Perception is a bitch…

I find it really interesting how someone else’s perceptions of our actions can influence how they treat us, or what they say about us.

 

I manage a staff of five people in my current position. I love what I do, I love the company I work for, and I love my staff. They are all incredibly hard working people who also seems to really really love the positions they are in. They all worked here prior to me being hired on, but none of them really wanted the position I am in. The company I work for searched for almost two years to find someone to take over this position. All in all, it took about a month and a half to get me hired on and I went through a total of two and a half hours’ worth of interviews to get in the door. The person who I was replacing had worked for the company for 10 years, and had been in the management position for 3. This person was also attending school so they only worked part time. My staff was in dire need of a full-time manager – someone to constantly be there to support them.

 

I knew that coming in as the new kid would be difficult, but the beauty of it all was that I got brought in to manage people. Not to say that I’m better than any of them, because without my team this whole department would fall to pieces… But I got hired on to be the boss! I was told my schedule was flexible, if needed I could occasionally work from home, and if I needed to leave for an appointment it is as easy putting in for the time off, or making up the hours later.

 

What I actually do on a day-to-day basis is a great example of my dream job. I still get to handle billing, but I also took on credentialing for all of our clinics, and one of my biggest roles is being the point person for any big decisions when it comes to anything health insurance related. My doctors ask me questions about policies, procedures, and general “what should I do?” type questions. My boss reads something and says, “Probably best to consult with Alecia about this.” even when people try to go over my head. It’s a beautiful thing – and I love working somewhere that I can apply all of this knowledge that I have about the weird world that is billing. My staff acknowledges that I’m helpful to them, I solve their problems, I’m accommodating when it comes to requesting time off or schedule changes… And yet the biggest problem that I’ve run into with my staff and the other employees in the office has to do with when I’m in the office. It’s totally crazy, and to me it’s down-right silly. We all work 40 hours – some work early, some work late, some leave early, some leave late, some work from home, some travel to other places to do their work… I wish it was just as simple as believing that people are completing the hours requested of them and not letting their perceptions of someone else’s time dictate their feelings about how someone is doing their job.

 

My boss understands – because he gets e-mails from me at 8:30pm, 10:00pm – when I’m home working on a project. I reply to his emails on Saturday, I take credentialing paperwork home to do at my kitchen counter… He understands that life happens and people need to be in and out need some wiggle room, because real-life doesn’t run an 8-5 schedule. Yet any time that there is a deviation in our expected programming, someone feels like they need to bring it up. Not just to the big boss, but to anyone who will listen. Why can so-and-so get away with that? Why can so-and-so leave an hour early? It just seems so ridiculous in my mind, and I wish that deep down people were going to pay more attention to someone’s accomplishments and what they get done on a day-to-day basis.

Sometimes when things fall apart, it happens all at once.

It happened.

I finally lost my shit.

You know that moment – when everything caves in all at once? When the realization of what you’ve been going through finally smacks you upside the head like a big ass brick? That happened to me yesterday.

I’d been doing just fine, emotionally. I’d been going through the motions… Mad, in disbelief, sad, mildly depressed, refusing to get out of bed… I’m not really the emotional type, you see. Overly desensitized to what’s going on around me, and really good at compartmentalizing(a trick my ex-husband taught me). I hadn’t cried – not even a single tear. It takes a lot for me to cry, which probably why when it finally happens it’s pretty awful.

I was in my office yesterday when I hear two people that work in my clinic come out to our main “fish bowl” and start excitedly talking about how they got engaged over the weekend. The ladies on my staff and the other employees that work out there were gushing over the two of them, requesting every last detail about how it happened, where it happened, when’s the big day, where are you getting married, etc.

It was all I could do to simply shut my office door as silent tears started to roll down my cheeks. The first time I’d cried, and the tears continued to roll. I ended up staying in my office for an hour with the door shut, trying to get it together. I’m a manager – I can’t have these moments, especially not at work. I’m supposed to be responsible for leading these people, solving their problems, and laying down the law when necessary.

