Weekend Diversions 7.1.2016

I submitted an essay this week (about my body image and running and many of the challenges I have faced post-injury) to a magazine. Sharing myself like that made me feel vulnerable and unstable. Even though I know the readers will be strangers, I still worry about judgement and being thought unworthy. I worry that the concerns in my essay will be construed as whiny and irrelevant to a cultural discussion of body image. I worry the readers will laugh at me for being so critical of myself. I worry I will be told I don’t deserve to criticize myself, because I am ablebodied and fit. Submitting this essay was hard. But also liberating because my story is no longer pent up inside myself. I have kept my body-hatred as much of a secret as possible for most of my life. Sharing in this way marks a huge progression in my journey toward self-acceptance. So, I am proud of myself even as I worry about how I will be perceived.

To celebrate my successful submission, here are a few things I have been reading this week. Enjoy!

  1. Strawberry rhubarb crumble bars I have a fridge full of strawberries as well as some rhubarb leftover from recent CSA pickup. I made these bars last year when strawberries and rhubarb were in season and I was impressed with how easy they were to make (and then eat!). They are this weekend’s baking project.
  2. Can you get over an addiction? Or are addicts doomed to live a life of degeneracy if they do not repent and succumb to a higher power?
  3. All U.S. medical school training is now animal-free! Until I read this announcement, I did not realize medical training has required extensive animal testing (often using dogs as the experimental model -after they are injected with various drugs and substances the dogs are killed by the doctors for dissection). After years of lobbying and legal efforts led by the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, Johns Hopkins University and University of Tennessee (the last two holdouts) have removed animal testing from their curricula.  Current technology makes using live models for anatomy unnecessary and, therefore, unethical.  Advanced medical training still includes animal testing, as does veterinary training, but with concerted efforts from PCRM and animal advocacy groups, this practice will hopefully become an anachronism.
  4. Why I don’t give toothpaste advice A funny (and short) lesson about taking nutrition advice from someone who is not qualified to give such advice. As Dr. Davis points out in his rant, dentists know a lot about dentition and oral health, but do not usually immerse themselves in nutrition research. As such, in his professional opinion, dentists should stick to recommending toothpaste and not specific diets (especially when the diets they are promoting have no scientific validation).

Have a lovely long weekend! I will be working for most of it, but I do have off on Monday (4th of July), which I plan to spend working in the garden with my boyfriend.

 

Understanding my eating disorder is a hard process

I have been delving, over the past few weeks, through my relationship with my body, with food, with running and the way all three are interconnected; the effort has resulted in a lot of good insight but also a lot of mental instability. I am having a hard time concentrating, or finding motivation to write. And, as I’ve said  before, the longer I stay away from writing the more daunting a task it becomes in my mind. And the less I write, the harder it becomes to focus on life. And so on and so forth in an annoying cycle of anxiety and diminished productivity.

Or, at least, diminished perception of productivity. Because I know that the hard work I am doing now is important to creating a stable mental outlook. The more I talk and think and write about the role food, and control of food, has played in my life the more I realize the complexity of the problem. I have only recently had the courage to acknowledge that I struggled with eating for more than a decade. And that I still struggle, although in different ways, today. I thought that by becoming vegan, by cultivating a more forgiving understanding of my body, implementing fewer rules and allowing more freedoms I would be healed. Although veganism and self-compassion have worked wonders for creating freedom around food, they are not panaceas.

As often as I experience joy around food, I also experience stress and doubt. I do not trust myself to make the correct choices; I often second-guess the ingredients on my plate. I worry I am eating too much, or not enough. Simply put, I am not comfortable yet around food.

I have latent phobias of fat that emerge when I am anxious. I have noticed myself recently using food as a reward for exercise, and withholding meals until after I have burned a requisite number of calories, without regard to hunger.

This past Monday, for example, I slogged through a twenty-mile bikeride instead of eating lunch. I did eat when I returned home, but I had not allowed myself a meal beforehand. I think my reasoning was that I did not deserve anything because I had not sweat. I wanted not only the high of exercise, but the euphoria that accompanies eating after pushing my body. The problem with this thinking is that the euphoria is never as good as I imagine, and the letdown leaves me irritable. I snap at my boyfriend. I fall into self-loathing. And then I scheme ways to reconnect with the hunger-high.

