If you’re new to Femme Flavor, chances are that you’ve been directed here for one of a few reasons. The short list:

  • You’re looking for a freelance writer to assist you with a resume, cover letter, editing, ghostwriting, marketing materials, product descriptions, or other various and sundry services. You’re in the right place – email me at kirsten@femmeflavor.com and let me know what kind of project you have in mind!
  • You are femme, queer, a dyke, butch, trans, genderqueer, or any number of identities that might have brought my page up in a search engine – welcome and do read on! You will find much woven into the posts below to satisfy your search for community, and I encourage you to comment or to contact me directly.
  • You searched something incredibly random like “the phrase my main man used in 2012″ and my page came up. (True story – took me a while to figure out what that search even meant, and how I came up as a hit, but I got there eventually.)

Whatever your reason, I am glad you’re here. I choose to leave comments open and unmoderated, preferring to manage spam myself in order that anyone who may want to engage or respond but who would like to remain anonymous may do so. My posts represent only my own thoughts and are not representative of any institution, entity, or community.

Okay, enough business – read on, reader, and welcome to my little corner of the web.

Random Baby Talk

So, even as I have witnessed lil wee bits come into the world as my siblings, chosen family nieces/nephews, and other close-enough-to-see-them-grow relationships, I haven’t felt the parental urge, biological clock, whatever else so many people recognize as their body/mind/heart telling them, “This. We want this.”

But I have experienced the awe of witnessing the first time a connection is made in that ever-expanding mind – you can see it in their eyes: the first time they make sense of the fact that the two parts of their body that are touching are both theirs, and touching. “Those [fingers] are mine, and they’re touching my [toes] WHUUUUUT!” their eyes seem to say. The first time they make a very specific sort of noise, something resembling a word, and you respond with the sort of noise they have heard next, when listening to the world around them. Language is coming into focus. It is all SO COOL.

Sometimes my own development is not unlike that of these wee bits I watch with such interest. Sometimes Therapy Thursday has Rich mocking me – in the gentlest, kindest of ways – asking, “Who is that who’s talking right now, and how old is she?” Because even though I truly feel like I am kicking this winter’s ass – I mean, shit, we’ve gotten 72 feet of snow and had maybe 13 hours of sun over the last two months and I have still managed to go to work every day, do laundry, and provide food for all four living creatures for whom I am responsible – I want to be belligerent and defiant about some stupid little thing he’s asking me to do. Why? Who knows. Maybe just because I feel like getting through winter is enough, and that I shouldn’t be expected to learn or grow until the snow has melted. But, that’s not how it works.

I’m learning and growing and putting things together now, in the same way that Lil G, and Birdie, and all the other wee ones are. They are different lessons, to be sure, but my goal is to grant myself permission to be as awed by them as these little ones are of their discoveries. I want to acknowledge the people and circumstances that have allowed me to stay present enough to grow rather than to stagnate or regress. To be thankful for the opportunities I have that allow me to choose between paths. And to acknowledge the gifts I’ve been given, that permit me to put all of these pieces together and be happy with the result.

Not too terribly long ago, I was that wee bit, learning the building blocks of being a person in this world.  Today is not so different.

You don’t know their story.

I have discussed this topic with people I love, and people whose names I don’t know; people who love me, and people who would vilify me; people who have supported me, and people I have supported. I share my story not to designate a right or wrong. I share my story to offer additional knowledge to those who trust me, but do not know this about me.

In July, 2010, I moved from San Francisco, CA, where I worked as an admin assistant in a prominent healthcare facility, made 53k a year, and lived with roommates (they paid 2/3, I paid 1/3, of the already stupid low rent for the Richmond), back to Portland, ME, where I would be making about 28k a year, and where the cost of both my rent and utilities would increase.

Between October, 2010, and Jan 15, 2011, a few things happened:

I was laid off from my full-time job, and had only a freelance position for income, and had to apply for unemployment.

My youngest brother, a teenager who pretty much did two things: eat, and use electricity — spent many weekends with me, because our mother was unwell and needed inpatient care.

I received a job offer for a temp position (which became a permanent position within two weeks thereafter).

On January 24, 2011, he went to his first day of school in my district after moving in with me, and I went to my first day of the new job.

