Let’s talk about bathrooms.

I figured it was time to update the blog look again. Something cleaner, less notebookish. I have to make a new banner later because my face plastered that large up at top kind of makes me feel weird. But other than that, I’m digging it.

I’m going to kind of go on a small tangent about bathrooms and all those laws trying to pop up recently. If you haven’t kept up with the news recently, North Carolina is receiving backlash lately because their governor is a transphobic man who decided that trans persons weren’t really people and thus must go to the bathroom that corresponds with their both sex at birth. I’ll catch you up to date: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/03/30/nc-transgender-bathroom-ban-is-a-national-embarrassment-says-ag-as-pilloried-law-becomes-key-election-issue/

North Carolina of course isn’t the only one pushing bills around willy nilly and trying to get them passed. 28 states have introduced bills similar to NC this year! My state included! Kansas wants to reward those who can even catch transpersons using the “wrong” bathroom! How ludicrous is this? I’d say “Trump crazy” levels.
Here is a great article covering the bills: http://www.hrc.org/blog/anti-lgbt-bills-introduced-in-28-states

I’m not one for going willy nilly on politics but I’ll be damned if I let them run rampant against so many of my brothers and sisters and even my self. My own coward of a state is following the trend and it’s sickening. It pains me to see these bills, some passing, popping up everywhere. A lot of these bills are being passed mainly against transwomen because of this religious and blind fear of the unknown. Attempting to ban us from the public, like it’s going to make it better for everyone. They tried it with the gay/lesbian movement and now it’s popular to target the trans.
The issue here is trans isn’t as supported as the gay/lesbian movement. We don’t have nearly the large upswing as it has garnered over the years. Even some of our LG sides have fallen short in helping. We need all the help we can get. We really do.

I want to link one last site that is an action site, explaining per state, what bills are in and how to take action. http://www.transequality.org/action-center

I’m wanting to go to college this year. I don’t want to be driven away from my education because I’m not allowed to use the restroom I identify with. I don’t want others in that same position either. My children need a better future to live in. This lunacy has got to end. If you could take a moment, share, speak up or contact your local state and voice your opinion, it’d mean the absolute world to all of us. And when it comes time to vote? Vote to get these narrow minded idiots out of their seats. Not just on the presidential level, but your state level, city level and so forth. You have the right to vote and change the future for so many. I urge you to do so.

To the girl I still love.

It’s been 2 years since I started this journey. 2 years of becoming the person I was meant to be. The one I held in for so long, suffering in silence. The person I kept a secret, denied and made invisible. In the 2 years since letting this person go free, I have grown, become educated more so and finally am able to walk as upright as I can. I have found a voice with in myself that I didn’t think I had. I’ve found a new career to push towards and I’ve met amazing people along the way.
The girl I was born as is still there, nestled against my heart. She will never go away and I’m ok with that. She will forever be apart of myself even if my appearance says otherwise. I learned a lot from her in my life and she shaped me to who I am today. I hold no grudge for her holding me back for so long. She must of known that it was time for her to let go and move on.
I am and always was meant to be a man. My brain was born with that part saying so. Science hasn’t figured out why but I am ok not knowing.
I am grateful that in my life I get to walk and live as the man I was meant to be. My puzzle piece has been found.
I will keep growing, learning and moving forward. In another two years I will be further than I was today. I will not be stuck in the same place like I had been for so many years before.
To the past and younger me, it’s ok that we waited. It’s ok that you held me in for as long as you did. You had good reason to protect this part of us. I will be strong now for us both and will keep you on our journey for the rest of our days.

Thank you to every single person who believed in me even when you didn’t understand. No one is to blame for anything. You never lost that daughter, she’s still here, she just realized that /she/ was no longer able to go on as the way she was. I am not a monster, I am not a freak. I am a human being. I am a man and I will die that way. Be it that my appearance changed, the person inside is still the same, albeit the wiser now.
I’ll still love you, listen to you and care for you the same as before and I am eternally grateful to those who knew this and support me daily. Loosing a gender, while jarring as it can be, doesn’t have to be a funeral.
I hope one day people will see it as a celebration. Instead of grieving the loss, celebrate the new beginning. Rejoice that this person finally found their puzzle piece and hope for better days of happiness for them.

Just a pretty face and nothing more.

