A journey to San Francisco to become no less than Me. (BLOG REBOOT: Former site of Hairy Legs.)

Posts tagged ‘pronouns’

WAR!

So it’s definitely been far too long since I’ve been posting regularly.  I have no excuses.  Aliens.  Aliens, maybe.  Just insert your favorite alien abduction scenario, it’ll come to you.

I felt like making note that my existence has actually caused a minor nuclear war in the interpersonal lives of some people who are technically more friends-of-friends than anything.  This fact has prevented the whole ordeal from impacting me any more strongly than a minor passing amusement.

See, my roomie’s best friend has a hyper-christian mom (that’s how these tales of war always start, I’m finding by studying my history, with some hyper-christian figure of authority).  She was spending a lot of time at my apartment to get away from these nutcases, and was considering our house a free and innocent haven.

Unfortunately, deception had to be thrown in the mix to maintain the facade of innocence.  She decided (without asking me first of course) to tell her mom that I was a girl so that she wouldn’t think I was having sex with her.  (Not sure how that really helped the situation, as I could have been a raving dyke and I don’t think my lack of a penis would have stopped me, maybe it just would have been my decency and respect for her human right to demand my refraining from rape, I don’t know, something like that.  Point is, apparently it worked.   Christian moms have mysterious minds.)

At this point in the story, I was still confused as to why my genitals were even relevant to someone who I’d never met and never intended to meet, and she probably could have gotten a similar effect by pretending I didn’t exist at all and I would have been a bit more comfortable with that.  But at this point I just continued tapping my fingers together bemusedly and said, “Go on….”  (Hopefully this was more disarming than disconcerting, but one can never tell.  Maybe I should study my human reactions more closely, but the pleasing sound of her voice getting a lot more strained and the little beads of sweat appearing on her forehead tells me I was on the right track and she was relaxing into a nice calm afternoon.)

So, apparently one afternoon recently while my roomie was visiting their family, this friend-of-a-friend had to go take a shower, and my roomie was left on the porch, cornered by terrifying zealot-mom who started interrogating her about this mysterious “Tommy” person in the house.  Here’s where the romantic-comedy-esque hilarious miscommunication ensues, as friend-of-a-friend had not informed Roomie that she was insisting that I was a girl, and my Roomie had been trained rigorously to insist that I was male.  So upon interrogation she began declaring that I was her brother, and then that no really, I was a dude, and why would you think something like that you’ve never even met him, and why do you keep calling your daughter a dirty heathen liar, and oh shit something’s gone horribly wrong here, hasn’t it?

So long story short, my very existence as a gender-ambiguous being has caused a major rift in an already shaky mother-daughter relationship and she’s on the verge of being kicked out for “lying” about me (I’m actually kind of happy that her mom was convinced that I was a dude and that she was boning me and just telling her mom that I was a chick to get away with it, all “Twelfth Night” and shit).  It’s kind of true, minus the screwing part.  I just don’t know how to support her here- one way or another I wouldn’t just be boning her because she’s a female in my house and I’m a male, end of story.  But as far as she sees it, she DIDN’T lie to her mom.  And that sucks.  I don’t know why I can’t be trusted on the sole merit of my honor, and I have to have my vagina flashed around the neighborhood just to be “safe”.  Funny world we live in.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’m just going to dance into their living room wearing flaming horns and a strap-on dildo and howl and cavort like a devil-child just to give her mom a heart attack, because there’s no honest explanation of this that will save my image in her eyes.  I really don’t care what she thinks of me; she’s crazy by definition.  Mainly I’m just amused that I got to shatter a christian family by mere merit of my existence and I didn’t even have to lift a finger.  God bless America.

Tiny blurb.

I only have a couple minutes for it, I just wanted to let the world know I’m still alive.

Since I’ve moved out (GO ME!) in early December, I haven’t had any kind of internet connectivity.  We’ve barely been able to afford the rent bills gas food etc., and the only reason I’m in town at a hot spot today is because I need to get my turn signal fixed.  So here I am.

