360 Degrees of Beautiful

In January 2013, one of my college friends was trying to get in touch with me. KMarie sent me a Facebook message asking me to give her a call. Outside of social media, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d physically spoken to her. It was probably at her rooftop birthday party a few years ago. Nevertheless, I was excited to catch up with one of the most beautiful people, inside and out, that I’d ever know. However, this conversation wasn’t exactly two old girlfriends catching up. K began to tell me about a fitness challenge that she and one of her friends were launching in just a few days. It would be a 90 day friendly competition among women all over the country who were committed to changing their life. While many people have been aware of my constant struggle with weight, no one had ever really approached me like K did. I was honored that she’d even think of me to be apart of her group and then, I became embarrassed. Had I completely let myself go to the point where K knew I needed some kind of intervention? And it was as if she knew that I’d begun the routine of beating up on myself when K began to congratulate me on all my life accomplishments to date and then said “Candice, I just believe you deserve to be 360 degrees of beautiful.”

Before K said it that January day, aside from my mother, no one had ever called me beautiful. Immediately, it was as if I knew K didn’t mean to call me that and I decided not to take it to heart. I did, however, decide to sign up for her fitness challenge for one reason: because she asked me to and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her. (Yep, she’s just that amazing.) I was placed in a group comprised, largely, of college friends and Sorors. Many were mothers, educators, businesswomen and fitness enthusiasts- all looking to transform their lives for the better. We created a forum where we could check on each other’s progress, send our daily “Sweat Checks” and keep each other motivated. That group became my lifeline. I was pumped! I was excited! I went hard….at first. And then, my enthusiasm waned. I began to get discouraged because I wasn’t seeing results fast enough. So I quit, I stopped checking in with my group and tried to find ways to avoid having to check in with K, too. I tried to convince myself that I was just too busy to focus on me right now. I tried to tell myself that other people and things needed me more than I did and to take even an hour out for myself was beyond selfish.

However, all that changed over the summer. In 10 weeks, 11 people I knew died- including a dear friend that I’d just talked to the day before and one of my most beloved cousins. I attended 9 funerals in a matter of 2 months. There is something beautifully haunting about death. At the same time you’re mourning the fact that these individuals are gone, you’re also re-evaluating your own life and the choices you’ve made to date. The end of someone’s life can, in many ways, cause you to begin living your own. I made an appointment with a primary care physician to begin to take charge of my life. I met my new physician and confided in her that, regardless of my marital status, I wanted to be a mother within 3 years. I told her I would be 31 this year and I wasn’t interested in high risk pregnancies or being the old mom with the young kids. As only a middle aged Black woman can, my beloved OBGYN kindly told me that nothing about my health said I wanted to be a mother anytime soon. Then, she began to get very clear about what I needed to do to first be healthy for myself and then to ensure the pitter patter of little feet. She gave me the task of losing 10 pounds before my next follow up visit with her.

It was something about being told that I was the only thing in my way that lit a fire underneath me. Like many, I look forward to an amazing career, a wonderful life and someone to share it with. But motherhood? I am not ashamed to say that is my heart’s deepest desire. Yet, according to my doctor’s report, I wasn’t living like I believe I deserved it. So many of us have dreams. It could be to lose weight, go back to school or start a business. But we live like we don’t deserve those dreams. We eat what we want and don’t exercise. We miss application deadlines with no regret. We create every excuse as to why the business will fail before we even get it started. We live like we don’t believe in ourselves. For years, I struggled with my weight and finally resigned that, if I was going to be fat, at least I would be smart. Yet, every time I stepped on the scale or chose the elevator over the stairs, I knew that I wasn’t living my best life. But, part of me believed I didn’t deserve that best life.

I left that office focused and determined to lose that 10 and more. One of my best friends introduced me to Twerk Zumba (yes, church girls twerk!) and I began to pop, lock and drop the weight. Family and friends began to notice a change in me. I recently had coffee with an old friend for my birthday. As she complimented me on my weight loss, I told her about my conversation with KMarie in January, when she told me I deserved 360 degrees of beautiful. I told my old friend that I was beginning to believe it.

Why am I telling you all of this? Maybe you don’t have a friend like KMarie. Maybe your family and friends have been talking so much that you’ve chosen to drown them out. Whatever it may be, please know this: YOU DESERVE TO BE 360 DEGREES OF BEAUTIFUL! Yes, you! You really do! So be it!

