Don’t Worry…(if I could only)…Be Happy

Posted in Uncategorized on October 20, 2019 by Chanda Marie

I wonder what it’s like to just be happy. To be genuinely pleased with your life and be able to go about your days and nights without absolutely despising everything about your own existence. I try to think back through the years and remember a time when I was possibly happy. Nothing jumps out at me. I’ve had happy moments, sure. Moments where I was proud of myself, like when I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree and walked the stage. Sprinkled moments such as birthday parties for my babies or occasions where family got together in laughter and love. There is not a particular timeframe in my whole 41 years, though, that has not been poisoned with self-hatred and the prayers for God to just end it all.

What am I missing??? What can I fill in the gaps with??? What will it take to erase this emptiness, this gaping nothingness that is me??? Am I to believe that this is completely a chemical imbalance in my broken brain? How many antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anxiolytics, and antipsychotics will I have to take to arrive at a pleasant place of being alive? I don’t think there is such a thing. I don’t think I’m ever going to be happy, in general.  Maybe it is the trauma I grew up with that set this fire ablaze. Maybe it was just my destiny to be damaged. Maybe my own foolish decisions are manifesting and this is just the suffering of natural consequences. Maybe I just need more Jesus. I can’t pretend to know the answer anymore.

Imagine you have some tiny dominoes. Your goal is to align those dominoes into a beautiful work of art that will reveal itself after you finally tip that first one and watch the design unfold. You’re not working on a flat, surface, though. Your groundwork is textured and uneven, a clear disadvantage. You start to stand the dominoes up, one by one, in succession. What happens when your hands are shaky and you drop one, sending them all tumbling down the line and wrecking every bit of progress you thought you’d made? The anxiety of this tedious task, at times, becomes overwhelming and causes you to falter and knock them over. Progress thwarted once again. You look over and see how the designs of others are taking shape and you can see the beauty in their work. You never get far enough in your creation to see anything take form. You’re always having to go back and start rebuilding where the last domino fell. It is exhausting. How many times are you going to attempt this tedious task before you give up?

I’m tired of trying to create anything. I’m done hoping for success. I’m ready to trash all the dominoes and let the whole project disappear. I find myself in a whirlwind of negative emotions from jealousy and envy, to anger and resentment. I want nice things in my life. I want moments of enjoyment. I want to have memorable experiences with the people I love. Life right now is not conducive to any of those things. I’m supposed to just simply be grateful to open my eyes and see another day. Maybe I’m just ungrateful, then, because I am not content with just that. Of course, there is always someone who is worse off. That fact does not detract from the desperation of my own reality. It just makes me hate life for them too.

Don’t worry, they say, be happy. If only I could be.

 

What I Don’t Want to be When I Grow Up

Posted in Uncategorized on October 18, 2019 by Chanda Marie

Growing up there are plenty of things a child imagines they will be. There are aspirations and dreams, fancying the actuality, fantasies even, and the wondrous reveries of what I want to be when I grow up.  I had some of those days. I wanted to be a writer and share my poetry with the world. I pretended often to be a teacher, grading papers, and guiding little minds to greatness one book report at a time. I even wanted to be a star; the glitz, glamour, and facade of beauty captured my attention with every movie and magazine cover I encountered.

What I anxiously mulled over and over in my head, though, were the things I knew I never wanted to be. The things, in my mind, that were ugly and despicable. I could not stomach it enough to even imagine I would become so loathsome. Thoughts turned into legitimate fears about turning into any of the things I hated. What, you ask, was so horrific that it haunts my existence to this day? Maybe you’ll laugh. Maybe you’ll cry at how pathetic it is. Maybe you’ll relate all too well, and fall silent. Maybe you’ll just understand me a tad more than you did before. All’s fair in the spirit of transparency.

Fat. I despise being fat. It has made me physically ugly and it breaks me down every day I have to wake up and be myself. Yes, I’ve worked at weight loss. There are numerous factors that contribute to the difficulty I have losing weight (PCOS, hypothyroidism, psych meds, etc.).  I absolutely cringe when I see any part of myself in a reflective surface. I am disgusted. If I had the choice to live fat or die, I would most certainly choose death. I don’t know why I’m like this. I have always been this way for as long as I can remember.