Can we for a moment talk about that part of the internet where people have been tagging #thisiswhattranslookslike everywhere? It’s a visibility campaign to show others that we are just every day people just like everyone else. It’s a wonderful thing to do and I fully support and back it.
But when does it turn from a good thing to a hurtful and possibly dangerous thing?
When ‘famous’ transpersons decide that the selfie train shouldn’t stop. That instead of taking part of their visibility and following to do something good with it, they decide that they’ll turn a buck and potentially harm others instead because their ‘selfie’ was too important to pass up.

I am livid. Infuriated, that this is what it’s boiling down to. That this is somehow accepted vs actual help for the community. When do we draw the line?

Confused? I’ll show you. Example A: Screenshot 2016-02-05 22.15.57

This is what has me set off. Here we see ‘famous’ Aydian Dowling, lack of smile, sad big doe eyes.. and the caption mentions he was taken a back by a trans murder that he was e-mailed about. This of course warranted for him to /show you/ how upset he clearly is and then promptly followed by 4 emoji heart icons and than a bunch of spewed hash tagged words.
I mean come on! Look at how upset he is everyone! That’s the face of a man who clearly had to pull out his camera and just /shoowww you/ how awful he feels. That warrants something right? I mean, clearly this is somehow helping the community. All the swooning comments of how handsome he is, obviously got the message across.

Can you feel my sarcasm from across the internet? Good. So I of course, obviously sighting something missing, decided to chime in. I’m apart of the community, I surely have a voice I can use. Let’s go for it. Example B:
Screenshot 2016-02-05 22.12.16.png

Here you see the wild Hex in his habitat. Putting in a word of advice or even just a suggestion. One that I wasn’t seething hate from, not a curse word in sight. In fact I give my self a small pat on the back for not blowing up. (thanks me!)
And then que his fans. Ones who clearly missed the point I was trying to make, just like Aydian did. Surprise surprise!

Yeah, sure.. that sad selfie is surely going to save someone… not.

When did people think it was ok to stick their necks out for their communities and than fall completely off the bandwagon, off the road, out of the ditch and into a river? When did it become acceptable to be allowed to a mass a shit ton of followers, whom you could have a positive sway over and instead whore yourself out for the likes? And people think Caitlyn is bad for the community. Let’s take a nice hard long look at this guy shall we?

Dear Aydian here runs a clothing company that claims they ‘help’ the trans community. They give free binders to those in need and help raise funds for the lucky few who win their lotto to get surgery. That sounds amazing right? Until you dig a little deeper.
That free binder program? Free sounds so great, especially to the dirt poor trans person who can’t even keep a job because they keep getting fired for BEING TRANS! Well think again poor trans person! Aydian wants you to buy one of this T shirts first! You’ve gotta spend that money to get that free binder! Gotta look swag in his apparel. Oh don’t have money for that $20 T-shirt? Go beg somewhere else!

So you say to yourself, ok I’ll just enter his once a year drawing to get top surgery! I won’t even need a binder than if I just get the funds right? WRONG! Oh boy I even looked into this one because, as previously mentioned in another blog post, I can’t afford top surgery. Insurance doesn’t cover it, my state hasn’t made it legal and I have 2 kids to take care of on the already limited income we do have. So you bet your bottom I went looking to apply to be in his top surgery drawing. It went great until I read the list of requirements to apply. To apply, applicants must have saved up past a certain goal of money! On top of that, the funds he gives are meant only to get you to the rest of your end goal and you have only so long to get that top surgery or else he wants that money back!
Welp, count my ass out and god only knows how many other transmen in my position.

So, let’s recap! If you’re poor(which makes up 15% of trans, (vs 4% of the general population of the US) or even struggling to make ends meet, been fired recently from a job because you’re trans etc, than don’t turn to Aydian Dowling. He’s not going to help you.
If you’re in a dire situation, you ran across his page just recently and needed some help, but low and behold didn’t find any but a bunch of selfies and self positive messages, well.. you’re screwed as far as he’s concerned.
If you really needed that number for the trans suicide hotline but couldn’t remember it because Aydian decided his lean muscle was more important, you’re not alone.
And oh if your parents are kicking you out and you needed to remember that shelter number for trans youth? Welp.. out of luck again. Your hunky Aydian didn’t decide you were important enough because his gym selfie was.

