All is well

When we make others the source of our problems we wash our hands of responsibility and accountability.  There will be times in life when people do undesirable things to us, or there is an adverse “cause and effect” result of another’s actions.  In the case of the latter we have the opportunity to respond with victory or as a victim.  

I have had to overcome my share of setbacks and disappointments.  Life has not always been fair in certain situations that I have been involved in. I never deliberately miss the lesson accompanying such circumstances.  I may not have always gotten what I wanted, yet I have always gotten what I needed.  My needs will always be met.  Every need has always been supplied before I was even aware of it.  Nothing has changed.  

All is well.  

A Muted Existence…Never

Maybe I am an empath and never realized or understood it until now.  I will not live a muted life. I feel saddened by those who walk around numb; immune, unphased and unbothered by the suffering of others. Just because an issue doesn’t affect or impact you personally doesn’t green light your silence. Or worst ambivalence. 

I celebrate the millions of women marching today in protest of an administration that dishonors and disavows who we are collectively. The fact  that there are “females” around this President does not conceal or correct the misogynistic mindset that now occupies the White House. The People’s House.  I will not live my life muted.  

It is a mistake to misinterpret the civil disobedience and discontent expressed today as “hurt feelings” over a lossed election. This here is bigger than Hillary Clinton. This is bigger than politics. What we are challenging and fighting against are the early stages of the attempted reversal of civil and equal rights.  This is why other free nations are standing in solidarity with us because like us, they know our history…as well as their own.  Others bare witness to racial and social injustice that has stained the very fabric of this great democracy.  And they think it is as egregious as we do.  This is not a protest against Republicans and so called conservatives; this is a confrontation with regard to the ideals, fear-based, biased agendas and misguided beliefs of some identifying with the Republican Party.

We have elected Republican Presidents since we became a free nation.  People aren’t wasting their time, risking jail, their own comfort and safety merely over a Republican president.  I know many of the women personally who are walking today and let me clear up any misconceptions…all of them have jobs; have college degrees (some have Master’s Degrees); they own their own businesses and despite what you may have heard, they voted in November.  These are not women fighting selfishly for “poor folks welfare” (because they wouldn’t qualify even if they were.)  They are fighting for the elders who can no longer walk but walked for them in the 50s and the 60s; they are walking for the mothers who would’ve joined them but have no childcare; they are walking for the women who don’t have a 9-5, Monday through Friday job. They are walking for women and men, who have worked all of their lives but are struggling financially in their retirement. They are walking for the sick and shut in. They are walking for our Veterans. They are walking for our daughters, sisters, nieces, granddaughters, Mothers, friends, loved ones, partners, coworkers,  and neighbors.  They are walking for you and for me whether you asked them to or appreciate their efforts. 

I will not live a muted, emotionally and spiritually vacant existence.  This is about our futures and the health of our great nation. We are all affected by the decisions made on our behalf on Capitol Hill. We all have to live with the decisions of an individual who is still only addressing his “supporters”, invariably giving the executive order to go “fuck yourself” to all others.  

I will not stand idly by while there is suffering anywhere. My people have come too far and I will not disrespect the legacy on which I proudly stand. Someone walked for me and died so that I may live to see this day. So that I could learn to read and write.  It’s disrespectful to forget that from which you came. I will never forget. I will not live a muted life…ever.  

What I really think 

I recently thought about asking one of my trusted confidants “what do people really think about me. I mean really think?” And then I got my act together; remembered how old I am and better yet, who I am and what I believe to be true about me. I am a grown woman in said word and deed. 

Depending upon who you ask, I could be the most awesome person on this side of the Jordan. I can be kind, sweet, giving, loving, funny, interesting, inspiring, smart, beautiful and the praises could continue until infinity. And then there is the other side. From the perspective of the naysayers or detractors. 

To them or maybe even some of you reading this, I have an inflated ego; I’m not a very nice person. I’m too outspoken, vindictive, spunky, confident, moody, flaky, temperamental, judgmental, harsh, critical, or whatever…you name it. I’m sure I can and have been that to some in my lifetime.  

And you know what? “They” or you’re right. About all of it. About both sides of my personality. I’m not a mannequin or an actress. What I am not is a one dimensional character. I am a grown (ass) woman who sometimes has a bad day, a bad week, a bad headache; hit a dry spell, caught up in my feelings or just hungry. Maybe I’m hungry. Or sad. Could it be that I was just feeling sad?

