Sleep. Intricate pieces of memories that replay violently the minute my eyes drop in demise. Flashes of rooftop quests and dusk-filled skies. Delude my dreams, leaving a trail of blood behind. Every night another story, ending in goodbye.
Break me open and you’ll see, there’s no more fight. Just a white flag drowning in memories and rough tides. Pain so great it seeps into time. Weeks become months enabling thoughts that aren’t mine.
Each night I feel the touch of your hand, perfectly entwined. I see hollow eyes that were once kind. Finger tips trace each freckle with another lie. Visions of your neck falling onto mine as I grip into flesh until the pain subsides. Teeth bite so hard, I want it to hurt, feel my cries. Tears paint a story that neither one could survive.
Dusk, once idolised.
My favourite time. Now embedded in nightmares I wasn’t equipped to revise.
Some nights I manage to distort that last piece. I turn the gun from my chest and place it neatly at our feet. I beg you to finish the job, please end this defeat! Impossible, when your hands are tied by regret and deceit.
You scream in a language I can’t understand. I was never taught the tongue of misguided men. I shout back my pain yet nothing comes out. Instead dusk-filled colours stream from my mouth, writing the word stop upon your self doubt.
There’s a shadow behind you, broken in despair. Holding a shattered heart in one hand with blood stained fair hair. “Thank you”, he whispers. He seems relieved. Only now I realise he was you, before me.
There are voices of people, muttering a circus of words. Always lined up in red & begging to be heard. They have mirrors to reflect all that I’d ignored. Flashes of apologies light up every turn, with three broken bodies hurled over my bedroom floor. I run away and glance back only to see, those people were my warning signs I’d failed to see.
Fragments of colours have built a home in my mind. Every night I visit a kaleidoscope of death disguised as dusk skies. The burnt pinks blend with the dark of night. That leaks into blood and drips heavy down my spine.
Lucid dreams are an incredible art form in itself. I’ve felt every move towards death as I tighten the belt. Grabbing a paint brush, black acrylic every time. And I paint over colours that flash over my goodbye.
I can hear the cracks from my heart mend with each final breath. Recluse from dreams you’ve hijacked as the unwelcome guest. A peaceful darkness for a second as I step off that ledge. Only to awaken in reality, frightened and without rest.
Months turn into years and I’m still waking up in sweat. Haunted by the memories of that afternoon…
The house she envisions. Vast in greenery, far as the eye can see. Fear can’t extend to this prestige mountain home. The gentle song of birds are the only splash-back and clarity seeps from every corner of tapestry. It’s only here, where she deems safe.
She runs towards it, shoes in hand, gasping for breath. Wolves chase, gripping their teeth into her desperation. Snapping at her vulnerability while shreds of white cotton fall to the earth. The leader of the pack makes it hard to gain ground, constantly pouncing every time she stands tall. They feed off her soft exterior. The growls drown out any cries for help.
But I hear her.
She frantically begins climbing up the steep hill towards the house. Dress shredded, hands covered in blood. Falling to the ground, shoes tightly wrapped around bruised nail beds. Shaking and disoriented, she cannot see.
But I see her.
“Silly girl, what are you doing?”
I walk towards her broken pieces, pick them up and face them gently towards the destruction she had been running from. I rattled the tiny remaining fragments into the clean air.
“Look closely at what you’re hiding from. This is what you’ve created.”
Slowly raising her head from the hallucination of bloody hands and defeat. She stared back into the greenery that laid out so beautifully ahead. Eventually locking eyes with the pack of wolves, who now sheepishly retract. Snarling teeth replaced with apologies and claws morphing into severed promises. Her dress, perfectly placed. Her delicate hands, now unscathed.
“So listen, and listen carefully. Like all art, the process is simple, but a single misstep can kill you. Don’t rush, child: first, you must prepare yourself for the call. The songs of the sirens are sweet but deadly; they’ll cut through rope and twine and strike only at the heart. The heart, you see, is a deceitful thing. Its blood will choke you as fast as it gushes with life. In the end, it’s your heart that will guide the knife to your own throat.”- Shreya Vikram
With a slight nudge, she takes the first step back down into the ethereal environment. Bare foot and painless. She directs her attention to one of the wolves. Walks confidently up to the broken animal, stares straight back into his blue eyes and states;
Stomach churning as I click on the Outlook Icon one regular Monday morning. Preparing myself for the plethora of emails that have managed to build up over the previous 48 hours. Squinting- because that eases the pain, I prayed to the big man upstairs before speedily grazing over the shit storm of requests.
