well, here I am guys.
You might be wondering why the progress on the Secret Santa is super gradual and it seems like I disappear for intermittent durations of time throughout the past month.
The reason is I'm stressed. And it's absolutely nothing Newgrounds related. Does hosting these events take a toll on the amount of stress or anxiety I feel? Absolutely! But it's not a bad thing. Meeting deadlines, ensuring your guys' comfortability and security in a community event, and pulling together different Newgrounders for different opportunities or ideas is my JAM. I actually enjoy it, and the minimal amount of stress or anxiety I get is all really healthy to help me constantly feel responsible.
Now let's talk responsibility.
AS MUCH AS I'D LIKE TO SHARE THIS STORY THERE ARE TRIGGER WARNINGS
DO NOT CONTINUE IF YOU ARE AFFECTED BY ANY OF THESE WARNINGS
THIS IS VERY REAL AND PERSONAL FOR ME
TRIGGER WARNING: depression, anxiety, suicide, mental abuse, physical abuse, self-destruction, aggression, self-harm, fighting, arguing and conflict, mental disabilities, alcohol abuse, drug abuse
It seems dumb to list all these things but, it's really important to me that you understand I'm about to go through everything that's been affecting me mentally and physically throughout my life and how it's affecting me today as I grow and become the happiest and most successful-feeling I've ever felt.
I AM OKAY; You do NOT have to read this to help me with anything. I'm mentally the healthiest I've ever been.
I'm going to start this off exactly how I want to, so from this point on, this is my creative outlet to express the amount of duress and complicated emotions that plagued the majority of my life. You can judge as much as you'd like, and that's fine, but this is who I am. If you support me; I'm still the same person--you just know more about me now.
DO NOT CONTINUE IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE TO THE TRIGGERS LISTED ABOVE
I beg you to ask someone to paraphrase for you so you don't have to secondhand experience what my life is like.
Chapter 1: Emotional Barrier
I have never cried for real before.
There was a time when my older brother and I were fighting constantly and my household felt like a warzone, and it was due to much of my brother's mental disability that I, as a human being, just couldn't understand. Very much so, I had believed in my father's advice: "Mind over matter" (which is a very toxic belief) on the premise that something won't affect you unless you let it. So I believed in that if I stayed financially healthy and out of everyone's way, that I wouldn't ever be in the wrong for ANYTHING.
And the irony is that my father is one of the most aggressive and stress-stricken, anger-reliant individuals I've ever had the pain of being around. And I was the same way.
My brother and I got into a fist fight because he becomes manic and extremely aggressive. His mental problems had him unable to communicate, unable to realize his own actions, and unable to seek help. This was during the point where I'm trying to breech into "new grounds", meaning I've never met anyone that does what I do with art and the podcast. I'm in a completely new territory and in a mindset that it's the people around me who are setting me back.
So when my brother would sing over-loudly next to my room in the bathroom, or when he'd slam cupboards and resort to being completely unresponsive to any inquiries or attempts at communication, or when he'd leave the house a mess or leave toxic food in my dog's food bowl or pour pop into her water bowl, or the constant clearing of his throat and spitting into cups until they were full of phlegm, or the twelve different jobs he lost, all while he thought we had family in the FBI that was watching us, and believing he was rich or that he owned the house we were living in or when he was shirtless drawing circles with a stick that's burnt on the end and acting manic at midnight and singing really loudly, unable to be brought down from whatever high his current episode was giving him, I started to lose grip.
And when I was given the chance to confront him when he was directing aggression towards my room while I was watching Netflix or w/e, I jumped on it.
I REFUSE to be bullied into being uncomfortable in the place where I'm supposed to be working and building myself a future. I'll get more into why I'm like that, but for now, let's just focus on me and my brother face-to-face, and he's telling me he's a "pacifist" who can't work a normal job because he "broke his back" or he "broke his neck" and that I should "go back to college" and that I am actually a "16 foot tall anthromorph" or all these random, sporadic conclusions he's come to while at the same time antagonizing my mentality and being aggressive and unresponsive.
I just wanted to know he was human, so I pushed him around until he fought back. There is no part of me that would ever punch or want to physically hurt my older brother. He's 29, and I'm 26, but he's always seen me as the bigger, more mature brother, or the "favorite", even though my life hasn't worked out in any way from my past decisions and my parents have always had an estranged relationship with me. I just can't hurt someone out of anger. Especially my own brother. So I pushed him to snapping to find out if he actually still felt "normal" emotions like fear and anger and self-preservation.
