effortlessly perfect

{December 5, 2011}   pain

Just when I thought things were about as bad as they could be, they get worse. And the crazy part is, I know I’m far from hitting rock bottom. I don’t understand why I do this to myself. I make crappy choices, knowing that I should be doing something different. The few people who actually know the details encourage me to stop. I know I am fixated on numbing the pain, in whatever way I can find. I know it’s not good. I know it won’t end well. I know that I don’t even know how bad it could get. But yet, my one foot in front of the other is nothing but slow steps to a place I shouldn’t go. A place that I don’t want to end up and that is far from healthy.

But as I type I’m sitting on the couch full of rage. I’m angry, hurt, disappointed, and in so much pain. I don’t know what to do with all of these feelings. I want them to go away. I need something to make me feel better. I need something to make these feelings go away. I don’t want to be like this. I don’t want to be me. I need a different life. I need to get out. It’s way too painful and I feel stuck. There isn’t a way out that doesn’t hurt. That doesn’t bring an incredible amount of pain. Pain that I can’t handle. Pain that I need to avoid.

I want to scream. I want to cry. I want to sleep forever. I want this to be over. Make it stop. Get me out of this. I can’t handle the pain. The shame. The guilt. The feelings of worthlessness. The feelings that I am not and will never actually be loved. I want these feelings to stop. I need them to go away. I can feel the rage and pain making my skin crawl. As if my blood is pumping harder than it ever has. I want to pull my skin off. I want to hit something. Scream. Throw something. Anything. My head is pounding. My eyes hurt. My muscles are tight. Back aching. It’s amazing how feelings and emotions can hurt so physically too. I just need a break. From myself. From this life. I just need a break. I need this to stop. 


{November 28, 2011}   fight for me

Growing up, and honestly still today, my family worked hard to suppress their emotions. They’ll show love and gratitude… you know, the “pretty” emotions… but everything else was off limits. We didn’t yell. We didn’t cry. We didn’t fight. We (the kids) didn’t express displeasure. We didn’t say we were disappointed, let down, or sad. Not only did this atmosphere do a number on my ability to express emotions, it also hurt me by not having people show those emotions toward me.

While I know there are tons of children out there who had “worse” childhoods than I did, it’s not like mine wasn’t filled with events or situations to illicit those messy or negative emotions. I had my fair share of heartache and loss, along with just those normal struggles while growing up. But the pressure and expectation to not react, to not fall apart, to not cry, or even be sad…. that pressure might have hurt me the most.

So, what this has left me with is the deep desire for someone to fight. For me. For life. For what they believe it. I want someone to care so much about me that they do get mad. I want to care so deeply for someone else that I can’t help but cry. People hurt each other. People are broken, messy individuals. I want someone to care enough to yell or be hurt. I want to see that passion… toward me… and in me. I’m tired of sweeping things under the rug. Not being vulnerable. Being too afraid to do anything because it might get messy.

I remember sitting in church a couple years ago and seeing a little girl get fussy. Her dad was getting frustrated and took her out in the hallway. I remember thinking that I wish I had a dad like that. I wish I had a dad who cared enough to take us to church… or join us when the family attended together. I wish I had a dad who cared enough to get mad or frustrated. And even through his frustration, handle the situation with love and patience. I wish I had that. Someone who was there. Someone who loved me, even when I wasn’t acting or doing as I should. Someone who loves me for me… no matter how cliche that sounds.

I have a friend who has two teenagers.  I watch him get mad. I watch him get so frustrated, pissed, and hurt that he can’t even see straight.  When one of his kids got in serious trouble he was so mad he couldn’t focus on anything else until he had talked with his son. Gotten him straighten out and back on track. He cares, even when his son does something completely stupid and ridiculous.  I want that. I want to know that I can do something completely stupid and ridiculous and still be loved.

I grew up in the big, gorgeous, spotless house with the quiet, flawless, and respected family… who never yelled or fought… but never really learned how to love or live either.  I grew up thinking that in order to even begin to be loved that I had to be perfect.  Not only could I not break a rule, but I couldn’t be anything less than impressive.

You see, my father was in politics. An elected official in our state. He was always in a state of having to impress or sell himself… to win elections, to pass the next big bill, to move further in his career. I remember feeling an overwhelming amount of pressure to help (or not screw up) his career and elections.  I knew that if I was the perfect little girl, he could talk about me in his campaign speeches… his wonderful daughter, so strong academically, with a bright future.  And as the speeches, campaigns, and brochures continued, the pressure grew.

