Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Why Bridget Jones is Dead to Me

Why Bridget Jones is Dead to Me

*Why Bridget Jones Can go Fuck Herself*

Let me start by saying I am not a Bridget Jones snob (I’m talking about the films here). I don’t have a problem with a well made rom-com. In fact, I bloody love them. I was surprised by how many of my friends had no interest in going to see the latest film when it came out. I don’t remember people being so stuck up about the first one – maybe they were and I just didn’t notice or maybe we were just all younger and not so discerning in our film choices (Muppets Treasure Island anyone?). I thought the first films were pretty alright – good for a mild laugh and good to watch someone on screen who seemed as much as a fuck up as we all felt. And so, when the latest instalment, Bridget Jones’s Baby (spoiler alert) was released, I was looking forward to seeing it. Partly for the sake of nostalgia, partly to meet up with an old friend again (to be clear, I mean Bridget).

            I left the cinema feeling thoroughly, punched-in-the-gut depressed, like everything I believed had been blown up, like the oh-so-comfy slightly kooky colourful rug I loved had been pulled from under me in one fell cinema swoop. It’s taken me a while to get my thoughts together and to work out exactly what it is about the whole sorry affair that has pushed my buttons so. I’m still not clear, but here are some thoughts…
First off, lets address the big, botoxed elephant in the room – Renee Can-you-tell-who-I-am-yet Zellweger. She wasn’t the most popular choice to begin with – and rightly so I think. I know, I know, the whole point of being an actor or a writer is that you can re-imagine yourself and put yourself, convincingly, in other people’s shoes. I get that – but come on now, within reason please! I was pleasantly surprised by her in the first films. I semi-admired that she put on weight for the role, while at the same time despising that it was such a hardship for her to come off whatever the latest kale and urine type Hollywood diet she was on to do so. Anyway, she did it, and we related to her – what 30 something woman hasn’t had weight woes, after all (and if you haven’t then you should probably stop reading – this isn’t the article for you – lucky bitch). She smoked, she drank too much, she lived alone, she had solid, slightly weird friends, she was trying to forge some kind of a career and she repeatedly made a twat out of herself. It was relatable and it was funny, if a little cheddar-laden.

            Fast forward 12 years and Bridget is a completely different beast. She’s now reached her ‘ideal’ weight of a size 8 – YES, OF COURSE SHE FUCKING HAS, because it’s quite common for women to squeeze into a size 8 in their 40s as their metabolism is completely giving up on them, THAT ALWAYS HAPPENS. It’s not even the unrealistic slant of this, it’s the way that it’s just randomly dropped into the start of the film that that’s what’s happened and then never referred to again. I imagine it’s because this time around Zellweger couldn’t be arsed to go through the harsh regime of eating bacon sandwiches and other such food of the Devil to make herself look ‘normal’ – maybe because she realises, as a 40 something woman, how much harder it is to get the weight off again (see earlier point re: metabolism). So, there’s that, which is irksome, but more than that is the face. I mean, I know she’s had a hard time in the press over it but rightly so, I say. She is almost unrecognisable. This might wash with an American audience (and let’s face it, that’s who these films have been made for ultimately), where cosmetic surgery is common place and they’re used to people morphing into other-wordly, scraped back versions of their former selves that are unable to form an expression. But it doesn’t work here. And that’s the point – Bridget is British. In the original columns of her conception, her very essence is British, she is the embodiment of very British womanisms – drinking too much, smoking too much, worrying about weight, generally being a bit of a twat. Without wishing to sound like a member of the BNP, Bridget is British and should’ve been played by someone British who understands her. I spent the whole movie watching this strange-faced, elasticated, skinny version of someone who I knew would be running back to her trailer to recover by inhaling some imported oxygen or eating a baby’s foreskin. The whole point of the cinema is to suspend your disbelief and I simply couldn’t do that with her in this film.

            So she’s my main problem, but there are others – for example, we see far less of the friends in this film. Maybe that’s a reflection of life in your 40s compared to your 30s, maybe a lot of stuff was cut – either way, they were an essential part of Bridget’s story and now they’re just an aside and the film is less funny for it.
The swoon-worthy American – OF COURSE there’s a swoon-worthy American. Really? REALLY? In all my time in London, I have never met an American who looks even remotely like Patrick Dempsey and if I did, I would bloody well end up with him instead of an uptight lawyer (except I wouldn’t because he would have some stunning, American 20 something, tight-arsed, perky-breasted wife on his arm). I know, if films were completely realistic they’d be bloody boring – but really?
And, of course, the ending. I got the same sense of being let down that I did from Sex and the City (I was never team Big – why would you be – he was an arrogant, misogynistic, old wanker).

