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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Why I Don't Blog Naked

This post is unlikely to be of much interest to anyone but me; however, these are some thoughts I've been thinking, and I decided to write. This weekend marks 6 months that I have been a blogger. When I started doing this, it was for two reasons: 1) I wanted a reason to practice writing, to find out if anybody would care to read anything I'd have to say, and 2) Pure recreation, silliness, unwinding, stress-relief, etc. Since I began, I have discovered other motivations and inspirations, but these two remain the most important. I never intended to blog for therapy, or for self-discovery, or to send anyone a message, or any such thing.

I read and enjoy a lot of other blogs. Sometimes I read someone who does what I call "naked blogging." People who seem to be expressing their truest, most vulnerable selves here in blogworld. And I try to be appropriately reverent; it is a sacred thing when a human being risks showing other human beings who he or she really is. As some of you have commented, and more of you have probably noticed, I don't blog naked. Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes, I wish I did. But I don't, and I won't. Sometimes I email naked, in response to a naked post. Or I even comment naked. But I don't usually do a whole naked post. Here's why I don't blog naked:

1) Directly to my right as I sit at my computer, is a window.

OK, seriously,
2) I am a very private person. I have quite a lot of friends, a lot of family, and only Jif and maybe one or two girlfriends know most everything about me. Only God knows absolutely everything. In spite of the volume of words that come out here, in realworld, I listen much more than I talk. It is simply not my way, not my temperament to tell all here. And as I said, it was never my goal. This is where I am as goofy as I can be, without getting my professional license revoked.

3)Here is the biggest reason why I don't blog naked. It's the reason that I wished I could blog for the longest time before I ever took the plunge. I thought that a therapist can't, shouldn't, have a personal blog. Sometimes I still think that, and I try to walk a very fine line between letting the world see some genuine parts of me, and not letting current or future clients see anything that could impact negatively on their treatment.

Some of the therapy that I do is cognitive and behavioral. In that setting, and with doing marital counseling, the therapist is sort of like a coach or a consultant. In that type of counseling, it's OK for the therapist to reveal some of her personal experiences. Not a lot, but some. Sometimes it is genuinely helpful to a client to know that the therapist has dealt with something similar to what they are dealing with. That's the criteria for when I reveal something personal: is it therapeutic to say this thing to this person at this time?

This is a very small world. Clients have discovered this blog, via various avenues. Only a couple of them, but still. And that's OK. I could have been much more anonymous on here than I have. I took some calculated risks, but have not revealed anything that I believe could affect anyone negatively. However, because I don't have any way of knowing who will be reading here, I have to, on some level, assume that clients will read. So everything that I write must go through that filter. It gets even more important for those clients with whom I use more "psychodynamic" kinds of treatment. This is longer term therapy, relies very heavily upon the relationship between the therapist and client that is built over time. One of the tools of this therapy is a phenomenon called "transference." Briefly (and volumes have been written about this phenomenon), this is when the client transfers onto the therapist thoughts, feelings, etc., that originally would have been directed toward another significant person in the client's life. Mother, grandmother, brother, ex-wife, perpetrator, whatever. Whomever that client may have unfinished business with. In order for this tool of therapy to be effective, the therapist has to present herself as pretty much a blank screen. The reality of her history, her personality, etc., can't get in the way. In the process of working through the transference, some healing, some recovery takes place. Perspective gradually shifts to the here-and-now, and the unfinished business is more finished.

If I blogged naked, I couldn't be a blank screen for those people who need that type of therapy, and their treatment would be compromised. It's not OK for me to make that compromise so that I can have a richer blogging experience. And that's OK with me. This experience is plenty rich as it is.

Another risk if I revealed my own struggles in the way that the naked bloggers do, is that clients could become concerned about me. I find that most people who avail themselves of therapy are sensitive, compassionate people who could easily become concerned for their therapist if they knew she was having a tough time. That's not fair to those clients. The time and money that they spend with me is all about them; I'll get my own attention somewhere else.

