Plan C

With the decision of Rove v. Wade I am sure that women all around the globe have been triggered in some way. I know for a fact that some woman has been reminded once again that someone…anyone can take their essence away. We have been reminded that we aren’t understood, and that most if not all of the U.S refuse to understand us…let alone listen.

For the past few days, I have grieved for the woman who feels judged for any decision she has made regarding her own body. I grieve that we as women in 2022 have been set back, and that the efforts of black, white, rich, and underserved women have fought to be heard…and now those voices have been silent once again. I know for a fact that several women in my family, and community feel the same. How can this be?

After years of not trying but PROVING everyone wrong when it comes to the heart of a woman. When I think of the journey of our ancestors; I am saddened that in a “progressive land of the free” that women have been silenced. Not just women in particular, but black women…women of color…women who are the direct decedents of slaves….and mothers, wives, and roles of teachers and midwives who weren’t allowed to show themselves. I once again grieve for them. Unfortunately, it is not grief that comes from the past tense….Lord help us. Once again I do not feel protected, I do not feel heard all the time it feels like….and I feel less than despite me doing the work. Despite me putting the effort in healing myself. Not only for me, but my brown baby girls.

So, plan C….

I knew that once I graduated from Auburn University; traveled to start my degree, went through the professional learning curve, and i still survived. I thought that despite the sexual assault and stalking of my perp that I was well on my way completing plan A. I just knew that once I truly started over in Atlanta, reignited my career, made peace with my mental illness and get married i would maintain my Plan A and I believed that I was well on my way. Once I moved to Atlanta, survived a failed engagement and a dead end rekindled relationship; I knew that I was still on track to complete Plan B…..boy was I wrong!  

At 28 years old, I was flying high. I had good friends who felt like I did….waiting. waiting on our big career break. Waiting on love… just waiting. We thrived in our sister relationships while we were broke; yet we ate, drank and enjoyed our “big city”. Then the making of plan C came upon me. I can remember the exact same day that it began. I was thriving and riding high on completing my first book. I couldn’t believe that I not only reached my dream, but I completed in. That entire month before, I celebrated by eating good food, and social drinking to my hearts content. I passed the State supervisor exam…and I drank to celebrate with my friends on a night out. I finally got promoted….and I drank and celebrated….finished my book and you guessed it…pre-gamed at my sorors house, danced on club row, and ended the night smashing food at Chine Buddha where we spilt the check 5 ways.

But on the day of shooting my book cover, I celebrated at brunch with champagne  because bruh…I made it. Then I got dressed….did my hair and makeup …took a couple of test shots and I drank a mixed cocktail simply because I FELT pretty. Im lying I felt gorgeous. I usually felt smart…and pretty because that’s what everyone would tell me. But for once, I felt sexy all on my own. I felt accomplished, successful, vibrant, and like I was literally the SHIT for once, and so me and my friends on set celebrated. After a full day of “celebrating,” smiling till my face hurt, and dancing outside of Atlanta university center. And then the photoshoot was over.

I was once again alone in my little apartment on Beaver Ruin Road. While I was coming down from my celebratory high; I was reminded that I my situationship (that I thought was going to become a relationship) had come to an end with a guy I REALLY liked. Then I got a text that would change my life.

One of my good buddies from Auburn asked me out to a party…. because I didn’t want this dope ass night to end; I excitedly asked for the address. I immediately called my soror who was my best friend…my family at the time. She agreed to go with me, and off we went. I arrived at the party and was immediately unimpressed until I was approached by a guy. He didn’t seem like the rest, and before I knew it we were outside looking at the sky bearing our souls to each other…I am sure the alcohol influenced this. A couple hours later, I had my first and ONLY one sorta kinda nightstand. Mmmkay I will call it what it is….I decided to share my body with someone who I didn’t properly vet, a person who I drunkenly trusted, and I operated on lust. I admit my part in that day, and I continue to beat myself over my bad decision. During my decision, I inquired about protection and was told…that he didn’t have any. Well, I felt the devil is a lie, and promptly escorted him to a spot to go get one. Fast forward, we went on two dates, and because I was sober; I knew we weren’t a good fit. We parted ways as friends, and I moved on with my life.