            So basically, taking all that into consideration, I feel like the problem is that Bridget has been utterly Americanised and it has taken all of her appeal away. If I wanted to see a saccharine, unbelievable rom-com filled with demi-god males and plastic females I’d stick with the back catalogue thanks – Maid in Manhattan, The Bounty-Hunter, Wanderlust, Made of Honour, Failure to Launch…The list goes on. And on. And on.
Bridget was always something a bit different. And now she’s not. You can’t really blame Zellweger – she doesn’t know any better – but Helen Fielding, Sharon Maguire and Emma Thompson – Emma bloody Thompson – you should all be ashamed of yourselves.


            I have a single friend who, when I asked if she wanted to go and see the film with me, replied ‘I don’t really want to see a Richard Curtis version of singledom in 40s’. I tried to tempt her with wine, on me – ‘it would still make me hurl’ was her response. In hindsight, I think she made the right choice.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Guilty as Charged


Mother’s Guilt – it’s a bitch.



And quite honestly, I don’t think there’s anything like it. It starts from before they’re even born – from the minute you find out you’ve conceived. The awful moment, that hits you shortly after the (sometime) excitement and happiness at finding out you’re pregnant, when your brain flicks back over the past 4-6 weeks and every drink, cigarette, bender and recreational drug flickers before your eyes, projected in multi-colour, cinema-sized, infomercial glory. What have you done? You're such a bad mother, already – your baby will surely be too small, or too big, or without an essential limb, or stupid. ALL BECAUSE OF YOU AND THOSE 30 VODKA AND TONICS.



And that’s just the start. Pregnancy is a long, hard, guilt-ridden journey – am I eating well enough? Is it okay that I’ve had 3 sips of wine my entire pregnancy? Have I had my five-a-day? Am I having enough calcium for its bones to grow? Am I too stressed? Should I be doing pre-natal yoga? Should I be playing classical music to my bump? If I don’t, will my baby grow up needing therapy? God help you if you stumble across an article raving about the mystical benefits of some new super-gross, superfood – wheatgrass anyone? I wallowed in the guilt, making sure I always had a packet or five of nuts/seeds/dried fruit with me. Packets that remained in the bottom of my bag, unopened and usually smudged in the remnants of a chocolate bar. I craved salty, savoury, greasy food and got round the guilt by telling myself that, if my body was craving it, it meant that my body needed it – for whatever reason. I read that in one of the 100s of annoying, patronising, contradictory pregnancy books I had rushed out to buy at the first sighting of the blue line. So, that was my story and I was sticking to it. I envied pregnant people around me who craved fresh fruit and veg – really?! I had to force feed myself a sugar snap pea every other day to make myself feel slightly better about the daily portions of chips.

And then the baby years – triple the guilt. With No. 1, I was the full-on, wannabe-earth mother – taking him to baby swimming lessons, baby-sensory classes (which can easily be achieved at home by shining some torches in their face and giving them some tinfoil to play with), baby-music classes and baby-massage (where he inevitably either slept through the class or did a massive, up-the-back shit that meant I spent the whole session changing him). I breastfed until he was about eight months, and felt enormously guilty even stopping then. I did the whole organic, Annabel Whats-Her-Face mushed up ice cube food – after pretty unsuccessfully trying Baby-Led Weaning which, the books assured me, makes your babies grow up to be better eaters and, by extension, better, fully-adjusted, responsible human beings.


Of course we do all that – at that stage, those little bundles of ‘joy’ are the centre of our world. We want only the best for them and we have the time, willingness and dregs of energy left to try and give it them. By No. 2, it was an entirely different story. I was back at work, with a toddler at home, so in terms of what I put into my body while I was pregnant and exercising and playing Mozart to the damn bump – that was all out of the picture. Before, and after, he was born, I did whatever I needed to get through the day in one piece. I stopped breastfeeding much earlier – and felt great for it. I’m not sure I took him to one single baby class other than ones he was dragged along to that were necessary to keep his big brother occupied. And weaning? Annabel Schnannabel – packet food all the way (although, to be fair, I felt I still had to stick to the ridiculously over-priced organic stuff that has done very well indeed from all the guilt floating round).