This is not healthy behavior. It is not behavior I want to identify with. It no longer describes me, or the version of me that I am cultivating.

The person I envision myself being eats when she is hungry. Eats to fuel her body, and also her soul. She has cake without shame. She does not think much about food, other than as a vehicle for pleasure or utility. Food, in terms of quality and quantity is a minor part of life. Food is delicious and satisfying. It does not occupy my thoughts all day. Food is an accent, a benefit of living in a life of privilege and love.

I am not there yet, to this rational, empowered identity. But I can see it, peeking out beneath the years of maladaptive patterns. As I venture through memories and beliefs, I will probably experience a lot of triggering moments. I can foresee days when I will not want to eat. Days when I have to remind myself that food is good and nourishing. Days when I will not want to do anything but sit in my own thoughts. This is okay, because it is all part of the process of change. I am doing the hard work. I am becoming myself. I am learning to love my body and accept its needs. I am me. And I am doing my best to remember that the messiness of this process is okay.

 

 

Restriction was my comfort zone

When I think too much about my body, when I think about controlling myself, even if it is to think of ways to stop controlling myself, I begin to restrict. The line between balance and extremes is thin. In fact, I don’t know if I know how to balance myself around food yet. Because every time I think I have succeeded in moving past body image or the need to control, I slip back into old patterns.

Either my weight is high and my running suffers or I pour all of my energy into running and losing weight, and approach the change in a way that is not sustainable. Rather than adjusting my diet and creating healthy lifestyle changes, I increase my mileage as fast as I can sustain (or faster, although the one time I tried this method I ended up with stress fractures throughout the metatarsals on my right foot). Usually, I become injured and so I gain weight. I realize I have gained weight and panic. I up my workout routine, doing up to two hours of intense cardio activities per day, and cut my food intake. Part of this reduction is natural: running suppresses appetite and the boost I receive in mood from so much exercise lifts the depressive effects of injury. When injured, I become lethargic, unable to exercise to my normal extent, and eat more calorie-dense foods to lift my mood (bagels and bread and alcohol in college; fries and pizza and greasy tacos and cheese on top of everything post-college; nut butter and avocado and granola bars post-veganism).

I lost my train of thought someplace in the middle of thinking of the crap I used to eat. I really can’t believe that for five years I soothed my emotional pain with animal products, such a departure from my previous obsession with clean eating that included a fear of cheese and fried food and fat in general. I really experienced quite a reversal when I became vegan. Which honestly has made it harder to regulate myself sometimes. I know that everything I eat is healthy; even the rare meal containing vegan meat alternatives made from isolated soy protein (not a health food) is healthier by leaps and bounds than its animal-laden counterpart. (I don’t know what I’m writing. I’m pretty sick of it all).

I think what I’m trying to say is that I am no good with balance when it comes to my weight and my exercise routine. Both of these things are ways to control the other (if I lose weight, I run faster; if I run more, I lose weight), and both are prone to obsession. I do not want to be controlled by endless rules about what I can eat and when; which foods are safe and which will make me fat; how much I have to run each day in order to ward off fat and laziness; what ratio of food to running equates to self-worth. But I am also sick of my clothes not fitting. I am at a point where I need to buy a new wardrobe or to lose five pounds.

I am so afraid of trying to lose weight. I am afraid I will lose control. I am afraid I am doing it for the wrong reasons. I am afraid I won’t be able to stop, that I will revisit the misery or rules and regulations that governed my life in high school and college. I am afraid I will lose myself.

I want to feel comfortable in my body. I know there are some who argue that I should feel comfortable now. That size does not dictate self-comfort or self-love. And I agree. But I just don’t feel it. I don’t feel like myself. And I also don’t know if I have to defend my decision.

Which brings me back to my search for balance. I will know I have achieved balance when…do I even know what balance will look like? I think that is important to find out. At one point in my life, when I gave up ten years of vegetarianism for meat, balance meant being able to eat anything I wanted without stress. Balance meant not restricting my food. Balance meant enjoying the foods I had denied myself for those ten meatless years. I became vegetarian when I was twelve not from a love of animals but to eliminate a food group in a socially acceptable manner. It was the most extreme diet I could imagine, and there was a girl in my class, with whom I felt competitive, who was vegetarian. I was raised to eat no red meat or pork (except for an odd stint around the age of eight when I tasted hot dogs and developed an obsession) so the only thing to lose was poultry. I continued to eat fish on occasion, as well as my great aunt Rose’s chopped liver.  I had no knowledge of animal agriculture and was careful to draw a distinction between my diet and what I viewed as the extreme animal activism of PETA.  I even resisted learning more from a vegan friend in college because I had concluded, without evidence, that the claims were overblown.

