D is for Depression

With the “Let’s Talk” campaign conducted by Bell happening today, I’ve seen a ton of articles floating around the news about mental illness. Most are informative, some even inspiring, and others are just hoping you’ll make it to the end of the article. After reading these, I do that thing that one should never do……I scroll down to the comment section. What am I hoping for exactly? Perhaps that it will be filled with people who have battled their own illnesses, kindly sharing their stories in support of one another.

Of course this is hardly the case.

It takes about 30 seconds of scrolling through these comments to realize that warm, fuzzy feeling I was hoping for won’t be found anywhere within a 10 mile radius. In one particular article about a woman overcoming her struggle with depression, the comments I saw the most included “that’s not a real thing” and “just suck it up.” My personal favourite by far was, “can’t she just stop being sad?”

I’ll make sure to send a mass media message to let everyone know they can just “cut it out.”

Because of the comments, I thought I would share my own story. It’s not one that I wished for, but it’s taught me quite a lot.

Way back in 2009, I was going to school, working, and had a happy social life. I’d see my friends on the weekends, study during the week, and enjoyed my part-time position that I had found. Everything seemed great, except when it wasn’t.

Little by little, I started to feel…..sad. At first it would be 5 minutes of crying, seemingly about nothing, and then I would just feel down. As the weeks went on, the crying increased, with the added frustration of not knowing why this was happening. I kept telling myself I had a great life, that there was no reason to be feeling this way. But instead of helping, it added an element of shame. How dare I feel and respond this way when I had so much? There were people out there with real problems, and I certainly didn’t meet the criteria that was required to be feeling this much self-pity.

The worst part of all of it was the hopelessness. I forgot what happy felt like. Sure, I could muster a smile, but the feeling of connecting with another human being was gone. I felt like I was a ghost, walking through town and seeing everyone go on with their lives, while I was stuck in this dimension that I couldn’t comprehend. The crying increased, and soon I would barely make it home before heavy sobs of tears made their way from my eyes.

Nothing mattered anymore. School, family, friends, work. I was in this pit of despair, with the realization that nothing I did could get me out of it. I went from a bubbly, happy twenty-something woman to a shell of my former self, and I couldn’t understand why.

One particularly bad night, when the tears wouldn’t stop, I remember looking out my bedroom window at the snow falling against the pink sky. I was done at that point. I had had enough, and I felt that there was nothing more I could give. I didn’t want to go another day feeling this way, and I certainly couldn’t imagine a lifetime of it. I cried and cried, and as I looked out the window, I said out loud “if I can make it through this night, I’ll be ok. If I can just get through the next 6 hours and see morning, it’ll be ok.”

The sun was shining when I opened my eyes. I glanced in the mirror and saw how red and swollen my face was, as I recounted what I had said the night before. For the first time in months, I felt a twinge of hope. I picked up my phone, and I asked for help.

Depression is tricky. It’s not easily understood until you experience it yourself, and even then everyone is unique in how it affects them. I’ll admit, before I went through that period, I was skeptical of how much it could really interfere with someone’s life. Now I know the incredible impact it can have, and just how powerful it is. It can take everything from you.

When someone says they’re going through it, or you see a story about it, please don’t judge them. It’s all too easy to jump to the conclusion that they’re not trying hard enough, or that they haven’t done everything they can to “fix it.” But I promise you, as someone that never thought it would happen to them, it’s not that simple. No one would wish to feel that way, and the added feeling of shame, combined with the judgement of people that don’t understand, has the potential to create deeper despair.

I assure you, it’s a real thing. The more we remove the stigma surrounding it, the more people will look for help when they need it.




The loneliest number is the one to the pizza place

At some point in my mid-twenties, I went from a full fledged bar-star to getting way too excited at the prospect of a weekend where the only interaction with another human being would be the 2 minute transaction involving food delivered to my doorstep.

After ordering way too much for one person, and yelling “dinner’s ready” to an empty house (it’s a classic, and the pizza guy knows by my sad appearance the only person I’m talking to is my dog) I closed the door and delighted in the fact that I wouldn’t have to speak to anyone until at least Monday.

When did this happen? And more importantly, why did this happen? I remember weekends being such an exciting time. There was usually (most definitely) alcohol involved, which was consumed at either a bar or someone’s house. Occasionally I would tone it down and do something low-key, like go to a movie or pretend I enjoyed bowling, but as long as I was out with people, I didn’t much care what the activity was.

