Happy One Year.

One year ago today I began my blogging adventure. I have met some incredible people through here, heard many remarkable stories of courage, and have made lifelong friends.

Thank you for welcoming my little blog with open arms, and giving me hope even on my darkest of days.

I hope, that with your assistance, we can continue to spread awareness for our Chronic, Invisible Illnesses, and grow this “little” blog into something viral. 
I could not have done what I have without YOU. I hope you continue to follow me in my journey.

Lots of love, and endless gratitude,

C xo

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STRONG Enough?

We each go through days when we tell ourselves that we are not “strong” enough.

Because society categorises us as not being “strong” enough.

As we go through our journey, we are subconsciously being attacked about our lack of strength; in ways that most of you might not even realise.

We watch television and are inundated with Gym Advertisements and the physical STRENGTH that each person possesses. Because exercise equals physical strength, and everyone automatically assumes that you are ill because you are not exercising, therefore you are not STRONG.
We use social media as self-promotion, and for product-promotion.
Here’s a line that many of you will know of, the dreaded “take this and you will feel STRONGER/better
We post photos and videos of moments that highlight our STRENGTH and happiness.
We leave Specialist’s offices feeling absolutely defeated after they use the cliché line “you just have to be STRONGER”, and one that was used on me last night “you have the STRENGTH to overcome this”.
We go home and we hear this popular line of encouragement used by our loved ones in an attempt to make us “better”. They have not experienced what we have, so they associate strength with getting better and tell us to be STRONGER. That is really their way of saying “I just wish you were better”, and that somehow if we try harder we can overcome our medical challenges.
We buy magazines, with covers of STRONG, healthy people.
Strength is marketed.
We leave Doctor’s offices being surrounded by people suffering from the common cold virus, and we subconsciously tell ourselves that we wish we just had a common cold because then we’d be STRONG enough to fight it, beat it.

And so, we go through each of our days telling ourselves that we are strong enough because of the comparison to others.

We go to bed wondering what else we could have done in an attempt to feel “better”, “stronger”.
We question ourselves; and please don’t lie, because if I can admit to doing it then I know you have too. We will sit in a slump, questioning our own body and what we have to do in order to gain this so-called-strength that everyone speaks of. We will cry, we will scream; wishing for our course of events to be different.

We pressure ourselves, because we feel pressured.

Example of Chronically Ill Brain:
Who do I speak to? Hello? Tell me.
Where do I obtain such strength to overcome my illness?
What does it mean to be strong?
Am I not strong enough?
Do I have to exercise, or exercise harder?
Do I have to eat healthier, or attend that party that I fear I will be too sick to make it for?
Do I have to gain muscle, or throw myself into a job?
Do I have to work five days a week instead of two?
Do I have to drive to that appointment, even though I feel too ill?
Do I have to step out of my wheelchair, or
not feel depressed?
Strength, strength, strength.
Why am I not strong enough to beat this?

I am here to tell you that,
I know the STRENGTH that it took to get out of bed this morning.
I know how many times you hit your alarm because your body ached.
I know the STRENGTH it took to feed your children and nappychange them this morning, and the effort it took you to have a shower this morning.
I know the STRENGTH you had when you dragged yourself to that appointment, and used all of your energy chatting to your Doctor about progress or decline.
I know the STRENGTH that it took to try and exercise today, even if that means walking to the mailbox and back.
I know the STRENGTH that it took to tell do, or say, something thoughtful to your partner, because you feared they would not know how much you were thankful for their support.
I know the STRENGTH that it took to pick yourself up off the floor after crying what felt like an ocean.
I know the STRENGTH that it took to try and swallow each tablet, multiple times a day.
I know the STRENGTH that it took to half-smile, or to laugh.

I know.

So, when you see or hear the term STRENGTH, you are to stop for a minute and take a deep breath in.

Count to five (that takes strength too).
And then I want you to tell yourself, and whoever/whatever is in front of you questioning your strength, this:

In this moment,
I am strong enough,
to make it through the next (moment).

In this moment, YOU are STRONG ENOUGH, to make it through the next moment.
That’s all you need to know. You don’t need to know how; just know that you WILL.

