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Happy June! (Can You Believe 2021 is Basically Halfway Over?)

June is here, and it's brought some toasty, summer weather where I live. It's hard to believe that it's June already--it feels too surreal. It still doesn't feel like 2020 is over. Time is flying. 2022 will be here before we know it; it almost feels like we'll blink, and 2021 will be over. Time is an interesting thing.

I'm curious about whether or not anyone else has experienced anything with companies trying to pull one over on you. Michelle from Angel Souls cautioned people to be aware and keep things in writing, especially now. It's true, though. A recent experience with a monthly subscription suddenly changing had me investigating as to why it increased $10 with no warning. I looked at my plan, my billing, everything that could potentially explain why it was but came up empty handed. I decided to contact the company to see if they could explain it (I know that companies tend to bump up prices to subscriptions, but I wanted an explanation as to why--normally I receive a notification that it will be happening before I get charged for it). The virtual assistant informed me that this month's was $29.99 but that next month's would be $19.99. It didn't answer why the plan increased for this month and left me confused. I requested to talk to an actual person since the AI did not answer my question/address my concerns. A support staff came on to explain that the 2nd year of the plan was 40% off rather than the 1st year's subscription price 60% off, so this year would be $29.99. I informed them that I understood, but if the virtual assistant informs a customer that it will be $19.99, it should be honored since I literally received it in writing that next month would cost $19.99. I don't think they anticipated that I'd bring up that it was in writing because they informed me that they'd have to look into what they could do to assist me. After looking into what they could do to rectify the situation, I ended up with another year of the $19.99 pricing and a partial refund. The old me probably would have felt, "Oh, well... if that's the conditions of the plan, I guess that's the way it is," but I literally had it in writing, so I knew I was more than justified. I shared this experience with Corliss since she'd be proud of me sticking up for myself (and she was very much so) and remarked about how it felt like a "fucking got ye!" moment--"You tell 'em, Kaede!" (those of you who watched InuYasha Abridged will understand; Corliss loved it). I understand that subscription prices can change, but if customer support, AI or not, informs you in writing that you will be receiving a certain price, you can't go around trying to say that the customer can't have it--the customer has the evidence and grounds to dispute that claim. I'm proud of my growth--my conditioning as a young child left me without the ability to adequately speak up for myself, and I'm so grateful to be breaking those old negative patterns!

When I woke up on Tuesday morning, I felt a bit out of sorts because my dream had been kind of all over the place. From what I recall it started off with sort of The Little Mermaid as a theme. It wasn’t the same as the movie, though. Ariel parents were like divorced, but her mom ended up being Dumbo’s mom, Mrs. Jumbo. Ariel didn’t want to be with her mom—apparently her mom was bad or something. She had to split the year between the two, and she really didn’t want to go with her mom for half the year. I don’t remember where exactly she went when she was with her mom, but it was sort of like the Greek myth with Persephone, her mother, and Hades. Her mom went to come pick her up, and Arial ended up fleeing. What she fled down looked a lot like the street that’s across from my grandpa’s house. Ariel was carrying two things, one being the trident, but I’m not sure what the other was. Whatever it was, the mom wanted to use it (the mom now resembled Ursula). The mom and some other being were following Ariel and throwing like possessed fireballs at her (like the fireballs were sentient). She ended up calling out for her dad. She ended up escaping, and apparently had a little brother. They were hiding from their mom, and a white limo pulled up. They were convinced it was their mom, but it turned out to be King Triton and a child Jack Skellington. King Triton, their dad, had brought Jack Skellington to be their friend and to build up whatever town they were residing at.

The dream then transitioned. The next part involved twin sisters. I don't remember all the specifics of this part of the dream, but they found a wolf. The wolf looked similar to the Newton Wolves from Kipo, but the wolf seemed like a normal wolf (i.e. not speaking a human language). The wolf might have been hurt, and I think the twins wanted to help. The wolf might have bit one of the girls, but I'm not 100% certain. I feel like something else happened before what I remember next, but it's hazy. I think the girls got a bad feeling, like intuition wise. Dave and Benson were a part of their group, but for whatever reason Benson had reverted to a child. Dave was concerned for him and ended up going to their store alone because he knew this group with mal intentions was coming. The girls felt the need to go help Dave. When they found him, they found lots of gore and corpses as the group had brutally murdered him many, many times before deciding to leave. I think the wolf had left to protect Dave before the girls. That's all I can remember of the dream, but I'm fairly certain much more happened.

