Life as a Graduate Part Two.

Around 5/6 months ago, I posted a blog about being a graduate, trying to find a job as a newly graduated arts/fashion student, the changes of living away to living at home etc. Now this time has passed, I just thought I’d update you all on what is going on now that I’ve well and truly graduated and so far away from what I knew, uni life.

I still, every single day, miss the independence of living away from home but I’m very much loving all the food, internet and alone/quiet time I get. I’m loving being closer to family and not waiting up to months or when I could afford to get home to see them. I miss the uni lifestyle more than ever. I’m missing the routine. Even if I only got up to sit in a computer room for hours with my uni friends and headed home for dinner and an evening of Greys Anatomy on the box, it was still something. I miss being pushed beyond what I thought I could be creatively. I miss being inspired by class friends and tutors. I just miss uni. If you had asked me this time last year, if I was looking forward to being out of education I wouldn’t of hesitated to answer… hell yes. It’s only now, I would do anything to go back.

Sadly, all in all, not too much has changed. However, I have realised and learnt a lot from the interviewing world. I’m not sure if I should put the number on here or not, but why the hell not? It’s real life isn’t it. Since July, I have applied for 238 jobs/internships. That number is a total from only two job sites I have used. There are at least 4 other job sites I have used, where I haven’t added the number to the total. 238 times I have been rejected. 238 times I have had my hopes up when either applying or interviews. Some I have even had trial days for. 

I understand that when you graduate, it’s probably advisable for you to go into an internship. Especially if your degree is in creative subjects. Internships, from what I understand are designed for you to gain industry experience, the company can help you learn and gain the skills for industry, whilst working in industry and prepare you for working in the big wide worldwhatever that is. So, when I’ve gone for design internship interviews to just get an email back to say they have chosen someone with  more experience than me, doesn’t that just defeat the purpose of an internship? I try so hard not to be mad at that… but I just can’t help it.

 

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(Image from Pinterest, love this type!)

We all know the world of employment is difficult to get into, whatever career path you take… but for a graduate, this is really and truly tough. Getting turned down every single day, no matter how hard you try for the job is so emotionally and mentally destroying. I know people are trying to help by saying there’s a job out there for everyone, keep going, don’t give up etc… however, sadly it just doesn’t take the emotional and mental side of being declined away. You still have to read the email you’re not good enough because of experience. You still have to deal with the thoughts of; am I good enough? Why did I do a degree just to get this constantly? Will I ever be able to be a girlboss in the career I’ve always dreamt of being part of? I think it’s just as important to address this side of job declines as it is to say keep going.

I do, however have some good news, or news that I hope will be good news in the end. I went to a job interview last week where I thought I had done the best interview I’ve done to date. Despite having a panic attack in the middle of the street in London, I went in and thought I had bossed it. I had created a whole campaign for the brand that I took additionally to my interview with my portfolio and the brand loved it. I was then told at the end to wait until the end of this week. That was one of the longest weeks of my life. The wait to hear back from job interviews literally turns me into such an anxious mess. From the experience I’ve already had… is there any surprise?

I finally got an email this morning to say I am through to the second interview with their creative partners and I am so BEYOND excited. However, I am so nervous… I am so nervous because standard interviews I’ve done a lot now. But have never done a second interview and I just want to do the best I possibly can for the role.

I need this job more than ever now. It would be the most perfect Christmas present. Please keep your fingers crossed. 

I’m looking forward to updating part three in another 5/6 months from now to see how much things have changed, if at all? 

 

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Online friends, role models, bullying and a little bit of news. 

So, on the 29th October 2010 it was the first time I met one of my role models growing up, Dannii Minogue. Exactly, seven years ago today and I can remember the lead up to it so very very well. That feeling of not being able to sleep the night before out of pure excitement. Creating a card from scratch, which I had an argument with the card shop man about getting the perfect card… to then being able to give it to Dannii. I remember, watching Dannii on X Factor for years, walking into newsagents and seeing Dannii on magazine covers and buying them and collecting them (not ashamed to say I still have them). I never thought, that I’d ever meet the real lady herself.

