Monday, December 29, 2014


For so long
I stood
gazing into the abyss
wishing for
a swift wind
to blow me away.
The darkness
but I was
unable to take
the final step.
Now through clouds
dawn breaks
and my legs
move at last
in the other direction.


Little flower
from the ground
with power
far beyond
your gentle appearance.
withstanding elements
defying odds.

Friday, December 26, 2014


If only outside
revealed what lies within.
True beauty is found
beneath one's skin.
A perfect face, unworthy goal.
I prefer a gorgeous soul.

Friday, December 5, 2014


The story
of euphoria
has yet
to be written
but I am smitten
with the thought
of encountering
that feeling.
Am I revealing
too much?
So out of touch
with the notion
of knowing
that emotion.
I am yearning
to start learning
how it might feel
not to conceal
this burning desire
the ceaseless fire
in my soul.
My only goal
is growing
and knowing
the story of me...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Life in Motion

Wax and wane
as days roll past.
Tender moments
never last.
Terror unbound
the die is cast.
Now unfurling
way too fast.
Must make way
for what is near.
Ceaseless challenges
rife with fear.
The past is gone
the future unclear.
Breathe in the now
for you are here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Just Breathe

Interminable days
and the blackest nights
seem like death
come to life
but please believe
you will survive
for hope is life.

Little Bird

Little bird
fix that wing
find your voice
and sing.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Sent this email to a cherished friend early this morning and thought it was worth sharing because it applies to each one of my dear friends, hopefully some of whom will see this.
Life is so fucking hard and so frequently awful but I have finally learned to be grateful for it, even in my darkest moments. It sure as hell beats being dead (or so I'd imagine). 
I am grateful for hope and growth and the opportunity that comes with each new day to make the world better, not only for others (usually my focus) but also for myself.
I appreciate that in spite of every obstacle in my way, all the loss and the fact that every single day I wake up wearing an imagined noose, standing on a chair, deciding whether I should take a step or yank that fucker off my neck and live another day, I somehow manage to keep making the right decision.
I am utterly thankful for those I love, the beautiful, strong, fragile, damaged, supportive, amazing souls who love me for exactly who I am and that, of course, includes you, in such an immeasurable way.
Happy thanksgiving.
With love, 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Nothing hurts
like the truth
but I prefer it
bandaid-pull quick
to the meandering stroll
of condescension.
Not always
but now
when I am strong enough
to listen
without self-condemnation

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What's in a Name?

What's in a name?  A lot, apparently.  I mean, think about it, what is the first thing perspective parents consider upon learning the sex of their child (or even before)?  A name, generally, is something one is stuck with for the rest of one's life.  It helps define a person (or thing), giving others an immediate impression.

This blog was "born" under the name "Kari On".  It seemed clever, seeing as my name is Kari (and it helped clear up the whole "Carrie" vs. "Car-ree" pronunciation thing, usually).  Plus, really, "carrying on" is something I have been trying to do since birth, not in the rowdy sense but in the simple, "continuing to exist" kinda sense.  Which brings me to my new blog name.

When I joined twitter (what seems like 109 years ago), my original handle was the oh-so creative Kari_Murphy (because, of course, KariMurphy was taken).  It worked for me, for years in fact, but it never felt special.

Eventually, I decided on the perfect new handle, PerseveringLilly.  I decided that "persevering" defined my newly-adopted spirit of recovery.  Lilly was chosen for a character in John Irving's book "The Hotel New Hampshire".  She is a character who defined perseverance, at least to me; a writer, overcoming seemingly unconquerable odds until, sadly, she no longer could.  Alas, PerseveringLilly was one character too many for a twitter handle.

So, I was persevering but a persevering what?  Which brings me to a manatee. Yes, you read that right, a manatee. Manatees have long been my favorite animals in the world.  Slow, lumbering, peaceful and gentle (and, in my eyes, completely beautiful).  I have been an "adoptive parent" to many manatees over the years through the Save the Manatee Club but my very first was a female named Star (so named for her star-shaped markings).  Sadly, she passed away before my year's adoption was up but she will forever remain special to me, a beacon of light.  What, I ask you, could symbolize perseverance more?  To me, nothing.  Thus, my twitter handle became PerseveringStar. The name defines me, my hopes, my recovery, my insistence on survival, no matter how difficult the struggle may be. This blog is an outlet, a tool, my escape, my salvation.

