Daydream Believer

Ok, technically this post isn’t about a daydream.  That song has just been in my head this morning, and it kind of works for this post. Anyway.

So last night I watched the final movie in the Twilight series (judge me if you wish; FX played the series the other day and I watched 2 of them so naturally I had to finish).  I went to bed and then had a dream that I started dating Edward Cullen.  He loved me as much as his character loves Bella in the movie.  Then all the sudden the ex-fiancee C returned and wanted to get back together.  We started kissing, Edward found out (cuz he can hear thoughts, remember?), and he came and killed C and we rode off into the sunset.  Then I woke up.

Generally I am not one to analyze my dreams.  This is due in large part to the fact that I usually dream really, really random stuff.  Freud would love to have me as a patient.  But this dream was pretty normal (well, the vampire thing isn’t but I’m gonna blame that one on Twilight) and the messages are pretty clear.  They are also somewhat concerning to me.

The first thing this dream suggests to me is that I’m still desperately lusting after true love.  I think there are few people in this world who don’t want to find great love.  But I have a problem of being too obsessed with the idea (and with the fear of being alone).  I’ve tried to tell myself a million times, whether in my own head or on my blog, that I need to spend time focused on figuring out who I am and loving that person.  I need to revel in the fact that I am a child of God who is infinitely loved and not be so concerned about finding spousal love.  I’ve even tried to kid myself into thinking that I’m achieving these goals, when in reality I’m not.  I’m not happy being alone and I’m borderline-desperate to find someone (if dreaming about being loved by a vampire who kills one’s exes doesn’t suggest desperation, I’m not sure what does).  I don’t want to be this way, but it’s been 4.5 months since I ended my engagement and I still haven’t figured out how to stop.

The second message is pretty clear as well.  Right after I found everything out about C I had multiple dreams about him dying (and to be honest, it was usually ex-boyfriends who killed him.  I guess I like the idea of a knight in shining armor protecting me).  I haven’t had a dream like this in a looooong time.  I do think it is significant that this time it was a “new” love who killed him.  I think it’s pretty clear that the fact that he died (again) shows I still have some anger towards him.  I also think him being killed by a new love means that I don’t think I’ll truly be over him until I find someone else to replace him.  I’m not ok with either of these ideas.  I don’t want to be angry anymore.  I don’t have room or energy in my life to hang on to negative emotions.  I also don’t want to be someone who needs a man to be ok with herself.  I’ve clearly got some things to work on.

You may think I’m totally crazy for reading into a dream like this.  I don’t necessarily blame you.  However, even if I just randomly had this dream after watching Twilight, it still got me thinking about lingering issues I have.  It’s not like I had this dream and went searching for meaning behind every word and image.  It just forced me to be honest with myself about some things I had been burying.  That’s a good thing, right?  And more importantly, how do I conquer these issues?

Half marathon countdown:  2 days, 21 hours, 38 minutes

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Top of the List

Yesterday I posted my top 10 list of things to do to fight back when life gets you down.  I have to share what happened to me last night that made me realize I left one of the most important things off the list.  This post is going to start with a story.  In this story Amy is bad and asks that her readers please don’t judge her.  The story has a good ending though, I promise.  Just stick with me.

So last night I was hanging out with my sister and she made some offhand comment about how one of C’s sisters had posted a picture of him and he looks like he’s getting fat.  Naturally, the evil and shallow part of me wanted to see said picture.  However, since I unfriended everyone associated with that life I could not see the picture.  This is where I get dumb.  I decided instead of just letting it go, I would log into his account.  I knew his old password and was surprised to see he hadn’t changed it since we’d broken up.  I promise I was just going to look at the picture and then log out.  When I logged in I saw he had a new message.  This is where I get dumber (please don’t judge me…it was a moment of extreme weakness).  It was from some girl, and I clicked on the message.  I scrolled up thru older messages and saw that in mid-March he was sending her messages saying things like “hey beautiful” and “just thinking about how cute and beautiful you are.”

I have no idea when these messages started.  I only made it to mid-March and had to close out because I was crying so hard.  I know I completely did this to myself, but I was so, so hurt.  He told me he wanted to stay together.  He said he still wanted to marry me.  He told me he would always love me.  Yet less than 3 months after we broke up he is saying all these things to someone else?  I was on my bathroom floor in a puddle of tears.

