Why do we always have to do this?

“Why do we always have to do this?” I screamed from my belly so hard and loud that I felt the back of my throat burn with fiery pain. It was close to the first of the month and my Mother was loading up the speakers and stereo my grandma sent me for my birthday into her car. Box still taped up, I never even got to open them. That year, like every year, my brother got another video game console up at my Dad’s place, that my Mom helped pay for, and the following February, we were living out of the back of my Mom’s baby blue Plymouth with Lucky, my Mom’s cat, in a cat carrier, at a park N ride outside of my Mom’s work. It was right off of a major road and the interstate, so the park and ride were big and had lots of cards shuffling in and out of it. One day, after some friends took me by to see her, we told my best friend’s mom what was going on, and she invited my Mom to come and live with them for a few months while she got back on her feet. 

That was when I dropped out of school and got my first full-time job up-selling HBO and Cinemax premium channels at a call center about 2 miles from where my Mom worked. I had just turned 16. Despite always working a full-time job, and forgoing social security because it wasn’t enough to survive in Fort Collins, CO. my Mom never could quite make the bills work out. We were always going without one thing or another. Sometimes, most often, it was the gas or food. So no hot water for showers and lots of frozen burritos. I hated taking showers, and I think a part of me still does. I also never really did pick up cooking as much I had hoped, but I do enjoy cooking & growing my own food.

Back then we didn’t have a lot of options for busses and despite working for a local transportation company that had a monopoly on all the shuttles and taxis, my Mom would regularly have to walk miles to work, work a 10-hour shift, then turn around and walk home because we didn’t have a car or couldn’t afford to fix the one we had scraped together enough money to buy. Growing up always felt like we had been swimming a marathon and right when your hand touches the side of the pool a tide pulls you back out before you can get a grip. The only joy I ever seemed to find was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel just long enough to make out the tunnel collapsing. 

I always was fine, at least that’s what I would say. I made due at my friend’s house for a while, my best friend had a single Mom who felt sorry for me, so she would always insist I stayed at their place since my Mom worked a swing shift from 3-11 pm, and she didn’t feel comfortable with me being home alone all the time. 

The thing is, I was always alone. For the first 10 years of my life, I had grown up with a mom who suffered from catatonic mental health issues and a brother who had autism before autism was a thing, in a place with more poverty than happy endings. So moving to Colorado, and trying to navigate a Mom who had been heavily medicated for 10 years working and supporting me for the first time after my Dad left us for his new girlfriend, who he had been dating and was the reason he moved us 1500 miles away from our family while struggling with emotional neglect and mental abuse from my Father, and constantly fearing homelessness or for my Mother’s safety, I had become very comfortable with the fact that I did not live a life most of my peers could relate to. I was 12.

At this age, my only reprieve or understanding came from 3 sources with whom I felt could see and understand my plight in a way that made me feel honored and respected. Their guidance, albeit brief, is something that I revisit and synthesize regularly. Dan & Marilyn were a couple who were related to my best friend’s neighbors. 

Let me back up. 

I was born in Texas. My Mom was born to an unwed Okie at 16 in central California and my Dad was a good ol’ Navy boy from a North Texas Baptist family with a previous marriage lost to suicide and two daughter from a previous marriage that lived with his Mom. 

We moved when I was 2 years old and grew up in the Salinas Valley of California until I was 11, then I moved to a tiny little neighborhood called the Riverbend Ponds in Fort Collins, CO. in 1998. The Summer before 6th grade. When we moved into the new neighborhood, folks could tell we were not from around there, and I felt like a fish out of water, but in the smallest pond, I’d ever seen. My Dad had a pentagram tattoo, a catatonic wife and girlfriends, my brother was autistic, and my Mom was on a heavy dose of Prozac. In retrospect, it was about the most Colorado shit ever, just about a decade or two before its socially acceptable time. As such, the kids in the neighborhood were allowed to play with me, but most couldn’t come to my house, and not many invited me inside theirs. We moved to Colorado in June, and moved to another house by December, my Father never bothered to even buy furniture for it. We didn’t even have a sofa. That following May, after another screaming and yelling match, I begged my parents to divorce. I just wanted the years of screaming to stop, and by June, my Mom and I were moving into a care housing apartment across from Rocky Mountain High School. 

