I have worked since I was 15 years old. I somehow understood at a very young age that if there were things I wanted in this world that I was going to have to be the one to go out and get them. There was not an option of leaning on anyone for the things that I wanted. My parents were good parents even if at the time I didn't understand their reasoning. As a mother of my own child now, I get why they said no. I get why they couldn't give me everything I thought I needed. Truth is all those things that I thought I needed I didn't need at all. They gave me exactly what I needed even if it was nothing that I wanted. I was thinking about this Friday during my 12 hour shift while I was getting my ass kicked serving ungrateful people their drinks, as I was refilling a kid's sprite that she purposely dumped on the ground. I was thinking about this last night as a couple came in at 1:30 in the morning to share a beer. I was tired and ready to go home and in those moments I understood again why I chose to do those things. I don't work to buy fancy clothes or go on extravagant vacations. I work because I want to support my family. I work because I want to provide a good life for my kid, for my husband, for myself.
I think, as a mother, it is one of those things I worry the most about. Does my daughter understand the value of hard work? Does she get why I work 12 hours shift so that she doesn't ever have to want for anything? And then I worry that I am handing her too much. Does she appreciate the value of what goes into getting that expensive bag she carries around? I think she does... at least as much as a 14 year old girl can. We joke that I am the hard parent, the one that always says no, the one that worries that she doesn't have enough compassion. It's not a joke though. I am usually the one that says no while my husband will more than often say yes. I love him for that but I also worry that she is not grounded because of it.
I look at my daughter and I see me, this stubborn, head strong girl that I used to be who thought she knew everything, that kept the world at a arm's reach in fear of being hurt. She is beautiful and she is strong but she also knows nothing of the world outside. I learned the hard way how incredibly cruel the world is. It broke me. It almost destroyed me. I came back somehow. And when I came back, I became a kinder person though I was horribly scarred. I came back a more compassionate person though I was terrified of everything around me. So I worry that the world will come in and crush her. I do not worry that she won't survive because whether she knows it or not she is brilliant. What I do worry is when she comes back, will she be able to find her kindness again? I have every faith that she will be fine. I know that I have always been her role model. I know that even though she won't admit it right now she still looks to me as the example. I will never take that role for granted. I may not be the coolest mother in the world or the best mother in the world but I will never stop doing my best at being her mother.
The other night I was sitting outside with a few friends after work. It had been a very long day, a let's a have a shot kind of day. We were all drinking and having a good time blowing off some steam. One of my lovely ladies had drank a bit too much and had gotten upset. It happens. Sometimes we drink to forget, to deal but inevitably those little demons we are trying to suffocate with alcohol rear back up regardless. Instantly I became protective of her and wanted to make her sadness go away. I guess I got my Mama face on and it was noticeable. So we took care of her, made sure she was all right, and tried to keep her spirits up. I don't know if it is because I am older or that I do have a child but there is something in me that will always want to take care of the people around me. There are so many parts of all of these people that reminds me of pieces of who I used to be. She reminds me of my once fiery spirit. And she reminds me of my incredible shyness. And she will always remind me of how lovely and awkward I once was. I put my daughter's face on all of them. I think that they are someone's kid and one day Madelyn will be out there in the world on her own, drinking too much and partying too much and just being too much. This will sound strange but in a way I feel like part of my role in this world at this point in my life is to be the one that people lean on, to be the one people can talk to. I hope that when my girl grows up, she has someone out there who will always take care of her when I'm not around. The truth is I won't be and that's all right.
In my very long week, I grew very tired. I understood that my plight in life will always be my stubborn resolve to keep pushing regardless of my creaking knees. I don't complain because I get it. I am an adult with responsibilities, with a kid who looks up to me, with a husband who needs a partner that is a rock. I understand my flaws and the things I cannot do. Sometimes when I am exhausted and I get a 9 top, I have to remind myself that this is all for the greater good. I also understand that because of the work ethic that I had at a very young age that there is always a job to do. It doesn't matter if I am tired, if I am sick, if I want to cry at 1:30 in the morning because all I want to do is go home. I have a job to do because people are depending on me, because I have people to take care of. And it's not for that kid who just dumped the sugar packets on the floor or for that grown man who doesn't seem to know how to treat his server with dignity. It's for the daughter who sits at home waiting for me to come home. It's for the husband who buys me a Sandlot mug because he knows I had a long day. It's for the people who mean something to me. And though I put this person last more often than not, it's for me. One day I will sit down at this computer and be able to write for a living but that is something that I will have to work for. All of this is just steps towards the very bright future I know I will have. And one day someone will read my books and say to themselves, that girl once brought me a beer. One day all these things I do today will be worth it. The hardest journeys tend to lead to the greatest destinations.