You may not see this strength that you possess, but it is there and I promise you it will be pulling you through the roughest of nights, the toughest of moments.
You go to sleep begging for a way out, and you wake up wondering how you made it through the night before; there it is, your strength.
You probably don’t even know that you have it, but it’s there.
I know it is, because somewhere within me, it’s there too and I have it to thank for keeping me here this long.
Strength isn’t about pushing your body to do the unthinkable, so you then have to suffer the repercussions afterwards, and it is most certainly not about beating our diseases. We can push ourselves to achieve more, but if we fail it does not mean we are not strong.
How lovely it would be to think of overcoming our illness, and maybe some of us will, but most of us can’t. We are tied to each other (illness and you, illness and me).

Sure, it would be lovely to push ourselves to achieve more.

There are things that our illness stops us from doing, and then there are things we fear doing because of our illness, but that does not mean that we are not strong enough.

It’s all well and good for people to push us to be stronger, to try harder; because most of them think that we sit at home doing nothing all day, and then the rest of them have our best intentions at heart. They just want us to be better, and there is nothing wrong with that.

But don’t let them question your strength.

Don’t let them question YOUR efforts, because I know.
I know exactly what it feels like.
I know exactly how hard you are trying.

We might not be physically strong, we might not even be mentally strong at times, and most of us will not be able to overcome our illnesses,
BUT we possess a rare type of strength that others don’t have –

Chronic Illness Strength,

and let me be the first to tell you that this type of strength is stronger than physical and mental combined.

In this moment, I am strong enough, to make it through the next.

C xo

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The Many Faces Of Chronic Illness.

Hi readers,

This is a must read.

I apologise for my recent absence.
Illness Army is incredibly popular, and I have only made time to go through each of your emails and publish your stories instead of my own.
Ihave also had a lot going on in regards to my health, a few rough flareups and became lost in my dark thoughts, symptoms and busy agenda.

Even though I have been absent on WordPress, I have not been so absent on Social Media.
I have received an influx of personal messages lately reading the following:
You are looking great lately. You must be feeling better,”
I have seen that you have been getting out more lately. You must feel fine!”

Photos begin circling of my face painted with a little bit of makeup, hair straightened, sitting in a public place and suddenly everyone remembers that I am still alive, and I am deemed as cured/better.

Firstly, I am not cured.
I don’t know how to respond to the “feeling better” statement.
I don’t know why society assumes that someone that appears to look healthy, is healthy.
If anything, I am adjusting better to my new norm.

Secondly, yes I might be out – I can assure you it was for an hour, no more.
Do you know how much strength and additional effort it takes a Chronically Ill sufferer to get up and leave the house for ‘events’?
I don’t know about you, but I personally have to be dragged out kicking and screaming. Every inch of my body aches, I am trying to hold in my wanting to vomit and the last thing I want to do is be in public being stared at because ‘the normal looking girl is walking too slow’.

I don’t know how to feel when I receive these personal messages.
Do I take it as a compliment, with pride?
Or do I take it as an insult? As people come to me after seeing a photo or a post, telling me that I look great, and then 101 question me as to why I am still not at work, why I am still in appointments, why I am still unable to drive and why I missed our lunch date.
I am continuously spoken to like they think that at the snap of my fingers I can just turn on the Health Button. It is strongly ringing in my head as an insult.

It’s always one extreme or the other.
I am either deemed well enough to run a marathon, or I must sit in my house alone all day because the symptoms are making me miserable.

There is never an inbetween.
People don’t understand that we can feel strong enough to go out some days, but still come home sick/still be sick>

Are people naive enough to think that I’m going to happily post a photo of myself when I have acne all over my face, I’ve been vomiting my organs out and I am so pale that I could be mistaken for Casper the Ghost?
Ah no, and I am certainly not going to post a Facebook status about how I contemplated killing myself four times this week, either.

I, like you, choose to only publicise my achievements; the days that are slightly more bearable than others, and the photos that make me look half-decent. Why? Because I’m human.

Forgive me if I, too, want one day where I look ‘normal’, ‘beautiful’, ‘unpained’.

Well, maybe this is the problem?
Maybe sufferers of Chronic Illness are feeling pressured to be something we are not; healthy.
Maybe this is what needs to change; I/we need to make our statements raw, and our photos as honest and natural as they can be, in order for everyone to stop and take notice of the bigger picture.

