14 Reasons Blogging Makes Sense For Disabled People

Photo by Judita Tamošiūnaitė on Pexels.com

Hello lovelies and thankyou for joining me today,

Having just closed down my other blog, I have a sense of sadness about me today that comes with failure. I tried and tried for a while but alas, the statistics showed that the support for my other blog just wasn’t there. With that said, the support for Hear It From Helen has grown quite rapidly and this blog gives me a sense of energy that I cannot describe, and so it goes to demonstrate that this blog is ultimately where I need to be.

Today I wanted to write a little bit about why blogging makes sense for disabled people. I have to be honest, in my younger years (and even my teenage years), I had aspirations in life that would have been unobtainable for me for a variety of reasons. Among careers, I envisioned myself as a spy, a forensic expert, an audiologist and a journalist and so, I suppose, it makes sense that I’ve now landed up on becoming a blogger.

One of the things that has long held me back in life is my disabilities. They don’t hold me back in a big way, but they hold be back enough that I am far too much of a liability for many companies to want to take on. That a slip could aggravate one of my pain sites and leave me incapacitated for weeks isn’t a responsibility that many managers (perhaps understandably) want to risk. When I went through disability employment agencies, finding a career for someone who was both disabled and smart was extremely hard. Unfortunately, it seems that the UK job market sort of assumes that if you have a physical disability, then you likely have a mental disability, too.

Now that I’ve been blogging for two years, here are fourteen of the reasons that blogging makes sense for me, as a disabled person.

It allows us to share our journey

Every disabled person has a story. Whether they were born with their disabilities or disabled as the result of a tragic accident or illness, every person has a story and many of us have tales of overcoming the obstacles we’ve faced. I for one was considered as “difficult” until I was seven years old, when I was diagnosed with a hearing impairment and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. I can also remember in vivid detail the day that my life changed from a badminton injury. For someone who was disabled in an accident or through illness, sharing their journey can help them raise awareness of their condition or the dangers of certain sports. Sharing our story can be part of our own healing process, too.

It allows us to use our skills

Every person on this planet as a skill, and nobody is without them. I’ve seen dyslexic people with fantastic singing voices and paraplegic people create art using only a paintbrush in their mouths. For many disabled people, writing becomes a skill that we hone through sharing our journey, a skill that can extremely useful when it comes to starting a blog.

We feel like part of a community

Dear readers, let me be completely honest with you. Never have I felt more welcomed, more accepted and more part of any community than I have felt when I joined WordPress, and that is a feeling that so many disabled people struggle with. When I was younger, I was frequently forced to attend social clubs with people who I had nothing in common with, and so I was always the weird, disabled kid who couldn’t kick a football. Now, because of WordPress, I am a disabled housewife with a dog and a blog, but also a member of this community. I belong with the other housewives, who also run housewife blogs.

Blogging can become a career

Although my blog isn’t currently earning me any money, blogging can become a career. Job Centres are loathed to suggest blogging to emplyment seekers because it’s not filling any of the roles that they are paid to advertise, but it can be an avenue to explore. If you have something to give and have some basic computer skills that you can use, there is no reason why you shouldn’t consider running a blog – you never know where it may get you!

It gives us a sense of identity

Once you become a disabled person, being disabled sort of becomes your identity. You aren’t known for anything else about you at that point, your disability becomes who you are. I often hear myself referred to as “anxious” or “the lady with knee pain”. Nothing else is identified about me, I’m not the crazy woman with red hair or my blue eyes or rock ‘n’ roll t-shirts, it’s my anxiety and chronic pain that people remember about me. When you run a blog, you step away from you disability and you find something as well as your disability. Instead of only being your disability, you can share the things that you are into and demonstrate your personality. As a blogger, what marks your success is your commitment and personality, rather than your physical abilities.

It allows us to work from home

Way back in 2009, I found supported employment for two hours per day, Monday-Friday. To get to work, I’d need to pay £7 per day for return tickets on two different bus services and was earning on average around £230 per month, tax-free (one advantage of being disabled and employed). When I started working, my housekeeping for living at home with my parents also went up, meaning that I was travelling 3 hours everyday and ending up financially worse off than if I simply wasn’t working at all. Sure, it gave me some skills and a reference (which probably wouldn’t be good, but that’s another story) but in the end, I actually made myself ill through stress. There were also occasions when I risked slipping on the ice (and aggravating my condition) because I didn’t want to lose the job that wasn’t really earning me any extra money in the first place. By working from home as a blogger, I can avoid personal injury and not spend what little money I have on travel. It’s great if you qualify for a free pass, but I was never afforded that privilege and so working across town was never viable for me. I also can’t ride a bike or a trike because of my cerebral ataxia, making that mode of free transport an impossibility.

