Men, mental health and stigma

I have been doing mental health advocacy online for a long time now, it’s been almost 3 years, I am most active on Facebook but in the past wrote a lot in this blog about mental health as well. I also make note that the majority of the support groups are geared toward women, they tend to be the most active in self-improvement and mental awareness, I don’t mind that, in fact, the majority of my friends and supporters are women, they are amazing and I learn so much from them.

But talking about gender roles and how men are perceived in this society is something that is a part of my advocacy and something I think about a lot of the time. I think how a lot of men are perceived as unemotional, detached, expected to be the strong ones, they don’t open up with their feelings and don’t show their sensitive sides. I think most people would say that men do have mental health struggles but choose not to talk about it.

I think about it in a different way, I think men can be just as emotionally ( maybe more so in certain cases) open as women, they can be sensitive, they care deeply but they are told to be more open with their emotions, they are dismissed or shamed for being so open emotionally or struggling with mental health, Many people see that a man who is highly sensitive and emotional is weak, which is far from the truth, men who are open with their emotions are the strongest of them all. . So when men feel shamed or unheard, they stop speaking out and keep their struggles to themselves. This leads to worsening mental health issues, which can lead to breakdowns and even suicide.

I myself, don’t feel comfortable in men’s groups because I always get the sense that the unspoken message is ” I have depression or anxiety, but I’m still a man, I’m still tough” and that message bothers me. It makes me feel as though I’ll be judged with this type of thinking so I continue to seek support from my female friends.It’s a contradiction with me. I want to break the stigma of men and mental health and yet I find myself not relating to a lot of men and that is frustrating. And I don’t blame men for being the way they are, it’s the society that raised that, I see it everywhere, especially in the media. Men play sports, they love cars, they never talk about their feelings, they are in control and it’s a tiring message to me because many of us aren’t like that and even within the mental health community, I see men being labeled that way, and it’s a terrible stereotype that keeps men from getting the help they need.

I remember whenever I was in a college classroom and we would have a discussion about men and women and how men never opened up, all they did was drink beer and watch sports and everyone seemed to be in agreement, while I could not relate and I just rolled my eyes because it sounded like every dated comedy routine from the 80s and 90s, like Home improvement, total nonsense to me

I don’t know, it’s an uphill battle because these messages are ingrained in our society and it genuinely bothers me and it was tough to grow up and feel so alienated from that culture, I couldn’t relate, I had guy friends but I never felt a part of things and I much rather have been by myself or talking with my female friends, I just felt so different and when I just started struggling with mental health, I noticed the stigma about how men were treated. Women are freer to talk openly about their emotions while men were laughed at for being too sensitive. All I can do is write what’s in my heart and lead as an example. I hope this post can make somewhat of a difference and maybe give you a different perspective of the need to break the stigma of men and mental health.

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I’m feeling less anxious these days

I was driving home today and I thinking to myself; how tired I was from working non stop in the bakery;  I am on the go; all day; wrapping bread, making cookies trays, placing pies in holders, placing baked items on the tables and rotating baked goods; aside from my breaks; I literally do not stop; I take a second to catch my breath and continue onto the next task.  I am not complaining; I am just busy; it’s not like my old job where I checked my phone every few minutes;  In fact I keep my phone on airplane mode and only check my social media on breaks.  My old job I  was anxious all the time  and I was so emotionally drained from all the negativity; at work; now it’s more mentally draining and it’s something I have never experienced. In fact I keep my phone on airplane mode and only check my social media on breaks.  Even other workers who don’t have disabilities tell me that they heard the bakery was brutal; and they have no idea that I have learning disabilities or ADHD ( Although I’m sure some suspect it); so I am really working hard.

So as I was driving I realized that since working this new job ( and working 40 + hour weeks); I have felt less anxious and depressed. Hold let me take that back; I feel anxious but about different things; I have less social anxiety or thoughts about the past; the anxiety is more about trying to keep up with a face paced environment and whether they will keep me after the Christmas season; all normal anxiety.