What's in a name?  A lot.  And henceforth, Persevering Star will be this blog's name.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


In darkness
lies the whole
of who I once was.
in shadows
seemingly allergic
to the light.
Wearing fear
like a blanket
draped over my soul.
Even now
I find myself
in that familiar place
all too often.
But occasionally
there is color
and laughter
and for just a moment
life ceases
to mock me.
I wish
that I could
name that place
and claim it
for a while
or forever.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Six Words

silently screaming
ceaselessly beating
hopefully breathing

Monday, November 3, 2014


great and small
or bullet-quick
but always
leading me home.


I will not be afraid
to sing loudly
or dance badly
but alas
is not that day.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


I realize now that I never shared with you the fact that I am, albeit temporarily, a student again.  This coming Wednesday, sadly, will be my final session of five in a continuing ed. writing workshop I've been taking at a local college.  It has been such a wonderful experience.  As you may or may not realize, I have not held a job in seven years.  It shames me to say this but my last attempt in 2010 ended quite badly, with me in hysterics every morning before reporting for work and giving up after only four days.  I have had big plans in my head ever since, to volunteer, take a class, do something but alas, it was not to be.  My depression and anxiety were literally paralyzing.  Just the mere thought of making a commitment, to anything, terrified me and I just couldn't overcome it. Until now.  Granted, this is just a tiny baby step back into the land of the living, reentry into the world of the functioning adult, but I am insanely proud of myself for having taken it. I truly hope it leads to more and better.  I definitely know, if nothing else, I WILL be taking another class this spring, hopefully with many of the same classmates.

Anyway, this preamble was leading to this, my sharing of my final class assignment.  Each week, our professor (who prefers to think of herself as a fellow workshop participant, very cool) gives us a selection of writing prompts to choose from and we are then given carte blanche to write about them in whatever form we wish, poetry, prose, memoir, etc.  In our fourth class, I was introduced to a form of poetry called the pantoum.  (I would not be able to adequately explain it to you, I generally write free verse in a stream of consciousness style but I suggest you google pantoum.  Fascinating!  The repetitive nature is all part of the format.) As I implied, my poetry rarely has a set structure (aside from the occasional haiku) so this was a true challenge for me.  I completed my very first pantoum in class with my peers and decided, for my final assignment, to challenge myself to write another. The result is what follows.  Not surprisingly, it is called, "Depression".

how to unleash this heavy burden
it is a monster many encounter but few understand
the darkness may lie dormant but it never leaves
it is weighty and it is cumbersome

it is a monster many encounter but few understand
i am so afraid
it is weighty and it is cumbersome
there is no escape

i am so afraid
surrender means death
there is no escape
i will fight on

surrender means death
blue skies break through black clouds
i will fight on
my strength is my salvation

blue skies break through black clouds
i am tethered to hope
my strength is my salvation
despite all i will prevail

i am tethered to hope
the darkness may lie dormant but it never leaves
despite all i will prevail
how to unleash this heavy burden

Friday, October 31, 2014


Deceptively near
your siren's call
beckons me
through the night air.
My metronome
ticking time.
The sound
that leads me
inescapably home.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


She is owl-wise
and feline in movement
each choice 
made with easy grace
and a dash of whimsy
measured thought
and instant contemplation.
Such effort
appears effortless
her style
completely her own.
History lives
behind her eyes
vast and varied
just waiting
to be shared
and learned
her book
still being written
with each measured breath
each molecule
collaborating with the next
crafting the story
of her beautiful life.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Portrait of an Artist

I am trying to reconstruct this post from one I had written elsewhere, copied and, for some godforsaken reason, lost in the ether.

Just yesterday it struck me, for the first time, how similar writing is to acting. Both are soul-bearing, potentially soul-crushing, vocations. Each exposes one's innermost workings and vulnerabilities, requires one to lay one's heart bare before others.  Artists, be they writers, actors or practitioners of the fine arts, are among the most courageous, vulnerable, brilliant, damaged, beautiful souls I have ever encountered. (Though writing has, thus far, only been my avocation, it is my most sincere wish to parlay this "talent" into a paid profession.) Like actors, we writers utilize a myriad of outward "voices" yet, in spite of this, cannot help revealing our truest selves through our work. It is our blessing, our curse, our gift and our burden to reach levels of rawness and realness, albeit "masked", that few others ever visit let alone frequent. We dwell in ourselves, which some may perceive as narcissistic. I prefer to look upon it as brave.

