Moving and Anxiety

Shallow, unsteady breath, heart racing, uncontrollable shaking, the taste of metal in my mouth, lump in my throat, red hot tears stinging my eyes on the verge of spilling over, nausea, the feeling of the walls closing in around me, and the thoughts…all of the thoughts.

Quite a few of these “episodes” have left me exhausted and disheartened the past few weeks.

On November 1, I joined D as we moved to Tokyo, Japan. We left S at D’s parents, we left our home, we left our friends, we left comfort. Normal life is on hold, and the anxiety I had been working to conquer now has its claws deep inside of me, again.

I feel like a disappointment for reaching this point. How, after a previous international move, too many goodbyes to count, therapy sessions, self-help books, talking all of this through with my home team, all under my belt, how is this still a thing? How have I not conquered this already? Why does it still have its grip on me?

I am so torn between wanting to experience Asia, wanting to make the best of our short time here (6 months), and wanting to throw in the towel and go home. But, I am the most stubborn person I know, so I know that I won’t. I don’t want to be a further disappointment. I don’t want to be seen as weak or a quitter. I don’t want to be known as someone who gives up when shit gets hard. So, I will stay.

I am trying to keep in mind, “wherever you go, there you are,” and to remain present and grounded in the now. I am working to implement ways to lessen or prevent anxiety in certain situations. I am trying to prove my strength and resilience to myself and to others. I am learning to surrender.

“Don’t look for peace. Don’t look for any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise, you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender.” – Eckhart Tolle

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Moving Feels

The reality of our impending move is setting in hard.

I don’t know that I am ready for this next phase, and I have all of the emotions and feelings.

I am excited for the possibilities this new chapter will bring.

I am afraid of the unknown and unfamiliar.

I am happy for the opportunity to travel more.

I am worried about losing the friendships I’ve made.

I am curious about the culture (and food) we will learn so much about.

I am nervous about the possibility of repeating our last move.

I am apprehensive about S being on the plane for so long.

I am scared to relive the homesickness and loneliness I felt throughout our last move. I am scared of driving people away because of my insecurity in our friendship. I am scared of ruining D’s time abroad, again. I am scared of missing out on things happening at home. I am scared of feeling worthless, helpless, stuck. I am scared of the feeling of not having a purpose. I am scared of relapse with eating, with self-harm, with OCD thoughts and habits. I am scared.

I am anxious.

The past few weeks have been riddled with anxiety. Nights are hard. Sometimes I can’t sleep. Sometimes all I want to do is sleep. Days are okay – alone time is hard. An okay morning can quickly snowball into an anxious afternoon if I think about moving for too long. It hits me out of nowhere – I can’t breathe, and the next thing I know I’m sitting on the floor, crying. I feel pathetic. I don’t understand why I can’t handle this. I’ve been there before, I know what to expect, and yet it’s still just as hard as last time.

It doesn’t make it any easier that we still don’t have exact information regarding the move. I knew to expect this, so I’m not sure why I am surprised. But, I want answers. I want to know where exactly we are moving. I want to know when. I want to know exact lengths of time. I’ll have some of these questions answered, eventually. But most will remain unanswered sources of anxiety.

I know the success of this move is mostly dictated by my attitude about it. I will make or break my success throughout this chapter. That’s a scary thought, especially since I know negativity will most likely break it, and I’m feeling pretty fucking negative right now.

For now, I will focus on breathing, being open and honest, and trying to create a positive outlook on this incredible opportunity we’ve been given.

“Negativity is cannibalistic. The more you feed it, the bigger and stronger it grows.” – Bobby Darnell

“So, you didn’t always eat like this?”

“So, you didn’t always eat like this?”

I’ve reflected on this question many times since it was asked last week.

A year ago, this question would have set me on edge, left me feeling fat and unhappy. Now, this question made my day.

I spent last week eating, drinking, and having an amazing vacation with a friend in Mexico. I spent most of my time in a bikini, and I never once had an urge to use an ED behavior. I ate when I was hungry, drank when I wanted to, and was able to walk around without hating myself.

