Tuesday, October 26, 2010

30 Things To Do Before I Turn 30-- #16

First, I need to apologize for my utter blogging lameness.  No new content in over a week?  Tsk tsk, Kait.  Tsk tsk.

Secondly, I'm so excited to cross something off my bucket list so soon!

Today, I can say that I have accomplished Item #16: Start doing yoga.

In my 24 years of life, I have never really been a fan of physical activity.  Specifically?  Exercise.  There was that summer when I was 17 and rode my bike around my subdivision every day, eventually venturing to the runners' path at the Park District across the street from my neighborhood.  This summer was a strange anomaly.  I've never gotten much out of exercise.  It just made me tired and sweaty.  Frankly, as an underweight teenager, there was a part of me that felt I didn't need exercise as I was terrified of losing weight.  A purely sedentary life was the key to gaining weight and, in my mind, looking like a normal person.

This laziness extended into adulthood.  I matured into a full-on couch potato.  I became the person who laughed when her friends asked her if she wanted to go running with them.  "Yeah, sorry, i don't exercise.  I'm just not that person."  My lack of physical activity didn't seem to have a negative effect on my health.  Or so I thought.

Let's bring yoga into this mix.  I've been curious about yoga for about two years.  I have heard countless testimonies about the wonders of yoga.  "It's so calming."  "It really does wonders for your flexibility."  Plus, I knew of 40+ year old who did yoga and had some much energy and, to be honest, fabulous bodies.  The idea of calming myself by turning my thoughts inward and working on my strength and flexibility was all intriguing to me.  Despite my curiosity, I was under the impression that yoga was out of my reach.  I didn't have the time or the funds for a yoga class, so it remained in that "maybe some day" category of things I wanted to do.

Cut to the beginning of October, less than a week after I posted my bucket list.  My mother and sister came home from a trip to Wal-Mart with...a Wii and Wii Fit Plus.  I.was.SO.EXCITED.  Free yoga.  In my house!  I could start right away!  My sister sang the praises of the Wii Fit, especially the yoga.  I did pause for a moment as I looked at the box.  If I didn't give a shit about my abs, what benefits could be gained from this exercise?  That's when sissy chimed in: "It's really great for your posture."

Oooooh my posture.  I have TERRIBLE posture.  My shoulders slouch forward and my lower back has a slight curvature.  Because of all this, I am plagued by lower back pain and the most stubborn knots you'll ever encounter.  Clearly, I had much to gain from beginning a yoga regimen.

It's been over three weeks since I started doing yoga daily.  I cannot even believe what an effect it has had.  Yoga has helped me become aware of my poor posture and pelvic alignment and I can now correct my posture when I feel that it is off.  I have less back pain and less new knots.  Already a tall woman, I now stand just a little bit taller as I imagine that string pulling the top of my head to the ceiling.

The benefits of yoga go beyond better posture.  I find that I have more energy after a quick half hour Wii Fit session.  The most amazing benefit has been yoga's magical restorative powers.  This past weekend, I competed at a two-day Speech Tournament and had forgotten that the morning after these tournaments, I wake up feeling like I'd been hit by a bus.  Being awake from 5 AM to 10 PM and giving speeches in heels takes a surprising toll on your body.  Typically, I floated through those post-tournament Sundays like I was hungover.  This past Sunday, I got on the Wii Fit.  I was dreading it a bit, considering how much pain my body was in, but I've been committed to doing my yoga every day.  A half hour later, I got off that balance board and my body had been rejuvenated.  It was unbelievable.  Two days of damage reversed in a half hour?  Instead of wasting my Sunday, I felt surprisingly awake and productive enough to get shit done. 

My daily yoga regimen has made me an exercise convert.  Yoga makes me feel alive and powerful, as well as aids in the healing of my body.  Above all, yoga has proved me wrong.  Six months ago, I thought I didn't need exercise because my health was fine.  Now I am aware that my health was in no way "fine."  I had horrible back pain, my immune system was poor, and my energy was consistently low.  My back now feels better, I've managed to avoid colds this entire month, and I feel more motivated.  All in all, this was an excellent item to put on my bucket list.  I only wish I would have come around to yoga years ago.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Getting In Touch With My Inner Child...Sort Of

