A time to Eat: Intermittent Fasting

Everything in balance… 

I’ve started to do intermittent fasting again. I’d tumbled off that wagon back in June during a rough emotional time for me and finally decided to hop back on. 

It was a bit rough starting up again. The stomach grumbles and my Dysautonomia made for a few struggles trying to get my system adjusted – but now that I’ve worked out the proverbial kinks in my eating routine I’m feeling a lot better! 

I don’t eat anything until around 10:30 in the morning, try to avoid munching out between meals, after supper at around 4pm I’m done eating anything until the next day at 10:30 am. 

Now the science of intermittent fasting is actually pretty cool. It allows your body enough time to fully digest and metabolize your food and helps control and manage your insulin usage. 

It is however something that you need to tread lightly at and make sure you adjust your plan and work with your body. You can overdo it, or mess with other health issues if you aren’t careful. 

Having a condition where my heart rate and blood pressure will occasionally tank out on me means that my salt pills are always at my side and I will take them if need be regardless of the time of day to prevent a black out. Luckily I haven’t needed to break my fasting time for them yet. 

So that’s part of my healthy eating journey so far! 

Since the Ontario health care system is still so very strained and fragile at the moment this feels like an important step in trying to improve my own health on my own until I can get other more serious health issues looked at later on. 

And an added benefit is I’ve started losing a bit of weight again! The intermittent fasting method really seems to work well with the low carb diet I’m already on. 

A few tips for those looking at trying intermittent fasting: 

Drink lots. Keep yourself hydrated and it’ll help with the hunger grumbles the first few days. Black tea or coffee also helps to settle your system down and makes you feel fuller. 

Make sure your fasting time is also your sleeping time as well. Not only does sleeping help the digestive process but it also makes fasting a lot easier to maintain if you are sleeping through a bunch of that no-eat time! 

Avoid the binge! It won’t do much good for you overall if you binge eat or blow your portion sizes right after coming off a fasting time. Eventually you’ll find you are less hungry then you think you are once your body adjusts to the new routine so just keep an eye on not overeating the first few days and you should be okay! 

And lastly – don’t take things too far! Eat good meals and snack on good food in your eating times and don’t starve yourself! Look I’ve been there… sometimes the desire to lose weight or drop pounds can make you go a bit extreme and if you see some of the positive changes start to happen you may want to dive in head first and just eat the bare minimum to get where you want to be even faster – but please try to maintain proper nutrition and calorie intake as much as possible. 

Health is far more important then a number on a scale. Remember that. (That is something I always need to remind myself as well!) 


Retirement: short story.

( I decided to break things up a little and write a small story. I had ideas for where this tale could lead – but may never finish it. I still thought it worth a share. )

Siren always hated the arenas. They reeked of hydrolic fluid and booze, and the all too bright lights were only amplified by the wafts of synthetic clouds created by the various brands of vape smoke that puffed out in various waves from the packed house. It hurt her head and irritated her sensitive eyes. 

If it wasn’t for Solus she couldn’t see any feesible reason why she’d even enter a place like this. But Solus was her world. And he needed her. So here she would be. 

Although the twins shared much with each other, including their ruged good looks and keen intellect, this was definitely one thing they didn’t see eye to eye on. 

Solus loved the fights. Siren couldn’t stand them. 

She flashed a smile and her admittance card to the large bear of a man named Sal (who was far more jovial and docile outside of the arenas) that guarded the backrooms and slipped away from the abrasive crowd into the quieter side of chaos behind the scenes.

The first stop she made was the Pens.  Inside the thick clear polyresin pens were a various collection of fighers waiting for their matches. 

She noticed Solus was entering Dibs into this bout. The stocky little creature was at the lower end of the weight restrictions for this level – but what Dibs lacked in weight he made up for with speed and agility. Not to mention the carbon steel hooks which arched forward on his deadly feet. In standby mode he looked especially ferocious with preprogrammed animation of chomping those razor teeth and shifting his weight back and forth, back and forth. 

His programming. The thought soured her mood even more. 

Siren hated seeing them like this. Off leash Dibs seemed like another creature entirely. He had a personality. He was aloof and playful. Curious and attentive. After she worked on his repairs or took time to upgrade him she always reveled in the way he’d seem to parade around at her feet testing out his new capabilities. Never once was she scared of him at home. 

