Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Look up.

Watching ‘Look Up‘, the latest YouTube sensation by Gary Turk, I’m reminded of just how much our lives are influenced by technology. Not only technology, but the hundreds of thousands of little people that live in our devices, our social media networks. Over 39 million views were received by this video so perhaps we are all identifying with the same issue, the ongoing battle of balance between real life and living in the interwebz.

I remember getting my first MySpace page, jazzing it up and for the first time putting myself out there on the internet. Keeping up with my favorite musicians online and finally bridging the gap between my insignificant life and the rest of the world. Global society was so close, I could almost reach out and touch it. Friends were mouse clicks away. MySpace truly was my little spot on the internet, my tiny little 10011011 on the worldwide web.

That’s the beauty of the internet. On MySpace, you could be anyone you wanted to be. Perhaps a shy, antisocial female in the outcast circles of reality but online, a beautiful girl with popularity matched by none and great tastes in everything. Welcome to the internet, welcome to your new life, enter the world of the digital alter ego… Dum dum dum.

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We now live in a world where MySpace was the tip of a Titanic iceberg. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Foursquare have all become part of our daily routines, to name but a few. The fact that you’re reading this means you clicked on my blog link from my share on Facebook or Twitter. Possibly searching key words on Google or scrolling through your followed bloggers on WordPress, a blogger yourself. Each one of the 39 million views of the Look Up video were online, through any of the above social media sites or YouTube directly. The internet and social media does not make it possible to live, they do however make it possible for me to live as I do now. Openly, in view of social network eyes and public scrutiny. I choose this, I created all of these profiles.

Unfortunately, along with freedom of speech and public living, social media came with a very long list of negatives. Privacy? Non existent (though, you’re not forced to have public profiles). Dissociation. Because, why would anyone need real people when the ones in your phone make so much more sense? Crime. Sadly, criminals will always find a way in and so the internet opened up thousands of doors. The list continues and we could be here discussing negatives all day, sadly the one negative bothering me today is not as serious as any of the minuses listed above… It delves a little deeper in to the human condition.

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It’s saddening to me that social media is used in the fake ways they’re used today. You’d think that with the access we’ve been given and opportunities available to us through social media, we’d be using them in more of a truthful way? Alas, no. In fact, isn’t it frustrating how every friend on your Facebook page has the perfect life and relationship. Every Twitter handle a positive one (barring the anonymous ones). Every Instagram picture beautifully manicured and posed and every meal posted, a gourmet one. While being as active as I am online, I do have friends and relationships in real life. Like everyone, I have concerns and hang ups and problems. For every good day, there is a bad day. For every posed #nomakeupselfie, there is a bad acne day. I am human. What is sad to me is that people, society, friends and family choose to portray another life online, a life of perfection.

I am not one who enjoys breeding negativity, I really am not. I’d also probably complain if everyone on my timeline was constantly negative and pessimistic however, I’d like to see a little bit more realism online. I wish people would be more honest.

I know people in real life that constantly whine and fuss, in fact nothing in their life ever goes right in their books and anything more than a grimace is fake. I struggle to understand how those people are the ones posting positive meme’s, poems and updates online. Who are they fooling?
I know individuals that hate their spouse, hate reality. These are the people posting hundreds of happy photos with their partners and overly compensating on their Facebook walls.
I haven’t seen friends in reality for years and yet year in and year out, we wish each other for our birthdays and continue to stalk each other without actually having to see each other… This is sad to me, in fact it’s disappointing.

There is nothing wrong with spending a quality amount of time online, update your status three times a day or tweet a thousand times this year. Update all three meals of the day or check in online at the office if you must. We are all guilty of trying to portray our real lives in the best and most positive light but again I must remind you that we are all human. If you’re having a bad day, don’t be afraid to say so. It’s only natural, isn’t that what social media is about? Sharing?

