“You are smart…you are enough.”

I was recently presented with an opportunity to work alongside a cohort of professionals on one of my organization’s internal projects. We’re in the very early stages of this project, where the foundation is being laid. Key questions are being asked and the work that is fundamental to the identity of this project is being executed.

As with any project, the work is being divvied. My friend drew the lucky straw of drafting a few statements to represent the groups purpose.

After reading these statements, I was left a bit perplexed. Thesaurus-laden buzzwords and corporate jargon had drowned out the message. I asked my friend to rewrite the statements in plain English. Though she knew I had good intentions, she was offended.

I wanted her to see that her message, the one she believed in, the one without the colorful language was enough. Adding colorful language not only took away from the message, but it made the reader work harder. In fact, I had to read the statements more than once to deduce what was being said. And in the end I was still confused and frankly, frustrated.

But this also created a great opportunity for feedback. While, my colleague wasn’t happy with my feedback, I had the opportunity to follow up with what was in my heart.

My feedback had less to do with the message and a million times more to do with what I believed, and what she needed to believe, about herself.

I had an opportunity to tell her that she was smart and that she didn’t need to rely on anyone else to tell her that. She didn’t need the “extras” to impress anyone. Simply being who she was was enough. And when she delivers her message from her heart, that would be enough.

I had an opportunity to tell her that she was, and is, enough.

 

 

Affirmation

Today, I repeat this message to you. You are enough. Give yourself the gift of relaxing the security of who you are. Stop trying to outfit yourself with the proverbial colorful layers — fancy clothes, an extensive vocabulary, multiple degrees, or the pursuit of the seemingly “perfect life” — to gain the approval of others or even yourself. Don’t water down the magnitude of who you are. Be you.

The Bible says that you were fearfully and wonderfully made. Who am I to disagree with God?

Take off those layers. Life is a lot lighter and much clearer without them.

Until next Wednesday,

RP

Tell someone they are enough.

Share this message and tag them in it. I can’t wait to hear how you’ve made a positive impact on their life. Be sure to add the hashtag #beaffirmed on IG, Twitter, and FB so I can see how you’re inspiring others.

ON THE SOCIAL MEEDS…

Follow me on IG and Facebook to get itermmitent affirmations

Instagram: instagram.com/affirmeddesignns_reginap
Facebook: facebook.com/affirmeddesignsrrp

 

IMG_3154
Look at these handsome men with that beautiful woman.

True story. My Sundays are generally spent at church (hopefully) and then with family.
And if you know anything about my family, you’d know that our time together is spent over compliments, disses, cooing over babies, playing with young kids, boisterous, yet insightful, political and discussions and/or debates, and most of all laughs. (And, I’d be lying if I didn’t include that there were the occasional fights as well.)

For the most part, parents, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandma get together and have a good time. It’s almost like a holiday weekly. And when I’m with family I’m often the loudest — the center of attention. You may find me doing a dance, laying down the latest dis, telling a “oh, no they didn’t” story, finding enjoyment playing with a child or holding a baby. Unlike most of my friends, and many techies,  I’m an extravert. So, here, I’m in my element.

But then comes the time when it’s time to leave; this is often a dreaded time.

This means I have to go home – alone. I feel the anxiety build with just the thought. And no many how many times this routine repeats itself, it never gets better.

But this week was different. I still felt the anxiety and the time at home had started to get dreadful. Then I made a decision.

“I’ll workout,” I thought. First I hit the abs. Then were the squats and shoulder. And, I worked on the biceps as well – all with gospel music playing in the background. Although, I’m sure I didn’t work off that frozen yogurt, it did make me feel better about myself. 🙂

Then I pulled out the flute. IMG_3342

I pecked out  the notes to “The Prayer” on the keyboard as I listened to it on Spotify. This was all a process to get the notes for the flute. (Sidenote: If you can find the notes to a song on the piano, you can probably play it on a C instrument.) After I had the notes, I played until I didn’t feel like playing anymore.

And now here I am blogging about how I kicked depression’s butt today.

It’s not the details in what I did, but the big picture of “what” I did that helped me kick depression’s butt. By keeping my mind occupied by doing things I enjoy, the anxiety subsided. The bigger part is the reward; feeling like more than a conqueror, even if only for a moment.

Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional and do not claim to be. The advice given below is based solely on personal experience. If you feel that you may be suffering from depression, anxiety or any other mental or medical condition, I recommend you contact a medical professional or therapist for help.


 

I’ve been on meds off and on for my depression and anxiety since like for almost 15 years now. The last thing I want to do is increase my medication in order to keep the symptoms under control. So I’ve been on this quest to find natural ways to fight the disorder. I know there are millions of pieces out there providing advice on natural/alternative treatments, but many of these are written from a medical or “professional” standpoint.

But I’m not a doctor. I’m a person – searching – searching for something that will help on days that it’s horrible and even days when it’s not so bad…almost seemingly nonexistent. You know, the good days. So here I go…I’ll even include what I’ve incorporated, what I think works, and where I wasn’t as obedient.

I don’t pass on this information as a medical professional to 1) say you’re not going through this alone and 2) to let you know what’s been working for me and 3) provide resources in one place. So please bear with me if this is long. This may be a post that prompts a YouTube video – for those you who would rather watch/listen vs. read a really long post.

  1. Eliminate caffeine. Nope. Not gonna do it. Caffeine is actually a mood booster for me. BUT…I did trial cutting back on caffeine and that worked. I found it a good practice to determine when coffee took a turn for the worse. 1-2 cups a day is good for me. 3-4…not so much. And drinking too late does affect my sleep so I try to not drink coffee after 7-8 pm. (I was drinking coffee this late due to a work project.)
  2. Took time to rest. This was kind of hard for me because I started missing church, choir rehearsal, choir meetings and even singing on Sundays. BUT…I shared what was going on in my life with people who needed to know, and they were VERY understanding. The caveat is that I do still attend church quite often, but in the midst of depression, I had to slow down, which meant taking time to take care of myself.
  3. Reduced unnecessary stress. For example, when my day turned hectic, I would kindly contact my hairdresser and ask if I could reschedule my hair appointment instead of stressing about how I was going to get it to fit into my day.
  4. Aromatherapy. I’m a faithful user of Bath & Body works stress relief body wash and hand lotion. I’ve also just incorporated the candle into my “treatment”. Frankly, I use the hand cream throughout my workday. Sometimes I just put my hands up to my face and inhale. (You know like the guy did on Superstar after rubbing his pits). And since I work at home, I sometimes shower with the body wash during my lunch hour.
  5. Camomile tea. I drink the Celestial Seasonings Honey, Vanilla, Camomile tea. This has worked for me when I’m not in the middle of an anxiety attack, but just feel a little stressed. I like it though. It does help by producing a calming effect.
  6. Sleepytime tea. Also by Celestial Seasonings, this is super helpful if you have a hard time going to sleep. I simply drink the tea and partner it with relaxing music (white noise station or nature station on Pandora); a great combination for sleep.
  7. St. Johns wort. I’m literally afraid of this. I recall trying this earlier on in my depression journey. I don’t recall any horrible side effect, but there are warnings out the butt about using it if you are on other depression meds. I just don’t trust it. Please refer to your medical professional before going down this route.
  8. Yoga. I was opposed to yoga for spiritual reasons, but I decided to give it a try. I’m not into all the meditation and stuff, but I do have a DVD that I like to do at night when I’m feeling particularly stressed. In fact, I’ve included as part of my weekly workout routine. I noticed a significant difference with yoga, to the point that if I’m stressed, I’ll just try to do a couple of poses and breathing exercises at night without the DVD. That’s how much I believe in it for relaxation.
  9. Exercise. Cardio to be exact. I don’t do this enough, but I can’t stress the importance of getting your blood pumping. This, along with the tea, is at the top of my list. It’s not gonna cure your depression…none of this will, but it will help treat your symptoms. Maybe it’s because I’m a quite aggressive person…so literally working out my frustrations works for me.
  10. Know your triggers…and ELIMINATE them. This is why I’m single again. The relationship I was in was pushing me to depression (and my mother reminded me that my emotionally abusive relationship did the same to me toward the end). A depressed person who allows triggers to dictate their life is about as bad as a person with high blood pressure to continue eating copious amounts of salt. You have to do what you have to do to be well.
  11. Pay attention to what makes you happy…then duplicate it. For example, I’m elated when it’s sunny out. Though I have no control over the sun, I do have a sun lamp (which I frankly think is crap) and am going to change to a super high wattage light bulb. This was advice I found in today’s research. But ultimately, I try to take notice of sunny days and bask in them. I’m also in the process of finding dance classes and thinking about teaching cheer. These are things that make me happy.
  12. Stop doing things you don’t like, but don’t go dead to the world. This was my mistake. I stopped doing things I didn’t like doing, but I didn’t replace the hole with something I enjoyed. So I was left with a hole. Don’t make that mistake. Instead, if you enjoy cooking, take a cooking class or maybe start a cupcake business. I LOVE CUPCAKES. I’m literally thinking about starting another “business.”  Well, I actually have a couple of things up my sleeve, but for the purpose of this post, I’ve though about something lighthearted; like selling handmade scarves in the winter. It’s low risk and low pressure. I can always say no; I don’t need the money. Most of all, it fills the hole with something I really like doing.

