Tag: personal (page 1 of 14)

500 Words on Happiness

HOLY SHIT IT’S A NEW BLOG POST

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much time I’ve lost, or has been stolen from me, because I’ve been unhappy. Unhappily married, unhappily employed, unhappily living. As human beings, nobody would choose to be unhappy, save for the willfully masochistic, and I’m not one of them. I neither wish to glorify nor romanticize ‘the struggle’. I’d rather not struggle at all just to be happy for more than a couple of hours at a time.

I know that a bulk of my unhappiness is not my fault. There’s trauma in my past that has undeniable influence on my bipolar disorder. The grief I carry is fairly substantial, and with that comes a generous helping of survivor’s guilt. These things raise barriers, between me and happiness, between me and others. They alter my perceptions, deprive me of balance, and prevent me from focusing on happiness. They squat in the back of my mind, ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. And I have to work to wrangle them, every single day.

Even when they don’t overwhelm me, fighting back against the tide of negativity takes focus and energy. It’s an expenditure of spell slots, to put it in D&D terms. And those are fewer spell slots I have for writing, for looking ahead, for just enjoying life and the good things and people I have in mine. Again, this isn’t anyone’s fault. I refuse to make it anyone else’s fault or responsibility. Because these damaged processes and erroneous perceptions are entirely internal, they’re mine to understand and overcome. Even if I can’t, at least I can try.

On top of that, it’s not just me they effect. It takes a toll on my relationships. It has for a very long time. I’ve built most if not all of my committed relationships, anything beyond being close friends, on some form of false assumption or premise in terms of what role I feel I need to fulfill. I know that I am able-bodied, privileged in many ways, and simply have a willingness to add value to the lives of those around me, rather than keeping it for myself. That creates in me a sense of noblesse oblige, that it’s not only my desire to use these things for those I care for with less privilege than me, but it is my duty. It’s another thing that negatively impacts my happiness.

And rather than actually adding to the happiness of others, as consistently and completely as I want to, it gets in the way of their happiness, too. Thus creating a cycle that breaks me down and wears me out.

So, what can I do about it?

I can talk to my therapist, adjust my medication if necessary, keep reaching out for resources and knowledge and guidance. I can push myself to learn more and do better. I can at least try. I can fight.

And I can write about it.

Sometimes, that’s all I’ve got.

A Pawn No Longer

“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” — Denis Waitley

I know this is a long post. Thank you for reading it in its entirety.

Let’s begin at the beginning.

I was diagnosed with Type II Bipolar Disorder 14 years ago at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC. This was probably a diagnosis that should have been discovered long before the point of the nervous breakdown that put me in there. There have been inciting incidents, before and since, that have caused emotional reactions within me, and it has taken me years to develop the tools to properly manage my behavior in light of those reactions. The intensity of the emotions has not changed, but as I continue to work on myself for myself, these tools become more refined, more precise, and I handle these things better.

One of the ways in which these tools can be forged is through Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). A DBT instructor’s manual on emotions defines them in the following ways:

“Emotions are complex; they consist of several parts of different reactions happening at the same time.

“Emotions are automatic: they are involuntary, automatic responses to internal and external events.

“Emotions can not be changed directly; we can change the events that cause emotional experiences; but not the emotional experiences directly. We can’t make ourself ‘feel’ a particular emotion and then feel it. Willpower won’t stop an emotional experience no matter how desperately we might want it to.”

The sequence in which synapses fire within our brains is not within our direct control. We cannot choose to not feel something. The emotions are not something we can stop or merely turn off. We have to handle them. We can avoid them with distractions, which is not advisable. We can cope with them through various mechanisms, some of which are healthier than others. Hardest of all is to try and reason with them. It is an entirely internal process. We must apply facts and evidence to a situation in comparison to the emotions being felt by that situation in an attempt to choose the best and healthiest way to handle and express those emotions.

For a person with a mental illness, going through the process of reasoning with emotions is far more difficult than it is for someone who is neurotypical. And this is not a temporary condition. It’s not like breaking one’s leg, then needing to learn how to walk on it again. This is more along the lines of a physical chronic illness, where walking in and of itself can be challenging due to the nature of one’s body.

It is unreasonable to say to a person with such an illness, “Just get up and walk! It’s so easy, why can’t you just do it! Your inability to consistently walk is holding me back/making me feel bad, and that’s your fault.

