New routines & celebrations

So the last 10 weeks or so have been interesting!

You’ll know from previous posts that I spent some time on the central NSW coast in July for a self-care immersion. And you’ll also know that I came home and immediately began a 6 month food coaching program to support me in figuring out this final step of my transformation.

The first 7 or 8 weeks came up and hit me in the face with repetitive hard slaps. The process of keeping a food diary in and of itself brought up all kinds of emotions. I’m certainly not new to that process. I’ve been on all kinds of diets through my life and many of them required food diaries. Which I kept for about 3 days before giving it up. Every. Time. And yet here it is, week 10 (I think) and the food diary thing now feels like a normal part of the routine.

The emotions that have been brought up have certainly challenged me! I’ve had an inner 5 year old girl who has been throwing all kinds of tantrums. I’ve always used food to protect myself and sooth my fears. Fears of being inadequate and not good enough. Fears of rejection. Fears of all kinds of things. Let me tell you that little girl has given me many moments of concern. I honestly thought that she would always need comfort and support.

Today I’m not so sure that she will. She has kind of grown up in the last couple of weeks.

She is learning that she will be ok without the comfort and security of unhealthy foods. She is learning that her adult self is in charge and is making these changes in her best interests. She is learning to trust. She is learning that she is worthy. Without conditions.

And she loves that. She loves that she can be free. She loves that she can be herself. She loves that she doesn’t have to justify herself to anyone. And she loves herself.

Back to my adult self …

The last 2 weeks have been different. I’ve been working on the routine of meal planning and preparation over the last 3 weeks (ish). The first week was a lot dodgy, the next a little dodgy, and this most recent one seems very different. I felt so much better about doing the food prep. I spent some time on Sunday making curried sausages and smoked salmon, spinach & cream cheese filos. And then today I made a couple of different kinds of quiche type thingies and a pizza. The week before I made sweet potato & pumpkin soup, and curried sausages.

curried sausages

Curried sausages

smoked salmon filos

smoked salmon, spinach & cream cheese filos

quiche muffins

quiche thingies with vegies & chicken

quiche smoked salmon

quiche thingies with smoked salmon, spinach & cream cheese

curried sausages prev week

more curried sausages

pumpkin sweet potato soup prev week

pumpkin & sweet potato soup

It’s not even the actual food that is the notable change. It’s the way I felt about cooking those things. Somewhat enthusiastic. Accomplished. Proud. And nowhere near as tired and fatigued as I have on previous food prep days.

And given the very long history of feeling resentful and angry around food preparation (wow, I didn’t know that was there till it came out of my fingers!), I’m going to take those feelings, savour them and enjoy them while they last.

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Having a tantrum

Tuesday is my day this semester to attend classes at university. Which means getting up and ready, then getting in the care, driving for 2 hours, sitting in class for 4 hours, then doing the return drive.

This is the fourth semester that I’ve been doing this routine. The entire time I’ve been doing the drive I’ve had to navigate between 5 & 7 major lots of roadworks as they upgrade the highway after major floods a few years ago.

Today is the first time I’ve done the trip in 2 months due to the break between semesters. There have been changes in the configuration of the works and I am reminded of how painful and stressful it’s been to make this journey in each of the 3 completed semesters so far.

I have mentioned in recent posts that I’ve undertaken a 6 month food coaching program that I’m about 2-3 weeks into. This has created some pretty turbulent emotions even as recently as 2 days ago, so my emotional state has been somewhat fragile.

I’ve been rather negligent with my water intake recently and one of the things to focus on is to increase it so I can clear out some of the toxins in my body.

Can you see where this is going?

Almost 1 litre of water before 10:30am, followed immediately by a 2 hour drive (which turned into almost 3 hours) simply do not mix! I had to stop 3 times in the first hour!

By the time I actually pulled into the car park at uni I was ready to curl up into the fetal position and cry! Especially since 2 of the stops were very close calls! I actually almost pulled over onto the side of the road at one point to cry. Either that or turning around and going home! Or raging.

When I actually arrived I had 10 minutes to navigate my way to the lecture room all the way across campus, which for me means a 40+ minute walk. Up hills and stairs, carrying a heavy bag. And then I’d have had to walk the reverse trip to change rooms for the tutorial, which means leaving the lecture early or being late for the tute (still not sure how to deal with that each week for the rest of the semester).