Ok.  That’s the end of the part where Amy is dumb.  Now comes the part where Amy remembers what she should’ve included on yesterday’s list.

I couldn’t deal with this on my own, so I sent out some texts that told the story to Jill (Notre Dame best friend), Mary (one of my high school best friends), Nikki (sister), Christian (a friend I met post-breakup) and my aunt (who is 17 years younger than my dad and 8 years older than me, so she’s more like my big sister).  Everyone responded within seconds, and they were amazing.  There was a lot of C bashing going on (“What a loser.  Thank God you dodged that bullet.”)  but there was also more helpful replies.  Several of my friends told me that he probably wasn’t over me, but this was a coping mechanism.  They all admitted to doing the same thing when they’ve been dumped in the past.  Christian gave me the male perspective and said that he’d “probably do the same thing as soon as I knew it was for sure over.  It’s easier to act like you’re interested in someone else than sitting around by yourself missing your ex.”  Jill assured me that she’d done something similar because a breakup made her feel worthless and she just wanted to be loved.  Mary reminded me that C’s got a lot of messed up issues and I’m so much stronger and deserve so much better.  In the end, they all convinced me that I wasn’t just a worthless person who can be forgotten in 2 months, and this is more of C trying to cope with the situation (which he is 100% entitled to do).

They were amazing.  Everyone I sent out cries for help to responded within minutes.  They all continued to send encouraging texts for hours, and one even FaceTimed me so he could see for himself that I was really ok.  As much as reading those messages sucked and hurt, the overwhelming love and support I felt afterward made it ok.

So that’s the item I left off my list–reaching out for support from those who love you.  It can be tough to do this sometimes.  I didn’t want to admit to my friends that I was THAT girl who had logged into her ex’s Facebook and read a message.  But trying to deal with that on my own would’ve been hell.  I don’t love C anymore and I don’t want to be with him, but it was still incredibly hard to see that he was trying to move on so quickly.  I felt unloved and tossed aside (even though I was the one who ended it).  My S.O.S. reminded me that neither of these things is true.  I still have people in my life who love me and will always be there for me.  It’s still a little tough to think about what I saw.  Whenever I feel the sadness creeping back in, I scroll through the text conversations from last night and remember that I will be ok.

It is hard to admit when we’ve done something wrong or stupid.  But it’s even harder to suffer in silence.  I need to add an amendment to yesterday’s post:

11.  Lean on a person (or people) who loves you.

It’s one thing to read motivational quotes on Pinterest, but it’s another thing entirely to hear someone say motivational things that are specifically about you.  Don’t be afraid to bring a little drama to your friends or family; they love you and want to do whatever they can to help you.  Suffering in silence helps no one.  Remember the old saying that “it takes a village”?  That doesn’t stop after childhood.  Humans are meant to be social creatures, so if you are having a hard time please reach out to those around you.  If you feel like you don’t have anyone you can talk to, reach out to me.  I’ve been through enough crap myself, I would always be happy to help 🙂

 

The First Call

While I was running the other day (I’m up to 6 miles in my training…we aren’t going to count the atrocious 4 mile run I struggled with yesterday) I was thinking about my life.  I’ve known that I’ve been lonely since ending my engagement.  That was no shock, and it shouldn’t be.  I went from having a fiancee, someone who was always there (either physically or by phone/email/Gchat), to being single.  I’ve mentioned before how I have an amazing support group of family and friends, but there was definitely a void left after I lost that intimate relationship.

During this run, I realized something else.  I’m not anyone’s “first call.”  What do I mean by first call?  Think about it.  If something really amazing happens to you or you get some really great news, who is the first person you would call to share?  On the flip side, if something bad happens, who is the first person you want to talk to about it?  Chances are this is probably the same person.  For much of my friends and family, this person is probably their significant other.  C used to be my first call, and I was his.  Now my first call is probably my parents or my sister, and I’m pretty sure I am not anyone’s first call.  This is an incredibly lonely thought.

I think we all want to feel loved and special.  It’s been about 3.5 months since I ended my engagement.  I’m probably not in a place where I’m ready to enter into another serious relationship, but part of me really wants to start dating again.  I want to start trying to fill the void of lack of a significant other.  I want to be someone’s first call again.

