Just when I think it can’t get worse,I had a bad day

“It was always going to be a totally shit time.”

March is coming to an end, and with that, I’m finding myself completely lost.

The man I love is an alcoholic. When we first started dating, he had been clean for 2 years, and he was wonderful and kind and loving and affectionate. A few months into our relationship, he started to think that maybe he wasn’t an alcoholic anymore, that maybe he could drink moderately like most of the people we know, that maybe it wouldn’t completely pull everything he had worked for apart.

Nine months have gone by since he started drinking again, and I have stayed with him.

I feel like I’m losing my mind. The man I loved, who was present when we first started dating, no longer exists.

I kept thinking that maybe if I stayed, that he would remember how good things were. I kept thinking that if I scolded him and told him how awful it was when he drinks, that he would stop.

But he didn’t. He hasn’t. He’s just kept drinking and drinking, and because of that, he also started lying and not coming home when he says he’s coming home, and he’s really become just a terrible piece of scum.

I want to tell myself that it’s the alcohol that makes him awful, but he also chose it, didn’t he?

This is the first time in my life that I’ve been close to someone who is an alcoholic. I never, ever thought this would be a problem I would have to deal with. Not ever. And not with him.

It is a terrifying thing to watch the person you love deteriorate. It is slow and painful, and the thing I’ve had the hardest time accepting is that there is nothing I can do to help him.

And as much as it pains me, I think I have to leave. Because I, too, have been falling apart for months now. I stood next to him on stage and watched him through the course of a few shows become too drunk to stand up and play his guitar. Dead weight on stage, as I call it.

His eyes are always glazed over. He is an alcoholic shell of the man who once existed.

And as much as it pains me to leave, I am still so terrified that he is going to die, that he’s slowly killing himself, and there is nothing I can do to stop it. I feel alone and scared and unable to function.

I’m trying to keep going on with my own life. There are so many things in the near future that I am looking forward to that will better who I am, and lead me toward where I want to be in life. I was hoping he would stop drinking, that it would get better, and that maybe I could share all of these wonderful things with him.

But he doesn’t exist anymore. And this is really one of the most painful experiences I have ever gone through. I have no place to put this love I have for who he was, I just have to hope and pray that he stops drinking, that he gets better for himself. I have to keep loving myself. I’ve realized that staying, in hopes that he’ll stop, isn’t loving myself. It is only hell.

I just want, so badly, for him to get better. My heart aches and it aches and it aches, and I can’t make it stop, I just have to feel it.

I’m down on that daydream/Oh, that sleepwalk should be over by now

Two weeks ago, I laid my thoughts out on the line, and after rereading it and having so many responses from people that I didn’t expect to read it, I realized I needed to push myself in a different direction than one that is just stuck.

I’m burnt out from all the weekend travel. Although, I’m in Lake Charles singing with the Space Rockers this weekend, and I’m having a blast. So there’s that. Performing with different people is refreshing, although I had no idea what was happening during the 50 cent song. Keeps me on my toes

But I decided to leave The New Waves, and the cover band scene. I put my notice in. I have one more weekend in Lake Charles with them after this one, plus a show in Lubbock in March, but that will be the end of my mark as the female singer of the New Waves. I’ll still fill in, do some private events. I know I’ll miss it. I just don’t want to be permanently gone on weekends. Austin has so many cool things to do:

Circus cats!

Valentines weekend in Austin

Bouldering

But! There’s so many other things. I got offered a job at another music school to teach a toddler music class, as well as some private lessons. And the music school I was already at is working with me to create a music/yoga class for kids.

Teaching. I’m going to teach more. I’m teaching things that I love doing. And my music students are learning. I have two voice students auditioning this week, one for a girls choir and the other to sing the National anthem at a baseball stadium. And it’s so awesome to have been a part of the preparation for that.

I’m getting ready for another kids yoga training at Yogapeutics in April, and I just completed my application for hot yoga training in Thailand at Absolute Yoga academy.

My intentions are to help other people grow and get stronger at things that they’ll enjoy doing. Life is grand.

Namaste.

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I just wanna be okay, be okay, be okay

I think I’ve recently been experiencing another bout of quarter-life crisis lately.

