Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween today! I hope you all have a wonderful, fun, and safe Halloween in whatever way you decide to celebrate it. And for those who don't, happy Monday!

Tonight I'm going to UMASS to watch a performance of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It's one of my favorite movies, but I've never seen it performed live before. I'm fairly excited and I can't wait to go see it tonight.

Breakfast was half of a honey and peanut butter sandwich and a fruit and nut granola bar. Lunch was a hot turkey and cheese sandwich and a cracker and cheese snack.

Not entirely sure what dinner's going to look like, considering I'll be out and about for Halloween. Hopefully something tasty.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Salem, Rocky Horror, Halloween, oh my!

A good portion of yesterday was spent in Salem, MA. We left early in the morning (M, Prince T, and I) and had an early breakfast. I had a peppermint hotchocolate and a mcgriddle. They tried to poison me with a mocha (CAFFEIIIINE) but I refused to take it. I wanted my hot chocolate, dammit. It was cold and it was early and I knew it would wake me up and perk me up. Prince T demolished a cup of coffee. Poor guy isn't used to waking up so early on non-class days.

We did a lot of walking. A lot of it. We drove to Salem without any stops and some...minor...issues. (Oh, Boston) We then proceeded to get lost in Salem before we even got to Derby Street or the historic district. So, we walked back to the car and then managed to walk in the RIGHT direction this time. We went to the pirate museum, which we loved (especially Prince T), walked around the old burial ground, and then did some shopping.

I managed to score myself an Isis ring, an eye of Horus necklace, and a really beautiful ankh. Along with a box for my tarot deck with an eye of Horus on it. I passed up a lot of stuff, I yearned for much more, and I vowed to come back for it all. Prince T was a good sport about all the religious stuff shopping. He even sat down in the corner of one store with a great big copy of the Lesser Keys and proceeded to read it while I wandered around trying to find things that weren't too ostentatious for me. And relevant at the same time. I teased him that I'd get him a wax working seal from the Goetia if he promised never, ever to use it and he kind of grinned at me. The idea amused him, I think, especially after reading that book for so long. He was sad to leave it behind (it was $50).

We wandered around a lot more. Went to the witch history museum and then it started to rain. While we still wanted to go to the witch dungeon museum, the witch house, the Witches' Cottage, Count Orlok's, some haunted houses, Gallows Hill, and the pit...well. It was raining. And Prince T was worried about freezing rain on the way back. So we went back to the car. M and I stopped by a Starbucks on the way back. I got a green tea and a red velvet mini whoopie pie.

In the car, I devoured a turkey and cheese sandwich we'd brought and a nut and fruit granola bar. Along with my hot green tea and an iced one I'd brought from home.

Tonight, I'm going to make Prince T watch Rocky Horror Picture Show and teach him the Time Warp for when we go see it on Halloween night done by the UMASS theatre company.

I have no idea how much I walked yesterday, but it felt like a lot. And my bag was heavy, which made it feel even longer.

Here's hoping when we go again this summer, that the weather doesn't turn on us again!

Friday, October 21, 2011


I am ridiculously down today. Between a panic attack early last week and the freak out I had yesterday, I just have no idea where I am emotionally anymore.

The panic attack happened at work. It was mostly just my anxiety disorder rearing its ugly head. I got over it enough to go back to work that day, Prince T whisked me off to take my mind off things after work, and then I was down for a few days. I figured I had gotten over it, I was mostly back to normal.

Yesterday was an eventful day. It was my day off and I got dragged off to Dartmouth to go help move an arcade machine. Yes, you heard that right. M bought an arcade machine. We get there and he looks at the back of it and peeks around the machine at me and says, "Hey, Princess, how many pounds is 233 kg?"

My jaw dropped. "233 kilograms?! Are you SERIOUS?" He nodded, expecting an answer! So, I said, "I think that's around 500, maybe 510 POUNDS." (I checked when I got home, 233kg is 512lbs, just about)

And we stared at each other.We had been guessing this thing would cap out at 300, maybe 350lbs. We were not expecting this machine to actually weigh that much. It wasn't a very big machine! (Fighting Mania, for all those familiar. And if you are, you're shaking your fist is sheer envy and rage that M got his hands on a working machine.)

