My Reaction To The SoCal Fire

fire, socal, anaheim hills, burn, cloud,dark,oc, orange county, talk, neighbor, spirit, orange, anaheim, tustin, freeway, 91 freeway, love,reaction, community, listen, cry, tears, sadness, heartI woke up this morning with a huge smile on my face. I mean, my boyfriend just presented a gorgeous engagement ring to me. Things are looking up for me. I finally got the job I have always dreamed of, I can’t complain.

I drove to work super excited about what this last full week at my current job would bring. I want to finish strong and never falter, I thought. Just as was getting lost in my many selfish thoughts, I drove through what seemed like an amber cloud, except this cloud had no end.

It was early in the morning but the sky was dark and haunting.

We had a fire recently so it looked like a bit of deja vu. I thought maybe there was a different explanation, maybe a residual effect of the recent eclipse? I mean, what else could it be?

I kept driving. I decided not to worry. It was much too early on a Monday to worry about anything.

I got to my first stop of the day and my phone started ringing. It was a coworker. He told me to be careful because there was a huge fire in the middle of my usual Monday route. I froze. Another fire? Seriously? When will all of this chaos end?

I went about my day as normal as possible doing my best to avoid the forbidden 91 East freeway. I thought of the most strategic way to get to where I needed to go. It was a success, I encountered very little traffic.

All was well until I got on the 91 West freeway. I couldn’t believe how fluid the freeway was around 3 pm on a holiday. Woohoo! But then I saw it. I saw a huge black cloud of smoke ahead of me. As I approached the cloud, I looked to my left and saw flames much taller than myself taking over the mountain I so often drive next to.

Suddenly traffic didn’t matter, suddenly I didn’t even matter.

I have to admit I admire nature but I am not a tree hugger. No matter what I am or what I am not, I stared straight into the eye of the fire and burst into tears. It was overwhelming. The fire was literally a few feet away from me.

I kept driving and the flames were endless. My tears shed because of all the people who might be affected by this. My tears shed because it hurt to see such beautiful land go up in flames.

I so often take this long strip of nature for granted. I drive next to it often yet think nothing of it. I just expect it to always be there. Today I realized it will not always be there, and even if it is, it was forever changed today.

I called as many loved ones as I could. I told them I loved them. I told them I was safe. I did what I should do every single day regardless of nature’s wrath. This fire reminds me that everything can literally change in a matter of seconds. People have lost all of their memories and sense of safety today.

To all those affected:

My heart breaks with yours. I am sorry you have had to endure such a loss and/or trauma. And while things might seem irreparable right now, remember that your spirit can never be broken. Remember that you are a part of a larger community and that you are and will never be alone. If you need to talk, reach out to me, I am always here to listen. If not me, reach out to your fellow neighbor.

And to the brave responders and volunteers: I am sending you all of my love and strength, thank you for all of your heart, bravery and hard work. You are changing the course of history as we speak.

Today was not the best of days for many, but let’s all make sure to make tomorrow better by letting all those around us know they matter and that we care.

Love Always and Forever,

Karen

Is There Ever A Reason For a Mass Shooting?

las vegas, massacre, death, kill, shoot, shooter, mass shotting, mandalay bay, country, music, concert, rifle, crazy, insance, pyschopath, mental, ill, sick, angry, upset, hate, love, together, story, why, matter, reason, motive, matter, death, casualties, survive, involved, help, donate, gofundme, heart, give,I know this topic is trending. I know many political issues will come to the fore again. I dislike writing about what everyone else is but my heart aches, so I will go with what my heart wants to write about.

I go to Las Vegas very often. I also regularly attend shows and concerts there. Last time I went to Vegas I had the lingering thought that something terrible could happen while there. And while these thoughts do not serve me, they do plague many minds.

How could they not? With so many recent violent acts, it is hard not to be afraid.

I heard a witness say this morning that he really doesn’t care “why” this person did this. I must agree with him.

I don’t care what you are going through, who you are angry with, who did you wrong, why you are dissatisfied with your life or the reasons you jotted down on paper or in your mind, there is no real “motive” or “reason” for killing innocent people.

