No playback. No take two. Nothing!

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There must have been a time when I was truly happy and uninhibited as a child. However that memory escapes me every time I try to retrieve it from who knows where. Something shifted. Something broke. Something shook me to the very core and it’s never been the same since. Oh how I wish time machines did exist.

There is a stirring in my heart that never goes away. It hibernates for a while then thaws out and strikes the very core of my being. I can’t even seem to find the words to express myself and it is so frustrating. I have asked myself so many questions and none quells the storm within me.

Why? Why? Why? Why on earth would such unfathomable pain be unleashed on a mother with five young children with no warning, no heads up, a hint…nothing! A day like any other turned into a day that will forever be replayed, as each one tries to recollect and make sense of the day when everything changed. Which day you ask? The day death came calling.

Mutegi Kiriga Kabugu. My father. My late father. Last thing I remember is him driving off and I waving goodbye. Little did I know that was it. Like forever and ever. No playback. No take two. Nothing! That was it!!! A chapter in my life came to an end and it took quite some time for little 9 year old me to realize that another chapter in my life had begun.

I came to realize that I had held on to the belief that my father would come back, for close to nine years after his death partly due to how his death was disclosed to me. Death makes people nervous and they have no idea what to say and if they do say anything, its intended effect may be reshaped to mean something totally different, especially in the imaginative mind of a little girl who adored her father. Death also leaves more questions than answers and more so to little children who are suddenly thrust into one of life’s most painful and testing experiences.

For close to nine years I believed my father would come back due to the fact that one of the comments I heard when I asked for my father was that “ Baba yenu ameitwa na Mungu.”. That did not happen and boy, was I angry at the world. Unfortunately this anger was not meted on the world but was re-directed internally for a couple of years and let’s say, if you meet anyone who knew me from birth to when I turned 18 years, I was as quiet as a mouse and little events would act as triggers and the tears would gush out for days.

I know by now you may have sunk with me into the pit of despair that I found myself in after the loss of my father. Those were trying times whose triggers surround me day in, day out. The one that gets to me even today is seeing a little girl holding her father’s hand or being carried by her father. Loss and grief erased those memories from me and sometimes, it hurts…right to the core.

However it’s not all gloom and doom in my world. Nope. I got to thrive through the love and support of those who helped my family get back on its feet. To them I am forever grateful for through them I found my voice and direction in life. Well, that’s a story for another day.

There is a song in my heart and its tune plays out strongly when I am around children. I kept wondering and questioning myself why everyone else was so comfortable hanging out, hours on end with fellow adults and yet I would sneak off and chat and play with children way younger than I was.

I thought there was something wrong with me. This discomfort was amplified as I grew older and societal expectations were piled high upon my plate. Well, I guess I don’t fit into the typical framework and I bet the questions will keep on coming in the future. But you know what, it’s time for me… me, myself and I coupled with lots of grace, mercy and direction from God Almighty.

I hope I haven’t lost you along the way. I bet you are wondering what the loss of a father and hanging out with children have in common? Well, if I may put it simply, my experience of loss as a child has led me on a path that strives to enhance how children experience their childhood as well as help adults reminisce on their childhood days.

I recently came across a quote that states, “Hold onto the child inside you. You don’t know how important it is. If you lose it you’ll spend your whole life looking for it. And sometimes, it’s gone forever.” The author is unknown but the quote holds so much weight as it is and it partly sums up why I am currently pursuing Masters in Child Development with a major in Child Therapy.

I lost a part of my childhood when death came knocking way back when in 1993. I have been in pursuit of happiness that can only be experienced as a child and since no time machines exist…or so they say…I make do with child related activities that pull at every fiber of my being.

This “confession” may lead to questions as to whether I am only happy when around children. My response would be that I require equal doses of adult and child led-interactions and that would explain why I can relate with almost anyone I come across after “breaking the ice” so to speak.

I am my father’s daughter. That’s a fact that’s brought out each time my closest friends reveal to me their first impressions about me. I guess if careers were to be decided on facial features and friends suggestions, I would be a Senior Resident Magistrate just like my father or a police officer. Well, I’m glad that’s not how we get to decide our purpose in life.

It has been a long journey to be where I am currently, that has been marked by moments of impending doom coupled with moments of utter delight. Sometimes I am baffled and consumed by the scope of the dreams and vision I have for my future that revolves around children.

I am a rebel with a cause and I have decided it’s time to switch on the tune in my heart and dance to the song that’s ingrained itself to the very core of my being. Therefore, this year, after stalling and bidding my time for years on end, I enrolled for my Masters even after being encouraged to pursue other courses because that’s where the money is. Well, I am not after the money. I really need to know all there is to know about children such that I can be the vessel that communicates to all those I meet wherever I am, ways through which they can create enriching environments in which their children can thrive.