When I woke up Wednesday morning, I knew a lot happened in my dream again, but I was only able to remember the tail end of my dream. The little I remember from earlier on in my dream involved the beach/ocean at one point. There was a group of people. The “main character” (not sure who it was, but that doesn’t exactly surprise me since I don’t usually notice details about people’s faces/appearances) was a girl and I think she was meeting up with two of her friends. I don’t remember what they were doing at the beach/ocean. At one point they ended up at the mall, wandering around. They were looking for something I think (and I think one of them was teasingly avoiding their boyfriend?). I think they were looking for tie dye stuff at one point, but this part of my dream is just so hazy.

The dream transitioned and seemed to focus later on me. I was at the mall with my mom and sister. I think Hot Topic allowed for you to create your own tie dye/abstract marbling clothes, and I wanted to make some. I think they used paint to do it. I ended up making a shirt with pink, purple, and blue I think. It had to dry, so we left. We ended up at some vending machines because my mom and/or sister wanted something. While they were looking at one of the vending machines, I went towards the end because I knew I could find money there. It started off with a nickel, then a dime, but I kept finding money all over the place. I had very full hands of change by the time they were ready to leave. We ended up leaving the mall. I think we went to another store while we were waiting. I recommended that Emily order ahead/call to reserve what she wanted from Hot Topic to make sure they had it; she wanted to make a tie dye shoulder brace. They said they had it for her. I told my mom we should go back to get our stuff. Emily ended up driving us. She took us down Manchester, and I told her to keep going straight but she turned left down Woodlawn, passing Schnucks. We passed this long, weird building, and my mom was going on about it being a school, like a boarding school. The building felt off. I don't know how we ended up back at the mall because Emily wasn't even going in the right direction (and she didn't seem to care). My mom and sister were leisurely meandering along, but I felt intuitively that we go pick up the stuff. They waved it off and continued doing whatever it is they were doing. By the time they got around to going back to Hot Topic it turned out to be closed. They couldn't believe it. More might have happened in my dream, but that's all I remember.

When I woke up on Thursday morning, I didn't particularly remember anything from my dreams other than Sesshomaru being Rin's dad. I'd imagine that resulted from reading fan fic (many have written him being her adoptive father).

I remembered a lot more from my dream upon waking up Friday morning. The beginning of my dream had my mom and me looking out of the living room window at the sky (in the direction of the Magic House). The sky was a deep blue, and my mom was commenting on the clouds (i.e. some looked so clear you could see every detail while others looked hazy/fuzzy). I’m guessing we ended up at the top of the street because we were gazing at this giant cloud that loomed on the horizon just over the tops of the trees towards the Baptist church. I asked my mom if she saw the large shadow in the cloud that resembled a flying saucer, noting that a UFO was likely using the cloud cover to remain obscured. My mom scoffed at the idea, and I questioned her as to why she couldn’t believe it—she watches all these supernatural/paranormal shows with my dad after all. There started to be some intense lightning in the cloud, but only where the UFO shadow was. I asked my mom, “You see this, right?” but she seemed too shocked to reply. The cloud started to disperse, and low-and-behold a flying saucer descended from the sky, landing by the church. The people in the area freaked out, but I just seemed to be observing, like “Huh. Would you look at that.” A large, purple spider creature emerged followed by a purple lizard creature (the lizard kind of resembled the reptile soldiers from The Idhun Chronicles, but it didn't have any armor). The people panicked and began to run around screaming. I seemed really calm about the whole thing. The purple lizard being ended up catching my parents, but it didn’t seem particularly mean. I looked at it, focusing my thoughts to tell him to let them go/let them be. The lizard seemed stunned at the telepathy (perhaps even impressed) and shoved my parents towards the house, as if to say, “Stay over here out of harm’s way.” I think this is all that happened n this part of the dream.

