nightlife

there’s a sadness that lives in my chest.

you’re a knockout, he said.

and I felt every little piece of me crumble.

the love of my life has come in and out of my world four times. we have picked up pieces and packed up memories. we have said our hellos and goodbies so many times I forget how to mourn the loss anymore. I’ve said goodbye and I’ve asked him to stay away, finally. I’ve asked him to stop coming in and out of my life if he isn’t prepared to love me indefinitely, unconditionnally. I am incapable of giving myself only to have nothing in return, anymore. loving him was the loneliest I’d felt in years, and every night as we slept, I could feel him drifting away.

I love you, but

I love you isn’t enough. love should never be enough.

happiness has always been an uphill battle for me. I wake up broken every single day and it takes everything out of me to put my pieces back together only to fall asleep and have to start over again. I am aware of this. I work on this very, very hard. I absorb other people’s pain so they don’t have to, but I can’t save everyone. I can’t love someone who doesn’t love themselves.

I have come a long way.

I’ve built a home out of a tiny little house. it’s lonely, it’s quiet. it smells like coconuts, and I wrap my faux fur blanket tightly around me to stay warm, in the evening. the air is cold these days, and the french doors that lead to the balcony aren’t insulated. but I haven’t felt a peace like this for a long time. I haven’t felt safe or free until now. until I said goodbye, forever this time, and felt the weight lift from my shoulders, from my heart, from my home. I loved him, I did. but in loving him, there was a very palpable, very dark cloud looming above me, and it exhausted me to wake up to him every day. I know this, now. I understand the weight of my sadness, finally.

when I look back and think of the sound of his belly laughs as we lay on the couch, or the way his voice sounded when he told me I was beautiful, it hurts. it hurts in a way I was not at all prepared to hurt. I miss our drives out of the city, and drinking coffee in cafes, or how safe it felt to fall apart in his arms. but a very important person once told me I had to stop looking for happiness in the same place I’d lost it. fuck, that person is smart. and thank goodness for them because had I not had a safe place to run to, I’m not sure I could have made it out when I did.

I’m still learning so much.

I’m learning that it’s okay to walk away if it doesn’t feel right. that I have the right to demand what I want for me in this life, and to feel confident in turning my back on it if it isn’t. I should never compromise my happiness because I’m afraid of starting over for the millionth time.

2014 was a big year for me. I’d experienced more loss in twelve months than I have my whole life. I have to stop blaming myself for that. I wouldn’t take any of it back. I never knew love like this. it was real, and it was intense, and it ripped me apart- and my god, was it ever worth it. I have a better sense of self, and more clarity. I feel good, and strong, and able. I loved with every ounce of me, and found the courage to leave when it became toxic. if my past has taught me anything, it’s to acknowledge the strength I have inside of me, and to not ever let someone dim my shine.

don’t dim my fucking shine.

turning the leaf

m was recently arrested.

a friend called me to tell me the news, and i cried, and screamed, and swore. maybe this is the beginning of the end. while my sleeping patterns are off, and my mood shifts constantly, maybe this finally means putting some of my demons to rest. it means tattooing a tombstone to my elbow, and sleeping with the lights off, and opening the pieces of my heart that i’ve cut off for so many years.

i have officially been living in my apartment for one year. no overnight moves, no roommates, no sketchy activity, no drugs, no arguments, no yelling, no fear. i haven’t packed up my belongings, and i haven’t rented moving trucks, or storage locations. i haven’t fallen off the wagon, or gone to work shitfaced, or let someone hurt me beyond repair. i’ve had the same job since february 2012, that’s almost fifteen months. i’ve gotten significant raises, and benefits, and a new office. i’ve lost weight, and i’ve changed my eating habits. i cook to relax and unwind. i plan meals, and i buy organic, and i don’t eat meat or dairy. i spend weekends with my family, i go dancing with my friends, i watch documentaries, i bake pies, i do weekly crafts, i sew my clothing, and i buy new furniture. i treat myself, and i do it often. i get tattooed, and i go to the salon, and i buy clothes in smaller sizes. i have clothing swaps, and i cook for two, and i mop my floors, and change my bed sheets, and paint.

the seasons are changing.

