Thought Of The Day

I was talking with a coworker today about work related….blah blah blah. While we were talking I noticed that she would “sneak” quick glances at my body like she disapproved of my attire (she was not “checking me out”). I’m sure she thought she was being subtle, little did she know that I’ve taken on the gift/curse of hyper-vigilance and as discrete as she may have thought she was being, darting eyes don’t get passed me. It wasn’t until her darting eyes kept sneaky glances at my body that I became quite insecure about my body and what I was wearing. I literally spent the rest of the day sucking in my stomach as I walked from here to there and everywhere.

I don’t consider myself overweight by any means, but that’s not to say I’m happy with my body. I would love to lose about 10 lbs and tighten up a bit. I’m 5′ 4 1/2″ and I weigh 140 lbs +/- 5 lbs depending on the month, my mood, and my eating habits. Today I was sporting a long-sleeved athletic shirt, it was semi form fitting but still lose enough that it didn’t cling. It’s one of my favorite shirts and it’s really comfortable (until someone keeps darting their eyes at your body and you become self-conscious about it). I didn’t pay much mind to how it fit when I put it on this morning, as I’ve worn this shirt several times. After my insecurities and self-conscious thoughts kicked in I began to notice that my little tummy poodge was a bit noticeable in this shirt and my newly washed/dried jeans weren’t really helping much either. My muffin top was a little more muffiny than normal.

In no time at all I had thoughts such as “I need to start exercising”, “I’m not wearing this shirt again until I lose a few lbs”, “does everyone realize how chubby I am in this shirt?”, “Am I sucking in enough?”, “Can they tell I’m sucking in?”. I found myself periodically pulling at my shirt in an attempt to stretch it just a bit. I noticed I had subconsciously started using my hands and arms to try to cover my stomach. I tried to sit up as straight as possible as to not cause my stomach to not look even more poodgy than it already was. I mean, at this point I wasn’t far off of my muffiny muffin top being a damn cake! At least that’s how I felt.

Then I realized how ridiculous I was being. I love this shirt and I’ve received many compliments on it. I don’t weigh any more or less than I did the last dozen or more times I’ve worn it. Maybe she wasn’t looking at me in judgement, maybe she also liked the shirt. Or maybe she was looking at me with judgement. Either way, why did I care so much? I let those few minutes of interacting with said coworker affect the rest of my day with constant ridiculous thoughts about my body.  Why was I letting my made up perception of what her looks meant make me feel the way it did?

My thought of the day was, “How easy it is for one person to trigger such insecurities and self-conscious beliefs about myself. All of the negative thoughts I was telling myself, and believing, about why she kept looking at my body/shirt the way she did were all presumptions made on my part. Was I placing how I view myself on her, making it easier for me not to own what I don’t like about myself? Were my presumptions of her thoughts really a reflection of my own?”

My take away is this:

If my presumptions of her thoughts were really a reflection of my own thoughts, then I need to change something I am doing; I need to own my own self-image and change what I don’t like.

If she was looking with judgement, then I need to remember that what other people think of me is none of my business.

If I am wrong on all accounts and she just liked my shirt, then I need to stop over-analyzing (did I mention I’m a little hyper-vigilant?)

Whatever the reality of the situation was, what I do know is that I’m not the only one who experiences situations like this. Hyper-vigilance is a symptom, healing is a process, and awareness is the first step to recovery.

We must begin to love ourselves, even the imperfections. After all, we’re only human.

Keepers

Every once in a while on life’s journey, if we’re fortunate enough, someone comes along who truly makes a difference in our life.

  • Someone who seems to know you even better than you know yourself.
  • Someone who knows all of your flaws, weaknesses, insecurities and still cares about you in spite of them or maybe even a little because of them.
  • Someone who has no expectations of you.
  • Someone who wholeheartedly believes in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself, perhaps especially then.
  • Someone who allows you the time and space to be who you truly are.

If you are fortunate enough, as I have been, to have crossed paths with one of  these  special someones, let them stay in your life for as long as they are willing because they are rare; they are the Keepers.

To My Keepers,

I hope you will always be with me along my journey and I yours.

Much love and gratitude!