The dream transitioned to a new kind of world. I’m not sure exactly what was going on/what the exact setting was for this part. Hikaru and Kaoru were in it, and they apparently had collected some rare (legendary?) feathers for me. It didn’t seem to be an easy feat. I guess the creatures were birds since they had feathers, but I think they sort of resembled lizards (sort of like the new gen 8 Pokemon Toxel). The twins had gone to the top of a mountain (it had dark clouds around it) in search of the rare feathers and almost hadn’t found them. It seemed a bit perilous (i.e. that they had almost crashed into the mountainside while flying). They had apparently searched all over. They had found the purple feathers on the side of a cliff by a small cave opening I think. As they were leaving, they saw a nest of the purple-feathered creatures and were bummed out that they hadn’t found any feathers from the yellow ones (there was a nest of a yellow version of the creatures a ways off from the nest of the purple critters). The yellow creatures glowed/illuminated a pretty light that came from inside of them (like from their chest/heart space?). Hikaru and Kaoru came back with the purple feathers. They seemed to be looking for praise as if they were eager to please me. I’m not sure that I had even wanted the feathers, but I patted them on the head, praising, “Good job.” Their eyes lit up, and they beamed with such pride. This might have been a Pokemon world, as I remember Raltz being there as well as some sort of large Snivy/Dragonair fusion type of being that enjoyed carrying people around on its back, but the rest of the details of this dream are fuzzy. I think I was helping a guy who was viewed as an outcast, but I’m not certain. We both had a Raltz, though, but he also had another “Raltz” that had the right color scheme but kind of resembled a Machop more in actual physical appearance. It was strange.

I spent the week babysitting the boys again. It was a pretty chill week. One of the boys had daily morning swim practice (he was a bit bummed that the water was so cold since it was cloudy/rainy and cool all week). We discussed anime/manga (i.e. My Hero Academia, Pokemon, InuYasha, Bleach, Dragon Ball Z, Monthly Girls' Nozaki-Kun, SK8 the Infinity, etc.), played with Pearl, tried out more trivia, sang some more karaoke, and discussed games they started playing. We also watched Mitchells vs the Machines because they wanted to, and it was pretty interesting. It seemed like it was a cautionary tale for heavy reliance on AI; it's not inherently bad, but that doesn't mean that it'll serve our best interests. We also started hatching a bunch of eggs in Pokemon Sword because they wanted to collect all the starters, so we ended up trading. For the heck of it, I started riding my bike in the shape of an infinity sign, which they thought was funny. During lunch one day, one of them wanted to have Pokemon battles, but since we were eating, he opted for imaginary battles where we verbalized the attacks/battle. He knew exactly which Pokemon he wanted on his team and then proceeded to tell me what Pokemon were on my team. It didn't end there, though, because he chose all of my attacks/moves for me, proceeding to one-hit KO all of my Pokemon with his team (as I never got the chance to get a word in 🤣). It was pretty humorous. I could see how others might get frustrated by it, but it really wasn't that deep. Similarly, one of them had apparently clogged the toilet this week, and it had started flooding a bit--they were too wrapped up in their games to realize what happened or really provide any assistance (i.e. tell me where the plunger and towels were). As I was working on fixing things, one of them called out to me, inquiring what I was doing. I told them that I was cleaning up and unclogging the toilet because apparently someone had clogged it earlier. I got an "Oh." for a response. It didn't take too long to clean things up, and I was able to wash and dry their towels before their parents got home. It was like it never happened. I ended up laughing about it with Corliss and April, and they were glad that I was able to find humor in it. The way I saw it, I could either be light-hearted and laugh about it or get upset/frustrated and cry. The latter option didn't particularly seem appealing (and I only realized that was a choice after it had all been said and done). Life likes to throw some interesting surprises at us (lol). I don't blame the boys for not really noticing; kids don't really register problems unless it actually effects them, and I was able to get it all back in working order, so no harm done.