I felt guilty for going back to work, so eventually I gave it up and stayed at home. At home, I felt guilty for not doing the all-singing, all-dancing stay-at-home-Mum routine. Every now and then, I would enthusiastically get the paints or craft out but, after the half an hour of setting up, the boys normally lasted a grand total of about 7 minutes at any one activity and then I was left with an almighty mess to clear up. I would get to the end of the day and realise Cbeebies had been on so long we had ended up watching the afternoon repeats of the morning shows. I shouldn’t let them watch so much TV – but then how would I ever get any housework done? I should take them out more, do some trips. Does going to Sainsburys count as an outing? I should arrange play dates with their friends. Does going to see my friend, who happens to have a child, count as a play date?

When we first moved down to the Island, I was introduced to some of the local mums who all happened to have little ones the same age as my littlest. Upon asking if their child was at the pre-school, their response was uniformly horrified – no way, they said, they wanted to get as much time at home with them as possible. REALLY?! The guilt hit me then – am I a bad mother for sending my child to pre-school? Am I an even worse mother because I cherish those times? Because those times are the only times I can get things done, relax, breathe…
Recently, someone was telling of how, when they went back to work teaching, they would see other mothers at the school gates with their little ones, and it would rip her heart out to think of her 18 month old that she had to put in nursery. Again, I felt the guilt – I remember the same situation, but I would look at those mothers and feel sorry for them having to spend the day battling toddler issues as I walked into the staff room, managed a whole cup of tea without having to microwave it and then went about my day using my mind, being creative and interacting with adults without being interrupted every 30 seconds.

I have been having to get used to the new waves of guilt that come with the starting of school. There’s the obvious stuff like ‘am I spending enough time on their homework/reading?’ but there’s also ones I hadn’t expected – like when it’s a mufti day for cakes and you pass other mothers on the school run carrying wonderful, well-decorated, fully-fluffy homemade creations as I shuffle past with a pack of shop-bought plain cupcakes that I’ve only just remembered to get. I feel guilty for not going in to read with the class like other mothers. I feel guilty if they’re not doing enough after school activities – surely they should be going to cubs? Or Beavers or Badgers or whatever it is? Surely you can’t have a proper childhood without being a Badger? I feel guilty every time I miss taking them to a swimming lesson – a swimming lesson that involves me driving half an hour, getting them changed in over-crowded, sauna-like changing rooms and then repeating in reverse after half an hour. But sometimes I just can’t face it.

Not too long ago, after being at home for a few years, I was driving over to my mother-in-laws with my two boys. It was an inset day, I think. I explained that their cousin, let’s call her Ella, would be there.
“Oh, and will Auntie Jane be there too?” my eldest asked.
“No, not today, she’s working,” I said.
“What?!” he replied, shocked, “I did not know that ladies worked too.”
Great! So now I had guilt for not working, in place of my guilt for working and in addition to my guilt for being a less-than-perfect stay-at-home mum.

I’ve been told that this guilt – this endless, all-encompassing, multi-faceted guilt - never goes away. In one form or another, you will always feel guilty about something to do with your children, even when they’re all grown up – I guess that’s when you can look back and wonder if the therapy they’re now having really is because you never played them classical music when they were in utero. I’m going back to work again soon, and despite my eldest’s concern about who will look after him, I feel pretty good about the decision. If I don’t go back to work, although they’d have a mother who is at home, she may well end up an alcoholic, depressive one and I’m pretty sure that would be a worse experience than having to go to after-school club for an hour two days a week.