Mediocre. Lukewarm. Not good enough. Not quite the best. Always 2 steps behind.  I have always been a perfectionist. It drove me academically and a lot of times it worked in my favor. Now, with life beating me down, my best is never good enough. I always fall short. I have minimal knowledge and skill in most areas in life, but not enough to really make me marketable. I never know quite enough to make it. I fail more than I succeed.  I’ve turned into the poster child for mediocrity and no matter what I do I can’t seem to get over that mountain.

I won’t delve any deeper than this today. I stay immersed in the shortcomings of who I am every moment I exist. It’s the depression and the dysfunctional thinking, yes I know this. Knowing what causes it, though, doesn’t make it go away. I’ve accepted these and many other things as my facts. I don’t expect much to change anymore. Loss of hope, partially, but mostly just making peace with reality. It is what it is and I am what I am. And I hate all of it.

 

Brittle Bones

Posted in Uncategorized on September 29, 2019 by Chanda Marie

Close your eyes and imagine dry, dusty, splintered bones. Jagged edges protruding. Prominent points cracked and crushed. Lifeless. Unsupportive. Inept and hopeless. That’s how tired I am from depression. The exhaustion has penetrated the structure and frame of my body and dug deep into my bones. Tired says nothing of the weariness that consumes me.

People often say their soul is tired. I can relate. My soul feels trampled and downtrodden but my bones give me a visceral suffering that one can not begin to understand unless they are stricken with the same demon. Depression is an assault on the living elements of the human body and mind. Breathing, moving, being. Existing is debilitating. There is no hole to crawl out of and no relief that will come. Crying is the release of an internal implosion, the rotting from the core to the external components. It is wrought with desperation from day to day even when sprinkled with pleasant contentment. There is always the foreboding of depression’s inevitable return.

Know you do not suffer in solitude, even among strangers. Those that share depression are connected by an intricate and transcendent understanding of the battles fought daily. We relate to the silent cries and isolation. We sympathize with the strength it takes to put two feet on the floor and shuffle to the shower; sometimes only successful enough to stand in the warm water and cry. We empathize with the stigma; the not so paranoid recognition of stares and whispers. We identify with ideas of our very own lifeblood spilling endlessly onto the floor while we finally, mercifully drift off to nothingness.

If you are plagued by depression, reach out to me. You can comment here and ask for my personal contact information. I am on facebook @ Chanda M. Carte’.  I am on Twitter @Untamed_Mama . My email address is chandacarte@hotmail.com . I am here for you, to listen, to talk, to cry, to help sort through life and all of its confusion. Sometimes it only takes one person who opens their heart, takes a little bit of time, and offers love and comfort, to save a life. Yours is worth saving.

Children For Sale

Posted in Uncategorized on September 26, 2019 by Chanda Marie

***trigger warning: this article discusses human trafficking, some readers may find this topic sensitive***

 

Haunting headlines. Terrified communities. Missing children. Devastated parents. The things that nightmares are truly made of. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, coaches, pastors…So many you least expect, have become some of the monsters in our society. How empty and evil do you have to be to look at another human face and see a disposable commodity? The light of humanity has been snuffed out like a candle in a hurricane. Sex sells and people buy people. The lust for money and power has swallowed compassion and that demon never slumbers.

Human trafficking has a distinct definition. “The United Nations defines human trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation.” (National Institute of Justice, 2019, p.1). In a nutshell, this is modern-day slavery. It is growing rapidly and the problem persists across international borders. Here in the United States, the alleged land of the free and home of the brave, people are selling other human beings.  What an absolutely frightening realization.

There are indicators that someone may be a victim of human trafficking. They include things such as the person having various bruises, displaying timid behavior, avoiding eye contact, not having proper identification, reporting to a particular person in control, displaying drastic changes in behavior, and showing signs of neglect. (Homeland Security, 2019).  Here is a very informative website if you are interested to read more about the indicators of human trafficking. There is even information about how to report your suspicions to law enforcement and a hotline number to call on the aforementioned website.

What can an average individual do to help combat this pervasive evil of pandemic proportions? There are plenty of things you can do such as write to legislators to see what anti-trafficking efforts are in place in your community, donate monetary support for organizations that fight human trafficking, and even volunteer your time at various supportive establishments. (U.S. Department of State, 2019). You can read about many more ways to fight the good fight in this thorough summary from the U.S. Department of State.

