Shine Bright.

IMG_9340IMG_9341IMG_9339To me, after the year I have gone through, there isn’t quite a better feeling then getting a compliment on my outfit. I don’t need reassurance from the outside world to build my confidence, but who doesn’t love to receive a compliment on what they love doing. I think it’s important to try and give a stranger, or even someone you know, one compliment a day. You never know just how much it would mean to them to receive one.

For the year 2016, there were probably only a handful of times that I actually felt good about myself and my appearance. I’m not sure how many people knew that – if any. I was at the pool all the time, I mean it is southern California and we have some of the nicest weather around. However, I was so self conscious through out the entire time. After I had my son Maximus, I breastfed for four months, where all of my weight shredded off with no problem. I was at my pre baby weight and was thinking “holy shit this was so easy!” and then I remember distinctly within the week I started weening off breastfeeding, I just kept putting on the pounds. The reality set in that this was not going to be easy, and my body had completely changed – along with my mentality.

In January of 2017, I made the decision to go back to my job at Hooters. I had always loved working there, it’s where I had made my all of my best friends to this day. When I tried on my old uniform again however, it almost brought me to tears. I was a broken record to my husband “Do I look ok? Do I look ok? Do I look ok?” woof. It was hard. But I knew in my heart this was the right decision and I knew it would help me get my confidence back. Within a couple weeks believe it or not, I was feeling like my old self again. I was genuinely happy and confident with my appearance. I actually put on make up, did my hair, and was walking an average of four to five miles a shift. It was surreal, but I guess it’s what I truly needed. Now, when I have a day off, I’m actually excited to get dressed again. I wake up and I’m already planning out my look of the day.

A few weeks ago, my husband, Maximus and I were at the Americana in Glendale, which is a beautiful outdoor mall with restaurants, shops and a movie theater. We were walking around and in the corner of my eye I spotted something sparkling. In the window of TopShop on a mannequin I noticed the MOTO sequin disco jeans and I just had to have them. I love a statement item, and this was definitely going to be one. I got my shirt from a little boutique in Toluca Lake called “Rose and Sage” which is walking distance to my home. I paired the pants with a simple sandal that I’ve had for years and you can find a similar inexpensive pair here. Jack Daniel’s in not only my favorite whiskey, but it’s the story behind how my husband and I met. So obviously driving over Barham blvd, and noticing this billboard on a famous Liquor store, we had to stop and snap a pic.

It’s not easy for me to come forward with my insecurities, but If I can admit them, and what works/worked for me to start healing, I feel compelled to share. Sometimes you need to take a step back in order to take a step forward.

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Good vibes only.

IMG_9237IMG_9232IMG_9234IMG_9233IMG_9252It’s funny how life works.

I seemed to be in this weird negative funk the last few weeks. Feeling mopey, down in the dumps, always getting into unnecessary arguments with my husband. It just seemed like the universe was not in my favor. I had one of those Charlotte from Sex and the City 2 moments where she locked herself in the kitchen closet and had a total meltdown, except I wasn’t wearing vintage Prada, I was wearing jean shorts at Hooters. Whatever.

But then out of nowhere, I had some killer nights at work, making some serious cheddar. I got a notice from Steve Madden on one of my photos asking to repost it. We opened an Escrow. I even got a free round of coffees at Starbucks! Things that make you go, Hmmm….what is happening. I’m a serious believer in Karma and I try to be the best possible person at all times. I try to be kind to everyone, and put a smile on my face even if I’m sad. And I guess the universe turned the tables for me and reassured me everything was alright and to calm it down.

Every time I’m in Palm Springs I stop into the Trina Turk shop. Her designs are so vibrant and embellish everything I like about living in California. Colorful, fun, Modern Retro. When I put on her clothes I feel happy. So it only made sense to wear this look to the beach. The orange top is actually a swimsuit, and it caught my eye immediately when I was shopping. The sales associate told me I could double it up as a body suit, so that’s exactly what I did. The pants you can wear by the pool, or with a bathing suit top, or even with a blouse. I just put on a low sandal which was easy for walking around the boardwalk, and easy to slip off to put my feet into the sand. It had been awhile since I walked around in the sand, I almost forgot how therapeutic it really is.