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Recently, I decided to take a chance and put two of my controversial blogs onto News24. Why did I do this? The truth is, though you’d hope people closest to you would be honest with you, this is not always the case. Friends and family may not agree with your opinions, but to keep the peace these views won’t be aired (Not saying this is true in my case or speaking for anyone, this is a general observation). I thought the best scrutiny to receive was from those who didn’t know me, who could judge me on my honesty and opinion alone. This exercise was a pretty disheartening one, I received over 7000 views online and yet between them maybe 5-7 positive comments and the rest were nasty, angry opinions. At first, this upset me. On a closer read and given more thought, it occurred to me that a lot of these people are those that portray happy fulfilling lives online but perhaps experience repression in reality, everyone needs a release right and their lambasting of my blog was exactly that. Or perhaps they’re going against everything I’ve said in this piece, they’re negative online and off and I’ve just chosen to befriend the correct people. Who knows..?

Back to the point. It’s not enough to be digitally social for me. While I am notoriously active on social media (having received criticism for this in the past), I have a life offline. It’s not perfect. I go through challenges just as frequently as everyone else, but I’m honest about that life (read my previous blogs if you’re unsure of my honesty). I’m not asking anyone to be negative unnecessarily. All I ask is that you be mindful of hypocrisy, chances are if I know how you act in real life, I’ll see straight through your online facade… As will others.. Or maybe that’s what you were hoping?

Shevy

Yesterday was an ugly day… In fact, yesterday I was ugly. To everyone. For everything. When texting a close friend, the question I posed to her was ‘Am I having a nervous breakdown or could this just be PMS’? Her response was ‘Are you batshit crazy or just grumpy’? A rather fitting response and on that high level psycho analysis I deduced that I must be having a nervous breakdown, yesterday I went batshit crazy.

We never fully understand just how much we are able to cope with until the over bearing weight on your shoulders forces you to think of all the burdens you carry simultaneously, it is at that point that you’re at risk of the anxiety catching up to you. The moment you realize that perhaps your shoulders cannot continue bearing the burdens you’ve done sub consciously for longer than you remember.

I am human.

As a mother, while you love your children, it is not impossible to wake up and think about what life would be like if they weren’t around. Forgive me if that sounded harsh and I don’t mean it to be but all mothers will know that sporadically you reach that point of ‘enough’ where the stepford mother you try to be disappears and you’re reminded that you’ve not thought about you as long as they’ve been alive. As a mother, I made the choices and decisions to birth my children and their existence is not because of them, it’s because of me. It did happen that they woke up being children, making a mess and answering back, not listening and lacking all regard for the cost of household items. All the same, I am indeed human and yesterday had a day where I was haunted by thoughts of what my life would have been without them. No doubt boring and monotonous but the financial security I’m obsessed in retaining for my family wouldn’t be nearly as important if I was on my own, which means I would not be half as concerned with spending my money and injecting it into future plans that may be quite risky but won’t come to fruition as long as I’m striving for complete financial freedom and stability for my children. Or maybe not. The point is that when these thoughts sneak into my mind I get frustrated and angry with myself and take it out on those around me, eventually having to keep quiet to avoid saying anything uglier than I already did.

As a wife, I chose to marry my husband, he is my best friend after all despite all the baggage he brings with him. I’ve chosen to stand by him and the vows I repeated in front of the Gods and him were lifelong. That said, yesterday I was already in a very ugly space and in that time it’s very easy to resent him for the things I chose to accept. The thoughts of life as a singleton, sans children, are enticing. Perhaps never having doing that (I went straight into relationship and children) means that I’ve never known what that freedom is like and I can’t help but think how much easier it must be (or is it?). It’s easy to get caught up in the ugliness and just want to escape, yesterday all I wanted to do was escape my life. I wanted to turn back time and get a do over from the age of 17.

There are so many things in life that I want, badly and yet I can’t have them. I regress to a 4 year old child and throw the tantrum of a spoiled brat and yet I still don’t have them. (Not for lack of trying may I add but responsibility does dictate my needs to a degree). This weekend, something I was working towards has had to take a back seat for a while and this of course made me angry. I was frustrated with the children, frustrated with my husband from whom I wanted more of (or a better) reaction that the one I was less than satisfied with. I am angry at myself for the thoughts in my own mind as well as the mounting pressure I place upon myself to always do, to always have, to always achieve. I can’t sit still, always planning and coming up with a new way to kill time.

It’s difficult to be a person that others turn to for advice and guidance when your own house is not in order, presently understandably so. It’s not easy to always be the strong, reassuring one when within, you’re uncertain of anything and have to bite back while playing the game of wait. It is tiring to have to always have it together because that is what is expected of you when all you’d like to do is cry and it’s incredibly frustrating to sit back and watch other people make just as important mistakes and it’s not your place to say.

