Bye Felecia…I mean Facebook

I signed off of Facebook this week…for good.  I’ve taken breaks before only to hear the siren call of grandkids’ pictures, recipes, decorating tips and updates on old high school friends that have me running back to that little blue square on my phone.  Once I’ve clicked it I’m hooked and before I know it I’m clicking Like and commenting on cat videos.

Okay…maybe not the last one but you get the idea.

For about a year now I’ve noticed an alarming trend among my “friends” of which I’ve been turning a blind eye.  Comments and stories shared and reactions to media have become more and more vicious and ugly.  It’s not that I don’t agree with their views, because sometimes I actually do agree with their opinion, it’s the vitriol with which they choose to share it.

For example, the other day, when the FBI decided not to pursue prosecution of Hillary, my friend posted this, “Hillary is a cunt.”

Wait…you kiss your grandchildren with that mouth?

And before you all say anything I am fully aware that on this blog I am a big, fat potty mouth; but, and this is a big but, my grandchildren do not read this blog and even if they did, they would not know it was me.  And this was just a taste of what I’ve read over that last year or so.  People who I thought held an open mind about things have been gay bashing, racial profiling, unfriending each other and glorifying others and I’m left with one thought…

What.  The.  Fuck.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like Hillary Clinton any more than I liked her misogynistic husband.  Her ambition frightens me and I’m very disappointed that when my gender finally gets a shot at the Oval, it’s her.  But I am not going to reduce my debates to Trump like name calling (I don’t like him either – I will be writing in Condoleezza Rice this fall – not even kidding about that) preferring instead to simply discuss the reason why I do not think she’ll be a good president.  You know…discuss the issues – her views on healthcare and the budget.  The fact that she used a personal server to send confidential, government correspondence.  The fact that her plans for the economy are going to tax the living hell out of me and, once again, they’ll be more pork in that legislation than in all of the Mid-West of the U.S.

Issues people.

Then my other friend, who never said a PEEP about Orlando or Philandro chooses instead to post a highly one sided article about the police shooting in Dallas and comment, “This shit has got to stop.”  Ya think?  It needs to stop for everyone!  Not just the ones with which you side.  Shootings and anger and hate and rage have got to stop for EVERYONE.  Why do people believe they can reduce an issue as complicated and divisive as what’s going on with the police and African Americans (not just males…it’s happens to women too) to a tiny little paragraph chock full of anger, resentment and ugliness?  Tell me…what in the WORLD is that going to do?  If you’re angry, no matter what your views, CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN, MEET WITH YOUR LOCAL POLICE, MEET WITH YOUR DISTRICT ATTORNEY…DO something!  We all have opinions on these matters and Facebook CAN be a place in which to vent and/or debate but hate is hate is hate is hate no matter which app it hides behind.  It’s ugly.  It’s damaging.  It serves no purpose.

Some people have asked me to reconsider and just unfriend those who offend but for me, it’s not enough.  It’s almost gotten to the point that after I scroll through my feed (over which, thanks to Mr. Zuckerberg I no longer have any control) I feel like I need a shower.  People have every right to say whatever they want on their Facebook feed and, like the old saying goes, I’ll defend to the death their right to say it – but I don’t have to read it.  I don’t have to get my heart broken.  I don’t have to walk away from my computer even more depressed and disillusioned that I was before I sat down.

So I’m finished.  What’s scary is how much I miss it and how often I pick up my phone and look for the little blue app with the big F on it but my son, who signed off a couple of years ago, says that will go away after awhile.  I still have Instagram to get pics of the grands and I’m trying to learn Snapchat (that sentence alone makes me feel OLD) so I’ll get my fix of social media but for now I’m going old school.  I’ll use my phone for what phones should be used for…

…watching porn. 😉

Namaste

 

 

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Staying Home

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In April we decided that we should put our house on the market since housing prices in my area were rising and maybe, JUST MAYBE, after nine long years we were right side up in our mortgage. We started working on all the things that needed to be done but that we just couldn’t seem to ever find time to do. Cleaning and decluttering things like closets and laundry rooms. Finally cleaning out the garage. Painting the upstairs bedrooms and hall bathroom. Finishing the pergola and deck out back. When we held our open house in early May our home sparkled like when it was new and had those touches that a well-cared for and well-loved home has.

