My back is fookin’ killing me right now. Lower back. No other symptoms. I went to bed on Sunday night and woke up lying on my back, took a breath and boom, back pain city. Ever since, it’s been fairly consistent. Not severe (except for when I woke up at 5am and took a breath). It’s a dull ache. It radiates around my lower back from the middle to the sides/flank. No other symptoms (again).
My girlfriend bought us a brand new mattress on Thursday evening. Didn’t sleep good on Friday night, because she worked third shift (I never sleep good while she does those shifts; sleeping without her sucks). Didn’t sleep good on Saturday night, and I have no idea why, because we were out and about all day in 97 degree weather and I was pretty tired, but I struggled to fall asleep. Sunday night… went to bed but woke up with the aforementioned back pain, and it just hasn’t gone away.
I mowed the yard yesterday, and that always gives me back pain. While I don’t think I’m very tall (6’2″; average), mowing the yard always hurts my back because I have to bend forward a little bit to push the lawnmower. Probably didn’t help. Going to bed last night was a motherfucker.
Anyway, maybe it’s all due to stress?
I’m so scared of the future. I’m 26 years old. I just, for the first time ever, accepted my student loans. They are pending. I’m taking online classes, and one physical in person face to face class locally, at a university. The in person class will be local, at the community college I just finished up at. I have a hold on my student account that’s been troubling my mind lately. Anxiety city. Damn. Wish I had another month before classes start, so I can get my shit together, or at least pretend to.
One of my former high school teachers died last Friday. He was my geometry teacher during my junior year of high school in 2007-2008. I didn’t really think he was that great of a teacher — and I did poorly in his class, as a perennial bad math student until lately — but he was a hell of a person. Truly one of a kind. A lifelong heavy metal, all-things-WVU loving headbanger unafraid to say anything, unabashedly himself.
He retired last year. He was diagnosed with cancer in February or March… brain and lung (longtime smoker)… died last Friday.
He posted his phone number on Facebook asking for anybody to call him.
A few times, he asked people to visit him anytime.
He was sent home with hospice on July 5th.
I kept telling myself I was going to call and visit him.
I never did. I feel like a piece of shit for not doing so. I’m going to regret this forever, I feel. A lot of my fears was that, maybe he wouldn’t remember me? I don’t know. I can’t stop thinking about how he passed away. He was always so healthy and active and growing his garden and going to heavy metal (Doro) concerts. And now he’s gone.
I get it. People died. I’ve lost more people in my 26 years than most have. All my grandparents, my dad, an uncle who was like a second dad to me, a great friend in 2010, my uncle in January…. it’s rough. But damn, the regret of never going to see him has been hurting my soul deeply.
Even though I eat a diet that — by all accounts, through scientific peer reviewed studies and research — is optimal for testosterone production…. I’ve been an emotional fucking mess.
For example, my girlfriend came home last night after working a 3-11 shift, and she said she heard some crazy noise outside, like footsteps, and she hurried and got in her car. She then said, “I thought I was a goner! And that I’d be dead, and wouldn’t get to see you again” …. and I don’t know fucking why, but replaying what she said a few times made me bawl like a little baby.
I love her so much.
But this depression/emotional state is killing me.
Usually, I love the summertime. Even if it’s hotter than hell and damn near impossible to deal with, it’s usually the happiest time of the year for me, but this has been one of the most stressful, emotionally taxing summers of my life. And I don’t know why.
I’ll never tell her this, but I feel like a burden to my girlfriend. She loves me so much, and I feel like I constantly disappoint her. She’s never expressed, implied or displayed feelings that implicate that, but I feel like I could be doing so much better. I probably kept her up way too late last night with my back pain. So full of guilty feelings today. Holy shit. Just had to get this all written down.
I’m 26 and I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything in this life. If you also wield this mindset, don’t be afraid to chime in.
Here’s the quick overview of my story if you don’t know: I graduated high school in 2009 and started attending community college that fall. My relationship with my first love began to deteriorate and I stopped attending all my classes except my 8am English class (I didn’t properly drop my classes). I never returned for the spring semester in 2010. My first love eventually cheated on me and I ‘wallowed in the mire’ (as Jim Morrison and The Doors would say) for years until I returned to the same community college in 2014 and finally took a 1.9 GPA to a 3.5.