This week has been pretty stressful and hectic for both myself and my boyfriend.  Between midterms, homework, financial struggles, and family problems, we needed to unwind.  We indulged in a typical Thursday Night karaoke ritual at a suburban T.G.I. Friday's and unwound in a a very adult fashion-- with alcohol and nicotine.  (Life lesson: if you've already ingested an entire margarita shaker, you should not order an Ultimate Mudslide after midnight just because the KJ has one and it looks really delicious.  Tequila + Mudslide = Friday morning headache)

I can't speak for Justin, but my Friday, I wasn't feeling any less stressed.  I was thinking about homework and speeches and all the materials I needed to read.  I was suffering a serious case of adult-itis.  Rather than focusing on the work I would be facing in the coming school week, I should have been thinking about the weekend activities Justin and I had planned.

One of the things I love about Justin is that he is kind of a dork.  By that I mean he enjoys activities that are goofy, silly, and a bit cliched.  In other words, he likes to do things that allow us to stop taking life so seriously and just enjoy the moment.  Naturally, visiting a pumpkin patch sounded like an excellently goofy way to forget my troubles (come on get happyyyyyy) and enjoy a beautiful, autumnal day with my boyfriend.

This Saturday was by far one of the best days I have had in a long time.  Why?  Because I got in touch with my inner child.  Sort of.  You see, Actual Little Kaitlin would not have enjoyed a trip to Goebbert's.  She was a thoroughly nervous creature.  Her parents took her to Goebbert's once; she wanted nothing to with the corn mazes.  Based on a home video of ALK in the parking lot of the Brookfield Zoo (chanting "We has to go home, mommy!"), I can only imagine the terror she would have been seized with when encountering the three animal tents.  Actual Little Kaitlin would have spent too much time worrying about every little detail to enjoy herself, too afraid to engage in the activities around her.

I feel like my experience at the farm made up for my anxiety-ridden childhood.  There were moments I felt pure joy and simple pleasure in little things.  I can only imagine this is what I imagine the children around me must have felt.  I ran around the farm, announcing to Justin all the things I wanted to do.  Everything around me was exciting and new.  I was not overcome by my typical crowd-anxiety.  (There were other people there?  YOU'RE KIDDING ME.)  I felt like I was getting a second chance at my childhood and it was wonderful.

Reflecting on the day, I have identified three behaviors that allowed me to embrace my true inner child and live without worry.

1. Remembering that happiness and fun are my right just as much as anyone else's.  Shying away from life and hugging the walls are not an option.

I tried to come up with some connection between Point #1 and this photo of pigs, but I give up

As a child, I didn't assert myself and probably missed out on a lot of opportunities for fun because of it.  I abandoned this attitude the moment I heard that there was going to be a PIG RACE.  If you've read my post about my love for baby pigs, you can imagine the excitement that was coursing through my veins.  With twenty minutes before the next pig race, I dragged Justin to the track, where a large crowd had already gathered.  It seemed that I wouldn't be getting a close view of the pigs, but I was not about to accept this.  I circled the track and eventually elbowed my way to a track-side position.  (Yeah, I stood nice and wide so small children couldn't crowd me.)  My mildly aggressive attitude allowed me to get close enough to touch the piggies.  In true child-like form, I crouched down to the pigs' level and squealed and clapped with excitement as the sweet, pink babies ran past me in competition for a delicious Oreo cookie.  My happiness was immeasurable.

I also applied this "go for it" attitude in the petting zoo area.

And I said, "Hey, Llama, how about a little somethin', ya know, fer de effort?"
Very Little Kaitlin would never have gone into these tents.  Animals were scary and unpredictable to me.  By the time I was about 10 years old,  realized that animals weren't scary; they were actually pretty cool.  I would have absolutely loved to feed them and connect with them.  Unfortunately, I would have been too shy or confused by the social rules of a petting zoo to just walk up and feed the animals; I would have patiently waited for my turn while other children walked in front of me with no regard for order (savages!).  On this trip, I was hesitant at first.  Then I remembered that I was three feet taller than the ill-behaved children and very adept at slithering my way into tight spaces.  I marched up to every animal, dangling carrot sticks in the air.  I seized each moment and had some tender times with some tender animals.

