We’re Too Old For That

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I’m scared

Deeply terrified to L____

God! I can’t even say it

I don’t even know if I’m still capable to fall in l____

Because I think we’re too old for that

I’ve had my heart broken

Not just once

Not twice

I’ll be lucky if I can say

It’s been three times

You can imagine I lost count

In the same way I lost faith in happily ever after

L____?

It’s a whole lot of crap!

Bullshit!

All lies!

But who cares? we’re too old for that

So, I’m just going to act like I don’t care

I’m just going to check my phone every minute

Until it sucks the life out of me

I’m just going to get a heart failure

When that  person has seen my message on facebook

Or read my message on whatsapp

And I will act like it doesn’t mean a thing

Because we’re too old for that

I will pretend that I’m not looking forward

Seeing that person on Friday

Pretend it’s no big deal if he does not reply

Pretend I don’t want to know his favorite color

Favorite movie, ice cream flavor

Because it’s all crap

And we’re too old for that

L-O-V-E is the Voldemort of our vocabulary

It must not be named!

So, we call it everything else but

Physical attraction

Mutual affection

Emotional connection

Chemical reaction?

I meant chemistry, you know? Spark! Boom!

It’s for pleasure, for fun!

Summer fling

Winter romance

The spring that we’re always waiting for

Even if it’s something casual and temporary

We call it an affair

Friends with benefits

Fuck buddies

A fling

A thing

For crying out loud that’s right

It’s an interest

A quest

A challenge

A crush

The never ending cat and mouse game

Mind games

The impossible chase

Different labels, different names

We call it anything else but l____

Because we’re too old for that

We want no pressure

No obligation

No responsibility

No nothing, because what?

We’re too old for that

We are not going to get ourselves hurt

Because we know better

We’re so much wiser

We learned from previous mistakes

And damn right!

We’re too old for that!

It can’t be l____

That’s why we build this wall

And push people away

No one is allowed to come too close

No one can be let in

The door is locked, sorry!

So, we try to act real cool

We pretend that we have our shit together

When we’re totally uncool

And freaking out within.

Why can’t it be l____

Because it’s too soon

Because we’re only hanging out

Or seeing each other

No commitment

No strings attached

And heaps of other excuses

Because we’re too old for that

We want the emotional satisfaction

Minus the drama and complication

Because we’re too old for that

So, we choose to be in the grey

In the blur

In that shallow and empty space

Between nothing and something that could be more

No one wants to be the crazy chic

Who’s clingy

No one wants to be the creepy dude

Who’s possessive

And yet!

We crave for that person to say it first

For that other person to l____ us more

We will never admit it

Because we’re too old for that

Look at us–grown ups

Mature individuals we call ourselves

Yet we’re really none the wiser

It’s sad and tragic

We can’t even take charge of our own feelings

Honestly though

We have to stop torturing ourselves

Stop pretending

Stop acting

Stop asking why she hasn’t replied

Or why he hasn’t called back

And just fucking tell them, damn it!

Seriously, lao haiz ahwa

Matotlob shishay

Jack truly and deeply fell for Rose

And we all know how that story went down

But that’s not the point

The point is

They were able to recognize and acknowledge their feelings

On board a ship

In a fucking, sinking ship.

So, unless you’re in a ship

That’s bound to hit a massive iceberg

Just LOVE!

And love proud!

For once!

Do yourself a big favor

And just stop playing it safe

Love even when it’s inconvenient

Love in small doses

Love all at once

Go nuclear

Love the way you want to be loved

Love intentionally

Love unintentionally

Fall in love with all your totality

And know that you might actually have a shot at it this time

Tell them

Please, tell them

For them

But most importantly for you

What we need is to break down that wall

Dive head in first

Cross over

Stay true to yourself and love

And no matter what anyone else tells you

You’re never too old for that

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Shall we go get coffee?