Part of it has had to do with my own internal conflict of not feeling fulfilled with working 3 part times jobs. The cover band’s weekly late night travel to other cities and back in a 24 hour period to perform for drunk people in rich and also not-so-rich venues used to be exciting. But I’ve been doing it for two years now, and I’m finding it so tiring and exhausting and all the other words that are synonymous with draining. The usual three hours on stage are amazing, but the 3 hour drive each way, and the killing time after we set up.. feels so stagnant now. There are only so many times one should have to perform “Don’t You Want Me” in their lives.

The restaurant has been nice because my schedule is as flexible as I need to be in order to perform and teach music. But I’ve been waiting tables pretty much since I got to Austin. And I bartended for two years before that. Drainage times two.

The last job is as a private music teacher, which honestly terrified me when I first started, even though becoming one is exactly the reason I moved to Austin. But I now have five young little students who take voice and piano lessons from me, all because I had a friend who taught at this awesome school who knew they were looking for a female teacher for their Little Mozart’s class. He’s my boyfriend now. Which is besides the point, but also goes to show that everything lines up when it’s supposed to.

 

Anyways, I wanted to write about how incredibly frustrating it is to love doing things that don’t pay well. I love teaching music, and hourly, yes, it pays well. With five current students, I have 3.5 hours of teaching time per week. Which will just not pay the bills.

I’ve been feeling stuck with my three jobs lately, knowing that I need to replace one or maybe even two with something more fulfilling, or at least something more stable until I can pay for the training to do what I currently am drawn to and think will be fulfilling. I have been practicing Bikram yoga for three years now, and would like to take a teacher training. However, the tuition cost for that is some $12,000, and well, ONE of my college loans is still around that amount. And that’s just one of them.

I discovered a few months ago (while reading an Austin fit magazine at a Massage Envy) of all places, that there is this wonderful thing called KIDS YOGA! And, not only that, but there is a kids yoga preschool in Austin that was offering a Teacher Training. So I waited until I got paid a few weeks later, and I put down money on that teacher training. I spent the weekend playing yoga games and singing songs with other women who love children and yoga as much as I do. It was magical and inspiring.

Almost three months have gone by since that training, and I have taught ONE yoga class. I excitedly kept emailing the owners of the school that I wanted to audition to be a teacher. But, as with many things, it took time, and I finally went to audition a little over a month later, and I was incredibly nervous because I was being observed and evaluated and I was teaching my first yoga class EVER and I was teaching to THREE YEAR OLDS.

It didn’t go as smoothly as I had wished for it to. But it wasn’t a train wreck either. The owners saw that, and saw that I needed more experience, and maybe it happened with a few other women who wanted to work there, but they created this awesome schedule where those who have done the training can get (unpaid) experience teaching at the school once a week. It really is a great and magical place.

But the point I’m trying to get at is that there are so many paths and ways to get to where we want. We often jump at something because it sounds awesome and perfect and exactly where we want to be.

But there is so much waiting. And even after waiting to do something, there is waiting for the benefits from it.

After spending my early and mid twenties doing what most twenty-somethings do: dabbling in things that sound interesting and figuring out what I actually like and what actually just turned out to “seem like a good idea at the time,” I actually know what I like and want to do:

Something that involves working with kids and singing and yoga. I mean, really, all of these things go so well together. Especially if you put them all in a room at once together, think about how happy and magical that room would be!

But, money, and building a following, and consistent interesting lesson plans, and just gaining experience while still needing to pay my rent– these are things that stop me from being able to do this all the time.

I’ve been feeling so down about myself, and needing a change, but not making the time to apply or search thoroughly for a job that will make me happy right now. So when my boyfriend asked me to think about the future, our future, it reminded me of my mom at the end of my high school career, and then again at the end of my college career:

The, “so what are you gonna do with the rest of your life” question popped up AGAIN.

I’m 27 years old. The rest of my life probably isn’t going to be a straight line. I’m probably not going to have just one job that I find fulfilling for the rest of my life.

But he recognizes that I’ve been unhappy and tired, and that at least getting in the current of change of would make me happy.

So tonight, after procrastinating for awhile on what I’m going to do next, I updated my resume for the first time since moving to Austin two and a half years ago. And, I realized I had a lot of things to add.

That teacher training, for one. The fact that I’m actually a music teacher is another. That BLOWS my mind! Isn’t it wonderful to discover things you like about yourself?

