Over the Top

photoFew people have as many reasons to be happy as I have. Being aware of that fact is, in a maybe slightly tautological way, a great reason for happiness in its own right. And so: I am happy. Very.

One of the finest reasons to be happy–and forgive me if this sounds a little tautological too–is that I am not depressed. Having spent as many of my younger years clinically depressed and struggling with anxiety as I did before getting treatment and medication that allowed me to be at ease, healthy, hopeful and, well, happy, I may have a deeper appreciation of simple, ordinary happiness than many. Every day that I’m not depressed, sad or anxious is a gift. I think I can be pardoned for thinking myself one of the happiest creatures on earth, even if I don’t go bounding around giggling to prove it.

Another chief source of my joy is the tremendous community of friends and loved ones surrounding me at all times. This has served not only as an essential part of my recovery and continued success in keeping my mental health and spirits on a positive trajectory since my emergence from the chrysalis of that darker self of years past. If that isn’t reason for being well and truly happy, I don’t know what is. I suppose it’s a further sign of general contentment and happiness that when there are times of stress, struggle or sorrow that are fleeting, they serve to reinforce happiness rather than otherwise, since they serve to remind me of the contrast between those times of trial and their wonderful opposites.

The biggest mystery in all of this is perhaps the astounding truth that I keep getting rewarded further for embracing my sources of happiness. Good friends come into my life and share their kindness and wisdom and humor and expansive spirits with me and I respond as any such fortunate person would, by turning to them like a flower to the sun. And then they in their turn give me more of their kindness and so forth. I am overwhelmed with thanks.

Among bloggers, one of the signs of mutual support and friendship that arises in this setting is the sharing of blog awards, and of late I seem to have built up quite the collection once again. So I am taking this moment to express my deep gratitude! Given the range of kindnesses being showered upon me in recent times, I am taking the liberty of blending the recognitions into one post and revising all of the requirements–with an invitation to those I nominate in response that they might follow this new rubric as well.

First of all, I present to you the generous friends who have shared their blog awards with me, and the awards they have passed along on the way.

Afsheen http://afsheenanjum.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/awards/ Dragon’s Loyalty Award + Versatile Blogger Award + Blog of the Year 2013 AwardDragon's Loyalty AwardVersatile Blogger AwardBlog of the Year Award 1 star jpegRosemary http://randomrose.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/the-sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award/ The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers AwardSisterhood of the World Bloggers AwardCarolyn http://carolynmalone.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/best-moment-award/ Best Moment AwardBest Moment AwardAnne http://talesalongtheway.com/2013/12/01/sunshine-award-and-inner-peace-award/ Inner Peace Award + Sunshine Award + Versatile Blogger AwardInner Peace AwardSunshine AwardVersatile Blogger AwardDimple https://shivaaydelights.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/liebster-awards-ii/ Liebster AwardLiebster AwardSamina http://saminaiqbal27.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/most-influential-blogger-award/Most Influential Blogger AwardMost Influential Blogger AwardDiane http://bardessdmdenton.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/inspiration-awarded/ Very Inspiring Blogger AwardVery Inspiring Blog AwardKind friends all, I am once again moved and daunted by your generosity. But I shall do my best to be worthy, or at least appropriately thankful and generous in my own turn. For my  official dance of acceptance, I shall share a selection of revelations, factoids and other wildly inspirational (or mildly amusing) items to divert you for a while. First, however, I must tell you there are a number of darling persons of my blogging acquaintance and friendship who deserve your visits, readership, following and devotion. And any number of awards. So whichever of the awards you below-named friends have not already received (multiple times, some of you!), I will be ever so glad and honored if you will accept my nomination to share with me. For I am glad and honored to be in your company, just as I’ve been saying.

