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A little secret

People say to me all the time, “I always want to get a tattoo, but I can never decide on something, and it’s so permanent.”

I’m gonna let y’all in on a little secret. Who you are now is going to change. BUT who you are now is going to influence who you will become. And that is not insignificant.

Dear Diary

Is it healthy to not want to date? Like… is there something wrong with me, that I just don’t want a relationship? That I just want to be single? Not even like, polyamorous vs. monogamous, or even A-Sexual. Like… I just want to be single, and date other people who want to be single. Like never committed to another person. Just married to myself.

Is that a possible thing to want? To be alone? I feel like if you say that out-loud, people think there’s something wrong with you. Like you’re a freak of some kind that needs to be fixed. But what if discovering the want to be single is the most healing feeling I’ve ever felt for my broken heart? What if wanting to be single doesn’t mean I’m broken, it means I’m repairing, like a muscle, tearing, repairing, and re-building. Solidifying my sense of self.

Cause, “building” would mean I’m admitting to being incomplete, leaving myself open to the opinions of others, of how I should build. “Repairing” would mean I’m admitting to being torn and hurt. Which means I’m open and vulnerable, to the onslaught of others who are determined to have an influence and a say in my process. Nope! No vulnerable places here! No tender spots to be used to take me down. Keep taking your shots, I don’t even feel them!

Ok…. So I need to admit I’m hurting. Yes, it hurt me when I shared something vulnerable with you and you later used it to control me, or tear me down, or manipulate me, or tell me I was less than you. Yes it hurt when you encouraged me over and over to rely on you, then got mad at me when I leaned on you. I don’t know how to protect myself in the world of love. I just want to curl up in my safe space for a while, and lick my wounds.

That doesn’t mean I’m weak, or broken, or even beaten. It just means I wanna learn some things before I put myself at risk again. I don’t have enough information about how to keep myself safe in a relationship.

I think I used to believe that if I’m not in a relationship then I’m being punished by God or something. Because everyone was brought together by God by some miracle, and there’s something wrong with you if you’re not in a relationship. Also, holy shit, did they not scream that at us from over the pulpit? 

“YOU GET MARRIED RIGHT FUCKING NOW YOU SLACK OFFS! In MYYYYY day, we didn’t HAVE all these fancy gadgets and gizmos keeping us distracted from what’s REALLY important! You know what’s important don’t you? Nooo, noo, not “com-pat-i-bility.” Noooo we knew that what is TRUUUUELY important is……: POPPING OUT BABIES AS FAST AS YOU FUCKING CAN! DO YOU WANNA DIE A VIRGIN SOLDIER?! NO! SO YOU GET MARRIED, AND MAKE THAT GOD DAMN FUCKING ARMY OF HELIAMAN FOR YOUR GOD, OR SO HELP ME, I WILL SHAME YOU TILL THE DAY YOU DIE!”

I’m starting to wonder… what if whether or not dating you’re someone, says absolutely nothing about how put together you are as a person? Ya know?

Handmaid’s tale

I’m watching the Handmaid’s tale with my roommates. A dystopian warning that feels all too possible. As people are being shot on the TV for disobedience, I glance over at my roommate’s screen, and see a news story playing the laptop. The headline reads: “FBI WARNS OF ELECTION MISINFORMATION.”

I went on a date last night. 7/11 guy. Finally worked up the courage to face my fears and try something new. I was awkward as fuck. It’s unusual for me to be awkward… well… maybe not. I’m usually really forward, but I think that’s just me making up for being absolutely terrified. I can’t handle subtle flirtation. The anticipation is too much. So, apparently, if I’m not brazen, I’m just super fucking awkward.

I think this guy especially throws me off because everything about his interactions shout that he genuinely likes me. When I usually go for people who seem to say they could take me or leave me. Someone who’s actually interested in me… I don’t know, I guess I just never trusted it. This is something new.

Anyway, I dragged Kristen (my roommate) with me as moral support. Actually, she volunteered. Reluctantly. She’s a good friend.

We were watching Handmaid’s Tale and Conor came back from his nightly beer grab, and let us know it was Derrick’s last night. Last chance. I was a little wine drunk. Probably why I was able to write my number on a scrap of paper and scooch it across the counter at him around my Press and bag of chips (that I didn’t actually want.) Kristen was mid-sentence trying to explain how we knew it was his last night, but no one was listening to her.

