Confessions of a Professional Mom

Confessions of a Professional Mom

Professional mom seeking clarity, balance and a well deserved glass of wine.

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Introverted Extravert?

September 27, 2016 1 Comment

Twins Holding HandsWhile heading up the escalator at the Hollywood Bowl, my Super Friend turned to me and asked a peculiar question. “Do you think you’re an introvert or an extravert?” I laughed and replied, “Well, extravert!” (like, duh) She paused and smiled and, as if peering deep into my soul, said, “You sure about that?” Apparently, she’d just finished reading a book on the subject and discovered she was an introvert. Shocked, I replied, “You, an introvert?” Just when you think you know someone…or yourself, for that matter.

She asked me, “Are you stimulated by social interaction or solitude?” My eyes grew wide and we mouthed the answer together, “SOLITUDE!” Do you prefer to be with people or alone? “ALONE doesn’t suck!” Wait a minute! Am I? Could it be?

Is it possible to traverse the ‘personality lines’ from one state to the other or can you exist in both states at the same time ie: introverted extravert?! For some reason, further investigation felt absolutely necessary.

Introvert from Birth
Growing up I always thought of myself as an introvert—a little shy, not the first one to volunteer for anything, perfectly happy to sit at home and read while my polar opposite sister ran the neighborhood like a confident little mafia ring-leader. I was this way until my twenties and something changed.

Twenty-something Extravert
Fast forward to twenty-something. I was constantly seeking something to do and someone to do it with. I was energized by having plans every weekend and people to hang out with—a true source of greater happiness and contentment, or so I thought. Making up for lost time? Who knows. I’m pretty sure I drove Mr. Confessions crazy, since he was known as the introvert in our relationship and, I, continuously packed our calendar to satiate my social needs.

Baby Mama
Fast forward to 32 and post baby number 1—my how things change. Walking the aisles of Target alone and in complete silence was now my bliss. Quiet, unneeded, peaceful. No stimulation necessary. (Except for the caffeinated kind…and wine)

And, then sports kicked in and don’t get me started on life as a softball mom. Weekends haven’t been our own for the last seven years. Then right under our noses entire summers got sucked into the travel softball vortex as well. A weekend without plans or softball has become equivalent to finding the holy grail!

Where do you fall on the spectrum—intro, extra or an eclectic combo of vertness?

My obsession with these labels stems from my beliefs. I always thought being an introvert was something to overcome. At least that’s the societal norm I grew up with. People commented on an introvert in an almost pathetic tone, “Well, she’s just an introvert; bless her heart.” And in movies, the poor introvert would stare off into the distance, silently carrying on a conversation in her own head…painfully shy and alone. Or, put the introvert into a controversial situation and pan over to introvert staring at the ground, seemingly speechless, as if her tongue had been cut out. This personality type was always associated with less than or lacking in some way.

Change Anything?
Having experienced periods of each state of “vert” and after deep reflection, I now feel quite confident to don either label with pride! And, for those of you who know me and my libra-ness, this will not surprise you that I cannot be just one or the other. And, after much reflecting I believe the only choice is to own and honor who you are, how you feel and nurture both sides of your person(ality). Be sure to be social, make plans, seek out adventure and have fun. On the flip side, it’s good to slow down, quiet your mind and replenish your reserves regularly. You can be an introverted extravert…and rock that shit!

What’s your state of vertness?

Stay sane, my friends.

Allison DeFord

Perspective is Everything

September 21, 2016

Perspective is everything“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”― Charles R. Swindoll

I first heard this quote maybe 30 years ago and little did I know back then, this Chuck fella was on to something big.

I think it’s safe to say, whether or not you’ve been on this earth for fifteen or fifty-two years it’s likely that you’ve experienced some form of gain, loss, joy, sadness, love, pain, success or defeat.  And there’s a high probability that you weathered each and every storm and eventually found a ray (or two) of sunlight after the clouds cleared. Yet, there are some who might dispute this and claim to never have found the sun; were never able to recover from a death, childhood trauma, a breakup or divorce or life-altering affliction.