Adding meat to my diet, therefore, was a way to heal this restrictive past. I did not want to look longingly at the chicken or steak on a friend’s plate, nor feel superior because I was abstaining. I did not want to settle for salads, or be relegated to side dishes. Most of all, I wanted the freedom of an omnivore lifestyle.

I did find balance with this change in diet, although there were also many meals in which I overindulged and spent the following days bloated and barely able to eat from pain in my abdomen. I knew the change in food probably influenced to some degree how I felt, but I was committed to eating meat and so I continued on this path for five years.

My switch back to vegetarianism and then to veganism came when I realized that it is possible to thrive as an athlete and a person without meat and that my previous struggles with disordered eating came not from vegetarianism but from my irrational belief that eating less would make me like myself more.

I decided I was strong enough to experiment with removing meat from my food again, if only to improve my health. I had reached my limit for bloating and discomfort after eating, symptoms mostly absent from my life pre-meat. I was looking again for balance, but the terms had changed. Now, I wanted balance for my body, not just for my mind. I stopped buying meat to cook at home, and then after a few weeks I stopped eating meat outside the home as well. The last flesh I consumed was a chicken sausage on Memorial Day, 2013. By the time I met my boyfriend two weeks later, I was confident enough in my decision to declare myself vegetarian. (“I am not a crazy vegetarian, though,” I was quick to assure people. “Like, I won’t freak out if my spinach is sautéed in chicken stock.  This is just a test to see if my digestion improves.”)

My digestion improved, I lost some weight, and I ran close to my personal best in the marathon.

I returned to a place of balance.

Sixth months later I transitioned to a vegan diet. I no longer feel guilty about any of the food I eat; as a vegetarian, cheese, which formed a large part of my diet, could trigger restrictive behaviors. Butter, egg-and-dairy laden desserts, and cream sauces also induced panic. Becoming vegan removed many of these triggers; their replacements, vegan butter, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds felt safer.

My new comfort around foods that I had previously associated with stress and shame was freeing. And so I indulged in vegan cookies and cakes; cashew cream sauces; peanut butter banana nice cream. I was so excited to bake (and then be able to enjoy my creations) that I forgot that dessert is still dessert, no matter the ingredients. Even black bean brownies cannot be eaten by the handful without repercussions.

My solution was to avoid all sweets and rich dinners; to deprive myself of the pleasure of food. This plan, of course, was not sustainable. Injury was just as much of an excuse to eat more as was an increase in miles after I recovered.  So here I am, wondering how I can eat for pleasure and for health. I am struggling for a solution that does not lead back to restriction or excess.   I do not know how to define balance, at this moment in my life.

My mind swirls with solutions, but whenever I try to articulate them I go blank.

Last week, I wrote about my weight gain and then became so self-conscious I could not eat to satiety, keeping myself in a constant state of hunger for days. Focusing on weight is, therefore, not the answer, but it is the only thing I know how to do. Even as I try to distract myself with writing, with gardening, with my work as a SMART facilitator, my role as a partner and a friend, food continues to lurk in my mind.  How much to eat, and when. Am I really hungry? Do I deserve a snack? Have I had too much, or not enough. Balance right now is elusive.

Weight and running

I am conflicted about running. I want to run faster than my current ten-minute pace, and I blame my body (and the weight I gained while injured) for my current slowness.

Focusing on weight loss, however, invites the possibility of relapse into food restriction. Through mindful eating and a lot of therapy, I have learned over the past year to eat when I am hungry without regard to how much I have exercised on any given day. I no longer run to the restroom to complete emergency sets of squats and jumping jacks to combat the effects of oily foods, or to punish myself for indulging in dessert. I do not enforce long runs on the days after a large meal, nor do I only eat without hesitation when I have completed a certain number of miles.

This comfort with food, however, combined with the lowered activity levels of an injury, has left me fifteen pounds heavier than I was before my first sacral stress fracture two years ago. I do not mind the size so much as I mind not fitting into my clothes and not running as fast as I used to.

