Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Is Anyone Out There?

Hi, Again,

It's me - long time no write. To be honest, sometimes it's difficult to know what to write. I know many of you bloggers know what that's like. Sometimes I feel the need to write and other times I feel I ought to write - big difference. I'd rather pen a correspondence when I sense that "everyone must hear about this"-sort-of thing or know that it's being directed to someone specific in need at a specific time in their life that's timely.

I'm curious...about many things...but right now I'm wondering how much this blog actually helps readers, if I have any at all. I want to sincerely be a support for those struggling with eating disorders and the like, but there are stretches where I wonder if anyone is bothering to read my blog. I'm sure there are, because I've heard from a few of you every now and then, but then again - I haven't.

If this helps you in some way, let me know. Are there specific topics related to ED's that you'd like me to address? Granted, I'm not setting myself up as an expert or anything. We all have unique experiences and can't 100% know what it's like to "wear someone else's pants" or experience their pain; however, I have been through a grueling recovery experience that I've learned from and enjoy sharing with others to lend a good feeling or insightful tid bit.

So, if you feel the urge, you know where I am.

Have a great week.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Dark Night of the Soul

Hello Again,

I recently finished reading the book Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris (two teenagers at the time they wrote it). It's a great book that emphasizes the benefits of challenging yourself beyond your comfort zone in all aspects of your life, particularly spiritually. The authors share dozens of anecdotes and examples of how to accept your potential by reaching out in faith to God and allowing Him to use your gifts in everyday situations. Their website is if you're interested.

One of the more difficult experiences of life is pushing myself through moments of stagnation and patterned urges to be lazy or procastinate. It is so tempting to just stay home, say no to altruistic pursuits, ignore my pestering conscience that says "Hey, you WILL reap benefits if you take a little time now and put in the work or take the risk." It doesn't help matters when I accept that my darn conscience is right. There are times when I do well to stay in bed, pull the covers over my head, and hide from life for a while after a hard earned work stretch. Lord knows we all need a rest from time to time to maintain balance to this insanity known as life in these United States.

The problem arises when we want too much rest, not to avoid the work per se, but to avoid the potential pain of failure or hurt feelings that could come from taking a risk. Such is what happens to me more times than I want to admit. It is so easy to take refuge within my own little comfortable routines that keep me chained to things like bad habits or obsessive shame-based thinking. One of the worse times for me was transitioning back to home after being hospitalized for anorexia back in the late 1980s. I had worked reluctantly but diligently to get a good running start into a new healthy lifestyle. My weight was up, though I was feeling suspiciously content with "the number." My exercise obsession was moderately under control. Medication was feeding me a slight boost emotionally. Family and friends were excited to have me home. All was okay and going fine. "I can do this," I kept reminding myself. "A new life awaits. Go for it."

Yet, I felt unstable. My IT "voice" (shame) began honing in on my insecurity like a hawk on its next meal. I felt numb in sorts within the wide-open horizon of "Okay, what's next? Where do I go from here?" To be left on my own two feet after the structured nurturing of the hospital milieu became more than I could handle. It was one of those when-push-came-to-shove moments of outright fear of the unknown. I couldn't control everything that could happen to me, even if it was positive. Shame pounced and began to rip into my warey scruples. Was I making the "right" decision? Was the work all worth it? What would it feel like? Would it hurt? And the ever popular ...but it's just too hard.

The truth is, life is hard. Even if I accept this undaunting reality, it doesn't make it any easier. What helped me through was having a purpose or goal in sight at the end of the journey. Doing my best to consciously set aside my fear, even for a moment, and jump toward a purpose can be rewarding. I truly wanted to be rid of my eating disorder and build a whole new me. I wanted to rest in my personal relationship with Jesus, and have it be one hundred percent genuine, not just making myself appear all put together around others. I needed to accept that doing that hard thing won't be comfortable. It came down to pushing myself beyond the pain and living through it and accepting that it wasn't as bad as my fears made it out to be. That's where the learning came from. But then shame said, "Yeah, yeah, you did it, big deal. Look at how much effort it took. Is that how you want it to be for the rest of your life?"

This is a hard time indeed...making an honest-to-goodness change. But I found I do enjoy the succulent fruit of my labor, too, which helps motivate me to move ahead on my journey. I learned that humbling myself and keeping an open mind to new things can open doors to new parts of myself I never knew existed.