Ginger, purveyor of outrageously great humor and creative writing at gingerfightback; Marie, lovely proprietress of her own Little Corner of Rhode Island (where wildlife and fabulous young household members run wonderfully rampant); David Reid, insightful and gloriously gifted artist; Antoinette, Spree-cooking in a magical kitchen and celebrating family love; Mark, overseeing a variety of creative marvels through graphic design, music, travel and more, at The Vibes; Mandy the magnificent at The Complete Book, where cats and cookery and the sweet beauties of South Africa abound; Bishop, the master of clever home gardening, beer making, whiskey tasting and regional explorations; Claire, who Promenades through England and France with exquisite gardening and travel and foodly inspirations; Nitzus, gloriously photographing travels and family with equal aplomb; Diane Denton, Bardess of a multitude of grand artworks combining poetry and paintings and all sorts of visual and verbal art; John, busily cooking up family history and delicious dishes with which to ingest them in the Bartolini kitchen; Lauren, who writes love poems so well that instead of making me feel like a spy on her personal life they seem admirably universal; Tyler, the superb writer-photographer-poet-biologist at the helm of The Ancient Eavesdropper; Jeanne Kasten, queen of her beautiful art studio; Mick the Meticulous and his great and celebratory photographs of people, places and things in ways that remind us to see with new eyes; Laura Macky, outstanding and artistic photographer-blogger; Michael, Taggart and his Amazing Flower Photos; and Anne-Christine, the great lady presiding over the joys at Leya: please step up and accept my accolades, my admiration, and my best wishes for your continued success and happy productivity.

Friends, if your name doesn’t appear on this little list, rest assured that I am pleased to share my blogging life with each and every one of you whose blogs I visit and follow as well. Your work makes my days so much the richer, and I consider myself privileged to be in the midst of this entire blogging company. Those of you who read here now and have not yet ‘met’ the bloggers whom I am naming above, please take a cue from my list and pay a visit to these terrific people’s places the first chance you get!

Now, a selection of bits about moi, in case you haven’t already been sickened by the TMI that is my blog. Happy perusing.

1   One of the very few sport-related things I ever did with reasonable success was drop-kicking in football. Surprisingly, I did not pursue this as a career.

2   I love the scent and taste of cardamom.

3   I’d like to own less Stuff. Trying to be smarter about that.

4   I’ve only been under general anesthetic twice. As far as I can remember. Not counting a few speeches I’ve sat through.

5   One of my early boy-crushes was on Morgan MacLaren, with whom I shared a double desk in first or second grade, and I swooned and mooned over him for a long time, but it ended abruptly when he contracted the current plague of the Hong Kong flu and threw up all over our desk.

6   I really like sitting on a swing, and I like standing on it even better. But swings are made too Safe nowadays for properly aggressive elevation. Thanks, lawyers.

7   I’m a huge fan of Mid-century Modern design. Not very surprising, I suppose, as I grew up surrounded by the stuff when it was new. But I admire its clean lines and grace anyway.

8   My pet goldfish, the first and only pet I ever had, had a middle name. Turns out to be the first name of the first-and-only man I ever married, too.

9   Eating raw eggs doesn’t worry me (but I wouldn’t choose to eat them plain).

10   I prefer thigh-high stockings to pantyhose.

11   I’m generally an optimist. Is that why I prefer thigh-high stockings to pantyhose? Oh, come on, I was simply referring to the relative probability of their staying properly in place during the regular course of a day without help from garters.

12   One of the stupider things I’ve done was responding to having come back to my car after visiting the library one night, finding a teenager in a hoodie inside it going through my glove compartment, and instead of going off to call the police as I should have done, opened the door and yanked the kid out by his jacket, yelling at him, and shoved him away while he, stunned, regrouped and ran off to catch up with the confederates who had failed to warn him I was returning to the car. I am happy he was even stupider and more afraid than I was so I’m here to tell the tale.

13   I like cedar better than pine. Mostly.

14   I learned how to drive a manual transmission vehicle, but I’m terrible at it. You should all be thrilled that automatic transmissions exist. The world is a safer place.

15   When the space shuttle Challenger exploded, I was standing in line at a paint store where they had a television on behind the counter, so despite the improbability of it all, I saw the disaster on live TV anyway.

16   I’m very intimidated by singing in front of anybody. I know there’s no earthly reason to be afraid of it, but it frightens me all the same.