So, I have taken a ‘selfie’ every day for the past thirty days, to show you that appearances are not everything.
I am not “pretty” every day and I don’t even care.
But, mostly, I want you to see the fluctuation.
I want you to see the face behind the “makeup days”.
I want to share that there are MANY faces of Chronic Illness that aren’t often publicised.
I don’t get to pick and choose what days I am ill and unable to leave my house. I don’t get to pick and choose which events I have to cancel, or when my flareups decide to make place or for how long they last. You cannot make a solid judgement from the photos; you can only make ASSUMPTIONS.

And queue the non-sick raising their hands, asking, “but you were able to go out some days so why can’t you just push yourself to go out EVERY day?”

Some symptom days are just HARSHER than others.
The point is, I did not wake up CURED.
I felt sick the entire time, but some on some of the days the symptoms were just easier to manage than the others.

I have days where I walk down the street and you would not think that I was suffering with severe pain or nausea twenty-four hours a day… and then there are days where I look pale and pained; there are days when I run to the toilet, I can’t speak due to nausea and I’m curled up in a ball on the floor crying.

I want you to know that it is OKAY to have days where you don’t wear makeup, don’t feel like going out to see a friend, your hair looks frizzy, your skin looks like a dot-to-dot puzzle. It’s also okay to get a day where you feel well enough to get dressed up and do things, and to still come home at the end of the night being sick. It’s OKAY.

Take a look at my photos, and before you jump to drastic conclusions, assuming that I have magically overcome my illness overnight – let me tell you that I haven’t.


I’ll let you in on a little secret;
I was sick every single day in each of these photos…

But, you wouldn’t know it by looking at me.

C xo

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Illness Army: “A New Beginning”

Another must read from the ever-so-sweet Joshua.
I am lucky to call Josh a friend.
He runs the blog and is an incredibly talented lyricist.
Joshua spreads hope for other sufferers of Cerebral Palsy, Depression, Anxiety and Body Image.
His story shared today, will leave you with a warmth in your heart and an overwhelming feeling of hope for love.

So, it’s been two months since I’ve written anything – not a song, poem, or blog post of any merit or substance. Why’s that important? Well, let’s just say that I’m not doing what I should be: myself.

I mean that in an expressive and artistic way, and the reason why is because I’m happy – I’m in love. My creative nature is birthed from heartache, pain, loss, fear. I don’t have those feelings now, and I have a girl in my life that accepts me for who I am.

She is of course in a different country – Norway to be exact. Sure, I know what you’re thinking: it’s limiting, too far, or not possible. We’ve talked about it countless times, and we both come to the same conclusion each time: we both give each other something that no one else ever has. Despite being 3,587 miles(5,772 kilometers) away from her, I’ve never felt closer to anyone emotionally and mentally in my life.

Is there someone here for me in New York? Sure – somewhere – but that’s not the point. Over the years, I’ve consistently fallen for girls that I’d never have a chance with if my life depended on it. ‘Just kill me now.’ I’d say.’ This ain’t gonna happen.’

I always wanted what I couldn’t have – including a “normal” body due to my disabilty – and the odds have always been against me since birth. However, my biggest struggle became the catalyst for how I’ve accomplished anything in my life. I can do anything you can – I just do it differently – I’ve obtained everything in the opposite fashion and I applied that to relationships, too.

And why not? Why shouldn’t it be different? I’m never gonna have a regular life – and that’s okay. Conventionality can bite me. And the thing is, this girl that I love is different. She’s human, she’s reflective on what she’s done – what she sees – and she acknowledges that – to me anyway and I her. That’s what’s important. We acknowledge one another.

Those other girls who I’d never be with in a million years liked me for one of two reasons: I knew what to say in the face of their adversity, and they had boyfriends they didn’t like. A lot of people are superficial, apathetic, and worrisome of their image if they’re with certain people. I’m that certain person to others when it comes to relationships.

I couldn’t give less of a shit now if I’m not enough for you. I’ve “tried” the online dating thing and it’s the same bullshit. Everyone’s afraid of saying what they want, and when someone is honest in what they want, the system designed to “find your perfect match” – based on nonsense – gives you a big fat middle finger.

