Back to the Beginning

•November 11, 2007 • 1 Comment

I haven’t really written anything in a while, because to be honest, I’ve been having some pretty good days lately.  But I know that’s just a temporary thing: with my type of depression, I can be riding high and suddenly crash and burn.

But those of you who have read this blog (and shock of all shocks!  I actually have people reading what I write!!!) might be a little confused, because I tend to allude to things that have happened in my past but don’t explain.  So I thought I’d write a little bit of my backstory, in an effort to keep this blog up and running (not to mention it’s good therapy).

Looking back, if I had to pinpoint an age at which my depression first manifested itself, I would have to say it started at around 10 years old.  A lot of things happened to me that year.  I was told the truth about why my grandmother kept me but kicked my parents and sister out two years previous, when we had all been living together.  It turned out that she had had legal custody of me since I was 18 months old.  When I was 5, she had gotten into a bad motorcycle accident and wasn’t physically able to care for me, so my grandfather had given me back to my parents.  In the interim, my grandmother healed, divorced my grandfather, and when I was 8, we’d gone to live with her.  It didn’t take long for my father’s violence and alcoholism to bring her to breaking point, so she told them to leave.  But she kept me, because she had the right.  Nobody explained this to me at the time, but when I was 10, the truth started to come out.  (I suspect because the family thought that at 10, I was mature enough to understand at least the basics of the whys and the hows.)

My father was also sent to prison that year, for abusing both me and my sister.  (Kind of explains that mini post before, doesn’t it?)  I wasn’t put through the trauma of having to testify against him, mainly because he plead guilty.  But I had gone through a lot of interviews with psychiatrists and lawyers, and that was traumatic enough.  Not only because of what he’d done to me, but because when he did it, he’d threatened to kill my mother.  I believed him.  So when everything came out and I was questioned, I was terrified of saying anything for fear that it would come back to bite everybody on the ass. 

Then I made a big mistake.  I didn’t know it would be a mistake at the time, but it turned out to be something that would haunt me for years and years.  There was one girl in school, named Kristin, that I thought was my friend.  She lived pretty close to me, and she invited me to come over to her house to play.  While we were playing, I made the mistake of telling her about what my father had done to me.

Within a day, it had gotten all around the school.  I wasn’t just asked about it, it was thrown in my face.  Suddenly, people would shout at me, “at least I didn’t fuck my own father!”  I had trusted this girl with something that haunted me day and night, and she used it against me in the worst way possible.  For weeks and weeks, I would come home from school every day in tears, dreading the next morning when I would have to go back and face the abuse again.  It was sheer torture.  And the worst part was that these kids assumed that I must have wanted it to happen to me; they never questioned Kristin’s motives for telling them what I had told her in confidence.

Now that I look back upon it with over 16 years of having a diagnosis and understanding a little more about why my brain does this to me, I think it was stress, largely.  A ten year old child subjected to abuse like that is naturally going to feel stressed.  But if that weren’t enough, I also somehow managed to keep my grades up while in the midst of my abuse.  The lowest grade I got that year was a C (and if memory serves correctly, that was in Gym).  And not being able to talk to anybody about it due to shame put even more stress on me.  It’s hard to hold something like that in, you know?

That’s when the depression really started to hit.  I didn’t want to go to school and face my tormentors, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell my grandmother what was really going on, either.  I just knew she would blame me for trusting somebody with my deepest, darkest secret.  It was all my own fault, really, for daring to trust someone.

Eventually, it got too much.  I came home from school one day – in those days, I was often on my own, because my grandmother worked two jobs just to keep a roof over our heads – and decided I would end it all.  In one of the highest cabinets in the kitchen, there was a bottle of pills that had belonged to my other grandfather (not the one she was married to, my mother’s stepfather, whom we had lived with before moving in with my grandmother when I was 8).  I didn’t know what they were, I just knew that they were for his kidney problems (he’d been on dialysis for years).  And I knew that any medication, taken in large doses, could be fatal.  So I pushed a chair over to the cabinet, climbed up, and got the bottle of pills down.  I sat at the kitchen table with a big glass of Kool-Aid and took every pill in the bottle, one by one.

The strange thing was, I should have been scared or at least nervous, but I wasn’t.  I felt numb.  All I could think of was that my pain and torture would be over.

