“I like to hear a storm at night. It is so cosy to snuggle down among the blankets and feel that it can’t get at you” L.M. Montgomery

Today I am posting a painting I have been making over the last five or six weeks. I am also including three poems written by women that have come my way or maybe I have sought them out these cooler autumn evenings. These poems have been written by women poets after surgeries they underwent. So much of our lived experience remains blanketed, unexamined, unprocessed, unfelt, unarticulated, ‘ungrieved’, unreleased, unrecorded, unintegrated and even uncelebrated. They have lent words to experiences that are often not talked about. The first poems are written by a young poet, Leila Chatti. They are based on her experiences with excessive bleeding and surgery due to tumors in her reproductive organs. The third poem was written by Sylvia Plath after a stay in hospital recovering from an appendectomy. Plath is lying in a white room as she reflects or projects her emotions and sensations on a bouquet of tulips. Finally, I am presenting some children’s books I have been reading or re-reading that focus on themes of identity, belonging and freedom. A blanket, a quilt, a box and a jar become metaphors and containers of belonging, identity, inclusiveness, connection and freedom.

Waking After the Surgery

And just like that, I was whole again   /   seam like a drawing of an eyelid closed,

gauze resting atop it like a bed   /  of snow laid quietly in the night

while I was somewhere or something  /   else, not quite dead, but nearly, freer

my self unlatched for a while as if it were   / a dog I had simply released from its leash

or a balloon slipped loose from my grip   /    in a room with a low ceiling, my life

bouncing back within reach, my life   /  bounding toward me when called.

Morcellation (extract)         (From the French)

Less invasive   // the doctor says.  //   To break into pieces.

Little morsels, little slits   //   (for me) to come out of (myself).

Mon corps— my body— a corpse,   // a mis-translation.

As I keep mistaking   //   blood for song……..

** Morcellation is when tissue such as the uterus or fibroids are cut into smaller pieces to allow them to be removed more easily. This can be done using an instrument called a morcellator. The use of morcellation may mean you can have your operation done laparoscopically (using small cuts on your abdomen) or vaginally.

Tulips (extract)

The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.
Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in.
I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly
As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands.
I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.
I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses
And my history to the anesthetist and my body to surgeons.

They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff
Like an eye between two white lids that will not shut.
Stupid pupil, it has to take everything in.
The nurses pass and pass, they are no trouble,
They pass the way gulls pass inland in their white caps,
Doing things with their hands, one just the same as another,
So it is impossible to tell how many there are.

My body is a pebble to them, they tend it as water
Tends to the pebbles it must run over, smoothing them gently.
They bring me numbness in their bright needles, they bring me sleep.
Now I have lost myself I am sick of baggage —
My patent leather overnight case like a black pillbox,
My husband and child smiling out of the family photo;
Their smiles catch onto my skin, little smiling hooks.

I have let things slip, a thirty-year-old cargo boat
stubbornly hanging on to my name and address.
They have swabbed me clear of my loving associations.
Scared and bare on the green plastic-pillowed trolley
I watched my tea set, my bureaus of linen, my books
Sink out of sight, and the water went over my head.………

Children’s books on freedom, belonging and identity

Μy two blankets

This story is written by Irena Kobald and illustrated by Freya Blackwood. It is about a girl called Cartwheel, who has been forced to move to a country that is so strange to her that she no longer feels like herself. When she feels cold and lonely she seeks refuge under her blanket from her home country. But she meets a new friend, who teaches her new words every day until the foreign language and sounds do not feel harsh and cold anymore. Little by little she creates a new blanket, and then one day she realizes that she has two blankets and she feels safe and warm with both. You can listen to it at:

The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom

This is a moving story about a young slave girl and her father fleeing from slavery written by Bettye Stroud and illustrated by Erin Susanne Bennett. The quilt her mother made for her is both beautiful and a vehicle to help her travel to freedom when the time comes because it contains the secret codes of the Underground Railroad, the route towards freedom. The story includes many historical facts about this time period. It is also read aloud at:

