when love isn’t love

(reflections on my past, not my present)

love is patient and kind.

love never fails.

but what about when love isn’t love.  like a beautiful box of hope, wrapped in the best paper with the prettiest of bows, with a smile ear to ear at the anticipation of the feeling inside, opened to discover emptiness.

raised voices. cold stares. fear. words said with “because i love you” but that love isn’t love.

you know inside it isn’t, but begin to wonder, what is it. it’s not all bad all the time.

maybe i’m sensitive, maybe it’s me, maybe i need to try harder. and you do. you try.

you try, with tears in your eyes. you try, with fear in your heart. you try, hoping, that if you can just be what they want, they’ll love you. they’ll stop yelling, they’ll stop hurting your soul, breaking your spirit. they’ll see you like they did all those years ago, when you first thought (felt) they were loving, that they cared, that they would protect you. before it all changed, before you found yourself lost in a world you didn’t recognize.

it’s not love. when someone says they “love you” and treat you without it, it isn’t love.

it isn’t love. when they crush your spirit, make you question who you are. make you feel like there isn’t anything left to love, that no one else would want you. that they’re just trying to help you not become who you don’t want to be because they “love” you. it isn’t love.

even when they say it, “i love you”, it isn’t love. it’s empty. hollow words meant to hold something so great, but all that exists is darkness.

it takes time to understand that what may have started as love, isn’t. the words don’t carry any meaning. it cannot bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. we want it to, but when love isn’t love, it is vacant of the healing and power that honest love possesses.

love that isn’t love, fails.

but remember this, you are worthy of real love. you may struggle as you relearn these things, to trust, to open yourself up. you’ll find yourself struggling to feel that you are enough, you are good, you are not all the things they said you were. you will one day feel love warm your heart, illuminate your soul, fill the box with all it was meant to hold. to know the love that is love, the love that does not behave indecently, does not become provoked, the love that never fails.

be kind to yourself.

love heals hearts.





the truest of true – friendship

the truest of true know no time or distance, they are forever there. no matter the time, the distance, forever in your heart, you care for them, they care for you and when you see each other, it’s as if no time has passed.

nearly 7 years ago, my world changed. drastically. the life i had known and the people in it were now over 3,000 miles away. my natural ability to trust had been questioned, i was now faced with hoping i could trust and rebuild. the trauma i went through reshaped my trust and, with that, my self-protection kicks in, so when i trust and love you, i do with my whole being, those closest to me are my family and i love them fiercely.

a year ago, my precious seattle family made a huge decision to move to my home coast, moving them nearly 3,000 miles away. i’m not going to lie, it was hard (read: traumatic), many tears were shed (read: sobbed). when you are faced with your truest of true no longer being five minutes away, when those last minute “let’s cook dinner and have an impromptu dance party” are to become memories, it honestly is a loss that one has to mourn.

sometimes we must allow ourselves time to mourn changes in our universe, it can be a period of sadness, but also a period for reflection. during this time, my belief in the truest of true was renewed. i visit, they visit, we laugh, we embrace, the love is forever there, the string connecting our hearts just got a bit longer, stretching the distance, keeping us connected.

through everything, there are those precious few that have stood the test of time and remain with me on this journey of life, i am forever grateful for my truest of trues.  you see, time and distance will do that.  if the truest of true is there, it will always be there.



IMG_4425[1]healing is a constant journey. there are parts of my life that are hazy, distant memories of a past that does not feel like mine. a place in time where i existed but didn’t live. my life as it is now feels like home, like me, the me i’ve always been.  it makes my past feel so distant and foreign.

(all is not lost disclaimer: mixed among this haze are memories of people i love and times spent with them, those things will forever be dear to me.)

everyone’s lives change, people come and go, we move, we evolve. my personal journey has taken me to places that i long-wished i could forget. as of late, i feel those memories are slowly fading into distant memories, hazy and faraway.

when my brain flashes back to times and places when i was trapped in a life that i thought i would never escape, in a life that was full of tumult and memories that have affected me for a long time – i feel as though i’m looking through a window and peering into a home that isn’t mine. watching people live their lives from a distance, watching myself from the outside.

i feel this haze is a protection for my heart and soul. to dwell on the past can be immobilizing. it can keep us from moving forward, from enjoying the life we have been given, to find happiness and joy.

not every day is easy, with battles i fight within myself, with myself, my journey continues, i’m working on self-compassion, it’s a long trail with hills, bumps and deep valleys.

but, my life now is mine, with new memories clear like a gorgeous cloudless sky.


the truth inside

i have learned, that who a person truly is, is on the inside, it’s in their core, the heart and soul of who they are.

many years ago, i was made to question who i was, the very truth that lies inside of me. someone cast the doubts in my head, they told me i was something other than who i knew myself to be, and over time, their opinion cast shadows over my truth. it has taken a long time for those shadows to fade into the light, and even now, i am not completely free of the damage.