I’m a human being with feelings with a plethora of life experiences that vary in degree just like everyone else. Depending upon where you find me at that stage or moment in my life will likely dictate how you experience me.

And the same thing goes for you. Shocking.  

I think my strength is knowing that everything thought or felt doesn’t always need to be said.  Your opinion is just that. You see, I have lots of opinions also. I’m quite opinionated actually. Rarely, however do I try to force my unsolicited values and ideology on you. My mantra is: If it blows your hair back, it certainly keeps mine straight. And as Sheryl Crow sings, “If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad. If it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad?”

I also live by another song by another epic songstress & artist, Miss Bonnie Raitt, “I can’t make you love me if you don’t. You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t.”

And there it is Guys & Dolls, I’m not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Neither will you. And neither will everyone depending on how another experiences the other person. My goal is to be a good person who only has the best intentions for everyone. I want you to win because I’m definitely winning.  I gain nothing sitting at the helm of another’s defeat. 

So, here I am back to the Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. I am not taking anything personally. Even if you don’t like me and even if you do. Because as Mr. Ruiz teaches us, none of how you feel about me or anyone else is really about me or the other person.  Not authentically. It’s about you. And it’s about me and the lense from which we view our world.  

Yes, I will continue to ask for advice when I feel that I need it from people whose wisdom I trust. And who trust me and treat me like a confidant as well. Everyone else with an opinion formed on erroneous or dare I say unfounded perceptions should continue to do what they do best. And be that. 

The best sideline commentator that ever lived.  

Blindsided 

It just dawned on me why I haven’t fully gotten over Hillary Clinton losing the Presidential election. She represented hope and now that so-called hope has vanished. Poof! Like a figment of our imagination.  Her public and even humiliating loss to someone grossly unqualified, uncouth and just hideous triggered me. And I’m not alone. 

Hillary represents a dream deferred or worst defeated. She represents wanting something so badly that you exchange the better part of your life for it. You sacrifice time, money, resources, even quality time with people whom you love and need you, for this one big dream.  She represents being set up to fail. She represents coming so close only to lose everything she worked hard for in one night without any warning. We’ve all been there on some level. 

How many of us have been blindsided by someone or something? You just never saw “it” coming, which caused you to be a proverbial sitting duck; defenseless, helpless and conquered.  This isn’t about politics, this is about real life and how it feels to be let down.  Disappointed.  

This is about having to concede to your opponent on the largest stage known to mankind; all eyes watching you as your heart crumbles by the second. As you fight back tears, the desire to scream expletives and explode in righteous anger. You must remain graceful and go high after you have been dragged so low.  What could be more humiliating? 

Oh yes, this is definitely about real life and unmet expectations.  How about the time that you were passed over for a job or promotion only to have it land safely in the lap of one less qualified than you? How about the time your ex left you for someone else not half as attractive, educated or committed as you? What about the people who seem to get all of the breaks while others seem to get zilch and passed over?  It happens. Maybe not to you or me but we all know someone who some of these things have happened to.  

It’s human to feel sad and to question why.  To ask God or the Universe “why me? Why her, why him, why them?” There is no easy explanation sometimes.   And the times when there is, the heart is simply unable to accept the truth of what is.  The reality is there is always light at the end of the tunnel.  At issue is sometimes we don’t know how long the tunnel extends. Sometimes we just have to understand as someone once said, the difference between the end of something versus the end of everything. There is an exponential difference between the two.  

Hillary is going to be okay. As is the country.  As will you and I. I give thanks for life giving me situations that help me better understand me and those around me.  That’s all this is; these are teachable moments for us to learn more about ourselves.  It is occurrences like this that serve as a call to action. When everything is in order there is no need for necessary change. Sometimes we have to get so uncomfortable that we can no longer sit idly by and do nothing. 

Everything truly is in Divine Order.  Sometimes we are the ones who must realign ourselves to the special calling on each of our lives. Hope is ever present though sometimes distant.  It is only through mustard seed size faith that we shall realize it. 

This is much more than politics.  