Have you made a resolution to lose weight this year? Ignore all the people who make jokes that you’ll forget about the gym by March and get moving!

Have you decided that this will be the year that you’re going back to school? Tune out all the folks who want to remind you of the number of times you’ve stopped and started and go enroll!

Is this the year that you want to get that business off the ground? Don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be done!

Living our dreams makes us beautiful. It brings brightness into a world that has suffered in the dark. You deserve to be beautiful. You deserve to bring beauty. You deserve to be given beauty. One year later, as I congratulate myself for losing twice what my doctor instructed me and as I grunt through my first week of a new and much more intense exercise program, I am grateful that I listened to my friend and found myself deserving of 360 degrees of good and perfect gifts. This year, may we all find the courage to walk into the beauty that is all around us.



Warring Against War Room (And Other Problematic Prayer Messages)

When I saw the trailer for War Room, I knew I wasn’t going to see it. After seeing the heavy-handedness and over dramatization in Facing the Giants and Fireproof, I’d had my fill of explicitly Christian movies. I was also skeptical how a White male production company could effectively articulate Black religiosity. How could a production company who (correct me if I’m wrong) has not made a public statement regarding the unjust treatment of Black people accurately make a film with Black faith at its center? At the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, I couldn’t support voyeurism into the faith that is sustaining the mothers of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Jonathan Ferrell and so many others as they live in an unjust world.

Aside the racial dynamics of the trailer that made me cringe, the plot itself was too dangerous to support. A woman is married to a jerk and she must fight for her marriage. So many women hear the “you got to plead with God so he can do what only he can do” and “it’s time for you to take off your gloves and fight for your marriage” messages and remain in abusive marriages, bruising their bodies and their spirits. When intimate partner violence- in all its forms- remains a conversation (Black) churches refuse to tackle with integrity, I couldn’t see supporting a film where the message is given to a woman that the onus is solely on her to fight for a partnership. We hear that too much for free on Sunday mornings to pay for it Saturday night.

And I remain increasingly uncomfortable with our language surrounding faith. Prayer as war, prayer closets as war rooms, reinforce our nationalistic obsession with violence. We make God and violence synonymous. We boast about beating children and say that we refuse to spare the rod and spoil the child. We shout over scriptures that suggest God chastens those who he loves. We sing songs and preach sermons about the suffering/beating/pressing/shaking leading us to greater. God is a lovingly violent God. God uses pain and violence to teach us lessons but it all works out, in the end, for our good. We sanction violence with our speech and negate its very real presence in lives of oppressed people. In a world where war and violence persist with wild abandon, can we not begin to think about God differently?

And so, after watching the preview, I decided that my time could be better spent. Yet, opening weekend revealed that my decision did not seem to matter. Problematic theology is big business. You couldn’t log on to social media without the Saints raving about the film. Pastors were telling their congregations to go see it, renting out theatres and holding discussions afterward. Celebrities were raving about how a movie about faith was the number one movie in the country. But, not everybody enjoyed the film. One review, in particular, confirmed that those of us who chose not to see War Room made the right decision. I posted it and, of course, those who loved the movie commenced to tell me how wrong I was about it…and prayer.

Folks blasted my critique, saying I needed to see it to form an opinion. Yet people didn’t need to see one episode of Black Jesus before they started a petition to have it cancelled. Before Sorority Sisters even premiered on VH-1, a movement galvanized to end it. Our hypocrisy, as is often the case, was hilariously disappointing. But this wasn’t about needing context or nuance for critique. It was about the fact that we are never to question religious messages, particularly evangelical/popular ones. We are to accept them wholesale. That is dangerous and God never called us to blind allegiance. We were given minds and the power of critical thinking for a reason. Every Christian message is not a good one. We can look at the span of American history and know that to be true. How can we say that “Black lives matter” consistently critiquing structures of racism and inequity but never critique the harmful religious messages that shape the way people understand themselves and God? These messages force many to believe lies about God and God’s best for them.

