I remember my very first anxiety attack. It came out of nowhere. I was lying on the couch watching a movie with my now ex-husband. I felt fine, and then I suddenly lost my breath and began to cry hard, with body shaking, choking sobs. I felt panicked and afraid. I cried so hard that I could barely breathe, let alone talk to explain to my panic stricken husband who was staring at me with shock in his eyes what was suddenly wrong. And the truth is, I didn’t know what was wrong. I didn’t know why I was suddenly terrified and sobbing uncontrollably. I didn’t know where it came from. I didn’t even know yet what it was and that there was a name for it. Now, 14 years later, out of the blue, they’re back.
I’m dealing with some incredible stress right now. I’m not talking I got a flat tire on my way to work kind of stress. I’m talking I don’t know how my entire life is going to work right now kind of stress. The other day, as I was trying to get ready to go run some errands, I was having a difficult time getting dressed. I have recently lost a lot of weight and while that’s great in many ways, it makes getting dressed frustrating. As I searched through my closet seeking something casual, yet put together, I began to get upset. I put on the first pair of jeans and a tight tee and then decided I didn’t like how the jeans looked. I put on a second pair of jeans that somehow was baggy in the stomach and still was tight in the waist. As I looked in the mirror, I knew I needed to change the shirt now as I clearly had a “muffin top” going on and the shirt was too tight. In the middle of all of this, I was getting upset at the idea of feeling frumpy and looking unkempt. I worried that if I went to the store in my small town and was seen looking less than put together in combination with my dramatic weight loss and the skin condition I’ve been battling from working almost 60 hours a week in the sun, that people would make assumptions that I was on drugs. I was overthinking and worrying over nothing, but in that moment, it felt like a big deal, and I was upset.
As I sat on the foot of my bed thinking about the clothing problem, feeling uncomfortable in my clothing (a big deal for those with sensory issues) and starting to tear up, I began to feel a familiar feeling of panic rising in my chest. And just like that, seconds after recognizing the feeling, the tears began to pour and choking sobs began. Panic took over and the world felt like it was ending. I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t control it. I knew I just had to ride it out. After a few minutes of intense crying and shaking, I could feel that I was over the worst part of it. I was upset and hot. I stood up and stripped off the clothes that I knew contributed to how uncomfortable I felt. Kicking them onto the floor and climbing back on the bed, I laid there and let the rest of it out knowing intellectually that it would feel better soon, but not truly feeling it yet.
When it was over and I had more control again, I thought about how it had been more than 10 years since I’d had an anxiety attack. Calm tears rolled down my hot cheeks now over the feeling of grief over the fact that I was staring my past problem in its ugly face. I thought that I would never have to face a panic attack again. Yet, here I am, stressed to the max, crying every day, wondering how I’m going to get through, and battling demons I never wanted to be familiar with in the first place. My old friend, panic, I have not missed you.
I didn’t start to truly understand the importance of friendship between women until I was in my 30’s. When I was younger, I always said it was easier being friends with guys, citing reasons like drama and backstabbing. As I have gotten older though, I have realized the incredible power in women supporting women. There are going to be people who aren’t genuine and don’t have your back in life, male or female, and the relationships between women are powerful. This is especially true for mom friends.
I’ve been meaning to write this blog for months. A few months back, in a moment of anger and frustration, I made a personal post on social media expressing frustration over women that have much support and even a partner that is currently out of town/state complaining about being single mothers. I said their feelings weren’t valid. I said they weren’t single moms and didn’t deserve to put themselves in the same category as moms like me who are without any support from a partner or my children’s father, financially or otherwise. In that moment of frustration over my personal life, and even jealousy, I did exactly the opposite of what I preach about women supporting women. I was tearing women down. As you can imagine, the post blew up with comments from all sides. I eventually had to delete it, but even once deleted, I couldn’t take back the negativity I had put out into the world. I couldn’t take back where I had taken frustration from my own struggles and used it as a way to put down other women. This behavior is normally out of character for me, but that night, I put ugliness out into the world. I was incredibly embarrassed, and I deeply regretted putting anyone down.
I talk often about women lifting up other women because it is incredibly important to me. As I’ve gone through hard moments in life, I’ve had the most uplifting words, advice, and acts of service from other women. This is often true of women that are older, more wise, and more experienced. They have been there. They have struggled. They have felt alone. So they know the best ways to help and reach out to younger women.