For you, it might mean gathering the courage to talk to a parent about your eating disorder, or curbing a nasty habit that's wearing you down, changing your diet, questioning your motives or beliefs, exploring real life-long goals, cutting down miles of running, or even trusting a therapist with your inner most self. Sometimes you just have to say, "Oh, the heck with it..." and just do it. I found it does get better over time, and sometimes it doesn't. But if it could be charted on a graph the trend is certainly upward. Pretty soon, before you know it, you've floated away from murky waters and closer to healthier shores, still not perfect, still with lots of ongoing work to do. Everyone is always a work in progress, and that's okay. I practice taking refuge under Jesus' forgiveness because I make many mistakes along the way.

It pays to do hard things. Thanks to Alex and Brett Harris for some great words of wisdom.

Till next time,


Monday, June 22, 2009

Feelings Are Normal

Hi, Again,

This is how I feel right now: content, a bit anxious and nervous, hopeful (spiritually), hungry, and happy. These could change in a matter of minutes - if something exciting or drastic invades my life.

Identifying emotions was an exercise I needed to practice regularly when I was going through therapy for my anorexia. Feelings were voodoo to me, and I feared them, particularly any "heavy" ones. I didn't know how they would - for lack of a better word - feel. I was afraid they would be too uncomfortable or that I wouldn't be able to control them. I feared they would take on a life of their own and take me somewhere I didn't want to go. They many times were an invitation for shame ("IT") to have a field day with me. So I avoided them as much as I could.

It took a while to realize and accept that feelings were deceptive, although very real, normal, and okay. I might have felt nervous or anxious about an uncoming event, but nine times out of ten, when all was said and done, the event turned out just fine. I looked back and said "I was nervous and anxious over this?"

I learned that my feelings cater to my thought life. For instance, before I became a genuine follower of Jesus Christ, I had an empty hole in my heart. No matter how much "stuff" I tried to fill it up with, including my ED at the time and being "good enough," I could never seem to fill in that hole. But once I trusted Jesus as my Savior, it filled the void and completed my life in a way that nothing ever did before. Now I approach stressful life situations with a grain of salt, knowing that they won't last and that I'm capable of getting through with Jesus on my side. Emotions may be challenging, they won't destroy me. Emotions are not in charge of my life; they are only a part of my life, like little red flags trying to tell me something, and that's it. Reminding myself of this and of my personal relationship with my God calms me and keeps my emotions manageable, free, and okay.

It seems like a simple thing, identifying feelings - even outloud to yourself. But it goes a long way in helping a person accept them as being part of a normal self and not some invading enemy.

Till next time,


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Pep Talk

It's been awhile, I know...

Sorry for not getting to the blog. Been busy. Aren't we all?

My publisher sent me a "cool" review of Skinny Boy he snagged from the Internet. Hope you enjoy it.

On a different note, I recently received a letter from a college woman who has been battling an ED for a good chunk of her life. I'm sure many of you out there can identify. It seems so, so long sometimes, like obsessive routines and obligations to diet, exercise, please others, pretend to be someone you're not - the list goes on - will never end. Is this all life is?

Of course not. The ED will tell you you're nothing but a pauper to IT. You going to believe the lie? That's what it is.

Here's my reply to that woman...

I wish I had some magic words to enlighten your brain and motivation to make you let go of this obsession. But you and I know it doesn’t work that easily. In order for you to stop obsessing, it will take a conscious effort on your part to make the change become reality. It will mean not only accepting the challenge but accepting that it will not be easy. You will need to expect setbacks and practice being forgiving of yourself. But, you will also experience exciting steps forwards, and gain valuable self-confidence and insights into what works for you and who you are. Stick with this process.

I encourage you to not give up if “it doesn’t work” or “it’s too hard.” These frustrating, defeating, confusing, guilty, shaming, angry feelings are normal. Openly admit that you are feeling them. Accept them as nicks and scratches on this part of your journey. Your shame, that pesky “voice” inside your head, will lie to you and shout how weak you are when a setback happens. Combat this thought with “Yeah, I may feel like a loser and failure, but that doesn’t mean I am one.”