My brother ended up screaming in my face and telling me to "go to my room." And he's done this to my mom before, too. When I went to New Orleans last winter, my mom would call me and tell me that Matt would be trying to force her to stay in her room by screaming at her as well. My brother was so mentally unwell, that he'd hold a knife and tell my mom "do you know what I could do with this?" while looking her heavily in the eyes. He was into the belief that there was a ghost or person called "Dewey" and that nobody wants to see "Dewey" release his rage. I believed it was the way he personified his mental disabilities.
Yeah, crazy stuff, super conflictual, and hella uncomfortable, and I wasn't handling it well. So we fought.
But I let him keep coming at me. I had grown completely calm once he started fighting back. I wanted him to release his rage and show me something was still left inside of him that wanted a better life, and I was sick of his constant oppression on the household, but I really couldn't blame him for being mentally ill.
Needless to say, my 5'11" brother with like a 7 foot wingspan and extreme flexibility (he used to do gymnastics; he's lanky asf) went into rage mode and wrestled with me and screamed at me and I just took it very calmly. It felt great to see him reacting, and it felt even better to know that I didn't have it in me to hurt someone that's clearly mentally unwell. Or really to have it in me to hurt anyone that is trying to egg me on.
I ended up being pushed heavily into the living room TV after refusing to "go to my room" while he yelled loud enough that the veins in his neck were bulging. There was absolutely no fear in me. This is my brother, and I'm fine with showing myself how physically strong and mentally unwell he is. He took the moment of me looking back at the TV to see if it was okay, to knock me out. I woke up on the floor, called the cops, learned a lot, and (obviously) didn't press charges.
Really, I should've been more respectful to my mom's house but I whole-heartedly felt I was living with someone who would end up killing us all. My mom would sleep with her door locked every night and cower in fear from his manic episodes. I had reached my limit.
My point being is, I ended up realizing how much my brother actually means to me after that.
And I cried for real for the first time in my life.
I couldn't stop it. The love I have for my brother and just seeing how lost he is in his own mind pushed me to feel something I never felt before: actual sadness.
Sure, depression and anxiety always exist in some form, but this conflict showed me that there's more to care about: like the destruction of the mentality of a loved one who you lived without for majority of your life. I *missed* him and loved him. (Of course, that just meant I realized I was stuck with his dumba$$ and that he's actually, factually not in control of how he processes his environment, and that I could never hurt him for that.)
This showed me how my emotions aren't always mine to control. I cried and cried and told him how much I loved him as we sat out by the bonfire around a week later. There was a dam that unloaded, having seen him scared, angry, lost, and confused all at once. It was all healthy (for the most part.) Before that point, any time I cried it would be easily stoppable.
What does this mean?
It meant I was starting to feel the way I should about my situation, and able to finally cry and resonate with the tragedy of my brother's sickness instead of bottling it up or suppressing it, so I came to start talking to him more to figure out the way his mind works.
And it worked, honestly.
The things he did to cause trouble diminished into a smaller quantity and he seemed to trust me a lot more after I told him, "You're strong, and now I KNOW you are. But it's just your mentality that is setting you back from accomplishing more." Questions like, "Do you have people to talk to?" "What happened in Tennessee with your friends (where he spent majority of his life while I was in Michigan)?"
When I went to New Orleans last Winter, I visited my brother. He was living in a trailer in Tennessee with no heat, no air conditioning, moldy pots and pans, barely any canned food, no money, a beat down car, and socks that were so worn that they had the texture of paper bags. Nobody to care for him. He looked embarrassed after he said, "I have to use the bathroom" and proceeded to walk out to a rusted barrel that was 10 feet away, poop in it, and toss dirt over the poop.
How could someone process that information? I hadn't seen him in about four or five years and that was what had transpired since then. My feelings were to get him help, because at the time he seemed normal enough--maybe he was just trying to live bare minimum?
Well, when he moved in with my mom, things were clearly not mentally well as he started talking about the FBI and yelling about conspiracies the moment my mom turned on the TV the first day he was back. And I was in New Orleans, so there wasn't anything I could do to help at the time.
