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Found Treasure

We all have carried storms in our spine.

These days, I kept wondering when or where would it start, that time would heal all wounds. I haven’t known pain for months now, not that I am already healed nor that I have been used to the pain. Instead these days, I still sing along to my favorite songs, I still watch my favorite shows, I still read and go out sometimes. But for long I have felt numb— numb to the very fiber of my bones.

It’s like I became an empty shell, just drifting along or as to how they say it “going along with the flow” of whatever this routine pattern that had become of my life. I have lost the fire to do what I want, I have lost the power to realign my life. I became a shadow that watches my life passes by; like another person watching through a body that doesn’t feel like mine anymore.

However life wasn’t supposed to be easy, it wasn’t supposed to be all good days, or rainbows and butterflies. Life, is a storm, and it will hit as hard as it could, and all we have to do is take the blows, endure the thunder and lightning, for I realized that in life, it really meant nothing if we hit hard, or we hit fast, or if we hit back, what matters is we endure, we brave the waters, we carry ourselves no matter how battered or tired or broken we may get; what matters most is our ability to stand back up— our persistence to continue being alive in a life that wanted otherwise.

After all these time, waiting for the day that time have healed all our wounds would be worth it, for we have already carried storms in our spine, what else are we going to be afraid of these little rains?

— Chard Christopher

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How did sadness become so familiar I can almost hear it chanting my name

Sadness… It is more like melancholia which I believe I was born with. I was eight years old sitting on a breakwater that my father had fashioned to protect the dikes from the waves when I first realized that this world has nothing to offer to me. Even then the feeling of being been there done that twice over and back was prominent and constant. I was not sad nor depressed. Just an understanding of a fact. There are only two occasions in my whole life that I’ve felt that way. For the rest, I’m fairly okay. Melancholic but never lonely.

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HSP Tolerating Socializing

“Sometimes people who don’t socialize much aren’t actually antisocial. They just have no tolerance for drama and fake people.”

This is what I want to say to anybody who accuses me of being antisocial.

I’m in a point of my life where I don’t care anymore what people think of me. I just want peace and quiet away from all the cacophony of a crowd. 

“As a highly sensitive introvert, I need plenty of quiet alone time to recharge. Loud talking and music drain my energy and make me feel claustrophobic.”

“I can function quite well in public situations but find myself completely exhausted afterward. I struggled to make banal small talk with groups of people, much preferring a deeper discussion with one or two others. I can stand up and give a talk and lead a group discussion, no problem, but then I have to retreat and rest for a whole day.”

Worse still, I need at least three weeks to recuperate.

“I love my family, and I can tolerate people in my space for a little while, but if they stay for more than a day, I get stressed. Picking up on their feelings, having to be ‘on’ all the time, not having my own space to retreat to — it’s too much.”

“I cannot tolerate chaos and disorder especially in my personal space. I need everything organized and clean. I cannot do clutter. I must have the house put in order before I start for the day. Otherwise, I’m just so distracted by the extra sensory input.”

“Others seem to need a radio or TV on in the background ‘for company,’ but it drives me crazy. I love shops with no music. I can’t cope with the sound of power tools, lawnmowers, or leaf-blowers — it’s excruciating.”

“Strong smells especially from perfume or essential oils. I find them overpowering and they make me physically ill.”

“I absorb and hold on to other people’s emotions, which can leave me feeling sad, upset, or drained.”

Like now, I’ve been out too long yesterday and here I am, 6:30 in the morning and still awake typing despite taking a tranquilizer and a sleeping pill. I’m too stressed to sleep even though my body is exhausted and ready to give up.

People don’t understand that being with them takes too much effort and energy. They asked but don’t listen and all ready to judge. Better to keep away than to cause a discussion or misunderstanding even. I just don’t want to waste time explaining anymore.

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Coming To Terms

“One morning she woke up different. Done with trying to figure out who was with her, against her, or walking down the middle because they didn’t have the guts to pick a side. She was done with anything that didn’t bring her peace. She realized that opinions were a dime a dozen, validation was for parking, and loyalty wasn’t a word, but a lifestyle. It was this day that her life changed. And not because of a man or a job but because she realized that life is way too short to leave the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket. It was the day life began!” ~ Sarah Krycinski

I walked too long with guilt.