Thank god for masks. Can’t see me blushing. Didn’t see him blushing either.

We went out for drinks last night. Like, actual drinks. At a restaurant and everything. I got a bourbon cocktail. Oh. My. God. I forgot how amazing a good glass of bourbon could be. Getting tipsy, flirting across the table, teasing the waiter. A taste of normalcy.

I’ve always been curious what it would be like to work at a gas station. I love gas stations. They’re so dependable. The rows of snacks, candy, groceries, and car things; the cold case along the wall; the cigarettes behind the counter; the sketchy bathrooms in the back; the measuring tape on the door so the cashier can report the height of the person who robbed them to the cops. No one will judge you in a gas station. No one cares in a gas station. Everyone ends up in a gas station at some point.

So I asked him for his best stories. He told me about the weird late night calls, and how his car got robbed. How some kids had bought eggs during the riots. How he’d had to close early that night, you know, cause of the curfew.

Riots… curfews… casually mentioned… in passing. What is this fucking world?

My usual play is to get drinks and fries at the Tap House on 9th and 9th, then wander over to indie movie theatre, The Tower, and browse the videos. They actually rent videos at The Tower. A small pleasure from the by-gone era of Blockbusters.

I absolutely love wandering through and browsing the shelves of DVDs. Ignoring the fact that we could probably get most of these titles on one of the streaming services one, or both of us, is already paying for online. It’s the motion of it that’s comforting. The limit of it. You only have what’s in front of you.

Maybe after, before all this, we would have sat on a bench and people-watched in this typically bustling area of shops and restaurants. Maybe we would have gone and seen a late night cult classic for $6. Hope to get a seat in the balcony. But now, on a weekend night, the streets and sidewalks are nearly empty. Masked faces in small groups, walking to their cars. So we sat in front of the closed movie theatre, and shared a cigarette.

I don’t actually smoke, but after a couple puffs, the nicotine buzz will hit you hard if you’re already a little tipsy. Then you sink, which is a nice feeling. As it hit me, I leaned on his shoulder.

It was nice. It felt almost normal.

This weekend Kristen and I had a girl’s night. We binge watched the first season of The Handmaid’s tale. It took us three hours to get through two 40 minute episodes because we kept pausing it to dissect it. We made a game plan for the likely Civil War in November. It helped our anxiety to talk it out.

We decided the best thing we could do is to stop adding to the divide on social media. We decided the best thing we could do is to start trying to understand the other side. To try to post messages of love and unity. Also, cardio.

I started today. I got up early and hiked through the graveyard. Got a good view of the city and the mountains, and talked to the universe while I watched the sun rise. Then, on Facebook, I had a conversation about the history of psychology with the lead singer of my favorite band, and posted a review of the series I’m listening to:

“Needed something comforting, so I started re-listening to the Wrinkle in Time series (one of my childhood favorites). I’m in book 2, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and I just feel like my soul is being fed by the simple yet complex lessons in this series. If you haven’t read it, the author, Madeline L’Engle is a mathematician. Her stories take place in a whimsical and fantastical world structured by real theoretical/fringe science and math.

What I’m struck by is how kind and patient these characters are while explaining complex theories to the often belligerent and imperfect main character Meg. These books are meant for children, but while listening to it, I, as an adult, feel like I’m relearning that it’s ok to be imperfect and even frustrated during the learning process. I’m learning that there’s nothing more important than to be loving and patient, especially with those whom I would be prone to dislike, disagree with, and maybe even hate. As well as the oneness of mankind and all things. These are all understandings I feel like I once firmly stood on, understood, and practiced, but as I grew up and experienced the world, I forgot. I love these books. They’re healing my wounded and calloused soul.

It isn’t much. But it’s something. It’s something that feels good in a world where you can’t escape the awful. Where you’re afraid to look away from the awful. Where you can’t look away from the awful, because it’s better to look into the eye of all the potential monsters, and face what could be coming. Rather than bury my head in the sand for one more fucking minute. So I’m gonna look these monsters in the eye, while I make out with a boy in public and get cat called by strangers. Because I have to live today, cause who knows what the fuck is going to happen tomorrow.

A blog about quarantine

I think this is a blog about quarantine.

