The Prize and a Handful of Pocket Change

Love is complicated.

It makes you breathe faster, it makes your palms sweatier, it makes you hum songs that used to make you sick. There is no bigger high than to feel lips against your lips, a fit of lust, admiration, maybe both. Of course, like all things, it makes even the radio impossible. It makes you wish that you had kept more of a barrier between yourself and the fire.

Retrospect is funny. It’s like your brain catalogued every intimate moment you’ve ever had and presents itself to you in your weakest form. If people claim to have died at the hands of love, I believe it. To watch love die is one thing, but to watch it go up in smoke against your will is entirely another. The kind of sorrow that love brings can only be matched by other chains, other forms of love. Sometimes I think that this is the only thing that can truly hurt us.

To remain upbeat in a world full of starvation and bullets and fire is a feat, especially if you can make it out without the cloak of guilt hanging over you. There are so many questions that need answers, but I often wonder if people would be satisfied with the truth. We create our own realities, tiny images on the big screen of tradition and history. Still, I wonder if there’s more I could have done. I didn’t ask to be born in one of the most beautiful, free countries in the world, so why me? Is there a point in asking this question at all? $3.00 a day seems meager and easy in comparison to what I imagine that those who are caged in their own circumstance might feel, what every day behind their eyes is worth.

On days like today, when I am unsure of my place and my power in the world, I write. I bleed. This is the only outlet I know that welcomes my complete and whole self. This is my sanctuary, my home, and my strength. A word can make all the difference between a beautiful song and a mundane statement. I don’t have a real ending for this post, all I have is my thoughts. I think, for once, that’s enough.

A Bee Wouldn’t Fly Without the Flowers Below.

This morning I woke up and felt like a complete and total failure.

I keep waiting for the days to stretch out into a melody of happiness, where my attitude doesn’t have to be “one day at a time.” I’m finally starting to grow into myself. My hands are sure and strong where before there was a hesitant shakiness when I dared to reach for anything. I can feel vines weaving themselves through my fingers and I know that there is progress, growth. I stand, arms outstretched to meet it, but my brain is the barrier between us.

I think we’re conditioned to want everything at once, and I don’t think this struggle is exclusive to the mentally ill. We are only physically capable of accomplishing so much before we collapse in exhaustion, but the mind doesn’t tire. Even with our eyes closed, we’re still sitting in front of a picture show of want. A yearning to have more, do more, to BE more. It is somehow both beautiful and torturous, like almost every delicious bite we take knowing that soon we will have finished and must wait to taste something that delectable again.

I wonder, though, if those moments would feel so idyllic if we knew that they would never end. I had a dream the other night, about the vines wound through fingers, winding around my arms. I felt roots spilling from my heart, anchoring me to the ground. My shoulders sprouted wings, and I suppose the whole mystery of the dream was how I could possibly have both.

See, I think I need roots. I need to know where I came from, who I’ve been and all the hands that have taken their turn in shaping me. I need these roots so that when the storm blows in, and it will, I will remain steadfast and wait for the winds to set down my branches. I need these roots so that when I awaken to the wreckage in front of me, I will know that I am the mightiest tree, and I will grow again. My leaves will sprout with beauty and with wisdom, and I will watch the cycle in front of me in awe.

But I also need wings. I think that the wings represent my mind, my imagination. The ability to be anyone, anywhere doing anything. When the scenery becomes dull, I can fly away on a passing thought and live in any vessel I please. These wings are important because they will always carry me back to my tree, to the roots, where perhaps I will have realized that

this was where I was supposed to be all along.

 

The Rules (and Other Bullshit We Buy Into)

I just saw something that blew my mind.

Sometimes I think life on the prairies can be pretty dull. I can see for miles, and it often feels like this is all there is. Then there are other times, like now, when I see my very timid border collie rolling around with and grooming a cow, and I realize that this is probably all that most people could ever want.

I remember the moment I stopped believing in God. Before then, everything made sense to me, and if it didn’t, there was comfort in knowing that it wasn’t up to me to figure it out. It’s been so many years and it’s hard for me to tap into that mentality, but it was a very pivotal point in my life and I want to give it the recognition it deserves. Back then I was secure in knowing that I was serving a better purpose. My bible was like the app store. If I was upset, lit with a fiery rage, dizzily happy, there was a verse for that.