This time of year is always very curious to me. We are all so busy, busy, busy through out the year and then we start to slow down. We start to realize how much the people around us have grown since the year before. We take inventory of all the wonderful things that we have today that we didn't have yesterday. We understand that time is fleeting, life is fleeting. Before we know it, before all of us know it, what we thought we would always have is no more. I am not being negative or dark on purpose, just reflecting in this chair I happen to be sitting in right now. My daughter, once a baby in my womb, sit across the table from me as a young woman with her perfectly placed hair and impeccable make up. All I will ever see is the little girl with messy hair and cream cheese all over her face. And am I thankful? Of course I am thankful. I am thankful for everything that sits in front of me right now. I am thankful for whatever comes tomorrow. And, yes, I am thankful for everything and everyone who I will never again see.
This will be the first holiday without my father. I don't know honestly how to process those feelings. Granted, my family hasn't spent a Thanksgiving together in a few years but knowing that he was there was comforting. It's not that my family doesn't want to see each other every holiday but life changes. My siblings all now have spouses and children, jobs and obligations. It's not always easy to put your life aside even for a couple of days to be with family. True, I admit. I am a hermit and tend to stay to myself but it is not that I do not love my family and I don't have anything against seeing them on Thanksgiving. This year will be difficult, more difficult that I thought it would be. I am a practical person but the amount of emotion inside of me can be overwhelming. The other day I got off work and went to sit by myself at a coffee shop as I often do. In that moment after a long day of work, I missed my father. I wanted to call him and ask him if he wanted to come over to our house for Thanksgiving but I knew he wouldn't pick up, know he will never pick up again. Some would say that I was aloof when it comes to my family but the truth of it is that I care more than I can ever admit. Life happens and walls are built and sometimes tearing down those walls isn't an option... but slowly I've opened a window or two for them.
In the honor of Thanksgiving, this holiday that reminds us of all the beautiful things that surround us, I will tell you what I am thankful for.
I am thankful for that beautiful, smart girl sitting across from me. I am thankful for her spirit even when she drives me bananas. I am thankful for her kindness even when she doesn't want to show it. I am thankful for her honesty even when she doesn't understand it. I am thankful for the 14, almost 15 years, I have been blessed with her. I am thankful that I am here to continue to watch her journey. And, one day, when I get that call from her and she finally thanks me for all these years of sacrifice, for all my tears, for all the love she batted away like a cat, I will be thankful for those beautiful, beautiful words.
I am thankful for my husband, my sweet and kind husband. He was the man who wasn't supposed to exist and I was supposed to have a lot more cats at this point. I am thankful that he loves me with such devotion, with such acceptance. I am thankful for every battle he fights for me even when I don't want him to, even when I am capable of fighting for myself. I am thankful for the way he knows when I'm scared or sad or angry. I am thankful for the way he smiles with me when I am happy. He is my best friend, my soul mate, and the only person I want to hand me my teeth when I'm old and gray.
I am thankful for the people I call friends. I know at the end of the day that if I need something, I have a handful of people I could call and would be there in a second. My life didn't always have that. Friendship was a foreign concept to me for a long time but in the last few years, I have truly been fortunate. I am thankful for the way Piglet makes me smile and the way Mama takes care of everyone. I am thankful Ninja Sprite's open heart and Little Weirdo's laugh. I am thankful that I have these little flashes of light in my life that will always remind me that I am not alone, that I was never alone.
And as the holiday comes closer, I know I will wake up tomorrow morning and wrap my arms around my husband. In that moment I will be grateful that this is the man that I get to wake up every day. We will stay in our pajamas all day, watching dumb reality television all day, and staying out of the path of our tornado kittens as they reek havoc all over the house. My kid will say something smart ass and everyone will roll their eyes at each other but that's all right. No matter how far back our eyes roll into our heads, there is no doubt how much love we have for each other. I will think of my father and of how he isn't here this year and I will be sad and that's all right. I know in some way that sadness is just another form of love. And no matter the form, I couldn't be more grateful for all forms of love.
