A slice of reality cake


First of all — wow! I wasn’t expecting so much comment-y kindness, so thank you all so much! You made a (young! I’m still young!) woman in Bath feel very loved over the last 24 hours. And it’s great to know that I’m doing something right :-) So I’ll keep doin’ what i’m doin’ and will try to weave in some more stuff about photography/writing/blogging as I go.

Yay for community!

So there was one comment in particular that made me sit up and take extra notice. Sweet EMC wrote: “I love your photographs and the way you represent your life, both photographically and in words. It sounds, although I’m sure it’s not (just because no-one’s is) almost perfect. And that’s a lovely thing to look at — especially when one is in the mire, as I am and have been for a while, of finding a new life.”

And my second thought, after soaking in the kindness of EMC’s words, was “Oh no! Has this turned into a happy skippy sunshine blog lately where only good things happen?! Because that couldn’t be farther from the truth!”

So in an effort to redress the balance and let you see what is really going on around here, I made two lists: 1. Things that are GOOD. and 2. Things that are SHIT.


Things That Are Good.

1. Noah/family

Everything is put back into perspective within five minutes of being in our Blondie Bear’s company. He is the Nutella on my spoon, the film in my camera and the sunshine of my life. My relationship with my family has never been better — we are enjoying the salad days and it’s really lovely. My sister is my best friend and soul mate. It’s all good.

2. The book(s)

Yep, I can’t deny that the book stuff is good too. It’s been a huge learning curve, and i’m so grateful to even be in the position to learn all this. It also makes me feel extremely vulnerable, but I just tell myself that even if everyone hates it, at least I sat down and did it. A childhood ambition realised.

3. Work/purpose

I work seven days a week which is probably neither healthy nor wise, but work is my sole focus right now. There were many years of unemployment after my love died and it’s remembering that desperately lost time — and the mountain of debt I accrued, that I’m slowly chipping into — that spurs me on today. I’ve found the meaningful work I’m so passionate about and I’m proud to stand on my own two feet because it hasn’t always been this way.

4. Friendship

I have some truly awesome mates, both here and abroad, and I thank the universe for them every day :-)


Things That Are Shit.

1. Love life

I don’t have one. There was that short-lived ill-fated foolish-but-needed flingette I had in January 2008, and a date with The Most Unsuitable Man For Me in September 2008… and that’s it, folks. I’m so single I’m like a nun, but I’m betting nuns probably have more of a love life than I do. In all honesty i haven’t exactly been looking, and working seven days a week from home means I don’t get to mingle with eligible men in the workplace (or anywhere else for that matter). I am really good on my own — I love my own company and love being able to support myself (see no. 3 above) but as I approach the seven-year anniversary of my love passing, i do find myself wondering if I’ll ever bump into Noah’s future uncle. As the next 12 months are booked solid with work commitments I don’t imagine my situation is going to be changing any time soon, which makes me a little sad. I miss morning kisses and breakfast in bed. I miss the companionship (though I don’t miss the bickering and endless laundry that seems to come with a relationship ;-) So when you’re in bed with your loved one tonight, snuggle up extra close and be glad they are there. I wish for that too.

2. Weight/fitness

Even admitting this makes me feel like a cliche, but it is the truth — since I gave up smoking at the end of 2008 my body shape has changed radically. Like, two extra dresses sizes. Like, out-of-breath when I walk up the stairs, wobbly thighs everything, radically. There is nothing in my wardrobe that i wore before I moved to Bath. I know it’s my age, and my sedentary job, and my dislike of exercise and my cigarette-replacement activity (and writing a book — a lot of this is book baby weight) but still, after a lifetime of slimness, I am finding it hard to navigate my new curves. And it’s been getting me down and makes me feel less confident about solving issue no. 1 above. I don’t feel like myself. I’ve lost my minxiness. And I am so bloody tired of feeling bad about this. I eat heathily and well, and the last few months i’ve started to move more, but still it seems that this is the body i’m taking with me into the rest of my life. :-/

3. Hormones

PMS really does make half of my month a freaking misery. I’ve talked about it here before. I’ve blathered about it (probably too much) on Twitter and Facebook. I am sick to death of my hormonal challenges. I’m sick of thinking about it, I’m sick of trying to cure it and i’m mightily sick of enduring it. This issue also affects issues 1 and 2 above. (Hmmm. I’m sensing a theme.)