It is precisely our dependence upon these lies that made folks’ defense of War Room unfortunate. I was told that the movie would help women see how they were praying (or “fighting”) wrong. There were others who said that the world teaches us to give up too easily and this movie is a message about the necessity of Christians to endure hard times. We're often told that we're in negative or dangerous situations because we haven't prayed hard enough, fought long enough or that God is testing our faith. These types of messages are especially dangerous for women, particularly Black Christian women. We over-spiritualize pain and negative circumstances. Instead of telling people “you don’t deserve what’s happening to you…I’m sorry…this is wrong and it needs to stop”, we read God into people’s heartache and say “you’re not praying hard enough…God won’t give it to you if you don’t fight for it.”

Messages that tell vulnerable people to “pray and stay” always place the responsibility on the injured party to change their circumstances. When did Jesus ever advocate for that?  And in their support of War Room, people dismissed the reality of this. They denied the existence of problematic prayer messages because, ultimately, we are not invested in truth. We are wedded to the notion that pretense is the best form of authenticity. And as such, we refuse to be honest about the times we believed that bad things were happening to us because we lacked faith. We don't talk about the times we used prayer as a bartering tool saying, "God, if you do this, then I will do this". We act like we don't know someone who rejected the doctor's report and believed they could pray it away. We don’t mention the times we heard that mental illness is present because one’s prayer life is absent. We pretend we haven’t heard messages about enduring suffering and abuse to get to our next level. We work really hard to hide our internalized insecurities as a result of these messages and deny that they exist.

But what about the times when prayer is going to chemotherapy?

What about when prayer is taking the antidepressant?

What about when prayer is walking away?

What about the times when these are the most necessary prayers we can pray?

And in addition to not being honest about our responsibility in prayer, we’re more dishonest about how God answers prayer. So many of us are told that, through the faithfulness of our prayer life, we can command God’s direction or that God will give us what we ask for because of how we pray. Millions of books and conference registrations have been sold with this premise. People post their Facebook statuses about an answered prayer and tell us that all you have to do is follow these simple steps and God will answer in your favor. But that’s not how prayer works…at all. Again, we fail to acknowledge the implications of these myths on the lives of people. What about the woman who has been praying for a child for years but to no avail? What about the brother who hits the floor every day praying for employment but is going into his third year without a job? What about the child who prays every night their bedroom door won’t open but it does? What do we say to people whose prayers seem to go unheard or unanswered? It’s all praise, glory and honor when you are on the receiving end of an answered prayer. But, for many- for some of us if we are honest- there are many times when God’s responses to our prayers didn’t go that way. And I’m afraid that we’re nurturing a generation who, indeed, sees God as a genie and is unable to handle it when God doesn’t grant one of their three wishes.

I believe in the power of prayer. I believe prayer changes things. I know that I am here because people prayed for me. I was raised in a home where prayer was important and it remains central in my life. I’m grateful for friends who pray with/for me and I’m honored to pray for others. At the same time, I also believe some of the messages regarding prayer are dangerous. Instead of denying this, I believe it is time to interrogate what we teach and why we teach it. We must count the cost we are asking folks to pay and recognize when it is too great. We must be honest about the ways we have suffered and had to fight- whether publicly or privately- against bad theology. We owe folks that truth.

There are those who will support War Room and the messages like it. There are others who support folks journeying away from the theology those messages promote. I choose to be in the latter camp. And I am not alone. Thank God I am not alone.



On Soul Ties

For the span of fifteen years, I had both a fear and obsession with soul ties. It began my junior year of high school when I first learned about them. For those unfamiliar, a soul tie forms during sex; this bond is strong and can sometimes be unbreakable. This is why it is important to have sex only in marriage because, when you engage in sexual activity, you receive the spirit (or soul) of your partner. Not only that, you also carry the spirits of your partner’s previous partners and their previous partners. You literally could be walking around with the innumerable souls if you have said outside of marriage. Sure, I knew pre-marital sex and having babies “out of wedlock” were the worst sins you could ever commit, but nobody said anything about carrying around souls. I went to college and continued to guard myself against developing soul ties. I read books (I own a good bit of the books on this list. A good bit.) I attended conferences and learned even more. These soul ties were at the root of depression, negative thinking and a true inability to let go of the past. If you saw your ex and still felt some kind of emotion, you had a soul tie. Suffice it to say, when I made the decision to engage in premarital sex, I knew better. Not only was I engaging in sin, I was opening myself up to a cadre of soul ties. I loved him- apparently enough to pollute myself with the souls of people I would never know.