But I was wrong.

I laid down on the couch after finishing (and hiding) the bottle of pills, waiting for death to come for me.  I lay and wait… lay and wait… and….

nothing happened.

I didn’t even get sick to my stomach.  Absolutely nothing happened.  My grandmother came home from work in the early evening, and it was just like any other day.  Only it wasn’t just any other day.  I had tried to kill myself, and it hadn’t worked.  I was absolutely devastated, because it meant that I would have to face more torture at school.  But still, I didn’t say anything to my grandmother.  She didn’t find out for years about what was going on.

But, I have to admit, something good happened that year, too – although it was much later on.  When we went back to school after summer vacation, there was a new girl: Sheryl.  She was a quiet, shy girl with long dark hair and warm brown eyes.  I saw her one day, looking lost, and offered to help.  She became my best friend, and didn’t give two shits about what the other kids at school said about me.  For years, we were inseparable.  We drifted apart when we got to high school, but then became friends again a few years later.  And I still call her my friend.  We’re not as close as we once were, obviously, but in all that hell, one good thing came of it, and that good thing is still in my life.

So I guess it’s not such a bad thing that my first suicide attempt failed.  🙂

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Frightening DeJaVu

•November 11, 2007 • Leave a Comment

You know what’s scary?  Checking out the national sex offender’s registry and finding a picture of your father – whom you haven’t seen in over fifteen years.

Brings a lot of issues to the surface.

**Cross-posted to The Long and Winding Road.

The verdict is in: the answer is yes.

•November 5, 2007 • 1 Comment

The answer to what, you ask?  Why, the answer to this, of course.

It’s only been a few weeks since I made the decision to start trying to accept (and eventually love) myself as I am, but already it’s made a world of difference.

No, I’m not saying that I’m suddenly “cured” of my depression.  But I didn’t realize until now just how much of my depression was linked into my self-hatred.  And a large part of that self-hatred was directly caused by fat-hatred. 

The best way to describe it would be like this: imagine two interlinked circles.  Each circle has a large area all its own; with its own issues and problems.  On the one side, you have my depression.  On the other, my self-hatred.  But in the middle, they overlap.  And that’s where the largest part of my problem lay.  I couldn’t see where they overlapped, and so I simply felt weighed down by the power of it.

Why the myriad doctors, counselors, therapists, medicine men, witches, druid priests (okay, so I didn’t actually consult medicine men, witches, and druid priests, but I was on a roll… sue me) I’ve seen over the past 20-odd years didn’t catch that one, I’ll never know.  (Yes, I’ve been in and out of treatment for a lot of things, but mostly my depression, for over 20 years… I’m 31 now… YOU do the math.)  You’d think these experts would be able to figure out why I’m as damaged deranged fucked up as I am.

I’ve found that the bad days now aren’t as bad as they were before – and they’re fewer and farther between, to boot.  They’re much easier to deal with, and knowing where it’s coming from makes it even easier.

This whole self-acceptance/fat-acceptance thing has got me really thinking.

My best friend, for example, is bigger than me.  And I don’t just mean her weight; she’s a big woman.  Like me, she gained weight after having her children.  Before that, she was thin – but still big.  She’s tall and big-boned.  She’d never be a size zero.  Could she have gotten down to a single-digit size?  Probably, but in order to be a size zero, she’d have to get something akin to osteoporosis.  But almost the entire time I’ve known her – over four years now – she’s always been happy in her own skin.  It’s never bothered her that she happens to be a large woman.  She has always been happy with who and what she is, and it seemed that nobody else was bothered about it either. 

It boggled my brain.  In my own self-loathing, I simply couldn’t understand how she could be that size and not want to lose weight.  It came as quite a shock to me.  Granted, she’s recently started going to the doctor to get on a program to lose weight, but that’s largely because she gets a discounted gym membership out of the deal.  If she’d have been able to get that gym membership any other way, she would have done that as well.  She just wants to exercise and be healthy, and the only way she knew how to get that deal was to join that particular program.  But up until now, she has never bothered doing anything to lose weight.  If she felt like having a salad, she’d have a salad.  But if she felt like having a cheese sandwich, she’d have that, too.  She simply ate what she wanted.  Like me, she had a tendency to not eat anything during the day and only eat at night, and she didn’t overeat; so she was just as mystified as I was at how we could eat so little and yet remain so large.  But it never really bothered her.