I’m supposed to begin my time at a university next month.
I’m nervous as hell. Almost sick.
More than anything, I’m just waiting to hear back that my student status is all good and that everything is OK.
It’s hard for me to accept that these feelings and emotions are normal.
I practically lived in a bubble between 2010-early 2014. I didn’t do jack shit. I tried my best to be comfortable. That was never a way to live. I was always depressed. I’m depressed right now, but that’s only because I’m scared, full of fear and I’m worried about my student status.
Still waiting on my immunization forms to ‘go through’. My advisor is taking her sweet ass time getting back to me about it.
Fuck, I’m nervous. Have I mentioned that?
Taking out loans in freaking me the fuck out, too.
One of my classes is going to be a once a week evening class for five weeks. I know it’s going to be long and rigorous. My only problem with that is, I’m a morning person now. I’d rather the class start at 6 or 7 in the morning rather than 6 in the evening. My most productive hours of the day are in the morning. By the evening, I’m exhausted, no matter what. This is going to be difficult.
But fuck, I know I can do it. I have to do it.
Last month, I had a fear that my student loan was not going to cover tuition, books, etc. etc. During that fear, I was sick to my stomach over the thought that I would never be able to do what it is that I want to do. That made me sick. It still makes me sick. The thought of not doing something great, that I want to do, makes me want to go puke.
That’s how I know I want to be successful. How I need to be successful.
Believe in yourself, inner drive, optimism, all that bullshit doesn’t matter without action. Belief + action is what drives the bus. Action without belief just makes you a zombie. Belief without action just makes you a mental masturbation participator.
I’m full of extreme anxiety at this time (no, it’s not the caffeine).
I want to be successful so badly it hurts.
After those years of doing nothing and fantasizing about my first love not screwing me over, I’m on a pretty decent path now. I cannot fail. I must put in the hours of work to accomplish what I deem necessary.
I was a terrible high school student from 2005-2009; never studied. My peers never did. I skirted by. I’ve been on the straight and narrow since 2014, when I went back to college. It’s night and day. I put pressure on myself from the get-go to study, to learn how to study and simply do what’s necessary. Of course, most of my fellow classmates have been folks straight out of high school, and many of them slacked off (not surprising) as I’m sure they had their parents paying their way, but I just wanted to put my head down, work hard and get through all the bullshit.
I don’t know why I’m so worried at the moment. I’ve been accepted as a student. I’ve accepted my loans. Now it’s just a waiting game. Tuition is due in one week and I’m not sure how the fuck to ‘pay’ for it with my loans. Again, still waiting for my advisor to return my emails.
Thanks for reading this big batch of incoherent word vomit, if you read it. I just had to put something down on ‘paper’.
Chester Bennington of Linkin Park committed suicide yesterday by hanging himself.
This death hit home for me, because I was a huge Linkin Park guy in the early to mid 2000s during my preteen and teen years. Hybryd Theory and Meteora were albums I listened to often. My best friend, who resembled Chester (skinny, glasses, buzz cut/nearly bald), and I would play Madden ’05 online with the Linkin Park/Jay-z collaboration “Numb/Encore” on repeat. Those were the days.
I used to think suicide was a selfish act. And, in a way, I still think that way, but not like I used to. If you tell a suicide person they are selfish for feeling suicidal, that only pushes them further to do so. Not a good mix.
The act of committing suicide is an unstable one. To want to do so, you are mentally unstable, because biologically we are programmed to take the path of survival.
I changed my views over the years, because over the past six or so years I secretly (in my real life) have suicidal thoughts on occasion. Nothing in particular triggers them. I’ve just gone through bouts of depression where I can’t pinpoint what I’m feeling. I think it’s possible to be depressed without knowing it. Recently in my life, I’ve felt almost no zest for anything at all…
Because of that, I’ve felt unfair to my girlfriend, friends and family. In that way, I do feel like a burden to them, because I feel like being around them has the possibility of causing them to be unhappy. I don’t voice the way I feel, because I don’t want to be a Debbie downer.
Regardless, I recognize these occasional feelings of suicide are irrational. Still, the thought of going to sleep and never waking up is something that comforts me, in a way. I’m not going to commit suicide, or at least I don’t plan to, but often the thought stays in the back of my head.
