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Brittany Bexton Journal - 


Ashes and Smoke

by Brittany Bexton on 10/12/17

        What are you supposed to feel when you are watching the place you grew up, literally burn to the ground? Historic sites, and memories up in smoke, nothing left but the charred remains of people’s lives. Fear, sadness, worry, shock, doubt, numbness, faith, hope, a slew of emotions start, and then give way to numbness, because how do you feel. You don’t want to feel scared, because fear somehow feels like giving way to the darkness. When the sadness creeps in, it’s pushed off by a voice that says, you can’t go there now, it’s too much. Worry, comes knocking, and I want to scream, “Go away! You’re not allowed here, everything will be fine!” Faith that somehow, God will step in and bring good out of this, that he will protect my family, my memories. Hope, that the fires will stop, that rain will come early and unexpectedly, like a cleansing bath from heaven, to squelch the flames. Shock, that must be the feeling, the feeling that encompasses every other sensation and thought that comes up, because these things don’t happen in real life, in my world right? Fires don’t overtake and level entire cities, they are stopped. Nightmares like this don’t last for more than one day. Surely, the devastation will stop. The images of charred earth are a picture of a faraway place, a make believe place in a movie that plays far off of my mind, but it’s not. It’s real, and it’s there; in a place I hold dear to my heart. A place that holds people I love deeply, and memories I cherish.

       Last night I made a call home, please pack the photos first. Pack the family photos and your clothes, pack necessities. Memories, and life, the two things that can’t be replaced. The things that we are all clinging to and trying to protect. In the ash that keeps falling, are charred pieces of people’s lives and memories; baby books, and photos, long forgotten children’s stories, the fabric and trail of life. And in the midst of the devastation, a piece of the bible floated down onto my friends lawn, charred around the edges, but the verse itself untouched. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23

Photo Credit: Katherine Wheeler

Bye, Bye Miss American Pie...

by Brittany Bexton on 10/02/17

This morning I woke up to the news of the terrible tragedy in Las Vegas. This particular tragedy wasn’t something that was far removed from me. While it was thousands of miles away in Las Vegas, it was still a tragedy that hit people close to me. A man opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel into a crowd of fans attending a big country music festival. Were my fans and friends among the crowds? Yes. Among the people performing at that event, were drummers, guitar players, and friends that I have toured with, and spent hours on the road with. My Aunt called me this morning to make sure I wasn’t there. The first thing I did when I found out was make sure that one of my good friends and biggest supporters, who lives in Vegas, was not at the event. By the grace of God, the folks that I know who attended the event, or were close by are ok. However, there are at least 50 other people who are not ok. Who will not be going home to their families, or saying goodnight to their loved ones tonight. And whether bullets hit the others or they got out physically unharmed, that event will remain a wound on their hearts. What they saw and heard, they can’t unsee or unhear, and what happened is done. So where does that leave us. This morning, this is the thought it left me with, we need to be a people that stops living on paper, and starts living out loud. How many of us have lives that look so good on paper, or social media? So much of society lives with plastered on smiles, pushing down pain, frustration, or anger, and trying to live a “good life” that looks right on paper. But is that how we’re really called to live? When Jesus walked among us, he constantly broke what the religious leaders considered “religious law.” He healed people on the sabbath, He befriended those who others would not speak to. He called out hypocrites. Jesus did not live a life that looked good on paper. He associated with prostitutes, adulterers, and tax collectors, and he called out the people who sat high and mighty preaching religious law, and yet He is the One who lived a holy, and righteous life. Because Jesus didn’t just live a life that looked good on the outside, He lived a life that felt good and right on the inside. He listened to his heart and soul when they spoke to Him. He recognized anger and sadness as directional markers when they came up, and He didn’t ignore them. He helped people who had a desire for change, and He rebuked those who believed they were above others, and had lost sight of the heart of God.

