Since you’ve been gone

I want so much that is not here and I don’t know where to go for it.

It has been over a month since I last posted anything, which is wild as I have been through a lot since then. Well not really. My emotions have been through a rollercoaster. One thing about me? I am going to be stressed out over the tiniest of things.

Let’s start at the beginning.

It was my birthday. Nuff said. What is it about one’s birthday to bring out the sadness and dismay in one’s life to the forefront? I realised some years back that birthday depression is a real thing and I think it’s because of the expectations that birthdays are fun and filled with love and presents, and when you’re not fully basking in goodness the whole day, depression creeps in. That is my theory. I also realised that it is solely my responsibility to make my birthday a good one, so I try to make plans. My birthday fell on a weekday this year so I had the option of doing something the weekend before or the weekend after. I chose to go into town to stay with my friend the weekend before; none of my other friends could make it but I didn’t mind. I spent the weekend with her, we ate, and went to the gallery, and saw a play and it was nice. Then my actual birthday came, and though I had technically celebrated my birthday, I still had the birthday blues. I had the day off and had fantasies of getting my nails done, a deep tissue massage, a facial, all the good relaxation things. Of course I did not actually book anything so it was all fantasy. I get anxious and stressed out over everything, and that includes not relaxing as much as I want (or wasting a day off). Though I didn’t make any spa booking, I had dreams of relaxing fully the whole day in bed, finishing up some of the items in my Netflix watchlist. Of course that was not to be. I had to respond to calls the whole day which yay! people care about me on my birthday but also nay! leave me be. Another thing about me? I hate being on a phone call longer than I want to (I hate being on a phone call period). It just annoys me when I cannot get off the phone, or when the other parties cannot take the hint- I have sighed twenty times and said “well I’m just going to go get ready now” thirty times, so why are you still talking? The trigger for my irrational irritation is that I could see the hours hurtling past which meant my day off would soon be over and I was not relaxed at all. My friends got me breakfast and snacks which was so kind of them. Still I was alone in my prison room so there were no festivities and no birthday vibe. I had miscalculated greatly.

The biggest source of my annoyance and stress came from the most unlikely source. A couple of weeks prior while walking to get food, I came across a food truck in town centre and decided to see what it was about. Turns out it was a vegan food subscription service. I am not vegan (or even vegetarian) but I have been in a food rut lately and also trying to be healthy. I thought this was a good opportunity to try vegan recipes so I signed up for this, and went on to get my beef burrito. I then promptly put this out of my mind and ordered some Nigerian food for the week. The first box arrived and of course I was not ready for this so I put away as much as I could in the fridge. Then I went away for my birthday weekend. Imagine my annoyance when I got a notification saying the next food parcel was due to be delivered in a couple of days. Arrrrghhhhh I’ve not even cooked the first one yet! Even more annoying is that given that I completely forgot about it, the company had gone ahead and chose the meal options for me. Now I started to panic; one it’s vegan food which I doubt I will like; two I live in house with other people and have limited fridge space; three I’m wasting food and money. To crown this, my friend decided to get me HelloFresh food subscription for my birthday. Now I was completely stressed. I have no space! I have not even cooked the food I have. This is all so hectic. The hellofresh delivery was not due until the weekend after my birthday so Again I decided to cook the vegan meals in the first package on my day off aka my birthday to free up space and soothe my fraying nerves.

The appeal of these food subscription services is the ease and convenience…allegedly. It took me thirty minutes to peel and dice the butternut squash, and an eternity to put the whole meal together. It was supposed to be a curry but I must have reduced it too much because it seemed too solid to eat with rice. As I cooked it I knew this was not a meal I was going to enjoy eating. I was only able to cook one meal and I was so bloody irritable by the end of it. It was my birthday and I had wasted it on nonsense. Now it was evening time and I had work in the morning and there goes my day off. I was so sad. It made no sense.