I recently sat at the dining room table with my very best friend, and as we were surrounded by rowdy kids, a naked toddler, and a fussy nursing baby, we discussed being moms and the support we really need. We are in very different seasons of motherhood and have very different lives. I am a single working mother, and my kids are now teenagers. She has 5 little ones ages 10 and under, is a (wonderful) stay at home mother that homeschools, and does whatever she can to help support her hardworking husband. I had children much younger than she did, and we discussed the ways that mothers need help regardless of age, number of children, and marital/relationship status. We talked about the saying, it takes a village to raise a child, and how much truth that holds.
While some mamas have mothers and sisters that provide loving support, there are many mamas out there without that support. There is a lot of pressure on us in today’s society to be super women…to be able to handle parenting, have well-behaved, clean, happy children, work, survive on sleep deprivation, keep clean houses, take care of ourselves, keep in shape, please our men, be desirable, and still be social–all without support from anyone else. Well, you know what? I’m telling you that’s a load of crap. For one, it’s impossible to do and be all of those things all the time. For two, we weren’t meant to have so much on our plates without help from others. In American culture, there’s become an intense pressure surrounding being mothers and stretching ourselves thin and the more on our plates the better, like it’s the fashionable thing to do. Women post on social media about all that they are accomplishing or all that they have to do and take care of, and then other women compare themselves and see all of their flaws and ways that they are falling short. Stop this! When you are comparing yourself to the mom that seems to have it so much more together than you, you forget that you are comparing that mom’s highlight reel to your lowest moments. The mom speaking on social media about where she is doing great in one area isn’t talking about where she is falling short in another area. We are ALL struggling in one way or another, but most of us aren’t willing to post about it. We talk about long hours at work or the amazing dinner we are cooking, but we don’t talk about how there’s been dishes sitting dirty on the counter for 3 days, or the same load of laundry in the washer that’s been washed who knows how many times because we keep forgetting to throw it in the dryer, or how we can’t remember the last time we’ve had sex with our life partner because exhaustion makes sleep more important than intimacy for weeks and even months at a time.
Now, I am not saying we should all post all of our ugly mommy moments on social media, or that we should not talk about our good and strong moments either. What I am saying is that moms need to stick together. Be real with your good girlfriends. Talk openly and honestly about your struggles because chances are, they can relate and have their own struggles they want to talk to you about. We all need loving support. We all need good friends we can tell about how we had a moment where we were so angry with our children, we wanted to physically hurt them, or how we lost it and screamed so loud that we fear the neighbor might question our parenting skills, or how we have worn the same pajamas and unbrushed messy bun for 2 days in a row and skipped a shower in favor of 15 more minutes of sleep and bathed with a baby wipe. Have you let your preschooler watch some obnoxious kids’ TV show for far too long just to have some peace for a while? Have you fed your kids McDonald’s for dinner 3 nights this week because you’re worn out? Have you let your 5 year old go to bed in his favorite new rubber boots because you just didn’t have the fight in you to battle making him take them off? Have you thrown out Tupperware that sat too long in the fridge because it’s just easier to buy more than to wash out last week’s molded spaghetti? This and so much more… guess what? We have all been there. There’s so much mommy shaming though that we don’t feel safe to acknowledge these hard moments.
So this is what I would like for you to do:
- Be real and honest with your friends. Be the example they need. You just might inspire that for them, which then inspires it for others, and so on. Let’s put an end to the judgmental mommy shaming. Also, ask for help when you need it. There is no shame in that.
- Stop comparing yourself to others on social media. Remember that you are only seeing a tiny snippet of what others are saying and then comparing your worst moments to these great moments that make it online. Allow yourself to be real on social media as well. Don’t pretend life is perfect when it is not. It is okay to say you’re stretched thin, tired, and overwhelmed.
- Be there in practical ways for other moms that need it. Do you have a mom friend that just had a new baby or is just struggling in general? Show up with dinner for the whole family, and maybe even a bottle of wine. Go over and do the dishes or fold the mountain of clean laundry that’s become a living room couch decoration. Pick up the kids and take them to the park to give mama some time to just breathe. Offer to babysit for a date night, or better yet, if you can afford the splurge, offer to babysit AND buy a gift card for your favorite restaurant for the couple. Just be there in the ways you would like someone to be there for yourself.
