My Shouting Piano Practice

Recently this year,  just before my birthday, I was offered a free piano by a piano playing friend. People he knew who had the piano were moving, and needed the piano to have a new home. I managed to get some movers, pay them, and get the piano moved to my house.  It’s been almost a month since I got it, and I haven’t had the time or were withal to clean the piano, spiritually clear it, and make a space for it in my not that big home. The piano I got is a used, somewhat worn, upright with easy to press keys. You can see the wear on it on it’s outside.

I’ve continued using clandestine opportunities to use a nice piano in a church to continue my musical career, (Ha Ha), or what I like to call my Ragtime Gal life.  I used to rent a piano in a back studio monthly and play on that. Today I went back to that studio and piano, and played for over an hour.  The studio piano is a grand piano with relatively deep keys, one that takes some strength and takes more “oomph” to play. They keys are also wider, something I know because I have small hands with short fingers, and I am sensitive to differences in pianos.

I have been trying to “get on” with a bunch of stuff around my health and getting an actual income, so I haven’t been playing or practicing regularly.  I’ve also been sick and experiencing extreme hypoglycemia and hypothyroid symptoms that really SUCK. I’m starting to see a dentist who will hopefully successfully remove the mercury out of my teeth. If you don’t practice regularly, you start losing skill and memory of your music.

So today I went back to the studio. When I first start playing THAT piano after not for some time, it seems loud and heavy and hard to play compared to the the smoother one at the church.  I have to ramp up the volume at first to get used to pressing harder and slowly regain both my rhythm and usual speed when I am practicing. I now accept that as part of the endless process of RE- breaking myself in to piano, and I call it the “Shouting” practice.  This frees me from wasting time feeling foolish or not with it

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Dear Donald

Yesterday you sworn in as President of the United States. I walked outside with a friend during the rainstorm and saw a rainbow.  Later in the day, I was home when my guy came home from work at a big mansion in Woodside.  He is a talented and hardworking finish carpenter, but his job has been made difficult by coworkers who have not treated him and his work with respect. Understandably, he’s been upset and told me about how much he’s hated an Asian man he’s had to work with.

But you, Mr Trump, came traveling through the astral plane, and possessed my guy, who first treated the hot fresh food I had brought home as though it was inferior because his paycheck had come and he was feeling like a Big Shot. Drinking the beer he had brought home, he began spouting racist hate about the asian coworker whom he’d had to put up with at work. I didn’t let that go by, saying that his his racist rant was off track from the real issue of the man’s incompetence and lousy, obstructive, rude  behavior on the job.

He fell right into the trap of doing what he’s been complaining about the coworkers of doing to him:  he can’t stand anything which challenges his attitude of contempt. I told him I was just a person with a different opinion, despite his contention I wasn’t qualified to judge because I haven’t had  an official paying Job for years. I capped that by saying, ” so, because of that, I’m not a good enough person to have an opinion which does not match yours.”  He started calling me names. I left and came back after an Al Anon meeting.

When I came back, I was told repeatedly  that I  was “A Stupid Bitch”. I was told I was “Worthless, ” because I never “DO” anything, and don’t have a job.  He moved onto to a Major, Inflated, and incorrect state of Braggadocio about how he pays for everything. This all happened after he called his phone company and paid his bill over the phone an yelled at them because  he was intoxicated, angry he’d received text  messages saying they would turn off his phone if he didn’t pay his bill by tomorrow.  I did not lie down for this verbal assault, gave most of it right back to him. He was relentlessly nasty and said tons of really awful, untrue, hateful things to me. I spent several hours sitting in my car, and not being in the house with him.

It has now become apparent I am suffering from Post Truamatic Slave Syndrome. It’s time for me to stop all my Slave Services to him, to you and just about everyone and everything who behaves like you. You are NOT my president.

 

 

 

 

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The Biggest ACA Catch 22: A Life Sentence

I’ve come to know something about myself and many other people who are, in the 12 Step parlance, “ACA”,( Adult Children of Alcoholics)  or raised in a dysfunctional family. I have yet to meet anyone who wasn’t. We all want to be happy, healthy, wealthy enough, loved, you know, the usual stuff ,along with those who aspire for larger things like  fame and fortune.