I remember thinking how much trouble I would get in if I ever got caught drinking before I was 21.  Or being at a party that I shouldn’t have been in. I remember thinking about the article in the newspaper… about this elected officials daughter getting in trouble. My fears weren’t about me… getting in trouble, getting thrown in jail, getting suspended from school… none of that mattered… what happened to me didn’t matter.  What mattered is that my mother (a prominent person in our school corporation) and my father (the elected official) would be embarassed by me… their careers, images, and ability to portray this perfect family, would be damaged. I couldn’t do that to them.  I had to be perfect. I had to be something (not even someone) to be proud of.

The shitty part about all of this is that I don’t know what to do about any of it. It hurts. I feel empty. I feel as if no one cares enough to truly fight. I want someone to grab on to me and not let go, no matter how hard I try to get away. I want someone to look me in the eyes and say that they will always love me no matter how much of a mess I am. No matter how broken I become. That they will love me no matter what.

{October 25, 2011}   If you really knew me…

If you really knew me…

  • you’d know that I am afraid of losing this battle.
  • you’d know that I am afraid it will become too much for me and that I will just give up.
  • you’d know that I am just now figuring out who I am or that I am someone independant of who I “should” be.
  • you’d know that I smile all the time because I see emotions as weakness.
  • you’d know that sometimes I just want you to listen… not talk, not interrupt, not offer advice or suggestions. Sometimes all I want is you to sit there and listen and to feel like you care.
  • you’d know that I’m scared that you will leave me.
  • you’d know that sometimes the weight of my sadness is too much for me to handle, like I’m drowning and can’t keep my head above water.
  • you’d know that at any point in the day, I know exactly how many calories I’ve eaten.
  • you’d know that I choose to hurt myself because it hurts less than having to feel anything else.
  • you’d know that there are so many things I wish I could say.
  • you’d know that your words and actions hurt me even though they weren’t meant to.
  • you’d know that I cry when you hug me because of the emptiness and pain I know I’ll feel when you finally let me go.
  • you’d know that I am so incredibly mean to myself.
  • you’d know that I look at the nutritional information of every restaurant menu before I go there with you.
  • you’d know that I really just want to be happy and content.
  • you’d know that I sometimes need your help, but I’m not sure how to tell you this.
  • you’d know that I really do care about you.
  • you’d know that I cry when no one is around.
  • you’d know that I hold back from recovering because I hang on to my eating disorder as an excuse to not chase after my real goals or truly live life.
  • you’d know that I don’t like my eating disorder. I just am having a hard time disliking it right now.
  • you’d know that I feel too ashamed, too embarrassed and too scared to tell you that I can’t cope without hurting myself.
  • you’d know that I can’t see myself as anything but fat and ugly.
  • you’d know that I weigh myself constantly.
  • you’d know that I’m afraid to truly know myself and understand my feelings and wishes.
  • you’d know that as I’m smiling and laughing, I have voices screaming and degrading me in my head.
  • you’d know that my family is more dysfunctional than I like to admit.
  • you’d know that I believe that everyone’s flaws should be accepted and forgiven except for mine.
  • you’d know that I’m always in a state of obsession. My mind is always going a mile a minute and ED is ALWAYS screaming at me about something. I never have a moment of pure peace or silence in my head.
  • you’d know that I’d love to escape to somewhere by the ocean, to eat, drink, dance, and sleep without a care in the world.
  • you’d know that I regret not being more committed during treatment. I didn’t make the progress I could have and I hate myself for that.
  • you’d know that I feel guilty about all the pain I feel.
  • you’d know that I hate feeling vulnerable and I will do almost anything to avoid it.
  • you’d know that I am very sensitive, although I attempt to be seen by others as strong.
  • you’d know that what you said hurts.
  • you’d know that I am crying for help, but can’t find the words.
  • you’d know that no one could berate me more than I do myself.
  • you’d know that I hate being needy and yet I long to be taken care of.
  • you’d know that without this mask I don’t really know who I am.
  • you’d know that I struggle to be trusting of anyone.
  • you’d know that my eating disorder is the only constant in my life, the only thing which feels unchanging regardless of what is going on around me. It is the only guarantee, the only certainty, the only thing loyal to me throughout everything that comes my way.
  • you’d know that the bigger my smile, the bigger my pain.
  • you’d know that I use my body to convey what my words cannot.
  • you’d know that I always feel like a burden, but usually try to hide it.
  • you’d know that I don’t want you to give up on me. I need you to believe in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.
  • you’d know that I will not show that I am mad at you. In fact, I probably won’t even feel mad at you, unless someone else reassures me that it IS something that is ok to be mad about.
  • you’d know that I am constantly searching for something that will make my parents proud of me.
  • you’d know that sometimes I cancel plans with you because I feel fat or don’t want to be seen.
  • you’d know that I am scared shitless because I don’t know what to do with my life and I cannot cope without direction.
  • you’d know that I am trying to hold tight to my faith and stay strong in my relationship with God.  It is often harder than I would like to admit.
  • you’d know that I have an immense amount of guilt over my actions and eating disorder.  This prevents me from telling you about them, as I don’t want you to shoulder my pain or know my secret for what it is.
  • you’d know that I am afraid that I could achieve wonderful things in life. But I have never let myself try, because I am afraid of failing miserably.
  • you’d know that I’m scared that this will kill me.

