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The Whisper that Began the Eva Series

For me, every book idea begins with one tiny whisper.

It may be so quiet at first that I don’t hear it, but then it works it’s way deep down inside until I can’t stop thinking about it. This is what happened with the Eva Series.

The story of Eva began as the whisper about a little girl who was abandoned and completely alone. Frightened and afraid, I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I thought about her incessantly until I had no choice but to write her story. When it was all finally there on the page, for the first time in my entire life, there was a part of me that was free. The story of Eva was born … and in many ways, her story was my own. Like Eva, I was also abandoned at around the age of two. While I don’t remember any of it, and the circumstances were completely different, the little girl left in a puddle lost and alone made me believe that I had to feel the same. As heartbreaking as her story is, there’s always been that part of me that kept it buried deep down, telling myself that it didn’t matter and it didn’t hurt anymore.

The truth is, it didn’t hurt at all until I had children of my own and I finally knew what true, honest, pure, undeniable love felt like. The pain I had been carrying around inside suddenly exploded without warning until I couldn’t imagine anything worse.

Writing Eva’s story was a way to exorcise my own demons and heal my own deepest wounds. I wrote it at a time in my life when I was the most alone and lost. While writing Leaving Eva helped to heal the past, it was also a distraction from the present because I had been deeply struggling with life on many levels. The only time I could find any normalcy was when I was writing because I was able to focus on the story instead of on my life, which was a train wreck. Throughout the years, getting married, having children, and building a career, I had forgotten how much writing had meant to me. It had been my own form of therapy when I was younger, and I had needed it.

Once I began writing,  it was impossible to stop, and though Eva’s story took many twists and turns that were not autobiographical, there are many elements that are. While I know that leaves much untold, the moments that are true are recognizable for those who can see it, and it’s best that way.

Eventually the series took on a life of its own and with healing, also came a renewed vision and creativity. What began as the story of a girl abandoned and alone became the story of a woman who was far stronger and more resilient than she ever imagined she could be. Her life and circumstances veered far from my own, and while Eva’s story will always be close to my heart, the story that remains the closest to my own, is only the first one.

I’m happy that I wrote it because it became far more than I ever imagined it to be, opening doors to friendships and people that I never realized would mean so much. What began as a whisper, became an orchestra of beautiful music and a world that has brought me more joy and happiness that I ever knew could be possible.

For that one tiny whisper and for Eva, I will forever be grateful.

 

 

 

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White Flag

Question…

When do you give up?

What is your breaking point in life? How do you know when enough is enough and that its time to say that you’ve  done all you can do but you can’t do it any longer?

Does anyone ever know? Is it when you’ve almost lost everything? Is it when someone else tells you that it’s enough?

Life is funny this way because there is never a clear answer and isn’t it different for all of us?  This journey that we’re on doesn’t come with a guidebook or a set of rules. We make them up as we go and often we’re just flying by the seat of our pants. As much as we might want to believe that we are governed and guided by the same principles in life, aren’t they different for everyone? Who gets to decide when we’ve reached our potential? Who gets to say that we will never go any further than where we are, right now? When do we face reality? When do we face our mortality? When do we raise the white flag and say that this isn’t working any longer, and that its time to give up on our dreams?

Who gets to say when we’re too old to try and that we’ve reached our full potential in life?

Are the people who tell us that we’ve done enough and that we should give up our friends or our foes? Or  are the people who are feeding our empty dreams and the belief that we can reach deeper and go farther, the real enemy? Are we sabotaging ourselves by continuing to believe in our purpose?

How do you ever know? Are we foolish and stubborn not to listen, or do we follow our hearts, and pray that we aren’t wrong?

When do we give up on it all and face reality? When do we stop believing?

Does anyone know?

 

 

Life IS like a Box of Chocolates…

My favorite line from the movie Forrest Gump is “My Mama always says that life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

I’ve thought about that line many times in my life since the first time I’ve heard it. You really have no clue what you’re going to get. Things seldom turn out how you envision them to be. When you are at the age to begin to contemplate life, you begin with an innocent belief that life will be an amazing collection of slow motion magical moments. And then you grow up, and life actually happens. Rarely, if ever, is it all rainbows and puppies. Life is harder than we expect or imagine when we are young. We are always seeking our happy place yet seldom do we find it.

