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Building Courage During Change

I feel like a broken record sometimes with how many times I say that I am an intense planner, or “plotter” in the writing world. But just like some people hate planning and refuse to make decisions before they must, I am hesitant to change anything about my life, even the things I dislike, even if I know adding something new will improve my life.

Why? Because I am afraid. I am not afraid of the idea of change, but instead I am afraid of failing or embarrassing myself. So I keep to the comfortable part of my life, stick to the routines that I know work, that I can manage. Even if I don’t enjoy the routine anymore, it is easier to cave to what I know than face the challenges that come with taking risks.

In the last few months, I have grown weary of waiting for things to change, to finally be where I wish to be, a published author, more social within the writing community, and feeling in touch with my creativity. I am sure that other writers, artists, or just people in general feel similarly at times.

We spend our entire lives waiting for the future. We spend our childhood wanting to be older. We crave the feeling of being sixteen, then eighteen, then twenty-one, and then what? We wait for change to overtake us just as our ages do.

Life is not about waiting, though. It is about taking action, creating, growing. In these months of dormant motivation, I realized that I was the only one holding me back from accomplishing these goals, from trying these new things. I cannot simply wait for these things to happen to me because if I truly want them, it is my responsibility to take action and see it through. I am the one in control.

Stepping out of my comfort zone requires courage and strength, things I do not consider to be part of my repertoire. I am used to being invisible, tucked away within my safe bubble where I wait for things to happen. But once I realized how low of a standard I was setting for myself, how little effort I gave to my ambitions, I realized that I needed to find that brave piece of myself and bring it out to play.

So this past month has been full of accomplishments and changes that I think have not only nurtured my creativity but helped it thrive.

What Did I Do to Step Out of My Comfort Zone?

I started a YouTube channel. Me?! A YouTube channel?

I know, right?

Over the last few years, I have attempted to keep my writing-themed social media presence alive to no avail, mainly because I did not understand what a commitment this was to my writing. I thought it was more of an obligation than something fun and enjoyable.

Because I stepped out my own comfort zone over on Instagram, connecting with fellow writers and readers, I actually hit 1,000 followers, just by making friends and being kind to those I saw on my feed. I never would have thought that my social media presence would change the way I write and interact with others, but it did! As soon as I let my guard down and allowed my nerves to settle, I realized how important this was to my writing journey, even though I had never looked at it like that before.

In addition, I was in awe of the platform I had recently discovered, lovingly called “AuthorTube.” I found myself wishing I could be even half as brave as the writers I saw on YouTube sharing tips and their experiences. I daydreamed about what it would be like, not to have millions of subscribers, but to be courageous enough to go for it.

When I mentioned this to some of my new writing friends on Instagram, also on YouTube, they encouraged me to start my own! At first, I rejected the idea because of this simple sentence that kept coming back to mind.

“That’s just not who I am.”

But once I started thinking about it, I began to ask, “Why isn’t this who I am? I am in control of myself, so why can’t I be the type of person who has a YouTube channel?”

And so I decided to be brave and started an AuthorTube and BookTube.

This has been one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done. I don’t know if there have been that many other things that made me so scared and excited at the same time. And by challenging myself, I got to prove myself wrong–that I am the type to do this, and that there is nothing to be embarrassed about.

The amount of support I received on this was incredible, and I am so appreciative! This exciting moment in my life has actually inspired me to be even more brave, shove my anxiety aside and trust fully in the fact that the people I have met on social media are kind, gentle, and supportive.

If you would like to check out my first AuthorTube video, I have it linked below! If you would enjoy seeing more content like this from me, please subscribe over on YouTube!

So, what else I am I going to do? How else will I be brave?

I am going to share a huge milestone with the internet and allow my vulnerability to come through.

I finished the first draft of my memoir project on August 29th, 2020! This was a heart-aching adventure that I was glad to do, but the anxiety filled me up, and I am so glad that the first draft is done, at least!

But something I have struggled with is sharing about my memoir project because it is so intimate and personal (obviously!) and I have been nervous to share the contents of this story. But today, I am going to give you a brief description of my memoir and include a picture, too!

Me, age 11, in my wheelchair in April 2011.

In March 2011, at the age of 11, I was involved in a freak accident that broke my femur and pelvis, and I had a variety of other injuries that have deeply affected me, even to this day. I was confined to a wheelchair for two months because of it, struggled with depression, and finally learned to walk again the summer between fifth and sixth grades.