Henry’s freedom box

This story is written by Ellen Levine and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. It is a fictionalized account of how a Virginia slave, Henry “Box” Brown, escapes to freedom by shipping himself in a wooden crate from Richmond to Philadelphia in 1849. Henry Brown doesn’t know how old he is because nobody keeps records of slaves’ birthdays. Henry always dreams about freedom, but his dream seems farther away than ever when he is torn from his family and put to work in a tobacco factory. However, Henry grows up and marries, and then his family is sold at the slave market. He is devastated and wants more than ever to be free. Then one day, as he lifts a crate he comes up with the idea of mailing himself to the North. After an arduous and risk filled journey in the crate, Henry finally has his first birthday of freedom. It is read aloud at:

The Name Jar

This book has been created by Yangsook Choi. It explores questions about difference, identity and cultural assimilation. When Unhei, a young Korean girl, moves to America with her family and arrives at a new school, she begins to wonder if she should also choose a new name. You can listen to it at:

Stories  (edited)      Tonya Alexandri, September 21st, 2020

We are nestled in the story of life on this planet – part of it”  Alice Roberts & Andrew Copson

“All creative people feel that the source of their creativity comes from the same room as their deepest pain” Rosanne Cash

Story is a fundamental part of our human nature and our cultures and a great part of our energy goes to creating and sharing stories and trying to make sense of things. We are all story-telling and meaning making creatures. Graham Swift writes: “Only animals live entirely in the Here and Now. Only nature knows neither memory nor history. But man – let me offer you a definition – is the storytelling animal. Wherever he goes he wants to leave behind not a chaotic wake, not an empty space, but the comforting marker-buoys and trail-signs of stories. He has to go on telling stories. He has to keep on making them up. As long as there’s a story, it’s all right” (cited in Alice Roberts and Andrew Copson, 2020). We create and share stories and are part of others’ stories, and ultimately, we are part of the same much longer story of our species and life on this planet. We write, paint, sing, dance and tell diverse stories both of the origins of our species and of our lived experiences, of the distant past and of the future. Our subjectivities become known through our oral, visual and written stories. We even fight battles and persecute others defending our stories and we go to great lengths to suppress new narratives. Some stories are based on evidence and observation, some have been verified, and some are the products of our imagination and meaning making need. Stories can shape our lives for better or worse, inspire us, provide models and guidance, console us, distract us, mislead us, manipulate us, imprison us, control us, awaken us. They can be toxic, disempowering, entertaining or healing. The musician Rosanne Cash says “Persist and verify… The power that we abdicate to others out of our insecurity — to others who insult us with their faux-intuition or their authoritarian smugness — that comes back to hurt us so deeply… But the power we wrest from our own certitude — that saves us.” We have personal stories and collective stories, and ultimately, we are part of the same and much bigger story of the trajectory of our species on this planet. And if we could remain present to the fact that we are all part of a much larger and longer common story we could tap into the truth of our interconnectedness with each other and all nature and our inherent capacity for empathy despite our great diversity.

In The Little Book of Humanism: Universal lessons on finding purpose, meaning and joy, Alice Roberts and Andrew Copson write: “Once we understand that we are all part of the same species and the same long story, it is possible to feel a connection with all people, everywhere. We can imagine ourselves in their position and know that what happens to them, could happen to us…. one of the best ways to develop empathy is to read stories. Whether historical or fictional, stories about particular individuals enable us to experience different lives.” Through engaging with art, reading stories and watching films we get an opportunity to reflect on the characters’ lives, aspirations, sorrows, actions, decisions, reasons behind their behaviours, underlying forces and dynamics, contexts. We wonder what we would do in their situation. Through feeling their emotions and imagining being in their shoes we get to develop empathy. Failure of empathy reflects our inability to imagine ourselves in other people’s situations and recognise what it would be like to be homeless, starving, imprisoned, sick or oppressed, for instance. And more than a failure to imagine what it would be like, it is also, a failure to feel. Developing empathy could come about through presence while hearing other people’s stories, Stories in all forms, oral, written, dramatized or animated, can reveal to us what it is like, for instance, to have one’s humanity denied, to be ill and lonely, to have lost one’s family, work, money and community, to be seeking refuge in often hostile new and unknown lands. Through stories we also gain awareness of our own life, observe similarities, find inspiration and connect to our common humanity.

