If You Are Reading This You Are Still Here Too

OH WOW re-visiting my last post sure makes me laugh and laugh and laugh… kristen-bell-laughing-to-crying-1Soooo as we all know everything went from bad to catastrophic, so well done there… Trump was elected, then the year capped itself off by taking George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds from us as well. Obviously those losses deserve their own post, but this isn’t that.  Maybe another time.  Things are insanely, laughably awful. But the hilarious thing is that this year cannot possibly be worse than NEXT year, because next year Trump will be president and LITERAL NAZIS will be running our country. YAY! I went through the actual stages of grief when I realized how many millions of (white) people in this country are so soulless they showed up for an incompetent, narcissistic idiot just because he told them it was okay to be racist. I was shocked, then I was furious, then I was sad, then I dared to put a tiny bit of hope in the electoral college (this counts as both denial AND bargaining!) and now I am in a place of somewhat-acceptance. Now comes the calm in knowing that the fight is just beginning.  We can’t give up, not now.  To do so would be a betrayal of every human in this country who is going to come under fire under this hateful regime (including myself a little since I like to decide what happens in my own uterus and also enjoy having healthcare).  So in 2017 it’s everyone to their battle stations.  People on FB, friends and family have implied in the past that I am “radical” or “militant”…  Oh. HONEY.  You are about to see something reeeally special.


But for now, because I could write thousands upon thousands of words about the awfulness of 2016, I will instead list 10 things that were good during this shitstain of a year- for me personally anyway. Some big, some totally silly, but all things that helped along the way. Because what else negative could I possibly add to this weird-as-fuck Beren-STAIN Bears alternate universe that I have ended up in (the darkest timeline, as it turns out) that hasn’t already been said. Absolutely nothing. So here are some things that got me by:

  1. Hey, so I finished my Crime Scene Investigation certification! That was pretty great- good job, Me! Because of the connections I made in the program I was able to join the volunteer forces of our local County coroner’s division, which is a fancy way of saying I will be doing shit I actually want to do and I’m well on my way to getting paid quite a lot to do it.  Woo-hoo!
  1. I finally read all of the Harry Potter books (then I read them four more times) and not to overstate things but they kind of changed my life.  The movies were good, or so I thought before I read the books, but now I’m totally immersed in a whole other world of stories and fan art, and I’ve acquired a new tattoo as well.  I think more than anything what these books brought me was a pure sense of hope, during a year when it was desperately needed.  Thanks, J.K.  I owe you.hp-marauders
  1. That leads me to the fact that after I read the books I got a season pass to Universal Studios since they have the Wizarding World of Harry Potter there and I’ve gone twice so far and I bought a Slytherin cardigan and tie and Snape’s wand and I feel so good when I’m there and it is so much fun and oh yeah being cool can SUCK IT. I also got to go to San Diego Comic Con again this year, which was awesome.  Being around hundreds of total fucking nerds is every bit as relaxing and helpful to me as therapy.
  1. Justin Trudeau existed. In a year where I had to watch my country (okay the GOP) put forth human garbage pile after human garbage pile and try to convince us they should be in charge, at least I got to look up North and see someone doing it right. Whether it was having the most diverse cabinet in history or personally welcoming refugees into his country, Trudeau modeled how a leader should behave. If you want to be cynical about him that is your right but man… it helped to believe in him. Also, and this is VERY important: He is so handsome I want to die. trudeau
  1. Twitter. Over the years I’ve carefully cultivated a space where I follow the perfect balance of comedians, activists, journalists, and friends, so that Twitter has become the place I go not only for news but when I need to be reminded that I am not the only person SEEING THIS SHIT. Twitter is full of people who can also very plainly see that the Emperor has no fucking clothes on.  The humor I find there helps me cope, the amazing social justice activists keep me informed and always learning… and some shit just makes me happy. The actors that I love who actually turn out to be wonderful people (because some- not so much).  Staying involved with the Supernatural family and giving to causes that we all believe in, plus watching Misha step out of the safety of being mostly publicly apolitical and come out swinging against Trump has made me all the more proud.  Getting a little bit of catharsis from seeing brilliant comedy geniuses completely eviscerate every stupid fucking tweet our petty, revolting president elect sends out.  Cat videos.  The fact that Stephen King has a corgi called Molly The Thing of Evil and tweets about her frequently brings me much more joy that I can explain. Speaking of dogs, 2016 gave us what I consider to be the best Twitter exchange of all time.screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-2-05-00-pm

They’re good dogs, Brent.

  1. I went to the gym pretty relentlessly and am healthier (and 20lbs lighter) than I was last year. So that’s good!
  1. Rogue One and Captain America: Civil War both came out and were so fucking amazing that for the entire time I was watching them I completely forgot how fucked we all are. Thank you, Disney and Marvel. Sometimes you are the heroes we need. tumblr_o71e6egvo41sza4nvo4_r2_500_zps3w1ccc33

And sometimes you are the reason that chairs need to be mopped up after the movie is over

  1. The number of tigers is increasing. This is on my list because one day a friend of mine posted a list on FB of good things that were happening- I think perhaps to try and provide some balance and lift spirits. On that list was this: “The number of tigers is increasing”. Drowning in depressing political articles, heart aching for Aleppo, faith in humanity all but gone, I read this sentence and literally burst out into hysterical laughter. It felt so ridiculous and incongruous… but it IS good! And also true! I felt somehow drawn back to Earth in that moment. That is the magic of this particular friend- she has decided that no one will steal her happiness and Heaven help the person who tries. So this one goes out to my friend Stacey: The Eternal Optimist.  The number of tigers is indeed increasing.
  1. First, Beyoncé dropped Formation. This was without a doubt the most incredible, unexpected, inspiring song and video I had seen in years. I watched the video over and over and I listen to the song almost every day. I even set it as my alarm so that there was no way I could wake up NOT feeling ready to kick some ass. That would have been enough, but then came Lemonade. This wasn’t just an album- this was one of the greatest works of art of our time. This was magic. This was everything. Beyoncé is a goddess and we do not deserve herbeyonce_-_lemonade_official_album_cover
  1. No matter what, 2016 can’t be all bad because at the end of the day we still had Barack, Michelle, and Uncle Joe in the White House. I will miss them more than I can possibly express- and that would be true even if they weren’t being forced to hand over the reigns to a sociopath. The Obamas spent 8 years bringing more dignity, more intelligence, and more style to the White House than it had ever known. 84379057_barack-obama-michelle-obama-zoom-9b7db3d8-b32e-4ea6-bbeb-aecd1765a7c8 My words and life experience aren’t sufficient for this one, so I’ll let Ta-Nehisi Coates cover it, as he did it so beautifully.  And Joe. How I’m going to miss Joe. Whether he’s double-fisting ice-cream cones or letting kids pelt him with water guns, he is so dear. He’s dealt with a metric shitton of loss and grief but his spirit just can’t be crushed. I love his friendship with Barack and I love his filter-less mouth.  I love you, Joe Biden.  And you were right, healthcare reform WAS a “big fucking deal”.