To borrow a phrase from Miss Oprah Winfrey, “What I know is this…”

Chuck nailed it! It’s not WHAT happens to you that determines your fate, it’s HOW you deal with it that creates the life you have. It may not always feel like it at the time, but doesn’t everything always seem to work out—in the end. The emotional label you choose to slap on any experience is always up to you. You then get to decide how long you’ll choose to feel that way. Your feelings create your beliefs and your beliefs create your story aka: your life. Funny how it works! Bottom line, no one else makes us feel a particular way; we decide on our own. Perspective is a choice.

Take death, for example. My father died at the young age of forty-five. He was one of the earlier cases of AIDS in the 80’s and watching him slip away in four short months felt very confusing, gut-wrenching and awful. Sure, I had questions and experienced all the typical emotions that accompany such an event. I could choose to feel hurt and betrayed and angry and place blame and, ultimately, all those emotions would do is leave me bitter and sad and stuck. Instead I chose to feel grateful. To this day, I am grateful that I am and forever will be Phil Hiatt’s daughter. I was given the gift of an amazing father for twenty years. Some people never know their dad. His being gay also taught me some major life-changing lessons—to judge less and love more, to always live my truth and never hide, to encourage others to do the same and to appreciate the simple things in life, like holding someones hand or the joy of owning a really fantastic pair of shoes.😉

Sure, death is a biggy. What about seemingly smaller situations, like finances and the feelings we assign to how much of it or how little we have and why that is. How many people utter the phrase, “If only I was rich—then I’d be happy.” Over the years I’ve experienced times o’ plenty and periods where Top Ramen was a delicacy. Through the tough times, it became clear that I had a choice—feel like a failure and wallow in self pity or stand up, say thank you, put my creative hat on and work hard to change the situation that, more than likely, I had put myself in. HINT: finally learned that self pity equals stuck and any time spent there is wasted.

Today, one of my Superfriends finds it painfully necessary to say goodbye to one of the greatest loves of her life. For the past twelve years her dog Scout has been her mostly companion, trusted friend and protector. They’ve spent hundreds of hours in pediatric wards helping sick children feel better and contributed time, energy and furry kisses to the homeless and hopeless. This day will test her patience, her faith and her resilience. Saying goodbye has got to be one of, if not the hardest, life experiences I can think of. I know she’ll weather this storm and in a very short time, bask in the warm rays that will peak through the clouds to remind her of their walks together around the park, their summer family retreats in Mammoth and the warm smiles that Scout brought out in everyone who ever met him.

“Everything that happens is for my benefit.”

Maybe you’re feeling sad or afraid or just stuck today. Consider a new mantra, a fresh perspective and an attitude of gratitude, no matter the circumstances. It may sound PollyAnna or naive, but trust me when I tell you, this shit works. You have the power and control to decide your fate and choose how you want to feel, react or adapt.

Perspective really is everything!
How is it showing up in your life? Half full or half empty?

Stay sane, my friends,

Allison DeFord

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It Makes My Husband Happy

August 10, 2016 1 Comment

hairloveOver the course of many years and hundred of visits to my “hair whisperer” I’ve ended up with an array of colors in my hair. It’s become my “norm” and it never ceases to surprise and amaze me when, daily, I get comments and compliments from all ages and walks of life. One particular admirer is the office manager at my chiropractor’s office. For over a year she commented on and admired my mop and finally went and had hers done. It looked amazing! A few magenta streaks mixed with the blonde with undertones of dark burgundy truly complimented her natural skin tone and she looked fantastic. After a recent adjustment, I glanced up and noticed that she changed her hair back to straight blonde. “Hey, I said, you changed your hair back…I thought you loved your new do?!” Her reply shocked the shit out of me:

“My husband’s happier!”

Wait, what???? I replied, “But, it’s your hair!” She shrugged sheepishly and that was that.

I couldn’t stop thinking about this exchange. Why on earth would her husband care how she wears her own hair?! What else does she do just because it makes HIM happy? What about HER happiness? What about what SHE wants? Why did she cave?

I had to ponder this further…

Is this something I do? I suppose there are some things I do because I know it makes Mr. Confessions happy, like making the bed. I have learned, however, that it is imperative that I am confident and comfortable doing what makes me happy, for me! My happiness matters. My opinion matters. My ideas matter. And, in return, I honor and respect my mates happiness, opinions, ideas and hair choices.