Outside of meeting my best friend, very few positive things came from living in these apartments. A pedophile who smoked joints convinced my friend to touch his penis, the neighbor above me was a 14-year-old boy with an ankle monitor, and the single mom across the way had 4 kids under the age of 5, was a sex worker who worked nights, and often would take advantage of the fact that my Mom couldn’t stand up for herself, so would leave her kids for me to watch from dusk till dawn. The youngest is still in diapers. 

Much to my own dismay, I stayed at the same school as the few friends I had met in the latter half of 6th grade, but by this point in school, I was falling behind my peers in almost everything. I had terrible acne and poor hygiene, and my self-confidence was shot. I had grown mean and guarded and developed an eating disorder that led to peptic ulcer disease and by 13 I had missed so much school that my Mom was facing court over my truancy. The truth was, it was too hard for me to be around so many normal people. I hated them and resented feeling forced to be reminded of what I couldn’t or didn’t have. A family. 

I would have to see my Dad every weekend, and I hated him more than anything in the world most days. I resented him for leaving my Mom and in return, I hated myself for wishing I could, too. One day I finally did. I hadn’t realized this would force my Mom out of her Care Housing but I desperately yearned for some normalcy and to not be surrounded by the influences of the impoverished community we were living in. I endured my Dad transitioning his anger and abuse to me once he no longer had my Mother to torture. My Dad and I had our last major blowout my sophomore year of high school. I had endured almost 5 years of public school in rural Wyoming and my freshman year of high school in deep deep Appalachian Kentucky. .While most friends could do things like go to their friends’ houses or hang out with boys, I was usually on restriction with iron bars and gates locked from the outside when my father left the house. 

After that, it’s safe to say I became an adult. And from there, the story gets even wilder. 

I suppose this is me finding the little girl who had the strength to endure it all, so I can try to share how she managed to do it with all of you. Then, I hope to make that little girl’s dreams come true..

A BLOG A DAY

Ya know the funniest thing I discovered in sobriety? I am totally not normal, and by normal, I mean to say that I seek to surround myself with people who are not like me. Who remind me of parts of myself I have always imagined myself to be.

I learned early on that life was much more about the community you build than acceptance around the immediate available to you. If you’re like me, and the immediate isn’t able to be very present, you find comfort in discomfort. You find yourself in the unfamiliarity of others, the parts of humanity that trace memories back to some sense of home within yourself. Each time feeling normal for a contentment around that immediate and and comfort it provides.

This blog is one of those places.

Goodnight

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Misguided ((Old Posts I never published)

Writing about mental health is challenging. When you are submerged in the deep thoughts of despair and hopelessness that often lead a person to seek mental health treatment, it can be challenging to feel worthy of the time, attention, and understanding required to truly revisit and sit with the trauma you are convinced you’ve already resolved.

For me, after about 6 months of sobriety, I found myself realizing one really quite an important thing. I realized that the life I was trying to emulate or compare myself against didn’t exist, and as such, I probably shouldn’t be the one dishing out advice to others on finding success within sobriety.

What’s the point in getting sober, if you are just going to disguise your low-level unhappiness for high-level unhappiness.

Write – (Old Posts I never published)

I’m not sure why I can’t seem to bring myself to write or share what I do. I think a part of me feels like what I have to say is only relevant if it motivates people. I think a large part of me wants to project an image of energetic motivation and optimism that I want to have. That I hope to have, and at times, experience with great joy. On other hand, I think a part of me never understood that my willpower and desire or ability to take action never has to rely on my motivation to do whatever the action is. It’s the doing that showcases willpower, regardless of what motives you, the willpower is what gets you there.

For me, I lacked a lot of motivation. In general, I was just not that motivated. It wasn’t always that way, I just became scared and small in the world. Growing up, I watched as the person I was supposed to be protected by, needed protection from abuse. I had to process adult concepts far more dynamic than any young child is capable, and as such, it made the world a scary place of unknown variables.

I really only knew how to survive the way I knew how. Protecting my Mom became my identity and “not needing anyone: a mantra that I used to push away everyone close to me after my Dad and I finally had our last blowout around 16. Shortly after moving back in with my Mom, we became homeless for short time, and I started working and realizing that if I wanted to survive, once I turned 18 and my Mom wasn’t going to qualify for housing assistance, I had better figure out what to do.

