Thursday, July 20, 2017

I rock.

I rock back and forth in my seat, trying to tame the electricity in my stomach. I rock, and sometimes I lower my head between my knees, and sometimes I cover my ears. I sit down in the middle of the crowded sidewalk and I cry and rock and lower my head and cover my ears.

Because the world overwhelms me. It's the world surrounding me, the people getting too close to me. It's the overstimulating sounds of screaming and honking and elbows in my face and sides. Even with my ears covered, I hear the judgmental comments by passersby. I hear when they say I'm a mess or a weirdo or having a bad trip. It is a bad trip, one which I can't turn on or off.

There are times when my head begins to flail back and forth, too. It starts with my knee bouncing, my cuticles raw from being ripped and torn, the skin on my lips bright pink and scabbed. This isn't enough, the energy and raucous inside isn't at ease. It spreads to my eyes, darting back and forth, my neck jolting my head around and around and around like I'm possessed. I am possessed by the hurricane inside me.

Without time to eat or sleep or even fantasize, all my efforts are put into the task of senseless ticks, tacks, taps, and tones. The kind that forces strangers to place a hand on my knee. "Please stop." The kind that drives any sane man insane. To the point where I begin holding my own knee down and I look utterly bizarre as I struggle with my own inner willpower. A will to fidget and an opposing will to slow down, to rest, to make it stop. I am standing and bouncing and my calves are getting a work out, but there are no headphones on my ears, there is no tune to incite such enthusiasm. It is just my mind coaxing me- play, play, play.

Picking up a guitar requires too much focus and I certainly don't have the attention span for reading a book. Movies and television and even listening to a song is too dull and slow and precise for me. I crave speed and action, to gnaw and suck out the blood of an ocean crashing against plated glass. That CRASH, that is me pounding without rhyme or reason at the wooden table. Knock on wood if you simply can't sit still.

Seconds turn to days to weeks, and it all feels like one moment that cannot keep up with me. We are racing to infinity and I am in the lead. Without a sense of accomplishment or victory, just with deprivation and dilapidation; disintegration.

One's body begins to fail when it lacks basic human needs. When the sugar dwindles, the fats and carbohydrates and proteins have been used to keep my leg bouncing to a silent song, then everything begins to weaken. If only this put things on hold. Despite the weakness and fatigue, my nerves are still on fire, aching to react to fight and flight and leaps and bounds.

And when I am down there, on the ground in the middle of a crowded sidewalk, I close my eyes. Because if I open my eyes, I may realize that this is real. That I can't escape.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Not romantic, not broken

Like every other teenager, at 14 or so I started exploring my sexuality. Whatever that means. Most "normal" girls started dating boys at this age. Some girls even dated other girls! Not me, though. I wasn't dating anyone. I experienced a crush now and then, sure. I wanted to look good for the guys....

But looking back, I can't help but wonder if those were really crushes at all. If I thought someone was nice, society told me I should want to kiss them and date them. So, I wrote sweet letters to the funny guy in my English class. I told the guy I knew since kindergarten that I wanted to date him. I giggled and blushed and got rejected (every time), but I didn't really care. Those guys were still in my life and I felt just the same about them as I did about the girls. They were my peers and we were all together in school trying to figure out how to survive math class.

Eventually, the other girls and boys were matching up. They were teasing each other until asking the other to dance at a party. They were trying to get alone time and getting in trouble with their parents. That's when I started to wonder. Maybe if I dated these boys, they wouldn't kick the ball so hard in gym class? Then my nose might not bleed so hard when it hit me in the face.... Or maybe if I dated these boys, they would look the other way when I inexplicably vomited on the lunch table everyday. MAYBE if I dated these boys, they'd be so in love that they wouldn't laugh at me when I bought them a carnation on Valentine's Day. But I didn't date these boys, and I didn't particularly want to. Even when every other girl, including the lanky one with bad pigtails and a worse attitude had a boyfriend, I still didn't want to be in a relationship. I didn't want to devote a Saturday to meeting him at the mall for french fries. Nor did I want to wear his hoodie in 90 degree weather just so everyone knew we were a couple. I had no interest in dating boys.

"So... am I a lesbian?" I wondered this often. Later in life, when bisexuality was a hot word, I wondered if that was the label for me. Those terms didn't fit, either. As little interest as I had in getting boy slobber on me, the thought of girl slobber was even worse. Girls like gossip and they don't grow beards. Not for me.

