Let’s Recount a Tale: No Homo.

disclaimer: It’s rare that I ever feel victimized for who I am. For that, I am grateful and privileged. Every day people are judged and persecuted for actively portraying to the real world who they are and that’s a terrible injustice. I felt like it was just to recognize this fact before I go into this nonsensical anecdote because not everyone has it so easy.

It was the night of my cousin’s birthday party; with music resonating and wine in abundance, the night was set to be one that we’d probably remember. But first, a little lesson on what kind of party this was. It was one of those special birthday parties, not unlike a cotillion or a quinceañera. In the Filipino tradition, when a young woman turns eighteen it’s called a debut. When a Filipina decides to have a debut, they typically have what’s called a ‘court.’ A set of nine couples (totaling eighteen) to be her posse, and a set of eighteen ‘candles’ (close female-identifying friends and family members who recount stories of the celebrant) and ‘roses’ (close male-identifying friends and family members who dance with the celebrant). I was one of her roses.

Lesson over, back to the story.

The night goes off without a hitch. The wine had hit me in the right spot and I’m about as loose as I chose to be (it was my cousin’s birthday after all, so I didn’t want to unleash anything I’d regret the next morning. I know how to keep myself tamed). The roses all go up one at a time and dance with her. The music choices switch with every other dancer to keep the audience interested and I am about as nervous as all hell for a reason I can’t seem to remember. Regardless, my dance with my cousin isn’t the main plot of the story, just the foundation. Sorry I couldn’t tell you all of a terrible incident wherein I step on her dress and send her careening into the three-tier cake. I’m a pretty decent dancer and that would never happen on my watch.

I dance with her for a few seconds, wow the audience with an unexpected twirl of my cousin, and walk off to where the rest of the men are standing. Now we are getting somewhere. The last man makes his way to the hoard of men awkwardly canoodling at the end of the dance floor and the photographer asks for a group shot. Not uncommon. As we scoot together to fit in the frame of the camera, one of my cousin’s friends (I assume) puts his arm around me and promptly says, “No homo, bro. No homo.”

Naturally, this wouldn’t and doesn’t offend me. It’s essentially harmless. But with the wine flowing and my mind racing, I was able to trace this thing all the way out into a full tirade in my head.

“Excuse me, person who I don’t even know, but that’s pretty regressive. ‘No Homo?’ Right, because your armpit in such close proximity to my shoulder would release a secret homosexualizing pheromone that (unless neutralized by the phrase ‘No Homo’) would make you irresistible to me. Let’s not even acknowledge the fact that I do identify as a gay man, because I was gay before I met you and your arm isn’t what ‘turned me’ if that’s what you think you’re capable of. In your saying this phrase, it makes me think that you’re trying to repel me like I’m a case of the cooties. ‘Circle, Circle, Dot, Dot, now you have a lot of explaining to do cause I queer, I’m here and I’ll fight you if I have to.’ Furthermore, be inclusive. Who cares if you’re being chummy with another guy, it’s essentially what you all do in a locker room together when you’re doing sports things. It’s a picture, shut up, smile, and move on with your life…You’re not even that cute, so there. And don’t bro me, if you don’t know me.”

Let’s note that this rant lasted the entirety of the picture taking process, which was much longer than it should’ve been and I never saw him again.

Moral of the story is: Words may not hold the intention of hurting someone, but they can still hold weight that can trigger something in someone. Watch what you say and let ‘No Homo’ die. It’s not manly or cool, it’s just sad.

Let’s Rediscover: A Sense of Wonder and Novelty.

There are many things that frighten me: The California Drought, the impending series finale of Scandal, and how my nephew knows how my iPhone works before knowing the alphabet. It’s a small thing considering his generation was born into this world, already filled with advanced technology ready for the taking. But it still has me concerned.

When I look back on my childhood (which wasn’t that long ago), I remember being outside and going on adventures every Sunday to random area in Los Angeles; we’d explore the lavish houses of the rich and greedy, followed by the innards of Los Angeles, herself.  Then I fast forward to today and find myself on my computer most days, confined within the walls of my apartment.

A few months ago, in Seattle, my mom took a picture of the highway. We were surrounded by towering evergreens along this tiny two-way speedway and she decides to take a picture of the rolling fog. In her picture there was a bird. A bird! Her excitement was akin to a child who has never seen a bird before and when she showed me, my reaction treated the moment as such.