- When you find yourself getting ready to mommy shame others, stop yourself and try to put yourself in the other mom’s shoes. We all fail at times, and we all make mistakes. Spread love and kindness instead.
- Share this blog with your mom friends. We all need a reminder that our real, messy, true lives are normal and understood.
I know this one was on the long side, but I’ve been holding it all in for so long that I had to share it all. To the moms that I offended and hurt that night with my angry rant, I am sorry. I pride myself on being the kind of person that will freely admit when I’m wrong, and I was really wrong that night. I hope you can forgive me.
Stick together, mamas. We are each other’s village.
My life lately has been rapidly changing, and I know I’ve mentioned this several times, but that’s because of how incredible all of this change has been. One hurt started it all in motion, and with the snowball effect, there’s suddenly rapid change in all areas. Not only have I realized that I need to be focused solely on my kids, God, and my health–mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, but I’ve had many realizations and change in my behavior and choices.
I’m not looking to date and realize that I need to be alone right now. I need to clean up my life first so that I’m able to truly bless my future partner in the ways I’m wanting him to bless me. I know that I’m a prize, but I’m not ready to be the wife I know I can and should be yet, and until I know I can, I’m determined to keep focusing on me and reaching out to God in my loneliness instead of casual relationships that only make the void feel bigger. I’m not just not looking to seriously date, but I am intentionally living a celibate life. This is necessary to keep my focus where it should be.
I’m going to church every Sunday and bible study every Thursday because I need to grow out of the baby Christian stage I’ve been in my entire life. I’m wanting to grow in my knowledge of the word and grow in my spiritual gifts. I’m watching what I’m allowing into my heart with television and music because of this too. One day, I was leaving work in a great mood and got into my car to drive home. I turned on music and a sad, angry song came on. I suddenly was filled with sadness and anger at the people that have recently hurt me. It made me want to lash out. I realized though that it was the song that made me feel that way, so I kept my behavior in check and decided not to allow those emotions to bog me down. Soon after, I had thought about how I had my church class that night and was suddenly filled with love and hope. Man, how powerful it is to realize that outside influences had that much control over me and that I could control what I allowed those influences to be! This reaffirmed for me that I need to be mindful of what I allow into me.
In all of this, I’m also learning better life coping habits too. I’m reading my bible more. I’m praying over and over every day. I’m writing more and setting new goals with that. I’ve cut out the connections to others that I would previously reach out to in my need for attention and am reaching out to God and other Christians instead. I’m unwilling to waste time talking with others in a way that is not only meaningless but also those that can take me down the wrong path. I’m focusing on my self-care physically right now just as much as spiritually. I’m being loving with myself, making sure to get my water consumption in, tracking my physical activity and making new goals, and watching what I eat and drink. On top of all of this, I’ve stopped drinking alcohol.
I have gotten into the habit of using alcohol to cope with stress and pain. As life has been harder lately though, I had realized that I was drinking more and I didn’t really like the person I was becoming with it. While I’m trying to take much better care of myself than ever before, I don’t want to add the poison of alcohol to my body. I’m not saying I’m never going to have another drink again, but I need to reset. I need to go back to healthy coping mechanisms and not drink out of habit. My body deserves to be treated better than I’ve treated it before, and naturally, with all of these other changes, it just makes sense to commit to zero alcohol.
I am headed to great places. I’m learning so many life lessons. I want to become strong in my faith and knowledge and want to live a life that allows for me to be a good role model to my children and to others. My ultimate goal is to become an author of books meant to speak hope into others’ lives. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and how I don’t have to stop there. I can figure out a way to reach out and minister and speak to others. The possibilities are endless, and in order to reach those goals, I have to keep up with all that I’m doing now.
I am inspired! I am happy and full of hope. I know that I’m on the right path now, and while I wish I could have pulled it all together before, I take comfort in knowing it’s never too late. I’m so very thankful to be on this new journey because I know it’s going to change my entire life.
My new favorite song. If God can reach me in the middle of a life filled with ugliness, casual sex, booze and bar hopping, and various other ways I was rebelling and running, He can reach you too. ❤
I was having a discussion today with a friend about dating. While I was getting ready to talk about something I’m excited about in life right now, I said, “Guess what?!” He responded with, “You met someone?!” I laughed at this because it seemed like such an absurd concept to me right now. Then I realized what an accomplishment that feeling is!