 

 

This isn’t happy, uplifting, or inspiring but it’s raw, real, and honest

A few things about me:

  1. I am terrible when it comes to self-love. Very seldom do I ever put myself/wants/needs first nor do I feel I’m really worthy of being put first (with myself and/or others).
  2. I am terrible with boundaries. I am great with setting them, terrible with holding them (see 1 above)
  3. I’m slowly learning that I might not currently be or previously have been the best person to make big/life changing decisions for myself. While I’m good at convincing myself and others that the decisions I’ve made are for the best, it’s been my experience that they, in fact, have not been for the best (see 1 and 2 above)
  4. Another slow lesson I’m learning is that it does, indeed, seem like my head and heart are in no way, shape, or form connected nor are they ever in any sort of agreement. My heart clearly has no idea what it’s doing and is obviously the one in charge (see 1, 2, and 3 above)
  5. Some say that I am strong for everything that I have survived. Most days I don’t feel like a survivor, I feel like I’m just barely getting by, one foot stumbling over the other with every stationary step (see 1-4 above).
  6. I can be needed. If I am triggered by something that could possibly cause me deep emotional pain I will throw up a titanium wall, completely disconnect, and shut down; in time, once I know there is no threat, I will bring my wall down. I have a mountain of insecurities that I do my best to hide. Fear of reject and abandonment paralyze my life. I’ve spent the better part of the last year subconsciously isolating myself from the majority of people in my life and I have no idea why (see 1-5 above)
  7. There are few things that really frustrate the hell out of me and when these things happen I will shut the person out as much as I respectfully can:
    • I cannot tolerate when people play dumb;
    • adults who stir up drama for their own personal entertainment;
    • people who are two faced;
    • liars;
    • people who minimize the struggles and sufferings that others go through;
    • people who think they can relate to others with depression, anxiety, ptsd, or any other similar disorders…when they have never experienced it. Until you’ve been in such a dark place for days at a time where you’ve had to convince yourself to get up to go to the bathroom because pissing yourself will not make this day any better. Until you find yourself crying for absolutely no reason at all other than the thought of ever feeling normal again seems impossible because you have been stuck in this darkness for days and there is no end in sight. Until you’ve felt the incredibly deep hurt, pain, ache of numbness and for a moment thought that death has got to be better than this…one cannot possibly begin to understand.
    •   Abuse…emotional, physical, sexual, neglect, verbal, child, domestic, animal, and any other type of abuse I may have left out. (see 1-6 above)
  8. Some days I just want to be broken. I want to be the mess I feel like. I don’t want to be strong. I don’t want to appear strong for others. I don’t want to put on a happy face. I don’t want to stumble my way thru the motions. I just want to sit and be broken and for that to fucking be okay! (see 1-7 above)
    • I found what follows last night on Instagram. It perfectly captures the essence of #8:

Broken

Very few people can see through all of my many fronts. They can see through the “happy face”. They can see through my titanium wall. They can see through it all. They can see how broken I really am. They can see my scars. They can see my pain. They don’t try to minimize my pain. They don’t blow sunshine up my ass and tell me that “everything is going to be ok” or that they “understand what I’m feeling”. They let me be broken. They let me be completely vulnerable. They let me hurt. And they let all of it be okay. Probably most importantly, they love and accept me anyways (even on days I believe they don’t)!

So it is…

 

 

Create a Plan & Follow Through

I am constantly exhausted, lacking energy and ambition. This is my “leveled” state. I get my job done at work but it is a daily struggle to stay focused and to keep the exhaustion at bay just to get through the day. The second I walk out the door from work my body goes in to shutdown mode. About half way home, keeping my eyes open is a struggle (I work 10-15 minutes from home). The thought of doing anything more when I get home is overwhelming, which results in me spending the next few hours being held captive on my couch.

My social life? PSHT…what social life? I’m too damn exhausted to have a social life. I have a list of things I would love to do but, because I’m exhausted all of the time, I never do any of them. I want to meet like-minded people and I can do that by joining groups/activities that I either want to do or enjoy doing. I want to socialize in the following ways:

  • Participate in a drum circle
  • Spend more time outside in nature
    • Stand up paddle-boarding (SUP)
    • Photography
    • Yoga
    • Meditation
    • Walks/runs
    • Hikes
  • Coffee dates
  • Dinner and movie with friends
  • Go on weekend or day trips to quaint local towns
  • Museums
  • Plays

I do none of them though.

