We can be quiet together, and pretend—since it is only the beginning—that we have all the time in the world. August 3, 2009Posted by Sparkel in I kinda love my life, M, realizations.
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Realizing that the way you feel about a belief or a passion or a person is changing does not happen unless you have a full comprehension of where you’re coming from. Obvious right? And yesterday I realized that, while I have been in love with M for almost six years, I have never been what could be described as “comfortable” in that love.
I am comfortable with him. Neither of us walk on eggshells, we are honest, we argue, we’re mushy and affectionate. I’ve been aware of the good he brings to my life, of the respect and admiration he inspires in other people. I’ve gotten to know him very well, and he’s gotten to know me. I am still learning things about him all the time. He is still very capable of surprising me. And I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop. I hope beyond anything I have ever hoped that we spend the rest of our lives together, but I haven’t allowed myself to believe we will.
I think I’ve been afraid of settling in to being comfortable and happy in my relationship with M because I’m afraid that the second I do, something horrible will happen. But I also think it’s in large part because it is only now that M and I are entering into a whole new part of our relationship, where we not only love and want each other, but we like each other and respect each other almost unequivocally. We rely on each other and trust that no harm will come purposely from the other. It’s something that can only come with time. Isn’t that the argument against ‘love at first sight’? That you can only really love someone with time and really getting to know them?
I think the best analogy for a relationship is the concept of learning a very complicated, intricate dance. You’re stumbling around each other for a while, then when you feel you have the hang of the steps, you still need to learn how to coordinate around and with your partner. And then one day, you’re dancing together as you always have, but something just clicks and settles, and suddenly you’re moving as a unit. It’s easy and fun and you have faith that, should you stumble, your partner will catch you.
I have faith that M and I would have gotten here whether we decided to marry five years ago, or if we wait until five years from now. But there is something about the thought of marrying M after this comfort level has been reached that, cheesily, makes my heart sing. I feel as though I can relax now, and the future will take care of itself without forceful interventions from my insecurities.
We went curtain shopping yesterday and walked around the appliance section at Sears, discussing our wants and likes for the house in our future. We laughed and made fun of each others tastes and agreed and disagreed on things.
As we walked through the parking lot to the car, he asked what I think we should get his sister as a gift for her baby. I shrugged and said I don’t really care, it’s his nephew, he can pick. He took my hand and said “its your nephew too, my Tina, like it or not. What’s mine is yours, and that includes family.”
Someone chose me to be his family. This knowledge has finally sunk in, and I could not be happier.
The Girl Who Cried “Change” July 25, 2009Posted by Sparkel in annoyances, meee, realizations.
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I have always wholeheartedly believed that if a person is defensive when insulted, a nerve has been struck. If someone were to call me say, stupid, I wouldn’t pay any attention because I know I’m not stupid, and clearly the person saying it doesn’t know me very well.
But one word that has ALWAYS struck a nerve? Hypocrite.
I’m annoyed by people who say one thing and do another. People who rant at length about their problems and come to solutions they declare will become their new way of life and yet you and everyone else listening knows things will never change.
It wasn’t until this past week that I realized I am, 100%, one of those people.
I believe that actions speak louder than words. Yet I constantly find myself trying to talk my way out of problems and situations I am unhappy with. My father has always said I should be a lawyer because I can argue, rationalize and talk my way out of anything. I can justify any action I take, just give me a few hours and a couple nods.
Example: I got excited about remodeling things in our house, like the bathrooms and kitchen. So excited that I looked for a cabinet refacing company online, and found one in my area that does free home estimates. I sent them M’s email and phone number, (because I think men deal with men much more easily) and when they called, M scheduled an appointment but he was upset with me over it. Shocked by his reaction, I asked what the problem was, and he said that this is a company with workers who are trying to make money and run a business, and I was wasting their time because we don’t have the money right now and likely won’t be able to start on the kitchen until next summer. I stubbornly protested that they offer free estimates, they can’t expect every house they visit to immediately sign, and I wasn’t doing anything wrong.