You can find the suit here , and the pants here .

Just when you think you can’t get out of your funk, you do.

3rd St.

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I’ll never forget when my husband and I first got married how many times we traveled to West LA to the DEERS office. We had to in order for me to obtain my military dependent ID, and this just happened to be the most convenient/ inconvenient location. It seemed like every time we would go, they would need some sort of other information, or different form of ID, or whatever they could think of. If you thought getting a new ID at the DMV was tough…

BUT, maybe after our fourth time going there we finally got the hang of it (lol). Our ID’s were expiring so we had to make yet another trip last week, but instead of taking the 405 south from the valley, we now take the more scenic route through Hollywood. And honestly, it takes a shorter amount of time believe it or not.

Us being us, decide to make a day of it and travel just about 10 more minutes after to go down to the 3rd St. promenade. If you’ve never been, it’s about three blocks worth of shops, restaurants and bars just down the street from the ocean. It’s a great place to take yourself, your friends and your family. We love taking Maximus there because he seems to be so calm, cool & collected while he’s being strolled around. We got lucky and the Dodger game had just started so we stopped into Barney’s Beanery for a cold one. Also, Cabo Cantina allows all ages in until 4pm. 😉

I haven’t seen denim skirts so popular since I was in High School and Laguna Beach was all the rage. This particular one I purchased from Free People and you can find it here. They’re so versatile, dressing them up or down for day or night. I chose to wear mine with some nude booties from Steve Madden (which are most likely on sale right now), and just a classic razor back tee that I’ve had for YEARS. A simple look that can take you from the DEERS office straight to the promenade.

Hello again.

IMG_8622IMG_8620IMG_8623IMG_8625Two years ago on April 1st (April fools day) I found out I was pregnant and my world got turned upside down. My husband thought I was playing a prank on him but clearly, I was not.

As I sit here writing this now, I’m watching my now toddler ride around on his Mickey Mouse fire truck while throwing Legos all over our apartment. It took me a very long time to get to this point where I was able to write again, but I knew in my heart I would eventually get there.

I was so unhappy with myself, trying to identify as a mother, trying not to analyze my new body ever chance I had. But now, I feel back to normal. Back to Chelsea. Back to being able to put together outfits that weren’t just a pair of shorts, a tank top and flip flops. I mean, I wore heels more when I was pregnant then I did the last year. Now that is some shit right there.

If you have read any of my previous posts, it was obvious I was dealing with a lot. A new baby, the sudden death of my father by suicide, jumping from job to job, searching for the old me.

I want to start this return off lightly, no one wants to jump right into the heavy stuff.

On that note, I’m totally into this clear bootie/sandal trend. At first it reminded me of my early bikini contest phase, where we would wear clear platform sandals and I was like “ehh I’m not sure”. But after pairing them with the right look, I was feeling ON POINT. I would personally wear them with boyfriend jeans (as photoed) or a jean skirt or shorts. This is a statement shoe, so I wouldn’t over do it on top. A silky tank with a colorful bralette completes the look.

Shoes : Steve Madden

Jeans: Lucky brand

Bralette: Free People

Tank : Rose and Sage Toluca Lake

Purse: Michael Kors

 

 

 

It’s 11:30pm

IMG_3841It’s 11:30pm.

I’m not sure what compelled me to all the sudden write after an eighth month sabbatical. My husband and I brought our son home from his moms house after we watched a UFC fight. Upon picking him up, his mom said he was crying and acting restless for three straight hours (which is unlike our son) making me feel like her watching him was a burden…already. Our son never cries for hours on end, and if he does, poor him. Honestly. I literally think to the point “holy shit there is a ghost in her house harassing my son”. But no, that’s not how life goes. More or less then none she got him on a bad seed, one where maybe he was teething and we (my husband and I) got lucky not to deal with. But now, he is sound asleep in his bed in our home. And here I am writing for once after eight months.

I run into people all the time that I haven’t seen in months. MONTHS. It’s always the same question “how is the baby?”. “He’s good, he’s big”. Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoy informing people of my son, but in actuality, I’m in denial from answering “I’m hurting”.

When you tell people your hurting, they assumed you’re depressed. So you don’t tell them. I’m good. How are you? I’m good. Not bad.