Knowing that for the most part, it wasn’t my fault. That in the end, I had to choose for myself or I might as well give up altogether. I know not so many people would understand. In fact, I know no one who does. It got something to do once again with expectations and what society dictates, not what is best for all party involves.  It took me decades to forgive myself. Partially. And to resign to the fact that it is what it is and there is no damn thing I can do about it. I still feel guilty sometimes, but it doesn’t keep me awake anymore and the urge to compensate is gone. I still do my best but I don’t expect appreciation nor understanding for the choices I had made. I learned to distance myself and draw the line. I no longer hope for reconciliation or acceptance. I just want peace. Even if it means being on my own, far from what once I hold dear.

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Allowing Yourself To Be The Boss

Acceptance is for most people one of the fundamental goals to achieve if one wants to be deemed successful. In order to belong anywhere, to be respected, to keep self-esteem and dignity and to answer one’s need for interpersonal relationships one needs to be accepted; by one’s own family, friends, colleagues, and society in general. Only a few enjoy being an outcast (I’m one of them) and most if not all find themselves in this situation, not by choice. Predominantly, one becomes solitary because she or he failed to adopt a herd mentality or conform to what is expected by the majority. If one wants to belong, one must get the approval of society, so simple is that.

“What do you mean I have to wait for someone’s approval? I’m someone. I approve. So I give myself permission to move forward with my full support!” –Richelle E. Goodrich

For the vast majority, they don’t know any better. We are conditioned to adapt to what the society deemed appropriate from the cradle and we learned early enough what the consequences are if we don’t. So, from such a young age, we strive to be what the society expects of us at the cost of our true selves. We suppress our own individualities and uniqueness in order to be part of a group. Lucky are the ones who can portray their true selves and still be accepted and admired, but I am thinking, those rebels, are they really showing their true colors or it’s just for the show? For the sake of the art or whatever it is that motivates them to be different. I think of Van Gogh and all those eccentrics whose lives ended in tragedy. Is that the price to pay if you dare to swim against the current?

Most will think: why bother, it doesn’t worth the trouble. Why rock the boat if you can’t swim. Better to sit still and enjoy the ride and hope to reach the shore safely. It’s better to be part of the herd than make the journey on your own because for most people solitude means boring among so many other things. I wonder if they even tried to follow their own path and be who they really are. Just once, for a change, to test the water, see if they like it. I guess not. Why fix something that isn’t broken, right?

What about those jerks that get away with everything and advance on society’s ladder by stepping on other people’s back, are they being true to their own nature and being rewarded as well? Talk of having the cake and eat it too. To me, it only looks that way. Notice that most of those jerks used to be respected pillars of the community before the public learned their true colors? Appearance is everything. You want to be accepted, learn first to deceive.

How about you?

What do you think?

Do you need other people’s approval?

Of course you do!

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What happens when people open their hearts?

They get hurt. They get abused. They get used. They get taken advantage of.

Best not to let people get too close. Close enough to harm you. I learned that the best way to protect yourself and your core is to not to form an attachment with anything or anyone. People come and go, they change, their priorities change. Nothing last forever. The only constant in this life is_ changes. So better be prepared. Just keep yourself intact and you will survive whatever may come. You don’t need anyone for that.

“ I’m wounded, and I’m bruised.
But I’m not ashamed of admitting it.
It is a part of my healing process. And I’ll embrace it with a head held high.
One day I’ll stop touching the thorns,
and I’ll enjoy smelling the flowers.” –Rahma Djebbari

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Tales Of An Ordinary Woman

“I don’t have to dream about bright skies, sunshine, and rainbows… Maybe I’m into dark nights and shining stars. Maybe it isn’t about following what everyone else is doing, but trying to find my own way of doing things..” –Rahma Djebbari

I’m into dark, everybody (who reads my blog) knows that by now. But I still dream of bright skies, sunshine, and rainbows. I dream of bubbling brooks and green forest and waterfalls. I still like puppies, babies and old people. I don’t follow what everyone is doing but I’m interested in hearing other people’s stories, and if they ask it the right way, maybe I will tell mine.