A guy came over to do the estimate, and when I told him we were just beginning to check around and see what prices are like, he was angry. He didn’t yell or say anthing, but it was pretty obvious. And M had that “told you so” look on his face after the guy left. And I truly felt guilty, had a knot in my stomach and wanted to rush after the guy and apologize for wasting his time. So what did I do? I spent a good ten minutes justifying it, giving M and his sister the reasons I listed above. M’s sister agreed with me, which is actually what gave me pause. I think she is extraordinarily selfish, so for her to think I did the right thing was stomach churning.
Another example? Relates to yesterday’s post. I told my sister everything about M’s confession and planned proposal and she immediately yelled at me for ruining what could have been a wonderful surprise for me and a special moment for him because I had to push. She said I’m like our mother, that I nag and I’m selfish and always have to get my way, no matter what anyone else’s side is. And then she told our father that I’m pressuring M into marriage and he is going to end up resenting me. My dad asked me about is this morning, and warned me that men don’t like to be pushed and I should have waited for him to ask.
I feel a larger, more intricate knot over this predicament. But overall, I think they’re right. My problem is not that I NEEDED to know when M is going to propose, or that I NEEDED to know the price to remodel our kitchen. My problem is that my execution for every whim I have is sloppy and the dismount is usually appallingly awful because I have no patience and find it difficult to have faith in others intentions. I push because I want other people to want the same things I do. And if they don’t, I try to convince them to see things my way. And if they come over to my side out of sheer OH MY EFFING LORD, ANYTHING TO SHUT THIS WOMAN UP, I justify why I was right all along. I love to plan, but I never manage to follow through on anything really. And I just end up looking like an insincere, immature moron who has no idea what she wants.
I’m coming to the realization that if you are right about something, you won’t have to justify it. Not to yourself, and not to anyone else. And it’s better to change quietly and have your actions speak for you, than to rant at length and then have your actions come up short.
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I’ve often found it remarkable that there are people in our lives who we encounter briefly or who we dislike, but things they have said or qualities they possess pop into our minds more often than those we care deeply for or see every day. Some of the most random, seemingly insignificant things can be the most haunting. Why is this?
I believe I’ve written here before about my relationship with my mother, or lack thereof. Clearly a mother, in most cases, is not a person with an impact one could consider brief. I see the effect my mother’s behavior has had on my siblings, how it has molded their tempers and behavior in relationships. They both speak to her much more frequently than I do and are less tolerant of her outbursts. I feel that I have internalized harsh words and the marriage between my parents as more of a case study.
The conclusions I reached were obvious and simple; name-calling and the use of nothing but “I” and “you” when trying to sort out differences of opinion are bad. Violence escalates. Yelling makes everything seem worse than it probably is. Bringing up old fights in new fights is not only counter-productive, but annoying and frustrating for both parties.
You can never “unsay” anything. Even if you apologize, the damage is done.
Once you learn something, you can never “unlearn” or “unknow” it. And some things are better left unsaid, no matter how true they may be. That the truth doesn’t set you free because words can hurt, especially toward and from those we claim to love the most.
For the most part, my relationship with M has been…not fight-free or angst-free or frustration-free. We argue and bicker and fight like any normal couple. But he comes from parents who fought in silence. If one got mad, they would ignore each other (sometimes for months) until the feelings passed. My parents were, clearly, the opposite. No insult was left unsaid. Their only regrets were the really amazing comebacks and names that were thought of after the fact.
M fights like his parents. The surest way I can tell he is angry is if he doesn’t respond when I speak to him and leaves the room when I enter it. It’s a bit annoying, sure. Okay, that’s not true. It’s HELLA frustrating and I’ve often reached the point of getting in his face and asking him if he’s seven. But he has never called me a name. Never yelled at me. Never hit or pushed. Never said anything that wasn’t true, just out of spite or anger.
I on the other hand… I try my best. I really, really do. I know myself well enough to tell when the mean words and biting insults are brewing and popping up on the tip of my tongue. We got into an argument on Saturday over something domestic and stupid; he cleaned the bathroom for the second time in a row, which I thought was the plan after I cleaned the kitchen during the week while he napped on the couch.