It is just as unreasonable to say to a person with mental illness, “Just stop feeling these things! I don’t, so why do you? Your inability to handle your emotions the way I do is making me feel bad, and that’s your fault.

These are things I have been forced to learn, wrestle with, and draw conclusions from since that breakdown 14 years ago. The steps have been incremental, sometimes frustratingly small, and some have fallen on unstable ground. There have been times when it has been difficult to take these steps and use these tools entirely on my own. Others can help, be they therapists or family or friends. But, in the end, no other individual can or should be expected to do it for me.

Within the last few months I have found myself gainfully employed after a long period of searching for work that falls within a marketable and well-documented skillset I possess. My list of published and referencable writing is rather small, while my experience with web development operations and programming is better at filling out a résumé. It is with the latter that I secured employment. After over a year of not having something with this rate of pay, this sort of work environment, and this sort of support and direction, the stress caused by not being an “earner” in a post-capitalist society was removed. My significant lack of an inability to recognize self-worth, however, remained, and in the space of that removed stress, that neural pathway found new room in which to exist. It amplified, causing emotions and reactions that proved very difficult to handle.

As I said, distracting ourselves from our emotions is inadvisable. I distracted myself by spending a great deal of time not engaged with my personal space or my partner, instead choosing to be elsewhere. This was pointed out to me by them and, at first, I denied the cause. Subsequent discussions, sometimes highly emotional ones, helped me realize what I was doing. As a result, I chose to take a step back from major in-person social interactions to focus on handling this underlying problem in a more healthy and comprehensive way.

Part of that process was writing a post about that sense of self-worth, and how much I want to believe in myself, now more than ever. Writing is, and has been, my primary way of expressing myself and exploring these spaces. Rather than do so in a story, I chose to write about my real emotions and experiences, and I chose to post it publicly. I made that choice for posterity, and to provide insight into my emotions and behavior. I thought it might be useful to and for those who are in my life, and who have watched me go through these moments of emotionality that have a negative impact upon them. Others can see or even feel the effects of what my emotions do to me; they cannot always see the cause.

I have been told “it hurts me to watch you put yourself through this, to beat yourself up.” I believe that. I’ve experienced that, as well. My partner, who has chronic illnesses, cannot always do the things they wish to do. To watch them struggle against the constraints of their bodily pain, to hear them express disappointment in themselves for not being able to do what they want, is painful to me.

At no point do I hold my partner’s illness against them. They can’t simply not be sick. It’s not their fault. It’s unfair, unreasonable, even cruel and abusive, to make them feel responsible for my feelings regarding their disability.

By the same token, it is unfair, unreasonable, even cruel and abusive, to make someone with mental illness feel responsible for another person’s feelings regarding that illness.

If something said or done directly to another person causes harm, the person who said or did the thing is responsible for that. And it does not have to be direct physical or even emotional harm, either. A manipulative turn of phrase — “if you love me, you’ll do X” — is the responsibility of the person who says it, because it is delivering an ultimatum to the person in question. Words have meanings; it is through language that we communicate what we feel, what we intend, who we are.

So when I write at length about an internal process regarding handling my self-worth, or as above regarding the nature of my mental illness, and no language is employed that makes these things the responsibility of others, to have others claim that I am making them responsible for these things or that this language is somehow problematic or abusive is absolutely baffling to me. As a person with a mental illness, I am using that terminology and language to expand upon and explore my condition. Again, I am making the choice to write this for posterity and to allow insight into my internal thoughts, emotions, and processes. That is the purpose of this writing. Nothing more.

These emotions of mine — complex, automatic, immutable — are simply that: mine. They are entirely internal. Disregarding their influence on my life, it does not impact other people when I feel something. When I feel a question or lack of self-worth, for example, that is an entirely internal process. No person outside of myself is responsible for it, nor is it my desire to somehow make it another person’s fault. That would be unfair. That would be manipulative. That would be bullshit.

When someone else, on the other hand, questions my self-worth, or validity, or integrity, that is another matter entirely.

I’ve read over my posts, this one and the previous one in this vein, several times. Others have as well. At no point in either do I directly say that a person or group of people outside of myself is somehow responsible for my feelings or my actions. These things come from a place within my self, and from no other source. These things are amorphous, difficult, and even painful. The last thing on this planet I would ever want to do is put them onto someone else. I would rather not deal with them; why make someone else do it? That is, as above, unfair, unreasonable, and even cruel and abusive.