So in addition to the obvious things, family, friends, etc., these are some of the random things that made my year not-as-shitty. What are yours?  Feel free to share!

And seriously you guys.  Lemonade.

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Everything Is Awful But Also Maybe It Isn’t


I was talking to my sister the other day about just how shitty things have been lately.  While my brief dip back into depression thankfully was just that- brief (WOOT), everything happening externally has been a garbage fire.  The year started out awful, as I’ve already talked about, but since then the bad has kept coming too quickly for me to even process one horrible event before the world gets slammed with the next one.  In addition to Alan Rickman and David Bowie, we’ve since lost Prince.  Between Prince and Bowie we’ve now lost two actual, legitimate musical geniuses and icons.  They were also two people who put up a middle finger to everything society told them that men “should” be, and refused to conform to traditional ideals of masculinity and sexuality.  By doing so I can’t even imagine the number of lives they touched, and even saved.  They inspired the fuck out of so many precious weirdos who might not otherwise have learned it was possible to live their lives joyfully and proudly, exactly as they were.  Both were incredibly painful losses for the world.

Oh let’s see, what else do we have… OH YES, some cowardly, remorseless fucktruck named Brock Turner got a goddamn slap on the wrist for the violent rape of an unconscious girl thanks to our culture of rape apology and white supremacy, a beautiful young singer was murdered by a man who felt he was entitled to her person thanks to our culture of misogyny and male entitlement, 49 people’s lives were senselessly stolen from them thanks to our culture of homophobia and gun obsession, and people instantly decided to blame all Muslims for it thanks to our culture of Islamophobia and racism.  The perfect storm of everything wrong with our country in the space of a couple of months.  If all of that were not enough, a Member of Parliament named Jo Cox, who was by all accounts a wonderful human being and also a mother of two, was violently murdered in broad daylight on the steps of a public library in England.  While not entirely clear, the motive appears to be due to her position that England should stay in the EU and that refugees should be accepted into their country.  If so then her kindness and goodness literally got her killed, which is one of the most nauseating things I can imagine.  All of this is on top of the numerous heartbreaking instances of unarmed people of color being literally murdered, ON CAMERA, by policeman who have gone on to face zero legal consequences.

The fact that out of all of the hundreds and hundreds of mass shooters we have had in this country every single one of them have been male isn’t even spoken of.  Hardly a word is spoken about toxic masculinity.  Meanwhile a hateful Cheeto has been inciting violence all over our country by appealing to the worst of humanity.  He is managing to tap into the bitterness of every straight white man who is mad that he gets in trouble for saying the n-word now.  These people fancy themselves as being oppressed because marginalized people are gaining some of the rights they themselves have always had, and because these days their bigotry occasionally has social consequences.  What we call “treating everyone with human decency” they decry as “political correctness”, a nonsense term for a non-existent problem.  Over the past couple of decades I imagine they have been seething mostly in silence, with only their relatives and friends to burden with their ignorant rhetoric.  Then this Day-Glo piece of shit starts showing up on every television set in America telling them their cause is holy and their anger righteous, and it is all the push they need.  They want to “take back” the country, meaning return to a time when white supremacy, misogyny and homophobia went unquestioned and their mediocre asses were pampered just for being born.  Their rallies are violent, racist mobs, and they terrify me.

In the midst of the maelstrom, I keep asking myself if things are really worse than they have ever been or if that is only my perception.  My sister suggested it may just seem that way because as we got older we’ve been paying more attention to things like this.  It certainly feels as though we as a country are circling the drain.  But while the Orlando tragedy was the worst mass shooting in America’s history and I cannot even begin to imagine there has ever been a bigger buffoon than Trump, I take a moment to think about our country’s bloody history of genocide and slavery, and remember that violence against women and rape have always been an epidemic.  Maybe the petition to recall the judge who passed judgment in the Turner case will be successful, and other judges will start to think twice before giving every spoiled white teenage boy a pass to rape.  Maybe this will be the time we rise up as one against the terrorist organization that is the NRA and get the assault weapons ban and the comprehensive gun control that we have needed ever since these weapons were invented.  Maybe Hillary will squash Trump’s evil ass like the bug that he is (and all of the actual polls are showing that will indeed happen).  Maybe the racial slurs being shouted at rallies by his supporters are the dying gasp of a deep-seated hatred that is slowly losing power in America.  I would very much like to think that all of these things are true.

Unfortunately I have certain qualities that prevent me from believing these things, or even hoping for them.  I have so much cynicism and pessimism in my nature.  I used to believe that it was literally impossible to be aware of world events and be a positive, happy person at the same time.  I even used to go so far as to think that the more intelligent and deep a person is, the more they are doomed to unhappiness.  But then I started meeting people who absolutely manage it.  When horrible things happen these people have entirely different responses.  Misha Collins and other individuals I have met through Random Acts barely take a moment to cry before springing into action and helping any way they can.  My beautiful friend and fellow blogger Bryn Donavan possesses both sharp intellect and an unfailingly sunny disposition no matter what the circumstances.  This never ceases to amaze me, and over the past few years or so I have been forced to come to the conclusion that it is indeed possible… and that has caused me to want to change.

It’s much easier said than done unfortunately, as I have also learned from these friends that this takes actual work.  You don’t just get to decide to be happy if you are not naturally so.  You have to cultivate habits that may go against every malcontent-ed bone in your body.  You may have to try multiple positive activities until you find even one thing that works for you.  You have to care for your body as well as your mind.  If you are by nature a cranky, judgmental asshole like me, you have to learn to curb these qualities over time with practice.  It’s much easier to stay the same.