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Having coffee with you is even more fun than going back to Sydney
Or feeling tipsy and looking silly after a few sips of white wine
Or watching Pride and Prejudice
Maybe because in your red shirt, you look way more handsome and happier than Mr. Darcy
Maybe because of how I feel for you
Maybe because of your love for greek salad, and pistachios, and marshmallows, and yoghurt
Maybe because of your aleshes and tickles to no end
Maybe because you think you’re funny
Maybe because of the reflection of the moon over the sea when we are crossing Ain Sokhna
Maybe because the clouds above our heads take the shape of popcorn which remind me of how you try to pop the un-popped corn heads left sitting at the bottom of the popcorn box
Maybe because of the meanings behind our smiles
Maybe because you understand my obsession with ashtrays
Maybe because you got me an ashtray
Maybe because you know what I’m talking about when I say free shipping costs and installments

It is hard to believe that there can be anything as quiet and still when I’m with you
Especially at 3 o’clock in the morning when we are drifting back and forth
Between each other
Breathing heavily, breathing lightly
Slow then fast
Fast then slow
Like the trees swaying to the direction of the wind
Like the waves crashing on the shore
Like the dusts swirling and surrendering to gust
We are a violent vortex
Sandstorm in the middle of the desert
A broken pipe on the open highway
Tornado on a calm evening
And I can imagine our neighbors wanting to knock on our door

I look at you and I would rather look at you than the prettiest horizon
Or sunrise
Or sunset
Or windmills
Or mountains
All the landscapes in Egypt seem to fade away when you are beside me
And the focus of the lenses just zooms in on you
On the lines that appear around your lips
On the weight of your stare each time our eyes meet
The fact that you move so swiftly and your boyish charm more or less takes care of everything
When eating with your left hand
When driving
When wakeboarding
When dancing

Thank heavens I have the right person to dance with
To travel with
To watch the stars with
To appreciate the simplicity and complexity of the sky
To laugh with on the littlest and biggest of things
To kiss in the morning
In the afternoon
And even more at night
To be innocent with
To be not innocent with
Even if it’s only for now
Skimmed milk, no foam, two sugars
That’s us
That’s you and I in a cup

Salsa DJ-ing For Dummies

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Dear Mr. DJ,

I am going to be honest here. And not just honest-honest, but brutally honest. So, if you can’t handle that, stop reading now. I don’t mean to offend, I just want you to improve! (And I’m doing this for the greater good because I’m so tired hearing the same comments again and again that you suck. It hurts because it’s true, and it hurts more because you are not doing anything about it!)

Maybe you’re not cut out to be a DJ, but don’t worry, we’ll try to fix that! Fake it until you make it, right? But you have been faking it since I remember you starting to play music at salsa socials and you haven’t made it yet. Boy, that’s like three years ago and we still have a long way to go!

I’m only giving you two options here: either give up, or do something about it, damnit!

If you choose to give up, you will be doing all of us a big favor! Thank you very much! I hope I don’t see you in the music booth ever again. But we all know that’s just my wishful thinking. Because you will be there at your throne week after week. So, for the love of salsa your career, please, do something about it!

1. Never play the same song twice. I mean come on! Too many salsa songs, an abundance of salsa artists and even remixes, and you’re playing El Nazareno twice? Really?!

2. Remember that you are a DJ, not an iPod. I know that after Baila Mi Hermano, you will play La Excelencia. And after that song, you will play that Prince Royce bachata song. I have memorized your playlist and I don’t even have a good memory! Why else do we have a DJ if you’re just going to be an iPod?

3. Give me an answer. Know your music, mate. You’re a DJ, music is supposed to be your best friend. So, when I ask you for a title of a certain song that you just played two minutes ago, you don’t tell me that you don’t know because I will throw Armageddon shit at you! You don’t tell me that it’s track 13! You. Just. Can’t. Do. That.

4. Entertain us. Stop it, I’m not going to ask you to do cartwheels or join a circus or start a belly dance. I’m not even asking you to be like DJ Tono La Conga or DJ Henry Knowles. Let’s keep it real. I just need you to give us variety. Spin music that will make us, salsa dancers, want to get up on our feet and dance. That’s not even a hard thing to do considering we already want to dance in the first place. Salseros and salseras already did 50% of your job. Now all you have to do is play good music. Surprise us with something NEW, something we never heard before!