I know I’ve got a lot worse to come – I can’t even imagine when exams and grades and actual important decisions, other than to go to Beavers or not, come into play. I’m trying to prepare. I’m learning to take things as they come, to fight the natural inclination to compare myself to other mothers and to congratulate myself, every now and then, on having come this far with all of us in one piece.  Turns out not going to every faddy baby-class going and not being fed organic, home-mashed mush doesn’t have a life-altering impact on your children after all. At least it hasn’t yet…

Monday, 30 June 2014

Ode to Best Friends - Mine, in Particular




Friendship is a strange beast – it comes and goes throughout your life – more so in the early years, it seems, and with more passion in those years too. Nowadays, meeting people and making new friends tends to be all about the school run and you children’s classmates. No one has a proper identity in this friendship world, you’re just so-and-so’s mum. Your opening question isn’t ‘what do you do?’, it’s ‘how old is so-and-so’? You hope that you’ll meet someone who you actually like and want to hang out with, but even then it can be a slow road – first, a coffee, then maybe a play date, if you’re feeling it – maybe a dinner with the partners further down the road and this is when it gets properly interesting, when bits of yourself start to come out, rather than just mum-you. And then you just hope the real you and the real them still get on (will they still like me when they know my secret passion is Morris Dancing?). Making friends is definitely not like it used to be.

Even as an adult, I’ve made some brilliant friends who I’m really close to – but this has mostly been in extreme circumstances. I joined a tough, inner-city London primary school as an NQT the same time as four others NQTs and, my God, that’s a bonding experience. We were instantly thrown together, at the deep end – one of first training sessions was on how to safely restrain pupils – oh, how we laughed. We shared many tears (he threw a chair at me in the middle of my observation), laughs (What? She actually pissed herself on the deputy’s lap?!) and trips to the pub in our effort to survive. I know for a fact I would not have made it through that year, and the ones that followed, without these women.

When I was pregnant with my first, I went to an NCT group, dreading what might be waiting for me, having heard horror stories of hideous people in hideous groups. I totally lucked out, my group was brilliant – with not a hint of hideous. Talking about your fears of childbirth, practising birthing positions together and spending far too much time concentrating on your vaginas and what is soon to come out of them, makes for firm friendships too. And then, of course, the months after, when you’re reduced to a fraction of yourself and can’t think straight, let alone put a proper sentence together. “Does yours sleep?” “What colour is his shit?” “Does that constant crying and stressing and bad nappies and irritability mean he’s teething?” (I shudder just remembering this).

Going through the same experience, letting people see you, and help you, at your worst – these are what makes good friendships. I was very fortunate – all these people also happen to be some of my favourite people ever.

You might not find good work colleagues, and you might have had a hideous NCT group but, if you’re very lucky, you have a best friend – someone who knows you better than pretty much anyone, someone you can totally trust to tell you it how it is, someone who’s there to enjoy the good times and coax you through the bad. Someone who has seen you grown and develop into the person you are today and doesn’t hold any of the many moronic things you’ve done in your past against you.


I am very lucky – I have a best friend, and she kicks ass. Our journey is a bit like a romcom love story, but for friends – we met in our first year of secondary school – on the first day, to be exact. I saw her across a crowded hall and instantly decided I wanted to be her friend – she looked cool and relaxed (which is pretty hysterical as she isn’t know for being either of those things). We went through a few failed best friend relationships, as you do at that age, before we ‘found each other’ and, apart from a brief lull when I went to a different sixth form college, we have remained insanely close. We’ve survived location changes – (Manchester, London, Oxford, Isle of Wight) – bad boyfriends and boyfriend changes – (a certain ‘frying-pan-in-the-face’ boyfriend springs to mind) – career changes, dumping, being dumped, trying for babies, having babies and all that comes inbetween.

I know some women who are so close to their best friends they help them wax – Judys and all - and have baths together a la Girls. D and I aren’t quite like that – we have had a bath together, but it was at school, in full uniform and we did it thinking it would be funny, which it was, for about 4 minutes and then we were just wet and cold and in a lot of trouble. We used to hide ourselves in cupboards with our stash of ‘tuck’ – which ALWAYS consisted of pickled onion Monster Munch (all very Mallory Towers, I know) and moan about dorm-mates who were pissing us off. We had food fights, talc fights, secret cigarettes, illicit trips to the pub and everything else you do with a best friend at school. I’ve recently found my diaries from school, which make me blush and cringe and nauseous all at once – I was vaguely surprised to see that on at least every few pages there is some kind of reference to D along the lines of ‘I don’t know how I would survive this place without her’ or ‘Thank God for D, she’s the only person who really gets me’. Only surprised, by the way, that I did actually appreciate her properly back then (although I’m sure I rarely showed it).