This was around 2 in the afternoon – and I was stuck in this hell until at least 4. When 4pm finally rolled around I grabbed my bag and bolted out the door. I had to face an hour long drive home, but at least I was finally away from those people. I had texted some of my good friends… “I cried at the office today.” Explained the situation, they told me they were sorry and wished they could help… One, explained to me that he didn’t know what to do with a crying Alecia – because I never cried. About halfway through my drive home I seriously lost it. Uncontrollable sobbing, tears, not being able to breathe, total tomato face… Wave after wave it hit me, and I couldn’t do anything other than sit there in traffic and lose my shit – in every sense of the term.

“I needed you to need me, and you never did.”

I had planned on coming to write a blog post about my broken engagement… and I just read through my last post and realized I never announced the fact that I was engaged! It’s crazy how things can change in an instant…

 

Josh proposed to me on Christmas, in front of my Dad’s side of the family. I don’t want to say that I expected it, but him and I had talked about engagements and we had gone to look at rings – so it was kind of expected. I had no clue it would be done in front of such a large audience!

 

This engagement was exciting… It finally made me feel like I was the normal type of person that someone could fall in love with and want to marry. We all know my first marriage was not only short lived, but a complete shit-show… And it also totally fucked my head up in regards to life in general, and relationships. We set a date, we picked out colors, we talked about who would be in our wedding party… I set up a WeddingWire website for our wedding, started entering guests in my guest book, contacted my DJ friend, my photographer friend, and my cake-making friend… I also bought a bookshelf and unpacked my books and found “1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married”.

 

Last week my engagement got broken off. Josh and I got into a huge fight (we rarely fight – we’re both really laid back, fairly logical people), it escalated – it was a very valid thing to be arguing about… And Josh told me, “I can’t deal with you anymore. I’m coming to get my stuff, and I want my ring back.”

 

And he did just that. When I got home from work he was at my house… All of his things were packed up – his PS3, the TV he’d given me to put in my room, his extra shoes in my closet, his Kam Chancellor jersey he’d left there for game day, the body pillow that he gave me to keep at my house(he’s had it since college- super raggedy but totally comfortable), the basketball shorts I’d adopted, the sweatshirt he gave me from when he coached High School Football… Any and all traces of him disappeared, with the exception of the gaping hole where the TV was and the tiny house key he’d left on the counter for me to find.

 

That night I still wasn’t sure how to feel about it… I was in shock. Not only that things had gone down that way, but at the mistakes he’d made… How I handled things. I was so unprepared for it all to happen like that. I called my best friends, my Mom… Everyone assured me that I was in the right and my feelings were totally valid.

 

The next day, I stayed home from work to have a “personal day”. I needed to see how things would shake out. In the past Josh and I have argued over silly things, broken up for a few days/a week/three weeks, then realized that the fight was dumb and we still really like one another. This fight seems so different though… I feel like I’ve come to some realization about how things were and what I expect out of someone. And on an even deeper level than that – what I think someone should just KNOW about my personality – or what they should at least be able to guess.

 

I’ve always known – but I’ve recently realized on an even deeper level – that I am way too independent(I always spell it out like Beyonce when I type it). Raised by my mostly single mother, I was shown that you can handle your business all on your own. Not only that – but you almost have to. Depending on someone else to handle your shit will get you fucked over in the end. “Real” jobs are super important to me… I’ve got a career – something I can do for the rest of my life and make good money doing it. Stability. I can tell you exactly when my next paycheck will hit my bank account, and I can tell you exactly how much money it is going to be. I just moved into a new house… That comes with the responsibility of paying not only rent, but electricity – water – garbage – cable, etc. I have to buy groceries that will actually sustain me for more than a day and a half. I’m happy to say that at 26 years old (almost 27, yikes), my shit is established. My job isn’t going anywhere any time soon, I’ve got a roof over my head, a brand new car… I’m Gucci. I could live forever without someone else to hold me down.  No one actually wants to do that, but if it came to it – I could. Because I can’t sleep at night with the idea that I can’t afford to pay my own bills, or come the end of the month I’ll be flat broke and not be able to afford gas to get to work. I also can’t sleep at night with the idea that I had to borrow money from someone just to make shit happen. It is such an uneasy feeling…

 

The shitty part is though – the realization that I WANT someone to handle shit for me. I want someone to work hard enough to pay the bills for both of us and to hold me down. I’d never lead it on – but it’s a realization I’ve come to. My partner should not only be on my level – they should be better than me. Do better than me, be better than me, giving me something to work towards. Let me strive to be better than you – but never let it happen. Challenge me – not only my drive, but my intelligence. Be smarter than me – prove me wrong. And when I’m being stubborn, and independent, and not listening… Make me listen. It might take a couple tries, but eventually you’ll get there – and you’ll win. I want someone that will spoil me – just because… Please believe, I realize I’m a complete pain in the ass and I might have unreal expectations of how life should be… But when I do fine all by myself, I need someone to prove to me that I not only want them, but I need them around.