Here though? 

She instinctively pulled her hand to a place of safety behind her back and took a breath before heading to the Infirm Holding pens to face what she was sure would be another type of sourness waiting for her. Picking up the pieces. 

Solus was waiting for her, pacing as he often did. His silver white hair was cut short and spikey and he always wore it as if it had been ruffled into perfect position on accident rather then by choice. “It’s Arc.” He muttered with an irritated motion of his hand to the covered bed off to the left. “it’s the same problem every time, he gets one charge off and can’t build up enough conductivity for another go at it. And they put him up against Tyro of all things! That tank is insulated and heavy – he shouldn’t even be in the same weight class!” 

He was worked up. He hated to lose. Thankfully it didn’t happen very often. 

Solus was a top teir player for the underground battles and due to his skill for inquring the right matches with the right fighters he brought in a fair bit of money in prize fights. It was enough money for Solus and Siren lived in a nice place, had good food, and could reinvest into repairs and new additions to his arsenal. 

But not all repairs could be made. 

“How bad?” Siren shouldn’t have even asked. She could tell even before she reached the table that it was about as bad as it could be. Still she couldn’t stop herself from reaching out, pulling away the tarp of a sheet and surviling the damage. It was a mess of fur, metallic bent pieces and synthetic bone. The mangled heap (what little was left of it) was splattered and dripping in the dyed watery red fluid of Arc’s hydrolic fluid. It smelled acrid and coppery. 

It did it’s job in the arena’s – it looked and smelled as close to blood as they could mimic, which was why every fighter had to have the same mix blend. The rules tried to make it seem like it was regulated for fairness – but they all know it was to make the savage battles far more entertaining. It catered to the carnal nature of the event even if they couldn’t get the look exactly right. The blood fluid was always a bit too watery. A bit too orange. But it might as well have been the exact same thing to Siren. It usually meant the same either way. 

Her heart knew even before her head did. And her mouth was last to finally catch up with a delayed hiss of “..Shit. He’s completely demolished.”

“Yup. He’s done. There’s nothing left – I didn’t even get a chance to neural-link his training sessions. Tyro tore him to bits and his system died well before we could get him back here. I should have retired him a year ago.”

“It would have been kinder.” Siren couldn’t help the coldness in her tone. 

“Look, I only have one more fight tonight – I pulled Melee and Slash out tonight. Once Dibs gets done we’ll cash out and go someplace to talk. There are a few things I really want to talk to you about.” He glanced over at his watch seeminly oblivious about her comment and realized with the raising octaves of the ambient music that another match was about to commence. The lights in the ring were brightening as the house lights  grew ever dimmer. 

“Hopefully he fares better.” Siren muttered as she watched her brother dismiss her with barely another thought. She stared daggers at the back of his head as his lanky form slid back into the entertainment of the arena area. 

She wondered how similar she would look to him if she chose to wear the same spiked floof of a hairdo. Instead her hair hung at mid-length, usually tagged back in a loose but relatively behaved braid. It was far easier to keep it out of her eyes if it was tied back. She treated her hair like an unruley prisoner. Some days she wondered if she should just shave it off and be done with it. The ultimate of low-maintainace hairstyle. 

“Tyro is on fire lately. Just last week he jumped three standings.” The voice was the give away. Kent had the linguistic charm of a bard, but the accent of a backalley dealer. He had all the lilt and smoothness of a charmer but often the coy casual wordplay of a biker. “The talk is that Jace found a backalley source coder who is bloody ruthless. He managed to program some sort of assassin code. Leave nothing standing sort of deal. Must have paid a bloody forture for something like that. I told your brother that Arc was too outdated to take on Tyro in a deathmatch. But you know him. The arrogant ass that he is. Thinks he can outsmart and outbeat everyone.”

“Yeah, that’s him.” Siren shook her head ran her hand over a patch of wet fur which was quite cold to the touch now.

Arc had been a stoic sort. He had a feline body shape and a personality to match. He was a quiet companion who would spend hours of his free time watching her from tall perches. His bright neon blue eyes would stalk her like a silent shadow. His loss felt more sharp and painful then some of the others for the very same contributing factor into his demise.

Arc was an older model. He had many matches in the Arena under his belt and many times in Sirens company at home and being repaired or upgraded. She knew him, inside and out. And he was around long enough to know her inside and out as well.