it is for these reasons that my trust is no longer immediate as it once was (in the days of my naivety), but rather, it comes over time.  you see, i want so much to believe that every person has nothing but goodness inside, but in this world we live in, evil exists, and that is the truth.

i will never understand how the mind of someone claiming to be one thing, but inside being something completely different works.  who are they, really? do they care, what do they want, what do they feel, do they feel?

we cannot escape truth, for it is there, inside of us and in front of us. no one can take our truth from us, it is always there.  try as they may to take our truth with their lies, they cannot steal what we hold inside of us.

there is such peace in surrounding myself with truth – where love and care motivate the soul. there are good people in this world, with hearts full of love and compassion.


cat tuesday – finding comfort

this week’s cat tuesday brings us back to peyton and how he is providing comfort to a very shy kitty named tabitha.  i remember meeting tabitha for the first time several weeks ago.  she was curled up in the back of her cage, having no desire to elicit attention, affection or have anyone getting too close to her.  with patience and love, i’ve watched her change from one week to the next.  she is one of those cats that my heart hurts for, to see her so scared and wanting to be able to tell her that she is safe now and that everything will be okay, to show her what love is.

enter peyton.

there is something about sweet peyton that brings her comfort.  tabitha oberves him receiving affection and realizes it must not be so bad, moving her body a bit closer to the humans’ hands she begins to enjoy affection.  together, they lie close to one another, grooming and relaxing.

this week, during my cat tuesday shift, i looked in on peyton and tabitha and i saw the two of them like this

peyton and tabitha holding paws
peyton and tabitha holding paws

how sweet to see the comfort they provide to one another.  paw in paw they have found peace in this moment.

these moments, experiences, touch my heart and soul.

there is always hope.

we don’t always know the history of the animals that come through our doors, we don’t know what they’ve been through, how they’ve been treated or mistreated.  but we do know that they all deserve love.

one of my favorite sayings is “be kind – for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” (plato)

humankind can learn much from these two.  we don’t always know what someone has been through, we can’t change their past but we can affect their present and future.

cat tuesday – peyton


asleep on a shelf in the middle colony sat peyton.  his fur, greasy and dirty, ears tattered from neighborhood fights, scars across his nose and the broad jowls that are a visible characteristic of a tom cat.  his life on the streets may have made a mark on him, but his heart is full of hope.

i meet new cats each week during my shift at cat city, and each time, i am patient and slow, observing the body language and reaction which will tell me if i’m invited to get closer or if they need their space.  

knowing that this boy had lived his life on the streets, seeing its mark on his face, i was drawn to him, wanting to give him the loving attention that he had missed out on until now.


not only did he allow me to pet him, he wanted me to.  how could i resist.  i sat down, patted my lap and over he came, he pushed his head into my hand and curled up in my lap.

peyton snuggling up on my lap

it was hard to leave this boy, he just wanted love, he just wanted to curl up and stay in this peaceful place with snuggles and attention.  peyton will be an amazing boy for his forever family.  as of this post he is still available for adoption, you can see his details here 

animals deserve to be loved and to know what it’s like to be loved.  please spay and neuter, please keep your pets safe and happy indoors.

cat tuesday – emma

this week’s cat is emma.  a very special name to me, as it’s my middle name which i was given in remembrance of my great-grandmother, whom my father loved very much, she died before i was born, but her name stays with me always.

back to feline emma.

miss emma is a sweet and pretty tortie who came to PAWS with several other cats from a home that had too many cats.

when i first met emma, her shyness broke my heart, as she peered from inside her hidey-bin.  she wants nothing more than to have you pet her, she’ll push her head against your hand, asking for more, all the while purring away.  just look at this face

emma sitting pretty at the window
emma sitting pretty at the window                                                            (c) k.emma 2013

oh and as soon as you touch her back, she’ll shoot her butt straight up in the air, we call this the “butt elevator” and she’s great at it, it’s her way of saying “yes, I like that VERY much!”

hello elevator butt!
hello elevator butt!                                                                                             (c) k.emma 2013

i chose emma for my cat tuesday because, i’m afraid she gets overlooked so often.  during visiting hours, she’s most likely to be found in one of the hidey-bins around the colony.  when potential adopters come through, they don’t often pay much attention to the cats in the bins, and, she is one of the many amazing ones that are hiding away, a hidden gem of sweetness.

last night, at the end of my shift, i went into the colony she resides in (the orange colony, as you can tell by the wall shelf color), there she was, in her bin.  she looked out at me, i soft-blinked at her, she soft-blinked back, and i knew then she was my cat tuesday girl.  i sat down next to her bin, placed my hand inside and began to pet her, she purred, bumped my hand with her head when i stopped and was content.  when the day had come to a close for cat city, and all was quiet, out came emma from her bin and she perched herself on the wall shelf.  there she stayed as she soaked up attention, pets and love.