Other things I would love to do, but don’t due to feeling exhausted 24/7/365:

  • Finish minimalising  my apartment
  • Cook dinner every night
  • Finish my undergrad degree
  • Become a certified Life Coach
  • Start my Master’s Degree
  • Read more
  • Write more
  • Make better use of my time

As mentioned in previous posts I’ve been gifted with depression, anxiety, C-PTSD/developmental trauma, and adult ADHD (w/o the H). I have a horrible past of various forms of abuse. I see a therapist (2 now actually, one is geared mostly towards nutrition), and I also have a psychiatrist. I keep a small pharmacy in my medicine cabinet to assist with all of this. As resistant as I am to taking meds, they do seem to help quite a bit.

I don’t eat well or often, my diet is shit. I sleep about as well as I eat. I often times stay up later than I intend to. I take a sleep aid, but the sleep aid is only effective once I take it. I’ve always had sleep problems. Before I started using a sleep aid it would take me at least 30 minutes to fall asleep and that was on a good night. Many nights it would be upwards of an hour of tossing and turning and thinking. Once I fell asleep, staying asleep was a trick. Now with the sleep aid, I do sleep better (for the most part). However, if I plan to be in bed sleeping by 10pm, I can’t wait to take my sleeping pill until 11pm. Generally it is about 30 minutes after taking the pill that I can hardly see straight and must go to bed. This only leaves me with roughly 6-6.5 hours of sleep every night of the week. I need more than that!

I could blame my exhaustion problem on my past and my mental health issues due to my past, I could justify that I have poor eating habits because I am so exhausted I can’t cook or make healthy eating choices, or I could blame my sleeping problems.

Or…

…I could take accountability for my own shortcomings when it comes to taking care of myself. Now, in part, my past and the mental health struggles I have because of it do play a significant role in how I got to where I am with feeling exhausted all of the time.

But that’ll only take me so far…

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I also have boundary issues. Even though the boundary issues also tie into my past, I am not living there anymore. At some point I have to step back up and take control otherwise I will never be living here, in this moment.

I know getting outside more, being more active, socializing more, yoga, meditation, living minimally, and eating healthier will help with the exhaustion but why can’t I do any of these things?

After spending time thinking about why I don’t do any of the things I know to do to help me feel better it occurred to me; in my mind I’ve been thinking I have to accomplish all of these things at the same time. Even if I wasn’t starting on a foundation of being exhausted, the thought of having to accomplish all of this at the same time would be exhausting in and of itself.

I’ve decided I need to create a plan and follow through on the plan. My plan needs to be in bite size as to not feel to overwhelmed and feed into the exhaustion. I can readily do some of the smaller things simultaneously.

  • I can be in bed by 10pm tonight
  • Tomorrow I can start eating easy breakfasts (hard-boiled eggs and piece of fruit) and easy lunches (rotisserie chicken salads)
  • I can plan the weeks menu today
  • I can start eating healthier today/tonight
  • I can meditate for 5 to 10 minutes daily (I’ll start doing it before bed to clear my mind and slow my thoughts)

Doing this for a week or two should help decrease my exhaustion and increase my energy.

Once I have more energy I can move into bigger goals, such as:

  • Being more physically active
  • attending groups/activities that I’ve been interested in
  • Finish my apartment

Then finally I will be able to achieve my biggest goals:

  • Undergrad Degree
  • Certified Life Coach
  • Master’s Degree

If I look at this one chunk/piece at a time it doesn’t feel so overwhelming which only fuels the exhaustion. When I look at it in chunks, I have hope that I can achieve these things. I just need to kick exhaustion’s butt and that starts with the first step!

Dear Dani: A letter, an apology, a commitment to myself

Dear Dani,

I am so sorry. I am sorry for all of the terrible things you’ve endured in your life. You didn’t deserve any of it and none of it was your fault. You were a child, you experienced terrible things and kept them a secret. You were scared and felt very alone in what you were going through.

As you got older you found that similar experiences repeated themselves. You felt like you had no control of anything. Life was just one experience after another, ugly things continued to happen to you and in your life, and you did the best you could to get through it all. You were still really a child, even though as a teenager that wasn’t how you saw yourself, but you were. Like all teenagers you thought you knew everything, but later years taught you that you had no idea. What you learned to this point in your life was how to manage your chaos and you did so by building massive walls and shutting down any real emotion or connection to anyone. It was what you had to do to survive. For awhile it seemed like you were ok. No one could hurt you because you had constructed such a strong exterior. I am sorry that you were brought to a place in your young life that forced you to lock everyone out or rather to lock yourself in, to shut down your very own emotions, to have to become so closed off in order to not feel the pain of everything you had endured and were continuing to endure. I am sorry you had to carry that kind of pain.

