Lots of turmoil and fear were packed into these few months – not just for me, but for a lot of Americans. There would be no clever plans, no “getting away from it all” – no options other than faith to get me through uncertain times. Yet, the common fears that many of us shared were probably what made it seem more natural for folks to find reassurance in baring their souls to one another, so it was easier during this segment of my life to be more of an “extrovert” and hit the ground running in a lot of new friendships. These were the first few months in which I truly got involved in the new church I’d been attending for the better part of the year. Some of the people I met and shared my hurts and fears with in those days are still good friends now, almost a decade later.
In with the New:
Out with the Old:
It Was Worth a Try:
Listen on Spotify:
September 2001 was an extremely difficult month to get through. The 9/11 attacks probably didn’t affect me nearly as profoundly as they affected some folks who were more directly impacted by deaths of loved ones or who lived in New York or DC, et cetera, but they still served to ramp up my loneliness and paranoia. To help counteract this, I actually tried something I’d never tried before – an online Christian singles service. I didn’t expect to meet anyone specifically for purposes of dating just yet (at this point, I just needed to make new friends due to so many of the old ones moving away), but I knew that it was easier for me to make friends with girls than guys. I ended up meeting Christine (a.k.a. Khat, for purposes of not confusing her with my future wife), a young woman from the Torrance area who quickly became one of my closest friends, even though nothing romantic ever developed between us. She taught me how to play guitar, and we spent a lot of time together talking about all manner of interesting things – we just never got bored. The location pictures is the South Bay Galleria, a mall near her house where we would often hang out, catch movies, etc. as we banded together to fight the isolation in both of our lives.
Where in the world is this?
1) “To the Tune of 5,000 Screaming Children”, The Juliana Theory (Emotion Is Dead, 2000)
During this period of my life, I perceived every angry song as being about my ex-girlfriend, even if the song had absolutely nothing to do with relationships. I had a lot of pent-up frustration to let out, so music like this was an outlet. I got into The Juliana Theory because I was intrigued when I read about this weird band who kept changing up styles in all manner of “uncool” ways by incorporating electronic elements and prog-rock melodrama and even boy band-ish harmonies here and there. It was apparently cool to hate The Juliana Theory, and this angry song was kind of a response back from them to scenester kids who just wanted them to fit a mold. I thought it was hilarious that one of their best songs was basically one that dissed their so-called fans.
2) “Boom”, P.O.D. (Satellite, 2001)
I was all prepared to pounce on the new P.O.D. album as soon as it released, so I could rip it apart, because I thought the band was just silly and didn’t deserve all the mainstream attention. However, when it released on September 11, the entire world had much bigger concerns, so I more or less forgot that little item on my to-do list. It took me a few weeks to get around to listening to this one, and my whole outlook had really changed to the point where I was encouraged rather than annoyed by the transparent positivity of Satellite. It turned out to be one of the most addictive records of the year, and it was great to totally baffle my friends by telling them that I actually liked P.O.D. now. This silly “party song” (there’s gotta be one on every P.O.D. record) was my favorite at first. I thought it was stupidly funny that due to its name referencing an explosion, it was one of the many songs on a temporary Clear Channel blacklist that was thrown together in a not-so-well-thought-out hurry, with the intent of trying to not upset listeners following the 9/11 attacks.
3) “Papercut”, Linkin Park (Hybrid Theory, 2000)
“I think I’m paranoid, looking over my back, it’s like a whirlwind inside of my head.” I always knew that I had a tendency to be rather paranoid – I got it from my Dad. But it rattled me in different ways after 9/11. I was convinced that Los Angeles was going to be the next target after New York, and I was following reports of postal anthrax attacks and rumors of how terrorists could possibly execute biological warfare against a large city far too closely. On most nights, I made sure that I didn’t have close to an empty tank of gas when I parked my car at night, on the off chance that something catastrophic hit downtown in the middle of the night… I wanted to be able to hit the road and head for the hills as quickly as possible. Nobody really knew what to expect in those days. Ultimately, I had to decide to stop worrying about it and just live my life. Sure, I could try to caution myself about spending lots of time in tall buildings in heavily populated areas or driving next to gas tankers on the freeway or whatever, but there were much greater chances of me dying due to some freak non-terrorist-related accident like a simple car crash- there always had been, and it was only now that I was really contemplating the fragility of my own life and the fact that tomorrow was never guaranteed. It had always been this way.