We cannot choose when and how we feel things. We can, however, choose how to handle those feelings. And when we take action to handle a feeling, we can choose to take responsibility for those actions, or we can choose to make someone else responsible for it. We can own, or we can project. We can accept, or we can blame.

We get to choose that.

I do not agree with all of the choices I have made in the past, but I accept those are the choices I made. Some of my choices have caused me pain or loss; that, too, is my responsibility. Others have made, and will make, choices to make me responsible for things that are not mine. Those choices will attempt to manipulate me into taking responsibility for those things. In the past, my lack of self-worth and my desire to do good for and please the people around me put me in a position to simply accept what I was given, despite its absurdity or toxicity. It is a weakness of mine that has been exploited time and time again.

I cannot accept this. I will accept this no longer.

Just as how I get to choose how I handle my feelings, I get to choose who I am and who I want to be.

I am a person with bipolar disorder. And I choose to not be a pawn of my emotions, nor of anyone else’s.

Thirty-Nine

I took some time to overhaul the look of this blog so that it was more centered on Dungeons & Dragons. I had intended, for the most part, on producing only content related to that game here. In the weeks since I made that change, I’ve struggled to generate said content. The explanation may be related to any number of things — the imbalance of chemicals in which my brain swims, the emotions that climb over one another for my attention daily, the tension that exists between my journey forward into the future as aspects of my past try to exert overwhelming influence on my present…

I think I’m getting ahead of myself.

I’m thirty-nine years of age today. I think it’s normal for people to be reflective on their birthday, but given the last couple of years, there’s a lot for me to work over. Hell, I’ve spent the last fifteen minutes trying to puzzle out what it is I want to say here. And a bit part of the challenge is that I keep coming back around to the idea that other people will be reading this. But the thing is, I can’t write this for anybody else. This sort of thing is something I have to write for myself.

So why put it on the blog at all?

Let me try and articulate this. People fight battles you can’t see every day. There are folks out there with diseases wracking their bodies with pain, without a single outward visible symptom. I don’t want to be reductive in my writing or over-simplify these very complex conditions, but when you break it down, at the end of the day, they’re alone in the war they wage with their physical forms. It may be a false equivalence, but I feel the same goes for mental conditions and disorders. While there are behaviors that inform others of what is going on inside — a literal request for help in completing a task or mitigating symptoms, or a figurative “cry for help” in one form or another — the reality is that we can never truly know what is happening on the battlefields we all have within ourselves.

My hope is that me rambling into a keyboard will help others in finding ways to come to terms with those battles. That, in turn, gives me more fuel to wrestle my own demons to the ground.

And wrestle them I must, or they will strangle the very life from my soul.

That may sound overly dramatic. I’ll plead guilty to perhaps engaging in a bit of hyperbole. I am, by nature, a storyteller. Stories tend to be dramatic in one form or another as a way to draw in the audience into the narrative and the characters affected by it. Be it as a novelist with my “rough and unable pen,” or as a Dungeon Master behind a screen armed with dice and terrain tiles, I want the people who read or hear my words when I’m telling a story to find escape, catharsis, or a deeper understanding about themselves or the world around them. A lofty ambition, maybe, and possibly a little pretentious. But more than anything else, I want my readers to read because they give a damn.

That’s why I’m such a fan of authors like Chuck Wendig and Seanan McGuire and Delilah Dawson — I care about what happens to the people in their stories. By telling us stories about people like Nora Wexley or October Day or Cardinal, these authors inhabit fictional characters with life and say to us through their actions, losses, and emotions, “these are people worth caring about.” Maybe it’s just me, but that’s why I read stories.

That’s also why I show up to D&D every Monday night. It’s not about rolling the biggest numbers or pulling off the most inventive moves in a combat scene. I show up because I care — about the characters at the table, about the people who play them, about our hapless Dungeon Master, whose narrative skills and voices are the skeleton upon which the players hang the meat of the story. And everyone at that table cares about each other, and the characters represented by dice and sheets of paper.

I’m waxing poetic here, but I swear, this all has a point.

Why put this stuff on the blog, instead of keeping it to myself?