“Oh, how cute! It’s a bird. In the air. Flying. How original.” Suffice to say, I didn’t care that much. It was just a bird! Then I began to think: Where did the sense excitement go? When did we lead the mundane and leave the eccentric and wondrous? When did seeing an animal that can FLY become so boring? Can you fly? Didn’t think so. Between my recent apartment confinement and this quick dismissal of avian wonder, I realized that I needed to get out more. This wasn’t in realizing that I lacked a life, rather that I lacked that sense of wonder and novelty.

Life has been so consumed by social media, like Tumblr and Twitter and Facebook, that I fear all of my time is set aside for that consumption. I was and am blindly content with living that life. It’s warm, safe, and doesn’t give me splinters or hurt my ankles. But in being so enveloped in this kind of life, I feel like everything beyond me has become dull, out of reach, or boring.

I refuse to accept that.

Life is so much more than the four walls of our rooms and the screens of our computers. There’s a whole world out there that is so beautiful and vast. Here comes the call to action: I feel we should turn off the screens, silence our phones, and step outside.

Let’s hit the trails or dip our toes in the ocean, and realize that there is a whole world out there to be discovered. Step outside and realize that there are so many things that are just as novel and just as wonderful.

Let’s Decide: Leader or Follower.

For eighteen years, I was a follower.

I’m not sure if it was the way I looked, the way I acted, or the way I talked; as far back as I can remember, the people around me have made my decisions. Not in some executive assistant type of manner, rather in one of condescension, as if they know me better than me. I wasn’t awarded the stereotypical, coming-of-age story arc every “twenty-five year old actor playing a sixteen year old” character got. I was told what I should wear, what classes I should be taking, and even what girl to date.

Oh yes, I cannot give myself the much coveted title of “Gold Star Gay,” because I have dated women in the past (two of them, in fact). Even so, the latter of the two relationships almost ended in utter disaster, due to the fact that it was built upon the fact that my friends told me to date her. They wouldn’t shut up about it; day in and day out, they would say: “You two are always hanging out together and you’re both so cute. You’d make a cute couple. Go for it. Ask her out!” Lo and behold, young, impressionable Jason said “Okay!” and asked out his poor girl and wasted a few months of her life. Months where she could’ve dated someone that actively and independently thought about dating her and wasn’t egged on by his friends to date her.

Oh, and someone who wasn’t gay. Granted,  I didn’t really know at the time, so I think I should let that one go.

Even in the vein of my career (yes, I am going to touch on this top as frequently as possible until I am actually employed), family members and friends and ex-supervisors have told me what I should be doing with my life, just because I’m good at it. By such a logic, I should begin my career in the ever-affluent path of Netflix bingeing. Lord knows I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.

Here are several, aggregated commands I’ve received in the past months:

Relative: “You should teach English in another country! It has good pay and is what you should be doing.”

Immediate Family Member: “You were an RA, right? Here’s this student life coordinator position. You need your M.A. and ten years of experience, but it can’t hurt to apply!”

Ex-Supervisor: “You were a great RA. YOU SHOULD BE IN STUDENT AFFAIRS. IT WAS MEANT FOR YOU. GO TO GRAD SCHOOL AND JOIN STUDENT AFFAIRS. #RAFORLYFE #STUDENTAFFAIRS #jointhecult.”

It gets tiring every now and then, but you learn to put up with it and tune out the unsavory ones. Like most posts, there really isn’t an answer or reason for this being here. Mostly because I don’t know who I am.

I’m twenty-two for fucks sake. I shouldn’t know a lot of things. Above all else, I still have a lot more to discover before I ever have to ask myself that question. As for being a follower; well, I guess you can say that I’ve learned to take the lead.

Let’s Listen: Music & Lyrics.

It never ceases to amaze me how much wroth and meaning we can pull out of music. The depths it can take us, the scenery it can create, and the emotion it can provoke; it’s wondrous and frightening and insane. As a routine, to keep my sanity in check and my emotions in balance, I listen to music every night before I drift off into reverie. I lie there, headphones in, lights off and I stare at the ceiling. Not because I have glow in the dark stars plastered across it (although, I should), but because it’s the closest thing I have to a blank canvas.

