Just Because It's Not Illegal Doesn't Mean You Should Do It
Just Because It's Not Illegal Doesn't Mean You Should Do It

"When we were 13 or 14, my best friend at the time wanted to go to this cemetery sort of tucked away behind the town library and burn all of the flags left by the graves. He said it was fine because it isn't illegal to burn the flag, but obviously, I felt pretty weird about it.

As we were headed towards the cemetery, I saw my sister headed out of the library with one of her friends and made some excuse to ditch my friend and go home with her instead. He was mad but decided to go burn the flags anyway.

I found out from him in school the next day that someone called the cops on him, and while he hadn't been taken into custody or charged with anything, they did drive him home to his parents and give him a really strict warning. In retrospect, the flags were probably at the graves of veterans, which makes the whole thing even more messed up. I'm still glad I bailed and left with my sister when I did."

A Pivotal Moment
A Pivotal Moment

"There is a short, I hope, little background story. My family moved to a different country when I was 7, new language, culture, different people and customs, different holidays, different school and kids, no friends---the whole package.

I started to gain weight after my horrible stepdad died of drinking; his liver shut down fast and he didn't pay enough attention to it; he also had epilepsy and had seizures, often resulting in head injuries.

So, I grew up fat, not obese fat, but somewhat overweight. When I became a teenager, I was hanging out with the wrong crowd; drinking and abusing substances were just normal activities for me at 14, and I was sinking into depression. My grades, no matter how high they were, didn't seem to impress my mother and it was important to me, her boosts of confidence.

Those never came, neither did motivation, so I stopped trying, being depressed and all. Girls didn't pay attention to me cause I was just fat and weird, at least that's what I thought. In retrospect, I know now it was not the case. Friends were making fun of me, making the obvious remarks about my weight just cause they didn't have anything else to go with, so I just hit rock bottom.

It was a nice sunny day and I was alone at home. I thought to myself what would be if I was gone, who'd miss me and I answered myself, 'Yeah, probably nobody,' then I decided to just go out of the house and go sit in a park nearby. The air was humid and the sun was scorching hot, I hate scorching hot. So I sat there for a few hours, thinking of a way I'd like to go to the other side.

As I was thinking of just taking pills and falling asleep somewhere, I thought about the reactions of the people around me. Depression does this to you, so I saw them all relieved in my mind. Then, I saw an elderly couple walking by, they were holding hands and smiling at each other, talking pleasantly and warmly to each other, he was holding a small single red rose for her and they were happy.

Shoot. Shoot, I thought. I want that! I want to grow old, I want my own family, I want kids who I'll teach to be awesome and amazing at life, I want them to be happy, to have the things I've never had, I want my wife to be smiling at her final stage in life when we take our morning walks in the park just like we've done everything in life and can now simply remember the good times past and enjoy the rest of our lives together.

I stood up. I went back home, hugged my mother and sat down to play some video games. It's been almost 15 years and the thought, that creepy dark thought never came back. I proposed this January and she said yes. We have our future way ahead of us, but I can see us walking through a small park, holding each other's hands and smiling. After all, life is a beautiful, wonderful thing. It is a gift. Do not waste it and think it for granted."

Don't Play With Matches
Don't Play With Matches

"I was conscripted for two years. I finished my navigation exercise and was sitting in the back of the personnel truck with my section, waiting to go back to base.

I was nibbling on some of our rations, which come with packs of matches. I was tired, wet, half asleep and not functioning properly. To pass the time, I was taking all of the matches out of a pack at once, lighting them, and watching them flare. I was holding a burning bunch in my hands and looked at all the jerry cans full of water below me. At that moment, I wanted to drop the matches to hear the sound of them sizzle. For whatever reason I didn't. I never thought, 'Oh hey, it could be gasoline.' I just never dropped them.

Later, I got caught playing with them and my whole section got punished; it was only then that I found out it was gasoline. So yeah, whenever I think about that it horrifies me to think I could have blown up my whole section, or at the least, left everyone looking like Deadpool."