Through art and stories we can discover new ways of being and doing things. We gain clarity. We contextualize our experience. We find that our deeper and intimate thoughts and emotions have been experienced and expressed by others. We feel connected to groups of people that might be or have in the past been through similar experiences. We catch glimpses of a much bigger picture. We get in touch with our indignation, we feel inspired and moved, we feel gratitude. Alice Roberts and Andrew Copson write: “The arts in all their forms – paintings, music, novels and poems, films and plays – are essential to our lives. They sharpen our awareness, enrich our understanding of the world and open our eyes to its beauty. They hold up a mirror to our own past and current experiences and open us up to new perspectives and different ways of being. Have you ever been sad and felt like listening to a sad song? It is a profound moment to have what were your own private thoughts expressed in a beautiful way by someone else. Art and stories can show us things outside of our own experience, helping us to understand our own emotions better on reflection. Art – any kind of art – can give us more clarity about our own thoughts and feelings, connect us with others, and teach us something about ourselves and them.”Art and stories may awaken us to new possibilities and bring about new reflections on our own life, force us to think to what extent we have chosen our life adventure or have followed a path predetermined by others. Stories awaken us to sociocultural forces and scripts handed down to us. They urge us to read our own story again, understand where we’ve been and maybe where we are going, discern patterns, write a more coherent script, make new meaning of events, realise that we are to some extent writing our stories minute by minute within the container that we find ourselves. Through creating a more coherent life narrative we often get to see the various components and events as woven into an ongoing narrative into which they fit, and which makes us own our life.

Stories may influence our choices and life decisions, but not all stories are good stories. In an article I read recently, the humanist philosopher, Richard Norman, writes about how stories can give meaning to our life from within by asking whether the different bits of our lives hang together, and what they all add up to. We can start by asking the question of whether we can tell a coherent story about our lives and what story we can tell about our life. Of course, in thinking about our lives we all draw on our shared repertoire of stories within the cultures that we have grown up and live in, especially, the stories of our early formative years when we are way more impressionable. Not all stories are helpful templates or examples to fashion or make sense of our own lives. Richard Norman refers to how traditional stories of heroism may lead someone to build their life around an unrealistic ideal. He writes: Joseph Conrad’s great novel Lord Jim is a story about the pernicious role of trashy novels. Jim goes to sea ‘liv[ing] in his mind the sea-life of light literature. He saw himself saving people from sinking ships, cutting away masts in a hurricane, swimming through surf with a line… – always an example of devotion to duty, and as unflinching as a hero in a book….. Conrad’s novel is the story of a man who has to spend the greater part of his life coming to terms with his failure of heroism. We do not just need stories, then. We need good stories. We need novels and films and dramas which sensitize us to the complexities of experience, attune us to the realities and ambiguities of human life and thereby help us to make sense of our own lives.”

A biopic I watched a few days ago around the life of Marie Curie, with the title Radioactive, directed by Marjane Satrapi, the creator of Persepolis, made me think about how each narration and reading is imbued with our own subjectivity and personal lens of viewing things and life. This is part of what makes each creation unique. I thought of the hundred different ways the story could have been told, seen and understood considering how our diverse experiences, beliefs and skills create a multitude of combinations of components that make up a story. Reading a few reviews after watching the film also brought home to me that there can be as many takes and evaluations of a story or work of art. We are diverse and differently motivated, What good novels and films and other forms of story can do is not only bring other people’s experience alive, but also, connect us to our shared human experience and values, as well as, make the bigger sociocultural milieu visible. In Radioactive we get a chance to watch scenes of Marie Curie’s personal life, her work and discoveries and how they changed the world for ever, for better and for worse. We consider how knowledge can bring forth both good and bad and that sometimes progress and advance come at a high price. We think of the consequences of deeds. We see that when people create and discover things and put them out in the world they cannot always control the use of them. There are good and destructive forces in the world. Curie’s hard and brilliant work gave birth to advances in treating cancer and the invention of the X-ray, which revolutionized medicine, and a looming threat of nuclear warfare and meltdowns. There’s an almost surreal scene of the Nevada desert nuclear testing procedures in the ‘60s, where a model town with perfect houses equipped with expensive life like perfect dolls and furniture are bombed. We watch as everything melts and sinks into the ground. We also watch a little boy receiving treatment for cancer in the early 50s, and also, his father’s concern about whether his child is to be experimented upon. There’s a scene of Pierre Curie’s haunting Nobel acceptance speech and the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