I pulled out my Emerson, my poor worn Emerson, and a copy of Spoon River that is missing the cover and I smiled at them both, at their beaten down glory. I laughed and thought I wasn't much different then these torn up books. And as I started reading this journal from when I was twenty years old, right before I got pregnant and lost in a bottle most the time, I saw that I wasn't much different than these broken down books. I realized that none of us are any different.
Our hair will gray and our bodies will break down. Our hips will be replaced and our knees will creak but there is a beauty in all the parts of us that age. These books are falling apart because I loved them that much. I loved them so much they couldn't hold together. At the end of my life, I hope I look like these old books. I hope that when I'm sitting on that bench in the park with my long, white hippy hair in front of my easel, wearing my hippy dress, I hope I look a little rough around the edges. It means I have lived. It means I have loved. It means that tragedy touched me, destroyed me. It means that I conquered.
These books are on their last leg but I couldn't love them more. They don't travel with me anymore. No, they sit in the bin where I keep all my journals, all my most inner thoughts because I want them to be passed on after I am gone to whoever needs to find them. The journal I found today is dark, very dark but what I see between these lines is that I still had hope even if it be just a shadow. My body will break down. My hands one day won't be able to make my beautiful lines. One day I will be an old, torn up book on someone's book shelf. And honestly the thought couldn't be any more sweetly poetic to me. The thought couldn't be any more fitting.
A very random reason why today once meant something to me hit me this afternoon. It will sound silly because of where I am in life but silly is of no importance to me. There are a million silly things in this world that mean something to someone. We should never judge someone else's joy in whatever form they found it. So, today, November 17th is a boy I once knew birthday. I never really think about him anymore. I admit there was a time in my life even after we walked away from each other that I thought about him constantly. This boy that I never got the chance to see as a man once meant the world to me... though I never showed him properly. I loved him so and he loved me so but we never knew how to love each other properly. While our fire burned so brightly, we never knew how to control it, rather always trying to control each other. Its been years since I have seen him. Our last meeting was by chance in front of a grocery store. He gave me the apology I never thought I would hear, closure to a door I thought I would never shut, healing for a wound I never thought would heal. I looked at that man who I only knew as a man and I understood that it was time to move on. All our dreams of riding into the sunset together were just stories of two kids who would never get along as adults in reality.
But on November 17 every year I think of this now man and it puts me in check. It keeps me grounded, reminds me of how much he gave me, how much I gave him, how much better at love I have become. I work with people every day who remind me of the girl I used to be. They make me smile and laugh and I couldn't adore them any more than I do. That being said they will all move on one day just like I did, just like I will do. The reality of a restaurant business is that it doesn't last forever. It is a pit stop in your life where you figure things out. You get to know people and work your ass off and laugh with each other after a 12 hour shift and drink half your tips away because in that moment of your life you have a community, a beautiful community. And I know this doesn't seem to fit but it will... Just tonight I was sitting with my beautiful Ninja Sprite. I had gotten off and she came to hang out. We enjoyed a beer and a Macaroni and Cheese stuffed Grilled Cheese (the most delicious by the way) and I was talking about this boy I once loved, realizing in that moment that we would all move on one day.
What will we move onto though? It's all up to you. I know sometimes I feel like I am just hitting my head against a wall. I know bringing unappreciative people an unsweet tea really doesn't push me that further in life but for now it keeps the lights on and, in some strange way, it is a step forward. I thought about that boy, wondering in that moment where life had taken him, realizing it didn't matter. I was never going to be a part of his future nor was he supposed to be a part of mine. We were but two souls caught in the same wind for a minute. Where I landed? Well, where I have landed is far better than what I thought was on the other side of that green hill. Moving on is one of the most difficult things for us to do whether it be from a person or a job or a place but it is one of the things that keeps us strong. We may not always have that boy that once made us lose our breath or that fourth beer with that kind soul after hours of work but we will have is the memory of them. So in that way you don't move on from them. You just carry them with you, little keepsakes that you store in your heart. And on that certain day of the year, you pull them out and smile. Moving on and moving forward doesn't always have to mean the end. It may just be a different kind of beginning.
I was thinking about the next ten years the other night. I was wondering where I would be, where my family would be, where my daughter will be? And it didn't really matter as long as we were on a good place. I think about my kid's future a lot. Right now she is fourteen, a rough age by any means. I try to show her compassion and understanding. I do remember what it was like being that young, confused about everything, trying to figure out who I was. It was rough, sure... but I don't think I ever gave my mother the looks this one gives me. I don't think I ever spoke to my mother in the tones that she speaks to me. I take responsibility for some of it. As parents, you have to. Not all of it but, yes, some of it.