Her Intuition Told Her He Wasn't A Guy She Should Get Close To
Her Intuition Told Her He Wasn't A Guy She Should Get Close To

"I was dating this guy that I was really into and who was really into me. He was very romantic and great in bed, but something about it just wasn't quite right, so without even realizing it, I just straight-up never let him into my life. He never came to my house or got my address, never met my friends or family, he didn't know where I worked. He didn't even know my last name.

A couple months in, I realized that none of this stuff had ever come up, and that was really unusual for me -- I don't keep people at arm's length like that; I'm very open, and if anything, I tend to overshare. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. I just couldn't, and I had no idea why.

Shortly thereafter, we got into an argument, and he threatened to tie me up and use me until he got me pregnant. (He didn't even know that I was on birth control.) I got away from him as fast as possible, and I was scared that he would find me, so I ended up going to the police because I just didn't know what to do. Turned out they'd been looking for him for years in connection with a bunch of assaults, robberies, and possibly a murder."

He'll Never Forget That Image...Or That Smell

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He'll Never Forget That Image...Or That Smell

"I was at a low point in life. I'd been drinking in a shady bar with a shady dude and went to go use substances at his pad so I could drink more. He decided to order up some crack. As the dealer made the journey over, I was definitely planning on lighting up with this guy.

But then, while looking for the bathroom, I stumbled into a bedroom where this dude's elderly mother was slowly dying, hooked to a respirator and awake. Intelligence rose up in her eyes. She knew the deal. I apologized and left, sat on the couch waiting for the dealer.

There was a picture on the wall. It was my host and his mother in better days. She was holding him and there was just so much smiling happening in her eyes, I started to think how messed up this all was.

Then, a pair of roaches crawled out from under the frame of the photo. They scurried up to the ceiling somewhere and I missed where they went because about 10 other roaches had also just decided to make the pilgrimage. Just. That image. The roaches under the family portrait, that poor woman, the smell of her room, it was all hitting me at once.

I made an excuse and got up to go. It all felt wrong all at once, and I sobered up in minutes. On the stairway down, I'm pretty sure the dealer passed me on the right side, walking up to that broken place.

Obviously, I never did the crack. Thank God."

The Hardest Thing To Turn Down
The Hardest Thing To Turn Down

"I was dating this girl. We had been seeing each other for about a month and I realized it wasn't working out for me and that I would have to end it. She invited me over to her dorm room to hang out and I decided I would do it there and not drag it any longer than I needed to. Well, I got there, and she went into flirt mode hardcore. She was all dressed up and telling me about the new lingerie she bought, basically throwing the whole book in my face. We had only previously fooled around a bit and hadn't done IT yet because she only wanted to do that with a guy if they had something serious together. Which she now thought was the situation between me and her.

I had a very intense ethical debate in my mind during the first three minutes I was there, and finally, I decided that I should not be a jerk and do what I came here to do. I broke it off in the nicest way I could and left, leaving the poor girl very unsatisfied that night.

Admittedly, sometimes I wish I had slept with her that night and then still dumped her because she got really nasty about the break up afterward."

They Say Cats Have Nine Lives

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They Say Cats Have Nine Lives

"I was going through psychosis when I was unmedicated. During these episodes, I'm uncharacteristically hostile and really easy to trigger.

I try to isolate myself when I'm like this to damage control because it's the polar opposite of my normal personality.

Anyway, I was alone with my cat and I was getting really mad at her getting into things, running around spastically, knocking stuff over, ripping up my blinds, and attacking me.

I was trying to keep my cool because she's an animal, but I did put my hands around her neck ready to strangle her.

I didn't, I closed her in the bathroom for an hour until we both calmed down, and that was the best decision because when I came out of the psychosis, I would have been devastated and disgusted with myself, probably would have even turned myself in for animal cruelty.

Again, the complete polar opposite of my normal behavior, and I was absolutely unmedicated and manic at the time."

Fool Me Once, Shame On You; Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me
Fool Me Once, Shame On You; Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me

"I almost slept with my ex again. We had a baby when I was 16, got married, got divorced, had another child when I was 21. We only slept together again because it was the only way to get him to pay child support.