I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like I now know what it feels like to live in Manhattan. You’re constantly surrounded by people, and yet so isolated in your own brain.

And the isolated is pronounced. No distractions, like, I could go somewhere, I could totally go out and be around people… but I don’t want to. That idea gives me so much anxiety. I would rather stay in and stay in my safe place where I’m not in danger from the problem, and I’m not adding to the problem. But this safe place is starting to feel like a prison.

Wow. I’m just realizing how important a blog like this could be. Like we should all be writing down what this is like. How this feels. This is going to be so important for mankind to know what it was like for 6 billion people to be trapped in their own brains for a year, surrounded by death, political strife, disease, the dawn of the global community, where we were all connecting through social media and the internet, almost like a global subconscious was finally being forced to face all it’s possible perspectives and identities.

And while we were all adding to this global awareness of each other, in all it’s discord and chaos, we were also being forced to look inward in ways we had never had to do before. We were completely isolated in ourselves, terrified of the world around us.

This too shall pass. This is just a season in the life of humankind. As we are becoming aware of ourselves, we have to make peace with the parts of ourselves we don’t like. But there is a chaotic period to that process, where those two sides have to finally be heard by the other, and be able to validate the other so they may validate themselves.

I think this is all a good thing. It feels like a good thing whenever all this kind of chaos happens inside of me. It means one more thing processing. One more internal wrestle to be heard, looked at, and resolved.

I love being alone. It feels like a detox. A detox from all the stimulations and people and opinions. I have control now over what inputs I get. I can just turn off the tv, close the laptop, put the phone on airplane mode, and besides some light background meditation music or lo-fi, and just think, or more, not think. Just letting the thoughts flow through like a river. There’s a whole world in there! All these different memories and characters. All these epiphanies and inspirations. Old memory lanes to explore, monsters to be tamed, enemies to befriend, children to rescue. I love the world that exists inside my own mind. And when would I have found it? If not for this.

If not for quarantine I never would have understood mindfulness. I would have thought about it as a fad. This thing where you had to be competitive about the knowledge, be able to quote all the right names. Instead of understanding that mindfulness is personal and sacred. Mindfulness is how you befriend, understand, and heal yourself.

I guess this is a blog about quarantine and mindfulness. Why don’t people use italics more? It’s a tone! It’s like the first emoji! The first emoji. You could hear that right? How the mo part was emphasized? I feel like we used to write that way. Like how bold and italics and underlined all had their own sounds?

I used to love writing. LOVED writing. I knew I was going to be a writer. Like I devoured books. I obsessed over the lives of different writers. I feverishly built my taste and found my idols. Jules Verne, Ira Glass, H.G. Wells, David Rakoff. I worshiped David Rakoff. He felt like a kindred spirit. We understood each other David and I. Both high brow elitists who are anxious piles of contradiction with just the right amounts of self loathing, self love, and … blah blah blah really witty thing here. Anyway, I stopped writing for a while. I just lost the will to do it after my journalism career looked like it wasn’t gonna end up like I’d hoped it would, or maybe at all. And I just stopped writing. Till now 🙂 Thank you quarantine!

Turned out well tho. Now I’m a software developer, exploring another passion I’d given up earlier in life/never really figured out how to get started on. And I love it! That wasn’t a bad thing. Not ending up down that career path. It’s like one part of me got injured, so a different part had to step up to take over and got to grow and become strong on it’s own.

The thing is that the injured parts are scared that if they take time off and rest that they’ll be left behind and forgotten about, like the toys in Toy Story. They see the people around them who have dashed hopes and dreams, who are trapped in the-beginning-of-Joe-vs.-the-volcano lives. People who pretended they weren’t injured and went numb. Those parts of me are terrified that will be their fate if they relax and allow themselves to rest and recover. So for a while they kept aggravating the injury. Finally I had to force them to rest. Now writing is feeling better, and is ready to try again. Other parts of me too. It’s fun.

I’m becoming less afraid of going outside and of people. So I signed up for a boxing class! Got canceled by the Hurricane winds that swept through this week and knocked all the trees down. The power was out for a lot of people. I was driving around and there were trees that were laying across the road. I still haven’t made it outside during the day to drive over to liberty park.