Running slower does have benefits: patience, for example, because even a short distance takes much longer to complete; gratitude that I can run at all after my injuries; enjoyment because I am no longer running out of habit, but because I make a conscious decision each morning to run (or not).

But still, running at this reduced pace is frustrating. I have not been this slow since middle school, when I was first learning how to run. And even then, my gains came quickly and I did not stay slow for long.

I feel disconnected from my former running self. I am not content to run slowly, no matter how hard I try to convince myself that this pace is okay. I happy after each run, but also a bit sad at the thought that I may never qualify for the Boston Marathon again, or run a twenty-minute 5K.

I want to regain the level of fitness I had before this two-year cycle of injury. My easy pace then was eight minutes per mile, sometimes faster; this was the pace I fell into by instinct, without effort. Today I ran an eight minute mile as part of a speed workout, and was glad when I had reached my mark and could slow again. The pace felt familiar, but it was not effortless anymore.

I do not know if it is possible to become faster without losing some weight. And I don’t know how to lose weight without opening the door to disordered eating. I worry that if I reach the benchmarks of an eight minute mile or a Boston qualifying time, I will not be satisfied but will set new, difficult-to-attain standards for myself, constantly grasping at a perfection that is always just out of reach.

I know that I am strong and that my self-worth is not defined by the size of my skirt or my shirt or my dress; nor by the time in which I can run a mile or a marathon.

But knowing and embodying are two different things.

I am not ready to accept that I will have to constantly struggle to balance fitness and self-compassion.

 

 

Sometimes I can do hard things

Yesterday, after weeks of dragging my feet and slowly making plans and hoping that I wouldn’t have to follow through on any of them, I hosted my first SMART Recovery* meeting.

I was nervous (but also eager) as I waited for people to arrive. My head was a fuzzy bowl of anxiety, and if I hadn’t been familiar with the feeling after a lifetime battling through it to find my thoughts in times of stress, I would have worried about passing out in the cozy, calm room at the hypnosis center where my meeting was held. Fainting, in this moment, would have actually felt preferable to sitting with my feelings and facing the people brave enough to trust part of their recovery to me in my first meeting. 

I didn’t pass out. I never can muster the nerve. Instead I had to sit there, and think. 

In the days leading up to this meeting, I hadn’t wanted anyone to show up. I was hoping that I could sit in the room alone for thirty of forty minutes and then call it a day (and maybe, in this fantasy, call the entire facilitator experiment). But as I scribbled my fears into my journal I realized I had gone too far outside my comfort zone to fail. If I was going to put in effort of making phone calls to people I did not know, writing emails to people I only vaguely know and with whom I haven’t kept in very good touch, asking for help, choosing a day and a time and a space -all logistical things that, for reasons beyond the scope of this post, make me want to hide in a hole.

(Even writing about the process of setting up my meeting has caused my mind to go off on a memory-tangent about high school, of all things, and how I always felt totally uncool because, unlike my peers, I was unable to make friends with teachers or administrators. I guess the two (meeting logistics and high school uncoolness) points to the feeling of connection and purpose that I have struggled with for years.)

I began then to worry that no one would come, that whoever doles out wishes didn’t hear that my mind had changed. I worried my old wish would come instead of my new, more willing-to-be-held-accountable one. I worried that I had failed. 

But, guess what? I didn’t fail, because I had done the hard work and I had shown up at this meeting as I had at dozens of others over the past year or so. And my boyfriend came, and my friend from another meeting came and this friend brought a new friend who had never been to a SMART meeting. And for ninety minutes we talked and shared and learned. 

It was small, and I made mistakes during the course of the meeting and probably didn’t explain things well enough and there were lots of silent gaps in conversation. But I was there and they were there and for now I will call that good. 

SMART Recovery is a science-based mutual support group designed to help people manage sobriety from substances and behaviors. I started attending SMART meetings in 2014 in support of my boyfriend who was learning how to abstain from alcohol. I continued going for myself, to manage anxiety and the urges to self harm that still exist years after I stopped this destructive practice. SMART focuses on giving individuals control over their lives and sobriety and provides a variety of tools to mitigate urges and deal with triggers. I have found it enormously helpful in my own life and I have seen the good it has done for other participants. Because of what I have learned in SMART, I no longer live my life in a constant state of wanting to hurt myself; my internal life has reached a level of calm that I had thought was impossible. Becoming a facilitator is my way to give back and say thank you. I urge you readers to look at their website and pass on the information to anyone you know in need. 