From the start of this year I have felt like the country has been drowning in a sea of hatred, loss, and violence.  And maybe it has been drowning, but I’ve decided that I don’t want to drown with it.  If I let every horrible thing that happens trigger my depression and rage I know eventually I will be consumed by it.  I can still grieve and take action without those things.  My suffering contributes nothing to the world.  So I will keep trying.  I fail a lot.  I start a diary then discard it a few weeks later, I try meditation and either start to make grocery lists in my head or fall asleep.  I try positive affirmations and feel like a corny doof.  Worst of all I feel morally obligated to read about every terrible injustice and every act of violence that occurs in this world and then speak up for every victim, or else I am complicit in a system that ignores them.  While that may be true to an extent, you are not going to be able to help anyone if you let yourself despair to the point where you are used up and burned out.

So since I am largely depression-free these days, this is the task that is now before me: Do the work it takes to live in this place where horrors occur daily and not let it destroy my mental and physical health.  As usual, I need to get out of my own way.  I’ll try to find a balance between staying aware and also getting a good night’s sleep occasionally.  Take more time to enjoy my sisters, my nieces and nephews, and my friends.  Focus equally on the things that make life beautiful.  Go somewhere where I can look at some trees and a stream or some shit.  My anger and grief aren’t going anywhere and terrible things will continue to happen, but hopefully it is possible to balance them out by also focusing on all of the beauty that exists in the world.  I seem to remember there was a time I noticed that stuff too.

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I think about this tweet a lot. 

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Just When You Think You’re Out


I felt it starting to creep up on me Tuesday.  It is now only Thursday, but it feels like weeks have passed and I’m terrified that it isn’t going to go away.  I live with an anxiety disorder that is, in its constant state, fairly mild.  True clinical depression didn’t hit me until I was just starting my 30’s, and as much as I’d been through previously, I am grateful for every one of the days I lived before it did.  Because once that dickbag moves in you no longer have total control over what any day is going to look like, not for the rest of your life.  Before depression if something bad happened I got sad or angry.  If something good happened it made me happy.  Whenever I made a mistake I did what I could to fix it, and then I moved on.  If I was ever depressed it was because I was going through something super fucking depressing.

I’ve always been the type of person who appreciates everything they’ve got, while they’ve got it.  If I learned anything growing up, it was to be grateful.  Although it was used as a tactic of abuse in my house (“How dare you complain that your stepdad screams and swears at you, you should be grateful you have a roof over your head” etc.) it actually ended up accidentally having one positive effect on me in the long run.  Since I was constantly having all of my privileges shouted into my face I was never allowed to forget any of them for a second.  Because of that, being aware of my privileges and luxuries as an adult is second nature to me and I am grateful for that self-awareness, even if it came at a cost.  When I was at my healthiest and most fit, I felt healthy and fit and enjoyed the hell out of it.  Whenever I met a goal it was never “Okay but you still need to be thinner/better/faster” it was “Damn- I kick ass and I look great doing it!”.  When my brother died I felt a lot of things, but one thing I was completely spared was the regret of things unsaid.  My brother and I said I love you at the end of every conversation.  We hugged every time we saw each other and we talked for hours about everything.  While he was in the Army he sent letters to me at least every couple of weeks and after he came home we talked almost every single day, right up until the end.  When he died if there was one thing I could be one-hundred percent certain of, it was that he knew how much I adored him and that I never took him for granted.  I was destroyed by his death, but I did have the small comfort of knowing that there was literally nothing more I could have done to ensure he knew how deeply he was loved.

So, depression.  Yes.  Once it hit in my early 30’s I thought it was again only situational.  After all, I was going through a really shitty breakup.  But then it didn’t leave.  And as my situation improved, it had the audacity to get worse!  I did not understand how that was even possible.  I had everything I needed and all of a sudden it didn’t matter to my brain anymore.  I tried lots and lots of different meds, none of which helped, but with time and luck I eventually crawled out of the pit.  I’ve been progressively getting better and for the past year or so I would even go so far as to call myself optimistic, and mostly content.  No more meds.  Then a couple of months ago something amazing happened.  I switched psychiatrists (I AM SO LUCKY TO HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE! …see?  I can’t shut it off.) and my new doctor asked me to try a med I had never tried before.  It was a completely different class of drug than all of the different SSRIs doctors had thrown at my brain-wall in the past, hoping one of them would stick, but I was still terrified.  I had fought so hard to get back into a decent headspace and what if this pushed me backwards?  But he seemed sure that based on my symptoms it stood a good chance of helping me get even better, and I decided to trust him.

After about two weeks the drug kicked in and I suddenly realized that I hadn’t been happy in years.  For a few days I was worried it was a symptom, like a sort of mania, because suddenly I woke up with energy after 8 hours of sleep instead of waking up exhausted after 10+.  I also didn’t lay awake fighting horrible anxiety every Sunday night then wake up practically (and sometimes actually) crying every Monday because the week stretching out before me was too overwhelming to contemplate.  I remember the moment I caught myself singing along to the radio in the car.  I used to do it constantly but I hadn’t in years.  I never even noticed that I’d stopped until I started again.  I wanted to send my doctor a fucking pony.  Because my depression had been so hideously awful, I had mistaken the last year or so of not actively being miserable as happiness.  But the truth is, I had forgotten what it felt like to be in a truly good mood.  The most I ever felt was okay.  Now I had gone from busting my ass to be mostly okay to effortlessly feeling happy.

Then two days ago, a chain reaction was set off and I am again feeling depression trying to get its gross, clammy hands on me.  If I were not prone to depression, it wouldn’t have progressed beyond the first stupid thing, but I am and it did.  For whatever reason I’m feeling the need to document what this sort of spiral looks and feels like, even as I am in the middle of it.  Maybe it will help someone else, or if not then hopefully at least me.  Because let’s be honest- we mostly write for ourselves.