When my daughter was little, it was just her and me. When my daughter was little, the only parent she had was me. I could say a lot about her biological father but I won't. I will leave it as this: He was incapable of being the father she needed. I don't carry malice any more for him because at the end of the day I knew from the beginning what he was. There were no surprises to me when out that door he walked. And for her? For my daughter? The best thing he ever did for her was finally realize he was incapable of being a positive force in her life. I know, it sounds cruel, but here is my point. When my daughter was little, it was her and me and us against the world. I was strong... confused... but strong and I loved my child, my sweet child. There was nothing I wouldn't do, nowhere I wouldn't go to make sure that this little girl was safe, was happy, was complete. And when she was little, she was sweet and kind and compassionate and wanted to be just like me when she grew up. She would hug me without prompting, tell me she loved me without asking. I could make her laugh, a pure and beautiful laugh. All we needed were each other. I spent her early life alone because I never wanted to make her feel as if she had to compete for my attention. It was always her. It's still always her but now she doesn't know if she wants it or not. Now she's my little kitty, wanting attention but wanting attention only her terms.
I am not complaining about being her mother. It is still the most rewarding role I have ever played but it does not come without struggle. She is sitting across from me right now, perfectly put together doing her homework. It reminds me of a poem I wrote when she was little. In that poem we were sitting together at a coffee shop much like we are now. She was drawing pictures and I was writing in my journal. I remember thinking about how one day she was going to be older. The crayons would be replaced with pens, a messy cream cheese face replaced with foundation. At that time it seemed so far away but now here we are. In less than 4 years this kid will be a grown up. I realize I am no longer raising a child. I am preparing an adult and it is frightening. These teenage years are so much tougher than I thought they would be. I hold dear those memories of singing Poo-pie Diaper to that little baby of mine in the bath tub, to tickling her sides when I told her to stick'em up. I hold dear to the night time snuggles when her little head fit into the crook of my neck. I think of those things every time her eyes roll, every time she plainly refused to acknowledge my existence.
I think of my own mother and will always wonder how she raised four of us. One is plenty for me. And then I think about being 22 years old, my daughter maybe a year old then. I remember calling my mother because there was something that clicked, something I finally understood. I finally appreciated the sacrifices she made for us when we were young. I appreciated all the late nights she stayed up because we were crying or we were sick or we were just plain being rotten. I appreciated the lunches that she made and the cookies we would come home to after school. I was sitting on the floor with my colicky crying child and I called my mother. I told her thank you for everything she did for us when I know it all felt like it went unnoticed. Looking at my horribly rude wonderful daughter, I know that eventually I will get that phone call. I know she will one day thank me for all the love I gave her even the love she batted away like a cat.
As you all know I recently published two books, Around The Bend and Pocket Dreams. I am currently working on another poetry book and developing another story. A continuation of Around the Bend? I don't know but I do know if I do it won't be as dark. Anyway, I'm sitting here working on stuff and I get a message from someone who I won't say just out of respect for her but it is someone that offered to help me. I promise this relates... so I read the message and I am genuinely excited. My daughter, who has not been excited or that supportive of my writing, came with me today. I tell her my good news and no reaction (as expected). I know I should not let my feelings get hurt but I can't help but to think of my small daughter who would have been squealing right there with me.
I'm a reasonable person. Yes, my teenage daughter's disinterest in anything other than what effects her is aggravating but reality is she is a teenage girl. I can't say I wasn't like her when I was her age. I remember being a bit saucy but my parents could remember me being the most horrible child in the world. Memory is relative. Here is the harsh reality. My little daughter will soon be my grown daughter and out into the world she will go. I know she doesn't understand my writing right now or how much it does hurt when she gives me no response about it but I also know that right now she is incapable of it. Beyond being her mother, I am a person with dreams and goals, love and joy and pain. Beyond being her mother, I am her biggest fan and one day she'll get it.