In closing, I applaud each of us who chooses to not only listen to but expose our innermost voice through creativity and art. It is truly an exercise in courage and, against all odds, a leap of faith.

Monday, October 13, 2014


The reality
that I am not
and never will be
anything even resembling
but that I am enough
maybe even more than
just as I am.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


If could turn
outside in
and the pain
was in my skin
I could treat it
and heal
but instead
it is in my head
and oh
so real.

Friday, October 3, 2014

For Shirley

Sharp pain
a dull ache
and constant.
My heart cries
for all lost
and for you
for you.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Undeniably Me

Love me
hate me
you'll see
my need
to impress
will matter
far less
and I will
be free
undeniably me.

Monday, September 22, 2014

"Internet" Friends

So, I've come to the decision that the unenlightened who don't think that "internet" friends are "real" friends can go fuck themselves and here's why.  It is fucking EASY to be "offline" friends. If you are physically with someone, you have the advantages of not only verbal but visual aids in determining intent and meaning. You can hear their tone of voice, pick up sarcasm, see their facial expression. If a friendship can survive the land-mine that is text on a screen, where intent and sarcasm can be so easily lost or misread, that's a real achievement. Most of the people that I love are in other locations and therefore, we have either not yet met or have met only once. However, this does not make our friendships "less than" or mean that if we were in close physical proximity that we wouldn't see each other often. I'm so sick of being judged for my online life. Yes, people are entitled to their opinions (however wrong they may be) but they don't get to tell me to find some "real" friends because my friends couldn't be more real. And trust me, they could verbally out spar other people's friends any day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Light speckles
dance against
an ebony sky
while crickets
chirp their songs
into cool
crisp air.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


and wanes
allowing fall
to slowly
into the

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pieces of Me

on a screen
my conduit
a vessel
the madness
of my mind
and the depth
of my heart.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


She emerges
from shadows
into the great
wide world
with aged wisdom
and new birth

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Reality Check

Blinders off
it is time to see
the world
exactly as it is
past the sunshine
and shadows
eyes wide open
the reality
far more terrifying
and beautiful
than the warped
you have known
for far too long.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Learning to Grow

The opposite of me
this going on faith
believing that
I am not
so easily forgotten.
Hard to balance
remaining myself
and learning
to grow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Missing you
and your unexpected
Though my heart
you are never
far away
my head
begs to differ.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lost and Found

broken and paralyzed
until light
pierces darkness.
she emerges
loved and free
finally found.

For M

In just
the right moment
under just
the right circumstance
or is it fate
lets darkness
meet darkness
and create
unimaginable light.

Monday, August 11, 2014


A tainted mind soars
into a painted sky on
angels' wings, now free.

RIP Robin Williams

Thursday, July 31, 2014


I love easily
and love hard
until I have
reason not to
and then still
maybe a little.

Friday, July 11, 2014


is the color of sky
the color of eyes
filled with tears
wondering why
hard as I try
my longing soul
and desperate heart
are so blue.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Independence Day

Though I bend
I will not break.
You've no idea
what I can take.
My will is strong
my heart is true.
Push me?
Wound me?
Fuck you.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Just Breathe

It is never
too late
to become
who you are
if you think less
feel more
and just
keep breathing.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


I do not ask
for flashing neon
or concentrated sun.
I would not know
what to do
with those.
For me
the smallest sliver
of light
is more than enough.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Life's Work

I'm still afraid of so much and when I think about it all, it becomes far too overwhelming. So, I need to take life one day at a time, moment by moment, always remembering that this life is mine alone and that ultimately, the only standards I must meet are my own. I am an odd bird, others may not approve of or understand the way I live my life and that is okay, they don't have to. I have to stop trying to measure up to others, stop trying to live the conventional life so many expect, and simply remember to live in such a way that I cause no harm (or as little as possible), spread love and joy and can rest my head at the end of the day feeling content and comfortable in my own skin. Sounds easy enough, right? (Ha!) Off we go.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Storm Approaching

Grey clouds
across the sky
what wonders
do you contain?
Do you
gaze down
upon me
and wonder
the same?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

On This Night

Beneath a smoky
grey night sky,
sax in my ears
mingling with
the oncoming train,
plane lights
blinking overhead,
I hammock swing,
home at last.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Dear Me

Let me begin by saying that what you have overcome thus far in your life would be insurmountable for many. Even though you are often your own worst enemy, I want you to keep this in mind throughout this letter.