Do most women do things to make their husbands, mates or significant others happy in lieu of their own wants and needs?

WHY? Who does this really benefit? Is her husband really more comfortable or happier if she’s a straight blonde? It’s not like she tattooed spots all over her face. Sure, Mr. Confessions might be less than thrilled if I shaved my head or decided to pierce my eyebrow, but at least I’m confident that he would respect me and support me because it’s something I wanted to do. He would be ok with my decision because it makes ME happy and it’s my body.

Back in high school I witnessed girls submit to their boyfriends demands—to wear certain clothes, do their hair a certain way and talk (or don’t talk to) certain people—all in the name of said boyfriends happiness. Now, thirty years post high school (yes, thirty, for real) I thought such behavior was ancient history. Now, being privy to As the Teenagers Turn I can sadly say, it is not. How is it remotely possible for a teenage girl, in this day and age, to put her boyfriends happiness before her own? Restricting her own choices and behaviors while negating her own happiness. Aren’t we way past this crap?

All in the name of LOVE?
Since when is love about rules, restrictions, limitations and guilt? I call bullshit! Love isn’t about changing the person you’re with, it’s accepting them AS IS. Lord knows, I’ve learned this the hard way. Mr. Confessions and I have been together so long I think we finally met in the middle and it’s a beautiful place to be. I know many women my age and older have been mislead and sold a bill of goods in the love department—self love included. They stay in less than desirable relationships because it’s better than being alone. They were raised to believe anything is better than being alone. That you are complete once you land a mate. And, as far as self love is concerned, that can be construed as selfish and egotistical, if you even make it past judgement and self-loathing. That love is found on the outside instead of within.

But what really blows my mind is watching teenage girls in 2016 still settling for a love substitute. Succumbing to restrictive and ridiculous directives and pressures placed on them by pimple-faced, immature, wannabe men. Where do these boys get off? Who is teaching them this crap? I know media, music and movies play a huge part, but I have to believe that there is a lack of good role models at home for young men who behave this way. This belief is reinforced over and over with cases like Stanford.

Let’s get all crazy and set the example for young girls! Show them what love really looks like. Teach them to love themselves fully and completely without judgement or the need to be controlled and “loved” by another to feel complete. Encourage all women, young and old, to make choices because it makes THEM happy, not someone else. That choosing YOU isn’t selfish. That confidence is the new sexy and that love means acceptance and support of yourself or someone you choose to share any part of your life with. That if you want to put five different colors in your hair, then DO IT.

What’s your take? Do you find yourself regularly doing things that make your husband/mate happy that aren’t really serving you? Are you with me on the teenage girls could use a love reboot? Love to know your thoughts.

With love, my friends!

Allison DeFord

 

 

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Let’s Get Naked

June 1, 2016

unitedstatesofnakedIs there a difference between being nude and being naked? If so, do you think one is more acceptable than the other? I’ve spent some vacation time on a nude beach or two and, there, nude is beautiful and perfectly acceptable. Zero judgement. Freedom. Respect. Unless, of course, you run into your boss or someone from your church!

What’s ironic is how the state of naked (or nude) changes over the course of your life.

When babies are naked it’s considered adorable and acceptable – all chunky thighs and soft flawless skin and zero inhibition.

Being naked is still cute when we’re young children until we reach the age of seven and it’s, “Hey, don’t look, I’m naked!” (except for those exceptionally hot summer days when you just have to streak through the sprinkler in the front yard to stay cool)

And, during puberty there aren’t too many people who love the ever-changing hormonal skin they’re in ie: changing in the bathroom stall after gym class. (Maybe that’s just girls?!)

Apparently, teenagers today don’t mind being naked ie: ass cheeks hanging out of shorts and bikinis, sexy selfies and nudes being texted back and forth with complete disregard for future reprocussions.

During college? One word…TOGA!

Early adult years can go one of two ways: short stints of “naked when necessary” or the polar opposite—sleep naked, sunbathe naked, naked vacation and naked movie night. (Ahhh, life  before kids)

The 30’s hit and you’re rocking that naked shit. Still single and 30 and this phrase might ring a bell, “Dude, where are my pants and who are you?”