Funny story about the actual day, whilst we were waiting in line to meet, Dannii walked down to where she would be signing her new book and it was literally the first time I had ever seen her, in flesh. I remember turning to my friends and saying ‘omg she’s real’ – how cute! 

As I was growing up I was teased a lot and made fun out of supporting Dannii and the other people I looked up to.

But what people didn’t know, was… watching Dannii on X Factor every weekend and the fact that she tweeted back took me away from the real life problems that was going on… for example – BULLYING.  I’ve touched on bullying on my blog before. It’s such a part of my life, although it is such a sad, horrible part, yet a big part… that I only really talk about it in context.

I was bullied right from year one at school to when I left in year 11. I would be wary and on my toes, every single day at school. A few times, during school, I was left on my own in break times and lunch times. I’d go into lessons and have the words ‘spongebob squarepants’ or just the plain and simple words ‘SQUARE HEAD!’ shouted at me, continuously until I believed it. I believed I had a square head, especially with the amount of people who used to remind me of it, every single day.

Even now, today… it has knocked my confidence so much. I’m away from the people who used to call me names, but their words have scarred me. I find it incredibly difficult to speak up about ideas in a work/education situation. I never did it whilst at school, because I didn’t think the class would be worthy of my answer. To them, I just thought I was a square head and that was it. To this day, I still don’t know how I put up with it for years and years. How did I let people degrade me and make me feel like that? 

I wasn’t scared as such to go to lessons, they didn’t scare me… it was just, the thought of being called it continuously, even when I was minding my own business and stayed out of people’s way..  sadly it didn’t make them stop. I remember, so many lunch times and break times you would never see me on the school playground or field. I felt more safe and secure being inside the school, even if I did annoy the teachers. 

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(Seeing Dannii seven years ago to this day – 29/10/2010) 

But, becoming a supporter (I detest the word fan) of Dannii and Kylie and all the other people I’m a fan of, I felt validated. Something I didn’t feel from my own age group in real life. I had Twitter before everyone else caught on at school, and through Twitter and Dannii/Kylie I was able to make friends. Friends I still have to this day. Friends, I will always, always be grateful for. I didn’t talk about being bullied online at school because I was scared. But these people made me feel like I had friends outside the few I had at school. Even if they weren’t right there with me. 

Through the friends I had made on Twitter and online, I felt listened to. People would reply to my tweets and made me feel like people cared as well as making me feel people wanted to talk to me.

And guess what? Not once on the internet or since school have I been called a square head. Not once. 

People may of teased me back then about looking up to a celebrity(ies) but what they didn’t know is, they helped me feel me again. They helped me make friends that I still see to this day. They have made me feel validated. 

I still struggle every day with self confidence issues and just confidence in general. 

In fact, I have my dream job trial day tomorrow (30th October) and because of my confidence issue of speaking out ideas, and believing in myself, if I am good enough… I’m terrified. But I’m gonna try my absolute best. 

I hope this post helps people out there. In one way or another. It was incredibly hard to type but I’m so glad I have.

Most of all, thank you to all the role models that I have looked up to, who have helped me make friends for life and for making me the happiest when I was the saddest. 

To the person, who has not found love, yet…

I’m not really sure how to begin this post apart from, I have a lot of things on my mind lately and figured writing about them in a blogpost will be a great way to get it out. I thought I would write this post in an anonymous letter, to whomever may need it, including perhaps myself. I’m not entirely sure if this will flow well, at all.

“Dear whomever is reading this,

I’m not sure how I’m gonna get into this letter. I guess the only way I can do is state what I want to say without ‘beating round the bush’ – whatever that means. I’m 23 years old. I’m a female and I’ve never ever been in a serious relationship. I say serious, in actual fact I mean… any love-type relationship, at all. 

I often see posts on social media, of people my age and even younger with their loved one. Going away on holidays together, romantic dates or even days where you sit in bed, eat pizza and binge watch TV shows. I know that what is posted on social media is what people want you to see of their lives, or has been said before… a show’s highlight reel. I know, it isn’t always what it’s really like. There could be other problems and issues people are going through that they don’t want you to see. I get that. But the posts I do see, I can’t help but feel, when will it be my turn? 