We had a van, a way too small dolly, no ramp, no jack of any sort. And we had M's friend, Al, who was about our size and maybe as strong. I'm not very strong, neither is M. (M and Al can comfortably lift up to 100lbs without hurting themselves, I can do about 50lbs.)

But! We figured the joint effort would do it! (even though we had a combined lifting power of 250lbs, but nevermind!) The machine was on wheels, so getting it TO the van wouldn't be an issue. We were mostly worried about getting it INTO the van. So, fast forward about an hour. We have not managed to get this hell machine into the van. It's 10am, I know Prince T is sleeping, but I know he doesn't have class. I make a desperate call to him, beg beg begging him to come help us. He's got a foot on all of us and is stronger than any one single person we had. SURELY with his help, we could get this blasted thing into the van, right?

Much pulling, pushing, screaming, kicking, swearing, and cursing later, that dreadful machine was in the back of the van. M was crushed between it and the back door, I was in the bitchseat between the driver and passenger seat (don't tell me how illegal this setup was, we were all aware). The other two boys got their own seats. We get to the storage locker M rented and we manage with MUCH LESS EFFORT to get this behemoth out of the van, into the building, and into the locker.

Much rejoicing. Prince T kicked a random stick and screamed at it. We all swore we would never look at that goddamn machine again...or at least for another two or three years. We piled into the van, M in the passenger seat, Prince T and I hiding in the back, Al driving. Eventually, we refilled the tank, got the demon van back to the rental place, and then Prince T and I went off to have a magical adventure at his place.

By magical adventure, I mean we proceeded to pass out in his room from the monumental effort of moving a 512lb arcade machine from the mall to a storage locker in another town. We slept. I'm not sure for how long, really, because I don't even know when we fell asleep. But I'd guess around 5pm.

During this nap, I had a nightmare. A fairly awful one, actually. I react really physically to my dreams most of the time. It's not uncommon for me to cry or scream in my sleep. This time, I was twitching around and convulsing a bit. I remember Prince T waking me up, just barely hearing him say, "Are you alright? Are you okay? You're twitching. What's wrong?"

And then I crashed. The twitching turned into full on convulsing. I couldn't control it and I was just clinging onto him and having full body spasms every few seconds. I could barely talk, not doing much other than whimpering and whining. I kept trying to curl up and hide, but that wasn't really possible with him holding onto me, so I just kept twitching and shaking. He kept talking to me the whole time, trying to calm me down (reassuring me I was safe, that it hadn't been real, etc). Eventually, I calmed down, just twitching a little bit, breathing mostly normally. I was talking a bit at the point,  a bit strained and really quiet and mumbling, but I was talking. He eventually got me to leave the dorm room for a little walk, something to eat, and then we went back to his room where he proceeded to distract me with Nosferatu and Dr. Strangelove.

He cheered me up, quite a bit, but I'm still not 100%. I didn't sleep well last night. I kept waking up every hour or two. No dreams that I can remember, but always this feel of a slight swell of panic.

So right now, I'm depressed, exhausted, and a little shaky. I have work in an hour and I don't really want to go, but I'm going anyhow. It might be a good distraction for me. I'll pull out of this, I always do. I'm just hoping I don't pull out of this using food.

I had a heavy breakfast. An egg and bacon and cheese sandwich with some juice. A lighter lunch, just a hotdog with some tea. This should hold me through my five hours of work today. I'll likely have a lighter snack once I get out and then some chili for dinner.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


"And I remember screaming at her, 'I don't deserve to be treated like this,' before I ran off up the stairs because I knew she wouldn't be able to follow me."

"You DON'T deserve to be treated like that. Don't ever believe her. She's just projecting onto you."

My last post touched a lot on how my mother was the biggest reason I had self esteem issues. Last night, on an unrelated topic, my mother came up in conversation with Prince T. We were talking about the last time we had cried, it had stemmed from a fairly silly conversational topic, but ended up getting a bit serious.

A bit of backstory. I used to have really awful anger problems as a kid, all the way through middle school. I'd break things, throw things, generally scream and be a nasty, awful person. It didn't take much to get me to fly off the handle. I found out later this was mostly from my bi-polar disorder, but at the time this was all happening, no one knew. And I just seemed crazy and over sensitive. I learned to control my anger (and my temper, oh Prince T is wincing at that word right now) and not to resort to really destructive means to deal with it. When I get overwhelmed by it, though, my reaction is to just start crying. Because this is the most healthy, effective, least destructive form of my expressing my anger. I don't hurt anyone this way, verbally or physically. I don't break anything this way. It's much better for me. I usually don't get to that point anymore, but it does happen.