Feelings are deceptive sometimes. They are not always the best indicator of what actually is true. For instance, you could eat a half PB & J sandwich and feel “fat” or bloated or weak. However, the human body was not created or designed to gain weight after eating a half PB & J sandwich. Reality is that it takes 3,500 calories to gain only one pound. It sounds ridiculous but it is reality. Of course, there’s always water weight that fluctuates daily, and hormonal imbalances, and other things that can affect that number on the scale on any given day. But ultimately, “real” weight takes a lot of calories.

Even though it will be hard, I advise you to get rid of your scale. Your obsession over a “the number” will only prevent you from moving forward. What can really help hold you accountable is a trusted friend, similar to a sponsor an alcoholic has for AA meetings. Commit to having them ask you regularly if you’ve weighed yourself. Then, once a week, have the sponsor weigh you backwards on the scale, so only the sponsor sees what you weigh. Or you can choose to not weigh yourself at all. The goal is to get your thinking on a different track, to not equate weight with success or beauty or self-worth.

Physical weight is irrelevant when you are healthy. Start reading books, articles, affirmations, famous quotes, meaningful Bible verses, etc. and filling your mind with information that focuses on gaining beauty and self-worth that is NOT based on weight, physical appearance, performance, or being “perfect.” Write meaningful quotes, verses, thoughts, or whatever on note cards or sticky notes and refer to them regularly throughout the day. Stick them on your bathroom mirror, in your purse, on the dashboard of your car, and wherever else you will see them regularly. Memorize them. Ingrain them in your brain. And most importantly, apply them to your life circumstances. Have your sponsor ask you occasionally if you are following through. When you slip up (notice I said “when” not “if”) verbally admit to yourself that you messed up, do your best to forgive yourself, try to learn something from the setback, then get right back on that horse and try again. Don’t dwell on the failure for a long period of time, but it is okay to feel discouraged and angry and frustrated and hurt for a little while. It’s normal and natural.

The key is not to dwell on your setback day after day. Just accept your feelings for what they are and move on. Your feelings are yours and okay; however, they are simply that – feelings and nothing else. They do not dictate in any way your worth as a person. Try to explore your deepest fears and where they might be coming from. This can help you revisit old experiences, irrational thoughts that came form those experiences, and discovering a new you. Therapy can really help with this, but if this isn’t an option because of time, money, or other things, talking to a trusted friend about these matters can help you gain insights you never thought of before – helpful insights. Explore your life-long goals. What do you really want to do with your life? What would really make you happy? Hone in on specifics of how you would get there then take steps to make it happen. This gives you a mission and something to keep your thoughts away from your ED habits.

Work on building healthy relationships with your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Build a support network to help you through rough times. You’ll need these people, and they will need you. These relationships will help you change and grow and learn about yourself—the good and the bad. They provide a platform for the necessary changes in your life to happen. Doing this consistently will earn you rewards. But it takes work and conscious effort to go against the grain of what your shame is telling you. Keep in mind that your ED thoughts and behaviors are irrational, deceptive, and destructive. You don’t need to think this way. Life can be easier to manage.

Lastly, when you do start “letting go” of your old ED lifestyle, don’t expect a 100% turnaround. You will feel and experience these pleasant changes and growth will be apparent, but there will always be struggles and setbacks. None of us is perfect and “all put together.” We all will continue to have flaws and run the gamut with emotions at times. To expect perfection in healthy living will only disappoint you. I still struggle with shame to a small degree but I no longer harbor an ED. I now have other coping strategies that work for me to deal with stress, mainly my Christian faith, my family, personal interests, career, and giving back to others.

I hope this helps.

Got questions? Send them my way. I'll do my best to share what I have.

Till next time,


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Being "Good Enough"

I was invited to speak last week at Shepard of the Hills Catholic Church in Eden, Wisconsin, a church affiliated with the church I grew up in as a kid. So much has changed since I was an altar boy in the 1980s. Everything is so modern and up-to-date, including a beautiful cavernous new facility with a band section, seating for the entire town, gift shop, coffee shop, and even a new school.

My speech was, of course, about my recovery. It was an honor coming back and seeing old faces, including a couple of my high school classmates I hadn't seen in close to twenty years. Some of my family who had never heard my presentation before were also in attendance, which was quite interesting. It's one thing to speak in front of total strangers about some of the deepest, most private corners of your life. But when your own family is present, it calls for a higher standard. What would they think? What kinds of facial expressions would stare back at me?