It allows us to write about the things that interest us

I used to have a friend with Neurofibromyalgia who went to gigs, I have a friend with kidney failure who writes about kites and gardening and I love to share recipes and the antics of my little dog, Hugo. Disabled people are far more than just disabled people and we all have hobbies and interests just like anyone else. Blogging not only allows us to share information and insights that might not currently be out there, but it also allows you to read such knowledge and information from someone you might not otherwise expect.

It gives us a portfolio for other work

Even as only a short-term solution, blogging gives a disabled person a great piece of work from which they can demonstrate their capabilities. As a disabled person, it can be extremely hard to have qualifications, experience and references for many jobs, and so having a blog that demonstrates your potential can help boost your employment prospects – as long as it’s well constructed!

It encourages us to get out

Before I started writing reviews for restaurants, I lived a very reclusive lifestyle. Getting my groceries online was cheaper than getting on the bus and going shopping, and so I did. Sending a text or making a phonecall was far more affordable than going out for dinner to see friends or family, and sometimes they were also busy. Now that I write honest, exposure-free reviews for establishments in my locale, I don’t need to wait for others to be free. I can decide a good time with my husband and our reviews give me content for my blog then I can catch up with my loved ones another time. It’s a win-win situation, all-round!

It encourages us to look after ourselves

Before I started blogging, I didn’t really care what I looked like. I was me, I was a housewife with no potential. Now that i run my blog, I know that I represent my brand and how I look is a reflection of me and my brand. If I want my blog to look good, I need to make sure that I look good, too. It might not be all of the time (I don’t wake up with make-up on!), but I at least think about how I look when I’m out in shops and restaurants. If you’re serious about your blog, you start to think about how people perceive you.

It forces us to try new things

How will I write about new things if I’m not willing to try them? How can I share reviews if I refuse to go out and review them? By writing a blog, you need to find things to write about, and sometimes that means being willing to try new things. Too many disabled people allow their disability to define them and their capabilities, which means fewer opportunities for trying new things. Whether it’s pushing past social anxiety or managing dangerous sports in a wheelchair, you are limited only by possibility, and anything that you achieve is worth documenting in my humble opinion.

It gives us a sense of pride and something to talk about

When you talk about your blog, there is a sense of pride that goes with it. It is not just a blog, it is your blog, your pride and joy, your creation. Your blog should reflect you, and should want to share it, too. Your blog is there for all of the world to read, so you might as well be proud of what you do.

Similar to above, all too often, disabled people are defined by what they can’t do. If your blog is a success then it goes to show something that you can do, and that is something that you should be proud of.

It shows us that we CAN do something

I’ve written before about my detest for the word “disabled”. For disabled people, it’s all too easy to focus on what we can’t do, which can bring about a sense of depression. Every like, every follower and every comment is an indication that our blog is being read and our work is being appreciated, which brings me to my last point..

Which boosts our self-esteem

Never have I smiled more and been more radiant than in the time that I’ve been a blogger. I feel like a person, a human, with real potential and real capability. I’ve heard from several people (not to brag or anything 😉 ) that I write well, and that is such a great boost for my self-esteem. As someone who struggles with confidence in her capabilities, hearing that I can write well and that I am appreciated by people all across the globe does great things for me, mentally.

I hope that these twelve points have helped you consider keeping a blog, if you’re a disabled person. Do you already run a blog? Why not say hello in the comments?

Keep smiling, everyone!

Your friendly, disabled blogger, Helen xx

Carpe Diem: What Dad’s Death Taught Me About Decision-Making

You can be a bit bombastic sometimes, you get it from your father.

I had to have a little laugh. First of all, because in this sense, ‘bombastic’ didn’t quite mean what my mother thought it meant. She meant to say that I was impulsive, bless her,

And, well, because I loved being anything at all like my father, even his negative bits.

I was proud.