Also, I cry when I have panic attacks. So, this conversation was excluding when I cry out of anger or a panic attack or just being emotionally overwhelmed (because of my bi-polar).

Last summer, I was unemployed, as you know from my blog posts. I was living with my parents and having to rely on them, which felt absolutely awful. Mik had a job and he was supporting me a bit, as well, which also made me feel awful. I only had Mik and N at the time in the area, no other friends that I had contact with. I was lonely and depressed most of the time and just generally really miserable.

One day I made my way downstairs to go talk to my mother. I don't even make it to the last step before she starts screaming at me over a phone that had been left overnight out of its charger. A phone I hadn't even used. But clearly, it was my fault and no one else's. Clearly it was my fault even though I haven't touched a land line since I got a cellphone. I just stood there, staring at her, not really sure how this was happening or why. She switched her topic of 'lecture' to now be about how useless I was, how I wasn't accomplishing anything and how I was just sitting around and doing nothing with my life. Me, who had been walking miles and miles whenever dad was at work so I could put in applications for jobs. Me, who searched online for applications. Me, who managed to scrape together a few extra bucks by doing odd online jobs (writing articles, short stories, taking surveys, etc). I wasn't doing anything. I wasn't trying. I was useless.


That's a recurring theme in my life. I felt useless for a long time before I moved back in with my parents. Long before I left home. I felt useless and awful and stupid, ugly, fat, all those negative things.

I never stood up for myself as a child against my mother. I know my mother loves me, I know she wants what's best for me. But the culture she's from isn't a kind one all the time. The part of Portugal we're from is very harsh. Failure isn't taken well. You're hard on your children to teach them the world. Tough love is a standard. But I've never reacted well to any of that. I'm sure that doesn't hurt some people, but I'm also sure most people can't handle 21 years of that and not come out emotionally damaged.

I stood up for myself last year that day. I screamed at her that I didn't deserve to be treated that way. That I didn't deserve to be treated like crap for things that weren't my fault. That I was trying my best and it wasn't my fault jobs are hard to come by in this city (one of the poorest in Massachusetts), that I had been trying hard to make extra money, that I had been cleaning all the time just to stop thinking about how miserable I was. I told her it wasn't fair she was making me feel so awful because SHE'S miserable. I told her I was done taking it. I was done just letting her rail into me like that.

I don't deserve to be treated that way.

And so I went upstairs and cried. Cried for all the years I just took that. Cried for the way she's always made me feel. Cried for how miserable I was. Cried and cried and cried until I was sick. I called N and had him take me away, whisk me off somewhere. I touched on this briefly last year, actually.  Right here, for a refresher. I was down for days afterwards, but managed to pull out of it.

My mother DID apologize when I got home. She told me she was sorry for flying off the handle the way she had, told me she was sorry for what she'd said and that she hadn't intended on making me feel so bad. She hasn't done anything that bad since then, even though she does still call attention to my weight every chance she gets.

Prince T hates these stories, these things that come up and I don't realize how awful they are until I think back on them.

I love my mother, despite everything she's made me feel. She's a wonderful woman who does care very deeply for me. She'd give anything to make me happy and she tries her hardest to give me everything I could possibly ever want or need. through some talks, we've been able to mend this relationship a bit. She's being more gentle, I'm being less sensitive. I know I haven't always been the perfect daughter, and I'm still not. But she's not been the perfect mother, either. But we're both trying and this is getting better.

Maybe one day, these stories will be just that; stories of things that happened to me in the past, not a day or two ago.

I'll think back and remember how I used to feel, how I got past it, and how I didn't just eat my problems away like my father would have suggested I do. I hope next year, I'll have much fewer stories to tell about my mother that are negative and many more positive ones.