On February 23, 2011, I became the sole legal guardian of one teenage brother. No child support, no any support from either of his parents. His social security income was still going to our mother as his rep payee, and was not forwarded to me. I wasn’t making much above minimum wage, and it was winter, so utilities were pretty steep in my apartment in the building that still had its original windows from 1864 when it was built. A few months later I learned that I would have MaineCare because I was legal guardian to a disabled child. That was really helpful as secondary insurance, as I still bought my insurance through work because I wanted to do all I could to take good care of myself and of Joshua, and if I had the option of insurance through my employer, I knew I was really privileged and would take advantage of that opportunity.

We received SNAP benefits for a while. It made all the difference, because I was determined that J would not eat all processed crap, microwaveable meals intended to fill a belly but not nurture a body — it was all he knew, so getting him to eat better foods was a struggle, but we’ve made some progress over the years. Then, we lost all of the benefits a couple of years ago when Maine realized that a glitch in the DHHS computer system had cost them a shit-ton of money, because a lot of folks were getting benefits they shouldn’t. I didn’t contest it because I had found work, had (finally) gotten my brother’s social security benefits switched from our mother to me, and, you know, we were doing okay. But let me tell you, when it was summer, and I didn’t make him take his Focalin, and he was home every day – his food consumption went from $500 a month to twice that, and I ended up taking out a loan at my credit union to help me get back on track with some Peters I had robbed to pay Paul.
Did I have an iPhone? Yep. Had I had that same phone since I lived in San Francisco and made 53k/year and didn’t have to feed a teenager? Yep. I didn’t want to lose the grandfathered unlimited data, because with a net-head like this boy, I figured it would come in handy someday, plus I had a 25% discount with work, which put me right about where most cell phone bills were.

Did my nails look professionally manicured? Yep. You know who did them, and still does? Me. I spent $80 once on a kit, a splurge with my tax return. The kit paid for itself in three months – not that I would have gone for professional manicures during those three months.

Did I look like a million bucks when I went out on the town? Hell yes. I bought my corsets at cost, having worked at Stormy Leather – That piece that’s $450 off the rack? $110 for me, and again, back when I had that money to blow. If you could get a two-tone leather underbust corset with steel boning for $65, you’d do it, too. My shoes had been purchased years before, and were well-maintained. My stockings are meticulously cared for so as not to require frequent replacement. My makeup skills have been honed over many years and I get paid to do this for other people now, so yes, it looks like I paid someone to do mine, but I did not. My hair – that is my one concession, and one I didn’t allow myself until just a few months ago. I don’t spend money on myself, but I wanted this, and I spend less on my fire engine red and violent violet locks than I did on the cigarettes I gave up on February 4 of this year.

Bottom line is, you don’t know where my dollars go. If you ask me, I’ll tell you. Do I make some poor decisions about what to spend money on? Of course I do! I was never taught differently, so every GOOD decision I make is a fucking triumph. But I do not say, “Ha ha, look at me getting away with this, look at me tricking all of these people, look at me taking advantage of all of these suckers paying into these programs.” If anything, I say, “Please, please let me be able to buy J’s yearbook, and to help him CosPlay Space Dandy for PortCon, and to afford college applications to the places he’s interested in.” I guarantee I criticize myself and my decisions more than you ever will – so maybe, you could offer some of your knowledge. Ask me, “Do you know about this great consignment shop that specializes in weird shit like he might want for cons?” Say, “I know of a cobbler who could probably fix that busted shoe buckle in a hot minute.” Give me a fucking hug and whisper, “I have the most amazing crock pot recipe and I swear J won’t even know there are green veggies in it.”

I am just one human being, doing my best. I have done a whole lot of fucking up. I have done a whole lot of less-than-the-best-possible. I have done a whole lot of just-shy-of-awesome.

But I have fucking DONE IT. I’m not just sitting back and letting other people do. I am doing. And if someone wants to say that they can do better than I am, please, let them. But you know what? Nobody’s gonna do what I do. Nobody else is going to be to J what I am – our mother couldn’t; our sister didn’t need to be and I didn’t want her to be; our brother wasn’t able; his father… fuck, may as well stop there. I chose this gig, and I am the best person for it. That goes for other positions I hold, in my family, among my friends, and in my community. I don’t do a damned one of them perfectly, but is it better than not at all? I’d like to think so.