Selfishness be damned, when you feel like you are worthless and your value to others is at an all-time low, wielding the mindset that you belong, that you matter, that you are needed is difficult.
The worst part about suicide, however, is if you take your life when you have children that depend on you. Bennington has six kids, and I feel for each of them. If you have kids who need you and you commit suicide, I can’t help but think it’s selfish. But again, mental clarity is blurred in moments like these.
I hope we will find out what was troubling Chester Bennington. Maybe we never will. Depression isn’t easy to understand. It’s difficult to write about. We all have our own struggles and personal battles that often remain unbeknown to everybody. In fact, each person you meet in this world will have something going on in their lives that is affecting them in some kind of negative way, but 98% of the time you’ll never know it. We’ll never know it.
The thought of killing myself and leaving my girlfriend behind breaks my heart. I can’t imagine doing it to her. Even though I do often feel like a burden to her given that sometimes my passion for things is lost, I know she thinks the world of me and would be crushed if I did something like that. At the same rate, there are moments where I believe she’d be better off in the long run.
I’m also scared about the future prospect of possibly fathering a child. Even though I had an amazing father and mother, I feel like I won’t be as good as my dad.
I try to embrace and compound these feelings and sublimate them into positive pursuits, but when you have zero desire to do something and the discipline/habit to do it is lacking, life is hard.
Fuck yeah, life is supposed to be hard. But man. It’s just, I don’t fucking know.
Just talk to somebody. Anybody. When you are feeling like you want to end your life. Maybe I’m not the best to recommend that, but I’m here trying to put it into words.
Much love to anybody reading this. You do matter. Maybe you can’t see or understand it, but you do. You do make a difference.
This is simply my belief: how you start your day determines the rest of it. Sure, you can overcome a shitty start to a day, but sometimes it puts you in an uphill battle in regards to a negative mindset that’s difficult to deface.
I’ve noticed this the last few days.
My girlfriend’s family came in on Friday night and left yesterday. Each day, we were up early (fine by me; I’m a morning person these days). Saturday, we went grocery shopping for a weekend featuring epic meals (oh, they were). Sunday, we got up early to start up some barbecue smokin’ on my Weber Smokey Mountain cooker. Yesterday, we spent time together at Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops before they headed home.
It was a fun weekend, and it was sad seeing them go. Anyway… I had some damn good days, and it goes back to what I said.
Oftentimes, I fall into a trap. I get up, and well, as a man I’ll often wake up with rock hard morning wood, aching to get rid of it by…. taking care of business, of course.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the biggest waste of time is going to Tumblr and searching the “my butt”, “my booty”, “my ass” tags or going on Reddit’s many NSFW gonewild-esque subreddits and jacking off. It’s a waste of my time, personally, because two or three hours will pass by quickly, and before I know it I will have been edging for too damn long, and I’ll feel terrible about wasting that portion of the day sitting on my ass and doing nothing.
My typical, best days are when I wake the hell up, ignore taking care of my morning wood (saving up for my girlfriend for later), drink my water from my 64oz Stanley stainless steel growler, consume my caffeine, piss/shit and get on with my daily farmer’s carry workout and more. In the summer, I love going outside with just my shorts on, soaking up the morning sun and relaxing. It’s perfect.
Just getting up and doing something marginally productive is a great start to the day.
I feel a lot of guilt, sadness, regret and anger. Much of it is related to the past. It’s not constant. It comes in waves, but it hits hard.
Once you learn to accept that the past is the past and that it can’t be changed, you set a precedent to move forward with your life.
But, no matter what, I’ve learned from one of my role models — Andy Frisella — that you have to earn the right to feel good about yourself.
Some people might disagree with that and spew insipid platitudes like, “happiness is a choice regardless of your situation!” but the truth is, happiness is a choice… yes… but “regardless of your situation”? No. While I believe in making the best of every situation and using it as an opportunity, if you are poor, struggling to scrape by in life and hardly able to live paycheck to paycheck, you might be able to take solace in that you have your physical health and are still able to live your life, counting your true blessings, but I highly doubt you are happy, or at least as happy as you could be.
I don’t remember if I wrote it here or elsewhere, but I also believe that action cures fear.
In the way you earn the right to feel good about yourself, you do so by taking action and doing something that yields that result.