This blog is shifting away from weight loss, it seems, and more to my personal life and such. If that's an issue, I'm sorry. But I do think these things are important to look at, especially since I'm a very emotionally driven person. Prince T is very logical, he's all numbers and facts. I'm very emotional, all colors and feelings. I suppose together we equal out to a more rational and sane person. (Okay, maybe sane wasn't the best choice of word there, all considered anyone who knows us very well)

I still am going to talk a lot about my health, size, weight, and healthy eating. I still want to talk about food and how to not become a miserable person hiding in their room stuffing down every negative feeling with cookies.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

AAAGH, body image, self-esteem, and a big dallop of MISC, all for 50 calories or less!

This is how yesterday went:

Alarm clock goes off at 6am. Groan and wonder WHY IS THE PHONE MAKING THIS HORRIFIC NOISE SO EARLY. Realize I have work.
Roll out of bed five minutes later, wanting to cry.
Begrudgingly get dressed.
Eat (banana, toast, instant breakfast drink)
Brush teeth, pack change of clothing, leave at 6:30am.
Walk one mile to work, arrive at 7am.
Work until 11:45am. (yes, really)
Walk uphill one mile home.
Drink orange juice, yell at M to leave.
Walk two miles with M to the dentist and wait for him there.
Go get something to eat at McD's when he's done.
Walk two miles back home.
Shower. Get dressed.
Drive off to meet Prince T, who proceeds to whisk me off to Birch (place on campus) to have a small dinner.
Curl up on Prince T's bed and proceed to whine and cry and whine.
Stay at Prince T's until 12am. SOMEHOW without sleeping at all.
Arrive home at 12:30am and promptly pass out.

I slept four and a half hours, walked six miles, and stayed up horrendously late. You'd think I would have had an easier day today. While I DID get a ride to and from work, I was pretty much instantly whisked off to Providence after I got home by Prince T to walk around the gigaaantic mall after work. He bought me a Build a Bear, we bought some tea at the Teavana, managed not to go into the Godiva store, and generally had a wonderful, pleasant time. Lots of walking, little sitting today, much like yesterday, but I'm happy.

Came home and put on a pot of my wonderful new tea and made dinner. Bay scallops with low sodium bacon, green bell pepper, baby carrots, baby bella mushrooms, sesame oil, olive oil, butter with some rice pilaf (carrots, peppers, peas, corn) on the side. I ate dinner alone, on account of M being at work, but I saved him plenty of dinner for when he gets home. I know he'll be tired and I'm sure he'll appreciate it.

Prince T is waiting for some cash to come his way so I can make him some truffles. I promised him I'd make them for him if he didn't go into the Godiva store. Wonderful, delicious treats in there, but so expensive! And Prince T is a fairly trim, lean man (he works out and is 21, oh men and their metabolisms!) so he doesn't have to really worry about the idea of eating a bunch of truffles or what ever else we would have picked up. I, however, am a tiny little thing who gains weight easily...and has blood sugar issues. And Prince T, gentleman that he is, always shares his sugary treats with me. While I appreciate this, I also shouldn't be eating cookies, cakes, candies, and truffles all the time.

So I've taken to just offering to make them for him. It's cheaper, he gets more, he gets something made by his princess, and I won't put a bunch of not-food-like substances in it. He's in college, so he can always pawn off the extras on his friends, who are constantly going on sugar binges. Whereas in my house, it would sit around and M and I would attempt to polish it all off before it spoiled/went stale. I much prefer this.

I've taught him the joys of good tea as well. Now, before you go and think that I make a habit out of buying tea at Teavana (2 ounces of tea ranges from $3 all the way to $30, depending on type, origin, etc) and couple this with my lolita thing, I'm going to tell you I really am not rich or anything. Haha. I just save up for a while and buy cute clothes, or delicious tea. Prince T couldn't fathom spending that much money on tea. ( "They want $12 for TWO OUNCES OF TEA?") Until I handed him a sample cup. His eyes lit up, a lazy smile came over his face, and he practically squealed. My prince had been conquered by the delicious taste of white tea mixed with berries and flower petals and I knew it. He willingly paid $12 for those two ounces, took the tea home and proceeded to...

Improperly brew it, thus destroying his first cup of expensive tea. (Two ounces of tea will give you a good 10 or so cups of tea, by the way)

He contacted me, lamenting over this. I brought him to the nearest Stop n Shop, had him buy a tea ball, and then told him how he could go about brewing his tea. He tried it that night and instant messaged me, telling me how wonderful it was.