-Heather, can you please…
-Heather, would you mind checking on…
-Heather, how is this travelling?
-Heather, can you arrange this…
-Heather, how long?
-Heather, what’s this?
-Heather, can I…
Too many ‘Kind Regards’ later, I’m now completely overwhelmed and reciting the Lords Prayer. Frantically trying to reply with the same level of professionalism and urgency that they always seem to project. My ass hadn’t even warmed the chair and of course more flood in.
‘And forgive us our trespasses. As we forgive those who trespass against us…’
Strategically identifying the urgent from human annoyance is a legitimate skill in itself. A skill however I did not possess. It was in my nature to reply to the urgent as well as the unnecessary while mid anxiety attack. This repeated for longer than I’d care to explain. I found myself going into the office while on annual leave just to check the nightmare. I was a slave to it, assuming it would help when in fact I was inventing a new mental health by-product. Creating an unattainable expectation and quickly adding PA to my job title.
My personality wasn’t suited for this unhealthy relationship. I could not sustain this pattern, therefore slamming on the breaks mid reply. I didn’t even give the relationship a curtesy ‘away from computer, will reply at the earliest convenience’ note. It didn’t deserve the time. I just started undoing a behaviour I had created myself.
I stopped replying instantly to every hand-holding ask of me. I’d limit time to check my inbox throughout the day and slowly learnt to identify the people who didn’t require a response at all. “Absolutely not” was frequently mumbled into the servers while fingers reached for the shift/drag/delete combo. Subject headings became resumes and if they weren’t engaging, they didn’t get a look in.
During this adaptation, I realised a few things;
Some urgent emails are not actually urgent.
I had created this overflow of required assistance myself by over servicing in the first place.
Constantly adhering to emails impacted my work life.
People will call if it’s serious.
Long winded apologies, while spacing out paragraphs and triple checking punctuation was time I could not regain back.
Kind Regards and Many Thanks are not necessary.
Time management is real and absolutely crucial in a corporate environment.
Setting a tone for future behaviour- also crucial.
Email was never an avenue for communication that required an instant response.
People who make home permanently in ones inbox are the same people who use the ’12 items or less’ isle at Woolworths with a full trolley.
I’d like to start by thanking you for your patience while I’m still manoeuvring my way through parenthood and life. Thank you for the endless support and encouragement. Thank you for accepting my unique parenting style and the fact I will forget or chose to ignore parent-teacher interviews. Knowing my school presence won’t always be the same as other parents but understanding it’s exactly where it needs to be. Thank you for proudly watching as I go against the crowd and occasionally break the mould of the perception of parenting. I often get asked how I manage and my response is and always will be, you!
You created me.
Never underestimate your power as a woman. You hold every possibilitiy in your hands.
Constantly invest in your future self.
Don’t cut your hair when you’re emotional.
Question everything, even myself.
Don’t be afraid to communicate with me. There’s nothing you could do that I haven’t already done or at least thought about.
Always use manners and look people in the eye when being introduced.
Make your bed.
Never assume people have the same heart as you.
If you find yourself in a ‘split the bill’ first date, there will not be a second.
Gravitate towards nature when you feel stuck.
Don’t trust people that wear sunglasses inside.
Never let anyone pressure you into a situation you’re uncomfortable with.
I will love you more than anything you can comprehend, so never feel alone.
Don’t try and outrun a dog, find something to climb up.
Always apologise when you do wrong.
Hangovers can feel like you’re dying and they only get worse. Drink water.
There’s always a solution.
Don’t underestimate the power of a shower or the ocean when you’re sad.
Be patient and respect the elderly.
Other people’s behaviour is not a reflection of you.
Just because you’re a healer, doesn’t make it your job to heal everybody.
Crystals are your friend.
Your pretty face doesn’t mean anything if you’re an asshole.
Read, move and create, always.
Feed people when they come into your home.
All emotions should be acknowledged.
Don’t hesitate at the end of an escalator.
Appreciate the sunset.
Never stop holding my hand.
Listen to your intuition.
Work towards your goals or go live in a tree. I’ll support you either way.
