Finding Excuses

I went to bed last night on such a high note. I had found an apartment that not only spoke to me and made me feel at home, but also already existed in a welcoming community that offers free yoga, a tennis court, fitness room, and free movies to borrow for entertainment. (It also has a machine for loading money onto a card for laundry. That seriously got me. Why don’t all complexes have that, or at least change machines??) It’s also only minutes from my new work place. Why wouldn’t I be so excited? The simple answer is because I can never seem to prevent myself from finding reasons, excuses, to stress myself out. It’s like a bad habit that just keeps coming back. Even with the comforting reassurance from a friend I know and trust that I would be able to handle it all financially, I’m still stuck in this negative head space that keeps shouting at me about all the bad choices I am making.

With such a quick move and no way to avoid all of the fees, I had to buyout my last apartment using my credit card. That was an additional $1000 on top of my already combined $3000 existing from past important expenses (car issues, plane tickets, random bills at bad times of the month). Luckily, my credit limit was increased. (Yeah, in spite of my minimal income, I still managed to pay bills enough to maintain a good credit score.) However, the lingering bills are still haunting me, and I have been forced to wait on starting my new job due to a delayed background check (which has been finally completed as of this morning). I had an outrageous phone bill left behind from my issues with having to purchase a new device last month, and the cost of internet here is so much more than it was at my last home, it’s ridiculous! And as sure as I am that I will be able to pay my bills with my new income, I know the first of November will come, and I will only have worked for 2 weeks, leaving yet even more expenses to be put on a credit card. As helpful as they are, using them only makes me upset.

Why can I never seem to be happy with my choices for more than just a day, a moment? I’m tired of lying on social media, making all of these happy, go-lucky posts about how positive and optimistic I’m feeling when, in reality, it’s only in the moments I type those words that I feel that way. I want to be happy and proud of my choices, but I’m just not. I’m angry, frustrated, and I wish I could just live all by myself in a remote area where I have no responsibilities, no worries.

Reading all of my own words on this screen helps in a way. It forces me to realize how silly it all sounds, how unreasonable I’m making every situation. If I have to go without internet in my apartment for awhile, so be it. I already know of one space on the complex that has free WiFi, and I’ve lived in a home without it before. Yes, I will feel like I’m drowning for the first few weeks, and it’s probably only going to get more suffocating before everything clears, and I realize how lucky I actually am to be pursuing my passion in a place I already love. I’m definitely not the only person to have gone through this, and I have countless friends and family members who can attest to the fact that it is possible, that it all works out in the end.

To those who decided to read this, I appreciate you showing some sort of interest in my life, and I hope you don’t think it was a waste of your time. Whether we like it or not, I know I’m not the only one to have these thoughts and feelings. I just seem to have to put them out there to make them real and allow them to drift away. Keeping them inside only makes it worse.

 

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Keeping Up

How does this happen? One moment, I’m feeling comfortable, satisfied, and actually happy. Within a few breaths, my mood comes crashing down. The smiles become frowns, and that burning in my eyes and lump in my throat returns. Even now, I feel silly going through this yet again, but it’s just too hard to stop.

Compared to so many other people in this world, I’m lucky. I have a family that cares about me and friends who would do almost anything to help. Somehow, though, I can still find a way to feel sorry for myself. I don’t feel guilty about it, but I struggle to find justification when life has been so good to me in the bigger picture. Not many 26 year olds these days can say that they are able to live on their own, pay all their bills, and still find time to sleep or be social. They don’t all have their car paid off and the freedom to make impulse purchases without worrying about where the money will come from for tomorrow’s dinner. More often than not, I feel prepared. And yet…

My morning started with the end of my work week, and I was excited to see that my paycheck was more than enough to cover rent and still leave leftovers to go out a time or two. Of course, life then had to happen. My phone freaked out, and I had to buy a new one. It’s stupid. Needing a phone sucks. Not having one today is more trouble than it’s worth, but I wanted so badly to just pretend like I didn’t care. I spent an hour waiting for the store associates to help me get what they described as the best deal. It still had me paying far more than I would have wanted, and right now I just feel angry. I want to throw this stupid phone out the window and never see it again. That extra spending money for the next couple of weeks was gone in seconds. It made me want to cry…it still does. It wasn’t until I sat down and did the calculations for my bills due within the next two weeks that I realized I have no money after all. And even now, the only reason I wasn’t already broke is because I had a flight refunded and then put the new one on my credit card. It’s all invisible money, though, right? So why does it matter so much?