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Self-Portrait

”She was broken but never hopeless; alone but never lonely. Her eyes reflected pain but projected courage. She was a beautiful paradox.”

If I’m going to paint my self-portrait, I want the end result to evoke these kinds of thoughts from the viewers. I want the image to radiate strength, complexity of character, vulnerability, compassion, and life experience. Beauty for me is more than looks alone but what can you see behind it, what the eyes tell you, how the overall picture affects you. Does it make you feel something? I believe that even inanimate objects have souls. Good art for me is if it has the power to make people lose themselves and imagine other worlds, different lives, a good art are the ones that tell stories.

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People Pleaser

“You can’t let people scare you. You can’t go your whole life trying to please everyone else. You can’t go through life worried about what everyone else is going to think. Whether it’s your hair, clothes, what you have to say, how you feel, what you believe and what you have. You can’t let the judgment of others stop you from being you. Because if you do, you’re no longer you. You’re someone everyone else wants you to be.”

—Steve Maraboli

I was born swimming against the current without being aware I was doing so and continued to be ignorant of my course for more than four decades before somewhere along the way I developed somehow a soft spot and all of a sudden I find myself -caring is not the right word but I will use it for the lack of a better one- caring what people might think of me. It’s addictive. Once you start concerning yourself with such things, it is difficult to stop. That’s about the time I started wearing lipstick and wear more appropriate clothes. I don’t go about wearing jogging suits anymore and ditched rapper/skater attires. I still don’t do girly-girl stuff but there is definitely an improvement. I acquired bags as well. Pricey designer ones mind you. I still don’t use them unless necessary but I have them. I miss the time when I don’t even have a wallet and my cellphone fits in my shorts pocket and I don’t even have to comb my hair. Those were the days. Now, I learned about loose powder and highlighter but I draw the line on fond de teint and concealer. I refused to treat my face like a wall, plastering them to look presentable. No eleven makeup brushes for me to dip in eleven different jars and bottles. Maintenance is more important to me than makeup anyway. I rather feel clean than looking pseudo-beautiful I don’t even recognize my own face in the mirror. But yeah, to each his own.

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6 Ways to let your Wounds Breathe after a Toxic Relationship.

By Cynthia Madison

Letting go of a toxic partner is a sign of courage and strength.

After years of emotional manipulation and suppressing your personality, you’re finally free and you’re ready to look for a meaningful relationship.

So why don’t you see the silver lining yet?

Getting out of a toxic relationship should feel empowering and liberating, but we may not feel like that right away. The first months after the breakup can be very confusing.

Our ex-partner is physically gone, but the negative energy they built around us is still there, preventing us from healing and being kind to ourselves. After being under someone else’s shadow for years, we may feel alone and vulnerable, and we may find it hard to trust ourselves. With time, this will all pass, and we can learn to value ourselves for who we are.

Be kind to yourself.

If you’ve been in a destructive relationship for years, you may not remember the last time you received a compliment. Maybe your partner told you that you’re not good enough, that you’ll never find someone else who loves you, or that you’ll never be happy on your own.

These words are not true and they have never been about you. They are the way your ex expressed their own fears and insecurities. Allow yourself to heal at your own rhythm. Don’t force yourself to start dating right away if you don’t feel ready yet, and never, ever blame yourself for how you are feeling.

Don’t replay all the hurtful words your ex has said about you. Focus on the positives instead: you had the strength to say no and break the cycle. It’s the beginning of a beautiful journey, and you shouldn’t let the past haunt you.

Surround yourself with positive energy.

After ending a toxic relationship, you may realize that all your old friends are gone and you’re not as close with your family. A toxic partner doesn’t want you to develop healthy, nurturing friendships that cherish your independence and help you grow as a person. They want you to be isolated. They want to build a wall between you and the outside world so that they can control you better.

This you versus them mindset needs to stop, and now is the best time to reconnect with people you lost contact with.

Did your ex have a problem with your best friend? Call them to meet up for a coffee. Did you stop attending family gatherings because your toxic partner didn’t like them? They’d love to have you back.

