Sigur Ros Me

LJ Idol: Patchwork Heart

The blue piece with the grey pinstripes? I got that from a Nebraska boy with brown hair and soulful hazel eyes. We spent a humid Midwestern summer together, learning each other's bodies, memorizing the curves and the soft places. He left when the seasons changed, and he took a piece of my favorite white Tshirt with him.

The Black Sabbath logo? That one's from a shaggy haired boy I met at a dance hall, who let me sleep in his favorite concert shirt and always brushed the hair out of my eyes before he kissed me. Turns out the only thing he loved more than me was Jack Daniels, and the three of us never could get along.

If you put your nose up to that little bit of red silk up there -- the one that still has the pearl button it -- I bet it'll smell like Stetson. That one comes from the shirt T always wore, T with the haunted brown eyes, T who was too old for me and was a lost soul long before he found me. He made me laugh and he made my cry, mostly in equal measure, and I was broken hearted to hear that he'd died, even though it'd been nearly a decade since we'd seen each other.

Up in the corner there, that big cream colored piece, that one's from the dress I wore to my first wedding. I was so happy and in love that day. It's funny how fast things can change. Next to it there's a little strip of white linen, from the shirt he wore that day, when we stood up in front of our friends and our families and said that we were forever.

That piece of dark blue denim's from the jeans I wore the day I left. They tore on the edge of the truck door as I was loading up boxes. I hear the sound of the cloth rending and for a split second I was sure it was the entire world breaking open.

The little pin-up girl applique is from a girl who I'm pretty sure loved me but wouldn't let herself. She fought so hard and the stories in her head won.

Oh, this one is one of my favorites. That one's from the Elvis Tshirt M wore the first time she spent the night with me. So worn and soft, smelling like Drakkar and sweat. I would sleep with it when we couldn't be together, tuck it under my pillow so I could touch it throughout the night.

You know, everyone I've ever loved has taken a little piece of me, a little bit of my heart, when they've left. Part of loving is the willingness to give of yourself freely, knowing you might never get what you've given back. I've had the blessing and the curse of falling in love many times in this life, and it's left me with a heart covered with rips, tears, rends. It's left me with missing pieces.

But I'm a Midwestern girl, and my mother taught me how to sew.

And everyone I've ever loved, even as they have taken pieces of me with them, has left pieces of themselves behind. Sometimes just a scrap, sometimes whole yardage. It's the gift they give me in exchange for the love I give them.

And so I take these pieces, these patches, these scraps. I quilt them together with love, with anger, with tears, with memory. And I put my heart back together. Each and every time.
Sigur Ros Me

LJ Idol: Campfire Stories

Anthropologists don't know exactly when we did it, but it seems that one of the earliest things that our human ancestors did was master fire. Indeed, the ability to control fire seems to be one of the things that makes us human in many ways -- it allows us to cook and thus transformed our diet, it served as a source of warmth and protection and thus very likely increased our lifespan, and it provides a setting for community building and thus helped us leverage our social natures in new and interesting ways. It seems reasonable to suppose that not long after we figured out how to make fire, humans began telling campfire stories.

Some of those stories were surely cautionary, others epic, and still others humorous. The stories we tell when we're with our circle, keeping out the darkness. The stories we tell about what's Out There, and Who We Are, and What Is True. As well as the stories we tell about what happens to those who go beyond the protective circle of light and heat, beyond the tight embrace of the familiar, who dare to venture into the darkness with its peril and evils and hazards.

Human beings seem to have a penchant for making myth, for making story, for making symbols -- Leslie White thought that the ability to make and understand symbols was itself the mark of humanity -- and at some point those early campfire stories about very real dangers must have started to mutate and transform into the campfire stories we know today. Stories of wendigo and werewolves, of Bigfoot and the hook-handed serial killer, of the Mothman and the Weeping Woman in White. I'm agnostic on whether or not these stories have kernels of truth -- there is more the wide world than I will ever be able to prove or disprove, after all. I'm more interested in why we continue to tell these stories to ourselves and one another. I'm fascinated by the power these stories have over the imaginations of even the most self-professed rational person. Because these stories of what lurks in the dark tell us about the consequences of straying from the familiar, of leaving behind the safe, of forging ahead into uncharted territory. These stories give form to our greatest fears -- of death, sure, but also of isolation, of loss of control, of not knowing all there is to know about our world. Campfire stories tap into the most primal part of our minds and hearts, and all the complex emotions that live there.