YET there is this HUGE Catch 22: What we want and what we are patterned to create over and over again are two DIFFERENT things.  Lately I’ve been eying the ACA red book on how “We” don’t ask for help, because our cries for help when we were young were mocked, ignored, or even punished.  That’s the gist of it, not a direct quote, and it makes sense that “We” continue on in our lives  not trusting that “We can actually get any help or are worthy of it, though oh the surface we got through the motions of it and other seemingly “normal” behaviors.

But there is another ironic thing that I see happening in my own life and others which is hard to wrap the mind around. It hides right out there  in the open, evades detection and awareness.  When things go good for us, when they seem to be going the way we desperately need and want, that is the very time we get the most afraid and often go to great lengths to sabotage and stop whatever is happening.

When we were young there was a lot going on that we could not control. Much of our hopes, our dreams, our needs and our wants were just not on the table of family doings, even if our parents worked hard to try and create a future for and with us. Mine did, and they succeeded in many ways which are still sustaining me today.  What we learned early on was that our desire to be truly accepted and  loved, so strong and unrelenting along the winding path to adulthood, did not much  matter to our family and culture.

This was, most certainly,  not intended, but it was the message we got. We learned to suppress our desire for love, truth, and a fully feeling life. We learned  to put it off, to escape, and adjust as best we could short term in order to get along, get by and through with our deficiency. We lost ourselves long before we really knew much about who we were and felt.  Besides, other people were suffering around us, so why should we expect to be happy? Our lack of importance was the price we paid to belong to our family and gender.

And in that loss, we became dependent on what was a fragmented, default pattern of continuing to continue, to try and get something of what we were continually missing. And then there is the biggest BUTT in the world: We learned to never trust feeling good, or receive for long any kind of good coming our way, earned or unearned. We learned to fear  feeling good, knowing from our early experiences on some level that it could and probably would end, stop, be taken away. And then we would feel that devastation  of a Life Sentence of failure and inferiority, a feeling we never wanted to feel again: THAT SOMEHOW WE JUST WEREN’T WORTHY OF HAVING A SUCCESSFUL AND HAPPY LIFE.

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On Being Left Unprotected

Today I was in a yoga class and the teacher was talking about the Winter Solstice being the shortest and darkest night of the year, but also being the time when the light is called for and comes back to lengthen the days and be brighter.  She asked us to think about what the thought or feeling would be for our inner darkness with new light shining into it.

It suddenly struck me that I have been living in deep rage  and trauma over being left unprotected. UNPROTECTED, what a concept. It felt right on the mark. I’ve been lucky enough in my life to never break a bone and have little harm come to me physically, but I have always felt unprotected emotionally. I am unprotected because that is the state of my culture and the world.  It is a mindset of the ignorant and hypnotized, of which everyone I know is, including me.

I didn’t spend a second blaming my actual parents,  family or friends. They busted their asses to do everything they could to provide a start for me, and I’m still reaping the benefits of their efforts. And when I try to wrap my limited, patriarchaly warped, monkey  mind around it the issue of protection, it goes comic book/movie/TV stupid and starts churning out all kinds of doubts, fears, attachments, obsessions and hackneyed, cliche nonsense about what protection would look, be or feel like.

I can’t go there and not be massively, cognitively  dissonanced, because the idea I am “unprotected” goes against my embedded status quo, no matter how true I know it is. It’s a disruptive threat to everything comfortable and ingrained inside of me. And yet it makes perfect sense to a young part of me that’s been locked away in a vault of disassociative  compliance with the way things seem to be and have been all my life. The hypnosis continues, though now I’m a little bit aware of it. There is SO MUCH DENIAL, and it feels so much more real than the truth, so impossibly unchangeable, though I know deep down it is not.

Since then I have asked myself what would it be like to actually know, feel and experience being able to protect myself effectively? I could spend the rest of my life researching that. And I’m sure others already have spent their lives finding answers to that, have seen website after website. And I know it will come down to training and weaponry, making choices about what to pursue, but the biggest work and questions are going to be around mindset. How does one transform the deeply ingrained mindset planted by centuries of extreme oppression so penetrating and long lived that nothing but being prey seems possible. If we work hard enough to deny what we don’t know how to deal with, and we don’t have to for long enough,  it eventually becomes a rooted denial that seems so right that it can never be wrong. All of which could be shattered in a hot second.