Finding space in the process

I ran a 10k this past Sunday, in celebration of Earth Day. It wasn’t supposed to be hard. It wasn’t even supposed to be a race. It was supposed to be a nice run with a few hundred other people in a pretty setting (the Morton Arboretum: lots of trees and nature). I was supposed to be one of those runners who emphasizes the fun in “fun run.” I was supposed to go easy until the last few miles, when I would present myself with the option of going harder or continuing at a leisurely pace. 
Well, I failed at these “supposed to’s” in grand fashion, racing to the best of my current ability and ignoring the complaints of my increasingly weak and angry legs. I felt good at the start, of course. I had only run one very slow mile to warm up. My legs were fresh and the surrounding crowd of runners and spectators filled me with excitement. The scene felt familiar, although it had been more than a year since I last toed a starting line, and almost a decade since my last 10k. It was like a homecoming and I found myself unable to resist the habit of a strong race start, just as when I visit my parents I am reduced to my childhood self, deferring responsibility to the adults. 

Within seconds of hearing the horn denoting the race’s beginning, I abondoned my plan of moderation. Or, rather, I convinced myself that I was being moderate because I was not instantly tired by my increased pace. That I was not collapsing within the first few hundred feet was proof enough that this sudden change in plan was reasonable. 

And I was passing people! And then passing more people! If you have never run a race, the elation of passing might not make sense. It is a race, the point is to run faster than as many others as possible. But each person I passed was proof that I am not the slowest person in the world (a thought that had crossed my irrational mind on many an agonizingly slow run during my recovery from the winter’s stress fracture). It was also proof that I can still hold my own in a race. That although I am not a Runner (or at least don’t want to be) I can still run, and well. It was proof that I have not gone soft, although my expectations for myself have changed. That even though my journal is filled with lists and charts I have made to chronicle the removal of running as the ultimate cure-all in my life, I am still competitive, I am still me. I have not lost my drive, and the bond I have formed with running is still strong. 

Shortly past mile two in the race, my confidence flagged. The course went up a hill (nothing like those that cover the Boston Marathon course, but much more steep than my flat Chicagoland training had prepared me for) and my legs began to seize. What followed was a torturous four point two miles during which I found it very hard to take in the scenery I had been so excited to enjoy. I noted trees and flowers and greenery on occasion, but the majority of my focus was on my legs and their intense disagreement with my pace. They fantasized about collapsing (just for a few minutes!) on the side of the road, where they could be calm and still. They shook and trembled in their quest to make me stop long before crossing the finish line. They made a pretty good point: I had not trained to go faster than a ten minute mile since returning from injury, nor had I run more than four miles since early January. I had every excuse to stop; this race was an experiment, after all, to see how I would hold up at a longer distance. If the experiment failed and I had to walk to the finish line, no one would think less of me and I could burrow under the guise of pain. 

For a brief moment, somewhere in the middle of this internal discussion about stopping, I did feel a phantom pain in my sacrum. “Aha!” I remember thinking, “here is my ticket out of this mess! I can’t be expected to finish now!” This was quickly followed, however, by the realization that I did not want to give up, I did did not want to stop. 

I concentrated on feeling strong in the places that weren’t my legs, which can were spent beyond control. I kept my back straight, my center of gravity pushed forward, my pelvis tilted up, my arms swinging across my body. If nothing else, my form did not deteriorate. 

For amusement, I read the signs posted along the course, which were rife with nature puns: “we are ROOTING for you”; “we know this race is a BEECH [tree] but you are looking great”; “we see that SPRING in your step”; “use those LIMBS”; “be-LEAF in yourself” (my personal favorite). 

I remembered all the emotional workouts I did during the two months I was injured to transform running from an activity of habit to one of spontaneity and joy. I remembered, too, the physical workouts I have completed in the two months since I have returned to running, growing strong and flexible to ward off new injury. I remembered to be grateful for the process, for the simple act of running, for the unexpected gift of my competitive fire. I knew if I stopped, no matter how good rest might feel in the moment, I would undo this effort. 