They love watching clips from SK8 the Infinity, though, and they understand why I adore Miya. Here's a video I created with a variety of the clips:

I also babysat for another family Saturday night; the kids had missed me considerably. They wanted to get creative in the kitchen, work on crafts, build on Minecraft, create videos, play on the trampoline, show off their little garden they started, chat, and watch TV. It was nice seeing them again; the boy was super excited to tell me all about how he won his recent baseball game, and the girl was telling me all about the recital she was having Sunday (today). They decided that I was coming back next week; while I'm not opposed to it, I feel like their parents ought to be the one deciding that (lol). The girl was telling me all about how she loves her grandparents, but they're better for hanging out--I'm the only one she wants as a babysitter. It's great to be loved. It's confirmation that I make a difference and leave a lasting positive impact. While it's not always necessary for confirmation, confirmation is appreciated.

Fluffy cat has enjoyed the sunshine in the later part of this week (the beginning/middle of the week was rather cloudy and rainy). She enjoyed her cat naps. We were getting concerned for her this week. A while back my brother had visited and thought that she might have been losing weight; she always looks like she slims down as she loses her winter coat, so we figured that is why. This week it became apparent that she wasn't just losing her winter coat--she was losing weight. She pretty much stopped eating dry food, too--she'd look at it and then walk away. We thought maybe something was wrong with her mouth/teeth and/or stomach, so we took her to the vet. Turns out she has a hyperactive thyroid. We ordered her the medicine, so hopefully she'll get back to being her typical fluffy self. She had lost 2.5 pounds in the since she was last at the vet ten months ago. That's not normal. We are grateful that she wasn't seriously ill. She hadn't seemed to be in pain before, so we weren't sure what was causing her loss in weight. Having a hyperactive thyroid would do it, though. We've been giving her extra wet food in hopes of helping her keep her weight (since she seems to be avoiding dry food). Oh, fluffy cat; you're so cute but can be so picky.

She also decided to more-or-less destroy a plastic bag and soft pretzel this week. It took place overnight; it had been in the house for maybe 12ish hours. I woke up to find this:

Here are the Spiritual Supermall Divine $9 goodies I received this week; I love receiving all of these goodies! Speaking of which, on Monday Corliss and I had forgotten until the evening that it was Monday--meaning there were new Divine $9 items. We kind of freaked out that we had almost forgotten; by the time we checked the peridot plates were sold out. We were so in-synch because we messaged each other, reminding the other about the new Divine $9 items at exactly the same time. It was pretty hilarious. Upon further discussion, we realized we both had almost forgotten about it being Monday (aka new Divine $9 merch day)--it hadn't felt like a Monday. I also got some new clear quartz from Earth Bound when I went with April and Corliss this weekend (with the last time being almost a year ago, which blew our minds), and I got some sweet new shirts! This week was a great one.

I had fun with April, Corliss, and Iris this week. Since it's been so long since all of us got together, we figured it was about time to make it happen. We had lots of fun catching up. We went to a park, had some pizza, and enjoyed the fresh air. We got into a discussion on worker ants/bees. April and Corliss believed for the workers to be male, but I was 99% certain that they were female. I didn't remember if I had learned about it in school, online, some documentary, or what, but I was very confident that they were not male because from what I remember the males pretty much only live to reproduce with the queen (living a pretty cushy life being taken care of by the workers) and die shortly thereafter. All of the worker ants/bees are therefore females, but only the queen will reproduce. April and Corliss had a hard time believing this, but April wanted confirmation so she looked it up on her phone. It blew their minds when the internet confirmed that all of the workers were females--they had such a hard time wrapping their mind around it. When Iris saw me, she exclaimed, "JESSHA!!" She then proceeded to tell me all about what she was doing. At one point, she was showing off her shoes to me because they lit up. I complimented her on her pretty outfit (it was all rainbow/tie dye, including her light-up shoes), and she told me that when she was older, she would buy some for me but that she couldn't buy them now so she would later. She then exclaimed that when we were both 5 (as in 5 years old), we would have the matching rainbow, light-up shoes. She was so excited by the prospect--she couldn't wait for us to both be 5. Iris then decided that April (her mom) would be 5 with us and have the matching shoes, as well. It was super adorable. I love that kid. When Corliss and I were leaving, Iris said her goodbyes, reminding us to wash our face, hands, and hair before going to bed. This kid is a riot.