But it’s anxiety that I can handle and it doesn’t make me feel bad about myself; in fact I have more confidence than I ever had in my life.  I have never gotten along with my co-workers and supervisors so well in a job; no one has really criticized me too much; they seem to enjoy seeing me and I make sure I say hi to everyone and they seem genuinely nice.  Even a lot of the women seem very friendly with me; which is a first for me in a job situation.  Obviously I am going to stay focused on my job but it does feel nice; and for whatever reason it doesn’t make me anxious; which is the past would have created so much anxiety; I am really not sure what’s happening but I seem to be comfortable around people in general and more sure of myself.   I am just happier right now than I ever been at a job and I think that all the praying; the support from my friends; my writing and my growing social media accounts ( the blog included) has made me more confident in life and people around me are picking up on and responding more positively to me than in the past.  I also think perseverance is really starting to pay off; I hope to inspire others never to give up.   Anyways this is all I have the energy to write tonight; I have the day off and I am going to get some much needed rest and recharge my batteries.  Thanks for all the support; it really makes a difference in my life.

Thanks for listening

 

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Unrelated but music helps me to calm down; this is what I am listening to as I write this; first track is great!

 

Can I sit at the girls table?

I know most guys don’t want to sit at the girls table but do you mind if I sit here? I’d like to sit with the guys but they never talk to me; I try to be friendly but they just ignore me and I’m not really interested in sports or cars and that’s all they seem to talk about. I try so hard to relate those guys but I just can’t and so I stopped trying long ago. I accepted most of my friends are women and I’m OK with that. I don’t want to hit on you or ask for your number; I just want someone to talk to; I’ll ask you how your day was and we can talk about music or art or even writing; I’d love that. I love talking to the girls they are always more interesting than the guys and a whole lot nicer.   So can I sit here with you girls at this table? Thanks

Why most of my friends are women

I made this quick video about the reason why I relate so much better to women.  It seems that in any social situation; I always gravitate towards females and I feel more comfortable; I can never seem to relate to men.   It’s something I always wondered about; like why is that? I don’t really have a clear answer except that’s just who I am.  I try to be a kind gentle sensitive man who is open about his feelings and women just tend to be more responsive to that.   So I am grateful to all the wonderful women I have befriended in my life.  Here’s the video enjoy.   And feel to subscribe to my Youtube Channel: Revolutionary musings and my Instagram at Davethewriter18.

 

 

What I’m listening to right now

Why were they laughing?

I want to first say that despite the title this blog isn’t about politics or saying one party is better than the other; I find those discussions to be frustrating and it leads to arguments; so no arguing on my page or negativity; please.

That being said I have to talk  about Trump mocking Dr Ford; the woman accusing Judge Kavanaugh at a rally in Mississippi ( he won the election why he is still campaigning?); he mocked how she couldn’t remember certain details; riling the crowd into a frenzy.  I felt immediately shaken and had a very angry reaction inside; I mean Trump says a lot of insensitive things but this really got to me; especially after writing about my own trauma and trying to relate to Dr Ford’s ( particularly memory lapses).  I then realized I wasn’t just upset about what Trump said because at this point I expect that from him. It was the crowd’s reaction; it was his loud  laughter and cheering as he is humiliating this woman for the whole world to see; the smiles in the background; coming not only from men but women as well ( do they have no shame?). What I was found interesting  was how at one point during the hearing; Dr Ford stated that she could hear laughing and it was at her expense; so again; thanks to Trump; she was victimized all over again; this time to a cheering crowd.  It hurt for me to hear this laughter; like this woman’s painful memories were something to be laughed at; it is one of the ugliest spectacles I have seen in a long time; it felt almost unreal like it was movie.  I don’t know about you but I when i see a movie where someone is being humiliated or laughed at by a large crowd; I get a knot in my stomach and a sick feeling; that is  how I was feeling as I was watching this.  I watched the clip on CNN and Brooke Baldwin said ” I want you to notice that there is a little boy in the background”  That says so much; this boy is hearing his parents; along with the President of the United States mocking a woman who came forward with sexual assault allegations. Whether you believe her testimony or not is irrelevant; what is the message that we are sending to young men? That is ok to laugh at and dismiss women who share their stories of sexual assault; to be callous; that women are liars and will never be believed so do what you want with them sexually because you won’t get caught?  And I also thought to myself some of these adults in the crowd have daughters. How would they respond if their daughter came home and said they were raped; would they think it’s funny?  Would they refuse to believe her? How would they respond if they came to the police and were mocked and laughed at while this young girl told her story? I think that is something to think about.  I am just absolutely disgusted and I think you should be as well; regardless of your political beliefs. This behavior is unacceptable. If I went to work and talked like Trump; I’d be fired ( I wouldn’t of course ) and yet Trump can say the most vile disgusting things about women and not only do they sweep it under the rug; they laugh  What is happening in this country where this kind of behavior is tolerable; it’s not; no matter who it comes from.