Now what?

Years went by, college came. At 18 years old, I finally found a guy online who was pretty neat. He had a cool beard and cool thoughts on political stuff. He went to college for music, which was so cool! Plus, he was really into me, so I was like, "Oh. This is normal. I found normal!"

Then we met in person and he was cool, but he wanted to kiss me and put his hands on me. Immediately, this didn't feel cool. Not that it was wrong or bad, but those weren't my hands and lips, why were they near my skin? Ew.

Oh, yes, that was my reaction to being touched: ew. Every single time. I didn't like it. I didn't like the germs and someone else's saliva near me. I didn't like being touched or complimented or even holding hands. Flirting was uncomfortable, too. I simply detested everything about this new thing I was experiencing. He would also ask me questions about my habits and my body that sounded absolutely rude and gross. Would I like WHAT WHERE!? Do I want HOW WHEN!?

No, sir. NO to everything.

The only thing I could think to do was to stop everything. Stop dating, stop talking to new people, stop whatever was causing this displeasure. If I could just turn off that faucet, that'd be great, thanks. But I couldn't make it stop! Everywhere I went, there were men, and sometimes women who were asking for my number or offering me a drink. And, truth be told, I loved connecting with strangers. Going out to a new bar or restaurant or even traveling with someone I would otherwise never have met was so much fun! Usually, the guy would pay, so I wouldn't even have to worry about money!

Why would I stop this? Everyone else was doing it and everyone was telling me I should do it, so... clearly, this is what I should be doing, whether I liked it or not.

This worked for me until the inevitable moment would come: he would expect the next thing that normal people expect on or after a date- he'd want to get close to me. He'd want to kiss and touch and possibly even start a relationship. Oh, right... that. Ew.

Problem is, if I rejected him, I was told I was just leading him on and taking advantage of him. That's what normal people told me. Taking advantage of people is not something I do, so I went on a second date, and a third, and my resentment would grow. Eventually, everything about this person seemed horrible. They were no longer nice or friendly or funny or kind. They had no positive traits, they were just evil people sucking me into their lair of hot, sticky, disgusting saliva baths.

I wish I could say there were positive influences telling me what was so clear. I wish I could say that my support system was wise enough to inform me that I wasn't required to date. That I didn't have to get married and have babies and make a family to be happy or complete. If someone had just taken a moment to tell me that it's OKAY to not be normal, my life would have been so much easier. Maybe I wouldn't have hated college, maybe I wouldn't have hated socializing, maybe I wouldn't have even hated myself for being abnormal. Surviving my teens and my college years and 6 years of my 20s have been made unnecessarily stressful because everyone thinks I will find "the one" and that I will find my sexuality when I fall in love, because I WILL fall in love. Apparently.

In the meantime, I'm the poor, unfortunate girl who has never had a romantic relationship or been mature enough for one. I am faulty because romance is not something I want, and a mate for life or for tonight are of no interest to me. If I can't publicly display my affection, what use am I to humanity as a whole?

The world has told me I am useless.

But, really? I'm super fine with that. There are days when it bugs me, but I am lucky to be free of that pressure! I don't have to make anyone happy but myself and the people I so choose. I can do and go and be as I please. Without worrying about a jealous or abusive boyfriend. I've never wondered why the guy I love hasn't texted me in 2 days. There are no strings attached to me and I don't have to get approval from anyone but my teachers in graduate school, while there's no boyfriend to distract me from my professional goals. No boyfriend to break up with when I go traveling for a month. My dog doesn't have to approve or disapprove of a guy who comes in and tries to interrupt our happy family of two. I get to live alone, keep the toilet cover down, and never worry about a messy guy trying to ruin my organized lifestyle.

Now, that's what I call a success. With the freedom to protest injustice, foster homeless animals, give unto others, and take the last bite, I have no one to face at the end of the day but myself and my ethics and morals. This romance with myself has its ups and downs, and sometimes I need to buy myself a box of chocolates and beg for forgiveness, but I know just how to get it. Whether it's cheering myself up or calming myself down, the answer is always inside me without an ounce of falsity, passive aggressiveness, or concern that I'll leave at any moment. The trust is unconditional, the love is never-ending, and the memories together are priceless.