My mother was not fun to grow up with. Majority of our interactions throughout my schooling was when she was drunk while using her medication. Other than that, she was mostly either sleeping, going to work (stripping), or away from the house for whatever reason.
So I learned to be independent. I focused on what my dad told me about "mind over matter" and I tried to form a wall in my head that would keep me safe and away from this toxic environment when the need occurred.
And that need occurred SO often.
My life was hell at points, with my mom calling me a "loser" late at night on one of her drinking binges because I started becoming EXTREMELY sour towards her attitude at my adolescence. Anyone could tell my mom only enjoyed having me around when I was little, because I was "cute" and she could "show me off."
And holy f*ck, she did not care about anything I was doing.
Since 2nd Grade I had woken myself up, and either walked to school or took the bus on my own agenda. There was very little influence on my life's direction via my mom, and we never worked together so I could figure out the cost of living or what it means to be responsible. The emptiness started around that time. My grades were great, and I rarely acted out in fear of my parents' retribution (my dad was an aggressive yeller whenever I lived with him.)
I believe the first sign of depression was when almost everything would make me cry and I couldn't be around my friends because I felt I couldn't relate to anybody and I hadn't grown any proper social skills from the isolation. My brother wasn't living with us at time (he had gone to live with my dad and stepmom), so it was just me, all the time. This was when I was 7 years-old.
The guys my mom would date would always say how smart I was--and I've always been this way (I can remember teaching myself how to tie my shoes at age 6, and always being doted on for being "responsible".) But I think that was a curse at the same time since I would process exactly how absent my mom was all the time, both physically and emotionally.
Our relationship continued to worsen as she started becoming less of a mother, and more of a "best friend" (her words, not mine.) Around 12 y/o, my mom would be much too open to me about her relationships and expect me to help her handle her depression. I had my own problems, my own goals, my own life at this point (seeing as she wasn't involved in my development) so it became very heavily agonizing to help my mom with her problems when it seemed like she wouldn't do a damn thing for my own mentality.
All I wanted was for her to care. She only ever tried to write me off by either buying me something or giving me money to the point I started to get mad at the gifts and refuse the money at 13/14 because I was trying to get her to see that I need HER in my life. Not all this material bullsh*t.
My self-worth was at an all time low, but I had learned to grow angry instead of depressed. My father is hot-headed so I naturally leaned that way from my experiences with him. My mom and I would constantly fight, and argue, and she would constantly use me for my friends (getting drunk and hitting on them) or become belligerent and self-centered (playing loud music and drinking and waking me up at 2am for something nonsensical when I had school the next morning.)
There has never been a time where I have laid a hand on my mother.
It didn't help that she would CONSTANTLY misremember things and somehow craft stories that explained why I was the bad guy, because she had been drinking and on her medication at the time of the incident. But she was very violent towards me. On my 16th birthday, I remember her pushing me down 16 times because I refused to get off the living room couch.
This was after she slapped me hard enough I couldn't see afterwards because I refused to let her continue to bully me. I've had her come at me with a fork, I've had her grip me up, I've tolerated the nasty things she said by saying nasty things back, and it was altogether my personal hell.
This is when that emotional barrier was built, and built strong. Nobody and nothing could affect me if I didn't want it to, but that just meant pushing everyone away from me because I never learned how to work with anyone or anything in my environment. I only had feelings of opposition and then COMPLETE tension from childhood trauma.
I've seen my mom naked more times than I had to in my teens from her being too drunk to comprehend her own environment. I've seen my mom completely out of it at 1am on the kitchen table, completely stripped, and me having thrown a glass of water in her face to get her out of it, just to have her still unable to process the situation.
I remember getting her clothes, and because of how drunk she was, I wanted to take a picture to show her in the morning, AND SHE ACTUALLY POSED FOR IT WITH A SMILE AND EVERYTHING.
Nothing registered. Nothing I could do would get her to change no matter how many talks or "breakthroughs" we had. My life felt like a Ferris wheel and it was either spinning too fast for me to process or too slow for me to progress. And the blind rage kept me from feeling completely objectified by my surroundings.
This emotional barrier, that I had built for survival, kept me from feeling really anything at all sometimes. Life grew dull and plain and I was unsure of really anything holding any kind of truth. I pushed my friends away, I pushed myself around, and I pushed for some kind of "God" to give me a sign or a break or some reason to keep going on.