I have to say I’m kind of frustrated with where I’m at in my life.  I’m excited to finally be in control of my destiny and to finally be the adult who is looking after me.  I’m happy to be living in a place where I don’t have to deal with hearing my old name and I don’t have to be okay with my own household misgendering me all the time.  And I really am happy to be successful, self-sustaining, and have a roof over my head that I don’t have sell-out to be under.  All of these things are more than a lot of people can say, and I’m grateful.  But at the same time-

I have a decent chunk of medical bills hanging over my head, and I don’t want to add to them until I’ve got them under control.  And I’ve barely had enough money to get by so far, so until I have money, I can’t move forward with transition.

And yet there are people out there with less than what I have, moving forward, getting on with their lives, not stuck in a perpetual state of waiting on their puberty.  They deal with the debt because it’s more important to be happy than to be solvent.  Am I just being too responsible for my own good?  When I look at my situation, I feel like I might be judged by other people for not “wanting it badly enough” to compromise on my principles.  Could I be doing more right now to get to where I need to be?  Maybe.  I’ve always been patient, but I feel like the longer I wait, the more of my life is going to pass by without me.  I don’t know what’s more important- or right- for me.

I hate putting it on the back burner.  It keeps coming like this- “I’ll start T after I pay my medical bills.  And I’ll pay my medical bills after I get my car fixed.  And I’ll blank after I blank…”  Why can’t it be first for once?  It’s my life now, I’m in a place where it’s safe for me to transition, so why can’t I afford it?

Screw the bills.  After I pay these ones, I’ll just be adding more on top of a clean slate.  Why does it matter when they get paid?  I can’t keep doing this to myself.

BUSYBUSYBUSYBUSYBUSY

If you’d like me to describe my life over the last few months, here it is.

1) Work.

2) Sleep.

Essentially, that’s it.  I’ve actually been so drained after work that I’ve been coming home and crashing sometimes as early as 6 in the evening.  That said, I have been waking up at ungodly hours and getting online because I can’t fall back asleep, so really I guess I don’t have any excuse for not blogging other than I’m pretty damn lazy at 4 in the morning.

But enough of that.  I have managed a couple of life updates despite my job sucking my life’s blood from me.

– For one, my friends and I have finally been getting our finances together enough to be moving out.  We’re looking at being able to go by this weekend, if all our reference checks could return their damn calls.  So, for all intents and purposes, this may be the last blog I type from my parent’s home.

– My gender therapist basically recommended me to move on to the next step and pursue a doctor who would prescribe me testosterone.  That process has been ongoing and I have yet to hear back from her, even though I sent in the paperwork weeks ago and they said they’d get back within 4 business days on the outside.  I have to give them a call.

So, that’s where I am in a nutshell.  I can’t think of much else to update.  I pass probably 30 percent of the time consistently with people who didn’t previously know me, and closer to 70 percent of the time with people who haven’t heard me talk yet.  My voice pretty much breaks any preconceptions, and it makes phone communications pretty much suck the life out of me.  If no other reason I’d like to get on T for that.

OH!  I had my first child misgendering experience the other day.  I hear of it happening all the time to other transpeople, but it seemed so cliche to happen to me.  A client with a little boy came in for an intake the other day, and I had them follow me back to the conference room.  From behind me, I heard the little voice ring out-

“Mommy, is that a boy or a girl?”

I almost cracked up right then and there.  And then she answered- “That’s a girl, honey.”  I didn’t even know how to respond- I just pretended I didn’t hear them.  How do you respond to that?  “Actually, ma’am, I think your boy was closer to the truth than you…”  How do you even humiliate someone like that, cause a scene, etc.-

And I feel ashamed for not standing up for myself.  I feel like I’m demanding so much of the people who have to deal with me every day, but I’m letting other people slide, and it’s not fair to this person or that person-

It’s all just stupid.  Why can’t people be okay with the fact that sometimes, the gender drama just isn’t worth it to me and I don’t give a shit what people call me, as long as it doesn’t become some stupid drawn out soap opera?

Tomorrow is the Big Day.

When I woke up this morning, this was the first thing on my mind.

(Well, technically, the first thing on my mind was “Oh my god, it’s Sunday and I can sleep in as long as I want!!! …oh wait.  That was a dream.  It’s Wednesday.”)

Fuckin’ Wednesday.

But anyway, as soon as I remembered where/who/when I was, the first thing on my mind was this.

“Oh wow.  Up until tomorrow afternoon at 2:00, all of this will have been a fantasy, wishful thinking.  Nothing is set in stone yet.  But after tomorrow, I’m in for the long haul.”