Given my emotional state I decided to forego stressing myself even more and decided to locate myself outside the tutorial room and blog instead. Take some time to re-centre myself and breathe.

On the way home I stopped at the service station to use the facilities (for the 100th time that day!!) and I looked at all the food in the store. I felt resentful that I couldn’t have any of it. Then I spotted what was probably the only healthy thing in the place and chose to have sushi. But I still felt resentful that I even had to make that choice in the first place.

So, I spent most of yesterday feeling frustrated and resentful that I am in the situation I’m in. Pretty much tantrum material! Feeling disempowered and acting out because I didn’t have “freedom” to choose.

Twenty-four hours later and I’ve had a couple of lightbulbs go off in my head about what happened yesterday. Today I am very grateful for friends who care enough to call me out on my shit and don’t let me get away with it. I’m also grateful for coaches who can see through that same shit, not play into the victim role I was trying to go into and after the bulbs get lit, compliments me on my tenacity and determination to go through this process!

I am very blessed.

Powerful beyond measure: A love letter to myself

A while ago on my Mindset Effect Blog I set a challenge for people. To write a love letter to themselves. To show themselves some love and document it. At the time I was in the middle of completing university assessments and stated that I would do it when they were completed. I’ve now been away from home for 9 days on a trip to immerse myself in all things self-care. I have learned so much about myself during these days and this morning it occurred to me that now is the perfect time to write my letter. As I sit here ready to write I find myself feeling uncomfortable and wanting to procrastinate on it. There is something about the process that is confronting. I want to do it, now is the right time to do it, and I certainly know that every fibre of my being needs to hear the words that are about to flow out of my spirit. So I will sit with those feelings of discomfort and show myself some love. I deserve it, after all.

moonrise

Dear me,

As an entity you have been on this Earth for 42 years. In that time you’ve been through some serious shit. Some painful, horrible stuff that has suppressed your voice and led you to feel unworthy, unloved and small. And through it all you’ve adapted. You’ve changed. You’ve made it through. There has always been a part of you who knew it was your birthright to take up the space you deserved. There has always been a part of you who knew you were lovable and worthy. And that part of you has protected you. It forced you to take up the space you deserve. It grew your body and claimed that space. It comforted you and protected you. It helped you to keep your wings in perfect working order. It helped you to learn the lessons you needed to learn, so that now you are here, in this moment, you know exactly where you are, why you’re here and what your purpose in this world is.

You’re learning that you are safe. Loveable. Worthy. You’re learning about your physicality. Your strength. Your fears, your spirit. Your courage. Your resilience has allowed you to bounce from one experience to another to another, to take in and learn the lessons. To gain skills and to use those lessons to break down barriers. You thought you were unworthy and you’ve discovered the opposite. You thought you were unloveable and you’ve discovered the opposite.

Those early experiences taught you to be afraid. To hide. You stand here today knowing that you are powerful beyond measure. You are courageous beyond any thought you could possibly hold in your mind. You are intelligent beyond any classroom can teach. You are resilient beyond the bounce of any trampoline in existence.

Your mind has protected you. It has helped you to analyse and learn and create an existence that took you beyond the limitations that were infused into your early experiences. It has taught you skills that you can now take and utilise to change the planet, one person at a time. It has allowed you to think and to realise that you were much better than you were led to believe as a child. It has allowed you to analyse the data it was given and recreate a formula that will ultimately support you in taking care of yourself well into the future. And it has allowed you to be open to new experiences that let in new, supportive belief systems.

Your body has housed your mind and spirit in a fashion that has supported them and allowed them to do their work without outside influences to take you in a direction you were not meant to go. Your body has kept you alive and alert. It has supported your mind to learn all its lessons and has infused many of its own. It is now in the process of learning new lessons about your strength and power.

And your spirit. It has kept a fire burning deep down into the recesses of your body. A fire of hope. A small flame of knowingness. A knowing that you are so much more than your physical appearance. A knowing that you have always been much more than people have previously led you to believe. A knowingness that you can now trust with your entire being; mind, body and spirit.

You are strong, infinitely powerful, courageous and mighty. You are destined to change the world and impact many people in positive ways. You have talents and skills that deserve and need to be shared. You have infinite amounts of love to give. To yourself and others. Your simple existence is enough. Your simple presence is enough. Enough to influence. To lead. To create. To change human existence as it is now.