As I got older, though, these reasons, this faith became harder to blindly rely on. I had questions, and nobody had answers. I didn’t have a problem living in the Christian world, and I liked going to church. I have fond memories of sword drills and doughnuts after Sunday school. What I did have a problem with was ignoring my instincts and the urge to ask questions for fear of being shushed or seen differently.

I liked church because I knew who I was there. I could recite John 3:16 and play Stella Ella Ola and feel the presence of something bigger than I. When the questions came, when the feelings came, it all changed. All of a sudden “God has a plan,” wasn’t enough to help me sleep, and I discovered that people weren’t really as forgiving and wholesome as they had previously claimed. I was angry to have spent so many nights with that bible clutched to my chest, giving it my vulnerability and trust. I had gotten this idea that God would protect me from anything.

In the 7 or so years that followed I became more and more angry with God, and the anger stacked higher than the Empire State Building. I found the entire concept laughable and felt a certain sympathy for those who had given their lives to serve His purpose. Eventually it got to the point where I didn’t believe in anything at all. If you scroll through my posts from a year ago, you’ll see that there.

However, I heard someone on a very popular television show say “You can’t not believe in God and be angry with him at the same time.” I feel like it’s important to note that I am not comforted or appeased by the explanation of science, either. It’s factual and I’m so grateful for everything that’s been accomplished through scientific knowledge, but the factual reasoning for where we came from and where we’re going is something that I find quite dismal as well.

You know what I want to know? Where does the soul go? The body, yes, I see that it slips out of life and decays, becoming part of the Earth. But there was more to the body, there was the way they laughed and the way their thumb would ache when it was about to rain and all they knew about living inside of that vessel. I want to know where that goes.

I don’t believe in karma, but coincidence is often hard to stand upon. It’s the way that you meet someone and know that you’ve been looking for them your whole life. Your hands fit, and your lips meet each other with a force you don’t understand, but give into anyway. What happens to this connection when all else turns to dust? Will we float next to each other in the vast universe? We can only hope.

We can only hope. We can only do it right this time. I know it seems morbid to think of this life coming to an end, but it’s the only chance that we are guaranteed. If you love someone, don’t wait for the next life to tell them. Don’t tell yourself that you’ll come back again born for the stage and perform in small costumes and make love in the change room.

I don’t know what the reasons are, if there are any. All I know is that a smile can mean the difference between normalcy and a life worth living. Maybe it’s only because I like to write, but I often ask myself if my memoir would be worth reading. Not for sad and impossible feelings, but for my experiences and the way they’ve shaped my being. Did I take risks in love and life? Did I get low enough to empathize with, and high enough to envy? Was I honest enough to connect with people I’d never met?

Writers are introverts, perfectionists, wise. And this is all a crock of shit because I am none of these things and I’m still here telling you stories that probably don’t even make sense to anybody but me. Here’s what I wish for you, above anything else: Have courage. Have courage to be open and honest and to connect with people on a more modest (but extremely human) level. Have courage in love. Don’t kiss someone for the sake of it. Kiss them because it is all that you can think about in that moment and if you were to run you’d forever regret it. And then write it down, exactly as it bleeds from your fingers.

The only problem is that none of us think we have anything to say.

Where The Heart Is

I know I bitch about it all the time, because it’s cold and slippery and familiar, but I love my country.

Canada is a beautiful place to grow up, to make a life, to grow old. It is quiet but majestic, and I like to think that we create our own warmth around here. I don’t say enough how thankful I am to go outside into the vast nothing and, somehow, everything all at once. I can see the stars, I can catch a snowflake on my tongue.

There are times I dream of living on a beach somewhere, hearing the waves slap the shore and feeling the sun in the part of my hair, somewhere life is slow and simple. I dream of these things but I can’t imagine living where I couldn’t kiss a cold face passionately until it warmed like I gave it life. I couldn’t imagine life without the stillness of the first snowfall, the one that I always claim to have been dreading but is one of my secret and greatest pleasures in life.

Canada is a beautiful place to grow up, to make a life, to grow old. I think most people who live here would agree with me. In Canada I have rights and freedoms and the ability to feel secure in using them wherever they apply. I am free to to marry whomever I choose, to vote, to have an education and a career. In Canada I live as an equal. If all of this fell down tomorrow, and I had to leave, this is what I would remember.

