Monday, April 30, 2012

Chapter 3: Lowering my Standards

I have come back to this blog several times and attempted to complete my chapter 2 but I found threads of bitterness interwoven with real feelings so I kept getting stuck. I decided to scrap that for now, but I will come back to that when I’m feeling more objective. I decided to move on to Chapter 3. This chapter has come in response to the suggestion by several in the past few weeks who suggested that I was the one that needed to lower my standards or suffer indefinitely with the plague of being single. This has spurned a lot of thoughtful introspection and consideration of what my standards are.

Here are my responses:

First, for those that have known me since I actually started dating, they know that I date ALL OVER THE PLACE. As my first blog post indicated, I have dated across the globe with regards to nationality, culture, and even language. Additionally, I have also dated men with varying educational and professional levels and found some great men along the way who have taught me a lot about what is most important. I have also dated all over the place with regards to physical proportions, I have dated thinner guys, taller guys, massive guys, extremely attractive guys, and even guys that I may not have been as attracted to at first. My mom gave up on guessing who I would bring over and tries her best to pronounce their names. Bless her soul.

For those that think I’m just completely retarded with regards to dating (and that is in no way an insult to those with special needs, it’s an indicator of being behind in this development), I have had a few close calls. I have been essentially engaged (we had the money for the ring and a date picked), I have discussed marriage with a few other men as well. But then you must be questioning why I’m still single. That question does deserve some answers and previous posts MIGHT have answered that.

Most of my nieces and nephews, some happier than others...
Let me tell you a story about the first man I ever loved. I won’t name his name because I do still care a great deal about him and his happiness so I will just call him Ray. He’s Polynesian so that feels a little dirty to call him Ray, but clearly I am not creative enough. Ray treated me with a great deal of respect. He was considerate, attentive, and kind. These were the reasons I fell in love with him. More than that, I watched him play with my nieces and nephews and I adored the way he treated them (for those that don’t know - I live for my nieces and nephews). He also came into my life after a very serious heartbreak and compared to that mess of a man, he was amazing. Additionally, we had the same spiritual goals and of course were of the same religion.

 I hear your thoughts, “WHY DID SHE NOT MARRY HIM???” Your incredulity is duly noted and understood. There are days where I have a gut check about calling things off with him myself. So, let’s get on to the meat of this. The red flags…Ray is a good man. But he struggled to keep a job and yes, Ray was here less than legally. This did not bother me as much as it bothered others in my life because I knew plenty of people from my mission that were legally challenged in this aspect, some of which longed for nothing more than to belong in this great country and had been rejected after exhausting so many resources to be here legally. Ray was one of these people. I was more than willing to marry him despite this. I knew it would be a challenge but I cared for him and believed his intentions. However, this presented a lot of uncertainty to me as he could not keep jobs. Furthermore, he had no interest in higher education and no professional aspirations. I do not mean to imply I was requiring him to have a certain degree or make X amount of money, I simply wanted to see a little drive and see some dreams that we could begin to build a life around.

More red flags came when discussing child rearing. We had a couple glitches with regards to discipline but I was willing to discuss this. When discussing plans for our future and financial goals, he was not worried about working to save for college because he was CONVINCED they would be amazing athletes and that they would qualify for scholarships as a result of this talent. I was not convinced. For starters, he was a great athlete and built like a freight train, I however, excelled in choir and English. To me, playing sports was recreational at best and I was essentially Gumby on crack any time I tried to play sports (I have improved, losing 150 pounds helped). This was the source of one of our first fights. I believe in allowing children to explore their talents and creativity, but even if I have to work with them, school and education will be a priority. I want my children to be good humans and contributing members of society, if it’s in sports, great, but I want their value and potential to hinge on so much more than that. There was no compromise on that one.

During the time we dated, because I was working full time and going to school full time, my long lost mono came back full force. I was exhausted. I ran out of juice. But after all day at work, all night at school, and all weekend studying and doing homework, I still had to cook, clean, and help with his laundry. I communicated that I needed help to make it through. I don’t expect guys I date to pick up on little hints, I’m honest and open. I waited a few more months, no change came. Additionally, he never did things to make me feel special. I wanted just a little romance, no overt gestures by any means, but a kind note, a planned date, a flower, a text once in a while during the day. I also indicated to him that I needed that from him. Those things came, but only after I finally called it off and it seemed too little, too late, and contrived.