The ‘attention’ I ever seem to get is from men, which I wish would leave me alone. For example, not too long ago, I got off the train from London after a job interview and couldn’t afford a taxi home so had to get the bus. Whilst walking to the bus stop the bus passed me and I missed it. I still headed there, waiting for the next bus as the walk from the station home isn’t long, but long enough. Especially after a day in London. The bus stop isn’t in a location where there’s no one around. In fact, it’s in a place where many, many people are around. Walking, driving, whatever it may be. However, there was this one man… quite tall and weirdly carrying a balloon. Must have got it from McDonalds near by, who was following me. Every time I stopped and turned round, he stopped. Not that this should be an issue at all, but I was wearing quite a short leather skirt and a longer blazer. I mean… I had to dress up smartly because I had an interview. I started to get concerned because I was alone and this guy was literally following me. It wasn’t until he started shouting stuff I really got nervous. I ended up having to run… literally run, two bus stops away to get away from him. WHY is it always, these types of people I attract?

I would say that I’m an outgoing person. I would like to think I am fun to be around. Of course not all the time, we alllllll have those days. Whether we admit it or not. You know, them types of days where you just want to hide from the world, snuggled in bed, watching your fave TV show and drinking hot chocolate or cups of tea on tap. (If you’re interested, my show is Greys Anatomy… I’ve watched 11 out of 13 seasons and it’s the ONLY show I can watch, without getting bored… unless you’re talking about Friends, but that’s a different story – that Now TV I bought at Christmas time, my fave for all Grey’s binge sessions) With that being said about myself, why haven’t I found someone yet? Why does no one pay any sort of attention to me?

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I feel a little left out. I feel like maybe I’m not good enough for a partner. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a bit terrified of love, because I’ve never had it before. I wouldn’t know the first thing to do. Maybe it’s just the attention I want and the love and not everything else that comes with it? Maybe… I just don’t know what or who I want after all?

I hate putting labels on things, especially things such as love. Love should just be love, right? Whether you’re a boy/man who has fallen in love with a boy/man/girl/woman or if you’re a girl/woman who’s fallen in love with a girl/woman/boy/man. Surely love, is love. 

I don’t know if what I’ve said has made sense. If you have read this and has also never had a boyfriend/girlfriend, who is also the only one out of your friend’s who hasn’t got/had a partner, Just know you’re not alone. I know the feeling is crappy and I too, am fed up of that saying… there is someone for everyone. I will believe it when I see it. I do, however.. believe everyone is worthy of love. Whoever and whenever it will be.

Until then, I guess you and I will be holding out for a hero… whoever they may be x x x”

 

Dear Trich – Part Three, A year on.

It’s been a year, one whole year since I wrote my first dear trich blogpost. It was one of the most liberating feeling talking directly to trich through the means of the internet, for some weird unknown reason. I then wrote a part two shortly after and both posts got a very good reaction. A year on I’ve decided to write to the beast that will always live with me.

Here we are again, Trich. Hi. A year ago I was angry, so angry with you. You were controlling my life. You were making me stay up hours and hours at night, making me not forget you were there and forced me to keep pulling my hair. I will never forget these times, never. 

No matter HOW hard I tried to stop, you would not let me. 

Fast forward a year and you are still here. To be honest, you’ll always be here. You still creep up on me day to day. I have now began to accept you will always be a part of me. 

A year ago, you were still my little secret, that only very few people knew about and now every one knows about you. Even to the point that I have now got myself a digital marketing and social media intern to help other people with hair loss, due to talking about you at the interview. I am not ashamed now, when I’m sat on the train, sat in the living room watching TV or even laying in bed to say, don’t mind me… it’s just trich reminding me, it’s still here. 

I have learnt that there are ways to help control it, although not all the time these work. I have learnt that now, if I put coconut oil on the ends of my hair, not only will it give my hair a conditioning treatment, it will help my fingers to slide down.  I also have to thank you actually, trich, for allowing me to have acrylics every month. My nails look sassy because of you. 