What I am most sorry for is that even as an adult I’ve treated you the same as so many others have. I’ve neglected you; I’ve disrespected you; I’ve abused you emotionally and verbally; I’ve knowingly walked you into heartache; I’ve made regrettable decisions you’ve had to live with; I’ve let you down time and time again. I am so sorry that I, too, victimized you. You did nothing to deserve any of this and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for the ways I’ve wronged you. No rush, take all of the time you need, I’m not going anywhere.

I didn’t know how to love and care for you the way that you so desperately needed me to, and I’m still learning. The more I learn the more I admire you. Everything that you have been through, endured, seen, heard, felt…you’re still standing. No matter how many times you’ve been knocked down you always get back up. You have a strength inside of you, a will, a desire, a passion that is so incredibly powerful; and that my Darling, is something to be admired. I haven’t always seen you as having that kind of strength and that is another thing I am sorry for. I have underestimated you and your ability so many times. Again, I didn’t know how to love and care for you. I’m not trying to make excuses for my behaviors and actions towards you but, given everything we’ve been through, I think we could ease up on ourselves a little. It’s amazing we are even still alive and I owe that to you! Without your strength, resilience, and determination there is no way we would’ve come this far and I will forever be grateful for your ability to get back up when it would’ve been so much easier just stay down. Thank you for fighting for us.

Sweetheart, you’ve carried more than enough of the load on your own for far too long, I’m going to take it from here. I know you don’t trust me and you have every reason in the world not to. I’ve not been here for you like you needed me to be, you’ve never been able to depend on me, I’ve put you at risk and in danger numerous times but I am asking you to please trust me one more time and to be patient with me as we go forward, as I said, I am still learning.

My commitment to you as we go forward:

I promise I will do my best not to let you down.

I promise I will put you first and I will always protect you.

I promise I won’t knowingly put you in any more unhealthy situations.

I promise to do a much better job at loving and caring for you and meeting your needs.

I promise I will clear a path for you to follow your dreams, passions, and desires.

I promise I will keep us working towards thriving rather than just surviving.

And I promise to listen when you tell me that you’re not okay.

I will not abandon you. I am right here. You are not alone.

 

With Love,

Your Functional Adult Self

Get Uncomfortable

My Boyfriend and I were talking about me wearing a dress last night. I told him I would be way out of my comfort zone in a dress. It’s been nearly 20 years since the last time I wore a dress. We talked a little about why wearing a dress would be out of my comfort zone and he said something that stuck with me; he said “get uncomfortable”.

The concept isn’t new to me. We’ve all heard quotes regarding stepping outside of our comfort zone, but for whatever reason “get uncomfortable” resonated with me differently than other “comfort zone” quotes/phrases. “Get uncomfortable” feels more authentic. We call it a “comfort zone” because it’s safe, it’s familiar and anything outside of that zone makes us feel uncomfortable and we are afraid of feeling uncomfortable. We may as well call it a “safe zone” and anything outside of the safe zone is the fear zone.

I have spent an awful lot of time doing everything I can to stay within my comfort zone over the span of my life, thus far. And for what? Because I’m afraid. But what am I afraid of?

  • Embarrassing myself (this is literally the first fear that came to mind. I find that interesting)
  • Failure
  • Rejection
  • Feeling sick (strange, I know)

These are some of the reasons/fears that keep me in my comfort zone. Some brief examples of each:

Embarrassing myself:

What if I say something during a discussion with colleagues and what I say doesn’t pertain to the discussion or what if nobody understands what I’m saying or what if what I’m saying doesn’t even matter?

What if I look terrible and out of place in a dress? What if I don’t know what to do with my hands because I have no pockets to put them in (my hands need something to do or some place to be; just standing with them at my side feels stupid)? What shoes should I wear? I would need a purse since I won’t have pockets and carrying a purse is a whole other comfort zone issue. Can I even pull off wearing a dress and/or carrying a purse? How will I look?