i am paying off some debt, and i am working hard, and i am living honestly. i’ve been smiling, and i have felt weightless and light. i can’t remember the last time i felt so hopeful. and most importantly, i can’t remember the last time i felt this good about me. about my progress. about my ability to move forward. people constantly told me that i am independent to a fault- that it is ultimately the downfall of my relationships. but i am finally realizing that maybe the men i have been dating were too insecure to see the bravery in that. the strength and the will. they were too insecure to understand the damage of abuse and the hope in survival. they were too insecure to ask me what happened, and more importantly- to accept what happen without seeing me as damaged goods. and fuck that. fuck all of that, because my independence is not a flaw, and i am not broken, and i will be stronger and better than this, and them. i will talk openly about the hell m put me through, and about my ups and my downs, and shamelessly so.

because that is healing, and that is healthy, and THIS is progress.

loving them past morning

my father recently told me i can’t save everyone.

he said i’m fragile and sensitive, and i crack and break easy, and it just isn’t my job to fix people who can’t be fixed. and i get it. i want to give all my money to homeless people, and adopt every kitten on the planet, and mother and nurture and mend. i want to sew patches and kiss boo-boos and wrap up leftovers and remove stains. i want to tuck in, and iron out wrinkles, and tell someone everything is going to be okay, and then do everything in my power to make sure everything will be okay.

a friend of mine recently stayed overnight. he was in town for the weekend, and he showed up on my doorstep at one in the morning, and we took off our pants, and got into bed, and wrapped our legs around one another. we kissed slowly, and he ran his fingers up and down my spine, and as we were drifting to sleep, he told me he was afraid of moving home… of coming back to this city, and starting over, and what if this was taking steps back, when all he wanted was to move forward?

i don’t know.

i rolled over, and sighed deeply, and he kissed me three times, softly, on the back of my neck, and that was it. we fell asleep, and woke up still holding on as tightly as we had been, hours before. i usually hate that, but there is just something about his fingertips, and the scent of his chest as i watched the time pass slowly as the sun poured into my bedroom.

i hadn’t kissed him since halloween night, and there is something incredibly unsexy about kissing a man in costume… and yet, this morning, as he buttoned the black plaid to his neck, and laced up his boots, i couldn’t remember the last time i’d been so physically attracted to someone i hadn’t shared more than a kiss with. his hair was a mess, and his eyes were tired, and holy shit, he could not have looked sexier if he even tried. he said he’d see me soon, although i know i won’t see him for months, and that’s fine. i have started being fine with wanting people i don’t have.

because that’s what i do. there is something incredibly romantic about kissing a man and sharing moments few and far between. of speaking to each other every few weeks, and every moment spent talking to one another, or holding one another is so insanely passionate. and i have to stop falling for these moments, and finding importance in these fragments of my life. because they are just that : fragments of a whole.

because that’s just it.

i have to stop trying to save everyone. i have to stop romanticizing these bits and pieces of my life.

and i have been. maybe it’s cynicism, maybe i’m jaded, or perhaps i’ve just run out of patience. whatever it is, there has been this apparent void in my chest, and this dull ache in my heart, and i haven’t quite put my finger on it just yet but i can tell you i’ve been crying. i’ve been doing that a lot, even… and i suppose it’s time to deal with some things. i was recently given the number to a crisis centre, but is it really a crisis if the situations in question happened five years ago, and spanned three years, and is it really even a crisis if half the time i actually feel okay about it?

maybe it’s time i start getting answers.

 

these aren’t things you get… they are things which get you

it is hard to be brave when you’re only a very small animal
– a.a milne

i just forget what that kind of blissful happiness feels like

sometimes i think it took me so long to finally leave m because a part of me wanted so badly to believe that some sort of goodness could be restored. somehow i believed if i loved him stronger, or better, or if i held on less tightly, or showed independence that he’d change. i wondered if i kept the house perfect, and his clothes washed and folded, and if i answered all of his phone calls and text messages immediately and with full attention, that he’d realize how much i cared. i thought that by building a relationship with his family, and supporting his habits, and giving into the pain he inflicted (the pain he constantly inflicted) on me… he’d want to be better.

i was wrong.

i was always so fucking wrong when it came to him.

i constantly looked for love in all the wrong places- giving into people i didn’t want to give into, acting like a disconnected, skeleton of a human being. feigning emotion, and faking legitimacy so i could finally feel something (anything) but broken. so i could make these poor suckers believe there was enough room in my heart to care about anyone- make these people believe there was room in my heart at all. i became independent to a fault. i was a fortress, a tower. an unattainable bitch.