I want to be the perfect mother but realistically, I’m not. I’m the best I can be and I have to hope that that is good enough. I want to be a great wife but I will never be a stepford wife, I think my husband realizes that. I try to achieve in my career but I’m learning that my decisions affect those closest to me and so prioritizing needs over wants is imperative. I want to be an amazing friend but I have to understand I cannot carry the weight of their burdens atop my own. I aim to be financially free but right now, having more money than month is more important than being rich. We have many challenges, responsibilities and numerous waits and tough times ahead. Decisions will have be agreed upon, sacrifices made and hurdles jumped, that’s life.

Am I having a nervous breakdown? No.
Is it PMS? Not even.
I am human and for one day, let myself feel.
I’d say that’s pretty healing.
I’d say it’s rational, understandable and most importantly relatable.
I’m not depressed, I don’t hate my life.
I am just human.

Do not be afraid to feel, you cannot be robotic all the time and no one should expect you to.

Shevy

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So you think you can procreate?

From pregnancy to parenthood and all the poo, problems and pandemonium in between.

“pro.cre.ate
1. To beget or engender (offspring)
2. (tr) to bring into being”

THE INTRODUCTION

I am not an expert. I am a mother of two daughters aged 2 and 8. My pregnancy, birthing and parenting experiences were very different with my daughters and I often wished for a guideline, a book, just something that I could refer to so that I would have an idea of what being a mother meant. To answer for the unknown cramps in the night. To put my mind at ease about my birthing plan (Birthing plan?) and to learn how to handle the father of my child making the transition from irresponsible to, well, slightly less irresponsible. Sadly, during my pregnancies, Snooki was not a ‘world-renowned’ mother and author and so I had little reference but Google. (My sarcasm gets better with age).

One constant throughout the births of both my daughters was everyone having a say, there was no shortage of hints, tips and advice from friends and family. All conflicting of course. “You must do this, don’t do this, did you try this, when are you doing this, you should have thought of this, remember when I did this…” I was so frustrated and only wanted the opportunity to do what I WANTED to do, women have been doing this for thousands of years and I was certain I could do this without the old wives’ tales and hypochondriac ideas. When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter I remember a conversation with my mother and I was complaining about the number of people that had offered me unwanted advice. My mom said to me ‘The only advice I want to give you, forget everyone else’s advice and go with your gut’. Moms are right, always.

Two children later, I have so much advice pent up inside for the sheer fact that I do not want to push any expectant mother or new parent to feel like I did with the abundance of unwanted advice I was receiving. I did not understand until I actually had my children that it is natural to want to share what worked for you, what didn’t and what you would do differently if you had a do over. We don’t get a do over; we try to sell our fancy ideas for the non-existent next baby to someone who has a bun in the oven and are still without a clue.

I am now at the age where I know more and more people having children, growing up, expanding the family and taking the plunge with procreation. It is time to bring some offspring into the world and start building on the legacy. I was a very young mother the first time and mostly, without a clue. While the gap between my children is substantial, no matter how much older I was it did not get any easier with baby number two. With every baby born, the world evolves, it has changed and as a parent we continuously have to change with it to be the best and most down to earth parents we can be.

Most importantly, we are human and must never forget that as parents we are not perfect. There are good parents, there are great parents and then there are the parents that accept they make mistakes, swallow their pride to ask for help and learn to accept advice as an aid and not a hindrance.

This series of blogs will be a humorous tale of my own experiences broken up into what I thought were fairly important stages of pregnancy. There will be a feature or two from my husband as a first time father and there will be tidbits of information to help you on your way. Sadly, even if I tried, I would not be able to write the textbook. All children are different and we would not want them any other way, though to be fair there are certain tricks that work for all children and why harbor that information?

I hope you enjoy the reads and feel free to contact me should you wish to contribute or do a guest piece in my series of parenthood blogs – All ideas, hints, tips and advice is welcome – Parents or non.

So… we begin our journey, so you think you can procreate?