2010-2013 were blunders in my life. Those were four wasted years where I did not advance in my life. I did have some good moments in 2010 and on a lesser scale in 2011, but I accomplished nothing in regards to building a better and brighter future for myself. I spent much of my time bitching, moaning, groaning and crying (to myself only) about missing my ex, who was a crazy, dirty, lying, cheating, childish human being, and doing nothing about it.
I could have made myself busy. I could have strode to keep myself busy by working out more and reading, but no. I spent a lot of lonely nights jacking off to erotica on Lush Stories, intermittently playing video games, reading inane bullshit on the internet and doing nothing to ‘level up’ in life.
In 2014, I went back to college. It was at a community college, but still, it’s college. It was a huge milestone for me. Right off the bat, I took public speaking despite hardly being around a whole lot of people for a few years. I knew I had to make this choice in order to grow. It’s funny how one of the girls in that class remarked near the end of the semester that I was “so calm and collected” even though I was nervous as fuck. I always went first in class, because my theory always is, in public speaking, people are too busy worrying about their upcoming speech to truly pay a whole lot of attention to yours, and besides, even if they do key in on you, they’ll forget about you soon enough!
I felt great. I was building confidence.
I continued another school year in 2015-2016. I took a shitty chemistry class, and I hated my lab teacher. I also made a great friend, at least for that time period, named Dillon. If that was the 2009-2013 version of me, I would have quit going to school just like I did when I first tried college in the fall of 2009.
This past year, I completed my final year at the community college. I think I would have finished up in 2015-2016 had I not been forced to take developmental math for a few semesters. I took a year of math this past school year and made an A last fall and a B this past spring semester. I’ve been accepted to a university this fall as a junior. I’m mostly taking online classes, but I will be taking a night class at the same community college for five weeks through the university.
I’ve built confidence and, in many ways, I feel great about myself.
But you can’t just do the right thing a few times and expect it to last… you have to keep the momentum going by continuously doing what you need to do. Don’t feel like working out? Do it, anyway. Don’t feel like studying? Do it, anyway. Don’t feel like writing that paper? Do it now! Do it, anyway!
Because when you are done, you will feel a whole lot better about yourself than you will if you procrastinate and watch shitty YouTube videos instead.
I heard somebody say, elsewhere, I think on Reddit, that you “should find enjoyment in everything, even if you dislike it”… BULLSHIT. That is nice, in theory, but truthfully, some things just suck! And no matter what, through whatever positive thinking channel your mind goes through, you will never enjoy it, and sometimes it’s best to put your head down and grind through it. Once you start something, sometimes you realize it’s not as bad as you conceive it to be.
If I work out every single day for 90 days, I will feel better about myself than what I would if I kept procrastinating.
By doing so, you earn the right to feel good about yourself.
I struggle almost daily to stay on track.
It’s fucking hard. But that’s OK. Because nothing worth doing or accomplishing in life comes easy!
Sometimes I procrastinate. Not as much as I used to, but I’m still working on it. It happens. No excuses. It’s easy to be suckered into doing things that are not apropos to what you should be doing.
But man, when you get into that flow of doing the thing you need to be doing, accomplishing tasks that need to be done, and you complete them, it feels good. It’s liberating.
You have to earn the right to feel good about yourself. I think that is an undisputed truth. I appreciate Andy Frisella for talking about this on one of his podcasts. If you don’t know who he is, Google him and thank me later.
I’m sure there are antagonists out there who exist that will be antagonists of this mentality, but that’s their thought process and not mine.
I didn’t start feeling better about myself until I started doing shit that made me feel uncomfortable, stepping out of my comfort zone and attempting to achieve a modicum of success.
If I kept sitting in my bedroom, on my computer, jerking off to sluts on Tumblr and not doing anything, no matter how badly I want to feel great about myself, I’d still — deep down — always feel depressed and awful about myself.
Whenever you go out and do something that you feel needs to be done in regards to accomplishing your tasks and goals, you feel good. I believe that’s an undisputed truth as well. But you have to do it day in and day out and build that perpetual momentum to consistently feel good about yourself.
No, not every day will you feel like a million bucks. This is life and we are all human beings, prone to difficult days, but you can’t have sunshine without a little rain.
