I’m Back + Life Update!

Wow, I have not blogged since June! It wasn’t a break I planned, but it was a break I needed. Lots has been going on and it was definitely okay for me to put my blog down for a little bit to allow myself one less thing to worry about. Now, onto the updates…

Work

Okay, work is definitely the update I have most to say about. I’ve been working at Sephora and absolutely loving it. Sure, sometimes it sucks a little bit – but when I have a good day or do some great consultations and help women feel hope for their skin concerns, or teach them something new, or help a mom and 13-year-old pick out her very first mascara and lip gloss (oh, the nostalgia!), or even help a bride feel confident that she will be able to do her makeup well and feel that much more beautiful on her wedding day, I’m over the moon. I’m also still writing over at My Subscription Addiction, too, and that’s always a blast.

However, there’s some interesting uncertainties coming around, too. Thanks to some connections, a big marketing company contacted me about an account management position they have. The main issue is that it’s an hour south of where we live now, but it is in the area where we want to end up and settle down in. Initially, I said I couldn’t do it, but a few minutes later, I just thought I don’t have any information at all about this job – what if it pays crazy well and what if I’d like it?  So, I called them back and got more details. Turns out the salary range starts just below what my husband’s making now. Now, my husband’s been looking for months for a better job for him down in that area, with no luck so far. We’ve been waiting for that to move down to the city we want to be in, but we never considered the possibility of moving down there because of a job for me. Long story short, we have no idea what would happen if I got it (we could move halfway and split the commute to both our jobs, or we could move all the way down there and I could support us until L finds a job there, too…), but we’ve decided that I should go ahead with the interview process. Hey, maybe I won’t even get it. But maybe I do and maybe I love it. Who knows? (BTW – both the President and VP are women! Yes!) So, we’ll see, I guess.

I’m scared about having to leave Sephora because I love it and I’ve only been there a couple months so far, and I’m also scared that, if I get it, I’ll be less happy there. Terrified of making the wrong choices. All the other jobs I’ve had that I hate I can just quit with very little consequence because they’re like, restaurants and such. But this would be a big-girl, salary position. And if we end up moving halfway so that L and I split the commute, life would be so different with our income essentially doubled, and we’re so anxious to move into a bigger apartment anyway.

Coping post-graduation

This is the first Fall in basically all of my life that I haven’t been going back to school. I didn’t think it’d be weird but it is WAY WEIRD. In a way, I miss having the places to go, the different topics every week, seeing classmates regularly, being in choir, etc. Another thing I had no idea I was going to miss was my wardrobe. I have so many clothes, but all I wear anymore is yoga pants to lounge around the house or my work uniform. I never wear my nice outfits anymore. Part of me wants to just get rid of it all, but I know I want to get to a place where I wear it all again. However, I could really use the usual closet clean-out of clothes I haven’t worn in years, as always.

Also, I feel like life has definitely confirmed my theory that, at least for me, you can work anywhere you can sell yourself to work. I haven’t needed to find a job directly related to my major yet, and I’m okay with that. I have so many passions and so many skills and so much I want to learn that as long as I enjoy the work and atmosphere, and the pay works for us, I’m happy. 

Post-Wedding

I never knew my to-do lists could be so long outside of school! Aside from general, personal/home to-dos, post-wedding things are still lingering to be done, like finding a place for the cards and presents, and finishing up the wedding video edits, and making a photo album. All things I look forward to doing, but all things that tend to fall further down on my priority list than things for my jobs or housekeeping tasks, since both of those effect other people (employers + husband). Not saying that my wedding photos and video don’t effect my family or that they’re not anxiously waiting for them, but, for sure, nothing is riding on whether or not I get those done ASAP.

Well, there it is! Most of what’s been going on in my life. Speaking of to-do lists and work, I really have to go crack down on some of those things, but I’m glad to be back and hope to be posting regularly again! 

xoxo

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Listed Tuesdays: 5 Ways I’ve Changed Because of My Wedding.

Hey, everyone! Today’s post is a link-up with the lovely Erica Jaquiline! Every Tuesday, she does a “Listed Tuesdays” link-up and I’d love to get into the habit of participating each week!

So, here’s my list: 5 Ways I’ve Changed Because of My Wedding!