Any one of the above could cause me to feel embarrassed. So more often than not I keep my thoughts to myself rather than verbalizing them and I avoid wearing anything that could make me feel embarrassed to be wearing (I’m also uncomfortable wearing shorts. I hate my legs. A swimsuit? forget it! I will always wear shorts on the rare occasion I would need to wear a swimsuit).

Failure:

What if I step out of my comfort zone to try something new and I fail miserably? What if I work hard to do it right, but it’s still not good enough? I’ve avoided residential (on-campus) classes in fear I wouldn’t be as good as everyone else in class, in fear of failing at something in front of everyone, in fear of having to give a presentation and completely missing the mark, in fear of not being smart enough. It’s easier to hide behind a computer in an online class than to have to face classmates after failing at something.

Again, more often than not I play it safe within my comfort zone and I do my best to stick to things I know as to not fail at trying something new or different. (This could also tie in with embarrassing myself).

Rejection:

I hate feeling rejected. It is one of the worst feelings, for me anyway.

I avoid attending yoga classes, writing groups, book clubs, AA and ACoA meetings, hiking groups, photography classes/groups, group meditation sessions, and many other groups/classes/sessions in fear that I won’t fit in. What if they don’t like me? What if no one talks to me? What if someone does talk to me? What if I’m not good enough?

That’s right, more often than not I stay in my comfort zone. When I do yoga, I do it alone in the comfort of my home. I hike by myself (short hikes). I self teach myself photography and go out on my own with my camera. I meditate in the exact same place I practice yoga. It’s not for a lack in desire to go out and be with people, to make connections and meet new people. It is a fear of not being good enough and being rejected that keeps me from doing things that I am passionate about. (This could also tie in with Embarrassing myself)

Feeling sick:

While most people who have a fear of flying fear the possibility of the plane crashing, my fear of flying is feeling sick or getting sick while flying. I’ve never even flown to know whether or not I would even get sick. No one ever said fears were logical, in fact most fears aren’t. I don’t like fair/carnival rides for this same reason (I have felt sick from a ride though, this one is a little more logical).

Anyone has gone out to eat with me more than twice can tell you what I will order off of almost any menu at any restaurant. It’ll either be a cheeseburger or fajita’s, unless I’m at Applebee’s then it will be their steak (I don’t like their burgers and they don’t have fajita’s). If I’m out for breakfast it’ll either be pancakes or french toast (this depends greatly on where I’m eating). I am kind of a picky eater and my palate is quite limited. I have a thing with the smell, taste, and texture of foods. I would love to try different foods but my fear of feeling/getting sick and/or gagging keeps me from trying new foods.

Once again, I stay in my comfort zone to avoid feeling/getting sick. No one likes to feel sick or get sick, but it has kept me from flying and from expanding my palate. To be clear, I’m not afraid to get sick or of feeling sick, this fear only pertains to flying and trying new foods. I think in large part it’s because I don’t want to get sick in front of others. (This one does tie into embarrassing myself)

Side note: KP, if you’re reading this, make a mental note that we should explore this embarrassing myself fear

I’m finding that my comfort zone isn’t really that comfortable or comforting. Sure it’s familiar, but that doesn’t mean it’s comfortable/comforting or really even safe for that matter. It’s been a hindrance, a place to hide from actually living. It’s kept me from being able be my true self and from outwardly living the life that lives inside of me. There is a version of me that lives in my heart and soul that I absolutely love and adore, but this insecure, fearful, stuck in my comfort zone version of me gets in the way. I’ve missed out on a lot of living, life, and experiences due to my fear of getting uncomfortable. I’m not going to do it anymore.

I’m going to do my best to heed my boyfriends advice and get uncomfortable. When I become aware that I am fearful of doing something I am going to lean into it rather than stay tucked away in my comfort zone. I want to face whatever fears get in the way of me being the version of myself that lives in my heart and soul. I want to stop fear from controlling my life so that I can live a full, happy, and healthy life.  I have some pretty good things going for me in life right now and in part it’s because I leaned in to fear rather than avoiding it. I’ve got an amazing new job with a great company and I’m in a relationship with a wonderful man who loves and respects me just as I am and without judgement. I didn’t see this relationship coming, it took me by surprise, but I’m very happy. Who knew?

I’ve shown myself that it pays to get uncomfortable. I’m learning that when I do what feels right and is in my best interest, The Universe responds accordingly. More often than not, what feels right and what’s in my best interest is outside of my comfort zone and requires me to get uncomfortable.