The key factors in all of this are education, awareness, and exposure. Read articles, conduct your own research, uncover the truths, and share your knowledge with others. Some people have no clue how urgent the situation is, but that doesn’t make it any less urgent. Teach your children about good old stranger danger. Have those difficult talks with school-aged children who are vulnerable and often the targets of traffickers. Please keep track of your children. Ask questions, demand the info about who they’re with and what they’ll be doing, always be on the lookout, prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and by any means necessary monitor their social media interactions. Keep those babies safe.

 

References:

Homeland Security (2019). “Indicators of Human Trafficking”. 

National Institute of Justice (2019). “Overview of Human Trafficking and NIJ’s Role”.

U.S. Department of State (2019). “15 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking”.

 

 

Dizzy Spell

Posted in Uncategorized on September 23, 2019 by Chanda Marie

2019 is almost over. Where has all this time gone? I have been enveloped in a cocoon of monotony waiting for an emerging that never happened. Where did I go so wrong?  I often feel like I have failed myself on so many levels. Where is my heart, mind, body, soul, and spirit? I don’t think any of it is where it should be. There is so much more potential that I could live up to. That all sounds great, but I don’t even know where to start. I look around and I wonder where they started.  Was it an enlightened awakening out of the blue one bright, sunny morning? Was it a rebirth in the darkest hours of a lonely night? Maybe the epiphany came while attending church on a crisp Sunday morning. Maybe it happened in front of the laptop while typing about a dismal existence.

I could type and type forever and still, my head would be full of jumbled chatter. There is so much to say; substantial things full of ideas, creative notions, stories, wit, humor, and life. They are locked so far in I barely have access. It takes a restless night and a dizzy spell to shake things down to my fingertips so the keys can click, click, clack with the joy of release.

One day I’m going to write something great. The words will dance off the page to melodies sweet and soothing. The story will unfold in living color right before your eyes. It will be an amazing celebration of the life given to expression. Until then I will continue to search for my heart, mind, body, soul, and spirit. I will yearn for a transformation that may be eternities yet to come. Keeping hope alive is food for the soul. It digs in for leverage and never stops urging you forward. To infinite words, and beyond.

Chasing Slumber

Posted in Uncategorized on January 18, 2018 by Chanda Marie

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Sleep.  Who doesn’t love to close their eyes and drift off to dreamland?  Imagine your eyes are heavy, you yawn, your body craves the comfort of that extra soft blanket, and you can almost feel yourself snuggling right in.  Fluff those pillows, lay your head gently down and welcome the escape.  The scent of fresh linens surrounds you, the crisp cool sheets are perfectly tucked without a wrinkle in sight, and you almost float your body down on to that pillow top mattress.  Sleep is indeed magical and necessary.

When I imagine people who are sleep deprived, I think of new parents, nurses, firefighters, paramedics, social workers, and anyone who works third shift.  I’m sure they appreciate every wink they get once they drift off, or pass out, whichever is more suitable.  You would think I was the most sleep deprived individual on the planet, in comparison to those noble professions.  Now you’re wondering what job does she have then?????  Many, just like you. Everyone has numerous “jobs” they perform in a day, and often change hats as they transition through each one; mother, father, son, daughter, sibling, friend, employee, chef, chauffeur, counselor, tutor, maid, and the list could go on and on.  If my children are away I could easily sleep 12 to 14 hours in a day.

I venture into the world of slumber as often as possible because there is no stress. I can be something or someone spectacular in my dreams, or I can be nothing at all; formless, motionless, being-less.  There is an endless realm of possibilities behind closed eyes, as circadian rhythms lull you to an unattainable bliss. It is a jolt of reality when I open my eyes to a new existence.  Often I am disappointed, and sigh that my treasure has been ripped away in such a heartless manner.  It is devastating.  The only place I find safety, the cocoon within which I fight to remain, my dark place, a hideout on the worst of days, guaranteed isolation, freedom to just BE, and sometimes finally a place where I have purpose.

I covet sleep because it imitates death.