What we fear most, I've come to believe, is the unknown. And it is in the darkness beyond our familiar fire circles that we encounter the unknown in its purest form. When we hear noises from just outside the protective glow, it is in our nature to huddle together for safety, to trust the flames to keep the predator at bay, to believe in the power of community and family to keep us safe from whatever might be Out There.

And yet.

And yet there is always the person who, hearing the footsteps or the growling or the rustling get closer, chooses to stand, to light a branch or a torch. There is always the person who steps to the edge of the circle, attempting to illuminate the threatening darkness. There is always the one who declares that the campfire story is, after all, just a story, and that crouching in fear only postpones the inevitable.

There is always the one who seeks to throw light on the creeping danger, to prove it to be not a wolf or an enemy or a monster, but instead another person seeking shelter, the wind playing in the branches, a small rodent rustling through the leaves. And if the light should instead reveal something more sinister, more dangerous, then that torch bearer is ready to fight, not to sit and wait for their doom and destruction.

We believe campfire stories, and we tell campfire stories, because they assure us that there are ways to stay safe. They give us a sense of what might lurk out there in the chaos. And even if those things are terrifying, these stories give us a way to survive them -- and warn us of the consequences of straying too far from the campfire.

But the ones who stride confidently to the edge of the circle? Or who do it even through their knees shake?

Those are the heroes.

Those are the ones that tell us that safety bought with fear is no safety at all, but its own kind of prison.

Those are the ones that show us that monsters live in the dark, sure, but when we throw light in their path, they dissolve like smoke, like mist.

They are the ones who show us that we can face our fear head on and exand our worlds beyond the tiny hearths at which we were raised and reared.

Which is an entirely different -- and if you ask me, better -- type of story.
Sigur Ros Me

LJ Idol: Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here

It's easy to say that I should have seen it coming. Looking back now, the signs were clear. But you know what they say about hindsight.

Sometimes I still beat myself up a little, for having been a smart woman who was too dumb to see the red flags and the warning lights. But cultural conditioning can make you believe just about anything can be made OK, if you just work hard enough. Add in the bullshit narrative about love conquering all that we are spoon-fed from the time we're old enough to listen to a story or follow a TV show or movie, and,'ve got a toxic cocktail of denial that will numb you just enough to keep you complacent, to keep you in places that were you in your right mind you would have avoided or fled.

Oh yes, there were signs. I can see them now, clear as day, flashing out a warning that I was headed into dangerous territory.

MIND THE GAP. The gap between the story he was telling me and the truth of the matter. The gap between what we needed to cover our bills each month and what was actually in the bank account. The gap between the life he promised me and the one were were living.

SLIPPERY WHEN WET. More like slippery when cornerned -- the way he could keep track of his lies, could always elude my attempts to ferret out the truth. Slippery like always being one step ahead of me when I started to scent the trail.

ROUGH SURFACE AHEAD. This one popped up when he didn't get his way, when he was denied something he wanted, when anything didn't go exactly as he wanted. Things were about to get very rough for me then -- the guilt, the yelling, the insults, the gaslighting. Time to buckle up.

NO PASSING ZONE. I had a place and I would be expected to stay in it. Any hint that I'd earn more than him, achieve more than him, do more than him, have more than him and I'd be knocked back on my heels.

WATCH FOR FALLING ROCKS. All the times when something would come out of no where and knock me flat. Phone calls from jail. Overdraft notices. A dark house because the electricity had been disconnected for nonpayment. Eviction papers on my door.

WATCH FOR WATER ON ROAD. Every time I waded not knowing how deep things were, not knowing how quickly I would be over my head. Stepping into what I thought was a mud puddle only to be carried away on a current of lies, half-truths, obfuscations. Knowing I was drowning and that there was no way to save myself.

Really? It would have all been better for everyone if he'd just come with one big sign: ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE. At least then I'd have known exactly what I was getting into, even if I was still stupid enough to keep venturing forward. And let's face it, I would have, because who doesn't secretly believe that if they're brave enough to enter the pirate's lair, they'll come away with the treasure chest? Who really ever abandons hope, especially when hope is the only thing that we have? We cling to hope long after it's clear that the thing we hope for is never to be within our grasp, was never even a real thing, was always an illusion.

