I’m Still a Mess

I started the Whole30, and yesterday was day 4.  I mention this only to add some context, and for you to know that day 4 without certain foods left me a tad lethargic (among other things). I compounded that with a poor night’s sleep (I woke up at 10pm, and thought I needed to get ready for the day, then followed that by my brain deciding to continue that cycle every couple of hours), a tiny hormonal imbalance, and a poor performance at the gym (yes, yes, I know… they said that would happen), and I found myself in the gym parking lot deciding today would be a great day to take full inventory of my life. You know, like you do sometimes. Of course the inventory had the header, “Things That are Unfair to Beth” then I listed them in my head (again, like you do in the gym parking lot). “It’s unfair everyone else gets to have a complete meltdown, and I have to be stoic. Stupid upbringing! Stupid stoicism! Stupid genes!” “Who’s the person who’s going to hold me? Tell me it’s ok? Oh yeah, I remember now. NO ONE! Stupid death!” “It’s unfair that a person suggested I was over Jay, and that by contrast she would never be over losing her husband, but go me. Witness the tempest that whirls around in my mind EVERY SINGLE FRIGGIN’ DAY, LADY!” “It’s unfair I’ll die alone.” “Watch PS I Love You, lady… one speech beautifully captures where I still am.”   “Don’t mourn enough? Too functional? And guess what, lady? I don’t get Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the end OR get to move to Ireland!!!” “Speaking of, it’s UNFAIR I don’t get to move to Ireland!” “It’s unfair that Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character isn’t a real person who coincidentally is a chubby chaser!” “Where’s MY meltdown? WHERE?!?” Deciding “meltdowns” equaled falling apart and blubbering dramatically over friends, family, and colleagues who would doubtlessly watch in shocked horror. And that’s when I burst into inconsolable tears… for like two to three delightfully self-indulgent minutes.

They started out pretty swell, and then I realized I was just making noise – like the kid trying to get attention through crying, but not 100% committed, and I had to ask myself, “are you done? You had your moment? Can we drive the car now?” FINE. So, I drove to work, tears drying on my cheeks as I headed into the building, but thankful it was still dark outside.  I got in, and my lunch was immediately torpedoed. Now “torpedoed” on Whole30 meant I had to rearrange what I had for breakfast and try to figure out how to make that stretch into two meals.  Having forgotten my lunch on Day 1 of Whole30 gave me a neat window into “I don’t want to ever do that again!!!” That’s when I declared I couldn’t be around people. Ok, so I didn’t wave a flag around and really shout it out to anyone, I told a couple of people. I also explained to those couple of folks that said meltdown was occurring because of X, Y, and Z – lack of sleep, diet change, hormones. You see, on a very rational level I understood the “why” of it all, but that it didn’t take away my strong desire to flip all of the coffee tables.

Enter my friend John – the office mate you all should have.  My other bestie office mate wasn’t quite able to run over to my building. Although, she did show me that I was officially at the Whole30 stage of “Kill all the things!” (FYI, “kill all the things” is based on science. Mmm hmm. It starts on Day 4. I’ve seen the graph. It’s on my phone; therefore, it is fact.) And another who was busily cracking the “I’m a moody little princess” shell with some “guten fruiten thutens Thursdays!” (I can’t possibly explain that, it’s “German,” please don’t ask. You’re clearly not bilingual.)  Although, poor John got to be the one at ground zero.

Now here’s what I like about John. He’ll listen patiently (without outwardly judging – I suspect there’s some judgment behind the “mostly” placid face), and he won’t throw out ideas to fix whatever it is you think you’re currently suffering from, that likely you aren’t. I think he truly realizes “kill all the things” isn’t a cute euphemism for “please give me a sea of suggestions that I will definitely hear and appreciate while I’m mid rage, and rampaging about like an out of control penguin” (look elephants? bulls? so passé – also, I learned in Behind the Scenes at Sea World that penguins can be little tuxedoed jerks, so this analogy is really working for me). John is more action, so when he got out of me that my world had worked out so I could have lunch, he basically said, “you need to go away from here for a bit; I know a place that works with your Whole30.”

With that one action I got out into the sun, got to hear new stories, discovered a great place to eat (Salata), and breathed just a little bit better.