The next few years were really hard. Being that poor around a bunch of folks who really don’t understand what it is like to be a child fearing for their Mom being homeless, but it’s horrible. You are barely old enough or know enough to take care of yourself, and the pressure and fear to achieve at a level that allows you to provide stability for yourself, and for your Mom, in a place with a higher than average cost of living, is a tall order for an 18-year-old girl. I always understood that the pressure I felt to “take care of my Mom” and endure what was happening around me wasn’t normal, but I had no context around what normal was. I just existed.

I was lucky in the regard that so many people in my life saw something in me and connected with me. Often offering me guidance on this nomadic path I walk through life, not really tied or tethered to anyone or anything. Something I never really understood about myself is that when I was young, I was a social butterfly. I was obsessed with etiquette. I have no idea why, poise, eloquence, and grace have been engrained in my brain as the three earliest skills I knew I wanted to adopt.

Other kids were doing all sorts of shit, but I was writing speeches. I used to give the class speeches for everything and anything I could. Kids called me a teacher’s pet. I think I just liked the attention. I enjoyed feeling acknowledged for being so well-spoken. I understand now in retrospect that I got this from my Dad. He’s a Texan. There’s nothing quite like a Texan. Whether or not a Texan loves Texas, one thing is undeniably true, you can’t tell a Texan something ain’t true once they made up their mind. You can inception that shit over time, but you will have to walk into another dimension and try not to lose your barrings because I’m telling you, we KNOW what we KNOW.

I guess people call that arrogance, but a yellow rose is what it is. I digress.

I made it all the way through first grade without really knowing how to read phonetically. I had just memorized all the words. I had literally memorized every single word up until compounds. I knew the shapes and could see the letters and the number of letters in my head and I would just put the word to the word, and word, ya know?

They ended up changing the way they taught the kids at my school how to read because of me. After that, we all got hooked on phonics and I was flying through shit easily. I do have dyslexia, but I was never diagnosed as a child. As such, I was determined to read. My brother had taught himself how to read before he talked and never had any friends. He would just read all the time.

I always excelled in school, I was never the smartest kid in the class though. I was an A- student. I could have been a 4.2, but I would always choke on something at the last minute. Let fear overtake me. I was usually a class favorite. I enjoyed doing nice things for people and truly believed that was what you did.

When I was little, my grandmother was everything to me. I loved her so much. I still do. In her honor, I have a refrigerated cargo ship named the MV California Star, which launched the year that she was born. 1945.

Relief comes from action ((Old Posts I never published))

It’s funny to think about how hard it is to admit that you’ve started something and that that something exists, is valid and is real. Our minds are such interesting components. None of us have the faintest idea of what is really going on and as best as we can tell in my culture and “society” we’ve figured out and found a word to describe the observations of about 5% of all matter that exists. That is “reality”. Pretty fucked up when you think about it. Like, how much time do you spend thinking about so much shit, only to remind yourself that said shit is not as bad or as big a deal or as good or whatever, compared to the other whatever percentage left we have of the 5% of everything we’ve literally made up a word for? Like, we live in that 5%.

That’s fucked up.

What’s more fucked up is that we undermine our own validity amongst the 5%. When you think about yourself, at least if you are reading this, you probably subscribe to The Pale Blue Dot. The concept that in the great and ever-expanding cosmos that surrounds us, you are but a nonconsequential spec on a pale blue dot hurling through space. Insignificant. You probably tell yourself this to help check yourself, at least that’s what I did. Now, what am I checking myself for? That’s yet to be determined.

Sometimes I’m concerned that my ego has grown too big and I’m inflating the reality of something. How much it actually exists in the world. Now, when we wonder that, what is it we are really wondering? We’re wondering how shared that reality is, right? Say Bob is into Tina and doesn’t want her to know because he’s not sure if it’ll impact their friendship. So, Bob might question his actions. He might wonder “Did Tina notice that I touched her hip?” “Did she think that was weird?” “Did we have a moment?”

Ugh, writing.. Where are you from? (Old Posts I never published)

I used to write stories before I knew how to spell words. When I was a little girl, my mother would sit beside my bed, and make up stories for me to fall asleep to. I remember holding her old leather-bound copy of Grims Fairy Tales that I had scribbled inside of with a blue ballpoint pen as a child. I was a wild child, I think. Maybe not as wild as some children, because my family was the “fear the hand of God” type, so when my Dad said my name I knew not to yell “Yeah?” back at him as a response, but to get my ass up and walk to wherever he was. I was not a disobedient child.

