What I’ve Learned About Myself in my Brief Blogging Adventure

I’m not a good person. When I look at all the brilliant, kind, warm, and caring individuals that I have run across on this platform, I realize how much work I still need to do on myself. I do realize that online and in real life, we tend to display a specific persona that we want people to perceive, and it’s more prevalent online, but I feel that there are some genuinely sweet people on here that go way above what I am willing to do. And it makes me envy them. Not in a bad way, because I know that I can continue to persevere and I can get there too, but it doesn’t come natural to me. I have to work at it. I consistently work on kindness and grace because I need so much of that bestowed on me too.

I was not a nice person growing up. It actually wasn’t until I entered into the darkest years of my life that I learned how to be kind to people. If I hadn’t had my heart absolutely shredded and my beliefs challenged to near extinction, I don’t believe I’d ever have changed the way I was. I enjoyed my lifestyle too much and I loved being elitist. What I mean by that is that I was incredibly picky with who I allowed into my most inner circle, and it meant that I had many acquaintances but only a very very few close friends. On top of that, I was incredibly smug about it too—until the people I adored with all of my heart failed me and I was left with no one. Over the years I was forced to learn how to let people in and not keep myself closed off because my status quo to meeting new people was to not like them. By default, you can’t really get far with that kind of attitude.

As for my blog—my interactions to everyone I have met on this platform have all been genuine, so to whoever is reading this, please don’t mistake my past behavior with my current self. Although I am still under construction, I will admit that I’ve come an incredibly long way from where I was. I read a quote once that said, “It is okay to be a masterpiece and a work-in-progress at the same time” and I don’t think it could be said any better than that.

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Author: ebonyandcrows

Hello and welcome to my page~ My name is Larisa--a very common Slavic name that was either derived from the Latin word hilaris, meaning "cheerful," or from the Greek city of Larissa, meaning "strong fortress." Born in Ukraine, I emigrated with my family to America when I was still a small child and now make my home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Growing up immersed in two vastly differing cultures led me to have a burning curiosity about people all over the world. Stemming from said curiosity, I have fallen in love with traveling to other countries, meeting new people and delving into their culture, exploring new cities, and of course, dining on the local cuisine! If I cannot escape into a different country, then my next favorite method of adventure is to lose myself in a spectacular book. I enjoy books of all genres--from fiction and novels, to biographies and ethnographies. As long as it captures my fancy and holds me spellbound the entire time, I will burn through the book like a forest fire! Because of this penchant for reading and travel, coupled with my love of deep and mysterious things, I have been often called a dreamer and I find the title suits me. With that being said, I invite you to stay a while, perhaps make yourself a cup of tea and linger through my posts and feel free to comment or share a thought :-)

106 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned About Myself in my Brief Blogging Adventure”

  1. Oh goodness, dear heart, I just want to reach my arms through the laptop screen and hug you. Lots of readers, including me, can relate to much of what you’ve said. I don’t know if “saints” are born, or molded on the Potter’s wheel–but even tonight as I was listening to a pastor’s message about how “I’m God’s masterpiece”, my internal response was, “yeah, like a Picasso–pieces all jumbled on canvas in garish hues!” God is never finished with us while we live on Earth–yes, He sees us as His completed masterpieces, but we’re works in progress as well: being “transformed from glory to glory as we behold His face”. So, lift up your countenance–HE IS SMILING ON YOU! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kindness, Avia! I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. Hugs back to you!

      I have wavered between believing that God hates me because of how hard of a time I went through, and also believing that God love’s me infinitely because of how hard it was for me to go through being transformed, but I wouldn’t have been able to see the error of my ways if I hadn’t seen the darkness in them. There are mornings I still wake up and wonder why I’m alive, and how easy it would be to just give up. But we persevere, don’t we?

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      1. I understand better than I should share, re the desire to give up. God doesn’t love for any reason but that HE DOES–we can’t earn it by any good efforts; it’s unconditional love, nothing to do with our behavior (thank the Lord!). There’s a Bible verse somewhere…St Paul says that the only “work” we should do is to REST IN CHRIST’s finished work at the cross on our behalf. If you want, I’ll go look it up for you 🙂 ❤ These hard times are temporary "seasons"–and what I've learned is that during dark seasons, God is busy planting gems we'll "harvest" when He brings us through the difficulty. I will keep you in my fervent prayers ❤

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        1. Aww I appreciate that so much, Avia! Thank you for the prayers from the bottom of my heart, and may God bless you for them. I am familiar with the verse which you are talking about—I study scriptures pretty much on a daily basis. Currently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Perry Stone, he describes things so well.