Keep grinding, keep hustling, do what you need to do. Embrace the suck. Consume some caffeine (or not) and bulldoze ahead. I believe in you. If I can go through hell, you can, too.
I wrote in this post that I was in an online relationship once upon a time. I was. She was my first love. Bekki. It all started in June 2008 in the books & authors section of Yahoo! Answers. Around that time, the Twilight book series was on the rise in popularity. I was 16, a couple months away from turning 17 and starting my senior year of high school. I saw a girl making comical contents about the Twilight series, bashing it sardonically. I thought she was charming. We answered each others questions on the site. She had a link to her MySpace on her profile and I added her.
In late July, I sent her a message entitled, “That Twilight Junk”. It started off with yours truly complaining about the popularity and oversaturation (in society) of the Twilight series. She agreed with me. A common interest (or should I say disinterest?) joined us together. Soon, we were talking about our lives, interests, hopes and dreams. She was 14, and a freshman in high school. Again, I was about to be a senior. She was from Florida; I was/am from a different state.
In October 2008, we started talking on the phone, and it began a daily ritual of us talking every single night (and some days) for two years and two months, all the way up until late December 2010.
Her parents attempted to stop her from talking to me. Looking back, I can see why they did that. She was talking to someone she met online, and they were concerned I was some old man, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Regardless — again, looking back — if I were in their position, I would do the same thing.
Despite her parents doing their best to nix our relationship, she found ways to go behind their back and talk to me every single damn night. It was an amazing time. I still contend — not out loud, but this is the way I feel — that 2008 and 2009 have been the best years of my life so far. She and I had the perfect chemistry. We would talk about every and anything you can imagine. She was a music fanatic, and to this day I still believe she knew more about music than any person I’ve met (that’s not in the music industry).
So, you might be wondering, what happened?
Well, we never met in person.
Looking back, it’s easy to tell what happened. She was young, and still mentally and emotionally growing up. Her parents began to separate in 2010. That’s when Bekki changed, too. Her friends made fun of her for being in an online relationship; I think that was the kiss of death to our relationship, because for a teenage girl, for your peers to make fun of you, that’s huge.
On December 28, 2010 we Skyped for a few hours, everything seemed normal, and then I didn’t hear from her again until September 4, 2011.
Just like that, she ended all contact with me. Do you know how it feels to go from contact each and every single day for two years and about five months to no contact at all?
I had a delayed emotional response to what happened. I didn’t grieve at all in January 2011. I was in shock, I think. I watched the TV series, “Rescue Me” on Netflix, was on a ketogenic diet (bullshit diet; I mean if it works for you, great, but it’s not the best thing ever or anything, which I’ll discuss in a different, future post) and watched the Green Bay Packers steamroll their way to the Super Bowl.
But in February, when I was alone at my aunt’s house, after I finished watching a recent episode of Californication, I began bawling my eyes out, thinking about Bekki and how much I missed her. I genuinely spent the entire month of February 2011 crying. I spent that entire year depressed. There were many days I didn’t want to leave the bed. I was in so much pain.
You might ask, “Well, why didn’t you contact her or check on her? What if something happened to her?” I didn’t want to look her Facebook up or Google her, because I feared the inevitable that she’d gotten with somebody else. I knew she’d ended things a couple days after that fateful day in December 2010, because I’d logged into Skype and saw that she’d set a status, and she logged out when I tried to contact her at that point. That day, I just had a pit in my stomach. In April 2011, I checked again, and she’d once again had a different status/post on Skype.
On September 4, 2011 she sent me a Facebook message that I didn’t see until September 7th. She started out by saying, “Hello, you. I owe you a billion dollars for the damage I caused to your mind and heart”. She told me that she started seeing someone in person in late 2010, and it was a breath of fresh air to have actually been treated nice by her parents.
In hindsight, I should have told her, “Alright. Thank you for explaining to me what happened. I appreciate the closure.” and never spoke to her again. Except… we began talking again. This time, we Skyped every single night until 12:29 AM on December 8th, when she did the same thing as the last time, except this time I knew I’d never hear from her again, and I didn’t.
It’s funny how life turns out. 2012 was a horrific year. My last remaining grandparent — my grandmother; my mom’s mom — died, and I was bitter, angry and carried an awful attitude towards everything. 2013 was a bit better, but unproductive. I was still depressed.