I recently went to my hair dressers to get it cut. Both you and I know that hairdressers are not the place to be. Especially when you are trying to explain those bald patches throughout your hair when they lift your hair up or that there are shorter parts at the side where I’ve snapped it off. I was so so nervous before. To the point I made myself late because I just couldn’t face going in. But… I went in. I gave myself right at that last moment after friends had insisted it would be OK before, that it will be OK. This was the time I decided not to hide you behind the excessive bleach use (that I don’t do no more, but only said it because it was easier) and instead spoke about what trichotillomania was. How it effects me and what triggers you and I came out feeling so much better and proud of myself for going in – something I would not of done a year ago. 

This past year you have made me a stronger person. It takes a lot of strength to deal with you everyday. Not only does it drain the life and soul out of you pulling your hair out every single day, but it does get you incredibly down. I feel so alone when I’m pulling my hair as it does make you zone out. But when I get the chance to talk about you, i.e. my interview before, it makes me feel less alone. Even though  my arm to have unbelievable aches every single day, to the point sometimes it feels like I have a dead arm. 

A year ago, I thought I’d never of got this far, a year later I have. You won’t beat me completely. I will keep fighting you day in day out. Maybe if one day you’re kind on me, I’ll be kind on you? 

Maybe see you in a year? Who knows. 

Charlotte.

 

Illustration by me:
ILLO

 

 

Final Major Project VS Mental Health #MHAW17

It’s been a while, a really long while. In fact, five months since I last wrote a blog post on here and it was the beginning of my last ever university project. It was all about confidence VS creativity and how I have a lack of confidence with creative work. If you want to read it, you can click here. 

We’re half way through #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek2017 #MHAW17 and I have finally completed my degree.

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As it is #MHAW17 I thought I would share you my struggles with my FMP, incase someone else is going through the same thing and to let them know, they’re not alone.

All three years are over and done with and I’m confused to how I’m feeling. I’m glad the pressure of third year has been lifted. However, there is still pressure of what grades I get at graduation, or even if I do graduate. As well as whether I get a job in graphic design and where it’ll be, or even if I’m good enough to go into industry. To be honest, I don’t think I am ready to leave education. But when will I ever be ready if I’m not now? I just kind of wish we had just one more project to do.

My final major project at university was a ride and a half. To start, I did a FMP (final major project) proposal in first semester of third year and it was for a sub brand for Lamoda of creating stationery for them. I had it all planned out, researched and was more than ready to go. When I got my grade back for the proposal I got my highest I ever got whilst at uni and this made me so excited. It wasn’t until after Christmas and we got going with the actual final major project I found, it really wasn’t for me. Nothing inside me wanted to open my computer and design for stationery. In fact, I couldn’t of thought of anything worse.

If you’ve read my blog before, you will know I suffer with a mental health condition called Trichotillomania. If you are new here, I’ll explain briefly. It is an impulse control disorder that makes you pull your hair out. No matter how hard you try, you just cannot stop. It is incurable and you just need to focus on ways to get through each and every day.  It is, however, personally for me triggered by stress, anxiety and depression.

With my ideas changing and people in my class getting things done, I felt behind. I felt like the more I saw them, the more shit I felt about my own work. This was down to their work being incredible and mine wasn’t even started yet. The question of was I good enough to even complete my third year, was all that was going through my mind. Every night I would wake up and brainstorm what I would do instead of a stationery brand.

It was around seven weeks into my thirteen week term, that I finally started to get ideas come together. The final idea was to create a zine which focussed on beauty standards of society focusing on women. I had recently done my dissertation in the first semester on this and researched a lot, so I knew about the topic. I went to class for lots of weeks running up to this idea and I kind of just got through each meeting – how? I don’t know.

It wasn’t until when I was sat with my friends and they started getting really into their projects and I hadn’t even started mine yet I panicked. I didn’t want to start because, I genuinely didn’t think my work was good enough. I was seeing my class produce work week by week and I adored all of their work, but there was something in me telling me – nope! You’ll never reach that standard of work. That’s when I called a meeting and I was given three solutions.

  1. I could terminate the term. I could do it at a later date, but it would mean I wouldn’t graduate with my course friends.
  2. I could get extenuating circumstances. My mind just wasn’t with the course due to one thing or another.
  3. Or, I could just get my head down, ignore what other people were doing and just focus on my own project.