The foul mood persisted into the next day. I’m still working from home which is beginning to seem more like a curse, but that’s a story for another day. I was just so annoyed and sad. Was it really just birthday depression? My irritation boiled over when I was allocated a topic to present at a team meeting the following week. Whew. That pissed me off! I hate for someone to just allocate something to me, like I’m a child or a baby staff. I stewed for days off of this irritation, and did not even respond to the message. I vented to my friends and sister about this mood, and I managed to diagnose myself. I came to the realisation that my irritation may be because I am deeply unhappy with my current life. I have been in my current job and house for over five years now and I am just over it all. After years of complacency I finally want to move on. Another thing about me? I can stay in one spot for ages, and I have a high threshold for boredom, but the minute I choose to move on I am completely done and cannot stand it one second longer. I figured that was the cause of my angst- In my mind I had moved on from this job and this house; so every moment that I was “forced” to remain here is torture to my soul.

It is not that easy to move on. In my mind I was already done with this job- every time future plans were referenced all I thought was “I’m not going to be here.” In my mind I was going to get the first job I interviewed for, which of course also stressed me out worrying over whether it would be a good fit and whether I would be going from frying pan to fire. Do I wait until I get a new job before looking for a new place, or do I just decide where I want to live and search for jobs there? I was stressed. Now I know that I worry too much for no reason at all. Every time I worry it ends up being for nought. Still, I worry.

At the start of the month I had to go into the office for a team meeting; rather than being annoyed I was actually looking forward to it. I had just got my hair done so I was feeling myself. I went in twice that week, and enjoyed it. It was good to talk to people and laugh. This brought me to another realisation. Could it be that I, the queen of the introverted introverts, was actually getting sick of working from home? I looked back at the other times I had gone into the office since the pandemic, and it was always a nice time. The bulk of my intensely negative feelings about work started during the pandemic, which also coincided with increased responsibility at work (which is definitely another stress factor). Could it be that despite my constant profession of how much I love working from home, being at home 24/7 was akin to being in solitary confinement which was ruining my mind and spirit? I shudder to think so.

My already fragile mood took a nosedive yesterday when I got an email with my work allocation for the next few months. We were to work from the client site twice a week and one day in the office. See that ruined my mood immediately. Now this was a client that was just assigned to me with no prior discussion. I hate when they do that. Hate it. What’s the point of being in a senior role if I can be randomly assigned clients with no forewarning. Then I found out that a delivery I had been waiting for all day was returned because my flatmate did not recognise the name and told the delivery people that the owner of the package no longer lived at the property. I just could not.

As I laid awake from 2am-5am staring at my phone (terrible habit!), I decided to change my perspective about things. Sure, it’s annoying to have to start going back into the office regularly; having to get up early-ish and get dressed, but perhaps that’s what I need now? I have lived without structure for 2 years, surely that’s enough. Rather than seethe over this, why not look on the bright side? I might enjoy working with a big team again, rather than by myself in my room. I still have two days a week to work from home- it’s the best of both worlds. Like magic, my irritation lifted and I started to feel positive about the whole thing. The positivity must have dried the dark rainy cloud hanging over my head because the rest of my day went better than the day before. First off I went outside to stick a note to the door, asking the delivery driver to call my phone number; within five minutes both packages I was expecting from two different delivery companies arrived and I did not have to stress about this the rest of the day. Work went okay, and now I’m writing this post that I have been meaning to for weeks. Some times all it takes it a mindset shift.

The HelloFresh delivery arrived and of course I panicked a bit. I was on my way to get my hair done so I threw everything in the fridge…or so I thought. Turns out what I thought was the ice pack was actually a pouch for the protein and I did not realise until the following afternoon. Yikes. I threw everything in the freezer (note the coping mechanism?) When it came time to cook, I panicked again- defrosted everything and then put some back in the freezer. It was a mess. Long story short, the meals were delicious, and by the grace of God I did not suffer from any meat related poisoning. I could only cook two of the vegan meals (the second was a fajita that I thoroughly enjoyed because I love tortillas) but I saved the ingredients I could and threw away anything that had gone off. There ends the debacle of the food delivery crisis. I’m glad that’s over with, and I’m sure most people would not have been anywhere as dramatic as I was over nothing.

I cannot end this without mentioning Easter weekend. Everyone is excited about the four day Easter weekend right? So was I. I was going to chill and be productive- clean my room, declutter, apply for jobs, write and explore outside. I did none of these things. I started out bingeing on Netflix as usual, but as the days loomed ahead I got tired of watching tv and just turned it off. Wow. That is not me at all. Rather than enjoy the sweetness of doing nothing, I was so bored by the endless days. The days stretched into each other and I lowkey longed for work to resume. How pathetic.

