I Will Vote

We are entering primary season in a midterm election year.

If you are not yet registered to vote, you can check here for the deadlines in your state and then register over here, or check with your state’s Board of Elections for alternative ways to register.

And once you are registered, be curious about who is running for office–from City Council to Congress–and what issues are on the ballot. Look beyond the party affiliation and see what each candidate actually stands for and how each ballot measure affects you and your community. Maybe you don’t like paying higher income or property taxes, but you do want the kids in your community to get a decent education, or you want to have to dodge fewer potholes on your commute.

If a candidate is an incumbent or has previously held an office, what is his/her record? Does this person vote in alignment with your values? What about the person running against the incumbent? Do you have a sense that she can bring new ideas that benefit your community?

Can you vote by mail? When do you need to mail your ballot in? Where is your polling place located, in case you cannot vote by mail, or missed the mailing deadline and need to drop it off?

Educate yourself.


North Carolina FC v Tampa Bay Rowdies

On St. Gertrude’s Day I got to attend my first North Carolina Football Club match. I had been looking forward to it since I discovered just before moving from California that I’d be living a few minutes from Wake Med Soccer Park.

It also happened to be St. Patrick’s Day, which meant many of the #NCFCFam were decked out in Tampa Bay Rowdies colors, making it appear that there were more than the three or four Rowdies fans who made the trip to Cary for the game. I believe the word we’re looking for here is, D’OH!

It was a cloudy and breezy afternoon and the weather forecasts had threatened (rain) showers in the afternoon1. Being from California I know the drill, so I was dressed in layers, topped with my trusty rain jacket and an NCFC/Courage scarf. It turned out to be a really nice afternoon: the clouds blew away about 30 minutes into the game, making it necessary to shed some layers.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of familiar faces on the pitch for NCFC: Michael Harrington and Futty Danso both played for the Timbers. Another former Timber, Michael Nanchoff, was on the pitch for the Rowdies.

Outside of the first five minutes of the game, and a four or five minute stretch in the second half, NCFC looked like the more organized side, dominating play for much of the match. However, they only made good on one of their chances for their lone score by Steven Miller in the 38th minute. In the 62nd minute, Kyle Bekker fed a gorgeous pass to Miller only to see Miller’s shot slide just wide of the post. A few minutes later Bekker had a wide open header just skiff over the top of the crossbar. To Tampa’s credit, they buried the few chances they got (including a penalty kick in the 40th minute).

Through it all, the Oak City Supporters group were in fine voice, chanting for the Boys in Blue and heckling Tampa Bay’s goalkeeper to the point he laughed. Everyone I encountered (even Rowdies fans) was very friendly and I got a nice welcome from NCFC!

I did manage to get a few photos with my little point-and-shoot. It’s really not cut out for sports photography, partly because the screen is impossible to see with the glare from the sun, but mostly it was shutter lag that caused the most missed shots.

National Anthem
NCFC Players lined up for the Star Spangled Banner
team huddle
NCFC team huddle just before the kickoff to the 2018 USL season.
Oak City Supporters Group
The Oak City Supporters were ready to get the party started!
NCFC v Tampa Bay Rowdies
Steven Miller starts the play upfield for NCFC.
NCFC v Tampa Bay Rowdies
An aerial scrum for the ball during the NCFC v Tampa Bay game
Thanking the Supporters
NCFC players made their way over to the Oak City Supporters section after the match to thank them.

1Evidently, even though it’s mere days away from Spring, I need to be specific that it’s rain and not snow showers. Weather be hella bonkers on the east coast.

On DST And Trading Sleep For Success

So, how are we all doing with Daylight Saving Time? Are you loving all that EXTRA DAYLIGHT1?

*ducks under the flying rotten produce*

Yeah, I’m not a fan, either.

So a few weeks ago I found this “motivational quote” and accompanying advice in my planner2:

“I never knew a man come to greatness or eminence who lay abed late in the morning.” —Jonathan Swift

And the advice:

“This week, take advantage of the morning’s peace and quiet and challenge yourself to wake up an hour earlier than you usually would. Use this time to exercise, meditate, or journal.”

Of course, this advice is not new. People who consider themselves thought leaders on productivity and success give this advice all the time so that you too can achieve success(!) and riches(!!) beyond your wildest dreams(!!!).