Here is my night.

Baby goes to sleep at 10pm. Mommy and Daddy stay up until midnight watching some cheesy rated D on demand movie. Mommy falls asleep on couch during half the movie and daddy wakes mommy up to go to bed. Baby wakes up at 2am for a bottle. Mommy drags her ass out of bed to give baby a bottle. We all go back to bed. Baby wakes up again at 5am. Mommy drags her ass out of bed to make baby a bottle to put him back to bed.

And this repeats until a final destination of 9am ( Thank you Jesus that is sleeping in for me).

Now I’m back to work. Back to the daily grind. The hustle. I go to work to almost escape my “so called life”. My new “mom life”.

The thing is, I get off work, and I expect the normal server life response “Where are we getting a drink??” but I have to ask “how is he?” “did he sleep?” “did he eat is solids?” and luckily for me, I have a husband that takes care of all of the above.

I had a friend ask me why I stopped writing. I didn’t even realize I was a writer. I just thought I was someone who documented photos. I told him, I felt lost after losing my dad to suicide. I didn’t even know where to start but I felt the constant fire burning inside me.

I’m sitting inside my home right now, my son is asleep. I’m watching the making of the “Rams” cheerleaders, by myself, home alone. It reminds me of my dad. It reminds me of my time as a professional cheerleader. On the day’s I feel the lowest, I at least remind myself that even if I wasn’t on a collegiate team, I still made it to the Professional team.

I wrote in the first time in 8 months. (8) not (eight) .

I miss my dad. I miss my pre-baby life. I miss my love life.

 

 

What no one told me

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One month ago I wouldn’t believe where I’m at today. Two months ago I wouldn’t have believed how significantly my life would change forever.

On December 15th, 2015 I went in with my husband to see my OB. I was at 40 weeks and five days pregnant and I was more then ready to get my son Maximus out into the world. I had just suffered the loss of my father due to suicide less then two weeks prior, and I really felt that if I could just give birth to my son I could begin the closure process. I had an ultrasound done and Maximus was allegedly 8LBS 5oz and my OB told us it was time to get the baby out. Just like that, on December 16th I went into my hospital at 8am to get induced. December 16th, 2015 would be my sons birthday.

By the time my husband and I checked in and I got settled in my delivery bed and had been hooked up with almost every sort of IV, needle, monitor, you name it – it was 9am. I was already a “tight three” centimeters dilated, and my head nurse started me with Pitocin. Sure I felt some contractions coming along, nothing too crazy. I thought “psh- I got this no problem!” My nurse informed me that my OB would be coming over during her lunch break to check on me and see how everything was coming along. By lunch time, my OB came in and checked me and I had progressed to 4cm dilated. She asked if I wanted my water to be broken (which I honestly thought it had already – first time mom mentality) and I said sure let’s do it! As soon and my water was officially broken, my contractions came on like it was a bad joke. Within 30 minutes, my contractions were a minute apart and I was DYING. When I say dying, I mean where the fuck is the anasthesiologist and can he or she hurry the fuck up.

I’ve seen “16 and pregnant” I know the epidural drill – or so I thought. The anesthesiologist came into my room with the head nurse and told my husband and my mother that they needed to leave for 30 minutes while they get the epidural up and running. Hmm, me in the room by myself? Whatever, just get this shit going already. I wish it was that simple. It turns out, that if you are a petite woman like myself, your spine bones are a lot “closer together” then most normal woman. What does this mean? This means that injecting the needle into my spine is extremely difficult and will take many tries and so many tries that the anesthesiologist might get so frustrated and want to give up. Yeah, they didn’t show that part on “16 and pregnant”. You’re probably wondering how bad this must of hurt? My contractions were less then a minute apart, I was hugging my new best friend the head nurse while simultaneously crying and uncontrollably shaking while it felt like someone was trying to gut me like a fish from the back. 45 minutes later, the epidural was finally in and secure and I could wipe the mascara tears from my cheeks and go into a nice little trance – for 6 hours.