Yes.  My insurance FINALLY kicked in some time earlier this month, and tomorrow, I have my first official appointment with my gender therapist.

I’m actually fucking terrified.

This is the day I’ve been waiting on, uninsured, for two years, technically my whole life.  But there’s really nothing in your life before that moment that can prepare you for walking in to the one person who has the power to help you, claiming that you were born into the wrong body, and begging them to fix it.  There’s no precursor to it.  It all comes down to that moment- is my case strong enough, or not?  Are they going to try to dig up things from my medical past to disprove my psychological stability?  Is this going to be one of those therapists who thinks that if I don’t cookie-cutter fit the binary, then I’m not trans enough?  What if she thinks that if I’m not attracted to girls, then I can’t be trans?  We all know these things aren’t true, but what if that course of the training hasn’t made it out to my neck of the woods yet?

And even after all that, once I make my case and she says I need to get on hormones ASAP… now I’m medically committed to something that has thus far been an intangible.  Sure, I’ve been binding my breasts for two years, I’ve cut my hair, thrown away all my old female clothing, even tried to grow facial hair by my own means (not a very good idea.)  But nothing I’ve done has been permanent yet.  I’ve rearranged my social and professional life, but the pronouns aren’t sticking with everyone yet.  In all technicality, if I decided to drop it all right here right now and just let it go and live my life as female henceforth, none would be the wiser.

Transition is ACTUALLY REALLY SCARY.

I was thinking all of this in the bathroom, and then I glanced at the mirror and I realized something.

There’s something that definitely scares me more than committing to live my life as a male, and that’s committing to life my life as a female.  The idea of that doesn’t give me a couple jitters, some butterflies in my stomach, or a little case of commitment anxiety cold-feet.  It makes me want to crawl out of my skin, rip babies heads off, projectile vomit, and start speaking in Latin while my head spins.

Let’s face it, no matter what I’m committing to, I do have a fear of commitment.  It’s just my nature.  The job I’m in right now is possibly the best thing that could happen to me, ever, and my first instinct is to abandon ranks because it’s a year commitment through Americorps.  I’m in perpetual fight-or-flight mode just because committing to it makes me feel claustrophobic.

But what I’m doing right now is finding my way out of something that I had been committed to, without my permission, since the day I was born.  I’m breaking free of that, and if I damn well don’t feel like fitting the binary once I AM growing facial hair, well then, there are ways out of that too.

So, screw cold feet.  I’m moving forward, because dammit, if 21 years of gender issues don’t speak to my need for this, then I don’t know what will.

Still in the closet?

I wanted to crosspost this over from a reply I made to a thread over at TQ Nation this morning.  It wound up running way longer than I intended, and it seemed like it’d be a shame and a waste of time if I didn’t record it in my blog.  I feel like this post pretty much sums up how I feel towards my gender these days, even though it’s not the update on my life stuff that I’ve been promising.  I’m pretty sure I’ll get to that this weekend.

In the mean time, sexy crossdressing goodness.  😉

*****

When people ask me if I’m a boy or a girl, I answer, “Yes. I am certainly one or the other.”

If you want the long answer, here it is. I know in my heart of hearts that I was meant to be a dude- to have a male body, a male voice, and male hormones interacting with my male brainwaves (male patterns of thinking + female hormones = not the most stable of situations, psychologically.) But if you were to ask me what KIND of guy I am, that’s where it gets confusing, because I know that if I had been born with all the right fixtures, I would crossdress a lot of the time.

I like the feel of a female presentation interacting on top of a male base. I like theatrics and big musical numbers and drag- I like the feel of foundation smoothed over the closest possible shave, just barely concealing the stubble waiting to apring up underneath; I like the sound of a velvety female voice coming out of male vocal chords. But when there’s not a physical male base beneath these things, it all just feels pointless. I don’t know if this makes me a horrible person, but there’s nothing about female presentation that feels attractive (at least, on me) if it “passes”, if it doesn’t have at least some physical maleness lurking around underneath. In any case that I feel people would look at me and say “that’s a chick” and not “that’s a gay man in a dress”, I would rather just present as male.