Because I am worth caring about, too.

And by making that a public declaration, I am putting my foot down as far as my feelings of self-loathing and worthlessness are concerned. I can fill pages upon pages of journals with pontifications on the meaning of my life and how I need to find that for myself rather than looking for it in the affection and approval of others. (For the record, I have.) Added to that is the fact that I am aware of my status as a ghost piloting a meat suit on a rock hurtling through the unfeeling void of space at speeds I can barely comprehend. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, I’m one of around seven billion human beings on this planet, and there may be an exponentially larger number of sentient beings in our universe. The question of whether I or anybody else cares about me is ultimately insignificant.

But because I am sentient, because I think and feel, it’s anything but insignificant to me. That is worth remembering. And it has to start with how I feel about me. After almost forty years of life, it’s long past time to stop treating those feelings like they don’t matter.

I can never fully understand the battles others fight. I will never know what it is to be female bodied, have a different skin color, suffer from a chronic illness, or come from an abusive childhood. My context for relating to those around me is limited by my own experiences and whatever knowledge I have as imparted by other individuals and the world at large. But the feelings of those individuals do matter to me. This is especially true in the people I personally know and care about. Even if there is a world between me and an individual who’s touched my life or found an indelible place inside my heart, even if we rarely if ever speak to one another, your feelings matter to me. You matter to me.

I’d like to think I matter to you, but in the end, I have to matter to me.

At the most basic level of things, I have to fight this battle on my own. Nobody else can fight it for me. Others can fight it with me, certainly. And it’s good to have allies. But I am the only resource upon which I can absolutely undoubtedly rely. I have to treat myself as such. I have to value myself. I must matter to myself. I need to care about myself.

It’s the only way I can truly be my best self, and in turn, care about and fight alongside you.

To that end, I am taking this opportunity, at the dawn of my thirty-ninth year, to try and pull myself away from the memories and imprecations of my past selves, to strain my eyes towards the horizon, to stare into the howling and uncaring void that in the end consumes all of us, and scream the words:

I choose to be.

Admiration for an Admiral

“No one is immune from failure. All have tasted the bitterness of defeat and disappointment. A warrior must not dwell on that failure, but must learn from it and continue on.”

I’m trying to think of a villainous character that has affected me as thoroughly and deeply as Star Wars‘ Grand Admiral Mitth’raw’nuruodo.

Writing villains seems deceptively easy. Give them a plan of conquest, add some mustache-twirling or overtly abusive behavior, make them cruel to underlings, plant petards on which to hoist them. Wipe your hands, done and dusted.

Not so with Thrawn. Yes, he’s diabolical in thought. He’s ruthless in executed action. He’s the direct and diametric opposite of our heroes.

But, especially in the “new canon” — the Rebels animated series and especially his origin novel by the inimitable Timothy Zahn — there’s something admirable about the admiral.

The Empire, in Star Wars, is just as much a stand-in for Nazi Germany as Sauron is a stand-in for the Kaiser, or Adolf Hitler. It is a brutal, xenophobic regime, dedicated to a ‘purity’ within the galaxy and the utter destruction of unrestricted thought and the usage of power, not for its own sake, but for altruism and introspection. The Empire is always looking without, never within, and assaulting the opposition and the misunderstood with seething hatred and disgusting self-congratulation.

And hither comes Thrawn, an alien, a warrior, and seemingly, the last thing the Empire would want.

Thrawn is a free thinker. He is just as much a philosopher as a tactician. He is aware of how clever he is, but he applies that cleverness to his goals, which is always the defeat of his enemy. He has his moments of weakness, and of failure, but he uses those moments as lessons to be applied to future encounters. He respects his enemies. He despises incompetence and foolishness in his would-be peers. In an Empire full of hotheads, egomanics, and demagogues, he is cool, measured, respectful, meticulous, and, in species as well as thought, alien.

I find these qualities admirable, and I wonder: is he truly villainous?

Yes, he works for the villains. Yes, he exhibits ruthlessness towards the heroes. Yes, he employs occasionally brutal tactics to achieve his desired goals — which, as befits a warrior, is the destruction of his enemies.

But does he do these things out of malice? Blind hatred? Ignorant, projected rage?

No. He wages war because he’s good at it, he finds it a fascinating application of his abilities, and, in the end, he likes it.