I know, I know…now I’m just being pitiful.  But how adorbs is Stitch?

Don’t worry readers.  I’m not going to be stupid and jump into a relationship with the wrong guy.  The explosion and aftermath of what happened with C has made me a lot more wary of people and more selective about the men I get involved with.  I just hope this new resolve lasts, because the loneliness is starting to take it’s toll.  I want to be someone who can say that she’s perfectly happy being single and alone, but that’s just not me.  I miss the companionship.  I miss being loved (not as a daughter/sister/friend, but as a girlfriend).  I miss caring for someone and being cared for.  I miss being the first one to hear good or bad news.

We all know the old adage “love comes when you least expect it.”  I think this means that instead of looking for love we need to work on loving ourselves, and when we get better at that we will find someone who loves us the way we are.  I know I need to continue to work on making myself better before I will be ready to love again.  Anybody have tips on how to make that road feel a little less lonely?

It’s Official

Hey y’all, it’s been a few days since I’ve posted.  A lot has happened in those days.  Most importantly, a lot has happened in those few days related to me potentially moving back into the classroom next year (yeah, the title of this post is a spoiler.  Sorry I’m not sorry).

On Tuesday last week I told the middle school principal that I would like to officially be considered for the 6th grade social studies/religion position that is opening up next year due to a retirement.  All he replied was “Excellent,” so I waited until Friday and then emailed him asking what the next steps are.  He said that all that was left for me to do was talk to the school chaplain about his expectations for a religion teacher.  I set up a meeting with Fr. Charles that afternoon.

I thought it was going to be a pretty relaxed discussion about the topics covered in 6th grade religion classes.  Wrong.  It was a full-fledged interview, and kind of intense.  He asked me about my personal faith journey and why I wanted to be a religion teacher.  Then he started asking me how much I knew about certain teachings of the Church (Theology of the Body, papal infallibility, teachings on homosexual people vs. homosexual acts, etc).  THEN he asked if I would take the state Know Your Faith test, which is a test administered to high school students around the state (the top scorers from each Catholic school make up that school’s Know Your Faith team, and the schools then compete against each other in Catholic Jeopardy.  It’s actually a really fun event).  The test wasn’t too bad, and he told me it wasn’t a make-or-break thing for the job, just something to give him an idea of areas I might be strong in and areas that might need work.

Well, Fr. Charles stopped by this morning to tell me that he gave the principal a “total endorsement” for me to join the religion department, and that he is very excited to work with me to see what we can accomplish in the department.  About 3 minutes later the principal came to my desk.  this is how our conversation went:

“Did Fr. Charles come talk to you?”
“Yep, he was here just a couple minutes ago.”
“K good.  You want it?”
“I want it.”
“Awesome.  I will let the business office know to open up the media specialist position.”

Five minutes later this email came:

Image(edited to maintain privacy)

So it’s official!  I will be moving back into the classroom next year!  I am very, very, very excited, but I’m also nervous.  I’m not so much worried about the social studies part of the job.  I have my degree in social studies, plus another teacher has 2 of the sections of social studies classes so she can help me.  I’m totally on my own with the religion classes.  Plus, part of me worries I’m not a good enough person to be teaching religion.  I mentioned this to the chaplain, and he said the most important things he looks for in a religion teacher is someone who loves God and loves the Church, who is excited, and who is willing to continually learn and grow.  I fit all those qualifications.  It’s just hard to feel a little underqualified since I’m not a nun and I’ve done my fair share of sinning in my life.

I hope this job is a sign that the really crappy part of 2014 in over and I’m entering the uphill part of the year.  I feel like I have purpose again; instead of wasting my days in the mindlessness of the World Wide Web I am now looking up tools and lessons for 6th grade religion courses.  I’m already getting nervous for next year, but it’s a good nervous.  It’s an anticipatory nervous, not a dreading nervous.  

Any advice/prayers would be most welcome!!

I Don’t Think I Can Do It…

I’ve come across a few blog posts recently that discuss the topic of forgiveness.  These posts talk about the importance of forgiveness in the healing process.  Several mention how one can never really be free from the pain of the past without truly forgiving those who have hurt you.