She would miss those eyes of his more then she thought she would. It already hurt and the loss for her had only been moments old.

There was only enough bits for a small disposal in their home workshop. His scraps would be decommisioned through incineration and what metal bits that are left would be remelted down into his final nameplate.

What little was left would make for a small nameplate. She would probably force him to put some more effort into it. Perhaps recreate the electric blue of his eyes in the colour of his name.

It was a pointless, meaningless and sentimental act that she forced Solus to continue dispite his arguing that it seemed stupid. Perhaps it was her own petty little way to make him feel something for these creatures. Afterall, she shouldn’t be the only one to feel this horrible about the losses.  

She struggled to figure out something to say that felt appropriate in some way. A goodbye that was grander and more substantial in its weight. She gave up and only landed on four meaningless but throat clenched words. “You can retire now.” 

No vacancies: Ontario Health is Crumbling…

I watched the news today with a continued sense of lingering dread. 

There are now even more hospitals that are temporarily closing their emergency departments. Medical facilities are backed up and seeing a Doctor for any unforeseen reason is a marathon exercise in patience and compromise. 


The straw that finally broke the camels back was COVID- but this camel has been crippled for years. It’s just so much more obvious now. 

Our system is broken. Our Doctors, Nurses, Specialists, hospital and medical staff… they are overworked, overwhelmed, and drowning in a flood of backlog and new problem cases. The cracks in our care systems have turned into crumbling foundations and it’s happening everywhere. 

I’m worried. 

I had hoped that after the larger influx of the COVID waves came through – maybe we would start to see a normalization of the system again. With vaccines on board I had hoped we would be crawling out of this problem with some sort of solid footing underneath us. 

I was wrong. Apparently things are going to be far more complicated, and take a heck of a lot longer to fix. 

I’ve been looking after a family member for a little while with quite a serious injury that she’s been healing from. I’ve also been having serious pain and issues since November. 

Not only has her specialist been late contacting her for the last 2 weeks, my appointment isn’t until October. Almost 3 months away still. (2 months and 25 days to be exact…) 

At this rate it just feels like “your on your own folks!” for the most part. And that is scary. Especially when you consider that other people with just as serious (or even a lot more serious) health conditions in Ontario are dealing with this same terrifying anxiety. 

Now I know a lot of people blame Doug Ford and his party for the deficits in the health care system – with good reasons behind that thought. But blame does nothing without the backing of action. 

This needs to be fixed. It should be a top priority of the Ontario government. 

Because right now people are going to die because they won’t be able to get the essential health care they need… and that is heart breaking. 

And those of us with chronic illness will face more and more complications and months of pain waiting for appointments that feel like an eternity away – or waiting an endless amount of time for results and treatments that could effect the very quality of our lives for years to come. 

Stranger Things Novels – Are they worth reading?

I am a huge fan of Stranger Things. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s and adoring the type of light campy horror fantasy that the show dives headfirst into means that this show is directly up my alley. 

After an epic season 4 I was dealing with my own horror at having to wait until 2024 when season 5 is likely to be released. Unfortunately for me and the massive fandom around the globe – it is supposed to also be the final season. 

So to soothe my lil’ geeky heart I decided to delve into a few of the published novels from Stranger Things that delve into backstories and other world weaving bits. 

“Suspicious Minds” by Gwenda Bond is the first  official Stranger Things novel. The tag line reads “before the Demogorgon… before the Mind Flayer… terror wore a human face.” (Awesome throwback feels to the Goosebumps or Christopher Pike cover tag lines from my childhood by the way.)

As you can guess this story takes place well before the events at the series start. In fact the story revolves around Eleven’s mother, Dr. Brenner, and the project that started it all. 

Now I won’t be spoiling anything here for you. I would love to go into details and plot points and all that goodness – but the book addicts code of conduct forbids me. 

What I will say is that this book was interesting, engaging, and felt very true to the world it was written in. Gwenda has a good pacing and solid flow in her writing style and I found her storytelling an enjoyable and easy read. Is it a super complicated and psychological thrilling read? Well no – not exactly. But neither is it supposed to be. It’s accessible and intriguing and does an excellent job at helping to fill in the backstories of characters that I personally am still invested in. 

