I’m Not Lazy


Ok so maybe that’s not entirely true. I do have lazy tendencies; I like naps and I’ll be quick to say “But I’m so lazy!” However, I’m really not a lazy individual. I work a full time job, a part time job, I’m a mommy to two daughters, a fiance, and a college student. But as I think about some of the older photos I’ve posted of myself lately and my expression of wanting to get back to that body, it occurs to me that most people don’t know what happened to me. Yes, I have gained a substantial amount of weight. No, I have not been able to lose that weight. No, I have not broken my fitness or diet routine (when I say diet I mean eating habits, not “I’m living on practically nothing”). I’ve been showered with motivation and encouragement. So many people saying, “You can do it!” or “You’ve got this!” or my favorite, “You did it once you can do it again!” While I appreciate every word of encouragement and every suggestion and every push…it’s really not as simple as it used to be.Background: In 2007, I gave birth to my second baby and I weight in at 205 pounds; the heaviest I had ever been. I’ve always struggled with being a heavier person but at that point I had hit my lowest point. In 2008 I made a change. I started exercising; I was taking Zumba® classes, following Richard Simmons videos (go ahead and chuckle; no shame lol), and I had also taken up jogging. I put more effort into what and how much I ate. Within a year I had dropped 50 pounds. I felt amazing. I was more confident and felt more comfortable in my skin. I started trying new things to challenge my body like taking HIIT and strength training classes. I had fallen in love with fitness and I had never been an athlete or into exercising before.

Fast forward to 2013: I was still stable at my 165 pounds. I was working in a very stressful, fast-paced industry, which I loved, but ended up in a location that couldn’t keep up with the business demands. My anxiety started to spike and eventually hit a peak so high I started suffering small nervous breakdowns on the job. That’s not healthy. My doctor prescribed me a medication for anxiety and depression; yes, I suffer from both. The good news is that the meds worked; I felt more in control of my moods and thoughts and I felt like I could breathe. The bad news is that the meds caused a 30 pound weight gain within a one year time frame. I immediately had my doctor take me off. I worked so hard to get where I wanted to be physically and feel comfortable with myself that I could NOT be back to where I started all those years ago. It’s been two years since I stopped taking the medication. In those two years I began re-challenging my body to shed the unwanted weight through different fitness formats including hiring a personal trainer for the very first time. I’ve cleaned up my eating even more than before and even tried the ever popular 21 Day Fix. And you know what has happened? Nothing. 😦

I currently weigh in at 197 pounds. My last body fat % was 22.1%, which is in the healthy range for a woman. Truth? I hate seeing myself in the mirror, dressed or not. I despise not seeing myself the way I was at my prime. But I haven’t stopped exercising and eating right. I continue to mix up my workouts so that my body never knows what coming. I mix up my meals so that my metabolism doesn’t get complacent. I still haven’t found the winning combination that will spark that change in my body again. In 2008 when I made the initial change my body responded quickly because I had never been an active individual. This time around my body can handle a lot more and is used to being pushed past boundaries. I continue to do what I need to do to be healthy, which is what is most important at the end of the day. I have no medical issues or conditions that prevents me from shedding weight or working out to my maximum. I’m just currently at a wall that requires creativity to climb.

I’m not lazy. I’m not sedentary. I practice healthy eating habits (for the most part). I just wanted to lay this all out. I do practice what I preach on a regular basis.

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Legends Lost

[Article I wrote for my college newspaper, The Voice; April 6, 2016]