But he didn't come with a warning sign. I didn't see the posted caution signs along the road until I was so far down it that I was no longer sure where I was, and I wasn't at all confident in my ability to find my way home again.

I'm just glad I finally saw the sign marked EXIT.
Sigur Ros Me

LJ Idol: Salty

It is a curious fact of human biology that we need salt to live. It is salt that drives the engines of our cells, that fuels a myriad bodily processes that happen without our awareness every minute of every day to keep us alive. Consumed principally in the form of table salt, NaCl, just a few milligrams of this vital nutrient each day keeps us breathing, digesting, pumping blood and thus oxygenating our cells, and a thousand other vital processes. Without salt, we would literally slowly whither and die.

Salt is the stuff of life.

The other curious fact about human biology and salt is that, for as much as we need it, the lack of salt awakes no craving. Nothing in our body sends up the message that we need to get some salt on board, stat, before things start going horribly sideways. In spite of this, however, one of the earliest human innovations we see is a variety of techniques to extract salt from the environment -- through evaporating sea water on hot sticks, scraping it off seaside rocks, evaporating urine (really -- the Aztecs did it). Somehow, intuitively, maybe even spiritually, we know that we need salt to live.

We spend the first 9 months of our existence afloat in salty water, and when we're born it's in a rush of this salty fluid. The saline sweat and tears of labor are what welcome us Earthside, as we squall and surf the aminotic tide into life. Sometimes I wonder if our bond with salt, our intimate bond with it, is formed in these prebirth months, in these moments when we transition from the relative safety of the womb to the wonderful and perilous world outside. Do we carry with us the memory of floating in our own private piece of ocean? Are we always on some level aching to return?

Salt is with us in the most profound of ways. The most significant moments of our lives are awash in salt, are bathed in salt, are encrusted with salt. At moments of deep joy, of heart-wrenching sorrow, of adrenaline-fueled stress and fear, we produce salt, leak it ouf our pores and let it issue forth from our eyes.

Salt is somehow baptism, blessing, redemption, cleansing.

Salt is tears, and sweat, and the hot fluids of passion. It is the purging of despair, it is the ecstacy of celebration, it is the soothing balm of side-splitting laughter. It is the crystalline structure of love, of hate, of grief, of loss, of endings and new beginnings.

Salt is our constant companion.

If we are lucky, we live a life that is by turns sweet and bitter, and if we are really lucky the sweet outweighs the bitter.

But no matter how life tastes in any given moment, at its heart, it is always salty.
Sigur Ros Me

LJ Idol: The Blue Hour

Well the sun rose
With so many colors it nearly broke my heart
It worked me over like a work of art
And I was part of all that

Mornings aren't easy for me. The pull of sleep, of dreams, of rest is so strong. The warmth of my bed, the coziness and safety of the nest of pillows and blankets I've built, the hazy light coming through the curtains -- I'm always looking for a way to make it last a little longer. It's not so much that I don't want to face the day, my job, my life. At least not anymore. It's more that there is something in that liminal space between sleeping and waking, between my internal dream life and the waking life of walking the world, that I want to hold on to. But I always pry myself out of bed, usually lured by the smell of fresh-brewed coffee wafting from the kitchen across the hall, and start my day. The best days are when I can start it gently, by wrapping in a blanket or robe and lingering over that first cup of coffee. Most days aren't like that, though. Instead, I've got to shake off the last vestiges of sleep, drink that first mug of dark roast, and get on with the business of getting on with life.

Even on the hardest mornings -- well, on all but the very hardest mornings, let's be honest here -- I stride into my day feeling, if not optimistic, at least ready for whatever the day sends my way. Usually by the time I'm out the door, I'm full-focused on the day ahead -- work, research, activism, recreation, whatever my full, busy life has in store.

I don't take a lot of time to look back, to reflect, to wonder what if.

I keep going forward -- because that's the only way to get where I'm going.

But there's a time at the end of the day, after I've taken the bus and the train home, and navigated the traffic from the train station, when the light turns golden then pink then pale, pale blue. A time when the shadows lengthen and the night begins creeping closer on little cat feet. Things are soft then, not soft like they are in the morning, but hazy and blurry around the edges.

