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Wednesday, July 9

my cycle*


two of my favorite things...blossoms and thea, diptych

I've been thinking a lot about my monthly cycles. Not so much about the physical changes to my body but the emotional. I am not sure why only now I feel fully aware of a pattern that is pretty consistent but this awareness is helping me to navigate my way through the shifts.

First week of cycle: A few days of sadness and disappointment that I am not pregnant but then a rush of hope comes in. I view this as another month to work towards a healthy body, mind and soul. I feel a renewed sense of self while my body cleanses itself.

Second week: Totally in manifestation mode. Manifesting a pregnancy and fully believing. Manifesting stuff for my creative journey and in my friendships. Totally feeling empowered and on top of my game. Begin to nest and ready myself for a romantic week with my husband as ovulation is approaching. I feel fertile in all areas of my life.

Third week: Post ovulation leaves me feeling quiet and mindful, closer to the spirit of my future baby and extremely close to my husband. I feel confident and trust that my body is healthy and doing its absolute best with whatever has transpired. I spend a lot of time visualizing a fertilized egg or a swelling belly and us dancing around on the beach or in our home with our children.

Fourth week: One huge tender bean! Highly emotional. Sensitive to the touch and in my heart. I find myself fighting those darker feelings of fear, insecurity and depression. It's that waiting until I know whether or not we are pregnant. My energy goes towards trying to distract myself, focus on my other passions but I find myself exhausted. Pregnant women come out from every corner and walk around the street like zombies in a film, coming towards me to taunt. I get angry at myself for feeling unable to manifest or visualize or believe it is possible for me. I get quiet with my friends and family. I take things more personally than usual. I swear each fourth week feels like PMS magnified times one hundred.

Well, I am writing about this because I am right in the middle of the fourth week. Although, I do notice now that I am aware of this pattern, I can help navigate my life around how I know I will be feeling. Like, its probably not the best time to go on a trip during the fourth week because my ability to fully be present is just not there and that's okay. Not that I won't go somewhere fabulous because its the fourth week but in the event that I have a choice, it might be wise to wait it out and just allow myself to be gentle during this time.

Yesterday I was laying on a mat and stretching at the mind and body center I go to. I had forgotten that Tuesday mornings have a prenatal yoga class. So, as I was stretching, one by one, about twenty pregnant women walked by me. I felt my heart beating fast and felt unable to breathe. I was having a panic attack. I gathered myself together and practically ran out to my car so that I could completely let go and break down with my head on the steering wheel. I called my husband and he gently talked me down from it all...never judging and always reassuring that I am fully allowed to feel this way at any time. It was one of those cries that leave you feeling utterly drained and spent.

I find it so interesting that if this were to happen at any other week in the month, I might have seen twenty pregnant women walking by me as a positive sign...just like I did last week with the woman stopping me and asking if I was a mother. But yesterday, it felt like a cruel joke...rubbing it in that I am not there yet.

So, perhaps I am writing this all out because I need to not think its odd that I can vacillate so much on this journey. I tend to put too much power on that one dark week of mine and I just need to focus on how fabulous I feel the first three weeks (yay me). I should give myself a break for comparing pregnant women to zombies just seven days out of the month because the rest of the month, I may see them as angels or affirmations.

I am choosing to love and embrace my cycle of emotions each month rather than fight the ebbs and flows of something so very primal and natural. I am also going to meditate on how I can make this last week gentler on my heart.

I'd love to hear how you comfort yourself when you are feeling hormonally heavy in spirit...whether the root of it is fertility or not.

Last night my husband and I laid in bed and he cupped my face and brought my forehead to his. I let the tears fall from my face onto his. This was the most comforting moment I've had the last four or so days...but I know I cannot lay like that for a week. ; )

43 Comments:

Anonymous Gina said...

:-)

i find it hard to comfort myself. so i'm difficult to deal with.

so i'd love to hear, too.