I can’t help but wonder what life would be like if we began to live a life that felt good on the inside, just as Jesus had. What would happen if we were true to our hearts and our emotions, and spoke up when we felt something that hurt us. The more we push down our feelings and replace them with a smile, the less we feel. The more we pretend, the less becomes real. And the more we shut out the truth, the less we see it even when it’s in front of our faces. If we could just allow ourselves to feel more, maybe we could also be more open to see others hurting. Perhaps we’d better be able to recognize those around us who are holding on by a mere thread and on their way to a breakdown. When we shut down our own emotions, we close ourselves off to our own hearts and souls. We shut off our ears to the voice of God, and we close our eyes to the truth around us. We stop feeling the good moments as much as we stop feeling the hard ones. That is not living at all. Life is far too long to live a life that looks good and doesn’t feel good, and it’s far too short, to go another day without making a change and taking a chance to live fully in truth, and strive for a life that feels good on the inside. So in the wake of a great tragedy, take time to grieve, and get sad and angry at the loss. Take time today to listen to your heart, and listen to it’s desires. What do you want so much that you’ve been putting off. What have you been pretending is ok, when it hurts. Is there a part of you that  a part of you that knows you aren’t fulfilled, but has kept quiet. Who have you not spoken to in ages that you can reach out to and just catch up with. Give yourself nurturing love today, and the permission to feel, and reach out to those around you in love. Look around, and notice those who seem to be hurting. Hold the door for a stranger, and smile genuinely at someone who needs it. Say the loving things that come to your mind. You never know what a difference the smallest of gestures can make. Don’t live on paper, live out loud.

It Felt Like... Part 2

by Brittany Bexton on 01/04/17

It Felt Like… Part 2

I had a conversation with a wonderful woman recently about domestic abuse, and she asked me a question that made me feel like I really needed to write a part 2 follow up for my blog from December. I left something out of my December blog post that is really important. It’s important, because it speaks to the nature of being in an abusive situation, and an understanding of why people stay in abusive situations as long as they do.

The million dollar questions she asked me was: “Did you feel safe with him?”

Here’s the crazy part… The answer is a murky yes, in a way I did. That’s right, there was a part of me that felt comfortable, and even safe with my abuser. I know, it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make any logical or emotional sense.

    In clinical terms there are two ways this phenomena is generally explained. 1) It’s an addiction. Abusive relationships aren’t all lows. There are highs mixed with the lows. They are a roller coaster ride. You never know what you are going to get. Will you be met with the charming, affectionate, fun person you fell for, or the mean, manipulative, aggressive person that they sometimes show you? Are they apologizing profusely and trying to show you they’ve “changed?” or are they slipping back into the same old pattern again? This crazy cycle produces all sorts of chemical reactions in our bodies that create a similar effect as drugs, and we essentially form an addiction, or a trauma bond.

2) There is a crazy thing called cognitive dissonance that happens with abuse. When you are in a situation where you know you are not being treated the way you deserve, or making healthy choices, but you don’t see an easy way out, your brain tells you a little lie that says, “It’s not so bad. There are good things here. It’s better than it was.” Another example of Cognitive dissonance would be a cigarette smoker. Asmoker knows that cigarettes are bad for them, but they don’t know how to quit, so they tell themselves it’s ok, because they only smoke three a day now, which is way better than the pack a day they used to smoke. These little cognitive dissonance fibs do not make it good, they do not make us happy, they do not make it right, and they do not make it ok, but they are a survival mechanism when we don’t see an easy answer, or an easy escape.

Clinical definitions aside, my emotional experience of it was very mixed. You see, there was a part of me that felt safe with him. I had been with him for a long time. He had seen me at my worst (partially because he brought out my worst parts), and he had seen me at my best. We spent a ton of time together. That is part of an abusive relationship, early on they shower you with affection, and they want to spend all their time with you. They monopolize your time. You can’t give time to something without creating a bond, whether that bond is healthy or not. Spending that time together doesn’t just create a bond, it creates a habit. I was in the habit of being with him, and in that way, it felt comfortable, and it felt safe. We had so much invested in our relationship in shared time. He had seen me at my worst and not left. Even when he would push me away or leave, he would always come back. He was a constant of sorts. I may have never known what exactly I was coming home to, but I knew what to expect overall.