You are not your past.  Hell, you weren't even your past when you were living it.  Your self-perception has always been vastly different from the way other people perceive you.  You know this, first-hand, so stop judging yourself based on who you thought you once were.  Even if you had been that girl, you're not anymore.  It's okay, even vital, to let that go.

You are brave.  As I said, you have overcome many things in your life that would have taken down a weaker or less-determined person.  Be proud of that.  You know how to persevere, you do it every day.  Allow yourself time to revel in that, even if it is only for a moment or two, every once in a while.

You are kind.  You have always prided yourself on being kinder to others than they often are to you.  That is both a good and bad thing. Clearly, treating others well is a wonderful thing.  However, allowing others to treat you with less care and respect than you deserve is not. Likewise, treating yourself that way.

You are smart.  This, for some reason, is the one thing about yourself that you haven't often doubted but it's a real asset so it bears repeating. YOU...ARE...SMART.

You are worthy.  Yes, people define "worthiness" in different ways but regardless of the exact definition, you're it, girl.  You're worthy of kindness, respect and love.  Don't settle for any less.

Please try to remember these things.  Re-read this as often as necessary.  Hell, re-read it more often than necessary.  It can't hurt and it's far too easy for you to forget.

Lastly, don't try so hard.  In most areas, trying hard is a virtue and commendable.  Not so when you try too hard to make people love you.  If you have to work for your love, it isn't authentic and is therefore not worth troubling yourself over.  There are many who love you exactly as you are at this very moment.  This doesn't mean you shouldn't continue improving yourself every day but it does mean that love you have to beg for isn't worth having.

This is, perhaps, the most difficult thing for me to say but is probably the one thing you most need to hear.  I love you.  Truly, I do, and you deserve nothing less.

With everything good in my heart,

Friday, May 9, 2014


so familiar
and treacherous
I know you are sorry
to see me go
but it is well past time
for us to part ways.
Light beckons
no longer elusive
but inching closer
with each passing day
resplendent with rainbows
and cloudless skies
calling my name.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Let's Begin

For a girl
far too familiar
with fear
fractured fantasies
and loneliness
there are few words
more beautiful
than a sincerely uttered
and deeply felt

Friday, May 2, 2014


It feels so strange
not to question
the change
but to simply
be grateful
it's here.
It is time
to believe
to embrace
to receive
and to be
who I am
without fear.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pay it Forward

Sharing the following story at the request of my dear friend, Jenny, one of the most generous and selfless people I know on behalf of her friend, Anna Marie.  I am quoting the following from a Go Fund Me page and I am quite sure that this story will touch your heart as it did mine.

"On February 19th, 2014, my mom Constancia Cruz collapsed in Seoul International Airport while waiting for a flight home from the Philippines to California. She was immediately rushed to the local hospital and diagnosed with septic shock, a serious condition that severely impacted her vital organs. 

Her husband and my father, Pedro, headed to Korea to be with his beloved wife of nearly 50 years, and my 5 siblings and I also traveled to be by her side. Multiple treatments were administered - including cardiac bypass surgery, hemodialysis, and respiratory support. But after 76 arduous days in Intensive Care, our mother's health continued to deteriorate. And on April 28th at 2:19 pm, surrounded by my father and 2 siblings, she took her last breath.

Even with medical insurance coverage, nothing could have prepared our family for complications of international emergency care. After already paying $90,000 up front, of which only a fraction will be reimbursed, we still have to pay $157,000 to bring her body back home to the United States. We have contacted the U.S. Embassy, who told us they cannot help. In fact, numerous families have faced a similar scenario and were left no option but to leave their loved ones in foreign hospitals. 

We don't want this for my mom. As you can imagine, knowing she is at her desired final resting place would bring us closure and peace of mind.