I stare at the same spot in the ceiling, only visible through my depleting vision (I would have taken my glasses off already) and the street lamps casting what little orange light they can through the slits of my blinds, and I paint a picture of my life that is tune to the song.

One moment, it’s like ballet, precise and gentle. A memory of me people watching at the mall; the chaos of people, the cacophony of children screaming, and the mundanity of such a trivial chore go quiet and all I focus on is me and how I implant stories and lives to these temporary people walking by. People I’ll never see again. People I’ll never bother to wish “Happy Birthday” or want to grab coffee with. Then the song changes and the canvas is blank once more.

The rhythm is upbeat, but the lyrics hold something deeper. A daydream of me and him finally meeting at the airport. A heavy heart, a piercing look, a hopeful smile. Beyond the canvas, I can feel my left arm tingling, I’m about to cry. Tonight, I don’t want to cry so I hit skip before I could give it the chance to bring up any unwanted tears.

The bass bangs my eardrums and I’m almost instantly on my feet and still in my underwear. Blinded by the lack of corrective lenses and shrouded by the dark of night, I start dancing in the small area around my bed. My phone that is in my hand is no longer a phone, but my guitar pick. I rock along as hard as I can and without care because no one can see me. The canvas takes a break because for once, I feel like I’m living in the moment. What matters is me, the music, and my killer guitar solo.

Music can do so much and yet we so often mindlessly bob to the rhythm in the driver’s seat without giving any regard to the lyrics themselves; the messages embedded so deep within the music sheets are almost always looked over. Let’s stop that.

Homework assignment: Look up the lyrics to the last five songs you listened to and see if they resonate with you. I have a feeling they do.

With music, what draws you in is the melody, but what should keep you there are the lyrics.

Let’s Debunk: Normalcy & Dysfunction. 

When I went away from college, I decided to leave any problem or issue that happened at home, at home. For four years, I chose to focus on myself and what I was doing and where I was going. What I didn’t know at the time was that at the end of those four years, that was exactly where I’d end up: back at home. So imagine my surprise upon entering my old room and realizing that the place where I was at that moment, was no longer the same place I left.

There was an odd air of tension; not unlike those moments when you walk into a room and realize that the people in there were just talking about you. It wasn’t that I felt victimized, it was more like a huge battle had happened and I so happened to walk into the scattered remnants of bodies and cannon fodder. It didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like the home I once knew.

For weeks after, I would go on mini rants about how this “new” home I somehow wandered back to was dysfunctional and “not normal.” The entirety of my college career, I could calculate that I went home no more than thirty times and the home I would come back to, was unchanged. A façade. Smoke and mirrors. If you would like more cliches, I’m sure I can fabricate some. The wools were pulled over my eyes (there you go). I’d walk through the garage door to happy faces and welcome back hugs, completely unaware that anything had happened or anyone had just fucked up big time.

This blissful ignorance kept me in check for four years. It held itself together in the form of a dam, keeping the waters of “dysfunction” at bay until I found myself in a semi-permanent position. At that point, the employees quit and the dam was demolished. The waters of truth overwhelmed me in one fell swoop and I had to learn how to swim in less than five seconds.

I’ve been home for a little over a month and what I realized was that the idea of a normal family is just what society wants us to believe a family is (I know i’ve written on social constructionism before, but at the time of this realization, it had decided to take a backseat). Every family has to be The Brady Bunch; no drama, no fuck ups, no bumps. Then you realize, no family is The Brady Bunch. I’m just upset that it took me so long to realize that not one family is really exempt from this. Everyone is affected. It doesn’t make my family any less of one than my neighbors and it doesn’t make me any happier that someone else out there probably has a much dire situation than my own. Fact of the matter is, in this world, normalcy is having dysfunction.

Anything functioning is simply a façade.

Let’s Have A Candid Conversation: Anxiety & Me.

It’s worse in the morning.

I’m not entirely sure why, all I know is that there’s this feeling in the pit of my stomach, almost like you’ve disappointed someone without having done anything. I get up, almost reluctantly, and head downstairs for coffee in hopes that caffeine is the solution to whatever is digging itself deeper into the pit. A temporary relief flows over me, like a morning affirmation saying that everything is going to be okay and that I shouldn’t have to worry.

“This is all temporary.”

“You’ve survived 100% of your worst days.”