Infinite power, humility and influence.

Allow your light to shine. I know that as you learn more about showing yourself those small demonstrable lessons in self nurturing and love, you will take on even more to be able to achieve a greater reach on your life’s path. Everything you need, you already possess. Open the door, let it out. It, and you, deserve to be free.

I love you with every cell and vibration of my being,

Me xx

 

Healing and Destiny

Feathers, rocks and trucks.

Mind, body, spirit.

Authentic self. Red print.

Homeostasis. Balance.

How do all these things fit together? How are they related?

The mind, body and spirit are the individual parts of the authentic self. Or, the authentic self is made up of the mind, body and spirit. The driver of these is the spirit. It is the one that has the ultimate power. Equally, the back stop is the body. The last line of defense. If something goes wrong with the body you can bet that something went wrong ages ago with one of the others. The feathers, rocks and trucks are the signals of whether you’re listening to your mind, body and spirit. If you refuse to listen, you receive a feather. If you continue to refuse, you get thrown a rock. And if you refuse to listen to that, you get run over by a truck. And it will reverse over you again and again and again until you get it. Until you surrender control and follow the messages that make up your truth. When you are in homeostasis, or balance, all is well. You feel centred and balanced. Your body is healthy. And when unbalanced, your body will break down and provide you with signs to listen to. Your spirit will give you signs. Your freewill allows you to choose whether you listen. But if you choose not to, watch out for the feathers, rocks and trucks!!

Speaking your truth. Different for everyone. Each of us has an authentic self, or red print, that is different. If you count the number of people on the planet that is how many red prints are in existence. Some will have similar characteristics or commonalities, but each is completely unique.

As the one in charge, our spirit will show us what our unique red print consists of. We will know by the things that attract us. Music, quotes, phrases, words, people, professions. Our job is to listen and align ourselves with these things. The closer we move toward it the more confident, healthy and centred we become. The further we move away from it, the more we feel lost, helpless, trapped and lonely. And the more we get feathers, rocks and trucks thrown at us.

self care burnout

After a lifetime of feeling confined and repressed I am finally understanding how much my body has taken in order to protect my spirit. Anger, frustration, repression, helplessness, sabotage. Comfort eating, weight gain, mobility issues, circulation issues, fluid issues, back pain, muscle cramps, pinched nerves. For 40+ years. That’s a lot of shit to carry. My body has done this for me. And for the most part has done it with little complaint. I don’t have high blood pressure. I’ve never had problems with my heart. I don’t have diabetes. I’ve eaten enough sugar and fat over the years to keep a small country going in order to protect myself from the expectations and “requirements” of other people. Do this, think this, be this, say this, don’t say that.

That noise became my normal way of being. It was the way the world was. It was the way I was.

My spirit needs more. It needs me to move closer and align myself to it. I have been given opportunities in the last few years to discover my purpose. To help myself and others to listen to their own spirit. My work has shown me, through the guidance of a selection of very special people in my life, that my talents lie in designing and delivering programs and support to people who are seeking their individual pathways to their own authentic selves. Every time I write a program and facilitate it the feelings I have tell me that I am very close to where I am meant to be. My thoughts and emotions tell me I am close. I can feel it throughout my entire being.

The damage that has been done to my body needs repairing. As I take steps to do so, I uncover more layers. They have been layers of damage and despair. And now they are becoming layers of healing and repair.

Training, nutrition, meditation. Self-care, self-love, self-nurture. Respect, boundaries, love.

Listening. And speaking my truth.

Speaking the language of my spirit. The language that allows it to fly free and soar. The language that pricks tears in my eyes because I know it is my destiny. My vast, full, pure destiny.

hardships destiny

For now; healing.

For the future; freedom.

New Wave

I’ve come away to immerse myself in 9 days of self-care. Day 1 and it’s already started.

I feel … different. Strange.

It’s been a while since I felt this way. It’s the feeling of change. The next step of transformation.

Knowing I needed to unlock some stuff I booked a couple of personal training sessions while I was away. I had the first one this morning. Hitting shit by the ocean at Terrigal, NSW. Perfect. The trainer was amazing. Encouraging, gentle, nurturing. And at the same time she pushed me to do stuff that I always avoid from fear.