That’s not to say there weren’t some negative ED thoughts creeping in. I had to work hard to not compare myself, I didn’t necessarily feel confident in the bikini, and I left knowing there are still parts of my body that I want to “fix.” But, it was a success in the sense that I was able to let those thoughts stay just thoughts and not control everything I did.

I had fun. I got to spend quality time with a new friend, getting to know each other and making memories. I chose happiness.

I know that I worked damn hard to get to this point. I put in the effort and tears and uncomfortableness. And honestly, I am still working hard – it is still a battle I have to guard myself for, even though the fighting is easier and way less frequent.

After some recovery wins, followed by a few days of trying to decide what diet I want to start in order to “fix” the parts that made me uncomfortable in said bikini, I let my guard down and watched both “To the Bone” and “Feed.”

I had seen the trigger warnings, the reviews, the negative backlash that “To the Bone” had received, and alternately, the praise that “Feed” received.

“To the Bone” was just as expected – a rather underwhelming account of a “typical” ED experience. Yes, it was triggering. No, it wasn’t very realistic – at least not in the sense of the struggles I’ve witnessed and watched others go through at the hands of the disease.

Definitely wouldn’t recommend this one to anyone not significantly far along in recovery.

“Feed” was different. Written by Troian Bellisario (PLL is a guilty pleasure of mine), “Feed” is a dark movie depicting an ED from a slightly different angle. Sure, once again, you have the “typical” ED movie background, but if you look past the white, valedictorian who experiences a trauma that sends her spiraling out of control, you get a true sense of what it means to “hear” ED.

That got me.

I’m hesitant to admit that it took me at least half of the movie before I realized **spoiler** Matt’s ghost (Tom Felton) was indeed ED. It’s all woven together very carefully. Olivia (Troian Bellisario) believes that Matt shows back up to help her through life, when in actuality Matt is her ED voice, controlling her every move.

The power Matt/ED has over her was all too familiar – the constant nagging, pitting the world against her, telling her she doesn’t need the food, telling her that without him, she would be nothing, telling her she’s not sick – these are all very real ideas that ED can drill into a brain. It was intense to be on the outside looking in.

Overall, I thought “Feed” was an incredibly powerful movie that more accurately displayed the mental side of ED.

After watching these two movies, I feel a little emotionally raw. Like seeing pictures of someone who was once a good friend enjoying spending time with someone else. I find myself missing the comfort of ED, especially in this uncertain transition period for D and I.

So, I am continuing to reflect on the question – “You didn’t always eat like this?” That question means the world to me – way more than my friend will probably ever know. It shows me how far I’ve come. It shows me my strength and courage. It prevents me from wanting to go back. It holds me steady. It proves that there is hope for growth and change.

“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” – Abraham Maslow

Here We Go Again

I feel it creeping in again.

The feelings of anxiety, of sadness bordering on depression, of not being in control.

I haven’t felt hungry in days, which makes it really difficult to want to eat.

I am lonely, and it’s day 1 of summer break.

How did I get here…again? How did I not see this coming?

About 2 months ago, D came home with some pretty big news. He was on a project that would eventually send us on a move sometime in 2018, but his boss offered him a new gig – we move in August-September time frame.

I was a very integral part of this decision, and I do feel like it is probably the right choice to go ahead and go through with the move. However, it’s frustrating that the second a place starts feeling like “home,” we up and move again. It’s comforting to know that we will return to this location, eventually, but I also know that life continues to happen and things will change while we are gone.

We also don’t know where we are going yet. We have three possible locations, one more likely than the others, and all three on different continents. Want to know what makes an already stressful situation more stressful…not knowing what continent you will live on in 3 months.

As anxious, stressed, and nervous as I am about the entire situation, I also feel incredibly selfish for feeling this way. I know I should be excited. I know should be looking forward to this new chapter of this amazing life that D, S, and I get to experience. But in reality, I just want to curl up on the couch and pretend it’s not happening…again.

I am scared of living in another country where I probably won’t work, probably won’t have friends, and probably will sit home alone all day. I am scared of living another year relying on weekend trips and visitors to make me happy. I am scared of another opportunity to significantly regress in my recovery. I am scared of losing friends (shoutout to C and A and B and everyone else who continues to put up with these concerns even when they are unwarranted). I am scared of being homesick, depression, and putting D through the hell he experienced last move.