Actors and musicians have long been idolized for their talents, charitable contributions, style choices, and appearances. Many celebrities have left their mark on the hearts and minds of fans around the globe. When these famous beings pass on they not only leave their legacy behind, they leave an ache in the heart of those who worshiped them.
2016 has barely begun and we have already experienced the loss of many famous individuals. In a world of conformity and standards, these daring individuals stood out among the flocks. Great music, great acting and lasting imprints.
David Bowie, aka Ziggy Stardust, passed away on January 10. Bowie began rocking the world in the late 1960s. His flamboyant style and adventurous endeavors kept him at the forefront of innovation and paved the way for future creativity in the music world. Bowie’s eclectic musical stylings earned him an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 1996. Bowie was also known for his acting in the films The Man Who Fell to Earth and Labyrinth, as well as his Broadway performance in The Elephant Man. Bowie has been described as a true original, shamelessly creative, and an extraordinary artist.
Alan Rickman, best known for his role of Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, passed on January 14. Rickman’s languid voice was his calling card and made him a perfect fit for the villainous roles listed above, as well as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Rickman received a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for his lead role in Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny.  Rickman also spent time on Broadway and London stages in pursuit of his love for theater. In an outpouring of tributes after his passing, Rickman was described as a magnificent, hypnotic actor, gifted director, and a rare, unique human being.
The Eagles front man and founder, Glenn Frey, passed away on January 18. Famous for classic hits like “Take It Easy” and “Hotel California,” the Eagles have been present on the rock and roll scene since the early 1970s. The band earned an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998; an enormous honor for any musician. Frey has been referred to as a brilliant songwriter and one of the greatest voices, musicians, contributors and collaborators to rock and roll music. The Eagles debut album, Eagles, is still listed on Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Abe Vigoda, most famous for his role as Salvatore Tessio in The Godfather films, was also among the greats the world lost this year. Vigoda was also known for his stage role in The Man in the Glass Booth, as well as a television role of Detective Phil Fish on the comedy Barney Miller, which later spun off into Fish starring the late actor. Vigoda also made small appearances in several other films including Cannonball Run II and Look Who’s Talking. During the aftermath of his passing, tributes from family and friends depicted Vigoda as being full of grace and humor and talented with a capital “T.” Vigoda passed away on January 26 at the age of 94.
To die hard fans, losing an icon is devastating. There are mourning periods and tributes to greatness lost. These celebrities will live on through their work, just as Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Michael Jackson, and so many others do. Fans will hurt for a little while, but will still have a lifetime of memories.

The Voice Online

 

The Friends I Don’t Have; Part 2

Once upon I time I wrote a blog about lost, broken, and forgotten friendships. I ended with, “Sometimes I miss the friends I don’t have.” Last night I came to a whole other realization on this point. I don’t just miss the friends I don’t have, I miss the friends I thought I had. Reaching the conclusion that a person you considered a friend is only a half-friend is just as hurtful as losing the friendship all together.

Friendship groups can be tricky. You may think that you have a strong bond and that you share so many interests. The group spends days chatting and sharing stories or even just talking trash on whatever may be the hot gossip of the day. But what happens when one friend’s ego cuts through the bond like a freshly tempered sword? This is when the true friendships are tested. Perhaps two people are closer than the third first realized. Maybe Person A felt closer to Person B because Person B is remnant of Person A’s children or family members. Then what happens? Person C becomes a casual acquaintance; a small blip of a friendship through texting or social media, but no longer a real friend. Person A will tell you that he/she is not choosing one friend over the other, but the reality is that we all have preferences. We tend to be more attracted to those who are similar to ourselves, our children, our family members, or other friends we may have in our circle.

So, how do we move on? In today’s age of technology there is no real way to escape situations that cause pain or hurt feelings. We’re constantly reminded of unpleasant circumstances through Facebook posts, Instagram photos or tweets. Sure, we can remove these people from our timelines, but then you face the risk of looking immature. Does that matter? In a way it does. Word of mouth is powerful; it can be used for good or evil. Word of mouth can make a person look like a rock star or bat shit crazy. It all depends on who is saying what to whom. We can confront involved parties, but in my experience you’re usually made out to be a crazy person. An over-reactor. Thinking too much into it.

We come to a point where we just become non-responsive. The conversations become more casual than usual and far and few between. You begin to essentially fade away from people because you feel that no matter what you do, you’re wrong. You’re not good enough. You’re not worthy of friendships.

I’ve been a loner for as long as I can remember. Sometimes that shell just cannot be broken. Perhaps this is just the life I am meant to lead.

The Friends I Don’t Have

“I don’t like people.”

I find myself saying this at least twice a day; sometimes a dozen depending on daily events. On most levels, it’s very much true. I don’t do well in social settings. I feel uncomfortable, awkward, and like I just don’t belong. I’ve been a loner for as long as I can remember. I’m not an innocent; I’ve been the cause of friendship ends, not necessarily on purpose, but it has happened.