That’s when the doubts began creeping in.

I know this happens a lot. When you put your house on the market you do all the things you always wanted to do to the house and then when it’s all finally complete – you fall in love with your house all over again. Still I was convinced we needed to downsize and get a new house. I looked and looked and saw some amazing homes but I failed to fall in love. I honestly could not find anything on the market that I loved more than the home we already had. Add to that the fact that because everyone and their brother decided to sell at the same time and you have an answer to the question, “Why didn’t we get any offers?” Lots of showings. Lots of great feedback. No offers. We were priced right…I keep a close eye on that, but no offers. Hmmm…why? But I knew why. I knew the real answer. The real answer was that we weren’t supposed to move. The universe wasn’t ready for us to leave this house.

That’s not as creepy as it sounds. It’s not an Amityville thing…it’s a spiritual thing. About 20 years ago the hubs and I decided to put our house (a different house) on the market and look for a bigger home. We had four little boys and my mom had just moved in with us and we were cramped. All I could think was that if we were cramped now when they were all little munchkins, what in the world was it going to be like when they were all six feet tall with size 12 feet? So we put the house on the market, found another house and put a contingent contract on it and…

…crickets.

Not only did we not get an offer, we didn’t even get a showing! After 90 days we cancelled the other contract, took the house off the market and called it a day. Five years later we found my dream home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that I HAD to have. We put a contract on that house (non-contingent…what?) and put ours on the market.

It sold in 48 hours. No open house. Showings while we were home. Multiple offers. It was crazy.

And it was meant to be.

So while I was having my doubts I kept thinking that maybe God or the Universe or whatever didn’t want us to move. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. As per usual during my morning prayers in the shower I asked God to send me a sign.

That Saturday my husband went upstairs to take a shower and I went to run errands. Two hours later I came home and went into the garage…where it was raining. Yes, it was raining IN my garage. After about 20 seconds of investigation we discovered that the hubs left the water running in the sink (with the stopper in) and didn’t know it. My bedroom carpet was a swimming pool. We immediately began moving furniture and pulling up carpet and padding. It was all sopping wet. We got fans going on the sub floor and removed the dry wall and insulation from the garage ceiling. Then I made two phone calls. One to the insurance company (thank God it was covered) and one to the realtor putting everything on hold.

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At first I was distraught…how in the world would I get this fixed so we could get the house sold? Then I thought…hmmm…I’m getting new carpet. I’ll take that as a sign!

Just like that a weight came off my shoulders and a peace came over me (selling your house is stressful!) The hubs and I decided to stay and I couldn’t be happier. This may not be the house I would have picked out when we moved to this area (the hubs and the kids picked it out) and there may be things I’d still like to improve about it (new appliances and countertops) but there’s one thing it is that no other house out there is…

…it’s home.

Namaste

Coming Home…For Free

Okay I’ve been away long enough.  I feel like writing again.  I haven’t a clue what I’m going to say or how often but I know I need to write.  Here’s what I do know…managing and paying and updating my own site is a giant pain in the ass (for me anyway).  I much prefer the site that does it all for me FOR FREE.  I’ll post it with the little “.wordpress.com” suffix if it means that everything is updated and pretty and I don’t have to do shit.

Now that’s my kind of writing.

Plus I’m fickle.  I like to change colors and fonts and pictures and doing that on my old paid site was just too much effort.  I’m a point and click kind of girl not a coding, html, website kind of girl.  Simple, you know?

So here I am.  I don’t know who will be out here to read or even care but my writing was never about that anyway.  It’s always just been about clearing my mind and sorting through issues.  The fact that I made some lifelong amazing friends along the way is just a really, REALLY awesome perk.  I hope I get back to that point but even if I don’t I NEED to process here.

Let’s see where this goes.  It’s good to be home.

Namaste

Little Sherry

little me

This is my favorite picture of myself of all time.  Even as a child I loved it. I loved the smile and the happiness the picture conveyed.  It still makes me happy.

One of the suggestions from the therapist to help me deal with, well, everything we’ve tackled thus far, has been to nurture or parent “Little Sherry”.  To bring to mind myself as a child and speak to her in the way and manner that I would speak to my own children.  I’m not sure why this has not only proven to be effective but has also been successful in touching my heart which, as long time readers know, is not an easy thing to do.