July 9, 2008 at 3:29:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Emily said...

i can't remember how i found your blog, but it was sometime during the wait for my daughter (who i picked up in vn in feb). anyway, i went through the infertility battle for a few years prior. when i read some of your post it really takes me back to those raw emotions. i think there are few things more painful than wanting to become a mother and it not happening.

what i used to do when i was sad was go to my local animal shelter. i volunteered there often. i am an artist, so i was able to be flex with my schedule. i think it made me feel better to focus on something besides myself (which, during the last week is all that you do).

take care of yourself.i always hated hearing this, but things do work out. really, they do.

July 9, 2008 at 4:20:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Ames said...

I surround myself with friends if I have the strength, those fabulous friends that always make you laugh.
If I don't have the capacity to deal with people, I take comfort in a favourite blanket or doona and get out those movies or books that I've loved. Escapism is ok in small doses I think!
As always, sending happy and positive vibes your way.

July 9, 2008 at 5:13:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Megan said...

Your cycle sounds like my cycle!! I found that I was always crying like that too. This month, I've decided that I am going to turn it all around and make each "taunting" vision a joyous one by "faking it." Now if I see a bunch of pregnant women I say "Wow! How great! It's exciting to think that soon I will be one of them!! It's just around the corner!" At first it feels fake saying things like that, but as I practice it is getting more and more believable and I don't cry or feel sad...rather, I feel excited and ready knowing that YES it will happen and perhaps soon! (like a little kid anticipating Christmas morning or a birthday) I allow myself now to feel the joy as if it were real. It's not been easy for me to do and I'm not perfect at it yet, but it's helping a lot. I got the tip from "The Secret" and it's brought so many other things into my life already so why not this too? Hugs to you.

July 9, 2008 at 5:15:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mika said...

I found you via Momma Zen, I have read you before. I have had that same cycle hundreds of times. I have a child now, but I can taste what that feels like. For some weird reason I always believed I was pregnant in the third week, and then I knew I wasn't in the fourth regardless of any pms. It feels like so much useless thought and emotion, but it is inevitable, and part of us I guess. Know that you are not alone.

Mika

July 9, 2008 at 5:20:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mika said...

Ps. Your photos are beautiful !

July 9, 2008 at 5:21:00 PM PDT  
Blogger nancygrayce said...

I've been reading your blog for some time and I love the photos! I have been where you are. 35 years ago! It seems like a long time ago now.

July 9, 2008 at 5:32:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Bean said...

hello lovely soul! i've been lurking and peeking into your place here on the intewebs and for some reason today i wanted to reach out and lightly brush your hand. i don't KNOW what you are going through but i do know that we can all relate on some level or another and today is the day i wanted to sit quietly next to you and without saying much let you know that i understand. much love to you - you surely put enough out into the world, i bet you have a whole lot of it rushing right back at you.

July 9, 2008 at 5:41:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Fran said...

Sadly I do a if I ignore it , it will go away. When I let it break through I often feel so over whelmed by all the feelings that I can't quite put it into words. Sometimes I feel like I want to do one of the big movie drama queen things and throw myself onto my bed with some big huge dramatic sigh. When needed I call my Girl Friends or I will often blog out my feelings and let come pouring out as if some huge damn has broken through. I am not as blessed as you with a wonderful Mom to call. When I told my Mom that I felt I was loosing out on my chance at motherhood she said "there are other things." It was like a knife in my heart. So feeling my emotions they way you do was never allowed or appropriate. But you my dear love have helped me, by your wonderful openness about your feelings. Be me in touch with all of mine. So many times I look to you.

July 9, 2008 at 5:47:00 PM PDT  
Blogger jenica said...

i deal with my hormonal stuff by eating way too much chocolate, exercising, yoga, and doubling my progesterone cream. a good book helps me to get my mind off of things too...

although i usually don't do all the things i know would help, i usually sit and stew and hate people for a few days. *sigh* it's much better to be aware of where you're at and just try to work gently with yourself.

July 9, 2008 at 6:17:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Angie said...

Hi there :-) I'm delurking, your post really struck a cord with me. I'm TTC and discovered today it's on to the next cycle. This is still new to me and my husband and so we haven't figured out how to connect during the fourth week. Today was a hard day and I was feeling really alone. So, in a way you have comforted me and I thank you.