2. Don't think.  Just do.

When a flat wooden cutout of Winnie The Pooh makes a move, you just go with it.
I spend far too much time thinking about things, over analyzing them and imagining every possible outcome of my decisions.  Naturally, this leads to neurosis and a lack of risk-taking and reckless abandon.  Granted, there aren't too many opportunities for risky behavior at a family-oriented farm, but there are MORE than enough opportunities to look ridiculous.  The trick is to think like a kid (not Actual Little Kaitlin) and stop caring.  Don't think about the germs and grime on the animals, just pet them.  Don't question your volume levels at the pig race, just cheer.  Don't look around to see if anyone is watching, go ahead and pose for a photo with inanimate objects.  Most importantly, if you're standing behind a wooden cutout with a facehole, don't ask what's on the front.  Just put your face in the hole and make a ridiculous face.

See, it totally works out!
3. Laugh like no one is watching.

This is the most important thing that I took from my day at the farm.  I get so caught up in worrying about how I am perceived.  I want to be liked, respected, viewed as someone with intelligence and class.  Living up to these adult expectations becomes exhausting.  But on Saturday afternoon, I didn't care.  I didn't care if a parent looked at me funny for getting right up to the fences.  I didn't care who heard me literally squeal at the baby pigs.  I didn't care if anyone judged me for waiting in a line to participate in a child's activity.  I just didn't care about anything other than being present in my surroundings.  It was so freeing to live in the moment and not once retreat into my own head.  Thinking with the simplicity of a child brought out the life in me.  I mean, look at these happy faces:

That is pure laughter.  Laughter that would not have happened if we thought like adults.  By embracing our inner child, we shed the worries of our normal lives and were able to laugh like children.  In the future, I'm definitely going to embrace opportunities to apply these types of thinking and discover the child I never got to be.



Monday, October 11, 2010

National Coming Out Day-- My Own "Coming Out" Story

For those of you not in the know, today is National Coming Out Day, or as I'll be abbreviating it for the purposes of brevity (REDUNDANT), NCOD.  The purpose of NCOD is to provide nation-wide love and support for anyone who has spent far too long living in fear of publicly identifying as LGBTQ.  There's a spirit of, "We're all in this together," whether you're just now coming out, have already come out, or identify as a straight ally.

Now, I don't want to underscore the LGBT community in any way, but I know I'm not alone in what I'd like to do today.  The Beautiful Kind used today as an opportunity to come out--as herself.  After four years of anonymous sex blogging, Kendra has revealed her real name as well as her beautiful face.  Kudos, Kendra!  You are inspiration to me and you make me feel comfortable doing what I am about to do.

Today, I am coming out.  My coming out has nothing to do with sexuality.  What I want to talk about is something a few people in my life know about, but I feel that today is the day that I can embrace it and let everyone know who I am.

Today, I am coming out...as an autistic adult.

I have an autism-spectrum disorder called Asperger Syndrome.  Asperger Syndrome is characterized by:
  • Difficulties in social interactions
  • Repetitive patterns of behavior
  • Intensely obsessive interests/hobbies
  • Limited empathy
  • Body tics, such as hand flapping, or twisting
  • Sensitivity to excess stimuli (especially auditory)
I was always a "weird kid."  I was frighteningly smart, I didn't know how to relate to other kids my age, and, when excited or lost in thought, I was overcome by intense hand flapping.  (My hand flapping was actually so convulsive that my first grade teacher wondered if I had a form of epilepsy.)  I was never tested for an autism-spectrum disorder, so I spent twenty years of my life sitting on my hands, feeling confused and uncomfortable in group conversations, developing interests that none of my peers shared, and never telling my parents/family members that I loved them.

It wasn't until I was 21 and my mother read an article about Jenny McCarthy's son.  The part of the article that got to the both of us was that her son would play with his toys by lining them up and just looking at them excitedly.  I was catapulted back to my childhood.  I could see myself lining up small toys in a perfect line on my kitchen table.  After setting them up, I would sit back and imagine scenarios for them in my head, occasionally moving them slightly.  This is how I played.  What my parents saw was different.  They saw their daughter lining up toys perfectly and then staring at them, wildly flapping her hands.  The moving of the toys that I mentioned?  Each toy would make a quarter-turn before I would stop and continue the flapping.  Reading that article, my entire childhood made sense.  I never understood why I was the way I was; I just assumed I was weird.  But now there was a concrete cause for my awkwardness and weirdness.  There wasn't something wrong with me.  My peculiarities could be explained.  I cannot even describe the comfort and relief I have felt by being able to know that I am an Aspy.