Celebrate the things you love about yourself.

Forget about the things your ex said they loved about you—if they mentioned any at all. What do you love about yourself? What do you think your strengths are?

Make a list of all the things that make you feel confident and focus on nurturing them. Try to break free from your ex’s perspective and rebuild your own image. When you know what makes you special, without comparing yourself to someone else, no one will make you doubt yourself.

Experiment and have fun.

Toxic relationships often make us suppress our feelings and prevent us from exploring. Now that you’re single, you may feel that you wasted years wearing clothes you didn’t love, you didn’t visit any exciting places, you missed out on many great parties, and, let’s face it, your sex life wasn’t amazing either.

Don’t assume that it’s too late and that you’ll just have to live with regrets for the rest of your life. It’s never too late to learn, grow, and have fun.

Go ahead and dye your hair a crazy color. Book that trip to a Bali retreat. Go clubbing, flirt, and see the sunrise. Buy that plunge-neck dress and wear it with pride. Buy your first vibrator and explore your body without feeling awkward or ashamed. Take the time to discover what you love, and later on, it will be easier for you to find someone who’s right for you.

Set boundaries and learn to say no.

One of the dangers of being in a toxic relationship is that it puts you in a destructive mindset where you’re attracted to toxic people. Ending one toxic relationship doesn’t help if it’s followed by a second one, so learn to spot the early signs of toxic behavior and say no before it’s too late.

Does spending time with this person leave you drained instead of happy? Do you feel pushed around and like you don’t have a voice? Tell them you don’t tolerate this kind of behavior.

This doesn’t apply only to romantic relationships; toxic friendships are just as harmful, and you’re likelier to accept them if you already tolerate destructive behavior from someone else.

Channel your kindness toward something or someone who deserves it.

The fact that you were in a toxic relationship doesn’t make you weak or inferior in any way. In fact, toxic partners thrive on smart, kind, caring individuals who want to help and be supportive. This is a great quality, and a bad relationship shouldn’t stop you from honing it.

What you should do is direct this kindness toward a good cause—something or someone who deserves it and appreciates it. It can be a new friend who respects you and shows genuine interest in your well-being, a charitable cause you’ve always believed in, or you can channel this energy toward your own personal growth.

Loving yourself is not a sign of narcissism or arrogance; it’s a condition of happiness and self-growth.

When you love yourself with all your strengths and flaws, this love will transfer to everything around you and will build the basis of healthy relationships.

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Oona

“As I gazed in awe at my newborn granddaughter, all I could think about was the wonder of God’s handiwork.”

A month ago I became a grandmother. A milestone. Not only for me but for everyone involved. They say nothing beats the novelty of the first experience no matter what the situation is. I have been told it is difficult to forget and will always hold a special part in one’s life. Well, let’s see…

I always said before that I prefer to have a grand/son than a grand/daughter. I even said in jest that if it is a girl I will drown her in a rain barrel, something I will never do in reality of course but it says enough. Preferring a boy to a girl is a combination of my upbringing, tradition, culture and personal preference (what else). And so I thought. I had also once believed that I will never be a doting grandparent like most, a baby is just a baby. Till I held my first (and so far) my only grandchild in my arms and feel something I never felt in my life before: an overflowing love for a stranger.

She is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I am not saying this because she is who she is, I’m saying this because it’s the truth. Beauty for me is beyond appearance alone. It is a combination of character, aura, and something undefined. She has a certain je ne sais quoi about her. She is magic. Just a couple of days old and she can look at you with knowing eyes as if she understands. Her expressions are something I never saw from a newborn before. She perceived her surroundings with an equal measure of knowledge and curiosity, comprehension and enjoyment. Her smiles are reflective and if a baby has a sense of humor, she has it. She’s so unusual that you can’t help but love her. I love her.

My mother said I am not capable of loving somebody. She’s wrong of course. Perhaps what I was not capable of is being blinded by love and losing myself in the process. It’s true, I didn’t know how it is to miss someone. I’m okay with myself and don’t need others to make me happy. But since my granddaughter was born I know now how it is to feel a longing to be with another human being, to see her and hold her in my arms, to give her a kiss and just touch her soft silky skin. To feel the overwhelming desire to care, protect and give her everything in my power. That is all new to me. I never felt that strongly about anyone, not even with my own children.