A House Divided

History is the road map. We have been down this path before. The part that makes me feel sad is that while some believed that history would never repeat itself, others longed for the days of old. 

This presidential election spoke volumes. And I hear the message loud and clear. Eight years ago, many underestimated the possibility that a Black man (actually he is biracial), could be elected President of the United States of America. Yet he was…twice. Eight and even four years ago, some folks stayed home thinking that “there was just no way”, that he could be elected or re-elected. What were his credentials? Who is he; what is he? There’s no way the American people would vote for an unknown person. But we did. 

And that was all some of us did. Perhaps some of us were selfish; too busy gloating that “we got ours.” Some of us thought that the work was over. So much so that everything else didn’t matter or was not on the same wavelength as our ideals, values, needs and wants. Au contraire. While some were still celebrating others were struggling, even seething about the perceived eradication of values; lack of so called common decency, economics, health care, jobs, global relations and whatever the issues were or is. Some of us let our guard down and paid dearly for it. Some of us just gave up. 

It has been well documented what President Obama endured during his presidency. He has not had it easy. Yes, he has made some mistakes and missed the proverbial mark. His two terms were not absent of adversity and staunch partisan opposition. Any failure assigned to his legacy as President is shared by both political parties and this is an immutable fact. 

Some people dislike and claimed to not trust Hillary Rodham Clinton to the extent that they showed obvious love for Donald J. Trump. There are those who have sincere concerns about her integrity and that of her husband. Others simply cannot and will not accept a woman holding the highest political seat in the nation. The latter is unfortunate and shows that we still have a very long way to go. Nonetheless, as Americans we have the right to choose and vote for whichever candidate we decide is best for us. 

Besides those who voted for him, those who voted for candidates who had no legitimate chance of winning, voted for Trump indirectly. Those who insisted on showing loyalty to Bernie Sanders by not voting at all, voted for President-elect Trump.  

And yes, it was and is their choice to vote in protest or to not vote at all. That is essentially the beauty of living in a democracy. We all have freedom of choice…today. And I defend this right and will protect the right to make a personal choice regardless of whether it is popular by the standards of others or it is not. So long as it is not illegal or will intentionally harm others. 

Personally, I cannot in good conscience support anyone who believes in any level of supremacy over another. You can love your heritage, family, values, community, religion and politics without hating those who think and live differently. We can and sometimes will have to agree to disagree. A dictatorship says that we all have to think and live the same. I’m not down for that and I never will. I have a right to live my life the way I choose and so do you; so long as we do not infringe upon each other’s right to liberty. 

My candidate did not win. And I feel sicken by this fact. I am entitled to feel this way and I’m not going to get over it on anyone elses time table but my own. This is not a threat to anyone either. These are my opinions and my feelings that are mine to manage. This is also not about my being a Democrat; I vote based upon whose qualifications and values are most aligned with my own. If that candidate happens to be aRepublican, so be it. The problem that I have with the now President-elect is the platform on which he ran. 

You can attempt to compare him to President Obama or Hillary or Bill Clinton until times get better. I have to respectfully offer that the correlations are minimal at best. The divisive vitriol of this election on behalf of the former Republican nominee was exclusively his and is unprecedented, at least in my lifetime. My ancestors were exposed to this level of hate and threats. This proposed level of oppression is new to my generation. So pardon me for being appalled for being told that we have to make “America Great Again.” Per my history books and in my experience, while we have plenty of opportunity to become a greater nation, we are indeed great today and much better than we were before. 

I agree that the election is over and Trump has been elected. What is both disheartening and hypocritical is those who are protesting or are upset by this result, are being told by those who feel differently to “get over it.” Or to “come together.” I agree and I respect that. Which then begs the question, did you say the same thing to the opponents of President Obama who faced relentless staunch partisan opposition throughout his two terms? Whether it be through the so called Birther Movement, which was being spread as fact, or when Obama was publicly called a liar during a Congressional meeting about health care by a Republican House member.  Were these detractors told to respect the office of the President of the United States even if you don’t respect the man or his politics? 

I am personally “over it” and am ready to move on. I already have.  I am ecstatic that this election is finally over because it was making us all sick. I am also going to be just fine regardless who sits in the Oval Office. Why? Because I have faith in God who will always protect and guide me. However, I can only speak for myself. 

