Numb, cold, tired, aching, and exhausted. I am in survival mode, just trying to survive. It seem that every time I find a small bit of happiness in life, there is a cloud of gray that sets in. Any spark of life or ray of sunshine that have been found in my soul are soon snuffed out, like a candle in the wind. All I see or feel is doom and gloom. There is so much around me that any person would say brightens the soul, yet I do not feel it. Instead I feel this cold shadow over me. I can feel the icy breath, disapproving stare, and harsh criticisms. It no longer needs to be said what they are thinking. I already know what is coming, I know every line, all the faults in my appearance, the gaps in my mind, and the lack of skill in my game, and the failure I will attain. Just when I think I can no longer take it, that cloud lifts. There is kinds, generosity, and caring. The shift in the weather is so sudden that it leaves me wondering if it has something to do with me. Am I crazy? Is it really all my fault? How do I fix it? Yet I have been told that it has nothing to do with me. It is not my fault. If it is no me, why does it affect me so?? Life is to short and beautiful to live in fear, shame, and darkness. That same weapon that has been used for so long has become my weapon. I no longer break under the criticisms they rain down upon me. The only power over me is the one that I let them have. By taking that weapon and making it mine I have control over my reactions. They cannot break me if their criticisms are just a lie. I have faults, I know that. I am not perfect and I know that. All I can be is the best me and then I am perfectly imperfect and always striving to be better. I can be anything I want to be; I am smart, beautiful, strong, and fierce. I will always be the painter, architect, author, game maker, and director of my life. I can do anything I set out to do.