So, everyone (including me) owes a huge thanks to these people for putting up with my shenanigans, getting me back on the rails, and for weathering the mess that was Beth yesterday (and all the other days).

Also, while things still aren’t “fair” (are they ever?), I do believe I am actually owed one gigantic, ugly meltdown where someone will have to pat my head. I’m just sayin’. Hey, the title of this is “I’m Still a Mess,” you didn’t really expect some epiphany here, did you?

Book Ends

It started with a picture, and a kind note, and I was reminded of a drawing, tucked away in a box, sleeping in its frame. “Don’t forget the note.” A 15 year old version of me repeated.  When I’d framed the drawing  – one of a young woman resting contentedly in the arms of her lover – I had worried that I would forget the dedication on the back. “Don’t forget the note.”

I had forgotten the note along with the picture decades ago. I suppose it was a form of self-defense – a way of flipping the coffee tables within my mind, and storming off to help push down the memories.

If you knew me well in high school, you knew I was a quiet but horribly sarcastic nerd. You probably knew that I was the president of our orchestra, I was reasonably smart, my best friend was Julie, and that I was completely obsessed with a guy named John. This guy was beautiful, vibrant, funny, completely aware of who he was, and was able to see through the layers upon layers of walls I’d built up to protect myself from people seeing any shadow of the real me. (I build a great wall. It’s the best wall. Just saying.) He consumed my thoughts almost every waking minute from 15-18, and probably a couple of years beyond. Being around him was like dancing too close to a bonfire, but I could never quite resist that flame (much to the chagrin of my best friend, who had to tend to each tear-filled wound every time I was scorched); I made for a beautiful and perfect moth.

John was my first kiss. I was a freshman, and it was minutes before my final exam in Mr. Casarez’s Algebra 2 class while we stood in the drama hall.  I was so giddy, I could barely focus the rest of the day, and it’s a small wonder I actually passed that final. It’s also a small wonder I didn’t jump up and down, clap, or do an interpretive dance. My heart sang with such tremendous joy that I can only imagine how obnoxious I was for the days, weeks (and years to follow – sorry, Ju).  Thus began my personal angsty teen girl saga.

As a teen, adults (not in my close circle) viewed me as polite, smart, and reserved, and they usually felt that my parents had won a sort of teen lottery, because I did not have any noticeable streaks of rebellion. I was a rules follower, I was quite studious, and I was seemingly above all the typical teen drama.  In truth, when it came to John, I was your average teenage girl. I could waver from super dramatic highs to super dramatic lows, and sometimes those occurred within hours of each other.

When I think of him, I remember silly things like him riding his bike from Wm. Cannon to Barton Springs (roughly seven miles), then we’d walk down to Zilker to go swimming or watch the kid’s train wind around the park while singing When Doves Cry. I remember his best friend, Carlos, the worst teen driver in the history of teen drivers whom I was forbidden to ride with, so of course I got in his car all the time. I remember John carrying me on his shoulders across Wm. Cannon while I held a gallon of milk and just laughing. Now, when I imagine how that would look, the daydream ends with two people in traction (and a smile). I remember the song he dedicated to me, Duran Duran’s The Chauffeur (which when I’ve listened to it as an adult, it has given me a tad bit of pause – though I find I’m still drawn to it).  I remember him saying the movie Purple Rain was very “him” and me agreeing. (Watch that as an adult, and see if that wouldn’t make you want to put your teen daughter in an convent or move the family to another town.) I remember the notes passed in the hallway,  the cards (all of which I do still have), and of course the crushing heartbreak when he and a close friend destroyed my teen heart. So much aftermath – thoughts and feelings that ripple into today and form the tapestry of my soul, affecting how I feel about certain people in my life – creating its rough template of who I tend to fall for. John was my foundation.

We stopped speaking sometime in college.  Encounters with him, though pleasant, would leave me temporarily wrecked and withdrawn, and at some point I had to cry “uncle.” And then I received a picture, with words meant for the back, and remembered another picture from a long time ago with a note I was never supposed to forget.

I went looking for him, willing to risk the flame, only to find that he had gone.  The 17 year old that lives in my heart fell apart, and then the one friend who remembers my 17 year old, and accepts that’s sometimes who I am,  stepped in like she always did to remind 17 year old me that she was ok. That dealing with death is challenging.