5. Observe. Guess what, you don’t even have to know how to dance salsa. You just have to know your crowd. Are we sitting down? How is the overall mood? Is the floor empty? Do we look like we’d rather go home? Are we dancing because you’re playing awesome music? Or are we dancing because we have no other choice? You’re not blind, you can see that energy levels are dropping. Do. Something.

6. And lastly, but I think the most important of all, if you’re going to call yourself a DJ, at least love music. In your case, salsa music! Listen to it while you’re driving. While you’re having lunch, while in the shower. Research about new tracks. Read about famous salsa DJs and listen to their sets! Listen to Latin radio channels online. I do that everyday and I’m not even a DJ. Certainly, that won’t be too difficult for someone like you who’s getting paid to play music. That’s like the least effort you can do.

See, piece of cake. I’m not even going to ask you to have a nice personality. I don’t need your personality. What I need is your music and it better be good!

Dusk to Dawn

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So, today, I am trying something different and putting my creative soul into song writing instead of my usual hopeless romantic narrative. The song I wrote is titled Dusk to Dawn and this song is about taking chances with love even when there are no guarantees.

If you can dare listen to me sing my song in acapella, then feel free to listen to it here: Dusk to Dawn by Cairogypsy

Lyrics:
Morning comes and I see your face
A touch of light in a summer place
Your arms around me and it feels so right
I’m glowing, you’re smiling, the sun is bright

Oh, oh, oh, softly, gently, come to me
Oh, oh, oh, softly and gently kiss me

We walk to the park and you hold my
hand
You look in my eye, I see a butterfly
It feels so warm, it feels so light
But the sun is burning, the dawn is coming

Oh, oh, oh, softly, gently, come to me
Oh, oh, oh, softly and gently kiss me

Slipping, gliding, we’re miles apart
The distance is growing and it’s just the start
Where to begin when it’s already ending
You are leaving and I am staying

Oh, oh, oh, one last time hold me
Oh, oh, oh, one last time touch me
Oh, oh, oh, softly, gently, come to me
Oh, oh, oh, softly and gently kiss me
Oh, oh, oh, kiss me my darling, kiss me

A True Story of Weight Loss

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If you met me four years ago looking like this:

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chances are you are not going to recognize me today.

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A lot of people asks me how I did it–how I lost so much weight. Well, there is really no tricks or magic here. It’s all hard work.

Most of my life, I’ve been overweight-borderline-obese. I’m short. With my 5’4″ height, I used to weigh a hefty 92 kilos–yes, I know that’s a lot.

I tried everything I could to lose weight. I would go on one fad diet to another. I tried going to the gym, cutting carbs out of my diet, I tried going vegetarian, then Pesco vegetarian, then I tried some weird soup diet, then fruit diet, basically anything I can find on google when I search for ‘how to lose weight.’ After a while though, I see no result happening and I would just feel heavily disappointed, thus, leading me to fall off the wagon.

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The problem was that I kept wanting to see results as quickly as possible. I kept wanting my extremely excess weight to disappear like poof, magic, gone!

It takes a lot and a while to understand that it doesn’t work that way.

I used to eat excessively to the point where I can finish two family size pizza, plus a tub of ice cream in one sitting. I binge on junk food and boy do I love McDonald’s. Chocolate and cakes were my best friends! And I didn’t think that anything was wrong with that. I honestly thought there was nothing wrong in eating whatever I desire. On top of that, I was a couch potato too, I spent hours and hours with my eyes glued on the tv screen, and I thought that it was ok too.

I think it was the beginning of 2011 when I found myself face to face with my weight issues. I just gotten sick of it and came to a decision that I wasn’t getting any younger. I need a 360 degree turn in my life, and full circle I did.

The decision I made three years ago has finally paid off. Now, I weigh 60 kilos and I am very happy with my weight. I plan on maintaining it as it is while I build more muscles and tone.

So, how did I do it? Obviously, It didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of effort and hard work and a strong mind set. Every day is a work in progress. It is a part of me that has become an integral part of my everyday life.

It all started with me accepting the fact that I wasn’t healthy and that I was far away from looking healthy. When I started acknowledging this problem, I was able to do something about it.

I started going to the gym at least twice a week, for an hour and a half each session. I spend the first hour lifting 3-kilo weights and doing various squat positions since my arms and my legs are my problem areas. The last half an hour is spent on the treadmill.