While some see my story of healing as a “Happily Ever After” at that moment, it was far from over. During this decade-long healing process, I have grieved, reflected, lost my identity, and found a new one in order to heal, and even then, the healing is not over. Though my scars are hidden from the world, I aim to show readers that there is more to someone’s story than what they wear on their sleeve. Trauma is a shadow that follows, and exposing it to the light can be scarier than some may feel it should be. The burdens inside are often the ones that I cling to too tightly, and sometimes, I won’t want to let them go, no matter how much it hurts.

This story is vulnerable, painful, and embarrassing. It is full of self-hatred and intense thoughts that 11-year-olds have no business dealing with.

It takes a lot of convincing for me to share this story with anyone, but I am ready to be courageous. I am ready to step into this growing phase of my life.

After all, the only time you are actually growing is when you are uncomfortable.

How Can You Become More Courageous?

If you are also struggling with how to become more courageous, whether this in your creative endeavors or your personal life, there are a few things that may help you.

Discover what makes you uncomfortable.

If you are really honest with yourself, you may find that the excuses you have been using have no weight behind them. It will take self-reflection in order to figure out what will help you, or even to decide what you want to do.

You can try journaling, seeking counseling, or advice from a friend. If you feel compelled to look to a higher power, you could try praying or however you feel most comfortable seeking guidance. Recently, I have dabbled a bit in Tarot Cards, and they have also been helpful in giving advice.

Make the decision to change your routine.

This takes the most courage, in my opinion. Once you acknowledge your problem, it is still very difficult to get out of it. But once you start feeling unsettled by what you have allowed or tolerated up to this point, you should feel ambition and motivation flow through you. Embrace it, and let it guide you.

Dive in head first.

Don’t let yourself overthink it. Once you have made the decision, don’t go back on it. Make the decision for yourself and invest your positive energy into it. If you start this adventure with a negative attitude, it will not be as successful. Decide to put faith in yourself and your craft, and follow through with your actions.

Change can be daunting, but just remember why it is important to you, keep your chin up, and don’t ever, ever give up on the things that will make you happy.

How to Manage and Tap into Your Elevated Emotions to Make Your Writing Better

As a writer, I am accustomed to stepping out of my own shoes, administering another perspective, letting myself become a character, and feeling their emotions as if they were my own. Through my own fictional characters and the stories and traumas I put them through (man, I sound like a monster, don’t I?), I have experienced stress, grief, agony, guilt, depression, abuse, stress, anger, delirium, joy, and endearment. As writers, we can create a pool of emotions and slip into it with ease, swimming through it with contentment and satisfaction.

But what happens when your own emotions begin to cloud the story? What about when your character becomes way more depressed than you remembered outlining them? Have you ever read through a scene you wrote and wondered how your character seems to be feeling everything in your own subconscious?

This can be a serious problem for writers who are dealing with a lot of their own personal stress. For many writers, their stories serve as an escape, but if they are not careful, the stories can become their own counseling session.

During this pandemic, writing has served as my escape, too, but as many stresses are not simply fixed by writing. These problems linger, and if they affect you more than you care to admit, this may impact your writing.

In the past few months, I have struggled with my own mental health and my worries for the future. I have let my problems become so overwhelming that there are nights I cannot sleep, and there are mornings I do not even feel like crawling out of bed. Instead of turning to my passion as support, I have found myself neglecting it, in fear of hating what I write due to my own strong emotions.

Here, I have outlined some of the steps I have taken to help manage my own emotions to keep them separate from my writing, and others that have actually made my writing more balanced and impactful.

How to Manage Your Strong Emotions

1. Keep a Journal Just for You:

As a writer with words to spare, it may be helpful to write down your emotions in a separate space from all of your creative works. Buy a journal with the atmosphere you want. For some, it may help to purchase one with bright colors and inspiring quotes. For others, this may become a dark space to dump negative emotions, so a plain, black journal may suit you well. (Both are perfectly acceptable, as long as it is healthy for you! Keep in mind that this is a safe space for you, so do not let your brain take over too much of it. This is an empty canvas upon which your heart can release its worries.) This journal should serve as a place to go to when your emotions feel too heavy, or this may be helpful to do in a routine, such as in the morning, just before bed, or even as you sit down to write your own stories. Pick a plan that works best for you.