4. Ageing

This is a relatively new phenomenon that has made itself known over the last six months or so. Basically issues 1 + 2 + 3 = a new obsession with issue 4: feeling the fear of 40. Or — less melodramatically — I’m facing up to the fact that my reproductive years are fast disappearing and if I wanted to give Noah a cousin that’s probably not going to happen. And it’s surprised me to realise I’ve a lot of sadness around this. I was feeling pretty sure I didn’t want children, that I was comfortably ambivalent about it and would be fine if it didn’t happen. And then I became an auntie. And even though my conviction of the hardness and sacrifice of parenting has been confirmed 100% as I watch Noah’s parents, I’m also witnessing the alchemy of family: creating ones own and enlarging the one you were born into. Even through the exhaustion we weave magic with Noah. My heart has been made bigger, and I guess I’m learning that there’s room for more than just me and a future companion in there. But as I count down to my 39th birthday, take stock of my non-existent love life and witness my radically-expanded waistline spilling out of my jeans, I wonder if I missed my chance a few stops back. (That slapping noise you just heard? That’s me slapping myself around the face to GET OVER MYSELF. Bloody PMS. See? It makes me say whiny things)… so I’m trying to make peace with the idea that i don’t know what will happen — there’s no need to panic just yet — while still acknowledging this new tender place inside me. It’s one a lot of women share, no matter their age.

See what fun it is to be in my head? Happy happy joy joy!

Note: I’m not looking for any advice or solutions for my list of shitness, loves. Just venting and sharing and letting you know what’s happening on the other side of the computer screen. Maybe some of you can relate to how I’m feeling.

If you have any slices of reality you wanna get off your chest feel free to share in the comments :-D

62 responses
  1. Crystal Heis

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself, and please know that you’re not alone. You are always an inspiration for me.

  2. Shannon

    I think what’s inspiring is your vulnerability – it takes a lot of inner strength to not only be clear on what’s good/not so good, but also be able to share with the rest of us out here. And I also think that’s what makes you such a fantastic photographer and writer. I know it’s something I struggle with so thank you for sharing….and continuing to share. You’ve had an amazing journey over the past few years. I’m waiting for that book as well! :)

  3. Deanna

    Susannah, I can relate …
    Tomorrow is my 44th birthday and I know my child-bearing years are nearing an end (maybe). I too have always believed I didn’t want children, but now the older I get the more I worry that I will regret it. I am still “not ready” for kids but that niggling is often there.

    Have hope, my dear, I didn’t get married until 5 years ago. It took me a long time to find the one I want to spend my life with, and he was worth the wait. I have confidence that we have a stronger relationship because we were both “grown-up” when we met and got married. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    And these f-ing hormonal migraines are about ready to turn me into a crazy woman!

    Oh yeah! and I am, today, 1.5 pounds away from my weight-loss goal of 25 pounds. It gets harder as you get older but it CAN be done.

  4. Renee @ The Calm Mama

    lovelovelove it, susannah!!! i’m starting to write more authentically on my blog b/c i don’t want to come across as the perfect mother…so this was very uplifting!! you’ve inspired me to maybe once a week do something like this – like what went amazing well during the week and what didn’t. b/c life isn’t rainbows and sunshine…but it’s nice to not stay in the dark spots as well…so when you start off with what’s GOOD – it makes you see that the BAD isn’t so bad b/c there IS good stuff happening as well. and, i am with ya on the weight…i’m still waiting for my last 10 post baby weight pounds to come off. :)

  5. Patricia Stuever

    We ? you just the way you are. And you never know who you’ll meet during some of those upcoming commitments. My prayers go with you. He’ll show up when you least expect it(they always do).
    ;) *Hugs*

  6. Rachel @ Suburban Yogini

    Love it. Full disclosure. Bit of an obsession with me lately as I fear my blog turning into ALL happy goodness. So many things are brilliant in my life, my work, my boy, and it can come across that life is all sweetness….but I have ME for heavens sake, and my bank account looks kind of….unhealthy and my boy works way too hard and my ma’s not well and… ah, you know.