I don’t know if any of you have anxiety or suffer from any MH issues, but the thought of going home and telling my family that I wouldn’t graduate until November or even later scared me. Genuinely, all I’ve ever wanted to do is graduate with the people I spent my last three years with. I wouldn’t want anything more than that. Anxiety did not let me forget those options throughout the whole course.

I can safely say, that chat really kicked me up the arse. I had 8 weeks to do enough photoshoots to cover a zine and a website with different content for each, illustrations to draw, editing of skills to show, film to be written, filmed and edited as well as create a website solely from scratch.

I had panic attacks after panic attacks, but they wouldn’t effect me in the day they effected me at night. Night time was when it really got serious. Nine nights in a row I had a panic attacks. To accompany them I had the most terrifying nightmares. They were SO bad. Not only was the panic attacks and nightmares the worst of it all, but when it did come to morning I was so exhausted from having to deal with that half way through a sleep, that I had no energy in the morning. I didn’t have time to go for a doctors appointment so looked in the local Boots and picked up the tablets ‘Kalms’ especially for night time. I was a bit sceptical at first using them, because I didn’t want to rely on them, but they literally saved my last few weeks at uni. They didn’t help me get to sleep, they help me not wake up in the night having panic attacks and helped me sleep through. If I could I would make a special acknowledgement to them in FMP.

Towards the end, people were producing more work than they needed to and to be up to that level I felt I had to do the same. At one point I had four days to complete a website, edit my video and do other extra work on top to build my CAT credits up.

In the end, my FMP consisted of:

  • A 32 page zine, all creatively directed photo shooted/edited by me. Illustrations drawn by me and the writing, written by me.
  • Five interview conducted for both the zine and the website.
  • A 20 something page website, with every single page developed and designed by me using Adobe Muse.
  • GIF’s made by me.
  • A video filmed, edited and styled by me.
  • Flyers/posters for campaign reasons created by me
  • A second 12 page preview zine for the next issue designed by me
  • A 64 page development book, completed.

Zine pages:

Website examples:

Sketchbook examples.

I’m not going to lie, I feel so proud that I created all of that in practically 8 weeks. Even though, my mental health really challenged me, as well as life, I did it. I completed the whole three years, with the people I had studied throughout the whole course with and handed together as a tag team.

If you are going through a similar circumstance and you need someone to talk to, to help get you going and a kick up the ass without being TOO harsh, message me. I will always be here to help you through.

YOU CAN DO IT. If I could do it, so can you. Believe in yourself and get your head down.

Remember, diamonds are made under pressure.

A special thank you to my friends, tutor and family for being a massive support throughout the completion of this whirl wind adventure.

Confidence VS Creativity

So, it’s got to the main crucial part in my whole degree… my FMP. An FMP is a final major project and it’s the last ever project I will do at university. You will then potentially show future employees after you leave. To me, that sounds scary.

I’ve been studying fashion graphics (which is basically fashion and graphic design combined) for three years now. I have enjoyed myself throughly on the course and I have definitely learned skills I never thought I had or could have. One of skills being digital illustration. My mum is very good at drawing and so is my uncle, so I’m guessing that’s where my creativity comes from. I love showing off the work I’ve created and proud of to people who follow me on social media, people I know and see day to day and professionals at interviews for work experience/freelance.

However, I am not that confident. To be honest it scares the living life out of me the need to be confident about ideas. I’ve never been that person in class that puts up their hand first to answer a question in a full class and I am definitely not that person who voices their opinions to a massive crowd. I have grown to be OK with that and accept it as part of me. This isn’t a blaming game but I do think school and the people who constantly used to tear me down and rip me apart have played a major role in shaping me to be this person. Of course, my anxiety isn’t exactly the biggest help either.

With my confidence not being the best, it effects the way I create for my degree and other pieces of work. I am never, ever confident with my ideas and every time I submit a piece of work I worry for hours and days about if it could of been better. I’m sure lots of people have this too but I will not rest about it. I always don’t think I’ve pushed myself to my full potential and this is probably the main reason why I feel this way. I want to ask for people’s opinions on things more and I want to ask for help if I’m stuck on something but my confidence just won’t let me.

I absolutely love seeing people do their best and do well. Nothing makes me happier and I am 100% routing for them. Yaaassss!!! But with everything I have, I just wish I could do the same for myself. Instead of sitting there for hours comparing myself to creatives I see/follow online and creatives I see on a daily basis, I wish I had the confidence to say “IM GOOD TOO!”