Unless you’re fortunate enough to regularly get plenty of sleep and wake up refreshed every morning, this is really shitty advice.

According to a study released in 2016 by the Centers for Disease Control, 33% of American adults do not get enough sleep.

I may not have been a participant in that study, but I am definitely one of those adults who struggles to get enough sleep and have struggled with it for most of my adult life. During the worst point in my battle with insomnia, I got about 1-1/2 to 2 hours of sleep per night—and that was in 5- to 15-minute blocks (toward the end of that pitiful episode I got a Fitbit and the stats confirmed my estimate). On weekends I might get 5-6 hours of sleep, but I’d be in bed for 12-14 hours to achieve that and I never felt rested.

Outwardly, I appeared reasonably functional: I went to work every day and even commuted to and from the ferry on my bicycle. I know I exhibited signs of stress at work but the job itself was stressful (which fed into the insomnia). I’m sure that I seemed quiet and withdrawn to fellow commuters, which could have been partly attributed to being an introvert, but mostly it was because my mind was so overclocked that having to talk to people caused me physical pain. My short-term memory was fried to the point that I often joked with a co-worker that I would call her to tell her why I was walking in her direction so she could remind me by the time I got there if I was going to the printer or to the ladies restroom. It was good for a laugh but sleep deprivation is really not very funny.

It was, however, nearly deadly. It is a miracle—or a testament to my stubbornness—that I’m alive and writing about this now.

If you experience issues such as an inability to control your emotions or maintain focus, or you have problems with short-term memory or completing simple tasks, you may not be getting enough sleep. If this goes on for a prolonged period of time, you should be evaluated by your doctor 3. If you snore or make gasping noises in your sleep, your doctor should check for sleep apnea, which can be fatal if it is not managed.

The other causes of sleep loss are as varied as the population who suffers from it. We are a 24/7/365-connected-burn-the-candle-at-both-ends-balls-to-the-wall-you-should-have-a-side-hustle-or-two-in-addition-to-your-full-time-job kind of society. We stress out about our jobs. We stress out about the probability of LOSING our jobs. We stress out over paying the rent or the mortgage or how can we afford health insurance for the family or braces for our kids. We stress out about getting sick and the stress MAKES us truly sick and tired.

There are a lot of supplements and over-the-counter medicines that claim to help you sleep and wake up refreshed. I’ve tried many of them: either they didn’t help me get to sleep or they left me feeling drowsy and hung over. If you are taking any medication for any other condition, DO NOT take any OTC pills or supplements without checking with your doctor or a pharmacist. You don’t want to deal with the effects of two drugs not playing nice with each other. Your doctor may prescribe a sleep aid, but if you are reluctant to take medication there are some non-pharmaceutical ways to deal with sleep loss.

  • Try to leave work at work: Ask bosses and co-workers to contact you at home only if it’s an emergency.
  • Stop watching television an hour or more before you go to bed (and nix the TV from the bedroom).
  • Set a consistent bedtime and establish a regular pre-bedtime routine so your body and your mind become accustomed to associating these actions with going to sleep.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption. (I loved having a glass of wine with dinner but had to give that up when I realized that it messed with my sleep—despite alcohol making me drowsy.)
  • Put away the iDevices and laptops an hour or two before you go to bed. If you can’t put them away, make use of the nighttime function of your device, or use a product like like f.lux, which changes the color cast of your screen so your brain isn’t getting bombarded with WAKE UP signals from your screen.

If your lifestyle and workplace allow for it, try to arrange your day so that you are in alignment with your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Oftentimes we fall into our natural rhythm on weekends or on vacation, only to drag ourselves out of that on Monday morning. Much like changing from Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time, this destabilizes your system and magnifies any fatigue issues you already have. If you cannot arrange your day so that you can meet your obligations when you are at your most energetic and productive, then try to keep your regular bedtime schedule and routine on the weekends and on vacation.

And for goodness sake, if you are already having problems sleeping and you feel groggy when your alarm goes off in the morning and sluggish the rest of the day, DO NOT FORCE YOURSELF TO GET UP AN HOUR EARLIER BECAUSE SOME JACKASS SAYS THAT’S THE KEY TO SUCCESS! When it’s important to you, you will find that hour (or half hour, or 20 minutes) somewhere else in your day for meditating or exercising4 or pleasure reading or whatever.