    It’s all balance. And ultimately, it’s all good :)

  7. Patricia Stuever

    Okay that was suppose to be a “heart” not a question mark. :(

  8. Meg Manion Silliker

    i relate to your good list and i relate to your shit list. aren’t we all awesome!!!?!! xoxoxo
    {i’ll take your 39 and raise you 10!}

  9. Steven Andrew

    I’ve grown to love this blog so much because of your honesty. So many people are hesitant to put something negative on their blog but you’re being true to who you are as a person. We’re all human and we feel all of these different emotions, I’m glad you’re not afraid to voice them to your readers.

  10. nicole

    Yes to writing out the hard stuff even if it’s a little scary! I love that you focused on the good things first -I try to do this, too, even when I’m feeling a bit mired …

    So … I know you are busy with work and I’m sure the days are full, but is there a way to carve out 30-40 minutes a day (or, every other day) to do some exercise? It can be a walk … or a short run … or a swim … or whatever …. I mention this only because I’m a huge proponent of exercise as a major part of overall *feeling good* about oneself mentally and physically (plus, the natural high!). It can be difficult to make time, but so, so worth it. I feel so great after doing something physical — just really calm and cleaned out, if that makes sense. And I want everyone to feel as good! :)

    As always, you inspire …

  11. Zarina Ávila

    Congratulations on your goal weight … I totally agree, you can!

  12. Ginny

    Thank you for sharing the good and the bad. What I find fascinating is that we are all the same no matter how old or young. I’m 65 and still worry about getting old. But of course that is good because it means I still feel young.

  13. Zarina Ávila

    Susannah your words are totally inspiring. True, he says Rene, life is full of great things and several drinks bitter, so long every day, but if you look closely at the bad things are not so bad at the end because we have the path of growth and personal learning. So in the end, we should be just as happy for the wrong things for the good things that arm our lives.
    PS: Sorry if my English is not the best:) try to improve every day. Only able to read you without the help of a translator is an incentive for me.

  14. Mani

    About the PMS issue… I am a midwife, and am well versed in more natural ways of dealing with this beast of an issue. If you would like me to throw out some ideas, please feel free to email me. P.S. Not searching for business, just a gesture of goodwill from one woman has dealt with it to another.

  15. Kathryn Dyche Dechairo

    I can relate to a number of things on your list (other than wanting children). Good on you for being so honest. I turn 39 this Sunday and can’t believe I’m so close to the big 40. Where did all the time go, I want to time travel back to my 20’s!

  16. EMC

    Oh no, I broke Susannah! Sorry about that. I don’t think your blog is all sunshine and bubbles, don’t worry. I just think you represent your life in a lovely way. And kudos for you for being able to say what’s not good about it too, not sure I could be so open in a non-anonymous forum. Boyfriends, weight issues … I hear ya — well I would if all that noise in my head wasn’t so loud! You’re an inspiration — in the best, most human way.

  17. Jill

    Thank you, lady, for sharing your FULL lists. You’re real, genuine and truly LIVING a life to have these two lists. I fear not finding a man who will be my husband. . . and I let that one percolate more than not having kids because I’d want to be married to parent (traditional, naive, whatever – but this is how I’d want to enter becoming a parent). I literally have to snap myself out of thinking about where “he” is because I could let that pursuit take over my life and thoughts and that would not be productive, healthy or fun. So I don’t think about it much. . . and sometimes think because I’m not, I’m not making it happen. Crappy circular thinking. A friend’s father just passed away and I found myself reflecting on my own life at his memorial service. I was pleased to leave the church thinking despite what I haven’t experienced yet, I have more positive thoughts about how I’m living my life thus far than negative. That’s a good thing. Thanks for keeping it real and cultivating community :) So looking forward to the next photo class! xoxo – J

  18. Jo

    I love you. I know how some days you struggle with the shit list and why wouldn’t you…that stuff is HARD. I also know you handle it with humour and grace and swearing a lot. So yeah..I love you :) xx

  19. susannah

    HEE!!! that really made me laugh! i promise you didn’t break me — i loved your original comment because it opened the door for this post today… and i’m glad i could get a few things off my chest :) so thank you, love xxx

  20. patti scanlon

    we all are a mix of all these good and bad things, It is just trying to make our way the best we can thru all the muck and support each other on the way. Your honesty and realness is an inspiration.