Little did I know that I had been violated once again. Fast forward to me finding out I was pregnant, I was in denial. After all, I was with him when he bought protection, and I saw him put it on. I know that protection isn’t 100%, but I just couldn’t understand. I notified him and in the same breath he admitted he took it off, and then DEMANDED that I abort. I don’t judge others who make their OWN decisions with their bodies, but I felt cheated. I felt violated and robbed of my Plan B. In that moment where he was DEMANDING me to abort, I made my OWN decision to take plan C.

A plan I didn’t prepare for the first time in my life. A plan that I welcomed, but felt ashamed of, and a plan that ultimately, I knew was my destiny. On my own, I immediately decided it would be ME and HER (I always knew it would be a girl). I refused to be swayed, even though I was in a predicament beyond my will. I had to make short term peace knowing that I stood by MY CHOICE. I could have gone the other route, and to be honest I would have been justified. I could have chosen to rid myself of this violation and I would have accepted it, but overall, it was MY choice. Even though he would call…and send text demanding that I wouldn’t maintain the pregnancy, but my mind was made up. I was gonna keep my baby; even if it meant I would do it alone. After all, God had opened up the door for Plan C.

Even now, I struggle with my decision that I put myself in the situation to begin with. I struggle with the fact that I was all over the place and put myself in the position to  be taken advantage of. I know…I know….that doesn’t help, but I am in therapy to not only to learn how to cope with the violation, but know that it wasn’t and ISNT my fault.

So you see, I have always been and ever driven by a woman’s choice. It’s her God given right! I have many family, friends, sorors, and acquaintances who chose their own solution. And you know what? I was and is ALWAYS supportive. I know that it is the woman ultimately that has to live with her choice; so why is it being taken away in 2022?

I can go on and on and feel unheard like so many other women and allies. I know that one day my daughter will learn the deep details about her conception; even though we have had age-appropriate talks that she has inquired about. And you know what, she has said recently over a cup of tea, “I’m sorry that happened to you.” I kid you not, In her eight-year-old mind she asked, “Why didn’t he stay even though you were gonna have a baby?”

I had to dig deep, humble myself, tuck my tears down, and answer her question, “baby, I don’t know, but God brought us to Daddy.” How can it be that an 8 year old child in generation “LMNOP” have the guile and understanding to say, “I am sorry this happened to you.”

In the end, I am so sorry to all of the women who are able to bear life that this is happening to you. I am so sorry that you feel unheard, ignored, and deprived of your autonomy over your body. I am sorry that my baby girls… all baby girls will have to learn about this in their history books. Hopefully, by the time that Erilyn and Eriane learn about this foolery in history that this will all be sorted out, that the white men, lone uncle Tom and ignorant FEMALE will once again uphold the rightful decision. I pray that I will not only continue to prepare my babies for their future,  but let them know that plans ABCD and Z will be beneficial, but most importantly they will be supported by mommy, daddy, and all the ppl who love them oh so much.

And for the record, I don’t regret my plan C….it led me to being Erika Pope.


I didn’t realize until a couple months ago that I didn’t dream anymore. In actuality,  in my last dream; I only saw him twice. When my daddy would come to me while I slept.; it would eat me up when I had to wake up. Even though I couldn’t decipher the dreams. I mean its not like he’d sit down to talk to me….to comfort me and remind me that everything would be ok.

Next thing I know is I became obsessed with trying to dream about meeting my daddy again. I used to be petrified when I was unable to dream of him because I needed him. I needed his comforting smile and hug.

Instead, I would remember my dreams for the last couple of years; it seemed that those dreams and thoughts would take my breath away often. I can replay back that those memories would take my breath away in fear. Those dreams would come from my childhood in sweet St. Louis. Every now and again, those dreams would be laced with meaningless yet beautiful dreams of a child of divorce who basked in time with my daddy….yet miss  my mommy simultaneously. Even now, I can feel the ultimate confusion from their divorce so long ago.

In fact, during those few summers;  I would write letters to her that I would never mail. For whatever reason, I would hoard my letters that I wrote my mother. And when it was time to go home; I would write a pile of letters that I would leave under my daddy’s pillow when it at the end of the summer. For some reason in my adolescent mind, I felt that I could be with him and her at the same…A silly thought and dream I STILL cannot decipher at 36 years old. Those sweltering days in St. Louis during the summer seemed to last forever yet they speed by. Outside of those memories of getting the colored popcorn from Schnooks, late nights of the 3 stooges; and pizza from Uno’s; that in my dreams; I would relive the darkness of that time. The moments of darkness and trauma that I refuse to relive. My refusal to relive those traumas allow me to understand the foundation of my strength.