The word “friend” is used so casually anymore. The definition of a friend is a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard or a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter. Take a moment to think about that. Truly let that definition sink in. How many “friends” do you honestly have? How many would give you a broken heart if they walked out of your life? How many could you call to cry over life, and have the person genuinely care? How many would miss you if you were gone? How many would you miss? How many secrets have you shared? The realization I’ve come to is that I don’t have friends; I have acquaintances. 

My first clue to this was after I was abandoned by someone I considered a best friend after her new partner had treated me poorly. I had a few friends planning weddings and getting married, but no invite for me. Another person I considered to be a best friend married after a six year relationship , but I wasn’t invited to the wedding. I only received an invitation to the reception after I told my “friend” how upset I was. Marriages are a huge deal, right? A friend would have been invited.

I’ve also been used. A life long friend and I reconnected after years of separation; not bad terms, just different life directions. After I while I realized this person only wanted to see me or talk me when a favor was needed. Money, transportation, or to be a baby sitter. My feelings were brushed aside because I was “overreacting.” To protect my own feelings I ended the friendship. I still miss this person, but sometimes an end is a way to peace.

I’ve tried to make new friends, but I seem to just be unsuccessful. People I attempt to trust repeat private conversations to parties not involved. People read things I’ve wrote and misinterpreted them or made assumptions without confrontation. As I’ve said, I’m no innocent. I have a bad attitude, a smart mouth and I am a stubborn, dominant bitch. I own up to all of that without shame. I can’t change who I am. I could make more effort with friendships, but after the experiences I’ve had I don’t even have the urge. Why should I intentionally set myself up for disappointment?

I do get sad when I see groups of people I know out enjoying each others’ company. There was a time when I was included, but being a single mom and being employed full time usually kept me from being a part of anything. Now that I do have some time to spend, the invites are no longer available. People seem to have forgotten about me or exiled me for one reason or another. I suppose I’ve dug this grave for myself, all by myself.

I get lonely once in a while, but I always get over it. Sometimes I miss the friends I don’t have.

It Will Always Be So

When you believe something, when you honestly and truly believe something, it is difficult, if not impossible, to change your mind. These beliefs can be demonic nightmares, torturous to endure. It can be anything: self esteem, self image, faithfulness in a relationship, intelligence, skill ability. Whether you believe you can’t do something, that you’re great at something, or that you are a victim of infidelity, it will be true. Well, at least in your mind. You’ll never be comfortable in any setting, especially social ones. The feeling of not belonging will take over your sanity and you won’t be able to enjoy yourself regardless of the situation. You’ll no longer know the meaning of “fun.” You’ll become an introvert; an avoider; a ghost. People will start to believe that you’re stuck up, unfriendly, a bitch. You’re friends will begin to feel that you’re not longer interested in their friendship or presence. You will slowly become isolated from everything and everyone. You’re life will become so lonely.

So what do you do? How do you fix this state of mind? You can’t. Once your mind truly believes something to be true, it will always be so.

A Piece of Me Dies

There are few things in my life that I’m proud of. My life has been a hard one. I grew up poor surrounded by drugs, alcohol, and parties. As an adult, I pride myself on being a decent mother, fairly intelligent, and a strong Zumba fitness instructor. This last year has brought everything I had been proud of shattering around me.

One: not being able to give my children the things they want to “fit in.” Recently my 10 year old daughter attended a birthday party where her 10 year old friend received an iPhone 6. I then had to watch my daughter cry silently as I explained that she wasn’t old enough for such technology. She does have a tablet, which was not a gift from me, but suddenly that’s not good enough for her. She wants to fit in. She wants to have an iPhone like so many of her friends. I stand by my decision on her not being old enough, but what about other trendy items? I can’t afford wardrobes from trendy stores like Old Navy, The Gap or P.S. by Aeropostale. Sadly my girls wear clothes from Wal-Mart of K-Mart. More often than not, their sneakers come from the same stores, or from Pay Less. Even though they choose their own wardrobes, a part of me dies inside that I can’t at least give them name brand clothes and sneakers. I see many of their classmates wearing Uggs, another item I will not buy because of how fast they are growing. But if I had the money to constantly replace the boots, I would buy them for my babies in a heart beat. They’re unable to participate in sports not only because of start up fees, but the fact that I work nights and cannot transport them. They’re unable to play an instrument in the school band because I cannot afford the instrument rental. I know many people will tell me that all of these things are trivial, but the truth is that they’re not. These things are important in a child’s life, especially the sports and musical activities. And when I have to tell my babies that they can’t do the same activities their friends are doing, a piece of me dies.