It is official; I have become a prisoner of my room. I’ll end this with a quote from Sylvia Plath:

“Go out and do something. It isn’t your room that’s a prison, it’s yourself.”

The war will end.

The war will end

The leaders will shake hands

The old woman will keep waiting

for her martyred son.

That girl will wait for her beloved husband

and those children will wait

for their heroic father

I don’t know who sold our homeland

but I know who paid the price.

-Mahmoud Darwish

Worry worry baby.

“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.”
– Swedish Proverb

“Your rest is not rest. You are resting so that you can work. You are working so that you can rest. You are caught up in a circle.”
― Shunya

One thing about me; I am going to worry. A good chunk of my life is spent worrying about what to eat, the rest is spent just worrying in general. I don’t remember when I first encountered anxiety, but it has quickly become the mainstay of my life, that annoying guest that was to spend the weekend but still remains seven years later and even now receives guests in your home.

I am always anxious. I noticed this a few years ago in the thick of prepping for professional exams. I was anxious about the exams while studying for them, anxious on my way to the exam venue, anxious on my way back home, and anxious for the six or so weeks before the results came out. When I say anxious I don’t mean “casually hoping for the best and slight nervousness”, no I mean waking up at 3am in the morning panicking about my answer to question four. I mean constant heart palpitations and skipped beats that has me running off to WebMD.

If I really think about it, anxiety has been around for much longer, although back then I did not call it by its name. I remember the days back in University when I would wake up in a cold sweat, my heart thumping so hard it was impossible to sleep. What was on my mind pray tell? An impending operation? A death? A breakup? An eviction? Nope. It was the exam I had earlier that day. Then the results would come and I would get top marks (I once got 51/50, no lie), enjoy a slight relief while my heart preps itself to go through the ordeal again.

Writing truly is my therapy because as I write it I am beginning to diagnose myself. I don’t remember this anxiety back in secondary school, not even during final year exams. I barely studied back then- I just freestyled the whole thing and still managed to get decent grades. I remember my final year Agric exam in which I casually decided to glance at the textbook before the exam and was so shocked to see that one of the points I read in the textbook actually came up. Wow who knew that reading a textbook prepares you for an exam? I did not have this anxiety in my first term of university- I spent all my time eating butter croissants and watching old American TV shows; The Cosby Show, Good Times, The Jefferson’s and the like. I would literally pause an episode of The Cosby Show, go write an exam and come back to finish it. Sigh good times. Then I got my result at the end of the term and was not pleased. That was when I had the awakening.

What is the awakening you ask? Hold on, I’ll tell you. After seeing my embarrassing first term GPA, it dawned on me that I would have to sit up if I ever wanted to graduate with honours. The period of coasting was over, and I could no longer rely on common sense to pass my exams. I said to myself- you are smart and you are capable of excellent grades, you just have to apply yourself. If you don’t you will spend the rest of your life trying to convince yourself and others that you could have graduated with honours. And so I did. I began studying hard for each class, and actually started getting good grades. From then on I was always on the Dean’s list for academic achievement and even made the Chancellor’s list for academic achievement (this came with a medal). But there was a cost.

See the result of me applying myself was that I got the results I wanted, but accompanying this was a silent stranger who snuck in like a thief in the night. Whereas previously, exams and tests were not the end of the world for me, they quickly become so. No longer could I nonchalantly waltz in and out of exams, now I had to deal with stress and panic on both sides of the exam. I would beat myself up worrying about the exam I just wrote and this stress would only be abated temporarily by an excellent score. Once I got 89% on a psychology midterm and that ruined my week. I was depressed and dismayed. It was ridiculous.

This stranger has followed me from step to step, sometimes walking slowly at a distance, and other times climbing on my back and putting me in a chokehold.

