Book Excerpt, General, Life Talk

Remember the Good-Book Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from Love Letters to a Warr;or: A Journey of Self-Love. Publishing date TBA.

Dear You

Remember the friends who were there when it seemed like no one else would be, the ones who picked you up and made sure that you didn’t fall, even though falling was the only thing that you felt like doing.

Remember the joy of late nights spent laughing, being silly and making no sense to those on the outside, throwing absurdities around like confetti, making memories that glow warm even in the cold and dark.

Remember the nighttime trips to nowhere, filled with stories and junk food, just driving to drive and enjoying the view as young hopefuls who have the whole world ahead of you, starting with that night.

Remember the times spent rooming together at summer camp, staying up late, pulling pranks, making jokes and growing closer than ever before, cementing a bond that will become lifelong.  Even if the camp was hard, at least you had each other.

Remember the love of choosing a sister, a fellow warrior who will ride into battle with you, who will stick by your side through everything and will always be there to love and support you as fiercely as family.

Remember how to have and be a cheerleader, cheering each other on through all the crazies of life, no matter what you conquer, big or small, celebrating each other’s accomplishments or attempts, no matter what size.

Remember when a simple cup of coffee could be a religious experience, sitting together and laughing, talking about the complexities of life and all the things that you love making forever memories over something so humble.

Remember the phone calls or visits that happen when the rest of the world was long asleep, the ones who were there to welcome you with open arms when you felt like you would succumb to the darkness, ready to give in to the demons.

Remember the strength you get from being a friend, the intimacy and the closeness that it creates.  There are very few people you will have in this life who love you like friends, and the love, the relationship, is special.

Remember to thank those friends every now and again, for all the things they do for you.  You will never again find people like them in your life, and those are the relationships you’ll cherish in even the darkest times.
Remember the gift of friendship in the times of great stress and struggle, and all the people for whom you hold on to this world, even when you are in the deepest darkest hole.

Remember all the journals that you could fill with the love and strength and empowerment and laughter that you have collected from your friends over the years, and all the smiles that you get from the memories.

Remember to, every once in a while, reach out your hand and be a friend to someone else, someone new.  You never know, you might end up with a whole new set of laughs.

Love,

Me

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Affirmations, Faith, General, Life Talk, Real Talk

You’re Right Where You’re Meant to Be

My most recent therapy session was the first one in a while where I felt that I had only positive things to say and it was going really well. I was in a good place, and feeling pretty solid about where I’m at in life; I was at one of those ups in depression where you feel really awesome about the world and where your life is, and all parts of my life were falling into place. Finally, the subject of my love life came up, since there’s a new guy in the picture and I wanted to get her opinion of him before I stressed too much about whether he was going to be worth my time or not (by the way, he is).

Anyway, I was sitting and talking to her about how I was finally casting off the social media goggles that I am always wearing, the ones where I look at the people that I graduated from high school or college with who are in different, seemingly more advanced, places in their lives and think that I’m somehow behind because I’m not engaged yet or in a long term relationship or running a company at almost 24 years old. I was talking about all the people in my life who constantly remind me that I’m “only 23 years old,” and shouldn’t be in such a rush, and that I was finally coming to terms with that and accepting it as a truth in my life. And that’s when she said something that I’d heard before, but at this time in my life really struck me: “You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.”

Those words have stuck with me this time, all the way to today when I am (finally) writing this post. They are so simple, yet so powerful, and cannot be any more true than they are right now. Here are some of my reasons that it’s true:

  1. I’m working only one job and finding my niche in the industry
  2. I’ve been writing more and developing my craft, while also looking to build a portfolio and look for freelancing positions
  3. Despite my young age, I have been able to hold down a job for almost 2 years, the first years out of college
  4. At just 23 years old, I am (almost, with a couple married roommates) living out on my own
  5. God has my plan in place, and He’s constantly sending me signs that I am on the path that He wants me to be on in this life

Despite all the feelings that I don’t belong, that I don’t know what I’m doing in this world, because of my age, my degree, and sometimes I even feel like my depression throws up walls that I can’t climb, I am exactly where I’m meant to be. The only timeline that I need to be following is my own, the only standards I need to live up to are the ones that I set for myself and the only expectations that I need to satisfy are mine, designed by me alone. No one else can dictate what I should live up to, and no one else should. The only person who can make my life rules is me, and I am in charge of how I feel. If I don’t like it, I can change it.