Now I’m at a point in my life where I consider it a win if I don’t have to put on pants for 48 hours. And the bar? Oh please. Long gone are the days where I pay $9 for a vodka seven while seeing just how much I can drink before I deem it a good idea to drunk text every contact on my phone “what are you doooooiiiiinnnnggggg?”

Somewhere along the way, the great drinking event became unfulfilling (I’m sure it always was, but alcohol has a way of clouding that over) and I found myself looking less and less forward to it. The dip in my bank account, along with the crushing hangover the next morning, started to take a toll on me, and the sweet idea of enjoying a weekend without eating a cheeseburger at 2:30 in the morning to “sop up the alcohol” became increasingly attractive.

So here I am. It’s Saturday night, I am in full comfy mode, and I couldn’t be enjoying myself more. Sure, I venture out every once in a while, and I might get a little lonely if I go a couple weekends in a row without plans, but the knowledge that I won’t have to listen to a total stranger in the women’s bathroom drunk cry to me about her boyfriend’s sister’s mother’s friend’s aunt while I drunkenly plaster another pound of makeup on my face to ensure it can be seen from space, is comforting enough.

Hope you have as lovely a weekend as I’m having.




Oh tropical vacation, where art thou?

I zipped up my parka, put on my toque, made sure my boots were laced up, and tried my best to mentally prepare myself for what was about to happen. The biggest obstacle of my day, the moment where you display to the rest of the world what you’re made of, the test that defines who you are as a person.

It was the ten minute walk from the university to my car.

I threw my scarf over the lower part of my face. There was an extreme cold warning over the city, as the wind chill reached a balmy minus 41 celsius. Hesitantly, I took the first step outside, as I wondered if I should just fork out the $800 a month it would cost to live in residence, so I could say goodbye to the outside world from approximately mid-November to March.

It hit me like a bag a bricks (How many people did that happen to before that became a common expression?) and I immediately regretted my decision. Distances appear a lot longer when mother nature decides today’s the day she’d like to have a laugh, and I thought about texting my parents thanks and goodbye, lest I not make it to my car.

I started picking up the pace. For the past 10 years I hadn’t had to experience these frigidly cold winters, as I had been living in a province that had the good sense to normally not dip below -12. And yet here I was, nostalgic for these winters from my childhood, cursing myself for not remembering what this cold felt like before I had moved back here.

I was half-way now. I could even see my car. It was about a football field away, and it gave me hope that I would once again know the feeling of room temperature air. My legs were starting to seize up, so I mentally began saying “left, right, left, right” in my head. Just as things were looking promising, I felt it: the slip of a cheap winter boot on ice. I tried to catch myself, but it was too late. My left leg shot up quicker than I spring from my table at the Pizza Hut buffet when I see them bring out dessert.

I let out a sound that was somewhere between “no” and Chewbacca’s groan. I fell awkwardly, almost in slow motion, and soon I was laying on the ground. “Man down!” People walking by peered down at me through the tiny eye slits they made in their scarves. “It’s too late! Go on without me!”

As I brushed myself off and was once again vertical, I made a mental note to buy better boots. I reached my car, and felt an abundance of gratitude that I did in fact have a car, which saved me from standing outside in this weather to wait for a bus.

I will always be eternally grateful that I was born in this country. I know how hard life was for my grandparents and father when they emigrated from Hungary during the revolution in the 1950’s, and I know their sacrifices have allowed me access to resources I may have not had the privilege of experiencing had I not been born here.

But still, on this intensely cold day, with no relief of this cold snap in sight, I wonder “would anyone care to go to Mexico?”

Want to jump out of a plane?

One of the biggest perks of jumping out of a plane is sliding it into every possible conversation everyday for 6 months afterwards. Although you’ll endure many eye rolls from repeat listeners, the smug satisfaction that you did something you never thought you could will be more than enough to motivate you to keep bringing it up again.

And so began my journey this past May. I was in a place in my life where I felt lost, like no matter what decisions I made, they wouldn’t lead me to where I was supposed to be. As I sat on a comfortable flight home to visit my family, I stared out the window and the sudden thought of “I need to jump out of this” lodged itself into my head. My tiny airplane bottle of liquor certainly wasn’t going to put up a fight with my newfound thoughts, if anything, it was like a tiny person whispering *go for it*.