The ironic thing?  I stop trying to lose weight; I stop obsessing over what I weigh; I stop obsessing over what I’m eating and when… and what happens?  I start to lose not so much weight, but inches.  Over the last few weeks, without even trying, my stomach seems to be shrinking.  I haven’t “let myself go.”  I haven’t suddenly decided to eat anything and everything.  I’ve simply decided to stop obsessing over what I put in my mouth and when, and the ramifications of what that means. 

I have kept an eye on my weight, mostly out of curiosity.  My weight has remained steady, but when I step on the scale to see if anything’s changed and realize that it hasn’t, I don’t feel anything.  I’m not upset, I’m not surprised, I’m just… I’ve satisfied my curiosity, and that’s it.

It’s liberating. 

(I’ve started another blog to share my ups and downs with learning to accept/love myself as I am, as well as share my thoughts on the various fat acceptance movement discussions, and if you’re so inclined, feel free to join me there.  Same rules apply: feel free to comment, but remember your manners.  Your mother taught them to you for a reason.)

Excuse me while I whinge a bit.

•October 26, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I don’t usually whinge – or, at least, I try not to.

But this is just breaking my heart.

I’ve been ill for the past week.  Cold, flu, I dunno – all I know is that my throat has been so swollen and sore that for a few nights I couldn’t sleep for gagging.  I’m starting to get better, but not all the way yet.

Hub tells me that he needs to go into town to get a few things, that he won’t be gone long.  Okay, it’s payday, I can deal with that.

Two hours later and the kids are whinging at me because they want lunch.  I can’t give them lunch because there’s nothing in the house.  So I call up hub to find out how much longer he’s going to be.

“20-30 minutes” he says.  “Where the heck are you?” I ask, because the background noise is awfully loud.

“Oh, I stopped to have a drink.”

I’m sitting here with 4 starving kids and he’s over there DRINKING???  While I’m SICK????

This is my biggest pet peeve with this man.  He’s very selfish.  He thinks nothing of other people, just what he wants and what he needs.  While I put him and every other person on the face of the earth before my own needs.  I’m sick and tired of being a human doormat but every time I try to talk to him about it he tells me I’m insane or being ridiculous.

And then he wonders why I just sit here and cry all the time.

Is Fat Acceptance the key?

•October 23, 2007 • 11 Comments

The Fat Rant video – in a roundabout way – led me to discover the Fat Acceptance movement.

I actually didn’t know there was such a thing.

It’s been a real eye-opener in a lot of ways, and I have to keep wondering: is it “the key” for me?  While I can’t place all the blame for my depression on all the fat haters out there, I definitely believe they held a key role in my mental health and self-awareness.  After all, how could I not know that I was fat if I heard it every single day of my life?  And how could I not know that BEING fat made me less of a person, when the fat-haters kept telling me so?

Earlier this year I encountered it again.  Yes, at 31 years old, there are still people who think that juvenile name-calling is the way to win an argument.

A girl down the street from where we used to live was shoving grass down the throats of my 2 youngest children – and they weren’t the only ones she was doing this to.  I used to have a friendly rapport with her mother, so I went over there and decided to speak to her.  Yes, I was upset, but I didn’t start out with name-calling or any other juvenile behavior.  I simply told her what her daughter was doing.

Suddenly she starts yelling at me, telling me that her daughter’s been on the computer all day (funny that I could see her sitting in the grass about 50 feet to my left, huh?), and how I’m fat, so that’s all there is to it.

Huh?  What the fuck does THAT have to do with anything?

Oh, and it got worse from there – both her AND her boyfriend threatened me with physical violence.  All they had to say was that they would deal with it and I would have said thank you and walked away.  But they brought my weight into it (and I should point out that this woman, while certainly thinner than me, was no model contender herself), thinking that THAT was the way to win an argument.

I’ve come to learn in just a few short days that Fat Acceptance isn’t about saying that it’s okay to weigh 300 lbs and do nothing but eat and sit on the couch all day.  Far from it.  These are simply people who want to be accepted for WHO they are, and NOT what they look like. 