 

And I’ve never needed anyone.

New Year – Unexpected New Me

I never thought that I would find myself in a situation where I was unhappy and didn’t even realize it.

 

It’s a strange thing… A very strange concept. Especially for someone such as myself. My brother’s now ex-girlfriend gave me a book for Christmas called, “Snapshots of Dangerous Women” – and it’s these old photographs of women doing crazy things like smoking cigarettes, one woman is peeing in front of a “no dumping” sign, etc. She said that the women in this book reminded her of me – because I’m “so in charge of my life” and seem to have things together. I actually took that as quite the compliment – as I actually didn’t care too much for this girl. It was a super thoughtful gift, and I hadn’t even gotten her a Christmas present.

 

I didn’t realize that I was unhappy until I removed myself from the situation I was in. The last day of 2015 I packed up all my shit and moved out of my best friend’s house. For the last two years I’d been living with her, her husband, their one and a half year old daughter, and their two smelly pitbulls. Everyone seemed mortified when I told them I would be living with a new baby – but the baby was so quiet the first year of her life. She slept through the night and never caused any problems… I even babysit every once in a while! My best friend was a fantastic roommate… She was quiet, worked all the time, and to be honest we rarely saw one another. Her husband was also gone fairly often, but when he was home he sure had an attitude… He is the type of guy who is a dick for absolutely no reason. If I had to be married to him, I’d probably end up killing him.

 

The worst part about living there was the mess. You walk into the house and it smells like dog… the dishes are never done, there are toys everywhere, you can’t take a shower without removing a pile of Barbies first. I never complained about it though – as they didn’t charge me rent when I first moved in. My portion of rent was to help clean… So I’d do the mound of dishes that weren’t mine, I’d pick up the living room every once in a while, wipe down the bathroom… Over the two years I lived there I picked up paying the internet bill, then payed a flat $150 to go towards the water bill and anything else they may need. The ultimate goal though was to get out of their hair and get into a new place that was closer to work. I couldn’t really go grocery shopping as I only had one shelf on the fridge to myself. I couldn’t do meal prep very easily as that would require cleaning the entire kitchen just to get access to the stove and counter tops.

 

Over the past year I really lost myself. I don’t blame them – as what they did for me by giving me a place to live was more than I ever could have asked of a friend. I stopped doing food prep, I started eating out, I locked myself in my room all the time, I stopped working out. My mental health and my physical health suffered. I’ve gained about 80 pounds back in the last 15 or so months – which is very drastic. I’ve been largely unhappy with the way I look, but I haven’t had the desire or motivation to change anything because it seemed so impossible.

 

So the last day of 2015 I packed everything up and moved myself out. I moved into another house with someone else – but we moved into this house together. It is “our” house. I’ve got two roommates – my friends Abbey and Mel. They are a couple, but the four of us (myself and Josh being the other two) get along quite swimmingly. I’m 25 miles closer to work – meaning I’m driving a literal 50 less miles a day. This ends up saving me two hours at each end of my day – which is life changing on its own. I’ve got a clean kitchen, clean roommates, and space that is actually mine. I’m not going to lie – I’m broke as shit right now after that move. Between having to pay the rent which I haven’t been paying, my paycheck being $300 short(taxes from my bonus that I forgot were coming out), and helping my mom pay some bills… I’ve got a long month ahead of me with no funds. I’m not sure that I can put into words though – how much of a relief it is to be in my own place. I’ve been making meals – I did food prep for the first time since starting my new job. I haven’t seen a latte stand or a drive-thru window in a week. It seems like such a simple thing, but I feel that this huge weight has been lifted. I didn’t even know I was being weighed down!