Fortunately enough, the emotional barrier kept me able to understand that we really do only get one life, and I didn't want my mom to be the reason I took mine. Keep the rage, turn the page, and find a way (out.)
Thankfully, I met a really understanding person in college (the FIRST person to have ever told me I had potential and that they could see I was going to do big things if I put my mind to it.) So I moved out at 17 years old and went to college under the impression that if I just got good grades, I'd get a good job.
College was a falsehood to hide my insecurity of becoming nothing in the face of my own mental trauma, and it ended up not working out because my ability to take out loans decreased as I became a Sophomore. It was too late to leave the semester to get a refund, so I ended up owing my university $3000 out of pocket, and was kicked off of campus.
My grades were fine, but I was personally becoming degraded as everything I was supposed to believe in to be true, fell apart. My friendships were strained because of my aggressive mental barrier and the money in my account dwindled as I tried to figure out how to spend it and survive on my own. Absolutely no help from my parents.
I had only went to college to "get a good job" (my mom's and dad's advice) so I could eventually study art and do art for a living: the one idea that I held really close to heart.
Holy f*ck, my dad.
Angry as sh*t, mad as all hell, and the first person to explode and get upset, but also the first one to tell you "he's not even mad! He's the happiest guy he knows!" Clearly a falsehood my father held onto strongly to combat his own depression as his life was strained due to having worked on the road and on water towers for over 20 years.
Unable to communicate, only able to provide, my father has always focused on FINANCIALLY supporting his family.
After my brother and I were born, my mom and dad divorced. I can't remember if it was when I was 2, but there has never been a memory I have of my mom and dad together. The point being is, he started a second family. My little sister is 10 years younger than me, and I am blessed with two younger brothers as well.
My step-family got all the attention.
Addicted to pot, my dad spent all his money on weed and his other kids, so I felt even more alone. He was the one I would call for emotional support, and as a result I had learned to create an image of him that kept me strong when kids were picking on me for my mom being a stripper (they found out in 2nd grade.) He was the one I would think of when there was a new, abusive boyfriend in my household. That image of him kept me strong for a very long time as my mom fell apart and neglected my presence.
I idolized that man.
And I pushed myself to believe that "hard work pays off." And it does, but not in this context. Hard work will f*cking murder your mentality and destroy your physicality if you don't find proper ways to decompress and alleviate stress healthily.
My dad didn't know this. I tried to explain (I think I was 16) that he should get to know the world more, or share knowledge about how the world works with his kids so they can benefit from it, and his only response was "All I have to do is stay white and die," with a completely detached look on his face.
This man, who swears all he has to do is provide for his family and nothing else matters, couldn't do a damn thing for me except get me a job working on water towers for 16 an hour as I dealt with the stresses of the job and having to bunk with my stress-bottling father in a hotel room.
Work ethic was important to learn, so I would push my body physically and work out every day, smoke weed unhealthily with my dad, and make money that I thought was HUGE in comparison to my first job at Wendy's.
Basically, my father was never there, my mother was never there, my brother was never there, and I just felt like *I* was never there, either.
My emotional barrier prevented me from ever growing close to anybody, and it drove me to feeling like I was crazy, or "broken", or just plain f*cked up in the head when I couldn't explain why I felt the way I felt. Nothing but aggression and loneliness would flood my thoughts some days and I felt overloaded by conflict and SUPER aggressive from having dealt with my dad and my mom's problems for majority of my time on this Earth, all while being completely neglected and separated from any kind of familial reality.
Always alone, always wondering "why can't things be *normal* for me? Why do I feel like I'm the only one that cares?" While at the same time pushing away anyone that tried to get close to me because my emotional barrier taught me to only care for myself, since in the end, that's all I've ever felt I've had.
When I couldn't relate to my peers, or explain why I am the way I am, it just taught me to feel even more like I had to dull my senses to "focus on what's important": myself. Survival was the only thing on my mind. F*ck happiness, or even friends, or f*ck giving a damn about anything besides trying to become something *for myself*.
Very lonely :v
Chapter 2: Becoming Well
So as I held a dull steak knife to my neck, staring frantically into my father's eyes to back away, shaking, shivering, and contemplating the amount of pounds-per-pressure it would take to plunge it into my neck, the realization that I could or couldn't stop it had NEVER crossed my mind. There was no mind over matter there was only my steel-resolved will to demonstrate--much like how a monk set themselves on fire in protest during India's struggle--just how much my parents have affected me throughout my lifetime.