John 11/7/1966 – 12/25/2014

John

He had passed away on my birthday a few years ago. I read his tributes, since I really never knew him as an adult, and he was loved dearly by his friends; I’d expect no less. He had grown into quite a beautiful human being who pursued his passions.

Two things I learned from him: 1) Live passionately. 2) Don’t rely as much on words, as on what your heart and senses tell you is right. People will say things to protect themselves, but your heart knows the truth if you’ll listen. You just have to have faith in what it’s telling you.

And now the bookends of my life… my first and last love have left, and I sit a little more broken.

Match.Com

I set-up a Match.com account. I don’t know why.  Well, I do. I need someone to tell me they think I’m pretty. It’s not that you guys aren’t great, but you guys saying “you’re smart, or you’re pretty” is exactly like having your Mom or your favorite aunt say it. It’s not that I don’t trust your words, but you’re biased, and let’s face it, are you really ever going to say, “damn, eww…” when it comes to me? If you are, then wow, where were you raised? I thought we were friends?

I did it because over a year ago I lost my best friend. There’s a gigantic hole that forms when you lose a spouse, but it’s made even bigger when it’s also the closest person to you. People don’t mention that when your husband dies, you lose your identity. I’m no longer a wife. I’m no longer someone’s best friend. I’m just that lady who lives alone with her cat. I spiral a bit. That’s the hard stuff I think about and face each day. I find I watch happy couples with great envy and a sense of complete loss.  At nearly 50 I recognize every great guy is taken, and the ones that aren’t have better going on than a lonely fat girl. I go through the motions of getting dressed each day with the realization that when I walk into the living room no one will ever say I look pretty, and no one will ever hug me with great love in their hearts.

So I joined, and people said I had a pretty face, and that was nice.  And about the time I thought, “this is all really flattering” the creepers emerged, which turned “this is nice” to “this is kind of creepy”.  From the guy who writes every day, “Hi! Hello! Hi! Good morning! Hi! Good evening! Hello! Hi! Hi beautiful! Hi!” To the guy who changed his ideal woman to exactly match my description and then thought it would be cheeky (???) to chastise me for not writing back with a “naughty girl” message. I responded by tap dancing on his head a bit. He apologized and offered to slink away. Then there was the one hot guy. I mean seriously good looking, who sent a form manifesto (turns out that’s a thing) on how he is estranged from his family, is a widower, and hoped I never experienced such loss. Umm… my profile actually leads with, “I’m a widow.” So, points off for not reading. More points off for not writing coherent sentences.  Then there was a guy who said the last thing he read was “[his] paycheck.”  Ummm… nope! That’s when I started really reading the bios, and got the feeling that these guys would prefer to date a mindless doll.  That’s also when I realized I needed to re-do my profile, because “I like movies” wasn’t cutting it.

I’m re-posting it here, because you guys know me best. Help me make this stronger realizing we only have 4000 characters to make a point/sell my “stellar” qualities.

 A week ago I wrote a small profile to give the briefest of summaries of who I am. Today I’m starting fresh: I am a recent widow. A year ago I lost not only my husband, but my best friend and favorite person in the entire world. I’m not looking to get married at this point. If there is that soulmate out there for me again, they’ll have to live up to a pretty high standard (and make it past a slew of relatives, friends, and my in-laws, who are very much in my life). I’m looking for friendship/companionship.

About me: I like writing, movies, and computer games. I like having my friends over for our board game/card days. I’m not talking Parcheesi or Hearts, I’m talking Betrayal at the House on the Hill, Ticket to Ride, and Munchkin – those types of games. In my free time I help a local theater group as an assistant director/production assistant, I produce films for short film fests, I’m on the board for a local non-profit. I’ve written, directed, and filmed my own sketch comedy pieces. So, when I say I have a sense of humor I mean I’ve gotten on stage and performed improv/sketch pieces live, and I’ve written for other shows.I once made this one person laugh; it was a great day.

I was raised by social workers, which has affected my political views. I’m liberal. Maybe more a conservative liberal, but liberal none-the-less. If you voted for Trump, we will never get along. I’m not saying you have to like the other choice, but you should at least have a soft spot for Bernie.