          Learning not to trust in my own faith and walk has been exceptionally difficult for me, I am a perfectionist and often times don’t have patience to wait and learn how to trust. But God keeps chipping away at me and I have no choice but to persevere.

          Thank you again for your kindness. Xoxo

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          1. Oh I LOVE it–and love YOU, dear Sister ❤ The perfectionist thing is surely from the devil–I've managed to shuck it, for the most part, but then 'he' finds something else to torment me with, haha! I'm really glad you knew the verse I was talking about–I read God's Word daily too, but never remember "chapter and verse"…have to look up things when I wish to share them 🙂 I'm believing and declaring GOOD things from GOD for you in the days ahead–His Word does not return void! PS–although I'm familiar with Perry Stone, my faves are Joseph Prince (Singapore), John Gray, and Allen Jackson. Since I'm pretty much home-bound, I do church online (Gateway Church, Southlake TX)–Robert Morris is a fine Bible teacher, and he also has many great guest speakers. Recently Tim Ross (Embassy City Church, TX) spoke on "Courage"–it powered me up so good! AND, as I'm a collector of Bibles, I emailed Embassy to ask which Bible Pastor Tim had referenced–I wanted to order one. Would you believe a guy on staff emailed me and said they would send me one–I am SO jazzed!! Okay, sorry for so much jabber–have a blessed week 🙂 ❤

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            1. Oh wow that is so awesome of them!! I am happy for you ☺️ There was someone I met on a tour once that introduced me to Joseph Prince, but I already listen to so many of my faves, I haven’t listened to him much.

              Thank you for the love and the blessings, I accept them with all my heart! And may they be returned to you a thousandfold!

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      1. It was a great post to awaken me from my hiatus. 😀 Beautiful photo. ❤ I think that we are all a work in progress, but what makes people improve is their self-awareness and self criticism. There are things I've done in my past that I regret, but I'm no longer that person. Correction, that person led me to grow past that stage in my life to who I am now. Sometimes I think regret is a wrong thing to feel if you've learned a lesson from it.

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        1. So well said. How can I regret a mistake that taught me a valuable lesson and in turn, changed me into a better person? Sometimes we want to see things in black and white when it comes to the way people mess up, but it’s not black and white, it’s way more intricate than that. That’s one of the reasons I was able to learn how to reserve my judgment when it comes to other peoples mess-ups. We’re all capable at any moment to screw something up anyway.

          Thank you for the compliment ☺️♥️

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    1. You’re most welcome Kevin. I like to peel back the layers every now and then and take the darkness out for a walk.

      I’m okay with my own company, and I’m not afraid to be alone, in fact, I need it often. But I’ve been learning how to let people in a little further than my usual arms-length distance, and to see down to the soul of a person rather than being superficial.

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  2. Let me throw in a quick, shocking, out-of-context statement before I proceed to explain it: You are right. You are not a good person :-O

    Buuuuut, no one is. You used the word “grace” in your first paragraph. By definition of the original word, that is something no one can work for. It is by definition a gift and an undeserved one at that. No one is perfect and no one can be in this short life. There’s a whole lot to be said about that but so small a space to write it.

    The point is, and pardon the cliche, that the past is in the past. If anyone has a problem with the “new” you, than that is on their conscience, not yours. Every day is a new day to dedicate to better things. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered” (Psalm 32:1). Those is real life and on this site are not good comparisons for you. Everyone is so wildly different from one another. Life will always be lacking when we use comparisons. Be you. Grow. Forgive. Be the woman we all know you are, not because I’m writing that but because it’s you. God bless.

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    1. Thank you C. D. I agree with you and I know I’m not a good person and that even on my best days I need grace just as desperately as I do on my worst days. It has not been easy to actually apply this by faith in my real life though. I’ve questioned my motives to an inch of their existence.

      Thank you for your kind comment, I appreciate it. God bless you too.

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  3. I’ve read this a few times, unsure of how best to respond. Of course you are flawed hon, we all are, but you know that, and we all have different strengths too. It’s harsh to compare ourselves to others, and I suspect many of the people you refer to, who appear to you to conduct themselves with grace and kindness, would say exactly the same about you. Often our less than helpful ways of thinking and relating to others are based on our defenses, things we do that at some level are designed to protect ourselves or our ego from … something. When we can have insight to those things and be honest about them, that is how we can change. Sometimes life allows us that perspective and sometimes that’s just part of our journey.