To claim my mother's remains from the hospital, we have set a goal to raise $157,000, which is what we need to cover the bill. Audacious goal? Maybe. But one of the things I've learned from this experience is that people are truly kind and generous. We have felt the outpouring of love and support in so many ways. And it's in that spirit that I ask for your help. Even if you cannot make a donation, you can spread the word. Help bring our mom "home" this Mother's Day. 

With sincerest appreciation and thanks,

-Anna Marie on behalf of our family (Pedro, Andrea, Allan, Adrian, Amabelle, Amanda)"

If you have the means to assist, please consider it.  Even if you cannot afford to, just spreading the word and sharing this family's touching story will help.

Thank you!!

Here's the link where you can help:

Friday, April 25, 2014


The intensity
of joy
earned not found
cannot be measured
by any means
known to man
but can be felt
more deeply
than anyone
could imagine
at least
by me.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Dear friend
the one I never knew
I was missing
thank you
for listening
without judgment
or reprimand
for clearing
the fog
and quieting
the noise
for knowing
exactly who I was
even when
I did not
and for holding
my hand and heart
and returning them

(My blog is four years old, today. Thanks for taking the ride with me.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

More, Please

Unspeakable beauty
somehow penetrates
my once dark soul
breaching borders
breaking boundaries
after all these years
and I shall not question
but rather beckon
much more
of the same.

Monday, April 21, 2014


to see myself
through my own eyes
by the filter
of your opinion
and in spite 
of my illness
and its devious lies
with the clarity
born of ceaseless strength
and indefatigable hope.


You never cease
to astound
dancing through life
not unwise
but unburdened
by your dark memories.
How can you be
so brave
the way you
save yourself
from the perils
of uncontrollable
Your spark
a fire
to which
I aspire
as I make my way
through each day
a battle to be won.

Friday, April 11, 2014


You know
that ache
the one you
in the pit
of your soul
that says
you are not
Ignore it
because no one
is ever enough
until they stop
to be

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Letting Go

It's okay
if you don't love me
my life does not
depend on you.
It's okay
if you don't need me
for I know
that others do.
I've no ill will
toward any being
my hope is strong
my aim is true.
Follow your heart
upon your journey
and always know
that I will, too.


Ebb and flow
time and tide
life's a karmic
mystery ride.
Rise and fall
yin and yang
reach an end
begin again.
Lost and found
here and there
magic exists

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


What must it be like
to dance
on the sand
of the world
with foamy water
tickling your toes
and moonlight
guiding your path
your only music
the rhythm
of your own heart.

What must it be like
to just be.

Monday, April 7, 2014


Is it better
to never
occupy a space
or to know
how beautiful it feels
when it is full
and risk it
becoming emptier
than you ever
could have imagined?


The veil
has been lifted.
The fog
is now clear.
Every second
brought me here.
Doubts may linger
likewise fear
but bliss
at last
feels oh so near.


Countless stories
yet untold
endless beauties
to behold
when gentle arms
do enfold
a wounded heart
not yet cold.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Behind those eyes
lives a vibrant mind
over a fragile heart.
Smart enough
to know better
hopeful enough
not to.

Friday, April 4, 2014


Melancholy baby
all too familiar
with tears
spread your wings
and know
that you
are so much more
than this.


My words
are the soul music
of an untethered
and an unquiet


If I was
in your eyes
would my life
be perfect
or am I
better off
being beautiful
only to me?

Friday Music

on air
my companions
on this ordinary
of my life.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


My mind is sharp
my heart is strong
and through it all
I sing my song.
you might
sing along.

Monday, March 31, 2014


When I feel
most alone
I seek solace
in the purest
thing I own.
My words
are my home.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Slowly drowning
losing breath
one second
at a time
then suddenly

Don't Wait

Do we all
wait a lifetime
to become
who we are
without reservations
or is that
just me?


Sing me a song
of love and redemption
in which fair young maidens
rescue themselves
not the blue song
my heart sings
too often
too loud


Beneath the fear
amidst the pain
the little girl
still remains.
The die uncast
the slate now clean
watch this girl
begin again.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A "Piece of Shit in Progress" No More

It is rare that one can pinpoint, with absolute certainty, the exact day a friendship began.  Rarer still, the realization that that very same day is the day one decided to change one's life.