Monday started out strong.  Work was fine, class was great.  I am still acing my way through a program I’ve wanted to complete for ages but wouldn’t have had the energy to even attempt until this past year.  I love it.  I only have one more course after the ones I’m currently in then I am a certified crime scene investigator biiiiitches…. Tuesdays I don’t have class so I go to the gym after work.  Except this past Tuesday I woke up feeling anxious and very blah.  It was most likely due to the fact that I’d stayed up far too late the night before reading Harry Potter, but the fear that it was something worse started nagging at me.  I shut the fear and anxiety up with Xanax, which in turn was probably the reason that I was much more tired than usual by the time I got to the gym.  I only managed 30 minutes on the elliptical- usually I do 60, at least.  That’s when I started to inwardly panic.  My depression was coming back, that was why I was exhausted.  I knew this was all too good to be true.  I went home and ordered pizza because why bother when I already fucked up this week.  The next day, feeling sad and gross, I phoned it in at work (because I am clearly also a shitty employee) and afterwards proceeded to do what I always do when I panic – go home and drink.  After that I went to bed and had a series of the most horrific nightmares I’ve ever experienced.  I realized I was dreaming and tried to jerk myself awake multiple times to get away from them, and finally succeeded about 3 AM.  I scrolled through my phone for the next two hours afraid to go back to sleep.  I finally fell back asleep around 5 AM and the exact same nightmares did indeed come back.  When my alarm woke me up at 7 AM this morning I was grateful to be away from the dreams that not even Stephen King could have thought up, but terribly exhausted at the same time.

So now I sit here with a familiar fog around my head and utter sadness in my heart, for no reason.  Logically, Tuesday should have gone like this: “I was tired but still managed a respectable, half-hour workout- good for me!  I should go to bed early and start fresh tomorrow.” The End.  And I even KNEW that.  But I didn’t feel it.  My brain is currently telling me that I am a terrible, lazy, mediocre human who doesn’t deserve to have the job that I have (not that I enjoy it or anything, but it’s not miserable and it pays the bills so I’m lucky to have it), and who is very, very alone.  I know that my brain is lying to me.  I know that I am the same person I was on Monday, when I was proud of my performance at work as well as the A I got on a test that night, but it doesn’t matter.  Because I’m not.  Monday I was a fairly young woman with a lot of amazing friends, working hard to achieve her goals and headed in the right direction in almost every way.  Today I am too old to be starting a new career, too fat to be loved, and the thought of inflicting my presence on anyone else, ever, seems terribly rude of me.  Today it feels like I have felt this way forever and that the feelings are back to stay.  I will be fired soon.  I will be in debt forever.  Even if I complete my certification program I will never find a job because my background check will reveal that I’ve sought treatment for mental illness.  Everyone can tell just by looking at me that I’m not “right”.  I’m not normal.  Everyone in the office is chattering about what they are having for lunch and I am sitting at my desk trying not to throw mine up.

I hope that tomorrow is better.  I just keep repeating to myself that it’s only been two days and my asshole brain is overreacting.  Depression lies, depression lies, depression lies.  How many goddamn times have I said that to other people?  Yet here I sit, unable to believe it myself.  Maybe sometimes it tells the truth.  Maybe no pill will ever help long-term.  Maybe nobody really knows how brains get broken, and psychiatry is a pseudoscience where well-meaning doctors take shots in the dark over and over again until either something helps or the person dies.

I am usually not the type of person who is helped by quotes or mantras or affirmations, but there is one that sometimes helps a little.  I’m going to read it over and over again and if nothing else it will give my brain something else to do besides telling me I’m awful.  And if depression truly has come back to stay, at least I have the comfort of knowing I fully appreciated every single day it was absent from my life.

“Days of sadness feel like they’ll never end, that they stretch out into infinity. But they never do, you know, and we grow strong again.” – Author Unknown

P.S. One thing that literally always makes me feel at least a little bit better is remembering that David Tennant exists and then staring at him for a while, so I’m adding this for good measure.


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It is 2016 and Everything Hurts

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Like any good little blogger I had planned to write a post wrapping up 2015 and listing my personal ups and downs, as well as the events that defined the year in general.  I was procrastinating a bit but slowly putting together an outline in my mind of what it would look like.  Then last Monday, I woke up at about 1:00am to pee (you’re welcome for the detail) and like the social media-addicted asshole I am I checked my phone before going back to sleep.  I looked at Twitter and learned the news that the Earth was officially short one David Bowie.  I cried for two hours straight before I was able to fall back to sleep.

I had just had the most wonderful weekend ever, which I had also planned to write about (and maybe will later), but in that instant all of the good things I had wanted to write about were swept out of my brain and I literally could not think about anything other than the tremendous loss we had all just suffered.  I’d had no idea he was even ill, and 69 is really not so old, and I was not prepared.  Turns out that not only had he been battling cancer…


(and looking dapper as fuck while doing so, because he’s David Fucking Bowie)

but he had also been preparing a farewell for us in the most beautiful way imaginable- in the form of a last album.  He was saying goodbye, and I don’t think any of us knew.

I cried a lot that day.  The first memory I have of any movie was watching Labyrinth, curled up in my sister’s lap with a vicious case of food poisoning.  I was only 6 years old but I remember that the goblins were scary, the baby’s outfit was stripey, and the Goblin King was the most beautiful human I had ever seen.  David Bowie literally inhabits one of my very first clear memories.  By the time I was in high school I was fully obsessed with not only his music, but with him as a person.  He seemed like an impossibly brilliant alien we had somehow managed to trap on Earth with all of us boring Normals.  He had hits and he had misses and he just kept going.  He just kept being David Bowie, which could change from year to year, and meant whatever the fuck he felt like it meant in that moment.  To lose him so suddenly was devastating, but somehow I felt like he was always just visiting.  If I learned today that he was an actual fucking alien from another planet I would not be surprised.  The world looked painfully dull now that he wasn’t in it, and I felt in my heart that it would never be as interesting again.


The fact that this had happened on a Monday morning was some real fucking bullshit.  I had to carry this around for a week, I thought, before I could properly mourn.  This sort of thing involves ritual: It involves planning.  There were songs to play and tears to cry and whiskey to drink and oh yes, one of the best movies of all time to watch.  So I dried my tears and determined to soldier through my work week until Friday was finally over.

You all know what’s coming next.



If I in ANY WAY managed to convey the bleak sadness I felt at losing David Bowie, please triple it and add putting my heart in a blender then pressing purée.  I grew up watching Alan Rickman.  I can’t talk about all of his movies or this post will be ridiculously long (although for the record, I unironically love “Love Actually” even though it is a sexist hot mess) but here are the ones that for me, are the Greatest Hits.