and it kills me to think of that now.

because i am soft, and emotional, and friendly. i exude happiness and i think of myself as genuine. i won’t lie. i won’t purposely hurt, or damage, or destroy anything, or anyone. not intentionally, anyway. it makes me physically sick to know i’ve caused anyone harm.

what change a few years can bring…

i guess i finally woke up. i realized i was being unfair, and selfish and awful. i’ve tried to rebuild whatever has been lost- within me, in my life… moving forward has been a constant up-hill battle. sometimes, i’ve fallen down, and other times i persevered… but dammit, it’s been rough.

i am terrified of rejection.

and i think i’ve been settling for relationships that didn’t allow any room for growth, or change… because i am so fucking terrified of success- of getting better. of being healthy, and happy. because a part of me wonders if i’m just programmed to perpetually fail. i wonder if maybe my fate has it written that i am supposed to feel this kind of sadness and agony forever.

and that’s bullshit.

because i am blessed with a family who loves me to the moon, and with skin tough enough to get me through anything, and a heart big enough to finally, finally allow room for healing, and change, and love.

when i was eighteen years old, i remember bawling my eyes out in a friend’s arms. she calmly stroked my hair, as she said:

“all this pain is going to be worth something beautiful some day”

… and as i cried, and cried, and shook my head, she whispered:

“you’re so brave”.

i remember that like it was yesterday.

and when i spent all those years, peeling myself from between my sheets, to carry on this bullshit life i didn’t give two fucks about… when i constantly cursed my alarm clock from ripping me from sleep, i would sit up, swing my legs over the side of my bed, and whisper to myself, “all this pain is going to be worth something beautiful some day”. i would drag my feet to the washroom, awkwardly look myself in the mirror, and say, “you’re so brave”.

and i was.

and i know i don’t give myself enough credit for that.

but for the first time in years… something inside of me has changed. i don’t cry myself to sleep, and i don’t get angry when i wake up. i don’t resent my failed relationships, or point the finger. i don’t envy anyone’s life but my own. because things have started to change, and i have started to gain confidence, and strength- things that have been lost over the years, two things that had continued to evade me in the months after leaving dan, and attempting to date brad. the more i gave in, and the more i settled for a potential future that would have made me miserable… the harder it became to see clearly.

all i wanted was a little clarity.

and i feel like each decision i’ve made finally makes sense.

loving m, and leaving him too. taking him back, and hiding from him. surviving the abuse, and healing from it. quitting jobs, accepting new positions. moving into new apartments, leaving hastily. dating close friends i wanted so badly to love- to build a future with, leaving them- or accepting that they wanted to leave me. making friends, severing ties… all this incredible pressure i put on myself to finally get things right, and to stop fucking up.

and when i stopped searching for answers, and i stopped looking for love, and i quit forcing myself to figure out my life… things started happening.

life happened.

an important job working for a french canadien not for profit organization, liaising with the french public schoolboard.

a half decent one bedroom apartment, located in my favourite part of the city i put a whole lot love and elbow grease into making it home feel like home- the first (safe) home i’ve had since moving out of my parents’ house in the suburbs when i was still in high school.

an incredible circle of friends who has (and continues to) love, and support me.. and be the backbone to the life i’m trying desperately to rebuild.

…and while i anticipate the next year being a whirlwind of chaos- a complete mix of desparation, positivity and change… i can finally say i remember exactly what this kind of blissful happiness feels like.

and it feels better than i could have ever anticipated.

my backwards walk

i don’t want be a bad woman
and i can’t stand to see you be a bad man. 
i will miss your heart so tender
and I will love this love forever.
– cat power

when i left m for the last time, i had this song on repeat for hours, and days, and months.