For me, this is a hard one to do. You would think being a writer would make it easier to journal your own feelings, but for me, it becomes very difficult because I want the writing to be perfect or have more of a story rather than just a bunch of what I call “word vomit”. But be brave, and try this out if you think it will help. (I’m doing it with you!)

2. Address the Issues that Bother You

For some, journaling may be enough, but for others, we need to have a physical being as emotional support. For you, this may be a parent, spouse, friend, or even a pet! Use the human (or animal!!) connection you have on hand. When you are feeling stressed or unmotivated, let yourself lean on your support system for a bit to get your grounding before trying to tackle a creative project. This may also involve going to a counselor. For the last year, I have been seeing a mental health counselor, and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. My counselor helps me with personal issues and even encourages my creative endeavors and assists me in working out my stress in that space. I know that mental health care can be outrageous and difficult to get to, so if you are fortunate enough to have the opportunity, see how they can help with your creative pursuits, as well.

3. Take a Break!

There are so many writing websites that suggest to write every single day, even when you do not feel like it. While I understand this idea, and sometimes do force myself to write when the motivation is not there, sometimes, this can be more damaging.

There’s been times I’ve sat down and forced myself to write when my emotions were sky-high, and I became so frustrated with my work that I had to stop and cry, and I ended up needing an entire week to feel comfortable enough to write again. I wished I would have just given myself space to begin with.

My advice is, if you are having a very stressful day, you are on the brink of tears, but you feel like you should write, allow yourself a day of rest. Replenish your creativity by watching an interesting show or movie, reading a book, cooking dinner, etc. There are multiple ways to heal your creative side while resting up and taking care of your emotions. Your emotions can cloud every part of your day, even your writing.

4. Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over It!!

I am guilty of this, too, but we can work on it together. When there are stressful times, it is only natural to become flustered and frustrated. Don’t be angry with yourself. Let it sit as long as it needs, then let is pass. Your creativity must be nurtured, but you cannot force it to heal. It requires time and energy to do so. Be patient and kind to yourself.

How to Tap into Your Strong Emotions

“But, Nichelle,” you might be wondering, “How can my strong emotions help out my character’s journey? Didn’t you just say to keep them separate?”

Yes, yes, I did, but like most things in life, it is a balance of both.

1. When You Feel Inspired By Your Own Life, Write It Down!

I don’t know about you, but I always seem to get a lot of my story ideas while I am busy at work or in class, or simply, just away from my computer. So when I come up with the idea, I have realized my favorite ones actually stem from my own frustrations. I love writing short stories that reflect my own stresses, but I spin them in a fictional way to separate them from myself and makes it more interesting for a reader. When these tensions are high, I decide to spin it around to make it about me–but really not! This has been a nice way for me to cope with my own stresses.

2. Sometimes, You Can Let Your Emotions Take the Lead.

When I am very angry or sad about something, I usually sit down to write out a short poem or a snippet of a short story with those frustrations. Once I get the basics of how I am feeling on the page, usually I can add more to it, make it a story, fill in some fictional gaps, and suddenly it has become my passion project. This has been a fun way to increase my writing time while also releasing some tension. I will warn you though, these usually work best for me once those frustrations have had time to heal. I don’t write about them day one. Usually this is day seven.

3. Take The Opportunity to Write When Your Main Character is Stressed, Too.

Since stories depend on conflict, it can be pretty easy to find a chapter in which your MC is stressed. Without letting your problems becomes the characters’, you can use your stress as inspiration, a place to direct the words we cannot quite express. This can be a great way to allow that balance to take place.

What About Creative-Nonfiction?

When emotions are high, writing about yourself should be easy, but sometimes it can become even more difficult.

In the last few weeks, I have started my own memoir on a traumatic subject that affects me more than most people recognize on the surface. The emotions in writing this story have been quite difficult to deal with, and I have found myself struggling to keep writing. In reality, I am still struggling with these emotions, still in the healing process. And really, I am sure the healing process will never truly end.

My advice for anyone taking on a difficult and emotional subject:

1. Let Yourself Go Back to That Place, No Matter How Uncomfortable It May Be. 

Most of the time in creative nonfiction, you reflect on the past and write about your history. While some are definitely happy memories, stories thrive off of conflict, so many are more like wounds. You may have come to terms with what has happened, and sometimes, you might not have.