{October 12, 2011}   tears. instant tears.

I ran across this picture on facebook and instantly broke in to tears. His eyes, the hand, the words… it was all too much for me. What a powerful and painful message. His sweet little eyes and innocent tears break my heart for all of the young children who are treated as anything less than perfect little gifts from above. My tears also come from a very personal place… for the hurtful words I felt as a child and still feel today. It’s also hard to deny that often times that hand and those words are my own… slowly choking myself, holding myself down and making myself cry.

{October 5, 2011}   dinner

the chaos from my head during dinner last night…

So, I’m sitting at dinner, hungry from not eating all day. Stomach growling, head pounding, shoulders aching. I want to eat. I need to eat. But I can’t. I won’t. Everyone else orders food. I order a diet coke. I can’t eat. I can’t hate myself tonight. I want to feel strong. I need to feel strong.

I pick up my cell phone and google thinspo. I know better. I know I shouldn’t. I know this isn’t good for me. But I need strength. A reminder that I shouldn’t eat. That I need to lose weight. That I need to be thinner, better, stronger.

My phone fills up with pictures of thin, beautiful women. Long legs, thin arms, flat stomachs. Legs, arms, and stomachs that I so desperately want. Looking at the pictures doesn’t make my hunger subside. But my determination to restrict gets stronger.

I can do this. I can get through this one night. I won’t hate the number on the scale tomorrow morning. I will have a reason to be proud of myself. I will be one small step closer to my goal. With one less reason to be mad at myself. One less thing I am screwing up. The battle is constant. But tonight, it is a battle I will win.

{September 28, 2011}   Random thoughts from this morning…

1. I am always amazed at how much the number on my scale affects my mood. I mean, I know I have an eating disorder and that I put an unhealthy value on food, weight, and appearance, but it still surprises me as to how unconsciously affected I am by seeing a number lower or higher than I am expecting. Yesterday pretty much sucked for a variety of reasons, which led me to my first binge (although much smaller than normal) in more than eight months. I went to bed feeling defeated and depressed. This morning I told myself that I would weigh myself and start back with dedicated restricting… making up for the mini-binge and resuming a sense of control in my life. But the number on the scale wasn’t as bad as I feared, which instantly lightened my mood and gave me a little glimmer of hope. Because, for some reason, restricting, losing weight, or fitting into a smaller size can fix even the worst day.

2. Why is it that I know what I need to do to recover, but still can’t get myself to do those things? I’m not purposely setting myself up to fail, but yet continue to make decisions that take me farther from recovery. It’s maddening.

3. I never realized how crappy my body feels when I don’t eat. Emotionally, I love the feeling of not eating… it’s almost a high… strength, power, control, structure. But man, physically, I feel like shit. I get pounding headaches when I heavily restrict. My upper back hurts. I clench my jaw and grind my teeth. I never really noticed it before, because the emotional high normally blocked it out. But now, I notice it. And I’m not a fan.

{September 28, 2011}   hot coal

I just left one of the most infuriating meetings I have ever attended… and I’ve been in some bad ones.  It was one of those meetings were your hands shake, muscles tighten and you don’t know if you want to scream or cry.  I walked back in to my office after the meeting and wanted to throw, hit or break whatever I could find. However, because I’m too much of a chickenshit to actually show emotions, I thought maybe writing in this blog would be a decent second choice.