And I know that human behavior is ruled more by pattern than we could ever allow ourselves to admit. We will often do what is wrong just because not doing it requires a great deal of focus and energy.

 

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The Supplement Liberation Front is Born

Yesterday I started clearing out a top cupboard in my kitchen of canned fruit, fruit cocktail,  green beans, applesauce, stewed tomatoes, and one lone can of artichoke hearts. These cans were from my guy’s union, which, disperses them with bags of spaghetti pasta, beans, (very) generic cereal, and rice.  I never wanted them, all too aware for many years of them being laden with  pesticides, GMOs, bisphenol ingredients in the can lining and god knows what else toxins.  A few groceries do not make up for lack of work, period the end.

Periodically for the last 5 years, the guy would arrive from his hall with heavy bags of this stuff, put them on the kitchen table, and leave them sitting there. After a momentary mention of plans to cook the beans, rice or pasta, that would be  IT.  I would have to make room for them and get them stowed on the high shelves over the fridge and stove.  Granted, the fruit and sweet corn was easy to open and eat, but nothing else was  consumed. We had a collection of canned green beans that I finally had to thin because the guy would not eat them and I got tired of them quickly.

Recently a dark brown streak of goo on the south wall appeared, which turned out to be leaking pear juice from the can supply. I was given permission by the guy to get rid of “all that stuff”. I was like “Yippee” and immediately took a couple bags to a local place where they distribute free food to people in need in the community.

Yesterday, when I started taking out what was left, I ended up clearing out and resorting the entire 7 cupboards on my south wall. We have  a line of freeze dried food we bought for the “End of the
World”, one of the guy’s favorite sources of obsession. I sorted and rearranged all of it and the things we actually use often in the cupboards. I cleaned, I wiped off grease and swept out termite dust. To my credit, I put some good stuff in the bags with the cans, which were things I’m unlikely to ever actually cook or use again  like the chicken broth packets, an organic spaghetti squash, cupcake tins, cayenne pepper, little bags of “Cal” or slaked lime for nixtamalizing corn.

But even more profound was confronting the copious amounts of cleansing stuff and supplements I have wasted tons of money and time researching, obsessing about, buying, using briefly if at all, and NEVER discarding or throwing away.  The amount of that stuff, stashed in cupboards hard to reach where the guy and I never tread, was insane.

I have cleaned houses and helped friends deal with clutter occasionally, and often I will note how one certain kind of thing dominates a house. For some it is clothing, others stationary supplies. The thing that dominates is usually something they buy a ton of, over and over again, and though they have a lot of it, they don’t keep track and it accumulates. The thing that dominates is always connected to some need, coupled with an obsession attached to it. I certainly got a look at one of mine yesterday.

Yesterday the Supplement Liberation Front was born. I took out everything, opened up bottle after bottle of stuff. I  dumped the pills and capsules into a paper bag, and threw the empty bottles, into the recycling bucket. Lots were long beyond their expiration dates, had spoiled, and the contents were swollen and stuck inside the bottle. I likewise had powders of all sorts, in particular cleansing things like psycillium and fibrous concoctions of all sorts. These now await their release back into the world in bags in my car. It was hard work, but really liberating.

The mission is not complete. I have more to sort and and discard.There’s a dish tub of stuff and a counter on the other wall of supps that need to go. And there is a bag of “Thrift” which needs to make it to the local Thrift Store. How I LOVE Thrift Stores!

I keep saying to myself: “EVERYTHING NOT CONDUSIVE WITH WHERE I AM NOW MUST GO”. I have always had the hardest time with getting rid of stuff. At last I am starting to get the hang of it.  I’m finally able and willing to just fageddabout what something costs, it’s meaning to me vs someone else, and finding the perfect home for everything.  Almost anything that is not being used is a literal and energetic albatross about my neck, a ball and chain. It takes up space, time, thought, gathers dust and mold and spores and insects and regret. I’m also aware I don’t seem to have any trouble getting new and more stuff. I’ve been restraining myself a lot, but it’s the new challenge. In the meantime, EVERYTHING MUST GO.