It’s allowed me to begin to love and forgive myself without looking in the mirror and saying, “I love you Sherry.  You are kind and beautiful and gosh darn it, you deserve it,”  (That’s a very old Saturday Night Live bit…sorry.) which feels disingenuous and downright silly to me.  I’ve been able to embrace this exercise I guess because I’m dealing with a child and not a fully grown adult who shouldn’t need this kind of care (in my screwed up head anyway).   The only word that comes to mind for me is profound.

When I began, Little Sherry always came to me with her head bowed and her hands over her face in shame.  I didn’t fight it.  I pictured us, side by side on the porch steps of a beach cottage, staring out at the ocean early in the morning.  No words were exchanged.  We just sat, together, watching the waves.  Eventually she would drop her hands to her lap and occasionally let me hold her little hand.

Now and then I’m able to offer kind words like, “It’s okay.  You’re a wonderful little girl and you deserve all the kindness and love the world has to give.”  I’m not sure how much I believe it yet but I think I might be getting through to her.  Hopefully I’m not too far behind.

On thing is certain, every time we sit together I cry.  Not boo-hoo with snot and an ugly face, but tears in my eyes that sometimes slide down my cheeks.  There’s just a deep sense of sadness that overwhelms me.  In fact, it feels exactly the same as when my children are in pain from one of life’s bumps and I can no longer fix it with a Buzz Lightyear Band-Aid and a kiss.  I have to just be there for them, guide the a little, and hope the scars don’t run too deep.  Life on life’s terms.

She still won’t look me in the eye and I haven’t been able to hold her yet but I think we’re getting there.  Sometimes I think I’ve lost my fucking mind imagining all of this…until I sit down to do it or it just comes over me.  Then I know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

Namaste

There Are No Coincidences

Sometimes things just come together and leave you scratching your head and thinking, “Well fuck me naked!  That could never happen again in a million years!”

That happened to me this weekend.

As you are well aware, I’m trying to get my shit together this year in some old (nutrition and exercise) and new (therapy) ways.  That means there’s a lot of work to do in the inside as well as the outside.  In fact, the longer I’m into this navel gazing, the more I realize that if I don’t get the inside right the outside will never be right no matter what it looks like.

I know I know…DUH.

Anyway, I was getting ready to take the dogs on a long walk Sunday so I decided to find a podcast to listen to during our journey.  I wanted one by Brene’ Brown but it turns out Brene’ doesn’t do her own podcasts.  However, while looking I found this woman Koren Motekaitis who does a regular podcast called “How She Really Does It”.  I scrolled down the hundreds of recordings until my eyes landed on one that said “Weight Loss After Menopause”.  Well, well, well I thought…this is right up my alley.

I had no idea.

I swear to you this woman being interviewed could have been me.  Seems that Koren is a life coach who conducts a “circle” on weight loss from time to time (www.howshereallydoesit.com ) and this woman she was interviewing was part of one of her former circles.  Everything that came out of that woman’s mouth felt like my words.  From her struggles with typical “diets” (they don’t work) to her conclusion that she had to get in touch with why she ate her emotions (therapy) to her preferred form of movement (walking).  It was really kind of spooky.

As I listened to her discuss how she took off 30 pounds I realized that my gut has been right all along (pun intended).  If I can learn to listen to what my body wants and needs I can work toward recognizing and then making peace with the emotions and feelings that send me to the pantry in search of salt or sugar, and then maybe I can find my body’s natural weight and perhaps, along the way, make peace with food.

Huge run on sentence and even huge-er goal.

Of course all of the above assumes that I can cut through all the crap I tell myself on a regular basis and create a kinder and more compassionate dialog with myself.

That’s where the second half of my day kicks in…

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m doing Brene’ Brown’s e-course that accompanies her book, “The Gifts of Imperfection” (www.oprah.com/brenebrowncourse).  I’m on week three of six and its been extraordinary thus far.  This week did not disappoint.  I don’t want to give anything away in case you’re thinking of going through the course but suffice to say my biggest takeaway from week three was this…

“I will talk to myself the same way I talk to the people I love.” ~Brene’ Brown

Just another version of what one of my good friends once said to me when I was using my patented self-deprecating humor.