We feel entitled to happiness. We believe it is a gift that we are entitled to simply because we were born.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only entitlement we have is by our own choices. Each step that we take puts us on our own path. Forward, backward, left, or right. Sometimes we get to choose the direction we go in. But even then, our happiness isn’t guaranteed.

Because we don’t always know what life is going to throw at us, that we might want to choose to ride the good karma train… Just in case. If we treat someone poorly, perhaps life will reflect that choice. If we are good to others, then maybe goodness will find its way to us. Yet that doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen to good people and vice versa, or that people are absolutely good or bad. We have no control.

It’s like a box of chocolates.

We only have our decisions, our free will, and our limited ability and knowledge to choose.

I was abandoned at an early age and I have wondered countless times what would have happened to me if I hadn’t been. I wonder who I would be if my parents hadn’t decided to let me go. I don’t even know if they chose, or if the choice was made for them. But regardless, I still wonder…

Would I have still ended up here? Would I get to be married to my husband and have the exact same beautiful family? Would I be the same person? Would I even be here, in the United States? Would I be writing this blog? I’m certain that the answers to all of my questions would be a resounding “No!”

I’m completely certain that my life would have been astoundingly different. So I am thankful that they walked away from me because I can’t imagine my life turning out any other way. I love my family and my life beyond words and I feel that this was my… fate, although I don’t completely believe that fate exists. At least not the uncontrollable, whimsical, magical brand of fate that you find in movies and fairy tales.

It seems unromantic not to believe in fate. But I do believe that because of choices, our fate is often influenced. So while life is far from predictable, the circumstances and people that we choose for our lives can create another story altogether.

So I think about choices a lot. And Chocolate.

I have been defined by my own good or poor choices, and those of people around me. Other’s choices, regardless of motive or result, have shaped my life in ways that have rendered me helpless. While frustrating, the reality is, that I have to accept it. It’s like biting into that disgusting piece of red cream chocolate that I always try so desperately to avoid. Sometimes, it just happens. Sometimes, life just happens.

It adds a different dynamic to the assortment of chocolates as well as to me. As I get older, I realize that there is so much truth to that one simple line. We can’t predict what we will get in life. But we can choose our path, hope for the best, and choose wisely and with integrity along the way.

And when you bite into that red cream chocolate, you can either swallow it and move on, or spit it out and start all over. That choice is completely up to you!

Holiday Reflection

The Holidays have always been a strange time of the year for me.

Some years they’ve made me happy and other’s they’ve made me sad. Every year, they cause me to reminisce about the past, both the bad times and the good. They make me want to be a better person. And they remind me that in a few short months, I’ll be another year older.

And getting another year older depresses the heck out of me, these days.

As I watch my boys, who were babies just yesterday and young men tomorrow, I realize that the immortality of my youth had faded away. Perhaps I am the last to realize this about myself, but I wish that I would have savored my youth just a little bit more. It’s not that I didn’t travel or do crazy things. It’s not that I didn’t have fun or that I have a lot of regrets.

I just didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have.

I didn’t bask in it every day. I was so busy getting somewhere in life and doing “something important” that I didn’t realize “Hey, I’m only 23,24, 25 etc.” or “I can eat whatever I want and not gain an ounce” or “Five hours sleep is more than enough!”

I was foolishly just living and not appreciating, not reveling.

I suppose I’m doing that now. Only it’s different. Only now, it’s not about me. Because I’m much older than 24, I can’t eat whatever I want, and I need at least six hours of sleep to even think about getting out of bed. Now I value my life through the lives of my children. And I’m watching them grow entirely too fast. Which means that I am also growing older, which I’m not ready for.

I want to grab the robes of Father Time and bring him to a screeching halt so that we can slow things down just a little bit. I’m not ready for my boys to be young men, and I’m not ready to be old, yet. After all, there is still so much that I want to do. Still so much that I need to do.

So I find myself reveling, now before it’s too late. I do it in the every day. I do it in the small moments, in the things that I used to walk right by. I find that I am more selfish in my priorities because I know that the time that I have is limited, and I know that my children won’t always be as in love with me as they are now.

I wish that I could slow things down and make life go just a little slower. But since I can’t, I’ll have to settle for squeezing every bit of joy that I can from the time that I have with the ones that I love. I’ll have to settle for trying to be patient, forgiving, and loving. And I’ll have to settle for seeing the small moments, the little miracles, hearing the tiny whispers, and appreciating every single bit of happiness. I’ll have to recognize my weaknesses and accept my failures, and move on because that is the best I can do.