It was a big white house, at least, that's how I remember it.  It was comprised, presumably, of many small rooms, not unlike the one I spent time in about once a week.  This room had shelves of toys and games, a desk with someone sitting behind it and a chair for me to sit in while I conversed with someone about who knows what.  I was about seven years old and this was my first experience with therapy.

Fast-forward about thirty-two years.  It was the summer of 2012.  I was spending a lot of time reading.  Not having grown up with the luxury of a library in my town, I was now immersing myself fully in the fact that the new town in which I lived (well, not new, exactly, but different than the one I had spent the first thirty-one years of my life in) had libraries EVERYWHERE.  And they were FREE!  Every town deserves that, doesn't it?  But, I digress.  I was particularly enjoying memoirs at this point (as I still do today) and I had finally reached my turn on the waiting list to receive one by an actress I had seen in a few things (though never the project she was best known for) and I was really looking forward to reading it.  It also happened that this actress was a recovering addict-alcoholic, a state I desperately wished my only brother could achieve.

To make a long story short, I devoured this book in a day and a half. When I looked at the cover, groaned slightly that she smoked (I have to admit, I hate cigarettes) but smiled at the candor of the shot, I had NO idea I was in for a life-changing book.  I should say, the author of this book is Kristen Johnston and the title is Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster.  I finished the book and immediately wanted to share with the world (and, hopefully, Kristen herself) what it meant to me.  So, I did what every red-blooded American girl does in the age of social media - I looked her up on Twitter.

My tweet read as follows:

"Just finished the beautiful and inspiring GUTS by the courageous @kjothesmartass and seriously, if you haven't read it, you must."

Now, you have to realize something.  Up until this point, I had used Twitter a handful of times.  I tweeted without expectation.  I certainly did NOT expect a reply.  Therefore, imagine my surprise when I got one, that very same day, from Kristen herself.

"Thank you so much, Kari. Sincerely."

Thud.  I was, to steal a phrase I adore from Gordon Ramsay, gobsmacked.  Never, EVER, had I expected Kristen herself to reply to me.  But, of course, this was when I only knew "Kristen Johnston, actress" and not Kristen, my friend.

Which brings me to this whole "new friendship/changing my life" thing. From that point on, a friendship slowly grew between Kristen and I. We continued tweeting a bit and I reached out to her on Facebook (my comfy social media place) as well.  Over time, we got to know each other better and grew closer.  Now, nineteen months and one day later, I consider her a dear friend and one of a handful of people I truly trust (and to think, I haven't even met her in person yet). I am also celebrating nineteen months and one day of my recovery from depression.  Coincidence?  Clearly not.

Yes, Kristen's book was about her journey, her experiences while actively using (one, in particular) but it's about SO much more.  My husband, Brian, refers to it as my "Rosetta Stone" because, for some reason, it reached me in a way that nothing else could.  It illuminated so much of what I hated about myself and wanted to change.  It gave me hope that despite my lifelong depression, I could rise above and have a better life. Yes, it gave me...HOPE.

When Kristen and I first started communicating, I was understandably intimidated and unsure of boundaries. Part of me wanted to tell her the entire story of my life immediately and part of me (sadly, not the part I listened to) realized that too much, too soon was NOT a good way to start any friendship, particularly one as unique as this.  I made mistakes, of course, but as time went on, I became more brave, more self-aware, more restrained (when necessary) and  I am proud to say that one thing I was on day one that I continue to be now is completely, unabashedly honest.  I refuse to live in fear of judgment or condemnation. Let me rephrase that.  I still FEAR those things but I don't let the fear paralyze me or prevent me from sharing of myself.  It is an incredible feeling.