When I first started reading profiles, I was shocked at the number of folks who wrote some very specific/prescriptive things about the kind of women they were seeking. I had a few “wow, ok dude good luck with that” moments. Then I realized over this one week that I have my own quirks, so in a nutshell:

  • If you’re the kind of guy who speaks about women in generalities, as in “you know women… women this, women that,” we probably won’t get along. I see people as people, and men as individuals, not a pack you can apply a one-size-fits-all stereotype to.
  • Also, don’t be the guy who says “I don’t want drama” in a way that makes me think you believe only women can create drama. Hoooo boy, guys can also be pretty dramatic. So, surprisingly enough I don’t want drama either. I’m too old for that.
  • If you’re the kind of guy who flips out that I haven’t written. First off, I’m busy. Between work, volunteering, and taking care of friends/family I’m not loitering on this site. * If you edit the type you’re looking for to match me, then I may think that’s a bit odd. Like whomever you like; it doesn’t have to mirror what I’ve written down. I was one person’s ideal. I’m ok with that.
  • If you need someone to control, I’m not the person for you. I have a lot going on, and I’m a grown-up.
  • I’m not a sports fan, but I’m ok if you are as long as when your team loses it doesn’t wreck your day. If you’re angry about a loss the rest of the evening, then I’m not the person for you.
  • We all have varied opinions, but I’m looking for someone who, if they don’t like something, will have experienced it first. The whole “I’ve never done this/seen that, but I hate it” followed by “I don’t need to experience it to know it’s bad” doesn’t work for me. Be adventurous – willing to try something before dismissing it.
  • You need to like your family, and your friends. Mine are pretty great; we’re kind of a package deal.
  • Also, if you wrote “my paycheck” on the last thing you read… wow.

What I am looking for beyond what’s on my profile:

  • Someone with a keen wit, who can tell a story – a real story

  • Someone who’s up for trying something new

  • Someone who doesn’t believe in holding me or even themselves back

  • Someone positive, who sees what I/they “can” do and doesn’t limit themselves with “can’t”

  • Someone who knows who/what the following are: Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, Rising Star, Kabuki, ElfQuest, and who has an opinion on whether Han shot first.

I left off important facts (I ran out of characters) like:

  • If my friend Jonathan meets you, and does impersonations later, this won’t work out.
  • If you hurt my feelings or do something ugly, my in-laws will plot your demise. Plus, they’ll be a little ticked at me if they have to get up early to beat you down.
  • And I left off the phrase, “I’m a grown-ass woman,” which was in there, but I removed thinking the Match.com filters would choke.

Sooo… send me a message, post a comment here (or on FB) with a line or two you think I should add that better describes. You’ll be judged on wit!  Hey, and since we’re talking about it… if you know of any single, great guys, who like chubby girls, and who just want to hang out let me know. 🙂

I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated on this whole glamorous/self-deprecating process. I should at least get a good story or two out of it before throwing in the towel, and accepting that I’ll be alone.

John Kelso

Yesterday, my phone lit up with messages – John Kelso, an Austin icon, had passed away.  If you in any way claim to be a true Austinite, separating yourself from the throngs who appear adding condos along Town Lake and driving up real estate prices, then you love a few things: Barton Springs, Zilker hillside musicals, Chuy’s  jalapeño ranch, ACL, and of course John Kelso.

I could recount some of my favorite articles, but y’all have Google and a curious mind, so I’ll let you enjoy the thrill of discovery.  That said, the time he shamed the city into re-thinking their stance on a goat’s living situation near “So-Co” (don’t get me started; I was here before South Congress started putting on airs) made me proud. Hey, sometimes gentrifiers need friendly reminders. (Chin up, guys you’ll eventually drive the goat family out thanks to increased property taxes. Every cloud, right?)

I was going to link to a blog piece where I’d written about my encounters with Kelso, but I did a search and discovered I kind of love talking about him. You see, he’s the kind of guy that one story would never do.  I can tell you that my adoration started when he joined my high school for a week posing as an 11th grade student named Clarence Frick (my year), then proceeded to write a series of articles about his experience. That led me to eventually inviting him to our 20 year reunion at Opal Divine’s where he accepted, showed up, and kept our school elite entertained.

Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to have my writing style compared to his. It even once inspired me to contact him, and see if he might have some advice for the likes of me. He encouraged me to give him a call, which took me a few weeks to muster up the courage to do. I mean, I write like me, not like him, and it seemed a bit uppity on my part to say “hello sir, people say I’m like you, how do I get better – how do I become you? What brands do you buy? Would you call your hair shade salt and pepper? How much salt to pepper would you say?” (I would have left off descriptions of said friends – their questionable tastes, their TBIs, etc.) When I finally did call, I got his voice mail, and didn’t hear anything back. I can’t attest to what my message said, but I suspect it was a bit rambly, and full of fan girl blithering.  The kind of stuff that sets off warning bells, and causes one to invest in a personal bodyguard or five.) He’s always had a lot going on, as one of Austin’s patron saints, so I suspect he was busy (contacting the APD).  Still, I held onto hope he’d one day share some pearls of writing wisdom.  Sorry guys, without those pearls this is what you get. Hey, you decided to follow this blog. That’s on you.

All of that to say, we will miss him and his humor – the way he influenced all of us to laugh a bit, and to inspire us. I hope he’s somewhere now having a beer with Molly Ivins, and Ann Richards, and that Leslie pops by to offer a lick of his “knob” (a story for another day, and not what you think so get your mind out of the gutter).

RIP John Kelso, and my favorite classmate, Clarence Frick.

December 25, 2017: My -0 Birthday

Tomorrow we’ll be six months away from my -0 birthday.  You know that birthday where I finally turn ummm… another year older-ish-esque! Happy Birthday to Me?

You’re probably wondering: 1) Why do I need to worry about it now, and 2) wait, if she’s writing about it, does that mean it’s another present grab? Dear Lord, is she three? I get it. You were born on Christmas. Bummer for you. I’ve got a family to think of! I’m out of town!

Well, 1) if Hobby Lobby can have Christmas stuff out already, then I’m actually a little behind in mentioning it, and 2) YES! You guessed it! It IS a present grab. You’re a good guesser! Also, I’d like to point out that you can see your family any time. I only turn -0 once! (…a decade. Err… bygones.) Go ahead and book your flights. No, book them to Austin. Why do you have to act this way?

So, remember 10 years ago? That other -0 birthday? There was you, me, some other people, and someone MAY have had a dramatic boo-hoo? Then someone’s friend had to hold up each subsequent present and grill the giver with a, “is this going to make her cry?” only handing the gift over only if she was assured, “ummm no? I don’t think so?” Remember? The birthday girl then gave that amazing speech (ok, that was a test – if you’re claiming there was a speech, then you’re now just pretending to have been there, and the bobbing of your head in agreement with all of my words right now is kind of hurtful. Way to be hurtful. This is why I actually cried.)

So, this birthday will be a repeat of the one held 10 years ago – same restaurant (maybe) – same rules. I’m going to ask for something that represents you. If you’ll recall the previous -0 birthday, I received an assortment of stories, photos, poems, comics, drawings, homemade bread, and CDs. I loved all of them, and I’ve saved each item, because it’s a tiny time capsule of who you all were 10 years ago. Ok, I lied. I didn’t save all of them. I totally ate the bread. Hey, it’s not fruitcake people. It wouldn’t have lasted. Don’t judge me. What if I “promise” (no reason for the quotes, nope – move along) not to devour any more presents (well, unless that’s what they’re intended for)? Fine. What if I just promise to try? We good?

Loot

Anyway, back to the present grab. This can be anything at all as long as it’s an expression of you.  It should be something that when I look at it, I see my amazing friend, or my beautiful family member – an item that says something about you in this moment in time.

The reason I’m announcing my request so early is to give you plenty of time to think. You guys are rather think-y sorts.

A quick note: There will be only one person whom I’ll ask for something very specific – the rest of you can go nuts – for that person it’s an idea I want them to play with (see quote below). (Anyone else is welcome to play off of this, too if you really want – create a picture of you? you in warrior garb? a sketch? a puppet? finger paints? whatever inspires you when you read it, but that also represents you).

Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’
The warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm.’

I’m going to shoot for the weekend of December 16th (which is also my beautiful niece’s birthday, and I will be mindful of that so it may  be Sunday the 17th).