Always acknowledge the stopped vehicle when walking across a pedestrian crossing.
Protect yourself, the people you care about and the people who can’t defend themselves.
Don’t strive to be successful in a job you hate. Strive for your passion and success will come.
You’re sensitive and that’s okay. But don’t ever forget you’re equally as strong.
Everything is energy, understand that.
Your humour is a gift, share it.
Wear sunscreen and look after your skin.
Travel often, learn other cultures.
Give to others.
Know I’m already planning my retirement to look after your children.
Don’t commit to plans when you have no intention following through.
Use routine as a shell but never be a slave to it.
Don’t take rejection personally.
Realise you’re the greatest gift to walk this earth.
Her right hand intertwined with mine so tightly, while the other hugged my forearm. She was latched onto me as if I could shield her from any potential danger. Me- the 5ft woman who’s heart is pulsating through her own lungs as we board the flight to Italy.
“You’re out of your mind travelling alone with the little one. I wouldn’t do it, even with help”, screeched a mature aged woman, wearing sunglasses with bright red lipstick shaping the contour of her imaginary lips. She was about to board a 13 hour flight at 10pm and felt that Ruby Red and her opinion was a necessity. And clearly the lights from the airport were blinding her arrogant vision- still to this day I don’t trust people who wear sunglasses inside.
“Well it’s a good thing you aren’t doing it.” I reply, while trying to direct my daughters attention elsewhere. As we finally take our seats on the torture chamber, my girl looks up at me with excitement and bright eyes, already minutes into ‘Shaun the Sheep’ and it’s that moment I’m made aware of my responsibilities during this European Summer.
After three days in Rome, filling up on pizza, cafe hoping and noticing all the beauty that is the colour mustard we started making our way to Venice. This is when things took a turn. Sadness lingered over me as I soaked in my last few moments of this incredible city. The endless cafe’s that provided such ambiance and comfort, the food, the wine, the people. No part of me wanted to leave. We arrived at the train station which seemed like it had it’s own city within a city. There was at least half an hour before our train- yet I started speed walking, in any direction, concerned if I stopped I’d be trampled by the hundreds of commuters. Massive suitcase, back packs and a child to my left when that feeling I had forgotten something swept over me. I stop dead in my tracks, people forcefully brushing past each shoulder, nudging me forward inch by inch. The heart starts racing, I could feel it beat through my hands as I fumble for our tickets and analyise the mental check list in my head. I glance over towards my daughter and she’s leisurely taking in the unfamiliar surroundings, the Italian accents, mesmerised by the details of the ceilings, oblivious we were mid stampede.
“What’s wrong mum?”
“Nothing baby, I’m just making sure I have everything.”
“You have me, everything is fine.”
I was more alert than ever. Constantly making sure she was attached to me, vigilant of anyone in our 3m radius and making sure no one had cut a hole in my backpack. I was checking our passports didn’t move from the zipped hidden pocket, in my neck sachel, under my shirt, guarded by my right hand. This happened on a 30 minute rotation. Sienna skipped along with the busy crowd, taking in the hustle and being somehow uplifted by it’s fast-moving pace. Songs from the buskers made her smile wide as she danced along, following the foreign sound.
“Sienna, so help me god! Stay next to me, hold onto my shirt.”
“Mum, relax it’s okay. Can you hear the music?”
Through the sounds of my anxiety and train call overs I could barely make out any sound but to be honest, I couldn’t care.
“Mum what instrument is that? Can I play that one day?
“SIENNA… MY SHIRT! Hold my shirt”.
The train ride introduced us to the ‘gypsy’ culture. Well I was acquainted with it, Sienna just assumed lovely older ladies were leaving us notes next to our seat.
“She seemed nice”, Sienna delicately whispers.
Then when younger girls ‘offered’ to help us with our luggage, she again responded gratefully and even complemented their strength. Meanwhile I was 10 Euro down and wondering if ‘fuck off’ was universal.
“Look at this mum”, Sienna pointing to the picturesque scenery out the window, amazed by the whole experience.
“Yeah great babe”, half looking and unimpressed while feeling for the outline of our passports. Still trying to wrap my head around the fact I was just scammed by girls no older than 14.
First change over was in Florence. Patience was wearing thin. The schedule was tight and so was my grip on our belongings.
“Mum we should leave our bags somewhere here.”