Typically, I was left to my own devices. Come to think of it, I believe I was left alone quite a bit. Not any more or less than the average child, but I think my brother and I largely stayed at home. I would, on occasion, spend my time across the street at my neighbor’s house with their two younger children, or down around the corner at my friend Vanessa’s house. Her grandma was an old Mexican woman who didn’t speak English so instead she taught me enough Spanish to listen and would try to tame my unruly hair. When I got lice in the 5th grade so badly

She would have these yard sales every weekend. It was a big deal because that is when the city started to require a permit, so everyone in the neighborhood would drop their stuff off at her place to sell.

She lived across the street from Central Park in Salinas, California. The neighborhood we lived in was pretty much. Not much more than a couple of miles wide, but the area we lived in was wedged between industrial zones and highways on the edge of Salinas before you get too far into town, so it stayed pretty quiet. Just these for our five streets right next to Hartnell College, Central Park, Roosevelt Elementary School, and The Steinback house, on your towards Downtown Salinas. Which was home to John Steinback who wrote the Grapes of Wrath.

I used to bring my old toys to Vanessa’s grandmother to sell for me at her yard sales. I had amassed quite the collection of barbie cars and dolls and I was ready to cash in on those big dollar bills I kept seeing her stash into little boxes around her house.

I think this was my first introduction to entrepreneurship. Growing up in Salinas exposes you to a lot of dynamics at play in American Business. Surrounded by farmland and outlined by the Spanish Inquisition, full of migrant farmworkers, and mass migration around the same time,

I laugh (Old Drafts I never published)

Well, here we are. 35. I laugh as I say that. Sitting here in my backyard, surrounded by everything I have ever wanted and asking myself the same questions I have always asked, danced with the truth that the only thing that will ever matter in life is what you do and how you make people feel. That is and will always be the stuff that keeps you up at night. Those will be the moments you churn into lessons. There will be so many moments when you finally realize you were wrong, and how earth-shattering that will feel until you get used to it, and it is something no one can prepare you for. Especially not yourself, so you shouldn’t live your life anticipating the blow.

Reality changes, because it is your perception. Try your best not to waste yours on the perception of another and worse yet, never snuff out what makes you who you are so as to appease what you feel you must settle for. Unless you truly feel the sacrifice outweighs the potential impact your energy could serve elsewhere. When it does, fight fiercely to protect those things that serve their purpose in the same pursuit. Protect others, and cause little harm.

Follow through with action, and listen more. Talking will never convey what observing can accomplish. Be a steward of action, and your word will always have meaning.

Get more sleep.

Happy Birthday, Amanda

Keep doing great things and listening to your heart. You are exactly where you are supposed to be.

What have I learned

Well if there was a time to write some inspirational shit, now is for sure that time, right? lol, This will not be that. Not yet. This will be a series. I just want to write again without spell check or giving a shit. So. I’m back.

Who else feels like since they got their vaccine, they’ve been stuck in that big glass turn-style door at a Macy’s exist in the Mall, but when you were a kid and people were there, during a holiday rush, but it’s lasted for the last 6 or 7 months, and you can’t help but wonder if this is what Bill Murrey was feeling in Groundhog Day?

We just can’t seem to get ahead in today’s world. We are moving sideways and filling in spaces of society that have never existed before. Once theories and concepts, today we embrace a world of dynamic perspective and access to understading the lived experiences of many people the world.

I believe this to be the greatest advent of the modern era, and I know I’m not alone in that thought. While riddled with the same illogical and fear-stoaking bullshit we all pretend we didn’t grow up seeing blatantly play out in the world around us. What did we expect to see happen? The internet, and VR brought us each other, and the social networks we know today are very much so blended with the one we live in out there on the side walk.

Glamorizing mean girls and lunchroom circles wasn’t ever going to be what society needed. It only further’s my belief that Tina Fay is actually a lover of conservative values and SNL was responsible for normalizing the most fucked up topics, so now no American has the capacity to even understand their own bias isn’t an endearing or funny personality traight.

I find that it is easier for most folks to play a character in life. An avatar they carefully curate to fit whatever social narrative creates the least conflict for them. I guess that’s what folks call comfort.

This year I realized from a new perspective how different my lived experience was from the folks around me, but further, how that lived experience impacted my brain, and the way I think. It is one thing to be a kid in your early 20’s processing your childhood enough to function and pretend to be ok, but it is an entirely different experience to sit with your prolonged abuse as an adult, and to go through therapy, and to view yourself as a child that you are now old enough to have yourself.