    This is an exceptionally brave and honest post, and I admire you for sharing it. Hugs to you, Larisa.

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    1. Thank you so much for your insight, Rachel!! That was so beautifully expressed! You are actually absolutely right—I’ve had to do so much introspection over the years and get down to the roots of my actions, and a lot of them were simply programmed behaviors that were a result of some kind of fear. My parents generation went through religious persecution/discrimination in the USSR, and so a lot of their mannerisms they brought with them is founded on the fear of being persecuted for their beliefs and lifestyle, and what that means is that everyone who is even slightly different is held at an arms length for self protection. I hate those kinds of divides though, and it saddens me that this is the kind of world we live in, unfortunately. I’ve had to conquer all sorts of divides within myself to become more open and approachable.

      Thank you for the kindness in your comment, I appreciate it so much. You know, with all that I’ve learned about the human condition from my own experiences, it’s a shame to not speak up about it and have conversations that matter when it comes to xenophobia or fear or anything else that divides people. Even if that means exposing my own flaws. I still cringe every time I post something personal though.

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      1. You are welcome. And it makes me sad that your family felt they had to keep everyone at arms length in order to protect themselves from xenophobia and other people’s discrimination and ignorance. I agree, it is so sad that there are so many divides, and we internalize those so it affects us at a very personal level. Taking ownership of those things and being open about them makes those divides immediately smaller. ❤️

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        1. Love this comment. Unfortunately, the xenophobia can go both ways, and the root of it is fear of being different. I’ve had to have many an unpleasant conversation with the people I love most about our inherent flaws. Fear is such a powerful thing. Yes, exposing it for what it is helps bring the monster down to a manageable size, I agree!! 🥂

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    1. Thank you so much, Wic! I don’t have the slightest desire to revert back to my old ways, trust me. In retrospect, it’s not a very fun place to be. I appreciate your heartfelt comment, thank you!

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  4. All the times I’ve wanted to forget who I was, and even more for everyone around me to forget as well… But if we’re not learning, we’re not growing anymore, and then, what’s the point? I’ve had to learn my lessons so slowly (often more than once) and sometimes it seems like I’ll never leave the past behind.
    I am constantly humbled and encouraged by the great people I’ve met through this journey, and from where I stand you’re one of them. It doesn’t get more genuine than reflection and growth, and I believe you’ve come much further than you think.

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    1. Thank you so much for this comment! It takes so much courage to post about our own flaws and vulnerabilities and I appreciate that you were able to do so.

      I second everything you said, and I too fear sometimes I can’t escape my collective past (growing up with the legacy of USSR communism, and the ensuing fear that propels the actions of its people, resulting in very real consequences in my own life and the lives of people I love) But I’ve had to learn to just buckle down and decide that this isn’t how it is going to end. I appreciate your encouragement and support and I extend the same back to you. We can and will overcome.

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  5. Refreshing honesty and much truth and kindness expressed both in your post and in the comments. It warms my heart at the same time it grieves it to be reminded of how much emotional pain so many of us bear. Thank you for sharing.

    Much allusion has been made to Christian truth, including Bible quotes and Bible terms. Let me take it one step further, at the risk of offending those who don’t share my beliefs. We are all broken and bad inside. The Bible says that we all sin, and there are no exceptions. But it goes further than that and declares that our sin has alienated us from the source of all true goodness, God, and just as you cannot unbreak a broken window, we cannot undo or make up for our offenses. Although we can reform ourselves to a varying degree, we cannot change the nature we were born with. The good news of Christianity is that the God who made us, whose perfect standard of goodness we have hopelessly violated, nevertheless loves His people, and sent His Son Jesus Christ to bear away our sin, receiving our just punishment in his own body, and dying in our place, then rising from the dead as proof of the truth of who he was and what he taught.

    Now he is calling all people to himself, to lay down our lives, follow him, and receive him as our Lord. All that hear his call, repent of our sin and follow him, not only find ourselves forgiven, with a great weight lifted from our conscience, but he actually births new spiritual life into us, giving us a new nature, and declaring that we are new creatures, created in righteousness and holiness. This new nature bestows a genuine love for God and Christ, and also for others, and begins to transform our bent and twisted souls into His perfect likeness, a joyous and often painful process that will take the rest of our earthly lives. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    He has changed my life, bringing hope where there was only hopelessness, and the more I focus on him, worshipping him, serving him, and learning from him (and not on my self, and all of my associated, residual sinfulness), the more he works inside of my heart, unseen, healing and transforming me into what pleases him.