4) “Vapor”, Skillet (Alien Youth, 2001)
The first time I heard this slamming rocker, I totally fell in love with Skillet’s drummer, Lori Peters. What can I say, she just kicks ass here. The whole band does. It’s a fast and furious song about the brevity of life and the tiny insignificance of our own existence in the universe when compared to God’s vast continuum. Who do we think we are? Why do we act like we’ll be around forever and there’s infinite time to make things right?
5) “Pardon Me”, Incubus (Make Yourself, 1999)
A song about being so stressed and frustrated with the world that you just want to spontaneously combust. Yeah, I could relate. I was over at Angela’s house once for a barbecue, and a lot of her former youth group students showed up, and one of them whipped out her old beat-up guitar and was playing different snippets of songs, including this one, and as an amateur just learning how to play, I watched and thought, “Dang, too many bar chords for me to deal with.”
6) “Bring It On”, Steven Curtis Chapman (Declaration, 2001)
This was one of those songs that brought together every difficult thing that I was going through – be it my worries about terrorism or my angst over my ex-girlfriend – and put it into perspective. What was happening to me as a result of these things? Was I letting myself become embittered? (Unfortunately, yes.) Or was I letting God teach me valuable lessons through the fears and losses? (On my best days, sort of.) Weren’t these difficult times worth it if I learned to depend on God more and I became more confident in God’s character and His plan for me? Ideally, yes. But it took a lot of boldness to actually say thank God for those trials, because I knew I’d never voluntarily ask to go through anything like this again.
7) “Get Up”, Superchic[k] (Karaoke Superstars, 2001)
When you fail at something as miserably as I felt like I had failed at my first serious relationship, you’re afraid to try again because you worry that you’ll fail again and have to feel the pain all over. Sometimes you need a little push from someone who has been through it and who has been made wiser. So what if you fail again? You’ll never succeed if you don’t try. We learn from mistakes, and hopefully we approach with more wisdom the next time around, but we shouldn’t always interpret them as signs that we’re just not meant to succeed at whatever it was that we messed up. Incidentally, I always thought the acoustic guitar chords in this song were strikingly similar to “Pinch Me” by the Barenaked Ladies.
8) “No More Faith”, Andrew Peterson (Clear to Venus, 2001)
You can tell that I was really trying to move from fear and anger to faith and boldness by putting these three songs here, as a way of challenging myself. Andrew Peterson was one of the first artists that I introduced Khat to, because I knew she liked acoustic, folksy stuff, and his music clicked with her right away. His new album had also come out on September 11, and it led off with a very clever song about how faith is only something that mortals need. Once we’re on the other side of death and we can actually see God, there’ll be no need for faith any more, because everything we had hoped for will be fulfilled. Knowing that sheds a little light on the nature of faith here in this life, and why we need it to begin with. Of course some of the things we have faith in don’t appear to have any tangible proof. If something’s been proven, you don’t need to have faith in it to begin with. It just is. Anyway, Khat and I loved the song so much that it was one of the first songs that we sat down in her room and worked out the chords to on our guitars. I had never tried anything like that before, and I was amazed at how easy it was to figure out stuff like that with only a basic knowledge of guitar chords.
9) “Mad Season”, Matchbox Twenty (Mad Season, 2000)
Difficult breakups tend to make the person who gets dumped feel a little insane at times. You’ve gotten so used to desiring the company of someone who suddenly doesn’t want you any more, but it’s easier to tell your brain to get over it than it is to tell your heart. You get these weird hopes at every little interaction that you manage to have with them, that maybe things will turn around and they’ll realize they made a huge mistake and they’ll write you a letter profusely apologizing, saying they want you back. You cling to that hope because you have no idea how to cope with being by yourself again. Partway into September, I still harbored some small trace of that hope for me and Sharon, despite how angry I was at her. The turning point came during the weekend after 9/11, when I was visiting with Heather (I had originally come over to watch the premiere of Star Trek: Enterprise, which we never got around to), and I made the mistake of asking her how Sharon was doing. She broke the news as plainly as possible and told me that Sharon was back together with her ex-boyfriend Nathan. I was so hurt to have been replaced that quickly, that I unleashed an uhholy string of profanities. I was more bitter and angry during the weeks that followed than I’ve ever been in my entire life. But I needed that slap to bring me back down to Earth. It was over. I wasn’t getting her back, and I wasn’t supposed to want her back.