There is another reason why I am so upset; I have been bullied in one way or another all my life; I know what its like to humiliated and laughed behind my back; because of that I have horrible self esteem; it’s hard for me to make friends; it’s hard for me to handle praise because it unfathomable that anyone would want to be my friend or be interested in what I have to say; all because of being bullied.  It brought back memories of kids taking my things; punching me; making me cry; humiliating me all while everyone laughed around me; and the teachers didn’t do a fuckin thing; all while this kids tried to make my life miserable. Hearing them laugh brought all back to me and I felt like I was 9 years on the playground again; being cornered by bullies; totally helpless; tempted to just run home and never go back to school; that is how bad it was.  We are a society of bullies; our whole social/economic system is built on bullying; the rich and powerful take advantage of the poor and vulnerable segments of the population. And a a part of it is the fact that parents don’t take the time to teach their kids to respect other’s differences. So seeing those ignorant fools laughing and cheering; makes me feel so bad for those kids. It gives them permission to go to school to next and humiliate someone weaker than them; just for the hell of it. The President does it and it’s funny; I bet I can get big laughs if I give Mikey a wedgie or pour food on Billy.  This really is a dark time in our country and I feel for any kid getting bullied right now because the situation seems hopeless. I have no words anymore but I take comfort in knowing I’m not alone in feeling this way. I pray that this country heals from this and speaking of prayer; I wonder how many of those laughing go to church every Sunday but you know what that’s for another blog.   Writing this has been exhausting so I will stop here.

Thank for listening and let’s try harder to love one another and treat each other with respect.

Dave

 

 

How we treat attractive people

Forgive me if I have written about this topic before. I don’t like to sound conceited but I look at myself in the mirror and I look a lot better than I used to ( in a physical sense) I take better care of myself; I seem to have more confidence; I smile more; I don’t know I just like myself more these days. I also sense that woman are looking at me differently lately; like getting longer glances and they just seem friendlier and more comfortable with me which feels good to be honest.  When I was younger I had no confidence in my looks whatsoever; I had big curly hair and I just looked different from all the others guys; and I sensed that girls didn’t like me; they rarely talked to me and I felt lonely.   Right now I am not dating and I am starting to see it as less as that I’m not good looking enough or I am not interesting enough or confident enough to date; i think it’s lack of opportunities. I don’t get a chance to meet single women that might give me a chance; meeting a woman at work would be next to impossible. Although I get the feeling that some female co-workers might be attracted to me based on looks they give me and how comfortable they are around me; I talk to them a lot ( far more than my male co-workers) and that has given me confidence.  It is easier for me to connect with women and when I told my therapist and she shook her head and said ” And how is that a bad thing?”  Even my therapist is a woman; go figure.

But it has got me thinking that if I am attractive to some women; do they treat me differently as a result? Are women nicer to men they find more attractive? Are they more willing to trust them?  Because it seemed that up until a few years ago; women rarely talked to me; they were sort of dismissive.  I found that if I was sitting on a lunch break; no woman would sit next to me and talk or respond if I tried to engage in conversation; now they start conversations with me. Whenever I’d go out to a bar; woman would approach me; which is a rarity for most men. I stated earlier that I had curly hair; I hadn’t had my haircut in quite a while; my hair became coarse and I had big sideburns; I looked rough. When my hair was long; women never talked or joked with me at work; they wouldn’t even look at me. I got a haircut last week and I find myself again sensing women at looking at me again; being nicer; engaging me in conversation.  So does attractiveness  ( if that’s the case) really make a difference.  If I was acting the same way and saying the same things but I was 300 lbs; would I just be ignored?  I am not saying I’m attractive but I’m wondering if maybe I am and women are nicer simply because they think I look good.

It’s all very confusing to me. I was bullied from a young age and called ugly; and over time I believed it myself because I heard it so much.  I didn’t like the person I saw and I had a hard time believing anyone else would find me attractive.  I really need to stop beating myself up and realize that I’m not ugly and those are lies. Maybe if I stopped believing these lies I might more confident. I think about these things a lot.  And I am wondering if I am the only who feels this way sometimes; I’m sure I’m not.  Anyways I hope that someday I can find someone to have a relationship with me because we all need somebody, right?

