Learning to be myself

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by Thelongwayhome27, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member


    I was thinking about you the other day, hoping that if you weren't posting it was a sign that you were doing better. While that may not be the case, I am glad you aren't gone for good and have decided to still share some of your recovery journey with us. It's nice knowing you're around in some shape or form. Especially at times like this when my addiction is putting me through the wringer. And binges, well you aren't alone. One of the ones I had recently, hoo boy, was like how long can you drag this out? You're not the only one who fried their brain with the porn-microwave on its maximum wattage. Which isn't something to be proud of I know, I just want you to know that you aren't alone. You're aren't alone in the failures, but you won't be alone in the successes either. I can't do this anymore. I hope you feel the same way.

    As for therapy, you might really benefit from it. I wish you had a patreon account, I'd cover your first session ; ).

    Take care
  2. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Could you accept from yourself to not be normal around them and be very insecure? I mean, we're all human and although some people are extremely 'normal' and self-confident, most of us find it difficult to interact with people. In daily life we're too occupied with ourselves (e.g. what others may think of us), that we don't see that most people find it difficult to interact with others. Besides, on TV and youtube we see the extremely 'normal' and self-confident people, but they are just the few percent. @A New Man has been writing really good stuff in his journal of just accepting yourself, including your flaws. The need to be 'normal' and self-confident is is just an ego thing. And you know what, other people like us better when we can just be ourselves, when we can just open about not being confident. Myself I am very much aware of how my natural state is to hide my real self from other people. But it is so unnecessary. We're good the way we are.

    Anyway, glad to hear from you! Keep your head up, friend!
  3. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Definitely a vicious cycle, I've noticed that too. I hope you get back on your feet soon.
  4. Joost

    Joost Member

    It sucks to see you're still in a bad spot. I haven't been reading into your journal so I won't be able to speak much sense into your current situation.
    All I know and can say is that there shouldn't be a reason for you to feel inferior around women. You are created by God to be the head of your wife, (the one you haven't met yet.) Once you can believe accordingly, things will starts moving for the better, for it is the truth. This wife i'm talking about, already exists and always has. She as much part of you as she has been taken from you. Bottom line is, you don't need to be anything more, than who you already truly are. If that helps. :rolleyes:

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  5. Ereignis

    Ereignis Active Member


    Long time no talk. I see you haven't posted in a few weeks, and hope things are going well.
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  6. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Day 3

    Okay I haven't posted in about a month. I've really been off the wagon but it's time to try to get up. I am in a pretty negative headspace now but I'll try to be solution oriented and constructive rather then venting the negative stuff too much.

    I don't feel like I can get many days in right now, but let's see what happens. Maybe I can pick up some momentum again.

    Today wasn't too good. I was home all day and I also was clouded with a lot of negativity and anger. I've spent quite a lot of time on the internet. At least I have read about some stuff that is interesting to me these days but it's still idle internet surfing. But I guess that part can be classified as a hobby.

    Good stuff I did today was to cook decent meals for myself despite feeling pretty low. I also did some working out at home.

    The down I'm in right now is a weird one. I've definitely felt worst. There isn't anxiety to it. Just like a calm depression. But at times it comes with moments of serious existential disgust or some form of strong hopelessness. One thing is that I have used alcohol copiously lately so I think this is playing a part in my mood being like this. I think it may clear up in the next few days.

    However I'm scared that anxiety will return once I try to walk the straight and narrow. I'm afraid of the anxiety that will come when I try to address the things I have been putting off and procrastinating on.

    Staying off PMO was not too hard today although I could have indulged. Maybe I can try to make it to 7 days. See what can happen from there.
  7. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Day 4

    I've removed the band aid of porn, MariJay, beers, wine - and I'm once again left with my mood swings and anxious inner states. They are more pronounced then normal because I have been using these things lately too much ... But still, I know such mood swings occur even when I'm clean for a long time. Maybe I should think about seeing a psychiatrist at some point. I'm pretty sure the right medication with the right dosage prescribed by the right psychiatrist could help - as long as I do all the hard work I have been doing to improve my life. Coupled with that hard honest work, perhaps the medications could offer me that special "emotional detachment" that is so badly needed at times - and that some people just don't have for various reasons. I've been having a whole lot of trouble falling asleep these last 3 days (again because of the cold turkey I mentioned). I've been here before and I know that after a week I'll feel better.