So here we are this afternoon, standing in the Teavana. He's wriggling and whining about how he wants tea but he can't afford any. Until a wonderful Earl Grey catches his eye, for a mere $4! He jumped on it (and on a cup of extremely expensive black tea to-go). I jumped on a white tea (Youthberry), an herbal (Wild orange blossom), and a green (Blackberry Mojito) and got a cup of Raspberry Soiree green to-go, unsweetened.

I've made it a mission to drink more tea. I want to replace my sodas, and to some extent, the juice I drink with tea. I drink a lot of juice, which isn't bad for me, and I don't buy any that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners or corn syrups. However, juice is made from fruit, fruit is very sweet, so I'm pretty much injecting sugar into me every time I drink juice. Now, I don't have diabetes or hypoglycemia or anything, but I do get some pretty bad blood sugar spikes and dips if I'm not careful with what I put in my mouth. This is why I'm thinking of only having juice with breakfast or dinner (not both) and not drinking it during the day in-between meals. I don't drink much soda anymore (sometimes at work I'll have one glass, or if we go out to eat somewhere suddenly). Prince T more or less has me get the fake tea drinks (Which make us both sad after many trips to Teavana) and stay away from colas. Damn that prince knowing caffeine makes me ill!

Also, I'm eating a lot more seafood and a lot less...other meats. I don't really eat poultry for...strange reasons. The smell of chicken meat (cooked or raw) makes me sick to my stomach for reasons I can't really explain. Whenever I eat chicken, I can't really allow myself to smell the meat or else I'll get fairly nauseous. Can't really explain that one at all, but it is what it is. I dislike turkey in most forms, except deli sliced very thin for sandwiches or in soups. I like rock cornish hens, but only made the way my dad makes it (Which in the tradition of a lot of Portuguese food, will likely be the cause of my impending heart attack). Beef doesn't hold the same appeal it did when I was younger. It's just...not special. It's not that great. I always cook it medium rare to medium, so it's not that I'm overcooking it and destroying the flavor and juiciness. I'm good at cooking beef. I just don't really like it. Pork is boring. Oh, it's SO boring. And I don't like game meats (rabbit, venison, etc). I am fond of veal, but it's expensive and not really work the price tag for me. Lamb is also nice, despite its gameyness, but again, not really worth the price tag for me and I really only like it in gyros.

So what does that leave me with? Scallops, shrimp, halibut, flounder, cod, periwinkles (dirt cheap!), mussels, clams... Oh my, it doesn't end there. Tilapia, salmon, whiting, pollock... All so good! Pan fry it, tempura fry it, bake it, put it in soups, steam it, poach, grill, blacken it... I make seafood all sorts of different ways and I'm in love each and every time.

I'm thinking of making Prince T a big pot of clam chowder to share with his roommates and friends. No good New England-er doesn't like clam chowder, right? Especially since he's from the Cape! I didn't even grow up on the Cape and I'm addicted to a good clam chowder. And before you get on me for this whole cream based soup thing, in reality...It's not that bad for you. Come on. It's soup. At worst, I've seen a big bowl go for about 400 calories, 8-10 grams of fat, etc.etc. It's filling, delicious, and extremely comforting. I'm sure I could make something healthier than that, and will likely try, as I worry for Prince T's heart (donuts, cookies, pizza, sandwiches, store bought pastries... Oh his heart). I taught him good tea is fantastic, cheap vodka is why he hated vodka (and why good vodka is AMAZING), and that wine can be good when paired with the right foods. I also taught him to make eggs. I can teach him real food is delicious! And he's such a willing student, too.

So, in the past week I've managed to walk eight miles. FUU. Oh god. REALLY? Where did THAT come from? And that's not counting all the running around I do at work or around the mall or around the UMASS campus (Oh no, you all probably have a pretty good idea of where I live now from this post...! Oh well!).

Tomorrow, M, Prince T and I are going to the arcade for a bit. I think I'll wear jeans and have a casual day (no lolita) for the express purpose of being able to play DDR comfortably. Or I'll wear a pencil skirt and just be way too overdressed to be playing DDR, but be incredibly sexy!