    Sorry for the long comment, and I don’t mean to offend (and many typically take offense at these things), but I was so moved by what you wrote that I felt compelled to share.

    Please receive it in the spirit with which it was given – a lost man in the desert telling others where he found water.

    May God bless you!
    Brother Craig

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    1. Thank you, Craig. And please don’t apologize, I’d like for my blog to be a place where people can safely share their own experiences.

      I am a born-again Christian too, so I understand everything you’ve mentioned in your post. Although there was once a period of time in my life that I lost my faith in God and concluded that these were all fairy tales that were told to people who needed to believe in something larger than their own hopelessness. But it broke my heart to lose God and so I determined I would find out who He really is. I’ve been wrestling with Him ever since.

      May God bless you abundantly as well!

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    1. Thanks Matt! I can imagine that coaching baseball would play a huge role in self development! And that’s an awesome mode to do it by, too.

      Have an awesome day today and give your kiddo a hug for me.

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  6. ” If I hadn’t had my heart absolutely shredded and my beliefs challenged to near extinction, I don’t believe I’d ever have changed the way I was.”

    The first and most prominent word that came to me while reading this was – Relatable!

    Oh Larisa, you know how I can tell you’re not just a good but a GREAT person – it’s because you have such deep self awareness that you evaluate yourself as if you have the superpower to momentarily detach yourself from yourself (hope I’m not losing you entirely here), and analyse everything there is to – behaviour, action, emotion et al.
    I loved this blog post, and your fabulous picture.
    P.S. That quote couldn’t have been used more perfectly! Power to you, lady!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw I love you Isha. You are such a gem, and I hope you genuinely realize it too. I think the reason you are able to tell me exactly what is going on in my mind (accurate, by the way) is because you are able to do this in your own self as well. I see you, sister. It’s comforting to know (however strange that comfort is) that I am not the only one who has had such a crisis of faith at some point in my life, even though I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone.

      I am so happy this blog post was able to relate to you—it always goes to prove that despite wherever we are in the world, we are more alike than we are different. Also, thank you for the compliments!! ♥️💐😘

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  7. Everyone needs a ‘work-in-progress’ sign around their necks at some point to remind everyone else that they’re still working on being good. You’re an incredible talented and genuine friend who’s come so far & well done for being brave enough to share your anxieties like this! Sending you all the hugs I can! 🤗

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    1. Sending you hugs right back, Tom! Thank you!

      I am so flattered that you think that of me, you don’t even know. You’re a total sweetheart, and thank you for that.

      You are quite the talented writer yourself and I can see how much work goes into crafting your stories, so a huge props to you on those!

      Yes, we all are a work in progress aren’t we?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Drew, I appreciate this comment. I tend to be a perfectionist so it is really easy to slip into a harsh self criticism, but lately, more than ever I’ve been practicing kindness to myself, and by extension, kindness to everyone around me. It has been a learned behavior that is becoming more and more natural, but it came at a cost to me. I hope your Monday is amazing as well. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you for the flower. I don’t know you well but I do know you have an aversion for emojis lol, so thank you! (I’m chuckling, and as Rachel mentioned on one of her posts, it takes self control not to post emojis!)

      Same to you sir—hope this week is beautiful.

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        1. Haha! Well, one year the Oxford dictionary (I believe) posted their word of the year was an emoji. I was actually so affronted and disgusted with that bit of news. There are so many beautiful words out there and they chose an emoji of all things! I felt that it was a deliberate dumbing down of society.

          But in my personal life, I use emojis liberally *wink*

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    1. Thank you, I am incredibly flattered and I appreciate this comment! That was really sweet of you.

      I suspect you are familiar with the feeling of crushing disappointment from people who were supposed to be a pillar of support, but ended up causing so much damage instead. (Part of why I went through such a hard time.)