10) “Every Other Time”, LFO (Life Is Good, 2001)
Just because I was mad at the world in pretty much every way didn’t mean I couldn’t find a little humor in the dissolution of a dysfunctional relationship. This song by a boy band attempting to go the pop/rock route had been a fun surprise when we heard it on the radio during the trip to Michigan earlier that summer – James and I found it to be endlessly amusing with its references to the psycho treatment that this guy’s ex-girlfriend had given him, and how he kept crawling back for more, all because he thought, “I’m so in love with her, every other time.” OK, Sharon and I weren’t that bad. It’s always easy to laugh at someone who’s worse off than you are, especially when they’re describing it in humorous terms.
11) “By and By”, Jennifer Knapp (The Way I Am, 2001)
The new Jennifer Knapp record came out in November of that year, but due to my mad downloading skillz (er, due to someone leaking it to AudioGalaxy), I got to hear it in October. And I fell in love with a good portion of it – once again, Jennifer was tender and personal and I always felt like she was a voice who could soothe my worst moments of being bummed out about screwing my own life up. Especially on this album, there was a theme of past sins and regrets weighing her down, and this song was about looking forward to a day when she knew she’d have risen above all that and the skies would clear and she’d feel like she had real faith again. That was exactly what I wanted – it was in those days that I began to get a lot more involved at Evergreen and my willingness to concentrate on my own spiritual growth was probably at an all-time high, because I realized how desperately I needed it when I didn’t have as much in the way of human companionship to fall back on.
12) “Schism”, Tool (Lateralus, 2001)
I was downright scared of Tool when I first began to develop a curiosity about them – lots of people were talking about their new album on Epinions, saying what a total mindf*** it was and so forth. I had read about it so much that I eventually succumbed to the need to find out if it sounded like what I imagined. I had checked out a few tracks over the summer and then backed off – but this one stuck with me with its odd, stuttering rhythm, and its primal plea for repaired communication between two people or factions of people who weren’t talking any more. In a way, it related to the breakup (though like I said, everything seemed to relate to the breakup at that point), because of how communication had ceased between me and Sharon, and it seemed like any future attempt I could make to reconcile would only dig me in deeper and make her hate me more. This song haunted me – I heard a brief snippet of it from someone’s car as they drove through the alley right behind my bedroom window as I tried to get some sleep the night after the breakup, and then I heard it again on the radio while driving around with Tim and Krista, looking for a place to get dinner the next day (while I spilled out all of my heartache to them in an overwhelming flood of insecurity). I’m glad I eventually let my curiosity about Tool get the better of me, because I discovered a great song and what I would eventually consider to be the best album released that year. But it was definitely darker than anything I had previously listened to. Maybe I needed to be at that point in my life in order to “get it”.
13) “Pressing On”, Relient K (The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek, 2001)
This was a bit of whiplash – switching from dark and brooding to upbeat and peppy, but Relient K was slowly starting to earn my respect with their second album, and this song ignited a lot of the same feelings in me that “Get Up” did. So this was my reminder that I had to start leaving that old life behind, the part of me that allowed it to be all about a girl, and press forward and find my own identity, my own purpose.
14) “All You Got”, Tait (Empty, 2001)
I thought this song was major cheese when I first heard it earlier in the year, but I guess a lot of its clichés kind of came true for me. I came to a point of being very isolated from people and thinking that no one really cared – they wanted to know how I was doing, but of course nobody could fill that void and provide the almost constant companionship that I was used to having when I was in a relationship. I needed that simple reminder that things weren’t all falling apart just because I was some sort of miserable, defective person – rather, it was all part of God’s plan and it was common for even the most hardcore believers to go through these times of doubt and anger (at least, if they were honest with themselves). “God only knows how much your heart can bear.” That was hard to hear, because I sure felt like I was dealing with more than I could bear, and I wondered if that meant that God expected me to endure even worse punishment. But looking back, I’ve never had to deal with anything more than what God gave me the ability to get through. od knows what I can take even when I underestimate my own resolve.