Here's the art projects for the week--I experimented with some more paintings and created some Perler bead projects as requested by the kids I babysit:

This week I watched more anime and read fanfic. The fanfic I read this week includes: Tradition, Twenty Four Days Till Christmas, Conceit and Preconception, and Coffee. I also watched Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle, the latest Fruits Basket episode, and the last episode of SK8 the Infinity. Corliss and I had stumbled across a video for the opening of Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle I think it was last week; it seemed pretty humorous, so I decided to check it out. It was awesome! It's such a comedy and had me laughing all the time. Sometimes it's downright absurd (but in the best way possible). Aside from being comedic gold, I feel like the biggest message from this anime is not to judge based on appearances (i.e. the saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover."). On paper the idea of a princess getting kidnapped and held prisoner at a demon's castle would likely have the audience feeling bad for the princess. The reality of Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle's story, however, is that Princess Syalis terrorizes the inhabitants of the castle so she can create all these items to help her sleep better. One might think that the princess would want to leave the castle and return home, but not Princess Syalis. She seems perfectly content to stay in the demon's castle. One would likely think that the princess would want to be saved by the hero. Not Princess Syalis. The hero is her nightmare, and she has become friends with all of the demons in the castle--the demons care for her, which is something that one wouldn't necessarily anticipate (demons are typically the "bad guys" after all). I adore this anime, and highly recommend it!

Fruits Basket is really hitting home. Its story has always held a special place in my heart, and I was so excited when they announced that the would be creating a remake of it in 2019. The healing taking place in the story right now is so deep and crucial. It feels like a message from the universe to everyone right now, that we need to stop holding on so tightly and finally let go. Let go off the fear. Let go of the pain. Let go of the sadness and shame and guilt. We need to stop being afraid of moving forward. There's nothing wrong with holding dear memories to your heart, but don't let them convince you to try to preserve the past when it's gone. We live here and now. There's so much good happening now, but we can be blinded to it. It's okay for us to live--to truly live, enjoy our journey, and thrive. So many are merely existing. No matter what happens, though, we'll be okay. The universe supports us. The universe is full of love, light, and abundance. The universe wants to provide it all, and it can all be ours. We just need to let it in. So many times we're the ones preventing it from coming in, blocking its path. We can choose to step aside and finally let it in, like Akito begins to learn to. Tohru consoles, "It will be okay, so please, don't cry any more. Everything ends eventually. Happy times. Fun times. But scary and sad times, too. They will pass. Always. Even if you can't believe it right now, please, keep living. Don't give up. I want you to live. It's alright if you make mistakes or take the long way around, but please, please, live. Whatever happens don't stop moving forward. Keep walking, one foot in front of the other. Even if I'm not by your side, keep walking. It's okay. It's okay. I promise. Kyo, it's all going to be okay now. Can you hear me? Am I reaching you? Please... Let me reach you." This feels like words coming directly from the universe. The universe is constantly trying to reach us with its love; how many times has it reached out only to reach our deaf ears? How many times has it tried to guide us, show us a new way, share some love and light? Like how Tohru perseveres and continues trying to reach Kyo and the other Somas, the universe will never give up on us. The universe will let us learn and grow in our own timeframe, patiently waiting for us all along. It doesn't matter how many times we stumble and fall or how many "mistakes" we make; it will never diminish the unconditional love it possess for us. So many people have been learning this over the past year or so, and so many are learning how to keep moving forward even when fear creeps back into our thoughts. Everything will be okay. Even if the darkness looms and massive storm clouds roll in, they will pass. The sun will return. No matter how difficult and challenging the circumstances, they won't last forever. We're stronger, smarter, and more capable than we often give ourselves credit for. We can not only persevere, but we can thrive.