As soon as I landed, I excitedly switched on my phone and sent a message to my friend Josh. Now at this point in our relationship, Josh and I were friends (we would normally see each other for dinner whenever I came to town) but we weren’t particularly close. We would text each other occasionally, but not once a day sort of thing. For some reason, beyond logic (although I wasn’t being very logical at this point), I quickly clicked on his contact info in my phone and sent the message: “want to jump out of a plane?” I waited, unsure if I would go by myself, but it only took 2 minutes to get a very Josh reply: “Sure.” Later I would find out Josh thought I was kidding, but it was that quick reply that sent the wheels into motion. We both looked online, and it took only about 15 minutes for us to book the jumps.

We were to drive about an hour out of town for the skydiving, and the next 2 days of anticipation were nerve rattling. My mind jumped back and forth between the two very different possible scenarios that could play out, and in one of them I ended up a tiny blob on the ground. For some reason the fact that the jump was non-refundable (and was a little costly) probably helped in my decision to go.

Josh picked me up Saturday morning, and I could feel my entire body vibrating in the car. Since it took us an hour to get there, we tried our hardest not to freak each other out, and thankfully for me Josh has a pretty good pokerface. As we pulled up to our destination, it felt like my heart was going to leap out of my chest. I was trying to keep my cool as we walked up to the front desk, when the woman seemed surprised to see us there. It turns out they hadn’t put the online information into their system yet, so they hadn’t been expecting us. She quickly informed us the wind was picking up outside, and we may have to move the jump to the following day.

As it turned out, Josh and I found ourselves back in his car, scheduled to jump the next day. My mind wasn’t in agreeance with my body about what was happening, because the adrenaline was still pumping through my veins. I had psyched myself out for the past 2 days knowing that today was the day I was going to jump out of a plane, and now I had to endure another 24 hours of this.

We went for lunch (I told myself I needed a drink), and he dropped me off at home. Once I was inside, I realized tomorrow was also Mother’s Day, and that I might have to cut brunch a little short. This was a tiny problem because I hadn’t yet told my family about jumping, for fear my mother would cling to me all the way to the plane.

The next morning, we sat down for brunch. While everyone was drinking mimosas and eating eggs, I was repeatedly glancing at my watch. “Do you have somewhere to be today?” My mother seemed annoyed. When Josh had picked me up the day before, I told her we were going golfing, what on earth was I going to use as an excuse today? “Uh, Josh is picking me up soon and we’re….going golfing again.” Smooth. She looked at me confused, and inquired as to why it was so important that I needed to go twice in one weekend. After about 50 interrogating questions from family members (they should have been cops), I finally spilled the beans. “Ok! We were supposed to go skydiving yesterday, but it was too windy and they had to reschedule it for today and I know it’s Mother’s Day and I’m sorry!” They all stared at me for a second, and then my mother spoke up “let us know when you make it to the ground.” I wasn’t sure if their relaxed attitude about it was refreshing, or concerning.

Josh pulled into my driveway again. I felt calmer today for some reason, perhaps because I knew they were expecting us, and the drive there was mostly idle chitchat this time. As soon as we pulled in, however, the adrenaline kicked in again. I begged Josh to let me go first, which he didn’t seem to have a problem with, since he said the probability of his parachute not opening if mine didn’t would be quite low.

I was dressed in perhaps the most unattractive suit I’ve ever seen, and hoped that if I died, they’d change me into something slightly more flattering. After meeting the skydiving instructor that I would be strapped to, we began walking towards the plane. My heart was racing, my palms were sweaty, and I could feel my body shaking. But surprisingly, and without explanation, I found myself feeling quite calm once I was in the plane.

What I didn’t realize was just how long the plane ride up was. Josh and I had chosen the highest altitude they offered, 11,000 feet, because we figured it we were going to do this, we might as well go all the way. After 20 minutes, and getting securely strapped to the man with the parachute, I was told we would be jumping soon. Two experienced skydivers jumped out before us, and then it was our turn. The door was open. The polite man was telling me move my feet through the door. My body was half out of the plane as I looked down at the teeny tiny earth below me. He asked me if I was ready (not that my response would have mattered), and with that, we jumped.

The pull of gravity is inexplicable. Josh would later go on to describe it as “violent”, and I can’t think of a better word for it. Tumbling towards the earth, falling an entire mile before the chute was pulled, there was only one thing going through my head: “it’s windy”.