This lack of confidence is something I’m going to try my absolute best with in the last four months of uni – yikes!! I want to be able to leave my degree after being so proud of what I have achieved through my FMP and actually show my full potential and not hide back on ideas. Not to let my brain win when it tells me “don’t do that someone else would have done it better” or “your idea is rubbish, you share that everyone will laugh” I want to come out of this degree shouting my opinions around and not have those awful feelings after. After all, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.


At the end of the day, I am my own worst enemy. If it doesn’t change now, will it ever in the future? Will I get that dream job with no confidence? It’s time to make some changes

Follow my graphic design instagram if you’d like, it’ll be updated with my inspiration and development as well as personal projects along the way. Who knows, there could be more creative posts on here in the future!

A year on…

Today to the day something big happened. It may not seem as something big for many people but if you’re in the same boat as myself you may be able to relate. No family knows about this, apart from my dad. I didn’t tell him whilst it was happening either, I told him when it was over. A few months after. I was struggling a lot whilst down in Southampton. Being away from family gets worse when you are alone and feel so, so shit.

I spoke to a few friends and they all suggested to use the universities services they provide. After all I do pay £9000 a year to study there, so why not? It wasn’t the issue as such of not using their services, in fact I was all for that. It was more the feelings behind it. They suggested I went to speak to a councillor. A councillor at the end of the day is someone you can go to, to talk about anything and everything. They are there not to judge. They are there to help you get through whatever struggles you are facing.

However, at the time when I thought of councillors I thought of scary times. I’m not sure if that’s because I have been so naive to mental health in the past. I’ve only really seen counselling that happens in movies and on TV shows and lets be honest, it isn’t always positive, or maybe I was watching the wrong things. I had been brainwashed by these types of media that I was frightened to go. I had all these scenarios of what could/would happen. I genuinely had thoughts of; Is what I need help for even valid? Will they think I’m crazy? Will they think that I’m only there to ‘attention seek’? Just as a side track, claiming someone is attention seeking in my book is the worst thing someone can say to you, especially when they don’t know you or even worse if they do. If you suffer from mental health 9/10 you feel alone, even maybe 10/10. You are NOT attention seeking talking out about your problems. No way are you. In fact, you are brave. You are not only helping yourself, but you could be helping other people not feel alone. You are incredible talking out. The stigmas around mental health are SO frustrating when it comes to this.

Anyhow, I went along to my counselling meetings in the hope that the lady can help me. Help me try and get life on track. I’m not sure if it 100% worked out because I didn’t know her and I find it SO hard to open up and that’s the person I am. I even find it hard now to open up to people, to tell them what I feel, what’s going on. I know I was proud of myself for going to try it out, what harm could it of done? I did think it was the best idea for myself to stop them completely after a while.

It wasn’t until I had a moment when I thought I need to stop this. There are people I know who can help. There are. I’m being silly keeping all this inside which is slowly, but surely destroying me. It got out of control that there were nights I woke in the middle of the night with panic attacks and if you know me, even though I don’t sleep a lot whenever I do I treasure it and don’t want to be awoken by this.

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In May this year I really began to use my blog to get all this out. I had my nails done for my birthday in April and it helped me so much with Trich and I finally thought, it’s now my time to help others. I began to write about mental health. Specifically a condition which has taken up 14 years of my life and has little to no awareness about it. A condition which, whenever I write about and click the publish button on my blog, I feel good about writing – even though deep down it makes me feel ashamed. I think it’s more the awareness that I’m raising about it makes me proud. This year alone my little blog has reached 56 countries. That’s countries where people that suffer from the same thing that I have been able to help feel less alone, and there is NO greater feeling than that.

Speaking out about things is SO important and if you can, please find someone whether that be a family member you can trust, a professional like a uni tutor,a manager at work or a medical professional PLEASE talk out. I promise you, you will feel so much better.You will also be helping others, even if you don’t feel like you are. Such a great feeling.

Today I will be celebrating all that I’ve accomplished in a year of going from saying nothing to working on that everyday and getting better. You can do it too, I believe in you.