I am a practicing Catholic and grew up in the Church.  The message of forgiveness certainly is not new to me.  I’ve had countless religion classes and listened to countless homilies that emphasized the power of forgiveness.  It all makes sense, too.  True forgiveness releases negative emotions and hurt.  It frees the soul to become whole again.  It allows one to start over.

It’s also much easier said than done.  Reading the posts about forgiveness helped me realize something: I absolutely do not forgive C for all the things he did and all the pain he caused me (if you are a new reader and want to catch up on what this man did, check here and here and here).  I think I’m starting to really get over him.  I don’t think about him much anymore.  I don’t constantly feel angry or sad.  I’m once again excited about my future and moving forward with my life.  However, I still haven’t forgiven him.

It would be so easy to say that I forgive him, but in my heart I know I’m not there yet.  How do I know this?  I don’t hope for the best for him.  I don’t wish him well.  I can’t include him in my prayers.  It’s not that I’m necessarily angry, it’s just hard to want the best for someone who did so many things to destroy my life.  It’s hard for me to believe that C deserves happiness, and that’s how I know that I haven’t forgiven him for what he did.  

I don’t like admitting these things.  I want to be a better person than that.  So I’m trying to approach this from a different angle.  I don’t need to forgive him for his benefit; I need to do it for my own.  I’m trying to internalize the fact that forgiving him, truly forgiving him, does not mean I’m saying that I’m ok with what he did.  It doesn’t mean that I want to piece our relationship back together.  It means I want to heal completely.  I want to let go of any remaining negativity.  I want to completely move past this whole experience so I can be whole again and fully give myself to someone in the future.

Is it bad to view forgiveness in this light?  Does it make me a selfish person?  I feel like true forgiveness should be a selfless act; does the fact that I’m trying to forgive someone so I can be whole again take away from the power of the act? 

Changes, They are a-Comin’

Yesterday afternoon I logged into my old Blogger account to read my travel abroad blog.  When I logged in I noticed that I had an entry under the heading “Deleted Blogs.”  Apparently Blogger decided that even though I deleted my wedding planning blog, I may want to come back and read it again someday.  And so, for some dumb reason unbeknownst to man, I did just that.

I was very weird.  Guys, I think I may be getting over C.  As I read the blog I noticed that I missed having a bunch of craft projects to work on, but I didn’t miss him.  Is it horrible that it only took me 3 months to get over having my heart completely broken by the guy I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with?  Does that mean I didn’t really love him?  Or is that a good sign, a sign that I’m really healing and starting to move on with my life?

The other reaction I had to reading my blog was just how weird it was.  My last post was dated December 19.  That post was entitled “Date Night” and talked about how C and I were going on a date that night and I was very excited, and how I was worried that we weren’t spending enough time focusing on our relationship with jobs and wedding planning and holidays.  It was just so weird to read that post.  I couldn’t help thinking how happy and in love that girl sounded, and how she had absolutely no idea how her whole life was going to blow up in approximately 5 days.  

It is so funny how fast life can change.  I remember after our date that night I received my acceptance email to Weddingbee, which I was extremely excited about.  I distinctly remember driving to school the next day (it was the last day before Christmas break) just being out of my mind excited about Christmas and the wedding and Weddingbee.  I remember exactly what intersection I was going through when I thought “I am just so, so happy with my life right now.”  I had absolutely no idea that in a few short days that all was going to be taken away from me (well, Christmas still came, but you can imagine it wasn’t exactly the most joyous one I’ve ever celebrated).  

My life is in a completely different place than I thought it would be.  However, I don’t think I regret that fact.  I can clearly see now that marrying C would have been a big mistake on my part (drugs aside, I was definitely settling with him.  I deserve someone who treats me better than he did).  While those abrupt changes really sucked to live through, I think it will work out for the better.

This is an example of when a really bad sudden change happened.  There also can be amazing sudden changes.  For example, a week ago I was wondering how in the world I was going to make it through another year at my job.  As I’ve mentioned, I love the school I’m at but my job is just boring.  I miss being in the classroom.  Then that 6th grade position opened.  Yesterday afternoon the principal told me that if I want the job, he won’t even open it to other applicants (!!!!!).  Now I just have to decide if that move is the right one for me to make, but I’m probably going to take it.  This change happened fast, but it will (hopefully) be a very positive one.