When I think of those times; I spent in years spending summers in a home that my father’s father passed in. In fact, daddy discovered him with my siblings and I. Perhaps that is the culprit of some of those difficult dream. As a child, I remember that I would be scared to cross the threshold of his door. I would feel so afraid and confused that my daddy would sleep in the same bed his father’s bed that he took his last breath in.  And now my babies live in the home that their pawpaw passed in. Life seems to play a twisted game

 Now, I understand his reason why he needed to be close to his daddy too. I can remember the layout of that three-story home that held tears and devastation that occurred before I was even thought of. I remember in those years; I would climb to the 3rd floor and envision me jumping three stories. I’d feel so much that I couldn’t understand. I felt so completely broken.

Often times, I could see myself jumping from that 3rd story window onto the street of 5020 Vernon . Of course, I wanted to jump; yet I still wanted to survive….so I never did. To pacify myself; I would urge my brother to instead jump off the second floor into the yard to instead, and that would give me some level of gratification. My brother unknowlingly to my thoughts would be excited simply because we were bored and bad ass latchkey kiddos.

We had made that crazy ass jump all our lives; and I now know it was a short-term for my desire to let myself go and come back. We’d jump; roll on the ground and get scrapped and did it all over again…of course Daddy or our neighborhood aunties and uncles would never had any idea of that.  

I never knew then that my thoughts were morbid; until I became a professional that has observed ppl who have been at their end the rope. I know that at those times, I had this feeling that I would be safe from the HIGHEST of unconditional love.  And yet I saw the need to continue to breathe. Those whose hands I held along with their family’s; where they would silently say goodbye on the East Alabama hospice wing.

I met patients who were at the end of their journey’. I was blessed to hold hands of patient; and grieving family who reluctantly began they journey of letting them love one’s journey o the place of unknown. Those lessons made me yearn to walk in the present on the rolling plains of the dixie of Auburn. One of the few places of where I felt safe.

Years later as a grown up; when I first became an isolated single mommy; I had support and faith in God that protected the soul of me and my baby. He sent my daddy to help me in my last trimester. I would ask daddy why I was so devasted and afraid of those same dreams; despite the beautifulness of being so close to him. After all, I wouldn’t feel as close to him until he came to live with us. At that time, there was no need to write a letter and beg my mommy to buy me a stamp to send him a letter. I had him right there…. access to him that made those crazy dreams dissipate.

And on New Year’s 2022; I think that I asked the Lord to only expose me to  happy dreams in an effort to only allow my Daddy seep through.  I prayed to allow myself to feel days, upon days, upon days. I am done ignoring myself and rationalizing the desire to do more shit that’s important to me. These days, it feels natural to care for me; to ensure that my heart and soul is in safe place. Yet I aways feeling guilty. One of these days I will cope better in life right now on this oppressing, fearful, and disgusting plant. Yet,  I feel that at some point;  we all will simply slow down. Feel the breeze of your guardian angel. As humans who are exposed to the ugliness of mass shootings of OUR babies and elders. We are allowed to grieve; the children and elders we have recently loss. The journey of grief is dark and ugly most days…. I wish I had a better hand on it.

As of today, I’m Still tryna decide If I still want to dream deeply; and I have decide to instead focus on breathing; and one day hear  his voice in my deepest parts of  heart. I am trying to make sure that I cope in a healthy manner, but I suck at it right now. I need to ensure that I don’t beat myself up in the next couple of days…

*waiting on his voice  in my dreams to remind everything is “gone be aight*



Erika N. Pope, LSW MHRM

Perinatal Education Coordinator

Programs | Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of GA


2200 Century Pkwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30345

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“Open My Heart”

I am on the other side of grief.

 I am on the other side of disappoint in many phases of my life, and all yesterdays.

 I am on the other side of low self-esteem, and needing to be validated. The last two years have been a never-ending journey that one could NEVER prepare for. But I am at peace with where God has made me land. Sure, it’s not the exact plan that fasted and willed for; however, I have never been so grateful of simply being pushed into destined direction. After seeing daily clouds and confusion the past couple of months….Today tastes and smells so delicious.