I’m assuming that even though I have rage running through my veins right now and could shoot daggers out my eyes, that my post will still come across fairly calm, collected, and professional.  Which, if I actually stop to think about it, infuriates me even more. I don’t know why I can’t just let go. Say what I think. Call people out. Stand up for myself. Have a voice.

I am so sick of holding all of this in and dealing with how it makes me feel, act, and live. There is a quote from Buddha that reads “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

Yep, that’s about how it happens, doesn’t it?  How many times have I just stood there with a smile on my face, while the piece of coal burnt the hell out of my hand? And yet, the next time I find myself with a hot coal, I do the same thing… sometimes putting it in my pocket, holding it close to the things that I love, letting it burn my relationships, dreams, and life. Sometimes I feel like I’m sleeping on a bed of hot coals, because I’ve never had the guts to get rid of a single one.

I never really saw anger when I was growing up. My family had a magic way of making negative emotions disappear without dealing with them. I never saw yelling, door slamming, or raised voices. Even frustrations and anger being handled in a calm and rational way were absent. We just ignored anger… letting those feelings fester, grow, and build resentment. So, maybe I learned that anger wasn’t appropriate or acceptable. And if you couldn’t avoid it, just make it disappear instead of dealing with it. 

I’m also not sure I ever had a good model of how to handle anger in a healthy way. Without having seen successful conflict resolution happen, it’s hard to be to truly believe that it is possible. When I think about the anger, rage, and frustration I have inside me, the thought of letting it out is more than I can comprehend. I don’t trust that I will be able to express my negative feelings in an appropriate way. I also take myself to some crazy places when I think about the potential results from letting this anger out. It’s as if I let myself have real emotions that the people around me will leave. Or that I’ll lose my job for standing up for myself. Or that I’ll become someone I don’t really even like.

So, for now, I keep it all inside. Holding that hot stone. Feeling it burn my hand. Standing in front of everyone with a smile on my face… and tears running down my heart.

{September 25, 2011}   make. me. numb.

Do you ever have those days when you just want to be someone else? Or somewhere else? Or dealing with anything but what life has dealt you? With different friends? In a different house? Working at a different job? Driving a different car? Just turn it all back in and start over. Or just, for a moment, not be you. Sometimes it’s not even the desire to be someone else… actually, most of the time it’s not wanting to be someone else… it’s simply just not wanting to be you. It’s wanting to take the problems, stresses, obstacles, roles, and structure of your current life and throw them off a cliff. To forget the stresses of tomorrow, problems of today, and pain of the past.

For me this happens almost daily. At least several times a week. I live my life based on “shoulds” instead of “wants” or “needs.” Constantly trying to please others, figuring out what I should be doing or not doing, and then rethinking and second guessing to no end. Needless to say it’s an exhausting and unfulfilling way to live life. It’s also a way of life that is completely void of self. There is no thought as to what I want to do or who I actually am. Just a neverending list of who I should be or what I should avoid. I received the “should” messages very early in my childhood. What I should wear. What grades I should get. How hard I should work. Who I should be friends with. What I shouldn’t say. So, I internalized it all and lived my life accordingly.

Living by these rules left me completely unsatisfied, since they weren’t really me. And all of the rules and messages created such a model of perfection that I could never actually live up to them anyway. Trust me, it’s no way to live. What I’ve been surprised to find out throughout this past year is that I really grew up and spent the last 30 years without any real idea of who I am. My identity got lost in the shuffle. With the multitude of shoulds, rules, messages, structure, and expectations running through my veins, my true self was never actually considered. The fascinating thing to me is that it wasn’t like I had an identity or knew my true self, but suppressed it due to the expectations of others. I fully believe that I just never stopped to consider that I had thoughts of my own. I grew up thinking that my thoughts, feelings, emotions, wants, and needs didn’t matter and weren’t as important than anyone else’s. So, why on earth would I spend any time developing something that was just going to get run right over anyway?