“Never say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to your best friend.” ~Sherry’s Friend Patricia

Hear that?

That’s the sound of the brick God threw landing upside my head.

“There are no coincidences.  Only Divine bricks chucked from above.” ~Sherry

Hear that?  No?

That’s the sound of quiet determination.

Namaste

Namaste

I’ve always signed my posts with the word Namaste.  I don’t do it because its trendy.  I don’t do it because I want to be seen as some kind of fake-ass guru who babbles Sanskrit to make herself appear to be “enlightened”.  I don’t use the term lightly either.  I use it because of what it means.

Simply put, Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture of placing your palms together at your heart (or your forehead and then your heart) is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another.  Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means “bow me you” or “I bow to you.”

When I began blogging I wanted to end my post with something that would be memorable and give a hint as to who I am (or who I was) and so as a practioner of yoga and meditation, I choose what I believed to be an appropriate word…Namaste.  But the longer I blogged and discovered recovery through this beautiful community the more the meaning of this signature evolved.  Now when I sign off a post, the word Namaste encompass everything I believe to be true about not only recovery from alcoholism but the human race and just being alive on the planet.  In fact, several times I’ve believed that a post was finished only to sign that word at the end and realize…hmmm…nope – needs more work.

For me in this blog, signing my posts this way says “I get you”, I’m in this with you, we’re here together.  My path to sobriety may be different than yours but whether you went through rehab, attend AA, blog, lurk or are still struggling, I see your soul and I want you to see mine.  In fact, since my soul quite literally often ends up on this page, I get you if you’re struggling with ANYTHING – drugs, children, weight loss/fitness goals – anything. So if I don’t believe what I’ve said is authentic and honest, I go back and edit out the bullshit until it is.  Otherwise, I can’t sign it.

The Buddhists believe that the human condition is one of suffering and that our purpose is to seek to relieve that suffering in not only ourselves but in others.  What a perfect definition of this blogging community.  A group of individuals reading, writing and pontificating on what it means to move into the light.  What it means to fight for what we want…peace.

In the movie “Avatar”, when those big, beautiful blue people wanted to express this sentiment they said, “I see you” which meant I see who you are in your soul.  We are one with each other and all things.  We are the same, no better and no worse than anyone else.  We are all living, breathing, suffering and joyous examples of God’s love (or the Universe or the Mother or whatever you choose to believe).  Our purpose is to be kind and compassionate and caring.

This is my wish for all of us. So, from me to you…

Namaste

I “see” you.

54 at 54 Weekly Update

Went to the doctor today to consult for an endoscopy I have to have done next week (yet another one of the wonderful benefits of drinking….acid reflux and heartburn enough to alarm the primary care doctor) and, of course, they weighed me.

Son of a bitch if I’m not down by 6 pounds!!!!!

That might not seem like a lot if you’re under 40 but anyone who’s over 40 or has been through menopause knows how hard it is to take off any weight when your metabolism has slowed to a snail’s pace.  Not only that but my blood pressure was lower than it’s been in years!!!  110/60!!!!

Wow!  This healthy lifestyle shit must work!  Who knew?

I did.  I just had to get out of my own way long enough to begin the journey.

Quiet determination.

So…last week.  Well, I ate some crap I shouldn’t have (damn chocolate and kettle cooked potato chips – not together mind you) but I didn’t lose my mind AND I got up every morning (so freaking EARLY) and worked out so you know…it’s all good.  Plus, Downton Abbey is really a great show and there are lots of seasons!!!  Yay!

Here are this week’s stats…

80,542 steps and 33.64 miles for the week which equates to an average of 11,506 steps per day and 4.81 miles.

I’ve also made a few changes to the overall plan.

I take one day a week off from exercise.

I don’t track my calories on the weekends (I don’t lose my mind but I don’t track.)

I have one treat day.  Usually Fridays but this week my husband’s birthday is Saturday so that will be my treat day.  Again, nothing crazy but if I have a small piece of cake I’m not going to spend the rest of the weekend beating myself up.

Quiet determination.