July 9, 2008 at 6:19:00 PM PDT  
Blogger lexiloo said...

i think your awareness into your cycles and emotions is awesome (and something i want to try documenting). i think that knowing the fourth week is going to be tough can help. when you have a breakdown knowing its okay and you will feel better soon is something i would try thinking. sending sweet vibes your way :)

July 9, 2008 at 6:54:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Liza said...

Ack, I can't find your email so I guess I'll comment a condensed version!

I wonder just how many people are out there rooting for your little babe to join you & your husband. Just the other day I was thinking of you, praying that that day would come soon!

I had been where you are for a while there and remember oh too well the innocent stings of pregnant women.

I remember being so exhausted from those couple of years of cycle after cycle. I read your blog and was inspired by your optimism. It helped keep me going, even when my husband & I took a break. You and your writing helped me change my focus, helped motivate me to become more healthy.

I hesitate to write this for fear that it may hurt but I am just so grateful that I want you to know: In a way, you & your blog helped bring me my son. It may hurt to know that. I really hope not but understand if it does.

You're inner strength is an inspiration to many, I am sure.

July 9, 2008 at 7:10:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Girl on the Run... said...

First ((((HUGS))))! Wishing you a belly full of baby or babies!

Your blog is simply amazing and so are you. I try and pray, meditate, be in the moment and think as positive as possible. Definately easier said than done but being aware is the first step.

I truly believe there is a reason your around all these pregnant women... Your time is coming... it will happen!

Warmly,
M

July 9, 2008 at 7:14:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Genevieve said...

Sometimes, i feel like i'm in a big black hole for two or three days during my cycle and everything around me is just terrible. I've learnt to identify those feelings and be ok with them, rather than feeling bad that i'm feeling bad. It helps that my husband is a sensitive, tender soul who understands me and my body and just lets me be.

July 9, 2008 at 7:33:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very similar to the emotions I experience. One thing I've done to help in the "sensitive" week (and it is a blessing to start with to be "aware" and conscious of when this special time is so you can work with it) is to put aside topics that I know are sensitive for me for that whole week. It takes some doing sometimes to keep mind over matter, but I tell myself I am not allowed that week to engage in thoughts about those particular topics. It is a time to fold them up and set them on a shelf and come back to them later. Because I feel a lot of what I "think" during that week is so emotionally driven and based and that I simply am not working with my full reasoning sensibility. The picture will look entirely different (and much better!) if I leave it alone until the time my body chemistry is returned to balance after "the week". We women have very complex systems and I feel the more I work WITH the ebb and flow of the cycle the better I have been able to keep an even keel throughout. Evening Primrose also helps me tremendously when all else fails! ---Fiona

July 9, 2008 at 9:43:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Carol said...

Oh Denise, this is just a wonderfully inspiring post..and it's caused me to realise that I just don't value and nourish my mind and body enough while I am going through my monthly cycle. If I did, maybe I wouldn't be at the point of emotional paralysis during the final week leading to my period.

Thank you for inspiring me to care for myself a little better :-)

July 9, 2008 at 10:14:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Megan said...

very very similar over here, endometriosis usually accompanies some wild tides during the month. Recently I have discovered the pre-menstrual flu. At least that's what it feels like. I will say this. Speaking of the universe and cruel jokes; since the beginning of my journey, I have allowed my sadness to manifest in very unhealthy ways in my body. I've gained a significant amount of weight, and being an apple shape with a tiny head and very large breasts, I guess I look pregnant. Especially with to days fashions (babydoll tops, etc). It always happens during week one. When I am feeling broken and like I'm in need of an escape. It happened today. "so when is your baby due?" The woman was so sorry, and so nice, but she went on. She said "I'm so sorry, but you just don't look 'fat', you look pregnant"
I came home determined to not band aid myself with chocolate, and for this night I was successful. It's one day at a time right now.