    Staying off P wasn't too difficult today. Libido isn't very strong at all right now. It feels depleted.

    Despite the racing thoughts I worked out today, went for a run, went to the groceries, helped out someone with something (1 hour) - and resisted my urge to go get me some more MariJay ... So I think these are good things.

    Motivation is okay. I'm getting some new hope (it's kind of what created that strong enthusiasm I talked of) ... but I think I should take hope with a grain of caution ...
    Apeman, Pete McVries and TrueSelf like this.
  8. Apeman

    Apeman It means you're a baboon... And I'm not

    The MariJay, the beers, the wine, they're all numbing you from the thing you don't want to face.

    If you can face that down, I reckon you'd be indestructable.
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  9. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    I'm glad to hear that you are feeling a bit better and are again on the way to get back on track.

    Contacting a psychiatrist might be a good idea. But I would recommend you to make an appointment not with the idea in mind to get some kind of prescription for medication (=alleged quick fix). Medication can help you undoubtedly but in the grand scheme of things it would be much more important to analyze your whole situation holistically. I'm quite sure, you would benefit immensely from professionals who would examine your situation carefully with you and scrutinize what's causing all this turmoil. What's rumbling inside of you and which stressors exist in your direct surroundings. And then draw conclusions and find solutions that have a lasting positive and healing effect for you!

    I don't know how it is in your country but going into rehab might even be advisable. It is much more unspectacular as many might think (at least in my country) especially if you go voluntarily (which would be the case). Put simply, you just get a few weeks where you can come to rest (again). Normally you are intimately involved with other patients who have similar (mental) problems like you. What I found very refreshing and helpful, when I was in rehab in 2017, was that you do not have to wear your emotional-everyday mask. You can talk openly about everything (if you'd like to) and get a lot of direct peer support. Moreover, you get the chance to learn to listen to your feelings a bit more and act accordingly. One could argue, that the bad mindstate you are experiencing for some time now is a bit worse than just mood swings. And the feeling of going in circles or being unable to find a lasting solution might be an additional stressor for you. Most people only go to rehab after a breakdown. In my mind, we haven't learned nor were we educated to listen to our feelings and emotional pain. Only once we can't take it anymore, we seek professional mental help. It's quite sad.

    I'm just putting it out there, it's not that I want to push you into this direction. You are the captain of your own ship. But mabye that ship would profit from being in a safe harbor for some time before going into blustering waves again. It's also a thought process. Such things are not decided over night.

    Take care and I wish you all the best!
    Doper, Thelongwayhome27 and -Luke- like this.
  10. Shady

    Shady Well-Known Member

    @Thelongwayhome27 try talking to a friend or a family member instead of seeing a psychiatrist.
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  11. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Day 6

    The urgency I feel at fixing things before time runs out. The hope and despair, alternating rapidly. Crushes the soul. But let's talk positive ...

    I've found some new angles of looking at what doesn't work in the way I interact with women (do they prefer being called women or girls ? do they hate it when we refer to them as they ?). This newfound angles and perspective has given me new hope.

    I do believe that porn hinders a man's relationship with women. At least in most cases. And definitely in guys who have no other contact with girls. That's when the rabbit hole becomes a bottomless pit. I've used porn when I had contact with girls to a certain extent. But now - single - I am using porn and have no contact with girls - and it's becoming a vicious circle.

    I try to stop porn in the hopes that I'll be able to interact better with women. And yes in the hope of having some form of romantic relationship(s). But when I put 200% of my capacity in abstaining from porn and even MO - and see no clear results on the front of interaction with women I get demoralized - and then saying "no" to the cravings becomes hard.

    But I know that I should not quit porn only for this reason. But can I really truly not care if I have no interaction with women ?