  21. susannah

    i love your English, Zarina! xxx

  22. Briana Morrison

    Ahh Susannah, thank you for sharing. Your willingness to wear your heart on your sleeve (or on your blog in this case) is always an inspiration. For all the good things you’ve got going right now…Yay! And for the bad, well…they always seem really bad in the moment but they will only stay that way if you let them. This is something I have to remind myself every day. *hugs*

  23. Tina Tierson

    Thanks for sharing the shit! I think we all need to know we’re not alone! To echo others here, you are an inspiration and much loved! xoxo

  24. Jenn C. / Siercia

    I had a long conversation the other day with a dear friend who just turned 35 this months about how that was making her feel, particularly with regard to the question of having children – she’s very much still in that place of being 95% sure she doesn’t want kids, but feeling that she was hitting the point of losing the option to change her mind was weighing on her fairly heavily. It’s a hard and complicated decision and I think we all go through it.

    On the other side, my 38 year old self often mourns the opportunities lost because I did decide to have a family, and although I love being a mother, I still feel the loss of all my could-have-been things as well.

  25. Rambling Heather

    THIS is what I love about your blog. Your humble attitude. I feel as though we are sitting over coffee and you are being you. You are being real. Something that is rare these days. Thank you!

  26. Nina

    I hate those Perfect Life blogs. Not because my life is imperfect, but because I KNOW that everybody’s life is imperfect and therefore those blogs are a lie. I wouldn’t be reading yours if it had even a hint of that, so don’t worry!

  27. Klara

    i like these post because all of them has a honest style and they really make me thinking always.

  28. Fiona

    EMC said it. The mire of finding a new life. Or creating one, which is even tougher. Also issues 1 and 3. But we’re all working, aren’t we? We’re getting there, you and I and everyone else.

    Don’t give up hope. That good list is pretty fine :)

  29. Roxanne Galpin

    Thank you for sharing your vulnerability with us. We all love you because you are real. xo

  30. Sandie Cottee

    Love this post Susannah. It is important to acknowledge the good and the bad and to be authentic. That’s real life, and what has given you such a strong following. I love hearing about Noah and your relationship with him. He is blessed to have you as an aunt.

  31. Stacy

    You are utterly awesome. <3

  32. Lori - What Remains Now

    Very funny and captures life as it is…sweet & sour. I listened to your audio interview on The World’s Biggest Summit. It was great. I look forward to spending more time with you.

  33. sonrie

    my progesterone was tested and extremely low – i now take it back in pill form 10 days a month and that has done

  34. sonrie


    wonders! i also am on the path to loosing weight, but heard of a study that sugar was found to be more addictive than crack. really! We all have good lists and shit lists…i may not be able to have children but i can be a loving auntie to my twin nieces. i don’t disclose on my blog – it is mostly photos, so i disclose on comments of other blogs i find relevant to me. there are thousands who can relate to you and no reason to apologize one bit for yourself. :)

  35. Meg Roper

    What a lovely vulnerable and courageous post. I can relate to bloody PMS, expanding waste and ageing and although there is a wonderful Mr M ridiculous circumstances contrive to keep us in different countries (something I need to address soon!)

    The baby question is such a thorny one whatever happens do hang on to the fact that you have an amazing influence on a growing child already, as an Aunt. Uncles, aunts, godparents, older siblings, guardians, teachers, mentors… all of these are a valid and much undervalued way of positively impacting a child’s life and in some ways more selfless for the anonymity/lack of recognition. Parents get the credit or the blame, the others not a glancing thought from society, just the tacit acknowledgement from the child who remembers the joy such “carers” brought!

  36. jen : painted fish studio

    i’m right there with you on all four things that are shit. right there. and reading that your four things that are shit are also my four things that are shit is very comforting! i have good in my life! but i have shit, too.

  37. Paty

    Dear Sus, I’m with you and with all the women out there that can relate with what you just said.

    In the end, there’s good and not so good in life but we need to make the most out of that.

    You are brave, you chose to share your path with us and for that, I am thankful.

    I’m sure there’s a beautiful soul in a man waiting to find you. Open up to that possibility and he will get to you. As for the rest, that’s the curse and the blessing of being a woman. Embrace it. Even the PMS days. Several of your most insightful posts have come from deep within you during those days.

    Thank you for always being so open and supportive with our own openess.