Every person, place and thing that I have encountered on this journey has led me to this moment, to typing these words, to my finger hitting each key as I sit in front of my MacBook Pro on a Monday night. I am exactly where I am meant to be, writing these words for you all to read. The people that I have come across that have hurt me, broken me, pushed me down, those are the people that I have the most to thank. They are the ones that showed me where I was going wasn’t where I was meant to be, and sent me off in another direction. God puts those reminders in your life and in your heart, as His way of talking to you and telling you that He has a plan for you that’s bigger than what you’re going through, and right where you are, is where He wants you to be.

Remember this: If it feels right in your heart, it’s what you’re meant to be doing. If it makes you feel strong and powerful, right and belonging, then you’re right where you’re supposed to be. If you can wake up in the morning and breathe deeply because you are ready for the day ahead, then you’re doing okay in the world. Society might have set some timelines for how people are supposed to act and when things are supposed to be done, but it really doesn’t matter. Your heart is the timeline, your soul is the clock and your path is your path. The people who are there along the way are all meant to be there, for some reason or another, and the challenges that you face will make you a stronger person. Every time you veer off the path you think you’re heading down, you’ll stumble into a place where you’re truly meant to be, and before you panic, take some time to enjoy the ride.

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The only person who can decide your life and your timeline is you. Even if you feel like you’re moving slower or faster than other people in your life, if it feels right and comfortable for you, then it’s exactly right, no matter what society says. To paraphrase William Ernest Henley “[you are] the master of [your] fate, [you are] the captain of [your] soul.” It’s all right for you, and it’s all right in the grand scheme of things.

Daily mantra: I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.

Stay fearless, friends (3)

Blog Talk, General, Life Talk

The Liebster Award!

 

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The beautiful @moodsreflective and Michele from Mindful Wellness tagged me in this blogging tradition, The Liebster Award. So, I’m answering both their questions and will follow the rest of the rules of the Liebster Award!

Rules:

This tag is meant to help bring more awareness to your blog, as well as be able to help others grow in the process by passing it along to other bloggers that you nominate. We’re here to make connections amongst each other in the blogging community, you guys, so this is a perfect way to make those connections to get your blog goin’. So, here are the ground rules, as I’ve seen them:

  1. You recognize the person who tagged you in the first place in your Liebster Award post.
  2. You answer the questions they included in their post for you to answer (they’ll normally insert the new questions they want you to answer towards the end of their blog post. I almost got confused and thought I was supposed to answer the questions that were already answered, lol).
  3. You create 11 new questions for the people you nominated to answer.
  4. You’ll tag the bloggers you feel you’d want to see do this tag, preferably if they have around 200 followers or less (help their follower count jump the fuck uupp).

Here are the questions from the wonderful moodsreflective!

Who are you writing for: the people, or yourself?

I’m writing for me, mostly, as a way to express myself and get in the regular practice of writing more. I also wanted to join a community of people who were similar-minded and dedicated to blogging and sharing and would help me make my writing better 🙂

Where do you normally draw inspiration for your blog posts?

Things that happen in my life, things I witness, and sometimes a thought that I want to write about and want to explore further

Who are you the most inspired by right now?

All of my fellow bloggers, warr;ors and mental health warr;ors, as well as my coworkers

If blogging is mainly your side hobby, where does your true passion lie?

Being a voice for those who feel like they’re in a dark tunnel, helping people in crisis and giving a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and a support in times of turmoil. I am a social worker by trade, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world

Do you feel that your current level of confidence is where you want/need it to be?

When I’m standing in front of a bunch of impressionable kids, I’m the most confident person ever and I love it! In real life, my confidence could use a little work

Do you feel like you have enough “me” time?

I take so much “me” time that it’s crazy. I just wish that sometimes I had some more productive “me” time and actually accomplished some goals once in a while (Exhibit A: it’s taken me 3 days to write this blog post)

Are you most comfortable in a crowd, or hiding out in your room?