It also does a brilliant job at tying 008 back into the narrative of the world. Since like many of us – the show sort of still has that plot line up in the air. 

It also leaves a lot of unanswered questions as well… since a few of the characters you meet in this book now have some open plot uses for later on. Will we see them again? Will they maybe make an appearance in the final season in the show? 

The possibilities really are fun to play with. Since these are officially released by Stranger Things they are definitely canon! That gives my little wannabe theorist heart a flutter! (Someone call MatPat!)

So if you want to hold yourself over until the final season is released – or just add to your Stranger Things collection – definitely give this book a read. I found my hardcover on sale at Book Outlet and it didn’t break the bank. 

I also picked up “Darkness on the Edge of Town” that goes into Hoppers backstory. That one looks like it’s going to be a heck of a read as well. 

I definitely need more book shelves… 

Also as a completely amusing coincidence – my last name is also Bond. As far as I know Gwenda and I are completely unrelated other then apparently sharing a surname, a love of writing, and a keen interest in the nostalgic universe of Stranger Things.

Stories of loss: Why certain characters we love still need to die.

( This article is a bit different for me. It is a bit of a discussion on character development and story cliches – so this is your chance yo duck out now while you still can if that sounds incredibly boring! Also note that Stranger Things and Xena are also involved… )

Important character deaths happen in popular media. Normally it happens to minor characters to either add emotional drama or to advance the plot. Sometimes there are justifiable ends like the deaths of a villain. But sometimes these ends are met by popular or heroic characters that we hoped would somehow be safe. 

This has always been a very controversial topic among various fandoms young and old. When a beloved character kicks the proverbial bucket there is always a powerful reaction. Those reactions are usually heartbreak, shock, and sometimes even outrage. Fans want storylines undone or a mulligan option. 

We hate to see our favourite characters leave us. But… my argument is that’s exactly why we need them to die and let them stay dead. 

Here me out and I will try to explain my stance (as unpopular as it just may be…).

The reason why this topic came up was due to the amount of love, shock, and theories over the death of a character from Stranger Things. 

To avoid spoiling anything if you are a big fan of Stranger Things – definitely go watch season 4! 

I will be discussing a major event from the show… you’ve been warned!

Still here? 

Okay let’s discuss the epic tale of Eddie Munson and his metal shredding and bat out of hell heroic death. 

There has been countless theories about how this epic end could somehow be turned around or somehow offset. Even quite a plausible theory about him pulling a Kas move from D&D and managing to come back as a vampire (There are a lot of ways they -could- wrangle that aspect if the show runners actually decided to). 

The problem is (in my own opinion) that would be a huge mistake. 

From a storytelling perspective Eddie had his character arc fulfilled. As brief and as brilliant as the character was, he went out on his own terms as the hero. He rolled the dice, sacrificed his life, accomplished his goal at helping to save his friends and “not run away this time”. 

It broke our hearts as the viewers, and it’s normal to want more of a character that we feel in love with. As a storyline – it did exactly as it was supposed to! It made us feel something. 

The problem with the resurrection cliche in a lot of modern media is that it negates the power of these moments in storytelling. It cripples the emotional weight and finality if everyone knows that character can always be brought back by some magic maguffin situation. It leads to characters tarnishing or stagnating due to not going out when the story came to its natural conclusion. 

I always equate this to Xenia and the never ending endings… 

When I was a fair bit younger Xenia the Warrior Princess was one of my favourite shows. Now for those of you who don’t know or remember much about this show let me premise this by saying Xenia died around 3 or 4 times. She got brought back a few different time throughout the show. 

The problem is they brought her back too many times and the story suffered from it. The show went on for too many seasons and the writing got more and more convoluted. By the time the last season aired you could tell that the writers were running low on ideas and undermining set canon that had already been established. 

Although over the years the nostalgic factor has helped the ratings, the storylines were obviously a mixed bag and got really strange near the end. It made little sense. 

Unfortunately that is the major risk of taking a characters normal ‘lifespan’ in a story and stretching it on longer then the initial plot. Sometimes you start to tarnish the character development and start entering into the “beating-a-dead-horse” territory. They live long enough to completely outlive the powerful impact they had to begin with. They just… don’t always live up to their own mythos and the whole story suffers along with them. 