I have been judged and criticized and everything else – I’m here to say that I want the folks who would judge me, to see all of what they need to know in order to do so. If they still find me guilty, I’d like to talk to them and find out why. Find out what I need to do to earn their respect. And then decide whether I would still respect myself if I did it.

Pro tips for being a friend to a person with depression

Trigger warning for suicide and depression-related thoughts – no physical details.

So, since I have neither the power of will nor the self-protection instincts in place to avoid the internet during a time when I know that it is going to wreck me, let’s see if I can do something to at least balance this shit out.


Robin Williams, a world-renowned actor who played roles that reside in so many hearts, killed himself yesterday.

Facts about Robin Williams:

 Do NOT include (at the time of this post, from what I have been able to find – please provide a credible source and I will amend) confirmed diagnoses of bipolar disorder, or clinical depression.

Facts from my life:

Depression is clinical, or situational, or both.

Depression is not easy to pin down.

Depression is not something you can sort-of have.


Everything is a lie when depression is involved. Including whether or not depression is involved. Do people commit suicide who are not clinically depressed? Probably, yes. A whole lot of people do a whole lot of things that harm or kill themselves, and I am not here to posthumously diagnose them.

If you have a friend who lives with depression, here are some things you can do.

Please note that I did not say things you SHOULD do, because we’re all different, and maybe something on this list would be a bad idea for someone I didn’t poll. If so, sorry, and please contact me so I can fix? Excellent.

1. Say to your friend, “I know [very little/only bookish things/ALL THE THINGS] about clinical depression, and we [have/have not] talked about it, but I want to reach out to you on this topic because I care about you.


3. Ask them, “How do you feel about all this stuff around Robin Williams?”

4. Tell anyone in your life, whether you think or know that depression is a part of their life, “I’m afraid/concerned/angry/feeling feelings I don’t understand, and I wondered if you can help me understand. Can we talk about this?

Because it’s important. I promise. Even if you, and your friend, are both super emotionally healthy, and all you’re doing is reassuring each other and checking in – checking in isn’t such an easy thing. So checking in with someone who’s in a good place is nice, right?? Yay, you’re feeling good, awesome! Next person! And maybe you check in with one or three or thirty friends, and they are all loving life, and feeling good, and then, you check in with one, and he falters a bit. Or doesn’t respond at all.

I could email someone I’ve been facebook friends with for five years and not get an answer and not think anything of it. Because, why would they respond? I haven’t made any previous effort, so maybe they think I want something from them, or it’s a mass/hoax/spam message.

But the fact is, direct contact saves lives. Like a hunter cautiously approaching the woodland animal whose home was invaded by a bullet or a trap, there’s good reason for mistrust. Similarly, a person who was previously perceived as a predator – a bully – can help undo the emotional damage that someone has felt since the first time s/he was your target.

I’m saving this post without sharing because I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing by anyone who may see themselves here. Most important was saying, I understand what he must have felt, and I both love and hate him for what he did, and I am going to use this to grow. And for any fucker who wants to give me shit for saying I hate him for what he did – talk to me first. Know how much I fucking love this man. Recognise that, as with a parent, I couldn’t hate him if I didn’t first love him. And he is, even now, helping me to grow.


I was reading an incredible and incredibly important story earlier, from Black Girl Dangerous, about identity, what we do not owe the people of this world, and what is owed to certain people by certain other people. I suggest you read it and I don’t care a whit if you don’t come back to the rest of my blog post.

This may be the most important thing you read in a very long time, so read this shit. Read it hard.

While I read this, it came into my head, “I’m not too this, I’m not too that,” which, inevitably, brought to mind the Divine Miss M’s, “I’m Beautiful, Dammit.”

Which you should also watch. Twice. Or three times – however long it takes for it to be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Or your life.

But there’s a flip side to this – another angle, another – equally acceptable – data point that this brings forward.

“I’m not ‘too’ anything. In general. I also accept that your preferences have parameters, and I may not fit within them. So, yeah, for you, I may be ‘too.’ And that is okay.”

In the piece linked above, Caleb states, “And while I make active attempts to interrogate, challenge and expand my own desire, I am not exempt from perpetuating these things either.” “These things” being [the preferential treatment of] “thin, masculine, cis, non-disabled male bodies.” And this is something that plagues me – because I definitely have a “type,” and I feel fucking BAD about it, you guys. I sometimes really freaking hate that my “type” is so very “normal.” And this brings me to a creepy segue about a quote from Dazed and Confused which I will NOT share now, but if someone calls me on it later, I might elaborate. Might.