content on her wall shelf
content on her wall shelf                                                                                   (c) k.emma 2013

these are my thoughts; emma is an amazing and sweet lady.  she is loving and mellow.  she would be most comfortable and happy in a quiet adult-only home.  if you are looking for a sweet cat to bring into your life, maybe emma is for you.  if you think she’s as beautiful as i do, and she sounds as sweet as she, you can visit her at the cat city location of paws in the university district of seattle.  just remember, she’s probably in one of the bins, so ask one of the staff members or very helpful volunteers if you can visit with her and they’ll take you into a private room where you can get acquainted (and hopefully, fall in love).

you can read more about emma here

until next time, be kind to animals and remember adopt don’t buy!

cat thursday – alley cat

a special addition this week to cat tuesday, cat thursday!

for the past 3 years the Alley Network Project has hosted an adoption event for PAWS during one of the well known “first thursdays” in pioneer square.  last night was the Alley Cat III and it was wonderful!

nord alley - 1st ave s & occidental ave s - and the ever popular kitten kissing booth
nord alley – 1st ave s & occidental ave s – and the ever popular kitten kissing booth

a gorgeous july evening in seattle, the music playing in occidental park, excited squees at the sight of the kittens.  we set up the tent, complete with 6 kittens and 1 very handsome 1 year-old cat, captain boots, who was featured in this week’s cat tuesday post.

captain boots and i hanging out in the alley.
captain boots and i hanging out in the alley.

people strolled through, ooh’d and aah’d, some came in the tent to meet and fall in love with the young purr boxes.  watching people who love animals, sit, relaxed, enjoying the peace that comes from the healing power of animals is amazing.  families with young children, individuals, young and old, with that love in their hearts, that absolute joy of “falling in love” with their new family member, the excitement and happiness that is in their faces.  it warms my heart and brings tears to my eyes, and i’m incredibly thankful to be part of it.

falling in love.
falling in love.

we had the most adoptions last evening than we have had at our prior 2 events.  in total, 4 kittens found their forever families, and some very special people are experiencing the newness, adventures and joys of their adoptions.  i’ve said it many times, animals are therapeutic, they have healed me in so many ways, and i know they do so for so many others.

giving bison a good-bye kiss before he heads to his new home.
giving bison a good-bye kiss before he heads to his new home.

here’s to love tiny ones!  you’re in loving homes, hands and hearts today.

kitten duo going to their new home.
kitten duo going to their new home.
bison and his new mom.  you're in good hands little one.
bison and his new mom. you’re in good hands little one.
clover and her new family, she'll be joining another little one that this family had just recently adopted at cat city.
clover and her new family, she’ll be joining another little one that this family had just recently adopted at cat city.

and thank you to david at pioneer pet feed & supply, for his support, amazing basket of goodies for our raffle prize, visit him at his shop and meet his amazing shop cats, ivar & vito!

awesome raffle prize from pioneer pet feed & supply
awesome raffle prize from pioneer pet feed & supply

and a big thank you to Steph and my fellow volunteers!

pixie and one of my fellow volunteers.
pixie and one of my fellow volunteers.

cat tuesdays

for me, animals are healing.  in late 2010, as part of my healing process, i searched for animal shelters where i could volunteer my time, and, in turn, heal in the presence of animals.  my search brought me to PAWS  PAWS is an amazing organization, and i am so grateful to be part of it.  i started off as a fill-in dog walker and even brushed a great pyrenees for 3 hours one day.  i wasn’t asked to, but me and the pup were enjoying our time together and he looked quite dapper afterwards (he was adopted by a family later that day).

my regular shift, which i have had every tuesday since 2011 is at PAWS Cat City in the university district of seattle.  i’ve combined my love of animals and photography into something i can give back, each tuesday, i help with the care, socialization and adoptions of the cats in our colonies and, i also take photos of the cats available for adoption, these photos are used on their profiles found on the PAWS website as well as Petfinder.org

a good photo can make all the difference for the animals.  a photo can start the process of someone coming into to visit PAWS, the loving face and eyes of a cute calico, tabby, tortie, torbie, etc etc etc, can grab hold of the heartstrings and bring you in to see them.

every tuesday for me is “kitty cat tuesday” and so i decided to share with you some of the very precious animals that come through our doors and await their loving forever home.

i present to you, CAT TUESDAYS

say hello to dusty – the amazing one-eyed handsome man … stay tuned for more precious felines!

as of this post, this sweet man is still available for adoption


dusty is a one-eyed handsome fella who gave me full face headbutts as his thanks for my brushing him.