Since August 21, 2012, I began taking meds (once again) for my depression.  I had stopped them for a few years for a few reasons, not the least of which was my lack of health insurance.  Being back on them has made a world of difference.  But, I only started them August 1, 2013. For almost a full year, I continued my battle as a white-knuckler, completely unaided by meds or therapy (which I still need to get back into now that I FINALLY have medical again).  It has been a hell of a battle.  It continues to be.  But I refuse to be defined by my depression for a single minute more.  It is part of me, not all of me.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to share something that shames me (even though I know it shouldn't).  I haven't worked in almost seven years.  (The last time I tried, four days of cashier training at a grocery store in 2010, did NOT go well.  Suffice it to say, the days began with hysterical crying and screaming and were permeated throughout with the constant desire to run out into oncoming traffic.)  This is something that crushes me.  I'm an intelligent person, I have a college degree, I have potential.  I also have debilitating fear.  I am trying to work on this.  (I know, this is sort of a Yoda thing.  Do or do not. There is no try.) But fuck, it's incredibly terrifying. I WILL overcome this in time as I have so many other things.  I am now stronger, braver, clearer and it is my sincere hope that this will continue for the rest of my life.  I will MAKE it happen.  But, a big part of that is living in the now and that's something I still struggle with a great deal.  However, I know now that I am MUCH better off than I was before. Hell, I'm better off today than I was yesterday and that is something.  A LOT, in fact.

So, me now compared to me on August 21, 2012?  A different person in SO many ways but in the positive ways, still me, a cheeky, funny, loving, intelligent, honest girl who wants desperately to be happy.  And sometimes, she actually is.  Just ask Kristen.

My husband bought me this necklace to celebrate one year in recovery.  I have never taken it off.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Persevering Star

there is
only now.
and never

Sunday, March 9, 2014

On Monster-Mania

How do I begin to describe my experiences of the past three days? Eye-opening, intimidating, lovely and ultimately, supremely-comfortable come to mind.

We began our journey on the LIRR (or, for those of you not from NY, the Long Island Railroad). We arrived in Penn Station with about 75 minutes until our Amtrak train to Philadelphia would depart.  I grabbed myself a Dunkin Donuts caramel coolatta and a breakfast sandwich and settled into a seat to wait. We took our Philly-bound train and then caught a cab from the 30th Street Station to our home base, the Crown Plaza in Cherry Hill, NJ. All in all, we spent about three and a half hours traveling/waiting.

We checked in, without incident, got unpacked, then headed down to the lobby to wait for Monster-Mania to officially begin. At four o'clock, we were permitted to enter the vendors' area and began browsing their respective wares, some of which were incredibly unique and creative. We saw many costumed folks including several creepy clowns and more than a handful of Freddy Kreugers (including, interestingly enough, Robert Englund walking past a costumed and masked Freddy. Surreal, much?)

Soon, we proceeded to the autograph room where my husband was lovely enough to treat me to an autograph from and photo with Dee Wallace, whom I adore as an actress and am becoming slowly acquainted with through her interesting and enlightening work with what I deem "self-awareness and self-appreciation counseling". Fascinating stuff and much-needed in my life of depression, self-doubt and self-condemnation and my ongoing quest to rise above and beyond. I presented her with a poem I had written for and inspired by her which she said she would be happy to read later when she had time to really sit with it. I briefly shared my struggles and she took both my hands in hers and advised me to "always remember that I am the god of my own life" and to take whatever obstacles I'm facing and "throw them the fuck out". Yes, ma'am. Love her!

Over the course of the next three days, I have been fortunate enough to attend multiple film screenings, attend many panel discussions, witness my first auction and meet the following fantastic folks: Chad L. Coleman,  Danny Pintauro, Daniel Hugh Kelly, director Lewis Teague, Rusty Schwimmer, Virginia Madsen, Ernie Hudson, Roger Jackson, Gunnar Hansen, Scott Wilson, Lisa and Louise Burns and last, but most-definitely not least, Victoria Price, who inspired me to record my adventures while they are fresh in my mind.

Highlights of these personal interactions included warm hugs from Ernie, Virginia, Rusty and Victoria and some genuinely kind and heartfelt verbal exchanges. Rusty made me laugh like no other and has a heart of gold. SO genuine! Ernie's earnest and true heart shone, Virginia reached out when she absolutely did not have to, Daniel Hugh Kelly forever endeared himself to me with his "Hi, I'm Danny, what's your name?" and a friendly handshake and Victoria impressed me immediately with her sincerity, warmth and complete lack of ego.

This weekend has been a true joy. Having had this opportunity to, however briefly, share a bit of myself with such a diverse group of individuals whom I admire and to, in some cases, have them share a bit back was incredibly fun and enlightening.  I hope to take part in subsequent conventions in the future.