Online dating prays on the fears of lonely people who’ve been rejected by society only to reject the want they desperately need: love. You can’t live without it. It’ll kill you before you give it a chance at times. I’ve been dead up until I found this beautiful girl named Anette. The love she’s given me and the love I have for her have saved me from eternal somberness and stifling heartbreak.

She’s proved to me that I’m loveable, I’m “good enough” – even though she’d say great – and most importantly that I’m capable of everything I’m afraid of. I’m so grateful for her and she’ll be visiting me in June. It’ll be the first time that we’ll be at fingertips length.

I can’t wait to meet you, Anette. Thank you for making me see the beauty that is life and for showing me what love’s about: empowerment and encouragement of one another through light and dark times.

I love you.

If you would like to submit your story of hope during illness, check out our Submissions Guidelines Page. I look forward to hearing from you.

Illness Army: “A Thousand Victories”

I usually finish these pieces with a paragraph to tie loose ends, but this piece in particular calls for special attention.
If there is one submission that you must read – it is this one.

My dear friend and one of my first followers, Ross, has written this incredible piece discussing life AFTER illness.
Yes, I did say AFTER.
Ross has gone on to lead a very active life after suffering for years with many mysterious symptoms, and Doctors who doubted him.
Please, PLEASE read and follow him at
I guarantee there will be NO disappointments…

1 Pm and the alarm sounds. Glancing away from my keyboard I take a short breath and begin to rummage through a handful of medications, its that time of day. That time of day for the just over three thousand, four hundred and I’ve lost count dosages that keep this motor running.

I’ll give you a brief history of my life with mental illness, it will help bring this short story into context. At age 19 I was diagnosed with Manic Bipolar Disorder, year after year the list of diagnosis continued to grow. At present I am 31 Yrs old and have been diagnosed as living with; Manic Bipolar Disorder, Schizotypal Personality Disorder, Chronic Anxiety Disorder, Psychosis, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder & Clinical Depression.

From age 19 till just recently I refused to accept that there was anything the medical community could do for me. First Gen medications were brutal, often making living life harder due to the massive collection of unfavorable side effects. And despite my impressive list of diagnosis I was always considered to be of sound mind and capable of refusing medication.

So I did, out of fear.
Fear that I may lose my mind more, suffer more and my biggest fear of all; I might get better.

4 Yrs ago roughly I ate dinner at a local restaurant in Toronto, Ontario. I had no idea how much my life was about to change thanks to a miniscule dose of common yet potentially lethal bacteria. Most of you have probably experienced food poisoning before. But not what everyone has experienced is the crippling and enraging visits to clinics & hospitals as a mental health patient to be told that what your experiencing is in your head.

Over the span of 3 Months I visited my GP, emergency clinics and mental health refuge homes. I rapidly lost weight, dropping from 180 Lbs to less than 120 Lbs in weeks. The pain was unbearable, I couldn’t eat or drink. If I did it was unearthly, the sickness I’d experience. Day in and day out I sat on the floor. Laid next to the tub or draped myself over the toilet. Punishing myself for not being able to will my mind out of tearing my body apart. And then it happened. Salvation.

I found a GP willing to actually test. Perform a real, physical collection of material from my body that could be measured and deliver factual evidence that my pain and suffering was not in my head… One week later I was laying on the cool concrete floor of my basement apartment and a call came in. It was the Center for Disease Control. It was real. It was really real.

By time I was treated with wide spectrum antibiotics which wiped out any good bacteria I had left in my system. I weighed less than 100 Lbs. Every bone in my body was visible, each one jutted & poked out through the translucent skin. And the nail in the coffin, the bacteria was present in my system long enough to cross the blood brain barrier and infiltrate my mind.

I flew back to my home city Halifax, NS. I lost my mind, literally. I toyed with the idea of taking my own life. It was cyclical, a merry go round in my head. Close friends and family struggled to help me. Until one day it happened, I carefully and thoughtfully planned out how I would spend my last day. I’d end it all in a construction yard, impaled on the gauntlet of fork like rebar. It can be found arranged in pits far below the skeletal concrete structures of downtown development.

On my last day a close & lifelong friend approached me. They said something I can’t remember. Walked me to emergency and it all spilled out. I told the nurse everything, I cried and like a miracle no one made me wait. No one told me it was all in my head. They put me in an ambulance and moved me to a mental health facility.