Speaking of being sexy, let's talk about body image and self-esteem. Growing up, my body image was TERRIBLE and my self-esteem non existent. I mean that. I thought I was the fattest, ugliest, most disgusting thing ever. Ever since I can remember, I thought of myself that way. All the way back in middle school, before the bi-polar diagnosis, before the medication, before I ever remember feeling emotionally off, I always had a skewed perception of myself. My mother always told me I was fat, always tried to get me on a diet. While my father never told me I was fat, never told me I was overweight or chubby, he did encourage me to take better care of myself. I never did.

Through high school, after I threw out the medication for my misdiagnosis (I was first diagnosed with general run of the mill depression), after I packed on another thirty or so pounds and managed to get myself into a size 18/20 and was steadily going towards 20/22, I remember being miserable. I dressed in an androgynous manner to hide,  so no one would see what I looked like... So I wouldn't see what I looked like. I was always angry or upset or just generally down. Not just because of my bi-polar, but because also of how I viewed myself. I recently found a diary from when I was  16 or so. The one entry I managed to read started out a bit normally but ended up dissolving into an entry about how much I hated myself. About how fat I was. About how I was ugly, how no one would ever think I was pretty.

I moved out of my parents house when I was 18. Moved from Massachusetts to Illinois to live with Mik. This was, perhaps, the best thing I could have done for myself. Removing myself from my mother's presence (and I'm not trying to vilify my mother) was the best thing for me. I grew as a person. No longer was I the baby who would have everything taken care of for her. I had to pay bills, cook for myself, clean for myself, get MYSELF up for things, and make my own way through life. My father wasn't there to gently prod and guide me. My mother wasn't there to protect me.

She also wasn't there to call me fat. She wasn't there to try and make me diet. She wasn't there to see me, see how I dressed, anything.

I don't know exactly when I started seeing myself more positively or what exactly happened. I started wearing more feminine clothing, with shape to them, so you could see me and not just a bunch of fabric. I was a happier person. Yes, I was also about 30 pounds lighter than I had been since I left high school (which is about when I started this blog, after losing a good bit of weight), but I'm not sure if that had everything to do with it. I think what had to do with it was realizing my mother was wrong.

I was not FAT. Yes, I was overweight, but I was NOT what my mother had driven me to believe I was. The image she had given me was of some grotesquely large, rolls and rolls of fat everywhere, jiggling without control, too big to buy clothing in a store. That was how my mother made me feel. That's what the word 'fat' has always meant to me.

I WAS NOT FAT. Not when I was 10, 15, 18, or even now. I am not FAT.

I am a curvy, beautiful woman. I was a chubby, adorable middle schooler. I was an awkward, curvy, but beautiful young girl in high school.

I. Was. NOT. FAT.

Living with my mother again now, hearing her say things like that again, has really driven home how I was made to feel for 18 years of my life. Being away for two years was all I needed to shake reality into me. For me to really appreciate myself, see who I really was...

What I really looked like.

I am five feet two inches tall. I have small breasts, a little waist, and a good bit of extra weight in my stomach. My hips are quite wide, and my thighs are also quite fleshy. I have trimmer calves, little ankles, and small feet. My wrists are itty bitty, my hands child sized. Do I have the 'ideal' body? No.

But here's the important part.

I smile when I look in the mirror and see my body.

I like the way it looks. I would still like it if it were smaller. I would still like it if it were bigger. Because I like ME. I love ME. And that causes me to love the rest of me.

So I have the 'ideal' body? No.

But when Prince T looks at me, he smiles. He holds my hand, or hugs me tightly, tells me I'm perfect, tells me he loves me. As I am. He knows how much I used to weigh and I believe him when he tells me he would still be with me if I ever weighed that much again. But at the same time, he supports my wanting to lose weight for health reasons.

When I wear lolita and it fits and looks adorable and good, I'm happy. Even when my mother tells me it makes me look fat. ("SUCH a cute dress!...too bad it makes you look so fat...") I know it isn't true. I know it's just her way of trying to get me to be healthy. She was raised that way and I know she just doesn't know any better or any different, that it comes from a place of love, even if it sounds terrible.

So, that was my ridiculously long post.

I hope you all take some time to really love yourselves today, I mean that. I wasted so many years hating myself. Hating my body, hating my personality, hating my life. I wasted so much time doing that. And if you feel the same way, then you're just wasting time, too.

Please don't waste any more time. You deserve to be happy and you deserve your love.

Once I realized that, everything else just slipped into place. I hope it does for you, too.