Do you see the issue here??! When do we get to stand up and say, “Hey, this isn’t what the community needs!” It’s great you’re visible. So much so you were on TV. Congradulations Aydian. Honestly, I do mean that part. You’ve come leaps and bounds as far as the trans community goes for visibility. Other than that? You haven’t done shit with it. You haven’t grassrooted correctly. Instead of helping the lesser of us wallowing on the bottom, just trying to make ends meet, you decided you’d be the pretty face instead.
You’ve lost my support and two years of looking up to you. God only knows how many lives have been lost instead because someone looked up to you and didn’t get the help they really needed. I know I couldn’t live with that guilt.

 

2 years of changes and a new life.

You know when you’re sitting there and you take a moment to look back at what’s happened to get you to where you’re at right now and it all just leaves you kind of awe struck? That’s me currently.

It’ll be 2 years come February 11th since I started HRT. It’s now been 2 years since I came out to my husband and family. A lot has changed and not just appearance wise. My life has changed, my perspective has changed, my opinions and goals have changed. And change doesn’t have to be a bad thing either. I would say my changes have been for the better in most cases. Granted, the ability to be on the other side of the fence as far as being a minority leaves me bitter hearted and struggling. But the other changes have been for the better and I am thankful I took the steps needed to get to where I’m at today. I don’t regret my decision, I stand proud for it.

For those of you who are curious about the physical changes for a person on HRT for 2 years now, I’ll kind of do a run down but you can also check out my gallery to see the changes as well.
At the 2 year mark, my voice is still kinda going everywhere. It also didn’t help I was sick for a month straight with what had to be the worst head cold of my life. Lost my voice for a full week and a half, throat is still sore some days and my ears ache and it’s been going on 2 months now. But I will say my voice on average passes now most times over the phone and for sure in person. If you would of caught me last year that wouldn’t of been the case.
As far as things like muscle and body fat, everything seems to be in place. I still need to loose about 50lbs ideally but still not there.
Facial hair is alright. I wouldn’t say it’s where I want it to be by a long shot but I’m happy with what my genes gave me. I still have a baldish/thin spot under my chin but the middle of my chin is finally filling in. the sides are starting, very slowly, to grow up but around the rest of it, it’s still fairly thin. I tossed around the idea to use Rogaine and I have a bottle in my cabinet but I haven’t gotten to the point of using it daily.

As for everything else, such as top surgery plans and so forth go, I have none. We just don’t make enough to cover the Dr I want to see and getting to that point is going to take a long while. I want to save up, I do. But I have 2 children to take care of first. And their health and happiness will come before mine. I just have to keep avoiding the squealing happy men running rampant on my social media that get the chance to get it done instead. I get severely depressed and angry every single time I read a post about it.

So apart from all the physical changes at 2 years, the emotional ones I think are far greater. Daily I find my paranoia kicks in about my safety or I’ll see posts reminding me that my state doesn’t believe I’m a decent human being and that I’m some maniacal rapist who enjoys torturing people in public bathrooms and thus I don’t deserve even basic human rights. It’s stressful, it’s infuriating, it dumbfounds me.
The state of Missouri is so pretentious in their religious standing that I’m fearful of even getting a job. What’s the point? I could be fired and can’t do a damn thing about it.

I managed to finally secure health insurance over the market place this year and surprise surprise, none of them covered trans. Not a one. Oh their private insurance does, for a nice lump sum of $500+ a month, but forget it if you have to purchase publicly.
I’m actually pretty tempted for when I pay off our deductible, to start raising hell. I’ve spoken with a few people and I hope to get in contact soon with a LGBT lawyer who might have some insight into the process of fighting the company and the state. I’ll be damned if I don’t go down without a fight. I’m quite alright speaking my mind and I’ll do so if need be.

Aside from the blatant inequality I live in day to day, there isn’t much more to go on about. I know I don’t update very regularly and to be honest, I could if I wanted to turn this blog into a rally for rights informative thing. But I don’t. If you know a few LGBT people, especially T, you’ll already know the backwards and screwed up legislation. And if you don’t, a quick google search will inform you. Spamming here, what already countless blogs and news sites do, wouldn’t help. So for now I’ll keep it to strictly my life and how it all effects me.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. For giggles sake I’ll include my pre-T picture here and than one of me last week for fun comparison. Have a good one!