Since my autism went unnoticed until adulthood, adolescence forced a lot of my quirks to be hidden.  I became aware of my hand flapping and made a conscious effort to hide it and control it when around others.  I got better at pretending I had social schools, mimicking what other girls my age did (to an extent).  I was still an abnormal kid, but I found a way to make it work for me.  A person who meets me now and learns of my condition is usually in disbelief.  I'm fairly high-functioning, so I understand that it can be a little hard to believe.

As high-functioning as I may be (going to school, living on my own for a time), I still have difficulties.  I have hid behind these difficulties, never telling people about them unless it was absolutely necessary.  Today, I'm gonna lay everything out here.

I still have intense difficulties with social interactions.  I second-guess everything I say.  I don't know how to engage in small talk or chit-chat.  Even though I can dole out sarcasm and teasing, I have difficulties seeing these things in others (I tend to take them seriously unless I am told that someone is joking).  Maintaining eye contact is incredibly uncomfortable for me.  My gaze can drift up or down or to the side while talking, all outside my control.  If I am overwhelmed or tired, I may not look someone in the eye at all.  I become extremely embarrassed if someone points out that my eye contact is wonky.

I have auditory sensitivity.  Squeaky or shrill noises make me physically uncomfortable.  Public places a variety of loud noises cause me to shut down socially and retreat into my own head.  Overstimulation can cause me to either become distant or have an actual panic attack.  Alone time is a necessity in my life.

My empathy has improved since I was a child.  I now give hugs to family members.  I cry when mourning a death.  I can attempt to understood other people's feelings if I can imagine myself in their situation.  However, sometimes I find it difficult to empathize with feelings I do not understand or rationalize.  The only family member I can say "I love you" to is my sister.

Change is really scary.  Like, "throw-my-entire-day-off" scary.  Before anything, a social outing, for example.  I plan and envision everything.  What time I will begin to get ready, where we will go, what we will do, how I will interact with people, etc.  If something small, like the location, changes, I.am.THROWN.  I panic, cry, and have to start my planning all over again.  Because of this, I am rarely spontaneous. 

Despite my difficulties, I like to think that my Asperger Syndrome has some benefits.  Not having natural social skills, I spent most of my adolescence and college years studying others and how they communicate.  Because of this, I have been able to identify poor communication skills and can now avoid these behaviors.  My people-watching has actually provided me with mature communication skills that help me have healthier relationships than most of my peers.  I approach everything analytically, which I feel can help me in giving advice.  Instead of responding with emotions, I am able to give advice that is rooted in calm, rational logic.

Living with Asperger Syndrome is a daily struggle and at the end of a long, busy day, I am exhausted.  However, I am am grateful to be living like this.  Being an Aspy makes me a unique and interesting individual.  Despite my struggles, I enjoy looking at the world through a different kind of lens.

So today, I am done hiding behind autism.  I will no longer assume that a stigma will be attached to me or that people will treat me differently.  Autism is nothing to be ashamed of or afraid of.  By opening up about this, I hope to increase awareness, understanding, and education about autism-spectrum disorders and to remind people that autism doesn't look as "different" as one might think. 

If you want more information about autism, I would actually recommend visiting a bookstore rather than searching the internet.  Want to ask me a question about my experiences?  Feel free.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Like It Out In The Open

For the past week or two, my Facebook news feed has been cluttered with statuses describing where girls "like it": on a chair, on a table, on a desk, by the door, even anywhere.  I was so confused as to what this was.  At first, when I saw the same two locations popping up, I assumed this was a song that I was missing out on by not listening to Top 40 radio.  But then I more and more options began appearing and I was so lost that I chose to ignore it.

Until last night.  Last night I just could not take it anymore.  At the risk of sounding like a cultural leper, I asked one of the participants in this THING what was going on.  This is the response I got.

One of my friends has suggested that we women should do something special on facebook in order to increase awareness of October Breast Cancer Awareness month. It's so easy to do, that I'd love you to join in to make this a memorable online event. Last year, the idea was to post the color of the bra you were wearing on facebook...and it left men wondering for days, why women were posting colors, seemingly at random. This year's game has to do with your handbag/purse, where we put our handbag the moment we get home; for example "I like it on the couch", "I like it on the kitchen counter", "I like it on the dresser". Well u get the idea. Just put your answer as your status (i.e. don't respond to this message, but put it on your status) -and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox. The bra game made it to the news. Let's get the purse in as well and see how powerful we women really are!!!
It's a meme.  For breast cancer awareness.