My father was one of those people, a stocky, gentle soul. Soft like a teddy bear until you wronged him, and then that teddy bear had very, very sharp, poisonous spines.

I can’t recall anyone ever hating my Dad, and more still, there wasn’t a dry eye at his funeral. That man was loved. See?

Me & my Pops in 2007

There wee many things people said about my Dad. He was confident, he was funny, he was a leader, he was kind.

He inspired me. Doesn’t it show how much I thought of him? Dad hated having his photo taken, so that was a rare opportunity.

Over time though, as I became more like my father, I too was known for my confidence, my wit and my leadership capabilities. I too was identified for knowing how to balance ability and humility. My favourite saying that keeps me from getting too boastful?

There is always a bigger fish.

My Dad had two sides, and both were probably as frustrating as the other. On the one hand, he was impulsive, and he was always buying quantities of food or going-cheap pastries on a whim. I can remember my Mum asking him where he was planning to store it all, and “I’ll find somewhere” or “let the kids have ’em” was always the answer. It was no wonder we all put on the pounds!

The flipside to that, and the thing that Dad used to say that used to really annoy me, was “do it tomorrow”. Oh my goodness, I can almost feel my blood boiling now.

Do it tomorrow.

For part of me growing up, I used to think that maybe I was just impatient and I needed to learn to be more patient, but here is the kicker.

My Dad died at 60.

How much more could he have done if he had done some of his do-it-tomorrow’s, today?

I’m not saying all of them, because he struggled with poor health and I believe that there were times when his do-it-tomorrow’s really had to be done tomorrow, but his do-it-tomorrow’s made me become, well, me. I learned that if I wanted something done and he’d told me to wait until tomorrow, sometimes I’d have to learn to do it myself, today. After all, maybe tomorrow would come with its own set of challenges, as it often does, so what then?

Carpe diem.

I can remember the construction of a three-door wardrobe very well for this. It was a purchase from IKEA and my mother and father could not work out the instructions between them. Me, being the person who’s bedroom was now an array or wooden panels and screws, picked up the screwdriver and did it herself. I called my mother about two hours later for help with hanging the doors.

“I thought we said wait until tomorrow?” she said angrily as she marched up the stairs.

I still remember the slight smirk that spread across my face when she realised that the unit was up and in situ, sans doors.

In adulthood now, I’ve learned a lot about self-efficiency and managing my time. Do-it-tomorrow sometimes really needs to be do-it-tomorrow, like when I was cold, wet and exhausted from trying to plumb in a dishwasher that wouldn’t stop leaking. Everything else had to wait a day, I had no energy left to give. But once I did, I did, and I got everything sorted.

Following my father’s death, “carpe diem” has become something of a motto for me. A reminder that half of 60 is 30, and I’ve already surpassed thirty. If I go at the same age as my father, then I’ve spent half of my life doing precisely not much. I have no time for dawdling and dwindling on what I should do and what might have been, I have to live for today, we all have to live for today, for we never know what tomorrow may bring and I encourage people who are stuck to take an opportunity with both hands. Carpe diem.

Last week, my mother offered to pay for us to have a small conservatory installed on the back of my flat. Excited by the prospect, I immediately got onto the writing letters to our landlord and finding out if we needed planning permission.

So then when I was told that I was being ‘bombastic’, and ‘like your father’ because I spoke of my research, I was a bit bemused. I decided against pointing out his early death, though, the poor lady is still hurting.

One of the things that I’m aware of is that even if I send a letter today, my landlord, the local authority, are unlikely to make a decision this side of Christmas. If they said yes, then great, we could get started as soon as possible in the new year. If they said no, then we had all of the colder months, January-April, to talk and negotiate a suitable solution with them.

But getting the ball rolling and putting the idea out there is not the same as taking a sledgehammer to the wall. Not even close.

Once we have permission, we need to source builders. We’re still at least six months from any holes in the walls!

I know my mother meant well, and I know she worries about me being impulsive, but really, I disagree. Impulsive is when you act first and ask questions later.

Even if I’ve drafted the letter, I haven’t sent it yet.


Well, because the following day, I realised that we didn’t actually need the conservatory, It was a want, a room for a dining table, not a need.