The first movie I ever saw him in was Robin Hood.  While Costner and the movie in general was widely panned (I was like 12 so it was a perfectly good movie to me, but you know, hindsight and all that), critics loved Rickman’s performance as the Sheriff of Nottingham and for very good reason.  He was so deliciously over-the-top as a temper tantrum-throwing bastard that it was impossible not to enjoy him in that role.  Not to mention he had one of the best threats in all of movie history, which my sister and I still quote to this day.




(And come on, who the fuck else could have pulled off this line)

I loved every part of Robin Hood and watched it repeatedly when I was a kid, and although beyond Rickman’s and Morgan Freeman’s performances the movie does not hold up now (for the love of all that is holy HOW did I not notice how bad Costner’s accent was), I will never not feel sentimental when that cheesy-ass movie fades into the Bryan Adams music video at the end… ahhhhh VHS tapes.  Those were the days.

Next up, I was finally old enough that my older brother would let me watch Die Hard.  I loved Bruce Willis as a kid and knowing Rickman from Robin Hood I was excited to see him play another baddie.  With Hans Gruber, Rickman portrayed an entirely different type of villain.  Ice-cold and seemingly completely bored with his own terrorist plotting, he went ahead and walked away with that entire movie as well.  I’m sure I wasn’t the only one rooting for him to live through it.


(RIP Hans, you were cool as fuck- sorry you didn’t get your money)

 Along with Love Actually, watching Die Hard every year at Christmas is one of my personal traditions, and now the holidays will never be the same.

Dogma is my favorite Kevin Smith movie and it is so fucking stupid and smart at the same time that I can’t even deal with how much I love it.  It is supremely silly yet at the same time when it comes to the Bible, they clearly did their homework.  It is the type of light-hearted blasphemy that is pure catnip for non-religious people who were raised in extremely Catholic or Christian homes.  It’s packed with some of the biggest stars of the era and is full of hilarious lines, but my favorite parts of that movie are Matt Damon as an angel running around killing everyone with a Desert Eagle (“YOU DIDN’T SAY GOD BLESS YOU WHEN I SNEEZED”), and Rickman’s hysterical turn as Metatron.


(Well before Supernatural, THIS was the sassiest angel in the garrison)


(Coincidentally this is exactly how I have felt all week)

Galaxy Quest was brilliant and Alan Rickman was 100% the best part of it.  That movie is underrated as fuck and you should watch it if you haven’t.  It accurately depicts the borderline-insane passion that goes into being deeply involved in a fandom (although they are clearly spoofing the Star Trek fandom, it speaks to essentially all of them) and all of the positive and negative things that go along with it.  It was so loving towards nerds, while never letting us off the hook for our more annoying qualities.  I can’t think of any movie like it.  Because I am an obsessive fan of so many things it speaks to me on a very deep level, and as such I can’t begin to describe it without going on for at least 8 more paragraphs- so just watch it please.  So.  Many.  Feelings.


(If this GIF does not convince you, nothing will.)

Now we come to my favorite Alan Rickman role of all time, in a movie that I have probably seen over a hundred times.  Sense and Sensibility was my favorite movie for many, many years, and still resides in my top 10.  It had a stellar cast, but Colonel Brandon was the character that made it so incredibly romantic and substantive.  Instead of the sweep-the-girl-off-her-feet narrative we’ve seen so many times, here we get a real, proper love story.  The story of a man who quietly and selflessly loved another human being, never expecting one tiny thing in return.  Not even recognition of it.  He kept his distance when he felt he wasn’t wanted, and was the first to her side if he felt he had even a remote chance to be of use.

In Colonel Brandon I saw what a real partner should be.  Kind, generous, respectful, and unfailingly loyal.  If he sold himself short or faded into the background, it was due to his intense abhorrence of the thought that he might accidentally be a nuisance to the woman he adored.  In a world that is and always has been bursting at the seams with entitled Nice Guys bitching about friend-zones in whatever language is common of the era, the character of Colonel Brandon stands as a shining example of the literal opposite.  Many people use words to say that as long as the person they love is happy then that is enough for them, but Brandon personified those words.  It was truly his deepest desire that Marianne be happy, end of sentence, and he supported any choice she made that she felt would make her so.  Luckily for Marianne and happily for Brandon, through the course of the film she learns that infatuation fades and true devotion is the most attractive trait in the world.


(Anyone who does not tear-up at least once during this movie is a cyborg, run from them immediately.)

Rickman played the role of my beloved Colonel Brandon with such heart-breaking, stoic sincerity that I cannot even begin to imagine another actor coming close to touching his performance.  When I think about it, that is the one thing every single one of his roles have in common.  It is impossible for me to picture anyone in his place.

And finally, of course, we come to Severus Snape.  A polarizing figure in the Harry Potter fandom, you will find people who defend him relentlessly as a hero while others consider him to be worse than Voldemort.  The one thing I have never seen criticized however, is the choice of casting and the performance given by Rickman.  In the latter movies his fierce loyalty shines through, as the reasons for his miserable sadness and isolation are finally revealed to the audience.  For me, even from the beginning Rickman managed to make Snape’s humanity show through his eyes, whether his behavior was at its best or at its worst.  Being a total sucker for stories of eternal love and devotion beyond death; even if bitter and unrequited (Surprised?  You shouldn’t be.  It’s been said that the most cynical people in the world are just disappointed idealists.), I am a Snape fan myself.  But since I’m not twelve years old, I have no desire to argue the position or tell anyone else their opinion is wrong.


Here is the part where I get pissed off.  I am 35 years old.  Many young people discovered Rickman’s work through Harry Potter, and to some that is the only role they know.  They have changed their profile pictures and called him Snape instead of Alan and raised their wands as they grieve for the person who brought their complicated hero/villain to life.  Guess what, Douchebags of the Internet: That is entirely, completely okay.  Rickman himself spoke many times of how much the role of Snape meant to him and if you spent two minutes reading anything about this wonderful man, you would know that he would be every bit as touched by those tributes as he would be by the lengthy ones written by those who have seen and celebrate virtually every role he has ever played.  By all accounts he was a kind and generous person.  So when I see shit like this, it is hard for me to keep my mouth shut:


(So I don’t.)

Fuck completely off with that shit.  Considering this is one of his most famous quotes, you are only exposing yourself as a celebrity death-hipster (the worst kind) and simultaneously revealing how little you actually know about the man.