Yet a couple months ago, he was offering to pay child support if I slept with him again. And I'm not going to lie...I was really really tempted. My kids and I could really use that money. I'm a 23-year-old single mother of two, I live with my mom, and have no college education. But I decided against it.

Sure enough, he knocked another poor girl up soon after."

Sometimes, It Pays To Procrastinate
Sometimes, It Pays To Procrastinate

"I had planned to study at my campus library during finals during my sophomore year in college. Being the procrastinator I am, at the last minute, I decided to push it off until the next day. Later that day, there was an active shooter on campus. The spree ended in the library with two more people being killed and several more injured. Procrastinating potentially saved my life."

His Dog Saved His Life
His Dog Saved His Life

"It will be two years ago this winter. I had just moved to a new town with my wife of a few years. She went to see her family days after we got there, and we ended up separating permanently. I was alone. With no friends. Thousands of miles from my family, whom I wasn't on good terms with. I let her take all the money we had, assuming I would make more in my new serving job.

After four days with no food and not leaving my apartment because the job had not called me back no matter how many times I reached out, I sat in my living room alone, with the barrel of my Remington in my mouth. It was loaded, safety off. My building was empty because the other tenant was out of town. I couldn't stop thinking about how no one would even know if I pulled the trigger. I had no close friends who checked in with me, my family barely spoke to me. The only person I had any real contact with had just stopped being a part of my life.

If I could have found someone to take care of my dog, I wouldn't be here.

After a few hours of staring down the barrel of a Remington 870, I decided I needed to feed my dog more than I needed to end my pain.

I sold the weapon to a guy I found on Facebook market for 200 bucks and bought a big bag of dog food, a crate of ramen, and a ridiculous amount of bologna, and Smirnoff. A lot of Smirnoff.

It's crazy how fast things spiral out of control. But the first step was getting rid of the weapon.

Ended up keeping that job after they finally got back to me with a start date, made some friends I will have for the rest of my life, worked things out for better or worse with my parents and siblings, found a woman who really, really loves me, and have been killing it the last year or so.

Got past my addiction for the most part and have really climbed out of a dark place.

Found a better home for the dog so she would never be hungry again.

Take it a day at a time."

My Life For A Jacket
My Life For A Jacket

"It was the early 90s and I was a poor, fat, freshman punk entering my first year of high school. I didn't have any real friends and I was scared pantsless about being the lowest on the totem pole with all the upperclassmen lurking around.

I left my only jacket lying around one time, and this senior thug kid stole it. I didn't see him take it, but he subsequently wore it around the school, flaunting it. This went on for weeks and it enraged me. This kid was a notorious bully that hung out with some of the other bullies.

I didn't know any teachers that well and my dad left a couple years back. My mom was trying to hold the family together, and I didn't want to add any extra burden to it. My little brother was in elementary school, so he couldn't help. I just kept getting more and more angry about it. To make a long story short, my dad forgot to take one of his weapons and I was pretty close to installing a doggy door in the back of this mofo's head. It was only gonna be him because he's the only one that I had a beef with... I was an angry, stupid kid with no one to really lean on. I knew I couldn't fight him and I didn't want to tattle... I didn't know what I was even doing... I was angry about so many things besides this that this just broke the camel's back.

So this kid I kinda knew from 1st grade got the jacket back for me after some weird twists of fate that have me believing in fate to this day. I never told Robert (my friend) or my mother what I was about to do, but little did he know, he saved me from ruining my life. I definitely would tell him thanks today if I knew where to find him, I was just afraid of what hole they would toss me into if the powers that be found out. I still hated the kid who stole it, but I just let bygones be bygones after that. God knows what state institution I would still be rotting away in."

Fighting Temptations
Fighting Temptations

"In college, I was at a party without my girlfriend. I ended up hanging out with two girls, who were sisters. I mentioned that it was kinda hot how one was sitting in the other's lap. They said something like, 'We can be a lot hotter than that' and kissed.