I am 35 years old. I could have had a child at 20, and right now that child would be the age I was when I ran away and finally left the abuser who tormented me and my family for the first 15 years of my life. The person who I so desperately tried to pretend to be ok to protect. In fact, now looking back, I have no idea how I managed to get as far as I have. I’ll be honest that a part of me will always struggle to accept that I do deserve to enjoy life and the comforts of being accepted for who I am. AS I am. Which I struggle with to this day. Because for 15 years of my life, and to this day, my Father relentlessly reinforced that I was not good enough, through both verbal and later physcial abuse. Prolonged trauma, which is endured over time, is often triggered by a traumatic event as an adult. Of which I have had two, but one at 30 almost killed me. Which brought back and forced me to finally take a path of therapy, sobriety and healing. It has been a long 5 years.

I had a moment last year, maybe the year before? What is time?

I was in this space where I was just fucking swimming. I did that for a long time. Swim against the current. From care housing to trailer parks to apartments to houses to different cities and new jobs, I just always cared about one thing. That was being able to support my Mom and me.

The guilt I felt when I was younger for wanting to go out and experience life, but knowing how bad my Mom was stuggling, left me so crippled and guilty, almost I was almost inconsolible and unable to function at times. That is how co-dependant I was with my Mother. I still struggle today with boundaries around this, but it is also why I strive to own a company, a goal I am very close to accomplishing, that can one day provide an income that allows her and my brother to live with me. That has literally driven and motivated everything I have done for the last 35 years. That is a trip, right? I melted away a family, a husband, kids, all of it, to accomplish this one dream.

As such, my work was a large part of my life and I think I placed so much value there because it was something that could be measured in a way that was respected within a patriarchal culture. Males are taught to respect accomplishments and as such awarded in many ways, like with money and better paying jobs. So those were the roles I wanted, and I wanted the freedom that came with them. Freedom to me always meant a lot of things, but something my grandma taught me young was that you never depended on a man for your income or stability, and if you can provide them that, they will consider you valuable, and well, my dad really drove that one home. So, I always strived to be respected by men. By emulating my Father, who had found success, I equated success and succful people to those who sit in shit so long they don’t smell it anymore, and my poor trailer park ass with broken teeth and a pretty rough around the edges and emotionally fragile attitude got to work. That’s what I saw myself as. A work horse who had to fit the image of the folks around me and pretend to empathize with struggles I could only dream of. I got really good at understanding what people agonize over, and for a long time, it always baffled me. I even resented them and their emotions. When you grow up with out food, or heat, or homeless, you just don’t worry about the small shit as much. So I had to learn empathy. I had to learn to sweat the small stuff. Defining the small stuff, well, that is a blog I’ve been writing for a long time.

I stuggled to relate because in the 90’s it was easier to have my Mom committed than it was for my Dad to face the prospect of abuse charges, so that’s what happened. My Mom sustained so much abuse in her life, from childhood on, and then married and had kids with a Man that tormented all of them. So, depending on who you ask, My Mom just couldn’t handle it anymore. She came from nothing, had nothing, and nowhere to go with two little babies in a city that had more shootings and murders per capita than most cities in America. (Salinas, CA) I experienced two drive-by shootings before we finally moved to Colorado. My Mom at that point was heavily medicated on heavy prescription antipsychotic medication for almost 10 years. Which we now know causes brain damage. Thanks VA.

When my Dad left we had nothing. I don’t care to discuss the events after this, but needless to say, it wasn’t an easy road. We struggled. A lot. We also had it so good. I realize that now. I realize how lucky I was to have my Mom and how hard she worked for me, and how hard she works for me now. How loved I was and how much she wished she could and did try protect me from. She gave me a life she had always dreamed of. Even if it was so far away from what so many people had, for me, I can see and value her effort and how hard she worked. How fucked the systems are that are meant to oppress everything she is and everything we came from.

I don’t know if my Dad tormented me, or if it was just that when it got bad, it got really bad and otherwise he just neglected us until he was ready to play Dad. I feel bad for my Dad. I don’t think he had any idea what he was doing and now knowing what it must have been like to move to central California and get into the Grateful Dead in the 90’s, I get that he was just, he wished he had a different life than the one he got and my poor Mom was just a poor girl from Salinas. He was a North Texas guy with flashy taste and trying to mingle in Pebble Beach with hippies. Sometimes two cultures don’t have what it takes to mix or the skills to figure it out.