 

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Finding the Lost Child

Today I was  in an ACA meeting and heard the term “Lost Child” said a couple of times during the sharing it. I’ve read and heard this term for years, never really relating to it personally. Today I did, because I’m beginning to realize that most of my life is run by mine, and that I am insanely, stupidly,  not in relationship with  it.

On Monday I had a phone appointment with a health coach I’ve paid some serious money to, and I was dreading it.  I had basically blown off doing what he’d recommended, diverged off into a bunch of other self treatment ideas, all of which had marginal results and was well into a dissociative cycle of JUST NOT DEALING. And my symptoms, which include extreme edema, tachycardia, high blood pressure, grotesque obesity, tooth pain, and chronic fatigue, are the same or worse than they’ve been since May.

I have not been eating according to plan, nor implementing Intermittent Fasting, which is now the de rigueur for all health warriors, or biohackers, if you  will. I have continued to eat too much, too often, and nosh on fried potatoes, rice, corn chips, nuts, cheese, and sugar like there is no tomorrow. True, I have eaten more vegetables, eaten less sauces and obvious sugars, avoided pasteurized dairy for the most part, and so on. But I was even beginning to drink sodas. There are many surface reasons why I was still doing these absolute no-nos, though I have been pursuing  greater health for 10 years plus, all perfectly reasonable in the frame of my personal daily life, but not  excusable at all.

It wasn’t clear to me until a couple of hours before the call, which was mercifully  moved, last minute to a later time, what was really going on . I had researched all the stuff I was paying for for years,  become determined to do it, and signed on.  Yet  I had not anticipated the horrific emotional difficulty I’d be encountering having to be even the least bit visible and  transparent to two, distant, easily made into MOMMY and DADDY, authority figures.

I ended up sitting in  my car with all my notebooks and papers spread all around me, waiting the for the call. Should I tell the guy about the three new info sources I’d become enamored with in stead of doing what he was recommending? How could I mitigate my blatant inability to allow him and his gatekeeper wife to find out anything about what I’ve been doing when I couldn’t begin to admit to any of it? Should I send them an enormous email telling all? These thoughts had been simmering for weeks.  I couldn’t sort it out, though I kept trying, and it was all starting to look like a BIG, FAT, tangle of BULLSHIT. And it was MY BULLSHIT. DAMN!

I finally realized this whole  process would be worthless if I was spending it LYING.  I should find a way to confess I’d been having a hard time, even if I didn’t fully understand why. I sat in my car and rehearsed   confessing everything, as though it would be safe, though I knew my emotional garbage would not be safe being actually revealed in it’s copious, glaringly NOT OK-ness.

A memory came to me of sitting in a cardiologist’s office with my mother. She was desperate, trying to get answers out of the doctor about how to take care of my Dad after a double bypass. The Doctor  was sitting at his desk, blatantly DOODLING on a notepad in front of us,  and not answering her. I had known then he had no answers and just plain didn’t give a shit. I had been outraged at the time, furious.

It struck me I was doing exactly what both parents had done in the past, which was keeping quiet about a lot of things to themselves, to each other, and certainly ME.  While this behavior was happening,  understandably to try and control how other people react, it results in disaster and big time loss.  I experienced shame and grief, did some crying.  This is the classic ACA condition: complete separation from actual feelings , suppressed by a mental overlay of thoughts about feelings which aren’t the actual ones.

By the time the health coach guy called, I was able to ask him if he has other clients, who try to bullshit him, LIE, about what they are doing or not doing. He said it happens all the time. We had a real conversation about it and where I actually was versus where I should be. The emotional relief was tremendous. I now know what to ask myself when I start blowing everything off:  Do you want to get well or do you want to spend your energy constructing and maintaining a lie?

 

 

 

 

 

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The EVIL She Beast That Never Uses Enough Soap

Good Morning, Guy.  Thank you for getting up and going to work. I know it was hard for you. It was hard because you are no longer living at Beer O’Clock and have finally  seceded from the United States of The  Eternally Stoned, Home of the Paranoid, and Land of the Weed.  You are starting to live in the that thing called your body and you feel WEIRD. Quel Horrors…you have a beer belly and your clothes don’t fit.