Apart from going to the gym, I dance salsa three nights a week for at least two hours. That’s equivalent to six hours of cardio every week without me even trying.

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I started watching what I eat. I’m quite lucky that Egyptian cuisine offers a wide array of healthy options. Most of the food I eat are tomato based. I eat more spinach too. Whenever I eat meat, I make sure it’s lean. Another source of good protein is lentil which I absolutely enjoy.

I don’t drink beer. I drink fruit juices more. And WATER WATER WATER! I use skim milk for my daily dose of coffee, and skimmed milk with a scoop of chocolate powder for my after gym drink.

It sounds like a serious diet, but really, it’s all about portions. I still eat ice cream every week. There’s always a non-fat ice cream sitting in my freezer! I still have chocolates, but it’s about consuming one bar of chocolates as opposed to six bars in one sitting.

And yes, I eat potato chips, but I have to say that instead of finishing a whole bag of chips in one go, I actually divide it into three portions.

I eat anything and everything that I want but in great moderation. Every now and then, I indulge myself to cheesecakes and cupcakes!

Now, about my lifestyle, I spend a lot of time swimming during summer months in Cairo. Whenever I am in Sydney, I run on a 6-km path every weekends. I do windsurfing and kitesurfing when I go on my holidays.

Keeping yourself active really makes a big difference.

The good thing about exercising is that you can do it without feeling as if you are torturing yourself. Do activities you love doing. In my case, salsa really helped me a lot.

Also, when you are trying to lose weight, you shouldn’t be feeling as if you are depriving yourself. I didn’t feel that I was depriving myself by any means because I’m still eating anything I want, the only difference is that I go for much healthier options and I watch the proportions.

For instance, this tuna salad with sweet Thai chili sauce makes up for a good lunch and a tasty treat!

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I think everyone can feel beautiful no matter the size or the shape. Even when I was 92 kilos before, I still felt beautiful. But there is a fine line between a healthy weight and an unhealthy weight.

Right now, I am enjoying the benefits of being healthy. I can run on the treadmill for half an hour and still feel energetic. I can go six flight of stairs without heaving or feeling pain in my chest.

I feel much lighter and more comfortable, and shopping for clothes has become such a delightful experience! And actually, I feel much happier too with all the happy hormones I’m getting.

I don’t like it when people call me skinny because I’m not. I’m healthy, not skinny, but that’s a whole new subject that I will have to write about.

I support everyone who wants to keep a healthy weight. It will be a challenge but it is really doable. Set your goals and stick to it and find ways to make it easier and more fun by doing sports or anything active that you love doing or that you can be passionate about.

I guess, it is a gratifying feeling when you know that you have invested in yourself the way you never did before. We all deserve to have a healthy mind and healthy body, and remember that it’s never too late to start.

If you are feeling motivated to start today, add me on facebook for more dialogue, tips, and inspiration! Xx

Stop Lying To Yourself And Just Love

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I am not going to talk or write about love here, so you can breathe now. I mean, seriously, why would I do that? Ew. Gross. So cheesy, so high school. Who does that?

Disclaimer: I am going to talk and write about love here. I mean, seriously, why wouldn’t I do that?

I am convinced that no matter how we try to veer away from it or act like we don’t care, a lot of things, if not everything, still breaks down to love.

For instance, why do we have this lethal habit of checking our phones every minute when we know it’s not on silent? Why do we get a heart failure when we read that deadly ‘seen’ icon on facebook and receive no reply? Why can’t Friday come any faster? Why do we want to know their middle names, their favorite colors, and why do we want to know everything right now?

Wouldn’t it be a lot easier if we send that person an actual message instead of gouging our eyes out because they haven’t texted us back yet? It’s like complaining that you never won the lottery when you know you never bought a ticket!

Either it’s love or you’re stupid, and I refuse to think you’re stupid.

It is love. I’ve said that to about every guy who came into my life, to every shoe and dress that perfectly fit, to every paperback I actually read, to every single track I played on repeat, every movie that made me tear up. It is love.