The personal things that I do reveal here have to do mostly with my humor and my faith. These two components are so much a part of me that I couldn't hide them in real world if I tried. That's why you get the goofy and you get the Sunday Post.

I continue to wrestle with where the boundaries are here. I have read other therapist bloggers who reveal much more than I would be comfortable with. I don't judge them for that; I just have to do what I think is best for me and mine. And I'm sure there are still other therapists who believe as I once did, that we shouldn't have personal blogs at all. I will never go completely naked here; but I am increasingly feeling led to blog some experiences that I've had that I believe could actually be of benefit to readers. Even client readers. I'm still working that out. Stay tuned. And if you've read this far, aren't you a loyal blogfriend? Thank you for that :)

52 heads are better than one . . .

Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

You know why I don't blog naked?
My tits flop onto the keyboard, and then it's all areq42tqwe and sd4evg24SSERTBSBS

See? They even turn on the caps lock sometimes.

But seriously, folks - I've said many times that I often regret that so many people I know in "real life" know about my blog, especially people from work. Way too many of 'em for me to blog TOO naked, though I do blog with my pants off lots of times.
I've thought about the proverbial "secret blog" but geez, one blog is work enough. Anything nakeder than this, I can inflict on my blog friends via email.

Blogger Susie said...

bucky, yea, that's another reason, same here. Not the tits, the realworld people who read. You are my blog godmother; I watched how you did it for a long time, your personality comes through but not every personal thing about you.

Blogger WILLIAM said...

Since you used the term naked I have to go with it. I hope this does not sound perverted.

I think it is much sexier, much more intriguing, more fascinating that you leave your clothes on. Occasionally you reveal a little bit, a shoulder, maybe a knee and it keeps me wanting to come back for more hoping that I may get a better look. All the while I am enjoying the performance.

If you blogged naked I know I wouldn't enjoy the experience as much.

Anonymous kalki said...

I love william.

This was fascinating to read, actually. (I do love the meta-blog posts.) I think we each bring our own perspective, our own spin to things, and I like it that way. If all the blogs I read were naked, it would be too much. If none of them were, I'd long for a little nudity.

Thanks for what you bring, Susie.

Blogger Circus Kelli said...

I heart you Susie, just as you are. Anytime you need to get naked, you can email me.

Hmm. I'm pretty sure that didn't come out the way it was supposed to...

Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Oh sure, Circus Kelly, Susie can be naked in emails all she wants. But let me send you one little naked butt photo and suddenly it's all cops at my door and restraining order.

*sob* Not fair, just not fair.

Blogger SRH said...

I would imagine, that as a therapist, it is quite a fine line that you are treading. "Naked" blogging, I think, would definitely cross that line.

I am just trying to ensure that my childhood nuclear family never finds out about mine. I have been none too flattering about them.

Blogger Effie said...

I only wish I were big enough to have Bucky's problem--if I got a shorter chair, maybe.... ;)

I love what you do offer us Susie--we all understand why you can't give us more, but you give just enough, as William says, to make it more interesting. For us to put the pieces together on our own. And we keep coming back--did you notice?!

And now that you've mentioned it--I passed my 6-month blogg-iversary last week. Wow. That's pretty good, eh?!

Anonymous lawbrat said...

I'm glad you put the spam stopper thingy on. Its an extra step, but not an inconvience at all.

I know I'm a naked blogger. But, in real life I cant go there. I just simply cant. The anonymity of online makes me feel more secure. I find in real life, when your open and honest about 'feelings', you get hurt; or your not supposed to talk about that stuff (how I was raised)

I look at my kids, and think...I would NEVER talk to my parents like they talk to me. NEVER in a million years, when I was a child or even now. They're mostly open and can tell me how they feel. I love that.

Blogger Susie said...

william, it sounds QUITE perverted, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate that ;) Seriously, thank you for that perspective. I like that. And I think, when you put it that way, that I am being very honest, very true to who I am and how I am in realworld.

kalki, thanks, honey. And me too, on everything: loving William, loving meta-blogging, appreciating the variety of styles, etc.