The thing about M not explicitly stating why he’s angry has actually been something of a bonding experience. Because he won’t tell me when I ask him, I’m forced to guess. He’s very Dumbledore-esque about wanting me to figure things out for myself so fights can also be learning experiences. And because I’m forced to use subtle hints and re-trace my steps, I’ve gotten to know him almost telepathically. I need to argue, need to talk it out in order to move past fights. He would rather ignore me until he’s just not mad anymore. So, I end up basically arguing with myself right in front of him. I state his side, waiting for almost imperceptible nods or head-shakes, and then begin my defense.
We went out for dinner as planned after I realized he was angry about having to clean the bathroom and I was PISSED. Didn’t I clean the whole kitchen, which wasn’t even my mess!, while he SLEPT??? Did I get angry? Did I say a word? NO! And wasn’t is agreed that he would clean the bathroom anyway?? HOW DARE HE! I am NOT his goddamn MAID!
The point of this extremely tedious post (my sincere apologies and thanks if you’ve made it this far!) is that I had *ahem* other…thoughts…too.
The mean, nasty thoughts that would feel SO! GOOD! to say at the time. You’ve convinced that they’re true, they’re warranted, they’re deserved. The pain you would cause with these words is going to be the sweetest justice you dole out this week.
I told M one of them. One of the nicer ones, mind you, but a very nasty thought. I regretted it immediately, eyes-welled with tears, reached across the table to grab his hand and apologize profusely. This was about more than hurting my best friend and love of my life in a moment of anger. This was my mother’s lessons coming to the forefront of my mind and me being weak enough to resort to a quick fix for ME and MY frustration, instead of what is best for US, as partners who would very much like to spend every day together, til death do us part, without needing to forget careless words in order to do so.
With Harry Potter fresh in my mind, I’m reminded of a quote from Dumbledore to Harry; “it isn’t how you are alike. It’s how you are not.”
I realize I’m comparing my mother to VOLDEMORT, which seems…well, oddly appropriate at times. But that quote encapsulates perhaps the most important lesson of my young life.
And I say “young life” because I don’t imagine I will spend the rest of my life trying not to be my mother, trying not to have a relationship as destructive and loveless as the one my parents have. The fact that I knew, through my anger and pride, that my mean, horrible thoughts were not necessary, means I have already distinguished myself from her. No matter how right or justified or true these thoughts probably were at the time, saying them out loud would not help either one of us. We both have flaws and constructive criticism can help anyone, if applied correctly.
The difference between my mother and I is that I understand that the best love is unselfish and compromises. And that difference makes, well…all the difference. Not in the end, but in every day.
And if in the end we’re together, it’s beautiful. August 15, 2008Posted by Sparkel in realizations.
I’ve given a lot of thought to relationships lately. Not just the love kind, but all kinds.
I’ve realized that the key to a good relationship is compromise, and a continuous willingness to let people know that you are a priority. That you add something to their life. That they think of you, and, even if they’re truly busy, want to know what’s going on in your life and to share experiences.
I’ve also realized that it is possible to grasp too hard to someone, to become more of an annoyance than a source of happiness and comfort. Like that concept of “if you hold a butterfly tightly in your hand it will either die or escape as soon as it can, but if you simply hold out your hand and wait it may land on you and you’ll both be content.” What do we really owe anyone? What are we responsible for bringing to others lives? If I talk to a person, confide in them, develop feelings for them, care for their well-being, where is the line of how much I expect in return drawn? How much, if anything, do I have the right to expect?
Every single person is the center of their own universe. Our lives revolve around ourselves, and we are subconsciously biased every moment of every day. Even if I try to take another person’s view and situation into consideration I will always come up short. Each and every person has a right to live their life as they see fit. If you want to stay in for a week so you can read a really great book, that is your prerogative. And if you decide that the right thing for you is to move to a country 4,000 miles away and never come back, that’s your decision too. Every person has a right to their own personal happiness, and yet how many of us feel that we have a say in how another person lives their life?
In my relationship with M I have been selfish, jealous, greedy and sometimes dreamed of taking him away to a place where it could just be the two of us and I wouldn’t have to share him with anyone or anything. And then other times I take enough steps back to realize that he is my butterfly (cheesy as it sounds.) Hell, I genuinely feel like I won the butterfly lottery, and this is what usually provokes my panicked thoughts of “this can’t possibly ever last because he is SO going to find someone better to land on.”