Yesterday I worked a 13 hour day. I’m feeling pretty dead. The anxiety is pretty bad, but I’m not letting it get to me. I’ve just been doing a lot of movement dance meditations (which is the pretentious hippy way of saying, “dancing in the shower with all the lights off”) to try to do a slow release. I wish people didn’t see meditation as a “pretentious hippy” thing. I think it’s becoming more main stream. But really its just playing in your brain and hangin with yourself. It can be scary tho. I’ve faced some of my biggest fears in there… “There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.”

Well on that note. I’m calling this a wrap. There you go world! A quarantine ramble! Goodnight world! Time to watch some old black and white french movie with no shame and the whole TV to myself for the first time in months!

The Truman Show Gif - ID: 205389 - Gif Abyss

Agoraphobic: Appoloyptic Kumbaya

*raw, unedited post. may edit later. may be better raw. DECISION: these are basically diary entries. This is a crazy what is happening right now, and it needs to be accurately documented and un-doctored. So I’m gonna give minimal editing. This needs to be as vulnerable as possible while still safe for me.

There’s a guy who works at the gas station down the road. I walked in two days ago, all dressed up (because that’s what I do now, I get dressed up for myself, and it’s really fun cause I’ve really been able to play with my style), and went in to grab a Press for a quite night of decompression after a long rewarding day at work. I had EARNED that Press!

I walk in, and he immediately checks me out and says “Hi.” And oh boy did my teenage heart do a backflip. I feel like I just haven’t been hit on by someone I found attractive, in the wild, in a really long time! And it felt really nice! He then told me this animated story about the giant tree that got blown over in Liberty Park in the Hurricane winds this week, and I couldn’t help but grin. Like he really lifted me up. He was trying so hard to impress me with this entertainer shtick, and he was doing such a good job! Like this guy belongs on stage. It’s real talent being wasted behind the counter in a 7/11.

High school Elise was flattered and crushing on this guy. But after this last friendship break up… I’ve finally felt safe enough with myself to turned inward, and do some house cleaning.

It’s been a few months of self prescribed isolation, a detox of sorts. Fueled brightly as a need to rest and recover and heal from a lifetime of blows that was earned on a runaway train of self sabotage. And fueled darkly by a fear of sustaining more injuries from more of “the wrong people, for me.”

But now, now I’m ready to try to get back on the social horse. Ready to practice setting boundaries, practice being there for myself, and being on my side first, before empathizing with others, ready to practice finding “the right people, for me.” But I can only do that if I go. out. side. And THAT my friends, is a terrifying prospect.

There’s disease, and pollution, and murderers, and rapists, and people who act like your friend to your face, but then when you’re at your most vulnerable, aren’t. The world is scary, and there are monsters lurking behind every smile.

But this guy, I find him really interesting. So I take a walk, after a long long week, down to the 7/11 in yet ANOTHER absolutely fly as fuck outfit — not for him, I legit was like, “I wanna dress like a human person, but I don’t have any clean clothes.” Total accident, but now when I start building an outfit, I give a shit that it flows. That shit needs to be done RIGHT! Same with the meals I’ve been cooking lately. I’ve been feeling legit proud of how I take care of myself even while I’ve been in an anxiety fog, I think I wanna get tested for low serotonin or something. Anyway, the outfit had an underground british punk look, tweed pants from that thrift store in London, my cross sleeve 90’s black crop tank top thing (that shows off my tats just right), and a newsboy hat over a messy sliver pixie cut, with classic warn vans. I had killed it.

Ok, so I got into the store and do my thing where I remember people’s names, and chat them up, and let them know they’re important too. And the guy starts shamelessly flirting with me and tells me how pretty my eyes are. And I froze. I was terrified. All the sudden my heart was beating outside my chest, my whole body became electric and tense, and I could feel my eyes widen in fear. Like I showed it. I showed the fear. I couldn’t hold it back. And I saw him see it. He awkwardly said, “I’ll bet you’re smiling under that mask,” a million confident, witty, and flirtatious answers froze on my tongue. And I looked down, and focused on the card scanner, my finger shaking. His energy immediately came way down, and I felt it. I tried to recover… tried to make diverted conversation… and basically ran out the door. He was answering me as I was bolting out the door. I gave him one last forced flirtatious “it’s not you it’s me” laugh, as the door closed behind me.