…it was my anthem. my reason. the only explanation i could justify in finally separating myself from the only life i knew. everything he touched turned to shit. he made me a bad woman by proxy. by the end of the four (worst) years (of my life), i didn’t recognize myself anymore. my family could barely speak to me, and i had severed ties with so many friends only so i could keep my secrets to myself. so i wouldn’t have to explain the bruises, or the holes in the wall, or the destroyed belongings, or why i felt like drinking every single fucking day. it wasn’t only to numb the pain, or to forget. i drank because when i was drunk, i felt alive- something i hadn’t felt in years. it was superficial, of course… but i felt it none the less. i was social, and i laughed, and i would dance, and i made friends, and broke hearts, and i would exude confidence that had been shattered by m.

when i met him, i thought i had fallen in love with my future husband. the man who was going to father my children, and make me breakfast in bed on mother’s day, and spend time with my family, and take care of me when i was ill. i thought our story would stand out, not because of its horror, but because of its beauty. its simplicity. i thought it would stand out because it was special. and it was- at first. it was all of those things, and so much more than i could possibly explain.

i was barely sixteen years old when i saw his darkeyes, and cotton candy pink lips for the first time. he was waiting for a bus, and our eyes locked for a few seconds, and i felt the wind get knocked out of my lungs. this man (so young then) was so quiet- leaning against a wall, smoking cigarettes, his entire body covered in tattoos. my heart stopped, and my palms got sweaty, and i had made up my mind- right then and there- that i was going to have this man. it was a feeling so fierce, i could barely shake it.

our paths didn’t cross for another five months.

and it was the end of my life as i knew it.

had i known then, what i knew now- i’d have trusted my gut.

… but i’m a heart girl, through and through, and although it’s been wrong (time and time again), i followed this coffee-haired, black-eyed, beautiful (so goddamn beautiful) stranger. we followed each other at a party- watching each other from the corner of our eyes, touching hands when we spoke, whispering into each others ears over the music. he had a mohawk, and i could taste the vodka on his tongue when we kissed that night.

that’s how i like to remember him, unfortunately. pure, and young, and gentle. the way he would hold my hand, or touch my lower back when we spoke, or the way he would kiss me- all day, every day. the first time he’d see me, and between sentences, before leaving. he’d kiss my mouth, and my forehead, and my hands, and my eyes. he’d kiss me just to kiss me. his voice, so sweet and so low- almost a whisper. and we made love, believe it or not. he would light dozens of candles in the basement, and we’d kiss every inch of each others’ body. we’d touch and take our time, and really love each other. he’s the only person i’ve ever done that with, actually. he’d drive me home, late at night… holding hands, and kissing at stop lights. he would run my baths, and make me breakfast in bed all the time. he would wash my hair in the shower, and take pictures of me all the time. he’d leave love notes by the bed, and he’d draw me pictures, and write me letters. he’d buy me cards- just because. he would tell me he loved me every single day. we’d lay on the beach in silence, for hours. we’d take walks, and shower together every morning.

he loved me…

a lot. he loved me harder, and stronger, and better than any man has ever loved me in my life. without question, or condition, or doubt. he lived for me- he told me every day that he lived for me. it’s difficult to be loved like that, so young in your life. to be sixteen years old and feel like i knew what the next fifty years of my life would look like- that i’d be this lucky in love for the rest of my life… and then have it ripped from me.

he changed over night.

i look back now… i dig deep for signs, or red flags. and i just can’t find them anywhere. i look back on the first year of our relationship, and i am shattered by confusion. this man- this young, incredible man who loved me, and cared for me, and took care of me every single day… he woke up one morning hating me. hating our life. hating the simplicity of our love and companionship. he woke up fiending for drugs, and wanting to fuck strangers, and taking out his aggressions on me- the only woman who loved him the way i loved him. and that struck me harder than his fist ever did- the way his heart loved me still, but his actions didn’t. the things he would say to me… i can’t even wrap my head around it sometimes.

just the thought of our bed
makes me crumble like the plaster
where you punched the wall beside my head
– ani difranco

i stayed for three years longer than i should have.

out of fear, out of survival, out of naivety and guilt. and when i finally left, i never mourned the loss. i celebrated the victory. after a few weeks of drinking myself to sleep, forgetting to eat and shower, and not even stepping foot outside of my own bed… after weeks of anguish and fear, i finally celebrated. i celebrated for days, and then weeks, and months, and years. i spent so much time being angry, that i forgot to be sad. i spent so many years celebrating the funeral of a monster, of the demon that was our poisonous relationship… that i forgot to feel pain and sadness over the loss of the year i’d spent with the m who loved me. i forgot to mourn the loss of my first love. the loss of the baby we almost had together. the loss of the life we’d started to build. the loss of my dignity, and self-respect, and confidence- things i am still working on, years later… trying desperately to rebuild.