Those red flags led me to the realization that because I was the one who was always making the plans, discussing the future, planning, budgeting, working and going to school that I needed to be comfortable absorbing the majority of the roles in our relationship. I had hopes that after a year or so of dating that he would step into some of those roles or at least help me out a little more…sadly, the needed progression in our relationship did not occur. With mono kicking my trash, I knew, in my heart that I could not do it all. No amount of love and desire for marriage would fix this. Our general directions were similar but our courses were set far off from each other.

I will simply tell you that this became one of the greatest spiritual conflicts at that time of my life. For those that don’t want to hear about spirituality, you may want to skip this paragraph. I prayed. I prayed a lot. My desire to be married in the temple was huge. My love for this man begged for imploring. I did not end this relationship due to these red flags alone. I cannot appropriately share this experience in this forum so I hope you will trust me when I say I weighed this decision against every aspect and outcome. I knew it was not right. I knew that the Lord knew both our hearts and where we needed to be in the future and confirmed my choice to end the relationship. Let me tell you about the heartbreak that came. I try to be a nice human being, but I was not prepared to crush this man that I loved. My heart still aches a little knowing how deeply I hurt Ray. Some looks and feelings never dull.

Fortunately for Ray, he healed, he fell in love, and he married. I still get random texts from him with pictures of his two kids. I am grateful that he found happiness and a life that he loves. This is what I wanted most for him.

I do not consider myself even a little bit picky. Believe it or not, I’m willing to compromise. I’m willing to hear another point of view and adjust my own if needed. I had a friend sum up my character simply as someone who is open and caring but expects people to take accountability for whatever choices or paths they take. I feel that’s a fair assessment.

Why did I share that experience? Well, that experience taught me a lot about what I personally need in a relationship, what I have to offer, what my give-aways are and what my non-negotiables are.

Second, what am I looking for??? I just want to be “equally yoked.” This is a lesson I learned a long time ago in Sunday School or something like that. It’s the concept that when a cart or wagon is being hauled by oxen, in order for the optimum speed and effort to be yielded, the driver places a heavy wooden yoke across the necks of two oxen. This is designed to provide direction and limit extreme movements of both, it's also in place to equally distribute the heavy load it must haul. If one ox is failing to pull its own weight for long periods of time, it magnifies the effort of the other ox, leaving the second one exhausted in the end. This is not to say that where one ox struggles, the other can’t augment, but it has to be a give and a take and they need to be well matched.

I have goals, desires, and dreams; I want to be married to someone that can match me in that. I don’t care if he wants to be a plumber, as long as he wants to be the best darn plumber he can be. I don’t need him to have all the extra education available, but I want to know I can have intellectual conversations with him sometimes and talk about deeper things than where to buy the best deep fried rice. Additionally, depsite imperfections I am a deeply spiritual person. I am looking for someone that wants God as a priority in their life.

The other half of the Twin Towers
I have worked very hard to become the best version of myself. I have focused my efforts and found great personal satisfaction in achieving things that I previously imagined to be impossible. Why is it having unrealistic expectations to want that out of the man I intend to spend this life and the next with? I have fought to get an education because that is my own expectation and something I want to be an example for my future children. I have put blood, sweat and tears into losing weight not because I think I need to be a certain size to be married, but my husband and children deserve a healthy and happy mother.

Why can’t I ask that of my future spouse? Is it wholly unfair to want someone who wants to reach their potential and will work hard to get there? I’m not asking for perfection at all because I am far from perfect. I am willing to be a supportive partner and make plans with my husband. I believe my role as a wife is to support and sustain a good, honest man. But as someone recently pointed out, you cannot change things that are fundamental. You cannot teach someone who has always made it by being lazy, you cannot demand honesty from a liar, and you will never find respect from someone who pushes you and your boundaries. If the intrinsic values and motivation are not in place, you cannot ask them to magically appear. Because I hold myself to such standards, it seems illogical not to ask the same from someone I would join my life with forever. I’m sorry if that’s too cut and dry for some, it just seems to make sense.