That’s my personal list. Now for resources I’ve come across:

Alternative Treatments for Depression – WebMD

10 Natural Depression Treatments – WebMD

13 Natural Remedies for Depression

Exercise & Depression – WebMD

7 Great Exercises to Ease Depression

11 Unexpected Health-Promoting Benefits of Yoga

Foods That Fight Winter Depression – Pay special attention to page 3

 

 

 

It seems that the only place I feel free to allow my pain to show is through my blog. I PROMISE…I’m not upset or a sad case all the time. It’s just that when I need to get something off my chest, I seem to come to my blog as an escape.

I’m generally a happy…moody :)…but happy person. I love to smile. I love to laugh and make others laugh. And I’m often the friend giving advice.

The flip side is that I’m often the silent sufferer.

I don’t tell very many about deep problems. I don’t tell everyone when my father is tripping or when I’m going through what my best friend coined “stupid girl syndrome” or even when I’m just having a horrible day. Instead I tend to suffer in silence, only allowing those closest to me know what’s going on. But that creates a horrible illusion.

It may seem life I have everything together, but I don’t.

Today, my aunt hit the nail on the head – I have to stop being so hard on myself. With such a “perfect” life, I’m bound to run into imperfections…and it’s those imperfections that I have such a hard time dealing with. Not necessarily the things I have no control over, but with the things I at least have some say. But she’s right…everyone struggles with something. I just want to be on top of everything. I want to be able to control my emotions and my reactions…but there are times I really just have to let it out. I can’t be cool and collected all the time…especially with the things that matter most. I have to face those things. I have to cry the tears. I have to confess it…and face it…honestly face it…both with myself and with others.

Regina..you’re not perfect. So strop trying to be.

Allow yourself to have emotions. Allow yourself to feel, even if it’s painful. And then allow yourself to heal. Stop burying this stuff. Face it and heal. You deserve it. You deserve to be more whole than you’re allowing.

Stop with the games. Stop with the facades. Be real with yourself and with others.

Life hurts. But it’s not impossible.

Life more abundantly.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not a medical nor mental health professional. The statements below are based on personal experience and opinion. In the event you feel you’re suffering from a mental disorder, please contact a doctor or mental health professional.


I recently read a blog post that I wrote not too long ago. The topic: Loneliness.

Until recently, depression was lurking, tears were flowing, and anxiety was up. Then I realized, depression was a symptom…not the disease. Loneliness was the culprit. And I knew something had to change. And that birthed the idea for this post.

If you’re suffering from loneliness, here are some things that have helped me. If you want to stop here though, the bottom line is I stopped being alone.

  1. I started going back into the office. Unlike some of my friends, I’m an extrovert.While working from home is nice, the reality is that I wasn’t only working alone, but I was taking lunch and breaks along alone , and I was alone in one room for a REALLY long time. And since I didn’t have many plans after work, home was where I spent my time after work. I was spending entirely too much time alone. But going back to the office has put me around kindred spirits and this has helped me light up from the inside out.
  2. My brother started coming over my house. He would come during the daytime hours on some days when I was working from home, and he also would come some evenings. Even though I was in my office most of the time when I was working, it was nice to simply have someone around. And the good thing about my brother is that he respected the fact that I was working. He didn’t interrupt often. And when I came out of the office, we may chat for a quick minute or less or more and then I would get back to it.
  3. I started going to my parents house more often. This may sound lame to some, but I really enjoy being around my family. We have a grand, old time. So why not be around the people you love and enjoy? Be positive about it. Don’t think “this sucks…I have to hang out with my family because I don’t have any friends or a man/woman.” Think about how amazing it is that you have a family you really get along with and accept you unconditionally. And if you don’t  enjoy being around, try a friend. I
  4. I hosted a gathering at my house. I pulled out the good old Facebook events app, created the event and invited people. The truth is that I know a ton of amazing people, but I get caught up in both social anxiety and negative self-talk. “Maybe I’m not cool enough.” Sound familiar. And even if a ton of people didn’t or don’t come (in the future), at least I got to develop deeper relationships with those who do attend…and maybe meet some new people along the way.