So, here we go: I can accept and support and advocate for every single person’s right to be exactly who they are, and not be judged “too” this, or “not [this] enough.” I want to – it’s important to me for everyone to have the ability to claim an identity without it being policed by someone else.

But, when it comes to my intimate relationships, I do get to say, “too” this, “not enough” that. Not against some international barometer, not with any authority except what governs my self and my body and my wants. It will also almost never be my first explanation – unless you are being too aggressive or too handsy or too much of a dick. Those things do not take away from your identity, and so they do not feel as sacred to me (or if they are related to your identity, well, sorry, those are not okay things to be).

It isn’t a judgment of the person: it’s an awareness of how my body, my brain, and my environment work with an individual. Now, if I’d only ever slept with or dated slender, 6′ tall, CK-model androgynous beauties, then I might further question myself here. But I’d like to propose that, as long as we are actively engaged with the choices we make about who we’re attracted to, it’s okay if it is the same as the “norm.”

While I work toward a world in which the tall, slender, light-skinned body is not the only body we revere – those bodies are also beautiful and desirable and you, and I, don’t have to feel bad for finding them so.

Every body is beautiful, y’all.

“What do you do?”

In the course of engaging on a butch-femme discussion forum, as is my custom now and again, I came across an image that brought to mind a whole host of thoughts and feelings:


[Creator unknown: please tell me if it’s you, or you know who! I’d like to credit/link]

Instantly, I’m brought back to a moment in the backseat of a car, holding hands with my lover at the time. We’d just been apple-picking with friends of mine she’d recently met. My dear femme friend asked from the front passenger seat, “What do you do?” And my lover responded, hesitatingly and with a detectable note of shame in her voice, saying what her retail job was, trailing off at the end of the sentence. I added, “And she’s a landscape photographer: she has a piece that she’s sending up for Photo-a-GoGo, she sold the photograph she submitted last time, it was a beautiful shot.” And that got everyone talking about technical specs on cameras and framing and things that actually mattered.

Fast forward to that evening: E and I are in bed, talking about the day. “I felt lame, when M asked what I did – I didn’t want to answer.” And I say, knowing that it’s true, “But M didn’t want to know what you do for work – she knows that already — hell, she’s one of my best friends, she knows more about you than you want to think she does,” with a smile and a teasing nudge. “She wanted to know more about who you really are. That’s why I mentioned your photography. Because that’s who you really are.” I feel the tension slowly leave her body as we lay there in the half-light and I tell her that M has both a Job (working retail) and a Career (as a medical practitioner), and that my friends don’t hold her up to some high standard of prestige or income or power – what they want to know is that this person they love, me, is spending time with someone who knows what they love. Because having a passion – any passion, really – and sharing it with the world in some way, brings a light into your life that cannot be reproduced in any other way, and gives you something you want to share with those close to you.

It can manifest in so many forms: writing a piece of choral music; painting a mural; designing a custom gown; landscaping grounds; writing a piece of tricky code; finding the part of a machine that’s stopping up the works and fixing it; soothing a troubled soul; mending a broken bone; writing a bit of prose.

It isn’t what we do for a living. It’s what we do for ourselves, and each other. That’s what is important. I happen to be really freaking lucky, and I love what I do for a living — this is a very new thing to me, and I’m still getting used to the idea. And if someone asks me what I do, I could give them a stuffy “official” job description. But if I say, “I help libraries make their online catalogs sexy,” and they don’t understand all of what that means because they don’t know how to calculate its value, to turn it into an annual salary, or a marketable product – that makes me sad for them. Cuz let me tell you what – sexy libraries are worth more to me than all the stocks on Wall Street. All the oil in the Middle East. My sexy libraries can power more of this world than your job’s salary for a lifetime could ever hope to.

And so can that photograph. Or that song. Or that healed bone.

Let your passion be your person. Let it define you. Let it tell the world who you really are. What do you do for the world?

50 Fierce Femmes

Tonight, Jack Tar posted a list that has been many months in the making. Honoring Femme-identified people for their work and their visibility, their words and their presence in a world that has a hard time understanding who and what they are, here’s our 50 Fierce Femmes list.