Poor guy.

Then I hyperventilated all the way home. I mean what the FUCK was THAT?! It seems like everything is more intense now. Every thing I usually feel under the surface is right in my face. Probably why I’m writing now. Gotta process somehow. I’m excited for my new therapist. I love therapy. It puts everything into clear perspective. And helps me realize that I’m not crazy for experiencing stuff like that. That the human brain is programmed to react a certain way given certain conditions. It helps me not to judge myself for not being perfect all the time. Helps me love, appreciate, and even harness my imperfections.

All those big epiphanies, life, lessons I’ve been turning into tattoo ideas. Each of my tattoos have been, and will continue to be, a reflection of triumphs from my inner world. On my birthday I’m getting my Medusa and Cicada tattoo.

My 30th birthday. The age that, in my head, has always held this promise of self actualization, independence, and wholeness. The age that I’ve always felt like an arrival milestone. Seems like subconsciously I made that come true. These last two years have felt like cramming for finals in life steps, lessons, purging, and additions.

I feel like I spent my 20’s desperately trying to get my shit together. Early 20s were discovering my independence. My mid 20’s were full of hard slogs to keep that independence, while being repeatedly dowsed by a cold buckets of the unfair realities of life. Now my late 20’s have been finally gaining stability in that independence. Learning to trust that if everything falls apart again, I’ll be able to handle it. Then settling into that trust to feel safe enough to begin to accept, understand, and let go of abusive patterns, toxic situations, and all the other chains that were binding me. Things that acted as an armor, as protection from the threats around me. Now I’m safe. I can begin to take off the armor and look at the wounds underneath. I can begin to hurt, love, cry, laugh, and heal with myself.

What a beautiful thing, this solitude. A given excuse why I cant’ go out. Why I don’t have to be with people. Be on guard. Be dancing to please, to impress. Don’t have to worry about social standing, don’t have to worry about the wants, needs, or intentions of others. To be able to just take care of myself for once in my fucking life. It feels amazing.

I did sign up for a boxing class tho. It got cancelled, cause their power went out, cause our valley go hit with devastating winds. The power has been out at The Front for 3 days. It’s still out. I called cause my canceled membership still got charged (it was my fault), and the guy I was talking to told some customer that the electricity is out, so the lights are all out in the bathroom. And I was like, “Holy shit?! is your power out?!” and the guy was like “Yeah, for the past 3 days, we’ve just been rolling with the punches during 2020.” And really, he’s not kidding small business have just been on the front lines of this shit. But the community around The Front is so great. We love our gym. I love my gym. I need a break from climbing, need to explore some other stuff. But it’s still MY gym. And we kept paying even while it was closed because we needed it to stay open. And my budget was the same. My job is safe. All I have to worry about are the monsters in my mind.

I feel like this world is going to be a better place after this. And I hope those of us who were able to be stable, and were forced to sort out our shit, can turn around and help those who barely survived this pandemic. and everyone else. Basically I hope the whole world trauma bonds after 2020 is over. A 2020 Kumbaya.

Building personal scriptures: studying my OWN divine voice

Since leaving my faith, something I really miss is the comfort of studying the scriptures. I used to approach my scripture study time KNOWING that I was about to “receive” inspiration, insight into myself, and understanding of the world around me. I was taught, and believed that this insight and inspiration was being handed to me by a divine being, the universe, etc.

I trusted that inspiration, these “revelations from God,” implicitly. These inspirations, these truths were divine, sacred, un-deniable, and not up for debate. I always knew what God wanted from me. I could always discern my next step. So much comfort and peace came from that voice. That voice got me through my darkest moments, and motivated me to keep pushing, keep fighting, keep going. It told me that there was more, and that my potential is limitless.

When I left, I had to detangle that voice, that pure voice that always knew what was best for me, encouraged me, loved me, and drove me from the voices that belonged to men. I had to detangle the divine from those voices that were desperately trying to convince me that their way was the only way. The problem was that both voices spoke with that same unquestionable authority. One was God, I mean… how can you question God? The other claims to speak for God… so… like a bit more up for debate… but not really.

There was no detangling. The knots were killing me, and it just wasn’t worth waiting. So, I burned it all down. No more God, no more mouthpiece for God. Which, makes sense since I’d been introduced to God through this “mouthpiece.” I took a leap of faith, and trusted that if that pure voice had been what it seemed to be, then it would survive the blaze.