This final statement is one that will help squash the mental nonsense.

Stop creating negative stories and don’t linger on negative self-talk. Maybe it’s not the fact that you’re not cool enough at all. Maybe you just haven’t created a bond because you don’t share a common ground. I’m coming to this realization right now. And frankly, this isn’t my season for certain groups. I know that God has a special assignment for me. I don’t know what it is or exactly when it will come, but I know it’s on its way. And while it’s hard to stay focused on that at times, I know that obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22), and frankly I don’t think I’m giving up much because I see a big reward on the way.I knows the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you… (Jer 29:11)

 

 

Over the past few months, I’ve been under a considerable amount of stress, which, in essence, leads to anxiety
and depression. That’s the bad news. The good news is that over the years, I’ve found a way to deal it; some things I found through external research, some things I’ve come up simply through life.

Listen to relaxing music. When I was a junior in college, my neighbor played this music that put me in the most-relaxed mode without much effort. I had no idea what this “music” was, but it was the bomb for my mood. It literally helped me feel light-weight. Years later, I found “nature” sounds were great to help me relax. I started with a CD. Now I have a nature station and a white noise station on Pandora. I highly recommend these stations if you’re having a hard time sleeping, worked up, or anticipating an anxiety-producing experience, listening to relaxing music is a great .

Music, in general. I’ve found that music is a great way to dictate the mood. I learned the power of music again during my junior year in college. Music can support, or even alter, your mood. If I’m dealing with a breakup – or just guy issues, I listen to music that expresses my emotions. If I’m feeling a little angry, I listen to music that helps me let out both virtual and real screams. And Gospel has a way of reminding me who I really am – Rebuild by J. Moss is specifically one that speaks to me

Workout. I don’t work out a ton. So, if you see me on my treadmill, watch out. I may be in a bad mood. The good thing is that it’s a healthy alternative, and my butt and legs get a small boost.

I blog or journal. I’ve found that writing has been a great outlet for years. I once heard a pastor say to just write without rules. Though, he was speaking about writing out his prayers, I believe limiting the rules allows a person to be free. Forget grammar rules. Forget spelling. And limit how much you think about who’s reading it.

I write poetry. Most of my poetry is pretty dark. That’s because it’s birthed out of a dark place. It doesn’t mean I stay in a dark place. It just means it’s a way to let it out.

Twitter, and it’s associated sarcasm, is my friend. You have no idea how much steam you can let out in 140 characters or less. Note: you may want to be ambiguous depending on the subject and who may be viewing…or, better yet, create a private account that’s meant for letting it out. I’m not gonna say I have a few friends who have such accounts – and I used to have one myself.

Pinterest boards. Create a funny board and a cute board. When something that fits these categories come across your Pinterest feed, pin it to these boards, and when you’re feeling “in a mood”, go to one or both of these boards. You’d be amazed at how something so small…and free…can life your mood.

I let it out. I find someone who I can talk to about what’s going on and I just let it out. I don’t always need a resolution. Sometimes – many times – I just need a listening ear or someone I can commiserate with. It makes a world of difference.

Call “uncle” and say “no”. I realize that I’m only one person, and there’s only so much I can take. Just this week, I’ve had to call “uncle” and say, I can’t do it anymore. I raised my hand and said, I need help. Instead of allowing the “what if I’m perceived as weak” stop me from communicating my reality, I let those who could make a difference know that I needed help; that I was no longer smiling. And I finally started pushing back with direct answers… it’s said that it’s when I get to my breaking point that I finally truly discover the “I don’t care” gene and begin saying “no,” but at least I start saying it.

I cry. Just like needing to let it out verbally, there are times I just need to cry. Bottling the stuff up isn’t healthy…and trying to “be strong” is killing you…maybe more literally than you think. I’ve been known as a cry baby pretty much my entire life. Why should that change now. Crying is a way to express an emotion…and since I’m emotional…enough said.