As soon as he pulled the parachute, we were pulled upwards. The sound of a raging river from the free fall had abruptly stopped, and all of a sudden I was in the most peaceful place I had ever been. Tim, the instructor I was strapped to, let me hold onto the parachute  straps to glide in different directions. This was, without a doubt, my favourite part. I had never been in a place where I was so thrust into the present moment, while at the same feeling incredibly peaceful.

The gliding around was quickly over, and before I knew it we were back on solid ground. I hugged Tim, and thanked him for getting me back safely. As I walked towards a bench in the field to watch Josh take his jump, there were a hundred things racing through my head. One of them, and perhaps the most important, was the realization that I felt like if I could have done that, if I could have taken the chance and jumped, then I could take a chance on anything. I could do anything I wanted, go anywhere I wanted, and be anything I wanted. And it was with that I made the decision to go back to school, to move to my hometown, and to start living the life I wanted, and not that one I thought I should have.




Eenie, meenie, miney, mo

You can often tell exam season by the appearance of those running through the halls of the university. While the start of the semester showed students in full hair and makeup with an array of styles, exam time often displays the result of the bare minimal requirement to leave the house. I’m talking throw your hair in a bun, brush your teeth, and pray no one will try something stupid at school, like making eye contact with you when you’re running full speed ahead to get to an exam.

In my rush to get to my one p.m. exam today (which was tricky, since I take every opportunity possible to sleep until the crack of noon), I caught a reflection of myself in a store window. Oh, what a sad sight I was. Messy bun, oversized sweatshirt, questionable sweatpants, and footwear that was more slipper than boot greeted my gaze as I thought “man, that chick really needs to put herself together.”

But that is neither here nor there, because the most important part about all of this was that I got my hands on caffeine before this dreadful final exam was to take place. As I dashed to the nearest Starbucks, I saw the long line of people, and quickly rolled the dice.

I waited patiently. And then more patiently. And then I practiced as much patience as I could possibly muster when I head someone at the front of the line ask “Do you think the white chocolate mocha will be too chocolatey? I mean I want chocolate but I don’t want, like, chocolate-chocolate, you know?”

I know when I’ve been beat, and as the clock on my phone told me, it was time to accept defeat and run to that exam. I sat down, slightly disappointed about the coffee, but my disappointment quickly tuned to panic as I gazed at the multiple choice questions. Was I blanking? Did I not study enough? Should I have waited in line for the coffee to jump start my brain?

I was going to “not do so well” for the first time in a long time. As someone that had a, shall we say, relaxed attitude towards school work in high school, I made up for it in college, where I spent every waking second cramming enough information in my head to walk out of that place with an honours diploma.

I filled in the questions I knew, and went back to review the rest of them. Some were a complete guess, and just as I was trying to figure out how big an impact failing this exam would have on my grade, I heard a tiny breath of whisper behind me:

“Eenie, meenie, miney, mo”.

I let out a chuckle. And then I relaxed a little. Clearly someone else was in the same boat as I was. I thought about the intention I had set to live a more meaningful life, and quickly decided that in the grand scheme of things, this was certainly nothing to sweat over.

I finished up, handed in the catastrophe that was my exam, and then headed over to the same Starbucks, where I had a very important question for the barista.

“Exactly how chocolatey is your white chocolate mocha?”


If a girl is alone in the woods, does she still speak an octave higher?

I love people watching. One of my favourite things to do is to sit in a restaurant and watch how people interact with each other, usually while I’m stuffing my face with food and pretending to be mildly interested in whatever book I have with me.

Today I sat down to my usual order at one of the restaurants in my university, and it didn’t take long for me to soak in all the smiles and happy conversation around me. One girl, perhaps in her early twenties, was sitting at a table beside me having a regular conversation on her cellphone. As she ended her phone call and her friends approached, suddenly something extraordinary happened. She was over taken by aliens. Or, a ghost entered her body. Or, and this is the only other possible explanation, food lodged in her throat and it was causing her to sound like she had spontaneously entered a Paris Hilton sound-alike contest.

I hear it so often, being back in school. Women will go from using their everyday voices to sounding like they’re speaking through a whistle in the blink of an eye. You know what I’m talking about. It’s not just that it’s higher, it’s the added “valley girl” aspect of it that makes it so unique.