But then I stop. And I think about the good he has to offer. And I think about the good I have to offer. I do believe in destiny and soul mates to this extent: I believe that people are very complicated, and that there are thousands of things that make up a persons personality. Likes, dislikes, passions, experiences, etc. Ergo, there are only so many people you can really even be compatible enough to be friends with. And even less you can feasibly be really close to. And maybe only a few who you just connect with, on what feels like another level. I believe that destiny is basically a billion different forks in the road we come to in our lives, sort of like those “choose the ending” stories. So if I do ______, _______ will happen, and so on.
I believe that a person has a right to be exactly who they are. And I believe that each person deserves someone who loves them for exactly who they are. I think about the possibility of a close friendship falling apart, or M finding someone else, and while just thinking about it hurts, do I really want to be in close proximity with someone because I ask them to be there? Do I really want M to stay with me because I beg him and cry if he goes? No.
I dream of being strong enough to take the steps I’ve always wanted to take and find out who I really am. I hope that every person who knows me looks forward to being together when we can be. I don’t ever want to have to ask M to please not cheat. I want our relationship to be the kind that he can’t imagine not being apart of, and I realize I control a whopping 50% of that. I hope I never even have to wonder about it. I’ve come to the conclusion that most of this rests on me. Because if I can be the person I want to be, if I can be open enough and willing enough to compromise, I will do nothing except casually wonder why so-and-so wanted to cut ties.
I don’t want anyone in my life who does not want to be there. I don’t want to beg anyone to stay. So I’ll do my thing, you do yours…
It’s cool, I’ve got plans anyway. July 30, 2008Posted by Sparkel in realizations, to friend or not to friend, traveling.
I love being in the mood to make proactive changes and get stuff done. I polished my resume and applied to six jobs yesterday. I cleaned the crap out of my kitchen and bathroom (and pretended not to notice when the kitchen later looked like a tornado (made up of food and silverware) blew through it), managed to eat exactly according to my new fancy diet plan, have gone to the gym every day, made a colorful and extremely convoluted budget using Excel, which came in handy when I decided that my gift to M for when he finished grad school next June will be a week-long trip to…somewhere. I’m deciding between Greece, Brazil, Puerto Rico or just going on a cruise. I’m setting aside a substantial sum each month that I can afford whether or not I get a better-paying job. And I feel GOOD.
I also came to the conclusion yesterday (which was reached in part due to the lovely and oh so helpful comments from yesterdays post that confirmed what I already felt) that I’m tired of chasing people. I’m tired of trying to better my relationship with people, or go out of my way, or beg people to hang out with me. The fact is, I know exactly who the people in my life are. I know when I’m being crapped on, or when someone is giving less than I give them. The funny thing is that it’s usually the people who are the most insincere and quickest to disappear who insist you’re their BFF forever and ever and you just mean oh so much to them. (*Barf*)
I don’t like realizing that someone is more important to me than I am to them. Especially when it’s already in the back of my mind and about more than one person. It’s bothered me more than I let on, and I’m just sick of chasing things that will forever remain just out of reach. I’m sick of working up the courage to let someone know something’s bothering me only to have them resent me for thinking they’re less than perfect. I’ve come to the sad conclusion that there are situations where confrontations do no good because some people don’t want to hear the truth about themselves. They don’t care that they hurt you, they don’t care that you’re inconvenienced. If they did, they wouldn’t do a lot of things in the first place.
It sucks because it’s lonely by yourself. But honestly, it’s lonely either way, and my time is better spent on better people.
Progress. July 28, 2008Posted by Sparkel in I kinda love my life, realizations.
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The vast majority of my days feel so monotonous and plain that it’s sometimes difficult to believe that time is passing at all. In fact, if someone were to walk up and announce that I’m just living the same day over and over, that my life is actually on a loop, I’m not getting older, the whole feeling of not really being where I think I should be in any area is a false alarm, because CONGRATULATIONS!, I actually get all this time back and this was only a practice run, I would simply jump and cheer. *cue the happy tears*
There are those sure-fire reminders that time actually is passing. For instance, birthdays. Both mine and friends. It seems like only yesterday my goddaughter was born, and she’ll turn four her next birthday. And I reflect on the time that has passed and wonder “what have I done?” or “what have I checked off of my beloved to-do lists?”