Life didn’t come with a textbook, no guideline on what to do and where to go. There is no road map to your dreams and I’ve yet to find a list of aspirations that equally match my own. Babies are born, without a handbook, and we are expected to continue the cycle the best way that we know how. We are given free will to believe in our own morals, our own beliefs. Free will to believe in a religion of our own choice and the ability to pick the morals and values we decide to live our lives with.

Life is complicated. It is the biggest task we are given to complete and once we reach whatever it is we set out to achieve, life is our most monumental achievement. How difficult a journey we are given, a path with no paving, a start with an unknown end, the end always in question. The index of a book without ever being allowed to read the back page or a movie that we have no way of skipping through the chapters. What amazing creatures we are that we choose to be here, choose to live this life and make the most of what we are given in the limited time we have.

Life throws more unanswered questions at me each and every day. When you think you have it all laid out, where you want to go, what you want to achieve, what you think is best for you in the here and now… it all changes. Humanity surprises me all the time, we underestimate those who do the most for us and overestimate those closest. We do not value the presence of close company enough and sometimes value solitude far too much. We focus energies into worry, stress and uncertainties of the future. We forget the purity of our existence in the exact moment we breathe.

Life does not allow for prediction of the future, however it does allow for far too much living in the past. Too many of us bound by our very own history and too ashamed to let go of that which does not warrant our thoughts. We are not who we are because of the past, we are who we are in spite of it. The path I’ve travelled does not define me, the choices I’ve made do not reflect my character. All I have done and all I do tell me that I am human, I make mistakes, I try and I fail, I fall but I get back up.

Life has given me gifts I could only ever have imagined or thought of in a dream within a dream. Honored me with relationships I would never have thought myself worthy of. While darkness and misery exist to permeate the thoughts of the content, the choice is ours to accept or reject these notions and their effects. While I cannot outrun the shadows, I can stand in the sunlight at midday and hold my head high. As if I ran a marathon, tripped every 100 meters but crossed the finish line no matter the challenges.

Life teaches me to be humble. To accept who I am, to accept that I have the power to change that which is within my reach. Though never easy, the power is within me and the strength it takes to harness this energy comes in waves. I am my own best friend, my own worst enemy, my own conscience and the ruler of my desires. I have learnt that to live means to forget selfishness, flourish in forgiveness and bask in gratitude. Living requires putting myself ahead of others less than expected but knowing when the time is right for self reflection and solitude.

Life breathes beauty into every moment imaginable, from my colorful dreams to the melody that keeps me awake. The sound of the voices inside my head and the gifts of putting this inner voice into words. The ability to share my thoughts is the greatest gift and beauty of all. Life allows me to accept the help of others when offered and in return to give of myself where I’m needed. To put all of me into everything I do and to reap the rewards of my hard work and persistence.

Life has not yet shown me my ending, in fact I’m certain I’m still living in the prologue. My textbook never to be printed, the guidelines of living my own life etched in the fibers of my soul for only me to read and write… How do you feel about being the author you’ve always aspired to be but never thought you’d become? You’re already writing the novel, you just have know where to read it.

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I was a girl whose heart had been broken enough times to know that I was going to be a single parent for the rest of my life… Marriage was just not an option for me.

The idea of being married made me ill and anyone who knows me will know that before meeting my husband (Yes, now I am married), marriage was a swear word. I can’t say for sure what it was about a marriage or a wedding that had me running for the hills but the thought of searching for ‘wedded bliss’ was not a treasure hunt I was willing to participate in.

That said, I’ve had some pretty good examples of loving marriages in my life time. My great grand parents were married so long that they got an anniversary card from the queen. My grand parents have been married for over 50 years and we share an anniversary month, only we are way behind. I have known a few people who’ve been married for a very long time who are still in love, little old lovebirds. Sadly, a long marriage does not always mean a happy one. I’m certain that there are many couples in the world still married because of the stigma attached to divorce and the effect it has on people like me.

I was 12 years old when my own parents got divorced, very young and it affected me pretty badly (As any one who knew me then could vouch for). My parents were divorced and I was too young too understand why. I watched many couples separate and end marriages thereafter… Friends parents, family, just so many people ending the sham that was their lives. Little to inspire any hope in the sanctity of marriage.