I’ve talked about being a serial dater in blogs in my past, but it’s something I’ve strayed away from in the last several years. I’ve done better with taking longer breaks between relationships, and this is a good thing. What is new though is that I’m suddenly truly not focused on that desire to be with someone at all. There are things in my life that I want to accomplish first. So when my friend guessed that I had met someone, I realized that I’m not hoping for that to happen. I told him that I actually WANT some time this time. I’m truly focused on God, on myself, on my writing, and on my kids. I want to get more of my life in order, everything from growing in God, to finances being more straightened out, to increasingly better self-care (I’ve lost 35 pounds since August). I’m busy falling in love with myself all over again. I told my friend that I want to have things so together that when I do meet someone new, I want him to say to himself, “Gosh, this chick has her life so together and is on fire for God. I NEED to make her mine.” I need to be a catch. I don’t want there to be a single ounce of desperation about me. I want to be good all on my own, because eventually when I am dating again, it’s not just for fun. I am looking for and deserving of a husband. That desperation in my past has allowed me to be prey for men that are not good and don’t have the same values, and I’m finally done repeating my past. During conversations with two others recently, I had to admit that I’ve been so heartbroken and hurt for so long, that I have no choice but to to recognize that my own choices are allowing this. It’s time for a completely new game plan.
My self-esteem these days has already soared higher than it’s ever been. I’ve been doing things the “right” way; I’ve been going to church, diving into the Word, taking care of my body, being more present with my children, and more. I refuse to be an easy target again for the weak that hunt the wounded. Realizing today that I don’t just not have my hopes up, but that I actually desire time to heal and work on me is an incredible, monumental, and pivotal moment in my life. I recently said on Facebook that right now appears to be the first time I have ever been succeeding in my struggles instead of succumbing to them. Today was yet another reminder of this.
I feel true happiness right now. I have set new goals and a plan to obtain them. I am feeding my soul and not just my body. I am a prize, and someday in the future, there’s going to be a man so happy to “win” me.
I’ve recently started talking about coming back to God. After spending the last year in some pretty hardcore rebellion, it was a big deal to not just turn back to Him, but to do so with such earnest effort. I have given myself over to Him and my entire life is up in the air with change right now because of it.
One deciding factor in my decision was the need for His comfort. My entire adult life, I have carried around grief, shame, guilt, and heartache. I have been through domestic violence abuse, the death of a child, drug abuse, sexual assault, and so much more. I have carried layers of pain with me through it all. Going back to church, I’ve been like an onion. Each Sunday that I walk through those doors, layers of all of those bad things peel off. Each Sunday, I cry tears of relief and joy. I serve a mighty Savior that says I don’t need to carry any of that stuff anymore. By his blood, I am redeemed. Redemption! What a mighty concept!!
While I’ve been attending church every Sunday, I’ve also been going to a church class every Thursday night. This is a first for me. I’ve never before tried so hard to immerse myself in church and with other Christians. For the first time in my life, I’m finally adjusting my personal choices to follow Christ. I’m finally acutely aware of my choices in music, television, social interactions, and more. I want nothing more than to follow Him, fall in love with Him, get deep into His word, and become close with His people. My entire life depends on it.
Well, I recently told a couple friends that I felt like righting my walk with God is going to allow some major blessings to fall together in my life. I have some big goals, and I have a major sense of peace that He is going to allow those things to happen now. But…it gets better. Get this…
I was at my class on Thursday, which opens with first prayer and then we stand to sing a worship song together. Randomly, at the beginning of the song, I felt like God was telling me out of the blue, “Focus on me, and I will give you the deepest desires of your heart.” I was startled as I’m not one to frequently claim that I feel God talking to me, but I knew the word was from Him. You see, there are two big things that matter to me. These things matter so much that if you know me personally, you know them.
One thing that I deeply desire is a life partner. I don’t just desire someone to share affection or dates with, but I desire a husband. I desire a deep love and an entire life together of partnership, love, affection, adoration, support, humor, and so much more. I was born a lover, and I believe this is from Him. It is a desire deeply ingrained in me, and I believe it is that way for a reason. I also believe there is a reason that nothing before has panned out, because I was not walking with God, and I was not conducting my life in a manner to attract someone I truly deserve–a loving, God fearing, Christ worshiping, manly man. I deserve so much more than I have EVER settled for in the past. I believe that God has the perfect man in store for me, and I just need to be living the life that He wants and focused on God for me to find him.