1. I’ve become more flexible and level-headed.

I’m aware that, for the majority of my life, I’ve been the high-strung, inflexible girl who stresses out easily. However, throughout the wedding planning process (and especially the wedding day), I had to practice being calm and patient almost constantly. Being zen was a choice I had to make every moment during the wedding (particularly during the post-ceremony family shots? Ugh, those can be a nightmare, am I right?). Even during the honeymoon, with all the flights, confusing navigation, language barriers, and packing it would have been easy to lose my cool. To be honest, I think all that practice has really stuck with me since the wedding in my day-to-day life, and I try to consciously choose chill and calm as often as possible.

2. I’ve become more grateful.

My wedding was as wonderful as it was because I had so much help getting everything put together, planned, and set up. Sure, it was amazing just because it was my wedding day, but I feel so humbled by all the generous people (friends as well as family) who really went above and beyond just to do what they could to help. Whether it was absolutely stunning paintings done especially for me by my sister-in-law, Erin (see below!!) or getting the reception hall set up or contributing financially towards the wedding, I feel so blessed my the generosity and kindness of the people in my life.

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3. I love more.

Between cards and video messages and bridesmaids and new family and conversations and hugs, I’ve grown to know just how much more love I’m surrounded by than I thought. This, in turn, has made me feel more full of love than ever, and I feel like I try to speak and act on it more in my day to day life.

4. I spend less.

Uhhhh…. duh? Like, for real. I can’t jump at every impulse or promo code or flash sale anymore. Part of me misses this, most of me knows this is for the best (okay, all of me knows it’s for the best), especially since it’s been an issue for me in the past. That’s a whole other post for me to write. Maybe. Bottom line – it’s uncomfortable to have a joint account and share a budget, but it’s so good for you.

5. I more strongly advocate staying true to yourself.

Planning and envisioning a wedding involved a lot of soul-searching and pondering what’s really important to me and coming to understand what really isn’t so important to me. We wanted a first look. Many people thought that was crazy, but we knew it’d be important to us. I didn’t want to wear a blusher going down the aisle. I wanted dancing – no question (no way was I giving up my daddy-daughter dance opportunity!). All being said and done, I’m so happy with the way things turned out, but it took a lot of courage for me to be conscientious and self-aware enough to be able to discern what felt true to myself/ourselves and not get caught up in things “because they’re tradition” or because I felt it was expected of me. A handful of my friends are also planning weddings right now, and this has generally been my main piece of advice for them.

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Go check out Erica Jaquiline’s Listed Tuesdays and participate yourself! (I know I’m getting this post up late, so maybe ponder about a list for you to write about next week!)

Erica Jacquline

Why We Work

For Valentine’s Day, Bonnie wrote a post  about why she and her husband work (for a link-up I missed. sad face.). I’ve been thinking about it since I read her post, and the idea of writing the same regarding my relationship has been brewing in my mind.

Last night I had a wonderful evening with my fiancee full of a great dinner, pre-marital counseling, and ugly-laughing at hilarious Youtube videos. Driving home, I felt especially grateful for my relationship and decided to finally write this post when I got home.

Why we work
We work because we’re individuals. We have out own friends, jobs, schedules, and tastes. We each have our own worlds, and we like it that way.
We work because our relationship is “should-free.” We know each other’s insecurities, strengths, weaknesses, an bad habits – and we love each other all the more for them. I don’t have to make dinner every single night, and he doesn’t mind getting Chinese takeout.
We work because we know it’s not always fun to be in a relationship, and we don’t take that personally. Sometimes one of us is having a really crummy day and in a funk and there’s just nothing the other can do to make it immediately better. And that’s okay.
We work because we don’t take other things personally. We don’t text each other compulsively all day everyday – and we know that’s not reflective of the quality of our relationship. I don’t think I’ve ever been in his Facebook profile picture (or that he’s ever had his relationship status on his profile) and that doesn’t mean anything’s wrong. Sometimes one of us just doesn’t feel like cuddling. And we know that’s not the end of our relationship.
We work because we ugly laugh. The kind of laughing where your mouth is just totally, unflatteringly wide open, your head is thrown back, you’re kinda crying, and you can’t even speak. This happens at least once on the daily. We thrive off of being goofy together, and that does miracles for our relationship.
We work because he’s bad at reading minds, and I’m bad at being subtle. Seriously, I just say whatever I need, want, or think. Which many people think is a fault (and it can be), but it’s a godsend for our relationship because what Luke really needs is for me to be upfront and never try that “hint-dropping” thing and hope he reads my mind. That system doesn’t work for either of us. He doesn’t end up getting it, and I’m too impatient to try and wait for him to.
We work because we’re not trying to impress each other.  It can be one of those days where I haven’t showered, am not wearing makeup, and am wearing sweats and he adores me and makes me feel just as special as any other day. I can make an accidentally crappy dinner and it’s no big deal.
We work because we both know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we’re on each other’s team, unconditionally. “You and me against the world.”
And, most importantly, we work because we both agree that if one of our children ever weirdly ends up with some kind of super power we would come alongside them and help them learn about and control it instead of hiding them away (see: obligatory pop culture reference to Frozen).