17   I was fond of vampires and monsters and that sort of stuff long, long before they entered their current phase of popularity, but I still don’t think of myself as dark and morbid (even if others might)–I only like that stuff for its amusing entertainment value. Maybe that in itself is morbid!

18   If an Agatha Christie villain had ever tried to poison me with cyanide I’d probably have been an easy mark, because I find the smell and flavor of almonds enticing.

19   Birds love the seeds I put in two of the feeders out back of our house or on the patio but they won’t touch the remaining feeder, with the same seeds in it.

20   I would’ve made a good architect, if I hadn’t been such an awful mathematician and, oh yeah, also had no engineering knowledge and a pretty poor work ethic. Great sense of practical yet beautiful space and all of the smaller designs within it, though.

21   I am in awe of people who are great at any service profession (teaching, medicine, humanitarian work, and so forth).

22   My parents never disowned me. Go figure.

23   A man of Norwegian descent taught me my first Chinese words and taught me how to use chopsticks.

24   I had the chicken pox as a kid.

25   If all of this isn’t more than enough information about me, I don’t know whether to be astounded or just feel sorry for you, but I hope you’ve been a little amused along the way. And considering that you’ve stuck around this long, I thank you for your patience and good manners and hope you’ll extend your attentions enough to visit some of the many great blogs of my friends’ that I commended to you above. Cheers!   photoWith this, I am going to cease accepting blog awards henceforth. Obviously, I am not opposed to them in any way! But I have already been so generously inundated with awards that I have no need of more, and the companionship, advice and friendship I receive has always been the richest of the rewards. I thank you one and all and wish for everyone as much happiness as I am blessed to enjoy.

27 thoughts on “Over the Top

  1. Kiwi – I enjoyed reading about how much happiness that you experience in your life through friends. Lovely. You also touched on your sister’s struggle with depression and that you overcame anxiety. Have you written on these topics? Your photos are beautiful and make me happy. Congratulations on your awards! Best – Shanna

    • I’m glad you found this readable, Shanna. Yes, I’ve written a few times about dealing with [my] depression and anxiety–you can just do a search of “depression” on the blog and no doubt most or all of those will appear. I’ve long since come to believe that mental health and well being are not only more than just black-and-white conditions but also more than a spectrum can express; we, and our minds and spirits, are much more dimensional than that. I think we all find ourselves at different intersections of all our own hopes, beliefs, dreams, feelings, mental and emotional and physiological states at various times in our lives, though many are inclined to dwell in certain areas of that network more than others. I am very grateful that my stay at various unwanted points of intersection in my own existence has generally been both survivable and relatively short, and have lots of factors to thank for it, most of all, being loved! Thank you for your kind note. If you *ever* want to ask or talk about anything specific relating to depression, anxiety or any of the other stuff I mention in those posts, don’t hesitate either here or by email (kathryningrid@gmail.com).

  2. hehehehe :d .. that was a very nice post really. I know alottt about you now 🙂 I am also afraid of singing infront of people, though i wanted to be a singer in my childhood. I also loved monsters and vampire kinda stuff 😛 and the pet name heheh that makes me laugh.
    Stay blessed and take care
    I really like you more now 😀

    • Certainly one of the joys of blogging is that we get marvelous chances to know people better with each post of theirs that they share and we read. In my case, it means I’ve been able to get to know, enjoy, like and love many things about many people I would never have been able to know in the pre-internet world–not being rich enough to travel to all of their countries and cities, nor likely to be lucky enough to cross paths with each of them individually! I am truly blessed in this and hope you, too, will find it a continued blessing, dear Afsheen, as I enjoy your company so much and admire your kindness and gentleness and humor and loving spirit!

  3. And cheers to your too Kathryn! I’m with you on the swing thing and it makes me sad to think that I haven’t had a good old go on a swing for oh so long!
    As to your happiness, thank you for your openness and honesty, it’s fabulous. Simply fabulous. We need more darling Kathryn’s in the world x

  4. Well deserved accolades, my friend! And thank you for sharing more about yourself. It is like adding facets to a wonderful jewel, adding depth and brilliance.