Friday was my last day of school. I had a very difficult year – I truly don’t believe teaching is for me. But even so, I miss my kids, I miss my coworkers, and I miss having a purpose. I don’t know what I want to do in life right now, which makes me even more anxious.

Finally, this weekend was incredible. D and I met C, P, A, and J in NYC for a fun Memorial Day weekend. I miss all of them so much, so any time we get together makes me so happy. I also got the chance to meet up with B (which was absolutely fantastic, exactly what I hoped it would be, and I can’t wait to meet again). But, after spending such quality time with my closest friends, I am definitely having some post-trip blues.

All of this has snowballed into a big ball of anxiousness, sadness, and loneliness. I know I need to be productive and go to the store. I know I need to eat. I know I need to do the next right thing. But, I don’t want to. And this is how I know I’m falling back into that hole. I can feel the downward spiral and I haven’t reached the point of wanting to catch myself and climb out.

I also don’t want to open up about it. I mentioned it slightly to C, A, and B over the weekend. I even acknowledged that he was right when D called me on some old anxious habits (twisting my hair over and over again). But, I’m not ready to admit that I am struggling…again. I’m not ready to admit that after almost a year of relatively okay recovery with only slight bumps here and there, that I feel shaky and weak in my recovery right now. I’m not ready to reach out for support and disappoint everyone who has helped me reach this point. I’m not ready to feel ashamed.

So for now, I will sit and listen to “She Used To Be Mine” on repeat. Thank you Sara Bareilles.

“She’s imperfect, but she tries

She is good, but she lies

She is hard on herself

She is broken and won’t ask for help

She is messy, but she’s kind

She is lonely most of the time

She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie

She is gone, but she used to be mine.”

Process or Place?

Is Recovery a Process or a Place?

This is a question I continue to struggle with. I don’t know the answer.

At times, I believe recovery is a place – a place of freedom, hope, and positivity. I get so busy enjoying life that I forget that worrying about food or weight was once commonplace. I meal prep to save time during the week instead of to meticulously count calories. I workout because I like feeling strong and fit. I am happy, I am free.

And then, I let my guard down.

It happens quickly – a glance in the mirror that leaves me lingering a little too long, an old picture on Timehop – and I’m heading back to that dark place.

Clothes don’t feel like they fit right. My stomach isn’t flat enough. How am I here again?

It’s these times I guess recovery is a process.

Although I don’t know that there will ever be a point where recovery is only a place, I am thankful that I am currently in a place of recovery far more often than not. I never thought I would make it to this point.

I’ve shared this before, but when thinking about the process of recovery, this has helped me so much!

Autobiography In Five Short Chapters

Chapter I

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost… I am hopeless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in this same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it there.

I still fall in… it’s a habit… but,

my eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

– Portia Nelson

Midnight Musings

At 14, the last thing on my mind was politics. I was much more concerned with making necklaces out of Mike’s Hard Lemonade bottle caps or what I would wear to the Teddy Geiger concert (swoon). My less than conservative political views, open-minded ideals, and unabashed acceptance for people came later with the 2008 elections. It wasn’t until having my “Obama for President” sticker ripped off of my car while it was parked at church that I realize just how much my ideals clashed with the majority of the people around me. 

My youngest sister is discovering this much earlier. At 14, she is defending LGBTQ rights to family members, she is shutting down racist comments made at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and most recently, she is standing up to her peers when it comes to these issues. 

It saddens me to realize that at 14, K is more open-minded, outspoken, loving, and accepting than many of the adults that surround her. It saddens me to know that the path she is on, the path of standing up for equality and loving all people, is a path that will cost her friendships and relationships. 

But it also makes me an incredibly proud big sister. As I talked with her yesterday, I realized that she is willing to have the hard conversations, willing to risk the friendships and relationships, willing to become “one of those people” in order to stand up for what she believes in. This takes tremendous courage and bravery. 

This attitude and desire to be open-minded and accepting of everyone and to promote equality for all – this is what we need more of. This is what gives us hope. This is how we break down the fear that has paralyzed us as a nation. This is how we learn to love. 