And yes, I know it sounds too naive, too infantile to call all these ordinary, everyday things love when it should be said with proper caution and utmost care. Love is something–an idea, a feeling, an expression so massive and so heavy that we only dare use it when we talk about Titanic, or the epic love story that Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy had.

Love is the Voldemort of our vocabulary. It must not be named. As a general rule, we can’t just drop it like a bomb or we risk having a second Hiroshima.

No one ever say it anymore (with the exception of happily married couples and romcom movies.) I hardly even hear it (with the exception of anyone from my side of the family and almost every other pop song.) I hear friends refer to it as physical attraction. Some call it emotional connection. Others may have used the term pleasure or just for fun, or something casual and temporary. They call it an affair, a fling, a thing. A thing, that’s right. It’s an interest, a quest, a challenge. It’s the cat and mouse game. The impossible chase. I know a few people my age who still calls it a crush. Yes, having a crush still happens even now. Come on, you think late 20s is about maturity, and epiphanies, and wisdom? WRONG!

Different labels, different names. We call it everything else but. Because it’s safe. Because it poses no danger, because there is no pressure, no obligation, no responsibility, no nothing.

It can be anything else but. That’s why we put up this wall and keep people away. No one can be let in, no one is allowed to come too close. The door is closed, sorry. So, we try to act real cool. We pretend that we have our shit together when we’re totally uncool and freaking out within.

Why can’t it be? I ask. Because it’s too soon, they say. Because we’re only hanging out. Because it’s only two mature individuals on a date and nothing else. Because we’re just friends and nothing more. Because we want the emotional satisfaction minus the drama and complication. Yeah. Because, because, because, and heaps of other excuses we tell ourselves because it scares the hell out of us.

We are afraid to be the ones who say it first. We don’t want to be the one who does it more because the moment we do, we’ve already lost. We’re already on the disadvantage. Or are we?

No one wants to be the crazy chic. No one wants to be the creepy dude. And yet we crave for that person to say it first–for that person to love us more. But maybe love is treading dangerous waters. Maybe it is infantile, and silly, and weird. Maybe it’s about the boring, minute details. Maybe loving is a disadvantage. It’s an abomination. A bomb!

Ah, the irony, we might as well call it stupid.

I think I’m sooo stupid about him.

I think I’ve fallen madly stupid with her.

I really think this is it. It’s stupid!

Or how about ‘stupid means never having to say I’m sorry’?

Or ‘it’s better to have stupided and lost than never to have stupided at all’?

Or ‘stupid like there’s no tomorrow’?

Does that make it less scary? Does that make you feel more comfortable now?

Here I am using love haphazardly even if it’s scary and makes me feel uncomfortable, not for the lack of a better word but because it is the better word. It is the word that encompasses the entire spectrum of beautiful and ugly, of sane and insane, of right and wrong, of strengths and weaknesses, of every wise and dumb decision, of every victory and loss, of that first kiss, of that last touch, of the one who got away and the one who stayed.

We have to start broadcasting our feelings the way radio programs do. It doesn’t have to be the most creative, or the most unforgettable, the most brilliant or extreme. We just have to fucking tell them, damnit! I mean, seriously, you don’t go asking for tea when you really want coffee!

Jack loved Rose, and we all know how that story went down but that’s not the point. My point is they were able to recognize and acknowledge love in a ship. In a fucking ship! Amidst icebergs, and disaster, and difference in social class status, not to mention Rose’s vengeful ex-boyfriend. So, unless you’re in a ship that is bound to hit a massive iceberg, just love.

Let’s do ourselves a big favor and just stop playing it safe. For once, love. And love proud. Love even when it’s inconvenient. Love in small doses, love all at once. Go nuclear! Love like you did when you got your first puppy. Love the way you want to be loved. Love intentionally, love unintentionally. Fall in love with that guy like you did with Nick Carter when you were nine. Love that girl like you loved your first edition comic and know that you might actually have a shot at it this time. In the grander scheme of things, it’s really simple, maybe all we need is a little bit of crazy and a lot more of love.