Now, this being said, I want to make it clear that I never truly felt safe with him. I did not feel emotionally safe, in the sense that my feelings were never validated. I could not approach him with my cares, and worries, or God forbid a complaint about something he did, because I wouldn’t be met with a healthy discussion or problem solving attitude. I was instead, met with judgement, criticism, blame, threats, guilting or other emotional blackmail. It could be as simple as him brushing off my sadness about something and saying I was overreacting, or as big as him blaming me for hurts that he’d caused me, and even calling me crazy to react, and threatening a course of action if I didn’t let it go. Did I feel safe in the sense of being grounded, cozy, and stable? No. I was on eggshells with him. I never knew what would cause an issue, or what mood he would be in when we spoke or saw eachother. He could be fun and affectionate and appreciative, or he could be mean, distant, and play mind games. I was not emotionally safe with him. My ex was never physically abusive, so physical danger wasn’t something I worried about, but, if I were to be fully honest, there were moments once or twice in the 5 years we were together, that I had a strange sense of not feeling fully safe. He didn’t say or do anything to make me feel that way in the moment. The feeling was as subtle as the hair on the back of my neck raising for just a second, but it was there, under all of the idealizing that my mind wanted to do about the relationship, that uncomfortable feeling was still there, buried, but present.

Still, despite knowing that it wasn’t healthy. Despite knowing I wasn’t being treated the way I deserved. Despite never knowing what I would get from him. Despite feeling hollow, and numb, and frustrated, there was still a part of me that felt safe. Because I knew who he was and what he was. There wasn’t some big unknown. I couldn’t have the rug pulled out from under me, because it already was. I remember once after the last time we split up, I was seeing someone new, and shortly after we started dating, I panicked. He hadn’t called in a day or two, and I was so used to the hyper attentiveness that I’d had with my ex early on, that part of me thought the guy was bolting. And I remember thinking, “What am I doing? I shouldn’t be with this guy, I should just go back to my ex, he loves me, and he will never leave!” Luckily I had enough recovery at the time to have a second voice pop into my head that said “Brittany, he may always come back, and never leave fully, but he can’t even really be with you when he’s there. He might love you in the only way he knows how, but he doesn’t know how to actually love, and he doesn’t know how to receive real love, and it’s not healthy.” That was the moment I realized I had to go no contact for a while, and not speak to him at all. Because my habit was so adapted to going back, to caving in, that it was too risky to stay in contact. My brain and emotions were so trained by the habit and chemicals of being with him, that I couldn’t heal without getting completely away. I needed to create a new healthy habit and pattern. I had to give myself space and freedom to move on. I had to allow myself to be with someone else, and grow with someone else, and allow those feelings to develop, without him being able to intervene, and meddle. I needed to do that for myself. I needed to give myself that gift. And I did, thank God!

The easiest way to sum up the false sense of “safety” you get by staying with, or going back to an abuser is this, “It’s the devil that you know.” It can be so scary to contemplate the unknown. It’s scary to think of what could happen. Could you be met with a worse fate? Fears come up that tell you lies like, “You might not meet someone better. You might meet someone worse. What if they cause trouble even after you leave? What if no one else sees you or wants you? You are failing them.”  It can be scary and sad to feel like you are giving up on someone you once loved; someone you invested time, and energy, and money, and promises into. But, the devil that we know is still the devil, and often, God lives in the unknown. God lives in the possibilities. Because for every what if, there is a positive. What if you meet someone worse? Well, what if you meet someone better? What if it hurts? What if it sets you free, heals you, and leads to you being happy again? Change is scary. The unknown is scary. But happiness lies in the possibilities, that lie in the unknown future. To stay is to stay stuck, it’s to stay in misery, numbness, and to simply settle. Life was meant to be lived abundantly. Love y’all!

It Felt Like...

by Brittany Bexton on 12/13/16

It felt like drowning while trying desperately to tread water. It felt like exhaustion. It felt like screaming at the top of my lungs, but all that would come out was silence. It felt like fire in my gut. It felt like an elephant on my chest. It felt like a river of sickness; a river that flowed through my core and tried to engulf me. It felt like numbness. It felt like silence. It felt like the world was spinning out of control and I was helplessly sitting in the middle watching it all. It felt like striving. It felt like failing. It felt like I was mute, and even if I screamed, or cried, or spoke loudly, no one would hear. It felt like banging my head against a wall. It felt like being alone in a blank room, with no windows, and no doors. It felt lonely. It felt guilty, like somehow, some way, I could do something to make it better; I could do something differently. I could love enough, or hold back enough, or give enough, to make it ok, to make it work, to make it better, but there was nothing. Nothing I could do, no amount of love I could give, no change that I would make that would make it right. I couldn’t love him well, I couldn’t make him better.