    So this is to say - that's why the new ideas I have found is giving me new hope. I don't want to go to far into it for now but mainly I think I should try to relate to girls in a platonic way. This may seem like the dumbest realization but the thing is it was in my blindside. I saw myself as a shy sensitive guy and I did not understand why girls don't see this in me. But the thing is - I think they see how I want and hope for sex too much from them. And the reason they sense this is that indeed ... it's true ! It doesn't come from an ill place I'm pretty sure - but to them it's understandably a red flag - and for the first time I can understand that and as a result cut them some slack. And maybe if I looked and acted like C. Tatum, I could get away with wanting only sex from girls. Or if I was upfront about it somehow. But it's the combo of trying to hide this aspect - of being nice and shy with girls - and yet having this need in me - that is a red flag. So the solution for me is to try to see girls in other ways as well. To try to relate to girls as I do to guys. To jump in the friend zone for some time. But this may be much harder to do then expected because I don't have friendships with girls and because I'm very shy and sensitive with them. I'm always afraid they will think I want them and judge me for that. I can't handle rejections. But maybe if I tell myself "talk to her like she's a guy" - "forget about sex for some time" - maybe then I could act with them more naturally. And then start building some kind of rapport. And then maybe this would start defusing the tension and mental complexes.

    Enough for now.

    I find my tone, even when I write in my journal, so arrogant and "know it all".

    @Apeman - Hi, thanks for dropping by. I remember being inspired by an older journal of yours on here when I first joined the forum. Yeah it's safe to say there are things I'm running away from that I can't or don't know how to deal with. When I try to deal with things I sometimes push myself too much, maybe sometimes not enough. I never know for sure. But I usually fall back down at some point. One thing I run away from is my strong fear of rejection (see above).

    @Pete McVries - Thanks man, I'm also glad I'm here giving things another go. I knew eventually I had to try to get back on the saddle. I'm not too sure about rehab. Despite all the problems I talk about on here it would be quite a leap if I went to rehab. I still appear normal enough on the outside. Also if I go to rehab that would mean I go for sex addiction. I do think it would help - but financially and also the stigma of it I'm not sure I can do now. Unfortunately I would be one of those people who ends up in a psychiatric ward or rehab only when breakdown occurs. Which is quite likely ... For the psych meds I totally agree. It can be a band aid and even create more problems if done in a quick fix type of way. I think they could help though if done right and wisely. Just because of looking at my predicament from a larger perspective (my patterns of up down up down). Like, man why did I fall down so hard psychologically this summer when I tried so hard to make things work during the spring. All because of that one girl ... It's crazy. It produced such emotions in me. This is where the right med, perhaps could help balance things out a little - provided I do all the good work on the side. Otherwise it's similar to drinking whiskey in order to not feel anxiety ... It's gonna work for a few weeks before I have to go to 12 steps.

    @Shady - Thanks for the suggestion bro. I tried talking to my parents. They can only help so much. They can't handle my problems. It kills them. And then as a result it makes me feel so darn bad. And friends ... I don't feel comfortable talking to real life friends about my issues. Maybe just a little on the surface with one guy that could be called my best friend I guess. You know, you still have a good point though. It's so much better to talk to friends and family before the white coats professionals.
    Pete McVries likes this.
  12. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member


    Man I was really worried about you. But you're back. I don't care what you decide to phrase this problem as (addiction, bad habit, problem, etc.), but your copious reflections in your journal definitely illustrate the harmful effect this behavior has had on your life.

    You deserve better than the pain it subjects you too. Sometimes I am saddened to see the difficulties you express when it comes to women. I hope someday that you can come to terms with the fact that your relationship to them doesn't have to define your happiness. It can play a fantastic role in boosting well-being no doubt, but there are so many other ways we can do so. But regardless, fingers crossed that you are able to obtain happiness and so much more amidst all the amazing things life has to offer. I wish I could give you a pat on the shoulder whenever you hit that down-in-the-dumps feeling (like when we are adrift in the sea of oblivion of repeated indulgent binges), but alas, I cannot. It's people like you, @Pete McVries , @nuclpow , @-Luke- , @Living , @Doper , @Gil79 , @catchingup, and many more who give me the additional strength to do something about this problem even when my internal sphere of consciousness is creating the illusion that tunnelvision is the only lens I can see this problem through.