I do NOT dwell on the past. It's not part of who I am. I have seen absolutely zero light in my parents' eyes the entirety of knowing them as people, and much of that is due to being stuck in the past. I refused to acknowledge that my past is "who I am" or "I can't change" because throughout the struggle of dealing with my parents they have both said "you are my best friend" while I didn't feel anything like that way towards them.
It was always working with THEIR problems, THEIR emotions, THEIR story, while I had to take the backseat for DECADES. Constantly trying to break through to them that the way they are affects me in a very REAL way.
Because of my emotional barrier, I was able to survive, and now that I've grown into being more emotionally aware and stable, the barrier has vanished. Crying uncontrollably for the first time at age 25 was the start, and the podcast has trained me to open up and elaborate my thoughts in a way that all my previous trauma started to be undone.
But this was a double-edged sword (or knife in this case) where if I'm in the situation I was in the past, I mentally can't handle it.
Whenever my mom is depressed and imposing that depression onto the household while she's drunk and on her medication and argumentative--it's become too much. My brain resorts to emotionally relapsing and going back to that same fear, anxiety, and depression I've felt when I was younger because my parents have never grown. It's too much to be around them because they haven't changed FOR DECADES (knowingly, too!!!!!!!) and they STILL WANT ME TO HELP THEM with their own emotions.
It's too much.
It's not "overwhelming". It's just too much.
My brain has a specific capacity for helping my parents that was depleted a LONG LONG time ago, and even as I tried to work with my dad and mom nowadays, they still just go back to being self-isolating emotional-neglects, and I'm met with that EXACT same feeling I got when I was younger.
So, my dad and I got into an argument, and he was becoming very aggressive and agitated and calling me all sorts of names, and I was responding with my disappointment and resentment.
It was basically the same thing I've been through for my whole life.
Except now that emotional barrier was missing.
So I grabbed the only sharp knife in the house (a dull steak knife, THANK GOD) put it in my back pocket, and told my dad "I'm keeping this on me in case I want to kill myself." He laughed at me.
My dad and I had gotten into it recently, and I was sick of him never changing and shutting me down emotionally, so I moved out to help my brother.
My older brother finally agreed to getting help and getting medication and he was GROWING. Everything from his body language, to the way he talked, to the way he could actually focus and connect with me during our conversations (albeit being a bit sedated) had changed in a very positive way.
Moving in with my mom was supposed to be a way for me to help my brother to get back and forth to work, and for me to find a job near my mom's in the city she lives in (which is an art-eccentric city, so I fit right in.) Seeing the change in him go from night to day told my gut instinct that he was ACTUALLY getting better and it tossed me onto the bandwagon to help him unconditionally RIGHT AWAY to keep the momentum going--to show actual support.
I love him, and I tell him this constantly, and I'm also scared by the drastic change, but I talk to him often about how his medication feels and how he feels emotionally during this important time period in his life. The moment he decided to get better, and do better, my life's quality increased tenfold.
And the first day I moved into my mom's to get away from my aggressive dad, my mom was showing the same signs of enforcing her depression on the household, and so my world was abundant with conflict and turmoil all of a sudden, once again. I couldn't handle it as I relapsed emotionally and acted out, and broke down, and felt the ACTUAL toxicity in my veins from my life.
By the end of my breakdown, I was hugging my brother and crying as hard as I've ever cried in my lifetime telling him "I needed him because I've been alone this whole time."
And when he came back from Tennessee, his mind was gone, so it was like he still wasn't here. And now that the medication has shown such drastic improvement, it was like I had my brother back. I NEEDED him. I NEEDED my brother because mom and dad were impossible. They make me feel suicidal; I've seen them as evil people from causing me emotional turmoil to where I want to kill myself.
And even though I've let them know MY ENTIRE LIFE what they've done to me in terms of my mentality, it never got through to them. And finally... I had some family that was willing to grow with me, and be present, and respect the love I poured onto them.
My brother is fantastic now. We're pushing each other to become better. And to strive for our goals.
And my parents choose to ignore what I feel, so they can remain the same as they've ever been.