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The Ride of my Life

Posted in Uncategorized on November 19, 2017 by Chanda Marie

Have you ever been on a roller-coaster? The steep, slow climb to the top. click…click…clack…click…click…clack… Your heart pounds, begins to pump harder, and sweat puddles in your palms.  Your breathing becomes shallow as your body tenses, knowing you are nearing the pinnacle…click…click…clack…knuckles white…the circulation slows because of your death grip to hold on.  Panic roots itself in your heart and your eyes dart around trying to find a familiar face who will validate your fear.  No one’s expression mimics yours.  Do they know the danger? Why are they smiling, laughing, waving, and anticipating the drop, with not a care in the world?

The front car reaches the top and the click…click…clack…has ceased, leaving an eerie silence for a split second before the whole world plunges to the ground; your stomach relocating to your throat. Your eyes water, your scream is so shrill it doesn’t even register to anyone’s ears. You are desperately fighting natural forces that are sucking you out of your seat and then slamming you forward, sideways, and back into your seat.  Your hands are slipping and you’re sure you’re going to vomit.  Choking back the bile that has risen into your mouth, you swallow hard and close your eyes.  When does this end? The thought races through your hazy brain and becomes lost in the chaos there.

Upside down the car flips, over and over, and you astonishingly avoid being flung from your seat to the unforgiving concrete 500 ft. below.  You have all but stopped breathing, holding your breath at every violent twist and turn.  You become lightheaded, dizzy, and then nausea and vertigo set in.  The car suddenly begins to screech to a halt and eases into a parked position.  You resemble the likes of a flower in the hot water wash cycle; nearly destroyed and unrecognizable.  You look around in a daze and see everyone lifting their harnesses and unfastening their seat belts. People are hurrying out to carry on with their lives.  Do they not realize what just happened? Are they not at all shook up, concerned about the calamity this could have become?

I’m the only one in hysterics, here.  I see the backs of people simply walking away. I try to get out of the car but I’m unsuccessful at every attempt.  How can this be?  I feel around and to my horror, realize I have no restraints holding my body into the car; no harness, no seat belt. What kept me from falling?  My firm grasp on anything tangible, desperation, strength, determination, faith? all of the above.  While I’m fighting to get out with zero progress, the car lurches forward and I am thrown backwards. The familiar, frightening click…click…clack…click…click…clack begins again as the coaster creeps up the incline.  I am spent and weary. I know what the next ride will entail; a fight for my life; a fight to remain.  I know now that I will forever have a front row seat on this dangerous, tumultuous ride.  Death and destruction will taunt me at every turn.  I could let go.  Will I?

 

rollercoaster

I do not own this image. No copyright infringement intended. image borrowed from http://www.wallpapercave.com

 

 

Check Yourself

Posted in Uncategorized on May 27, 2016 by Chanda Marie

There is a raw truth we must all face at some point in our lives.  That truth may come at any time, but it is particularly poignant after we have wronged someone. It is critical to self-evaluate  for selfishness, arrogance, pettiness, mood swings, resistance to change, resentment, and uncompromising and unforgiving ways.  I try to remain cognizant and ask myself questions such as the following:

  • Have I ACTIVELY listened to the person with whom I have turmoil? We can often listen and not actually hear what another person is saying.
  • Did I dismiss their emotions in some way?  The worst experience is to have someone make you feel as though your reaction to their hurtful ways is invalid.
  • I try to think about my actions and determine if I have harmed someone. Often we can harm others in ways that are emotionally scarring.
  • Have I taken accountability for my actions?
  • Do I blame others for things that are actually MY responsibility?
  • Is there a way that I can make amends to someone that I have wronged? Sometimes offering a genuine apology can start the healing process.

Today, I start with me; from me to YOU.  I have hurt others by word or deed.  I may have said or done things, unintentional as it may have been, that were harmful to others.  The point is that it was harmful, not necessarily whether there was ill intention behind it.  I know I have lived a life of hurt and in those trying times I have lashed out at those around me, particularly the closest to my heart.

I SINCERELY APOLOGIZE FOR HURTING YOU. I AM SORRY FOR UNKIND WORDS, DISPLACED BLAME, ISOLATION, STUBBORN WAYS, ANGER, AN UNFORGIVING SPIRIT, TALKING INSTEAD OF LISTENING, ALWAYS NEEDING TO BE RIGHT, AND ALL THE STRESS THAT THESE THINGS CAUSED YOU.