Let that sink in for a minute and then come back.

Welcome back.  If you're like me, you took that minute to think to yourself, "Wait, seriously?  Are you kidding me?  Who came up with this?  Was thought put into it?  WHAT THE HELL DOES TURNING THE LOCATION OF YOUR PURSE INTO A SEXUAL INNUENDO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH BREAST CANCER?"

These are questions I can't answer. 

I am sure that this meme has the best of intentions.  October, after all, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so why not raise awareness with a fun facebook game?  It's cute, I guess, but it doesn't do anything.  It would be a lovely thing if the women who participate in this meme then choose to make a donation to a charity, sign up for a cancer walk, take an active role in early detection, do something active.  Unfortunately, I don't think this is the case.

What bothers me more than the passive intent and the lack of reference to cancer is the fact it is this secretive game and that we should make people who aren't "in the know" wonder about what's going on.  I'm sorry, but if you want to raise awareness for breast cancer, why would you do so by creating a game that requires an invitation to get in on?  It's a highly immature concept.  Instead of leaving men clueless, we should be giving them the tools to talk to their mothers, sister, partners, etc. about early detection and scheduling regular mammograms.  The only way we can educate and raise awareness for ANY topic is to get everything out in the open.  Wouldn't a better meme be posting statistics, and information?  If a read a post about the number of women in their 20s who were diagnosed with breast cancer each year, the cause would sure as hell has my full attention.

Again, I respect the intention of this Facebook fad, but the execution is just sloppy.  The Internet, and social media in particular, has provided so many new and exciting avenues for activism.  We can absolutely do better than this.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Why I No Longer Give A Shit About My Abs

Over the summer, I gained a bit of weight.  I've always been a very thin girl with a high-speed metabolism hovering just below what doctors consider a "healthy" weight, so gaining weight has always been a struggle for me.  Imagine my surprise when I realized, after stepping on a scale, that a summer of living in my car (shuttling myself between school, rehearsal, and my boyfriend's house) and existing solely on Chicken McNuggets and Iced Mochas is the secret to packing on 12 pounds in eight weeks. 

At first, I was elated.  In high school, I had envied the girls who filled out their clothes with feminine curves.  I knew that supple breasts and a voluptuous booty were physically appealing.  I was flat-chested and still had a boyish frame, so I assumed that I would not be attractive until I looked more like a woman and less like a little girl.  This weight gain was a huge "FINALLY" moment for me.  My breasts and ass had filled out a little bit when I went to college, but now I had curvy thighs that created a beautiful arc down my leg.  AND MY HIPS!  They jutted out from my body in a way I was not used to!

Excited to flaunt my new body, I grabbed a pair of Old Navy Diva skinny jeans...and encountered a problem.  My jeans.  Would not.  BUTTON.  I struggles, sucked, and had to lay down on my bed to button those pants.  My time had come.  I had managed to avoid this common feminine dilemma until now.  I had been inititated into The Sisterhood of Cathy (AACK!).  I was a bit confused.  I knew my ass had gotten a little bigger (read: JUICIER), but not that big!  It wasn't until I looked down at the button and saw the problem staring straight in my face: my tummy.  In all my dreaming about weight gain and obtaining curves, I had never once thought about the idea that my tummy could prevent me from fitting into my clothes.

Not cute

I tried not to think about it.  I was happy to have gained this weight.  My tummy flab was nothing to think too much about...but I could always feels it there.  Squeezing out the top of my skinny jeans, folding when I relaxed my posture, taunting me all the time.  The final straw came one weekend in August.  While dressing for both a rehearsal dinner and a wedding, I found myself struggling to get into both of my dresses (AACK!).  While this zipper fiasco was clearly a result of my whole body being a bit fleshier, my skewed mind blamed the Tummy Monster.  I was not having this crap anymore.

After a quick chat with my mother, the answer to my dilemma was clear.  This weight gain was a good thing for me, there was not doubt about that.  All I needed to do was tone some of the new weight and adopt a daily abdominal crunch regimen.  Okay, sure, why not?  This is normal for women to work on their abs.  Hell, it is probably societally weird for me to have never taken part in a regular exercise routine.  And exercise is good for you!  It releases endorphins and all that jazz!  The extra time and work would be worth it when I could show off both a juicy booty and a flat-stomach.  I felt like such an asshole and it.felt.GOOD.