I got a friend request today on Facebook from a girl that I was once best friends with, two kindred spirits when we were both young and full of ideals. I have moved to Raleigh right before I started 6th grade. We had come from Fayetteville, a very brief year stay because my Dad had got a job, lost a job, and found a new job in Raleigh. For a year, we lived in that horrible place but thankfully it was short lived. So, I came to Raleigh without a friend in the world, literally. And this girl who I shall call Ruth for privacy sake was the first person to be my friend when I started the 6th grade. We were two of a kind, she a bit more outgoing then I was. I hadn't had a friend for a minute. It was nice to have someone to giggle with again, to freak out with, to confide in. And we were best friends until halfway through our Sophomore year of high school. It wasn't any one's fault but my own. It wasn't anyone's fault other then we were both growing up, figuring out who we were, who we weren't, who we wanted to be. But until that moment when I broke away, we were inseparable. If you wanted to find her, all you had to do was find me. If you needed to find me, more often than not I was right beside her. We were in the popular crowd. We went to the parties and hung out with the jocks. She was a cheerleader and I played basketball. We were good but we change as we grow. Our priorities shift and the things that once made us happy lose their meaning. Our friendship never lost meaning. I don't know if I ever told her that but she still meant the world to me. There was something in me that changed. It was that simple. I pulled away from her without any explanation. I pulled away from her without any warning. I wanted to be my own person, to at least figure out who that was. So we stopped hanging out. I stopped calling. I disappeared from the popular kids and spent the last part of my Sophomore year on my own again, making a choice to not really have any friends this time. I wasn't interested in the drinking, the partying, the dances, the who's having sex with who games anymore. I got lost in music and in words. I spent most of my time on a hill, writing poetry. I locked myself in my room and drew by candlelight because that's what I enjoyed. She continued on her path, losing track of each other in the process. Funny thing is though years later we ended up in the same college, living in the same dorm. I had made friends since walking away her but it is ironic how life circles back. That terrible thing happened and it was her I was sitting with again, feeling like she was my only friend in the world.
One night in my brief college stint, I was hanging out with her. We went drinking or to a party or something. I don't know. Those days are a blur but I remember sitting next to her by a fire late at night. We never really spoke about the way I rudely walked away until that moment. By that fire, we finally did. I told her that I always felt like I was in her shadow. She was always a little bit prettier than me, always skinnier than me, always smarter than me. She always seemed to shine brighter than me. It wasn't out of jealousy that I walked away, more like my own insecurities. I wanted to shine but I never felt I could next to her. And maybe all that was just a cop out, some excuse to make me feel better for being an asshole. I don't know and I don't think it matters anymore. She looked at me that night and said the same thing back to me. She thought I was always the one getting the boys, always the one a little bit prettier, a bit smarter. I never knew, never realized we were having the same feelings about the other. I wish we could have just talked about it years before but youth is ignorant, lost in its own selfish feelings.
I don't know if us finding each other again will ever blossom into a friendship but I do hope she knows that I have often thought about her. We ran into each other once when my daughter was about four years old. I know I came off as aloof, not really excited about seeing her. I can admit when I'm being a douche and I probably was that day. I think I have always felt guilty for what we were, then what we weren't, because I knew I was at fault. I don't know if I ever told her I was sorry even that night by the fire. Friendship is a curious thing. I have people in my life that I don't talk to for months and we talk as if we spoke yesterday. I have people in my life that I see every day and hardly speak to, feeling like it's been months since we last spoke. I have people in my life that I still hold close but know that we will never see each other again. Friendship, this need for companionship, is what keeps us human, keeps us grounded. So the point of sharing my story of Ruth with you? The point is whatever you want to take from it. Friendship comes in many forms, changes shape many times and it's all right. Sometimes we meet a friend for the end of the world. Sometimes we make a friend for a weekend. Either way, we take them with us even if we move on.
Very rare do I get a chance to sit down and post two blogs but I will take advantage of this time that I have right now and, again, vomit some words out onto this screen. Mostly this morning, I have been taking my kid's advice and creating accounts specifically for Twisted Aardvark. So, yes, now Twisted Aardvark, this crazy brand I accidentally created, now has it's own Twitter account, email address, and Tumbler (though I have no idea how to use Tumblr). Will it help? I don't know but even so it is all good. All I ever wanted in this life was to be able to share my words with the world. Whether love them or hate them, it doesn't matter because I have done what I set out to do. I have given my prose wings. It's a nod to my life, to everyone's life that I have been honored to be a part of, good and bad.