2014 & Weird New Things

Happy New Year, everyone!

Last night, everyone kicked 2013 out of the way to welcome 2014. It’s been a long while since I’ve had a good New Year celebration. Actually, I don’t even really remember having a specifically nice New Year’s, like, ever. I remember New Year’s Eves spent sitting on the couch and web-surfing with my parents while the news showed the ball drop in the corner of the living room as casually as if it were just another night on which we were letting Star Trek reruns play in the background. I remember another year, in high school, I was being an angsty teenager for not being driven to celebrate the coming of the new year with my first serious boyfriend. The year I met my fiancee, I was home alone because my folks were at a party with their friends. The next year was spent with some friends, which was fun but also somewhat socially stressful. Last year, I was working all day on New Year’s Eve, and only managed to get out of work by 11:45; the new year came while I was in my car, speeding to a friend’s place, where Luke was celebrating with friends until I could get there.

This year, I was expecting the same situation as last year. I worked all day New Year’s Eve, and was fully prepared to be there for the restaurant-wide champagne toast at midnight. However, we were actually pretty slow (extremely so, compared to last year) because of various reasons, and I was cut by 8:45 (which is early to be cut, even on a normal weekend shift). I was able to get out of work with enough time to stop at home and change into normal clothes before heading to where Luke was celebrating. This year, he was at his grandparents’ house with a lot of family. I didn’t tell him I made it out of work and could be with him at midnight, so it was a surprise when I turned up. When I arrived, I got lots of welcoming hugs before finding Luke playing a game (of course – what else?) called Munchkins with his brothers and cousins. I quietly settled next to his chair and started rubbing his back, and after a minute he turned to see who it was and just about fell out of his chair when he saw it was me (he comically repeated his double take – ridiculous faces and all – to play off just how surprised he had been). Obviously, a giant bear hug followed. Happy.

I got there at around 11, and had time to grab some grub and socialize before we all gathered in the main living room to watch the ball drop and cheers with sparkling juices. At the end of the countdown, we all cheered, sipped our drinks, and the room began churning and stirring from everyone going around hugging absolutely everyone else. I grew up separate from all of my extended family, and it’s just my parents, my sister and I here in Michigan, and most family gatherings included stuffy road trips and a fair share of personality clashes. Luke has at least a hundred members of his family (read: clan) here. They get together all the time. Seeing the entire room of family so relaxed and comfortable and happy was really new. And really great. 

Shortly thereafter, we all migrated to a different room to take a family picture (also not as long, stressful, or exhausting as the ones I grew up with!). However, there was one thought that hit me hard: this is the first year that Grammy never gets to see. The already-heightened emotions in the room definitely gave way to a wave of momentary crying. I told Luke and he just hugged me and soon everyone was back to chilling and playing games. 

2014 is going to be a huge year for me. I’ll be leaving the restaurant I’ve been at longer than any other, I’ll be getting married, moving out of my parents’, finding a new job, and starting a new education program (massage therapy, probably. Maybe grad school. I’m still picking which to start first). And, I get a huge new family (and brothers! which I’ve always wanted). Lots of new, weird things to do and responsibilities to have. 

