Identify Yourself

These are attempts to understand conflicting thoughts, feelings, and emotions…

Some excerpts are quite charged, some are weighty with sorrow, and others are meaningful with definition. My hope is to actualize the important pursuit of both collective and individual identity.
Morning Reflection / Higher-Dimensional Thinking
Character (honesty, courage, integrity) defines class. Not what clan you come from, not how much capital you own, not what religious code you follow, and not what college you graduated from. Plain and simple – if you don’t have character, then you don’t have class.
A person who is at peace with themselves has no reason to hurt others. Most of us (including myself) are works in progress. Continue to practice forgiveness.
Our purpose in life is twofold: (1) Discover who you are, and (2) decide who you want to be. Then the essence of your existence becomes your contribution – your individualism, your imprint, your signature and legacy.
Perhaps the only good to come out of mental illness, for those who persevere, is its awesome power to redefine. It consistently makes us question who we are.
                To endure is to recognize that the only way around is through – to walk with the disturbance and bravely alongside it. To get comfortable with a horrific uncomfortableness – complete identity refinement. A survivor of mental illness then, is a person of definite caliber – a living testimony of strength, ability, and resolve – whose lasting tribute comes from a mind of intrinsic insight and a soul of exemplary intellect.
There is no condition in existence that’s more threatening to the human spirit than mental illness.
                First, it shatters an identity; then, it sabotages the mind; and ultimately, it promises to obliterate the soul. Until the stigma is abolished, people with mental illness will never get the ovation they deserve for the strength it takes to survive it.
Reflections from a Closet Optimist (And Victim of Conventional Wisdom)
America is financed on riches, fueled on racism, fed on sexism, foiled on religion, and failed on politics. In “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” freedom depends on our ability to choose and bravery equivocates to courage of thought. We are witness to the extinction of our foundational principles and the inherent self-destruction of our nation. Our country’s survival critically depends on the vote of the educated, the voice of the minority, the valor of those who serve, and the victory of bona fide progress.
I used to experience health without happiness, acceptance without dignity, fighting without purpose, and hope without courage. But they can coexist, together.
                It is ironic that an invisible illness has taught me to see so much of what is real. The best – and probably only – way for me to live is to radically accept the brutal realities of my own existence: I am a mentally ill individual with conditions that are disabling; my intention was never to be a burden, but I am to society and to the people around me; and that I have a high probability of losing my home, never being able to work again, and losing my sanity in the end. I don’t want to be afraid of mental illness – I only want to survive it.
                Sometimes, strength is not seen with the eyes or heard with the ears – it is simply felt with the heart. My only coping skill is to thoroughly acknowledge these things. Perhaps then I will be healthy and happy, I will accept with dignity, I will fight with purpose, and I will hope with courage.
Journal excerpt from December 2016: This was my conclusion after reflecting on the death of a friend who passed away from suicide…
I know now the paradox of light and dark – we cannot have, nor understand, one without the other. Only those who know the truth of the darkness can fully comprehend the brilliance of the light.

It became clear to me why I feel so hurt when a stranger, doctor, family member or friend will robotically infer that I am “symptomatic” upon an expression of an emotion – it implies that my emotion is directly correlated with an inability to control the mind. That assumption strips me from humanity – it refuses a permission to be full of feeling, emotion, thought, and passion. And it ignores mindfulness and the merit of aliveness. If I am not allowed to express without being inevitably branded, then who am I? What is humanity? And what does it mean to be human?

Copyright © 2017 KIMBERLY J. BRAGADO. All rights reserved.
By Kim Bragado for The Authentic Thinker