The second and probably equal thing that I desire so deeply is to start writing books. I truly believe that I have a natural gift and talent for writing, and even when I have strayed from God, I have felt that my gift has always been meant to bring glory to Him. I have always felt that I am meant to reach out and speak hope and love into the lives of women that feel broken in life by the ways I have felt broken, and what better way to speak hope than to have my own personal testimony of brokenness healed by Him?! I have tried to start my first book so many times over the years and have always hit a wall. A few years ago, I finally accepted that this was because of the reasons I just stated, but I selfishly stayed where I was anyway. This is about to change–I declare it in the Lord’s name!
So with this newfound encouragement, with this new peace from Him and my church, I intend to press forward. I am going to keep cleaning up my life, I am going to keep focusing on the Lord, and I am going to dig deeper into the relationships that I should have with God and others and have faith that I am well on my way to life changing events in His time. I know I am going to have these things like my lungs know how to breathe. I don’t have to worry anymore. I am redeemed, and in that, I am blessed. Praise God!
“Are we soulmates?” He asked late one night during one of our many deep conversations where we connected heart to heart. I felt my body flush with emotion. I was so happy to have met someone that seemed so much like me. I was filled with so much hope. He was sweet and kind, he read every blog I wrote and told me when he read Dear Future Lover that it was going to make him fall for me. I felt safe to be me. I felt we were kindred spirits.
Over the months of our connection, we progressed in our intimacy. We agreed at the beginning that we were just feeling things out. I was fresh out of a breakup, but that was nothing compared to him being fresh out of a marriage with a woman he’d been with for 17 years. We connected so easily and so quickly though, that even while guarded, I allowed it and had hope. I thought we were moving slowly. We went from having a drink together to sleepovers and coffee in the mornings on the weekends. We talked every day all day. We saw each other every single weekend for months. We spent the holidays together; he came to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner, I cooked Christmas dinner at his house, and we went out together on New Year’s Eve. We took dozens of photos together, went grocery shopping together, and appeared in public as if we were a couple. While I knew that we were not a couple, I believed heart and soul that we were on our way there.
Before I knew it, I was in love with him. I woke up the day after Thanksgiving knowing it and cried out of fear and just from overwhelming emotion. I’ve written over and over here about my tender heart, how I am lover, a nurturer by nature, and ruled by my emotions. My heart is never that much of a secret. I tried to hold it all in anyway though because I didn’t want to scare him away. I knew that he wasn’t where I was at, and I wanted to give him time. So much pointed to that happening, so I swallowed my love, over and over…until it began to choke the life out of me.
You see, we had a few times where he told me that we were just friends. I am guilty of ignoring that, but he made it so easy to ignore. His words on the subject were so few and far between, and no matter the few times that he told me that, all of his actions pointed to the opposite. There were times I asked for clarity, asked for him to tell me if there was no hope…he would say that we would talk, he would come over, I would cook dinner for him, we would have drinks, and then no talk would happen. We were caught up in feeling happy, in enjoying each other’s company, and the night would end with us in a loving embrace. I knew he was scared, I knew he was confused, and I assumed by reading his actions that it would all be okay. And it was…until it wasn’t.
I felt him pulling away and getting more distant. I ignored it. He was still seeing me every weekend and talking to me every day, so that meant we were okay, right? Wrong. I’ve said many times that I’m the kind of person that you have to just be bluntly honest and tell me what you are thinking because I won’t pick up on hints. This is not entirely true though. One huge problem I’ve realized while contemplating all of this over the last couple of days is that I don’t trust my intuition. I second guess and doubt myself. I lie to myself and tell my own heart that things are fine and I’m overthinking and overreacting. So, when I finally pressed for a real answer while face to face several weeks ago about what we were doing, a big part of me was not shocked to see his face fall when I asked. I knew the answer was not going to be what I wanted. I had spent months in love with a man that a part of me KNEW was using me as a stepping stone woman. His words confirmed my fears.