Why do we do this? One article I read a few years ago suggested that women tend to speak to men in a higher pitched voice when they were attracted to them. Besides realizing I would sound like Mickey Mouse if Ryan Reynolds gave me a call, I’m still curious as to where the complete change in accent comes from. And if a girl is just around her girlfriends, or out at school, why is it still happening?

This is, of course, not a new phenomenon. For years I have heard it, and since deciding to go back to school, I have heard it a lot more. All I can say is this: I am so grateful to live in a country that gives women the freedom to look, act, feel, and do whatever they please. I truly believe as long as it’s not hurting anyone else, you should do whatever you want. But ladies, in a world that shapes us from such an early age to look and act a certain way, please hold on to your voice. We dye our hair, we shave our legs, we apply a pound of makeup in the hopes that we can transform what lies beneath. But one thing I’ll always want, and I’ll always need, is to sound just like me.



The Traffic Monster

I am, for the most part, a reasonably calm individual. If something goes wrong, even if I’m upset, my normal reactions are either bottling it up until I can run home to a glass of wine on the couch, or attempting to talk it out.

Why then, do I turn into The Hulk when I get into my car? Now don’t me wrong, I am by no means an aggressive driver. For fear of getting tickets I can’t pay for, I take careful consideration when I’m behind the wheel, particularly in the speed and red light department.

But it’s the other drivers that drive me insane. Since moving back home to quite a bigger city, I have once again been forced to share the road with drivers that seem to make up their own rules. Cutting someone off? Totally acceptable. Blocking 3 lanes of oncoming traffic so you can turn onto the street? Not a problem! Feeling like that one-way street sign should really face the other direction? Well you go right on ahead.

I have wrote about trying to calm my anxiety, and perhaps sitting behind the steering wheel while someone does something that completely defies logic would be a great place to see if my practice has been working. While I normally honk, and, if truly warranted, wave with just one finger, today I instead used every ounce of patience I could muster to do the complete opposite. As I watched yet another driver cross a side street onto a busy highway and block traffic, I took three deep breaths, and waited.

The ensuing response my body gave me was a surprise. Instead of swelling up with frustration and feeling the warmth from which I’m sure is a pleasant rise in blood pressure, I just felt calm. I realized waiting an extra minute or two for someone that may not quite know what they’re doing isn’t the biggest problem in the world, and in the long run the negative impact of getting upset just isn’t worth it. It’s better to just simply let it go.

Plus, the guy beside me honked instead 😉



Could I offer you a little anxiety to go with those thoughts?

My mind seems to be a never ending battleground between normal everyday thoughts and moments of jaw clenching anxiety. Lately, against my best efforts, the monster that is anxiety has reared it’s ugly head again, and I find myself at times wondering if I’ll ever be free from it.

Of course one can’t live in the moment if they’re worrying about what the future holds, so I followed one of my new years resolutions last night and hunkered down to meditate. Although I normally interrupt myself with thoughts a few times during my sessions, they typically go pretty smoothly. Last night however, wasn’t the case. It went a little something like this:

*Sits down to meditate*

“Ommmmmmmmmmygosh did I forget to put my laundry in the dryer?”

“What kind of people eat blue cheese? If I switched out blue cheese with a smelly sock, would anyone notice?”

*Glances at self in mirror* “Holy shit I look like a potato. If you took a potato and put 4 toothpicks in it for limbs and put it beside me, no one would be able to tell the difference.”

“How long will it take for me to not look like a potato? Were the people who named the potato and tomato the same people? If not, were they mad the other name was so close, or were they delighted and formed a long lasting friendship?

“I should eat more tomatoes. They’re delicious with ranch. Everything’s more delicious with ranch. I’m going to wear that as a perfume for a while and see if people talk to me more.”

*Hears small thud* “So this is how it ends, eh? A ninja breaks into my house and an intricate fight to the death is how I’ll go out. I wonder if he has those ninja throwing stars. It would be weird if everyone had those instead of guns. Much more dramatic probably. Movie idea: write a western, except instead of guns, all the cowboys have ninja throwing stars.”

“Maybe the ninja and I end up friends. Maybe the ninja realizes he has the wrong house, but as soon as he sees me he falls madly in love with me and we move to a nice suburban home where he gives up his ninja and becomes an accountant. His name is Tom.”

“What exactly is the difference between llamas and alpacas? Alpacas seem a lot friendlier. Omg. In the western movie with ninja throwing stars, the cowboys also ride llamas instead of horses. This is going to be a gold mine. I’ll see if Harrison Ford is available.”