I guess the moral of today’s post is never to get complacent or desperate (why do I always feel like my posts need to contain some sort of a lesson?  Must be the teacher in me) because you never know what life is going to throw at you.  Life could be going great but you can’t get complacent, because you never know when there’s going to be a huge wrench thrown in and you have to be able to deal.  At the same time, things could be really shitty but you can’t drown in despair because you never know when something might go your way.  I guess it’s all about keeping a positive attitude and being strong in the face of whatever, helped along by a little (or a lot) faith and hope.

30 Things

There’s a fabulous article that’s been circulating on Facebook recently called “30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself.”  If you haven’t read it I demand you stop reading this post immediately and click on this link (but come back when you’re done!)

http://www.lifebuzz.com/just-stop/

I am guilty of so many of the things this list advises against.  I worry a lot, I look to others for happiness, I’m scared of making mistakes, I waste time explaining myself to others, etc., etc.  There are a few things on this list that don’t really apply to me, but for the most part I was just described to a T.

The first step in correcting any problem is to recognize that it exists in the first place.  I’m not delusional enough to pretend that I don’t have several of the issues listed in that post.  And I also completely see the merit in following the authors’ advice.  I probably would be a lot happier if I could stop trying to compete with everyone else (or stop worrying, or feeling sorry for myself…).  I can recognize this, but how do I actually carry it out?

I know I am in control of my own attitude and my response to various situations.  But I’ve been a perfectionist and a worrywart for basically my entire life.  How do I just stop?  I really like how the article offers a few ideas about how to actually stop the negative behaviors (#16. Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.  Ask yourself this:  “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”) and I am going to make a commitment to follow through on these.  I think I tend to be a person who reads suggestions like this and then promptly writes them off as cheesy or corny.  Worse, I may think they are good ideas but worry that someone else will think I’m cheesy and corny for doing them (2 negative behaviors that are on the list!  Bad Amy!).  

So here I go.  You guys heard it here.  Today starts the process of retraining my brain to stop the negative thoughts and behaviors.  It’s time to just stop.

Life as an Interloper

interloper (n): a person who becomes involved in a place or situation where they are not wanted or are considered not to belong.

I came to the stark realization last night that this is how I have been living my life for the past 3+ years.  Probably longer, in fact…likely since I graduated high school almost 7 years ago (what! How has it been that long??).  It’s not that felt like I didn’t belong at Notre Dame.  There were certainly times when I felt different than many of my classmates because I came from a much lower tax bracket than they did, but I never felt unwanted by the community.  However, I knew that was temporary.  I was only going to be there for 4 years.  Notre Dame wasn’t “home.”  I loved my friends, roommates, and the community, but I ALWAYS felt more at home when I went back to North Dakota.

After graduation I moved to Fargo to put in another 2 years of school to get my teaching license.  The feeling of being an interloper intensified.  I definitely felt like I didn’t belong at the school I was now attending.  I had just been through 4 years of rigorous academia with a class full of over-achievers at Notre Dame.  My new school was much less demanding, and that took some getting used to.  I was living in a pretty old apartment with a random roommate who I had very little in common with.  Yeah, definitely didn’t belong.

Even earlier this fall, when I started my first “grown-up job”, was engaged, and was living in my own (much nicer) apartment, life still didn’t feel quite right.  My passion is teaching, so I knew that being a media specialist was a temporary means to an end.  The apartment was a 1-bedroom, so I knew we wouldn’t be staying long after we were married (C had already been looking at houses).  Maybe deep down I knew the relationship with C was temporary as well.

All these feelings came to head last night as I was considering my life.  I feel the same way about my job, and I am interloping in my aunt’s house (is that a verb?  If not I just made it one).  But even after I move to the new apartment with my sister, it’s still a temporary situation.  We aren’t going to live there indefinitely.  Either she will want to live with someone else after this year, graduate, or move for pharmacy school, and then I will find another place to live.  

I was starting to get discouraged while thinking about this, but then I realized the big problem is my attitude.  There is nothing wrong with where I’m at in life.  Very few people step into their dream jobs and live in their dream homes the second after they graduate.  I realized I need to stop looking at my life as if it’s this temporary limbo and start enjoying the journey.  I don’t have an end goal in mind.  It’s not as if I have the perfect job, perfect man, perfect home in mind and once I achieve those things I’ll stop living.  Life is about constantly making yourself better and pushing yourself to your fullest potential.  If I keep thinking “oh this is temporary, don’t settle in because you’ll be moving on soon,” etc, I don’t think I will ever fully enjoy life.