The need was a rear door so that we had another way out into our garden without having to trudge past the junkyard that is our neighbour’s share of the garden. The junkyard that caused me to skin my hand two weeks ago, so maybe my landlord would be more willing to settle for this proposition instead?

Plus, if push comes to shove, in five years time we can have a little chin-wag about a lean-to conservatory, anyway. Having lived here for three years is no time at all to decide whether you want to live somewhere forever, so let’s not expand our castle quite just yet.

So I swapped ‘conservatory’ for ‘rear door’ instead, and gave all of my reasons why we needed it, weighing heavily on the fact that they are currently trying to get my neighbour to move his junk and the impact it has on us. We didn’t need a conservatory, but we wanted it. The back door, though, would allow us to maintain our part of the garden unimpeded.

I’d be lying if I said I’m not someone who is known for being.. persuasive. Hey, isn’t it also a good leadership skill to have?

I’ve promised myself that I will have my husband proof-read the letter by this evening, and have it on it’s merry little way by the weekend. If they say no, then I’ve still got the cold months for deliberating with the local authority anyway, and if they say yes, then at least we’ll have our decision in time for Christmas.

Over and out until next time, folks. And remember, carpe diem.

Helen xx



That was what started this post.

Sia’s Unstoppable.

Maybe it’s the Lacome perfume advert, with the white horse. I mean, just how much power is there in that advert? It absolutely stinks of it. But that song is really, really catchy, and if you love Sia as much as I do, then it sticks more than it stinks.

But, you see, reading the lyrics, I had a realisation, a revelation.

Oh my god, that song could have been written about me.

Pull up a chair, sweetie. Things are about to get real.

Sia’s Unstoppable contains talks about acting strong, it talks about acting tough and seeming invincible and powerful, which I do, but really? I’m a weak, insecure, vulnerable little girl on the inside.

True story.

When I was young, about 10 years old or so, my brother was an actor. It started off with him acting on tables at our weekend youth club, and then he sort of went BIG. Before too long, he was on the radio, he’d been on TV, he had an Equity card, he had a fan base and a following. My friends ditched me for him because he was cooler and more fun to be around, and me? I became nothing. I was inferior. Insignificant.

My brother was acting and earning pocket money, he was attending French cooking classes and my parents would lament over the delicious dishes he learned to prepare. My brother could sing and impress the family and I, meanwhile, was the shy, quiet child. I had nothing to offer, nothing to stand out and say “hey! Look what I can do, too!”

I blended into the background. I even became “Malcolm’s sister” at school and in the street. That’s right, dehumanized to someone else’s name.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love my baby brother dearly, but he is he and I had my own thoughts, desires, and feelings, I just felt like they weren’t as important as his. Instead of shining, I just learned to shut up and fade out.

My GCSE’s were the icing on this cake of envy and self-loathing. Because of my RSD, I got moved to a hopsital education unit where I only got 4 grade C’s and a B, despite being set for top marks at secondary school. Because he stayed at mainstream education, my brother walked out with A* grades, and that only added to my sense of insignificance and inferiority. Not only was he cooler and better than me, now he was smarter, too.

In many ways, this competition was exceptionally unhealthy. We had an “anything you can do, I can do better” relationship, and I knew he was better than me.

He got invited to sing at Christmas dinner, and I’d get asked to get off of the cat’s tail if I tried to sing. He’d get to play his didgeridoo, but I wasn’t allowed to get my hands on my very own drum set. Feeling like my brother was always going to do better than me or be better than me, I learned to be quiet and let him stand out.

For a long time, I was a very meek, depressed and quiet person. I didn’t have anything to offer the world, I didn’t have anything that I believed that I could do well. I was just.. well.. me. Small, weak, and inferior.

To be honest, I didn’t really feel noticed until my now betrothed came along. I suppose he saw something in me, and because of him and because of therapy, I came to be.

Yes, I’ve had therapy, I’m not ashamed to admit it. In fact, I highly recommend it even if you don’t think you really need it.

Looking back, I know that my family believed in me, too, I just felt outshone. My brother’s light shined so brightly that mine was dim in comparison. In the end, I got so tired of trying to compete for attention that I simply gave in and I stopped trying to be noticed. Instead, I coursed my own journey and did my own thing.

I developed my own writing style, and found that many, many of my readers actually liked it.

I developed my own takes on dishes, and found that my family actually like them.