Overall, leadership and decorum starts at the top. If Donald Trump is genuinely invested in uniting the country which will soon solely rest on his shoulders, may I offer the following friendly advice:

Get off of Twitter and get in front of the American people. And speak to us. All of us. 

Use the familiar free airwaves to make speeches just like you did to advertise your reality TV show, and just like you did when you ran for office. 

People don’t care about what you say. It’s about action now. Put your money where your mouth is. 

Keep your promises because many people seem to believe in you. 

Your platform was about being different than Washington politicians; well you’re now a part of that political institution. You are now Washington D.C. in the hearts and minds of the world. Mr. Trump, you will soon be sworn in as Commander in Chief of the United States. If you are in fact different there is no better time to show that than now.  

Unify the country by acknowledging that some are rightfully afraid and need reassurance before they can move forward with you. If you ignore these legitimate concerns, you are really no better than any other politician who made similar empty promises.  

You are no longer a Republican nominee or a businessman. You now speak on behalf of the American people collectively. Say something and do something to restore order and peace in our nation. 

Violence and war is not the answer. Race is not the problem. We all want the same basic things in the end. The freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; we each want justice, equality and peace. 

As President Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” 

Life’s Anatomy 

We will punish you for being bad. In one fit of anger or real ness you can lose everything. Censorship is real; it has become the new law of the land. The new Constitution. A celebrity or mere mortal has a lapse of judgement or dare I say a moment of candor and we throw him or her away. It’s like saying that one small pimple permanently disfigures & mames the entire face.  
How do you throw a person away? Just send them to a proverbial corner to stay as if he or she doesn’t exist in the first place. What happens when they reach out in their human fragility after the fact?Don’t you dare reach back to save or console them. Or we’ll put you in that corner too. A human needs somebody in his corner. Everyone needs someone to say “I love you though I may not like you or approve of what you did or said.” 

We all need arms to welcome us in during our darkest days and after our longest nights. We all have missed the mark. After doing the most thinking that we are smart. Taking off in the wrong direction thinking it was right, just to see the world and make art. 
We all will make love to someone not worthy of us; one who is incapable of catching us once we have fallen for them. We all will meet a fake friend; an opportunist, a coach, a bully, a teacher and a savior. Sometimes multiple times over. 

And sometimes if we are blessed; we become better people because of all of it. 

Happy 1-year Anniversary to us!

Rymarkablesteph turns 1 today! How cool is that, Guys & Dolls?! Thank you so very much for spending time with here. For reading my work and taking the time to comment or simply “Like” one of my posts. 

This blog is quite reflective of my life right now…it is a work in progress. I am figuring things out as I go and when I feel something substantive, I write and post it. Writing is very natural to me but like with any form of art, I have to be in a creative space in which to allow my heart and thoughts to be transcribed. 

My life is quite demanding like most of yours. I recently celebrated two years of homeownership which is such a blessing. This blessing also comes with enormous responsibility. A case in point…As I was attempting to chill on my back porch last week, pine tree leafs, and other debris was peeking out at me from my gutters.  When I would go to get the mail from my mail box, similar debris greeted me there at the front of my house. The rule of thumb with gutter maintenance is if you can see the debris from the gutters, it is time to clean them.  UGH!!!!! What happened to just chilling and letting someone else handle it? It’s me. I am the one who has to handle it. 

I’m also trying to pick out paint colors for some of my rooms. No, I have not painted. I have not had a housewarming party. No excuses. I just haven’t decided to do it. I will one day. Someday. 

In between my house, relationship, family stuff, friendships and work, is my blog which allows me the freedom of authentic expression. I am more me here than I am anywhere else. 

I will continue to attempt to tantalize your senses with content that is worthy of your time. I am truly grateful for your support. ❤️

Happy Anniversary!

Stephanie 

Everybody wants to rule the world 

When you’re standing in the spotlight in all of your glory and then someone else steps in the way…accidentally…causing a shadow temporarily interfere with the moment…it is frustrating to say the least. 

Such an occurrence is also called life.  And that is how the story goes sometimes when we are surrounded by the greatness in others. The great singers, dancers, orators, writers, chefs, teachers and preachers. Anyone who shares a similar interest in the arts or life in general. Jealousy can brew among the closest of friends and family if left unchecked. 