July 9, 2008 at 10:17:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The closest experience I have to this is sort of on the flip side of what you describe -- I lost my mom a few years ago, and while in many ways I've learned to live with this loss, and can even be quite the strong, wise one about it, when I'm feeling vulnerable all that goes away. In addition to feeling really sad and alone, one of the ways I experience this is that it becomes really hard for me to see or hear about other daughters spending time with their mothers. I feel downright jealous, even resentful. And also ... kind of like a loser, as though the reason I don't have my mom anymore is that there's something wrong with me. They are ugly feelings, and perhaps akin to the irrational, primal feelings a small child might have. You know how small kids always think it's "their fault" when something goes wrong with mom and dad.

The way I deal with it is pretty similar to what you've said here -- to cry it out, to talk to my husband, and also to talk to my sweet, gentle therapist. To know that my feelings will eventually shift again to a more resilient place, and to feel okay about these "ugly" feelings, that they are natural and understandable. To try to get some sleep and fresh air and something good to eat.

We're rooting for you, Boho Girl.

July 9, 2008 at 10:27:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Cate in Marin said...

hmm, so much of this is a mirror of my experience and I'm glad to see that you're much more aware and savvy about what's going on than I was! I went thru this monthly swingfest for way too many years, finally finding success, but along that road there were so many bumps. It may not have been the wisest choice but just sitting in my sulky stew for just long enough to realize that I didn't like being blue then getting outside and doing something nice and even decadent was my m.o.
I have to say, the ocean air and it's good ions is quite a nice cure. Chocolate. Caffeine (surprisingly - helps with the headaches post-tears) and escaping to a good movie. Just be kind to yourself - this is a rough journey that most people have no concept about. And bravo to you for embarking on it!
Take good care,
Cate
ps - never can tell how many of those preggo yogis did ivf/fertility treatments... likely several. And yes, I believe they were a sign (just harder to see this week). I think I told you a while back about my signs... pacifiers after every negative beta hcg. Talk about torture at first sight/thought but then it turns out that the universe was right after all.

July 10, 2008 at 2:42:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous amy said...

what a beautiful, safe space you've created for everyone who is moved and inspired by your words and photos. i hope you know how special your gentleness and openness are. take care.

July 10, 2008 at 2:55:00 AM PDT  
Blogger thea said...

this is suchan exact description of every month I had ttc. love your power is a strong and steady current. The last description of C cupping your face bringing you f2f. Hmmmm I am doing a cyber version right now.

XOXOXO

July 10, 2008 at 6:05:00 AM PDT  
Blogger emily said...

Although I am not trying to become pregnant, I can often relate to your struggle as I am trying to recover from depression. Just recently, I had a similar realization about the incredible impact that my cycle has on my emotional state. During my fourth week, I tend to feel hopeLESS...sometimes terrifyingly so. But it is truly amazing how hopeFUL I begin to feel during the first week of my next cycle. In reading about your struggle and in reflecting about my own, I am beginning to realize that maybe our suffering during the fourth week somehow opens us up to grow emotionally during the first week of our next cycle. The process is beautiful, in a way, don't you think? I am so grateful for you and your words and your openness.

July 10, 2008 at 7:07:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I am feeling hormonally heavy in spirit (this is the end of the fourth week for me, too) and find myself crying or wanting to do so without any apparent reason, I take a step back and remind myself that it's part of my body and soul. And then, suddenly, I find a way back out of that dark hole that was there just minutes before, as I can just somehow get over it with the knowledge that there *is* no "hidden reason" for me reacting this way. It's just part of me. Since I first realized how much my spirits actually change during my cycle (my bf told me about it ... at first I didn't even want to believe him ... there seemed to be so much more to the tears!), I am much more balanced throughout the month - and just allow myself to feel what I feel whenever it does pop up again.

July 10, 2008 at 10:19:00 AM PDT  
Blogger blisswarrior said...

rocky road icecream, warm baths and good book in my oh-so-comfy bed...I am gentle with myself, allowing myself to feel whatever it is but all the time knowing that it is hormonal, it will pass and I should think before I speak during this time!

July 10, 2008 at 10:21:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Gemma said...