It is not as simple as I think it is and this reality hit home as soon as I got my admission letter together with the realization that I needed to get financial resources that seem elusive most of the time. Well, I am a Mutegi, as my youngest brother keeps stating. I am not about to lose this journey to negative vibes or to unknown fears that strive to tap into my experience of loss and grief.

Therefore, as I gradually grow into who the Lord created me to be, I will bake cookies, make handmade crafts, share the wonderful world of books, teach, sing and laugh along with children whenever I can because, no matter what may have been taken away from me, I have a lot to give to a world that is hurting yet flawlessly finds an appropriate mask to hide behind.

 

 

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BE CURIOUS BUT DO NO HARM.

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Interestingly, I did not go searching for counselling as my main career. I am still at the point of deciding if counselling found me or if I found counselling. It’s the same conundrum as to whether I am allergic to cats or cats are allergic to me. When I come to a conclusion, I will be sure to let you know.

Therapy became real to me and not just a fancy word when I finally tackled the loss and grief I had experienced as a child and which had greatly shaped my world view. I do agree with therapy being referred to as the “talking cure” due to the very fact that by being allowed to talk freely without judgment or reservations, I emerged stronger both psychologically and emotionally by the end of it all.

As I gradually learnt more about therapy, I moved from being shocked by Psychoanalysis to being challenged by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. At the end of my basic training and practical’s, I professed to being an “Eclectic Counsellor” as I saw there was potential in all theories to help a client live a fulfilling life. My experiences so far have led me on a path that agrees to the fact that many studies conclude that the quality of the therapist- client relationship is the most important driver of successful outcomes. Not the school of therapy. This to me means that I can’t give what I don’t have.  Self-awareness on my part as a counsellor has a ripple effect on the clients who come my way. I have to put in the work as well.  

What to charge, who to charge and who not to charge are never ending questions within therapy circles. It is no surprise that there hasn’t been a stipulated flat rate within the counselling fraternity even after therapy being a mainstream service for several years. What doesn’t augur well with me is that there are lots of practicing therapists who are in it for the money and sometimes cause irreversible harm to their clients and leave psychological scars for years on end. I purpose to be the change I wish to see, despite it being a cliché. Something has to give.

I am cautious about self-directed therapy apps as they may give the client a certain rush of motivation but they may transfer the responsibility of change and decision making to the application or soon tire of it and get back to their self-defeating habits. However, as Mohammed Hersi always quotes, “I choose to remain an optimist”.

Therapy is truly a marketplace icon when it comes to its everyday use in society. It’s true that people self pathologize themselves. What shocks me is hearing a child stating that they are depressed due to not having the latest gadget. This reveals the extent to which certain terms that were originally used by qualified practitioners have permeated into society partly thanks to society’s efforts in trying to Keep Up with the Kardashians while excitedly watching as crime, seduction and other previously shunned upon social ills are justified as self-expression or moving with the times. Truly, we have moved from what was once a restrictive culture to a society whose moral boundaries shift depending on the audience, for the customer is king.

All in all, the human mind hosts an insatiable beast known as curiousity. Therapy helps us dive into the known and unknown, therefore, serving up a palatable buffet that isn’t running out any time soon. Roll the dice, pick a seat and watch it unfold. After all, it pays to have a healthy curiousity about human nature. I know I do!

33 life lessons @ 33! (Part III)

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23. Karma is real. Karma may take its time but when it hits…you won’t know right from left. Be kind to all who you meet and relate with. Be kind.

24. You are blessed to be a blessing. Pesa ni maua. Don’t hoard money for selfish reasons. Help those who can’t repay you. Basically…don’t be a Grinch/Uncle Scrooge.

25. If your dream doesn’t scare you, its not big enough. I  am learning this first hand with my blossoming cookie business (https://m.facebook.com/parcelsofdelight)

26. Tithing and giving your offertory is a personal choice and decision. (PROV. 3:9–10)
(Mal. 3:10–12)

27. Chocolate, Cake and Chicken.In no particular order. Anyday…Anytime.

28. Vegetable samosas or those stuffed with potatoes or ndengu…will place you on my hit list with no chance of ever being pardoned…unless of course you come bearing medium sized spicy meat samosas. Then, I might just reconsider.

29. What you don’t repair…repeats itself. If you keep doing the same “unproductive” stuff over and over again, you need to pause, reflect and adjust accordingly. It curtails regret creeping up on you contantly.