I was never hit. I was never told I wasn’t good enough, or that I was stupid, and I was never directly torn down. It took me years to even realize that what I had gone through was abuse, because emotional and psychological abuse is subtle; it’s manipulative, and it’s covert. It doesn’t always rage in huge fights. It doesn’t always lash out. It’s the little things, day by day, that seem unimportant or insignificant at the time. It’s the moment where what you want is put aside for what they want, and it doesn’t seem like a big deal. Love and relationships are built on compromise right? But how many times did I agree to things I didn’t like, didn’t want, or agree to not have what I truly desired? It was the times I was unhappy, or sad, or angry, and my emotions got pushed to the wayside, minimized, or I was told to buck up; or, worst of all, shunned for having an emotional reaction at all. My feelings, my hurts, they were used against me. Instead of open discussions, it was guilt. It’s the times I brought up challenges we had, and was told I was overreacting, or crazy for getting upset, or told “what do you want me to do about it?” as if it was a threat, that if we even discussed my needs, I would be left, or hurt. It was the “jokes;” the sarcastic, condescending “jokes” that I was supposed to know were meant to be funny. Jokes that played on my emotions and worked on my fear. It was the subtle comments to hook me or guilt me. We’d been apart for a day, and I’d get a call saying “I miss you, it sucks missing you.” It was subtle comments about how other boyfriends got to cook their girlfriends dinner, but I had band practice, and he couldn’t. I only had band practice once a week at the time. It was comments like “That guy was staring at you during the whole party. It’s nice to have something that everyone else wants.” Something. Little comments that sounded sweet, or loving at the time, but stuck out in strange ways in my mind, because I’m not something that everyone wants. I’m not an object; I’m a person, not a possession. But that’s what abusers do. They don’t desire to love you; they desire to possess you. They desire to control you. Their “Love” is not real; it’s about ownership. Real love wants to protect its loved one; it wants to build them up, and encourage them. It desires to do things for the other, to give, share, and learn their heart. When he would actually lash out in a big way, which was rare, he would always apologize within a couple of days and explain away why he had lashed out, and call himself an a-hole. Then he would go back to being the sweet as pie guy I fell for. But it was those little things, the small digs, the icky “jokes” the minimizing of my feelings that tore me down over time. You can’t ignore your feelings or desires, without them being somewhat crushed. You can’t say no to your heart and soul, without simultaneously hardening and numbing them out. You can’t stop yourself from sharing your desires and feelings without slowly turning off your voice, and making yourself mute. That is the sickness of abuse. It tears you apart from the inside out before you even realize what’s going on. One morning you wake up with an elephant on your chest, a pit in your stomach, and you don’t know what happened. You don’t know how you got there.

In the beginning it seemed great. He showered me with affection, told me how special I was, and spent all his free time with me. He gave me gifts, and helped me learn lines. We’d stay up counting stars together and talking about our future. He talked about marriage in the first two weeks we were together.  Sounds romantic right? It was, it felt weird and amazing all at the same time. It was fast, and swept up, and intoxicating. But when I say it felt weird, I mean, there was a part of me, a small feeling in my gut that said, this is a lot really fast. I’m not used to spending this much time with someone and not having any independence, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. But I was being “love bombed.” When you are being showered with affection, attention, and compliments and you have chemistry with the person, it’s hard to think straight. Hard to listen to that gut sense saying maybe pull back a little and take things slowly because there’s a part of it that feels really good too. It’s easy to rationalize giving in to it. Any time he knew he’d crossed a line and pushed me away, or almost to my breaking point, he’d turn that charm back on, and we’d go through the whole cycle all over again. That is the way of abuse. It’s like a rollercoaster ride. It gets your blood pumping, it gets your adrenaline racing, and just went you think you’re at a smooth coast, you go racing down a steep hill, and end up at the bottom again, feeling confused, unhappy, and like someone has punched you in the gut. It’s easy to become almost obsessed with trying to bring back the good parts, trying to make things better, just to feel the high of things being good again. But you can’t do anything to change or control another person’s behavior. You can’t love someone enough to love them well, and make them better. No matter how hard you try, there is nothing that you can do to make it work. This is a truth that it took me a long time to learn. It didn’t take away the wounds, but it did stop the exhaustion of trying. Trying, and exhausting myself, because trying to control abuse is like banging your head against a wall, and running a marathon with no finish line.