It never lasts all that long -- I blink and the shadows have turned to indigo and the moon is shining.

In this time, this time-inbetween-times, in this blue hour, sometimes....sometimes I look back. Sometimes, in these few brief moments suspended in the space between day and night, in the liminal space between the work of the day and the dreams of the night, I wonder. I wonder what if. I wonder what might have been. Sometimes regret comes and gently puts her head on my knee.

It never lasts all that long -- a quick shake of my head brings me back to the present, to the life I chose, to the life I built, out of the ashes of what was.

Sometimes, in that blue hour, it's almost like I could reach out and touch the self I could have been, might have been.

If I could, what would I say? What would I do?

I like to think I'd touch her face gently. I'd tell her that she was strong. I'd tell her that she was more than he told her she was. I'd tell her she had choices.

I'd tell her that if she'd reach out in the fading lilac light, and if she believed, someone would take her hand and pull her through to the other side.

Now I'm sleeping fine
Sometimes the truth is like
Second chance
Sigur Ros Me

LJ Idol: Take a Hike

And I see the permanent damage you did to me
Never again, I just wish I could forget when it was magic
I wish it wasn’t four am, standing in the mirror
Saying to myself, you know you had to do it I know
The bravest thing I ever did was run

The single greatest act of courage I have ever performed was locking that door behind me, leaving the key on the patio table, and walking away. You will never know what it cost me to do it, to not turn around and look back. You'll never know that, as soon as I got around the corner from our apartment, I pulled into the Walgreens parking lot, put the truck in Park, and cried for 15 minutes with my face in my hands. And then I wiped my cheeks, blew my nose on a fast-food napkin, and drove away. You'll never know that there were nights I laid awake asking myself if I had really done the right thing, even while my heart and my gut knew that I had. You'll never know how close it all came to ending up another way.

You'll never understand why I did it. You'll never understand whyI couldn't forgive you, like I had always done in the past. You'll never understand why it was that moment that finally broke me, broke us, broke the fragile peace that passed for normal and sometimes even passed for happiness. You'll never understand that I left because if I hadn't have left, I'd have died -- whether at your hands or my own, doesn't matter. You'll never understand that we would have just slowly destroyed each other until there was nothing left, that at the end we weren't fighting for us but only to avoid personal annihilation. You'll never understand that there was no fixing it.

I know that there's a story you've told yourself about why I finally had to go. I know that you had to tell yourself that story, had to make yourself both hero and victim, because otherwise you wouldn't be able to live with yourself. I don't know if you really believe that story you tell yourself, that you tell others when they ask about me and about what happened. I am going to guess that on some level you know it's not true, or at least that it's not the whole truth. But I also don't know if you have, if you even can, fully admit to yourself the role you played. Can you face up to what you did, to me and to us? Do you even get that it was wrong, that it was violent, that it was ugly?

I wish I could explain it to you in a new way, a way that you could understand, a way that you could accept.

But if I couldn't do it then, when I still mattered to you, then I sure as hell can't do it now. Not after all this time, after all that's passed, after all that's happened.

I've spent a lot of sleepless nights trying to make sense of it all myself.

I can list my justifications, list my reasons, take you through the whys. But it won't matter.

When the time comes, when everything is broken on the ground and the only thing you have to hang on to is yourself -- well, then it's time to take a hike.

And once that decision has been made, there's no going back. There's only forward. There are detours. There is rough terrain.

But you can't turn back, you can't look back. Because that's not the way you're going.
Sigur Ros Me

LJ Idol: Trolley Problem

Ain't that enough?
I turned your dreams into lightning
Ain't that enough?
I held the world back for you
Ain't that enough?
I loved you past the point of dyin'
Ain't that enough
Of me
For you?
Melissa Etheridge

No one who loves you will ever require that you annihilate yourself to prove your love.

I need you to repeat that to yourself until you believe it.

We live in a culture that feeds us narratives, from the time we are small, that equate love with self-sacrifice. If we truly love someone, if we truly love some, there is nothing we won't give them. Nothing we won't do for them. Nothing we won't give up for them. We learn pratically from the cradle that love is on some level about pain, that real love, passionate love, is filled with equal parts agony and ecstasy. That part of loving is fighting with and for the person that has our heart. That we endure bad times, no matter how bad, because the good times are so good. That part of romantic love, if it be truly love, is drama and suffering and sleepless nights.