I developed my own dress style, and now people are convinced that I’m cool and confident.

I developed wit, which people came to find charismatic and likeable about me.

I learned to help people through writing. I learned that my thoughts, experiences and insights could make a difference to the world and actually help people discover happiness through the senses rather than medication. I stopped focusing inwards, and focused outwards instead. I stopped writing about me and my thoughts, and put my time and energy into writing things that would help people on a journey to self-discovery. I’m now a sex-positive blogger and I’m also planning to study to become a life coach, if I can find a way.

You see? I didn’t need to be good at the same things as my brother, I needed to be me.

Which is why a moment last month shocked me. Sat in the chalet on Cornwall on a cold, blustery October day, my brother looked me directly in the eye and said,

“You know, I’m kind of jealous of you. I always thought I’d be the one who’d be married first but you know, you’re making it.”

Jealous of me?!

The very person that I was jealous of, is jealous of me, because I have the one thing he doesn’t have – I have love.

It still cuts me to the core to this day, honestly. I feel kind of sad for him. Not because he is a sad person, but because he is so loveable, so likeable, so.. warm, and affectionate, and somebody who would do anything for anyone, but he was jealous of me. It’s quite eye-opening, really.

I’m known for being a bit of a show-off, a bit of a braggart. I’m known for having confidence in the things I do and the things that I achieve, and yet, all of this has come from lacking confidence in the one place that I should have had it to start with- in myself.

I think, sometimes, the world thinks that I think I am unstoppable. I’m not, and I don’t. I’m actually extremely sensitive and I’m wracked with anxiety on a near daily basis. I’m a serial ghoster because cutting people out is easier than it is to call them on their shit. I cut people out readily for being a bad friend because now that I’ve built myself up, I won’t have anyone pull me back down. Where I am now matters to me so much that I am also extremely sensitive to criticism. I’d rather have no friends than have friends who criticize me, because criticism means that I’m not enough.

Not good enough.

Not smart enough.

Not pretty enough.

It puts me at risk of going back there again, and I won’t let anyone do that to me. I can’t.

My confidence is fuelled by fear. and I need to maintain control to avoid being inferior again.

I’ve built myself up now, together with a handful of people who saw me and believed in me, but my sense of self is still so fragile. It’s so fragile that deep inside, I still seek your validation.

But then, I think we all do, if we’re being honest.

When we stop measuring ourselves by likes, follows, and online friends, only then will we see that numbers don’t matter. When we realise that the only person we really need to love us is ourselves, only then can we ever be truly happy with what we have, and who we really are.

I Am Enough. You Are Enough, Too

Not so long ago I found myself in a complete funk over something a friend said.

I’m sure, absolutely convinced in fact, that the friend meant no harm in what he said, but nonetheless, I was in a funk about it.

He told me that I needed to blog more often if I wanted to earn from my blog.


As it was, I had written only two days before. Secondly,:-

  • 7th March, my Dad died
  • 3rd April was his funeral
  • In between those two dates I was tasked with a lot of preparation work for the funeral
  • On 24th April I contracted a spring cold from my husband and was bedbound for a week with dizziness, headaches and sinus pain

So forgive me if my output had been limited to maybe.. two posts.

At first, this comment made me feel like perhaps I shouldn’t be blogging. I felt like all of the people who told me that I have a captivating writing style were wrong. I felt like the very thing that I so enjoyed, I should just… stop. Give up, pack up and go back to working the vacuum. I felt like I had nothing interesting to say, nothing to add, nothing
worthwhile writing about. A bit of an overreaction? Maybe, but that was how I felt.

I got really down on myself that evening and my husband found me, sat on the bed and balling a tissue in my hand, pressing away the tears.

“You don’t believe you’re enough and you really should.”

That was my husband’s advice, to me, someone who writes about mental health!

I don’t think I’m enough, you don’t think you’re enough, we all don’t think we’re enough, and you know why? Because society tells us that we aren’t enough.

How many of these can you relate with?

  • Not smart enough
  • Not attractive enough
  • Not thin enough
  • Not funny enough
  • Don’t work hard enough
  • Not cool enough

And more..

Sometimes these comments are recent, or sometimes, like for me, they happen in childhood and take years of dedication and hard work to get rid of.

So let me tell you something, let me tell you something that the devil on your shoulder doesn’t want you to hear.