I was engaged once before to my oldest daughters father. An engagement I think we thought was best because of the situation we were in. I was young and we had a daughter, isn’t that the natural progression of things? No. No, we learnt that it really isn’t. While we were engaged, we could never set a date and I was not happy. Instead of planning a wedding, I was planning an exit strategy. What did I know? I was 22 years old with a 1 year old and a lot to learn.

The next time the idea of marriage resurfaced was a past relationship where my ex had been engaged before we were together and I couldn’t possibly understand how he had been engaged to someone before me (After 6 months of dating her may I add) and yet wouldn’t propose to me. I’m not sure why I wanted the proposal knowing full well that I wasn’t going to marry him. In his defense, we dated for little under a year and he was 3 years my junior, less prepared for married life than I was.

Throughout this time I watched people marry and divorce, couples get engaged but never setting a wedding date or couples together so long that you’re wondering where the bling bling was or of it was ever coming. Too many people taking marriage lightly and getting married for the sake of having a wedding. I knew, I truly knew in my heart that it wasn’t for me and I was content to never get married… Never commit. (And no, I don’t have commitment issues, have you seen how many tattoos I have?).

I met my husband the most common way possible in this day and age. Facebook to be exact. Mutual friends had decided that we should befriend each other via social networking and get chatting that way. I did add him as a friend and lo and behold, he was still ‘married’. Immediately I wanted to stop chatting to him but he quickly came clean about going through a separation which was verified by the mutual friends… One thing led to another and we started dating. I became a stupid, gushing girl and truth be told for the first time in my life I fell in love.

We were only together for a very short time when I fell pregnant. Definitely unplanned and definitely out of the blue… Hubby moved in and within a few months we’d found a place of our own and started to build our life together. After what felt like forever (but was actually only a year and a bit after we met) he finally proposed over breakfast in October and we were married by the July of the following year. We had the most beautiful wedding despite him not wanting a second ‘big’ wedding and that was that. What I spent my whole life thinking I didn’t want, I craved with someone so badly and once it happened it was the best thing that could’ve happened to me!

I’m not a very religious person so the biblical idea of marriage is not something I really worry too much about. What I do think about is the vows I said and the promises that were made and how I try my human best to honor them, almost every day.

Marriage is tough… Oh em gee it can be tough. Up until you sign those papers or walk down that aisle, no matter how committed you are there will always be an invisible trap door waiting to be used. Don’t get me wrong, there are people content to never be married and live in partnership their entire lives and it works for them… Going so far as buying houses, having children and opening businesses all sans a marriage certificate. I always thought I’d be one of those peoples and yet here I am, truly knowing that there definitely is a mind shift change that happens subconsciously when you get married. In my personal experience, those I do’s sealed the deal.

What you have to understand when you get married is that you’re not only marrying a person. You are marrying a lifestyle, a personality, a family. You are marrying values, traditions and certainly some bad habits (and vice versa). You have to be prepared to take on baggage… Marriage comes with two people’s histories that excluded the other person merging to create a future involving each other. We haven’t yet been married for two years and those good times and bad times that our reverend spoke of in our service have been experienced ten fold. We have had breaking times and times near cracking but at the same time, we love each other and neither of us would be here if we didn’t.

I intend on being married for the rest of my life, until death do us part. To do that means that every now and again, I have to suck it up, put on big girl panties and move forward. That means learning to shut up sometimes and knowing when to nag at others. It means knowing when to agree, when to disagree and when to agree to disagree presenting a united front… It’s the unspoken rule book of marriage that will ensure we do have a healthy marriage for as long as we are willing to stick it out, even when sh1t get rough.

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I have friends getting married soon who I love dearly (a few couples actually… Wedding season much?) and so I thought, as the wise old wife I am, I’d share my thoughts for them to claim as their own one day… Copyright not required.

• Times will get tough. What you think is tough isn’t tough, that’s a walk in the park compared to the times you guys may or may not face. Guess what, if you can get past it together, you will survive.

• The wedding is the easy part :) And that’s what everyone says is so stressful.

• No matter what, you’re partners. To the world, you’re a unit. Your behavior does not only reflect who you are but reflects your partner as well. If one of you cracks, you both crack. Make sure your husband or wife has a safe place to crack when it happens, we are human.