View from this morning's training space

View from this morning’s training space

My fingers are shaking as I think about it, 3 hours later. Just a slight tremor in memory/sympathy of what I felt then. Remembered adrenaline. Probably existing adrenaline *shrugs*

I’ve long been someone who avoids stuff when it becomes “too” physically demanding. Obviously what I consider demanding differs from others’ versions of demanding. For me it’s anything that leaves me feeling breathless and shaky. Adrenaline rush shaky. I’ve done sessions on the treadmill before that push my heart rate up to the point that I am hit with a rush of adrenaline and my arms and legs become wobbly.

That’s the point where I usually give up. Or more accurately, panic. My brain goes into overdrive and my thoughts kick in, screaming at me to stop, I can’t do it, I’m not going to be able to cope, I need to feel safe and all that rot. I’ve had it happen when I’ve been walking across campus at uni. That place is so huge, I’m trying to get to class carrying a 10kg bag on my back, walking uphill. My legs and lungs scream at me. STOP, you’re going to fall over and you won’t be able to get up. You’ll embarrass yourself. You’ll hurt yourself. Give up give up give up!!!

This is my “fuck it” story. The story that tells me I need to fuck it, to give up before I even start, so I can be “safe”

You know what? No more. I’m sick of the “fuck it” story ruling my life. I have a destiny to get to, a purpose to live. And it certainly doesn’t include sitting in a little cocoon hiding away from the world to feel “safe”. That’s not safety, that’s a slow death! It’s what I’ve been doing most of my life. It kept me protected for many years but now all it does is prevent me from living the life I deserve. The life I am destined for.

All the work I’ve done to date has brought me here.to a place of awareness, where I know that the thought patterns in my head, while having had a purpose, now hold me back.

Which brings me to the now. This holiday has been in the planning for 6 months. I set the dates with the intention of immersing myself in all things Emazon. Her training principles, mindset lessons, and complementary forms of therapy to support the transformation process. Massage, reflexology, crystal therapy, spiritual awareness, plus more. I’ve done some work with Emazon before. It’s made a huge difference in the way I think and feel about my “stuff”. It has helped me to shift a lot and make some big changes in my life.

I’ve spent probably the last 9-12 months allowing those shifts to “be”. To settle. For me to get used to this new way of being. To cement them.

And now it’s time for the next wave. These 9 days will be about unlocking the next layer of neural pathways that will allow me to move forward into the next wave of changes.

So what did I uncover this morning? Panic. Fear. Shame. Tears. Emotion.

It’s time to move. It’s time to let it out and let it go.

Fuck it. I deserve to have spectacular things in my life. I deserve to feel a deep sense of peace and contentment. And yet with everything I do it’s always just underneath the surface. That fear. The fear that I can’t do the things I want to do because I “won’t be able to”. Every time I feel the urge to go for a simple walk I stop myself “just in case” I won’t be able to make it. Just in case someone sees me. Just in case I need to hide myself away. That I’ll be judged and found lacking. That I’ll find myself lacking. That I’m not enough.

That I’m not enough.

This phrase is the key. Under some pretty heavy layers of shame.

Let’s see what the next 8 days brings …

Listening to the waterfall as I write this post

Listening to the waterfall as I write this post

 

Watching the ripples across the water

Watching the ripples across the water

 

 

Self-Care is Key!

self care burnoutIt’s been ages since I have blogged on my personal page. I have lots going on right now and I have decided that I need to make some time to attempt to process some of it. I have been focusing on my career for several months, doing posts on my other blog, The Mindset Effect, as well as working and meeting university commitments for the first practicum experience of my master’s degree.

I’ve been finding that time for myself has been rare. I’m still doing personal training sessions twice a week, which is going well (and is a whole other blog post). Getting out of bed for those 6am sessions is really tough! I keep telling myself that I need to get to bed earlier and it rarely seems to happen. Something else seems to crop up. Every. Single. Time. I am making a concerted effort though.self care hardest job

With all of my commitments, and with the current summer heat, which always takes a lot out of me, I have been pretty stressed. I promised myself last year, when I knew what 2014 would look like on a weekly basis, that I would make time for me. Take it one day at a time and make sure that I spent time every day or two doing some self-care practices. And the academic year hasn’t even started yet! So I know that if I continue to do the same thing I am doing now, for the rest of the year, I am going to fall over pretty quickly.