I have written clumsily about a sampling of his movies that have meant the most to me because I can’t seem to find the words to pour my heart out and explain why this particular loss has cut me so deeply.  I woke up yesterday to the news (Twitter again, goddamn it) and instantly started sobbing.  I cried the entire time I was getting ready for work and cried all the way to work.  My co-workers pretended not to notice my red eyes and I shut myself in my office all day so that they wouldn’t see the tears that I could not seem to be able to stop.  I am crying now.  As in the case of Bowie, I had no idea he was battling cancer and I assumed he WOULD live to at least 80.  After all, he promised.

There was something so singular and warm about Alan Rickman and I fully loved him, and I’m sorry if that is weird for you.  I’m sorry if the fact that I feel like I’ve been physically gutted seems silly.  People seem to really enjoy judging other people for how they grieve, and most especially how deeply they feel the loss of people they’ve never actually met.  To those people I have absolutely nothing to say, because how can I communicate these feelings to them when we don’t seem to belong to the same species.  As someone who has lost family members and friends it’s not like I don’t know the fucking difference.  But as I’ve said so many times: Caring about one thing does not mean you do not care about another thing.  There are different types and levels of grief.  Art is life-changing.  The right book, album, or movie in the right hands at the right time can mean the difference between hope and despair.  Between life and death.  If you don’t deeply connect to fiction or art in general my guess is that you’ve had a fairly uncomplicated life, so perhaps go easy on those of us who may have needed stories to escape ours, even if only temporarily.

As for me, even though the Harry Potter films aren’t my absolute favorite of all his movies (although I adore them), I will raise my wand in solidarity with my fellow nerds and in defiance of those who would look down on something just because of the fact of who loves it.  Today, I am proud to be a Slytherin.


Although my heart is broken, as of today I have officially made it through my work week.  In 3 hours I will be home, and I probably don’t need to tell you at this point what my weekend will consist of.  I will try my best to enjoy everything my beloved artists left behind and maybe even push through my sadness enough that I am able to laugh as easily as I cry while re-watching my favorite moments.  Because the wonderful thing is: I got to have these two people in my life, whether they knew it or not.  I got to be alive at the same time as they were and they have left behind so many gifts that will never leave; will never die.  How much worse to have lived in a world where they didn’t exist?

I don’t envy those individuals who genuinely aren’t affected by the passing of their favorite artists.  I’ll take the pain if it means that I get to feel the rest of it.  So if you are like me and your heart is broken too, just try to remember that.  And know that you are never alone.


(art credit: https://society6.com/product/should-you-need-us_print?curator=artagainstsociety#1=45 )

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It Is Not Your Fault


I grew up in an abusive home. A lot of the bad things that can happen to a person have happened to me.  I don’t have the time or energy to tell that whole story right now. So I will tell you one, just one story in a string of the types of stories that almost every woman has. If you think that ANY woman escapes having at least one of these stories, well you are fucking wrong.  Look to your right, and to your left, at the women in your life.  They all have stories…

I have been widely and historically considered to be a “strong” woman, and this happened to me.  Today, this is the story I choose to tell. This is the only story I have the strength for at the moment, and sadly, it is one of the easier ones.

I had just turned 21 years old. Six months prior, my big brother, who was my hero and someone more dear to me than life itself, shot himself to death and left me here. I started a new job at a hospital 5 months later, after leaving my last one in a haze of grief and being near-catatonic in the interim (unless playing The Sims in your pajamas for 8 hours straight and sleeping the rest of the time counts as “activity”). I had only had two boyfriends up until that point- had only slept with two people. Both had been amazing, wonderful boys who were good to me and in fact, TOO good for me. I knew it. I knew how damaged I was by then. I needed to be alone. I was better off not hurting anyone else.

I started this new job and immediately had more attention from men than I had previously ever encountered. It never even occurred to me they would lie to me, or push me, or be duplicitous. That had simply not been in my life experience. When one particular doctor started to ask me out, I turned him down instantly. I was just coming off a breakup, dealing with my brother’s death and anyway, the distance between 21 and 30-ish is VAST when you are 21… but a strange thing happened. He wouldn’t take no for an answer.

I was so numb, so devastated by my loss…  I just somehow, lost my “strength”.  He wore me down.  I let him take me out to dinner, let him tell me about his loveless marriage (which I didn’t give a shit about), let him visit me at my friend’s house where I was currently living and just talk to me for hours. I let him cook for me.

By the time I was at his apartment and he was aggressively whispering in my ear and pawing me, I simply knew that I had let it get too far. I was practically physically repulsed by him, but that didn’t matter.  I had to let him sleep with me now, because otherwise I was a tease. A bitch. And I had no energy to be either of those things. Without my brother, at that time- I was nothing. Who cared what happened to my body.  This wasn’t even a question to me at that point- in 2001 there were no Tumblr blogs about rape culture- no popular feminist blogs I knew of telling me my enthusiastic consent was more important than a man’s ego.  There was only the patriarchy, which I completely bought into, that told me, without question, I had brought this on myself and had no other option than to give in.

After that night, I cut him off completely. He acted tragic, called me for a while… then gave up. He was married, after all. And the worst part is- years later when I would be in (at the time) a loving relationship that lasted almost six years, I still could not admit that it had happened, because I was so terrified of my boyfriend’s opinion of me changing. Because it was MY fault. I should have been stronger.  Physically, I could have stopped it- he would have been fired from the program if he had become violent and I reported him.  My fault.  I had said NO a few times, as it was starting- but he pushed past my no and by the time we were having sex- I stopped saying no. I just laid there until it was over.  My brain left my body and I just thought of other things, and I tried like hell not to think of what my dead brother would think of me now.  My brother who thought I was perfect.

Was I raped? To tell you the truth, I still don’t know. I’m not sure it even matters. What I do know is that a man who was more than ten years older than I was knew exactly what I was going through, and knew exactly how to take advantage of it. But the point is- I am salting and burning the shame that has prevented me from telling this story for 15 years. Purely in the hope that it will reach other girls who have similarly muddy stories. To tell them, and my 21 year-old, grief-stricken self: It is not your fault. Whatever happened, however you need to see it or however you define it- it was never your fault.