My room, all the way. It has my books, my laptop and my Gilmore Girls ❤

In times when you feel overwhelmed by life, what do you do to re-center yourself?

Reading, writing, going for long drives, falling asleep at random times in a comfy bed, listening to empowering music

How do you stay motivated to keep writing blog posts if you don’t get the amount of feedback you’re aiming for?

Knowing that this blog is for me, as a way to write out my feelings, practice my skills and express myself. If I reach one person with at least one of my posts, then I’ve done my best

Does your family know that you blog? If not, why?

Right now, no. This blog is for me, and my personal thoughts and feelings. While some people would argue that putting them on the Internet isn’t really all that personal and private, it still feels like mine and my project and a great way to grow my feminism and faith without too much pressure from too many people I know all too personally

What is a lesson you wish you would have learned earlier on in life?

Your parents are there to help you, not hurt you, and they want you to succeed. There is no shame in asking them for help when you’re struggling, because they are there to help you learn how to live life and be independent

Here are Michelle’s questions:

How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start writing?

I’ve been on and off blogging for about 4-5 years. I started in college, and was just looking for ways to express myself and my thoughts on the world around me. This is probably my 3rd or 4th attempt at a blog, and I have been so inspired this time by myself and my journey and all the other strong people in this world and the blogging community

What is your experience/journey with mental health?

I was diagnosed with depression in high school, and have been fighting it ever since. It’s been a long road of finding the self-care that works for me and the coping skills that get me down from the ledge that I’m on. See this post for the full story on my mental health journey

What are you favorite self-care tips/routines/rituals?

Painting and art have been really healing for me, as well as writing. There’s something about creating something from nothing or blank space that’s so wonderful and exciting. Reading is also a wonderful part of my self-care, being able to appreciate the work of fellow artists and writers.

What else do you enjoy, aside from blogging?

Reading, writing, journaling, watching Netflix, going for long drives with the music blaring

What is your favorite food?

Any comfort food, really 🙂 I’m a picky eater when it comes to some things, but I also know what I like and what makes me happy

Any book recommendations? Mental health related or just for fun?

I just finished This is Just My Face, Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe, and it was AMAZING! I also love reliving classic childhood books like the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and more. If I had to write them all down, it would be a blog post in itself. Stay tuned for that post!

What are your long term goals for your blog?

Keep up with it for at least 6 months, be a part of the community and write some stuff

What’s your favorite song when you are feeling down?

Fight Song by Rachel Platten, Brave by Sara Bareilles, Fight Like a Girl by Kali Shorr, I Am Invincible by Cassadee Pope, I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, Make My Own Sunshine by Olivia Lane, Own It by Bailey Bryan, Road Less Traveled by Alyssa Bonagura, Road Less Traveled by Lauren Alaina, Roar by Katy Perry and pretty much anything country 🙂

What keeps you positive?

I’ve made it through every bad day so far; I can make it through these. God sometimes has a plan different than my ideas and trusting Him is the fastest way that I’ll be happy

What have you found to be the most difficult about blogging so far?

Sticking to a schedule and sometimes remembering to post

How has blogging or being a part of the blogging community helped you?

I have learned more about myself, my writing style and learned how to be more open with my mental health and personal journey. I have met some wonderfully strong and inspiring bloggers, and I am so grateful to be learning from them and working with them and building a group of warr;ors that I can lean on and be a part of and it’s so empowering!

 

And now…. it’s my turn. Here are some awesome bloggers that I admire:

Here are my questions for you all!

  1. Is this your first blog? If not, how have your blog efforts changed over the years?
  2. How has blogging made an impact on your life?
  3. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
  4. If you could travel any place in the world, where would it be?
  5. Favorite TV show to watch on a rainy day?
  6. If you could do one year in your life over again, what would it be and why?
  7. Name your 3 favorite things about yourself
  8. If you were going to run for president, how would you convince people to vote for you?
  9. Do you have any pets?
  10. What inspires you to blog, write or post?
  11. What is one thing that you wish everyone knew about you?

Thank you to moodsreflective and Michele for tagging me in this and allowing me to take part in it! I had a lot of fun, no matter how long it took me to write it!