At university, (we happened, without consultation, to go to the same one) we moved into a new era. More drinking - this time not illicitly - more dramas, more new experiences. We moved away from locking ourselves in cupboards – that would just be weird - and instead embraced the Chinese meal. This has now become our ritual. We don’t approach it as a normal Chinese meal – for us, it is an epic. We’re talking 4-5 hours, 4-5 bottles of wine, lots of food, shithead inbetween courses and much much much talking (too loudly) and laughing (too loudly). We have had many dirty looks from staff and customers alike at many different establishments over the years. It’s like my therapy – if we haven’t had a Chinese for a while I get twitchy and irritable and grumpy. When I once got dumped by a long-term boyfriend, D did a mercy mission up to Carlisle, where I was staying with my sister, for a Chinese therapy session. That was a particularly big one. I think we were the first and last people in the restaurant and disturbed everyone with our crying and laughing and sex talk (there’s always sex talk). We ended up lost on the way home, walking along the M6 very late at night and decided, in our wisdom, to call D’s housemate who was from Cumbria somewhere and therefore MUST know where my sister lived. Not surprisingly, he didn’t.

Since all of that, of course, there have been husbands and now children – 3 on her end, 2 on mine – children, not husbands. D got pregnant first which proved to be amazing as she could fill me in on all things pregnancy-related. Her mother is a midwife and had informed D that nearly all women shit themselves giving birth. We had no knowledge of this and were, obviously, horrified – we spent our days fretting about the possibility and thinking up ways to avoid it. I visited her in hospital after she had her first and she visited me at home after mine so we’ve both seen each other’s children within hours of them being born.

Nowadays, our meet ups are less regular and a God-send when they do happen. We text a lot now – about 20-30 times a day, with content that ranges from serious to venting to silly and surreal.
Some recent examples:

Me: It’s really unfortunate but whenever I do a hot fart I think of you.
D: But why? That is a hideous association.
Me: When we went glamping – I said I’d done a hot fart and you said you’d never heard of that, and how could a fart be hot. Now whenever I do one, you come to mind!
D: MBA!
D: That was meant to be Ha! Not a cool street abbreviation.
Me: MBA! I like it. You’re so street.



This text conversation happened while watching an England match:

Me: I never can tell when the ball has actually gone in. I thought that free kick had gone in for a minute then. I didn’t jump up in excitement though. That would just be embarrassing.
D: I straightened my back. I think that is the middle-aged equivalent.
Me: Ha! I actually just lolled!
D: Please tell me you have more than gin to consume. I can’t drink alone.
Me: I have more gin? I can picture us in a film with a split screen scene – both watching the football and drinking alone.
D: I don’t think we would make the grade in Hollywood. Sadly.
Me: But neither of us can act so we would be played by American superstars. Me – Jennifer Anniston, you – Barbara Streisand.
D: WHAT?!
Me: I was trying to be funny but couldn’t think of anyone on the spot.
D: I am desperately trying to think of a better match. I can’t.
Me: Claire from Steps (the not too fat version), scrunching her nose.
D: I think I will stick with Babs.
Me: You are SO not a middle-aged, Jewish New-Yorker with a good voice.
D: I accept I am not a Jewish New Yorker – but the rest is a good fit.
Me: Lolled again. As if.
D: I am a little comedy genius tonight it would seem. Splendid.
Me: I am watching the football, desperately trying to think of a better match for you than Babs.
D: What about…Penelope Keith.
Me: OOOOOOOOH – poss, poss.
D: I can totally see that – either as Margo or whoever she was in To The Manor Born. Prudish, uptight, slightly overly posh, middle aged numpty.
Me: For the record, I in no way think Jen An is a match for me. I was using it for not-so-comedic value.
D: I was chuckling to myself about you as Jen. Who would be your match?
Me: The Uruguay ians tops are very right. Nice to look at but I imagine they may be uncomfortable to wear…
D: Tight? Yes. Bit like cycling gear.
Me: oh yes, ducking auto-correct.
Me: I just lolled at my own joke. I’m such a twat.
D: Ha! Sally Fields?
Me: Me or you?
D: Me, I think. Originally popper into my head for you, but then decided she was too conservative.
Me: Poppered into your head?! I think you def need someone English and posh for you. Hyacinth Bucket?
D: Nooooooo!
Me: I love the way in which we are ‘watching’ this football. We are totally going to miss any goals.
D: Sssssh. I am watching an important part.
Me: I think you Penelope Keith, me the little annoying one – although I’m far less hippy and have much less fun.
D: Kendal woman?
Me: Yep.
D: Yes, I accept.