They’re actresses and triathletes.  They’re journalists and even formerly thin people.  These are not people who want the whole world to let themselves go.  But they ARE people who don’t listen to the masses telling them they “can’t do _____ or ______” just BECAUSE they’re fat.  Sarah (the triathlete) really amazed me.  I’d first heard of her when I first went over to Shapely Prose and looked at the BMI Project.  There was a picture of her – in all her over-weight-ness – in the PROCESS of running a triathlon.  How many people – regardless of how overweight they may or may not be – have the guts to do something like that?  Not very many, I can tell you that.  And how many overweight people just might be interested in doing something like that but feel they can’t just because they happen to be fat?  From reading the comments on that particular story, I’d have to guess that there’s an awful lot of fat people out there with the “I’ll-do-it-when-I’m-thin” syndrome.

There are even currently thin people out there involved in this Fat Acceptance movement.  Why?  Because they see all the bullshit that fat people have to put up with, and that’s what it is: BULLSHIT.  It’s similar to what black people have (and in some ways, still do) gone through, all because of the color of their skin.  It’s still all about skin, the only difference is that us Fatties have more skin than some, and that’s what’s getting harped on.  (No, I’m not saying that fat people have the same problems that slaves once did, but it’s the closest analogy I could come up with.)

The more I read, the more I wonder… how much of my problem lies with me, and how much lies with others?  Because in my immediate life, I have to be honest: I’m the one with the problem.  I was talking with my 10 year old daughter today (who is beginning to have some weight-related self-esteem issues herself; and she’s only JUST begun to gain weight), and I reminded her that us females are our own worst enemies: we’ll think things about ourselves that are worse than anything anybody could possibly say to us.  I used her stepfather as an example: not once – NEVER – in 8 years has he ever brought up my weight in an unkind manner.  When extremely angry, he’s called me stupid, and crazy, and a lunatic (he tends to stick to the crazy-type words), but never EVER in EIGHT years has he ever said anything untoward about my weight.  Even when put on the spot and asked if there were anything he’d change about my physical appearance, the only thing he could think of were my saggy boobs (which, I hate to say it, have always BEEN saggy; that’s what happens when you literally go from nothing to a C-cup in less than a full year – at the age of 9, no less).  And he’s nearly 6 foot, 140 lbs. soaking wet.

If my husband is okay with the way I look… then why aren’t I?  I really like the whole idea of FA: to accept someone based on WHO they are, not what they look like.  That in itself is a message that I think people of all sizes could use to have drummed into their head.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that the majority of the time, it’s ME that has the problem, not other people.  Of course there are Fat Haters out there, and they can be very vocal, but 99% of the time I’m coming across people who don’t have a problem with the way I look… but I DO.

But on the other side of the same coin: my self-hatred was a direct cause of all the fat-hatred I was subjected to as a child (and when I say “child,” I’m referring to myself before the age of 15).  The ironic thing is that, as a “child,” my HIGHEST weight was 145. ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FIVE POUNDS AND I SUFFERED THAT KIND OF ABUSE????  Can you feel the unfairness of it all dripping from my skin like perspiration?  The fact is, even though I got away from those people who abused me over and over again, they’re still doing it: through me.  I abuse myself in their place.

By the time I got away from most of the fat-haters (couldn’t get away from the ones in my family, though), I was already convinced that there was something wrong with me.  And it all boiled down to my fat.  If I got into a fight with someone, it was because of my fat.  If a certain guy didn’t like me, it was because of my fat.  If he did like me but then broke up with me later, it was because of my fat.

As Joy Nash said in her Fat Rant video: “They won’t like me… I’m fat.  They won’t hire me… I’m fat. That guy would never ask me out… I’m fat.  …  I make this guy’s failure to fall in love with me the fault of my fat… it’s stupid.  Such a waste of time.”

And while outwardly I totally agree with her, I have to admit that inside my own little head, it’s exactly the opposite.  Inside my head is the little voice that continues to tell me that nobody’s going to like me, because I’m fat.  My husband is eventually going to leave me because I’m fat.  The reason I find it so hard to make friends in this country is because I’m fat.  I’m ugly because I’m fat.  I’m worthless because I’m fat.