Will Love Win?

As hard as it’s been, I’ve tried my best to stay out of political conversations over the past few months. Not only am I not really sure that I LOVE any candidate at this point, but I also believe that everyone is indeed entitled to their own opinion. That being said, once an opinion begins to outwardly evoke hate, I can no longer quietly sit by and ignore what’s being said.

In the past few weeks, I’ve seen post after post of hate. Hate against all different groups of people – the LGBTQ community, Syrian refugees, Mexicans, Planned Parenthood, the list goes on. I saw the hate before this, I’ve posted about it before, but I don’t think I necessarily realized how close to home it’s gotten. These most recent posts have been from my very own family and friends on Facebook.

To think that in 2016, there is so much fear and misunderstanding in America that one man (shout out to Mr. Trump) can unite a campaign fueled entirely by hate is mind-blowing. It sickens me to see this disgusting and twisted campaign gaining so much support, and it scares me to think of the fate of America if he is elected.

Last night I watched a video of a fictional child refugee fleeing her home country in search of safety. Once it was over, I read the comments. I cried as I read one man’s comment that Syrian refugees were “cancerous rodents” that he refused to let destroy America. I reported this man and his Facebook account was deleted. There were many positive comments in response to his negativity, but I also know that he isn’t alone in this way of thinking.

My time abroad truly opened my eyes to the fact that usually, America cares way too much about things that don’t matter, and way too little about things that do.

Things that don’t really matter – if there is someone of the opposite sex in the stall beside of you or at the sink washing their hands. Side note – I happen to love the gender neutral bathrooms I’ve encountered in Europe…they’re much cleaner than most gender specific bathrooms in the states, and I’ve never felt unsafe. GASP!

Things that do matter – human lives. Not just the American ones – all of them. No matter the race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, etc.

So, why don’t we stop with the hate. Stop with the supporting of the hate campaigns. Stop with the fear and the misunderstanding of people who might be a little different than us. Let’s help each other out. Let’s live and let live. Let’s welcome these (and other) refugees with open arms, love on them, and help them through the hard times they are encountering. Let’s love.

Regret

Regret – a 6 letter word that plagues me every day.

After 14 months of hating my life abroad, I have finally reached a place of happiness 3 months before we leave.

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond grateful for having reached this point. But looking back, I have so much regret over how I wasted our time here.

I’ve started venturing into the city once or twice a week, and each time I’m there, I think about how differently our life could have been if only we had made some different decisions a year ago.

I wish we would have lived in Amsterdam. This one wasn’t solely our fault, but had I been in a different mindset, maybe we would have pushed harder to find housing within the city. Living in Amsterdam would have provided more opportunities to work and meet people – both of which could have fostered happiness a bit sooner. But, I didn’t want to meet people. I didn’t want to put myself out there and try to find work. I wanted to isolate myself and count down the days until I moved “home.” That’s not okay.

I wish we would have traveled more. We traveled a good bit, but we could have traveled so much more if I wouldn’t have set so many limitations on our traveling. Traveling made me anxious because it wasn’t routine. Food was different, I couldn’t workout like normal, and I was scared of gaining weight. That coupled with worries over boarding S (the pups) meant travel was limited to MAYBE once a month. Looking back, none of those are good enough reasons to avoid traveling.

I wish we would have been more social. Since D’s coworker (N) has been visiting more, we have went out more, and it has been so much fun. It makes me wonder how different our life here might have been if we would have said yes to more invites in the beginning.

I say “we” in all of these, but ultimately it was I who held us back. D was up for living in Amsterdam, he wanted to travel more, and he would have been more social (both here and in Fairfax) had I been in a better mindset. I think one of my biggest regrets is that I not only ruined this assignment for myself, but also for him.

As our time here slowly dwindles down, I am trying to make the most of every day. We have multiple trips planned. I am saying yes to anything we are invited to, while also trying to invite people to things myself. I am going into the city more and trying to soak it all in before we move. I even tried to convince D that we should move into the city for the next 2.5 months, but he wasn’t in favor of that idea. I also tried to see if we could get our assignment extended, but right now nobody (D, his boss, etc) really trusts that I won’t fall apart again in 3 months.