Things you take for granted

Being in a mostly supportive family, surrounding my self with friends and peers that accept me for who I am and so on, kind of tends to blind you at some point so much so that when something hateful or mean comes out of left field you get this kind of wake up call again. The one where you come to realize you being trans hurts not only you, but the ones who care for you too and you’re left feeling like utter shit again.

I’ll elaborate. Husband’s grandfather has been ill for over a year. He was having strokes and his heath started to fail come the end of last year. We get a call from my father in law asking if husband wanted to visit him on Christmas with the kids but the exception was that I wasn’t allowed to come because I made his grandmother uncomfortable with me being trans. (I’ve never been denied entrance to their house in the last 12 years so this came outta no where) Husband obviously was upset a lot by this. He chose to decline and say he’d visit on another day seeing as Christmas was for family and if they weren’t going to include all of his family than he wasn’t coming. They settled with that and so he visited a week later. We get a call last Sunday morning that he had passed and so Dustin took off to mourn with his family. The funeral is tomorrow and I don’t think I’m invited to that either.

I’m left feeling bitter and angry. I knew that man too for the last 12 years of my life. I chatted with him, I got to know him. I enjoyed his company and he was a nice man. And now because I’m trans I didn’t even get to say my goodbyes. I get denied even comforting my husband because his grandmother couldn’t get past this part of me that hasn’t changed me 1 single bit but my appearance. The fuck.

I don’t have much more to say on the subject that isn’t vile or me taking my anger out further. I just am so angry not only because I wasn’t even given a chance to express my feelings as a human being but my husband is fucking stuck in the middle. Oh my grandfather died who I loved a ton and I’d love for my spouse to be there mourning with me together and I can’t even do that. I have to choose. (Well technically he didn’t have to because I told him his grandfather was more important than the petty shit his grandmother started but I digress) He felt it was a choice she confronted him with and that’s just the shittest thing you can do to someone. Choose your grandfather and us or your spouse of 12 years. Ffs. End rant.

The Disparity

I’m surprised I haven’t touched base on this before seeing as it’s been almost two years since this has started happening. Today I’m going to educate and run you down on the sexist and possibly transphobic issues that go on in art fandoms. I can only speak from the anthromorphic side of things since that’s where my art business takes place. But I thought that this was important to cover as many people didn’t know that this was going on or if it was even a thing.

I’ve worked almost 6 years in the ‘furry’ fandom. I started out like most, pulling pennies from long hours of work for about two years or so until I built a client base. I constantly worked and committed full time in 2012 to my art. Up until January 2014 I was presenting as female as I had just really came out to my self and wanted to start transitioning right away.
Before I came out to my clients and the fandom I had a large customer base. It was a good revolving door of new customers and repeat ones. I was always able to open up a few commission spots and they’d be jumped on with in 30 minutes to an hour. I very rarely would have to keep posting follow journals to get them sold. I had loads of work and was making a decent income. It was enough to keep the bills paid for a while and I was content in my work and client base.
Before I chose to come out to the fandom I was fearful that this would impact my client base, as I had many hetero male clients who would often flirt with me and indulge me by buying commissions etc. I knew the scales might tip to a point this could impact my income but verged forth anyways because I wanted to be true not only to my self but my clients and who was producing the art they enjoyed.
Over the course of 2014 things started to slowly decline. Customer base dropped and among that happening a few things caused me stress beyond to where I could hold onto and I hit a depression pit for the rest of 2014.

2015 wasn’t much better either, and for lack of typing time I’ll just sum it up as horrid patch in my life for most of the spring/summer. When things finally stabilized I I became more aware just how many of my clients had really left. Granted, I can’t blame it solely on me being transgender. There are I’m sure many factors why some left and haven’t returned. So don’t take this as me individually pointing fingers to folks. It’s easy to say, well because of your slow progress people just gave up on you or whatever. Sure it is easy to say that and sometimes I still say that to my self so I don’t throw my self into another depressive fit over who I am.