 

My body feels better, just eating healthier foods. My mind feels more at ease, having more time to spend to myself. I am so looking forward to what the next few months will bring… I didn’t set any New Years Resolutions as my biggest goal was just to make it through the New Year. I have a feeling that just eating better foods will make me feel better, and some of this weight will start to drop off. I have a room set up with my yoga mat so I can get back into doing yoga again, which seems to be the only form of exercise I love.

 

So here’s to a Happy, Healthy, and Wealthy New Year to all of you (if there are any of you out there that still read this).

Playing Catch Up

October 20th, 2014… That’s how long it’s been since my last blog post. Sorry guys!! Things have been totally crazy busy… And all I’ve got to report is that I got fat while I was away.

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Since the end of October, when I did my Whole30 recap… I’ve gained 56 pounds. In not even a year’s time. My clothes don’t fit, I’m unhappy with my appearance, and it is 100% my fault. I not only jumped off the wagon, I flew off that bitch. A combination of not eating well, eating out all the time, and not exercising like I used to is the beautiful equation that brought me back up 56 pounds. When they say that people can gain back all the weight they lost, and then some… I BELIEVE IT! 100%. If I stay on the track I’ve been on, it is easily going to happen. Seriously. The good news is, my motivation is slowly trickling back. I’ve rejoined LA Fitness for the umpteenth time. I actually went once last week… all on my own accord. I’m getting re-interested in food prep again… And I’m in the process of quitting smoking. Let me bring you up to speed on where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to though. There have been lots of changes in my life – all for the better!

I’ve returned for a 2nd season as the Sports Med Trainer for the Puyallup Nation Kings. This year my role as a support staff member sort of evolved… Not only do I get to assist my good friend Aron with training, I also run water, organize our equipment cage, and was designated the teams Equipment Manager. This is all something I do as a volunteer – and what I use to fill what little free time I have. Football practice happens on Tuesday & Thursday evenings, with games on Saturdays. We started our pre-season in April with some non-league match ups, and we’re just gearing up for our last game of the regular season before playoffs. It’s been an intense season! We went through two coaching changes, our General Manager set us up and robbed us, and our player turnover was pretty high during that big transitional phase. With a set coaching staff (who happens to be amazing), and a talented group of players, we’re well on our way to being the league champs this season.

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August of last year, I met an amazing guy. I wasn’t convinced that he was totally amazing when we first met… it took me some time to adjust. He broke up with me in November, and we were split for 3 weeks. Then in January I broke up with him, which only lasted a week or two. Once we both came to our senses, we’ve formed an incredible relationship. Many of you know that I was once married… My ex-husband not only put me through the ringer while we were together, but I had a very difficult time shaking him. We’d play this game where we would constantly fight, stop talking to one another, then eventually reconnect, meet up, and fall back into the same mentally draining cycle. I’m happy to report that I finally shook him… which gave me the ability to focus 100% on falling in love with Josh. We’ve argued, but not much. When we’re unhappy with something that the other person does, we address it. We tell each other more than once a day that we love one another. We’re making plans for our future, and growing together… Our next big step is going to be moving in together, which we’re hoping to accomplish by the end of the year. Having our own space would be SO nice- and so very welcomed! I’m quite happy with Josh, and all of my friends and family love him dearly – which is so important!

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The last, and probably biggest change in my life has been my new job that I took at the end of June. I worked at my last job for six years – and probably would have never left had I not seen anything better out in the World! In my old position, I was the office Manager for a Medical Billing company. My office manager title was more just to appease myself – as I primarily did straight across medical billing. My new position – which was something I saw on Craigslist – is the Billing Manager for a company called RET Physical Therapy Group. When I submitted my resume, I didn’t think I stood a chance. I had no managerial experience, and I thought for sure I would be overlooked. 10 days later, I got asked to come in and interview. After a very successful hour and fifteen minute long interview, I was asked to come back and meet with the CEO of the company – who would be my direct report. Another hour and fifteen minute interview.. then the waiting game. 10 days later, I had myself a brand new job! My starting salary was 9k more than what I was making at my last job, plus the ability for a 12% yearly bonus. Full benefits, my own office, any equipment I could need, and my own staff of 5.