15) “The Lighthouse’s Tale”, Nickel Creek (Nickel Creek, 2000)
jen introduced me to Nickel Creek that fall – now that I was learning to play acoustic guitar (thanks to Khat, who liked these guys too), I was finally in more of a position to appreciate mellower, more folk-oriented bands like this that didn’t rely on percussion or have to “rock out” to be credible. This song was a bit depressing (a lighthouse keeper loses the love of his life and then commits suicide and now the lighthouse is left all alone!), and yet so beautifully and exuberantly performed that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. Thank God I was never so fatalistic as to turn suicidal when I lost something that had been so important to me.
16) “Shine Like Crazy”, Out of the Grey (6.1, 2001)
The chirpy electronics in this song always reminded me of the sun slowly setting at the end of a long summer day. It was peaceful in that sense, and also very encouraging and invigorating. “A volatile concoction of gratitude and grace – it’s contagious, and that’s a beautiful thing.” I guess I wanted to end Disc One on a happy note this time after dealing with all of the angst – the crushing loss was also a potential opportunity for radical change. If I got through this, I’d have a story of redemption to tell that would ring true with someone else. My pain could help facilitate someone else’s healing. There were fleeting moments when the possibility of God using me in that way really excited me.
A strange thing started to happen in October, as I began to make new friends at Evergreen, the church I was attending, and participate in different social groups and activities. I started to realize that I could actually enjoy being single. The shots were totally mine to call and there was so much for me to explore now that I wasn’t tied down to someone else’s schedule, having to keep time open whenever possible in the event that she might be free. It was on a hike up Millard Canyon in Altadena to the Dawn Mine that I first arrived at this epiphany. This was actually the inaugural trip for Evergreen’s hiking ministry, which was led at the time by Kent and Mark – two men who I’d get to know well on several of these hikes over the next few years. Through this group, I’ve been able to explore several hidden, beautiful places, the existence of which your average Southern California resident is probably totally unaware.
Where in the world is this?
1) “New York”, U2 (All that You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000)
My way of paying tribute to the city that took the brunt of the 9/11 terrorist attacks – even though the song was obviously written before that, and it’s more about how New York is an overwhelmingly busy and chaotic place stuffed with tons of people who are “happily not like me and you”. The weird thing about tragedies that are so massive and difficult to face is that they tend to bring people together who previously either failed to get along, or who just paid each other no regard. I’ve never been to New York, so I can’t say firsthand how people behaved after that, but in my own life, at least for a short time, I know that I was compelled to think twice before flippantly dismissing another human being, be it a friend in need, or a stranger in line in front of me at a store, or whoever.
2) “Fire”, Delirious? (Audio: Lessonover?, 2001)
This is a song about letting go of some of the selfish things that you love in order to make yourself more available to be used by God to bring about a powerful change. I hadn’t exactly made a voluntary “sacrifice”, but losing Sharon meant having a lot more free time, and I so desperately wanted to connect with the community at Evergreen that I had been putting off making time for while I was still in a relationship. Now I kind of needed that social connection. I decided to join Crossroads – the college/young adult fellowship that existed at the time, and my first visit to the group was on September 2. I found out then that they were making a push to get more people involved with their planning team, and even though I didn’t think I had much in terms of administrative skill, I signed myself up before I could think twice about it, figuring “If I want this community to be here for me, then I need to do my part to make sure it can continue to exist.” The first planning meeting was September 9, after church, and I remember the six or seven of us sitting around a table kicking around ideas and praying that God would enable us to create a lasting community for those students and recent grads. There was a small earthquake that hit while we prayed. We kind of laughed nervously and kept at it, but I remember seeing that small earthquake as symbolic that God was going to shake things up, maybe in a way that was unsettling at first, but ultimately in a powerful and beneficial way for all of us. Two days later, 9/11 happened. The weekend after that was when I found out about Sharon being back with her old boyfriend. My world felt like it was falling apart, so I did the only thing I knew how to do – I went to that community of newfound friends in the leaders team and admitted to my pain and asked for prayer and comfort. I wanted to help them, but before that happened they ended up actually helping me. Alex was one of the first guys on that team who I got to know, since he sympathized with my pain from the breakup and helped console me through some of it. Later on I started getting to know people like Tim, Kelsey, Danny, and Cheryl, who are still very good friends of mine to this day.