Soon, I wanted to be free. Everything I was told would happen to me as a result of this soul tie actually happened. I began to think that I wasn’t pretty enough. I would see him and feel that same tingle. He would say something and I would blush. I was just wrong- all kinds of wrong- and I needed to get free. So I did the work: repented, laid on the altar, had mothers pray over me, fasted beyond the point of starvation, read only the bible, stopped watching TV, stopped listening to rap and R&B, blocked his calls and texts, threw away every gift and prayed that I was set free. I was told the only way I would know if the soul tie was broken was to test it. If I saw him again and felt nothing or if I went into a new relationship and it was smooth sailing, I was free. When I ran into him, I gave him my new number and let’s just say my next relationship after that didn’t end with wedding bells. I had failed. I would endure years of accepting soul tie theology before I began to question its validity. After attending a service where a woman confessed to freeing herself from the soul tie she formed with her rapist, I could no longer accept this doctrine at face value. The church applauded this woman for cutting the soul tie she formed with a man who had sex with her against her will. I was horrified and asked two pastors, both strong advocates of soul ties, about this. One told me God protects victims of sexual violence from forming soul ties with their attacker because it would be too much to handle a soul tie and a rape. The other told me soul ties form regardless and victims must understand that healing from the sexual violence and breaking the soul tie are different processes. Neither explanation made sense to me. On one hand, God says, “Because you didn’t ask for this, I’ll stop the soul tie but not the violence itself.” On the other hand, God says, “Well, it is still sex after all.” Who is this God and why would anybody serve a God like that?

Where does Scripture say, when we engage in sex, we will receive the souls of countless others? The answer is simple. It doesn’t. Moreover, all these steps to possibly free oneself from a soul tie aren’t biblical either. I’ve attended workshops where the steps to soul tie freedom were exhaustive. I’ve also attended workshops where we were told some sexual soul ties can’t be broken. Says who? Show me where someone encounters Jesus and is not completely healed. I decided I could no longer bear witness to the existence of sexual soul ties, no matter how much an Old Testament scripture was presented with no cultural or contextual understanding. How many heroes of our faith actually had one wife? If soul ties bring about so many demonic forces and destruction, why do we not read, preach or teach about theirs? Why are we not talking about the soul ties of Abraham or Moses? If the effects of soul ties are real, with all those wives and concubines, how could Solomon have possibly been wise?

More importantly, why is soul tie rhetoric always directed at women? The above picture, of which I could find no male counterpart, made rounds on social media and is indicative of how soul ties are often preached. Women are shamed and scared into obedience. Like the picture, we are reduced to sexual beings that have no worth or identity outside of what happens in the bedroom. This picture and soul tie theology suggests that, after having sex outside of marriage, you are no longer human. Sex has tainted everything and there is no longer life in you. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Also, we’re taught to shame natural emotions. Why is it a soul tie if I see an ex and emotion still rises in me? Where do soul ties give the space to be human? Maybe I’m still in love. Maybe I’m still dealing with our breakup. Maybe he’s trifling and every time I see him, my skin crawls. Either way, these are not demonic emotions. They are life’s emotions. I don’t believe sexual soul ties are real. I believe the effects of being in relationship with people are. Those effects can heal or hurt us. That is life. And, though I do believe demons exist, I do not believe that we become possessed by them simply because we didn’t wait until our wedding night. We need to have healthy conversations about sex, as much of current dialogue is rooted in intentional misinformation. I am not against abstinence and celibacy; as a matter of fact, I wholeheartedly support it. I believe people have the right to govern their bodies. I am, however, against people being theologically manipulated into the decision to wait.