I pray that God will help me change my path to live better, love better, and treat others as I want them to treat me.  I pray for a more compassionate heart that will allow me to view things from other perspectives. I pray for understanding, a tongue that is tamed by GOD Himself, and patience.  I pray you’ll forgive me. I pray I forgive myself.

This blog post was inspired by a candid and heartfelt conversation with my favorite author, Nikki Michelle; not only a gifted writer, but a true and very wise friend.

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Sorry Ass Daddy

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2016 by Chanda Marie
Something I saw tonight prompted me to share this old poem I wrote around 2004; roughly 12 years ago. I learned a few years ago that my father died. I wasn’t sad. I was angry. I had questions and the answers went to his grave with him.  You don’t miss what you’ve never had. You miss an idea of what you could have had. It is what it is at this point. There’s a story that goes along with my father’s death that really made me feel some type of way, but I’ll share that with you some other time. Tonight, just the poem….
A Letter To My Father

HOW IS YOUR OWN FLESH AND BLOOD A BURDEN TO YOU?

DON’T CARE IF I LIVE, EAT, OR DIE, OR EVEN HAVE SHOES?

 HOW DID YOU EVER CLOSE BOTH YOUR EYES

AND SLEEP SO AT PEACE UNDER BABY BLUE SKIES?

WHEN YOUR DAUGHTER, YOUR FIRST BORN

WAS LONG LOST, ABANDONED

NO DADDY TO HOLD HER

AND EXPLAIN WHAT JUST HAPPENED

WHY’D YOU DRINK ALL THAT POISON?

AND RAGE LIKE A MONSTER?

YOU WERE JUST SUPPOSED TO LOVE ME

AND BE MY DAMN FATHER

BUT YOU BLEW THAT, YOU KNEW THAT

YOU BEAT ON MY MOTHER

LOST MY LIL BROTHER

YOU BEAT HER SO BAD

SHE STILL AIN’T RECOVERED

THEN YOU RUN AND TAKE COVER, BURDEN ANOTHER

SO YOUR ASS WON’T SUFFER, WHILE YOUR KID’S IN THE GUTTER

YOU A SORRY ASS COWARD

A PUNK MUTHAFUCKA

WELFARE AND FOOD STAMPS

I NEVER HAD SHIT

I BLAME IT ON YOU CUZ YOUR TIRED ASS QUIT

POOR, TEASED AT SCHOOL, USED TO CRY EVERY DAY

I HATED MY LIFE, SO ASHAMED JUST TO WAKE

I WAS RAPED OF MY INNOCENCE, DROWNED IN THE IGNORANCE

FILLED UP WITH BITTERNESS

AND NOW I’M A HATEFUL BITCH

I GOT A SON YOU’LL NEVER SEE, A DAUGHTER ALMOST 3

AND YOU AIN’T EVEN GOT THE BALLS TO CARE

IF FLESH AND BLOOD STILL BREATHES

MY KIDS AIN’T GOT NO FATHERS

THEY WALKED OUT ON BABIES TOO

I’M NOT ONE BIT SURPRISED THOUGH

I LEARNED THAT COWARD SHIT FROM YOU

Chanda Marie @ Untamable Productions

Copyright 10.01.04

(I do not own this image; borrowed from http://www.zcool.com.cn)

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Painting with Words

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2016 by Chanda Marie

Finally outside!! I inhaled deep and let the fresh, crisp air inflate my lungs. Fragrant flowers with invigorating perfumes calm me. Bright, refreshing sunshine and the vibrant colors of nature give my senses the opportunity to be free.  You can almost feel yourself there with me, can’t you? Close your eyes, imagine the warmth, and accept the promise that summer will soon arrive.

It was so gorgeous outside that I took my camera out and snapped a few shots. They are beautiful! I did some editing and I can’t wait to share them with you at the end of this post.

I talked to a friend into the wee hours of the morning, recently.  She encouraged me to continue with my writing and to consider writing a book. How flattering for someone to believe in you and your potential to successfully undertake such a feat.  I am humbled.  I am also considering the possibility.  Anyone that has ever known me on a personal level knows that writing has always been my first love. I began writing poetry as early as age 9. I was blessed with a publishing opportunity in 8th grade.  It was one poem, selected for The Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans.  It reinforced my love of words, though, and the belief in myself that other people could love MY words.