 

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Classic Smokey…..

Being a highly sensitive person

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I saw this on my Facebook feed and I immediately knew I had to share it. Although I will say I find very interesting how sensitivity is mainly considered to be a female trait.  I made a post about this and a female friend that stated most men are just as sensitive as women but because we live in a society that sees highly sensitive men as weak; they hide it because they don’t have the maturity and lack to courage to admit it; I am in total agreement. For myself I am very proud to be a high sensitive man that has all of these traits. I am proud I am open about my feelings and I can be there for my friends. I am proud that I am one that wants to make a difference in this world. I am proud I am a good listener and people feel comfortable coming to me with their problems because I don’t judge them.  I am proud that I am highly creative and use my writing to help others. I am just happy that God made me this way; although for years I tried to be like all the other guys; tough and unflinching but now I embrace my sensitivity and it has gotten me closer to others and I am being true to myself. Sensitivity is a gift; never hide it.

Dave

Why I believe women

This has really been a rough week for so many; with the Kavanaugh hearing; a lot of people are triggered and emotions are running high.  I actually have to admit I don’t have cable news ( or even a TV for that matter) so I miss out on a lot of the details; I read headlines on Facebook and hear people talking about it but I don’t get the full picture.  The news is just so negative and full of drama that I have a tendency to just shut out the news because it’s too much; too many players; too much arguing back and forth; it’s not good for my mental health. That being said I have jest of what these hearing is about; Judge Kavanaugh is being accused of attempted rape at a party in the 80s in high school  ( a pretty serious accusation). A lot of people these days are being accused of sexual assault; it’s seems like a celebrity or politician is being accused of sexual misconduct each day; and a lot of them have surprised me (Charlie Rose, really?)  And while I am shocked and have empathy for these women that are accusing these men; I don’t know them personally so it’s easy to not get emotional because I am looking at as outsider who has never been sexual assaulted and can’t fully understand that pain; but a lot people have   ( as I have been finding out recently)

I find myself to be a very sensitive man and have met so many caring women who have been there for me in my life; I admire their strength and courage. I admire how they express their feelings ( some not all); how they show empathy; how they are usually to ones who speak against the injustices of the world..  So when I hear about men who abuse women; my heart breaks because I can sense the pain and anguish the actions of these men cause; the trauma inflicted on these women is life long. I understand trauma in my own way and I have empathy for them because i am a human being who cares about others; but there are so many others in this world that are insensitive; they can listen to a woman describe unbelievable trauma while recounting being sexually assaulted; hear her voice quiver; hands shake and tears rolling down her eyes and not blink an eye.  To them it’s all in act to smear the name of good family man; it’s scam; a political ploy; instead of a woman speaking her truth. And then I hear some say “Well why didn’t they come forward earlier?’   Well who wants to relive that trauma in front of a courtroom ( mostly made of men ); have your sexual history on display; be called a liar and told that it didn’t happen and  say that you just want money or attention? Why go through all that; especially when you are a teenager.  Being bullied as a kid I can remember being ganged up on and when I told the teachers; they told me to just ignore it and it made things worse. I learned not to speak up because it didn’t stop the bullying and no one was going to help me anyways; so I just learned to put up with the bullying because i had no choice.  I use that as an example of trying my best to understand why women take so long to come forward ( if they ever come forward at all). Just typing this now makes me feel angry; I feel angry so many men doubt women; so many men say so many disrespectful things towards someone who has been through sexual assault; why are they so quick to judge?. And do so few men stand up for women? That’s my question.

For a long time I didn’t speak up because it wasn’t personal but last year after the allegations of Harvey Weinstein were brought to light; I started seeing all of these statuses from women that said “me too”.  I had no idea what that was about; I later found out it was women sharing that they had been victims of sexual assault and harassment; and all of sudden most of my female friends were making “me too” posts; it became personal. These women who were my friends and who I loved were sexually assaulted or harassed at one point by men in their lives; that hurt deeply; I really felt for them. Soon some of them started sharing their stories in more detail and I started to realize how many women were affected by this and how so few of them ever came forward and their seemed to be a recurring theme: fear, fear fear.  Either they were threatened  or didn’t want to get his male in trouble so they held it in for years and years. Now by sharing this they have nothing to gain; they aren’t taking these guys to court; they are speaking their truth so other women don’t feel so alone; and they’d have no reason to lie.  I thought about that; a lot of these accusers are coming forward 15-20 years later; way past the statute of limitations; so they can’t charge this guy. Why would a woman put herself through that trauma all over again; be called a liar in front of everyone; have her sexual history questioned and gain nothing legally from it; if she wasn’t telling the truth, right?.  I don’t know; I don’t have statistics and figures; I can only speak from the heart and I believe a lot of women coming forward and I commend them for being so brave; because it takes guts to stand up against powerful men who think they are entitled to sex and see women as solely sex objects with no feelings or worth.