The night of the Ronda Rousey/ Holly Holm fight was the same night of the lamaze class at my hospital. So, me being the person I am told my husband I would rather bartend that fight then take the lamaze class. What this means is during this entire labor process I’m legitimately “winging it” and have no idea what I’m doing. With that being said, the head nurse instructs me that it’s time to start pushing because I’m now fully dilated. In my semi-coherent mind I’m assessing the situation and realize my OB is not even at the hospital and I’m pretty certain the head nurse doesn’t deliver the baby. She informs me that my OB will not be showing up to deliver the baby until I’m fully crowned. Say what? She tells me sometimes it takes woman up to three hours of pushing to crown. SAY WHAT? Well she was on the money because it took 2 1/2 hours of pushing to finally crown. I wish it were like the movies where they barely push and then the baby pops out. But during those 2 1/2 hours there were tears, cotton mouth, chapped lips and exhaustion. I never realized how delicious ice chips were and how relieved I was when my OB finally walked through the door at 11pm.

The finale is kind of a blur. I think when my OB got situated she knew that this was going to be a difficult delivery. Some (most) are surprised I didn’t opt out for a c section. I was crowned and I put in some major work to get there – I was not about to turn back. The room was getting intense. She informs me that she will need to do an episiotomy. What no one tells you is during this time of labor they essentially turn down the epidural so you’re able to push more. So the episiotomy – I felt it. I was also experiencing back labor, so she had to physically reach inside and try to turn the baby to relieve some of the pressure off my back. Felt that too. I look up and realize there are about 6 nurses in my room all gathered around me. My husband is holding my head up, I hear everyone telling me to push and “not to scream!”My son was just not coming out. Reluctantly my OB tells me were going to need to use the vacuum to try to pull him out. I felt pressure and a shockingly scary release which made me scream and sent blood spraying my surroundings (and the ceiling) like something out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Apparently, my son had so much hair, the suction didn’t hold and it pulled away from his head. They tried and failed at this two more traumatic times. I put in every ounce of energy I had left to give and finally – the demeanor in everyones voice changes and my son made his arrival into this world. What no one really tells you is when your labor is set and done, and your baby is laid upon your chest, it’s almost as if you forget everything that you just had gone through to get to that moment. My legs still in the stirrups, shaking, getting sewn up, delivering the placenta and yet you can’t focus on anything except your baby. There is no experience in the entire world like it. Oh! Maximus wasn’t 8LBS 5oz. He was 9LBS 4.5oz with a 14cm head. A woman can dilate to 10cm, so I suppose my challenging delivery was justified. Something my mother told me – always ask for an extra stitch.

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The recovery process is horrific. I can imagine my scenario probably left me in a worse position then most. Excessive bleeding, pain, new stitches in the most hard to reach area and a brand new screaming baby. I remember laying in the recovery bed at 3am and wondering how I was going to go to the bathroom. The nurses guide you into your new bathroom process. A lot of cleaning, drying, wiping, patting, hurting and burning. It’s immediately overwhelming. A nurse or a specialist drop in on you every hour for different reasons, so there immediately is no sleep. My OB dropped in to check on me that afternoon and also to circumcise my son (dude, that lady does everything!). Everything seemed fine and moving along until one nurse noticed my son was transitioning slowly and his hands and feet weren’t the color they were supposed to be. No one can prepare a new mother to take their baby to the NICU. It is heartbreaking.  I kept thinking how is a 9LB baby going into the NICU surrounded by preemies? Why is this happening to me? First I lose my father and then I have to leave my son? It all seemed cruel and unfair. But, you have to remain positive and know that it’s the best thing for your baby as hard as it is. After an hour of our son being absent from my husband and I, we got to go into the NICU and see him. The color in his skin was bright and lively and he seemed to be doing just fine. Unfortunately he would have to spend two nights there, and we would be leaving the hospital without him. There is nothing like entering a hospital pregnant, and leaving the hospital no longer pregnant and with no baby in hand.