Not inflicting pain, mind you. He’d much rather defeat an enemy expediently, demonstrate that they will lose, and offer them a chance to surrender and save lives. He is an artist, his medium is warfare, and his materials are the ships, troops, and officers at his command. He’s loyal, dedicated, charismatic, and cool under fire. He has the wherewithal to admit to mistakes he makes, admire his opponents, and do whatever is in his power to improve himself and those around him for the betterment of all.

Aren’t these qualities we often find in protagonists, in heroes?

We don’t really attribute honor, introspection, and respect for others to the Empire, or the Nazis for that matter. More often than not, it is those we admire and those cast as positive protagonists in our stories that exhibit such qualities. And, according to Zahn in the new canon novel, Thrawn may indeed be more than just another villainous tool in the Emperor’s arsenal. I’ll put this bit behind a spoiler tag.

[spoiler]
Thrawn explains to the Emperor that he was exiled from the Chiss Ascendancy due to his use of pre-emptive strikes. This is a lie. The Chiss sent Thrawn as a scout, to suss out the Empire’s abilities and strengths and evaluate them as potential allies in battling threats from deeper within the Unknown Regions. This is a huge risk for Thrawn: if he is caught or killed, he will be unable to relay anything to his true superiors. That, to me, is a heroic undertaking. By the same token, he shows a great deal of trust in Eli Vanto, sending the human officer to the Chiss as a contingency a calamity befalling Thrawn personally. A friend and confidant, Vanto can inform the Chiss of a great many things, and bridge the gap between the galactic powers if Thrawn is unable to do so.
[/spoiler]

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m biased towards antagonists who favor brains and cunning over brawn and bluster. Maybe I’m just seeing what I want to see; there are aspects of Thrawn that personally speak to me. The same way that Sherlock Holmes or Tyrion Lannister are characters who rely on cleverness and discernment to achieve their goals, Thrawn is defined by his brilliant mind and careful application of deduction and strategy. I know I could use more of that in my life.

Either way, I’ll be sad if the last season of Rebels is the end of Thrawn’s story. He’s mentioned in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy (now available in paperback, go buy some books), but his fate is left ambiguous. It’s unclear to me, in the end, if Thrawn is truly a villain, but in this case, he’s certainly cast as one.

But not all those cast as villains truly allow evil to fester in their hearts.

I would like to think that if Thrawn truly feels emotions like hate, he can examine, disassemble, and reorient those energies. His few moments of anger are still incredibly restrained by Imperial standards, and it shows a quality of character rarely seen among the one-dimensional jackbooted thugs around him. It speaks to someone who is more than the sum of their parts, more than the mere sketch of the role into which they are cast.

And, in the end, who among us isn’t more than they seem or are reported to be?

Being The Change

“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.” — Harriet Braiker

I have to remind myself that I am not perfect.

I have to remind myself that I will never attain perfection.

I have to remind myself that I can’t work on myself alone.

These can be difficult for me to keep in mind. Especially that last part. White male-presenting folks in this society are expected to be self-sufficient self-starters, to have the inherent strength to yank ourselves up by our own bootstraps, to achieve simply by virtue of being white and male-bodied. Lack the strength, and you’re a ‘wimp’. Listen to the advice of those with different genders, colors, or orientations, and you’re a ‘cuck’. Struggle to reach even simple goals, like picking up the phone to handle important issues or make appointments, and you’re a ‘failure’.

This onus is nowhere near as bad as it is upon non-white non-male-presenters, but it still exists.

This is also not an excuse for bad behavior or bad decisions.

I don’t blame this state of affairs for my moments of weakness or those mistakes I’ve made that have shamed me and made me feel the opposite of proud in myself. My mental illness is not, nor will it ever be, something I can or should hide behind. It is an explanation, not an excuse. There is a large difference between the two. I still said the words I said; I still took the actions that I took. Those things are on me, and they are my responsibility.

When I make those mistakes, I get flustered. I back myself into a corner by admonishing myself, by berating myself for the mistakes I’ve made, by letting any of the fully justified criticism being related to me get amplified to a deafening level. Every moment of this pushes me further and further back, undoes hard work that I have done, and can even bring back the spectre of a version of myself that died years ago. The simpering, weak, reactionary, childish, trifling-ass…

I’m doing it again.