It’s easy for me after living with you for 31 years to know just how uncomfortable you are when you get up and growse about how you don’t have any long sleeved shirts that fit your belly  and then irritably “correct” me if I say anything in response. The good news now is that, irritable or not, you are able to eventually get down  somewhere in the vicinity of what  is bothering you  and express it  so something can actually be done to about  the  situation.

This morning’s Moody Bastard lecture did inform: I learned that you “sweat like a pig” in cotton, though your motorcycle jerseys work OK. It was unknown as to why you did not choose to wear one this morning, but I knew better than to impertinently ask why not. And yes, I know we got you underwear that is too small. I was there when I asked you what size to get and I’ve been there every time you complain about it but don’t wanna go shopping. You don’t understand that  I’m not going to go  pick you up the right size, because unless you go with me and pick out the replacements,  you’ll find something else wrong with them and I ain’t takin that heat.

I’m crystal clear for the hundred thousandth time you cannot wear an un laundered shirt from yesterday because it “stinks like  ass crack” if you wear it more than one day on a jobsite, and am quite familiar with your belief that washing it in lots of toxic blue TIDE is the only solution. Never mind that baking soda and hot water  actually works better in deodorizing your shirts.  I’m resigned to being thought of by you as the EVIL She Beast Who Never Uses Enough Soap to our graves.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Horrid Mistake

A couple of days ago the guy and I took our cat Daisy to the vet for treatment of fleas and parasites. She’s a big cat and she barely fits in the cat carrier we have which took care of the smaller and older cat we had that we “put down” two and a half months ago.

The Vet Clinic we’ve been going to is a small, charming, cottage like house, with a shrub garden in front, a homey front admittance room, and a side room where most of the examining and treating are done.

We were on time for the appointment, but had to wait to be seen, so I sat down in one of the wicker chairs and went back in my mind to the day when I abandoned the love of my life, the day I paid to have my precious cat  put to sleep. Deep grief and shame welled up in me.

In a short while, we were allowed into the side room, where there is a table for examining animals, and I sat down on the wall couch and really looked at the room where she took her last breath. The walls are peach colored, with big white wood trim around the windows and double doors.  There’s a charming wood desk, and framed certificates of vet degrees on the wall. There is a screen with vibrant slides of cute animals with staff being perpetually shown.

That day they had a pink acrylic blanket on the exam table. We got her out of the carrier, and I held her lightly on the table while my guy left. I didn’t stop to wonder about that, and our cat was curious as to what was happening, was looking around. The vet and and a tech came in and picked her up to give her a shot in her neck. She cried out, it must have hurt, surprised her or both.

The first shot was supposed to be a muscle relaxant. As she was put down on the blanket after that shot, she seemed to shrink under my hands into a narrow strip of fur and turn, her green eyes becoming black dilated pits.The vet said something about how sometimes they don’t close their eyes and I felt freaked out for a second, out of my depth. For a second I felt like she wasn’t my beloved cat anymore,  the precious one that I knew.

I don’t know what I was thinking or feeling, but the vet asked me if I wanted to stay for the next two shots to come, and I said NO, let go of my cat and LEFT, walked out of the room, shutting the door behind me. I left the most precious love of my life ALONE to die alone, when I could have stayed and held her, been with her and at least had my heart field next to her when her spirit was leaving her body.  I have participated in and witnessed  three deaths, one which was putting down  my mother’s dog Hobbes, one of my mother, still warm with her eyes lifeless and open, and held a friend’s cat Yappy when she put him down. Hobbes had literally become unable to move without pain due to arthritis and the heavy anti inflammatory medication was destroying him. I held him until he was gone and I wept and grieved then. In this case, my cat was surviving, but she had been having big problems for about three years.

 

Why I fucked this one up so badly I don’t know, but I am going to regret it for the rest of my life. It brings me to tears any and every time I focus on it, on how much those last minutes of her life would have been better, oh so selfishly, for me. I don’t know if it would have made a difference to her, don’t know if her spirit is affected, but I grieve for the loss of those minutes, well aware of the horrible irony of it. I had her killed, the result was the same with or without me staying, but  I am so sad I did not. I missed out. I feel so guilty and ashamed for leaving her to die in terror, so small against that blanket.