I spend a lot of time feeling depressed about my lack of funds, pages written, health insurance, paid vacation time, vacations period, and that feeling of “man oh man, wouldja look at meee!” that comes when you’ve gotten stuff done.
But every so often I take the time to look at my life and notice how far I’ve really come. That while living in my first apartment wasn’t the best experience due to the unfortunate roommate situation, I actually lived on my own for a while there. And now, even though I spend a LOT of time wishing everyone at my house (except M) would just kinda fade into oblivion, it’s pretty sweet that I partially own my own house. That’s one thing I would have plain guffawed at if I thought to add to my “things to do before 25” list.
Sometimes I sit in the room I share with my boyfriend (check!), look around at the matching bedroom set I bought with money I earned for myself (check!) and just grin as the feeling of progress sinks in. I do the same thing in my car sometimes. It’s not so brand-new (check!) anymore, and never really as clean as it should be, but it’s mine and I’ve worked for it, and I just feel proud.
Sometimes I’m sitting at work when I receive a call from my beloved M, asking if I checked the email about a nice dining set, or I try to answer his “what should we do about the patio/bathroom floors/cabinets?” questions and I just feel like an adult. A full-blown adult with a good relationship and a house to call (partially) my own.
It’s no summer in Italy (still unchecked), but it’s the farthest I’ve been. And that my friends, feels like progress.
I’m currently sitting at my desk bemoaning the fact that I’m at work on Independence Day. I realize the underlying cause of this bemoaning is the fact that I wouldn’t necessarily need to be at work if it weren’t for the fact that I missed a few hours each day due to a visit to the doctor and the pain that hits like a sledgehammer from contracting a vicious little bitch of a virus that just does not want to go away or be suppressed no matter how many different medications I shove its way.
Of course, dealing with said virus would be easier if my job provides health insurance or paid sick leave. Dealing with being sick would also be easier if it were the only troublesome thing on my plate, but because I mistakenly turned a paper in past it’s lock date, and subsequently received a zero for the assignment and a D for the class and lost my financial aid for next year, right now my life just seems to suck all over the place.
This line of thinking conjures up the realization that while life has handed me a few lemons of late, my attitude could stand some fine-tuning, and that would make the biggest difference of all in every day right now.
There are things that happen that can’t really be helped. Getting sick came out of nowhere and shocked the hell out of me. And frankly, I have moments where all I wanna do is lay in bed and pout and moan about how unfair it is. And how now I have to be sick F-O-R-E-V-E-R and why oh why did this happen to meeee?? And then there are things like the mess with my class, or never-ending money woes, or time management issues, or weight issues that are 110% my fault and responsibility. I complain all the time and never get anywhere. “My job is boring.” Well, who’s job is it to hand me another one? “I never have money.” Okay, and who’s job is it to give me more than I earn? And monitor my spending habits to ensure I don’t waste all of it away yet again? “I lost financial aid for school.” Well, I shoulda read that due date more carefully. “I’m fat and gross.” And I belong to a gym and have 100% control over what goes into my mouth.
I’m 23 and still seem to operate under the assumption that when my life stinks I have the right to complain, instead of either a) listening to that nagging voice that’s ALWAYS right and doing what I know I should in the first place or b) taking the necessary steps to fix my own messes. If I don’t make enough money, well then I guess i need to make more. If I don’t like my job, well I guess I should find one i like more. The one thing in life I can control is my actions, and what do I do? Pretty much nothing.
I’m honestly amazed that I don’t get slapped more often.
23(?)(!) May 16, 2008Posted by Sparkel in meee, realizations.
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I turned 23 the other day. It’s a very strange feeling so far, knowing I’m being pushed farther into the abyss known as Adulthood, one of my arms reaching back, grasping for my youth while the other arm is thrown in front of me into a welcoming half-hug. I pushed “23” as my age into the elliptical and just felt old. I half expected my joints to creak as I started up.
Everyone keeps insisting that 23 is not old. 23 is in fact, quite young, and I have my whole entire long life ahead of me, yadda yadda yadda. It really only feels old when I think of all the things I thought I would have done by now. Traveled to Europe, lived with girlfriends, finished school, etc. Instead I live in a house I partially own with my boyfriend and members of our respective families. In my world, I’m one of the reliable ones. Are 23 year olds supposed to be reliable? Mature? Paying a mortgage?