Initially, I was just going to cut my wrists, but the blade wasn't sharp enough to see a deep enough cut.
My father had been screaming at me, and calling me a "motherf*cker" and laughed when I took the knife out of my back pocket to put to my arm. The panic attack began settling in as my mind raced 100 mph, knowing that nothing I've ever amounted to will ever show the pain they've inflicted on me. Nothing mattered besides FINALLY showing them what they've done to me. I've been suicidal for a lot of my life, but this was finally as real as it could get because that barrier wasn't there anymore. It was just me, my dad, and my trauma.
And he was escalating the situation.
So I stuck it to my neck after not seeing the proper results on my arm.
I stared directly into my dad's eyes and pressed harder on the knife as he backed me into a corner.
During the second it took for me to realize how hard I would have to press to *really* get it in there, my dad had backed me into a corner and I can't remember if I dropped it or if he stopped me because everything had spiraled out of control. There's a large part of me that understands that without that emotional barrier growing up, I would've ended my life forever ago.
This point (might as well be the point of the knife, which I can still feel mentally on my neck now, two days later) was more important than anything in the world. Like, this would finally be the moment where they understand.
If it was in the past with the barrier, then I would've just fed into my father's anger and fought him--fed into exactly what he wanted.
And I refused to resort to becoming what I was when I was lonely and aggressive.
I refused to be like him.
They gave me life in this world, and this was my way of showing my gratitude by teaching them that my life feels completely empty around them as I progress as a human being and define a unique career for myself. My brain, my being, and my soul wanted to show them just how much they affect the ones they "love."
Without the knife, I collapsed and convulsed and screamed and poured out everything I've felt from my trauma that I never properly reflected on or let out. There I was, screaming so f*cking hard at the top of my lungs as my brain rolled around in my skull, that "I was done," that "I don't want to live anymore", that "I'm empty inside", screaming that "it hurts, dad" and "it's too much" and for my dad to get away. In context of what I'm doing now, and who I am now, I know all of these things aren't true, but having to confront my trauma put me back into the past. My parents are the only ones that can do this to me, and they're the only ones that have ever actually contributed to me feeling this way.
So, here I am, telling you guys because I can't keep it on my shoulders. I need to let go. My parents and I are fine, but I can't live with them. I've moved into my friend's house (temporarily) that I met in college and he invited me in with open arms.
I'm in a safe place now.
And my parents are helping me now, but I've learned to sedate my feelings around them when or if they act in a way that would normally give me anxiety.
Having let all that out, my head feels much better--I feel so much more stable as a human being--it's just too much to live with the people that have caused my depression or suicidal thoughts since I was a child.
This is who I am now.
I'm much better. I'm much more focused. I'm much more in control of my emotions.
It's probably hard for you guys to hear this, and you might judge me, but this is who I am.
All of the shitty things I've been through: the self-isolation, the constant aggression and loneliness, the setting up of an emotional barrier to prevent others from hurting me--it's why you get the Xin you know today.
It's why I do what I do for you guys.
It's why I understand my community and try to connect.
It's why I'm so passionate and focused.
I give you guys the same attention and care that I wanted from my parents for as long as I can remember.
And it's why I still make mistakes, but grow, and progress from them, instead of letting them define me.
We're in this wittle bittle world together, and your talents, your potential--they mean the world to me.
Much like how I was willing to give my world to my parents, I feel the same way about you guys (most of the time :v)
POINT BEING IS
IM FINE LOL
IM LEARNING TO EXPRESS MYSELF (HENCE THE RECENT TWITTER POST ABOUT OPENING AN NSFW ACCOUNT)
I genuinely believe Newgrounds has given me my life back.
And I will never do anything purposely to tarnish that.
And I love you guys.
And I don't want to go anywhere.
So I tried to the point where it doesn't feel like I'm even trying anymore.
I genuinely care.
Even if I can be abrasive and blunt sometimes. It's BECAUSE I care, and it's because I'm used to handling things differently, but it's also because I have room to grow and I focus on these mistakes to prevent from making any more in the future.
So don't worry about me guys. I'm literally so f*cking happy and feel so confident in my current direction that NOTHING WILL STOP ME
No but really, gtfo--you can't even leave a comment, why're you here still :v
Much love guys, and thank GOD for Newgrounds and all the friends I've made along the way.
You guys don't understand how much you mean to me.