Words have always been close to my heart. The nuances of language excite me! Semantics, context, grammar, spelling, stories, poetry, spoken word, journaling on my art work, reading, the art of painting with words, wit, humor, sarcasm, puns, limericks, onomatopoeias, acronyms, lyrics set to song, foreign languages, and even the art of penmanship are absolutely amazing!

WORDS. ARE. LIFE.

They can dance on a page and stimulate your brain.  They can tease the most repressed memories from intricate hiding spots.  Words can waltz with your soul, causing a long forgotten smile to kiss your lips.  Think of a lover who whispers coveted syllables in your ear.  Those sounds are chained together with meaning, with love, with pieces of their own spirit.  They move you.

Think of a child, heartbroken and sad; a frown on their precious little face.  Words of encouragement can bring light to their darkness.  A dose of humor can dry their tears.  You can change their perspective with some carefully chosen, genuine words of love and wisdom. A changed perspective is often all that is necessary for a changed life.

Here is a poem I wrote, about WORDS, many years ago:

WORDS 10/22/04

SILENCE RINGS IN MY EARS AND STINGS MY EYES

LINES LAUGH AT ME FROM THE COMFORT OF THEIR BLANK PAGE

STOP LAUGHING! I WILL MURDER YOU WITH A WEAPON NEVER FOUND

NO FORENSICS ON THE GROUND

YOUR INVESTIGATION’S BEEN CLOWNED

SO WHO’S LAUGHING NOW?

SLAY YOU WITH THE FIERCE FURY OF TALENT UNLEASHED

AS A BEAST RIPS THE FLESH OF HER FEAST

YOU CAN’T FOLLOW, FIND ME, TAKE FOOTSTEPS BEHIND ME

OR EVEN SUCCEED WHEN YOU TRY TO DEFINE ME

SLOW DEATH YOU ENDURE AND YOU’RE NOT REALLY SURE

IF I’M TAINTED OR PURE

BUT ONE FACT FOR CERTAIN YOUR SOUL’S BEEN LEFT HURTIN’

WOUNDED AND WEARY. YOU’VE GOT WHAT ANSWERS? WHAT FALLIBLE THEORY?

HAUNTED AND HATEFUL THEY’LL DRAW THE FIRST BLOOD

THEN WHAT’LL YOU DO? YOU’LL DROWN IN THE FLOOD

OF VIVID DEMISE AND DON’T DARE CLOSE YOUR EYES…

THE IMAGES SUPPLEMENT HARBORED INTENT

AND WON’T BE CONTENT TILL YOU’RE RAPED BY TORMENT

SURRENDER IS FINAL AND STRUGGLE ALL CEASES

YOUR HEART HAS BEEN RAVAGED , RELENTLESS DISEASES

I SWORE, TO STOP LAUGHING, HEED NOT MY WARNING

BUT HELL HATH NO FURY , CREATION CAME STORMING

Chanda Marie Carte’ @ Untamable Productions  copyright 10/22/04

 

What about the ugly words? Yes, those are equally powerful.  Negative words are dangerous blades with the ability to destroy someone from the inside out. Shame, slander, defamation of character, embarrassment, and all those evil lies almost always do irreparable harm. People never forget the trauma that a whirlwind of ugly words creates.  Hateful, hurtful, degrading words break spirits. They are the equivalent of a natural disaster in an individual’s body, mind, and spirit. Hate affects people on a cellular level.  Hate is a toxin that gets injected straight to the heart.  It claims lives.

I love words and I also struggle with keeping all mine positive, life affirming, encouraging, powerful, and loving. I’m human. We all struggle to do the right thing, say the right words, be politically correct, spare the feelings of others, foster healthy relationships, and put our most balanced foot forward.

In the midst of all our good intentions and great efforts there are emotions, frustration, mental health issues, family drama, unexpected circumstances, shock, trauma, physical pain, disease, financial distress, death, and tragedy.  LIFE. HAPPENS.  People act and react. Forgive yourself when you’re not perfect, and move on. The most important thing anyone can do daily is be self aware, remain cognizant of the power in your words, and make a concerted effort to keep that power positive.

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