Namaste

 

542 33.64 11,506 4.81

 

Java Talk

This is an awesome post by an even more awesome guy who I am so excited is back in the blogosphere. Give it a read…it’ll make you think.

Good2begone

All I wanted was a jolt of ground bean goodness…..what I got was jousted by corporate campaign to barista my way into an open conversation about topical events.

“Welcome to Starbucks…how may I help you.”

She asked with way too much enthusiasm.

“Ummm….yeah…let me get a café Americana….black….with soy milk on the side…and a brownie.”

She repeated back my order and asked my name.

I smiled and replied-

“Bingo Medley.”

Her sharpie marker stopped just short of the Styrofoam cup. She looked up at me through the piercing in her eyebrow and said-

“Bingo….what?”

“Bingo….Bingo Medley…..its my porn name……” I replied with a smile.

She wrote it on the cup and said it would be ready shortly.

While I waited, I wandered around, and checked out the items on display shelf and pondered….

“I wonder…..would Chai Tea be proper to drink before…..or after a session of Thai Chi…..Or would the…

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Gratitude vs. Grieving

I’ve mentioned several times on this blog that I’m kind of a Polly-Anna when it comes to life.  I can always find a bright side.  I don’t panic even in stressful situations.  I greet everyone with a smile and my first priority in life is to always be kind.  To say that I’m an optimist is a gross understatement.

I’m the one you want to punch in the throat 90% of the time.

I’ve been reading several new blogs recently written by newly sober people (mostly women).  As you would expect in early sober folk, some of these souls are struggling.  In writing my post yesterday and reading these blogs I started thinking, what was the magic potion the last time that got me over the hump.  What made it different that final time?

What made it different was that very same quality that makes people want to stuff a sock in my face.  That quality that helped me get through a rough childhood and still turn out okay.  The quality that keeps a smile on my face long after others have left screaming from the room.  It’s the ability to always see the good, to always stay in the light.

I’m not sure how it started (I have a theory – about Buddhism and enlightenment – but that’s another post entirely) but I know that it comes from a place of gratitude.  So when I quit drinking that last time I decided (and yes, it was a conscious decision) to focus on what sobriety gave me rather than what it took away.

That single decision made all the difference.

You see, the other times I quit I threw a pity party and poor me’d all the hell over the place.

“Poor me I’ll never have fun again.”

“Poor me what will I do without WINE?”

“Poor me what will I do for friends?  No one will want me around.”

That final time I decided to look at what I was gaining by staying sober.  Better sleep, a better relationship with my family, no more hangovers, no more self-hatred, etc.  I also took the time to figure out better ways to do things and reward myself.  So when that first warm spring day arrived and I wanted nothing more than a cold chardonnay on my back porch (a HUGE trigger for me), I found a sparkling water I like and concentrated on the moment.  How the sun felt on my sober face…how the bubbles tickled my sober nose…how the cold, thirst quenching water felt on my parched but sober throat…the coolness of the drink in my not sick tummy.  How clear my head was after an hour or so rather than the beginning strains of more, more, more which was how it used to be.

All I can say is that by focusing on gratitude rather than grief, I was able to get over that hump I wrote about yesterday and find my way to sober and later, recovery.  Don’t get me wrong, it was HARD as hell in the beginning but it was a lot easier than previous attempts when I focused only on what I couldn’t have rather than what I could.

That’s why gratitude lists and journals work so well for so many people.  They provide a way to focus on the positive for those who don’t naturally go there.  They force us to dig (sometimes VERY deep) to find something good about the day, hour or sometimes even minute.  They also give us something to look back on when, no matter how deep we dig, we can’t seem to find one motherfucking thing good about being sober.

And we all have those days.

I love new journals – I don’t actually write in any of them for some reason but I have a lot of them just lying around because (even though I don’t write in them) I can’t bear to throw them away.  I also love new markers and pens so I have a whole drawer full of those as well.  In the early days of my sobriety, when I was hanging on by my beautifully polished acrylic fingernails, I would pick up one or two of these journals, get a pretty, fancy or colorful pen and just jot stuff down.  There was only one rule – it had to be positive, uplifting or productive.  No bitching, moaning, crying or whining allowed.