“Something good is going to happen”

The same three statements are  repeated one right after the next until the words sound so distant and irrelevant that they’re almost foreign to my tongue. I go through the day mostly okay, attempting not to think about anything. In turn, I think about everything.

  • Jobs
  • Friends
  • Relationships
  • Jobs
  • Loans
  • Jobs
  • My lack of a social life compared to those around me who have the means to perpetuate the type of life I wish to lead one day but cannot seem to manage at the present time
  • Jobs

All of these things take the shape of a hanging, nagging finger of obligation that follows me around from day to day. I’d probably be insane if they hadn’t taken the weekends off.

Eventually, I feel the days become shorter and the amount of tasks that I had completed match in length.

Sometimes I never truly know what’s wrong; all I could pinpoint was that I felt like crying. It was like I was writing a book and decided to stop because I was at a loss for words and kept staring at a half empty page.

I’m never sure what clicks in me but, in spite of the emptiness of the page and the hollowness of my gut, I always continue writing.

-X-

As far back as I could remember, anxiety has always been my nemesis. Imagine that, being twenty-two years old with a nemesis. Especially one that isn’t corporeal or technically alive. You see, anxiety isn’t something that’s fun to deal with nor is it something that’s interesting to have. I feel like popular culture tends to portray characters with anxiety as “fidgety” and “dorky,” when in reality it’s something that’s crippling and debilitating. Some shows tends to get it right (and I thank the skies that they’re doing it justice) but there’s still so much left unsaid and unheard from the realities of it. I get it, it’s not exactly marketable, but when you’re in the business of telling the truth, not everything is going to be able to be presented in a nice little bow.

What helps me make it through is the thought that my anxiety is actually a piece of me. It’s a part of me that is controlling and annoying, but it doesn’t define me. It can hold me back, but I know I can make it through. I know I can because there’s still so much out there to see and I want to be able to seek it out.

I still want to grow.

Let’s Count: The Days When No One Else Mattered.

Day 1: You were annoying and creepy. My mother advised me against talking to strangers and that night I had wondered if I was right to defy such a directive.

Day 3: Rebellion reaps rewards. The texts good night and good morning had begun and there wasn’t a part of me that wanted them to stop.

Day 6: I fear that something new and scary may be happening. I’m unaware of where it’ll take me but for once in my life: I don’t give a fuck.

Day 7: One week later and I still don’t believe it. The conversations, the jokes, the flirting. Is this what ‘dating’ is supposed to feel like?

Day 7.5: Does it count as dating if the distance between the two is roughly 2,500 miles? Society says no, but I couldn’t care less.

Day 10: The texts become less frequent and I fear the repercussions of such a short-lived “romance.” I feel the quotes are necessary because even I am unsure of its validity at this point.

Day 15: I’m in over my head. This was stupid. I should stop texting. I should stop checking my phone. Why did I just check my phone? Stop it, Jason, put your phone in a drawer.

Day 15.2: Phone has been put in a different drawer, in a different room, on a different level of the house. The psychosis continues.

Day 17: Move on. This was never, ever meant to work out.

Day 20: Admit feelings in a long, essay length text. Hit send. Regret immediately follows.

Day 21: I never thought I’d get to the point where you were the only one I saw, the only one I thought I would care for, the only one that mattered. I can’t stop smiling, nor do I ever want to stop.

Day 50: I hate you.

Day 80: A month of abstinence. I feel good; Clean…free.

Day 80.5: Why you chose today to text me, I’ll never know…but I can feel myself falling back in. Hands reach out to help me but I refuse. I blindly and gladly accept this fate and am awash in my decision.

Day 95: I’m drowning.

Day 110: I reach the surface for air and breathe in nothingness. It’s lonely in the middle of the ocean; it’s even worse when you can see your ship sailing away without you.

Day ‘Who Gives a Fuck?’: It’s Christmas, I shouldn’t even think about you. I shouldn’t be wondering what your family wrapped for you under the tree, or if your dog is taking sips of eggnog, or how I should be running to your door with a mistletoe in hand. I shouldn’t be thinking that…I shouldn’t be thinking.

The Day A New Years Kiss Should Happen: It never happens.

Day 1v.2: Hello again.

Day 14v.2: Happy Valentine’s Day.

Day 20v.2: A pointless pep talk that leads up to a large, three-worded bomb is the last thing I expected today. But I love it.