To The Broken Ones

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You are damaged and lost and struggling your way out of this deep shit, and I will do anything for you. I will rush home from a salsa party and skype with you because you are drunk and alone in your hotel room in Geneva and trying to contemplate how to get out of the dark abyss. I will be online with you in silence. I will stay up til later and not think about the time difference because you need someone who will listen. You will tell me that you started reading Paulo Coelho and I will tell you how terrible that is because he is dark and depressing and you don’t need dark and depressing right now. What you need is Bukowski and I will send his poems to you by email. Side by side with Hemingway so you can distract yourself from the pain even for a few stolen minutes. Yes, you have a broken heart, but I will not let you have bad taste in literature.

I know none of this will help–not my advice that I have stolen from self-help books, not Bukowski, not even the fact that you are hopping from one train ride to one European country to another. Over those long train rides to France, to Macedonia, and to wherever your map is taking you, brace yourself–you will remember her–the smell of her hair, the way the sunlight through the window touches her skin in the morning, the way her voice sounds in your ears. You will remember it all.

And in this unexpected nostalgia, you will feel more alone than ever. More abandoned. And you will be scared and caught off guard. And you will convince yourself that it is impossible to still feel that way after a long, hard year. But you will not be convinced.

Deep down, you know that eight years boil down to eight years. And no matter how you turn the world upside down, everything still amounts to the eight years you spent with her, and the same eight years that you will never get back.

You will feel heavy, and sometimes you will feel a gaping hole. There will be days when everything won’t make any sense, and you will try to forget with alcohol, with art, with expensive coffee, with the Eiffel Tower, with every girl you meet on the road.

You will cheat your heart, kiss beautiful girls you have a chance on kissing. And you will still be frustrated.

I know all of these not because I am any wiser but because goddamnit I am just as silly and hopeless like you. I’ve been there and I know how much it hurts. I was 18 and this boy charmed me with his music and I thought that was love. I lost my virginity at 21 to my college boyfriend in my residence hall on a winter night and thought that that was also love. And I remember crying buckets over a backpacker I met whose itinerary did not end in my direction, thinking that, too, was love. Most of all, I remember unkempt promises and wasted time and forgotten dreams and a broken heart.

So I will skype with you until the morning and listen to you pour your heart out the way you did when my Australian boyfriend disappeared, when my Italian boyfriend left me. And I will tell you the world’s number one cliche–it will be okay. Because everything will be healed and made new with time.

I will tell you that everything will work out. Because, eventually, it always does. Wounds heal, scars vanish, pain numbs your skin. Ten years from now, I won’t remember the thick accent of that French guy, or the way I felt when I had my first and only new year’s eve kiss, or the way my Egyptian ex boyfriend told me he loved me in the middle of the desert. I won’t remember dancing salsa with that Italian guy while listening to all his favorite Latin songs in repeat. I won’t even remember the title of those songs. And you will not remember the time you spent with her in Thailand, or that English girl you kissed on Christmas day, or that Aussie girl you met in Zurich. You won’t remember the girl you loved in a small island in the Philippines, the girl you fell in love with over tajine in Morocco, the way that girl from Macedonia held your stare, the way you were sure that it felt whimsical, and mysterious–none of these will matter. Everything will be forgotten.

But the thing is, I am a big, fat liar. Because we will remember. I will remember all of those boys, and you will remember all of those girls. And it will hurt but it will be okay. When you think about it, what kind of heart does not look back?

There will be better days. The pain will lessen little by little, the hole in your gut will decrease inch by inch. But I am lying and you will know I am lying and you will still feel broken. But please know that it will be alright in the end.

One of these days, you will wake up in the middle of the night and remember the way someone held your hand in the peak of summer and it felt comfortable. You will think of the way someone kissed you on a minus 4 weather and it felt warm. You will be reminded of how her hellos sent goosebumps down your spine and how her goodbyes left you chilling to the bone. You will read a certain book or listen to a particular song and everything will be back in a flash. It will never completely go away, but it’s alright. It’s okay. This is what breaks you but this is also the very same thing that makes you.

You don’t have to be fixed today. There’s nothing wrong in being damaged. Everything takes time, much more healing. If you have to be broken, then be broken. If you must feel pain, then so be it. Just don’t lose yourself in the process because I know you and I see your potential–in life, in love, in misery, in sadness. So, feel it all. Do not deny yourself these emotions. Claim it. It’s okay, you will breathe again.