So, I have been. I’ve been presenting as male for one and a half years, 24/7. I’ve been trying to get on testosterone, waiting for my voice to drop and my stubble to start coming in. I’ve been a closeted crossdresser for all this time. Where some people in my situation (still stuck, living with my family) would be more inclined to hide their transgenderism, I proudly display my Axe body spray, my Old Spice deodorant, my suits and ties and all the trappings of maleness that visually root my surroundings to my identity and say “A Man lives here.” And in the background, I stuff away all the old flowy scarves and lace gowns and mom’s old jewelry and makeup and I hide it away in my closet and I whisper to myself, “Some day.” I become mortified at the thought of my dad stumbling across it all. It’s another gender paradox- my dad would be thrilled to find out that I still entertain thoughts of dressing as a girl. I know it pains him to see my hair cut short every couple months and see me go to formal functions in that old suit I stole from him and not that Easter dress he got for me the last time before he gave up on it. I beg to go fishing with him, follow him to the garage to get him to let me help work on the car, try to keep up when he’s talking sports, knowing all the while that each little thing like this might be helping to build my “male cred” with him, but at the same time wanting nothing more than to be on that stage in the spotlight, dripping with jewels and lipsynching “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

I know it would destroy my chances of ever being seen as his son- even little things, like expressing pain when I get a papercut, earn reactions like “A boy wouldn’t act like that.” For him, my every action is now filtered through whether or not it makes me a man. I know if his best friend Monty got a papercut, my Dad go “Ow man, that sucks.” Is it just because he can grow a beard, Dad? Is this where the difference between commiseration and discrimination lies? The ability to cultivate facial hair?

It goes deeper, it gets more complicated. I hide my relationships from him. I know that if he sees that the guy who comes over all the time is not only my “best friend”, but also my lover, he’ll have that same reaction that everyone else has. “If you’re dating guys, then isn’t it just easier to be a girl?” The answer is no, because the guys that I like to date don’t go OUT with girls. It’s the cross any gay son has to carry, if maybe there’s a little more at stake for me (because no matter what most born-male people do, their parents still probably use male pronouns- to some people’s disadvantage!), but all in all still the same- the status of your masculinity is threatened if your dad finds out you bone other guys. I don’t feel alone on this one.

It sucks that so many people still link preference to gender identity, but such is life and we all have to deal with the ugly truths. But since so many people still judge based on the kind of tail you chase, and how people in the real world judge me factors into how I feel about myself and interact with others, I might as well go into that too.

Of course, “gay” is also hard to define with me. I’ve dated girls before, although none of them were lesbians- if anything, they were bi (which is cool with me, because if you’re not bi, you’re either going to have a problem with my body or my mind, and not minding either one is always a bonus.) You have to be a really special kind of girl to catch my eye, though- it’s hard to pick the pattern out of all the girls I’ve been attracted to, but I guess if I had to say, they weren’t gender binary, either. They were none of them very butch, but never really feminine- I guess you could say, they were female bodied HUMANS. The packaging was never what drew me in, but their personality.

My preference for guys, on the other hand, is very specific. They have to be willing to bottom, they have to be comfortable with their queerness to the point that they can acknowledge they are dating a guy with a cunt, and they have to have at least a little passion for crossdressing, of course. When it comes down to it, if we were to get married and I wore a tux, if he didn’t want to wear a wedding gown, then he doesn’t make the cut. It’s a weird standard by which to measure, I know, but there’s something about a guy in a wedding dress that just tickles me up and down and all over.

Of course, everything else in between is on a case by case basis. I have a special place in my heart for the transgendered, NOT because of my crossdressing fetish (because if you’re wearing what matches up with your internal gender identity, then it’s not crossdressing to me) but because we fight a long hard battle every one of us, and the idea of having a mate who can relate to that on something more than an abstract level appeals to me.

I guess I’ve been rambling, but in summation, I’m simply this:

1) A fabulous guy with a crossdressing fetish
2) who is pretty much gay but not definitively
3) and also happens to have a cunt.

[Note the order- 1) me, 2) what I like, 3) physical. The physical bits come last out of that order, always.]

In a word?

Queer.

1 Year Manniversary!

So, it was this day last year that I made the decision to start living full time as male.  I’ve pulled this from the first post on my blog:

“This is Day 1.  Ground zero.
Today’s the official start of my transitioning process.
Some day, I won’t be the only person who sees me as a man.  Some day the whole goddamn world will without a second guess.  And it’s only a matter of time.
Joaquin Jack, the rootin’-est tootin’-est outlaw in the Wild West.”