I want to finish this post and talk about a family member who I have not seen since she was a little girl; we actually share the same birthday; she is exactly 6 or 7 years younger than me.  I don’t talk to that side of the family so I don’t know about any of them.  But I was told that this member in the family was sexually abused at a very young ( 7 or 8) and it was shocking; especially since I had met the boys who had abused her for years.  I just felt so furious and had so much hurt in my heart; knowing that cute little innocent girl who was funny and who i went to the pool with and talked with her  had been through unimaginable abuse. I can’t describe how it makes me feel except sick. Even though I have no contact with my family; I do love her and she crosses my mind from time to time. I caught up with her on Facebook about a year ago. I messaged her a few times and I could tell she was struggling; she didn’t work; had ptsd ( related to the abuse); and it wasn’t like talking to an adult; it was like talking to a little girl. I realized that the abuse was so bad that emotionally she remained 7 or 8 years of age.  I didn’t think it was appropriate to be talking to her; even online so I cut off contact with her and any other family I had on Facebook. But when all this talk of sexual abuse comes up; she does cross my mind. And she’s isn’t lying about the abuse and didn’t tell anyone for years; long after it had ended.  I tend to believe most women who come forward because in a  rape culture such as ours; I believe that there are many more men out there capable of sexual abuse than I had previously imagined.   I hope to continue to be the kind of man who speaks up for women; comforts women; is friends with women; and never stops believing women

Thank you

Dave

 

 

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Being a man in the age of the #metoo movement

I have stated many times that I relate better to women; I feel less comfortable talking to men. Lately I have seen numerous stories about sexual misconduct; the latest being a pastor groping singer Ariana Grande at a funeral for Aretha Franklin in front of a nationwide television ( it’s enough to make anyone sick to their stomach). As someone who writes about the power of God and how one can benefit from spirituality; I find this particularly troubling. Men are using their power to manipulate and control women in order to make sexual advances towards them. Being someone who is less dominant and never been aggressive with women ( anxious and needy at times but never aggressive). While rejection hurt; I never blamed the women who rejected me; I looked within myself to see how I could improve myself and in turn improve my chances; which I hope is a healthy attitude.  I hope I have become a man that respects women; because I  try not to cross boundaries and am consciously aware of how my actions are perceived ( much more now than in the past).

But we live in an age where the metoo movement is a trending topic in the news; women are understandably wary of men who are too friendly. I wonder at times if my friendliness could be misinterpreted as something more or if I’m chiming in on conversations I should stay out of. I don’t get a lot of opportunities to meet women in person that I’d be interested in getting to know ( you don’t meet many people working in retail); I find my interactions on social media ( including my blog) are mainly with women; some I know and some I don’t know.  I often wonder if I comment on a woman’s photo that I don’t know well; does she think I am try to come on to her when in reality I am just trying to be friendly? I comment on anything I find interesting especially if it’s a fellow writer. I don’t know

Some of interactions with women offline I admit can be awkward. I was at a poetry reading and there was a young girl and she recited a poem relating to metoo; afterwards I walked up to her and shook her hand and told her I really liked the poem she wrote  ( i shake everyone’s hand out of habit) she gave me this upset look and said nothing; I walked away thinking I may have overstepped my bounds; I didn’t mean to; I was just trying to be friendly but I maybe shouldn’t have said anything. I tend to over analyze situations like that. Another time I was out at a bar late at night and I was dancing with this beautiful woman and we were dancing close. Without thinking I put my hand on her shoulder and she backed away and excused herself; I felt so bad. She had every right to be upset; I did it out of ignorance and not malice. I realized I shouldn’t have put my hands on a woman like that and that would never happen again. I wonder how much of these mistakes are related to being on the autistic  spectrum and failing to recognize social cues; I am really working on these things.

