something I do with new albums that I like. I have a ritual of sitting down with my walkman (such old technology!) and the new CD, and listening to it fully once with no distractions, and then listening to it over and over again while doing other things to slowly absorb it into myself.
This is what I've been doing with Deja-Boo. 
I absorb it into me so that it can continue to exist within me, in a weird way. So that I can hum it to myself, play it over in my head and dance along.

And then I started to wonder - I want to do this with my thoughts and my dreams. Not just have them as gentle wisps existing somehow outside of myself. I want to absorb them within me, begin to know they edges and curves, what is missing, what is already there. I want my dreams to be truly mine, and not have them confused with outside expectations, what people think I should be doing. I want them to be as familiar to me as a favourite shirt or a well-loved book.

What this means for me? I don't really know. But I am enjoying using my blog as a bit more of a sounding board, where my thoughts can come out a bit more.
Do you ever having ideas that you want to grasp a bit more closely?

Love to all who read.

P.S. If you're interested, here is the song I mentioned:

All content owned by Bethwyn Walker unless otherwise stated. Simple template. Template images by gaffera. Powered by Blogger.

butterfly elephant

creating a place where rest and rejuvenation are paramount