Work has been crazy. Exciting. But crazy. As of March 1 I will be working 3 days per week even though I am employed for 4. My practicum requirements for uni dictate that I do at least 1 day at a placement. And I need to do another day on campus. So that means I really need 6 working days in the week to do everything. Doesn’t add up, right? So, I have applied for study leave. And have been told I need to keep my work output at a 4-day-a-week level. With the help and support of my colleagues we have developed a plan to make that happen. And the preliminary response from clients has been nothing short of phenomenal! Not that they know why we developed the plan in the first place, but they don’t need to know. The bottom line is that this plan will help a lot of people develop their resiliency and capacity to handle stress in the long-term. It complements the organisation’s long-term strategic plan on building up client capacity, it will keep my stats up, and it will allow me to complete my degree requirements without having to reduce my income and risk the roof over my head. A win-win all around.

self care fill cupThe stressful part of all this for me is that the phenomenal response not only indicates how our clients are craving opportunities like we are offering. It also shows me that I could spend more time implementing this plan than doing the other work I do. And it means that I run the risk of overloading myself by trying to get everything done and end up burning myself out.

So I need to make sure I take care of me. One day at a time. One moment at a time. Don’t try to do everything and be everything for everyone. Self-care is key. I need a mantra. Self-care is key. Self-care is key. Self-care is key. Self-care is key . Self-care is key . Self-care is key!!

self care meditation silence

 

Trauma

I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago and haven’t had a chance to put it on here, so thought I would catch up 🙂

——————————————————————————————————————————————-

trauma

Ominous. Threatening. Fear.

I’ve had this blog post running around in my head in the last 24 hours or so and as I sit here to start writing it, I feel like my fingers are a little unsure of what to allow out. But since I do my best (and most powerful) writing by simply allowing it all to flow, I thought I would just start and see what came out.

I have had a really difficult couple of weeks at work with some very emotional topics. I see a number of people who have been traumatised by events in their lives, which has a pretty big impact on the body, mind and spirit. One in particular left me carrying a whole heap of “stuff”. You know the whole theory about being able to hold it together during a crisis and then falling apart afterward?

Well, I did that. My client needed me to be strong and to ‘carry’ her through the crisis. I did that. And then I fell apart.

At the time, even after debriefing with a colleague, I knew I was holding onto some of the stuff. I just didn’t know what. Two weeks later I was able to discuss it in some greater depth in an attempt to deconstruct it and discover what it all about. This conversation occurred yesterday, and let me tell you, the deconstruction was seriously deconstructed!

trauma not just imaginationIt took a bit to work through the jumbled mess that was in my head. We discovered that … I am procrastinating on writing the words. I don’t want to say it out loud … I was traumatised. By supporting my client through this stuff, I was traumatised. See, I need to say it twice to really get it out there. This stuff was huge. The type of huge that is major responsibility and decision-making that has a significant impact on people’s lives.

It left me feeling like I had a big, grey, ominous, heavy cloud hovering over me. With the incredible support of my friend and colleague I discovered that this trauma had reminded me of all the other times I have been traumatised in my life that had never been acknowledged. My history has been to “soldier on”, pretend things never happened. And then to eat. And eat. And eat, so I don’t have to acknowledge and deal with any emotions that might be sitting there inside me. Numbing myself has always gotten me through in the past. It has helped me survive the trauma.

This time I began the same routine. My first instinct was to stop at KFC. But something inside told me that this time needed to be different. This time eating wasn’t the answer. That voice was small. But it was adamant. And certain. So I didn’t stop, which is a proud moment for me.

Yesterday I got a lot of stuff out of my head. But it is only the surface layer. There is so much more there. Every single time something happened in my life that was never talked about or dealt with. The times that were talked about and partly dealt with. The times that were acknowledged and the times that weren’t. so much stuff sitting in my head and heart. And on my body.

As I have been told several times before, this is my time. I no longer need the protection the food has provided for me in the past. I am destined for amazing things in the rest of my life. My past experiences have taught me incredible things and now, as I receive one more key to unlock one more lock, I gain a little more insight into how big my future really is. I need to take my next footlight and start unravelling and acknowledging each of the traumas in my life …

  • The deaths of my parents and brother.
  • The bullying I received as a child.
  • The feeling of not belonging in my own life or friendship groups, even in my own family.
  • Coming home one day to find my friend and housemate in crisis and having to support her, and then not having any support to process what happened.
  • Being used as a punching bag by my sibling as a child.