I'm not aromantic or asexual, I'm all I have, and that's everything to me.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Being Eaten Alive: What to do when someone you know is facing Depression

When you're living your normal life with confidence and passion and enthusiasm, Depression seems like a distant memory. A silly phase that's long gone. It seems like you've been cured, and so you're more willing to tell the world about it. Conversely, when you're facing the reality of Depression, it is a deep, hidden secret. This is why it's a problem.

Only a few weeks ago, I was living in my special, self-assured little world. I was social, talkative, optimistic, and feeling ready to take on the world! Sadly, the past few days have been much more Hellish inside my brain. I've reverted back to anxiety, seclusion, self-destruction, and obsession. As usual, rather than reaching out to others and requesting their help, I've become a hermit. I only go outside when I absolutely must, I only talk to people when I must, and my sense of self-worth and love is completely depleted.

Some people ask what happened, what "triggered" this, what can I do, they do, we all do? By nature, people are kind (despite what my intensely misanthropic Depressed brain says) and they want to be there for those facing this illness. However, the brain chemicals have no ears. They don't care who listens or hugs or "is there for me". Even if I meditate or chant or spin 3 times while lighting sage on fire, these things won't help. Maybe some people, though. Spin away, if it helps.

So, what can you do, as someone who is watching someone you love suffer? You have to do all you can do- you have to be aware and be patient. These are the two MOST important things you can do. Pushing someone to get out of their slump or making them feel bad about it is of no help to anyone, it may even be dangerous. A little nudge to go out or look at beautiful and happy things, and showing that you're there for them and love them unconditionally, this is all helpful. However, be aware that in the end, only the brain gets to choose.The brain gets to control the mood and thoughts of this individual. It really is like a demon taking over or being put in a hypnotic state. The person you once knew is under a spell of darkness. Until they are released, everyone is at risk. At this time, nothing is about you. What they do and say is probably not personal, their choices and feelings are not your fault, and if you can't "fix" someone, it is because they could not be fixed or did not wish to be. Depression is about the individual, it is so enveloping that anyone outside the individual is hardly present at all.

That is why awareness is extremely important in these cases. There are many types of Depressed people. Everyone expresses it differently and to different degrees. There are those who need to be addressed; who will do everything in the world to be heard and seen and loved. Then there are those who suffer quietly. Both types need help, but doing this boldly isn't always a good idea. Much like helping a stray dog who is nervous around humans, you can't just jump at them and scoop them away. Sometimes you have to ease them out with treats and kiss sounds. Other times, you have to accept that they'll never trust your hands. In this case, you just have to be on the lookout for changes in behaviour. The way they speak or interact with you, or if they interact with you at all! If suddenly this person seems to be in dangerous or harmful situations more often. If they keep "accidentally" getting hurt, or being put in risky situations, or spending more time with risky people, places, and things. If hobbies go ignored, responsibilities and usual habits go untouched. All these changes have the potential to be red flags. If the worst thing you can do is inquire or try to make this person's life a little easier and their worst response is frustration with you, I say it's worth it. If the person seeks seclusion, don't force them out, but do check in on them. If only a text or email or a random care package or letter in the mail.... Until you try, you don't know what will reassure this person or pull the demon out from them.

In this stage, the demon is more like a coma. The Depressed individual seems gone, but they can hear you and feel your presence. With enough persistence and care, it just might work. This may contradict what I said above, about the futility of your attempts to change a person. However, there is a difference. When you're showing you care, this is not an effort to help or save them, it is not insistent and rushed. This kind of expression is gentle and without a motive. You'll likely have a goal or intent, but when offering your hand, this should be empty of any purpose but to express a feeling of love without any strings or expectations attached.

All people experience Depression in different ways, some more obviously than others. But there are signs that a closer look can determine. If you want to make a difference and be the one who "caught them", it is possible. If you suspect someone is facing Depression to an extent that they need help, find a local resource, either a crisis hotline or online chat, or even a website with more information. If not for them, do it for your own understanding of the problem and 'what to do if'. Get informed, that's the best thing you can do before anything else. Knowledge is what will help you get through this difficult time.