Lately, I have been taking the time to continue to invest in my PEACE and enforcing my God given boundaries. I have started back on my fitness journey, after two freak accidents. I was truly afraid of every move I made, because it seemed that I fell victim of multiple roadblocks. I wasn’t sure if I was coming or going, but I knew that I was goody and God had me despite everything against me.

 At this time, I have humbled myself in the current phase in my career. I continue to harp on my ability to humble myself because I spent too much time in my off period DEMANDING that God provide me with the job I wanted; with the specific salary and title. I walked into the path that he KNOWS better than me…. and most importantly he is way smarter & forgiving than me. After all, I am a self-proclaimed lazy yet uber passionate extrovert who is finally okay with silence. What I am saying is that I have finally learned to open my heart…and bruhhhhhh… heart is hella big!

But now, ion care about failure and disappointment because I know for a fact that God answers my prayers thus makes me feel special.  I have never felt so strong in my faith until now. After all, I was laid off with zero income for 9 months without a want or need that wasn’t met. My husband was able to meet our needs without question, and I was able to truly focus on my healing. I was able to learn how to breathe and accept life for what it has to offer.Gone are the days of being unable to breathe due to a broken heart that was beyond repair. Gone are the days of confusion or concern of who I truly am. I am finally in a place where there is no reason to peel back my layers, because I understand I  am who I am. And I said what I said. Everyday feels good to feel me even when I am exhausted, because nothing can break me like I have been broken.

 Now, I am on a journey to not just feel “like Erie” but simply be Erie. I am taking day by day, and second by second. I spend my many thoughts enjoying the people who I love. Smiling at every one and accepting their flaws. I spend my time being grateful to the people who have contributed to the woman I am now. I now breathe uninterrupted and when there are bouts of anxiety and depression; I ensure that I fulfill my promise to myself. My promise to love myself unconditionally, to give myself grace, and create healthy boundaries. And because of those promises to myself; I am fully able to love on my husband and babies, and my family and friends. I am comfortable carrying the torch for my dad who loved me so much that he chose me. I feel strong enough to choose to breathe despite the trauma. I choose to be present in the moment so that I can see my babies grow up in a world that isn’t forgiving.

 I now know that the gift of being present will allow me to love my babies unconditionally. In fact, I asked my best friend recently, is it possible for someone to love us unconditionally outside of parents?  My baby sister is so wise because she told me that it isn’t possible or necessary to need that particular unconditional love. She told me that our parents are doing what they were charged to do; love us until they are no more. And that we have that same responsibility now that we are mommies. I must admit; It is such a scary feeling to know that love is stable yet transient.  

I’ve been talking to God asking for his guidance recently, and I finally see the path that he has constructed before me; thus, before my little family. Gone are the days when I live in fear that I am not doing everything exceptionally right in hopes that God will forgive me for all my mess…for my big and small transgressions.

Gone are the days of feeling small and less than. Gone are the days of living with a broken heart. After all, ask and ye shall receive. And I begged God to heal my heart.  I currently rest in the promise that our God is an accepting and forgiving God. And because I rest in that promise; I am at peace knowing that I am walking in my purpose. I reckon the feeling I am feeling is the result of opening my heart.

Look at God!

*hums “Open my Heart by Yolanda Adams*

This is what acceptance feels like….

The following passage was written Fall 2020 almost 8 months after Daddy went away….

Last week, I went to visit daddy and for once I was able to be alone and sit in my thoughts. There was no gut wrenching cries, but there was peace. Peace I had never felt before. I sat in the fact that it is well. I sat in the moment and just relished in the silence. I listened to the sounds of the birds, the wind blowing in the trees. It was a beautiful day. The day carried a breeze like no other. I soaked in all of the Vitamin D that my body had been needing for the past year. I think I must of have sat in silence for more than 20 minutes. To have time like that is rare for me. I then began to speak. Told daddy how I had been fairing. Talked about the debate, the first auburn win, and chuckled a few times. I began to let him know that I feel so much better. That I was finally able to breathe and my shoulders weren’t so heavy. That I was trying to ensure that I was going to try my hardest to do all I need to stay afloat.