All weird stuff. Stuff I’m sure I’ll get used to at some point. Hopefully, I can learn to be super organized, responsible, and tragically domestic and actually do those meal planning things and decorate a home and have a cleaning schedule and such. How else will I get along without my mom nagging me to empty the dishwasher? We’ll see what obstacles I can conquer. I’ve seen a lot of statuses about being glad to leave 2013 behind, but I feel like I can’t help but be aware that the things I want to leave behind in 2013 (grief, stress, homework,  etc.) will all carry over and find me in 2014. The only thing I can hope for is to face these things with more flexibility, resilience, and positivity.

And now, I’m going to get all list-makey and organize, clean, sort out schedules, appointments, resolutions, and to-do lists.

Happy New Year!

 

Falling Together

Here I am, sitting in a quiet living room, browsing Pinterest (because for real, though – my life is now all Pinterest. Shameless Pinterest), and I come across a photoset that I have seen before:

pictures to take before the ceremony without breaking tradition. so cute.

These are photos from grooms and brides having pictures taken together before the wedding, but without seeing eachother. I’ve known for a while that this is something I want for my own wedding, but then I pictured Luke and I in these photos. And here I am, sitting in a quiet living room, and maybe I kinda sorta started tearing up out of emotion and excitement for the first time about everything.

Oh, and do you guys remember this last post where I said I hoped the right choices (especially for venues) would be as clear as day and that I would fall in love with one that was somehow miraculously available on only one of the two dates we’ve been considering? IT HAPPENED. I am feeling so crazy and happy that it actually happened like that! The venue I’m looking at for my reception is one that I really loved when I was looking with my sister for her wedding in 2010. It was the first reception venue I called, and when I told the lady this, she promptly began offering education about things to look for, consider, and ask when it comes to shopping around for reception venues. This immediately made me excited and that I could trust this group of people. They’ve been consistently available to contact, promptly respond to my emails, and very helpful with getting everything to fit into my budget.

Other places I have toured have either been much too expensive, or the girls working with me just weren’t personable or made me feel awkward, or they were unenthusiastic about, well, my wedding (which feels really selfish to say, but for real – my wedding means their business, and being excited and enthusiastic for others is #1 for customer service and even just generally connecting with others).

This morning, I met with a reception venue that was all of the above. Feeling a little discouraged, I drove down the road to the church I am hoping to get married in. I was worried it would be too weird or awkwardly set up, but when I walked into the quiet and empty sanctuary, I just sighed. The room was big, but probably not too big; I know this church does great backdrops for the stage with fabric and lighting; although the carpet color isn’t part of my colors (navy, spring green, and white), it was a muted purple, which fits into the combination so well and was actually a color I had considered using. When I walked down the center aisle to the front of the stage to consider the stairs up to it, everything felt surreal. I felt as if I were a ghost bride, looking at the ghostly, empty seats of my ghost guests, and that all of this would be fleshed out, colorful, alive, and breathing in a few months. As I was leaving the building, I looked out a completely glass wall to a beautiful back yard of the church: a creek with a bridge, lots of trees, and even a gazebo. Perfect for taking pictures.

Is it weird that the carpeting is possibly the one thing about either venue that makes me feel super anxious? I want to say that this is because it is the only thing about venues you can’t change, but that isn’t true. There’s lots of other things about venues you can’t change. Maybe it’s because there’s so much that could be wrong with it – the pattern, color, texture, stains, etc. I don’t know. Weird neurosis, I guess.

I’m usually very good about tuning into my intuition and gut feelings about decisions, and I think that this skill is going to be absolutely key throughout my wedding planning process. Listening to my intuition, staying calm and breathing, and keeping an open mind. I’m so stupidly excited (obviously). I also have an appointment for my first time shopping for bridal gowns, and I’m unbelievably eager to spend time with my mom and my sister, and to just see what there is to see. Going in with no expectations or demands, I can keep my mind and options open, and my stress low.

The big things – the wheres – seem to be falling together. Once I can get a grasp on these big things, I feel that I have a foundation on which to lay each brick and detail. I know it’s within my control to make this process a harried and stressful experience, or a calm and fun experience. I have that control over my responses to the process.

And I choose to have an absolute ball while planning the biggest party of my life.

My Engagement Details/FAQ

So, I have my own engagement story now! And, since many people have been asking me for details, I have created an FAQ for the occasion!

MY RING!

My ring!

When did you get engaged?

I got engaged Sunday, December 1st.

How did he propose? 