This biopic has many story threads. It does not only explore the complexities of the leading character of this story. Through flashbacks and “flash forwards” the film traces the career trajectory of Marie Curie (played by Rosamund Pike), the Polish immigrant born Maria Skłodowska, who left her country because she was not allowed access to higher education on the grounds of being a woman, and then, went on to become the first and only woman to win two Nobel prizes and the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and also, a mother and wife. We witness her courageously unconventional life, the bigger sociocultural and political milieu, as well as, her losses and hardships, as we are simultaneously awoken to the future consequences of her work. The threads are woven together giving us snapshots of the many scientific, personal and societal hurdles that Marie Curie faced in her time. We witness the refusal of a male dominant culture to provide space and support and acknowledge women’s contributions. We also, witness the devastation after her husband’s death, when he slipped under a horse-drawn cart and then scenes of a worn out Marie and her daughter Irene hauling X-ray units to mobile field-hospitals during World War I. We witness her integrity and perseverance through illness, social pushback and tragedy. She persisted even though her exposure to radiation was making her sick like it had ,made her husband previously, eventually leading her to her death from aplastic anemia in 1934. We witness the public scrutiny of her life and we get a glimpse of the cultural norms and xenophobia when her affair with a married man after her husband’s death had crowds screaming insults in the street outside her house and demanding her deportation to Poland as a suspected Jew.

Through reading and watching stories we get to feel a variety of emotions, reflect and ask questions. In this case, we might feel awe at her dedication and passion and we might wonder whether we would have persevered or we might be struck by her certitude of what she loved to do. We might wonder what brought about her fascination of minerals and stones…. We catch glimpses of what fascinated both Pierre and Marie as children. We might wonder about our own childhood fascinations or dreams. We might connect the story of Curie to all women across time that have tried to resist living in the shadow of a man and the precariousness of this arrangement. We might focus on the thread that shows how when we lose someone we love the traces of the deceased person’s life persist in many ways, through their actions and the positive or negative consequences of these, through their works and their descendants, and through our emotions and memories of them. We carry their legacy forward in the human story. We might project ourselves onto the stories or even reflect on how it is to live the lives of others through acting and performing roles and how actors and actresses might be changed by the roles they take on and the experiences they internalize while immersing themselves in the lives of their role characters.

Finally, as we engage with Marie Curie’s story we might reflect on what might have been if this genius woman had tended to her wounds and had taken better care of herself. Might she perhaps have shifted her energy towards other objects. In her poem, Power, dedicated to Marie Curie Adrienne Rich writes:

“…. She must have known she suffered from radiation sickness

her body bombarded for years by the element  / she had purified

It seems she denied to the end

the source of the cataracts on her eyes

the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends

till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil

She died a famous woman denying her wounds

Denying her wounds came from the same source as her power”



“While I do believe that there is good in the world, I also believe that our world and society are plagued by oppressive forces; where civility is increasingly uncommon; where targets are blamed for their victimization; and where aggressors’ uncivil, antagonistic, and hostile behaviors go unchecked and unchallenged in some instances and are applauded and rewarded in others. Many of us learn early on not to challenge others (even when they are wrong). We are taught messages that on the surface sound great but that have the potential to silence us and rob us of our humanity and dignity.” Charisse Levchak, PhD

This post today has come about after reading Charisse C. Levchak’s book with the title: Microaggressions and Modern racism: Endurance and Evolution (2018, Palgrave Macmillan). The main topic of the book has to do with racial aggression, micro-aggressions in particular. Initially, I was looking for something on micro-aggressions in general; however, most of the material I found was related to racism (*both in this post and in the book race is used as a sociopolitical construct and not a biological one). The book is based on Levchak’s PhD dissertation and it contains qualitative and quantitative research, and also, reflects her own experience as a black woman. Her main focus is on microaggressions in academia, the workplace and the media, but she also refers to microaggressions in public spaces, and shops. Actually, one of the research prompts is about been watched or followed in public places as if one was a threat or dangerous. She writes: “while this prompt likely evokes unpleasant memories of being followed around stores (particularly for Black and Brown folk), it is even more wounding when employees of color are followed around their job or watched as though they are a threat or dangerous.” She also talks about aggressions in and around “homespaces”. When aggressions occur in protective spaces like homes or dorms, and other places people take refuge in, then people experience a reduced sense of safety that often results in emotional stress and trauma.