Photo credit to my brother, Jonathan

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I Expected Hunger and Got Thirst


Actual picture of me scrolling through my Tumblr

As I mentioned in my previous post, I started both a Forensic Technician certification program and a medically supervised weight-management program a few weeks ago.  There isn’t much to say about the forensic program, except that I Rule Ass.  I completed and aced my first course, and start the next one soon.  So on to the next thing:

The program that I am participating is an 800 calorie-a-day meal replacement plan that lasts about 20 weeks and has an average of 50-80lbs weight-loss for those who finish it.  Every week you go to a place, give them money, they take your body stats, you get a blood draw, and they give you your food for the week.  That’s it.  No other food or drinks (except black coffee, tea, and diet soda).  You eat 5 times a day and there are shakes, bars, and soup packets.  It’s as exciting as it sounds.


Yes, I am bragging about my notebook, what.

You are supposed to lose about 3-5 pounds a week, and no more.  I am losing 5 pounds a week.  Why?  Because honestly, as much as I love food, it has never ruled my life.  Maintaining my weight has never been my problem and losing weight on my own wouldn’t even be a problem if only food were involved.  I like healthy food.  I am good at counting calories, points, etc.  I was up to 5 miles at the gym, 5 days a week (a routine my doctor made me stop for the duration of this program, obviously).  So what is the problem when I go it alone?  I’ll give you one tiny hint:


Drinking adds calories, sure.  But what it does, more than that, is make my choice of dinner go from shrimp ceviche or a veggie sandwich on whole wheat, to ALL OF THE NACHOS.  It spikes my hunger and causes bad choices.  I was using it as anxiety medication as well as my sole social activity, so my tolerance was through the roof and I was always tired.  Simply cutting back was pointless because it took so much to relax me after a while that there was no point in a glass or two (unless they were the size illustrated above) because that amount had no effect on me- thus they were just wasted calories. No, it was more like 4 glasses (or in layman’s terms “a bottle”) before I even noticed its effects.

So with booze taken completely out of the equation (except Thanksgiving because oops), this hasn’t actually been very hard for me.  Once I decide to relinquish control to a professional; I mean business.  You tell me what to do or eat, and I do it.  So yes, the weight is falling off and will continue to fall off me, which is great for my health, my vanity, and my blood pressure.  But I expected it to be more difficult, day-to-day, as far as being hungry.  That hasn’t happened.  Fair warning, I’m about to get real here- as I spend more and more days sober and thinner, something else got switched back on, a lot more quickly than I expected.  The Thirst: It has re-appeared.


Now please don’t mistake me, I have not been a total nun since my last breakup.  But I have simply not sought it out.  If it finds me: Great.  I have felt so focused on myself- first on my misery and then on my progress, that there has been almost no room for sex and definitely no room for a relationship- and that has been A-OK with me.

[I would like to point out here that despite the weight gain that has made me feel barely human (THANKS, PATRIARCHY!) I have had no shortage of hot, smart, interesting men throwin’ the D my way… you know, in case any of you other ladies out there are curious whether or not this insecurity and the feeling of being undesirable because of weight gain is a bunch of shit lies we absorb because of societal pressures…  It is.  FYI the last guy I banged was not only totally fucking rad and threw DOWN in the sack, he also looked like a young, tall Martin Freeman.]


Excuse to post a gif of Martin Freeman?  Don’t mind if I do.

But before all this, my sex drive was through the roof.  It always has been, but between the anti-depressants, the weight gain, then all of the other setbacks, I literally stopped thinking about it unless it presented itself with a fucking bow on top (not literally, although that would have been pretty funny).  But for the past few months, well… instead of day-dreaming about pizza as you might imagine one would when consuming only cardboard meal bars; instead I look at every hot guy I pass like he is a cartoon steak… plus I probably have more porn on my computer than a 16 year-old boy.  I consider this to be a very, very good sign.  With every step forward, I feel just a little bit more like Me again.

So I guess at the end this is just a post to check in, pat myself on the back, and note that I am killing it.  Do I still have bad days?  You bet your ass.  But as I take my classes, and stay in the weight-management program, I always have this sense of progress and pride in the back of my mind to offset the bad days.  I am getting a lot of reading and writing done since not drinking wine has freed up so much of my time.  I just read Felicia Day’s new book and it is AWESOME.  You come off that thing feeling like there is nothing you cannot do.  She is an awkward unicorn and still manages to be a driven badass who gets shit done and she inspired the hell out of me.  10/10 recommend.


sorry, that was reflexive.  ahem.

Anyway, I’ve only been at my current job for a year and I already have someone trying to steal me away to another program with a big, fat raise included (we’ll see).  Regardless, if I stick with my plans I am about 6 months away from my happy weight and less than 2 years away from my dream job, and Heaven help anyone or anything that tries to get in my way now.  Especially myself.

*puts myself officially on notice*

Besides this silly little blog and a few filthy (but I think pretty well-written) fanfics, expect a novel out of me soon.  Instead of saying something super cheesy here like I really have the urge to, I’m just going to post this to say it for me… because no truer words.

And yeah- I was there for this.

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8 Things I learned Growing Up Broke


I am 34 years old. I have a fairly decent job now, and health insurance. I also have a metric fuckton of debt; mostly student loans, but also older credit card and loan debt from when I did NOT, in fact, have a decent job and health insurance. Growing up without much money not only helped shape the person that I am, but taught me many valuable lessons and skills.

1. Growing up poor, you do not generally know you are poor until you are around people who are not. This doesn’t necessarily happen for a while. For me it was when I made my first friend in third grade who happened to come from a middle-class family. Here is what will happen: You will be at their uncomfortably clean suburban house one day, and they will open the door to a pantry in your presence. That pantry will be crammed full of beautiful, expensive snack foods like Pop Tarts and Cheetos and other name brand snacks you would never in a million years even try to sneak into a grocery cart, and they will then loudly whine to their Mother “There’s nothing to eeeeeat!!” The reflexive desire to punch them in the kidney until they puke blood will be strong. Resist it, because…

2. They are helpless in ways you are not. You heated up beans on the stove when you were five years old (I still have a scar on my arm from when my big brother tried to make hot dogs by boiling them on the stovetop in a glass casserole dish. It exploded, I was playing on the kitchen floor… it could have been worse.), you learned to make boxed mac and cheese when you were six, you learned to stomach generic cheerios with water instead of milk, and if there were at least 3 things in the refrigerator, you could come up with something edible from the age you could reach the refrigerator handle. Is this sad? Sure. But if you ever fall on hard times in the future, you will have a skill and ingenuity with food staples that never will have left you. On a related note, when that same friend complains about “McDonald’s AGAAAAAIN?” you can comfort yourself with the fact that eating out, anywhere, will never feel as special or taste as good to them, because they don’t have to wait for a birthday to get a damn Big Mac. So don’t feel anger at their ungratefulness, which incidentally all children deserve to have a bit of, but instead feel a little sorry for them. Because also…