But honestly, my lack of identity and self is probably a conversation for a different day. I only bring it up this morning, because it leads to this pain I want so desperately to numb. My issues with food and addiction started when I was about 12, which is also when I remember having this intense desire to numb myself. It was like I was desperately trying to escape from reality. At that point in time, and with the limited resources of a 12 year old, I chose food. My friends and I would go to a nearby fast food restaurant or grocery store and I would find something to numb the pain. And while I was sitting there with my friends, eating my latest purchase, and blocking out everything else, I was free. It didn’t matter what had happened earlier in the day or how much the rest of my day was bound to suck. It didn’t matter that my 12 year old world was falling about around me… parents divorcing, people dying, unrelenting pressures and negativity. For those few minutes, none of it mattered. I was free. I was happy. I was numb.

In high school I started to flip between restricting and bingeing. With the added pressures of caring about my appearance, weight, and the opposite sex, bingeing really didn’t seem like the best fit most of the time. So, I would restrict. This is when I first taught myself that food was a weakness. That if I could just be stronger than the food, I could win. It was just food. How could a muffin or apple or candy bar have that much power over me? So, I drank diet coke throughout the day. And would eventually get hungry and eat too much in the evening. I didn’t say I was good at restricting at this point in my life, I simply said that I did it. In my first year of college I became much better at it. Eating only rice and Crispix, and exercising obsessively. I ended up losing 65 pounds in my first 10 weeks of college. And since I kept a smile on my face throughout all of the pain, my family and friends were so happy for me. Proud of me for losing the weight. And oblivious to the fact that something could have been wrong. But I did a great job of making them think things were perfect… forcing down an acceptable amount of food when I came home so they would believe that all of the weight loss was done in a healthy way. Little did they know the pain and torture I was putting myself through to become perfect. I had a 4.0 my freshman year, lost 90 pounds, and was completely and utterly miserable.

This past year, the numbing got worse. I started purging… something that isn’t very easy for me. Then, after a few months of eating and purging, I decided restricting would be easier. It felt controlled, less chaotic, and much less violent. It was similarly negative in my thinking, but it gave me a sick sense of strength. That I was good at something, winning even. Weight loss happened, feelings were numbed, and life is still pretty miserable. I know that eating disorders and addictions serve a purpose. They don’t come out of no where and they play a role in each person’s life. Mine distracts me, it diverts my attention from dealing with feelings or emotions that are too hard for me to deal with. Not eating numbs the pain, much in the same way a big meal would. I remember in college saying that I wanted to “drink until I didn’t know my name.” I rarely actually did that, because I didn’t enjoy how out of control I felt when I was drunk. And I never wanted to do anything bad or illegal…. drink and drive, public intox, sleep with someone I didn’t know, etc.  So, maybe it makes sense that restricting is my drug of choice or way I choose to numb out these feelings. The ultimate control and structure, void of needs or wants, and a distraction that helps me pretend nothing else exists.

I think deep down I know that the feelings I am trying so hard to numb have to come to the surface if I truly want to get better. I also know that my numbing methods don’t really work and are pretty detrimental to my health. And that the free, happy feeling I believe I had as a 12 year old, was (and is) really anything but happy or free.

{September 23, 2011}   the perfectly titled blog

The pressure of naming my blog was more than I could even fathom. I know it might sound dramatic, but this was a big deal for me. A defining moment. The short phrase or cluster of words that would become my identity. How do you pick three to five words that sum up your thoughts… some of which you haven’t even had yet? I imagined people rolling their eyes at my attempt at humor or wittiness. I googled several phrases to see what came up… heaven forbid my blog title was unknowingly also the title of a book, poem, or musical group. I wanted my blog title to be something amazing. Something unique. Something that would inspire people to read, listen, respond, and belive. I wanted my blog title to be perfect.

I first heard about the concept of effortless perfection about eight months ago. I’m not quite sure how I first came about it, but as soon as I read it, I instantly connected. It was two simple words that summed up what I had been striving for my entire life. Two words that could be explained by your average fourth grader, but when put together become a potentially deadly combination. Easy to understand, painful to pursue. Not to mention the unrelenting disappointment, due to the fact that what you are pursuing is not attainable. Trust me, it sucks.

Effortless perfection is not a clean house. It’s not even a flawless house…  a spotless house, beautifully decorated with the latest trends in furniture and decor, black & white photographs of your adorable children hung perfectly on the walls, candles flickering spreading heavely aromas throughout the rooms, understated elegance from the towels in the guest bathroom, warm chocolate chip cookies in the oven, and the subtle sounds of perfectly chosen music playing in the background.  Effortless perfection is creating all of that effortlessly. No stresses, sweat, debt, or doubt. That’s what I’m striving for. That’s when I can rest.