Then I began to feel the tears streak down my cheek, because I just felt this deep feeling of gratitude. I can’t explain it. It was like this feeling of joy. I hadn’t felt that in so long. I  felt so blessed. I was so lucky to know and feel what true unconditional love was. There were no tears of sadness or heaviness. I felt my heart mend. I looked at the sky and did not wish him back. I whispered that I was again so happy for him. Told him that I loved him so much.

I guess this is what moving on feels like

It is a week later, and I had the feeling of déjà vu several times…I had been here before. I was retracing my steps, and predicting what I would hear, see, and feel next. What’s crazy is that in those moments, those feelings didn’t feel like a dream. The past month or so, I have seen more butterflies, full moons, and this “feeling” of something is about to happen. There is no coincidence of all these incidents, and to be very honest; I welcome the random images that have accompanied me during this time. As a result, I have been able to sit still. Not be stuck, but still.

Still enough to see the yellow butterflies in my yard, the sky, and the moon. Things I was not able to do during that serious bout of depression and pending nervous breakdown that I have ever experienced. It seemed never ending, and I just couldn’t see. Now, I can.

 Again, this doesn’t feel like a dream. This is real. Today, I was finally able to put an “end” to this thing called grief. I have somehow convinced myself that once I have completed all of the rituals of planning for my father’s death; that I would be ONE step closer to this all being FINALLY over. Today, I purchased my daddy’s headstone. That finality…. It made me gasp as I chose the titles “Father, PawPaw, Friend.” Indicated the dates that have been so impactful in my heart. Despite the tears running down my face; I felt strong. I felt…. Awakened. I can do this….I DID this. I rode the wave. I felt the wave of calm acceptance wash over me. I signed the papers and walked away. Once I drove around to visit him; I noticed that I wasn’t even breathing. I had held my breath the entire time.

What I am seeing that after all of the rituals are complete….that is when grief truly begins. Not the sadness, but the moving forward without the continuous cloud of pain. The pain is dull. When I sit and think about the first year of this horrible reality; my pain has been raw. I was stripped of everything comfortable in my life. I had my daddy for 33 years. I was comfortable knowing that I had him close to me. That I could help him. That we could walk through year after year. After being at the brink of depressive insanity, the raw skin then grew into scabs. Then there was the itchy part. That unbearable itchiness. The feeling of “I can’t wait till there’s no throbbing pain AND no uncomfortable itching.”

 It is so frustrating to feel your skin stretch. Feeling your faith…be tested. Instead of dreading what happens next. Preparing yourself for the accompanied anxiety and heart palpitations when you think of no longer having your loved one. Instead you feel the breeze of them walking next to you.

I have realized that the “end” I have craved so much doesn’t even exist. I was craving something I would never be able to obtain. I have now realized that I just wanted to feel better. I just wanted my chest to not crush…as much. I didn’t want to cry in bed all day, and now I cry…let it out…refuse to numb it. As a result, I am able to ride the wave of grief…and not let it drown me. And now, the epidermis is healed. The skin now holds a different hue. A tad lighter than my tanned skin.

There is no gaping whole in my heart.

God has ensured that I survived this  Whole.

 I will always remember the wound; for it will be on me forever.

Though I have felt constant déjà vu this loss isn’t a dream.

This is real.

Our new normal.

He is gone, but he is still here.

Issa New Chapter

I have consistently been in therapy for the last year and a half. I began therapy during the initial quarantine when I was unable to sit within myself. I didn’t feel comfortable in my home that I could not leave; and I soon realized that I was not comfortable within ME. In my many sessions, it was very obvious from the beginning that I was addicted to wearing masks. I felt comfortable knowing that people truly didn’t know how broken I was. It was comforting to me to believe that everyone was unaware just how lost and weak I was. It gave me joy to know that I bamboozled and fooled my family, friends, and co-workers into thinking I was ok. Shit, most times I would smile so hard…. trying to hide my pain; that my face would hurt. I’d give a dope presentation at work; or had a great brunch with friends just to release the depression and tears as soon as I closed my car door. I realized therapy was essential if I was gonna make it. I was on the edge daily. I was unable to write. Unable to read. And I didn’t have the energy to speak most days. Ultimately, I was unable to have any relief. I elected to save any and all my energy to parent my girls and give my husband what I could. I felt like I didn’t deserve their love most days anyway.