I feel like I’ve said this about a million times on this blog, but it’s all about balance.  I want to keep moving forward and working towards my dreams, but I also want to be happy and enjoy my life in the present.  At the same time, I don’t want to get TOO comfortable and become complacent.  How does one balance all this?  

Does anyone else feel like they aren’t really living their “real life” right now?  They are just “getting through” this part so that eventually their real lives can start?  Am I making any sense?

Struggling

I’m having a hard time with things today guys.  My ex-fiancee (the one who moved out to California for drug rehab and is currently living out there in a halfway house) emailed me this morning.  I have blocked his phone number and deleted him off Facebook, not because I’m being petty but because it just hurts too much to talk to him.  Email is the only way for him to contact me.  Every once in a while he will abuse that and send me several emails per day, but I usually ignore these or keep my responses brief and he gets the hint.

Anyway, he emailed me today to tell me that he will hopefully be able to send me some money after April 1 because he will get paid from his new job.  He’s sending me money to try and help pay back some of the wedding expenses (which my parents and I had completely covered up to that point with no help from him) and some of the credit card debt he left me with on the card we had in both of our names.  I stupidly replied and asked what his new job is.  C’s true passion is construction management.  He loves building things and working with his hands, so when he told me he was working as a cook at Cafe Rio (I guess it’s like a Chipotle or Qdoba) it made me really sad.

I don’t want to feel like this right now.  I know a big part of what I’m feeling is pity.  How do you go from loving someone and wanting to spend the rest of your life with them to not caring about their hopes and dreams?  How am I supposed to not feel awful that he’s almost 25 and has nothing going for him in his life other than the fact that he’s 75 days clean?  I don’t even care about the money as much (thought it would be nice if he could help me out a little bit), but the whole situation just makes me really sad.

It was exactly 11 weeks ago that I officially ended the engagement.  I’m not dumb enough to think that all these feelings will go away in 11 weeks.  But they had been getting so much better.  Maybe it’s the fact that so many other things have been going on in my life that have taken my attention, but these last few weeks I found myself thinking less and less about C and about my lost future.  Then I have days like today, where I feel just as weak as I felt 10 weeks ago.  I’m sitting at my desk swallowing the lump in my throat and trying not to let my eyes fill with tears.  I think a big part of the problem is the fact that because of this stupid boot on my foot I haven’t ran since Monday, so I haven’t been getting my daily dose of endorphins.  But still, this sucks.

For those of you who have ended engagements and lived to tell the tale, when does it really start to get better?  How long before I don’t have days like today?

Ok, this is getting ridiculous

In my last post, I lamented about trying to stay positive when it seems that bad things just keep happening.  That trend continued over the weekend.  I went home to attend my friend’s dad’s funeral, and the bad stuff just kept piling on.  I had some personal stuff I had to deal with on Friday night, and then on Monday morning we got word that there had been a major fire in my high school (where my dad still teaches and my sister is a senior).

Picture from today’s paper

We don’t know much yet, but the fire started in the main office and apparently spread rapidly.  There is extensive smoke and water damage throughout the school, and officials very much doubt that classes will be able to resume in the building this school year.

photoLooking into the front doors of the school

This is really hard to see happen.  My sister is a senior and is pretty bummed that she won’t get to finish out her high school career in this building.  The school was definitely my second home, and it hurts to see it so damaged.  Since it is private, the school doesn’t have a lot of funding and repairs/rebuilding will be difficult (however, alumni are already mobilizing and ready for the word to begin fundraising).

It’s just like, seriously?!  When does it stop?  I feel like 2014 has definitely been a “when it rains it pours” kind of year.  I’ll get to a point and think ok, things have to get better now, and then some other crappy thing happens.

After finding out about the fire I still had to go to the funeral and watch my best friend say good-bye to her dad, which was awful and really hard.  I’m really trying to keep things in perspective (thank God no one was injured in the fire) but it’s just so hard when so many bad things keep happening and I don’t feel like I have control over any of it.

How do I make it stop??