“Ahh not happening, they are staying right in my vision.” Still frazzled by my earlier interactions.
So with luggage in tow we boarded another train, dodged any assistance and I bunkered down until Pisa. I was on edge while Sienna made friends with an Italian woman sitting across from her. They were laughing over Sienna’s drawings and although weren’t speaking the same language, they were having a moment. I was fiercly starring down the situation, cautiously picking apart every expression, imagining scenarios and my quick response reactions in my head. I was on guard. They were laughing and I was judging. Unsure if my protective nature was exageratted by that red lipped, sunglass wearing woman at the airport or I was just a nut job.
On arrival, I decided against any further form of transport and followed the crowd to what I could only assume was this iconic leaning tower. We walked for longer than I was mentally prepared for. Longer than my younger fit self could endure. It was disgustingly hot, sweat was dripping and Sienna was getting tired. I was now carrying all of the luggage which included Sienna and a fluffy bear. My patience had worn out and I was mentally ruined. Couldn’t tell if the burning sensation in my legs was from exercise or sunburn straight through my jeans and just before giving up I hear Sienna burst out.
“We are here, look at it. Can you see it mum? Wow.”
Like most attractions in Italy, it’s a beautiful piece of infrastructure but now I have sweat in places I never knew existed and I’m sure my hand had gone numb from lack of circulation. We viewed the tower through a sea of thousands of other sweaty tourists, attempting to hit that glorified ‘leaning’ shot. It was a bouquet of people striking the same pose with arms and legs stretched out, flying away with their dignity. No thanks, not today. I wanted to leave. Everything looked identical. Why is there no cabs around a massive tourist attraction? Praying my legs wouldn’t buckle from within me, we started walking. Sienna stopping at every statue, touching it, climbing it, chatting to random people who complimented her. While I have my head in my phone googling ‘cabs in Pisa’ and cursing the lack of transport around this Leaning Tower. Time was catching up and knowing we had minimal minutes until our next train otherwise we could forget Venice- my heart started racing again. The beat could be felt through my finger tips, confident it was prominent enough to make sound. Somewhere between searching numbers, feeling for our passports and watching my child- I lost it. I was fed up of walking, done with carrying luggage and not knowing where I was. I had average reception, minimal battery and I was fearful I’d failed. Failed as a mother and as a tourist in general. Also why am I the only one carrying fucking luggage?
The woman from the cab company must of heard the severity in my voice. “Where are you?” she asked. I look around in the blaring sun, no street signs, no standout restaurants, nothing! Everything is actually identical. I look at Sienna, standing patiently next to me with a hopeful smile and I just cry. Shit was lost. Pure frustration came streaming down my face and I wanted to collapse right in the middle of apparently nowhere. Sienna embraced my fragile body, grabbed my phone and stopped a man walking past and said- “Can you please tell them where we are?”
My first thought was- I will never see my iPhone again.
“Sienna no, you can’t just give people my phone.” I cried.
“We have to mum, we don’t know where we are.”
She hands over the phone with a smile, like this 6ft gent was a family member. The kind stranger started speaking Italian to the woman and said- “The cab will be here in 5 minutes, wait just around the corner.” He gave us a smile, placed headphones in and continued about his day. Sienna acknowledges his friendly nature while waving him goodbye and then proceeds around the corner while I stand still, shocked and ashamed of my untrusting nature.
We made the connecting train, with minutes to spare. My girl could feel my relief as I lugged the massive bags up the last step and onto the platform. We made it! Sienna starts dancing as a result and signals me to join. After the past few hours, I was in no position to question her choices- so we danced. We had a good thirty seconds of twirling around in happiness on the busy platform before we sat back comfortably on the last leg of our journey. This turned into my moment of reflection on how different interpretations are from children to adults. Children view things much more beautifully and innocent, because they are. They haven’t been done over by life yet and their encounters are not hindered or based on bias or religion, but love and kindness. I wanted to reverse my time to see visions this clear, this simple.
Eventually I step out into the clear skies of Venice, smiling. Despite feeling drained of all energy and overwhelmed by the days events, I decided to perceive this beauty from a child’s eye view.
“Oh my goodness mum, they don’t have roads here. We are catching a boat.. YAY! It’s like a fairytail mum, look!”