I believe that under the right circumstances, our hearts never really leave home, because home is the backdrop, the setting of life piecing us together, maybe even pulling us apart. That’s what Canada means to me, and I take great pride in where I live. How could I even begin to imagine, then, what it must be like to leave it behind? How could I begin to imagine fleeing the terrain under which I gained my footing? To start fresh in a country with a language I cannot understand but will be forced to learn at rapid speed, to adjust to the culture, the atmosphere, to being the minority? It would take a great deal of strength that I’m not sure I could muster.

I hear people complain about the “foreigners” that work and live among us, and I’m not proud when I say that there have been times I’ve been the one doing the complaining. I hear people become frustrated and even aggressive towards them simply because they are not being understood. How quickly we forget that the person standing in front of us, inconveniencing our day is not a “foreigner,” but a human being trying to make an honest living. A human being who cannot understand us, but understands tone and body language and knows he or she is being berated. A human being who is fully capable of feeling shame, embarrassment and sadness.

I’m sick of people associating bad customer service with ethnicity. Why don’t we ever evaluate how we could make this situation less frustrating and deal with it accordingly? Why is it easier to yell at the young girl across the counter instead of asking to talk to someone who is more equipped to deal with our request? Why are we so quick to anger instead of seeking understanding? It saddens me to see and to hear when I know that a lot of the people who were born and raised right here in this city believe they are above working in the fast food restaurants and call centres that they so often complain about.

 Maybe if we thought more about these people than the fact that they screwed up our dipping sauce likeeveryfuckingtime, we would be able to reach that level of understanding. Maybe it would be easier to teach them with patience and kindness that we would like bbq instead of plum. Maybe if we went the extra mile for them, they would return it tenfold. If we’re not happy with the service we receive, what can we do to change that? The answer is not “fire the fucking foreigners.” The answer is to address the problem, suggest more hands-on training for the employees and for Christ’s sake, remember that they are living in a world of people just like us, who yell at them and take our days out on them because it’s so damn easy.

All I know is that if you lay down next to me and press your face to mine, if I put my hand on your chest, we will discover that we are breathing, blinking, beating. We will discover that here, in our most raw form, we are equals. We serve equal purpose in the world. I have thoughts, some brilliant and some, well, otherwise. Your eyes dart around and I know you must have these thoughts too. If we are both thinking, we will find a way to communicate. We will discover that together we are a greater force than we were alone.

How beautiful.

For Those You Know and Those You Don’t

Having a blog is weird.

It’s this endless space to talk about yourself. I mean, that’s what you’re supposed to do to form a connection. It still feels weird and slightly narcissistic, but c’est la vie. Such is life, er, blog. A lot of you have been sending me messages, sharing your stories and asking questions. I LOVE this and appreciate the support so very much, and I figured that since there are some frequently asked questions I’d address them here today. Please remember that I can only speak for my own illness and my own recovery. Everybody affected is complex and different.

I’ll start with the voices, since people seem to be the most curious about that portion of my story:

1. What Do They Sound Like?- They sound exactly as you would expect. They sound like voices in rapid conversation. It’s like going to a girls’ night and every female is wasted off of their asses, shouting over each other and laughing. Sometimes the tone can be very heated, and other times they are simply whispers. They distract me from conversation and often become louder than a person I am trying to have a legitimate conversation with.

2. Do They Ask You To Do Bad Things?- No. People always look 1 of 2 ways when I tell them this: A) relieved or B) disappointed. The voices talk serious nonsense and are so fucking irritating because they never say anything worth listening to. I’ve mentioned it here before, but for a while all they would say was “Blue paint!” “Ohhhhhh, BLUE PAINT!” and now, after tax season has come and gone, they ask me “Taxes?!” and whisper a bunch. So, no, my psychosis does not give me the urge to kill you or your family. I know, take your time.

3. Are You Ever Afraid?- I won’t lie to you, sometimes I do get scared. On harder nights, it can be easy to lay paralyzed in fear and allow myself to become completely taken over emotionally. In fact, I spent the better part of a year doing just that, which is why I didn’t ever sleep. Having lived with it consistently since 2011 has given me the ability to adapt. To be honest, it’s not much different from a childhood fear for me, like being scared of the dark. Once you run headfirst into the dark, and stay there, it becomes familiar, comfortable even.

4. Will They Ever Go Away?: I have great hope. I’ve been taking the medication route and thus far it has been a disappointing journey. I have made amazing strides in therapy, however, and I have been able to do some pretty incredible things despite their chatter. I feel like I have fought and earned the peace I feel in my stomach, and I did it all while the voices did what they could to distract me. I’m proud of that. I will continue to look for ways to eliminate them from the equation of my life, but I’m content here and now, and I’m proud of that, too.