It did! But as it grew back, without the dressings and explanations given for it by The Church, it looked different. It was the same familiar voice… but it started to sound more like my voice. That ultimate authority, had been… *queue Disney style moral-of-the-story music*… INSIDE ME THE WHOLE TIME!

But as it came back… It didn’t seem to have the same authority! I was confused by what was happening. I didn’t know if I could trust this voice, so I would repeat the things it was telling me out loud, to test it out, see if it had the same kind of effect on other people.

What I didn’t realize, is that my voice is for me. It’s authority is absolute, but only for me. So when I was repeating those sacred truths, those personal commandments to others, I was inadvertently giving a queue not only to others, but also to myself, that my voice was not valid, that it was up for debate.

I’ve learned more about that voice. I’ve learned that voice is my guide through life, my guardian angel, my all knowing, all powerful Goddess to worship. Which makes me, my own personal prophet. Knowing that, makes everything that voice says sacred, and I want as much of that voice as possible! So how do I cultivate that voice? Well, how did I cultivate it before? Personal study!

But what do I study? I still don’t trust the scriptures, not since I burned everything to the ground. Then I look around… I have scriptures. Books, movies, art, songs that speak truth to me, inspire me, and help me look inward and discover more of myself. Beautiful things that speak truth, and make me want to grow. I have my own scriptures. I can’t wait to find more!


photo cred: Kesler Ottley. I did the art

Over and over
“You can’t do this, You have to be this!”

“But I don’t wanna be this can’t I be this?”

“Only if it doesn’t get in the way of being this.”

“But…. I don’t think I could ever be this…. It doesn’t fit. I’d have to change my shape to be this. I’ll have to break a this to make this fit this. Then I’d have to twist this to make this do this. Once I’m broken and twisted, I don’t think I’ll work right. I don’t think I’ll look like this. I’ll look broken, and twisted.

But, I already fit this! I wouldn’t have to break, I wouldn’t have to twist. I could bend and flow!”

“Get to breaking! I wanna see some extra hard twisting! You have to be this! You can’t be this.”


“There will be consequences if you don’t. There will be consequences if you can’t be this.”

“If I be this, can I still be this too?”

“As long as it doesn’t get I the way of being this.”

“There’s a problem! I’m trying to be this, but because I broke this to fit this, I can’t do this as well. It needed this to work in order to be really good at this.”

“That means that you have to give up this. This isn’t good for you. You can’t be this, because this is your priority.”

“Ok. I understand. I won’t be this anymore.

There’s a problem! If I do this to fit this, then I can’t do this.”

“You don’t need to do this. All you need is to do this. As long as you can do this, that’s all that matters.”

“See, but here’s the thing! So, I can twist this just like this, and so I can LOOK like this, but I can’t BE this. Because this is broken and this is twisted, I can’t actually BE this, like I can’t DO this, but I can kinda LOOK like this, but it has to be at this angle.”

“There will be consequences if you can’t BE this. You must BE this.”

“But… but I told you! I told you I can’t be this cause I would have to break and bend and twist…. Can’t I just be THIS? I know that I could BE this!”

“If you can’t be this, you will lose everything you ever loved, you will lose every one you ever loved, you have to love the way we say, you have to think the way we say, you have to be the way we say. You have to. You must. If you don’t, there are monsters in the shadows, waiting to gobble you up. You must be this. THIS is the only way.”

“But I can’t be this… I can’t! I can’t fit in this anymore. I don’t know how to be this, or this or this. I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I can’t do this. 

I’m going to walk away from this.

Look! Look I fit in this. Look! If I put this back where it was… I fit in this too! OH! LOOK LOOK!!! If I untwist this back to where it was…. That fits too! This is still broken…. But if I put it back… and treat it like this… it fits! It doesn’t work quite right… but it’ll get better.

What else? What else did I break? What else did I twist? What else did I fracture? What else did I shed?

It’s been so long… I don’t remember what I look like…. I think… I think I remember something. I know I won’t look quite the same. I’ll be new, I’ll be different, but I think I’ll be stronger. Think I’ll be more flexible. I can’t wait to see what this looks like when I’m done!”