A unit named the Mayflower became my home for 3 Months. My right to choose was revoked. I no longer had the choice of being afraid to get better or get worse. Each day my nurse would watch me with scrutiny as I took my medications. I began to gain weight, I began to regain my senses. My ability reason and my will to live became strong and unwavering.

After leaving the Mayflower I was picked up by another mental health support group known as Connections. Here I’d continue to grow. Everyday for three years I attended Connections, 8 Am to 4:30 Pm. I had a Worker, a Psychiatrist and peers. I had a plan.

Four years and bit later here I am writing to you. I work, full time. I have a career and I love my life. Is it perfect? No. Nothing ever is, but… It is what you make of it. I know that there is a bad place, it’s at the very bottom of existence. And no matter how alone a person may feel while they live in that bad place. There is a good place, a place where you can heal. A place where you can flourish. Big or small purpose exists in this place. I have seen it. And so can you.

Please don’t ever stop reaching out, no matter how many times your passed over, ignored or belittled. Reach out, ask for help, talk about what is in your head no matter how dark or scary it is. Tell people, tell the world. You’re not alone. Something better is out there.

Now it is your turn!
Check out our Submissions Guidelines Page to share your post!

Sick Enough.

The Government called me today.
I was, once again, rejected my claim for Disability.
Disappointing, yes, but even more so was the man I was assigned, as he finished our conversation with this (and I quote):

Once you hang up the phone, I’d like you to just sit down and have a real long, hard think about whether you are sick enough to be eligible for a Sickness Pension or Disability Allowance. Just have a really long think…”

I think that this statement sums up what is wrong with every Government worldwide.


Oh hey, I had a long hard think and I suddenly, (after almost two years of being ill), feel that I am well enough to return to fulltime work and study. I actually feel SO great that I can start tomorrow!
I just needed to go through this year long process of applications and rejections, appointments, tests and letters for one of your employees to tell me to ‘think about my illness’ a little more than I have been doing over this past TWO YEAR PERIOD and realise that I am actually well enough to return to the life I apparently willingly gave up.

Here’s a thought – employ people who have the ability to show empathy towards those who have not CHOSEN this path for themselves – were GIVEN it.
You have my file, which I picture to resemble the length of the pages in the entire Harry Potter Novel Series.
You have every letter from every Specialist, and you know exactly how many times I have called because you have cut my payments or questioned my health.

This entire journey is incredibly stressful – especially the part where you have to deal with the Government. The process should be simple, but it isn’t. I understand that they are trying to prevent frauds from corrupting their system and receiving payments, and I also understand that they are pushing for thousands of people to return to ‘some type of work’ to accompany their therapy and improve their mental wellbeing.
I understand, but what I DO NOT understand is their disregard for the thousands of people who are GENUINELY ill and GENUINELY unable to work temporarily and permanently.

Sufferers are vulnerable as it is, yet we are left on our hands and knees trying to prove to your employees that we are ‘sick enough’, and we are ridiculed and not taken seriously.

Why would I willingly choose to live like this every day? To feel constant pain, and to spend 85% of my time in and out of appointments?
Why would I spend my last dollar on medication and therapy, when it could easily be spent on luxurious items for myself?
Tell me why I would give up my dream job for this new life?

Oh, maybe because I have a VERY REAL, CHRONIC condition?

To the imbecile that I was given today;
I took what you said into consideration and I did have a long, hard think after I hung up the phone today…

and I decided that I will most definitely be reporting you for causing me additional stress.


Let Me Publish Your Story.

Help me, help you, and ultimately help others!

Due to an influx of new bloggers writing about their Chronic Illnesses, loneliness and the lack of guidance and support along their journey, I have created a new segment called ILLNESS ARMY.
Under this tab, I would like there to be numerous Chronic Illness categories with YOUR stories.
I want to connect you with the right people.
I want you to make friends and support each other.
I want your voices to be heard, so we can make it known that Chronic Illness of any kind is not pleasant.

I feel as though I can only support as my much as my knowledge and experience allows me to… so, I am requesting YOUR assistance.

I am in search of honest writing.
As you are writing, you must think about the person reading your post.
If they are newly diagnosed with what you have, how would you prepare them?
How can you support others?