One thing I really want to make clear is that not everybody who hears voices is walking around talking to themselves. Most of us live pretty normal lives once we establish a routine and mechanisms to cope with the hands that we are dealt, be it with the aid of medication, therapy, or other methods. That’s another thing: If you notice that a person may be dealing with a psychotic episode, please don’t cringe or laugh at them. Please don’t assume that the root of the problem is crack. Ask them if they are alright, and if you fear approaching them, please call 911 to be sure that they do not hurt themselves or others.

Another thing I get asked about often is bipolar disorder itself. Again, I can only be sure of my own experience and it’s important for you to note that every case is different. I’ll try to address this, too:

What Kind of Symptoms Do You Have?- I fear large crowds and clustered conversation in unfamiliar territory. I may have minor meltdowns if my routine is disrupted or if it’s just a really bad day. Sometimes it makes me overly excited and I talk. A lot. Loudly. Soon afterward I will probably crash and pull a Brian Wilson. It intensifies my emotions and I find it very difficult on occasion to feel anything, because it’s just so much. It’s like trying to eat a whole cheeseburger at once. Like, “This is so fucking delicious but I’m also choking and possibly dying and OH GOD WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?”

Here’s what you should know, the real reason my fingers are banging dramatically on these keys: 1 in 5 Canadians will suffer a mental illness in their lifetime, and get this: only 43% of people who suffer will ever seek professional help. THAT is what’s REALLY crazy. Think about it guys, it’s likely that more than one of your friends or family members are dealing with a mental disorder, and if not, there are likely people you wouldn’t suspect going it alone. Why do you think this is? My guess is shame. The stigma is that if we talk about it, if we ask for help, we belong on a psychiatric floor with a Thorazine drip. People are terrified to get better for fear that it will only make matters worse. If you take anything at all away from this post, please let it be this: It’s important for us to recognize these symptoms for what they are and to educate ourselves on mental health awareness simply because we cannot afford not to. Over 400,000 Canadians self harm every year.

If that’s not enough to help you understand the severity of the situation, over 90% of people in Canada who commit suicide have a diagnosable disorder, whether it be a mental or substance abuse disorder. Over 90% of the people who felt that they couldn’t make it any further were dealing with a treatable condition and a chance at a better life. Over 90% of the people whose hearts are bleeding and tear ducts burning might have seen their loved ones alive had they had the courage to come forward and ask for help.

So what does this say? How does this speak to you? This is how it speaks to me:

It’s not up to me to decide whether or not someone is dying for attention. It’s up to me to be an ally and a safe place to land. Besides, even if that IS the reason I suspect that someone may be self-harming or otherwise inflicting pain upon themselves, it is certainly a matter that deserves attention. It tells me that I need to live so openly that people understand that there is an ear, there is a heart, there is a mouth that is dying to hear, to be let in, to tell them that they are important and that they, too, belong in this world.

It tells me that we need to stop being so damn ugly to each other. I often wonder how people would describe me if they thought I would never hear it. The only thing that would kill me to know is that people found me to be aggressive, jaded and mean. There was a time when I was those things, certainly, but I also believe that people are who they are by way of where they’ve been, and I am grateful to say that I am not these things anymore. I asked people yesterday if they could change one thing, anything, what would it be? Well, for me it’s the people I caused pain to during a time when I couldn’t see a way out of my own. I cannot unsay what I’ve said, undo what I’ve done. All I have is right here, and right here I am choosing to be less of a lion and more of a butterfly. Both serve an undeniable purpose in the world, but I want to do more healing and less roaring.

Be a light wherever, whenever you can. It may not always pay off but on your darker nights when, alone and convinced that YOU don’t belong, this light will keep you warm for it is fuelled by your raw, human compassion. I think we all deserve to feel that way about ourselves. To educate yourself further on the matters of mental health, go to http://www.cmha.ca

(Oh yeah! Lipshits and Mental Fits has its very own Facebook page now!  You can find it there on the sidebar! ———-> Come on over and jump into conversation, let your weird out! I’m always waiting for a good discussion.)

 

“‘Cause I’m a Creep, I’m a Weirdo.”

I think it’s funny that all of us (including me) squander so much effort on appearing normal.