The twenties is such a strange time. It reminds me of being 11, and not really feeling like a kid, but not quite feeling like a teen either. Not knowing what’s “normal,” or “cool” anymore. I know people who are married with kids, or who are not married with kids, or who are still in school, or who have well-paying jobs, or are already establishing careers, or who still live at home, or who don’t work at all, or own their own place, or live by themselves, or who live with roommates. What the heck is normal? How do you gage your progress?
Part of me really wants to make this year count. I feel like it’s the last one that will allow me to bar-hop, drink a bunch, have wild, crazy nights and not feel out of place or get those “um…really?” looks. I regret the things I mentioned before (no Europe, no live-in besties, no degree), and I really don’t want to regret missing the whole “woo hoo TWENTIES!” phase that has become such a cliche. I want to go to the gym and eat healthy food, and once in my life allow myself to have the body I’ll look back on when I’m 70 and think “man, I was a DISH!”
So, to be cheesy; 23 will be a party and about ME (the last year I allow myself to be selfish when it comes to my time or money), 24 will be about more (AKA setting my self up as far as a career, getting that pesky degree, and saving for Europe goes.)
Wish my generally shy, homebody, “the metro BY. MY. SELF?”, somewhat sheltered self luck.
And look forward to pictures 😀
I might be alright. April 24, 2008Posted by Sparkel in meee, realizations.
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There are times when I genuinely wonder if I’ll ever be the person I want to be. Actually, there are times when living in a house with a handful of people who make me feel like I’m obstinate, bitchy and always wrong makes me wonder if I’m losing my mind. I remember a time when I thought I’d be married at 22. And I remember assuming I would live with a couple friends and it would be fun and amazingly wonderful. And I remember always assuming I’d have been all over the world by now. Hell, I can say, without reason or logic, that I have always assumed that one day I will walk on the moon and see all the planets up close.
I might not have read all the books on my ever-growing list. I might not be radiantly happy all the time. I might not have been to Europe or Australia. I might still only speak one language. I might need to go to the gym a hell of a lot more, and I could stand to eat a little healthier. I might not always do what I set out to do, or what I say I’m going to do. I might not have a thousand friends, or even a solid group. I might stutter when I get nervous, or feel awkward in crowded social settings. I might curse the people around me, question whether these fights are worth fighting, and feel completely alone.
But I can say that when I am completely alone, I like the company that my personality provides. I like my thoughts. Sometimes I even laugh out loud at them, or hunt for a piece of paper to write things down, all “ooh that was good!”
The other day was absolutely perfect, weather wise. So after work I took one of the many books I keep in my car, got my drink from Starbucks, and went to sit on a bench in a little, somewhat crowded courtyard. I was wearing a sundress with a pink sweater, really cute heels, big sunglasses and had my Coach bag. I remember thinking that anyone who walked by would take one look and probably scoff and say “ugh, look at her. What a cliche.”
And then I thought back to younger me, insecure and wanting to belong. I thought back to her idea of pretty or cool. And I realized that if she walked by, she’d want to be me.
And in a way, that’s good enough.
Good and Better April 16, 2008Posted by Sparkel in realizations.
Sitting at home on the couch, watching TV and scarving down on doritos feels good.
But that feeling after leaving the gym? And looking in the mirror at a more fit you? Feels better.
Finishing a paper after barely reading the material its on, and using sparknotes and other sources to wind up getting a A feels good.
Knowing your shit and that you did a good job and getting an A? Feels better.
Buying a bunch of clothes you really like feels good.
Walking out of a store after putting it all back because you didn’t love any of it and you held on to that hard earned money? Feels better.
Getting into an argument with someone you can’t stand, knowing your right, and getting in some good comebacks and the last word feels good.
Knowing there is nothing they can say about you because, even though you know you’re right, you refuse to stoop to their level and are classy enough to just walk away with a smile and your head held high? Feels better.
Having people in your life who are kind enough to loan you their computers while your is on the fritz feels good.
But having your own computer back and not having to rely on anyone? Feels better.