Even if the conflict is deep into the past, it may hurt to bring it up close and examine it. You may find that you are not as “over it” as you thought. Use these emotions to make your writing even more real for you and your readers. Let yourself go back to that space and remember how you truly felt. Your emotions may have changed since then, and you may feel silly looking back on them. Just because you have grown and changed since then does not mean those emotions are no longer valid. They are important, and writing them will be healthy for you. They will even create a more authentic recount of your story.

2. Allow Yourself Time to Process.

You may start to believe it should not affect you so much, especially if your story is deep into the past. Mine is 9.5 years, and I am still not done healing. Be patient and compassionate with yourself. This is your healing process. This project is really for you, so let it be there for you. Believe in yourself, and trust the emotions inside. Don’t second-guess yourself.

My memoir project took such an emotional toll that I had to take a 1.5 week break from it, and it’s a good thing I did. It killed me to do it, but now I realize it was better for my mental health to have time to process.

3. Have a Lighter Project That Can Help Balance Out Your Creative Flow.

What has saved my creative process is working on multiple projects. I usually only work on one at a time, but in these last few weeks, I have found my savior in poems and short stories, as well as allowing myself to plan and reflect on past projects.

If you have another passion project, invest your energy on it, too, and allow the one that speaks most to you to flourish when you need it to. Allow your creativity to guide you.

4. Don’t Rush It.

You may want this project to be over because it hurts too much, but let it come as slowly as it needs to. I have found that my story is a series of puzzle pieces scattered across my mind, and I am picking them up in disarray, trying to organize them. While this may feel like an agonizing process, it will come as steadily or as slowly as it needs to. Trust yourself to lay the pieces as they come.

 

I hope these tips may help you as you explore your emotional writing! In the comments, let me know if this is something you are struggling with, too.

Where Humanity Thrives

How many times have you heard, “What a crazy world we live in.” in the last week? The last month? Or the last four months?

I’ve said it myself. Quite often, actually.

The truth is, we have always lived in a crazy world. That’s what makes it so unique. We live in a world full of color, trees that grow as tall as they want, where streams become rivers become lakes become oceans.

Our world is filled with all sorts of people. Differences in skin color, hair color, eye color, personalities, fashions. Hundreds of nationalities, identities, all on one rock, perfectly positioned from the sun to allow life, to produce oxygen for all of us, plants and animals, to share.

How crazy is it that we have oxygen, right?

As a citizen of the United States, I know how blessed I am to be a part of this country. I know what liberties I have, and I am very grateful for my fortunate life.

While recognizing this, I know that I have more liberties than some of my other Americans. This may be the part where you argue we live in a crazy world.

And yes, we do. It is crazy to think that the color of one’s skin might be the cause of someone using violence against them, that it might be used as a tool to feel superior. This is a crazy idea…

But this idea has been around for centuries, and though some may ignore it, it has not gone away. There are still remnants of a time that we, as white people, cannot even fathom. There are freedoms we take for granted every single day, and I think it is time to step back and be humbled.

“Freedom is the atmosphere in which humanity thrives. Breathe it in.” – Richelle E. Goodrich

Yes, we live in a crazy world. Right now, we are up against a pandemic, the masks weighing us down, six feet away from our loved ones. We see protests, and some of our communities do not understand why. We are wondering what our world looks like one week from now, one month, four months.

Our crazy world is changing, but I do not want to shy away from it. I want to embrace it. I want to create a brighter, kinder world, a world in which I can feel a sense of community and belonging within the human race. A world in which I feel comfortable raising children. A world in which I know they would be in good hands when I’m gone.

_Freedom is the atmosphere in which humanity thrives. Breathe it in._So what does this have to do with freedom?

We celebrated the U.S.’s birthday yesterday, and this is something of a controversy, too. We have horrors in our world, and it can be difficult to celebrate something that makes us want to cry or scream–because honestly, those have been my two moods for the last few weeks as I open Facebook or turn on the news.

But we have freedoms that we celebrate every year, and we should use these freedoms to expand them, share them with others, and help each other out.

We have the freedom to make a difference in our world. Because I see freedom, but I don’t see humanity thriving. I see the potential, but I don’t see success.