Well, we went out on a romantic date to a fancy-ish restaurant in downtown Rochester, MI. Every holiday season, they are notorious for having every inch of each and every building and storefront covered in Christmas lights. They’re all different colors – some patterned, some solid – it’s really beautiful. At dinner, we were lucky enough to be sat a table by the window so I could see the town from my table. This particular restaurant has paper as table cloths and crayons at each setting. I always love this and have fun drawing and writing things to him across the table. It’s fun seeing how well I can or cannot write mushy things upside down. Our food was great, and then we head out to walk a block or two along the lit-up town.

A small, bad angle of our restaurant.

A small, bad angle of our restaurant.Our dinnersOur dinnersI just adore that smirk.I just adore that smirk!

Trying to write upside down on the paper table cloths!

Trying to write upside down on the paper table cloths!

Some were more successful than others at writing upside down ;D

Our next stop was this fantastic dessert and coffee shop that has a significantly artsy, cafe ambiance and atmosphere. They’ve got everything – house-roasted coffee, cheesecakes, mousse, etc. We decided on chocolate fondue for two, and settled into a love seat by a coffee table. We talked while our chocolate melted and got warm, and they brought over the dish of our fruit and cookies to dip. Once we had finished, we began discussing logistics and timelines of getting married. Luke then began an adorable little monologue about things he loves about me and how he doesn’t want to ever be with anyone else, and proceeded to get on one knee in front of me (still sitting on the couch). He pulled out the ring box, asked me to marry him, which I answered “yes” and we hugged and it’s pretty typical from there!

Our yummy dessert - chocolate fondue!

Our yummy dessert – chocolate fondue!

Our last picture of being just boyfriend/girlfriend.

Our last picture of being just boyfriend/girlfriend.

His car has bluetooth capability so we ended the nigh by sitting in his warm car, calling our families on speakerphone together to tell them we were engaged.

It was perfect, and even though it was technically a public engagement, because we were sitting and he just shifted his weight to get on one knee on the floor, it really wasn’t obvious at all what he was doing. It still felt very private and intimate. No crowd applauding, no congratulatory comments on our way out. It was perfect.

Did you cry or scream?

Haha, no, I didn’t. =]

Did you know it was coming?

Yes, I did. I had known for a while because we discussed it a lot. Nevertheless I had been feeling held in such suspense! It’s been surreal that it’s actually happened.

Do you have a date planned?

Well, we have a couple in mind. It’s been less than a week, so any planning that I’ve/we’ve done has been really spontaneous and kind of up-in-the-air still. We want to make sure the date we choose works best for the most important people to us before we move forward with plans and announcements. We are looking at May or early June, though. I’ll keep you posted.

Where are you getting married?

I also have no clue about this yet. Like I said, it’s been less than a week. He proposed on Sunday, and it is Friday (technically, it’s the wee hours of Saturday morning).

What’s the best part about being engaged?

The best part has really been the fact that I have been feeling so special to have my sister and two best friends so excited for me and so enthusiastic about everything, and that Luke’s family has done absolutely nothing but welcomed me with open arms and excited smiles. It’s been very sweet.

Also, I like being able to actually discuss/toy with plans and ideas without looking like a lame person for planning her wedding before even being engaged. I’m not gonna lie, that was definitely happening a little bit. Guilty. Sue me.

What is the most difficult part about being engaged?

In the moment, I want to say the most difficult part has been trying to nail down a date. Luke and I are both anxious to just be able to have a date decided and run with it. I feel like everyday I’ve been making calls trying to figure out what day works for our immediate families and best friends. Once we can just get a solid date decided, we’ll feel like we can actually get started on some other solid plans and begin to flesh out the actual wedding.

Another really difficult thing is still dealing with the recent passing of my wonderful grandmother (my mom’s mom), and figuring out how to make room for all the happy and excitement in all the grief and pain and complicated family matters that arise from such events. Luke told me the night he proposed that he was hoping to propose on my birthday (September 16th), but nothing about that really went right (the weather was awful, and our plans involved a lot of outdoors – and also I hurt my ankle very badly), so he held off. The first thing that popped into my head at that time was If he had proposed on my birthday, I could have called Grammy about it. I did tell Luke this. We’ve talked about it and he actually told me it came up in a conversation with her and he got to tell her how he had a ring and was planning to propose ASAP. That makes me really happy, that she knew. Grief comes in waves, and more than once in just this week, I’ve found myself looking at one thing or another that made me think of her, or even just thinking about how excited and adoring she would be over the situation and crying. But it’s okay. Ultimately, right now I’m so very glad to have a reason to bring my family together for something to celebrate, considering a funeral was cause for our last gathering.