To my relief, all went well. I was nervous to say the least, but I was glad to see that my family and hometown was touched and appreciative, which humbled me. They had been so supportive and patient with my personal changes over the years.

Something I didn't plan on speaking about in detail but entered the presentation in more depth from a question in the audience was my spiritual journey. I was hesitant at first. Here I was, speaking to seasoned Catholics, of which I was one many years ago, and now I was about to reveal how I left the Catholic church in favor of a new-found, nondenomination Christian faith.

Set the clock back to the early 1990s. I was fresh off my recovery from anorexia and starting my life back up again in college. I was still living at home and in my early 20s. Life every Sunday for the past 20 years, I went to Catholic mass with my mom and younger brother. My older brother and sister also went, but they had moved out of the house years earlier. My father was Lutheran and went to "his church." We didn't question why very often; it was simply a fact of life.

Then only Sunday morning, I revealed to my mother that I wasn't going to be attending mass and instead would be attending a nondenomination Christian church that my girlfriend (now wife) went to. Obviously, my mom was irate. Looking back now, I can only imagine how difficult this must have been for her. Her own son was defying a value, belief, and tradition so dear to her heart.

As the weeks progressed, I grew stronger in my personal faith. Growing up, I struggled spiritually but never talked about it with anyone. I believed in God, mainly because it was something I felt I had to do because everyone else did. Dozens of "why" questions spun around my brain about the nature of God. And since I was a people pleaser and didn't want to stir up any conflict or argument, I kept my questions bottled up inside me.

My perception of God and Jesus was skewed and sterile. There was very little meaning to life and I often felt like God was a virtual police officer with His arms crossed, a scowl on His face, as he stared down from heaven waving His finger in my direction.

When I met my girlfriend, she introduced me to a church called Community Church, which didn't have pews, priests and altar boys, the same scripted service every week, and where everyone actually sang to God with fervor and joy. Not that everyone in the Catholic church I grew up in practiced their faith with such meaningless routine, but that was how I viewed Sunday mornings through my own eyes. I never returned to the Catholic church and eventually joined Community Church. I also felt ashamed and stressed, like I had just broken the law and would be going to jail soon.

It was also the first time in my life that I openly took a stand and disagreed with my mother on an issue. When I had my ED, I didn't want to bring any type of conflict with anyone. I agreed a lot with people and didn't share my own opinion if it swayed from another person's views. I believed disagreeing openly with others was somehow wrong and disrespectful. After therapy, I learned that it's okay to be myself, ask questions, critically think about an issue, and form my own opinions and beliefs about potential controversion topics. My Christian growth was now a topic I felt strongly about. It felt vibrant and alive. I now enjoyed reading and studying the Bible. There was just something different about Community Church. I felt true grace and mercy for the first time in my life. God was changing me, and I practiced admitting to myself and sharing with others details of my journey.

After much uncomfortable and awkward conversation, my mom slowly began to accept how important my new faith was to me. I felt hurt that I was hurting my mother with leaving the Catholic church, but I was tired of pretending like everything was okay. I eventually accepted that my mother could handle her own feelings and I needed to deal with mine. And this was okay. God still loved and accepted me. My self-worth was now based off what the Bible said about me. It was based off of Jesus' mercy and grace, His death and resurrection for my sin, and not my frail perceptions of myself, pleasing others enough, doing enough good deads, or following enough rules. One of my favorite Bible verses is "...for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing" (Galatians 2:21).

For the longest time, my self-worth was dependent upon how much I pleased others, my athletic accomplishments, my high potential everyone said I possessed, and how much of a "good boy" I could be. "Stupid" mistakes and blatant disagreement was uncalled for. If I went off the path of straight and narrow, an insurmountable shame overwhelmed me.

I'm tired of exerting the tremendous energy it takes to try and be "good enough." To me, it's not worth it anymore. Maintaining my eating disorder took this same incredible energy. Even though it was comfortable in ways, familiar, and conrollable, it caused a great burden and heavy weight every day of my life. I hated it and loved it at the same time. Letting go and practicing a newer healthier lifestyle, with new thinking patterns and routines, takes continuous effort, risk, and pain. But it is necessary in order to discover and learn. It doesn't need to be done overnight. Taking little risks over time is the key. But keep moving forward.