AND the fact that I went to grad school, even for just a semester. Honestly, I felt a little ashamed that I had dropped out for awhile because getting in to UT was one of the defining factors in my decision to move from San Francisco. I moved here and WAITED TABLES for a year and reapplied because I really wanted to go to the school.

And I got there, and I realized that I didn’t want to be in school at all. I also luckily had just landed this music teacher job with help from boyfriend-who-was-just-a-friend-at-the-time RIGHT AFTER my first and only semester of grad school started, and spent that 3.5 month period thinking, “but… I have the job already. Why am I in school taking classes that don’t pertain to what I want to do at all?”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I did it. But, it would have been nice to NOT owe another $10,000 back ON TOP of the loans I took out for my undergrad studies 10 years ago.

Loans for days, my friends. Years. Decades.

I just needed to write. I don’t think I’m going to tell anyone I made a new post, it’s been almost a year since my last one, when I was so shocked to find out that my ex-boyfriend had gotten engaged, and I felt like I was missing out on something because he was “ahead” of me in “relationship maturity.”

Change is always scary, even if you want it to happen.

“Take these broken wings and learn to fly”

I had the luxury of a day off this past Saturday. It was warm and gray and rainy, the kind of day off that makes you actually want to stay in and sleep all day. I was getting into my car to head home from a class that morning, and I pulled out my phone after I sat in the driver’s seat, and I opened up facebook– because that’s what my generation does anytime they’ve been distracted by the real world for any length of time– and the first thing that popped up on my feed was that one of my friends had announced his engaged.

Now, this is a common occurrence for me– I’m in my mid/late 20’s, and people my age get married. However, the thing that rattled me a bit was that this was not just a friend of mine– and I suppose I couldn’t even consider him a close friend now:

My ex-boyfriend got engaged.

The last person I was in a long-term committed relationship with got engaged.

I know that this particular event has absolutely nothing at all to do with me. We broke up five years ago, and we don’t talk very much at all: a facebook message every now and then, sometimes an email or a text when something really reminds us of the other person. If we happen to be in the same city at the same time, we attempt to make plans to grab coffee and catch up. I suppose it’s your ideal average post-relationship. It’s lovely to be friends with a person you used to be intimate with after you’ve had enough time to heal.

But I found out that my ex-boyfriend, who was the love of my early 20s life, got engaged, and I didn’t know how to react. I recognize that it shouldn’t affect me, but knowledge of this information still requires me to process it, and so here is what’s gone through my head the few times I’ve thought about it since Saturday:

1) I didn’t even know he was seeing anyone! He and I have talked about relationships since the big hole he left in my heart healed. I saw him one night in Austin about six months ago as he was passing through with his band. He was drunk, and I was drinking, and we talked about how stale our love lives were, which did NOT lead to a reminiscent night in bed together, although he did invite me to stay at the hotel where he and the rest of his band were sleeping that night (NOT an ideal sleep situation for me. If my TempurPedic bed is just mere miles away, and I’m more sober than he is, it’s just not happening). I think I’m mostly surprised because I didn’t know he was seriously dating anyone, and even if he has been, it couldn’t have been for very long, only based on the personal information we exchanged one night while he was passing through six months ago. But then again, he was drunk, and since when does anything a drunk person says make sense?

2) He’s confessed to being a commitment-phobe since me. And so I then drew the conclusion that because he’s turning 30 next month, perhaps this is a quarter-ish type crisis resolution? Turn of events lead to a sudden engagement with a long-time family friend. (In her defense, I’ve gathered that she was in a broadway production with a lovely lady friend that I used to share a stage and band with when I first moved to San Francisco. And anyone who has the capability of sharing a stage with this female is bound to be a spectacular human being).

3) What bothers me the most is that I’ve used this event to measure myself. What does this say about me and my slow and many-failed attempts at having a healthy, lasting relationship since him?

Am I losing some sort of relationship game?

Many of my friends from back home are getting married or having kids or finishing med school or a combination of these three life events. I don’t want to go to med school. I want kids, but not right now because I’m vain and I don’t want my feet to swell up or milk to leak from my tits. And, I don’t know about marriage, but I do know that I want someone to love and to be in a committed, intimate relationship with. And I have failed at creating that with every man I’ve been with since The Ex.