It’s during your 40’s that your naked shit gets real. People warn you that your body will change as you get older, but someone should seriously paint a clearer picture to prepare you. This is the decade where you look in the mirror and staring back at you is your mother (or father, if you’re a dude)! Yikes! WTH

In your 50’s you may resort to getting your naked self tucked and sucked to keep up with societies distorted view of what we “should” look like naked and that’s a personal choice. But don’t get carried away and go all “Joan Rivers” on us!

Past 60, naked gets tricky. I accidentally saw my great grandma naked once and, let’s just say, I’m now blind in one eye!  Unless you’re Christy Brinkley, you might want to keep your naked ass covered up. These are also the years when you’ll look back at your  40-year old naked self and sigh, “damn I looked good!”

When you’re 70-plus, I call for a free-for-all. Do what the hell you want, when you want and with reckless abandon—and do it in the nude. Call your friends up and have a senior moment, I mean Toga party! Why not?!

As I navigate my United States of Naked, I’m trying like hell to be good with the naked woman staring back at me. This is the only body I’m ever going to have. I might as well love the skin I’m in—no matter what state it’s in.

Celebrate your naked self!  And, if you’re over 40, parade around naked and scare the shit out of your kids…just for fun.

Get naked and stay sane, my friends.

Happy #NationalWineDay!

May 25, 2016

Happy National Wine Day

Sit back. Relax.
Do what we naturally do every day.

Happy National Listening Juice Wine Day!

 

 

Overcoming or Creating—10 Habits that Don’t Suck

May 24, 2016 2 Comments

10 Habits That Don't SuckHABIT – an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.

We all know it takes 21 days to create a habit—good or bad. I’ve read recent research that suggest it’s more like 60-90 days, but who’s counting. No doubt, you were raised by a caring mother who felt it was her duty to help you overcome bad habits ie: biting your nails, leaving dirty laundry on the floor, picking your nose and eating your boogers, hitting your sister or drinking out of the milk carton. All bad habits that, more than likely, would contribute to you living at home for the rest of your life—friendless and single. Mom had the right idea—nag those bad habits right out of you and turn you into a productive, less gross human.

As an adult, it’s likely that you are grateful to dear old mom for her guidance and bitching wisdom. It is also likely that, since childhood, you’ve adopted some new habits that she would consider less than desirable—evening closet wine, dropping the f-bomb, smoking or tattoos as a form of self-expression.

Why do you think we place so much emphasis on overcoming bad habits? What about all the good habits you’ve discovered and adopted along the way—like eating organic, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and looking both ways before you cross the road. Is it more productive to focus on overcoming bad habits or creating new ones?

Personally, I’m always looking for new ways to improve my health, my family and my quality of life. I’ve done a crap-ton of research and played the guinea pig to discover what works for me and what doesn’t. Here are 10 Good Habits you can create that don’t suck (and, BONUS, mom would approve):

  1. Member of the 5am Club (rising early every day while the rest of the world is sleeping -Robin Sharma) be the author of your day, start with you, create more time in your day
  2. Warm Lemon Water (drink every morning) essential for colon, detoxifying and prevention
  3. Daily Meditation (takes practice, but worth it) calms the mind, focused inward attention, self love
  4. Daily Exercise (even if it’s only 20 minutes) lowers risk of multiple diseases, increases energy and metabolism
  5. Mastermind Group (2-6 people) meet regularly in person or via Skype; a safe space that provides support, accountability, inspiration and love
  6. Journal (you don’t have to be a writer) set aside 5-20 minutes and write every day; thoughts, dreams, goals, gratitude, or how much you hate your muffin top
  7. Thank You (via Oprah) the minute you open your eyes in the morning say, “thank you!”
  8. How You Feel (via Danielle LaPorte) focus on how you want to feel versus what you want to accomplish
  9. Time Warrior (via Steve Chandler) slow down before you speed up and when you feel stuck take one action
  10. Change Your Thoughts (via Byron Katie) who would you be without your story? 4 questions to redirect your thoughts

If you would, please share one good habit that’s making a big difference in your life? Know someone who needs a boost or is looking to create one good habit? Consider sharing this with them. One good habit can change your life forever!

Stay sane, my friends.