Now, please go get some rest.

1It’s impossible to deposit or withdraw hours of daylight. IT’S THE SAME DAYLIGHT, NO MATTER HOW YOU SWITCH THE CLOCK AROUND. Seriously, just pick a damn time and stick with it.

2Yes, I still use a paper planner, now get off my lawn!

3Yes, I did bring this up with the doctor I had at the time. Unfortunately, she was so fixated on my weight, she assumed I didn’t exercise at all (I guess 5 miles of bicycling and 2-3 miles of walking every day for my commute didn’t count). Her actual words to me were: “You seem so sad. Maybe you should take up gardening.”

4Joining a gym (and going consistently) was a non-starter, so I managed to get in an hour or so of exercise every day by using my daily commute to get in a bike ride to the ferry (a little over 2 miles each way, depending on the route I took) and a walk from the Ferry Building to my office (around a mile each way).

As I Was Saying…

“…there is a possibility of seeing some sleet or snow here today. I kind of figured that winter on the east coast does not leave without flipping over another table and smashing a few more bottles on the way out.”

Okay, so here in Raleigh winter just sort of tipped over a couple of chairs and sloshed some wine. The Nor’easter saved its punch for, well, the Northeast. There really wasn’t enough snow to build a snow person, but I probably could have made a snow hood ornament for the car, had I felt like it.

The rain changed over to snow around 3:00 Monday afternoon.

Even though we got just a skiff, it was enough to close down schools early as a precaution, which is good (as one parent put it, you don’t really want teenage/beginning drivers on the road when it’s snowing/sleeting). For the workplaces that didn’t get to close early, the commute home was a miserable mess.

Dos Gatos Locos still aren’t sure what to make of big puffs falling out of the sky. I probably should have brought in a little snowball for them to investigate. Though, come to think of it, both of them lost their damn minds last summer when I dropped an ice cube into their water bowl, so maybe it’s best that I didn’t introduce snow yet.



The snow (ha! Grammarly is flagging this and insisting I change “snow” to “show”. It’s not necessarily wrong; just not what I’m going for here.) ended last night not long after the evening commute. None of it really stuck to the roads nearby, though the wet pavement froze overnight. Our parking lot looked like a skating rink until the sun finally hit it.

The calendar says we have one more week of winter. I guess we’ll pick up the chairs and clean up the wine and hope that we’ve seen the last of its drunken brawls.

skiff of snow

The Raleigh World: Two Months

I’ve sort of ghosted from my humble little blog recently. Sometimes I get so busy living life that I neglect to check in.

So what have I been up to in Month Two? Visits to the Farmers Market and Library, so I can nourish my body and feed my curiosity.

Farmers Market produce
Some of the offerings at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh
Lebanese Lemony Lentil Soup, garnished with chopped fresh spinach

Also, I was considering ways that I might follow up driving over 2,900 miles with two cats, so I’m building a thing.

No, not a thing. A career.

My soul can no longer hang back, quietly wishing I would stop holding myself back and just be a goddamn writer and photographer already. So I’ve set my shop up as Victoria Klum Media and have openings for clients in need of marketing content and/or blog writing, editing, photography, or social media management. I even made myself an employee badge.

Employee badge
Employee Number One!

Naturally, as I’m hanging out my shingle, I realize that my website needs some renovation. Last fall I started refreshing my web development skills, which means I have just enough knowledge to insist on doing this renovation myself. That may slow the project down—especially as I build a book of business—but it’s one of the muses that has been beckoning me over the last several weeks. In the meantime, I have some writing self-assignments in progress and I’ve been joining some Meetup groups so that I’ll be less of a stranger in these parts.

I’ve also been working on a couple of photography projects, which I’ll talk more about in another post. I’ve been wanting to go on some more outings, but it’s been a bit challenging to string together a day or two when it’s either not cold or not raining. Although we’ve escaped the two recent Nor’easters, there is a possibility of seeing some sleet or snow here today. I kind of figured that winter on the east coast does not leave without flipping over another table and smashing a few more bottles on the way out.