30. Indecision and overthinking steal your joy. Pause…flip a coin and get on with it. I know..its easier said than done.

31. Everyone has got their special thing that floats their boat. Don’t be too quick to judge and don’t be too quick to jump into the boat with them. Stick to your lane.

32. There is never enough time…but there is now. Enjoy each and  every moment.

33. Reason is an enemy of Faith. Faith rarely makes sense. God loves us unconditionally and seeks to have a relationship of loving obedience with us. Step out in faith.

….this and many more life lessons have played out in my life.

What life lessons have played out in your life?

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33 Life lessons @ 33 (Part II)

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12. Serve humanity wherever and whenever you can. Start with your time, skills and worthwhile input before looking at monetary assistance.

13. Save money from your first salary/paycheck. Start small…save every 20sh coin or every 50/100shs note then gradually increase etc. Discipline and self control ni kila kitu.

14. Surround yourself with colleagues/friends from various fields/professions/interests. They broaden your perspective and sometimes crash your “rose coloured glasses”.

15. Enjoy life…don’t just endure it.

16. Death leaves more questions than answers. They mostly go unanswered.

17. Disuse atrophy is real. If you don’t challenge your mind, you gradually lose it.

18. Wishing to have children, having children and raising children are 3 different “ballgames”. You have to put in the work. Quite literally.

19. Children come fully packaged and equipped to pull at your heartstrings and sanity in equal measure. Truth be told, why else would a kid be a cuddly angel one minute and a miniature raging bull the next?

20. The boy child is an endangered species. The girl child is an empowered species. Boys are lacking ethically sound role models. Girls are increasingly getting spoilt for choice when choosing role models. Purposeful mentoring at home, in school and in church is paramount.

21. Have friends who are of the same age, younger than you and definitely older. You get to be the cool aunt or teacher who knows the latest gadgets and info plus you shangazaa them when you talk about old school stuff. Older friends tone down your ego and help you realize the universality of human experiences.

22. Social media…partake of it with a pinch of salt. Define yourself before you the world defines you. Stick to your lane.

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33 Life Lessons at 33

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1. Life is about sharing… during valleys and peaks in our lives. Its all about enriching relationships.

2. Family is everything. Like for real. Enough said.

3. Don’t be too hard on yourself…life is crazy but navigable.

4. There is power in what you say…Never speak out something negative about yourself or others

5. Don’t burn bridges…just unscrew the bolts…you never know what the future holds.

6. Time is fleeting. Time is precious. Time is emotion. Manage time…success follows suit.

7. Don’t bottle up your emotions coz you don’t want to look weak. Find your “person” or people who you can be free with…like be non-judgementally be free with. Its so refreshing and empowering to speak out.

8. If you are lost as to what your passion is,  ask friends and family what they think your strong suits are…reflect…then hit the road running.

9. Love songs truly do hit home when you fall in love. Plus they scorch and burn, when you’ve fallen out of love.

10. Don’t point fingers at others when things go wrong or don’t work out in your favour. Regroup…note down what went wrong, what life lesson do you pick then move on.

11. Kazi ya Bwana Yesu usifanye ili uonekane. Your labour/service should be prompted by love and love for God alone. All else fizzles out in due time.

#Part 2 is on its way!

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LIFE BEST EXPLAINED THROUGH SONGS

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There are days when music does the talking and today I jot down a few that mirror life on certain days.

1. “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette

An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day
It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay
It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late
And isn’t it ironic… don’t you think
It’s like rain on your wedding day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
Who would’ve thought… it figures
Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
“Well isn’t this nice…”
And isn’t it ironic… don’t you think
It’s like rain on your wedding day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
Who would’ve thought… it figures
Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
When you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right
And life has a funny way of helping you out when
You think everything’s gone wrong and everything blows up
In your face
A traffic jam when you’re already late
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break
It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife
And isn’t it ironic…don’t you think
A little too ironic…and, yeah, I really do think…
It’s like rain on your wedding day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
Who would’ve thought… it figures
Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out
Helping you out

2. “Have You Ever?” by Brandy

Have you ever loved somebody so much
It makes you cry
Have you ever needed something so bad
You can’t sleep at night
Have you ever tried to find the words
But they don’t come out right
Have you ever, have you ever
Have you ever been in love
Been in love so bad
You’d do anything to make them understand
Have you ever had someone steal your heart away
You’d give anything to make them feel the same
Have you ever searched for words to get you in their heart
But you don’t know what to say
And you don’t know where to start
[Chorus]
Have you ever found the one
You’ve dreamed of all of your life
You’d do just about anything to look into their eyes
Have you finally found the one you’ve given your heart to
Only to find that one won’t give their heart to you
Have you ever closed your eyes and
Dreamed that they were there
And all you can do is wait for the day when they will care
[Chorus]
What do I gotta do to get you in my arms baby
What do I gotta say to get to your heart
To make you understand how I need you next to me
Gotta get you in my world
‘Cuz baby I can’t sleep
[Chorus]