So, as much as I try to make the most of every day, I do live with so much regret for our time here. Realistically, I know that I couldn’t help most of what I was experiencing. I didn’t choose to struggle with ED or depression or OCD or anxiety. But, I did allow myself to continuously slip further and further away from recovery, without really trying to push forward. Once again, I allowed ED to tarnish an amazing opportunity, while I turned a blind eye and let it happen. There are parts of our life here that I don’t even clearly remember because I was so wrapped up in my downward spiral – none of this is okay with me.

Although I have many regrets over our time here, I also am extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow. I am grateful for the place I am in now – a place where I can choose to go to dinner and drinks with friends without anxiety; a place where I can choose to not work out because I am sore or I just don’t want to; a place where I can plan a trip with a new friend and know I will enjoy that trip without worrying about food; a place where I can eat lunch in Vondelpark by myself; a place where I can trust that my best friends will always “be there” and love me, no matter where we live; a place where I am happy. Each day, I still have to choose recovery, but that choice is a little easier now because I WANT recovery.

I have found happiness and I never want to let it go.

“We spend our whole lives worrying about the future, planning for the future, trying to predict the future, as if figuring it out will cushion the blow. But the future is always changing. The future is the home of our deepest fears and wildest hopes. But one thing is certain when it finally reveals itself. The future is never the way we imagined it.” – Grey’s Anatomy

I Am Happy

In my last post, I said 3 words that I never thought I would say while living here – “I am happy.”

The depth of those words didn’t really resonate until a few days later. They weren’t just words. I AM happy – the happiest I have been in over a year – and it is wonderful.

When we first moved, I didn’t think it would be a walk in the park. But, I definitely didn’t think it would be as difficult as it was, either. And here I am – 1 year, 12 weeks, and 3 days later – stronger, more brave, and so much happier.

The realization of that happiness sparked something within me. I began doubting our decision for D to quit his job and us to move straight back “home.” The whole reason for moving back immediately was that I honestly didn’t think I could be happy ANYWHERE else. Since that wasn’t the case anymore, maybe we should explore a few other places first? Did we need to settle somewhere right now in order to have a community in the future? Do we need to live somewhere we want to raise kids, when kids are still multiple years down the road? I began to think about my reasons for wanting to move back to Virginia immediately, and with the question of happiness aside, the only thing I could come up with was that I am scared of losing my best friends. The same best friends who stayed by my side while I lived almost 4,000 miles away for over a year. The same best friends who have seen me through some of my bests and some of my worsts. The same best friends who I know love me unconditionally. What gave me any reason to question that living a little over 1,300 miles apart would suddenly change everything? Nothing. All of the worry, all of the doubt, it was all unnecessary. So, after a lot of talks and some tears, D and I have decided to put our move to Virginia on hold and give Texas a shot. I have no doubt that this will be another difficult move – it’s a transition, and transitions are hard. But, I now know that I CAN be happy in other places, and I will.

I don’t know what happened. I don’t know when my mindset shifted. I assume it was gradual, but maybe it was sudden? All I know is that I HATED my life here, and now I don’t. I know that I wanted nothing more than to move right back to Virginia with my friends, and now waiting a little doesn’t seem so bad. As our time here draws to an end, I regret how unhappy I was, and I am sad to say goodbye to this chapter of my life. How much more could I have traveled if I had just been happier? How many more people could I have met if I didn’t let anxiety cripple me? How much more could I have grown if I had taken a step back and let myself live? The good news is, we still have about 13 weeks left here. We have time to take a few extra trips. I have time to push myself to try new things and meet new people. I have time to purposefully connect with the people I do know here. To let myself flourish in this newfound happiness.

I am nervous, but excited. I am scared, but brave. I am intrigued to see what this next chapter holds. I am ready to take on life. I am happy.

Learning and Growing

I’ve slacked on my blogging goal for 2016.

My other goals are going well, so I’m being lenient with myself about this one!

