The line must be drawn here. This far, no farther. All nerdy star trek quotations aside - I have reached a great many conclusions over the course of this weekend. I have whined at people (apologies LoneWolf) I have, I am sure, severely exacerbated the headaches of the others (sorry Ben) I have cried and wallowed and in some instances disappeared so far up my own ass that I have taken to presuming that my feelings are also the feelings of others - projecting my insecurites and issues onto people I love. I have developed a profound dislike for myself that has, over time, manifested in a severe trust issue that I did not even really know I had. The hating myself has to stop. The line has to be drawn on badmouthing myself and telling myself every awful thing I can think of. I have spent forever believing the negative things - supposing that the people who said them are right. I realise today (far later than I should have) that if someone I love and admire and respect is telling me good things - someone whose opinion matters to me - someone whose honesty and integrity is one of the things I love most about them - it is time to start listening. It is time to move on from the bad crap. It is time to start telling myself the truth. So okay. I am not ugly. Am I pretty? No not really. Am I overweight? Yes. But I am okay looking; I am not hideous. I have a body that works - it is healthy (ish) - I can walk and if needs be run (eep). I am not generally in pain. I am young (thirty one is young - I am not joining the fossil thread damnit) and far more people have told me that I look fine than have told me that I look awful. I have no reason at all to avoid mirrors and cry if faced with a camera. Enough of believing the bad things said by people I have no respect for. No more believing that three or four guys represent the opinions and thoughts of men in general. This far - no farther. I am not stupid. Have I made bad decisions? Yes. Do I need saving from myself and specifically my propensity for hanging onto damaging people and situations? Definitely. But I am smarter than average - I am articulate and educated and I actually think about things. I am not lacking basic common sense (outside of my own safety) and I am interested in things. I can have an intelligent conversation on most topics and those I cannot I am more than willing to listen, to learn, to admit my ignorance and ask questions. Enough telling myself I am stupid. No more beating myself up for very human mistakes. This far - no farther. I am not a horrible person. Have I hurt people? Done selfish things? Yes I have. Find me someone who has not. Do I think bad and uncharitable thoughts? Yes I do - I am human. But I care about people - I am thoughtful and I am kind. I would give you (whoever you are) my last pennies if you needed them. I have a developed sense of empathy and I judge less than the average person. I am accepting and loving and would never ever intentionally or even knowingly hurt someone. Enough holding myself responsible for everyone else's unhappiness. No more focussing on the bad things I have done and thought and dismissing the good qualities I have. This far - no father. I am not worthless. Did I save the world like I wanted to at 18? No. Do I make a profound difference to humanity at large? Nope. But I have helped. I taught dozens of children that having a voice and taking a stand for what they believe in is as valuable as any qualification on a piece of paper. I taught grown adults to read and write. I took heroin addicts from having no functional skills at all to capable of and, more importantly, believing that they could, enter the workforce - that they had options. And more than that - I am not DONE yet. I likely have decades left. Enough sitting around whining about being useless. No more self pitying obsession about the obstacles to being the person I want to be. No more telling myself there is no future. This far - no farther. I can and will be someone I am proud of. I will not hide and I will not be ashamed of being who I am. I will be someone he deserves. I will be someone I deserve. I will not let the past define my future. I will not let fear win. This far, no father.