With my new job comes a new commute – and an ugly commute at that. I spend at least 90 minutes in the morning and sometimes up to 120 minutes in the evening just on the road. It’s about 50 miles each way – and traffic is horrendous. Without traffic, the commute is less than 60 minutes. This means to start at 8am, I have to be up by 5am and out the door by 6am to ensure I am on time. I don’t get home until 5:30pm-6:00pm, and to get a full 8 hours of sleep I have to be in bed by 9pm. I’ve got hardly any time to myself, and I am tired A.L.L. T.H.E. T.I.M.E. I want to do nothing but sleep! This makes it difficult to have any energy to go to the gym, do my laundry, make lunch for the next day, etc. I’m slowly adjusting – and my hope is that Josh gets a job closer to my own so we can both move that direction.

I’ll try to be better about keeping everyone updated! 9+ months between blog posts is way too long, and I could surely use the outlet.

BOOM! I finished the Whole30. Uhh… 20 days ago. Shit, my bad.

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I promised my Instagram followers that I would write a blog post about my Whole30 experience within a week of finishing. Here I am… 20 days later – and finally getting around to it! I’d love to apologize, but truth be told I am actually glad I held off. I’ll get to the reason why as the post goes on.

The big news! I made a commitment to eat clean, whole foods for 30 days and actually stuck to it. No cheating, no fucking around, no trying to bend the rules… I did it! I held really strong… no sips of something I couldn’t have, no tastes of some delicious forbidden food… The most important thing that the Whole30 taught me is that whether or not I believe it, I am actually capable of telling myself no. I’ve been telling people for the past year that in general, I tend to lack discipline… If I get it in my head that I want something, I’m going to have it. I like instant gratification(hence my love for Instagram… I post a picture of a potato and 78 people like it within two hours).

Doing a Whole30 is something I would 100% recommend to anyone. Skinny, fat, healthy, unhealthy… whatever it may be. It is a true test of your character, and your willingness to do something truly good for your body. I’m going to piss some people off here and tell you that I actually found Whole30 to be very easy. Yeah… EASY!

As a Weight Watcher, I was able to eat anything and everything under the sun as long as I wrote it down and was mindful of how much of whatever it was I ate. With the Whole30 there are explicit instructions on what you can and cannot have… they give you loose guidelines on how much to eat of said foods, but at 282lbs I could as much of those foods as I wanted and it was not an issue! Whole30 gave me the option to be a fatass and eat all the sweet potatoes I wanted – but let’s be real… you’re not going to stuff your face full of sweet potato and be in a sweet potato coma for 6 hours. You eat real food – and the beautiful combination  of protein, veggies, and healthy fats just magically keeps you satisfied for hours and hours on end.

I was able to eat 3 square(jumbo square) meals a day and be just fine! I didn’t snack, I had no urge to binge… it was great! I am a snacky type of gal… Chips and dip is my middle name, and if you give me anything covered in chocolate it is on and poppin’.

Back to pissing people off and Whole30 being easy. I honestly can say that being a Weight Watcher before doing Whole30 probably saved my soul, and my Whole30. Being a Weight Watcher meant I’m used to spending a solid 5 hour block every Sunday to prep food for the week. Breakfasts, lunches, dinners… everything! It made life SO MUCH EASIER! I did my Whole30 much like my lifestyle – grab and go. Complaint deli meats, hard boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, etc. Things I could grab and combine into the protein/veggie/fat medley that is needed for satisfaction and proper fuel.

And I’ll be damned – my body weaned itself off Starbucks, Jimmy Johns, and Hellapeno Munchie Meals. As I was doing my Whole30 I couldn’t even imagine what I would eat first(other than my strong desire to drink #allthebooze) – and it turns out that following a Whole30/Primal diet is not the end of the World. And totally doable on a long term basis! If… and I mean a big IF – you put in the effort. I’ve been eating like shit for the last 20 days, and I refuse to weigh myself because I’m fairly confident I packed on the 17 pounds I dropped in those magical 30 days.

17 pounds! I lost 17lbs in 30 days just by not eating junk and by not filling my body with crap. A glorious, magical 17lbs! I was 0.4lbs above my lowest weight… then I rediscovered my love for margaritas, wine, potato chips, and Garg’s with hot peppers cut in half.