Not all abuse is physical. Not all abuse leaves bruises, scars, or marks. Most abuse is not obvious; it’s hidden. People who abuse put on a really good show, especially for the outside world. They tend to be charming. They don’t just manipulate their victims; they manipulate the people around them. They isolate, they manipulate, and they tear down, little by little. They make you feel crazy. You shrink when you are with an abuser. You tone yourself down. You don’t mean to. You may not even realize you are doing it, but when you are with an abuser, you have to tone yourself down. It’s what happens automatically when you walk on eggshells, never knowing what you’re going to get. But we weren’t made to be toned down, for anyone. We were made to be fully ourselves, to shine our unique light into the world and make it a brighter place. If you feel like your light is being put out by the person you are with, love yourself enough to leave. And love them enough, to make them face themselves. When we stay with someone who is abusive, we enable them to continue their behavior. No one wins. If they have any desire to get better, any desire to change, they will not do it by getting what they want. They won’t change if they are being appeased or loved. They will choose to change, because it hurts too much to remain the same. It won’t hurt until they face true consequences. That’s what accountability truly is. Facing consequences of our behavior. In Al Anon, they say you have to hit a rock bottom before you decide to get better and make the changes. This is true for everyone. Tony Robbins said “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” This is the absolute truth. When you are an empathetic person, it is easy to feel bad for someone who’s hurting, and get dragged right back into an unhealthy situation. But the truth about real love, is that it is based on truth, and truth involves consequences and pain sometimes. When we try to cover pain or make things better, we deny people their rock bottom, and the ability to change. Whether they ever do change, well, that is up to them, but there is nothing we can do to make it happen.

If you are going through abuse, know that you are not alone. Please know, that there is nothing wrong with you. You didn’t cause this; you didn’t attract this. Most abusive people are actually drawn to people who are really strong, amazing, and empathetic. They exploit our empathy, and take joy making themselves look good with someone they can put on a pedestal. You weren’t chosen as a victim because you are weak, or bad. You were chosen because you are a caring and empathetic person who is vibrant and amazing. You have nothing to be ashamed of. There are resources; there is support. Please feel free to reach out to me. If someone you love is going through abuse, don’t give up on them. Don’t stay silent; speak up. But don’t push them either. Show them you care, show them you are their for them. Express concern for their unhappiness. Remind them who they are, and how much they deserve to be happy. Do research on abuse so you can better help them.

Some helpful Articles:

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My Nashville Story

by Brittany Bexton on 04/14/15

  Hey y’all,

        I was talking to a friend the other day, when I mentioned something to them about my first few months in town, and they were flabbergasted. I realized I hadn’t shared my “Nashville Story” with them before. My “Nashville Story” is not a smooth one, it is crazy, bumpy, scary, and unreal, but it’s part of my story. For a while, I shared my experience with any new friends I made out here, just not publicly. Talking to my friend the other day, I realized that I have been so focused on my future and where I need to be in the present, that I haven’t thought about it in a long time. I also realized I was ready to share my story with all of you, as it no longer has any emotion attached to it for me. It has become a stepping stone, and not a challenge.

     I decided to move to Nashville on a whim. A whim mind you that I had done a lot of praying about. I’d asked God for guidance. I knew I needed to move for my music but didn’t know where, or when. Then one day, my answer came, in the form of a fellow musician telling me to move to Nashville. He said “Move, move tomorrow if you have to! You can’t get where you need to be here.” That was it for me; three days later I decided I was moving. Three months later, I had my pontiac vibe packed as full as I could get it, and I drove cross country for 4 days. The craziest part is that I had never been to Nashville in my life, I knew no one except the musician who’d told me to move, but he was always on the road, so it hardly counted. I was completely by myself.

     I had done my research before I came and decided that living in an apartment by myself wasn’t a good way to start, partially because of the cost of living alone, and partially because I didn’t want to get hooked into a long lease in a place I’d never been. So, I found a roommate on craigslist. I was supposed to have the 2nd bedroom in his 2 bedroom apartment, but when I arrived, someone else was still living in “my room” and hadn’t been asked to leave yet. I had no where else to go, so I slept awkwardly on the couch until I met 2 really nice girls at swing dancing that allowed me to stay with them while I looked for other living arrangements. I wrote “Somewhere In Between” in those first two weeks in town. I was literally in between everything! The unfortunate part is, I couldn’t find another living situation in a reasonable amount of time, so I ended up moving back into the original apartment once “my room” had been vacated. This was against my better judgement, and the better judgement of my friends. However, I felt I had no other option. I also thought the main problem was that the guy who was to be my roommate was a pushover and passive. I figured that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for me to have to deal with.