3. “La La Latch” by Pentatonix

La la, la la la la la la la la la la,
La la la la, la la la la la la la la la la
La la, la la la la la la la la la la,
La la la la, la la la la la la la la la la
You lift my heart up when the rest of me is down
You, you enchant me even when you’re not around
If there are boundaries, I will try to knock them down
I’m latching on, babe, now I know what I have found
(Never)
Hush, don’t speak
When you spit your venom,
Keep it shut, I hate it
When you hiss and preach
About your new messiah
‘Cause your theories catch fire
I can’t find your silver lining
I don’t mean to judge
But when you read your speech, it’s tiring
Enough is enough
Covering my ears like a kid
When your words mean nothing I go la la la
I’m turning up the volume when you speak
If my heart can’t stop it, I find a way to block it, I go
La la, la la la la la la la la la la,
La la la la, la la la la la la la la la la
La la, la la la la la la la la la la,
La la la la, la la la la la la la la la la (never)
I’m so en-captured, got me wrapped up in your touch
Feel so enamored, hold me tight within your clutch
How do you do it? You got me losing every breath
What did you give me to make my heart bleed out my chest?
Yes, I’ve got you in my space
I won’t let go of you
Got you shackled in my embrace
I’m latching on to you (never let go, I won’t let go)
(I feel we’re close enough)
I can’t find your silver lining
(I wanna lock in your love)
I don’t mean to judge
(I feel we’re close enough)
But when you read your speech, it’s tiring
(I wanna lock in your love)
Enough is enough
Covering my ears like a kid
And I’m latching onto you la la la la
I’m turning up the volume when you speak
If my heart can’t stop it, I find a way to block it, I go
La la, la la la la la la la la la la,
La la la la, la la la la la la la la la la latching onto
La la, la la la la la la la la la la,
La la la la, la la la la la la la la la la (never)

4. “Cheap Thrills” by Sia

Come on, come on, turn the radio on
It’s Friday night and it won’t be long
Gotta do my hair, put my make-up on
It’s Friday night and it won’t be long ’til I
Hit the dancefloor
Hit the dancefloor
I got all I need
No I ain’t got cash
I ain’t got cash
But I got you baby
Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills!)
Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills!)
I don’t need no money
As long as I can feel the beat
I don’t need no money
As long as I keep dancing
Come on come on, turn the radio on
It’s Saturday and it won’t be long
Gotta paint my nails, put my high heels on
It’s Saturday and it won’t be long ’til I
Hit the dancefloor
Hit the dancefloor
I got all I need
No I ain’t got cash
I ain’t got cash
But I got you baby
Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills!)
Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills!)
I don’t need no money
As long as I can feel the beat
I don’t need no money
As long as I keep dancing
(I love cheap thrills!)
(I love cheap thrills!)
I don’t need no money
As long as I can feel the beat
I don’t need no money
As long as I keep dancing
Oh, oh
Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills!)
Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills!)
I don’t need no money
As long as I can feel the beat
I don’t need no money
As long as I keep dancing
La, la, la, la, la, la, la
(I love cheap thrills!)
La, la, la, la, la, la, la
(I love cheap thrills!)
La, la, la, la, la, la, la
(I love cheap thrills!)
La, la, la, la, la, la
(I love cheap thrills!)

5.  “That’s Not My Name” byThe Ting Tings
Four letter word just to get me along
It’s a difficulty and I’m biting on my tongue and I
I keep stalling, keeping me together
People around gotta find something to say now
Holding back, everyday the same
Don’t wanna be a loner
Listen to me, oh no
I never say anything at all
But with nothing to consider they forget my name (ame, ame, ame)
[Chorus:]
They call me ‘hell’
They call me ‘Stacey’
They call me ‘her’
They call me ‘Jane’
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
They call me ‘quiet’
But I’m a riot
Mary-Jo-Lisa
Always the same
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
I miss the catch if they throw me the ball
I’m the last chick standing up against the wall
Keep up, falling, these heels they keep me boring
Getting glammed up and sitting on the fence now
So alone all the time at night
Lock myself away
Listen to me, I’m not
Although I’m dressed up, out and all with
Everything considered they forget my name
(ame, ame, ame)
[Chorus]
[Jules in the background:]
This song was in my head, now it’s in my mind,
Call it, reach it, get some words and get some timing,
Though I realize, I cannot emphasize,
I’ll stick around, but just a promise, nothing binding,
However can’t you see, that you’re so desperately,
A standing joker like a vocal one-liner,
Instead of sing-along, this song is monotone,
I gotta get some soul, gotta get some feeling….
Are you calling me darling?
Are you calling me bird?
Are you calling me darling?
Are you calling me bird?