Third, the man I choose to marry will be the father of my children. The future of my children is actually one of the guiding compasses in my life. As previously mentioned, I’m not perfect, but my desire to be better and overcome challenges and weaknesses hinges on the children I hope to have one day. I cannot afford to be lazy when considering the man I want to love my children and provide for them. I feel a great sense of accountability for that. I have seen marriages that were virtual nightmares. I myself am a product of not only a divorce but a CRAZY life. I want a little better for my children.

FINALLY, for all you who worry that I might just never get married, I would respond: THERE ARE THINGS MUCH WORSE THAN BEING SINGLE.

I would love to be married. I am working to be the best wife and mother. I am out there dating. I am not bitter or desperate. I don’t think I need to rush into a marriage, or settle, or lower my standards. I hope to find someone who wants the same things. Nothing unrealistic, but all in all, hopeful for a shared life of hard work, love, achievement and some amazing memories along the way.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chapter 2: The Loathsome Question and the Answer (part one)

Alright, alright, for those of you that are amazing at updating your blogs and capable of eloquently describing life or events, I sincerely apologize. First, please understand that I have been working and going to school full time. At the end of the day, my life has been booked. Plus, I consider it a social obligation to write something worth reading!

So...If I had ten bucks for every time someone asked me, "Marie, I just don't get it, why are you STILL single." I'd be slightly wealthy. I have been asked this by seriously at least a hundred people and among those are guys I actually started dating. This, is in fact my least favorite question. I mean, what am I supposed to say??? Am I supposed to spin that like they tell you to in an interview. "Well, you see, I just work too hard. I never know when to take a break." Or do I take it as a rhetorical question? Or do I pretend that it's a question that I have an answer to? Is this question truly intended to solicit a valid response? I see your inquisitive, genuine looks of concern. I've watched the scrutiny in your eyes as you try to solve this quandary on your own. And I've actually heard the pity in your voices.

Usually I try to find a funny answer to this question. "Well you see, it's that sixth toe on both my feet and that seems to be a deal breaker." Perhaps taking a poll of all the guys I have dated you could tell me! This has been a question that I use regularly for serious introspection. I mean, I'm not a horrible human being, I don't feel like I fell out of the ugly tree, I don't think I'm an idiot or 100% neurotic. I don't have crazy vices, I try to be a contributing member of society and I love my mom and dad. All in all, despite circumstances beyond my control, I have managed to make my life one that is positive and I think I'm a happy person. But in relationships, it is apparently not that simple.
At the end of the day, I'm not certain I can answer that question completely. But I will do my best to finally put that bad boy to bed.

First, I feel like I'm going through the dating experiences with a severe handicap. I mean, truth be told, my first kiss wasn't until I was 26, yeah, I said 26. My first real relationship came along when I was 27. I had serious self image issues. I mean, I have spent the majority of my life being the funny fat girl and the best friend to all, girlfriend to none. I listened to my guy friends break down just about every attribute, (physical and otherwise), of a girl after a date in such a way as to make it clear, I stood no chance in my obese frame. I cannot express how demoralizing this was to me. I also saw that girls with no confidence got no where and I was in the red with confidence. It was easier to take myself out of the game so as to not feel this harsh scrutiny. As I started losing weight, I honestly felt empowered and guys started noticing me. But the problem? I had and quite possibly still have not learned to play the "game", you know, the one where she plays hard to get and he falls all over himself to win her heart. Let me be clear, I spent all of my elementary and secondary education on the outside. Never quite breaking into the realms of popularity. I learned to watch. I saw high school girls lie and act like MORONS in order to appear flirty and cute. GAG ME NOW. More amazingly, this actually kept going into college and yes, even now. I watched guys get tripped up time and time again by these girls. I was acutely aware of this game, but I swore to myself that once I started dating, I was going to be true to myself and my character.