It’s scary.

What is scarier is the fact that I am having unspeakable thoughts (or fantasies if you prefer) with just one purpose in mind: To have my granddaughter for myself. How scary is that? I will not elaborate for obvious reasons. Let’s just say that__

I want her with me, to love to cherish and to hold. You know… the clichés…

When I heard that they are going to stick her in the crèche in a couple of months before she is even three months old, I cried. I thought: Why have children if you don’t have time to care for them yourself? I don’t understand it and will never understand. Oh, I know it is all for practical reasons but I am not happy with the idea. I even offer my help but of course, it was denied. I understand why. But even then.

Babies need love and care I thought. Especially during their first years. They need to be cuddle cherish and brought up by their own family, not strangers. I imagine my granddaughter is a very special person, full of character and free-spirited. I am afraid growing up in that environment will affect her personality later on. That she will learn to suppress her natural emotions, reactions, feelings, and instinct. Much like a wild animal that held captive in a zoo. I don’t want her to grow up like most people I know here: cold, emotionless and distant.

But who am I to know what is right and what is wrong. I fucked up my own duty as parent choices or no choices. So, I try to shut up and keep my thoughts and feelings for myself.

I will love her from a distance. I have to. I cannot be too involved. I am not allowed anyway. I just hope that history will not repeat itself. Loving from a distance I mean. One get used to it and become the norm no matter how painful it is…

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Did We Do The Right Thing?

Since we have yet another brand new luxury car (this time a Mercedes instead of BMW- speaking of BMW, there is only one thing I could say about this brand- never again) we decided to leave the gate open while we are away from home for a short period of time as opposed to always locking it which we had done in the past. This way we can drive straight to our driveway instead of always parking next door and leave the car there till we are about to sleep and only then D. will fetch his precious carriage and park it where it supposed to be. This time we agreed that in this current climate you cannot be too careful.

Why we can park next door indefinitely? Because the house next door is a show model, a model home of the company from whom we bought our current house so, it is always empty. Well… almost. Sometimes the cleaning people will be there, mostly on Fridays or the occasional window cleaners, the gardeners and of course, the once in a while buyers. So no one is paying attention anymore if there are marked and unmarked cars park on the driveway, and that’s why we decided to leave our gate open since we have the new car because like I said, in this current climate you never know…

Yesterday arriving home after gallivanting (in our situation gallivanting means running after practical chores like shopping for food) passing the house next door I briefly saw a glimpse of a small dark car blocking their driveway. Stepping out I asked D. How many vehicles were there this time, he said two. Which is odd because it was Sunday. Sunday here is the equivalent of siesta somewhere else, everything is closed, therefore you cannot conduct legitimate business anywhere aside, of course, from those fast-food chains which are always open and some occasional business establishments like sports stores and cafes. But then again, some people visiting immediate neighbors sometimes use the roomy parking to abandon their cars for a couple of hours so perhaps it wasn’t that odd after all I thought.

I hate dressing up, I’ve said already before. If I could I would go around naked eternally. So, what do I do the moment I come through the door, run upstairs and peel off every bit of garment I could discard and change into something more comfortable. In my case a pajama or a jogging pants or just a robe. 

As it happened, my room (mine because D. has his own) is directly opposite the house next door. If I look outside my window, I can see their driveway, front door, side garden, and their entire back garden. The whole house in fact. From the outside that is. You see, this modern building (which the company called Skin and if in the time we bought our place is for sale, I would have opted for) is so cleverly built that despite having floor to ceiling windows even with the lights on you can’t glimpse of anything that is private. A corner of a chair perhaps, a fraction of a table, a bed lamp but further than that, nada. The glass sections of the house are systematically placed to ensure maximum privacy, which I am mighty jealous of and dreading the time when it is going to be sold and live in by real people.