So much stuff. And given how bright my future is, so so worth the process. I need to do this to be able to live my destiny.

Bright. Light. Destiny.

hardships destiny 

Rituals to let go

Mum. Grief.

Two words that will forever be associated in my head.

excuses kill dreams kill excuses instead

On Thursday I did something I’ve needed to do for a while (and didn’t know I needed it). I had tears flowing on and off most of the evening.

My mum died in October 2002. Since then I think a part of me has known that I haven’t grieved for her in the way I need to. Instead I have coped the way I always have with tough stuff. By avoiding, by burying. The pain. The hurt. The sadness. Usually with food. Mostly unhealthy food.

I would sit for hours numbing myself, watching mindless T.V. while eating. Chips, twisties and chocolate have always been my fall back options. But anything would do.

Every diet ever invented provides a plan that restricts or even eliminates specific foods. When I started the 12WBT it was no exception. I have always turned to food to avoid or numb my emotions to the point where I wouldn’t even know they were there most of the time. “I never get angry”. Yeah, right. Only because it was hidden under all the food, buried deep down inside. So not having my fall back foods on the 12wbt plan ….

It’s been extremely challenging for me. To find alternative strategies has proven difficult. To even become AWARE of my emotions has been an issue. An enlightening and educative process. I feel like I am a lot more aware of when I am feeling emotions. I now acknowledge and recognise my anger. Yay, me!

More difficult has been the strategies. Or at least implementing them. Every time I try, I end up self-sabotaging. I go back to old habits and ways of coping. Namely, eating. My standby addiction. My excuses come out to play, in a big way.

It’s difficult to admit it’s an addiction. I know it is, but I don’t want to say it out loud. But that’s a whole other blog post …

let go of the past
Last week I was talking to a close friend and colleague of mine about rituals. She said she saw me in front of a big orange fire, creating a ritual whereby I was able to let go of stuff that’s been holding me back. Thursday and Friday (yesterday) I went to an annual work retreat where we get together for 2 days for professional development and some down time. My friend, after talking with me last week, organised a bonfire for Thursday night. Especially so I could do my ritual. I am so, so BLESSED!

I spent some time writing before dinner on Thursday, following a full day of professional development on grief and bereavement. Kind of fitting that my mum was right there. I allowed my hand to move the pen however it wanted and I wrote a letter to my excuses. I told them how they have helped me over the years. How they have protected me and kept me safe. How they have allowed me to survive. And about how they are now keeping me further away from where I am destined to be. My big, vast and promising future. I sent them all the love and care in what they have done for me in the time they have been my companions and then told them it was time I set them free. I thanked them and then let them go.

I cried most of the way through writing that one page letter. The words flowed very easily and it took about 5 minutes. I sat quietly for a while, did some breathing and mindfulness practice before rejoining the group. After dinner I went down to the bonfire with my friend and after everyone else went to bed we talked for a bit. She asked me, who was the one person, alive or dead, who I would call upon for support when I needed it?

Mum.

We talked about her. Her personality, her smell, what she did for me. The differences between her and dad. The biggest thing about my mum is the way she nurtured me. Something I have never really done for myself.

We talked about how I could call on her for support and nurturing whenever I needed her. I was in a flood of tears almost the entire time we were talking. My mum was with me by that fire. Watching. Waiting. Loving, nurturing, protecting.

letting go and shining bright

And then I threw the letter in the fire and watched it burn. Slowly, from the edge, across the paper from one side to the other. I watched those excuses disappear out of my life, little bit by little bit, knowing that I am STRONG, DETERMINED, COURAGEOUS. Knowing that whenever I need her, my mum will be there to support, encourage and nurture me. Knowing that I can do those things for myself.

All I need to do is trust. Myself, my gut, my mum.

After I got back to my room I felt quite wrung out. Drained. Tired. And somewhat cleansed.

Tomorrow is a new day.

I’ve got this.

I am looking forward to the rest of my life.

STRENGTH. DETERMINATION. COURAGE.

ME.

letting go for freedom