This is all a lie, and it's a set up.

Because it convinces us -- and especially women and femmes, though no one is immune -- that we don't have the right to put the brakes on, to say NO, to set a boundary. Because who would object to what are clearly the signs of deep, passionate love? Who in their right mind would relinquish passion for safety, would give up our chance at a fairytale ending just because things get a little scary?

And then by the time we think we might, just might, have the right to say NO, things have gotten so scary that we're scared to say NO. We're too scared of what might happen, of what people might say, of how we will survive. And so we don't say NO, even if we also stop saying YES.

And it is in this way that we start losing pieces of ourselves, little by little. We become smaller. And the smaller we become, the smaller we are expected to make ourselves. If you loved me you would. We internalize it. If we really loved him, we would. We would fold up all the dreams we have that don't fit with his vision of what a wife should be, put them in lavender, try not think about them. We would hold our tongues and keep our opinions behind our teeth, if we feared for a moment they might upset him. We would stay silent or, even better, smile and laugh when he makes a joke at our expense, all the time shrinking deeper and deeper inside ourselves, determined to take up as little space as possible. We would learn to accept that what we are being given, what we are being told is love, is the best we will ever get. We would be grateful for the attention, for the security. We would be grateful that it isn't worse.

The thing about it is that it's so fucking insidious. We are not stupid. We've taken the classes, read the articles on dating violence in Cosmo, watched the Oprah episodes. We know the red flags. But that's not how real life works most of the time. No. Rather, we find ourselves chipped away, little by little, piece by piece. We give ourselves away, and we convince ourselves are doing it for love. We convince ourselves that if we were just enough, if we were just enough
-- enough of what, we never seem to say -- that we'll get our fairytale ending, our fade out kiss, our happily ever after.

Here's the secret: We'll never be enough. Not because we are inherently lacking or intrisincally flawed. But because no one is enough, can be enough, to fill up the gaping hole in a man like that.

It's the same old trolley problem. You remember the one from philosophy class, right? Only in this case, the crowd of folks unknowingly awaiting death on the first track? That's everything you think you know. It's him. It's the life you've built together. It's everything he told you you should be, if only you loved him. It's everything you've convinced yourself you should be. And  the person strapped to the side track is you.

You can either have your illusions, or you can have yourself.

But you can't have both.

The cost of having his approval, of having the illusion?

It's allowing that speeding trolley to run you over, to destroy you.

And to save yourself? You have to let that illusion crash and burn. You have to be willing to let it all die in a fireball. You have to be willing to love yourself enough to let the you you thought you were supposed to be die.

You have to be willing to let your ideas about what love is, what they told you love is, become ash on the wind.

You will be convinced, as you let that trolley speed right through the center of the life you built, that you will die. You will want to die.

But you will not die.

You will get up off the track, miraculously freed.

Because all that, burning and smoking down the track?

That wasn't love.

Because love doesn't require you to submit to your own destruction.

Because love doesn't ask you to make yourself less than you are just to ensure someone else's comfort.

Because love doesn't require you to set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm.

I know you don't believe me right now.

But you will. When you need to, you will.
Sigur Ros Me

LJ Idol: No Comment

I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I would say if I ever saw you again. If I ever turned a corner and came face to face with you. If I walked up to order my latte and you were the barista behind the counter. If I slipped into a train or bus seat, my eyes concentrated on my phone, only to look up and see that you were in the seat across from me. If I was sitting in any of our old places, drinking a coffee or a whiskey and ginger or a longneck beer, and saw you come strolling in. If I were in a distant city, on vacation or business, and saw you across a crowded hotel lobby, a dark restaurant, improbably dropped back into my life. I've played the scene out a million times in my mind, all the ways that our paths could cross, in places both familiar and strange. Sometimes I see you first. Sometimes you see me first. Sometimes you say something to me. Sometimes the silence stretches for miles.

At first, when my heart was still raw and bleeding, when the pain was too much for me to draw a deep breath, I imagined I'd say something heartfelt. Something out of a country song (not a good country song, but a country song, the kind with the whiny slide guitar and the cane-syrup-sweet lryics), something about how I'd never stopped loving you. And you'd put your arms around me and pull me close and the world would spin and everything would be good again.