I couldn’t hold my love inside anymore though. It was eating my heart more and more by the day. I couldn’t handle seeing flirting on Facebook anymore. I couldn’t handle drama that was popping up in his life and where I was beginning to look foolish to others because while I was focused on him, he was very much still acting single in private and people began to assume that we were in a relationship and he was cheating. I had to set my fears aside and face reality. I needed to know where I stood. I couldn’t choke on my love for another day more.
He told me he wasn’t in a place to commit. He was vague. I asked him to just hurt me and tell me there was no hope if there wasn’t any, because we both knew I would just keep hoping without those words. He refused to say that too. I was left without much clarity. I was just as confused as ever, only this time with pain in my heart. We were back to just friends. Only…that didn’t last long either.
*The bigger heartbreak…*
The friendship I so desperately wanted to keep, the friendship I so much cherished appeared to be a farce. So quickly, the contact began to dissipate. The very first weekend after our talk, he was with another woman. It hurt like hell, but I had to be accepting. It was clear we weren’t meant to be lovers. What I was completely unprepared for though was the fallout that was yet to come.
Ignored messages… Read messages going without response… Being unfollowed on Facebook… I suddenly felt like I’d lost my best friend. I was stubborn though and refused to just accept it. As a boundary pusher, I continued to push. My heart was hurting, and there seemed to be more layers of hurt being added by the day. I was accepting of the fact there was no longer a romantic component to our relationship, but I truly thought the connection we had was genuine and worth keeping as just friends. I didn’t just love him in a romantic sense. I truly loved him as my friend. I continued to let the hurt feelings and emotion rule me though, and in true Moonshine Niki stubborn fashion, I continued to push.
When I’m caught up in emotion, when I feel like I have to feel out boundaries instead of being told truths in black and white, I get dramatic. I get intense. I get into a spot where it all feels world-ending. Then, sometimes, I burn bridges just to prevent myself from having to try to feel anything out anymore, to prevent myself from being able to go back to something that is not good. So you can imagine where I’m going here… I pushed about my hurt feelings. I pushed about how I felt we weren’t actually friends. I pushed about how much it hurt my heart to be unfollowed on social media, how I felt he’d completely removed me from his life. I pushed until he snapped at me and blocked me.
I stood staring at my phone in shock. I was hurt, but more than hurt, I was suddenly angry, filled with rage. I thought about all I had invested into our friendship. I thought about all of the ways my feelings were hurt. I thought about how I felt wronged. I cried yet again, and then I took my emotionally drained and exhausted self to bed.
But then, I had an incredible realization the next morning. While I felt wronged in many ways (a list I will not go into here for many reasons, including that I still hold some respect for him), I realized that I played a role in my hurt as well. I chose to ignore the warning signs. I chose to ignore his words telling me that we weren’t more serious than friends. I chose to give my body, and consequently, my heart because the two are very much connected for me to a man that was never committed to me. I chose to believe in the good things, while completely and selfishly disregarding the negative. In my pain and anger, I allowed myself to play the role of the victim and completely take away from my own personal accountability. I realized this is a pattern for myself, and one that has to stop. I can’t always be the victim.
Burning bridges is sometimes empowering. Holding myself accountable though, that’s even more empowering. I am in charge of my choices. I am in charge of what I let in my heart, and I am in charge of what I allow to hurt my heart.
There are positives to all of this too. When this began, I was catapulted into sudden personal growth and life change. When I was busy crying over my broken heart, the heart I had completely given to him, I realized I was pursuing the wrong man and men in general. I need to be pursuing the Lord. All of this made me remember and realize that I need to be more focused on taking loving care of myself so that I can take better care of my family.
Life is tough right now, and I won’t lie, losing my person, losing the friend that was my rock in the middle of an ocean trying to drown me, losing the person I shared my heart and soul with every single day for almost 5 months will hurt for a long time. It’s going to take major time and self-reflection to heal. One thing I know already though is that I’m determined to take on more accountability and stop finger pointing from here on out. It’s time to be more of a grownup.
So while I’ve burned yet another bridge in my life, like the cleansing effect of a wildfire, on this fresh ground, I will now build a new stronger foundation for my future. I have only up to go from here.
PS If you read this, I will miss your friendship, my dear. Thank you for your part in this eye-opening wake-up call that is going to forever change my life. It hurts, but I know there will come a day where I’m so grateful for it all. Good luck in life, my old friend.