Two: realizing I’m not as intelligent as I think I am. Currently I am in my third semester of college. Each semester I have found myself in tears due to struggling with my academic load, and honestly it’s not a heavy one. I’d always been a good student through elementary and high school, but 10 years later I find myself on the tail end of everything. I sit in my biology class twice a week struggling to follow along. My professor’s words could just as easily be in German for all that I am able to understand. I look around the room at my fellow classmates who don’t appear to be having the same issue. They participate actively and ask questions in the same German language while I desperately listen for some small shred of the English language I’ll be able to jot down for later use. Perhaps I’m not as intelligent as I thought I was…perhaps I waited too long to return to the world of education.  I’m a receptionist at a gym and I teach Zumba fitness classes…not exactly positions I can make a living out of. I’m unable to go into the military because I’m a mother. College is, sadly my only option, but I’m afraid I won’t make it to graduation. A part of me died when I realized I’m not longer able to keep up.

Three: watching my Zumba career go down the drain. A little over three years ago I decided to get licensed, not to teach, but to have access to amazing events that only instructors could attend. I was pushed into teaching, but sadly I still have not been to any of the fantastic events I’ve longed to go to. When I first started teaching, I considered myself to be good. And I felt wanted. I was always a part of something, whether it be performing in a Zumba event or substituting for another instructor. Suddenly I am not an outcast. Only 3 or 4 instructors ask me to cover their classes and when I do I’m lucky if any students show up. A piece of me dies when only 2 people show up to a class I’m teaching. I’m rarely asked to do an event outside of any I’ve started or help start. The lack of interest hurts. People have posted hurtful things about my class on social media and it affects me…very deeply. I have my true friends who will say nice things to lift my spirits, but I can’t help but wonder what I’ve done wrong. Why am I so alienated? I’m currently on a break from teaching, and am unsure if I’ll return. The honest truth that many people will not notice or care kills of piece of me. I had Zumba dreams after teaching for the first time. But as with every other aspect of my life, I do not have the money to turn my dreams to reality.

It’s said that money can’t buy happiness. Maybe that’s true. But more often than not the people who make that statement are financially sound, and that is a fact. They may not be rich, but they are comfortable. They do not understand what not having money does to a person. They do not understand what it’s like to have a negative balance in their bank account. They do not understand what it’s like to live on hot dogs, noodles, and frozen pizzas. They do not understand what it’s like to have a piece of their spirit die.

I’m rebuilding my life…but so much of me has died.

The Ugly Truth

In 2013 my physician suggested that I see a therapist. I did not do this. I didn’t see how expressing everything that bothered me to a complete stranger would fix any of my problems; because it wouldn’t. The truth is that I’m sick. The thoughts that haunt me aren’t something that simply talking about can ever fix. These thoughts aren’t something that medication can hide; I know because I’ve tried. So instead I turn to writing…and you; the reader of this blog. 

I hate myself. Not like those girls who squeal about hating their hair, face, clothes…whatever. I honestly hate myself. It goes beyond physicality. I wish I was a completely different person. I wish I was a different person living a different life a different way. This is the first time I’ve ever confessed this to anyone…not even my fiance knows that I feel this way…until now. This is the worst feeling a person can ever possibly experience. Let’s face it: we don’t live in fairy tales. There are no fairy God mothers or genies to ease our pain or change our lives. And while we can change our physical appearance, status in society, and the level of comfort in which we live, we cannot change the way our minds behave. I can’t anyway. For years I’ve battled with being content with myself, but I’ve never been able to achieve it. Even when these ghosts are quiet, the smallest thing can set them a blaze. For example, seeing a peer from elementary school that I had idolized. 