I am looking for new, or old posts, but there are a few guidelines, so please read carefully:
Maximum 1000w per post

Posts can be copied and pasted into an email, or sent as a word document.
You can also email me a link to a pre-written post on your site if it meets the criteria.

ONE entry PER email.

Once emailed, changes to posts CANNOT be made.

Your post MUST fall into ONE major category.
(Please go and have a look at our current dropdown list under Illness Army, on our homepage. If your illness is not there, please attach the name in your email and I will add it to the list)
I understand that many of you will fit into MULTIPLE categories, but please choose ONE that best suits your submitted post, or one will be chosen for you.
I have chosen to select this way as I want sufferers to be linked to the appropriate people for support. If there is a sufferer of Gastroparesis searching for guidance, they will most likely not find it by being in the POTS section).

This MUST be filled out and emailed along with your entry:
Your Name:
Your Email:
Your Blog URL:
Title of Post:
Your Chronic Illness (for the category):
Three Sentences About Yourself or your blog:

Please do not interpret this as a sign off from me. I will still continue to write my own posts about my journey and experiences, directed at a collective audience.
As I am doing this project solo, I will aim to post two of your stories per week (if my health holds up).

If your post meets the criteria, and is chosen to be published, you will receive an email notification.

If you aren’t following me already, then please start today!
Let’s start sharing this post so we can begin uniting sufferers!

You may begin sending your entries via my CONTACT page, or alternatively at
with the subject line “ILLNESS ARMY SUBMISSION”

I am really looking forward to reading your stories.
I think this is a step in the right direction for spreading awareness about our community.

C, xo.

Will You Be My Valentine?

When it comes to Valentines Day,
you are usually one of two people:

The person who sits in a slump,
hidden from social media all day,
because you are single and you don’t want to be inundated with hundreds of Facebook posts from other people gloating about their relationships, overpriced flowers and gifts;

or you are that other person who is on Facebook gloating about your relationship, overpriced flowers and gifts.

Valentines Day is about being thankful for Love,
and spreading kindness…

I’M the person who thinks that this should be done EVERY day.

Love for your friends, family, those who have been supportive to you along your journey, and your partner…

It is also about loving yourself,


my Valentines Day gift to you today is…
one Extra Special Spoon to use on doing something that makes YOU happy,
because YOU deserve it!

Extra Spoons are rare so use it wisely!

If you are having a really awful symptom day,
and/or are spending Valentines Day alone like me;
don’t be disheartened.

Know that I am thinking of you,
and most importantly,
that you ARE loved.

C, xo

Once Upon A Time, I Couldn’t Cook…

One major positive of being sick, unemployed and housebound for over a year now, is being given the time to learn how to cook.

And, let me be the first to tell you how thankful I am.

I come from a big Italian family; a Mother who cooks incredible dishes spanned over all cultures, a Dad who can magically create something tasty using the fewest ingredients, a sister who studied to become a Chef and a Nonna who has been cooking for the entire extended family for many, many years.

I, did not inherit the ‘talented with food’ gene, but when I fell ill I did not want to rely on my Mother cooking two different meals for our family after a long day’s work – (my diet was very different in the initial illness days. Bland, mashed vegetables and ‘gluten free’).

I remember sitting at the dinner table, overlooking my Mother in the kitchen one day. I was too dizzy to stand, to walk. I asked her what she was making, and she laughed in my face because I had never shown an interest before. I rose from my chair and dragged it closer to her; and this is where the lessons began.

A year on, I have mastered her famous Lasagne, Chicken Snitzel and Potato Salad. We have made treats that I could eat, and then we made treats (a lot of them) that I could only look at.

I have grown from burnt toast, to scrambled eggs, to… THIS:

a Raw Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake!

Lucky for me, it can be frozen for up to twelve months; and as I am currently incredibly ill with a throat and chest infection (on top of the usual symptoms), this means I can still enjoy it… And all year round!

Little steps, my friends. Little steps.

I have books filled with recipes and cutouts of recipes all over my room; all waiting to be made.

If you aren’t a great cook yourself, and are in similar health circumstances to myself, give it a go! No needs to buy a Beginner’s Cookbook when you have the internet at your fingertips!

If someone told me two years ago that I made that cake, I’d probably laugh in their face.

In this moment, I’m really proud of myself.