I was thinking this morning while I was in the shower of this Alanis Morisette song, Unsent. I'm sure I've done it on Facebook before. I think the world knows how much I love that woman and her music. For whatever reason, this song in particular was the one playing in my head. It talks about her relationships throughout her life, mostly romantic, and all the things that she took from them, all the things she learned from them about people and about herself. So many people come in and out of our lives. Some say they are for a reason, some unknown force that brought you to them or them to you for you both to take something from each other. Be it good or bad, I suppose that is relative. I do believe that people in your life are there for some greater purpose. And I think sometimes it takes years to figure out why.
I once worked with this man a long time ago when I worked in a cubicle. He was charming and intriguing and funny and incredibly handsome (to me). There was something about him that drew me in though I knew better to get comfortable. I knew that he wasn't the one that was going to stick but there was something so intoxicating about him that I couldn't help myself. He was a good time, such a good time. I have fond memories of him to this day. It doesn't matter that he wasn't my forever. He was my right then and, quite frankly, about the only commitment level I could've handled back then. So I think about him when I think of this song. I didn't understand at the time what he taught me, just thought he was being a douche bag and I still enjoyed playing the game a bit I can admit.
The charming man taught me how to have a good time again. In a way that I don't think either of us understood. He didn't know it but he made it OK to let my hair down again. I was so stressed and stuck in this raising a kid on my own, still healing from the sperm donor and our divorce, so very young and clueless. This charming man who was never really interested in me taught me that life doesn't have to be so serious. I remember I was in the bathroom once, incredibly sad after he didn't call the night before because I still had delusions that he might be the one in my head, when something became very clear to me. I realized that love doesn't always have to be reciprocated to heal. So this charming man didn't come into my life to sweep me off my feet, to ride me off into the sunset. This charming man came into my life for one very simple reason, for one very lovely lesson. He taught me how to be charming, reminded me how to smile. He broke the frozen parts of me that I had iced over years before. This morning as I laid beside my husband, him the little spoon, I thought of that charming man and became so very grateful that this is where I have landed. I became so very grateful for the love that the charming man unknowingly helped me reach.
I had gotten off a 12 hour shift yesterday and sat down with a dear friend over a beer or two. While my intentions were to spend some quality time with another, this dear friend happened to be up there and it's always a joy to see him. We've been friends for years and we will be friends for years to come. He is a kindred spirit but this blog isn't about him or how much his presence in both my husband's and I's life. it is about the conversation that stemmed from two old friends sitting together.
I had started talking about Christmas and plans and all that jazz. This year will be a tough one for me and my family. It will be the first year without my father but that doesn't mean Christmas stops because he is not physically here anymore. All it means is that he won't be at the dinner table with us, eating steak,, but he will be with us at that dinner table in the memories that we keep of him. I am not here to write a sob story. I am simply writing because what came from that conversation resonated with me all day. I miss my father every day but I also feel him when I unknowingly rub my chin like he once did. I miss my father every day but I know he is there every time I look at my Star Wars duct tape on my book at work. I miss my father every day but I hear him in the songs that he gave to me as a child. There will be a hole that won't be filled until the day I meet him again in whatever awaits me after this life. It gets easier... and it doesn't but every day I am more comfortable with his passing.
And there is sadness that I still can't shake but I have a choice. I've had to face this choice before. One of the things my dear friend and I spoke about last night was letting yourself drown in that sadness. Do you allow yourself to let yourself get completely engulfed by it? Do you push away all the good things and only focus on the darkness? I have come to understand the harder path is always the one with sunshine. I know that doesn't make much sense but it's a lot like doing the right thing. It is easier to be harsh than kind, easier to judge then to understand. It is harder to remember the times when he called me Red then it is to remember how very frail he was last Christmas but I choose to accept that fraility and I choose to smile at the redness in my hair that I inherited from him. I deal with life as I am built to. I push forward because that has been life's greatest lesson to me. I will always push forward.
There was a time in my life when I let that darkness swallow me whole. A time when I allowed myself to fall so far down, so completely in pieces, that I didn't know how I was going to come out again... didn't know if I wanted to see the light again. What I understand now is that life doesn't give up on you and it's you that gives up on life, forgetting that there is good and love and hope. I am by no means judging people. God knows we all carry our own luggage. I understand we all take our own time healing from whatever tragedy that has crossed our stage. Feel the sadness, the rage, the pain... but remember there is joy to be had. Energy created can never be destroyed. We are all energy. Regardless of the form, we will all leave our footprint.