3) “See the Glory”, Steven Curtis Chapman (Declaration, 2001)
Playing GameBoy standing in the middle of the Grand Canyon – what an appropriate (and quite amusing, thanks to the little “GameBoy solo” Steven cleverly inserted into the middle of this song) analogy for how we totally don’t get it and miss the glory of God due to our obsessions with much smaller things. This was one of the first songs that wasn’t a simple four or five-chord worship song that I tried to learn on my newly purchased acoustic guitar in October. I got the basic chords down and enjoyed the quick changes, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to play it the way Steven did (and I still haven’t).
4) “Scream”, The Benjamin Gate (Untitled, 2001)
This one’s a bit less specific and deep, but kind of in the same vein as “Bring It On” because it says to God that He can basically come and obliterate everything else with one powerful wave if that’s what it takes for us to get to know Him more deeply. I was really drawn to those sorts of songs at that time in my life, because it’s a lot easier to say “OK, You win, I surrender everything” when you feel like you’ve been so beaten down that there isn’t much to surrender anyway. Why the beatdown happened doesn’t really matter. The point is how God used the aftermath of it to prove to me that He was more than capable of filling the void.
5) “Super Trooper”, Superchic[k] (Karaoke Superstars, 2001)
Another cheery pick-me-up song from good old Superchic[k]. They were my motivational band in those days. This song was almost obnoxiously bouncy and perky in its jabbing at a scared friend, prodding them to stop being so neutral and docile, and to get out there and take actual risks. I related to it because I’ve never been much of a risk-taker, but something in me changed during late 2001 and 2002 – my hunger to get to know new people made me more willing to risk the possibility of coming across as socially awkward, and it turned me into more of an extrovert. I would fall flat on my face with some people (particularly when I got to the point where I was ready to be interested in dating again), but I still felt better about trying than I did about isolating myself.
6) “Ridiculous”, P.O.D. feat. Eek-a-Mouse (Satellite, 2001)
“Your style’s been played, and I’m already sick of it.” I was so looking forward to using that line as my review title for P.O.D.’s new album, but since I ended up liking it, I had to scrap that idea. I had actually always liked this weirdo reggae song ever since they released it early as a preview. Apparently I was one of the only ones.
7) “I Might Be Wrong”, Radiohead (Amnesiac, 2001)
This one’s here because, well, I was wrong about Radiohead. It hasn’t stood the test of time as well as some of the favorites I’d discover later when I finally allowed myself to fully digest Kid A and OK Computer. But at the time it was one of the few tracks from Amnesiac that got stuck in my head without frustrating me due to my expectations of something different happening than what was actually recorded.
8) “Fall”, Polarboy (4008, 2000)
A song about the mistakes we sometimes make when we assume a romantic relationship will be “forever”, and we allow things to go too far physically. (There’s a great vocal breakdown and a classical-style guitar solo at the end of this one.) It took some time after the breakup for me to admit to myself that I put my hormones before my head in that relationship. And I hurt her quite a bit by blaming her for “pushing the envelope” when I was a fully willing participant. It’s one of those hindsight things – if I had known we weren’t gonna last, of course I wasn’t going to let that happen, but trying to explain that led her to believe that I was using it as some sort of insurance to keep the relationship alive. Bad move on my part. That’s probably the main reason why we weren’t able to be friends after the breakup; I botched it by blaming her for something that I could have (and should have) chosen not to do.
9) “Coming to Life”, The Normals (Coming to Life, 2000)
“All this time, I thought that she had killed me, and all this time I spent in the graveyard weeping.” This is a song about coming to terms with romantic dreams you once had when you just naïvely assumed that the first person you fell in love with would be there forever, and now that she’s not, it feels like you’ve been stabbed in the back. This song was my way of picking myself up and saying, OK, that hurt, but I’m not gonna die from this. I still woke up today. I still have dreams. I still believe they can come true, just not with her. The best breakup songs are the ones which acknowledge how real the pain is, but also acknowledge a reason for moving on, a light at the end of the tunnel.
10) “Here with Me”, Michelle Branch (The Spirit Room, 2001)
Probably the most blatant teenybopper song on Branch’s debut – even though I claimed to like her because she played an instrument and therefore was better than those other teen pop stars, it was really just because she had catchy songs. This one hit pretty close to home. I was struck by the melody and the tension between realizing that it was good for the other person to break off a relationship, and still admitting that it hurt like hell to not have them around any more.