Am I losing? Am I just playing the tortoise who is pacing, enjoying the scenery because the end isn’t as important as the journey?

I don’t think that last statement is necessarily a bad thing, and perhaps I even like coming off that way.

A huge part of me felt a competitive urge to show that I am somehow succeeding at something, I suppose to compensate for what I know.

But, one of the things that was wonderful about the relationship I had with the Ex was that there was never a level of competition between him and myself. There never was and there never will be. I loved him very deeply while I was with him, and when we broke up it took a long time for me to heal. But I did. Even if there hasn’t been anyone as lovely as he was to me since him.

I still care about him and I’m glad he’s performing, and that he’s found someone to commit to. I think I’m jealous of him, actually. Of him and what they’re going to create. I had a beautiful and loving relationship with him, and it’s because of that relationship that I believe I deserve another one just as loving and stable and passionate.

I have a lady friend here in Austin who is beautiful and lovely and wonderful– a talented artist and mother and a hard worker. She deserves many good things in this world. She recently got into a relationship with a man-child, and after listening to her stories about how things have gone sour and then sweet again, I told her that she deserved better because I know she does, and that she could do better.

She asked me, “Yeah, but who?”

I thought about it for a second, and when not one single “nice” guy popped into my head, I said, “touche.”

There are very few eligible bachelors are who are willing to strive for something so wonderful and awesome. And even the ones who are in committed relationships slip up.

My main problem is that guys I’ve tried to create something with can’t keep their dicks out of other girls.

I’m not about that. Because it’s not okay.

I guess what I’ve learned from processing this information is that I understand absolutely nothing about the world and human decisions, except that every decision is a gamble, and all we can do is hope for the best with every decision.

I hope for the best. I wish him the best because he deserves it. And, though I know very little about his new leading lady, I know she does too.

And I know I do.

Swallow it down/ Like a jagged little pill

It has come to my attention over the past few days that I need more girlfriends in Austin.

I live in a house with three respectful, clean boys, all around my age. Two of them are in grad school, and one of them is a Harvard grad who works in urban planning. They are good roommates. They clean up after themselves on most days, and they pay their utilities on time, and we text each other when someone is going to be out of town to make sure the cats are fed. It’s a good system we have, and I rarely see them on most days.

I spend roughly 30-40 compressed hours in a weekend with my bandmates, four boys. Depending on if we’re performing in the same city two nights in a row, sometimes we’ll all sleep in the same room together. We ride in a van together. We set up a stage, and then hang out, killing time before we perform. We talk about stupid and not stupid things together. My band, though not a group that we’ve chosen for ourselves but was somehow pieced together and pulled apart and pieced together in random fragments, is my family. And like any family members do, we get on each others nerves because our conditions force us to be inseparable for long stretches of time. I get home on Sunday mornings, and most weeks, I don’t see them again until Friday afternoon, when we head out to gig again. And I recover, and I spend time by myself and with other people and I eat healthy and I take care of myself.

I had to get a colposcopy done this morning. For those of you who don’t know, a colpo is when your gynecologist looks at your cervix after you get back abnormal pap results, and scrapes out tiny samples from the areas that don’t look normal– potentially cancerous areas. Those samples are then sent to a lab, and in a few weeks, I’ll find out whether or not I need to get these not-normal cells lasered off so that I don’t develop cervical cancer in the future. Or, it might be something that we’ll trust will go away on it’s own. I’ve had a colpo done before. I took a lot of painkillers right before, and it really didn’t hurt that much or take that long. Plus, I’d had the luck of having a female roommate I was good friends with drive me to and from the appointment the last time this happened.

I drove myself to the gyno today. I placed my feet in the stirrups and I scooted my butt down so that my lady parts were in her face. She inserted the speculum and I told myself to breathe, and she had a female assistant handing her tools and helping collect the samples, and dear God, it is a terrifyingly humbling thing to let someone scrape out little pieces of your lady parts. I think it took about 10 minutes to collect samples of all the abnormal areas. It felt like much longer. I kept telling myself to breathe deeply and I felt my face get tingly from potential hyperventilation. I clawed my nails into my opposite arms, as if covering my upper lady parts would stop the discomfort in my lower lady parts.