I mean, what the fuck is that anyway? It’s certainly not universal. I know this because in some cultures, belching after a meal is a show of appreciation. That’s normal and you’d be rude if you didn’t. However, if you burp at my mother’s table, don’t be surprised if you get smacked upside your brain cave. It’s been said before and I know I’m not a genius when I tell you that there is no normal.

I remember a lot of my childhood, and sometimes, when the world overwhelms me, I go back to those memories. I lay down and think about that time my family got a new van with a motherfuckin’ sun roof. I’m strapped in but I’m staring straight up at the clouds and picking my nose while “Truly, Madly, Deeply” plays and I think “everything in the world is right.” I love that song to this day, and not because of any romantic notion, but because it was a really good pick and the clouds were fluffy and OUR VAN HAD A SUNROOF.

A portion of the people who have read this far will be skeeved out and thinking that I could have left the snot rocket patch bit out of the description. The others will understand me when I say that I think that is fucking stupid. Why does everyone want to pretend that they don’t get boogers? Why is it so top-secret? EVERYBODY GETS BATS IN THEIR CAVES. That is normal. If you have never developed mucous inside of your nasal cavity and proceeded, at least once, to pick it out with your fingers you should probably see a doctor or maybe even a therapist because you are missing out on a very small, nasty joy. I’m not telling you to dig at dinner for everyone to see, of course. Don’t be a fuck about it.

Everybody wants to appear as if they’ve grown up with dignity, grace and charisma. They like Seinfeld and hockey and they recycle because they care. This is all a big crock of shit. I grew up thinking that I was this weird, creepy creature on the inside because every other girl had sparkly purses and married a different boy every recess. I felt like that one indecisive sheep who wants to walk a different way but follows the herd instead because “OH MY GOD I’LL DIE ALONE.” Alone and weird. I worked hard on being the girl with the sparkly purse. I embodied her at school because 3rd grade politics are not easy to navigate when you have no support from the 8-9 year old community. At home, though, I was full on weirdo. I used to play barbies, but not the “normal” way. In fact, all I did was comb their hair and hold them out in front of me, shaking them around and making faces that cannot be described adequately but saying absolutely nothing. My family thought it was hilarious, and I of course found it horribly shameful because if anybody at school found out I’d probably take shit for years.

When people tell you that you’re weird, it stings. It stings and then it numbs, and in time it becomes the one card you have. At least if you’re weird, you’re not invisible. You subject yourself to a life of mediocrity because that is what you think you should want. Why then, are you tortured with visions of beaches and dreadlocks and ukeleles? Why, late at night when all is still, do you imagine abandoning everything and spending your entire summer’s savings on a one way plane ticket to New York City to live on Broadway?

Why should these feelings be any less real? Nobody ever wants to talk about the dark parts, the parts they keep hidden in chambers of their heart for nobody to find. Well, I do. I’m tired of agonizing over what I might say or to whom. My brain is too damn wild for that and I can no longer hide it. I no longer WANT to hide it. This is my normal. This is my baby voice and my air guitar that looks nothing like a guitar. This is my booming voice and the way I use it to interrupt people without thinking first. This is my “fuck you” attitude when I’m being disrespected.

Some people might not appreciate any of that. To them I say “Fair enough,” and I will move on. But never again will I put my head down and pray when I don’t believe. Never again will I change clothing because someone might find it unfashionable. Never again will my body slump down in shame, even shame masked as victory, when someone says “You’re weird.” I’m a lot of things, and weird is only the tip of the iceberg. Some people may not appreciate it at all, but for those of you who do, join me in letting go of the backlash that comes with eccentricity. Join me in saying “I don’t give a fuck.” And let me know where you’re at. Send me a tweet, leave me a comment. Give me your best shout. Let’s get a little weird, shall we?

Maybe what we’ll find is that none of us are really all that weird.

Untitled Due to Not Giving a Shit About the Narrow Spectrum of Titles

This is another post that’s extremely difficult for me to write. Like I’ve said before, describing the people I truly love is hard because the description always feels inadequate. It’s like writing about them is torturous (in the best way possible.)

I’ve mentioned Sean here a few times. He’s my husband of almost two years. I don’t know where to begin explaining him, explaining us, because it’s like dropping a Mentos in Pepsi. Hundreds of happy moments explode and flood my memory, and to tell you what he is like would be like trying to describe the taste of water. Here’s what I can tell you: His eyes are kind, his shoulders are strong and his mind is sharp. His smile is the kind that reaches beyond the face and grabs you. I used to think it was amusing to imagine that his lips were arms in disguise.