6. “Hello, My Name Is” by Matthew West

Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh (ah oh),
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh (ah oh),
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh
Hello, my name is regret
I’m pretty sure we have met
Every single day of your life
I’m the whisper inside
That won’t let you forget
Hello, my name is defeat
I know you recognize me
Just when you think you can win
I’ll drag you right back down again
‘Til you’ve lost all belief
Oh, these are the voices. Oh, these are the lies
And I have believed them for the very last time
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh
I am no longer defined
By all the wreckage behind
The one who makes all things new
Has proven it’s true
Just take a look at my life
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh (ah oh),
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh (ah oh),
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh
What love the Father has lavished upon us that we should be called His children
I am a child of the one true King
What love the Father has lavished upon us that we should be called His children
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh (ah oh),
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh (ah oh),
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh
I am a child of the one true King
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh (ah oh),
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh (ah oh),
Whoa oh ah oh ah oh oh…

7. “Get Up” by Mary Mary

Layin’ Low
Rest n’ pause
Sleeping long
Slow motion
Gonna do
Shoulda, coulda, woulda done
Excuses
What are you afraid of?
Don’t you know what you’re made of?
One of God’s greatest creations
Take this invitation now
Get Up
‘Cause you can’t stop
Get Up
Got a lot to do
24 hours
Almost gone
Get Up
Don’t sit there
Get Up
If you wanna get there
Clocks don’t stop and
Time won’t wait
He said
She said
They said
What do you say?
It’s your dreams
Your choice
Your time
Your life
So don’t you
Don’t you
Miss it
What are you afraid of?
Don’t you know what you’re made of?
One of God’s greatest creations
Take this invitation now
Get Up
‘Cause you can’t stop
Get Up
Got a lot to do
24 hours
Almost gone
Get Up
Don’t sit there
Get Up
If you wanna get there
Clocks don’t stop and
Time won’t wait
Welcome to the rest of your life
From now on, just try
To live more, want more, work a little harder
Dance more, laugh more, be a little smarter
Hug a little longer, love a little stronger
You’ve been down but now it’s time to
Get Up
‘Cause you can’t stop
Get Up
Got a lot to do
24 hours
Almost gone
Get Up
Don’t sit there
Get Up
If you wanna get there
Clocks don’t stop and
Time won’t wait [2x]
One more time, Say…
Get Up [x9]

8. “Never Too Far Gone” by Jordan Feliz

I have loved you from the start
I have seen your hurting heart (your hurting heart)
And you feel so lonely, but you keep on hiding
‘Cause you feel so guilty for what you’ve done, but
There’s no distance too far, that I can’t reach you
There’s no place that’s so dark, that I can’t find you
Anywhere that you are, if you need proof
Take a look at these scars, and know I love you
Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter what you’ve done
You are never, you are never, never too far gone
Oh ah-oh, ah-oh
Oh ah-oh, ah-oh
You have run down every road
And you’ve lost your way back home (your way back home)
And you feel so dirty, you know you’re unworthy
Feeling undeserving of any love, but
There’s no distance too far, that I can’t reach you
There’s no place that’s so dark, that I can’t find you
Anywhere that you are, if you need proof
Take a look at these scars, and know I love you
Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter what you’ve done
You are never, you are never, never too far gone
Oh ah-oh, ah-oh
Oh ah-oh, ah-oh
You will never outrun my love, my love, my love
You will never outrun my love, my love, my love
You will never outrun my love, my love, my love
You will never outrun my love (you will never outrun my love)
There’s no distance too far, that I can’t reach you
There’s no place that’s so dark, that I can’t find you
Anywhere that you are, if you need proof
Take a look at these scars, and know I love you
Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter what you’ve done
You are never, you are never, never too far gone
Oh ah-oh, ah-oh
Never too far gone
Oh ah-oh, ah-oh
Never too far gone

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What songs best describe your life?

Never Too Far Gone

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I am writing this down, that I may one day look back and realize that I was never too far gone.

There are times when life seems to toy with you in the most inhumane way with a smirk on its face.

alice in wonderland

I accept responsibility for the roles I played, whether active or silent, that have led me to this very place thats got me viewing the world with not so rosy coloured glasses.

Don’t worry your life away.

Don’t let the trouble win.

That’s my battlecry this week.

You are enough.