I no longer have exams, thank goodness, but now the anxiety is about work and life in general. Listen I cannot work and be anxiety free at the same time. Work stresses me out to no end and I am tired of it. Thanks to my anxiety, a meeting scheduled for 2pm means I am going to be stressed until 2pm. Everything else I do before 2pm will pale in significance to the meeting.
I also worry too much and assume unnecessarily. A manager could ask a quick question and that is enough to send me in a downward spiral of doubt and angst. “Oh God what the hell does she want oh my goodness why won’t she leave me alone I ain’t got the answers sway and I feel bad because I probably should have the answers now she has activated my doubt and made me feel foolish and I wish I didn’t have to work with her but really she is not a bad person just overbearing and the reason I feel bad is because she is asking valid questions that I should have asked and oh God I thought tomorrow was Friday but it’s not so now I have to face two more days with her uggggghhhhh let me pep myself up so I don’t sound depressed on the quick call which I really would rather not be on“. Then we have the call and it’s not anywhere close to being a big deal. Madness.

A small portion of my anxiety is the regular anxiety that functioning adults have when dealing with work and deadlines, but most of it is self inflicted from the pressure I put on myself. A manager leaves a review comment on my work and immediately I start to feel stupid for not knowing the answer and not thinking about that in the first place. Then I feel annoyed with the manager and the job as a whole. It’s a mess.

It was the intense stress of exams and waiting for exam results that drove me back to God in 2019, and once I got over that I went back to being a pagan but that’s a story for another day.

The thing is that I can’t just quit my job and hope for happiness because the anxiety is in me not the job. Even if I get a job in which I can explore my creative talents I will still be riddled with anxiety. Even those people who seem to have it all- writers, singers etc must constantly deal with anxiety. I can just see myself as an award winning writer-living in my dream home and still battling with anxiety over my new book; screaming out in irritation every time my editor calls to check in, worrying about meeting the deadline and being sick over how the book will be received. I won’t have a monthly salary/steady income so there will be the stress of ensuring I don’t go broke.

The only way I can be truly happy is to have no pressing responsibilities, no deadlines, no “urgent meetings/quick calls to discuss…” All I need is a steady influx of >£10k each month into perpetuity and I’m good. Oh my God I can’t wait to find the life that’s for me.

Sad girl.

I was in a bad mood yesterday. Sunday evenings are always a bit depressing, as I try to savour the last few minutes of the weekend while utterly dreading the looming Monday. Yesterday was especially bad as I was in all of my feelings and missing home. Home is a continent away; I am in a different continent from every single member of my family. It has been over a year since I saw them last; two years for some; and before then it was over a year since I had seen them and so on. This is the price one pays for working abroad. Years away from home has made me independent and self sufficient, but also incredibly lonely and dammit sometimes I just want to be at home. I’ve been away from home for ages; first hours away at boarding school, then a continent away at University, a brief return home before jetting off again to another continent for another degree and now career. I have missed so many family functions; weddings, births, funerals, general drama.

The older one gets the more you start to wonder what it is one’s life is for. I’m so over my job; I always say things could be worse because they truly could. As far as jobs go, mine is fine; I have enough independence and flexibility, and the pay is alright. But still, I am not settled and my spirit is not happy. Sometimes I’m fine, and sometimes I am so depressed by the thought that I have to log in to work every single week with only two days off a week, and I have to do this for decades! I get so much anxiety thinking about work. Most of the anxiety is in my head though, and I always try to tell myself it’s not a big deal, you don’t even have to leave your bed. I guess it’s just the fact that the day is not mine, and I can be called on at anytime. It’s tough. I can’t do this for much longer but then I am the one who has to make the decision on what to do next. Even if I get a new job, what’s the assurance that it won’t be the same or worse? Even being self employed has its cons. But wow this job does not feed my spirit at all. I need to be doing something more creative perhaps, but you know what they say about the grass on the other side. Then add to this the fact that I live with a revolving door of strangers that I can never get truly comfortable with, in a space that is not fully mine and you can see how over it all I am.

Today like yesterday
Tomorrow like today;
The drip, drip, drip,
Of monotony
Is wearing my life awa
y
(Langston Hughes)

Yesterday was hard. All of these feelings flooded in and overwhelmed me. All at once I was hit with the strong nauseating feeling of dissatisfaction; I am terribly dissatisfied with my life. I don’t have any friends or family near me. I just want to go home and sit on the couch watching poorly made television with my family, and eating dinner someone else made. I want to see my nieces and nephews grow up in real life, rather than through pictures. It is not natural to be alone. We are not built this way, regardless of how much I have come to crave solitude. I was not happy yesterday.