Directly outside the front door which is located on the right side of the house, therefore, facing my window is an elevated portion of the garden, a neat rectangular area roughly the size of three parking spaces dressed in state of the art artificial grass (like the rest of the garden and similar to ours) and housed two giant plane trees with spotlights under. There at the far end with her back to me facing the back garden was a woman sitting with a carton of milk next to her. And contrary to what D. said, there was only one car instead of two. A dark-gray old model of Kia cadenza. I know I cannot trust D.

My initial thought was she was waiting for the estate agent. Perhaps they made some special arrangement to meet late in the evening on a Sunday.

When I finished dressing down and had a bite and check on her again (I don’t know why I had checked on her again, call it instinct) I had to revise my initial thoughts. Maybe it was not the estate agent she was waiting for but someone more intimate to her, a lover perhaps?

I watched her stood up and walk up and down the length of the side garden. She was around my age and there the similarities stop. The woman was tall with dark wavy hair that reached her shoulders and very fair skin, almost bloodless. Her arms and legs are on the skinny side but the overall picture is not anorexic but rather wiry. She was wearing a simple black sheath and believe it or not a pair of bath slippers yet she managed to look regal, chic even. Her posture and demeanor don’t belong to the car, she was somewhat out of place. Strange.

The next time I looked in on her she was lying on her side underneath one of the plane trees on some kind of sheet, a pillow under her head. Not a cushion but a proper bed pillow. She was facing my window but her eyes were closed. I decided to grab my phone and alert D.

We debated for seemed hours to me over what to do with her, or rather with the fact of her being there. D. refused resolutely to go down to her and ask what was wrong or if she needed some help. He said maybe she was just a bait and the moment he put himself out there someone or more people will jump on him and rob him or worse even, use him to gain access in our house and all those nightmarish scenarios we are seeing lately on the news. I can’t say I blame him.

Personally, I found the woman and the situation not only strange but scary. She looked like someone who belonged to a horror movie, a vampire film for example. She is definitely a caucasian but not from around here. More like from Eastern Europe, Romania perhaps? She could also pass for Greek or Middle Eastern. Anyway, for some reasons she made the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I was very, very alert. Which rarely happens. I am expect the unexpected kind of person but I trust my instinct more than anything or anyone. When my gut feeling says flight instead of fight, I follow without question. 

When she started dragging an inflatable mattress under the tree and cover herself with a thermal blanket we realized she was planning to spend the night there. That was when we finally decided to call the proper authorities to deal with the matter.

We waited anxiously for the police to show up and breathed a sigh of relief when they did. We watched guiltily while they talk to the woman (which took ages) searched her car and finally drove away with her in tow.

There are a lot of things that bother me about the incident. One of those is when I was secretly taking pictures of her and her car (for evidence in case…) she suddenly opened her eyes and looked straight to my lens. What I saw there was a mixture of sadness, despair, silent plea, and resignation. Enough for me to run down to her and offer my help if not underneath those emotions I saw also a cold-blooded calculation, a daring appeal and a shadow of a chilling smile behind those hopeless eyes.

She scares me. I expect her to materialize in the middle of my living room to collect what it is she thinks I owe her. The rational part of my brain tells me that perhaps she had a heatstroke and was not able to drive so she decided to lie down. Outside on someone else’s driveway with a proper pillow, inflatable mattress and thermal blanket which she happened to have with her? How about the carton of milk and all the things she had with her the car was stuffed to the brim. Okay, then maybe she had a row with her partner and he had thrown her out. I’ve been there done that. Asocial introvert person that I am I managed to keep a couple of friends I could spend the night with when it is really necessary, and how about family and relatives? Doesn’t she have anyone she can call for help if that was the case? Maybe she was embarrassed to let those who are closest to her know that she was having marital troubles or whatever troubles she was having. What is more embarrassing than to sleep in other people’s garden my brain said to me.

I can go on and on theorizing about her real situation but I guess I will never know. I passed the opportunity to know and even then if I asked her, would she tell me the truth? 

I guess what bothers me the most is the guilt, did I do the right thing? Perhaps she was really in some kind of trouble and I added to it by calling the authorities. But it was for her own good my brain insists, for her safety, if she needed some help the proper channel could provide it for her that way. You did the right thing. But I still have my doubts. 

What do you think?

Did we do the right thing?

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