A wise female(who may have been quoting an author or therapist) once said the therapy group we were in that PMS doesn't cause emotions/issues that weren't there before, it simply brings them to the fore of your attention by exacerbating their weight so that you have an opportunity to address things you might have been ignoring, repressing, etc. I am learning to see that dreaded 4th week as a recurring opportunity to tend my soul with greater attentiveness than I am sometimes prone to do. Underneath the emotions are real issues, and if I can't always do anything to resolve them at the time, still I think that writing and pondering them and being gentle with myself does help me become more of who I want to be.

July 10, 2008 at 12:22:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Debbie said...

In moments of deep discomfort (irrespective of their source) I find that my most comforting salve is to emerse my mind in something beautiful: a movie, a song, a place.

Part of being gentle with myself is also allowing the remedy to come from somewhere other than within and not feeling bad about that.

July 10, 2008 at 1:12:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hand on heart, all this flip-flopping isn't pretty to watch...anyway flip on as long as you don't flop.

July 11, 2008 at 3:37:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey anon,
i am sure you flip flop in your emotions like the rest of us. its called "living passionately" and boho does that prettier than anyone i know.

July 11, 2008 at 6:53:00 AM PDT  
Blogger enchantedartist said...

I find it so wonderful that you are sharing this. I grew up in a house where we didn't even mention our cycles...let alone how they made us feel...

Sending you lots of love during this most tender of weeks....

July 11, 2008 at 6:56:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Lucille said...

I felt that way too (I struggled for several years with the same issues) and like others have said, what you write here, I can taste it and remember. The many many tears---which possibly watered the ground to allow something to grow.

The one thing I was thinking was a positive thing was that you are not sitting there anticipating that 4th week---meaning, you don't let the idea that the 4th week may be looming ruin the other 3... that is a good thing, shows the depth of your deep hope and health.

I will keep you in mind during this 4th week. Maybe it'll be the last 4th week! But even if it isn't, even if there a handful more to go thru, here's what I would do: think of all the best things you love and try to do them to comfort yourself. If that's reading on the beach or getting a pedicure or eating chocolate or listening to chants or whatever... get together with friends during that time to just have fun and laugh (if that's what you need)...although for me, I find burrowing down and just giving myself calm and quiet is what I need most. It's different for everyone.

I love the fact that your husband is so bound to you and conscious of your pain. From what you've written of your journey, he doesn't seem to have let it bring him to a place where it stresses him so much that he CAN'T be present to you. He feels the pain but brings his strength to comfort you...

In my situation, I did not have that. I think my husband felt the stress and felt like it was his fault (not that I ever said that)...and the stress undid us... By the time my son was born, we were frayed... And our marriage was never the same. He left when my son was 2.5... Although we are amicable now and we spend a lot of time together as a 'family', we never were able to recapture that center together. I can pin that back to our infertility journey. So... you have the grace of those comforting moments between the two of you and I hope you NEVER lose that... It will see you through.

Sorry for the looooong email!!!!

Lucille

July 11, 2008 at 7:35:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Felicia said...

your pain so real and so honest. its so relatable. i've cried the same tears over the pregnant ladies walking by. check out the artwork in this july 9 post on http://jenlemen.com/blog/

July 11, 2008 at 9:01:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Jenn said...

You just described my exact process. I am reading all these comments for advice too.

Much love to you bohogirl...xoxo. I feel your pain.

July 11, 2008 at 9:11:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Schmoops said...

i can so relate to feeling like a warrior one day and the next day feeling as if all the pregnant women were mocking me. mostly, i didn't think good thoughts but some days were easier than others. for me, it was the first two weeks of my cycle that were hard and the last two where i carried hope.

it's so hard and there is no easy answer... just know it's okay that you are feeling all of these emotions and that you put it out there for so many of us to relate to is such a gift.

for me, on those days, that is what wine, comfort food, my couch with a soft blanket, jimmy and guilty pleasure movies were made for.

xoxo

July 11, 2008 at 9:35:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Wendy said...

You don't know me, I found your blog through Britts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the rest of us who are going through a similar situation. Its comforting to know that I'm not alone.