I admire Venus and Serena Williams and their triumphant rise to fame due to their gift of excellence in the game of tennis. I have equal admiration for their father, Richard Williams. Mr. William taught BOTH of his daughter how to play tennis. In the early years, he taught them the tricks of the trade which also involved them playing as opponents as each young lady honed her individual skills. 

Mr. Williams did not choose between Venus or Serena by favoring one over the other. He allowed both of his daughters to realize her individual excellence and become the best tennis player that she was capable of becoming. It is evident that Mr. Williams was on to something. Today, Venus and Serena Williams are ranked among the greatest athletes of all time. They each have won the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and other prestigious tennis matches. 

There have been times in their respective careers when one sister played against her sister professionally having the full knowledge that there could only be one winner.  One champion.  One. 

I am sure in those moments that it was hard for the sister who lost the match. Didn’t they come from the same stock, gene pool; didn’t they both have a comparable passion for the game? Didn’t both want to win each time she played even when the opponent was her sister? Your opponent was your sister. Why didn’t she let you win? Why did you let her win? 

What the Williams sisters have managed to accomplish that most of us cannot or will not do is to allow others to shine without interference. It’s usually all or nothing. “Me first or else.” “I have to be the first to do everything.” “If there are any accolades to be bestowed upon anyone, let it be me and only me.” “I am the greatest.” I am “fresher than yoooooooou…fresher than you. Oh!” 

There is always going to be someone younger, thinner, faster, prettier, richer, smarter or more talented. That is just the way it is. Accept it now before it is too late. Arrive ready to be your own brand of great. Identify what your trademark is and cultivate it. Celebrate it and by all means share it. Just know that you will likely attract others who have a patent pending on his or her own “special sauce.”  Know that it is good and it is very good. For all of us. 

I am one of a billion writers. I did not invent literature, journalism or blogging. There is someone out there doing the exact same thing that I am doing right now. And it is good and very good that he or she is. I do not have to put down my proverbial pen because someone else picked up theirs. My thoughts, experiences and life are woven into my art.  My writing is a part of me. No one can expertly transcribe what I think and feel. No one. And the same is true for you. 

There is no need to aspire for world domination. Life is no more a race to a finish line anymore than it is a pie. Why work hard at keeping anyone from anything that is rightfully theirs? You are playing your life small by allowing yourself to become distracted and consumed by keeping someone else down. You put them in an opposing position and have successfully voted them better than you, by the energy you expend by keeping them in their so-called place. 

When you know your place in the world you become immune and are no longer threaten by where others stand in theirs. 

“Make America Great Again”

On the eve of Memorial Day I decided to share a recent experience.  Yesterday, I went grocery shopping at a store that I frequent. As I was walking through the aisles trying to be obedient to my prepared shopping list (the horror!), a young white man spoke to me. I wasn’t expecting it but as he walked past me, I realized that he said, “Hello” or something of that nature. I responded with “Hello” and proceeded with my shopping. Honestly, I didn’t notice much about him other than his head was kind of down, he was wearing a red hat, and a red employee vest. We were headed in opposite directions of the aisle. As I made it midway through the aisle, I heard him speaking very animated to a couple.  To a white older couple; he was showing them his hat proudly, and said, “Make America Great! You like that, I had it made!” 

Huh?! What just happened? The couple seemed uncomfortable and sort of laughed it off and kept it moving. I do not know if they knew him; if they are regulars at the store and this explains why he felt comfortable sharing his brand new red hat that he had made with them. I do not know if this is why he spoke to me in the first place. Wait! Did he speak to me and conveniently drop his head so that I could notice and read his hat? I didn’t. I only noticed it after he drew attention to himself by boasting a slogan, or sentiment that is perplexing to me. 

It’s sad if he was trying to deliberately offend me. It really is. He does not know me and I do not know him. I could have been the staunchest Republican ever. And maybe he’s not a Republican either. Maybe he likes Trump or the idea of him. Maybe he just liked that slogan.  Who knows and at this point, who cares? For that matter, just because I am a Black Woman, I’m automatically a Democrat a la Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders supporter? We both are entitled to our political viewpoints and personal values. The problem is when these preferences are used as a weapon to harm and to hurt. 