So I made gratitude lists, I wrote down quotes that helped me get through the day, I wrote down books I wanted to read that would help me stay sober, I wrote down my goals, presents I wanted to buy myself, dreams I had for a sober future – anything that would help me focus on the good things sobriety was bringing me.

I’m just saying that focusing on gratitude and not staying stuck in the grieving process too long is what saved me.  I hope it helps you if you’re struggling.

Namaste

Deja Vu All Over Again

What’s that feeling you get when you’re doing something hard and you want to give up but you know you shouldn’t but you also know that if you do it will be such a relief not to have to think about what you’re doing anymore?  (Follow all that?)

Well whatever it is – I got a bad case of it.

This happens to me every damn time I start something life changing and it gets hard.  It’s the precursor to relapse.  It’s the thing that bites me on the ass just as I’m about to make some real progress.  It goes something like this…

Me:  “OMG I just can’t do this anymore!  It’s too hard!  It’s not worth all of this work and effort.  I don’t have to do this.  I mean really, I’m FINE!  No problems here a little time away won’t cure.  No one will know if I give up.  It’s all up to me anyway.  I’m strong enough without having to go through all of this.”

Blah, blah, fucking blah.

It did it the 4,327 times I quit smoking.  Then one day I pushed through this phase (again and again) until I was over the hump and could see my way clear to a life without cigarettes.

I did it the three times I quit drinking (I mean seriously tried to quit).  Then one day I pushed through (with lots of tears and tantrums) until I was over the hump and could see my life as a sober person.

I do it EVERY DAMN TIME I start a “diet” or “fitness program” and I start moaning about how I’m depriving myself and what a good person I am and look at everything I do and so I deserve those 12 cookies in the pantry.  Yeah…how’s THAT working for ya?  At least now I think I’ve finally come to a healthier way of thinking because I’m not on any diet or prescribed fitness program – I’m just eating less and moving more.  Revolutionary I know but that’s how I roll.

Now I find myself in that same place about therapy.  I see “Joe” about every two weeks and every fucking time, about 2 days prior to the appointment, I get a case of whatever the heck this is.

Head:  “I don’t really need therapy.  I’ve very self-aware.  I’m wasting time and money on this.”

Heart:  “Really?  Is that why every time you tackle a difficult subject you go home and eat your weight in chocolate?”

Head:  “Shut up and go back to keeping me alive.  What do you know about it?  I’ve got gobs of books on the subject and I’ve tackled my addictions in one form or another so there’s nothing left to do.  I have a husband with whom I share everything and lots of people who love me.”

Heart:  “Is that so?  Then why does it still feel like work for you to avoid eating emotionally?  Why do you have a tendency to do things addictively?  Why do you have these manic phases in your life (however mild)?  And why in the world do you still clench your jaw so hard at night that your teeth actually hurt in the morning?”

Head:  “Well…um…”

Heart:  “And what about these two words….empty nesting?”

Head:  “Wait right there!  That’s hitting a little below the belt don’t you think?  I mean, what mother hasn’t grappled with empty nesting?  It’s hard!”

Heart:  “Okay – forget that for a moment.  Do me a favor.  Go get a recent picture of yourself.  How about the headshot you just had done for work by a professional.  When you look at that picture, what is the first thing that comes to mind?  Is it a nice comment?  Do you like her yet?  And how do you feel about where your career is right now?”

Head:  *crickets*

Heart:  “Go to the appointment.”

Head:  “Okay…”

I realize it’s a natural tendency to shy away from things that are hard.  The vast majority of the time I just lower my bull-head and power through yelling, “When the going gets tough the tough get going!”  But when shit is gettin’ real like it is now and the work I’m doing is actually going to change who I am, well…

I guess I get scared.

And that’s when I want to back away.

The times I’ve given in and given up the immediate feeling of relief after making the decision is palpable.  I go and buy the cigarettes or wine or chocolate and commence the relapse.  But that feeling of relief soon sours and before I know it, I’m right back at the beginning – back at day one, square one, the starting gate.

Needless to say I’m not going to give up on this therapy thing.  Mainly because every other time I’ve felt this way and given in it left me feeling like shit.

And every other time I’ve felt this way and, eventually, succeeded it has changed my life in all kinds of amazing ways.

Well when I put it like that, it’s kind of no brainer don’t you think?

Namaste