Good luck and be well.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Something Beautiful

We talk about love, but we hate one another.
We talk about peace, but we refuse to sacrifice.
We are hypocrites, liars, and cheaters at our best.
But I've seen the beauty staring back at me,
I don't want to ruin or judge it.
I won't let jaded figures break it.

It's here reaching out for you,
all you have to do is let it inhale you.
Surrender and be sold to its will.
Give in to its positive light and indignant empathy.
You are its leader, but you're on its chain.
Let it lead and and be a slave to its movement.
Let yourself be moved. Let us be moved.

With all the negativity and hatred I've seen. With all the death and damage I've witnessed. Much like the rest of the world, I was feeling defeated. It seemed like the world was exhausted and whatever homeostasis we had was faltering and allowing destruction to take over.

However, my faith has been restored. Not only through the pleasure and bliss of my own optimism and initiative, but by the remaining good. It's there, it's everywhere, and I don't want it overlooked, ignored, unseen or forgotten. I am inspired to share this hope because of what happened to me yesterday. Several good things happened, but what stood out amidst it all was a simple kind word.

A client with whom I work at fieldwork reminded me of a love and peace about which I had forgotten. This individual is quite low functioning on the autism spectrum. Speech is difficult, movement is not fluid, comprehension and articulation in objective terms are very impeded. This person is an autistic transgender with physical and mental challenges of a great degree. She has been harassed, hated, unappreciated, and underestimated her entire life.

Although she often talks about her passion for cooking, most people don't believe she is even capable of doing this. Not for a moment do I doubt her. Not her sexuality, not her abilities, not her potential, and I have absolutely no doubt when she tells me she is drop dead gorgeous- because she is drop dead gorgeous. My relationship with this client has grown and blossomed in the year at a rapid rate. She will share things with me that she doesn't share with others, we have congealed into one fantastic being, and I am honoured that she could take me as a confidante and equal. I don't know if I am at her level just yet, but she doesn't let me feel lesser, and I try to comply and be my best.

For someone who has seen the world's darkest pits and experienced rejection her entire life, never have I met such a gentle "beast". Some see her as such and treat her as such. They take advantage of her kindness and desire to give and help and serve others. I'm in no position to get her away from this, but I do my best to offer words of strength and, most of all, help her recognize and take hold of her talents, abilities, and capabilities.

Having attended vocational school for cooking and then being a busboy at NYU, she has the knowledge to create and cook as much as she claims. The naysayers may be surprised by her unstoppable courage, but she is a force to reckoned with. She has a lot to say and offer, and I plan to be a compliant in her activity for as long as I can.

Right now we are working on getting her recipes written down. Once this is done, I hope we can find the funding to print her cookbook. I am not sure if this will just be one copy for her to hold onto and treasure, or enough copies to publish and potentially sell for her profit, but the long term realities are of no importance. Right now we are creating and moving forward on a school bus to victory.

This touching moment, however, it was a simple act. Yet, it placed a pin in my heart that will forever remain. This occurred when she saw a picture of a loved one on my phone. She must have seen the image for a nanosecond, but quickly asked, "Is that your family?"

I should mention that this person, although caring and considerate as could be, she does not typically have interest in the background of others. Certainly not "staff", as she usually considers staff to be different and not the same as the members. However, on this day she was curious about my photo. At which I informed her that the photo was indeed a family member. She asked if I loved her to death. I replied that I did... and even more. She then put her hand on my shoulder and said the words for which I've been waiting to hear. The words that I've needed to hear, and the lack thereof were tearing at my insides and torturing me. She told me, "I am sure she loves you to death, too."

I did not inform her that this family member had passed away. I couldn't tell her, and it was of no importance, anyway. Besides which, I was left speechless, with an aching in my heart that I wanted to frame. I wanted to allow us to sit within the frame and cry and smile and be ourselves forever. Unfortunately, I could not offer this, so I thanked her. So deeply and gratefully, this was possibly the most important "thank you" I've ever shared.