I dance. I LOVE to dance, and I don’t look to dance as just a form of performance. I connect emotionally to the dances that I do. Hip hop, lyrical, praise dance are all forms of dance I love to do to release stress. I don’t need a dance studio or mirrors. The only things I use is music, some speakers, and me, myself, and I. And it’s on. Tamia’s Stranger in my House has seen its fair share of imperfect dance routines.

Humor works. I’ve watched stand-up on Netflix as a way to eliminate loneliness (wow that sounded really desperate) and release stress. I’m also a self-proclaimed comedienne…and may be a bit funnier when I’m angry. Many times, laughing is the alternative to crying. And boy can I produce a laugh. So either take in a laugh or produce a laugh. Either way, just laugh.

I pray. Times of stress, anxiety and depression can be some of the hardest times to pray. The good news is that you don’t need say a long prayer. A simple “God help me” works and may be all you can muster up.

I find other people to be around. I find a friend, a guy person of interest, or my family to be around. Though I’ve known this for years, I recommend the book Play It Away for more details around this.

Wow! This is one of those topics many people talk about, but I’m not sure how many people really get it. And I’m okay not everyone gets it. Frankly, to get it, you kinda have to go through it or to even close to get it, you may have to be REALLY close to someone with clinical depression.

Before I go on, I’d like to say, I’m not a doctor or therapist and these and this post consists of only my opinions. If you have or think you may be suffering from anxiety or depression, you should see a doctor or therapist.

Many know my story; that I suffer from depression. So, I’m not going to go into many details about that. Instead, I’m going to go into details about my experience – my thoughts and feelings  that I don’t share with many – with the hope that this post helps you understand the complexity of the disorder and the goal of understand there’s a ton that someone who has this disorder (or any disorder to that fact) may not share.

  1. I feel broken…literally. I feel like there’s something about me that needs to be fixed. I’m not talking about a cure. I feel like someone needs to reach inside my body and take something out or put something in to fix me.
  2. I’m afraid of being well. I have been like this for so long, I’m kind of afraid of being “normal” again. Like…what would that look like? Who would I be? Would I really be happier? I have to believe the answer to the latter is yes.
  3. I have generalized anxiety disorder, which is why I get depressed more than “I just feel depressed.” Sometimes, I get so frustrated that it makes me sad. There are other times that the anxiety just overwhelms me to a point of depression.
  4. I have A TON of fears and am embarrassed by them. This causes me to do a ton of irrational things.  I’ve become a germaphobe primarily because I don’t want to get other people sick. Sometimes I pray over my food multiple times. I avoid cracks in the sidewalk. I count a lot of things because I’m afraid of things in threes, as well as the number 6 and 18. I’m also afraid of the letter “F’ because it’s the 6th letter in the alphabet. I am scared A LOT! And I am totally embarrassed about this.
  5. I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want to talk about it too often because I don’t want to be judged as being a person who’s looking for sympathy.
  6. However, I do appreciate and maybe even look for private sympathy at times because it’s hard as heck! I get it. We all have problems. But feeling like you’re walking around with a bricks on your shoulders, a tense neck, and a cloudy brain flat-out sucks. Just knowing someone cares means SO MUCH! I mean so much.
  7. Just because a person doesn’t look depressed doesn’t mean they’re not. My grandma has said, “you don’t look depressed” at least 2 times after I’ve said I’m depressed. The latest time, I literally cried in the parking lot of an ice cream shop the same day…not because of what she said, but because I was, in fact, depressed.
  8. Just because a person doesn’t seem anxious doesn’t mean they aren’t. I have literally had “silent” anxiety attacks right in front of people.
  9. Support systems are super valuable. My support system has been one of the most valuable things People helping me in the hard times, encouraging them, giving hugs, shoulders to cry on, simply passing a tissue, being a listening ear, and so on. This along with God may have been what has literally saved my life a many a times.
  10. I hate when people tell me to pray it away. This is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves…right after someone telling me that it’s imagined. Believe me, I KNOW God can heal. I also know how he’s given me peace in some of my hardest times. However, I have prayed, and I have believed. I’ve questioned Him. I’ve done it all. Guess what. This is something He has allowed me to go through and though I don’t like the disease, I’m okay with it. I am okay with the fact that He allows me to go through it. I don’t like it, but I’m not going to let it stop me from loving Him or ultimately giving Him the praise. It may get me down at times and even take me out of my element, but I know that I’m gonna be okay.
  11. Everyone who has suicidal thoughts isn’t going to commit suicide. BUT YOU SHOULD TAKE EVERY COMMENT ABOUT SUICIDE AND SUICIDAL THOUGHTS SERIOUSLY. This is the hardest thing for me to talk about, but several clinically depressed people have suicidal thoughts – including myself. However, I appreciate my life too much to let this horrid disease get the best of me. I consider myself an overcomer. This is where I totally see God’s power coming through. He’s like, “No Regina. You’re too good for this. You’re an awesome person and you ARE going to do great things. I put you on this earth for a reason and you WILL NOT depart from it until I call you home…until you’ve fulfilled your GOD-GIVEN PURPOSE.” Writing this makes me want to cry because it shows me just how much God really loves me and how everything else that’s going on is just deception; things that are trying to get me off my game…because if I’m off my game, I can’t fulfill what He has for me. This is where my strength comes from. That is the power. That is the cure. Knowing He has something totally awesome in store for me…that He really wants to use me. And the devil is just mad because I’m saying, “God, I’m ready. Use me, Lord.” [Yep…I just got in tune with the Spirit there.]