Then, after some time had passed, and I'd allowed myself to get angry at you -- and make no mistake, I was angry at you, with a burning passion that sometimes frightened even me -- I thought that I'd probably just growl out a "Fuck you" and walk away. Or maybe I'd play it cold and distant -- "I'm sorry, do I know you?" Sometimes it was you speaking first, begging me to take you back, and I'd respond with something cutting and pithy before turning on the pointy heel of my boot and striding away from you, leaving you crushed and broken.

Then I started to think that I'd play it out like a scene out of a John Hughes movie. I'd stride up to you, Molly-Ringwald cool, and stand in front of you, forcing you to look at me. I'd look you straight in the face and say, "I just wanted you to know that you didn't break me." And then I'd walk away. I wouldn't even look back to see how you reacted.

These days? After all this time?

I don't think I'd say a thing. Oh, I wouldn't hide from you or hope that you didn't see me. I'd make damn sure you saw me. I'd fill up your field of vision with everything I've become over the last decade, I'd pull myself up to my full height and throw my shoulders back and meet your gaze. But I'd make no comment.

And that silence would tell everything you need to know -- that I didn't just survive you, I fucking thrived without you.

Sigur Ros Me

LJ Idol: Where I'm From

But way back, where I come from,
We never mean to bother
We don't like to make our passions other people's concern
So we walk in a world
Of safe people
And at night we walk into
Our houses
And burn

      -- Dar Williams, "Iowa"

I come from a place where most people prefer 18 inches of personal space -- 24 if we can get it -- which is a bit at odds with the 10-12 inches preferred by most Americans, at least according to my fellow professional anthropologists.

Midwesterners are well known for being "nice" (although if you actually know anything about the infamous "Minnesota Nice" phenomenon, it's actually less nice that it seems). We're the kind of people who show up at your door with a snow shovel, a basket of zucchini from the garden, a set of jumper cables, or a tater tot casserole when you need it. We're the kind of folks who wave at other people in traffic, including those with our state license plates when we're driving out of state. We're the type of folks who take forever at a four way stop because we're too achingly polite to be the first to go if we're not sure we actually did get to the intersection first.

I'm from a place where people have long, long conversations with short, short words that include long, long vowels. I'm from a place where "youbetchya" can mean anything from "Sure, I'll pick up a gallon of milk while I'm in town" to "Yeah, I'll be at the pancake supper next Sunday" to "It was no problem at all to make 300 egg salad sandwiches for your mother's wake." (If it comes to that, I'm from a place where egg salad sandwiches are considered appropriate food for a wake, which, incidentally, we refer to as "the visitation.")

I come from a place where we don't let people too close to us -- not physically, and not emotionally, either. We're sometimes described as being distant or reserved, and that's probably true, at least on a basic level. We're not so big on the physical touch -- it would mean allowing someone inside that 18-to-24-inch bubble of personal space. Even family members and close friends refrain from hugging on all but the most emotionally charged occasions, and only for an alotted 7-10 second count. That hug is likely to be finished off with a firm pat or pound on the back, just to reinforce that the huggee is still solid and strong.

I come from a place where we keep a lot inside, and so people think we don't feel much. Stoic is a favorite word to describe us. Buttoned up is another. (But for real, it's -45F out there. You'd be buttoned up too.)

And yet I come from a place where the sky reaches to the horizon, and where there are still more coyotes than people. I come from a place where, on a clear day, it's like you can see all the way to Heaven and back, and if you just stand still for a moment you can hear the prairies breathing.

I come from a place where sweat and dedication are still valued, and where an honest day's work in the soil is as respectable as one spent in an office.

I come from a place where there is so much to feel that it can overwhelm you. A place where you end up using those short, short words with those long, long vowels and those even longer silences because there's no way to adequately describe in human language everything you feel, hear, sense, know.

Where I come from, you learn early that there's no use trying to describe it, because those who know, know. And those who don't know, well, you'll never be able to make them understand.

But those that do get it? Those that do understand everything that's packed into a single "whatchyagonnado" or "...yup...."? Those are your people. They burn inside the same way you do. They'll never tell you. They'll never let it show. But they'll pour you a cup of coffee and give you a slice of rhubarb pie, and that says everything that needs to be said.