This is that love and peace of which you speak. Don't beg or search for it. Be it.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Whole Story

People always say, "If I knew then what I know now...."
Unfortunately, you didn't, and it's impossible to fix that. What's done is done, you can only move forward. What you can change is other peoples' experience. No one else has to go through what you did.
This has been my experience in the mental health field. Don't get me wrong- I still love the knowledge, the clients, and everything I've learned. However, did anyone tell me I'd have to buy a metro card, travel an hour, and work for free for 400 hours while paying for my own analysis (at $100-$150 a session) and ridiculous fees for classes year after year? Sure, I should have known better, but I didn't. I just wanted to get a degree in a field about which I was passionate.
I think psychoanalysis is a dying art. It's dying relatively slowly, and it's doing so in a beautiful and graceful manner. Researchers and others in the field will tell you that talk therapy works. That it has the highest success rates. That is one of the best attempts one can make at successfully feeling better. Downside being that it takes time, patience, uncertainty, and... yep, money! Not that medication and psychiatrists don't, but insurance will do wonders.
Yet, I still believe in analysis, and I want it to thrive. Most of all because if not, I did all this for naught. My colleagues have done all this for naught.  That's a lot of naught. After all, the certificate program at my school is currently at least 10 years. That's about 1/3 of your career, 1/9 of your life, and that's if you make it through quickly.
No one told me that.
Here I am. No job, no money, and no certainty as to where I will be in my next 10 years. Best case scenario, I either do the certificate program and get involved with the referral service, in which case I can make a few bucks, and move onto a private clinic once I, presumably, get my license. Or, if I don't want to sacrifice all that time, I can find a safe job at a clinic or hospital. Not bad.
Worse case scenario, either a client staples my hand to my chin and forces me to watch him eat my goldfish... or I have a mental breakdown and check into a mental ward.
In the meantime, I'm struggling to pay for my required analysis sessions and tuition, I am struggling to stay motivated, and I am struggling to keep my eyes on the prize.
I don't have a solution to this yet, I don't claim to know the answer. As, part of life is surviving and tolerating those frustrating bumps in the road. One more year of school, though. That's my mantra: One More Year.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Let nature take its course

Having been told many times in my life that I have the commitment and vulnerability phobias of a man, I started thinking. It's rare, but I do think sometimes! I started thinking about the reasons "men don't like opening up" and all those other cliche masculine things.

I started by thinking about why I don't like to open up. Maybe part of that is because the people who raised me and with whom I was raised weren't really the touchy-feeling, mushy-talk type. It wasn't the norm, and anything related to feelings, emotions, or vulnerability was seen as stupid and went ignored. Many people see this as unfortunate; as if I was deprived because no one asked me how my inner-self was doing. How about this: get over it.

As someone in the mental health field, this seems contradictory to my practice. My whole education and message is for people to "open up". The difference is, I hope people will open up to ME or another professional or a trusted family member or friend who: A- wants to hear, B- has the strength and time to hear, C- knows what to do once they have heard.

In the end, we make our own choices, we deal with our own problems, and we respond accordingly. I don't believe that those who mindlessly offer their feelings to others for the sake of "bonding" are better off. I won't say I haven't tried. Once or twice I gave the old venting and releasing thing a try. It didn't feel good and cathartic, it just felt like I was putting my problems on someone else while also opening a can of worms that no one was prepared to mop up. Most people are not equipped to deal with the people they know, or think they know. Once they see that reality and once you release that reality, there is not usually any turning back. There's no "Oops, that didn't work. Nevermind!"

This gets me back to my original thought. Why do girls typically complain that men won't "open up", or why will my acquaintances make the same complaint? After all, they want to help and they want to trust me and want me to trust them, and well, they want a LOT... a lot that I don't want to offer. Why does telling one's secrets open them up? Especially if it is pulled out of someone? If you are going to pressure someone into removing a bandage, you better be able to heal that wound! If you can't, then that's a selfish pull and that's a harmful pull, and there is no way in heck I can trust you.

Maybe that bandage will remove itself one day. Maybe if you wait 5 months or 10 years or a lifetime, that person will be ready to expose themselves. Or, maybe they have been all along, and you just haven't been listening with the right ears. The secrets and stories might be there all along, they just might not be the ones you want or expect.

Privacy is a beautiful thing. If someone feels comfortable telling me, "I don't want to talk about that," it reveals a lot. It also means that person trusts me! They trust me to respect their privacy, to not push them, and if they leave it open-ended, all the better. There is often an inclusion that they don't want to talk about it yet, which means there is an implied future wherein it will be revealed or the issue will be touched upon again in some way. That is, if they are not pressured. If there is pressure, there is stress added to an already-tender spot.