      Thank you for taking the time to read this and for leaving such an encouraging comment ♥️

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      1. I am, and to be honest it began at a terribly young age. And because of that fact it took a hell of a lot of years before i could wrap my mind around how devastating to my person it was. I’m still learning. It can go beyond crushing disappointment into many things and if you cant trust your mother who can you trust? type of thing.
        However or whenever we learn or are shown things, we all step down individual paths of evolution. In the very broad spectrum, its all beautiful/ (A heart goes here, I have no idea how to use emojis without my phone)

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        1. I understand every word of this. I have felt these exact same things. It can get to the point that if I don’t get closure at the root of my devastation and disappointment with some of the conversations I’ve had with them, no one else has the power to even remotely make me feel better. Their well-intentioned words will just get swallowed up by the black hole of pain caused by the people who were supposed to be my support system. I’ve had to consciously let myself believe the good things that people tell me because for too long, their words had no power to even breach the belief that I wasn’t good enough. And yes, it is beautiful in the broad spectrum of things because it forces you to become so strong, but also empathetic as well.

          ♥️♥️♥️

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            1. Yes! I’m glad to have come across you! ☺️♥️

              Exactly, and it’s too exhausting to explain to people why you’re there sometimes and other times you’re just completely absent, withdrawn, exhausted from dealing with people and their ever-present needs. I have had to pick myself up off the floor too many times to count.

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  8. Funny, you have inspired me again – forgive my public disclosure here, but many years ago – I age myself, there was a local bar I frequently, and lived many sordid moments through the appealing vice of that tavern. However, a woman and I crossed paths time and time again with our personal exploits, and yes, I wanted her like the world. One night we finally found ourselves in her apartment, and ironically spent the night talking about the psychic nature of human beings. No sex, just a lot of pot, and wine and laughter where in the end, she and I hugged in the morning strangers become friends. Years later I was hitchhiking across the country and she happened to pull over and pick me up, neither of us recognizing each other until around 20 miles into the travel. My point? We live haunting aspects of our lives, and sometimes the harder we are on ourselves, the less time we have remaining to enhance our beauty. Peace.

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    1. Is that right! That’s why, even though I got a hot flash when I hit the publish button on this post, I still published it. Because we are all the same inside, and we all have our weaknesses and fears. Sometimes it’s such a relief to find someone who is also struggling with the same things.

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  9. You floored me again Larisa! None of us are as good as we think we are, want to be or should be. To recognize your failings, and then act to correct them, is a sign of your growth and maturity. We all can be hard on ourselves, often too hard, for our past mistakes. I often ask people, “So, what did you learn?”, when they tell me of the mistakes they made because it makes them think. (I especially like posing that question to the kids I encounter every day when they tell me about something dumb they did!) You obviously thought about and learned from your past behavior. You are much braver than most, myself included, to share such a raw self appraisal. Growing up is hard but it’s worth it!

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    1. Tim, you’re gonna make me get such a swelled head, I’m gonna be like that guy in the Geico commercial. But I love how you resonate with me!! Thank you for that dear friend. I’ve had no choice but to psychoanalyze myself to pieces, I needed to heal, and in order to do so, I had to find out why I crashed so hard in the first place. It’s been the most difficult thing I have ever had to overcome. Nonsense, Tim—you have the bravery in you, I just know it.

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      1. I have a thing I wrote that I wrote about a year ago. I have only shared with one close friend. Recently, I almost shared it with my writing group but I couldn’t share the whole thing, only the last statement, “I am less than ideal, but aren’t we all?”. I was working on capturing a feeling of disappointment and it began to write itself. It wasn’t supposed to reflect me but it hit too close to home. I will share it once I work up the nerve.

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    1. Wow, thank you so much Ajibola. I appreciate that you took the time to read it and leave your gracious thoughts with me. You’re right, we aren’t born perfect. I’m still learning how not to judge myself too harshly! I hope you have a lovely day/evening.

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    1. Thank you Simon, for the vote of confidence. Sure I had good mixed in with the bad—I always loved deeply. So if I let someone in, I let them in all the way. I adore them. But if I kept someone out, they were completely out. There was never really an in-between. I still struggle with that.

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            1. Yep, some people really cash in on them while others aren’t so fortunate. And yet we place so much weight on attributes that people received simply from genetics. I’m also guilty as charged, unfortunately.

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    1. Well that’s one way to meet me, by getting to know my shortcomings right off the bat 😉 Maybe that should be a thing. Imagine going on a date and both parties reveal all their darkness to each other instead of all their accomplishments.

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                1. Lolol!! I beg to differ! A pretty light gray is actually so mercurial, it goes with ANYTHING. And it is so easy on the eyes. It can be an accent color, or if can be the focal point. I was thinking more along the lines of red being passionate, sensual, and volatile, whereas gray is mysterious and not so easily explained.

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