     After my first month or so in town, it became clear that what I initially thought was passive, was actually passive aggressive. The guy that I shared that apartment with hated women. And he was constantly saying very strange passive aggressive things to me. Meanwhile, I was working double shifts almost every day at a restaurant, and doing music. I had no energy for the passive aggressive behavior. One night, I got home late after work, and the guy was waiting for me with a complaint about the fact that I had left my dishes from dinner in the sink when I left for my second shift. I told him I had every intention of cleaning them when I got home, and that’s exactly what I was going to do, but that I wouldn’t do his dishes also. When I told him I wouldn’t do his dishes, he lost it. He lost his mind. It was like something in him just snapped the way an animal loses control when it kills someone. The way someone snaps when they stab a person 30 times. His veins were popping out of his neck, he was pounding his fists on the counter, he was throwing things, and he was threatening me. He told me he would throw me and all of my belonging onto the street right then (1 am), among other threats. It’s like my heart stopped in that moment, and I knew if I said a word, and didn’t stay calm, he’d pull a knife out of the dishwasher and that would be it. I got very, very calm, and when he went back to the other side of the counter I told him I was already looking at other places to live, because I knew it wasn’t working for us to be roommates. He then lost it again. He raged at me for abandoning him to find another roommate and screwing him over financially by not giving him notice. Mind you, I hadn’t found a place yet. When he shut himself in his room, I locked myself in mine, and called a friend. I realized I wasn’t safe, and in the middle of the night, a friend and her boyfriend snuck me, my bunny, and as many of my belongings as we could out of the apartment.

      I filed a police report so it would be on record, and only went back with two guys for protection to move the rest of my belongings. The entire time I moved, he raged at me, followed me, and even threatened to kill me, in front of the two guys. It was the most horrendous hour I have ever been through. I had to calmly ignore him and keep moving, while he said, “Don’t you know you’re only about 80 pounds, I would have no problem getting rid of you. You’ll never make it in this town, you are weak and pitiful and can’t deal with anything, and I’ll make sure everyone here knows how crazy and insane you are and that they should never work with you. I’ll make sure you’ll never make it. You might as well go crying home now, cause you’ll never survive out here….” It went on, and on, and on. He tried to get me to clean the floorboards on my hands and knees before I left. The guys with me couldn’t do anything to stop this without causing an actual physical altercation. It was terrible.

     I stayed in my friends spare room until I could find an emergency place to live, and I thought I wouldn’t have to deal with him again. Until he continued to send me nasty threatening messages telling me I owed him money for utilities (he actually owed me money), and that if I didn’t give it to him, he would come and get it from me at work. I had to get a restraining order. Except, he didn’t let it stop their. For the next few months, he appealed the restraining order 2 times! I had to go to court 5 times total to keep the restraining order in place. By the time the nightmare was over, I had only been in town for about 6 months. I had recorded my first CD, and had my song aired on the radio for the first time, thanks to Billy Block. He was my first radio interview. I swore to myself that i would make sure to prove him wrong. Music is all I’ve ever wanted to do. Whether or not I’m going to make it has never been a question for me, it was always “when?” The only thing that got me through those months, and the 2 ½ years since is knowing without a doubt that THIS is my calling. This is where God wants me. This is where God planted me, and I would fulfill that calling. Music is beauty to me, it is life, it is love; it gives. It gives to me, and it allows me to give to others, which blesses me daily. Some of you are just getting to know me now, and some of you have been on this journey with me for a few years now. Some of you met me in the middle of that crisis. I am grateful to each and every one of you, every single day. You have sent me messages on the worst days of my life that made them brighter, and reminded me of why I do what I do. You are a daily beautiful reminder that everything I’ve done, everything I’ve worked for, and all that I’ve been through have a purpose, and it is being fulfilled by giving to you, and sharing this journey with you. Thank you for being on this ride with me!

      And as a final thought, life happens, pain happens, loss happens; but so do dreams, so does growth. No matter what has happened in your life, no matter what you are dealing with and going through, know that you have a purpose. Do not let circumstances take your joy. You can have joy even through tears and pain. But most importantly, do not let circumstances take your dreams. Your dreams are part of your purpose, they are who you are, and the world needs you.




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