To be honest, it wasn’t terribly painful. Mostly just uncomfortable– knowing what’s going on, wanting it to be over quickly. At one point, I think to calm my nerves and discomfort, my gyno said “You’re going to feel blood trickling out, I’m sorry.” She kept apologizing. She was doing her job.

I. Lost. My. Shit.

I started bawling. On top of trying to breath deeply and think about things other than what was happening to my reproductive system, I started thinking about the few boys I’ve been intimate with in the past year, and how none of them are in my life anymore, and I started beating up on myself for jumping into things quickly– for being quick to trust, and for picking people who ultimately didn’t want to commit to a relationship with me. And I got ultra self-loathe-y in the worst place to get self-loathe-y at– laying with my feet in the stirrups at my gynecologist’s office– because what I really wanted at that moment was to have someone waiting for me, or, even better, someone in the room to hold my hand while this was happening.

But I don’t have a person. I haven’t had a person in a long time. WHO DO YOU ASK TO GO TO SOMETHING LIKE THAT BESIDES SOMEONE YOU’RE INTIMATE WITH?

I felt very, very, very, very much alone. And neglected by people I’ve loved. Every single negative feeling I could have had surfaced while blood dripped out of me onto that medical table. It was not one of my finer moments.

I wanted to cry to someone after and share this with them– just how disappointed and hurt and how much I hate this hookup culture my godforsaken generation lives in because I’ve listened to my girlfriends talk about their boyfriends– both good things and bad things– and boys that I know don’t talk about their significant others; they talk about girls they don’t have, girls they want and what they would do to them.

It is one of the most frustrating things in the world to me– listening to one gender talk incessantly about the other. We’re just all going to fail and we’re going to keep getting hurt and hurting other people and today it feels like it’s not going to stop. There is a vicious cycle of disconnect from what people actually want.

I want commitment and love and truth. It sounds simple, and even stupid to me when I say it out loud, but that’s what I want. And honestly, I don’t see many of my peers who are capable of all three things, which I want to believe are all tied together.

Commitment is a lost art. Lucky are the people who find it. Even luckier are people who can practice it healthily, and not in a jealous or fearful way.

I want love, like I said. I know I’m not alone. I have a huge wonderful and supportive family. I have friends who are single and friends who are married and friends with kids and friends who are engaged and friends who, like me, can’t seem to find the right person, and friends who, like me, would rather spend time alone than in the company of those who are just trying to get in your pants (And yeah, I will admit to spending time with those types of people, too, as an ego booster).

I’ve been better at cutting the bad ones out of my life faster than I have in the past. I’d like to think that means something.

Back to the boys who are currently in my life: I live in a great house with great roommates. I perform alongside boys that I absolutely adore, and we’ve come to create this magical energy and willingness to bring drunk people nostalgia and gyrating dance music. And it sounds silly, but there is love in this environment– in the van and on the stage and all the other tiny compact spaces we share, I’ve come to hold these boys in high regard. And I am grateful to have found people of the opposite gender that I can spend time with and not worry about the gray areas. I didn’t have relationships like that until I moved here.

As alone as I felt today, I know that I’m not. I could have ended up in a horribly dishonest and uncommitted relationship with any of the boys I had wanted before (that, either fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you want to look through that telescope, has become the problem of other women).

I’m going to keep searching. And I’m going to keep singing. And I’ll get the results back from that ridiculously uncomfortable examination in a few weeks, and I’ll deal with it as it comes. And I’m going to keep sending love out into the universe because hopefully it will echo it’s way back to me in the various delightful ways it has already done, and then some.

I can only hope for so much.

“You Shall Love Your Crooked Neighbor With Your Crooked Heart”

W.H. Auden writes this in “As I Walked Out One Evening.” I came across this quote again recently while rereading one of my favorite books “Looking for Alaska.” And I can’t stop repeating it in my head:

quote

I find that tonight’s rain matches my mood because my housemates and I have to move out of our mansion, probably one of my most favorite places I’ve ever lived, in a few weeks. Without having ever spoken to our landlord, I’ve heard there’s an actual move-out date, and then who knows what will happen to this crazy, not-so-well-put-together house?