But the bottom line still remains. A booming, mostly hetero client base is now gone and I am no longer able to pull in the income I first had. Comments have dwindled to barely any unless I draw something favorable. Clients have now come down to a few select ones and so on. I’ve also noticed I have gained more female followers and clients as well and even more trans ones. Sadly that doesn’t equate to the male follow base I had. In the long run it might but there is a gap. I’ve been running my business for long enough now I can feel it both financially and emotionally. When you always saw comments from people and then they just magically poof after you post a picture of yourself, well.. kinda hard not to point that finger to that certain reason.

Sure, we all know every line of work is full of sexist, bigoted assholes. I’m not stating anything new by any means. And it’s not like I can just expect people to come up and go, “yeah I’m a sexist.” It doesn’t work that way.
But I’ll be damned if it doesn’t anger me to no end. I like to put faith in people too much I guess. I’d like to think that people enjoyed the art I made and not my tits. It was a nice thought to trick my self with I guess. But in reality? Because I wasn’t longer desirable eye candy they got up and found someone else who was. It wasn’t about my art and to an artist who draws to make people happy that’s a pretty big crushing statement.
Maybe it’s one of the reasons I’ve been feeling my mental state more and more lately.

I’ve been back to the work world since I’ve transitioned. It was a nightmare. I’m not your typical chauvinistic pig of a male you find lanking around here. I don’t talk about football. I don’t spit my flem on the ground or adjust my balls in front of you. I’m not an emotionless asshole. I still catch my self saying feminine things or my body movements will still be there from prior. I give my own self away if I have to interact with others for longer periods of time and it’s a recipe for being outed and treated like a freak or subhuman who doesn’t deserve to even piss in a place I feel comfortable using because of who I am. There are very few workplace trans protections here legally and I swear if I hear another person say, “Just find a transfriendly work place!” that’s like saying, “Hey go be a lawyer just to feel safe at work!” It’s a moronic statement.

So right now, I feel comfortable continuing my business in art to a better extent than the work force. But how am I to do that if my income has been slashed at least $500 a month? I don’t have the time anymore to be working 12 hours for less than minimum wage. I don’t have the client base to be upping my prices either and if I drop them I’m literally cutting my self out of even more money for the work I put in. I’m stuck.

Being transgender is fucking horrid. It’s not easy and if anyone ever tells you it’s a fucking choice, bash them over the head with a massive book made up entirely of quotes like that, that make every transperson suffer.
When you reach a point in your life you feel like you’re a subhuman to the rest of society and it directly effects you, than you get some space to comment.

There’s my insight I guess. I’ll keep trucking because I’m not going to loose out on my life but I’ll be damned if I stay silent and take the shit coming at me either.

Some days are harder than others.

I try to keep this blog as transgender based as possible. Be it my struggles in an un-accepting world or directly coinciding with my transition medically, but some days it’s hard to not look past all of that and feel the need to share other aspects of my life.
I’m not just transgender. That sole thing doesn’t define me. I’m a parent, a husband, an artist. Someone who lives with struggles and dreams. I also live with mental disorders. Disorders that sometimes cripple my daily functions. Disorders I’m trying to treat so I can continue living a more improved life for not only myself but for my children and spouse.

I was hesitant on sharing this bit of information with the general public mainly because of the stigma that surrounds it. The whispers and assumptions people draw up to try and arm chair prescribe me a bit of their own advice. But honestly, I’ve moved past that phase of caring and paranoia. The more advanced medical science becomes the more we as human beings advance in our daily lives and the future. Some day I’d like to think the world I walk and live in has become more accepting of all things around us. Granted, I know there’s a lot of factors to play up to that point and by gods we all have to hit rock bottom before it gets to that point. I can still hope and dream though.
I’ll get to the meat of this post though and save you my rants about humanity for later.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the word depression. It seems to be a buzz word in conversations now a days, which is a good thing. Bi polar might be another maybe not so much talked about word that is out there along with many others as well. There may be confusion, misunderstanding, misinformation and the like about these words and others pertaining to mental disorders. So I’d like to clear up a few things from my perspective. From someone who suffers from these and more on a daily basis. I’m not a health professional. I’m not a psychologist, though that’s what I want to be later on in life. What you read from me, comes from me. Comes from a person who battles and lives with these disorders. You may relate to some of it, you may not. If you feel like sharing your story down below, I will say thank you for breaking that stigma that hangs around you and I every day.
Discussions and conversations are our biggest weapon against the fight and struggle we put up with daily. Getting others to understand that we suffer from a medical condition and how to help us.