I feel much better now, and I felt better before going to sleep. I was deep in my self pity when a group call came in from all of my family. Now I absolutely despise people calling me, and the ringing of my phone is enough to drive me into a rage (or something not quite as dramatic). So even though I was missing home, I was not in the mood to speak to anyone so I ignored the call. But they called back again and again and eventually I picked up. It’s rare to have a call with all members of my immediate family, and what are the odds that it came in just as I was feeling so low. Though the call was raggedy with people’s connections coming in and out, it lifted my spirits tremendously to talk to my family. I just want to go home-not a physical place, but home as in the warm embrace of my loved ones.

What is my life for and what am I going to do with it? I don’t know and I’m afraid.

happiness is an acquired taste

“It is a curious thing, but as one travels the world getting older and older, it appears that happiness is easier to get used to than despair. The second time you have a root beer float, for instance, your happiness at sipping the delicious concoction may not be quite as enormous as when you first had a root beer float, and the twelfth time your happiness may be still less enormous, until root beer floats begin to offer you very little happiness at all, because you have become used to the taste of vanilla ice cream and root beer mixed together. However, the second time you find a thumbtack in your root beer float, your despair is much greater than the first time, when you dismissed the thumbtack as a freak accident rather than part of the scheme of a soda jerk, a phrase which here means “ice cream shop employee who is trying to injure your tongue,” and by the twelfth time you find a thumbtack, your despair is even greater still, until you can hardly utter the phrase “root beer float” without bursting into tears. It is almost as if happiness is an acquired taste, like coconut cordial or ceviche, to which you can eventually become accustomed, but despair is something surprising each time you encounter it.”

― Lemony Snicket, The End

Like Air.

There are many reasons to read: for enjoyment, to broaden one’s mind, to improve one’s vocabulary and so on. But few things compare to the pleasure of reading a book, and seeing the writer so eloquently express in words feelings that you have, and those you did not even know you had; thoughts that have been cramped in your head which you couldn’t find the right words to articulate. The aha! moment when you come across that passage that so deeply resonates with you.

One recurring theme in this blog, and really my life, is that of loneliness. I have been lonely for a long time, almost half my life, but I did not even fully understand this until I started coming across writings on loneliness.

Sylvia Plath is one of those writers who almost always has a quote for my every mood. Even before I read The Bell Jar, I had come across her quotes on the internet and thought “wow! This is exactly how I feel!” Recently I have had this aha! moment a few more times; particularly through two books. The first is The Lonely City by Olivia Laing. While reading the book I took a picture of a passage in the book that I related to so much. I recently came across the picture and it hit me hard all over again. In one paragraph Ms. Laing manages to sum up everything about my life.

I wanted very much not to be where I was. In fact part of the trouble seemed to be that where I was wasn’t anywhere at all. My life felt empty and unreal and I was embarrassed about its thinness, the way one might be embarrassed about wearing a stained or threadbare piece of clothing. I felt like I was in danger of vanishing, though at the same time the feelings I had were so raw and overwhelming that I often wished I could find a way of losing myself altogether, perhaps for a few months, until the intensity diminished. If I could have put what I was feeling into words, the words would have been an infant’s wail: I don’t want to be alone. I want someone to want me. I’m lonely. I’m scared. I need to be loved, to be touched, to be held.

This is exactly how I feel. I could not put it any better, any clearer. This is it. Every word, every sentence, every line.

My life felt empty and unreal and I was embarrassed about its thinness, the way one might be embarrassed about wearing a stained or threadbare piece of clothing.  Wow.

It is comforting to know that others have felt this way too, and that they have come out on the other side. Seeing my life summed up through someone else’s experiences and words is surreal, and it makes me realise that I am not alone in feeling the way I feel.

A few years ago, I wrote the following poem (if I can even call it that), in an attempt to express the way I felt about my life.

I float through life
Like air
Attaching to nothing
Feeling nothing

But this is what I was trying to say:

I do exist, don’t I? It often feels as if I’m not here, that I’m a figment of my own imagination. There are days when I feel so lightly connected to the earth that the threads that tether me to the planet are gossamer thin, spun sugar. A strong gust of wind could dislodge me completely, and I’d lift off and blow away, like one of those seeds in a dandelion clock.