    • I get so much enjoyment out of getting to know my fellow bloggers better through their posts of this sort that I figure I can return the favor–as long as I know they also have a handy Delete button should they opt not to get on KIWS-overload. 😉 Hope your prep for heading to Big Bend is going splendidly!

  5. What a fantastic post, congratulations. I laughed, cried and felt all warm and fuzzy…all at the same time. I understand you so well. My 41year old daughter has always lived with me as she has suffered clinical depression agraphobia, self harm and bulimia since she was 15years old. She puddles along with poor health but is a beautiful girl, has the funniest darkest sense of humour (which I am sure you will understand). We have many laughs as well as many cries. You are a shining light in my day. Keep doing what you do, it is perfect all round.

    • Oh, darling lady, I am so glad we’ve found each other! I’m sure I’ve never suffered as much as it seems your daughter has done, but know from experience too that it’s all relative: when we’re in the middle of whatever-it-is, our own is generally The Worst pain and the least solvable of any in the universe. I ache for those who face such things with less respite and recovery and renewal than I’ve been fortunate to have. Bless you and your dear daughter! And I thank you for joining me here. Just so you know, your description of the reaction you had on reading this post sounds a little like listing the symptoms of an odd disorder of some kind in and of itself, but at least I can tell you you’re in the company of a well matched kind of happy psychosis as long as you’re here! 😉

  6. Once again, I thank you for the honor, Dearie (though there’s no time to craft an eloquent – or competent – response on my own page).
    Love the glimpses of You in your list – totally with you on the Swing Thing! Currently surveying the leafless landscape for an appropriate tree branch…the Littles need a good, Old Fashioned swing!

    • Yay! Must train up the young in the ways of the classic swing-tastic. Maybe you’ll have to let Claire and me know when the swing’s ready so we can come and assist with their education. 😀

      PS–my autocorrect (Otto K. Wrecked) tells me swing-tastic should be “swing-spastic”. Apparently Otto has *seen* me on a swing. Maybe I shouldn’t teach C & N, after all! 😉

  7. Wonderful post Kathryn. I can relate so much to the dpression, which I too, suffered for years. Unfortunately I began to use alcohol as a crutch,which then led to a whole other problem in itself. When I finally got sober in 2001 recovering within AA my depression
    disappeard too and I couldn’t have been happier. But life happens and i was diagnosed with progressive MS. I thought happiness was over for me, but I read a wonderful book called Happiness is an Inside Job by John Powell, and I have learned that its possible to be happy despite adversity. Having said that I do have my off days – who doesnt? But they pass. Life is for living, however restricted we are. I have to remind myself of this every day.

    Happy New Year and I look forward to reading you in 2014 and so pleased to have discovered your blog.


    • Dearest Christine, I can only begin to imagine what your struggles have been. I am so glad you’ve had the strength and courage and will to choose and pursue happiness, or I’d never have gotten to meet you, and that would’ve been a great loss for me indeed. You are already an inspiration to me, as I can see you’ve been to many others, but more than that, I just plain *like* you, and that is a gift for which I’m immensely grateful. I think I know a little of what you’ve experienced, having known others with similar stories of their own (some in my family among them), and will hope and pray that you find all of the support, care of body and spirit, and joy that you can possibly need as time goes on. You are in my heart!

  8. Congratulations, Kathryn. You certainly are deserving of each award. I cannot believe that you grabbed the scoundrel that was in your car and sent him packing. The rush of adrenalin is a powerful thing. I wonder if the thief’s confederates have stopped teasing him about it. Who knows? Maybe you scared him straight! 🙂

    • One can only hope that dope got inspired to give up his criminal inclinations before they got more highly developed. Especially as, when I went straight from there to the nearby city police station, I found the station’s front door open and nobody-but-nobody to talk to on the premises. No kidding. I had to telephone later from home to report the incident and, oh-by-the-way, the person with whom I talked actually admitted there’d been a rash of such happenings. Oddly enough I didn’t find this either comforting or surprising in the event. Gotta love a casual approach to law enforcement! 😉

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