I slowed my pace as a concession to my legs, but I did not give up. I ran hard (for me, at this moment in time), I found the energy to sprint down the final stretch, and I finished almost ten minutes ahead of my original goal. My average pace was slower than that of my pre-injury slow runs. But rather than feeling bad for myself for my slowness, I was proud of how fast I have been in the past. My pre-injury body was amazing, almost without effort. I have appreciation now for my past accomplishments, most of which I had taken for granted. I was unable to appreciate my talent when it was normal. 

I am sore still. My legs really did not like those hills, but I am glad I raced and did not just run. I pushed myself. I stayed in the moment. I found new goals (to run an 8:30 mile again with ease) and I remembered that I can do hard work, even when my body and mind beg me to stop. 

Learning to write without editing 

I was reading through old journals yesterday in the hopes of finding entries on my relationship to running, or any running-related emotions I might have had over the years. Although some of my notebooks date back more than twenty years and several chronical my high school and college days when running was my most constant companion, running was a rare topic of discussion.

Even the entries from the summer I attended a week-long running camp focused more on the cliques (of which I was not a part, to my dismay), my loneliness, and Virginia Woolfe’s To the Lighthouse (my light summer-camp reading -perhaps related to my lack of friends?).

Prevalent, however, especially in my post-college years, was a desire to write without a filter. In high school, I heard a novelist speak about her process. In addition to writing for a set amount of time every morning without fail, she said she edits everything she writes, including emails. This was at once gratifying and damning: I too, edited even the least consequential bit of text I wrote and her words validated and reinforced my habit; but they also introduced the irrational belief that writing must be edited to be good. Good writers edit, good writers are careful, good writers keep first drafts to themselves. Bad writers share their sloppy first drafts because they don’t know any better.

I wanted to be a good writer, and so this belief grew, encouraged by teachers and professors who covered my papers with pen-marks as they taught me how to tighten, choose the right words for every context, and craft water-tight arguments for my ideas. I learned well, and grew to love the back and forth of the editing process. Culling words and paragraphs in order to create a perfect paper. I reveled in the hours spent refining research papers in the library, churning out draft after draft.

And then I graduated college and the stakes changed: I was no longer writing for grades but for pleasure. I tried to blog but the enormity of the shift from academic to real-life writing caused me to freeze. Away from the editing pen of my professors, how would I know when I had achieved success?

Further, the only way I knew how to write anymore was through long, detailed research papers. I no longer had the time nor the resources to churn out thirty-page tomes on the cultural relevance of obscure buildings or the relationship between Jaques Derrida and Peter Eisenman. And my writing faltered. I became tripped up in my desire for perfection, my desire to edit every bit of writing until it was deserving of the pedestal I had crafted for it in my mind’s eye. I envied other bloggers, whose breezy style taunted my own taught sentences. Their pieces read as if the thoughts moved from mind to fingers to screen, with no intermediate hair-pulling or over-analyzing to find the perfect description of anything.

In their easiness, they gained the status of perfection. Meanwhile I anguished over the way to create the most impressive, meaningful, and world-changingly observant essays. And wrote nothing but strings of (unpublishable) first drafts. I had many ideas but was stymied by my need for perfection. I could not let loose, even though I knew my audience was nonexistent.

My journals from this time are filled with pages in which I yearn to write without editing. In which I revile my inability to write with ease. In which I promise to start publishing first drafts (today! tomorrow! the next tomorrow!). I did publish a few pieces on that early blog but they were rare and heavily edited.

I have many stops and starts with blogging and writing since then, inching closer and closer each time to my goal of writing in a way that feels unforced. In a way I find sustainable and enjoyable.

This blog represents a certain success with writing. I still struggle to share my thoughts and I am constantly resisting the urge to edit before I hit publish. Sometimes this means sloppy sentences or meandering points. Sometimes I wonder if points are even made. But I am okay with this looseness, this freedom with form and language. Life is hard and change takes time but it is so gratifying to see these results after years of effort.

I feel a huge lift of pressure with this latest project: I can be myself, and that is enough. I do not have to be perfect. I do not really even want to be perfect. I just want to write. And I am. For the first time since childhood, I am writing without anxiety. I am writing for the joy of seeing my thoughts on page. I am am writing for the gratification of solving a problem through words. I am writing for me.

Thank you for listening.