God is amazing, guys. This started off very dreary. And though I’ve been going through a lot, I can’t help but to give Him praise simply because of who He is. He is amazing, and I must just give him praise. How He holds me through tough times. How He protects me in the hard times. And how He even shelters me from the rain. [And there’s the testimony. smile]

I’ve been going through a very trying time; both at work and personally. To put it mildly, my stressIMG_0006 level has been on 10. From managing a potential relationship to dealing with parental issues to working on a pretty intense project, the concept of fun and games has been pretty low. Add a wedding that’s less than 30 days away, a bridal shower that just passed, an upcoming bachelorette party, and surviving a car accident that happened literally 14 days ago, and you’ve come across a pretty frazzled chick. BTW…I had no idea all this stuff was going on in my life. And the list doesn’t end there until reflecting while writing this. But I digress.

And with stress comes a couple more things…depression and anxiety attacks. And if any of you are like me, you may have silent anxiety attacks. At least that’s what I’m calling them. They’re the attacks that don’t paralyze you. You barely even know they’re happening. But when you stop to think about it, you realize you’re having an anxiety attack. Yep…totally had one of those today…accompanied with internal shaking and anger.

One thought. Meds and sleep.

But I took a different route.

I hit the treadmill. I was determined to literally work out the aggression.

30 minutes. Aggression still there.

41 minutes. Anxiety and anger still there.

And it wasn’t torture. I even started dancing on the treadmill. (Don’t try that at home.) I took pics, recorded a video, and had a couple of conversations via text. And let’s not even talk about my Twitter timeline.

Then I wrote my mom, “I want to back slide.” I totally wanted to revert to old habits – at least the one where potty mouth was in effect. Swearing was my thing prior to living for God. And boy, could I go in. I told her I needed prayer and holy oil plugged into me via IV.

She responded with the most profound comment of the day:

“OK, just hooked up the prayer iv line up; I think I found a good vein and there flows the blood of Jesus.”

My goodness. Those are shouting words (as we say in the black community). I mean…do you get it. The blood of Jesus is available to me. He took stripes, suffered, and died specifically for this. And now, I have access to this grace freely. My goodness. Or should I say His goodness! (SMH)

***I have to stop just for a moment of praise. God is so good!***

I tried to do so much to make it right, but God…

Anyhoo…to the title of this. The reality is some things have to go. Toxic relationships are an example of things that need to go, especially when you’re living in a fantasy.

So, today, I say farewell to a fantasy. Sorry, guy, but i have to let you go. (Not the guy I referred to in my last post.) You have to live your life and I have to live mine. I love you, but it’s doing more harm than good. I now realize I am whole. I have a perfect life. And I’m okay with the way it came out. The experience was enlightening and definitely worth it – and because of it, I now have another story to share…to uplift and shine light on situations like mine.

I realize the experience had its purpose. But a fantasy is just that…not real. Thanks for all you’ve done. I will now go on with my life. Whole and a pretty darn cool chick.

In the voice of Kirk Franklin, “I smile.”