Additionally, I’m having a terribly difficult time getting used to calling him my fiancee. So, that’s pretty hard. Words are hard. whomp whomp.

The Anxious Mind

Sometimes it just hits me.

The deadlines, the lab reports, the appointments and social engagements, the performances, rehearsals, concerts and homework, working and the grief and the guilt of not being able to tackle my own personal agenda. I can’t do everything I want to and I can’t avoid getting burnt out. All of the pressure (from school, work, myself) is a lot, especially when I have my own emotional mess to already try to cope with and sort out in addition to everything else. I’m trying to not let myself have to ask for grace or help or anything special. I don’t know if this is because I feel like I shouldn’t or if it’s because I’m scared I’ll just appreciate that too much and take advantage of it and let myself fall behind. There’s the part of my brain that tells me I can do everything just fine, and I don’t know whether or not the part of me saying it’s too much is being lazy. 

When I was really little (like kindergarten and first grade) I developed this habit of lying for attention. I don’t remember if I’ve discussed this before, but I was awful. It started when I told my kindergarten class I was 6 years old like everyone else when I was really 5. Well, when my mom brought the whole class cupcakes to celebrate my 6th birthday, I was outed. Somehow, I didn’t learn my lesson and the whole thing got progressively worse until it all culminated in me telling my first grade teacher about how my baby brother had got a hold of some matches and my family was now dealing with the loss of his life and our apartment.

I don’t have a baby brother and I never did. No fires burnt down our home. To this day I don’t really have any idea why I even said that. My teacher immediately contacted the principal and my parents and I don’t even remember what happened after that except I’m sure my teacher thought I was a delinquent dummy or something.

Recently, I’ve noticed that the embarrassment of knowing I had that habit at some point makes me feel guilty about bringing anything up that might bring me any more attention than usual or be a reason I may get any special treatment. I don’t want to tell my professors about my grandmother’s passing because I’m scared they (and I) will think I’m just milking it to get special treatment and extensions. I don’t know if this is normal but it’s an issue in my head that just makes everything fuzzy and makes me anxious because I don’t feel like I certainly know when I need something and when I’m crossing a line.

I know this isn’t a fun post and it’s weird and personal and (ironically) all about me (when I’m sitting here worried about getting attention). It’s just what I need to say today and blogging is about being vulnerable sometimes, right? It’s hard.

My choir director recently addressed anxiety and depression and he told us to break every little thing on our minds down into the smallest pieces of a task we can make them. One quote that popped in my head was “Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is get up when the alarm goes off. (which I have not been successfully doing much at all lately). But he took it further and put it this way: When our alarm goes off, just tell yourself that you’re just going to put your feet on the floor. You don’t have to commit to getting up and walking to the shower and if you want to lay back down once your feet are on the floor, you totally can. Just put your feet on the floor and make that decision after. And proceeding on: Are you going to decide to lay back down, or are you going to decide to stand up? You can lay back down once you stand up, but just stand. And it goes on.

Another thing I’ve been focusing on anytime my guilt radar goes off or I find one thing or another to feel anxious or nervous or sad about is just to tell myself it’s okay. It’s okay. My family generally eats rather healthily, but when my mom came home with swiss rolls and Lucky Charms, she tried apologizing or saying she shouldn’t have. I laughed and told her it’s totally okay. Heck, all I’ve been eating lately is cereal and canned soup (and my morning coffee). Now isn’t the time in our lives to hold our personal goals of calorie counting or regularly meditating or keeping the house clean or getting 8 solid hours of restful sleep every night or going out with people as much as we used to. It’s not easy, but every time it comes up, I just have to breathe, let it go, and make the next choice.

If you’ve ever experienced anxiety and depression, you can probably definitely relate to one of my all-time favorite blogger’s post, Adventures in Depression. (Don’t worry, there’s pictures! And you may even chuckle.) And the Part Two to that post really helps put things into perspective about when people try to talk to you about how to “fix being depressed.”

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