At the age of 19, my incredible niece is a cancer survivor. I believe her life is special and that there is so much waiting for her. She has stared into the darkness and come out alive. I imagine that she is destined for something amazing and beautiful.

We can let life just fly by or we can embrace each moment. The Holidays remind me of that because they are a constant. They have always been the barometer I used to measure how much value my life had.

But now, they are the barometer I use to measure how much I value my life.

My husband has instilled in me a love of Charles Dickens, “Christmas Carol.” We watch it dozens of times over the holidays because it often hits close to home. It reminds us that we only have one chance at this life and that it is ours to cherish or to lose.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Leaving Eva by Jennifer Sivec “Chapter One”

Stupid Girl

Daddy No!

Daddy, please stop!

Daddy, you’re hurting me!

She never saw it coming. She didn’t even know he hit her until her right cheek and eye were exploding. There was so much rage on his face and his anger was emanating toward her, dangerous and hot.

She’d never seen Daddy so angry before, not even with Momma.

She was stunned, her feet frozen to one spot. She wanted desperately to run but was unable to move. It was almost as though she was trapped in a bad dream and couldn’t wake up. Her heart was pounding hard in her chest and her mind was racing. Daddy’s massive body was blocking the way and she thought wildly that if she didn’t move, he wouldn’t hit her again.

She was wrong.

He smacked her again, hard across the mouth and she could feel blood pouring from her bottom lip. The saltiness of it made her want to gag. He reached out and grabbed her small thin arms and squeezed them so hard they felt as though they may break in two. He picked her up until her feet were dangling off of the ground and threw her down, hard. Her head snapped back and hit the wood cabinets. The cracking sound resounded in her ears and there was instant blinding pain.

She knew that she was crying, but couldn’t feel any tears. She was afraid, and it was a strange familiar, haunting feeling that she knew she had felt sometime before in her 7 ½ years. Daddy was never overly affectionate or kind, but he had never hurt her. She had been with them for 3 years, and during that time he had barely ever touched her, good or bad. But now, he was intent on hurting her for reasons that didn’t make sense.

She begged him to stop, trying to come up with the right words as they tumbled out in between the sobs. “Daddy, please! I-I-I-I’m sorry. I’ll be careful, I’m s-s-s-orry.”

“You should be sorry! You need to be more careful, damn you. You ruin everything you touch with your filthy little hands! ” He growled, grabbing hard at her long dark hair, pulling some of it out sharply at the roots. He yanked on the pony tail as she reached out blindly trying to get him to ease his grip.

Daddy’s blue eyes were dark and full of something that she didn’t recognize at all. His face was distorted almost trance-like, looking through her like he wasn’t seeing her at all. She struggled away but his grasp on her hair wouldn’t let her escape. She felt trapped and helpless, like a mouse in a cage. Without any effort, he grabbed her again and threw her back down to the ground.

The girl was crying hard, her small body trembling in fear of what would happen to her next. “No, no, no, no,” she cried over and over. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it.”

She crouched down tight against the cabinets, and she pulled her body in, hoping to shrink. Maybe if I’m small I’ll be hard to get and he will stop. Maybe Daddy will stop!

He kicked clumsily at her sides with hard steel toed work boots. “Damn stupid kid! Why do you have to be so clumsy? Jesus Christ, you’re ALWAYS spilling and dropping things.” His voice was so loud and he was spitting as he hovered above.

The girl was trying to remember why he was so mad and then she remembered the spilled iced tea all over the floor, soaking into the beige carpet like a sponge.

“I’ll be more careful. I’ll be more careful! PLEASE DADDY, you’re hurting me!” She was screaming, but he didn’t hear.

“I work my ass off to provide for you and your mother, and this is how you repay me! I should never have let your mother convince me to buy you, you stupid Bitch!” Daddy’s voice was ugly and full of hatred. The girl didn’t know if it was the pain of the blows or the mean words that hurt the most.

She raised her hands over her head futilely as a shield. I’m sorry, I’m sorry I’m so clumsy and bad! Please Daddy, please. Her head was pounding and there was pain everywhere.