Or so I thought.  I kept up with my abdominal regimen for about three weeks until I got slammed by a brutal end-of-summer cold and felt too crappy to work out.  I never got back into my routine because I'm a lazy creature of habit.  I can say that I forgot, but really, I just didn't feel like.  It didn't feel necessary anymore and I just wasn't as concerned about my tummy flab as I had been before.

So WHY did I say to my boyfriend this weekend, "I need to start doing my crunches again"?  I was shocked when those words came tumbling out of my mouth.  I hadn't felt bad about my body, so why was I acting that way?  AACK!!!

I feel like perhaps there was been a strange normalization of poor body image in girl-culture.  Girls crowding around bathroom mirrors lamenting about their pores, women chatting about love handles over yogurt--these are common stereotypes of how American women relate to each other.  There's a sense that women are expected to feel bad about themselves and to announce this very fact.  If you're not bitching about your thighs, there's something wrong with you.  As someone who has spent her life trying desperately trying to be a "normal" girl, I think there is a part of me that adopted this negative attitude about my tummy because I felt it was just what women do.  Yes, my new flesh took some getting used to, but that comes with all change, but it was now a part of my body and was nothing that needed fixing.  No one is going to look at me differently or judge me for a tummy that they can't even see.  Hell, my boyfriend has told me over and over that he thinks my tummy is SEXY!  So if my boyfriend doesn't have a problem with it and I don't have a problem with it, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

So that's why I stopped giving a shit.  I don't need defined abs to be happy and I sure as hell don't need to bring myself down just to fit in.  It's okay to love yourself and as you are and it is more than okay to embrace laziness.  :-)

I actually quite like it...

I should mention, as an aside, that this post was written while watching To Wong Foo,  Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar.  In honor of this, I'll end the post with the words of drag superstar RuPaul.  "If you can't love yourself, how in the HELL are you gonna love somebody else?"

Friday, October 1, 2010

You are loved.

The recent suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi has gotten under my skin, as I'm sure is the case with many individuals.  I've been trying to figure out how to blog about this all day and there's just so much about this incident that has me riled up.  Every facet of this news story is absolutely heartbreaking, but what saddens me the most is that a young man was driven to take his own life.

I didn't know Tyler, but there is a part of me that wishes I could have given him a message.  It is the message that I wish I could give to every human being who feels themselves teetering towards suicidal ideations.

I want everyone to know that other people can be mean.  Seriously, people suck, but I like to believe that they don't intend to be.  Everyone has difficult things in their lives and everyone deals with these things in different ways.  I may not be a bully, but I can admit to being a snippy, sarcastic, mean bitch when I have too much on my mind.  I honestly believe that bullies are not bad people, just people in pain.  Being the target of girl-bullying as a child, I know that it is a painful and confusing ordeal to go through.  As I got older, I encouraged myself to show sympathy for the bully, wondering what in their life made them act that way.  I'll be honest, it doesn't make the situation sting any less, but it can be helpful to remember that being bullied probably has very little to do with you and everything to do with the bully.

I want everyone to know that even the most seemingly unbearable parts of life are worth living.  It is imperative that we look at our difficulties in life and use them to make us stronger.  I know that sometimes it can feel like life just keeps piling on more and more garbage, but we must march forward.  We must remember that each day is a new chance to prove to whatever it is that's trying to keep us down that we won't be broken so easily.  You know that feeling you get when you accomplish something totally cool like beating a difficult video game or completing a truly epic puzzle (or whatever task-related hobby you indulge in)?  Take a minute to really think about that feeling and hold on to it.  Now imagine that you're getting that feeling because you survived.  It really is worth it, I promise.

Above all, I want everyone to know that they are loved.  I know that sometimes we can feel like we are alone, that no one has our back or even that no one cares.  I promise you that you are wrong.  Trust me when I say that if something happened to you and you were no longer on this Earth, you will be missed.  You cannot imagine the impact that your absence will have on other people.  This is something I did not learn until I lost two friends to suicide.  I had never been terribly close to them; they were far closer to my sister.  I think about them every day and they probably never could have imagined that I would be heartbroken by their deaths.  If I could only give one nugget of love & wisdom for the rest of my life, it would be that each and every person in the world is loved and will someday be missed.

Love your self, love your life.