Instantly, cutting through the haze, I felt like I needed to get out of there. I could have a very interesting night, but I could never hurt my girlfriend like that.

10 years later, we're still married. I know I made the right decision that night."

The Devil On Her Shoulder
The Devil On Her Shoulder

"I started to fall into a bad crowd in my early 20s, and I befriended a girl who worked at the gym I went to. She told me how she knew this one older lady who worked out was incredibly rich and left her locker unlocked, so she told me that I should steal money from the lady's purse. I was stupid and I considered it for a moment, then I asked if there were cameras. She assured me that there weren't.

She pointed out the lady she wanted me to steal from, who was running on a treadmill, and I just couldn't. I told my 'friend' that I wouldn't do it, that's not in my nature. My friend tried to entice me into doing so by making grandiose claims that no one would notice it and she knows other employees who had done it before. I was disgusted with myself for even considering it (very nice woman, not that that should matter---it's stealing), and I was like, 'No. I'm not doing that.'

The rich lady and I had the same exercise schedule, and I mentioned to her how there have been thefts in the locker room and she thanked me and told me how she had noticed things going missing from her purse and that she planned on reporting it. She really was the nicest lady. She was a teacher who just happened to be married to wealth. I cut ties with that friend out of disgust. Very, very happy that I never went through with that plan."

It Was The Perfect Night, Except For One Thing
It Was The Perfect Night, Except For One Thing

"One night, I decided I was through. I had lost my job, the house was in foreclosure, my marriage was on the rocks, not to mention tons of emotional baggage from a truly messed up childhood. I had been thinking about it for a few months. I was gonna 'swim to England,' meaning get in the ocean and just swim east until I couldn't anymore.

It was the perfect night for it. The moon was just rising so I could use it as a beacon to keep going in the right direction. I made the mile or so walk down to the beach and threaded through the path between the dunes. If I was going to change my mind, it was here or never. I chose to do it. But...the beach was crawling with cops. Some on ATVs, some walking back and forth with flashlights.

To this day, I have no idea what they were doing there. It was like 2 am. I waited a while for them to leave but they just didn't. Eventually, the dawn was going to come and I was in no mood or condition to answer any questions so... I decided to go back home."

You Never Know What May Happen When You Take Things Seriously
You Never Know What May Happen When You Take Things Seriously

"I almost had a fling. I'm the kind of person who likes commitment and stability, and I take all my relationships (romantic and otherwise) seriously. I was in a bad place, had been hung up on the wrong guy for way too long, and I met a guy I was confident I could seduce pretty quickly. I knew that he, like me, enjoyed commitment and would want a solid relationship, but I thought I'd just date him for a few weeks/months to feel better about myself and then dump him, whether or not that's what he had in mind.

As it turns out, he had very recently been suicidal and was still dealing with a ton of depression. Going in with that attitude, I could have really messed him (and myself) up. Instead, I started dating him and ended up really liking it, and I never felt the need to end it. We got married after two years and we've never been happier."

What's The Big Deal?
What's The Big Deal?

"I was having money problems after getting fired from my job (to be honest, it was beyond a toxic work environment, so being out of there was a relief). I live with my boyfriend who has a very high paying job in medical IT. He pays the bills, drives me everywhere, pays for my therapy, etc. since I've had horrible luck keeping a job since I moved from Maine to New York to be with him.

I had gone to a convention and used PayPal to buy things from vendors, in addition to using my credit card. I thought everything via PP would be taken out of my checking account and another card, but come to find out, my Visa had paid for those purchases as well. I was about $800 over my limit but didn't have the money to bring it down. My boyfriend had helped me before, so his bank account was a payment option for my visa.

When he was asleep, I entered a payment for 900 using his account. I figured I could just tell him I thought I had used my own. He always has a 3-5k cushion, so what's the big deal, right? After staring at the screen for a long time, I canceled the payment. The next morning I confessed everything, apologized profusely and said I understood if he couldn't trust me or if he didn't want me living with him anymore.

He just patted my head, told me it was okay, and asked how much I needed. I sold stuff until my paycheck from my new job came in. I still can't believe he forgave me."

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