For awhile, I felt like I was doing more than just keeping up. I felt like I was carving a place for myself, making this space, this lifestyle, my home. All I can do, though, is struggle to hold these tears back and keep myself from thinking it’s all a lie. My apartment walls are bare. The food in my fridge is minimum, and my meals most days are barely above satisfaction. The pain in my back is excruciating, and I keep telling myself it’ll go away, but it’s just getting worse. This image I’ve blinded myself with isn’t real, and it’s becoming more and more clear. I tell myself I like the free time I’ve had, and I know for a fact that I don’t feel badly about making the job change that I’ve mentioned before, but my path is so messy right now, and it’s only trailing off into nothing. I have no direction, and it’s killing me.

Everything manages to work itself out. Everything gets better. I know all of this. But the crying still happens, my breathing still hurts as my back pops and aches with each movement, and that smile stays hidden.

Ready For Change

I sat in my car tonight for an hour. It wouldn’t start, and I almost cried over it. (An appointment has already been scheduled.) The car had died some time over the weekend, seemingly out of nowhere, and it’s been having trouble starting ever since. Even though I was upset and worried (still am) about the repercussions of not going to work, I realized I wasn’t as torn over losing the job as I was over losing the financial security. I’ve posted before about discovering your passion and that there are some things more important than money. I still wholeheartedly agree with that, but I don’t know anymore if the passion I’ve been pursuing is the right one.

As most people who read my blog know, I switched jobs at the zoo recently. I love what I’m getting to do now, but it has been slow to start due to the season. So, I’ve only actually done a handful of events within the past month. While having the extra free time has been AMAZING, it has given me more time to think. My third shift job is tough. The hours suck, and I don’t always enjoy the atmosphere. I keep it because it pays my bills, gives me health insurance, and allows me to pursue hobbies I wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Unfortunately, I’ve reached the point in it (about 8 months) where I feel a lack of motivation to go, not because I hate it but because I have always thrived on change, and it’s been too long. But I don’t know what my options are other than less pay or worse working conditions elsewhere. I’m starting to feel stuck, and it’s the worst feeling in the world to me.

Staying in Cincinnati has been getting easier because I’ve met so many incredible people who I consider to be extremely good friends, people I will miss if/when I leave, but I’ve never been one to stay put for long, and it’s getting to me. If I continue working at the zoo, how am I going to support myself if I can’t stand to keep the job that supports me? If I leave the zoo, where would I go and what would I do? With my new hobbies, I’ve been pursuing more of the things that make me happy, and I’ve gotten to know people who have a job in teaching them, but they also supplement their fun times with the job that you hopefully enjoy but ultimately need.

I do have an interview for a position in a different place, at another zoo, but it doesn’t involve animal handling, and it would be part time. I’ve been arguing with myself over doing the interview just for practice or in actual hopes of getting the job and having a reason to move.

There are more things I could get into, and I’m sure many people I know feel the same. If you want to talk about it, I would be more than happy to hear your thoughts.

It’s Been Awhile

Hello again, blog of my many rambling thoughts. It’s been awhile. Scanning my most recent post from back in April, I already feel like I’m in a much better head space. I’m over guys who had my heart and either didn’t care for it or messed it up. I’ve started doing more of what’s best for me and worrying less about how it affects other people. And I finally feel more relaxed and happier with my job than I have in a long time. I’ve been writing since that post, but it’s been manual in a journal I bought for therapy. I haven’t touched it in about a month, but I still have words I think about putting down on the paper. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I haven’t seen my therapist since June. I cancelled on my most recent session (telling myself I was just too tired) and I haven’t heard from her for another session. Part of me is annoyed but another part of me feels okay with it, content with the thought that the role she played in my life may have been brief but meant more than I can say. I’m sure I will have another similar presence in my life eventually, either the same or different. All I know is that talking helps and heals.