Day 25v.2: You called me tonight and I wish I had never hung up. I wished it lasted hours longer. I wished we would fall asleep on the line and act like there isn’t some rift separating us. You said you called because “[you] thought it’d make me happy.” You were right. I was. I am. Very happy.

Day 30v.2: I can feel myself becoming that much closer to saying something so big and life changing that I can’t even begin to fathom the “right” way to start.

Day 45v.2: College is over. RIP Undergrad.

Day 50v.2: I don’t think I’ve cried so hard, yelled so loud, or hurt so deeply. It amazes me how one person can lift you up so high and let you fall so easily and with so much grace. Sadly, I was finally able to say the words I had longed to profess. If only it were under better circumstances.

A New Day: Today, I vow that I will not let something encompass me so deeply. I won’t let someone cloud my judgement. I won’t let someone control me. Yet as I type this, I feel that today is also the day that I vow to break that vow, because I seldom keep the promises I make to myself. In the moment nothing is constant, nothing is set. You were the person with whom I thought I had IT. The person who wouldn’t fail or falter or fuck me over. The use of past tense has never been more appropriate. I want to say that I, in no way, regret anything. This was the best experience, the worst experience, the most fulfilling experience I could have ever hoped to have. But, I felt the need to write this because I can’t even begin to move on without acknowledging where I’ve been. I want to be able to close this chapter of my life and start on a new one. A chapter where you don’t matter as much to me as you once did. I sat here and counted the days where you made an impact on me and those days were plentiful, but they are not inclusive. There will come a day where no one else will matter and I have come to admit that you won’t be the last man standing; I will.

Let’s Endure: A Kid in an Adult World. 

“I’m twenty-two years old, I look like I’m sixteen, and I am not an adult…”

Sometimes I feel like the numbers that make up my age are in reverse and am therefore not what my license says I am. Well, that metaphor used to work when I was twenty-one, but since I’m twenty-two, it doesn’t really hold the same weight. At this age, I am genuinely curious if the stigma of age, both in the present and in the future, will finally stop being a nuisance on my being. What’s sad is that I lack the ability to straddle both sides of this ageist gap; I have always looked much younger than I actually am. Yes, I know that it will pay off in the long run and that in the future it will work out in my benefit, but right now I’m getting tired of getting the side-eye from a bartender who thinks that what I just gave him was the world’s best fake ID. In a sense, it is the world’s best fake because it’s real. I feel that it’s because of this curse of perpetual youth that I get treated as a child. My worth feels dependent on my looks than it does on my experience, knowledge, or wisdom.

While I acknowledge that my parents will see this, that does not mean I will relent in the following section. I get treated differently when I’m at home. How I talk, what I do, with whom I speak is scrutinized and belittled because I have returned to a space where I have not grown. Where I have grown lies beyond the confines of my hometown and the new “grown-up” me can no longer strive at the homestead. I get that “home is where the heart is,” but who is to decide what my home is other than me? Home should be a state of being and not a state of physical presence. Who I’m comfortable with, how I act, and where I feel right should be home. While my home does have these qualities, it just feels stuck in this bubble where time stops and I’m still eighteen. You can see the pattern here, I’m always getting younger and not getting older.

However, that’s not to say that once I finally grow up or once I finally look my age (which I have estimated to be when I’m forty-two) that the bubble will pop. As far as I’m concerned, the bubble is impenetrable and whatever attempts to kill it only makes it stronger. There is no escape. I will forever feel like a child in an adult world, forever running towards the goal of adulthood with no chance of getting any closer. That being said, I still won’t let up. I still won’t let that stop me. I have a voice and I have a lot to say and I’m going to keep saying it:

“I am twenty-two years old, I look like I’m sixteen, and I’m an adult!”

Let’s Redefine: The Process of Re-Identifying the Third Wheel.

“It’s sort of like being the sole training wheel on a bicycle. It’s fine, but every now and then it begins to lean.”