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Being someone who has previously suffered from depression, pretty much my entire family and care physicians warned me about the possibility of postpartum depression. I would like to say I was prepared for it, but I could not be more wrong. What no one tells you is when you bring home your baby it’s exciting and thrilling (especially for myself because I had to leave him in the NICU so essentially I felt like I was rescuing him) but then out of nowhere – like a tornado with no warning, comes this dark cloud. The depression I suffered in the past was gradual, it wasn’t like it happened over night. Postpartum depression literally feels like it happens over night. I was happy the night I brought home my son, and the next morning I had this overwhelming feeling of regret. How could I regret having a baby if I had just spend the last 9 months obsessing with the thought of having one? It was the most debilitating feeling in the entire world, and something that I thought if I told anyone they would think I was crazy. Days would pass and I just became more and more upset. Why wasn’t this feeling letting up? I love my son. I would look at him and be in awe of how I created such a perfect little human being but at the same time I was so sad. He would cry and the angst within me would tighten every muscle throughout my entire body. I would cringe, and find just a sliver of time to go and cry by myself and hope no one would notice. I kept thinking about how I had just lost my father and having my son was supposed to bring me back to life but instead it was just pulling me further down into this dark abyss. My true breaking point was when he was around two weeks old and the crying just wouldn’t stop in the middle of the night. I was at the changing table and all I wanted to do was just scream at him. It took every ounce of me to hold in my words. Everyone or every mother reads stories about how babies get shaken, and we all think “I would never do that! How could anyone do that?!” In that moment at the changing table in the middle of the night, I found myself in that same position. It was absolutely horrifying. Did I shake my son? No. Did I want to? Yes. I just grabbed my head with both hands and left the room with a crying baby on the changing table and told my husband I needed a minute. I sat on the couch to try and take some deep breaths and regain my sense of composure. I told myself I am not a bad mother and this will pass. It has to.

My son is now five weeks old. Every day I fight the urge of feeling down. I have been more patient with my son, and I have slowly learned his habits, facial expressions and routine. Postpartum depression is fucking scary. The scariest part of it is how it comes at you at 100mph. I think any couple having a baby for the first time is going to go through a really hard transition phase. No one told me how hard it would be on my relationship. With me being the biggest debbie downer, and my husband trying to find time for himself, it seemed like we were always at odds. Patience is the key to success with a new baby and being a new parent. My husband really does an excellent job at being patient with me and trying his best to understand what I’m going through. I truly believe if I hadn’t lost my dad so soon before I gave birth, I wouldn’t be struggling as hard. This is something I will never know – and I’m sure I’m not the first or the last mother to experience a tragedy during the time of child birth.

What no one tells you is being a mother is hard. Actually, it’s really fucking hard. I thought pregnancy was hard, and looking back on it the pregnancy and birth were the easy part. I know that this phase of darkness will eventually fade away, and the death of my father won’t be on my mind daily. I now can make it through the night at 5 weeks without having a breakdown, and I’m an expert at changing diapers. My husband and I finally have had a chance to go out just the two of us maybe once a week which helps substantially. It is incredibly difficult to manage without the help of family around, and unfortunately my family doesn’t live in the same state as us. I’ve had to learn that taking a long shower is luxury, and the couch has become my day time bed. My son Maximus is the light in my life. I catch myself feeling down, and I have to remind myself that his innocence is what will pull me out of the dark. I have read articles upon articles of woman who go through exactly what I am experiencing but the truth is, you never think it will happen to you until it does. It’s almost as if everything that happened to me is an anomaly. Two months ago I would have never thought I would lose my father to suicide. One month ago I didn’t think I would be someone who suffers from PPD.

It does get easier. Little by little and day by day. Every day is a physical and mental challenge. I never thought doing a simple task that I used to not even think twice about would take a conscious effort. No one tells you about the dark details of being a new mother, but no one tells you that just a simple glance into the eyes of your child will pierce your soul and only then can you be reminded that everything will be OK.IMG_2807

Learning to grieve while giving life.

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My dad was always a quiet person emotionally to me. The only time I remember him even slightly tearing up was the morning I had to told him that the night before I wanted to commit suicide. I was in the hallway in my high school and I had asked my teacher to step outside to make a phone call. It was by far the darkest time in my life, a time where I was suffering from severe depression and anxiety. My dad just responded with “Chelsea, that is the most selfish thing you could ever do.” I over came my darkness with time.

Sadly, on Wednesday December 2nd, 2015, my dad committed suicide.