My faith in Jesus' sacrifice for me is now enough for me to be "good enough," which has fueled my engines instead of shame thinking. I still struggle at time with shame, but I now lean on my faith-based thoughts, not shame's irrational thinking patterns. It doesn't make my daily problems and stresses go away, or mean life gets necessarily any easier, but my faith in Christ makes going through the tough times much more bearable.

I used to feel I needed to apologize for my faith because it wasn't what everyone else believed, but no longer. People have so many different opinions and beliefs about life. I've accepted that it is impossible to please everyone. I have a responsibility to myself and God to be the best me I can be.

Well, I better wrap up for now. Thanks again for visiting my blog. I encourage you to e-mail me and let me know how I can support you.

"Till next time,


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Letter to the Inpatient

Hi, All,

I'm a bit tardy with this blog - sorry. Time snuck by me again, as I'm sure each and every one of you can attest to with your own life.

I wanted to address someone enduring inpatient care, and share a few tips on what helped me get through, so here goes...

When I went back and forth from inpatient, to doing well, to inpatient, to doing well… I felt not only ashamed but also a bit embarrassed and hypocritical. Here I was doing well after my first hospitalization, and now only months later I was back to square one. I felt I had disappointed the many people who supported me up to that point, especially my parents. I was so frustrated, more at myself than anyone else. Why did this have to happen to me? How long was this pattern going to continue? Why did I keep allowing myself to stay stuck in old unhealthy patterns? How come I kept listening and believing that “IT” (shame) voice in my head that said I was incapable, not worth it, a waste of time, unable to make the necessary changes to be happy and healthy and whole? How do I get rid of this “fat” feeling that seemed to invade my body? Why can’t I just be “normal”?

But, somehow, deep down inside, I continued to cling to the hope that the caring professionals in my life knew what they were doing, and had been through this before with thousands of other ED patients similar to myself, and that they helped them become successful at beating the odds. Trust was hard, because I had grown accustomed to only trusting myself. And now even that was jeopardized.

It was hard, because I had to admit (though I didn’t tell anybody this) that I liked my “second family” and care I received during my inpatient experience. I liked that it was different from home, unique to other people I knew. But on the other hand, I missed my old routine at home, my control. I liked it, but then again I didn’t like it. It was confusing.

I’m not sure how you feel towards your ED, but it was my best friend. I felt proud and strong that I could discipline my body, mood, and choices more than my friends, family, teachers, coaches, etc. I wanted to be the skinniest, most disciplined person on the face of the planet. I used to repeat to myself that I was a Navy SEAL or a Green Beret in physical training rituals. Yet, in the same breath, I’d consider myself a failure, and not as good as what I thought I was, or what I thought others wanted me to be. I hated exercising and dieting and just wanted to be normal like anyone else, and be able to sit down at a meal without the threat of guilt or feeling fat after those agonizing bites of food.

I’m not sure how you choose to handle the daily grind of inpatient treatment, but the following helped me in my quest to discover recovery…

1) Accept that it’s okay to struggle, to make mistakes, to not be perfect or “the best” at something. It was okay to find my own unique niche and go with it.
2) Try everyday or most days to do something different in my routine that would spur me on to health. This meant challenging myself in little ways (big to me, though). Examples: eat one more spoonful of a food that scary to me; exercise five less minutes; say “hi” to one person I normally didn’t acknowledge; memorize and repeat to myself a favorite scripture verse or affirmation…the list goes on according your own unique battle and creativity.
3) Talk to someone I trusted about how I genuinely felt.
4) Try to pamper myself in some small way during the day.
5) Journal, draw, paint, sculpt, build, or do something “artsy” to express my true inner self or emotions.
6) Imagine that a little boy who was in the beginning stages of an ED approached me and was sitting in a chair next to me. He was scared, confused, upset, and fearful. Write a letter to him or privately have an imaginary conversation with him.
7) Tell someone I disagreed with them, in a respectful way.
8) Involve myself in a conversation with another patients. Try expressing my sincere thoughts and opinions to the person, without tying to say things I thought they wanted to hear.
9) Pray to God. I liked doing this via a journal (i.e., a letter to God)
10) Mix up my eating routine and rituals (eating the food in a different order).
11) Say “no” to the urge to exercise in secret or hide food. Carry out a conversation with the “voice” about how I would feel afterward and why it wouldn’t help my situation. Again, this could be done through journaling.
12) Listen to my body. Imagine what it was trying to say to me and talk to it.
13) Play a board game with a staff person or patient (I loved Scrabble!).
14) Chew gum.
15) Examine my fingers, arms, legs, feet, toes, stomach, waist, and other body parts and think about how God chose to give this particular body to me and only me for a distinct purpose. And no matter how much I chose to hate my body or beat and shape it into something I thought would be better or make me happier, He was still very excited and actually (the Bible says this) danced over His wonderful and awesome creation he made in me.