Sometimes instead of wishing to be a different person, I wish I had made different life choices. Made different friends. Had been more active in school activities.  Been better at sports. Basically had done everything in the complete opposite way than I had. Maybe if I had stayed within the popular circles instead of settling in where I thought I belonged…with the below average, the trouble makers. I grew up poor so I assumed I could never “belong” to a higher crowd. That I wasn’t worthy of them. I know now that it’s not true. I was well liked in school. I pretty much created my demise. I dropped out of any clubs and sports team I joined because I never felt like I was good enough and I was just dragging every one else down. Where did those thoughts even come from? I never had any one telling me I wasn’t good enough or smart enough or pretty enough. I told MYSELF these things. This is what sick minds do. 

The reality is I can’t change who I am and I can’t become a different person. Even if time travel did exist and I was able to go back, I wouldn’t know what I know now so I’d most likely make the same choices all over again. So either way I’d probably be exactly where I am now. Once in a while I’ll try to convince myself that everything happens for a reason and if I hadn’t made certain choices in my past I wouldn’t be where I am now. The problem is that I’m not happy where I am now. To me it’s a lose-lose situation. I have no reason to not want the life I have or to feel the way I do about myself…but it’s still there. Every day it’s there. 

So what’s the solution? What’s the answer? How do I move on from this. I can’t. This is a struggle I will always battle. Darkness is a powerful thing. It can drown out even the brightest light if it so desires. I live in darkness. Sometimes there are stars that light my way, but even they aren’t as strong as I’d like. Sometimes I’m afraid of myself and wonder how I can live out the rest of my life with these issues…with this sickness. But…what other choice do I have?

Lacking Motivation

You know what my problem is? Motivation. A severe lack of motivation. I’m not happy with my body right now because of a 30 pound weight gain caused by a medication. I’m now off the meds, but instead of being insanely driven to get back in shape, I’m just depressed over it. I’ve been trying to get myself in gear but I feel like I’ve been failing more than succeeding. I’m sure it doesn’t help that my stress levels are extra high. I need to get my act together.

I find it disturbing how situations in life can affect me so hard. Weight has always been a HUGE issue for me(no pun intended). In 2008 I weighed in at 232 pounds; I’m five foot five so it wasn’t pretty. I decided I needed to make a change. I got involved with different fitness programs: Zumba, running, Zumba toning, pilates, Urban Strip & Fit, and even Richard Simmons. After a year of actively participating in all of these, I successfully dropped 50 pounds. I wasn’t skinny, I was FIT. I was so proud of myself! I kept up my workout regime and eventually got my weight down to 155 pounds. I had muscle definition, including my abdominals. Not bad for a mom of two who opted to lose weight “the hard way” as opposed to surgery. I didn’t necessarily diet, but I did practice portion control. After hitting that weight loss goal, I didn’t give up on working out. I kept it up to keep it off.

Fast forward to 2013. I was working as a manager in a fast-paced, customer service business. There were never any breaks or time of peace and I was working 45-50 hours a week. I was burnt out and getting run down. After suffering a nervous breakdown while on duty(highly embarrassing by the way), my doctor recommended I give an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication a try. I obliged, and was surprised at how controlled my moods became. My stress levels dropped and situations that were out of my control didn’t bother me as much as they used to. However, over the next year I noticed that my weight slowly began to climb. I began increasing my workouts and changing the way I ate, but my weight continued to rise. It was devastating and my depression began to return. Sort of ironic since I was on medication for that problem. When I finally hit a 30 pound gain I went back to my doctor. She admitted that a side effect of my meds was weight gain. Holy. Shit. I was furious. Being overweight depresses me so why would my doctor put me on something that would make me gain weight? I just couldn’t have it. I had quit my job a few months before this visit so I felt confident about my self control to come off of the medication.

I’ve been off of these pills for about two months. My weight is currently fluctuating because I’ve been inconsistent with my workouts and eating. My drive is gone. There are other aspects in my life which are adding stress, such as financial issues and decisions about my fitness career, which probably aren’t helping my focus. I need to find a way to get myself together and find a balance. I won’t be happy if I stay at the weight I’m at now, which is 189 pounds. Being an overweight fitness instructor isn’t appealing. People tell me I look fine, but I know they don’t mean it. Sometimes people just feel obligated to be encouraging. I know eventually that little switch in my brain will flip and I’ll be back on my fitness journey. The waiting is driving me mad. 