To bring Eddie back from his epic concert in the Upside Down would be to handicap his character development and force his story to try and live up to that epic highlight. If the writers can’t keep his new extended story arc on that same pace – suddenly he hasn’t left on a high and starts to falter and take away from that moment instead. The quality of his meaning diminishes. He fades.

This is why as hurtful and as powerful as some character deaths are – they are both essential and necessary. They deserve to be permanent and honoured as an important part of storytelling. 

So if you mourn the epic fictional life of a character know that you are fully validated in feeling that loss. We are human and emotional creatures! It makes us beautifully complicated. 

But also understand that sometimes losing a character isn’t always a bad thing either. Respect a good and powerful end for the tragic brilliance that it sometimes is. It proves just how ‘alive’ they were for you. 

Rest In Peace Eddie Munson. King of Metal in the Upside down! 

The great disconnect…

My cellphone and internet run through the same provider. Internet, streaming tv and phones (other then a landline that gets more use from scam calls then anyone else)

I’ve had them for years now and they keep a consistent quality and low maintenance plan that I enjoy. 

Unfortunately they are under the umbrella of the much larger Rogers network. If you live pretty much anywhere in Canada right now then you know why this is a problem… 

I’m typing this right now in a digital notepad because there is a nationwide outage of the Rogers network which has caused pretty much a full blackout of cellphone and internet on any device hooked up with them. Considering that Rogers is pretty much the largest network around here… it’s been a very quiet day. 

We turned on the radio for a while and found out that this outage is huge. It’s effecting health care clinics, stores, restaurants – you name it. Anything that was running through them is kaput at the moment. It’s the great disconnect. 

Luckily there are plenty of people out there on other networks entirely that seem to be accessing things fine. (Is it quieter out there on the World Wide Web?) 

I do not share that luck however. 

So I am sitting here, listening to the silence of my own thoughts and wondering how long it will take for a company to fix a problem like this that effects such a huge area? If the radio is correct (it’s not like I can fact check it at the moment..) and let’s say Rogers is down entirely – who gets priority? Is this an issue of fixing a few pulled switches, or is this a major security breach that took them down? Exactly how long are we looking at? 

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy some introspection and quiet time – I’ve got a stack of books I can finally get around to reading and  there is a lot of illustration work I can start… but there is something deeply unsettling about not having prompt access to news and information. Suddenly I feel a bit lost with myself… how do I know what’s going on in the world? 

It’s weird that I have spent so much time trying to keep one eye on the headlines to try and prepare for whatever insane twists the ‘20’s have been throwing my way that now it feels like I’m travelling blind.

And I hate that. 

So… this is day 01 of the Rogers blackout in Ontario Canada. Tomorrow will either be another addition to this growing note on computer or I will finally be able to post this on my blog with a working internet connection… make your bets people! The odds are -not- in my favour… 

P.S – it looks like things may be coming back to life now! Jittering and crawling but still connecting. Rogers has released a statement that boils down to ”we have no idea what happened, we have no idea how it bypassed all our failsafes“. There is no firm idea on how permanent this fix is… but for now it works.

Summer waves: Ontario vs COVID

You go into any store or restaurant in Ontario and the woes and fear of COVID-19 seems to be a distant fever dream. There are only handfuls of masks among the crowds. 

Although I still tend to wear my mask everywhere (due to my own crappy immune system and chronic illness) I must admit… I was hoping that we were finally getting over this mess. 

Now the news is rising another red flag and signalling another wave of COVID is rearing its ugly head in Ontario – spurred by yet another variant of Omicron (ba.5 I believe?) that is even slipping past peoples immunity defence and causing some back-to-back cases. You can catch it, recover, then immediately catch it again possibly… 

There are no plans at instituting any more mandates or precautions and there are still high numbers of people ending up with long COVID. Because of the volatile FREEDOM(tm) movement going around –  any talk of vaccination pushes, mandates, or health precautions just make a global health issue into a political argument. I swear it becomes harder and harder to discuss anything pandemic wise with family or friends without risking a dicey jot through potential argumentative land minds. 

So. I’m just going to keep trying to avoid catching this thing and hope that these waves finally settle down while keeping one wary eye on test positivity and COVID numbers. 

Boy, just when I thought I had enough on my plate already.

Keep safe everyone! 

My thoughts on Roe v. Wade…

I had to fight for years to get my major woman’s health issues taken seriously enough to finally grant me a hysterectomy. I kept being brushed off because I was asexual with no desire for kids but “you might want kids some day”. 