However, I’m over Bekki now. I wanted to write this post today, because I know somewhere out there that another person has gone through hell and back when it comes to a relationship like this. I never talked to anybody about it (outside of my current girlfriend, Dana) for all these years. I just bottled it up and let out the sadness and incandescent rage whenever I was alone.
It’s unfortunate, too, that I never talked to anybody about it (outside of the internet and, again, my current girlfriend, which wasn’t until 2014). 2012 was the lowest point in my life. I remember spending an entire day in my bedroom in 2012 when my family from South Carolina came to visit, and I didn’t even come out to see or talk to them. What an asshole, right? But I was depressed. I’d stay up all night and sleep all day.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but looking back, it’s not surprising how things went down. She was a teenage girl going through the motions of finishing high school and gaining wisdom through experiences. She was evolving and changing fast. Peer pressure is real.
I’m over her now, but the pain put a chokehold on my life, and I wasted a few years of it.
If you would’ve asked me about the year 2011 during the years 2012 or 2013, I would have told you it was an awful year, but now that time has passed and I have a broader perspective, I can genuinely say that 2011 was an amazing year. I had some incredible times with my best friends. We made a horde of memories. However, when 2011 was occurring, I wasted a lot of time being depressed over Bekki. Even in 2010, I was so concentrated on making her happy when her parents were separating that I missed out on some awesome experiences.
Now, 2012 and 2013 were still atrocious, wasted years, but 2011 was not as bad as I originally felt it was.
I’m in a better place now. I’ve been with my girlfriend, Dana, for over two years and six months. We, too, met online. Hell, I met Dana on Lush Stories, an erotica website! We encountered one another on there right before my grandmother passed away in 2012, but we didn’t become close until January 2014. I was truly an asshole in 2012. I didn’t know how to process my emotions, and I shut a lot of people out.
It’s funny how things work out… I met Dana on Lush, she was from a different state, we met officially on August 3, 2014 and then in May 2015, I visited her and her family, and now? We live together. Dana moved in with me on June 6, 2016.
If everything that happened with Bekki never occurred, I would have probably never met Dana.
I’m not religious, but count your blessings, folks. I’m not an “everything happens for a reason” type of guy, but those past events led me to today.
Another thing: I originally started college in the fall of 2009 at a community college. I allowed myself to be distracted by my relationship with Bekki and didn’t prioritize my classes. I ended up not going to my classes and I never properly dropped them. I didn’t re-enroll in 2010. After almost five years of inactivity, I returned to the same community college in 2014 and I’ve taken my paltry 1.9 GPA and moved it up to a 3.3/borderline 3.4.
Why does the post title say not to let a failed relationship hinder your future even though I wrote that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the aforementioned past events? Well, I still mean what I titled the post with.
Even though who I am today is derived from the past, I still wasted years of my life. Even though I said I had some awesome times in 2011, there was never any growth in regards to something to expand on in my life. I didn’t accomplish a single, solitary thing in 2012 and 2013. In the first eight months of 2014, I didn’t accomplish jack squat either.
I used to want those years back, so that I could rectify ’em, but I can’t.
That’s why I say to not let a failed relationship hinder your future.
Once the relationship is dead, in your mind the other person should be dead to you, as well. That’s not sound mean or macabre, but when it’s over, it’s over. A breakup is called a breakup because it’s broken. No matter what happens, the world keeps spinning. The roosters keep cockle-doodle-dooing. Life is short and there are so many experiences and lessons to be learned and had.
It took so long for me to get over Bekki because 1.) she was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen, and 2.) we had incredible chemistry. But I looked her up a couple weeks ago and saw that she now has two children. A daughter that’s a few years old, and now a newborn son from a different man. She might be doing well in her professional career, but it looks like I dodged a bullet, since I know who she turned out to be (I don’t know now, but in 2010 and 2011 she was a molecular structured liar and cheater).
If I would have stayed with Bekki, I would have had a tumultuous relationship with the in-laws. Fortunately, Dana’s family loves me to death and her parents treat me as if I was her son. They are so sweet o me. They actually gave me their old smoker for Christmas, to cook incredible barbecued meats and bacon-wrapped, cheese stuffed jalapenos in.
Go through hell in life. Experience it. But don’t let a past, failed relationship hold you back for as long as I allowed mine to do me.