i don’t know why it’s surfacing now- why all this pain has boiled over, and why i feel disconnected again. i don’t know why i feel the need to mourn now that i am finally safe, and happy, and healthy- trying to put my pieces back together after being derailed. but it’s happening and i can’t control it anymore. i can’t help but feel angry that my first love was lost, and that i’ll never have anything good to say about him. i can’t help resenting him. i can’t help resenting myself and the decisions i made not to have our baby, or build my own life with that child- safe from her father and his demons. and don’t get me wrong- i’m happy with every choice i’ve ever made when it comes to m… i didn’t have the tools then to understand what abuse was, or how to escape it. all i knew was that i needed to save myself, and it’s only when i was finally ready to be without him that i gathered the courage to stand up to him, and walk away forever.

and it makes me sick, you know… to feel sad over this. to miss (the beginning of) that love.

but now that the shock has worn off, and the anger has subsided… i’m left with this incredible sadness, and self-pity. i’m overwhelmed by anxiety and confusion. and i never want this space to be censored. i hope writing about m won’t ever stop feeling cathartic… but there are some stories i’ve burried so deep inside of me- certains things i’ve never had the courage to share, or the words to even describe things that happened- and i need now (more than ever) to purge those stories from inside of me. to rid them from my bones, and shove them in a metaphorical bag, and then set that bag on fire. i need to share my truths with a professional, so i can get some closure, finally.

real closure- not the kind where i tell everyone i’m okay, and i belittle him as a human being, and share his indecensies… i mean real closure, and healing, and finally closing a book that has been open for seven goddamn years. and i realise that a lot of my behaviours in life (and love) stem from surviving abuse- but i can’t let those behaviours define my relationships any longer. i can’t let my secrets dictate my happiness, or my future.

i just forget what that kind of blissful happiness feels like. i feel like i got the private screening to the unatural, disturbing ways of the human race, and i’m rattled. i’ve seen too much, and i’ve felt too much, and i know too fucking much about what it feels like to be torn apart at the hands of a bad man. and that makes me incredibly, and unforgivingly sad…

and i want to fix that.

poke out my iris; why can’t i cry about this?

i’ve been at battle with personal demons.

sometimes i feel like the feelings in my heart, and the voices in my head are at constant battle with me. like they are the popular girls at some big, private school in the suburbs, and they hate my loafers and over-grown bangs. they bully me because i’m too short, and my eyes are sad, and my hair is too dark. and i’ve forgotten how to cry.

sometimes i feel so hurt… and all i can do is sit on the edge of my bed waiting for these emotions to take over me- i’m waiting for tears to well up in my eyes, or for my lip to start quivering, but all i even know how to do anymore is sit- back hunched over, pouting like a child, and angry (so fucking angry) that i have to wait for something other than this dull ache in the middle of my chest to make me feel real again.

this feeling is not in my gut, like when you’re sad and you want to throw up and crawl under your blankets. and not in my throat, like when you’re on the verge of tears, and you have your mother’s phone number on speed dial because you know you can always call the woman who gave you birth and know she’ll sit on the other end and listen to your breathing, and let the sound of your tears falling onto the receiver take over, because sometimes you just need to fucking call your mom and cry, and cry, and cry. and she lets you. she lets you like no one else lets you. and that’s important.

but sometimes there’s this ache in the middle of your chest. and it hurts when you breathe, and it hurts when you realize you’re still breathing, and it hurts even when it’s not hurting. and how do you call your mother and tell her that your life is falling into place, finally… but the only thing you can do is lay on your back, over your covers (your favourite covers) and stare at the dumb popcorn ceiling you hate, and you narrow your eyes on that little speckle of olive green paint you carelessly (accidentally) got on your stupid ceiling when you were painting one sunday afternoon- drunk off four cans of PBR, and shaking your butt in your yoga pants to some of your favourite new order song.

fuck, that seems like forever ago.

how do you tell your mother everything on the outside is beautiful, but everything inside of you feels like a thick black sludge, and you’re drowning in the quicksand of your own sorrow?