I’m grateful for these women and for their contributions to their communities, and for the new connections I’ve made while working on this project.


Zena Sharman, Queer and trans* health advocate. Gender researcher. Writer. Photo by Vivienne McMaster.

Been a while…

…since I’ve thought about Gratitude. Since I’ve dedicated some time to it. Reading the Father’s Day Postsecrets, and contemplating whether Father’s Day or Mother’s Day is the shittier holiday for me, I thought, “Maybe something positive would be a good idea right now.” So, here we go.

I am grateful for:

1. Joshua. This kid, man. He’s… he’s everything, really.

2. Pride, Portland. Not only have I made some wonderful new friends, but I’ve become part of this amazing organization that represents so much of what matters to me.

3. Strength. My tattoo says it all – I am stronger than I know. Maybe I’ll never know just how strong I am, because I will never be broken – I will always stand tall and meet what tries to break me down.

4. My job. My amazing, wonderful, perfect job, and the people who make that job amazing, wonderful, and perfect. Every single day, I love it more.

5. My brain. I don’t give it enough credit. Even when I think, “Life would be easier if I didn’t see/think/know/feel/understand XYZ,” I know that I wouldn’t give up a speck of my brain’s awesomeness for anything. It isn’t about being smart – there are tons of people smarter than I am, and my smarts haven’t exactly delivered a golden path of ease thus far. It’s about my brain’s ability to learn. To change and grow and change again. To adapt. To process. To retain information. My ultimate goal is not intelligence, but wisdom. And I have my brain to thank for the fact that I can even make that my goal, let alone hope to achieve it at some level.

There is so much to be grateful for in this life. Time to get back to acknowledging that on a regular basis.

For love of books.

This probably belongs on FolioFiles rather than here, but as it’s more about me than the actual book(s) in question, I’m sticking with my gut.

Earlier this week (late last week? permalink only has month, not day), Slate published a piece in which the author opined that adults should feel embarrassed about reading literature written for children.

…Anyone who knows me doesn’t need to ask my reaction to THAT opinion, but I plastered it in plenty of places around the interwebs, and as a result, Book Riot’s Amanda Nelson now follows me on Twitter (and I just spent the last ten minutes replying to ALL OF THE THINGS she has said since I last looked. She’s my most recent friend-lust.)

At any rate, I’d like to plug a not-marketed-as-YA book (because that’s all YA is, right? Marketing. You know this? Good, moving on): Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

I’m listening to the audiobook, and during the first couple of chapters, it was really difficult for me to decide what I thought of the narration. The narrator, Kathleen Wilhoite, has a distinctive voice, with undertones that remind me of Paula Poundstone, and Lily Tomlin. Very expressive, but occasionally maybe a bit too shrill, or giving a character a full head of steam too early in a diatribe. However, in some ways she is so very spot on that I continue to listen and feel as though this is still the best format for this epistolary novel.

14 year old Bee is perhaps the best-voiced character, and while she is the narrator, she is not the protagonist – or is she? Is this book YA? Or is it literary fiction? Or is it chick lit?

Does it matter?

What matters to me is that, for the first time since…. Okay, The Fault in Our Stars, but that’s practically cheating – maybe The Book Thief? a book has made me cry, sob so hard that I had to stop listening/reading before I could continue.

“I felt so alone in this world… and so, loved, at the same time.”

This line seems so trite taken out of context. But in context, when Bee says it, when her whole world is changing just, as she thinks of it — when you see an egg in its shell, it’s an egg, right? And when you see what’s inside that shell, heated up in a pan and flipped onto a plate next to two strips of bacon and homefries, it’s an egg, right? but, those eggs are so, SO not the same. That’s what comes to mind during this inner monologue of Bee’s.

There is something about being fourteen and a half, and realizing that everything is crumbling around you, and there’s not a thing you can do to stop it.

I don’t care who this book was written “for,” or even who it was marketed to. I don’t remember whether I first marked it as “to read” because it was on the LibraryThing Hot Books, or because someone told me I should read it.