Stay fearless, friends (3)

Book Excerpt, General, Life Talk

Love is Louder

The following is an excerpt from my book Love Letters to a Warr;or: A Journey of Self Love publish date TBA.  Just sharing thi

Dear

Love is louder than self-harm, than hate, than racism,

Than bigotry, than war and all the ugly redness that

Covers our society today and causes

Good people, educated, God-fearing, well-raised people

To throw around word grenades as simply as if they were

Balls of paper tossed around at lunchtime under a teacher’s eagle eye.

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than the disregard for that person that you pass on the street,

Begging for something, anything from the cars that pass by,

Just another way to get them through that day,

Stay alive for another 24 hours, even though they have to do it all again in the morning.

They look grungy, undesirable, lonely, pitiful, ignored, forgotten,

Blending into the background, in desperate need of someone to ask them their story.

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than the bullies on the bus, and, when we get older, the bullies that we live with.

All the people that try to cut you down and tell you that you’re worth nothing more

Than the dirt under their fingernails, tear you down just so that they can

Rise up themselves and take everything from everyone because they need to feel powerful.

The hurtful words that tear through you like a knife, the punches and slaps that take the

Shine away from you because they never learned what love is and means and looks like.

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than the little voice inside you that says “you can’t”

The one that creeps into your nightmares and your daydreams

Curling around your wrists and ankles, ensnaring you in its trap

Of paralysis and fear and self-doubt.

That little voice might be loud at times, and berating while you strain

Against the shackles, but it can always be droned out because:

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than the mistakes you’ve made along the way, the little slip-ups and messes and Downright disasters that you’ve sometimes caused in your journey.

Those reasons that sometimes you feel people look at you and think that you’re no good,

No good for the job, no good for the boy or no good for more than what you have now.

Think of all the times you look at your life and feel like there is nothing more for you to try

Because you’ll just mess it up anyway.  Always remember:

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than the disgust that you feel when you look in the mirror,

The criticism that you always have for your figure,

And the neon lights you add to the parts of you that you deem ugly.

You’re convinced that everyone you pass on the street is pointing out your flaws

For their friends to notice and laugh about since they have never seen someone that gross,

Even though, in reality, you’re the only one who knows what you hate about yourself.

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than your fears, your doubts, and your stresses.

Love will be there to drown out your objections, your questions and your misdirections

Until you stop looking down on yourself and find a way to show yourself kindness.

Love is there when no one else is, self-love, and by loving yourself,

You can overwhelm the haters and prove to them that you’re strong, you’re powerful,

You’re a fighter and that you know, you will always know:
Love is louder.

 

Love,

Me

Stay fearless, friends (3)

General, Life Talk, Real Talk

I Learned a Life Lesson at the Beach

This past weekend, I spent some time on Tybee Island down here in GA, with some friends. It was a typical summer day down south, which means that it felt like 110º in the shade, and the sun was blazing from the time we got there at 8:30am to the time we left at 2:30pm. Now, the beach is not my favorite thing in the world, but I love spending time in the water, and I was hoping to read an entire book, so I went along for the ride.

For those of you that don’t know me, I’m a proud BBW, or fluffy, woman. Extra stomach rolling over my waistband, a couple of chins in most pictures, 1.5 chins on a good day, some arms jiggles and thighs that spread like water in a pie tin when I sit down. I have since come to terms with the fact that I will never be a size 2, and have even come to realize that it’s not an obstacle in my dating life, which I long feared that it would be. I am always upfront about my body type, and if men don’t like it, they don’t have to talk to me. It’s really that simple. Still, as much as I have accepted my appearance and who I am, and am still working on body positivity, I sometimes worry how I will be perceived in the world because of my weight.

Hence why this weekend was such a major win for me.

How to Have a Beach Body-

Going to the beach, I was wearing a sports bra, athletic shorts and a long t-shirt that I sometimes use as a sleeping shirt. When we got there, I was determined not to take my shirt off, even though I knew it was going to be hot and everything that I was wearing was designed to dry quickly. As far as I’ve come with comfort with my body, and can even take my clothes off and have sex with a man, I didn’t want to expose my naked stomach to a bunch of strangers and beachgoers. I had images of men, women and children, even the lifeguards pointing at my large stomach and yelling “ewww!” and “gross!” and all over varieties of things that would make me feel self-conscious and not welcome on the beach because of my weight and would send me running back to the tent we set up in shame and disgust.