One, two, and then three more times Daddy hit her. There were so many that she lost count. His hands were open one second and closed the next. There were blows coming from every direction, first hitting on the head, then the arms, both sides, and occasionally the face.

The smell of whiskey was hanging above the tiny girl in a large cloud, curling her nose with its sweet insipid smell. She was gagging and crying at the same time, and it was hard to breathe. She was choking on her own stupidity and carelessness. Mommy keeps telling me to be more careful. I’m a bad girl. I’m too loud and stupid and I always spill. Mommy will hate me now too. I’m a bad girl!

She dared a glance upward and could see that Daddy was starting to pant, his face red, while sweat poured down his forehead. Please God, make him stop. Please help me be more careful! Why can’t I just be a better girl?

“Please stop, please”, she cried desperately, in a small frightened voice that she hadn’t heard before. Daddy doesn’t love me because I’m stupid. Daddy hates me. I hate me too. I’m so stupid!

He looked at her, his gaze slicing through her. “You’re the reason your mother hates me! It’s all your fault you stupid useless Brat!”

It was true. Mommy has me so she can’t love Daddy. She told me. It is my fault!

It felt like he had been hitting her for so long. But after only a few minutes he was spent.

He finally staggered backwards clumsily, not looking her way at all. Daddy didn’t look well, his skin pale and wet with sweat, the rage replaced with confusion and shame.

“Go to your room, right now, Brynn!” His voice was barely audible as he looked away.

Brynn stood feeling unsteady for a moment, her body shaking uncontrollably as she willed her legs to move. I’m going Daddy. I’m going!

Daddy turned and staggered out to the porch and lit up a cigarette. The cool night air came in with a welcome gust soothing her burning face, and she forgot about the pain momentarily. The danger was still palpable in the air, and Brynn realized that she needed to get to her room.

The journey up the stairs was difficult but she finally made it, falling onto the bed with relief. Brynn buried her face into the pillow smearing bright red blood and tears on the white crisp pillowcase.

He hates me! He hates me and I’m so stupid. It’s my fault. I’m so clumsy and stupid. If I run away, maybe Mommy will love him and then he will love me. I ruined everything! I wish I had never ever been born!

After what felt like hours, she stood up and carefully walked into the bathroom and locked the door. Brynn looked in the mirror and searched all over for bruises. The right cheek and eye were swelling and turning purple. The split in her lip was also swelling at an alarming rate as the blood was starting to crust and dry up. Her eyelids were swollen from crying so hard and there was nothing but pain in her ribs, back, arms, and legs from all of the kicking they endured.

Brynn wished Mommy would hurry home. Mommy, where are you? Mommy, I need you!

Daddy had never been this mean before. He was to Mommy, but not to Brynn. He yelled occasionally, but had never kicked, hit, or swore at her. Daddy never kissed or hugged her, but Brynn always thought he loved her. After all, he bought her things from time to time like big lollipops and candy from the store. He gave her presents for birthdays and on Christmases. My Daddy hates me! He wishes I was never adopted. He hates me more than anything in the world.

What if Daddy hits me all the time? The thought struck suddenly. I should run away.

Brynn knew Mommy couldn’t protect her. Mommy couldn’t even protect herself. While Daddy had never hit Brynn before, he hit Mommy. He even shook Mommy hard making her flop all over the place like Brynn’s favorite doll, Betsy. Mommy said it wasn’t Daddy’s fault. She said it was only because of the alcohol. Today Daddy was drinking a lot of alcohol and Brynn noticed that it was a lot more than usual.

The “special” glass was filled up 5 times, full to the top. Usually, Daddy only had Brynn fill it 2 or 3 times, and then Mommy did the rest after bedtime. Daddy never filled his own glass because he said it was their responsibility. “I put a roof over your heads, and give you food to eat, and clothes to wear. I buy everything!” he reminded them often.

Even though Daddy was mean to Mommy, Brynn still loved him. You’re supposed to love your Daddy. That’s what happy families do. They love each other. She wanted to have a happy family more than anything. Even though her only friend Stacy had a sad family too, like Brynn’s, families were supposed to be happy. Mommy didn’t like Brynn to have a lot of friends because she didn’t want her away from the house much. Mommy always made her come home so she could spend time with her. Mommy said that she missed Brynn her too much when she was gone.