I really do try to be respectful of women and try to relate to them but these days as a man you have to be careful because so many men pretend to be kind and respectful in order to make sexual advances towards women; that isn’t me. I just realize how as a man; I need to think more clearly before I act. I mentioned this in a Facebook post and a friend said that the fact I am even questioning this means I am respectful of women and she observed how I talked to my female friends and assured me I was fine ( as far as my online behavior was concerned). Its something that bothers me and I hope the females I communicate know that my intentions are always innocent and that I have never behaved otherwise.

Thanks for listening

Dave

 

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We’re not alone

I want to tell a story about a very special moment that I had when I was younger; it has been crossing my mind a lot lately when I think about people I’ve known in the past and why I feel so strongly about them. First let me say that when I was younger; I interacted much better with girls when I was in a large group. I always felt more comfortable with the girls; I felt they listened better and judged me less; although I was always nervous around the one’s I liked. I tried to talk to guys but I felt they never accepted me and saw me as weird; so I felt pushed aside.  I remember this was this one girl in the group of kids I was around and we really got along; I pretty much grew up with her.  She was always nice to me and I was happy to see her; I really liked talking to her; she was kind.  I felt she was the only one who truly understood me; at times when I felt others talked down to me; she never did.  When I was struggling with something; I talked to her; even when it was a girl I liked; I came to her for advice and she was really helpful.  I suffered from a lot of depression and anxiety as a kid and it was really difficult to relate to people and I was oftentimes withdrawn; I just felt lonely so I needed to know I had friends.  I recall one time she had a birthday party at the pool when I was 12 and she invited me; that meant so much to me since I didn’t have a lot of friends; I didn’t get invited to many parties and my home life was difficult at the time; just the fact that someone thought to invited made me accepted.

When my brother died; my mental health deteriorated  and my depression worsened; I completely shut down and was impossible to reach.  All I could do was talk about my brother and my depression; I think it was upsetting for a lot of people ( and understandably so) so they kept a healthy distance from me but I always found I could talk to my friend; who had pretty much become my favorite person in the group; I could tell she really cared about me and I need that so much at the time; just someone to listen; even if at times I felt uncomfortable sharing such personal feelings with her.  I will never forget we were on a retreat and I was moping about something and she pulled me aside and asked what was wrong. I told her I was feeling down and she stopped for a second and she said “I want to tell you something”.  She then told me she had depression and anxiety just like me. I was floored; it was a surreal and powerful moment. I had put all the people in the group on a pedastol; thinking I was the only one suffering from it and it made me feel so alone. And here was my friend telling me she had depression; I realized I wasn’t alone.  I just listened to her and tried to show her empathy; this was a conversation I wasn’t prepared for.  I think that moment created a strong bond between us and I then realized how blessed how I was to have this friend in my life; it was such a kind gesture. But I was also confused. Everyone I had met at that time who had depression and anxiety ( therapy groups, treatment centers) had obvious issues; they were out of control or visibly sad all the time, kids that were outcasts.  And here was this girl who was very likable had no problems making friend and was normal in every other respect and yet she struggled with mental health just like me; it was hard to believe.  It took a lot of courage to share that with me;  I was about 17 at the time and she was 15; so we were still young and teenagers. But I will never forget that day.

Now we have grown up; she now has a family of her own.  She lives  far away from here but we still communicate online and she still is as supportive as ever; she is really sweet.  I found myself messaging her (just like I did when were kids) when I was struggling about my brother and she was just as encouraging as in the past and it warmed my heart. Although I look back and wonder if I needed her friendship a whole lot more than she needed mine; I guess I’ll never know. When I went back home to visit; I was not able to see her.  I hope she realizes how much she meant to  me; maybe one day I might be able to see her again and tell her how blessed I was to have her as friend and how important that moment was.

 

Additional thoughts-  The thing I want people to take from this story is that you never know how your kindness affects other and can be life changing for them. I, mean that was about 20 years ago and I still think about those days and how I was surrounded by this group of people that really loved me and do to this day. Not everyone is as lucky to have had such a supportive network. And I can honestly that since my brother died; I considered myself to be an only child by circumstance. But those people in a sense became my sisters and brothers and moms and dads ( alongside my own parents) and I love them dearly and make sure to share my writings with some of them; so they know how I feel and they all have been so responsive and supportive.  So be kind to people because that could really make a difference in their lives that may be full of darkness. With that I am done with this post. Sending my followers positive vibes.

Dave