Lost Friends

I’ve lost a lot of friends in my life. When I see them now, in person or social media, I get angry at myself. I’m an extremely sensitive person and small things upset me. I read into situations incorrectly or too deeply and get my feelings hurt which causes me to react to said instances without fully evaluating my thoughts.

In elementary school and high school, I always made friends at the start of each year. All I wanted was to be accepted. I somehow would end up in the clicks of the social leaders. I ended up building friendships with those who would be at the top of our class and actively involved in school events and clubs. I grew up very poor and we didn’t even own a vehicle so I was unable to participate in things. I ended up alienating myself from everyone because I assumed they wouldn’t want to continue to be my friend. What if they found out the truth about my life? They wouldn’t know that I didn’t belong. I had convinced myself they would dump me anyways so it was easier to separate myself. 

In my adult life, my sensitivity continues to be a problem. It’s not easy to be rid of alienation. I constantly feel that I’m not wanted. Like I’m not good enough.  That no one would miss me if I were to disappear from the small circles I run in. I’m sure some wouldn’t, but I know there are some who would. Those are the people who reach out to me when I’m surrounded in darkness. Those are the ones who try to pull me back when I feel lost and alone in this world. 

I’ve lost two people in the last 2 years that I had considered my best friend at different points in my life. One of them treated me bad and I just didn’t fit into the lifestyle the other was aiming to have. Both breaks crushed me. I know I’m not a perfect friend, but I am a loyal friend. Losing two people that I had depended on for years took a devastating toll on me. Now the battle starts. I have to fight the urge to reevaluate everything that happened in those friendships. What had I done wrong? What could I have done differently? How did I ruin those relationships?

Maybe I didn’t. Maybe I did. I don’t claim to be an innocent, but I also don’t feel like I deserved to be cast away. I’m a lot to handle and I tell people that constantly, but I’m the type of person who needs friends in my life. I don’t need to be popular or in demand or involved in everything but I do want to be thought of and remembered. I want to have successful friendships. I want to have lifelong relationships with people. My greatest fear is ending up alone. 

Fear of Newbies

One of the things that holds me back in life is dealing with new, unfamiliar people. I’m not sure if it’s gotten worse as I’ve grown older, but I’ve been this way since I was a young girl. I remember dreading the new school year at the end of each summer. Who would be in my class? Would I have at least one friend? Would that friend still want to be friends? Growing up very poor left me without the means to be a “cool kid” so I had to rely on being friendly to my classmates to fit in. Not an easy feat for someone who has a social anxiety. 

As an adult, I still deal with social anxieties. Those who know me probably find that hard to believe because of my outrageous personality and antics while teaching my Zumba classes, but I promise it’s true. Each time I step in front of a class that’s not my own, I have to fight the urge to run. My stomach starts churning and fluttering. My chest starts to tighten. My mood starts to falter. I wonder how I’ll even get through the class. Will they like me? How many people will walk out? Will they judge me based on my appearance? So far my nerves haven’t got the best of me. But believe me, they’re always lurking behind my smile.

These anti-newbie emotions reach into every facet of my life. In college, I have to sit in the back row of every class because I fear all eyes will be on me. Online course are a God send to me. Unfortunately, not every class is available online so I must brave being on campus. Each day I survive is a small victory. When I go out to eat, I request booths because I feel the enclosures will conceal me. Being seated at a table makes me feel exposed and uneasy. Are people watching me? The answer is probably not, but I still can’t shake the feeling. I’m not a fan of bars or clubs either. How can I stay hidden in those kind of places? I can’t. Trying to relax while sitting on bar stools or standing around the edges of a dance floor is almost a painful event. When I go out, I can’t wait until it’s time to go home. My friends don’t know that I suffer from social anxieties. Well, until now anyway. When they ask me to go out for a night and I say “no,” they most likely believe I just don’t want to spend time with them. So far from the truth. I love the people in my life and cherish the ones I call “friend.” I just can’t bear to be around large groups of people that I don’t know. Sad isn’t it?

I wish I didn’t have this issue. I wish I could go out and enjoy life without worrying about who’s watching me or who’s judging me. I wish little things didn’t have such an adverse effect on my life. I wish I could just….be free.