And while rationally I realize these are absolutely inane things to be telling myself, I can’t just shut it off.  It’s been engraved on my brain for so long that because I’m fat, I’m not even a “real person.”  A few of the suicide attempts I survived were direct results of fat hating – inwardly and outwardly.  You tell a person something enough times, and eventually they’re going to believe it, regardless of the actual truth of the matter.

I keep thinking to myself, “I’ll be happy once I lose the weight.”  But what in my life is really going to change once I lose the weight?  There will be a smaller number on the scale… my clothes will be smaller… and I might (emphasis on MIGHT) not feel so self-conscious about my body.

What, in all of that, is a guarantee that I’m going to be happy?  NONE OF IT!!!!!

So, as the title of this entry says: is Fat Acceptance the key?  Is accepting myself for who I am, regardless of my weight or the size of my clothes, the key to being truly happy?  Probably.  Am I anywhere near that point?  Hell-fucking-no.  Am I going to let that stop me?

HELL-FUCKING-NO!!!!

I’m going to go out there and do what I want to do; what I feel I need to do.  I feel I need to exercise.  Why?  It’s not just my weight, it’s my health.  I have 4 young children, one of them disabled, and I want to be fit and healthy so that I can enjoy them for as long as I can – REGARDLESS of what the scale might tell me.

And while I freely admit that I’m nowhere near accepting myself for who I am, I truly believe that my discovery of the Fat Acceptance movement has shown me the right path.  I’m not saying that all fat people are healthy, because I myself have known more than a few unhealthy fat people.  But on the other hand, I’ve also known (and am one at this point) some extremely healthy fat people.  Fat doesn’t always have to equal unhealthy.  So why should it ALWAYS equal unworthy?

It shouldn’t.

It’s the little things that mean the most

•October 23, 2007 • Leave a Comment

And by that title, I do mean the little nice things that happen, but the little bad things, too.

The little nice things that happen to you are what you really remember about a particular person.  Like my husband, for example.  I can’t think of very many big things he’s ever done that I could tell you about, other than things he did when we first met – and that’s a normal occurrence.  You always try harder when you first meet someone, because you want them to like/love/accept you.

But one little bad thing can ruin an entire day – or make you realize how important that little thing really is.

I realize I’m being a little cryptic here, so I’ll explain further.

My computer started going nuts today.  It started freezing up for no reason, so I kept restarting it.  After 3 or 4 re-starts, it suddenly started beeping at me like crazy.  I didn’t know what to do, and Hubby (our resident computer expert) was still in bed.  So I did the only thing I could do.

I turned it off and had a break down.

I suddenly thought of all the things I couldn’t do if I didn’t have my computer.  I couldn’t talk to my family – almost none of them ever call me on the phone, and if it weren’t for email, I probably wouldn’t know half the things that have gone on since I left the country in ’03.

I couldn’t talk to any of my friends, because NONE of them have EVER called me since I moved here – all communications have been by email.

But thinking of friends reminded me of just how isolated I feel lately.  Even my best friend – who was so broken up about me moving here that she could barely face me – won’t return my emails anymore.  I realize that it’s probably largely to do with the fact that it’s painful for her to have me so far away (one of the last conversations we DID have revolved around that very point), but it hurts me.  I’ve never needed her as much as I need her now, but she won’t respond to me.

And as much as that hurts, I have to admit that I’ve done the same thing to other people.  Another (male) friend keeps emailing me, and I can’t even bring myself to open the emails.  I don’t delete them, though – they sit there in my inbox and remind me of what a bad friend *I’M* being, but part of me is simply too ashamed to answer him.  I came here with such high hopes, and while I don’t regret moving here (as there are a lot of aspects of our family’s life that have been drastically improved since moving), the truth is that almost nothing is what I was told it would be.  Not to mention the fact of my husband’s affair, which may have happened 3 years ago, but I still find it hard to talk about.

I used to have a very involved online friendship with a small group of women, but I cut myself off from them a while ago as well, and I don’t know how to re-connect with them.  I simply stopped going to that particular part of the internets, and it’s been so long, I simply feel like a fool for considering trying to re-connect.

And it was this blog (and others, I have a few) that I thought of when I thought my computer had up and died on me.  Since I have a hubby who isn’t big on communication (that’s not to say he isn’t supportive; he is – he just can’t give me the level of support I TRULY need) and only one “real life” friend left in the world, my blogs are SO important to me.  This is my only way of “talking to” someone outside the confines of my own home, most days.