As you can probably see, I was encouraged to examine my distorted thinking patterns. Sometimes I struggled with this because I couldn’t identify them or understand how they were distorted. But the staff helped me process these thoughts, which helped.

I have talked to many male and female ED patients over the years, ones that have recovered and made their lives more livable and enjoyable. Yet they are not perfect, and they still have struggles with shame-based thinking. But they’ve accepted their circumstances and vowed to not let things control them anymore. They practiced “letting go” of the things they couldn’t control and let God worry about that, which is what He wants us to do anyway.

'Till next time--hopefully sooner.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Keep Going...Just Keep Going

Happy 2009!

For those with EDs, there's generally nothing exciting about this day; just another day of the same old routines. I both dreaded and needed these routines for sanity--or so I thought.

I always admired those who lived by the seat of their pants: spontaneous and adventurous. I used to try and imagine myself in their shoes and what it would feel like. I even used to physically and mentally pretend to be like the ones I admired. Whether it was eating new foods that I believed my boyhood hero, George Brett, ate or dressing like one of my peers or a notable Hollywood icon, I found great curiosity in how it would feel or how others would react. My game of "Let's Be Somebody Else" proved helpful over time, as it helped me get used to taking healthy risks and living outside the box.

But this game only lasted a day or two. It got old and I once again craved the old Gary's coming-and-going life. It was predictable, safe, and controllable. Yet, I felt controlled by it at the same time. On and on, month after month, year after year I pressed on with the mundane. I felt this was the prison I would be confined to for the rest of my life. It was depressing and discouraging.

Every now and then, however, a person would enter my life to encourage me to change things up a bit. I was invited to a party, a ball game, or to eat out. Even though I said no most of the time, thinking of all the exercise I'd miss or the calories I'd be subjected to in the presence of others, I really wanted to say yes and take a risk. On a rare occasion, I would say yes and struggle through the whole thing. When I returned home, I would assess the experience and told myself I would never do that again.

But I never gave up hope that there was an end to this madness called anorexia. I didn't know where or when, but a gnawing gut feeling told me to keep trusting my therapists and family and those who loved me. Try new things. What do you truly believe? What do you want? Is this what you want to be like in ten years? You are capable of thinking and living differently; how come you don't take the plunge and see what happens? What do you fear? My loved ones didn't have an ED. And even though I felt self-pity and wallowed in the fact that they had no idea what it was like to be me, I thought to myself I'm glad they don't because I don't particularly care being me, either.

But I just kept going, moving head and living my life and enduring the pain of my ED. The more I lived it, the more I seemed to accept that I didn't want it for the rest of my life. Taking risks brought new insights and feelings that I didn't think were as bad as my imagination made them out to be. And I lived to tell the tale. I kept trusting and moving ahead. I learned and accepted that I was capable. I wanted to stay put and not let life carry forward, but it wouldn't let me. Slowly, I accepted new ways of thinking and found hard against my arch nemesis: shame. I took a huge risk and began exploring my Christian faith in depth. The rewards strengthened my decision-making and spirit.

And I just kept going.

It's easy for strugglers of ED to fall for the temptation to stay put and not venture out into the unknown. For me, the "voice" of shame kept lying and telling me that one day I would eventually find that ever-distance peace by simply staying where I was. It will someday just drop into my lap. But following this rule brought reality home real fast. It showed sameness. It showed dreariness. It showed that peace was nowhere in sight. Nothing is ever different.

I started reasoning that maybe shame wasn't so wise afterall.

And I just kept going...but in a different direction this time--a more peaceful, fulfilling road.

Happy new year. This year, put some meaning into the word "new."

'Till next time,