Now that they have both horked all over the bedroom carpet, I’d say Dos Gatos Locos are fully settled in. (I’d also say it’s a good thing I made sure to leave room for the steam carpet cleaner in the relo cubes!) We are still working on creating a schedule that works for all of us. I thought I was struggling with the time change but realized a couple of weeks ago that my body has actually reverted to its normal rhythm, nudging me closer to being a vampire than an early bird. I had lived so many years of my life on the exact opposite schedule of what my circadian rhythm is: no wonder my sleep was so jacked for all those years.

Dos Gatos Locos Yoga
Clancy and Charlie are ready to start their Cat Yoga class. I’m not sure if the toy mouse is a prop or not.

Coming up in Month Three: my first North Carolina FC game is this weekend, which I’m pretty excited about. It’s not my beloved Timbers, but it’s live soccer and that makes me happy. I may see if I can make it to the North Carolina Courage game vs. the Portland Thorns the following week.

There’s also my own New Year’s Day coming up, though I’m not sure what I’ll do to mark the occasion. But the biggest thing for Month Three is letting go of the bar one more time, so I can reach for the next bar that the Universe is sending for me, while I repeat one of my favorite mantras:

I’m just getting started 🙏🏼🕉♈️

A Year Ago

A year ago, I had my DSLR.
A year ago, I had my tripod to hold my camera.
A year ago, I had my nice external flash units.
A year ago, I had fully-charged batteries for the camera and flash units.
A year ago, I had my light stands and diffuser umbrella.
A year ago, I had access to a blank wall.
A year ago, I had my model (o hai, it’s me!).
A year ago, I had that black shirt.
A year ago, I had that red lipstick.
A year ago, I had a great haircut.

A year ago, making this photo would not have been possible.

Victoria Klum Photography

Happy I Don’t Need A Man To Complete Me Day!

I kid! Sort of.

I spent a lot of years feeling like a failure for not finding a lasting connection to someone where we complement each other. There have been lots of misses, but no real hits to speak of.

And I’m (now) okay with that.

First I needed to go through the difficult journey of learning to love myself. Learning that it is OKAY to love myself. That loving myself is not being selfish, but filling my own cup so that I have plenty to share. (Which I do, in my own, socially-awkward way.)

But romantic love? I’m honestly not sure that it’s for me.

At this point in my life marriage would be mostly a business venture. And after working in pension administration for 14 years and seeing some of the viciousness from divorcing couples splitting assets, you’d better believe that, were I to marry, I’LL KEEPING ALL OF THE DAMN RECEIPTS.

So, yeah, it’s possible that I’ve grown too cynical for Love And Marriage.

On the other hand, maybe I just function best as an independent woman. And by that I mean independent of an intimate partner but not independent of my community, my family, my squad. Because the love that I share with them has lifted us all through good times and difficult times. And that’s more valuable to me than a dozen roses and a box of chocolates1.

Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you.💘

1If you were to send me a box of chocolates, though, I would not refuse delivery. 😘🍫

My Fuzzy Valentines
My Fuzzy Valentines❣️❣️

The Raleigh World: One Month In

North Carolina flag
North Carolina

Today marks one month since Dos Gatos Locos and I rolled into Raleigh and began making a new home here. As with the day we arrived, today’s weather is warm-ish and rainy (thank goodness it’s light showers and not nearly the gully washer that greeted us).

We are settling into life in North Carolina: the apartment is coming together and I’ve taken care of a lot of the bureaucratic whoop-dee-doo involved with moving to a new area (I still have some business stuff to sort out). I’m beginning to make some car trips without needing to fire up Waze. I am able to restock cat food and litter and keep my fridge and cupboard stocked without getting lost or resorting to having them delivered.

Most of my weekends have been taken up with setting up the apartment and setting up my freelance business, but I have ventured around the Raleigh/Cary/Durham area a couple of times1. I’ve joined a couple of meetup groups and am making my way as a dyed-in-the-wool introvert through this networking stuff.