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I met him in March of 2010 when he approached me at work and asked if he could take me for dinner. I was 18 and I’d never been on a date in my life, at least not with a complete stranger. No dude had ever formally asked me to do anything, and it was both flattering and completely terrifying. I took him up on his offer and gave him my phone number. After so many failed attempts at meeting up on my part, I’m surprised he kept calling, but he did. His persistence wasn’t overwhelming or unattractive. It was just the opposite, actually. I asked him later why he didn’t just assume I was a bitch, and his only response was “I really wanted to go on that date.”

We went on that date. I verbally vomited all over him at lunch with topics that are not suitable for the table. I was so nervous that I talked about the horse scene in Jackass film over fucking pasta! He didn’t call for a week and I was sure I had blown it, vowing never to go on a date again in my life. Turns out he had no idea how dating worked either, and said  that he thought 7 days was the rule so as not to seem overbearing. It was complicated and it was simple. Neither of us were looking for much, but came out with more than we could ever have imagined. I had spent so much time on people who weren’t capable of giving the kind of love that I needed, and I spent much more being someone else to fit the image of what I thought they expected from me. It was all such a facade. This was the first time somebody had known the real, raw, inappropriate creature I really was. It’s like I unzipped my selfish and immature personality and (tried) to learn and live with honesty. He liked me without makeup. He held my hand proudly when I walked around town wearing sweatpants and rubber boots. He just didn’t give a shit about any of that, and I liked it that way.

I’m fully convinced that our love was (and is) the kind that people write books about, write songs about, paint on canvas. Let me just be real with you here: Marriage is really, really hard. People who have been wed longer than I might snicker at me saying that, but it’s true. You live with this person, press yourself against them at night and eat off of their plates. They kiss you goodbye and elbow you unintentionally trying to master the art of two people brushing their teeth in a tiny bathroom because it’s all you can afford. You’re no longer responsible for only yourself, but now have to smile and weep at their accomplishments and massive fuck-ups. That’s another thing; marriage is a series of really big fuck-ups that often pave the way for the life that we desire. You’ll both have them, and there’s no way around it. But let me be clear: laying in the nook of their shoulders and playing rock paper scissors and having two arms around you like shelter is worth the cost.

When I got sick, things went to shit. I was an irrational mess, a time-bomb. He was afraid for me and frustrated at the state of our relationship. There was a period of time when I felt us crumbling and I was sure that I would be the 22-year-old divorcee with voices in her head and a chip on her shoulder. It got to the point where just looking at each other made us want to bitch about something. I kept thinking that he was, that we were a sand castle I’d made when I was 9. Something I’d built and loved and had to say goodbye to before its time. How could it be that my brain couldn’t grasp how much I loved this person? Didn’t it know that it was only making its situation worse? Didn’t it understand that I needed this, didn’t it feel the urgency to get better for this? No.

Mental illness doesn’t discriminate, and even if one has all of the necessary tools to move through it, it doesn’t mean that one will find the strength to do so for a very long time. The mind is much like the body in the sense that it protects us from the blows of life by leaving us in shock, unable to feel and recognize the situation. The would numbs itself and becomes a dull ache. This is the cycle. These are our lives. It would be so easy to pass the buck and imagine myself as a helpless victim and pull the card every time he has an irrational moment. It would be so easy to say “Stop shouting! You know I can’t handle it!” Well, I guess I realize that maybe he can’t handle it either. I realize that it inconveniences his life as much as mine, and in a way I imagine that he suffers more knowing that there is no quick fix for the problem. I realize that I would rather be in hell with him than anybody else.

Sean, I don’t know how to end this post. I feel like I’m rambling now, the way I did on our first date when I described people spitting in each other’s mouths. Here’s what I want you to know, if you remember nothing else. You make me better. You launch me forward and allow me to discover my potential. You take care of me, from counting my pills to cutting my sandwiches, to dressing me when I don’t feel like getting out of the covers because it’s cold. (Sorry.) You took a broken and confused girl and made her into a woman who wants to sing you songs by Paul Simon at 3 AM. You can call me Al. (Couldn’t pass it up.)

I love you in the most generous and the most selfish way. You have given me solace, love and inner peace. In you I have found a melody worth listening to and a story worth writing. In you I’ve found life. I don’t know why we’re here or where we’re going. I don’t know if it’s fate or extremely pleasant coincidence. All I know is that I thank whoever, whatever, even the nothing that placed you in my path.

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Love,

Karlee