    Love and big hugs from Mexico


  38. Lucia

    I love your genuineness!! I have my a beautiful son and husband but still have a shit list with me. I mean, building a family is great but it´s not the end of our problems. We humans have a great capacity to build new problems ;) I totally relate to your last tree shit topics, even I have one son, I have the same feelings like you but about having a second child! Is it something related to being a woman?!!! help!! ;) … Let´s enjoy our life as it is! hugs, Lucia

  39. Melissa

    Thank you for sharing such deep, heartfelt emotion. That couldn’t have been easy for you, but at the same time, I hope it was somewhat cathartic. Venting is good for clearing the mind. Please know you are not alone. I am soon to be 41 and have been struggling with my weight since I turned 35. Have a good rest of the week. And remember, you are a strong, amazing, beautiful woman.

  40. Brandy

    I lost my husband five years ago. He was 29. below is my love story. Yes, I found love again and it’s better than I ever expected. You’ll find it too. Stop looking and he’ll show up :) http://brandyink.typepad.com/brandyink/2010/02/trust.html#comments

  41. Dorothy Lemoult

    Thank you for sharing! I now feel normal instead of feeling like I’m having a terrible mid life crisis and surely it is the end of everything.
    Tomorrow, I turn 39 1/2 and I’m in total panic about the last six months of my 30’s. My hormones are raging and I, too, still want a child!
    It’s going to be okay. It really is. I still have 6 months to figure it all out.

  42. Coastal Jan

    I just bet this year sees sweeping changes in your life! How ’bout revisiting this topic a year from now? It will be interesting to see what has transpired.

  43. Catalina

    same for me….ageing is the only issue that I don’t mind…so much…hahahahahaha!

    I “found” my husband when I thought I will be single the rest of my life (39…) no kids so we just “borrow” them, and stopped smoking as well (this is just great! ) and yes…not the same size any more….walking (with a camera) is my favourite sport.

    I always think of my blog as a photo album…You put there the interesting (even if sad) moments and the best and happy ones for sure. When I come an visit here I find a sweet and courageous woman, happy even on sad moments, spreading love and kindness in a very creative way. Thank you!

  44. Helen

    Going 100% raw vegan TOTALLY ended 30 years of hormonal misery for me. I KNOW you said you didn’t want advice (sorry!) and going raw is probably way too radical to contemplate, but I’d have felt bad if I didn’t put that out there, given the utter transformation it wrought for me. It also meant I lost lots of weight without trying to! (No longer completely raw so the weight’s crept back on, but the hormonal stuff got sorted for good… :)

  45. catherine_sr

    Thanks for your honesty about PMS and how it has impacted your life. Honestly, mine is hell for me, too. My period has been irregular for three months and as a consequence I have had bouts of PMS for 3 weeks at a time (and by PMS, I mean PMDD). It’s been awful and affected my professional life, to say nothing of my personal well-being. I have a blog where I write about being an expat in Taiwan, and I focus on the positive things because I see myself as an online “ambassador” of sorts for a country that is still very much an underdog on the international scene. But there are times when I really want to write “I can’t stand it, I can barely speak Mandarin because I am in so much pain and I don’t want to leave the house EVER!” But I’m scared to, because I’ve noticed women with PMDD and other gynecological get dismissed as being whiny, even though our reproductive systems and hormones are obviously major components of our body. PMDD means I get cramps, backaches, headaches and fatigue all at the same time (on top of the emotional and mental symptoms). Ugggggghhhhhh… well, that’s my rant :-). I wanted to thank you for your post.

  46. Dana Barbieri

    Congrats on the weight loss. And on the kid front… I don’t think any of us are every truly “ready”. :)

  47. Dana Barbieri

    yes, I agree. of course the “bad” stuff comes up but I don’t like to spend my time there as a focus.

  48. Dana Barbieri

    I love that by you being honest and yourself, you give others the gift to be that too. Thank you.

  49. Debi

    you’re a real, live woman. i didn’t respond to your last post, but i will now, because that’s what keeps me coming back. your images, of course, and the wonderful way you are able to encourage others to see and love themselves, while dealing with the same human stuff they (we) are. you are a true woman. thank you.