All I know now is that, I am the target audience for this book. Bee’s story is, in many ways, my story – what my story might have looked like under slightly – but not significantly – different circumstances. And I don’t know if I’m ready to find out what she does next. I know what I did. And I like Bee, I admire her spunk and devil-may-care attitude and independent spirit. But that makes us so different. So moving forward in this book, it’s almost like… I have to prepare myself to be chastised. To be shown what could have happened. What could have led me, and maybe even my siblings, maybe even my mother – to a better place than each of us are now. And to listen/read on, I have to be ready for that.

That’s kind of a big deal.

There are books out there that elicit the exact same feelings in early teens, adolescents, and yes, young adults. They are marketed to a certain age range, but by whom? I don’t know the answer to this, but I’d be very curious to know. What’s the demographics breakdown of the people who market new books to booksellers? How many have 4 year degrees? How many from private universities? How many are working within a 50 mile radius of where they grew up? And maybe we’re not talking about the actual peddlers of books – maybe it’s the editors? the marketing team? the—- who decides these things, anyway? Who decided that this book was NOT intended for a YA audience, cuz I don’t see it tagged as such, or mentioned on the YA internet circuit…

Anyway. the bottom line is, this book hit a nerve I didn’t even know was exposed. And for that, I thank the author, and the narrator. Bee brought it home.


Just to write.

It feels like when some people encounter certain things that are essentially “me,” they feel the need to water me down, dilute me, stretch this piece of me so thin as to be transparent, made invisible, made less. Less powerful, less strong, less able to be and be seen and be important. I find myself in these conversations, with strangers and with lovers, with family and with friends, with colleagues and with collaborators, and always the same – why, why does it have to be, why can’t you be, why don’t you see, what does that even mean?

Where are the people who don’t have to ask?

Who don’t even think to?

And if not the questions, then the statements — oh no, you will. But you should. You’ll see.


Just… stop.

Take your directives off of me. Keep your questions to yourself.

If you really want to know about me, let me fill your senses, and make you uncomfortable, and bring you to a place where you are without words — and just be. Sit with it, with me in all my me-ness. Once you allow this, once you stop taking the goddamn brownies out of the oven every five minutes to see if they’re done yet — you will understand MY words. You will see me, fiercely me, 100% pure me, genuine, natural, not-from-concentrate me — and then you will not have any more questions except, may I, and, would you please. You won’t try to tell me anything about myself, because you realize that you have a lot to learn. And you will want to learn it.

And I will teach you. But, don’t worry about the questions. I promise, I will answer them all in good time.

Shut up and be grateful.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and I want to stop being an employee, a parent, a taxpayer, a friend, a student, a support, a petowner, an advocate, an educator… Then, I realize there’s not much left to me when you take all of that away. And rather than feeling resentful, I feel humbled – damned near shamed.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be so much to so many. May I remember that feeling, and be thankful, every time I have the opportunity to decide whether I am responsible for, or responsible to. I have this knowledge, the ability to discern the difference between the two, because at least one someone made that decision about me,  as the recipient of their support and advocacy and all those things… and found me worthy of the emotional investment. (My therapist doesn’t count, because I pay him. But I pretend he would totally be my friend if I weren’t his client.)

Don’t let me not give back. Even when the sun is a teasing vixen and the temperatures could quite possibly indicate the next ice age. You can absolutely support my efforts to ditch this frozen tundra and find more temperate climes, but… Remind me that I’m here, now, for a reason, and to STFU about snow because I have some kickass boots and can make the teen carry all the groceries, and even shovel if there’s no time crunch. Even when I should absolutely be checking in daily because I know you are going through a Tough Time and I think about you every day but don’t say so. Even when the extent of my friendship is responding to your text that says, “Oh, Kirsten, hahaha” with an “Oy.” Even when I make even less sense than that, and you know that it is because of the things that make me feel like the first paragraph of this blog entry… Don’t let me get away with not giving back. Or paying forward, in a way that honors your gifts to me.

Because every time someone reads this blog, it is a gift to me. And I don’t want just the sweet and loving gifts of praise and support. Don’t get me wrong: those feel amazing and are sometimes EXACTLY what I need. But sometimes, I need someone to see what else I really need, and to call me to task. I don’t get to take a break – but I don’t need one. I just need to accept the gifts you all offer, and recognize the way they supplement what I feel are my weaknesses. Because in the moment of weakness that began this post, I found something so big. So powerful. So intrinsic to who I am. And for that, I thank you.