Brynn was sad because Mommy didn’t love Daddy. Mommy told her time and time again even if Daddy was in the room. She always whispered it loudly, pretending that it was their little secret. Brynn knew that Daddy could still hear. But Daddy was quiet like he didn’t care, even though he had a funny look on his face. Mommy and Brynn were best friends and Mommy told her everything.

“We only stay with him because he takes care of us Brynn. I only love you,” Mommy always told her. Brynn thought that maybe Daddy loved Mommy, because why else would he take care of them? Maybe Daddy will stop taking care of us now that he is hitting me too. Brynn was afraid of what would happen to them.

There must have been something wrong with her or Brynn’s real Mommy would have wanted her. Brynn picked up the picture of her and Mommy Rose that sat next to her bed. It was a picture of them right after her “Gotcha Day”. Brynn looked very different then, so skinny and scraggly with a permanently sad expression on her face. She thought about her real Mommy and once again wondered where she was and why she left her. Brynn wondered if her real Mommy ever thought of her and what she looked like. Would my real Mommy care that Daddy was hitting me? Would she save me?

Brynn reached up carefully, touching her cheek. It felt big and was throbbing and stinging. She felt hot. She lifted up her shirt and saw the skin on her sides turning red and purple. Her arms were tender and painful to the touch and there hand prints bruising her skin.

She moved slowly to her bed and waited for Mommy Rose to come home. Every part of her face was burning and her lip kept bleeding. As hard as she tried she couldn’t stop crying, salty tears burning the open wound on her lip. How could Daddy be so mean?

Mommy!! When she finally heard the car in the driveway her heart leapt for joy. Brynn dared not leave the bedroom for fear Daddy would see her.

Mommy will come kiss me good night. Brynn waited for Mommy to come up. When Mommy saw her face she would know what Daddy had done. Brynn was ashamed that Daddy had to punish her.

Maybe Mommy won’t love me anymore either, she thought suddenly. She’ll think I’m too clumsy too. She hates when I spill things because he always yells at her. Maybe she will hit me too. Brynn was suddenly afraid. She hadn’t thought of that before.

She waited anxiously. When Mommy’s light footsteps echoed in the hall Brynn held her breath and waited for the door to open. Did Daddy tell her what I did? What if she hates me too?

The door opened slowly and Mommy walked in looking like an angel. Mommy’s brown eyes were very serious as she looked at Brynn. She didn’t say anything but instead walked over to the bed slowly, and hugged Brynn. Brynn held her tight and sobbed into her chest.

“Oh Brynn,” Mommy said in a soothing voice. “What did you do? Why were you so clumsy and why can’t you just be more careful? It will be okay.”

Brynn couldn’t speak. She couldn’t say anything between the sobs.

Mommy gently touched Brynn’s swollen cheek, tears forming in her own eyes. She started to reach toward Brynn’s cracked lip and stopped before touching it.

“Brynn, you have to be more careful. Daddy doesn’t like messes. You can’t spill because he gets really mad.” Mommy scolded gently. Mommy didn’t look angry like he had; instead there was a different look on her face. It was a look that Brynn didn’t understand. Brynn breathed a sigh of relief. Mommy didn’t hate her like Daddy did.

She held Brynn close. Mommy smells like flowers. Sweet.

For the first time that night, Brynn felt safe. Mommy went to the bathroom, got a washcloth, ran cool water over it, and washed Brynn’s tearstained face. She wiped Brynn’s swollen cheek and gently swabbed her bloody lip. She was careful as she tried to clean up the crusted blood. Mommy spoke gently, soothing, like she did when Brynn was much smaller. Then she tucked Brynn into bed and kissed her first on the forehead and then on the cheek. Brynn winced in pain and then smiled weakly, relieved that Mommy was home.

“There will be no school until your lip and face looks better, sweet girl,” Mommy said attempting a smile. “We’ll stay home and do puzzles together all day and drink hot cocoa. We’ll have a ‘girl’s day’.” Mommy stroked Brynn’s hair lightly, “But you can’t tell anyone about Daddy hitting you. If you do, they will take you away from me.”

Brynn didn’t want to be away from Mommy. She loved Mommy.

“I promise Mommy, I won’t tell,” Brynn said, her voice small and serious.

“You’re a good girl, darling,” Mommy said looking at Brynn with adoring eyes.