I have to examine this calmly. I have to avoid working myself into a self-flagellating froth. I’m writing this mostly as a stream of consciousness; other than spelling mistakes, I’m not editing things. This is a look inside of my head. And, more often than I’d like to admit, it’s not a very nice place.

When I have been backed into a corner, fielded accusations or insults, they’ve gone straight to my heart, and I’ve acquiesced, made myself smaller, given the accusers what they want, just to make the accusations stop. Just to be left alone. In the past, I’ve left very little room for myself, to stand up for myself, to assert that no, I have just as much right to fight back as anybody else, that I have my own sovereignty, my own identity. I’ve failed myself many times in this regard; I’ve pushed my own identity away so that it conforms to the perceptions of others, just to satisfy them, just to make them feel like they’ve won, just so they will leave me alone, in the desperate hope that it will stop the pain.

Again — and I must stress this — this is not an excuse for any of the above behaviors. They are childish, inappropriate, and even toxic. I am not proud of them. I am not hiding behind them. This is a statement of the facts. This is who I’ve been.

It is not who I would choose to be.

I’ve seen others do this. Perhaps not to the drama-mongering extreme that I’ve engaged in during the moments of which I am the least proud, but definitely turning themselves down, making themselves smaller, hiding themselves away. And it breaks my heart.

Compassion for others is a trait that some would argue is detrimental to one’s success. Look at those who are “successful” in the eyes of the greater population of capitalists and autocrats. They don’t give a damn about other people. They leverage their privilege and exploit weaknesses to get ahead, to make money, to seize fame. Being a “good person” is one of those exploitable weakness. It’s been used against me. So, too, have the weaknesses enumerated above. It’s left me with scars, with knives in my back, with bruises on my heart.

I’m waxing poetic again. Let me get back on point.

I can’t change the past. I can’t make up for all of my mistakes. I can’t dwell on my divorces, or my estrangement from the child I brought into this world, knowing now that I was — and perhaps always will be — ill-equipped to handle those responsibilities. Prevailing sentiments and admonishments from others would contend that “better men” would be able to “man up” and rise to the occasions. I didn’t. I failed. And I can’t change that.

The only thing I can do, the only thing I am empowered to do, is change these things, change myself, for the better going forward.

I know I can do it. I’ve seen it. Not just in myself, either. I’ve encountered, spoken to, been seen by people who knew me before. They’ve seen the changes in me. Some have looked on them with pride; others, with shock. I’m doing everything I can to make those changes consistent, self-evident, and ever-evolving. Ever onward, always upward.

When I stumble and fall back, I feel an incredible amount of shame, even though rational thought reminds me that mistakes and misfires are inevitable.

They don’t matter anywhere near as much as what I do when they happen.

I still have to unlearn some of my old behaviors. I have more work to do than I’d thought. I am not as “fine” as I’ve pretended to be. I still need help. Adjusted meds, better counseling, more time taken to step away from the escapism of screens and dice, the dire circumstances of the outside world, the overwhelming presence of others, and pasts I have with them, and futures I crave with them. I need to take more space for myself, center and calm myself within that space, and be the change I want to see in the world.

That is something I’ve wanted since I was a boy. When I’ve fallen short of the mark, that is when I’ve considered myself a failure, and mentally and emotionally abused myself for that shortcoming.

I still need to address that, to examine it, and change those neural patterns and behaviors so I am better equipped to be a better person, a better friend, a better partner, a better man.

Not a perfect one. I’m not perfect. I can’t be perfect.

That doesn’t mean I can’t be awesome.

“Awesome” is a much better goal than “perfect.”

Hell, it even sounds better.

I’m going to try and refocus on that, to work on better handling depression and doubt, and to seek the help and self-care I need to keep myself alive, moving forward, and being awesome.

I have to believe in myself.

All I ask of you, if you’ve read this far, if you’re seeing this, is that you believe in me when I can’t do that. When I can’t believe in myself, please believe in me.

Tell me that you do. I’ll always tell you the same. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.

I’m always open to hearing from you, if what you have to say is honest, helpful, constructive, and coming from a place of love and respect.

I will always believe in you, that you can be the change that you want to see in this broken world.

Because that is what compassion is.

And it is what I would want you to do for me.

Tuesdays are for telling my story.

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