3. They will never, ever appreciate Christmas the way you do. Yes, they will look forward to the toys that are slightly more expensive than the ones they get all year long, but they will never know the magical excitement that only comes with anticipating toys one single day a year- knowing that the rest of your year will be filled with garage sale clothes and playing with your friend’s toys. And sometimes, as a bonus, throughout the year there will be nice adults who give you little gifts, or show you kindness, and your heart will burst with a gratitude that you will scarcely understand. When I was about eight I had a friend from school whose mother took care of me. My mom would dump my little sister and I off at her house ALL of the time. This woman had hardly more than we had in the way of money, but she cared for us like we were her own, sometimes even taking us to the 99-cent store and buying us toys for NO REASON. We were never once made to feel unwelcome even though she had zero reason to watch us. She gave love to me when I was small and vulnerable, and now, 26 years later, I still get her a mother’s day card every year and snuggle into her hugs in a way I am not comfortable doing with any other mother figure. I will never, ever be able to repay her kindness. Which reminds me…

4. In my experience, people will help you, especially if you are young. When my mom abandoned my younger sister and I to go live with her boyfriend in a Motel 8 a few towns over we were fine on our own… for a while. We were only 12 and 10 years old, but we had a carpool that picked us up and took us home from school, we were very used to feeding ourselves, and we were well-trained in the art of keeping our mouths shut about our home life to adults. Then the food finally started to run out. So we started “coincidentally” going over to my best friend’s house next door around dinner time, and they fed us without question. Eventually they became suspicious about the frequency of our visits and called CPS. My mom returned home, angry with us for blowing her cover, but nevertheless the food issue was solved. At another low point around my first year of high school, we told our teacher in private that we had no food in the house, and baskets of donated canned and packaged food were dropped off at our front door weekly until we were back to “normal” again. Was it fun to see our pastor (who was also my principal) bringing food to our house then having to face him at our small school the next day? Nah. But that’s what you learn growing up poor- you learn to ask for help, accept it gratefully, and simply tell yourself that someday you will be an adult and you will never have to ask again. Then eventually you are old enough to get your first job and everything is gravy, right? Except…

5. As you get older and start working your first part-time, minimum-wage job, you may quickly learn you are now expected to buy your own toiletries and even groceries for the house with your miniscule paycheck until you manage to move out. Do so as quickly as you can. I was lucky enough to be in a stable relationship at the time and so had a built-in roommate, but do so even if it means acquiring a less-than-desirable roommate. Or two. You will never get anywhere if you are now basically a bonus parent and are expected to contribute and not allowed to save. So get out. Once you are on your own it will be time to navigate a world of finance you’ve had zero experience with and nobody bothered to teach you about. So you start to find grown-ups to ask…

6. People will give you advice when you first start applying for a lot of credit cards or loans- mostly “don’t”. Those people mean well and are often technically right, but my advice is to do what you have to do to survive. Learn how to write checks with perfect timing so they do not bounce but you have groceries to float you until your next paycheck. Learn to prioritize bills. If you are making $6.50/hr. and living paycheck-to-paycheck, you need credit cards in case your 1989 LeBaron, I mean your really cool car, breaks down. You have to get to work and school. Number one priority: Get to work and school. So get yourself some credit. Speaking of school…

7. Unless you land a full scholarship somewhere, start off at community college. Starting at a 4-year school is a ridiculous waste of money unless it is free on a scholarship or someone else is paying for it. There are many outstanding community colleges and if you play your cards right, you can get 2 years of quality general education in the can with zero student debt accrued. Then you transfer to that 4-year school and your FAFSA applications begin. Get that government cheese. That Bachelors Degree WILL help you get a higher-paying job, eventually. And until then, one word: Deferment. Now here comes the tricky part: How to not become a bitter asshole…

8. This one is more an emotional and social lesson than a practical one. As your social circle expands, you may end up becoming friends with people who are well off, or even very rich. Personally, besides having the random rich friend here and there, I have worked with doctors for 15 years. They may often seem like aliens to you: Their houses, their cars, their priorities, and their problems. Sometimes you may feel like a deeper human, and even morally superior to them when they are having a meltdown to you about their interior decorator’s stubbornness, or the flakiness of their dog walker. You will listen patronizingly, knowing in your heart that it is you who Truly Knows What Is Important and they clearly do not. But chances are, they care just as much about their friends, family, and world peace as you do. Caring about one thing doesn’t mean you don’t care about another thing. Maybe they lack perspective and maybe they don’t. But be very careful about making assumptions when chances are you probably threw a fit about something petty in the past few weeks too- like Netflix taking too long to bring back goddamn Peaky Blinders.

Then there will be other times when you feel deeply ashamed that you are technically an adult yet you do not own a house or car like many others your age. There will be the inevitable times one of them will ask if you can be the one to drive to lunch, and a wave of embarrassment will wash over you as you direct them to your 15 year-old dingy car, with its musty smell and broken air conditioner. But always remember that you are not better or worse than they are- your circumstances are just different.

Lastly there will be days you end up on the phone with a friend who is innocently and excitedly telling you all about his new iPhone/Pad/Watch (his 3rd this year), his recent vacation to a tropical resort, or his $2000 rims. This conversation may happen to take place on the literal next day after you sobbed in a parking lot for half an hour because you had to bounce a $10 check to get your anti-depressant prescription filled because your car decided it needed two of its tires to explode in one pay period. That old feeling- you know, the punch-ey one, will return. Again, resist it. They are not calling you to make you feel like crap, they are calling you because they are excited about something and they want to share it with you because you are their friend. It is difficult to walk around with the knowledge that the thousand or so bucks they dropped on a new toy they will barely give a shit about in two weeks would mean the difference between you being able to fix your car and pay your bills that month, and a series of panic attacks in the middle of the night as you lie awake wondering how you are going to scrape by this time… but the thing is, A) You are not their responsibility and B) That doesn’t mean they don’t care about you. Repeat that as a mantra: YOU ARE NOT THEIR RESPONSIBILITY. And more importantly, you WILL get by. Because you know what you are doing. You know because you grew up broke.


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