Allison

Would Your Life Be Better If Only

May 20, 2016

45 looks curiousYou know the things in life that don’t always work out for you—dream job, huge client, relationship, pregnancy, trip, health scare, parents outliving you. How much time did you spend asking, “what if?” Would your life be better if only…you had been awarded that perfect job or landed that big account, married that awesome guy or given birth to that sweet baby? Or, did those things happen for a reason—to bring you to this point, this life, these friends, this mate and these children, this person that you are today? Would your life be better if only…

During my meditation today, this was the focal point. How much time do we spend pondering on or laboring over the what if’s? How is that serving us? Does it change anything?

The answer is a big fat NO.

I’ve lived through many moments of disappointment. Had experiences that were certainly not what I’d hoped for or planned. I spent loads of time lamenting over the what if’s. Expended exorbitant amounts of energy asking why this or that happened. My parents divorced when I was thirteen, shortly after my dad sat me down to tell me he was gay, he died of AIDS when I was 20 and I lost my first baby at 31. None of these were planned or hoped for. So, why did they all happen?

What if my parents were still married? What if my dad was still alive? What if I had that first baby? I’d most certainly be living a different life. I wouldn’t have met my husband in high school and been married for almost three decades, moved to California, had 16 Going on 26 and my dad would be a married gay man living a lie on the verge of suicide. Better? I think not.

Now, at the age of 48, I can look back on every single life experience and know with my whole heart that everything happened for a reason. Every event, good or bad, brought me to this day. This life. This place in time. I am so grateful for every moment and the less time I spend asking what if the more energy I have to be present and grateful for the journey that brought me HERE. Today is creating the future.

Do you spend time asking what if? Is it helping or hurting you? Would your life be better if only…

Stay sane, my friends.

Allison

 

Driving While Under the Influence

May 18, 2016

Meditating While DrivingSure, most of us have done it! Been so caught up in our own thoughts while driving that we were on auto pilot. And, probably should have been pulled over for being under the influence (of all the voices in our heads). You know, like when you don’t even remember how you got somewhere because you weren’t paying any attention…while driving a 7,000 pound vehicle at 75 mph. Lately, I’ve been driving while under the influence and I feel amazing!

Now, this may not be for everyone. Heck, it may not even be a good idea. But, on a quest to fit it all in every day, I tried something different. I’ve been driving while under the influence of Oprah and Deepak. Seriously, driving while meditating.

Whether or not you like Oprah or Deepak is irrelevant. It’s the meditating part that’s the gem here. You’re probably wondering how on earth I drive with my eyes closed while humming ohm. Obviously, I’m crazy! Let me explain.

I’ve had the desire to take up meditating for a number of years. It’s always been small, short, half-assed attempts that never really lead to any lasting results. Picture lots of Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love moments—sitting quietly, with my legs crossed and my fingers cupped into some sort of meaningful position, painfully attempting to stop thinking and just be. Not easy!

Then, last year, I stumbled upon and devoured the book 10% Happier by Dan Harris (of ABC News). His very public breakdown on national TV was something I vaguely remembered hearing about, but I hadn’t heard his side of the story. His accounts of struggling with life choices and stress and the desire to success took him down a dark path and finally, he imploded. Meditation ended up playing a pivotal role in helping Dan find, not only himself, but lasting inner peace and happiness. His book moved me and I haven’t given up on this meditation thing since. I wanted what he, apparently, found.

You know how things show up when you need them the most?! Teachers, friends, books, songs, etc. Somehow, my a-ha moment came in the form of Oprah and Deepak Chopra. I purchased their 21 Days to Manifesting True Success and haven’t looked back. Now, why practice this while driving?

As a professional mom with two kids, a husband, a business and, well, life happening it’s always challenging to find a quiet spot for 15 or 20 minutes to ohm it. So, instead of making excuses or abandoning my purchase of zen, I started listening to these meditations each day on my drive into work. I don’t know if it’s considered real meditation when you don’t actually close your eyes and are operating a motor vehicle, but I’m doing it and it’s working!

I believe I was telling myself a story about meditation. How you should meditate for it to count i.e.where, why and for how long. I’ve since concluded that it can be done in any number of ways. It’s all about your intention. My intention was to quiet my mind and look within myself—turn off all the voices and stories and thoughts and just be. I think I’ve been seeking freedom—from myself. I just needed to find the way to meditate that works for me. Someone leading me through the meditation, giving me a mantra and a centering thought have made all the difference. And, don’t get me started on the power of breathing!