• There will be people who test you, challenge you, disagree with you and even doubt your marriage. Honestly, who cares!!! The marriage is yours and your partners alone, what everyone else says is irrelevant.

• There is no time frame on love, life, marriage etc. If you marry after 1 month, 2 years or 10, it’s your choice.

• Always know where you stand with each other, that is something both of you should know before everyone else does. If people around you know more about your marriage than you do, something is wrong.

• Heated discussions and debates make for a healthy, intelligent marriage. If conversations stay interesting, so will your marriage.

• Learn how to be together and do nothing. Even better, learn how to do something for yourself while you are together. I can read a book, he can work on the computer, we are still in the same room together :)

• Then for goodness sake get some time apart. 24/7 was not in my vows and the time we spend apart is healthy. There is truth in absence makes the heart grow fonder.

• Never lose who you are for the sake of being someone you think your spouse wants you to be. I’m difficult, always have been and always will be but he married me this way and knows I will never change.

• Your husband or wife is going to come with bad habits. My OCD means half of what my hubby does annoys me but I choose my battles and sometimes have to overlook the ring in the bathtub or the half glasses of water all over the house… I’m certain when asking what my bad habits are, the list is pretty long.

• When asking my husband what his marriage advice would be, his answer is ‘Just say YES boss’.

• Compromise, compromise, compromise… The only thing you shouldn’t compromise on is yourself.

• If you do not love yourself you cannot expect to love someone else. If you’re not happy with yourself, ask your partner to help you and support you so that you can be happy with yourself. The more confident, sassy and sexy you feel, the more you’ll want to share with your partner.

• Remember you are human. We get angry, we say nasty things, we push buttons and we sometimes let our ugly streaks out… If your spouse doesn’t love that ugly side, who
will. The habit we need to get out of as a human race is saying things we don’t mean. It’s not a very nice trait to break someone down when that’s the person you should spend time building up.

I hope everyone gets to have that 50 year long marriage filled with love and happiness. If it’s not work, it’s not a marriage. When you stop working at it is when you’ve given up.

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On that note, happy husband’s day to my amazing husband. I drive you mad, we irritate the crap out of each other, we fight and we argue… But that’s only a small percentage of the time and actually, we have a pretty cool marriage and we make a pretty awesome couple!!!

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Music… My life.

Posted: January 5, 2014 in Personal, Writings
Tags: , , , ,

We all have a relationship with music, I know that I couldn’t live without it. So many moments in my life have been defined in song, the birth of my daughters, my wedding, break ups, make ups, first meets, friends, family… You name it, I will find a song for it. My life is a musical, I have all the words and am just waiting for someone to start writing the music. I wrote this tonight knowing that each and every person reading would relate… How often do we pinpoint a specific situation in the lyrics of a song and have felt like we’ve almost ‘lost’ that song to a bad memory of break ups past? Time to reclaim your music… It’s yours to keep!

***

Calm and soothing, it numbs the pain
Heavy and hard the drum and bass came
The volume higher to drown my cries
The words I hear, I relate, I sigh
Upbeat, melancholy, the symbols pound
Sad, lonely, the ballads sound
Each note, each chord, resounds clear
For each and every one, a memory here
Hum or sing, whistle the tune
Lay in bed, listen, stay till’ noon

Long after you’ve left, the reminders stay
From the stereo, each song they play
Your face in verse, your body in chorus
As it sings of how you adore us
Your heart in melody I often hear
All entwined, I shed a tear
Turn it off, it’s all too much
The B flat and C sharp, forever my crutch
Will I listen again without this ache?
Through the bridge will my heart break?

In truth it’s as if each word’s been written for me
Through the lyrics, my spirit, it longs to break free
For much too long you’ve been gone
Yet the memory of you lives on in song
And such is life, the relations with music
Forget it, regret it, move on or lose it
To every sound, a person attached
A lover, a friend, a person mismatched
What we have in common through all of this
The relationship with music to remember a kiss
To think of a smile, a thought, a wave
To remember my strength on that one day
The beautiful sounds, the key, the notes
The pitch, the tone that emotion invokes

You left, I stayed, I played that song
So long, farewell, and I’ve moved on
I still listen to that album, that specific track
Today I know I’ve gotten my music back

***

Shevy