It can be frustrating when you want to know that deep, dark secret. I know that. However, it is seldom that one expects answers without a selfish greed. I find it difficult to imagine a situation in which someone requesting answers does so for altruistic reasons... though, I'm open to examples. For the most part, however, telling me I'll feel better if I tell you my gossip is a lie. If it's true, it's likely that you got lucky, it's a coincidence.

Not to mention, sharing secrets is definitely a point of vulnerability. Revealing secrets can lead to chaos for some. Yes, it does mean I trust another with this vulnerability, but there are many ways it can backfire, this will only prove the honesty to be a hazard.

Yes, this means I fear vulnerability. Don't we all? As humans, as animals, as living, sentient beings, we avoid actions which will put our safety and comfort at risk. Sometimes it is healthy to overcome those fears, but other times it is of no benefit to us or others. One must weigh those options. Chances are, though, if I don't feel my private thoughts, feelings, or experiences are best shared, I probably have reasons for it. Vomiting my background onto your shoes will possibly make the nausea disappear, but I may still feel sick and you'll have vomit on your shoes. As with most things, pressure and guilt do more harm than good. Let nature take its course.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

How the tables have turned

If you had told me a year ago that I would be getting paid to teach someone how to socialize, I would have silently stared at you and turned red. For real.

Being the shy, introverted, quiet, private, silent kid has been my identity since birth. Literally, since birth. I didn't cry much, nor misbehave, nor act out. My grandmother only remembers one tantrum, and I never hit, screamed, bit, or harmed anything or anyone (aside from my brothers, but that was self-defense!) That changed as I got into my teen years, but that's another story. As far as my childhood, I was a golden kid. Not perfect by any means, but pretty close to it.

Into my teen years and young adult years, I was still pretty quiet. People sometimes thought I was being rude or snobby, others thought I was terrified of them. There were always people assuming they knew my personality and feelings based on my shyness. However, the reality was, I was just quiet. I didn't have anything I wanted to say. Besides, when I spoke or was spoken to, I was kind of uncomfortable and nervous. Not that THEY scared me, but my thoughts in response to them scared me. Most people have trouble understanding that.

Of course, each year, the expectations grow. People think you'll outgrow it or that you'll magically change. That you'll become the person they want you to be or expect you to be. It's just much safer, I suppose.

I didn't change, though. Maybe a little bit, but not in leaps and bounds. Thus, people worried and put it down. People made me feel bad about myself, or as though I should be ashamed of my quiet nature. They made me think I had to change my ways or I'd be doomed! For awhile that seemed about right. I had no friends, I was scared to talk to my family, and everyone else I met was pretty much out of the question. They didn't give me a chance and I didn't give them a chance. The difference being, I was so present in my own concerns, I didn't even notice or worry about them. Aside from knowing that I wanted to please others by giving them whatever they wanted, I didn't know how to relate to them or what would interest them. Nothing that came to my mind seemed worth saying. Emotional stuff was touchy, uncomfortable, and unfamiliar. Silly stuff was weird and unprofessional and inappropriate. This left me with nothing to work with.

That is, until I started just... going for it. Well, I guess it helped that people were starting to get curious. Curious about ME! The quiet, private, mysterious chick became a fascinating something or other. Those people who scared me were a little nervous about me, because they figured I had something great inside me that they couldn't understand or capture. They tried. They definitely tried to enter through every crack and turn up the focus on their microscopes, but nothing worked. That was then some of those people decided to be brave and work their way into my world. The more they did this, the more I dug into their worlds. We met in the middle and talk about things that were uncomfortable and touchy and unprofessional. Things we never spoke of before or ever again. Things that weren't important in the big picture! But in those moments, we bonded. After doing this enough times, I realized that we're all kind of throwing words out into a black hole and hoping someone receives them and decides to return some of their own.

It was still scary, and I still blush often. I think and re-think and overthink everything I do and say, but... people still stick around! Not everyone. Many people leave. Sometimes I have to leave. But, the ones with whom I stick and stick with me... they're kinda cool.

So, I've gone through a metamorphosis. I've learned a lot in my cocoon. Now I'm willing and ready to share it all with the world. There will be good days and there will be bad days, but in the end, I'm still the same ol' me, and that's gotta count for something! That seems to be good enough for the right people.