What it boils down to is this, no matter who one is, where one comes from, what one's past may be or what one does (or does not) do for a living, what matters most in this life, for me, is being my true self, sharing her with others and being open to experiencing and learning from as many others as I can as much and as often as possible. We are all just beings seeking joy, comfort and connection and really, what more could one ask for?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Not Yet Sleepy

So much
hidden in shadows
for so very long
now radiant
in the full
light of day.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Please Read

Some of you know, some of you may not, my dear friend, actress, activist and recovering addict/alcoholic Kristen Johnston, is tirelessly working towards the creation of NYC's first sober high school through her organization SLAM (Sobriety Learning and Motivation).  This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. SLAM is currently taking this campaign directly to the new Chancellor of NYC schools, Ms. Carmen Fariña, with a letter-writing campaign.  The following is the text of the the letter I will be sending.

Dear Chancellor Carmen Fariña:
My name is Kari. My brother's name was Jeff Feldman. I write “was” because on December 21, 2012, my mother came home from work to find Jeff lying on the bathroom floor, in a pool of his own blood, dead. An autopsy later confirmed what we already suspected. Jeff died of acute pancreatitis as a result of 20+ years of alcoholism and addiction. He was 36.

It breaks my heart when I recall Jeff approaching my parents and I, at age 15, to admit, for the first time, that he suspected that he had “a problem with drinking.” He, like I, like our mother, grew up in Carle Place, New York, a Long Island town of one square mile, home of what was the second smallest public high school on Long Island. I suppose there were perks to graduating in a class of 98 students, as I did in 1991, but there were also many drawbacks, one of which was the inability to reinvent oneself. Once you were pegged a “burnout”, as my brother was in high school, it was virtually impossible to escape that classification. You know the type, the kid who could often be found under the bleachers on the athletic field, drinking or smoking cigarettes or pot. Yeah, Jeff was that kid, as were many others.

At 15, there was still time. I shudder to think that a sober high school could have saved my brother's life. At 15, he wanted to get help, was ready and willing to work a program. The only thing was, there was only so much he could do in such a sheltered and small (in many ways) environment. Despite his best efforts and MANY attempts to detox and get rehab over the years (especially with my parents' limited resources and the very limited resources offered to him by the state of New York), he could not be saved. A sober high school could have made ALL the difference. The problem is, New York doesn't have any.

A school like SLAM could have saved Jeff Feldman. It could have saved his father, Doug, deceased since 1999, the heartbreak of seeing his son struggle for so many years. It could have spared his mother, Kathy, the devastation of finding her dead son in a pool of blood, despite all of her attempts to save him over the course of 20 years. It could have saved his sister, Kari, me, the pain of writing this letter to you right now, the years of guilt and misery caused by “would have, could have, should haves” and the ultimate realization that there was NOTHING I could have done differently that would have saved my only brother, my only sibling. A school like SLAM WILL save countless lives, not only those of the addicts themselves but their families, friends and loved ones. A school like SLAM MUST be a reality.

Thank you for your time and consideration. On behalf of all addict's families, I offer my heartfelt plea that this school becomes a priority for you like it is for so many others, like myself, dedicated to seeing this plague of addiction stop stealing away so many souls desperate for help.


Jeff's sister, Kari Murphy

If you are an addict/alcoholic, love one or even know one (which you do if you are reading this post, my brother, Jeff), please help.  Send your letter to:
332 Bleecker Street
New York, NY, 10014
** att: "SLAM letter campaign" on envelope***

Address the letter to either Ms. Carmen Fariña, the brand new Chancellor, or simply to NYC's Board Of Education.

Letters MUST be received by SLAM no later than February 1.

For more information about SLAM, please click HERE to visit their website.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for reading this and thank you for taking part.  Please pass this message on to your friends and family.

With love,

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year, New Outlook

New year, new outlook (or rather, a new determination to embrace a healthier outlook).  Hold the ones you love close, cherish them, every minute of every day.  Release the ones who no longer make you feel like your best self.  Life is too short to live in regret and self-condemnation.

Sometimes, people grow apart.  Not everyone is going to like you forever or at all (in fact, most people won't).  That is okay.  It doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with you or them.  It just means that you are meant for different things.  Be grateful for the time you had together, wish them well in their journeys and continue yours, head held high, knowing that countless adventures await you.

Love yourself, the good, the bad and everything in between.  There is only one you in the entire course of history and there only ever will be. That's pretty damn special, don't you think?