    I have to prove to others that even the worst of us can make it through. It's become a feeling of personal responsibility that I have to provide--even it's just a modicum or an iota of--inspiration for others who are lost in the miasmic labyrinth of this "problem" as you call it (though I still stand by the phrasing of addiction).

    Take care @Thelongwayhome27. Sending love and kindness your way.
  13. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Day 8

    This week has been a revelation for me.

    Sometimes I think I'm actually working the steps without even knowing it.

    I sometimes feel like reaching out to plenty of people I have known in my life. Some to tell them I'm sorry. Others to tell them I forgive you. To say it was just a misunderstanding. I believe no one is truly bad. People are just in pain. Some more then others.

    As long as there is Courage and as long as one holds on to Love - there is hope and there is a Way.

    RIP in Dolores.
    An incredible soul.
    A beautiful woman.
    Unfortunately she lost her own battle. I don't know why. She was so gifted and she found a way to truly express herself. It seems it was not enough. I hope she is doing all right now.
  14. Joost

    Joost Member

    Incredible voice. I loved to listen to some of her songs, some way back.

    Man I'd still like to talk to you. We never got to it.
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  15. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Day 11

    Just asked a girl if she wants to hang out.

    Doesn't matter what will happen, it's already a win that I asked.

    Oh yeah baby ! :)

    I'm breaking the barriers and stepping out of my comfort zone. It's very uncomfortable at times and hard to tell if this is insanity or the way out of my usual mental barriers.

    A good day to all.

    Update : she said yes ! (It's so simple ...) Note to self : Breathe, calm down. Keep a level head bro! :cool:
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  16. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Great man! Thumbs up for stepping out of your comfort zone!
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  17. TrueSelf

    TrueSelf Active Member

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  18. Doper

    Doper Well-Known Member

    Right on!
    You may like the video I added to Axebattler's Helpful Links thread on social anxiety.
    Have you pondered how the anxiety around women (which I'm sure is pretty common, but varies in its destructiveness) came about in the first place?....I did something very bad for a long time and when you live a certain way that long it's hard to reverse. Back when I had ED (and other issues) in high school and afterwards, and didn't have a clue why my shit didn't work, after failing a few times I just basically made a habit of acting UNATTRACTIVE to women on purpose so I would never be in the position to fail again. I didn't do this in overly overt ways but if a girl really looked like she was down I would make sure she didn't feel that way for long. As well, I would think thoughts like "I should work out and gain muscle....No I shouldn't because then I will be more attractive to women"......For real. Well, you do this for long enough you are gonna really fuck your brain...and I sure did. I'm still living with the consequences.

    I wasn't shy around girls back before all this started, I was literally the exact opposite. But years and years go by thinking and acting like I mentioned and thinking of yourself as subhuman because of your lack of virility, well after that ya don't have to ACT unattractive, now you ARE unattractive. Objective achieved....a stunning success.....lol. Add years of drug use and you're pretty mired...
    So that's one of the causes of me being in the same predicament (...or I'll just speak for myself I guess), I think it can be solved reasonably speedy if it is made a priority, if you go out and talk to lots of people a lot I can't imagine it won't get solved. This COVID thing has really taught me a lot about comfort zones. Unlike a lot of people I take this shit seriously, I don't want to die choking on lung butter or kill elderly loved ones....So I really don't go out much at all. Sad to say, I can probably count the number of hot chicks I've SEEN on one hand since this shit started, though I guess with masks you can't really tell anyway. But point is, now when I go out, and do things I haven't done in a long time, I get anxiety, which I definitely wouldn't have had before, just for lack of doing something. I happened to be talking to a really hot girl in a social environment a bit back, the first one in MONTHS, and I was really fucking anxious, where before, I may have had anxiety, but not like I did. The shit really blew my mind. I've learned if your comfort zone isn't getting bigger, it's getting smaller, and it happens very fast. It's like your whole world closes in around you.