The past few weeks have been more of the same – going through the motions, biding time until we move home. I am to the point where I know it’s so close, but like a kid anxiously pushing through the last two months before summer break, I am finding it hard to be patient. I am taking life one day at a time, trying to enjoy the last little bits of the life we carved out for ourselves here.

That being said, when D came home two weeks ago with news that one of his co-workers I knew in the states would be visiting soon, I was super excited! I have only hung out with said co-worker a handful of times, I don’t know her very well, but it’s funny that the thought of a familiar face can be comforting when you are missing home.

I think I bugged D every day to make sure he finalized plans – I’m sure that wasn’t annoying at all! 🙂

On Saturday, we met his co-worker to show her around a city we live close to. It was such a fun day! We met up with her around 1, and I assumed we would spend a couple of hours, be home by 4-5, workout, and eat dinner. After a day’s worth of touring the city, we ended up at our favorite bar and stayed until well past 7 talking and enjoying each other’s company. Like I said, it was nice to see a familiar face!

Although I had a great time, it was in my reflection of the time that I realized just how special this day was in terms of recovery.

Before we moved, I had plenty of opportunities to hang out with D’s co-workers – not just this one, but many others – but I chose not to. Not because I didn’t like them, but because the thought of spending time with people I didn’t really know well scared me. These people weren’t by best friends who knew my nuances, habits, and routines. They didn’t know that eating dinner after 7 made me anxious. They didn’t know that simply eating dinner in front of them would make me anxious. They didn’t know that half of the time during a conversation, I had no idea what to say or do or think, that I was anxious and sweaty and wanted to cry.

At that point in my life, I wasn’t at a place where I could be comfortable spending time with people outside of my little circle. I had just recently invited my people into my comfort zone – I was just over that stage with the people I trusted – I wasn’t ready to step outside of my comfort zone and brave the world of time spent and conversations had with acquaintances.

But, as proven by Saturday (and a few other times before), I am ready for that now. I was able to have conversations with this person – not just responding to questions, but also starting conversations of my own. I talked to her when D was at the table, and when he was away. I felt comfortable being myself and I could feel that comfort zone behind me – I wasn’t inside of it anymore. It wasn’t holding me back.

I also enjoyed a meal, a snack, and a beer with D and his co-worker. I ordered what I wanted to order, and I ate as much as I wanted to eat. At one point, I did look over to her plate to see how much I had eaten in comparison. But, after I realized what I was doing, I consciously made myself stop. I know how much fuel my body needs, and I know how to eat accordingly. I don’t have to compare my food intake to anyone else’s. That was huge. As we were walking around the city, I spotted a stand for a delicious sweet treat that I wanted her to try – I split one with D, too. At our favorite bar, I had one beer, with no desire to have another, so I didn’t. Usually, when in an uncomfortable, out of my comfort zone situation, I would drink to feel comfortable, but I didn’t need to. I was able to relax and enjoy conversation and company without help.

Finally, as the night came to a close and we headed home, I began to panic a little about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to eat dinner until after 8:30. A year ago, that, coupled with the fact that I missed a workout, would have sent me over the edge. Not this time. I had a conversation with C about how it was just one day, and in the grand scheme of things, had zero impact. I ate dinner and went to bed.

The past 14 months have been hard. Yes, I have had an amazing opportunity to travel Europe, live in another country, meet so many people, learn so many things. But, there were times when I hated my life. I was depressed, I let food control me, OCD has been tough, and I’m leaving here with more scars (mentally and physically) than I came with. Ultimately though, I have learned so much about myself and I have grown more than I ever imagined possible. Being here forced me to take sole responsibility for my recovery and for my life. It made me hold myself accountable. It showed me just how supportive an amazing group of “home team players” could be.

14 months ago, I would never have experienced Saturday the way it played out. I would have been anxious, quiet, and reserved. I would have eaten too little and probably drank a little too much. I would have told D we needed to leave at a specific time to be sure I worked out and ate dinner before 7. I wouldn’t have had fun, nor would I have been very much fun.

I needed Saturday. Yes, I needed a familiar face and familiar conversation. But, I also needed the opportunity to see just how far I’ve come.

I am proud. I am thankful. I am happy.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly…”– English Proverb