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; Mill House

Other things that I am slowly becoming accustomed to include:

  • having “Miss” appended to my first name: I’m glad I go by Victoria now and not Vicki because I’m not Tiny Tim’s wife and being called “Miss Vicki” used to send me round the bend when I was a kid.
  • styrofoam food containers (quelle horreur)
  • directions: west means AWAY from the (nearest) ocean! Seriously, I need to etch this into my windshield!
  • weather: as much as I mentally prepared for hot, humid weather, I neglected to prepare myself for prolonged cold2. But we weathered *cough* the cold (and the surprise snow storm) and my electric bill wasn’t nearly as high as I had steeled myself for.
  • a winter scene on a nearby street
  • manners3: Last week as I approached the door at Starbucks, I hesitated because the way the light was hitting the area, I didn’t think the guy opening the door would see me and we’d collide. He came inside, saw me and leaped back to the door to hold it open. “I’m sorry,” he said softly. I wouldn’t have thought anything of him not holding the door, mostly because I didn’t expect him to have x-ray vision, so I was a little shocked that he not only jumped back to get the door but apologized for not holding it in the first place. I regained my own manners enough to smile and thank him as I passed through the door.
  • people complaining about rush hour traffic: unlike the Bay Area, I doubt they have to turn on the metering lights at 05:30 a.m. around here. Come to think of it, I don’t think they even *have* metering lights here.
  • parking: as in, you can do that here without driving around the block for an extra six miles or needing to take out a home equity loan to pay for an hour or two of parking downtown.
  • time: Oof. The first couple of weeks here I thought I was doing well with the time change but these last couple of weeks have been a struggle. I also tend to forget that my people back on the west coast are now three hours behind me (so sorry for the texts and FB messages at 06:00 a.m., darlings!)
  • neighborhood farm
    Y’all. These are some of my neighbors🐄🐑🐐🐓
  • peace: I live less than ten minutes from the airport and I rarely hear aircraft. I rarely hear traffic, other than the nearby railroad (and a train is blasting its horn as I type this). And there is a FARM right next door! Instead of 24/7 sirens now I hear goats and a rooster.
  • ease: People here don’t go out of their way to make things difficult. Even the DM-freakin’-V was the easiest and most organized experience I’ve had at a DMV since I left Oregon. I didn’t make an appointment for obtaining the driver’s license or the registration, and both times I was done and out of there within an hour (car registration took 10 minutes).

So that’s a snapshot of the first month of The Raleigh World. I’m grateful that I’m able to ease into this new chapter of my life and that the Boys are adjusting well to their new surroundings.

It’s been a lot change. And I’m just getting started.

Doesn’t matter that I need to get up and do stuff. Clancy is comfortable on my lap, so here I sit.

1Okay, fine: the second excursion was a driving tour of Morrisville/Cary last Friday because I decided to not use Waze for the trip home and I got on the westbound freeway instead of the eastbound. But what the hell, it was a lovely day out and I made a couple of mental notes of places to return to.

2After living in the Bay Area for 24 years, cold is anything under 55 degrees.

3The manners seem to dissolve once folks get behind the wheel of their cars, however. HOLY CRAP have I encountered some asshole behavior on the roads!


In addition to being the one month anniversary of my leaving the Bay Area, Wednesday would also have been my mother’s birthday.

Sort of a strange set of baggage I’ve got there.

And given the cargo of those Relo Cubes, I figuratively and literally carried much of that baggage across the country, some of it out of necessity. What I cannot leave behind I have to integrate into my life in the most healthy and productive way.

As I push to move things along in this reboot of my life I’m learning to let go of the guilt that my mother’s life was so short, and the guilt that I have achieved things that she was unable to.

That second guilt has been the toughest to put down because so much of our life together was me trying to justify to her why I deserved, well, most anything. I still catch myself doing that and playing the old tape about how selfish it is of me to create a life that I want to live.

And yet I had an experience recently that showed me that I’m not the only one who benefits when I’m living in my truth. Even my small acts made a big difference in two lives. Because of that, this work I’m doing, creating the life I need to live, no longer feels so much like an act of rebellion.

Throughout the day on Wednesday I wove in mini-ceremonies to honor her life and our time together and the lessons that came from that (and that continue to emerge to this day). I honored the fact that we BOTH did our best and that we BOTH deserved to live a fulfilling life. She had her reasons for not pursuing many of her dreams and ambitions, but those should not, and will not, divert me from my own ambitions. My road ahead will have some potholes, just as the road behind me did. But I’m hard-wired for resilience and creative problem-solving. If I’ve learned anything about myself over the last 18 months it’s that I may feel like I’m coming apart, and that may cause me to recalibrate, but I don’t give up.

Speaking of potholes.