When things got bad enough luckily I found the right gynaecologist who listened to me and decided my health and choices meant something. By then however I already had stage 4 endometriosis and the start of uterine cancer. 

I have told this story before. Scroll back far enough and you will probably have heard it a few times now. I will keep telling it. 

This is why the Roe v. Wade issue in the USA hits home for me, even though I am Canadian. When you start eroding woman’s rights over their own body and choices for their own health then you set off an avalanche of other issues. Women already have a very difficult time being taken seriously about their own health issues! It is a problem that is only going to get monumentally worse! 

They suspect that my endometriosis is back. 

I’ve been in pain since November of last year. My gynaecologist appointment is booked for October. Why? Because 6-8 months is the average wait time to see a gynaecologist where I live. 

So although it’s possible that endometriosis is again cementing parts of my insides together and possibly causing permanent damage as it does… I have to just wait. Because woman’s health issues are not top of the list in our already crumbling health care system. 

Woman’s rights to safe and compassionate health care should never be taken away. It isn’t up for you to decide what those health care options should be. That should always be between the woman and their doctor. 

Keep your politics and religious beliefs out of it. 

If we go down, then we go down together. I stand with all the women, trans, supporters, and decent human beings who are angry about this entire situation. I see you. 

Stress eating…

You can’t scroll around anywhere on social media right now and not see the massive turmoil going on in the world. It feels like every day (sometimes hour by hour) there are new disasters and political messes happening. It gets very overwhelming. Especially when I have a lot of smaller personal things going on right now.

The world is burning. It’s an analogy I’ve used for a while now and it seems to still hold true.  However this isn’t what I wanted to write about today… it would way too much to write at the moment.

What I wanted to make note of was something that I’ve learned lately.

My stress levels have been through the roof. My eating habits also hasn’t faired well this last month due to stress snacking.. luckily I will say that keeping to low carb snacks and food choices has at least made it so I’m not really gaining too much! Just feeling a bit more sluggish. 

That’s one honest and surprising things I’ve learned about switching to a low carb lifestyle – yes I still stress eat and I know massive amounts of stress and worry tends to make me put on a few good pounds… but I don’t have the same yo-yo effect that my body usually has with weight. 

It’s like my system is far more effective at managing the weight fluctuations and keeping me at least at a general plateau. Considering my entire life has been a struggle with large weight gains from simply going out and eating a regular meal or sliding off a super regulated diet for one day – I expected that my over indulging would have a huge impact on my progress. 

Man… I’m glad that’s one thing that hasn’t disappointed me. 

If you find an eating plan, lifestyle, or system that works well for you / helps you stay healthy / or just makes you feel good about yourself – then stick with it! As long as it’s safe and doing you no harm then all the power to you. 

There is a heck of a lot of things in the world that we can’t do much about at the moment. So focus on what you can handle. Even if that’s just a basic eating plan. 

Keep safe, eat healthy.

Sometimes you crawl…

Life isn’t always kind. In fact most times it’s a very hard and cruel thing. It can sweep your legs out from under you and burst the air from your lungs in less time then it takes to process it’s even happening. 

It happens as quickly as a car crash. One misjudged left turn and one speeding driver. And it’s after effects can be just as dire. 

Yet the reality is that life can’t just stop because times get hard or you or those you care about get hurt. You can’t tell the world to take a time-out until you get your footing. You just have to move on. Limp on if needed. Crawl if you have to.

Because life may have its moments of cruel twists, misjudged accidents, or traumatic events – but it has the potential to have just as beautiful, healing, and amazing things as well. For every heartbreak there is the potential to heal, learn, and grow even stronger for it. 

This is especially true for the disasters that involve our own mistakes or lapses in judgement. Forgiveness is devastatingly difficult. Especially when it comes to forgiving ourselves. 

Life owes you nothing. It is what it is. 

Forgiveness is only what you owe yourself and those who love you. Understand that the twists, hardships, and mistakes made always have the potential for growth, healing, and learning. 

Breathe. Survive. Crawl if you have to… 

You will find your way past the darkest moments. You will eventually find the brighter things in life. But only if you keep moving forward and work towards letting go of the guilt, pain, or frustration that these darker parts of life may throw at you.