Some days are harder than others. I live with Bi polar 2, which in it’s own self has a long list of side effects to which I’ll list in a bit. I also live with depression, severe anxiety, PTSD from emotional trauma, and ADHD (Yes adults deal with it as well)
“Is it easy?” you might ask. No, it isn’t. “Is there a cure?” No, there isn’t yet. “How do you live with these?” From day to day. “How can I help?”
By understanding that each person’s disorder is different for them, that being open minded, not jumping to conclusions and listening to the person and what they need is sometimes the best medicine there is. Shutting someone away because you choose not to understand or have patience with them is only furthering the same path we as humans have taken against anything we don’t understand since we’ve evolved to have functioning logical brains. We are smarter than that, we can be smarter than our past selves, I truly believe that.

So how exactly does my mental disorders hinder my days you might ask. Let’s take a look at my pattern of behavior real fast. Over a 6 month period I will suffer from insomnia for about a week or so. This hinders me being able to fall asleep until late nights up until around 4am. Than after a few days of falling asleep at 4am my body will do a shut down the next time I sleep and I won’t be able to be roused easily before 8am (when my children get up and ready for school) so my husband and roommate have to help them instead. I can sleep in hard sleep mode for anywhere from 8 to 12 hours and if I wake up before the 8 I feel extremely groggy, jumbled, forgetful and agitated the rest of that day. After 3 or so days of that and trying to keep up with the living day world, I’ll start to spiral.
My anxiety will peak higher than normal. I will have panic attacks more and more often(the fight or flight response. Elevated heart rate, sweating, light headed, adrenaline rush, pit of stomach feeling.) Anything can trigger this and I’m usually more on edge. As the days go on I’ll become overwhelmed, exhausted more easily, paranoid about a lot of things and my mood swings can set in. At this point I’m so stressed from everything I might blow up at the nearest person. If that happens I hit a rock bottom response where I can feel suicidal, depressed, lack motivation and I’ll wall my self shut of emotion. I may eat way less, not want to leave my house, talk to anyone and the list goes on. This pattern persists over the course of sometimes a month to six. If we have financial trouble or something unexpected pops up, it worsens.

Now don’t get me wrong. I do have good days in there. I try my very best to have more good than bad. In fact I’ve sought out counseling sessions just recently and looking at medication as an option finally to help ease my anxiety, insomnia and depression. I want to have good days. Who wants to sit at home, looking at the clock and it’s only 3pm and you’ve been awake since only 11am and you feel like you are ready to go back to bed because the overwhelming stone pit in your stomach says so? No one that’s who, me included.

I don’t want sympathy. I don’t want apologies. You, nor I have nothing to apologize over. Medically there is something going on in my brain chemistry that has forever effected me since the day I was born. You can’t help that you have the color eyes you do and I can’t help the fact I have a mental disorder or that I’m trans on top of it all. It’s that simple. I just want people to understand that it literally comes down to that above sentence. If there was a pill to ‘correct or cure’ these disorders I’d take it tomorrow and never look back. But just as anything we’re born with that we don’t like about ourselves, we have to find means to handle and deal with them our own way. I thought for the last 12 years of my life I’d be ok without medication. And for a while I was. But my symptoms have not improved and for my self personally I’m seeking treatment. Does that make me better than someone else? Hell no. It makes me self aware of my own boundaries and limitations. That’s it. There’s no further commentary needed on my end.

Will I become an out spoken advocate for therapy and medicine? Not really. If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental disorder and their lives are being impacted by it, I would suggest at least seeking counsel with a medical professional to speak with. There is always a better way of going about doing things but just remember this, it varies from person to person. What works for me necessarily won’t work for you.

I will put a link here for those who are at that cliff in their lives right now or may be later on, that need this type of help. I know I did. I reached out because I had no one to speak to about what’s going on with me and they made me realize I really could use more help than I wanted to admit.
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
They have an online chat as well in case it’s hard for you to get the words to come out vocally like I do. I’m a much better organized mess so to speak when I can type it out rather than verbally convey it.

I’ll wrap this long winded post up now. I just felt that today, on a rainy Tuesday, I could help someone out there not feel so alone. I could open up this topic for discussion and maybe shed some light to those who hadn’t stopped to think about it.