I pledge, to myself, that I will make every effort to get uncomfortable when it is appropriate (not risking life or limb). I will do my best to lean into fear rather than to hide from it. I will have an awareness of and the foresight to only get uncomfortable when it is in my best interest and/or it is in the best interest of others. I will work towards being an active participant in my life and living my life without fear.

Here’s to living an uncomfortable life!

Thank you, My Love, for everything you knowingly and unknowingly do for me and give to me. You fill my heart with happiness.

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling Loved and Appreciated

Feeling Loved and Appreciated

Today is my last day as a Chemical Dependency Technician at the treatment center I work for. I will be starting a new job in an entirely different field on Tuesday. My new job is an incredible opportunity. It is nearly twice the pay and I will get full benefits; that’s not something to turn down. However, there are things that no other company will ever be able to give me that I’ve been given here.

I’ve worked at the treatment center for a few days shy of 7 months. In that time I have met some of the most amazing people and, in many ways, my life has changed because of these amazing people.

I now have a much better understanding of my drinking problem as well as my sobriety. I have no shame that I fell victim to this disease rather I am filled with a sense of pride in myself that I’m now sober. Being with these guys 40+ hours a week has been so encouraging for me.

I have so much respect for these guys and anyone else who takes on their ugly disease that is addiction. These guys are so much stronger than they get credit for. They fight for themselves every.single.day. They fight to beat the disease, they fight to take on past wounds they buried with their addiction, they fight to see their children, they fight for their relationships, they fight for their sobriety, they fight to like themselves and perhaps one day even love themselves, they fight to get their lives back, they fight for their lives. Can you imagine the strength it takes to fight all of these things day after day? How exhausting it would be?

I’ve seen grown men come in looking pretty rough, feeling defeated, needing help, some with terribly shitty attitudes, walls up, closed off, tough exterior. The ones who make it through the program tend to be be the complete opposite when they leave than they were when they came in. It has been both an honor and a privilege to watch so many of these guys transform right before my eyes; to listen to their stories, their struggles, their feelings and to be witness to the “ah ha!” moments; to watch them start winning in life; and to see them become healthier and happier.

I’ve listened to these guys, I’ve given my opinion, I’ve shared some of my personal life experiences in an attempt to help them, guide them, and/or to let them know they aren’t alone in whatever it is they are going through. I’ve ached so deeply for them in their struggles and I’ve been over the top excited for them in their wins (I do my best not to let them see my raw emotions, boundaries ya know).

I’ve listened to them laugh together and encourage each other. It doesn’t matter how many times I experience moments like that, I can’t help but to smile. Or to hear a father talking to his child on the phone in such a kind, loving, and compassionate way. To hear them telling their children they miss them and love them. These guys warm my heart pretty regularly.

I feel I am a better person for having met these guys and for having worked here. My time here has been relatively short lived, but the way things have played out, it seems whatever my purpose for being here, has been fulfilled. I’m not sure if I was lead here for their sake or for my own, maybe both. Based on the lovely comments written in my card from the guys, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been of some help to some of them. I wonder though, if they have any idea how much they’ve helped me?

Card From Clients

I’ve met some of the coolest, kindest, loving people here. I’ve had some of the most amazing and deep conversations with these guys. I’ve had an impromptu song about me sung to me, I’ve had one of my favorite songs played on guitar and sung to me, I’ve been offered a night out to the theater for a play/musical, I’ve had magic tricks performed for me (real magic and funny magic), I had a gentleman who was a visitor here earlier this week recite a poem to me that he had written (the poem wasn’t for me, he just shared it with me), I’ve been offered almost every type of food you can imagine, I’ve been humored by many, and challenged by a few.

This job, though only 7 months long, has hands down been the best job I’ve ever had. They say when you love what you do, it isn’t really work. For me, being here for these guys wasn’t work, it wasn’t a job, it was an honor. These guys will forever hold a place in my heart.

For all of the above reasons, for making themselves vulnerable to me when they certainly didn’t have to, for sharing some of their stories and pieces of their lives with me, and for everything else they’ve shown me, taught me, and for the gift of watching them grow and become healthier, thank you! Thank you for letting me in to your lives and for touching mine so very deeply.

With Love and Respect,

Dani