Oh, and before I run off. This blog post also serves as the even earlier announcement for my upcoming reverse quinceañera in a year and a half – so, start thinking about your hoop skirted dresses, your perfect tiara, and of course your sari, because Bollywood style dance, y’all! (I feel the “y’all” really sets that sentence off. Wow, I think my Dallas is showing.) I already have a fabulous stylist I’ll be coordinating with (thank you, Mere!), and think Beth + hair extensions. I KNOW! FABULOUS! (That was the adjective you chose, right? RIGHT?!?!?! Again, HURTFUL!)

I look forward to seeing you guys there. Here’s to another decade with you amazing people. I’m looking forward to many more!

 

An Anniversary


Anniversary Card 2016

How long were you married?
Nine years.
Oh.
But we were together almost 17…
OH!

As if the length of time is a measurement of how much sympathy a person should garner. “She only knew him 1/5 of her life – one can hardly form attachments in such a short span. Oh, about 1/3 you say? How very sad. That explains the tears.”

Just a friendly reminder that when dealing with the bereaved, empathize if you can, sympathize if you’re not a sociopath and have an IQ over 30, but don’t ask how long the deceased was known. In fact, don’t ask about the relationship. Loss for a first cousin once removed may be just as sad as an aunt, a nephew, or a brother. I’ll also throw in, don’t ask how it happened, because you’re not a ghoul and this isn’t your wreck to rubber neck. You’ll know if you need to know.

This has been your latest installment of: How to Deal with Death

Today is my anniversary. My first anniversary without Jay.

Ten years ago today we were in Las Vegas – me in an overly feathered top, and Jay dressed like he walked off the set of Miami Vice. Hey, it was Vegas, baby! We’d dressed for the occasion. A few friends had joined us – Kendra, Jeff, Lynn (Ravenhex), Jen (Aunt Mahgs), Harry (Uncle Fel) and he who shall not be named out of fear of one of my guests. April had been headed that way, but the car gods were apparently angered. It was one of those beautiful and great days. A ridiculous day, as we started out at Quark’s being teased by a Klingon and were carried off to some Elvis chapel where apparently some of our other friends have been married (forget Bon Jovi – who cares? Meredith and Jerin where there once! I think Brandi and Ed were, too!).

Jay’s family weren’t told about the wedding where mine were. Jay had said he wanted to “elope”. I asked him about that decision at the time, and then later. It’s something I still don’t understand and can only offer that I think he liked the idea of “eloping” despite us having my friends there and despite my family also knowing.

Jay kept many things to himself, and he didn’t always explain himself. You just had to accept that it was a Jay thing.

Just a few thoughts I wanted to share on this day – my take away from being with Jay for nine or 17 years, depending on how you want to consider it…

Love isn’t always neat. It’s not a movie. It’s sometimes inconvenient and hard. Sometimes you have to fight for it. You have to take risks. Sometimes you have to yell when you’re being told your relationship isn’t ok in someone else’s eyes. Always keep in mind it’s not about them; it’s about the two of you. When you know it’s right, it’s something to fight for – to strive towards.

I met Jay at the worst time, but he was worth every risk I took, the sacrifices I made, and the lines in the sand I drew. He was worth every verbal scrap I got into. I knew he was the one. That he would love me absolutely despite a mountain of flaws, which he did.

Today I want to challenge you that when it comes to love take risks where you can. Remember, you only have one life. Live it deliberately. Worry less about the noise from others around you especially if they’re holding you back. You get to decide. If what you want is inconvenient for someone else, isn’t harming anyone, and they’re preventing you from moving forward, well too bad – screw them and screw that. Your life isn’t about them. Your happiness is not about them. Live for you. You only get this one life, this one shot. You are responsible for your happiness. Know and believe that you absolutely deserve to love and to be loved. Who cares what other people thing? What do you think?

Today I challenge you to love someone. Let them love you back.

Happy Anniversary to my best-friend, my love, and my favorite person. You were worth it.

(Disclaimer: Relationship risk advice excludes taking those risks with anyone who is related by blood, anyone whose spouse might have an uncontrolled anger issue and who also possesses firearms or is related to/belongs to a “club” with anyone like that (unless you can counter with court orders/law enforcement), anyone who dresses in a onesie whose last name ends (begins) in “Kim”, and anything involving animals. Basically, if you can be arrested for it, you shouldn’t do it. However, mirrors are ok. Go on and freely love yourself, you narcissistic little monkey!)