This keeps me going in between our meet ups, and, as I thought at school, I don’t know how I’d survive without D.
In a world where someone’s always asking something of me and I’m constantly dealing with shit (literally) and mundane housework, and not knowing what I’m doing with my life, and only meeting people who ask about my children, not me - seeing D makes me feel like me again. And that’s what best friends, mine in particular, is for.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Evolution




I cringe a lot throughout the day – I have much to cringe about. I have had many embarrassing experiences that literally make me shudder – or hum out loud – when I get flash backs to them. I say ‘embarrassing experiences’, that makes it sound like slipping on a misplaced banana skin or my skirt getting caught on a door and flashing my knickers, a la the Tena lady ad. What’s more accurate is, times when I’ve been a dick. And there seem to be a lot of those.

A while ago – a long time ago now, I guess – I met up with some friends from my sixth form college when we were all working in London. I’d got my first proper job in TV, it was going really well and the whole thing was like a dream come true. We’d have idea meetings in the pub and the producer refused to let runners pay for drinks as we earned so little so basically we got free beer while working! I’d just been told I was going on the shoot to the States and I was super happy. I felt like a rock star and think I may have tried acting a bit like one too.  I don’t think I did anything majorly ridiculous, but looking back it does make me cringe.

I keep thinking about getting in touch with those friends and trying to arrange another meet up – it would be great to see them, and it would be a bonus to show them that that was a passing phase and I’m actually much more decent now. But then I wonder – am I? Really? Has the dick phase properly passed?

You’d think that having children forces you to grow up a lot, and focus on what’s important in life. They act like an anti-dick shield. Or at least, they should, but I’m not really finding that. I still don’t feel like a grown-up – I feel like a teenage imposter (with ever-increasing wrinkles and saggy boobs), pretending to be a grown up, pretending that it’s okay that I’m responsible for two actual people. I remember the first time I was left alone with Boy No 1 (H)– it felt so bizarre and scary and a bit wrong that I was responsible for everything to do with him – keeping him alive and stuff.

I still don’t feel, or always act like, a grown up and, while I’d like to think my dick tendencies have decreased even a little bit, they still like to come to the surface every now and again. Having children probably makes it worse for me as when I do get a rare night out/away I get totally over-excited and regress.
Recent (ish) examples include:

Falling arse over tit at a very fancy wedding, skirt round the ears, before getting up, sitting on randoms’ laps, falling over again on the dance floor (it was Kanye, I couldn’t help it) and then being sick in my bag on the bus back down the hill.

Having people over for dinner, ordering them around to make the dinner before promptly falling asleep upstairs trying to calm Boy no 2 (C) down (who then came downstairs while I was sleeping).

Drinking far too many margaritas, standing in my knickers demanding my husband (who was with a work colleague at the time) tell me where they’d been (FYI – they’d been trying to locate the colleague’s luggage, which they’d told me they were doing).

These are just the tip of the iceberg – too many others I am too ashamed to have on written record. And others that I have, thankfully, forgotten – luckily, I have an appalling memory.

The only joy I have in my dick-stories, is that you have to remember there is always someone worse out there. When I was teaching, we used to go the pub a lot after work. I once (!) made a fool out of myself by insisting, to the Deputy Head, that she was having a relationship with the Headteacher – a claim I followed up with the ‘evidence’ I had gathered. I’m pretty sure this was at about the end of my first week working there.
BUT, even better, at the end of term party, a teaching assistant got so drunk, that while she was sat on the Deputy Head’s lap, she peed herself. She later passed out and had to have an ambulance called.

See, there’s always someone worse.

And don’t get me wrong – this isn’t totally self-deprecating, I’m not down on myself. I’ve just learned to accept my strengths and weaknesses. I have lots of strengths – I’m very good at relaxing, I could win prizes for my napping ability and I’m getting better at drinking – to name but a few.

So, if maturing, and growing up and not acting like a dick is like evolution, I think I’m still at the scraping-my-knuckles-along-the-floor-and-grunting-stage. But I’m hoping one day soon I may be standing upright.