The reason I had the itch to write tonight, though, is to share how drastically different my time has become at the zoo with my recent job change. And it’s all in a good way. I left a position I had been in my third season of, for various reasons, and I started in a new one that still has similar qualities. I didn’t realize until today, though, how different it actually is. While I had been handling animals at the zoo in my previous position, I am still doing the same, but it’s bringing animals to outreach events and schools. It’s just enough of a change to keep me from becoming stagnant, and I feel like I have moved from what now feels like the kid’s table to the adult’s. I spent an hour today putting information together for two events I will be doing this upcoming week, contacting the clients via email and phone to confirm details. It felt good knowing I was trusted to do so many things independently, and I bombarded my manager with emails to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. On the days of the events, one will involve me getting to the location by myself and having all of the animals prepared beforehand, and that terrifies and excites me. With this one job change, I feel like I’m not only continuing to receive animal handling experience, but more education and coordination experience as well. My previous job was wonderful, and I’m so proud and thankful of the time I spent in it. It gave me the confidence and the opportunity to be where I am today.

As the days progress, I hope I continue to remain positive. Aside from my work life, I’ve also been making new friends with people from the studios I’ve been taking aerial classes at or friends of those people. And it’s been amazing. A friend recently asked me if I’m still job searching, if I will be remaining here. I told her no, that I still want to go somewhere out west, but I also admitted that the time I’ve spent here has allowed me to appreciate so many aspects of my life that just picking up and moving isn’t so simple anymore. I have things that I would require in a new area, and the thought of moving some day is still exciting but more scary. I’d be leaving so many more people behind. Although, part of me is okay with the fact that that is a fear.

Until next time…

What The Heart Wants

Everyone is told to follow their heart, to trust in it because it sometimes knows you better than you know yourself. I ignored mine and ended up hurting someone in the process. Surrounded by friends and family who are in loving and committed relationships, I felt like I needed to be in one, too. I became his friend and rushed into what I thought would be something fun for awhile, but I realized quickly that I had made these decisions for all the wrong reasons. I couldn’t even bring myself to give it a chance because I already found myself crying when he wasn’t looking, afraid that I would somehow end up so far into it that I would have no way of getting out. So I ended it before I could do more damage.

Some have told me that I should have tried more, that I didn’t let it last long enough to know if it would become something better. But those who have given me that advice don’t know what my heart was telling me. When I finally decided to listen, I realized that I had already given it to someone else, that I’m in love with someone I can’t be with. Who knows why this happens, why we sometimes let ourselves become caught up in situations that don’t actually make any sense. I don’t know how it happened, but I know that it did.

I’ve been seeing this person for around 6 months, on and off in the form of a casual relationship. I have no idea if he sees other girls because I’ve never asked. He’s a ridiculously busy person, working 5 AM to 1 AM right now, finishing projects for his company and getting caught up on ones that are past the deadline. We don’t always talk, but I know that he’s always there. I saw him tonight, and I almost left crying, but he stopped me to ask what was wrong. I told him how work has been crappy, that I made a mistake and hurt someone, and that I stress and freak out over these situations when he’s in a far worse position and somehow manages to keep a level head. He told me that he just focuses on the fact that nothing we do is ever the end of the world. It always has a way of working itself out. He hugged me until I could breathe again, and I left.

It’s clear to me that neither of us is in a position to be in a committed relationship, both of us busy with jobs and dealing with our own mental health issues, but it somehow is enough to know that I can see him and talk to him, that he actually cares about me, even if it’s not in the way one would expect. What I thought I wanted is not what I need, and I know that now. He tells me that I deserve someone who will treat me well, someone better. When I told him I was in a relationship, he said to focus on making that work and not waste time thinking about him. But I couldn’t. Again, some will tell me I’m wrong. That I should have tried harder to make that relationship work, but I couldn’t be with someone knowing I’d never be able to see him again.

Perhaps when the day comes that brings me to a new place, with a new job and new friends, I’ll finally be able to move on. But for now, I can only take one day at a time, and I can acknowledge the fact that I have listened to my heart, and I will continue to do so.

Self Love

If I love myself enough to put myself first in my own life, then…

…I would eliminate the stress of working too many jobs and focus on my passion and how I want to follow it.

…I would worry less about disappointing others and make decisions based on my own health and well-being.

…I would honor my desire to travel and make plans to see the world, with or without a traveling friend.

…I would make more time for my hobbies and less time for staring at screens.