  50. Nicola

    Dear Susannah. Thank you for sharing so openly with us. I discovered blogs fairly recently and while I love reading them most of them do seem to be snippets of perfect lives and make me feel very inadequate. I do understand your feelings. I share many of them. Almost two years ago I lost my husband to cancer. He was 39. Our little boy was only 11 months old at the time. My husband always seemed so fit and well and yet within 6 months of being diagnosed he was gone. Six months after that I turned 40 and since then I have struggled with life completely and all I can think about are the regrets I have. I worry that I will spend my life alone and although I manage on my own I miss the companionship like you. I do have my lovely little boy but always wanted a few children and because I didn’t meet my husband until I was older and we didn’t get very long together I won’t have the opportunity to have any more which breaks my heart. I feel like I have failed at every area of my life and nothing is how I thought it would be. So thank you for sharing and making me realise there are others out there who don’t have perfect lives either. xx

  51. christine

    Maybe we should do a weight loss club amongst us all? Everytime I sit down I can’t help but notice the spread in my middle.

    Is it bad that first thing I noticed in your post was the brownie? Man….I’ve got to get out more. LOL ;)

  52. Molly

    It was really courageous of you to put your ugly stuff right there with your pretty stuff.

    Numbers 1 and 2 are on my shit list as well, and number 1 is only exacerbated by how desperate everyone else seems to be to see me settled down. I swear, the next person who says they’ve met my future husband is going to get thrown through a wall.

  53. Sarah

    “I wonder if i missed my chance a few stops back”…. that is exactly how I feel.

    I LOVE your writing! You write so well and so honestly. You write things that I think and feel every day, but could never articulate or even possibly admit in my head… but as soon as I read it, it’s like a great big lighbulb switching on! Thank you.

  54. Marthe

    I think you’re really brave to write this post. Not only must it be hard to share all this with the world, I can imagine it must be a challenge to admit this to yourself too.

    I love how you mange o balance the good and the bad though. And I have no doubt in my mind that you’ll either resolve all the bad – or make peace with it.

    Sending love. :)

  55. heaven

    thank you friend for sharing your heart.. and yes.. i’m not sure i even understand that 40 came and went and that i am now 41. i tell myself i still have time to have children, all the while knowing that’s a very slim option.

    as i sat in my 39th year.. i wrote this… http://greenchairstudio.blogspot.com/2010/01/to-risk.html and then when on to have this…


    so 40 will come and you will embrace her as you have every year before, and know that you are ok, just as and just where you are.

    big love.


  56. Colette

    This post enabled me to create a new subdomain for vulnerable sharing.

    I will unveil and test drive it during the photo meditations course.


  57. Colette

    I need to make a shit list.

  58. Angela

    The aging and babies thing, I’ve been doing myself, for two years now- only I’m 36, and have never really been loved. I thought I’d met someone who might be good for me, even just for a while, and he claimed to love me, but then flattened me. I’ve been grieving my lost youth (or, most of it), feeling like a bug in a jar, loving my family, but feeling so lonely and empty. I haven’t even been creative, because that went off track, too – unless you count the odd decent photograph. And time going so quickly.. I didn’t expect all of this until I hit forty, at least, but it’s been eating away at me.. and the guy I thought loved me, is now in a relationship (after saying in January, that he didn’t want one).

    I wish I could take your course, but I can’t afford to. I need to get int he shower and make myself useful, before I start crying again. I spent friday and saturday in bed, depressed, and my life is just disappearing.

  59. jane (faerian)

    my saggy bit send your wobbly bits all the love they can cope with x

  60. Nathalie

    I love you more for this Susannah. I always (since 2009) admired you for a reality blogger far from the shinny “oh so exciting” trend others seem to dwell into.
    You create trust online, so much so the commenters express their own aches freely. And all that while being admirable in your writing (I am picky about that) but embracing also your “hippiness” (book cover!). x

  61. sushi lover

    i actually don’t think your blog is a happy sunshine blog. it’s a very sincere one and i really admire you for being able to put out a post like this.
    no life is perfect and it’s a privilege to see your reflections on life.
    i wish for more reflection on my life.

  62. Angela

    I actually appreciate your happy/shiny more, because in reading your archives, you really have earned it. I’m the Angela who commented above, and I’m still in a bad place, also wishing that I hadn’t lost my 35th, and most of my 36th year to grief and an early mid-life crisis. I’ve lost family members and pets to death, and have lost people due to my worsening attitude (as I tried to restabilize), and their lack of understanding. I was called “spineless” and had people literally back off – although they were people who don’t know me well. It’s weird being surrounded by good (family, my sister, remaining pets, and some good long-distance friends), and being so depressed and lost.

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