A lot of things have changed since that day.  The most recent change?  I’m now officially a working stiff.  Yep, that volunteer gig I’ve been talking about since April?  They finally offered me a full time, paid job with benefits.  My medical insurance starts in September, and I can start the process of medical transition this year.

Social transition started a long time ago.  Most people I know call me Tommy, even in the workplace.  Most of those people call me by male pronouns, except for family and people in the workplace.  I don’t know how I’m going to navigate that when I start looking and sounding more male, but I have a very cool and understanding supervisor who is used to dealing with people in unusual personal situations, so I’d be surprised if she treats me unfairly.

Funnily enough, my attitude towards pronouns has gotten a lot more lax lately, mainly because I’m just so tired of seeing people struggle with it.  I’ve even had a few people who have been trying their damnedest break down and cry over it, even when I wasn’t pressing the issue.  I can tell with these people, they genuinely want to say the right things around me and it really gets to them when they don’t, and it’s gotten to the point where I frankly don’t give a shit anymore.  I mean, it’s awesome when I get sirred in public, but there’s nothing I can do right now about the fact that I look, sound and smell female, and asking people to do mental acrobatics around it is a little unreasonable until I’ve been on T for a while.

That’s not to say that I let people walk all over me, though.  Recently a few friends and I were hanging out, and I was telling this story from back when I was still doing the whole “chick” thing, and one of my brodudes said, “Hey, FYI, you’re still a chick.”

I punched him in the face.

It was kind of awesome.  His head slammed the wall behind him and he came up dizzy and checking if all his teeth were there.

He got the picture.  We were cool from then on.

***

What else has changed since last year?  Hm…
– My car works again, feels good to have independence.
– I’ve finally gotten back into the habit of showering and brushing my teeth every day- I care about my body now that it might actually belong to me one day.
– I’ve been eating less junk food and soda and crap and staying active, and I’ve gained some muscle and lost 23 pounds worth of spare fat.
– I’m on my way to quitting smoking (which I’ve never really mentioned on here because I don’t want to make any of my  former smoker transbros start jonesing, but I feel it’s worth bringing up at least on my manniversary.)
– I finally got together the balls to cut my hair last year, feels awesome not to have an extra blanket of heat coating my neck and back in the summer.
– I’ve become an expert at using an STP at public urinals, and have broken the fear of using the men’s room.
– I’ve come out to my dad and we even talk about it at lengths these days, and he (sort of) accepts me as his son, off and on.  It’s all I can ask for at this point.
– Have been wearing a real binder, not an improvised one that could distort my ribs, for probably about 9 months now.  Of course I’ve been binding off and on for a long time, and every single day for a year now, but using one regularly that doesn’t hurt my back has done wonders for my self-esteem and general health.
– Since having them compressed every day, I’ve lost at least a cup size.  I used to be a full C, and now I’m kind of a saggy B.  Not as attractive with my shirt off, but much easier to bind, and sometimes I can even wear a baggy shirt without being self-conscious.
– I’ve pumped off and on all year, and let’s just say my microcock is a lot easier to see these days.
– A lot of other smaller things that I don’t feel like recounting.

The only negative thing is that I’ve become a lot less comfortable with sex these days.  Since being with someone who doesn’t neccessarily find my trans situation attractive and kinda made me feel like shit about myself in several ways, and becoming more and more wary that any guy I’m with will want to do me in the manhole, I’ve lost my sex drive almost entirely.  This has led to even more anxiety about it, since, as a general rule, “males have a bigger sex drive”, and since last year, mine has only shrunk.  Of course, it’s all a performance anxiety and self-consciousness issue.  But it’s kind of positive that I’m less desparately, widly depressed about how small my dick is and more generally just not interested in sex right now.  I’m sure when I find the right person, all that anxiety about my genitals will go away, and having my sex drive boosted by T won’t be as soul-crushing.

Anyway, my manniversary celebration turned out to be a lot less exciting than I originally planned, but then, I originally planned to be taking my first T shot right about now.  I’ve basically only had my best friend over today and we’ve surfed the internet all day and listened to music.  That’s it. It just seemed superfluous to make a big deal out of “Hey, I decided something this day last year!”  I’ll probably go buy a cake or something when I actually get on T.