 I agreed to make an emergency appointment because I realized that even though I was medically compliant it wasn’t enough. So, I leaped into hearing myself aloud speak of the horrible feelings deep within me. I spoke of the fear of abandonment and instability that consistently plagued me. I finally admitted that I was deeply suffocated by grief. I met weekly with my therapist; where I learned how to take off the masks and stop fooling myself as well. It was uncomfortable and difficult in the beginning. I simply didn’t want to hear my voice. I couldn’t understand how I worked SO hard to be everything to everyone, checked most things off my “list” and I was humble. Why couldn’t I just be happy? Why didn’t I feel safe enough to be myself? How did I lose so much in so little time without a pamphlet on how to cope? And Why in the hell was I not getting better!?  Eventually, I did the work. Acknowledged the ugly truth that I was a fraud and I deceived everyone.

 The only somewhat silver lining to the nasty journey was learning I was misdiagnosed bipolar, and was in fact “beautiful with borderline personality disorder” instead of beautiful and bipolar which I had JUST BEGUN TO ACCEPT. This also meant that meds I religiously took that made me fat, fatigued, irritable, and FAT  were essentially NOT EVER GONNA WORK! I had to grieve the loss of my father, myself, my job, identity, and the BP diagnosis that gave me comfort. I was conditioned with “Take your meds and you will feel better” instead there was so much more to it.  I was supposed to simply have CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), address my abandonment, add a huge dose of self esteem, some grief counseling and some SLEEP and then I’d be “better”! Once I was able to tackle most of these things; I learned how to breathe. I was able to identify  what I need and demand it. And as a result, I have grown and stretched myself into this new year.

My growth has felt stagnant but in retrospect it has been ever apparent. I am choosing to breathe; though it may take a moment to realize it. I have been in the thorough of change and it has been overwhelming to say the least. I have found strength in my vulnerability. I have grown into my grief which has given me a new power level a la Dragon Ball Z. It seems that nothing can truly “break” me. What’s crazy is I used to think the same when I was younger. I always thought that something was a new notch in my strength belt and there was no way anything can be more difficult than the last problem I dealt with.

 It feels like every layer within my outer shield has been stripped lately. I truly have no mask to hide behind even if I wanted to. I have no wall to build, because I have gotten rid of all the materials. There is absolutely no reason for me to build walls around myself in my current stage of life, but it is essential for me to build boundaries. Until recently, I didn’t realize that I lacked complete understanding of boundaries for myself….and for others. When it comes to boundaries of others; I have forced myself onto people. I have impeded on others growth by insisting on helping when it was not my role. I have also realized that I lacked knowledge of physical boundaries as well. Too often, I demanded to be held and touched even when others didn’t have the capacity to do so. And then there was my huge deficiency in following through with the “time boundary.” There have been several times in my life were it seemed liked I was unable to think, and or breathe on my own. I felt so desperate for attention, for some to care…that I feel like I emotionally drained those around me and impeded on their time boundary. Of course, when recognizing our own faults; we acknowledge that we have been abused as well. After all, I didn’t have a clear understanding of boundaries; so of course, my needs weren’t met, and my boundaries were buried deep in the abyss.

                In this phase of growth, I realized that my main issue is that I have little ability to say no. I will deplete myself mentally, emotionally, and physically if that meant that someone I love is “okay” or if I was helping them. My fear of abandonment has swallowed me whole my entire life, and as a result I have willingly allowed myself to be verbally, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually abused by many. My lack of boundaries made me feel like I had to let things happen to me, because “it is what it is.” I have let individuals use me, and I would immediately forgive them because “it’s the right thing to do” or because I so desperately wanted to be forgiven by others for everything. More often that not, I feel like I am always saying sorry. I am always teetering on apologies even though I know that the issue doesn’t lie within me. It is just easier to say “its ok” or “I’m good” that to deal with the stickiness of tension, and feeling like I let someone I love down.

 I subscribed to the fact that I would never be able to fully be equipped with the skill of stability in many instances. The solution has been pretty simple…. SAY NO. Let it be known that I simply don’t have the capacity to keep running the race like I used to. Ultimately, I read a little book titled “UNF** Your Boundaries”, and learned how to initiate consent, better communicate, and express my needs. Issa mouthful but it has been essential in saving me these days.  

*crawls into bed*