I've felt the hopefulness after that week of trying, I've also felt the sadness, disappointment, the lack of control, the wanting to stop my feet and cry when I know that I'm not pregnant. I've felt jealousy and anger towards those who seem to get pregnant so easily or seem to take it for granted. I just want you to know that I know what you're feeling. And sometimes, just knowing I'm not alone is enough to get me through the next month.

In my weaker moments I pity myself, in my stronger moments I look towards the next month as hope, or sometimes it just helps me to think of all the wonderfully great things or people I have in my life or to think of the other horrible trials that I could have but don't. Sometimes I just have to pray for strength.

July 11, 2008 at 5:43:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Christianne said...

boho, this post broke my heart with tears for you. the story about rushing out to your car to cry with your head on the steering wheel, with boho boy comforting you through it and the tears just flowing freely, and the moment you shared about him pulling you close and touching foreheads with you while the tears flowed . . . those parts really got to me for you. i care about your heart, even though i do not know you personally. i'm sorry the fourth week (this week) has been so hard. i'm sorry this journey has been so long. i find your spirit and your sharing truly beautiful. i keep you guys in my prayers often.

July 12, 2008 at 9:27:00 AM PDT  
Blogger BlossomingSoul said...

Denise,
I am wondering if when you were a little girl, did you dream of having a family? Probably so. :-) Perhaps your inner child needs some assurance that her dreams will come true. If I were you, I might visualize visiting yourself as a child and telling that little girl that her dreams are in the process of being born. Hug her. Tell her that it is absolutely okay to get frustrated and upset and angry and sad. Comfort her. And always leave her with the message that it will happen. It is happening.

July 12, 2008 at 10:17:00 AM PDT  
Blogger dmr72 said...

As always, your words have left me with so much to reflect on. My hubs and I are on the brink of starting this journey and we just returned from a trip to Italy which was supposed to be during the 2nd/3rd week but turned out to be during the dreaded 4th and 1st week due to some irregularities in my cycle AFTER we had already bought our plane tickets last Feb. well, needless to say, it took a lot of effort to try and make the trip as pleasant during the 4th week as it would have been during the "empowered" 2nd week. In any case, here is my toolkit:

evening primrose oil capsules
affirmation/chant:current fave "I choose my reaction>"
reiki touch of the belly
trying not to expect too much of myself.

I always wish I could go into the hut like Native American did during Moon time, so I sometimes try to recreate the feel of a sacred place to be alone during the worst of it. On top of all this, I am realizing there is probably some endo going on that I just always thought was "normal". Thanks for opening up this topic it has been so nice to read what everyone has been sharing. sending energy your way...

July 12, 2008 at 6:53:00 PM PDT  
Blogger soliluna said...

P.S. dmr72 is actually me; it was signed in under my hubs for some reason. As for the spa/healing retreat, I vote for Sedona.

July 12, 2008 at 6:56:00 PM PDT  
Blogger daintee said...

i am currently miscarrying my first pregnancy and find the raw honesty of your post so, so reassuring. thank you.

July 14, 2008 at 12:21:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try PRAYING!!! Just try it...it works!

July 14, 2008 at 5:09:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Boho Girl said...

daintee...i am so very sorry for your loss. i will get a hold of you today.

anon...i pray every day.

July 14, 2008 at 6:55:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Jackson Family said...

I used to beat myself up. It wasn't just the emotions, it was this overwhelming feeling that God had deemed me unworthy of having the child I desperately desired. Friends got me through the rough patches. My husband was always there for me - not always knowing what to say or what to do. If I felt my chest caving in and I was struggling to hold myself together, I had to get out. Get out of the dark, and good people were always the light. People who knew me well enough to not ask about fertility or where we were... the people who knew there was more to me than the day of the month, the moment in my cycle, etc. Hang in there. People will always tell you, but when you stop worrying and have faith in yourself and faith that you are meant to be a Mother, things do fall into place. We didn't conceive until we stopped seeing our fertility dr. Granted, it was so we could pay for IVF, but I took time away from the doctor, got to know my soul a bit better, and did good for my body. It made pregnancy easier too. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Any friend of Em is a friend of mine.

September 3, 2008 at 9:57:00 PM PDT  

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