Life has a way of changing people. Some change for the better, some change for the worse, and some have no clue of how they changed through the process of it all. I fit into the last category. Life gripped me by the shoulders, spun me around in circles making me completely dizzy, and I came out someone different than when it all started. I trust too easily. I always want to help people. I want to make them feel better and do whatever I can to make that happened. Over the last two, three, years, that was no different. And I had people drag me through the mud for it. They abused who I am. They abused my trusting nature. They abused me being empathetic and sympathetic. Those with the biggest hearts do tend to be hit the hardest by these types of things. I didn’t really want to change. I want to care about people. I want to believe there is still good out there. I can’t even begin to put into words what these people did to me. It was bad. Really bad. They lied. So, so much. They pulled numerous people into their lies. They told me they were in war zones, they told me they lost children, they told me they had cancer. Anything to pull at the heart strings. None of these things happened. And I’m sure as you are reading this you’re thinking I gave them money. I didn’t. Just one of them got money and he has been court ordered to now pay it back. But overall, it wasn’t about money. It was truly about messing with my mind and my heart. They wanted to use me to hurt someone else as well. They’d use me to get closer to her to hurt her. I never meant to be a gateway to other things. That’s not me. All I’ve wanted to do for years is to fix everything, make it all better. They used me being naive against me. I no longer believe people are good. I don’t believe people can be trusted. I don’t want anyone new coming into my life. I’ve become a shell. An empty shell of who I once was and I never wanted to become this type of person. I’ll never understand the users out there. The ones who only are happy if they hurt others and bring others down. I’m sure you all can relate. These types of people are everywhere. No one is immune to them. I love the book The Outsiders. More and more I find myself remembering a couple of lines from it. “You better wise up, Pony… you get tough like me and you don’t get hurt. You look out for yourself and nothin’ can touch you” (Hinton, 125). I’ve repeated those words a lot over the years (I’ve read the book probably about seven times), but they have more meaning now. When you get tough, people can no longer use you, hurt you, betray you. Lesson learned, the hard way.