She employs the Critical Theory Framework to compliment her qualitative work and the Oppression Dynamics Conceptual Framework, which outlines three concepts: vertical, horizontal and internalized racism and provides a comprehensive understanding of how oppressive systems are maintained due to a variety of dynamics both among and within advantaged and targeted social groups. So, the book could be read as an analysis of systemic oppression and practices of societal micro-aggressions more generally even though its focus is on racism in the USA. She writes that microaggressions, which were originally conceptualized by psychiatrist Chester Pierce in his work Offensive Mechanisms (1970), could be defined as covert forms of racial aggression. Pierce described these actions in the following quote: “Most offensive actions are not gross and crippling. They are subtle and stunning. The enormity of the complications they cause can be appreciated only when one considers that these subtle blows are delivered incessantly… the cumulative effect to the victim and to the victimizer is of an unimaginable magnitude.” Covert oppression or aggression maybe subtle but it is insidious, it constructs barriers; and it is elusive and difficult to define and challenge. It is embedded in our daily relationships and it promotes I – It encounters, which happen when we relate to another person as an object instead of relating to each other as authentic human beings without judgment and objectification.

On deciding to research microaggressions Levchak writes: “When I casually compared the narratives and experiences of people I knew, many did not involve experiences of blatant and overt racism (although those occurred too). Instead, most of the racist incidents that I learned about were covert in nature: the friend who was subtly sabotaged and pushed out of a predominantly White graduate program, the family member whose authority over her non-Black subordinates had constantly been undermined, and the Black mentor who had been unfairly castigated.” By focusing on prominent parts of society, such as academia she demonstrates that racist microaggressions and macroaggressions in schools impede scholarly pursuits and academic success and block upward mobility. She also suggests that while we need to focus on all levels of education, higher education deserves special attention because it has served as a road to upward mobility for disadvantaged groups. Her work examines microaggressions in the workplace, as well, where they adversely impact productivity and group solidarity, cause distractions and conflict, obstruct professional aspirations, cause health issues and lead to job instability and loss of employment. She also examines how in the media and popular culture sexist and racist stereotypes, beliefs and ideologies can be reinforced.

Levchak refers to Derald Wing Sue’s contributions to microaggression theory and discusses Sue et al.’s three forms of microaggressions: microassaults, microinsults, and microinvalidations. However, she expands this theory because she believes it lacks an in-depth explanation on the relationship between the aggressors and the targets by introducing and explaining the following types of aggressors: intimate, acquaintance and unknown. She also makes reference to the culture of silence and its consequences and the importance of telling and owning our narratives so that healing and change may come about. Moreover, she explores how frequent microaggressions have many cumulative effects in people’s lives and impact mental and physical health. She notes how being on the receiving end of frequent aggression and injustices causes fear, despair, anger, which can be internalized or acted out, and also leads to chronic stress. As mentioned in the book chronic stress kills people slowly, making existing illnesses worse. She quotes Chester Pierce (1970) who writes “The vehicle for these characteristics is the cumulative effect of offensive mechanisms…”

Levchak claims that obstructive racism creates barriers and blocks progress of targeted people or groups and it ranges from blocking promotion to graduation to legislation. She briefly refers to forms of discrimination and aggression like ‘birtherism’ (D’Antonio, 2016) and sexism. Through reading the book it is easy to see that the tactics and strategies that comprise racist microaggressions are not very different from aggressions committed against any individual or group of people where colour or ‘race’ is not necessarily a variable. Apart from the examples of micro-aggressions and lack of civility mentioned above, other actions mentioned in the research findings include liquid racism, profiling, name calling, opinions discounted in educational or employment settings, being constantly mistaken for someone else in the workplace, called by another’s name or identified as someone else’s sister or brother and gaslighting. Gaslighting is commonly used as a tactic to make targets question their own sanity and perception of an event or experience and also keep quiet.