I painted again, for the first time in /mumbledy/ years. My apartment complex held a “wine and paint” night and getting back in my art is part of living my truth and also I need to get my ass out of the apartment and talk to people.

I didn’t drink any wine though: maybe I should have.

Things went tits-up with this cupcake painting pretty quickly.

So, uh…yeah.

1) I hadn’t picked up a brush in a very long time; 2) we worked with acrylic paint which is VERY UNFORGIVING for us slow painters; 3) the instructor had us paint the cupcake first and the whole time I heard my old art teacher screaming in my subconscious “PAINT THE BACKGROUND FIRST!!!” and 4) hey, at least I got my ass out of the apartment and talked to people! I even remember their names (for now…I think).

Truthfully, I can’t even pick this apart because I remember enough to see how I’d improve the next painting. It may be the least appetizing-looking cupcake in modern history, but it still whetted my appetite to create more. My easel came across the country in those Relo Cubes, and I’ve dug out my sketchbooks and am ready to get some of these ideas flowing out of my head.

Which brings me to my mantra:

The more I do to create the life I want to live
The more accessible to me that life becomes


Leaving Neverland

Reflecting on life in the Bay Area
Reflecting on life in Neverland

One month ago I crammed my Subaru to the rafters and Dos Gatos Locos and I left “Neverland”.

(Aside: I frequently refer to the Bay Area—and San Francisco in particular—as Neverland, because it always has been a place that allowed for play and experimentation, no matter what your age or background. Up until a few years ago the “Neverland” aspect of life in the Bay Area was benign: There was a sort of “take a penny, leave a penny” community spirit. Neverland started to become malignant a couple of decades ago, as dot-com money came in and dispassionately began wiping out communities and the security that comes with community, and worsened considerably over the last ten years.)

So anyway, I started to write about leaving Neverland about a year ago.

Check that.

I’m pretty sure that I began writing about this four or five years ago. Because I knew then that I had stayed at that party for too long, but I was so emotionally paralyzed that I couldn’t even think of moving. Hell, the thought of even going to the grocery store could send me into a full-on stress meltdown.

But even a year ago, when I tried again to write about leaving the Bay Area, I just…couldn’t. And it was frustrating because I had visions of this E-P-I-C journal/blog. But it just wasn’t happening.

Sans the epic-inspirational-internet-sensation journal, I started making my way across the country. The first three days of the trip provided plenty of time for me to bounce around against all of the surfaces of my mind, while I drove. Somewhere between Amarillo, TX and the Oklahoma border, I realized that the reason why I couldn’t write about the process of “conscious uncoupling” from the Bay Area is because I need distance.

Miles and time.

So now I’m good on the miles part, but the time? Hrmmmmm…

I’ve made it a priority of my yoga and meditation practice to leave enough space to process the experience of living in the Bay Area, with the understanding that this is a big job. I was there for more than 24 years: the longest that I’ve lived anywhere in my life.

It was never easy, especially since I don’t come with the backing of a trust fund or a six-figure tech job. I did make a life there, though. I began collecting those pieces of myself that I had dropped, like breadcrumbs, throughout my childhood and young adulthood and I started to form MY life. But the stress of trying to keep a roof over my head in one of the most expensive housing markets in the world eventually suffocated the fire I had built. All of those pieces were still there, only now they were buried under layer upon layer of protective anger, which grew worse over the last several years in the Bay Area.

Around the time of the Great Recession about a decade ago, the atmosphere in the Bay Area thickened with a hostile stench, like sewer gas in San Francisco. Just like there are corners of San Francisco that don’t smell like sewer gas, there are pockets of human kindness (and I certainly tried my best to keep that part of myself in the light). But it’s hard to feel anything other than anger towards an area when every day I saw working people who were homeless (the lucky ones at least had a car they could sleep in), in a city that criminalized being broke. A place so malignant with a sense of entitlement that tech bros wrote open letters to the mayor bitching about homeless people.

So, yeah. Safe to say these first weeks away from the Bay Area will be spent peeling away more of those layers of anger. Those layers will go in one stack. There will be other stacks: for the great friends I made there, the fun times, the heartaches, the art, the education.

All of it was necessary for me to get here.

And as I shed the layers that stifled me, those important pieces of myself will breathe again, and that oxygen will fuel the fire from which my creativity and brilliance will rise.

To be continued…