“You’re right baby, this is magical.” I reply, as I stare into the unfamiliar distance. I finally drop the luggage, grab her hand tightly while the other hugged her forearm. And I looked, seemingly for the first time.
“But don’t give up on us. The children here need help.”- Alison Chester
Surrounded by high off-white jagged walls filled with splashes of childlike drawings of green and red floral, housed a saddening issue in Indonesia’s city of Denpasar. Laughs and cries of young children spiralling around me was the shock that broke my already hurting, over privileged, naive self to the core.
Jodie O’Shea’s Orphanage, home to 99 resilient children in the back streets of Bali came about in July, 2005. This establishment is named in memory of Jodie, following her tragic passing in the 2002 Bali bombings. Alison Chester and Riyanto Samadi are the founders of this life giving home and they strive to provide the best care, love and opportunity for these young kids. The children are not all orphans. Some are born into severe poverty, others victims of neglect and abuse. With a growing population in Indonesia of over 250 million, making it the 4th largest nation in the world, it faces endless challenges resulting to this type of life for the younger generation. An estimated 2.7 million Indonesian children are involved in some form of child labour, as a result of severe poverty. ‘Street Kids’ as they’re most commonly known, will pull heart strings as they ask for money or hypnotise you skilfully with their sales tactics. Some of these children are not attending school and therefore grow up with a life far less desirable than most westerners can even imagine. This is survival. As an alternative, struggling parents will give their child to an Orphanage, with the knowledge they will at least be provided with food and shelter. The thought is devastating, though this is reality.
“I will get a call from locals, informing me of an abused and abandoned child eating from the trash.”
Unfortunately orphanages in developing countries are sometimes run as profit centres and sadly Bali is no exception. Child labour, trafficking, scams, exploitation and abuse is rioting through the Island and this is a serious problem- not one that can be fixed by visiting, taking a selfie and uploading it to the gram. They are not a tourist attraction. If you’re going to visit an orphanage please do thorough research and make sure you impact and contribute or walk on. Add value; teach, supply food, toys, books, clothes, other material/mental needs. Jodie O’Shea’s orphanage isn’t government funded and does rely solely on the generosity of others so they do welcome and encourage visitors. Avoid walking in there with your social media, taking selfies with #helpthechildren and then hand over your 10000 IDR ($1 AUD) at the door. At Jodie O’Shea’s orphanage the donations go directly to the children’s needs. This is an establishment that provides a home for 99 children, three meals a day, snacks, clothing, education, rehabilitation, 24 hour security guard, carers and most importantly another chance at life. If you have any questions or queries about where your donation lands- the option to purchase food with a member of staff and older children and watch it directly enter the kitchen is always available. My non expertise suggestion is to visit and see for yourself as It’s a short distance from Denpasar Airport. You only have to open your eyes, heart and mind to realise it’s desperately needed. Above all else, they are children. How important is that Marc Jacob’s bag anyway?
As I walked cautiously through toy trains and pieces of lego, it became apparent that I’m in fact a weak piece of shit. This powerfully eye opening experience is flooring. Emotion rose up through my body, all movement slowed down and tears were fogging the view to the exit. I’ve glided through the air struggling to remember basic motor skills until I reach an opening of child free space and can breathe. Desperately searching for that breathing exercise I learnt from a yoga class back in ’07’. I recall questioning the need for such a simple exercise back then, yet a decade later and it seems crucial. The following two minutes was a heated argument with myself based around the fact- I’m definitely a weak piece of shit. Compassion and strength go head to head like a Mohammad Ali fight and just before heading into round two I was greeted by a young boy. My blurred vision could make out the blue checkered shirt with the most adoring stare, holding one of my strongest nightmares. A glittery pen. A blue glittery, sticky pen and he was aiming it towards my face. I hate glitter. The mere thought of the substance makes me uncomfortable. But his magical presence won any mental battle and quickly we were painting each others face like old friends, oblivious to anything around us or my close call breakdown. This was my first embrace of many by the children at the orphanage and also the moment I fell in love with glitter.