I got hot, wanted to go in the water, and still wanted to have something to wear for the car ride home, so I decided to take my shirt off and go in the water. As I walked to the water, I just had all the words of hatred and disgust in my head, people screaming and yelling “ewww! why don’t you cover yourself up? there are children here!!” and other kinds of nasty things at me. There were moments when I wanted to turn around and run back to my shirt, just to silence the voices in my head. (And by the way, this was not a long walk to the water.) While I loathe saltwater, I wanted to hurry up and get covered so that everyone would stop staring at me (all in my head, remember). Every step I took, the farther away I was from the water or my shirt, was another opportunity for someone to notice me and be disgusted.

But no one said a word.

I walked to the water undisturbed, unharmed, and possibly unnoticed, just another beachgoer who wanted to beat the heat and hang out in the ocean. No lifeguards screamed at me for people at risk, no mothers attempted to shield their children’s eyes, and no men came up and spat in my face and told me they were never going to date me. Just a young woman, who wanted to hang out and swim, and enjoy her Saturday at the beach, and not bother anyone. I wasn’t told to leave the beach and get my disgustingness away from everyone, and I had a relaxing time in the ocean and on the beach with my friends. And, I’ll tell you a little secret, I actually enjoyed how my body and fluffiness felt in the ocean waves: all free and easy, flowing with the movement of the ocean, and just doing whatever it pleased, taking a day off for itself too, just like me.

This experience was an eye-opening one for me, in a different way than normal. Everyday, I walk around with this body type, in clothes and dresses that make me feel beautiful, and people usually notice the confidence that I have, if they notice me at all. However, walking on the beach, with nothing on but a sports bra and some shorts, I felt exposed and open in a whole new way. But still, no one said anything. I realized that people have their own lives, their own families, and their own things to focus on other than one person walking down the beach leading with her stomach. While looking at the internet, you see people shaming large people all the time, most people in their daily lives don’t really care all that much whether or not the person walking past them is overweight or not. The voices inside my head are the things that hold me back the most, not the people on the street who make comments about my weight because, honestly, most people don’t care. I spent so much time worrying about whether or not people were taking time out their lives to look at me, when I should have been concerned more with myself and how I was feeling. I was taking a huge risk by exposing my naked stomach to the world, and I should have been proud of myself for that, and only thinking of the positive things. And, after realizing that no one else really cared but me, I was proud of myself. I took myself out of my shell a little bit, and I was ready to show the world how confident I was.

Size doesn’t matter as much as I think it does. Weight is a personal choice, and a personal thing. People have a lot of other things to worry about than what I look like. I am proud of myself, and proud of who I am. God gave me a big personality and He gave me a big body to hold it all in. And I thank him for it every day.

Stay fearless, friends (3)

Faith, General, Life Talk

#GodsPlan: The Story of a Social Worker

Standing in front of a classroom full of teenagers, all ready to judge and whine whenever I ask them to do something more than listen to me, can be terrifying any day of the week.  But, this is what I signed up for when I started as an employee for the Prevention department of my local rape crisis center.  And in 4 years, I have never looked back.

I never wanted to be a crisis worker.  I didn’t have visions as a little girl of growing up to be sitting next to a hospital bed at 4am, dressed in whatever presentable sweatpants I could find and the comfiest sweatshirt that didn’t double as a sleeping shirt, next to a crying woman because she was being subjected to an invasive gynecological exam, only this side of more intrusive than the rape she just experienced.  There were no big dreams at high school graduation of talking people into revealing details of their most recent sexual encounter, their deepest fears, their innermost demons, just to get them to a place of a cool calm in order to get through the rest of the day.  Never did I think that I could spend hours of my life desperately fighting back my own fears and insecurities to check on a stranger and help them stay alive just one more night.  And yet, here I am.  All because I answered the phone.