***

I think the biggest point of all this is, I held my own Real Life Test, just to know for sure, for my own purposes, that this was what I wanted to do, that not only could I handle the societal pressures of being male, but the problems that come with living as one gender when the world percieves you as another.

It went far better than expected.

I’ve been living with genuine peace of mind in myself for a year, despite the storm raging all around.  I’ve come to know who I really am, and that person wasn’t as cool as I originally thought he would be, but I’ve settled with being a big dork, and I’m happy with that.  I haven’t been experiencing any delusions or hallucinations, the dissociation has ceased, my emotional turmoil has settled considerably, and since having a cool and sane head, I can see that a lot of the world wasn’t as big and scary and dramatic and bad as I thought it was.  I’ve developed a sense of responsibility to myself and others now that I have a cemented sense of identity and I don’t feel like a visitor to this world operating an expendable avatar.  I’m comfortable with myself and my friends tell me that I seem happier.  There’s no more being constantly on edge for fear that my own mind will revolt and I’ll have to account for yet another day lost to someone I don’t know.  I’ve gotten used to what it’s like to be the only person in here, and it’s surprisingly simple, even if at first it was a little claustrophobic.  I feel much more real, I feel connected to the consequences of my actions, I feel in control.  I feel… normal.

That was something I never expected.

Day Eight: Enter the rat race.

As you may or may not know, I live vicariously through my Youtube subscriptions.  One of them recently posted a video about having on the job harassment issues, etc.

As much as that sucks for him, it’s actually helped me to form a game plan for when I start to really go through transition.  This is from my response to the video:

“…I actually have a plan to get a shitty little job of some sort, food service or something, to get me through during transition, and then, as soon as I’m passable, I’m going to look for another job and drop the first one like a hot potato.  I don’t want to get into something I’ll enjoy doing if it means I’ll have to leave it as soon as I transition.”

I mean, it’s a pretty sweet idea, and it pretty much follows what I was planning to do career-wise anyway- take whatever crappy little job I can get, and then build from there.  I’ve heard it said many a time that it’s much easier to GET a job when you HAVE a job, so if anything, all my strategy really does is stretch out the time I spend in my shitjob a little longer, probably.

I already work a volunteer job, so I have a taste of what it’s like to be unpassable and not out in the workplace- it SUCKS.  I haven’t brought it up because simply enough, it would just complicate things unduly in a workplace that it’s really not worth it for.  I’m working at the local food bank, which basically translates to working with uber conservative, upstanding, elderly white ladies who would probably have a heart attack if they knew they were working with a transsexual.

It’s kinda funny, actually.

They all really do love me to death there, because I’ve shown initiative, dedication, good people skills and phone skills, and invaluable computer experience (really, they don’t much know what they’re doing with the computers they have, so any help makes me look like a wizard.)  And I hate to put a cynical slant on things, but one of my top motivations for working there isn’t so much helping the community as racking up work experience, a good list of references and connections to the working world.  I feel like all my time there would be wasted if I alienated them by demanding their acceptance in this area, too.  So, basically, it’s turned into a big game of kiss-ass, which kind of gives me a sick feeling in my stomach.  But hey, you do what you can to get ahead, and as long as you’re not hurting anyone in the process, there’s really nothing wrong with it, right?

Anyway, that’s all a microcosm of what I’m probably going to be going through at McDonalds or whatever patty flipping joint I can manage to work at- except with less money, less hours and less gender problems.  Once I get on T, I expect the shit’s really gonna hit the fan.  I’m going to have to deal with people questioning my binding (which generally becomes more evident the longer you spend time with a certain group), my voice drop and my facial hair growth (which, if my genetics have any say about it, will be prolific, believe you me.)  I plan on deflecting as much as possible, and sad to say, I’m probably not going to do much sticking up for myself if I’m starting a job looking like this and wind up looking like my dad.  They’re going to have every right to be curious, and frankly, I can’t expect them to switch pronouns to accommodate me unless I wind up working with a real bang-up, intellectual, forward-thinking group of fast-food workers.  Not exactly the descriptors that come to mind, right?

These will be the crappiest six months to a year of my life, and it’s going to be worth it.

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