Because we live in a beautiful, crazy world full of wonderful, crazy people. Everything about our world is unique and lively–so why should humans be any different?

We are unique in all the best ways, and we should be creating a world in which it is safe to be different. To create a brighter, kinder future.

So, as you celebrate your freedoms, remember that they are not only yours, but your entire community’s, too, and I think humanity should be thriving.

“May we think of freedom not as the right to do what we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” – Peter Marshall

Postponed Novels, Surprising Sequels, and New Projects–Oh, My!

I am a planner in all areas of my life. I always joke that if I could plan out my entire life, I would. I know where I want to be in five years, for sure. This is also true in my writing.

For those of you who may not know, many writers are categorized as plotters, a writer who plans out their novel before they write it, or pantsers, a writer who flies by the seat of their pants and plan very little before setting out to write. I fall very firmly on the plotter side, as I must have an outline for every aspect of my book in order to keep everything in order, though I am known to add in new plot details and changes at the last second. It’s not that I don’t ever make last-minute decisions, but it takes me a long time to convince myself that is the right option.

Oh, yes, I’ve been dead set on several things, and now I have changed my mind, created a new plan, and I am now setting up my course.

Let’s start with my novel, True Power.

Beginning March 1st, I began the querying process for True Power. This novel has been my baby since Fall 2018, so I was really excited to begin this process. I sent out a healthy stack of queries, all of which ended in rejection or no response. I expected this because it usually takes a long, long time to be accepted by a literary agent.

Then, I got a book called Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need. This book has helped my writing become significantly better. I had heard of Save the Cat!, but I had postponed ordering it. When I finally got my hands on it at the end of April, I realized that True Power needed a better plot structure.

And that is why I decided to postpone my querying process until I can get my plot structured. That being said, I have not really worked on True Power because I have been preoccupied with a new book, one that feels a lot better at the moment, and I decided to focus on it for the time being. (This was a very difficult decision to make!)

In April, I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, a way for authors to push themselves on their projects, in preparation for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November, when writers set a goal for 50,000 words in 30 days. I began writing my novel, Double Vision, at this time.

First Draft Double VisionThis novel is very fun and exciting, a lot of fantasy and deep generational trauma, something I feel very passionate about in understanding our culture and society. I have been very motivated to complete this book, and on June 24, I wrote the last chapter of my first draft, bringing me to 85,333 words!

Double Vision will probably end up with a different name, but it is a novel that has helped me develop my plot and my voice in ways I had not ventured before. I am so excited to share it with the world–hopefully soon-ish! I am taking a small break from it, and I will do a read-through, then begin the second draft. And that’s not all…

Double Vision will have a sequel. I have not decided the entire plot to it yet, so I am not sure if it will be a duology or trilogy yet, but I am really excited to begin that process.

I have never attempted a sequel before because I am pretty particular about sequels in general. Many times, when I am reading for leisure, I devour the first book in one sitting, and then I take a long time to get through the sequel because it was not as thrilling as I hoped it would be. Because of this, I have always thought I would be a stand-alone novelist, never really making a series, especially because trilogies are common in the Young Adult genre that I get a little frustrated seeing so many.

But for Double Vision, I have stepped out of my comfort zone so much, and I knew that the story was not over there. My characters deserve more of a storyline, so I decided to embark on a sequel that I will begin to seriously plan out soon!

So, a lot has changed since March 1st. No more querying, a novel lying dormant, waiting for my attention, and a new completed novel, the fastest I’ve ever written one! So, what’s next?

Well, July is another Camp NaNoWriMo Month, so I will be setting some new goals for Camp. The new project I am beginning to work on is kind of a secret, but I’ll give a few more details.

Have you ever had a piece of your life you wanted to keep just for you? Maybe some trauma that has not been resolved and lingers with you for a long time?

Blog Post 06.28.2020I have a story I share with very few people because of my own issues with it, things I have been working out in counseling, allowing myself to open up to others and share the story as an important aspect of my life, rather than a burden.

For years, my family has hoped that one day I would write the novel about my story, and while I thought that as a writer, it was important for me to do that, it made my stomach squeamish to think about all these people knowing. Truth be told, it still does.

But, it’s time for me to use my story as a way to heal instead of hurt.

My project for July Camp NaNoWriMo is a memoir.