The above quote is from the writer Gail Honeyman through the character Eleanor Oliphant in her debut novel Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. When I read this part I lingered over the words for a few minutes, taking them all in. This is what I was trying to say when I wrote the words “I float through life like air“. This is exactly what I meant.

Both books are chock-full of quotes and experiences that echo my life, and I will definitely be going back to them for a while to come.

I will end this post with another quote from Eleanor:

I took one of my hands in the other, tried to imagine what it would feel like if it was another person’s hand holding mine. There have been times where I felt that I might die of loneliness.

Ten Year Challenge.

Ah sweet Time. The speeding vehicle hurtling us towards the cold arms of death and regrets.

Social media is awash with people participating in the ten year challenge in which they put up side by side pictures of themselves ten years ago and now and marvel at the changes. I of course have not participated in this for many reasons chief of which is my intense fear and dislike of the passage of time and the sadness it leaves in its wake.

I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times; time scares me. The way it goes by so quickly: The days go by and turn into weeks then years, then in a twinkling a decade has passed and I am still here; unsure, unsteady and alone, always alone. Yes, I do not need a professional to tell me my fear of time is borne out of my intense dissatisfaction with my life. Another year gone is another year wasted, another year in which I may have achieved some professional accolades but in which I did not live life but merely existed and watched others live. Another year gone is another year in which I did not learn any skill or tick off anything on my bucket list. Doing the ten year challenge will simply depress me; being confronted with a picture of a teenage me and to know that I am not happier than I was then will be crushing.

I recently had a little foray into the past, by way of an old ipod which I found in my parent’s home. I was excited to see it and surprised that it still worked and so began my trip down memory lane. My God. Pictures of friends I have not kept in touch with (friendships I have not nurtured), lists of things I never did do, pictures of me taken alone in my room in which I know that I was yearning to live life and sad that I was not. Ten years later I have more degrees and certificates but the yearning has not been satisfied.

I looked in the reminders and saw one thing: practice French, and that’s when I turned off the ipod. I have been wanting to learn French for years now, a decade even. My reminders on my current phone are the same; learn french. I have french textbooks and novels, a french channel I follow on youtube, watch a french series, and even changed my phone language to french but I still do not speak French fluently. How depressing. I cannot ride a bicycle, cannot swim properly, still have not figured out what to do with my hair, still have skin issues, still battling with ingrown hairs, still spending most of my time alone, still no companion, still bored, still not happy.

The thought that another ten years will go by and I will still be in the same spot is chilling, even more so as it is entirely possible. The solution seems simply enough; Just go out and do these things. Do more of what makes you happy. But it is not that easy, I have tried, plus it is even more depressing doing these things alone.

What is my life for and what am I going to do with it? I don’t know and I am afraid.

 

Home.

Originally written on Sep 11, 2016.

Sometimes when I am in traffic, I look out of the car window and see a house. The light is on and I am overcome by a strange tightness- nostalgia perhaps, I am not sure.

Nostalgia: a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time. (dictionary.com)

I often feel nostalgic for a place or period that I do not know. I don’t know exactly where or when or what it is I am yearning for. Seeing the light makes me think there must be a family inside-or even just one person-doing things people do at home- watching television, eating, napping on the couch, laughing.

Home. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of home is cozy. I feel that I have been searching for a home. This is weird, because I do have a home, with parents and siblings, and yet I am searching. I need a place to be cozy in; to be happy and loved; to snuggle under the covers on a cold rainy day; to be alone and to be with company; to eat dinner while passing commentary on a movie; to laugh and be at peace.

It is strange that a single light bulb can evoke so many feelings. I cannot see what is going on behind the curtains. I do not know the kind of persons that live there. All I can see is that a light is on, and that is enough for me to feel a longing for home.

I feel this longing even when the home is not outwardly desirable. I look at people who live in squalor, with no electricity and no furniture; they laugh together and I am consumed by this desire for home. Could it be companionship that I crave? I have been an island for so long, a dedicated loner, and it is strange to think of myself as a person who wants others.

Home to me is not necessarily a place with family-although it would probably be best if family felt like home. Home to me has never been a place, more like a feeling. For the most part, I am my home, and I carry my home with me wherever I go. Home is where I am. It is for this reason that I never feel homesick.

Still, I feel the longing; the deep yearning for something out there. I am no longer enough. I need a home.