Standing on the stage at my high school graduation, I was bright-eyed and looking to the future, planning to go to college to be an English major, following in the footsteps of my heroes like Rory Gilmore and Ryden Malby (and yes, I know they are both Alexis Bledel characters), in order to be a publisher like Ryden and my 9th grade English teacher once dreamed of being and discovering the next great American novel.  I would have one of those college romances that my parents had and grow up happy and secure with all my dreams coming true and never having to be afraid where my next paycheck was coming from.  I was going to turn into the real-life version of Alexis Bledel and be glamorous and suddenly my blue eyes would be brighter and more electric and boys would trail after me and I would love it all.  Simple right?

God decided that there was another path for my life to take, even though it took a while for me to realize it.  College was a period of change for me, and I changed my study goals from women’s studies to criminal justice, trying to find the right spot for me.  Eventually I landed in the human service studies field, only because I wanted to be a police officer, and that was the closest field of study that I could major in and still get the skills I needed.  I was in the throes of learning how to help people and about all the different facets of the community, all in the pursuit of catching the bad guys and solving crimes for the victims, when God intervened.  He sent me a phone call, one that had a victim on the other end, and I learned what I was truly capable of.  I learned how much of an impact one person can have just by being a voice on the other end of the phone, a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand in the lowest time of someone’s life.  And I was hooked.

I learned a new part of myself, the helper, the healer, the steady rock that could be next to someone hurting so deeply.  And learned my own strength, and the support that I can offer another human being.  I have never known that part of myself.  Now, I’m addicted.

4 straight years I have been in social work, and I am constantly finding new challenges.  Now, I have moved on to helping people, as well as teaching Prevention education, with a crisis line volunteer position on the side.  Words cannot describe how amazing it is to spend so much time with someone, helping them through the darkest times of their life, only to make it a little bit brighter at the end.  The world is a dark and lonely place, where people struggle every day, and I relish my job of being a shoulder to some of the hardest times and having a front row seat to the true strength of humankind.

Stay fearless, friends (3)

General, Life Talk, Real Talk

I’m Back, Y’all!

Wow… I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I’ve written a post on this blog.  And y’all, I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve opened up the WordPress writer, looked at the multiple drafts that I have saved and tried to write one of them.  And yet, I always stopped, put it away and moved on to something else.  And now I sound like my blogosphere isn’t important to me, and yet, y’all so are! So, despite my prattling, here we go with some updates.


Job:

I have recently decided to give up one of my jobs, which allows me to have more time to look for a job that makes me happier, but also gives me the fear of quitting one job with no backup plan as to how I’m going to make up that extra income yet.  Still, in the last two weeks, since I turned in my resignation, I have been happier at that job, and actually feeling like I have something to work towards, now that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.  Nothing against my co-workers and bosses; I just got tired of the things that I was doing and being in a job where I know that’s not going to be a career choice.

While I am absolutely terrified that I will soon be losing a source of income and will soon have more free time on my hands that I can so easily waste and while away all throughout the day while I attempt to figure myself out, I know that this was the right step for me.  God was right behind me, guiding my hand, and showing me that if I took this leap now, He would be beside me, helping me see the path that He has chosen for me.  While I am scared and confused right now, this was a necessary step towards the true happiness that He has set aside for me and the opportunities that will soon come my way.


Travel:

In the past month, I have been to 3 different states besides my resting town of Savannah: New Jersey (my native state!), Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.  Each state offered different opportunities and laughs, disappointments and feelings.  I went to see my best friend graduate from college, and spend some time in my hometown, and interview for a job with my college sorority.  So much emotion and happiness in all three of the instances, despite not getting the job.  I love traveling to different states, especially when there is so much love and light on the other end, and I got to see the sunset from 2 planes and 2 beautiful heights.  It was quite magical.


Blog Changes:

I’m feeling like some of the things that I have planned for this blog aren’t going to be as amazing as I initially thought them to be.  So, some slight revisions coming our way soon!  Anything you wanna see?


More posts and updates coming soon!  (And hopefully I finish Cheryl Strayed’s Wild in the process).

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A quote that I love oh so much always

Thanks for sticking it out with me!

Stay fearless, friends (3)