I wish the young man had been bold enough to read his hat to me like he did for that couple. Because I had a comment for him. Or actually, I have a question. When exactly was America great? Just to be clear, questioning Americas greatness is not my mantra but his or maybe his candidate’s…they are saying that America is not currently a great country. Really? 

What makes this so in your opinion? And please enlighten me and tell me what era in our country’s history was it so “great.”  I need you to answer this question for me as a woman who also happens to be Black. Let’s hear it. Was it the early 1800, 1900s? During the Great Depression? Or let me guess, the 50s and the 60s? As we take a day to honor the men and women (who represent all nationalities, religious backgrounds and races), who paid the ultimate sacrifice, how dare you attempt to insult me with your hat…if this is what you were aiming to do.  How dare you? I forgive you because if you knew better, you would behave better.  

I happen to believe that as a nation we have quite a few challenges to overcome still. America is not perfect but I do believe that she has greatness in her because of her people. I do believe that  we are better today than we were yesterday. There is no one politician or political Party that can take all of the credit for how far we have come, or be blamed for how far we still need to go.  

Just like a slogan and hat is not enough to affect positive change, neither is a platform built upon divisiveness and hate.  Your political or religious views do not make you or I a better person. Talk is cheap. Only our actions and coupled with our sincere and collective pursuit for justice and equality for all will we accomplish that. 

Beautiful 

I never really thought of myself as pretty. Or even beautiful.  I never thought that I was ugly or hard to look at either.  It’s just that I had a vision of what pretty and beautiful  was and she (me) was not it.  I’m not tall.  I have never been skinny. My hair has never been long enough. My teeth are not perfectly straight.  I have a hybrid of my father’s and mother’s hands.  My hands are petite and equally not thin. I do not necessarily think my hands are my best feature.  

My legs are “big” and so it my butt. They have always been since I was born. I have never embraced either attribute.  I am perplexed by those who pay for butt enhancements. I am thinking so you want to have a shape where your top and bottom are two different sizes. Like, two or three sizes apart? You want cat calls about how big your butt is and what some random primate would love to do to and with you sexually? I need a good scrub down just thinking about it. 

People have told me that I am pretty and attractive, but I did not accept it. Not really. I assumed that they were being nice and polite versus factual. And when your parents and family tell you how you look, Lord knows they have no credibility because I mean really, what else are they supposed to say? It’s kind of like the pot calling the kettle black. You know? 

I bring this up because I just made a post on Facebook and somehow it brought up my camera roll from my phone. It began showing a slideshow of pictures of a very pretty woman.  Beautiful in fact.  I noticed her alluring brown eyes.  Her perfect lips.  She had lovely hair that was full, at nice length and it looked super healthy.  Her makeup was soft and accentuated her features versus the features of the makeup.  She took a picture with two children who really, really like her and think that she’s awesome.  I realized that this woman was me.  

This post is not a covert solicitation for compliments.  Or a cry for empathy or sympathy. I am good, I assure you that I am.  I just found it interesting that someone like ME…having a very healthy sense of self-confidence, self-worth and esteem could be capable of being so unaware of something so obvious.  If this could happen to me, it has to have happened or is happening to someone else too.  

When you don’t know who you are, you are stranger to everyone.  People can’t get to know the real you and receive you because you do not know who this person is either.  If you don’t know that you’re beautiful, or what any or all of your positive attributes are, how do you barter in the world? 

If you don’t think that you’re beautiful, then you settle for a less than beautiful mate. You do not have the confidence or wherewithal to know when you deserve better. Everyone is doing you a favor by being with you, versus you being the prize to covet.  

This self awareness extends beyond aesthetics.  If I do not know the extent of my talent, skill sets and abilities how do I negotiate a higher salary for my time and experience in business? At what point do I stop feeling lucky that they chose me, and knowing that they are equally as lucky that I chose them? 

This has nothing to do with gratitude or being genuinely appreciative of an opportunity.  Of course you and we all should be.  In these situations extend a heartfelt Thank You once.  And only once. And let your deliverables be the perpetual demonstrator of this appreciation.   

I am pretty. I am actually beautiful.  I know it now. You can agree or disagree and that’s okay.  Today I recognized my beauty for myself.  And I know beauty. I appreciate and admire it in others. I’ve just added myself to the list.