It’s strange: A year ago, I was preparing to move out of SF, and I was a horribly emotional mess:

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This past weekend marked the one year anniversary of my last shift at the dive bar I worked at, where I tried to stay positive while being surrounded by miserable people who had found a way to forget about their loneliness and anything they were sad about by drinking. People are products of their environment, right? I didn’t want that for myself. I wanted better. I got home that night, after my last shift where all the regulars came to drink with me and we listened to Motown music because that is what I do, and there was this bittersweet feeling of sadness as I sat in front of my desk that night, staring at the belongings in my room that I would store away over the next few weeks. There was so much sadness, yet so much relief at the realization that the life I had lived and known was coming to an end.

I honestly had no way in hell of knowing if I’d be okay once I got here. I knew that there was a huge likelihood that I would get to Austin, find a service industry job and/or childcare job, and fall once again into the comfort zone that is job stability without personal growth. The only thing I could solidly count on in hopes of being happier than I had been was the fact that I wanted to be happier, and that I wouldn’t get distracted by having a comfort zone.

I left San Francisco on July 15th, 2013. My stepdad, God bless him, helped drive me halfway across the country, and we got to Austin on July 20, 2013. A fews days later, after he helped do some maintenance on my new room, he flew back to California, and I was in Austin, alone.

But let’s face it, how different are these two cities really, besides weather, levels of land flatness, and closeness of tops of buildings to the ground?

BM (Before Move)
sf

AM (After Move)
atx

But that was my plan: I was going to crawl out of the lonely little hole I had created for myself; I removed myself from the environment that made me miserable.  And now I have to move again, out of this huge and glorious, but literally decaying mansion that I fell in love with the first time I saw it. I have to move away from the high-roommate-turnover house that once housed two people who are no longer alive since I first moved in– one from cancer, and the other from a horrible accident that probably could’ve been prevented if Austin had actual sidewalks for pedestrians and better streetlights. I might actually meet my landlord this time– hopefully one who doesn’t bring girls half his age to the roof of a house he doesn’t even live in. And God, I don’t think this last paragraph helped support the fact that I love this house:

house

This house– with the front porch falling off, and wooden panels from the roof that fall off every time it rains.  A lot of good things have happened to me while I lived here: I’ve come across so many amazing musicians who are talented and working toward producing new songs, even though there’s an overabundance of talent here, and everyone says it’s difficult to “get discovered.” I work a job with multiple people that I have a ridiculous amount of fondness and admiration for (and who also don’t think twice about picking me up off the floor of the bathroom in a karaoke bar and making sure I get home safe). I get paid to sing Top 40 songs, which still BLOWS MY MIND. I don’t care how many people scoff at cover bands; I honestly don’t think there has ever been a job MORE fitting for me.

There have been not so good things too. There are circumstances I wish I could change, but I’ve also realized and am working on (and will probably have to continue to work on) accepting the fact that I control absolutely nothing but myself and my own attitude. I had a conversation with one roommate (one that I didn’t spend much time with while living here) a few days ago as we crossed paths in the kitchen: he asked where I would be moving to. I told him one of our current housemates and I were moving to the East side. He asked if I could afford it (even though the rent is the same, if not cheaper than what I pay now), and I told him yes. Between my two jobs and my student loans I’m about to receive (which he rolled his eyes at), that I would be able to afford rent, as I have in the entirety of the last year. As he walked up the stairs, he said with an air of superiority, “I really hope you make it.”

face

Which really bothered me at first, because of the condescending tone he used to say it. And secondly, I realized, because he has absolutely NO IDEA how much ASS I AM KICKING HERE.

ninja!

 

A few months before making the decision to move to Austin, I had this satori experience about how awesome my parents are and the amount of time I was spending on people who didn’t necessarily want me spending my time on them, and I wrote this in a previous journal:

“So because of them, and for them, and for all the other good people in my life who don’t use me as a punching bag and are actually willing to listen to me and all the reasons I can’t sleep at night, I will be better. I will be the most successful person I can be in what I have chosen to pursue, which will probably take a while, but that’s okay. And I’ll treat people with respect, even when they don’t deserve it, and I will love and care for people who are good to me.

I will be better.

And everyone else can suck donkey balls.”

Now, my upstairs housemate made a comment that maybe I took a little too personally, and not everyone I’ve met has seen eye to eye with me. I may never be on the same page as I want to with some, but I am still striving to be better. And yes, I still think some people SHOULD go suck donkey balls.

But, I shall love my crooked neighbor with all my crooked heart. And I think sometimes that’s all you can do.