 

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Still Life with Blood Pressure Cuff

This morning I woke up around 4:30 am with my head full of pressure, my mouth dry,  my body stiff and white noise and pulse whooshing away in my left ear. I got up to pee, and my guy in the back bedroom asked me to open a door he’d shut. I did, went back to where I sleep, and got my cell phone, intent on using a stopwatch on it to see what my heart rate was. It beeped, and he shut the door abruptly, saying ” I didn’t know you were going to Beep AGAIN.”

That got my goat big time.  I’ve been suffering from high blood pressure, induced by hypothyroidism for quite some time, and I had a wave of grandiose self pity, anger and fear surge through me, along with several hard edged retorts I managed not to voice.

Maybe I should have a stroke, heart attack or pop an eye anneurism and fulfil your worst fears and projected death wish, MOTHERFUCKER! Would you be happy then?

I fumbled around in the dark, putting  my pants on backwards, mad and scared. I got up and spitefully turned on a bright kitchen light, sat down to put on the blood pressure cuff to take my blood pressure.   I tried about 6 times to get a decent reading, hampered both by the sounds and pressure in my head, unable to see or hear clearly the thumping and jumping of the indicator on the gauge.   My eyes are working but hampered by the pressure.

I drew a sketch of myself Guernica- Picasso style, sitting with the blood pressure cuff on, whacky eyed with heart beat pulses streaming out of my distended ears. It occurred to me then, that my blood pressure, while high, has stayed the same for weeks. What hasn’t is that I have been taking no flush niacin and a blood pressure medication prescribed by a doctor for  more than a week.  What has changed is the pressure in my head, the heat and numbness.

I decided to get out the niacin book and look up cardiovascular effects of taking it. And  under the chapter on Safety of Taking Niacin, page 53,  there it was: ” Macular Edema- The condition is unusual and completely reversible- Such changes are obvious in a standard retinal fundus exam when the patient reports symptoms of a visual deficit.”

No Shit. In english that means I’m hopefully NOT dying today.

 

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Eternity in the Face of a Cat

Tomorrow we are killing our cat. She is the most beautiful thing that exists on this earth, and we are going to have her “put down” at a vet clinic.  I’m in shock, mostly because me the guy are actually on the same page about it, have made the appointment, agreed on what to do with her body, and are going to do it together, a miracle all by itself. She has been the glue for our relationship, pitiful as that is, and I have no idea what will happen between us when she is gone.

And I’m devastated, in spite of everything. I’ve had almost a whole year of time with her I didn’t deserve.  Her bones are brittle, her hair is ratty,  her clearly decaying  teeth have made it hard for her to eat, and she’s been fighting to exist for some time now.  She’s become incontinent, and though she travels to the cat box, she  pees next to it instead of in it, and this is an improvement. Our kitchen table has been  a raw food cat smorgasbord, but it’s not helping her enough and she’s been drinking tons of water for too long.  This has been coming for a long time now, and I know I will never forget her or try to replace her.

I don’t want to ever let her go, and her loss is going to be one of the biggest of my life. The irony of it all was that I didn’t take that good of care of her, and I feel terribly guilty about it. She’s been deaf for quite a while.  Four months of transdermal hypothyroid and blood pressure medication goo smeared on her ears stabilized her but did not fully relieve her symptoms.  We can’t get her teeth cleaned or fixed, because the anestetic will probably kill her. She now weighs only 4 lbs and spends a great deal of her time passed out. She has a wonderful, melodic voice and a sassy kind of catitude despite her small size and condition.

I am also relieved she has survived being sat on( which me and the guy each did several times), killed and eaten by predators of which there are many out side, or falling, being  crushed or torn up by other cats and dogs. Somehow she is everything and just a cat all at the same time. She has a mixture of  grey, white and a soft, pale orange which make her nondescript but amazingly beautiful at the same time.  I wish I could love her better and more forever. I feel so completely unworthy of her life and presence.

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