Lastly, while I do not believe sexual soul ties exist, I believe the bond between parent and child is the only true soul tie that exists. That relationship charts the course of life for each person- especially the child. We are quick to label a person with “mama drama” or “daddy issues”. Yet we never take the time to assess how parent-child relationships impact every aspect of our lives. Our relationships with our biological parents are often at the root of many of our identity issues and problems in our romantic interactions. This doesn’t take away from those in the village who raised and poured into us. Yet, there is something about fragmented aspects of relationships with our biological parents that eat away at us and leave us broken. Healthy tangible engagements and interactions with our biological parents may not exist for some of us but, when we look in the mirror, we see them staring back at us. This summer, I’ve been reading the powerful memoir, Prison Baby, by Deborah Jiang Stein. It details how her life took unexpected and painful spirals once learning that she was born and lived in a prison with her incarcerated birth mother. Reading her story, I began to reflect on my own and the stories people have shared with me down through the years. Whenever we get to the deep root of insecurities, failed relationships or unhealed wounds, the cause is not a soul tie created during the act of sex. The cause has almost always been brokenness experienced as a result of their relationships with our parents.

I just wish the church saw this as the cause, too.



for church girls who considered adoption, invitro and going off the pill because boaz might be doing a bid upstate

(Note: Though the focus of this discussion is heterosexual Black women who desire marriage and children, please know that I recognize and am sensitive to how elements of this discourse will be different for women who are not heterosexual and/or do not desire marriage.)


Recently, I moved to New Jersey to begin a new chapter in my life. I’ll be pursuing a Ph.D. at Princeton Theological Seminary, teaching a class at Rutgers Univeristy and enjoying all that Northern life has to offer. While this particular part of my journey is only five years, it is a considerable amount of time. When I graduate, I’ll be 38 years years old. Thankfully, I’ll still be young enough to seem cool to my students. Yet, the idea of waiting until I’m 38 to start a family isn’t appealing. I’m ready to begin the transition of my life into the space of motherhood. I’m ready to be a mom.

And because I’m ready, I had a series of conversations with people whose opinions matter the most in my life. My best friend. My inner circle. My cousins. My mentors. My pastor. And, of course, my mother. All of the conversations began with a conversation about single parenthood and, at some point, I slipped in the question. “Soooo what if I became a mom now?” Some of my people played along with the hypothetical scenario while others were much more direct and asked me if I was pregnant. Eventually, I had to tell all of them the truth. I’m ready to be a mom. I’d been thinking about it for a while and was ready to begin exploring my options, with their support. Though the conversations varied and some were much more enthusiastic about the idea than others, they all were supportive. My mother, most of all. I remain grateful for their support because it has allowed me to be honest. It has afforded me the ability to say, “I want to be a mom and I don’t want to wait much longer.” And I’m not the only one. Whether it is my single homegirl who is lamenting the dating scene and its options or the sister across the country who randomly messages me on Facebook, we’re all talking about it. We all desire motherhood but the “traditional/socially accepted” path to get us there, marriage, doesn’t seem to be on the horizon. And no matter how many books Steve Harvey writes to tell us otherwise, it’s not our fault.

As a nation, I don’t think we’ve really come to grips with the total impact of the prison industrial complex on Black America. While African-Americans are incarcerated at higher rates than their White and Hispanic counterparts, it is estimated that over 600,000 Black men are currently incarcerated. This staggering number, unfortunately, does not account for Black men who are on probation, which brings the total to nearly 1 million Black men under some form of correctional control. The absence of that many men has far reaching consequences. One of them, without question, is the ability for heterosexual Black women to find committed partners and/or husbands. A great deal of scholarship has been done regarding the marriageability rates of Black women and scores of relationship experts have toured the country discussing what Black women need to do in order to find the men of their dreams. However, we must face the sobering fact that many Black women will never marry or marriage will come much later than they’d hoped due to the demon that is mass incarceration. It is tough to digest that my Boaz, the man the church has been preparing me for since I could read, might be serving 15-20 years on a drug charge. Sadly, that’s a more hopeful thought than the possibility that he could have just been picked up his third strike and may never seen the outside again.

Wherever this man is and whatever he’s doing, I can’t wait forever…especially if I want to have a family of my own. During my annual exam, my gynecologist had “the talk” with me. A sister, she told it to me straight. Everything may be fine now but, in just a few short years, my ability to conceive and carry a baby to term will become much more difficult. I told her about my desires and conversations with my “village”. She agreed and told me to get my body in the best shape I could to ensure a healthy and successful pregnancy. “You’re still young but you’re also getting older. If you want to do this, you need to do this now.” We may not want to believe it but biology/anatomy/physiology/all that matters. Many of us are racing against time waiting for someone who may never come.