Levchak dedicates a chapter on beliefs and biases, often unconscious that we all harbor. Even though we may often have the best intentions, we are still all susceptible to developing implicit biases, attitudes and stereotypes that we hold unconsciously and that impact our understanding, behaviours and decisions at any given situation. She refers to Staats’ (2014) review on implicit bias, which reports that implicit biases have been documented in children as young as six; however, research also supports that just like we learn biases and stereotypes, we can unlearn them and replace them with more accurate information. That is why she believes institutions should invest on awareness training, cultural competence training, and on creating spaces for difficult dialogues to take place, which Levchak believes is key to changing our conditioned beliefs and biases.

Part of the book focuses on what to do to build inner resilience in order to live through or create change in the contexts one finds oneself in. As Rick Hanson, PhD, suggests “Resilience is more than bouncing back from adversity. People who are resilient keep pursuing their goals in the face of challenges. Consequently, learning how to regulate your brain’s motivational machinery is a key aspect of resilience.” To increase resilience and protect against microaggressions we need to become aware of what microaggressions are and how they can impact the quality and trajectory of one’s life. We also need to acquire cultural awareness and competence, to become more informed of the bigger picture and container within which aggressions occur.  We also need to be mindful of our environments and underlying dynamics. And we need to teach this to our children. Of her own experience she writes: “My mother taught me awareness at an early age because awareness is a survival strategy. “Pay attention to your surroundings” is a phrase that my mom constantly told me throughout my childhood.”  Levchak says that oppression thrives in silence, so we need to change our current workplace culture so that targets and bystanders are encouraged to come forth, seek assistance, and speak out when bullying occurs. However, sometimes, survival strategies in school or the workplace may require our keeping quiet if supportive structures are not in place and there is lack of support or / and mentoring. Cautious speaking, covering tracks and documenting one’s work or decisions might be advisable. Frequent microaggressions can be traumatic and disruptive and can lead to social exclusion, and therefore, it is important to seek support and mentoring if possible because daily covert microaggressions accumulate over time and contribute to the overall stress load of individuals, and also, harm one’s sense of self, confidence and interactions with others.

In his book RESILIENT (2018) Rick Hanson believes that mental resources like determination, self-worth, and kindness are what make us more resilient and able to cope with adversity and push through challenges in the pursuit of our goals and opportunities. He writes that “While resilience helps us recover from loss and trauma, it offers much more than that. True resilience fosters well-being, an underlying sense of happiness, love, and peace. Remarkably, as you internalize experiences of well-being, that builds inner strengths which in turn make you more resilient. Well-being and resilience promote each other in an upward spiral.” In relation to adversity and hardship he says that adversity can be an opportunity to develop resilience, stress-hardiness, and even post-traumatic growth, but for a person to grow through adversity there must also be responsive resources present such as determination and sense of purpose. He writes: “Adversity is to be faced and learned from, but I think people sometimes overrate its value. On the whole, Reactive experiences make us more brittle and fragile over time, while Responsive experiences tend to make us more resilient. The Reactive mode evolved to be a brief solution to immediate threats to survival— not a way of life.” Unfortunately, frequent stresses and prolonged stress keep pushing us into the red zone as he calls it, which is hard to move out of due to the brain’s negativity bias.

Finally, anger is an integral part of this process both for the aggressor and the victim, and has both a positive and adaptive function, as well as, a destructive quality. Anger can be motivating and can help us spotlight injustice and mistreatment at a personal and systemic level, but it can also, be destructive and the generator of much suffering. Anger can reflect appropriate indignation and motivate us to act, but it also aids oppressive forces that muzzle and suppress. Similarly to other emotions, anger can be the presenting emotion masking experiences of fear, despair, helplessness and lack of agency. It can often be seductive because it draws on dopamine and norepinephrine, and thus, feels rewarding. Making room to feel our anger and discern the wisdom or message it is bringing us, can make us more resilient, able to set boundaries and less afraid of our own and others’ anger. Through feeling our anger we are less likely to project it on others or act out on it, and more likely to tap into our agency, protect ourselves, act appropriately and maybe sublimate it into artistic expression or artivism and activism. Through understanding where others’ anger is coming from we are more able to see the bigger picture, separate our self from their anger, protect ourselves, fight for what we consider of value, and be more clear headed, as well as, compassionate.