Finally, the information I’ve found recently (I will be doing a different blog post on that one, it’s opened my eyes about so many things) popped into my head, and my anguish increased tenfold.  I have found some really wonderful people and information, and for the first time in years I thought there might actually be hope for me and my self-image.  Without my computer I wouldn’t have access to that information, and that thought scared me infinitely.  I can feel myself sinking into the black depths, yet I can still see the faint light of hope.  I thought it was all being taken away from me.

The issues this thing seemed to be having earlier look like they’ve cleared up all on their own – hubby did a few things, left it a bit, and when he came back it seemed to just go away.  But I found it strange.  Most people would think that something as small as a broken laptop wouldn’t be a big deal.  But me?  I seriously felt as if somebody was taking a huge part of my life away.

Jeez.  I’m really pathetic, ain’t I?

Fat Rant

•October 21, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I don’t normally post more than once in a day, but I saw this and just had to write about it.

Fat Rant

More Fat Rant: Confessions of the Compulsive

Then I went to Joy Nash’s blog.  That led me to Mia Tyler.

I’m in awe.

First, I have to say that I’m almost literally green with envy at Ms. Nash.  How dare she be bigger than I am and look 1000x hotter?  I nearly hit the floor when I watched the first Fat Rant video and heard how much she weighed!

But… I also envy her self-confidence.  And she makes a lot of sense.  Fat people ARE looked down upon simply because of the way they look.  And they do it to themselves, too.

I’m guilty of that.  I figure nobody will like me because they won’t see past my fat.  I’ve never told him this, but I don’t think my Hubby would have looked twice at me if we’d actually met in person first, instead of on the Internet like we did.  I’ve always thought that way, to be honest.  I never understood how I managed to have so many boyfriends in high school.  Even when I was with my “high school sweetheart,” I still had guys hitting on me.  I just didn’t get it.  Didn’t they SEE me?

But I really liked what she said about being fat AND healthy.  I’ve known some skinny people in my life that were worse off health-wise than I am.  And while I’m nowhere near the shape I was when I was in high school, I don’t actually have any health issues related to my weight.  For me, it’s all cosmetic.  I don’t deny that my weight could possibly CAUSE health issues, but right now, there aren’t any.

The thing is, though… I bet if fat people were to actually get to the point where they were comfortable with themselves, there wouldn’t BE as many fat people.  Many fat people comfort-eat, and it gets them into a downward spiral.  They feel bad about themselves, so they eat to feel better.  Then they feel bad about eating, so they eat some more.

If they were to feel comfortable with themselves, they wouldn’t need to comfort-eat.  And I’d be willing to bet money that a lot of fat people would end up losing weight without even trying.  They might never be “skinny,” but they certainly wouldn’t be what they are now.  They’d be happier and healthier – and if you ask me, that’s what REALLY matters.

I was also surprised to realize that Mia Tyler is a PLUS SIZED MODEL?!  I’d heard of her, of course.  How could I NOT, when I idolized her father for so many of my teenage years? 😉  I knew she was a model, but not that she was plus sized.  I had no idea.  And, to be honest, I figured that what with her gene pool, she’d be a reed like her father and sisters.  But then I went and looked at her MySpace page, and the “Love Your Body Day” website.  I was gobsmacked!

I really like the ideas they’re trying to push.

Accept yourself as you are!

Your weight is not your worth!

EveryBODY is beautiful!

Quit hating yourself and your BODY!

It’s going to take a lot for people to start believing it, though.  I don’t believe it.  I know I should.  I wish I did.  But I don’t.  But I think if more people put out the same message, it’ll go a long way to disproving the myths that the media constantly put out there.  That size 0 is the ONLY size to be to be beautiful.

The fact is, for people such as myself, this only contributes to our low self-esteem and self-worth.  Which makes my depression even worse.  I see these size 0 models and I think to myself “I’ll never look like that.  I’ll always be ugly.”  Because let’s face it – women in general honestly think that if size 0 is the size to be, then anything OTHER than size 0 is ugly.  Even women who are size 2 – not 22 – think there’s something wrong with them because they’re not a size 0.

But Joy Nash defnitely has the right idea.  It’s definitely a step in the right direction.  Unfortunately, it’s a long, hard road.