“No I’m not Mommy, I’m a bad girl. I took your love away from Daddy. It’s my fault you don’t love him,” Brynn cried. She wanted to confess because she didn’t want to keep a secret from Mommy.

Mommy’s face got angry and then she suddenly smiled her teeth pretty and white, “Oh Brynn. It’s not your fault I don’t love Daddy. I never loved Daddy. I only married Daddy so that I could find you one day. Even if you weren’t here, I still wouldn’t love Daddy.”

Brynn was relieved. It wasn’t her fault after all, but then she was sad. Poor Daddy. To not be loved was so sad.

“Is Daddy going to hurt me again? It really hurt Mommy,” she said sadly, trying not to whimper.

“No Brynn! Mommy won’t let Daddy hurt you like that again!” Mommy said. But Brynn was still afraid because Daddy hit Mommy, and nothing could stop him.

Mommy answered without Brynn asking, “I know Daddy hits me, but we can’t leave because he takes care of us. We need him. I’ll talk to Daddy and I won’t leave you alone with him again.”

Brynn was relieved. She wasn’t alone with him much, but if it was never then he couldn’t hurt her again.

“Thank you Mommy!” She loved Mommy so much. Mommy was pretty and nice and Brynn loved her with all of her heart, to the moon and back, “I love you so much Mommy!”

Mommy gave her baby girl a sad smile. She bent over and tucked Brynn in, leaving the night light on.

“Go to sleep sweet girl. I love you too,” she whispered softly.

Brynn closed her eyes and got as comfortable as she could. She moved around trying to get comfortable despite the pain. All of her muscles hurt and her lip was stinging. She didn’t realize how tired she was and quickly started to drift off.

Mommy went downstairs, and just as Brynn fell asleep she was jolted awake by the sound of Daddy yelling. Daddy was yelling at Mommy!

She covered her ears tight. Mommy was screaming and then there was a slapping sound. Something made a loud cracking sound, like the sound of wood splintering and breaking, which made her jump. Mommy cried out loudly.

Brynn huddled up tight in her bed and squeezed her eyes closed as she felt tears running down her face. Daddy, please don’t hurt Mommy. She wanted to run downstairs, but she was afraid. What if he hits me again? Mommy, Mommy! Brynn grabbed her dolly, Betsy, and hugged her until the screaming stopped and there was an eerie silence in the house. She tried to stay awake as long as she could but she was terrified that her door would open and he would come in and try to hurt her again. But there was nothing but quiet. She listened hard for Mommy to make a sound, but she didn’t hear anything in the house. Her eyelids started to get heavy and she finally into a restless painful asleep.

Blog Challenge-Day 4

The question is…What are you afraid of? 

I’ve been putting this one off because I don’t deal well with fear.  I wasn’t sure if I should share a physical fear (i.e. snakes, rats, mice) or if I should share an emotional fear.  I was tempted to cop out and just say that I’m afraid of anything scary and squirmy and leave it at that.  But I thought it would minimize the whole point of what this challenge is all about.

Fear.

I’ve been afraid of many things in my life, and I don’t know that I can honestly share them all.  One of my favorite lines in a song is “Have you ever looked fear in the face and said ‘I just don’t care’?”  I’ve faced a lot of my fears.  And then there are some that I know I will never face.  I will never jump out of an airplane.  I will never volunteer to lie in a plastic coffin and let someone pour scorpions and snakes all over me.  I will never eat a live insect or bite the head off of a mouse.

What I fear the most is….

being Lost.

Mentally, emotionally, creatively, morally.  And yet, it is something that we can’t often control. Sometimes someone loses it for you without your knowledge or  permission. And sometimes you just lose it for yourself without even realizing it until it’s gone.  I’ve had a lot of loss in my life, and the thing I fear the most is what I sometimes can’t control. 

I know that people will hurt me and I know that I will sometimes do things to hurt myself.  There have been moments when I don’t even recognize myself anymore and I have lost that important sense of who I am.  And that terrifies me in the sense of being someone’s most important person, whether it is as a mother, wife, friend, daughter.  I’ve lost myself so many times that I know how difficult it is to find your way again. 

I think you have to sink to the depths to know true fear.  And once you have it you have to make sure that it doesn’t cripple you, which can be a feat in and of itself.  But fear can’t be a factor in living life, especially a life worth living.

So I fight my demons every day and try to look fear in the face and say “I just don’t care.”