If a woman never becomes a wife, does that mean she cannot become a mother? Many say yes. There are those who suggest that planning motherhood before marriage denotes a lack of faith. Many have dismissed these intentions as unholy and contrary to the will of God. Others have bemoaned that single mothers are what’s wrong with Black America and we don’t need anymore. Before I’d even approached my doctor and loved ones with my desires, I’d already done the work to be at peace with the decision myself. Desiring and planning for motherhood doesn’t reveal a lack of faith. In fact, in my opinion, it’s quite the opposite. This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be married anymore; I still do. It means that I’m trusting God with my dreams; I’m trusting God to literally do the impossible and give me a YES in a world that has already said NO. Isn’t that what faith is all about? Also, I believe that all life is sacred and it is a gift from God. Life, even that which isn’t conceived through traditional means, is still holy. God gives life. Period. And single mothers aren’t the problem with Black America. Single mothers aren’t why Black people still lag behind their White counterparts in every indicator of progress and development. Racism is. Structural oppression- institutionalized racism- birthed the prison industrial complex and is the reason why many Black women are single and have to make such decisions about their maternal future. It’s so easy to critique victims of a system rather than the system itself. Such a critique is irresponsible and unproductive. Also, just because a mother is unmarried doesn’t mean that the father and/or other men are not and would not be present in her child’s life. Many Black men have been and continue to be amazing fathers without being in a romantic relationship with the mothers. And, in instances where the father is absent, there have always been men who are willing to step up and be counted. Ultimately, Black children, whether born to single or married parents, have always benefited from “the village”. We do ourselves a disservice when we dismiss that just to demonize single mothers.

What role, then, does the church have in the life of a sister who selects motherhood before marriage? First, I believe that any church that takes seriously the life and love of Black women must take seriously the call to dismantle the prison industrial complex. Women’s and singles’ ministries that “prepare” women for marriage are rendered insignificant when there are no husbands available. Congregations must be active in calls for policy and legislation reform that will have a direct impact on arrests, convictions and sentencing. Black churches must also be invested in the work of reintroducing newly released and paroled men into society, providing them with mentors and employment. Most importantly, pastors must be willing to preach and teach grace and forgiveness in ways that will help to soften the single sister’s heart towards a brother who did some time but is now on the right track. Sisters, be clear: this is a struggle for me too. If I’m honest, I feel like I did all the right things and shouldn’t have to end up with a man who has a record. However, some of us are going to have to take a chance on a brother with a less than stellar past, who is working hard in the present and has a bright future ahead of him.

But not only this, pastors must be willing to unlock Scripture in a way that invites us all to consider motherhood before marriage as a gift. And while single mothers are no stranger to the Black church, we’re going to have to take the notion that single motherhood is a consequence to the altar and leave it there. Being a single mom is not a consequence for doing something wrong; it is blessing. Who are we to limit God? Who are we to say the ways that God can and will advance the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven? We serve a savior who was born into scandal and delighted in children. If anyone will understand the complicated unconventional routes to parenthood, it is Jesus.

In the past week, I’ve talked with so many women who are considering adoption, who are beginning the IVF process and who have intentionally stopped taking birth control. All of these women love God and aim to live a life that is pleasing. All of these women are single. All of these women want to be mothers. All of these women have my full support and I pray that their dream of motherhood comes true.

Here’s what I know: “Wait on God” is nice to say. On the right days, it may cause a congregation to shout and dance. On other days, it may move worshippers to humble submission. Yet, “wait on God” can’t be the empty and trite cliché we give to escape dealing with the real world and all its issues. You can’t tell a 40 year old sister to just “wait on God” anymore. What do you think she’s been doing? And you can’t tell the 36 year old sister to wait and give your testimony about how you waited and got married at 38, either. Our testimonies are amazing; they show us what God can do. But our testimonies are not one-size-fits-all. Your testimony could be that you were married at 38 and rejoiced that God didn’t forget about you. Your sister’s testimony could be that, on her 38th birthday, she looked at her 2year old and rejoiced in the fact that God didn’t forget about her, as well. We have to give people the space and the support to live free of our criticisms and scrutiny.

The decision to choose motherhood before marriage is one only a free Black woman can make. And, truthfully, we don’t know what to do with free Black women. We never have. Be free anyway.

To every sister who wants this, I’m rooting for you.