I have been having a hard time to say in the least trying to wrap my head around the whole act. The timing, the excitement in his voice when we would talk about my son, the confusion of wondering if there were any warning signs. Yesterday, I finally had the courage to reopen our text messages and run through them to see if there were any signs I missed. Nothing. Just my dad being my dad. Photos of my growing baby bump, screen shots of sporting events on TV, random snaps of things I would see throughout the day that made me think of him. I never thought I would experience this so-called guilt people endure after a loss of a loved one by suicide. The “what if” factor. The day of his death was the day of the San Bernardino mass shooting. I thought to myself, that’s weird I didn’t get a text from my dad…he always sends me a message asking if I’m alright during a tragedy like this (especially being that it was in California, not too incredibly far from where I live). I just continued on with my afternoon, getting last minute baby essentials to prepare for the birth of my son the following week. When I pulled into target with Danny around 1pm in the afternoon, I got the overwhelming feeling of sickness. Feeling like I was going to vomit or faint – figuring it just another pregnancy symptom. Carried on with our errands, shopped around Target looking at Christmas decorations. Danny was insisting we purchase more Christmas decorations and stockings for our place to look festive for when my dad and his girlfriend arrived in a couple weeks. I felt so randomly ill that I was just thinking yeah, sure, whatever let’s get it. Looking back on that afternoon now, I remember getting that same overwhelming feeling of sickness when another member of my family unexpectedly passed years ago. Intuition is more powerful then we make it to be.

A few hours pass, and I get the unexpected phone call. It was by far, the most horrific, heart dropping moment of my entire life. A moment that was shocking and devastating and took my breath away in the worst possible manner. It makes me sick to my stomach replaying that moment in my mind. I believe my natural human instinct has started to kick in, and shards of that memory are being blocked out with black puzzle pieces that will soon come together and eventually black it out as a whole for my own well being.

There are details I remember about that moment and afternoon that I could choose to elaborate on but that is not why I’m writing this. I am writing this because I feel like the first step in my healing process is to talk about what happened. To talk about the fact that I don’t feel like I can smile anymore without feeling guilty. Or when I laugh, I feel like I shouldn’t be.

How am I going to be able to bring in a brand new life into this world while I feel like my world is completely crushed around me? How are my family members going to be able to look at pictures of my son and smile? The worst…watching people carrying on with their lives and feeling angry because I feel like I can’t do the same.

Yesterday and today are the first days where I haven’t cried. I’ve come close – but I thought in my twisted mind if I didn’t it would be a small success. The truth is, I want to feel happy again. I want to be able to post a million pictures of my newborn son that flood peoples Facebook feed. And I want to do so without feeling guilty. I want to get dressed up and do my hair and make up and go back to life I was living not even a week ago that seemingly feels like was ripped away from me.

I was scared of child birth. The thought of the pain a woman’s body has to endure to bring life into this world was quite frankly terrifying to me. But now, I’m not afraid at all. With great loss brings a new perspective into your life. At this point, any feeling that takes away the pain in my mind I am willing to endure. I am so afraid of being able to love a new life with still grieving an old one.

I know that with time, I will learn to live with the fact that my dad will not be physically present during monumental moments in my life. That it will be a process trying to come to terms with the fact that suicide is a different type of grievance. Slowly, I’ll be able to understand that my dad did not do this intentionally to hurt anyone else, he was just ending the hurt he felt within himself. I’m encouraging myself and others to not be afraid to talk about suicide. It’s a subject I feel so many of us feel we need to hide because if we don’t it is disrespectful to the deceased, which it is not. What is hard is hiding in the emotions you feel without voicing them. That is what lead me to my darkness, and talking about them is what pulled me out of it.

One day I will learn to focus on the good memories only, without the final memory of his decision to leave. There will be good days, and there will be bad days and I’m sure even on the good days I will miss him dearly. At the end of the day, my dad was a great man who would have done anything for me if I would have asked. I can sleep at night knowing that if he was still with me in the present, he would have been an amazing grandfather. I’m sure like now and even years down the road I will want to snap a photo of something and send it to him just because I was thinking of him. My sons uncles will have to take him on fishing trips because I know that’s what my dad would have wanted, and I will only give my son skim milk because that is what my dad made me drink as a child as much as I hated it. With every meal. And I still hate skim milk.

12278780_10205166713954693_6920562474043651738_nMy mom, myself, and my dad. June 28th, 1989.

I am a suicide survivor.