i hadn’t felt loved (really loved) in so long. but when he’d spin my favourite records (just for me), or spend hours making up incredible recipes (just for me), or i’d come home to the smell of bleach and lemons, because he’d spent his only day off on his hands and knees, scrubbing the tub and cleaning the kitchen floors (just for me- and also, totally for himself)… those little things made me feel so important. like he had a zillion choices he could make in a day, and every single one he made, he made to see me smile. because he knew, in the bottom of his heart, that the woman he loved was the saddest girl on the planet.

and he was right, you know.

i am horribly selfish, and painfully lost, and i can’t shake this sadness from my insides.

sometimes i place my palm on my chest just to feel the boom-boom of my own heartbeat to remind myself that i really am here, and this really is my reality, and i better buck up and make the best of it, because i really don’t have many other options at this point.

i feel so guilty. i am so blessed, and so lucky, and i worry that my mother will start to read between the lines, and she’ll see a sadness and a darkness, and she’ll feel the pain i’m living every day, and she’ll blame herself. and i’d die. i would die if my mother ever felt like she’d failed me because of the chemical inbalance in my brain. like her hugs weren’t strong enough, or like the love inside of her wasn’t enough to keep me happy.

that would kill me.

because she has the best hugs of anyone i’ve ever met. her neck always smells the same, and her cheeks are rosy and soft- like peaches in the summer. and her hands… i’ve never loved anyone’s hands the way i love my mother’s hands- strong, and weathered, and perfectly manicured, and so fucking feminine. lined with expensive rings with big stones, and always fresh smelling- like coriander and olive oil. and she’s the most soft-spoken woman i’ve ever known.

sometimes i picture her with hair white like snow, and wrinkles beside her eyes, and i fall more in love with her than i ever thought i could. like she’s this perfect creature with a heart the size of texas, and the colour of a fire truck, and it’s almost as if she’s aging backwards. like her hair is getting blonder, and her smile is getting more genuine with every birthday candle i add onto the cakes i bake her from scratch. and all i can think about is how i hope i can be that beautiful someday- carelessly, and without even trying. innocent, and light.

i’m a dweller.

i dwell on things.

i resent people. i hold grudges. i relive painful memories. fool me once, shame on me… fool me twice, i’ll fucking kill you.

maybe it’s a pride thing. maybe i enjoy the feeling of having the upper hand. maybe i like to fucking win, and i’m so sick of hurting, that i’ll do anything in my power to avoid conflict, or painful situations, or loss. i have too much love inside of me, and i get angry when it has nowhere to go. i build walls, and retract, and every new fucking day, is another 24 hours of self preservation.

people tried to help me for years, and i whole-heartedly refused every single gracious offer because i had too much damn pride to seek help for the sadness in my heart. i never got the help i needed when i was desperate, or scared, or alone. i never told anyone when my life was at risk, or the darkness got too heavy, and i certainly never told anyone about what happened. about everything that happened. i burried all of those nightmares and memories into this tiny little ventricle in the red of my heart, and i tried (for years, now) to forget. but sometimes i lay alone in my bedroom at night, and that little drawer is so close to bursting at the seams and i suffocate. i’m paralyzed by these memories (that don’t always feel like my own). and while a big part of me wants to cradle my frail little limbs, and whisper in my own ear and assure myself that i’ll be okay, the other part of me wants to shake me by the shoulders, slap me across the hardest part of my cheek, and tell myself to fucking get over it. to fucking stand tall, and be alert, and always be strong.

be the kind of woman other women envy, for fuck’s sake.

eat well, and play hard, and kiss with your eyes closed, and play. wear lipstick, and go dancing, and buy shoes you can’t really walk in, and excel at your job. laugh, always. smile constantly. be friendly, and make strangers fall in love with you. be charming, stay humble, be gentle. give without the expectation of getting anything in return. show some cleavage. read books, be interesting, cook for your man. take bubble baths, and paint your toe nails to match your finger nails, and shave your legs. listen to music that makes you shake your ass, and shake that ass. be proud of your body. be proud of its imperfections, and its dimples, and tell yourself you’re beautiful. because you are.

you are so fucking beautiful.

genetics made it so my hips are big, my eyes are brown, and my brain is scrambled.

but that other stuff? the things i can control, and the things i can alter and change and do to make this darkness less heavy? those are things i need to do for myself. those are the things i need to focus on to make me feel good, as a person, and as a woman, and as a timid, sad little girl stuck inside this explosive firecracker of a human being.

so set out to do the same… because i sure as hell can’t do this alone.