11) “We Never Change”, Coldplay (Parachutes, 2000)
A lot of these songs in the back half describe a period of being alone, and slowly learning to love it. This one’s a little more on the depressing side of that equation – it denotes fears of never growing and learning and changing from the awful experiences that I had that year. But it also dared to dream of living life in a more beautiful place – “I want to live in a wooden house, where making more friends would be easy.” To me that represented the communal feel of dorm life in college, which I missed so dearly, and it also kind of represented the connections I was starting to make with people through the hiking ministry – long hours spent hiking through God’s “wooden house” gave ample time to have real conversations with people who I might not have otherwise taken the chance to get to know. One of them was Dawn, a teacher who I met on the hike to Dawn Mine (no relation), and who befriended me and invited me to join the Sedaqah Group (neighborhood Bible Study) that she had just signed up for, through which I made several other lasting friendships. Maybe making friends was easier that I thought it would be – I just needed to be more bold about making sure that I could stay in touch with those people that I just “happened” to have a good initial conversation with.
12) “Thirst Is Taking Over”, Skillet (Alien Youth, 2001)
I literally felt tears welling up in my eyes the first time I heard this song. It was just that beautiful and desperate of a worship song, and it hit me like an oncoming train at a very vulnerable point in my life. It’s funny how now, when things are more stable and I’ve achieved some of the dreams that I thought back then I’d never achieve, I’m a little less aware of that constant thirst for God. I felt so empty back then, but I was so thirsty for whatever God had to offer me, and there are times when I wish I could feel that way again (without having to go through all of the pain it took to get me there the first time, of course).
13) “Something Glorious”, Circadian Rhythm (Over Under Everything, 2001)
Towards the end of the disc, I started looking forward with hope, looking at the eventual answers to these prayers for change that I hoped would come along. At times all I prayed for was just to stop hurting, but then I thought about it – why not ask God for something absolutely extraordinary? Why just settle for a return to the norm when I basically had a blank slate on which God could write an entirely new version of me? God answered those prayers. Over the next few years at Evergreen, I discovered tighter Christian community than I thought was possible outside of the confines of InterVarsity. And I met my wife, too. I kind of didn’t expect that to happen so soon, but every now and then, you pray for something and God surprises you.
14) “On and On”, Kevin Max (Stereotype Be, 2001)
This was another song that melted me the first time I heard it – in the midst of a lot of songs describing turmoil in relationships, Kevin went and threw in this love song to his wife, and it was one of those songs that I immediately tagged for a future mix CD that I would make for some special girl who I could dance with “until the song is off the radio (and we keep on dancing)”. Which is funny, because I don’t dance. But you get the idea. It’s weird to hear this one now that Kevin and his first wife have parted ways, but it’s still a beautiful song about how two lovers complement each other.
15) “The Words”, Out of the Grey (6.1, 2001)
Communication had often been a problem in my previous relationship, so part of my “dreaming big” for my future wife was wanting someone who would practically be able to complete my thoughts without me having to overexplain every detail, as I often had a tendency to do. There are times in relationships when you just feel something that words can’t describe, and it’s good to know the other person “gets it”, even if their thought patterns in other areas of life are totally night and day when compared to yours. The electric guitar solo in this song is just so mellow and gorgeous, with traces of Christine Denté’s wispy voice echoing in the background. It brings me back to those autumn evenings spent in solitude, just me and my guitar, pining for the day when I could use my arsenal of love songs to woo that special someone.
16) “One White Tulip”, LaRue (Transparent, 2001)
“It’s been one beautiful life, and I know it’s tasted its trials.” This closing song represented how I wanted it to be when my future wife and I were finally together. I knew that I had what they call “a history” – there were some difficult things in my past which I wanted to erase, but that I knew I couldn’t hide. As a result of this, I was bluntly upfront about my “baggage” when I met someone potentially interesting, just so I wouldn’t have to save that nasty surprise for later. I remember having a thought once that whoever she was, it would probably be easier if she had similar past experiences, just so neither of us would feel we’d been robbed of something. Regardless of how specifically the experiences matched up, though, I knew that she’d probably have her own secrets and fears of opening up, and one thing that I looked forward to was just easing her mind, saying that her past mistakes and her insecurities were nothing to be ashamed of, because we were just two broken souls who became more together than we were apart.