So, to this day I still struggle with the rules of engagement in dating. How am I to act and behave so to convince him that I'm a catch? In fact, a few weeks ago I had a very interesting conversation with a friend who has a similar temperment to my own. She's sassy and pointed. She's happy but she's also not to the point of being fake. She's real. I told her that I didn't know which of my personality traits were fatal flaws and which were beneficial with respect to dating guys and this ridiculous game. She then explained her view, "you know Marie, I've thought about this and have come to the conclusion that God created me as His daughter. He created me with this personality that serves me well. If He made me who I am then my personality traits are not a mistake. I do not think we need to diminish these traits so that guys won't feel intimidated." This resonated with me. For the last years I've had many, MANY people try to teach me (clearly unsuccessfully) to play the game. They tell me to not be so honest, to just keep everything light and fun because THAT'S what guys like. I was told to not be available to them. I was told to play hard to get. The list really could go on. At the end of the day, down playing my "strong" personality serves no one. I like to communicate, I like to solve problems, and if something needs to be said, I learned to open my mouth. In every other aspect of my life, these traits have made all the difference and served me well. I do not have time to play a game in which I ultimately am lying about who and what I am. If this means I am single for a very long time, then so be it as opposed to being something I am not, I will manage.

One of the quotes that sincerely changed how I viewed myself was part of Nelson Mandela's innagural speech but I found was actually written by Marianne Williamson:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so
that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other
people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."

I do not believe I am magnifying the gifts I have been given and the person I have become by being something I am not nor is it a service to my friends or the guys I date. I believe, with my whole heart that somewhere in singledom, there is a man that is fully capable of loving me with these personality traits. You see, I believe very strongly in the possibilities of both myself and those around me. I feel that one thing I do well is see the potential in everyone. While I need to smooth off my rough edges, who I am has served many people in positive ways and will ultimately provide me with the skills to be a great wife and mother one day. Diminishing myself and my traits should serve to make me unappealing to men, (if logic truly prevailed in dating). One day I will find that guy that actually sees all that I have worked very hard to overcome and accomplish and I will be worth any effort needed to make a relationship work. It's not up to me to convince a guy I'm of some extensive worth that they surely cannot pass me up. It is my job to be true to myself and be grateful and giving any opportunity I am provided with.

Having been clear about that, one thing that I do feel is that somehow, after a myraid of failed relationships and severely broken hearts, I have become a lot harder to reach. This became at first a coping mechanism when I did not like myself and did not want to reveal this to others. Now, it's become a screening technique, a REALLY bad technique. Until I feel a guy is in it to win it I seldom show that I indeed to have a sensitive heart. People may see me as insensitive because I don't really cry a lot or show a lot of emotion...but that's not the case. First, I've been through some personal hells and frankly, minor set backs don't phase me anymore. I fall and I pick myself up, dust myself off, and take the stairs instead of the elevator! I'm not going to get upset and fall apart over something that I have no control over, that's not a great use of anyone's time! I also am a realist to some extent. To me, life is what we chose to make of it. Sure there are circumstances that we fall into that aren't necessarily in our control, but we do chose how long we remain in those circumstances and the power we allow those circumstances to have over us.
Having opened the blinds a little into the heart of Marie, I see where this may make it seem that I am cold and distant. However, do not count me out yet. For those that know me and I mean REALLY know know that I would do just about anything for almost anyone. I am loyal and will ALWAYS fight for an underdog. I will drop things for a friend anytime. Sure, that's not what you'll see at first, but I think love at first sight is super hokey anyway.

Alright...that is part one and quite possibly a little more insight into the answer to this question than you might have signed up for. This is a SUPER long post (don't judge, I'm making up in length for what I lack in consistency in posting). I'm not sure this is as entertaining as I would have liked it to be, it took on a life of its own.

Hopefully I'll post again before the next decade. As a disclaimer...I threw in a few pictures of some of my latest adventures...they actually aren't related to this post completely. I just needed to break it up a tiny bit.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chapter 1?

I know MANY of you keep asking me to update my blog. I still am working on my foray into blogger land, so hopefully this will appease you all!

I am not sure if this should be the right chapter to start off with but it's fresh in my mind. Apparently I'm broken in real life because the recent adventures in dating have been from contact made online. I consider myself an intelligent woman, I decided if I want to find a good LDS boy, if I'm going to submit to online dating, it had better be an LDS site for sure. Apparently my definition of GOOD LDS BOY is completely off. That is really the preface to this story.