Effortless perfection is not winning a big court case. Effortless perfection is attending the best law school in the country and finishing at the top of your class. It’s climbing your way to the top by being the hardest working and most determined. It’s saying the perfect things at the perfect times, with just the right balance of professionalism, compassion, and assertiveness. It’s wearing the perfect black power suit, with just the right amount of feminity… the perfect look to make the women jealous, while making the men want to sleep with you and hire you at the same time. And making all of this happen in time to be home to get a fabulously prepared dinner on the table for your loving family and kids. That’s what I’m reaching for. That’s what I expect of myself.

I have no doubt that I could sit here and list 14 more examples of what effortless perfection is to me. I can actually feel myself reacting physically to these examples. Fighting the urge to add items to my To Do list in an effort to get closer to this perfection I seek. Trying to ignore my self-defeating thoughts of not being good enough, not achieving enough, wasting time, and falling short.

I want to believe that effortless perfection started in my mind as a source of encouragement, something to strive for, an inspirational goal. I honestly don’t think it did start as healthy motivation, but I like to believe that it could have. What I do know, is that right now it isn’t healthy. It’s my own personal jail… handcuffs… hell. The feelings are suffocating, paralyzing… like I can’t keep my head above water, being held down by a force I can never overcome.

My effortlessly perfect self exists only in my dreams. The perfect wife. The perfect employee. The perfect Christian. All at once, without any effort. It’s a beautiful dream that has been slowly ripping my life apart for years. Like the slow drip of a faucet… a constant reminder of just how much I fall short.

Hi, I’m ****** and I’m an addict.  There, I said it. I have been trying to deny it for a while now, but it’s getting harder and harder to ignore. My drug of choice is normally food. I eat to avoid my feelings. I restrict to have control. I purge in an attempt to get rid of everything… physically and emotionally. For years I thought I just really liked food and was too weak for dieting. I thought that this was just how life is. But the last ten months have made it pretty clear that my issues with food run a lot deeper.

I’ve never felt more like a true addict than I have in these past two weeks. While most of my past addictive behaviors have mostly centered around food and exercise, I can feel myself getting less selective about what method I use to numb my pain, feelings, and life. I’ll spare you the details for now, but I really feel like I’m in a downward spiral heading nowhere good. The problem is that it feels great. But I guess that’s the problem with addiction. Well, probably one of the many problems with addiction. The self-destructive behaviors provide so much instant gratification that they are hard to give up or leave behind.

The crazy thing that I’ve noticed this week, which may really not be all that radical is that I can actually see myself spiraling but am choosing not to do anything about it. It’s as if I can step back from my own life and watch myself do stupid things. I make choices that are self-destructive. I push away people who could help get me back on track. I put myself in situations that will knowingly trigger or tempt me. In the back of my mind, I know that ultimately these decisions and behaviors will lead nowhere good. But yet, I continue them. And honestly, I not only continue them, I seek them out. I plan for them. I perfect them. I want more and can’t get enough.

I don’t claim that anything I have to say is radical or really all that interesting. But to me all of this is very new and different. There was never a time in my life when I (or anyone else who knew me, for that matter) would have even considered the thought that I would be an addict. My life was pretty normal, boring even. Good grades, safe home, didn’t drink until my 21st birthday. Looking back on all of it now, I can definitely see why I am where I am, but growing up I thought everything was perfect. I’m sure I’ll delve into some childhood thoughts at some point, but that’s a conversation for a different day. I will admit that I struggle with the fact that all of this is very much outside my stereotypical idea of who becomes an addict. But I’m also learning pretty quickly that I’m in no place to judge, question, or try to figure out anyone but myself.

So, that’s me in a nutshell. Just a girl, trying to figure out her way in life and not screw up too much along the way. I’m hoping to use this blog as a place to share my true thoughts… with myself or anyone else who might care to listen or respond. While I normally have no trouble communicating and actually enjoy public speaking and writing, expressing my true feelings has never been easy for me. I’m hoping this becomes a place where I can share what’s on my mind, without judgement or shame. Where words can flow, without editing them or making them perfect. And where the dreams of my heart, which have been suppressed for so long, can finally come to light.

et cetera