I enjoyed the last episode of SK8 the Infinity (I would have preferred it to have more Miya and Cherry Blossom in it, though, since they're my favorites). It wrapped up the season/series (I'm not sure if they plan to have a second season or not) rather nicely. Langa has come so far since the first episode; it's a testament to how much we can grow when we allow ourselves to try and put forth the effort and dedication to develop our skills. Reki and Langa were reminisce about when they had met and taught Langa how to skate on a skateboard.

Reki: "Do you remember the first time you got on a board?"

Langa: "Of course! I couldn't do anything unless both my feet were duct taped to the deck."

Reki: "The epitome of ridiculous but still always an epic skater."

Langa: "I couldn't even do a single push."

Reki: "Holy crap, that's right! You were scooting with your hands!"

Langa: "Reki, I'm grateful for you. Switching out the boards like this was an incredible favor."

Reki: "You're grateful for THAT?! ... Go get 'im."

They've come so far since the start of their journey together--they've grown so much. While Reki's skating skills hasn't seen as much improvement as Langa's, he has grown quite a bit as a person, learning to accept that others have different skills than him but what's most important is having fun. SK8 the Infinity is all about improving yourself and discovering what truly matters. As Langa and Adam skate the final race, Adam attacks multiple times during the final match with Langa dodging each. Upon Langa's continuous dodging, Adam remarks, "Very good! Keep pushing! You can have anything you want if you push your own limits." Adam's tactics continue to push Langa, and it gets to the point where the course disappears from his sight; Adam had been hoping Langa would be able to reach this special realm--the zone--with him. Adam exclaims, "We made it, Langa. A world that belongs only to us! Look around, no one else is here. Isn't it wonderful? Destiny sent you to me. Forget your boring life. We're meant to live like kings! ...No more cruel expectations. No one giving you orders. In this life the only commitment you'll have is to the thrill of skating. You can forget anything and everything else." Watching the feeds of the race, the rest of the gang are stunned by the feats and speed Langa and Adam are achieving. Cherry remarks, "Impossible. Unless, they're both in the zone right now.... It's a state of being that can happen for the best athletes. Like when batters can't see anything but the ball heading towards them. They're concentrating so intensely that everything else goes dark." Being inside the zone can be helpful in accomplishing incredible feats, but I suspect that many people struggle with reaching it because they become too ensnared in the mental realm and end up overthinking. To reach the zone one would feel it--it would be intuitive, an inner knowing. It's not something you can force or actively make happen. Within the zone, Adam continues to coax Langa, "You don't want anything. You don't need anything... That's right. Forget all of it. Every last thing in your past. Let it go." While Langa is able to reach incredible speeds in the zone, he begins to lose himself. He no longer notices his surroundings (like cracks or rocks on the path that will interfere with his skating), no longer able to avoid things he normally would with ease. Langa, lost in this new world, thinks to himself, "It's all white. I can't see anything. I can't hear anything. I don't feel anything. It's just like that other time. The days after Dad died. I didn't feel a single emotion, and nothing was fun anymore...." As he continues skating a precarious wooden plank bridge breaks, causing him to fall down the chasm. In his somewhat delirious state, Langa contemplates, "Am I flying? Or falling? Does this mean I'm gonna die? ... That's right. Skating is... fun!" While the plank breaking is potentially life-threatening, it is just the wake up call Langa needed, and he leaves the zone. Adam, recognizing that Langa is no longer skating behind him, begins to freak out.

Adam: "Little Langa? Where'd you go? Are you gonna run away from me, too? Langa! ... It was all a lie. Eve never existed in the first place. Just emptiness. I have no one on my side. No one."

Langa: "This isn't what it's about."

Adam: "Stop! How dare you drag me back into an insignificant world!"

Langa: "I want to help you! I'll show you how fun skating can be!"

Adam: "Help me?"

Langa: "I've learned that skating builds bonds that don't break. It's not worth having a board unless you have friends at your side."