Now, I consider myself as an equal opportunity dater. I try to keep an open mind as is apparent by my choices in which wards I chose to frequent. Most of my dating experiences have been of the international variety. When I say international, I'm meaning I've stopped by just about every port and country. Let me list a brief dating resume...we've seen Samoa, Tonga, Peru, Argentina, Syria, Columbia, Mexico....Samoa...Samoa...Samoa (a series of really WEIRD choices). I am not sure if it's me or what, but the white boys seem to be less into me than my brown brothers. Again, I try to be as impartial and accepting as possible.

I seriously can't get to the best part, I get distracted...thank heavens when my book actually comes together, I will have to edit if for your reading pleasure. So...My latest Internet date...let me tell you about it. For this one, we visited the Island of Tonga.

As a former fat girl it's tough to know when to walk away from a dating disaster. I met another brown boy online, we will call him T and his Big Guns. He started emailing me the last few days. We chatted a few times and then he asked for my number. So far, no complaints. Obviously I thought he was cute. And all the details on his profile seemed nice and I thought, shoot, why not? So I gave him my number, he called, he thought I was hilarious...that was a good sign. He asked me if I had plans for dinner. I could have acted like I was cool enough to have 10 options, but I'm a horrible liar, just ask my mom. ANYWAY...I said yes. He said he'd be here at 7:30. Enough time to get ready.

First bad news of the night...I didn't hear from him until almost 8pm. STRIKE one. When he did come through it was almost 8:30 but I was hungry and my roomie had already left for the night. He called from the parking lot, and told me to come on out. STRIKE TWO. OH...he also rolled up sporting two big fattie diamond earrings. Really? I mean REALLY?

So he took me to a buffet, which was fine because if you've been to one Asian buffet, you've been to them all. I actually knew the ones that served Tongan food. I'm only a little ashamed of that knowledge. We make it in through the doors and I'm already laughing inside about how ridiculous we look. I had on heels and he had on a sports jersey. Not sure if this was a match made in heaven or not.

The kind lady at the front told him the total for two. He started looking for his card. He kept searching. I looked at the cashier, we BOTH had seen this move before. Let me be clear, he asked me out. So he starts talking crazy about how he swears his debit card was here. At this point all I heard was, "blah, blah, blah." He left me at the front and went to "search" his car. I told the cashier, he had better come back. I also told her that if I paid, this would be the first and LAST date. Five minutes later he did, and I know you all are going to be shocked, but still no card. I paid because I was getting to embarrassed by this time. STRIKE THREE.

Now, I love my Polynesian friends, but watching them eat is a sport unto itself. He went through seven plates. This did not bother me, at least I know my money was well spent. It was a little concerning that he was dumping his unwanted goods on the table. Not only did I pay but I got to try to manage the wreckage. But what killed me is that the kid couldn't sit still. He kept saying he was one age and then another. Finally I told him to show me his ID because we all know he was full of it. I tried hard not to be mean, but he seriously made it so easy to give him a hard time. We spent almost two hours there, bless our poor waitress, she kept those plates coming.

Big T and The Guns, finally took me home. By this point I had taken the opportunity to call him on everything (the guy asked). He gave me some lame answer about The Islands and how they didn't know how to act on a date. The dude had been in the US since 2000 AND I'm confident that's not how they are raised. So he asked me when he dropped me off if he was supposed to walk me to the door. I told him to take notes. OF COURSE HE HAD TO WALK ME TO THE DOOR. Please guys, walk your dates to the door. I was a little concerned that he was thinking he had somehow earned that doorstep kiss. He settled for a hug.

So friends, what have we learned? Well, as my good friend Cynthia has stated, "Marie, you don't have to make out with everyone." We also learned that just because we are former fat girls, it's ok to expect a guy to be a gentleman. We also learned that while filing through the men still single and emotionally available, it's acceptable to tell them they need to step it up. We also learned that the standards set are the minimum, be confident enough to walkaway if he handles the crab legs like termites love a dead log.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

At Goal, -150 pounds, looking back

This is my first foray into the BLOGGING world. Many of my dear friends have suggested I share my story in blog form. As of 10/01/2008 I made my goal weight with Weight Watchers. I'm still a woman so I'm not about to tell ANYONE what I currently weigh. BUT, when I weighed in on Wednesday night at my Weight Watchers meeting, I hit my target weight. What that means to me is I am 150 pounds lighter than when I started the Weight Watcher program.