…I would make the tough choice because mental health is just as, if not more, important as physical and emotional health.

…I would accept help from the friends and family who love and care for me without guilt or regret.

This is not a complete list, but I wanted to share.

I’m Okay

The good thing is that I’m not crying right now. I haven’t in a few days, which I consider progress. I’ve been making myself go to this overnight job every night for the past two weeks, and I know the shifts only last for so long, so the prospect of simply sleeping after is enough to keep me going. I’ve been cooking and baking, and I’m even trying to practice more yoga again. My second therapy session has come and gone, and I’m doing my best to make it worthwhile, even when it feels like I’m not in the moment. When people ask how I’m doing, and they’re someone I know at least a little bit, I have become accustomed to responding with “I’m okay” instead of “I’m good”. Why? Because the latter is automatic, something we say when we’re not really trying to have a conversation, even when the statement is the opposite of the truth. While saying the former may prompt questions on why, I feel better admitting that everything isn’t awesome and amazing. It’s just okay.

The not so good things are numerous, but I won’t take the time to dwell on them all right now. I’ll only share the ones I consistently think about. The thought at the forefront of my mind right now, almost every hour of the day, is the fact that I’m unhappy with where I currently live. When I returned from my overseas adventures almost a year ago, I needed a place to live, and I didn’t want to rely on my mother to pay my rent. So, I decided to go back to living with my brother, plus his girlfriend. It’s a three bedroom, so we all have our own space, but it just doesn’t feel like enough anymore. I even find myself trying to find reasons not to go home some days, and it should never be that way. I won’t say it’s because of my housemates, but I do know that I can’t avoid the fact any longer that I would just be better off living on my own. I’m the type of person who not only values her privacy but also her space. I like things to be my way, and it bothers me when they aren’t. All through college, I kept my own dishes in my room because the thought of someone else using my cup or bowl was upsetting. I even kept baked goods in private spaces because I couldn’t bear to share them. Why should they enjoy something I put my own time, money, and energy into making? Right now I spend more time in my room than usual just because I don’t feel like talking with anyone else and the times when I do sometimes end up with me being unnecessarily rude. I’m thankful for the fact that I was able to live somewhere with people I know, but I’m ready to move on. My only dilemma is the potential for me to get a job elsewhere and need to move on, leaving a place where I’d be living with loose ends.

I’m still applying for jobs that I come across, ones that are full time and happen to be in areas I wouldn’t mind living. So far, I haven’t had much luck, but that hasn’t stopped me. Just tonight I applied for two new ones. While I would love to hear back with good news, I also worry about what will happen if I do get a job somewhere. I don’t worry enough not to try, though. In the meantime, I know I’ll be happy at the zoo when the season starts again. Which brings me to the final thought I’ll share.

This DHL job isn’t difficult. The only part of it that is has to do with the shift I work. Even then, I can handle midnight to 5 AM well enough when I have time to sleep before and after. On the days when I’m up and running with no time to rest, though, I feel angry, sad, and depressed. Because of all of those feelings, I know I need to make a decision. I already took my internship down from two days to one day a week, almost deciding to completely end it altogether. I’m glad I didn’t. I can’t bear to think of working 3 jobs in the coming weeks, though, so something will have to go. It won’t be an easy decision, but I know the one I have to make. If my mental health and physical health are suffering, something has to change.

I keep reminding myself that I’m doing the best that I can, that I have people who care about me and support me. I know I haven’t been myself lately, and I’ve even been asking myself who that even is. Who is Maggie? Because sometimes I’m not sure I ever knew. I can only hope that I will figure it all out with time.

On Repeat

It’s disappointing that my first post of the new year isn’t something more exciting. I had every intention of writing out my 2017 achievements and 2018 goals, but like most of my intentions, I never followed through. So far, this new beginning has been far from enjoyable, with a few exceptions (i.e. My youngest sister’s 21st birthday). I haven’t practiced yoga consistently, I find myself becoming more and more worn out and tired from a day where I hardly expend any energy, and my nights have ended in tears more often than not. And, not to sound rude or ungrateful, don’t try to explain to me the benefit of finding someone to talk to because it’s been on my endless list of things to do, and I only end up talking myself out of it when I actually remember it was something I meant to do. It’ll happen at some point, or it won’t.