Once the 10 minute timer was up, and I realized I had focused on my breath for approximately 5.2 seconds, I was slightly discouraged. But alas, with all things in life, habits take time to form. So I will again find myself cross-legged tonight, back at it, wondering what else I can add to the ninja throwing star-western llama movie.




And the list goes on

I have always loved the idea of starting something new on January 1st. Heck, sometimes I get excited just from starting something new on a Monday.

While most people I know greet any sort of resolution with an eye roll and the same amount of enthusiasm as going to the dentist, I will continue to resolve new actions every year, even if I fail in record time (lookin’ at you, 2016).

So, because writing them down will hold me somewhat accountable, here are my resolutions for 2017:

  • So long, alcohol. I rarely have more than a couple of drinks on a night out anymore, but I find I tend to reach for a glass of red after a long day quite often. Hopefully as long as I put the booze out of eyesight, I won’t be tempted to fill up a glass.
  • Time to put the workout clothes back on. As per this post, it’s time to get back into the swing of things. I’m not saying I’ll be entering any bodybuilding competitions anytime soon, but it would be nice to go more than four stairs without gasping for breath.
  • Vegetables? I added the question mark because I have all but forgotten what they look like. As someone who eats her vegetables from the toppings on cheeseburgers, it’s time to consume a vegetable without the help of beef or cheese.
  • Speaking of cheese….. This is the point in my life where I say goodbye to dairy. I know, I know. What did dairy ever do to deserve this! And it comes in so many delicious forms, like cheese, and yogurt, and that tall glass of milk one drinks after they’ve stuffed their face with approximately 17 cookies. It’s nothing personal, but every time I don’t consume dairy for a couple of days, I notice I feel better, along with having much better skin. While I traded the joys of a cheese tray for belt-unbuckling-bloatedness in the past, perhaps it’s time to actually give this a shot.
  • Meditation. Now that I’ve got my dietary restrictions covered, let’s talk about the important stuff. Meditation is a major stress reliever, as well as having shown many other health benefits. I have read countless books on the matter, but I found nothing really made the first few sessions easier. Your mind will bounce all over the place, you might peek at the clock every 30 seconds, and you may even wonder why you’re doing it at all. I am still in this stage, but I can attest to the fact that even though I am constantly refocusing my attention back to my breathing, I always feel more relaxed after a session.
  • Donate that stuff. Recently I watched a documentary on Netflix from these guys, and I soaked it right up. I immediately started surveying my stuff, and realized just how much of the things I own, I don’t actually use. I have started working on this already, but I will continue to give away the things I don’t really need, which will also mean cutting out big chunk of my wardrobe (which shouldn’t be a problem, since I normally revert back to the same old jeans and college hoodie anyway 😉 )
  • Be a little kinder. I make this resolution much more often than every January 1st, but it’s a good reminder to myself. Too many of us are so busy with our days, or have so much on our minds, that we forget to embrace the simple human interactions we encounter everyday. Make eye contact, smile, ask someone how their day is; it’s really the small things that can make the biggest difference.
  • Be present. This one is the most important of any of the resolutions, and also the one I’ve been working on the longest. If we’re not present in every moment, we miss so much of our lives. I am a certified worrier; someone who constantly thinks about past mistakes, and who applies every worst scenario to the future. And what have I accomplished after 29 years of thinking like this? Anxiety, a bout with depression, and enough pessimism to fuel a flight around the world. Besides the toll living this way takes on relationships and health, it also made me pretty miserable. So from now on, I’m taking things one day moment at a time.

That wraps it up! I know some of these aren’t going to be the easiest, but that will make writing about them all the more fun :p

I hope those of you making resolutions have everything you need to stick to them, and if not, there’s always 2018!



Happy New Year

I write this, with the happiest of smiles, as I say goodbye to the dreadful year that was 2016, and hello to optimism in 2017.

To 2016: You rained down frustration, confusion, pain, and a kind of heartache that lingered for longer than I thought possible. But you also showed me determination, and where to look for strength when I needed it.

To 2017: I look forward to you with the greatest optimism. I will, in my usual fashion, go full speed ahead with my resolutions, and I cannot express how grateful I am for a fresh start.

May this year bring you nothing but laughter, joy, and the kind of moments you wish you could hold onto forever.

Happy New Year,