    But I think the reverse is true, too. This is not my natural way. A lot of people think of people as either introverts or extroverts, you're either one or the other. But that's nonsense it is a spectrum and on that spectrum are socially anxious extroverts. It's not a mentally healthy label to have I can tell you that, it's somewhat akin to living in a prison. And solving it should take priority over basically anything else. Because it will totally screw basically all other aspects of one's life. I know from experience. Now I'm sure it's clear I'm a do as I say, not as I do type of person. There are of course tons of introverts that have no problem being in large groups, giving speeches, talking to dimes, or what have you; they just need a bit of down time to recharge. But if one is scared of social situations or women, in my completely nonprofessional opinion, that probably means the person is actually an extrovert. Because what one wants is always on the other side of fear. If you fear something, it means it's something you long for. Other than large arachnids or Jason Voorhees I guess....
    I think your idea of just finding girls to have platonic relationships with is a good one, for a number of reasons. First, it makes you realize that there may be more uses for many of them than just as a meat sock to nut into. I think we can forget this when the porn to actual interaction ratio is skewed. I have an inkling looking at them like a prize cut has a lot to do with the anxiety, because it makes the interaction a win-lose situation. Either I get ta bang her or I'm a total jerkoff loser, so I better not screw it up. Instead of just having a fun interaction with this other human. They also have friends and this gives you an in. And if you're just playing innocent with them, at some point you will be comfortable around them enough to start acting COMPLETELY natural around them, and that's when you will become attractive to them. I probably couldn't pull a dumb as a post 6 from a club for a quick hookup, atm, but if you put me, or anyone in this thread in an environment, like a workplace, sport, group, or whatever, where you can get a slow burn going with lots of interaction, the girl then realizes this dude has value. Because that's the truth, you're a smart guy that has lots of value to add. A lot more than many of these dumbass chicks that may give us anxiety because they look good when their all done up. Just getting more male friends would also help. Like they say, there probably aren't too many guys that are good with women that aren't also good with other males. It's up to you whether you want to keep those relationships platonic or not......o_O:confused::D
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  19. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    @-Luke- and @TrueSelf - Thanks for your words of support guys ! This may sound naïve but I was really happy I asked that girl to hang out.

    Hey @Doper thanks so much for your post man. A lot of good stuff in there I would think.

    My own theory when it comes to anxiety around women (which I agree is quite common but varies in destructiveness) is that some guys get some success early on and they internalize the belief that they are attractive to a girl. With such a belief it's easier to have other positive experiences and basically it creates a feedback loop this way. The opposite happens to other guys, difficult experiences (whether they were truly bad or "in his head only" bad) add up creating the internal belief "I suck, I'm a looser, Girls don't like me" - and now with such a belief it's hard not to be insecure around women and thus keep creating bad experiences. I think a lot of this stuff happens in high school but probably there are also things that can be traced to childhood (early traumas that can be quite significant) - perhaps these early traumas shape how a young teen will react to an experience with a girl - maybe one teen (with less trauma) will brush it off more easily. Another kid with issues from childhood may take it pretty hard. Then of course there is also a person's inherent nature such as sensitivity, etc. Many factors... Basically one develops a complex around the whole thing and then until that complex is healed somehow (hopefully it's possible) that person will have difficulties (anxiety, etc.) in that "domain".

    For my part as well I have had some difficult experiences in my early teen years that then became internalized and "plagued" me from that point onwards. Basically, in those critical years, I became quite sure there is noting interesting about me to a girl. From this belief, even when a girl would be interested in me I would usually think she isn't (find another explanation for said behavior on her part). I only realized that "hey man that or that girl may have liked me" much later when I became more mature and understood what was going on then. On the other hand any rejection would serve as clear proof of my belief. Confirmation bias. Later in my teens I changed slowly, started trying a little - but the pattern was rejection from the girl I would go for (because of my anxiety usually) and me pushing away a girl who would be interested in me (for fear of what will happen). I only broke this pattern in my early 20s when I chased a girl more directly, got rejected (yet I think if she knew the real me she would have liked me) - and then finally allowed a girl in that showed an interest in me (but she had to do the move). But at a deeper level many of my problems and negative self beliefs were all still there and would keep plaguing me (up to this day). I could never "chase" a girl I liked or let her see the real me (which is so painful!).