I know we are obsessed with finding reasons for all tragedies. I know it is difficult not to put issues, incidents, and things into certain categories to better understand them.

I do much the same, I often want to know more about the “killer” or the person we have to blame for so much pain during such instances. I watch a lot of real crime and forensic shows so I often want to play detective myself.

I don’t want to do that today. I don’t care who this guy was. We have already made so many killers famous through means of their channeled hate. I choose love and I choose to help those affected in any way possible.

I don’t usually donate money to anything, mostly because I don’t have much to give, but that all changed today. I don’t have much to give, but I will give what I can with all of my heart… I donated to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund GoFundMe page this morning. I didn’t do it for myself, I did it for all of the families affected by this tragedy. I really didn’t have a choice.

This tragedy hits extremely close to home for me. Las Vegas really does feel like a second home for me, it’s definitely my safe haven. I go there to escape the routine and just have a good time (as do most people).

To The Killer: You are a coward. I don’t care why you did this, but I do care that you have instilled fear and pain among humanity in general. I will do what I can to help those that survived and the families of all those involved. I want to know about the people affected, I want to know their stories, I want to know no more about you.

You will only bring us closer together.

I have a friend who I lost to suicide. And while I wish I knew the reason “why”, it really doesn’t even matter anymore. He is gone and nothing will bring him back. The same goes for all those lost and wounded during this massacre. The “why” someone decided to this is inconsequential, in the end, it really doesn’t matter.

What does matter is what we do as a society after such an incident.

I do often wonder if my friend was always mentally ill or if it was a sheer moment of panic that took him over. The same goes for this horrible gunman, I wonder if you were always sick or if you went through a sick moment. But then I think, if I do find this out, will it finally put my heart and mind at ease?

Probably not.

Is there ever a motive or reason for a mass shooting? No. We all have free will and unfortunately some choose to provoke pain upon others and/or themselves.

Love Deeply and Forever,

Karen

Why It’s Okay To Need Help

help, helping, okay, need, friend, family, love, support, pride, cowardice, anxiety, future, insecurityAs a 20-something year old, I have learned how to deal with chaos in the most graceful of ways. I don’t cry as often as I used to at the sign of dismay. I try to make the best out of every situation even if it might not seem like it at the moment.

I have done a really good at job keeping it together over the last two years. I always realize I will “be okay” and that one slight bump in the road is not necessarily the end of the world.

I have found zen within my soul on a daily basis. I can drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic with a huge smile on my face and tons of love in my heart.

While I have learned to keep my emotions and life in check (for the most part), I still have my moments. I still have anxiety visit me once in a while. It likes to remind me that I still have a lot more growing and healing to do. It reminds me not to look to far into a future that is still so very uncertain.

The best I can do is remind myself to stay in the present moment and realize life will knock me down more times than I would like to admit. The trick is to fall gracefully.

I broke down last week. I lost my composure. I cried in frustration. It was a true moment of weakness for me. I phoned all the people I care about. I let it all out.

I quickly realized I needed help. I didn’t want to admit that I don’t have my life completely together, but then I realized I don’t and that’s totally okay. Like I have said before, we never really have our shit all the way together. Anxieties will always exist and push us to overcome them in the best way we can.

I hate asking for help. I have always thought it was a sign of weakness. I am not sure where I made this idea up, but it is not healthy to think this way. I am at a point in my life where I do need help sometimes and I have a team of loved ones that are willing to lend a hand.

I feel guilty asking for help because I often feel I have nothing to give others.

And this is where my insecurities come in. Giving does not have to come in a monetary package, we give to others each day whether we feel like we do or not. We give each other love, support, service, advice and comfort. Life is a series of constant exchange.

The minute I talked to my team-my friends and family-I realized I am not alone in the world and asking for help is not a sign of cowardice. I realized I add value to the lives of others and I must acknowledge this each and every day.

I also realized that people want to help those they care about and it’s okay to take part in this exchange.

We are all in this together. Although it is easy to let pride get the best of us, help can give us more power than we ever thought possible. Accept help when needed and remember to help others in need. You never know when the next helpful exchange may happen.

Love Deeply and Forever,

Karen