Adam: "Please. Friends only exist to teach you about betrayal. You want to believe in your idea of what a relationship should be because you are an ignorant child!"

Langa: "Then I guess you must be a child, too."

Adam: "Please explain."

Langa: "You want a friend to skate with."

Adam: "I have long since rid myself of insignificant dreams!"

Langa: "Then why do you keep insisting on taking me with you? You desire something real."

Adam: "Shut up."

Langa: "You're tired of being alone."

Adam: "I told you to shut up!"

Langa: "Can't have a good argument all by yourself, now can you?"

Adam: "Quit trying to confuse me! Nobody knows what I want or how I feel! And no one ever will!"

Adam, completely triggered at this point, tries attacking Langa once again, but Langa blocks the attack by meeting it head on with his own skateboard. Adam doesn't take this well, shouting, "This is not defeat! That is unacceptable in this house!" This comment speaks volumes of the conditioning and resulting traumatic inner child wounding Adam received growing up. It's really sad. Langa isn't deterred by Adam's outburst, bringing Adam his skateboard and asking, "You ready? It's no fun to do all by yourself." While Adam continues the race with Langa, he still can't come to terms with the idea of enjoying skating due to his past. Adam declares, "Damn it! This is a waste of time! You want to enjoy yourself? That won't change your life! If you don't win, you will cease to exist! You won't be loved! I will win. Watch me!" How many people are like Adam, believing the only way they're worthy and will receive love is through winning? The fact that people feel that way and believe whole-heartedly that they have to win at all costs is so tragic and heart-breaking. These systems and conditioning need to cease; they produce broken individuals, and it's not healthy. Despite Adam's obsessive drive to win, Langa crosses the finish line first. The rest of the gang comes over to congratulate and celebrate the victory with Langa.

Joe: "Talk about an epic finale! You've got a gift, so don't ever sell yourself short."

Cherry: "You're the first to beat Adam."

Miya: "I think you might be my hero after pulling that off."

Winning isn't everything. It's not what's most important. Langa's win wouldn't have meant as much to him if he hadn't enjoyed skating and didn't have friends to celebrate with afterwards. Sure, winning can be nice, but it obviously isn't as satisfying as Adam thought it was because he had to constantly win. Winning only brought short-lived satisfaction. If winning was all he needed, then, like Langa pointed out, he wouldn't have been so determined to skate with Langa, someone he considered to be on his level. Adam had been in such deep denial about what he truly wanted, what he genuinely needed. Adam wanted to enjoy skating and be with friends, but his beliefs wouldn't let him. At the end of the day, it's typically our beliefs that stand in the way of our happiness. Langa remarks, "Reki told me about this superhero he used to watch on TV. He said he scared him a little. The reason was because after each episode he asked, 'What makes you happy?' At first I thought Reki was nuts. What's so scary about that? But now I think I kinda get it. It's scary not to know the answer, to have nothing that makes you happy. I've been there, but not anymore. I know what makes me happy. I understand true joy." A lot of people can relate to Langa and how he wasn't sure what made him happy. A lot of people can feel lost and unsure how to proceed. Even if we don't know the specifics or where to go next, it's vital to keep moving forward, to take the next step. Don't get caught up in how you don't have all the answers--you're not meant to have all the answers right now because life is a journey; it's about learning as you go along. Be open to trying new things--if you do, you just might find your joy. Langa could have easily passed skateboarding by, and he would have missed out on finding his passion and new friends. Life bring with it change. What used to bring you happiness might not continue to bring you happiness. That's okay. You can find new joys, new passions, new hobbies. Life is a story, and your chapter one isn't going to be identical as your chapter two, three, four, five, and so on. You don't need to worry about the changes. You don't need everything planned out--life generally doesn't like to follow our plans to the T anyhow. Live with a sense of adventure and embrace the unknown--it can lead you to some of the best experiences you've ever had. Remember to breathe, laugh, smile, and relax. We've got this because the universe has our backs. Take care of yourselves, and stay blessed with love and light~

Here's more food for thought from Ralph Smart on Infinite Waters:

Here's some food for thought for the week:

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