It will be interesting having to write about myself in ways that sometimes feel uncomfortable, but I think this is an important journey for me to take. And I may not pursue publication with it. It may be a story that stays just with me. But it’s time for me to open up, and I am excited to share my progress with you.

So, there’s a lot going on in my world of writing! July is coming up quick, and I have lots to do, tons to think about.

I appreciate all of the support you all have given me, even if you don’t see it through the computer screen. I would not be pursuing my dreams as a writer so fiercely if I did not have cheerleaders encouraging me on my way. Thank you for coming with me on this journey, and I hope you will enjoy my weekly check-ins during July as I begin writing a memoir.

As a plotter, I did not see this coming. 2020 has been a wild ride for all of us, and it does not exclude my writing goals. In January, I never would have thought I would be attempting all these new, adventurous stories, but I’m excited for some change, an ambition I did not realize I had. So I’m going to hang on tight and make some plans I may end up ignoring, but I’m ready to do this.

A Single Candle

Sometimes, I feel empty. There are days I want to give in, let myself become a rag doll, so that I could somehow get some rest. I’ll lie in my bed, cocooning into the darkness that seems so daunting to some, but somehow it calms me, and I’ll think it is easier to become a puppet. If I let others control me, if I let them win, some day I will get peace. I’ll throw on my facade and let them assume victory, smile triumphantly as they take my feelings as a trophy, displaying them on the mantle with their other prizes, like their pride and envy and anger.

Other days, I am heavy. Anchors tethered to my feet, I’m thrown into the deep end, and as the weight drags me down into the depths, I cry out for help, water seeping into my throat, my lungs, salt stinging the sores in my  mouth from biting my tongue for so long. And I’ll wait to be rescued because I cannot swim with chains around my toes, ankles, knees, hips, stomach, arms, chest, mouth, eyes. No one could.

As I wait for someone to notice, I’ll count my blessings, reminding myself that I could have it worse. So I’ll decide to keep my outcries to myself, let them fill my chest with a fire only I can feel, let it burn every part of me so that it does not harm anyone else.

I am a people-pleaser, and often times, I fear that if I let my opinion out, if I share how I am feeling, what is weighing me down, people won’t see me as a kind person. I’ll be someone to argue with, someone to fight against, and as a person who strives for harmony, it is difficult to believe in myself.

Single CandleSometimes, it is easier to give in to those feelings. For years, I have argued with myself, trying to convince the girl inside to let the fight escape me. The light she holds is only a single candle in a dark and antagonizing world, and I remind her that a single breeze could extinguish it, and that many people will try to blow it out themselves, if they are ever given the opportunity.

So as I let myself sink into a lifeless body or let myself be buried by the tides, I seek a reminder that this is easier, and if I give up the fight, if I let them win, it will somehow become a chance for me to also claim a trophy.

But wrapped in my chains, lungs longing for air, I see someone else there, too.

Fighting harder. More chains, louder screams, heavier anchors. Soon, they will be emptier than I could ever be. They fight for things that I have no concept of in my own world. They fight for things I take for granted.

That’s what brings me out of my rag doll state, and that’s what forces me to battle my own chains. Because there are so many people in this world who are drowning, and I  might not have a life-jacket, but if I can release the weight of my own world, maybe I can swim to them. Maybe I can help them. Maybe I can share some of their chains so they don’t have to do it alone.

And I won’t tell them, I know how they feel. I won’t tell them that my chains are just as heavy. Because we all carry different burdens. We all pay a different price for life.

I am only a single candle in this world, but maybe with a match–and a whole lot of kindness and empathy–we can spread that fire around, each of us lighting our single candle until the world is illuminated with hope and love.

There is so much to fight for in this world, and when I want to give up, I remember those who cannot. I remember those who haunt my dreams, their pained faces telling me that there is not as much kindness as I had hoped there would be, but there is much potential for it.

So I’ll carry a match. I’ll fight my chains. I’ll revive my rag doll body.

Not for me. But for you. I’ll fight for you. I’ll fight for our world.

Because I am not happy with what I see. No matter how much I love the feel of the sun kissing my skin or the feel of soft grass between my toes, there is much more to our world than that. There are dark voids that replace hearts and anchors that hold many prisoner. And when they try to drag me down, I’m going to fight for kindness. I’m going to fight.

Will you join me?