I honestly just got dealt a shit hand. That is what my Dad would say. That is what my poor boyfriend got, too. Two lost souls who never got that love they always wanted. My Dad is married to a clinical psychologist and my Mom lives in a Ghetto apartments in Fresno so she can be closer to family. I worry every day that we may never escape the cycles of poverty that plauge my family, but I send books to all my neices and nephews. I pray that we can. I will never understand the world or the people who can live, and not understand how much they have. My Dad is miserable. My Mom is often quite happy.

When you come from nothing, you appreacite everything. I will never not live this truth. I can’t

I wish so badly that I could pretend like I wasn’t motived so much by this, and at such odds with it at the same time. I can’t ethically work in a lot of envrinments. It’s too challenging for me. I am always conflicted but at the end of the day, I still seem to find myself on a mission driven quest for money. I feel like I forgot how to connect with god and I am neglecting nature and the stars. I am waiting for someone to give me permission to prioritize escaping this house and the walls I feel stuck inside, but I don’t know if that is just my calling or my trauma and some days I can’t trust myself to make a decision.

Work.Live.Repeat… I made my job my passion, my career gave me everything I wanted up to this point. I have everything I have ever asked for in my life and I am not fulfilled. I don’t know if I need to try to buy a house or get a van. I can’t accept that I have a stable enough life to do either on my own. It’s so foreign a concept to me.

I could though.. I should.

Just midnight musings, with thoughts on my mind. I am happy, but I have something on the tip of my finger that I can’t quite get a good grip on. I’m looking forward to swining my way up to this next ledge. I miss being scared to fall.

-Me 12/21/21 – 1:02 am

Freedom (Old Posts I never published) (July 20 2021

I recently learned a fairly revealing thing about myself I felt like sharing. Now that I have 2.5 years without hard drugs and alcohol in my life I can admit that I more than accepted irrational behavior as the norm. To say the bar was low around me as a child neglects the systemic elements at play that led to me becoming the child and inevitable person I became. At a time when American’s are waking up to concepts, I spent my whole life trying to articulate I feel hopeful.

I truly think time is one of the only things that heal trauma. You simply have to move away from it. Find yourself on the other side and reflect back with pride on the distance you’ve traversed, but rarely aware of the miles your traveling until you’ve gained the perspective only time can provide.

I learned recently that emotionally neglected children often seek out feelings needed by others to assure they have purpose and can’t be abandoned. It’s not that I hadn’t heard this concept, but I never deeply understood how it related to me.

For a large portion of my life, I lived with the belief that I served little if any purpose in life and that at any moment my existence would be rendered unnecessary. I believed with the deepest part of me that I was incapable of joy or happiness and that truly the only thing I seemed to be good at was causing pain in others.

The truth is, I needed help. I needed support and security. I needed someone to believe in me. The part I never understood was that I could have people in my life that allow that for me, holding space for me, and loving me, without me serving more than a purpose of support and love in their lives.

I lacked a lot of tools and experiences that are normal for most children. Building honest and strong interpersonal relationships that are found in love and working through conflict wasn’t something I had ever known. I hadn’t understood that I could be with sin or moral ambiguity, and still be worthy of love.

I guess I thought true acceptance of self wasn’t possible if you wanted to receive love from others, at least not for me.

Because I felt worthless, and without purpose, I wasn’t able to accept love into my life. I never felt I deserved it and I was too afraid to lose it to ever just be honest with others. I lied a lot to adhere to an image I thought other people would love because I never thought I, as I was, was deserving of the type of love, and from whom I received it, that blessed and continues to bless my life.

Despite being provided unconditional love, I placed conditions on it. Not anyone else, me.

The realization of this is pretty profound. It allows me to realize my inability to compartmentalize my experiences.

Had I not made the choices I made in my life up to this point, I would have never come to find my own worth and purpose. I can’t and don’t regret a single moment or experience in my life because today, for the first time maybe ever, I see love. I know what it is. I feel it in the wind on my face, in the memories of every lover’s face, in all the pain I just couldn’t explain, and caused in others.

I’m able to absolve the cloak of misguided pain and anger and rage and let it melt into a thousand pedals. I feel free.

Finally.