    Now from this initial problem, many other complications can occur. Such as bitterness and resentment. From such a place one becomes more and more incapable of finding the way out. Despite the fact that the bitterness and resentment is very understandable, it doesn't necessarily lead one back to a better place. It's not always solution oriented and it can blind. Read ER's manifesto. It's a sad story and in my opinion can serve as an incredible eye opener.

    Anyways for me my issues with girls were always related to some degree (but not completely I think) with my social anxiety. The social anxiety varied depending on the group I would be with (e.g. with "cool" kids vs. with "non cool" kids). And with girls it was of course quite intense.

    Luckily for me some things did improve in my 20s. I had some intense breakthroughs (I don't know if it was luck or divine intervention but I am truly thankful). But I also often fell back into depression or my old mindset. This is still happening to this day. Ups and downs. Hope and despair. Love and resentment.

    I reckon it makes sense that you get more anxiety if you haven't talked to a "hot girl" for a while (or seen many in real life). With exposure the anxiety lessens again so don't worry too much but do get that exposure (even if it means with a mask!). Socializing is very "regulating".

    You once wrote this advice in my journal and I think it's awesome :
    - I emphasized genuine. That's key. Of course some people we don't click with. Then we got to move to another. But we got to try to be genuinely interested.

    I think you're spot on when you mention we're fucking ourselves up if the proportion of "P watching" (or sex fantasies) is totally disproportionate with actual live interaction with females. That's how we become fucked up. This has been a realization for me recently.

    The "friend angle" I talked of gives me hope and I think for me it could be a piece of the puzzle that was yet not properly understood. I'm hoping it can yield some true results (we shall see) ! But already, just this week, I interacted differently with girls. It's almost like a blister was popped ! And out went some of the puss of resentment that had built in me. All of a sudden I understood why perhaps I do appear as a bit of a "sex maniac" to a girl (although she's misunderstanding me, but I can't blame her). I totally agree with all you mention with the "friend angle" and I'm glad you confirm some of my own ideas. Maybe I should write down a document for myself so I don't forget this new "angle". But basically - I don't mean to totally forget about sexual attraction or become blind to a woman's nature.

    But instead of being someone who is overly focused on sex (as the vector of win/fail) - why not focus on sex but other stuff as well. It takes a whole lot of pressure off from the interaction and even if I don't get sex (which yes I want and I don't think that's shameful) - it's not a fail in any kind of way. It could allow me to be myself more (less afraid to show who I am to a girl). And then the rest will work itself out. And if I only get a friendship from it, it's still a win and new territory to explore. I'm interacting with a girl, while trying to have less of a mask on. It's good for her and for me.

    Now the only caveat : I don't want to pretend I don't like sex or am not attracted to a girl that I am attracted to. That's the real friend zone ; when one pretends he is asexual while secretly hoping to get in the girl's pants by only being nice. While I, from personal experience, can have full compassion and understanding of such a behavior from a guy - I can also - finally - understand why this is not attractive to a girl. Out goes some of the resentment with this perspective. With this perspective no longer am I bitter that some girls have a lot of sex while I don't as much.

    I don't want to claim victory too soon and the battle is far from being won. But I hope this realization can help me out.

    @DoneAtLast wrote this on a thread I had started this last winter and it was an eye opener for me and that's why it stayed with me. It was really nice advice I was thankful for (Thanks DoneAtLast!) :
    I really liked the fact that he agreed that they are also sexual beings. It's the right balance. Not only sexual beings. But don't make me forget that I desire them. Don't shame me for that !
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
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  20. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    I just want to quickly comment on that because I've read something really interesting recently about the frequency of sex and who has it. According to empirical inquiries from the institute for sex studies in Hamburg, 95% of all sex acts happen in comitted relationships. Singles represent 25% of (German) population yet they only have 5% of all sex acts the population has.

    I think, it's a fascinating fact because you can easily get the impression that being a single equipped with dating apps equals to a lot of sex. But wooing potential partners takes a lot of time and energy. We all know singles (men & women) who brag about the sexual adventures they have or had. On the flipside, you probably have never heard from a friendly couple which tells you they had sex 4 times last week - maybe because it's normal for them and not even that noteworthy?

    People lie, and people especially lie when it comes to sex (a cheer for peer pressure!).
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