Please don’t change a thing about you!

If you want to lose weight or go back to school, do it for your own goals, do it for something or somewhere that you want to be, to further your career or be able to run in a marathon. Do not EVER do it because you don’t believe that you are enough.

Because somewhere out there, someone is doing exactly the same thing to themselves, wishing that they were more like you.

A Guide To Your Authentic Self

Until very recently, I followed a Youtuber (who shall forevermore remain anonymous) who taught me a lot about fighting with anxiety, and identity. I was inspired by this young lady, I was motivated by her courage, motivated to change, until one of her most recent updates – she was quitting.

Why? Because she felt that people were misusing her videos and, because of that, she was quitting. There was an uproar. A complete and utter backlash. But, you see, my problem wasn’t  that I felt cheated by what she had done, my problem was that whilst teaching us to be authentic, she hadn’t been authentic to herself. In a way, I felt sad for her.

Make no mistake, there were times I have been inauthentic, we are all capable of it and we all tell small white lies to avoid hurting other people’s feelings. The trouble is, the only person who really suffers because of your inauthenticity is yourself.

Take, for example, that sweater that Aunt Bev knitted you that which you really, really hate. You can still turn it away and be kind. Instead of saying “It’s great, I love it!” and feeling secretly resentful when you are expected to wear it at every Christmas party, you could express your gratitude instead, and still be honest about the reasons that it’s not for you.

“Wow, thankyou! You know, I’m a little unsure because green washes me out a bit, but thankyou! I really appreciate the gesture!”

You see? By expressing your gratitude for the gift, you are being authentic in your receiving the gift, and yet by explaining why you may never wear it, you are being honest (and thus, authentic) also. If your Aunt Bev then wants to accuse you of being an ungrateful pig who doesn’t appreciate her hard work, well, then that’s her cross to bear.

Sometimes, authenticity upsets people. Let me tell you, I know that I have relatives that would give their right arm to see me in a flowery pink summer dress, skipping down the garden path and giggling like the young lady that I’ve become. Well, I haven’t, and I won’t. Not only would doing so make me feel very uncomfortable, it also wouldn’t be authentic.

Not so long ago, I broke up for a time with my authentic self. Convinced that my choice to wear black really did mean I was depressed, I tried other colours. While I might have occasionally felt feminine and chic, there was something tugging in myself – I wasn’t being authentic, at all.

I am a black and denim girl. I live for rock band t-shirts and jeans and my hair, a natural brunette, is usually dyed with a hint of red. I match it all off with a silver-smokey eyeshadow and pale lips. I have a playful, rebellious, tomboy nature. That’s me, that’s who I am. That’s authentically me.

Before I started my blog, I had to ask myself a question. What did I want to do, and why was I doing it? The answer which came to me was simple, I was trying to help people, and I was doing this because I have been on my own adventure and I wanted to help people by writing about it.

When you are authentic to yourself, you walk different, you talk different, and you notice the people around you who aren’t authentic to themselves. Someone who is authentic does not care for fitting in, they just exist. They are them, and you can love them or you can hate them. They are not followers, they are ringleaders. An authentic person can make quick decisions based on their own wants and needs because they know their own wants and needs. If you don’t know what you want and need, how can anyone else help you?

Quite often, authentic people fall foul of those who want us to conform to their ways. The world is full of insecure people whose validation exists entirely on the agreeability of others. Other times, we meet those (usually the older generations) who have a wealth of wisdom to offer, and expect us to follow in their footsteps. It is important to show respect to those who may know better than us and to thank them for their input. However, it is up to us to decide what and how much (or how little) of their advice we heed.

Authenticity is not a destination, it is a choice. It is pursuing our own goals and interests, our own journey in life. It may not be for everyone and we may be criticised heavily for whatever we decide. Know that that is okay, you will meet others like you along the way. You reserve the right to engage with those who support you in your goals, and disengage from those who bring you down.

Authenticity can also be selfish, yet it need not be. Authenticity can be refusing to attend a church service because it doesn’t conform with your beliefs. It is not, however, being plainly rude or spiteful to those who still wish to attend.

So to you, if you have found your authentic self, I say well done and a huge congratulations. Be whoever you want to be and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. To those of you who are still yet coursing your journey I have two questions to help you;

Who are you, and why do you exist?