Regardless, that’s not why I’m writing right now. I’ve been struggling with putting my thoughts and feelings as of late into words, and I’d like to try. My life at the moment feels like it’s on repeat. Every year, I experience the joy of doing a job I love, whether it’s at the zoo or a short-lived albeit valuable time in California or Italy, and yet every year, I also experience the anger, frustration, and impatience that follows these periods of time. Why? Because no matter what I’ve done lately, I can’t support myself year round, and that fact takes its toll. I drown in the bills I have to pay, the expenses required of me as a living, breathing human being, and I’m constantly trying to reassure myself that it will all be okay, but it only ever gets that way if I do something I hate.

Hate is a strong word that I rarely use, but it only feels right in describing the jobs I force myself to do because the sad truth is that only earning more money will relieve my current stress. At least most of it. When I was still in college and visiting this area on breaks, I worked as a package handler for FedEx. These were three separate occasions, and I strongly disliked them all. Some days, I would go in crying and other days I would leave that way. In my opinion, nobody should ever put themselves in a work situation that involves enough stress to cause tears. But who ever takes their own advice? If you’ve never worked a warehouse job, you might not understand. Or, you might be someone who is simply stronger than me and can handle or dismiss the feelings that come with performing a job that is not what you want but what you need.

Why do I bring this up now? Because I’ll soon be starting yet another warehouse-type job and I wish I could back out but I just can’t. My orientation is tomorrow, from 10 PM to 6 AM, and I can only pray that I won’t fall asleep during it. The actual shifts I’ll be working will be midnight to 5 AM Monday through Friday. In and of itself, that doesn’t sound bad. But my stress and anxiety also stem from the fact that I’ll have my internship and my current retail job to get through as well. And I don’t even want to think about what’ll happen when I’m back at the zoo. Lying in bed right now with the headache I’ve given myself and tear stains drying on my cheeks, I know I need to make a change but I can’t decide what the right one is. I could drop my retail job and hope that I make enough at the warehouse until the zoo starts again and proceed with both of those, or I could give up on the warehouse and do whatever it takes to make any kind of extra money I can with my retail job (and that grocery delivery I still do on occasion) until the zoo starts again. I don’t know if I can spend the next month and a half juggling so many things. My mind can’t handle it.

The other thing I hate is that I put myself in these situations knowing how I’ll react, and I do it anyway. I knew I’d be reluctant to work another job of this type, but I convinced myself that I had no other choice. Part of it actually also has nothing to do with me but with what my mom would think. I know, her opinion really shouldn’t matter, but it does. And if she’s reading this, I don’t know what she would think, but I know I’ve told her before that what she thinks about me and my decisions matters a lot to me, even if I’m already in my mid-twenties. It also has a lot to do with the fact that she is always willing to help me, but I could never accept that help if I knew I didn’t do whatever I could to pull myself out of my own hole of despair. I’m the one who chose this seemingly impossible career path, so I should be the one to handle the consequences.

My nose is stuffed up, my eyes are wet again, and I can’t think of anything else more to write. Everything above is what is in my head right now, and it might seem petty or silly to worry about to you, but it may just be that you don’t quite understand how someone like me functions. I literally can’t help it. My mental health has changed a lot over the years, and I do know I need to make an effort to handle it better, but the writing I do like this honestly helps more than you might think.

The Holidays

For some reason, saying “Merry Christmas” feels odd this year. Maybe it’s because I haven’t felt “merry” lately. Or maybe it’s because I’d rather refer to this time of year collectively as “The Holidays” because Christians are not the only group of people being festive and celebrating. When I sent cards to friends and family, I called them holiday cards because saying they were Christmas cards didn’t feel right. In any case, I know how this time of year can be less than exciting for some of us, and I’m having trouble getting through it as the month continues to go on.

Whenever I tell people that my birthday is two days before Christmas, they always ask me how it is to celebrate so close to such a popular holiday. Being older now, I don’t often celebrate it anymore. All I end up doing is maybe going to dinner with my family or having a cake made for me. Sometimes I wish I could make it into a bigger deal, but this month comes with so much stress, having my birthday on top of it all feels like a burden. Right now, I’m struggling to keep myself in that state of positivity and optimism, but the tears slipping down my face tell me I’m already failing. Last night I was in such a wonderful mood, it’s a wonder how different I can feel only 24 hours later.