–On Being the Third Wheel

We’ve all been there before, quietly lurking in the shadows; edged out by the now-handholding entity that used to be your best friend. It’s always funny to compare how others have taken up the title of the “third wheel.” Laid out here are some of the main stages* of being the third-wheel, from being an awkward bicycle to an awesome tricycle (*stages are not universal, apply to your life at own risk):

Denial:

There is always a sense of claim that attaches itself to your best friend. You were there first. They’re your friend. Then the significant other sweeps in on their white pony, carrying them off to happiness. You manage to keep up on foot, but barely. You tag along on “group dates” as they suddenly become a thing and attempt to schedule time with your friend around their pre-determined make-out sessions and utensil-type cuddling. You try to understand it all; how they could leave you all alone when they used to spend all their time with you. “It makes sense!” you tell yourself as you go to the movies alone for the fifth time that week (considering you like going to the movies for recreation). As you watch the film, you lazily eat your popcorn and think, “fine, be that way. I don’t need you anyways!” when in reality, you feel like you do.

Hostility:

The significant other is now your enemy. He or she is the proverbial dragon guarding the tower of your seemingly doomed friendship. The dragon must be slayed at all costs. You begin to talk shit about them to your friend (when you have the chance to talk to them, that is): “I think he chews funny,” “Dude, she asks too many damn questions,” and my favorite one, “I think they’re just dating you for your money.” Unfortunately for you, love has a shield that is impervious to your Iago brand of bullshit. You relent and move on to different tactics. If you’re brave (or in some cases, idiotic) you’ll approach the significant other, chest extended and fists clenched. It’s at this point you delve into two modes: Active Motherf*cker or Passive Motherf*cker

  • Active Motherf*cker: Strategies may include: having the big sibling “talk,” finger pointing, and Olivia Pope inspired tirades in front of the significant other. The presence of your friend is not require or pertinent in this mode, but you are going in claws out and thirsty for blood.
  • Passive Motherf*cker: Strategies may include: Continually throwing shade behind his or her back, seeking out tertiary friends who have no opinion and are therefore malleable to yours, and passive aggressive comments about how they look, act, eat, or talk.

Neither of the above are acceptable under any circumstances. Alas, no one can control how you act except for you.

Reluctant Acceptance:

So you’ve attempted to take on one of the two personas and neither brought you the results you had hoped for. So now what? You still feel left out and want your friend back. Here is what I’ve learned in the past: you can talk to your friend face to face and it won’t ruin the friendship. If it lasted through past bullshit, it will probably last through this. And that’s what gets me sometimes; we are consumed by accepting and embodying these societal identities that we forget who we truly are. Once you realize that, you also realize that your friendship wasn’t in any real danger. The significant other is possibly the coolest person you’ll ever meet! Their “dangerous” attitude turns into spontaneity and their ugly mole you saw that one time really was just a piece of chocolate from a cookie.

It will all work out! Your friend is still your friend and now you’ve scored yet another one to hang out with and possibly buy you lunch.

Once you’ve realized that, I highly suggest you throw out that ridiculous bike and trade up for an equally appealing tricycle; I mean, they’re supposed to have three wheels.

This article is also featured on Elite Daily.

Let’s Eliminate: The Overt and Innate Feeling of Being Overwhelmed.

The vacation eventually ends. The Earth begins to rotate again and the world around you becomes privy of your existence. And just like that everything comes surging back to the surface. Bills, relationships, responsibilities; everything you have been avoiding comes down on you like a torrential downpour of utter misery. Do you grab an umbrella? Do you swim through it? Do you allow yourself to become drenched from head to toe in nothing but sadness and misery? The decision is up to you, but I’m here to tell you that the answer should be no.

The world is a scary place and it gets through to everyone in some way, shape, or form. The first thing you must do is cry. Yes, cry. Let it all out. Buckets and gallons and aqueducts. If you didn’t already know, the actual function of tears is to preserve and hold all of the anxieties and sadness and misery and keep it tucked very neatly in your brain. The more tears you hold back, the heavier the emotions become. So I say cry. Release your body from all of the negativity and emotions. Scream and shout and bang your fists against a pillow, because if you don’t then these feelings will remain within you forever.

Next, I want you to breathe and to not panic. Simple, I know, yet you’d be surprised how little people think when they stop breathing. So, breathe. In and out. In and out. Everything will be okay, because this is just one moment in your life. It doesn’t define you. Your moments of weakness, like the one you’re having right this second, will pass. They will evaporate and cease to exist. You will get through this, I promise you that much.

When the vacation ends, it’ll hit you hard. The world is ruthless and relentless like that. We can’t change that. All we can do is cry, breathe, and take it one small step at a time and know that it will get better. We may not be able to change the world, but we can change how it affects us. Let’s not let it.