I can share my excitement and the story. But, the tender feelings that come with finally achieving what many people told me would never happen, are mine to keep.

I remember the day I joined Weight Watchers. It was the week after my 25th birthday. I realized that I was not happy and the full life I was meant to live was a reality that I could not consider. For my 25th birthday I decided to give myself two presents.

1. I needed to tell the boy I had a crush on that I liked him. Not because I was hoping he would realize I was the catch he never considered, but because I needed to move on.

2. I had to start losing weight. I was scared that I would die very young and that I would end up in a plus size casket. That's one plus size shopping trip I could not make.

So...I did both. I told the boy I thought the world of him...that story is meant for another blog because I think it's HILARIOUS. As I expected, he didn't feel the same. But I remember CLEARLY stepping onto the scale for the first time. I spoke to my doctor about weight loss (I kinda was hoping he would tell me about some magic pill), he suggested that I look into Weight Watchers because it was a healthy program. I was excited and nervous as I waited to be weighed in. Sincerely, my heart stopped when I saw the numbers over 300 lbs. I wanted to cry...I wanted to close my eyes and leave my over sized body. Unfortunately, when I realized how heavy I was and how BIG of a journey this was going to be, I got sick. I was going to take a true "before" picture. But I was so embarrassed and I could not ask someone to take that picture. I regret that now.

ANYWAY....that was just over three years ago. The experience I had at weigh in this week was monumentally different. When I woke up on Wednesday I got on my home scale. And I was shocked to see I was actually at goal. I got off and on about 20 times because I couldn't believe it. That morning I called Heidi my WW leader and asked her to call Alan. He is a lifetime member in my class and usually does not come the first week. He made me promise NEVER to make goal the first week of the month. I told Heidi that I think I was going to be at goal and that I needed her to call Alan and tell him to come. My other inspiration Shannon wasn't going to come either, but I BEGGED her. I could not have made my goal weight without their sincere support.

I was SO nervous ALL DAY LONG. I was so worried I was wrong and that I wasn't going to hit goal weight at my meeting. The last hour of work was the longest hour of my life. I FINALLY made it to my meeting. Heidi saw me come in and we both smiled...You know that smile...where you share an inside joke with someone. So I got in line and by cheerleading crew surrounded the scale to see me hit goal.

I stepped on...and BLASTED SCALE said I was .6 from goal. Oh this was not acceptable. So, I went out to my car...grabbed a lighter skirt and snuck into the bathroom and changed skirts. I also thought taking off my bra and tights were for good measure. I got back on the dumb scale. .2 away. I cannot really share how I did it...because it's kind of embarrassing, all you need to know is that after my strip tease, I hit it on the button. YAY!!!!!!!!!

Heidi screamed, I laughed and screamed. Heidi went to hug me but I told her not to...the skirt's zipper was broken, I had no bra, and I was FRIGHTENED that the world was going to see more of Marie than was legally acceptable! She hugged me anyway.

Seriously...I have had many great days in my life. But I am confident this was one of the most amazingly gratifying days of my life. I will never forget October 1st. This is the day I became. I became the woman that sets and achieves her goals. The woman who knows how to handle obstacles. The woman who has decided to stop letting the past hold her future captive. I became the woman who inspired others. I became a grateful person.

I know this is a long blog. But it will hopefully set up the purpose of starting a blog nicely. As I have lost weight I have also began dating. I was so afraid of dating and had experienced a lot of rejection. So as a 28 year old, I am now beginning to figure out this dating business. I have joked with friends about writing a book. I am going to use my blogs to talk about some of my dating experiences. THEY ARE HILARIOUS!!!! I also hope to inspire through humor. I have had great opportunities and I think they need to be shared and appreciated. My book will be: Dating Chronicles of the Ex-Fat Girl. I look forward to input from friends, family, and visitors as I bring this book to life.

Hopefully at the end of the story, I will find the person that I can share my life with but if that never happens, at least I will have some hilarious stories!

I'm working on uploading pictures from before and take some after pics. We will see when I figure out this business!