Determined to push aside any emotional struggle, I set out to interact with as many kids as possible. These humans are incredible. The most resilient, strong, intelligent, talented and funny individuals. Broken hearted but I was battling through to connect with as many as possible. A tiny goddess of a girl made herself comfortable in my lap, while the strong smell of shampoo flowed from her neatly plaited hair. Two young boys that looked half their age with missing teeth jumped on my back while another ran towards me eagerly from the front. Despite their disheartening start to life, these children are smiling, they are laughing and just share everyone else’s desire to love and be loved. A shy 10 year old boy, confidently bilingual and wise beyond his years started singing ‘Miracles’ by Whitney Houston as we sat across from each other on the playground. WHITNEY BLOODY HOUSTON! The tears started fogging my sight again. The delicious smell of dinner travelled through the outdoor area as children made their way to the dining domain at their own leisure. One very large family, scattered messily throughout the metal surfaced tables. Finding a seat wherever there was space. It was free and beautiful. Childhood. Embrace after embrace, I was moved and shaped into a different person. Each interaction confirmed that I needed to do more while I was here. How can I help? I can’t go. Fuck.
“Time to leave now”.
Never being one to ‘let go’ gracefully, I started planing my second visit. The panic-filled hour cab ride, drowning out the awkward conversation with the non english speaking driver was all worth it upon arrival. Walking through the now familiar childlike drawings of green and red floral, I found a sense of contentment. The familiar smell from the kitchen, the giggles and the reactions from the kids were remarkable. Children running around, no shoes, kicking soccer balls, holding pieces of fruit while playing card games. Real childhood. These children look out for each other like family, similar to the workings of the road etiquette in Bali. The setting isn’t ideal, it’s crowded and unpredictable but everyone looks out for one another and somehow- it works.
“What happens if the money runs out?” I asked Alison, nervously.
“I don’t even want to think about it, that can’t happen,” she replied.
If you are travelling to Bali, I encourage you to take a small portion out of your day to visit. They have a wish list of items in need on their website- http://www.careforkidsbali.com/html/wish-list.html
or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a look for my heart too, it’s left somewhere between lego.
Pressing a button was a new experience. It became something my brain had to process instead of second nature. I had to really think about it.
Nothing made sense.
I had to work to move my arms. It was painful. And evident. Conversations were a mere placement of bodies, standing in front of another with an exchange of vocabulary.
Nothing was said.
The world seemed misplaced. The sound of birds calling in the morning became an excruciating silence. Null and void. Present but not perceived through the ears.
Nothing was heard.
A physical pain protruded through my chest and I embraced it. Clinging my arms around my hurting body as not just a form of comfort but holding onto the only shred of feeling I had left. When all normal emotional and physical processes diminish, any familiarity is welcomed.
It was all I had.
When one experiences grief or post traumatic stress the brain flicks into survival mode. It transforms into a system of unfamiliar energetic responses. You embody a new mind and in my case, a new being. Chemicals are released, internal reactions are disrupted and important bodily systems shift into emergency. The right side of the brain shuts its doors instantaneously and the journey of grief begins. And what a path it is.
My mum was my security. She was my comfort. I held her hand at the shops in my twenties, with the same confidence I did when I was four. I would still sleep in her bed at any chance I got and would hang around her room, just to be close.
I was safe.
Since her passing I’m now left with a whole suitcase of issues, screaming to be addressed. I have separation anxiety from a woman I can no longer reach. Therefore subconsciously latching onto people more than I should, trying to replace the security I lost. Clinging my hands into them so tight they couldn’t breathe. Fear of abandonment seeped into the cells of my body and started running havoc on my life. Imagine a parent dropping a toddler off at daycare for the first time. Well that’s me. Except I’m an adult and usually the person is just walking into another room.
Don’t leave me.
I lost the ability to be with myself and that’s a hard pill to swallow. Along with my memory, my strength, dignity, happiness and half my heart- I lost myself. Same body, completely different state of mind.
Fear is a prison.
This grieving process is a wild one. Four years on and it’s only now I’m picking apart behaviours and working through them. These unhealthy patterns are quite common in cases of grief and trauma. Masking is just another way for the body and mind to cope. Some mask with substance, I chose attachment. The process is rough, I won’t lie. It’s uncomfortable and some days it’s really-fkn-awful-someone-make-it-stop type bad. I naturally want to reach for a hand and it’s never my own.
Girl, enough is enough.
They say when you can admit there’s a problem that’s the start of recovery. Hooray! Heartbreak hurts, yes. But it’s also a remarkable journey of self care (I even cringed typing this) BUT IT’S TRUE. This is life. So here’s to all the people who are battling their own war on a daily.