Back to the beginning of the post – and my true message here… I am REALLY GLAD that I waited to make my Whole30 post. Had I not, I’d have told you all about how my brain is fixed and I’m no longer a food addict. How Whole30 literally CHANGED MY LIFE – and I plan to do this forever. Instead, I had the really crappy reminder that old habits tend to stick around for a LONG time – no matter how hard we try… And unless we shove them in a trash can and stick our fat butts on them, they will show back up when you’re feeling magical and amazing.

Will I do another Whole30? Absolutely. Not tomorrow. Maybe not even this year(hey, AlmostNovemberlol). My main focus now is getting my gym routine back, which is not proving to be easy. I was just house sitting 5 minutes from an LA Fitness and didn’t hit the gym once in 10 days. Not even once! I made it today, despite not wanting to go… I put in a solid 30 minutes and peaced the hell out so I could go home and be a bum, because I still hate the gym.

Maybe one day this will be easy.

Cathching up – Days 4-13. Whole30

So I got a bit behind on keeping everyone up to date on my Whole30 progress. I’ve been trying to post pictures on Instagram of my meals but I tend to eat the same thing over and over again…  So it gets kind of boring.

One of the biggest things I need to give myself a pat on the back for is days 6-8, which covered the weekend. If anyone has been following my progress for a long time – I suck at weekends. Like… really suck at weekends. I am a work hard play harder type of gal. Weekend I go out and have drinks with my friends, dance my booty off, and generally don’t care about what I eat.

I approached the first weekend of Whole30 knowing that I wouldn’t make it through unless I was totally prepared. I went out with my girlfriends on Friday night – and knowing that I’d end up being hungry later in that night / early morning, I packed my lunch bag full of Whole30 approved snacks. 2:30am rolled around and I had some hard boiled eggs, half an avocado, and some cherry tomatoes. I’m also happy to report that I didn’t have a single sip of alcohol – I drank soda water with lime alllll night long.

Saturday I spent the day at my girlfriend’s house – and once again, knowing I needed to be prepared, I stopped at Trader Joe’s and picked up some goodies. I got a package of roast beef, some pre-peeled hard boiled eggs, snap peas, and some spicy guacamole. I was hanging out with my friend all day and she had me stop at THREE drive-thrus with her – and I didn’t get a single thing! It is amazing to feel not only completely in control(let’s be honest, it’s been a long while) but to have no desire to order anything through that window. We also went out that night and I once again drank soda water with lime. Success!

The weekdays following were really uneventful. I spent the first 10-11 days really, really tired. By the time I was done with work I just wanted to go home and go to sleep – nothing more. Being the busy body I am, that never happened. Friday was day 12, and that is where things went horribly awry.

Okay… maybe not that serious. Day 12 I decided to treat myself to some Starbucks. Prior to Whole30 I was a latte every morning kinda gal. So my big trip to Starbucks was treating myself to an Americano – woo! Straight up espresso and hot water. I happily drank that with my breakfast when I got to work, and all was well. As the day progressed I could tell that my stomach was not happy. Knowing I had choked down some espresso that morning I just assumed that my now-clean body was revolting against the delicious dark stuff. At lunch time I had zero desire to eat. I wasn’t hungry and I had some terrible stomach cramps. By the time 3:30pm rolled around I had decided I needed to try and eat… so I choked down a handful of grapes. Shortly after I had more terrible cramping, and I realized that eating just wasn’t the best idea.

One of the saddest things about Friday night is that I had a movie date with my boyfriend, and I was feeling so worn down that I had to cancel. I tried to rally and make it out of the house, but when I was in the bathroom trying to blow-dry my hair I almost passed out a few times (assuming it is from not eating), so I reluctantly told him I was done for. I had a bit of a fever so I took my butt to bed in the hopes I’d wake up feeling better.

Day 13 – Saturday morning… I’m laying in bed and I feel a pain in my stomach. My fever was gone but I wasn’t out of the woods. I tried to eat a banana because I could hardly stand up without wanting to fall over. No good news there – I ate the banana and the stomach pains were still there! I had a doctors appointment scheduled so I took advantage of that to see what the deal was. What I had thought was delicious Starbucks revolting was actually a stomach virus. The doc sent me on my way with a suggestion of drinking some mint tea and a sample pack of pro-biotics.

It’s now the end of day 13 and I’m still not feeling well. I am hoping that some good sleep tonight will turn things around for me and tomorrow will be a new day – but only time will tell!