I don’t have to worry about buying gifts for many people anymore, aside from a secret santa at work and one member of my family that I shop for during the month of December, but I still seem to make it into a stressful rather than joyous situation. There’s so much commercialization involved in this holiday that it doesn’t make me feel happy anymore. It makes me want to do the exact opposite and buy nothing. On top of the gifts, I had my car registration to renew, and I have a new health insurance payment to look forward to in the new year. And my credit cards will never ever be paid off. (Why did I have to spend money to see Paris?) With all of that, I can’t help but panic at the thought that I will be down one job and at significantly fewer hours for the other one, and I don’t know what I’m going to do. The internship I was offered a week ago once felt so exciting and now I just wish it were something I could get paid for.

I hate money, and I hate what not having it does to me. I used to entertain ideas of living on my own next year, being able to have a space to call my own, and it pains me to know that I likely won’t have it. Nobody seems to understand how hard it is to come home and not be alone. Even the idea of talking to someone now feels pointless because they will be able to do nothing to make any of this better. All I want is to give everything up and forget my plans for the future because nothing right now seems possible.

I know friends and family will tell me what they always have, that I’m not alone. But if you’ve ever felt this way, you know that being told that doesn’t mean anything until you’ve managed to let these feelings pass. I know in the back of my mind that everything has a way of working out, but I never accept that until I’ve already cried myself to sleep.

Transparency

If you have been wondering about my moods lately and why I seem to have suddenly fallen into an endless black hole, this post is for you. The explanation I’m going to give isn’t why I suffer from anxiety and/or depression, but it is part of why I have been having so much trouble concentrating and staying motivated lately. If you know anything about me, you know I cannot help but worry, and my mind is always jumping to the worst case scenario conclusions. It’s how I’ve always been, and it’s one of many reasons why I am hoping to find a counselor to speak to soon.

A few weeks ago, I had my routine OB-GYN check up. From previous posts I’ve made online, you might know that I didn’t handle it well. It is a time I never look forward to, and I had been hoping this time would be different, but it wasn’t. I still cried, and I still left feeling weak. Eventually, I didn’t think about it. That is, until I received a call from the office a week later. I was told that there had been low-grade abnormal cells found, and I needed to be referred to another doctor to get a biopsy. Of course, I had no idea what that meant, and I immediately broke down. What did “abnormal” mean? Do I have cancer? Will I have cancer? What is a biopsy? How am I supposed to afford this? The person who called me on the phone was very calm and reassured me several times until I could actually hear her that it is more common than not for a woman to have an abnormal pap. She told me that, if not checked out, it could develop into cancer, but that would be over a matter of years, not weeks or months. I could breathe again. I called my mom, and I cried, but I managed to contact another doctor to set up a consultation, and I hoped it wouldn’t be at the forefront of my mind for the time being. It was.

Why did I need another doctor? It’s because I knew I wouldn’t be able to have myself checked out while conscious, so I had to find someone who could put me under. The idea terrified me. And I kept worrying about money. Once I received reassurance that it was the best choice from a few different people, I only had to wait for it to be over. And it was over today. I had to be in the waiting room by 5:30 AM. My clothes were replaced by a gown, and I had my first IV put into my hand. The nurses and doctors kept referring to my procedure as a surgery. It felt like a misuse of the word, but I suppose they were right. Luckily, all I remember is leaving the prep area, being wheeled down the hallway to the OR, and waking up after it was finished.

Some of you reading this may be thinking that I’ve been overreacting, that I have nothing to worry about. You may be right, but I won’t know the results for another week. And in spite of what the results are, this experience has brought up so many other thoughts and feelings, and they have combined to form a grey cloud over my head. It comes and it goes, and right now it’s still there, albeit a bit smaller. If I’m lucky, these cells are simply the sign of an infection that will go away easily over time. If not, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I’ve not only been thinking about this but about my future, where I’m going with my life, what it would mean for me to have to receive treatment of some kind, what I can do differently so I don’t allow myself to be overwhelmed by every little thing. When you’re faced with real life problems, your normal routines are shaken up, and it’s difficult to pretend otherwise. So, for those of you who have been wondering, this is part of why I haven’t been fully present. And I appreciate your concern, your thoughts, and your patience.