I realized, I CAN meditate. I am not meditation-challenged, as I was starting to believe. I look forward to it and it’s having a huge impact on my life. I feel more centered, calm, peaceful and my ability to transcend negative situations is steadily improving. Let’s just say, my reaction time is much quicker. And, who doesn’t want to move on and get back to the good stuff?! Get back to happy!

If you desire to be 10% Happier, I highly recommend Dan’s book. He’s honest, funny and refreshing. And, even thought this is not a paid endorsement, I recommend any of the meditations from Oprah and the big D. Truly transformational, as advertised!

Love to hear what your experience has been with meditation. Here’s to ohm-ing it!

Stay sane, my friends.

Allison

 

 

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
When You’re Gone Will Anyone Remember

Professional Mom Battling Appointment Phobia

Waiting Room for Professional Moms

When You’re Gone Will Anyone Remember

May 12, 2016

When you're gone, will they rememberRecently, while Mr. Confessions was away for the weekend, I thought about what to-do’s are important to him that I could care less about and vice versa. Like making the bed, for example. It really bothers him to climb into an unmade bed at night. Granted, it’s nice when it’s made, but for me not absolutely necessary. Needless to say, while he was gone, I never made the bed once.

I started thinking about this idea of daily to-do’s and life experiences and the subjective level of importance we place on them. What activities, actions or rituals define you? Is the level of importance you place on them actually a learned response, instilled by your parents, or are your preferences ultimately just a part of your DNA? “It’s just who you are, what you like, what makes you feel comfortable.” Where does this shit come from and should I start a therapy fund for my kids now?!

I can say without a doubt that many of my quirks preferences can be traced back to my parents. My aversion to dusting, compulsion to maintain good hygiene, need to have a nice lawn and relaxed position on having more than one junk drawer are straight up Becky and Phil. I liken the emotional fulfillment I get from each to internal approval. But, where do the other preferences, tendencies and pressures come from? Lessons from life or self imposed? And, what is it that you ultimately want to be remembered for? What you did or how you made people feel?

Maybe you can relax a bit and give yourself a break because when you’re gone, will anyone remember:

…how messy your purse was
…how often you made your bed
…how much money you made
…how many times a week you worked out
…how much you weighed
…how short or tall you were
…whether or not you were a good dancer
…whether or not you filled the dishwasher efficiently
…that you forgot to send a thank you note for that one gift
…that you weren’t a perfect mother, wife, sister or daughter
…whether or not your sock drawer was organized
…how fast you could run a mile
…how many times you let your kids eat cereal for dinner
…how many times you let your kids eat dessert instead of dinner
…how many times you lost your cool with your kids
…how many times you were late
…that you didn’t always remember to say please and thank you
…that occasionally, you only pretended to hear what your kids were saying at the end of a long day
…that you secretly detested the Easy Bake Oven cakes
…that time you went to a meeting with baby poop under your fingernails
…that you had more than one junk drawer
…that you stole those sunglasses when you were 12 (oops!)
…that you didn’t always remember to wash off your make up before bed
…that you beat yourself up inside every time you let someone down
…that you questioned your existence more than once
…that you felt like giving up a thousand times
…that you didn’t really want to be a stay-at-home mom
…your house was a mess that time friends dropped by
…you had to ask for help, more than once
…you felt like an idiot when you had to learn that lesson the hard way
…you wore an outfit straight out of the hamper (except for the underwear)
…that your super cape felt so heavy at times you felt completely immobile
…that you knew the hokey pokey wasn’t what it’s all about

I believe that once you’re gone, people will remember all the good stuff. The important stuff!

Relax. Lighten up. Try not to get hung up on the small stuff. Remember, people will ultimately remember how you made them feel. xo

Stay sane, my friends.

Allison

Professional Mom Battling Appointment Phobia

April 28, 2016 1 Comment

Too Many AppointmentsHave you ever stopped to think about how many appointments we have to make and keep in our lifetimes. Mind you, add kids into the mix and you practically have to become a human day planner just to keep up. Do appointments stress you out, like they do me? (more…)

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