CK, OK, I'll send you some naked emails. In plain brown wrappers.

bucky, that wasn't just CK, that was a whole class action thing, man. I mean, ma'am ;)

srh, some blogfriends have recently been discovered by their families. It can happen; in fact, I am of the opinion that it WILL happen. Unsolicited assvice, delete anything you really couldn't bear for them to read; and the rest, everyone will just have to deal with.

effie, congrats on your six months. It is a milestone, I think. Shorter chair -- you're funny. Thanks for the kind words.

Blogger Susie said...

lawbrat, I missed you there. For some people, hopefully for you, naked blogging is a way of venting, and of organizing your thoughts, and of getting support. I think that's a good thing. I especially think it's a good thing while you have a therapist, with whom you can continue sorting those things out. I worry sometimes about the always-naked folk whom I know don't have therapists. Sometimes I wonder if we (blogworld friends) are the best ones to be advising those folk. But overall, I absolutely think naked blogging has its place, and as I said, I respect, reverence, when people are that open.
And just to clarify, I am talking there about the "always naked" people, of which there are almost none who visit here. Occasional nakedness is pretty standard for most bloggers, I think.

Anonymous peefer said...

I find that the best reads are those when just a little bit of skin is shown, like in Booty Flies and the Night Of Crime. Personal, freckled, tanned, whatever, but not all scary, pale, and goosebumpy like if the full wardrobe was off. (Not that I'm suggesting you're scary, etc.) In the flesh-world, if a person flashes me (doesn't happen often enough), I'm a little curious, but I don't go looking for them everyday. Same goes for these b#&gs.

Keep it coming just like it is.

Blogger Candace said...

I sometimes wish I could do more naked blogging, if only to get some of this stuff off my chest. I can't write about my father (he reads it) and he's the reason for a lot of my anxiety and insecurity.

Ah well.

Blogger Mamaramma said...

I agree! You have to do what's right for you- and we love what you do! Nice to "see" you again. I'll try not to be a stranger!

Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Bucky, darlin, I've been advised not to comment on the restraining order or anything pertaining to that.

Blogger mrtl said...

'Tis always safest to at least keep on the foundation garments. There is so much I can't/won't allow myself to blog about... My recent funk was attributed to that -- stuff I needed to get out but couldn't without risk of hurting people I love.

I love your blog, Susie. Here's a song for you: "We don't have to take our clothes off to have a good time. Oh no!"

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, so that's what they mean by "blogging naked." Guess I can put my clothes back on.

I've only gotten personal a couple of times, but I've locked up those posts since discovering that not just strangers read my blog.


Blogger Von Krankipantzen said...

I hadn't thought about the fine line you must have to blog sometimes. Whatever contraints you have to dance around you are doing it well. Your blog continues to be amazing and I look forward to each and every new post.

Blogger Squirl said...

We love your posts just the way they are. I have family (duh) and friends and co-workers who know about and read my blog. Gotta be careful just how naked you get.

Blogger marybishop said...

Well bucky four-eyes made me spit my coffee on my keyboard...
"areq42tqwe and sd4evg24SSERTBSBS" Too funny!

Susie, I think you blog in tulle and lace, batiste cotton and sheer linen...just enough "skin" to connect with your readers, but not enough for us to worry about you, your clients or our responses to your words.

You're perfect the way you are!

Blogger eclectic said...

So, does that mean we will or won't be getting a photo of your breasts? 'Cause you know that's what we're looking for when we come over here... ;)

Blogger Greenthumb said...


Now I'm all self-concious about my nakedness and worried about restraining orders. Quick, some one fashion a loin cloth out of that tule and lace...no that's not enough, you're going to need more than that.

I worry that I'm too 'naked' with my posts at times, but then I realize that it's just my nature. In my heart I'm a nudist and that's who I have to be. That's what gives me the maximum amount of pleasure in my blogspeditions.

I fell in love with you for your style and grace here, but more importantly for you heart. You do more as a blogger with your posts than anyone one else I know, where others like myself, rely on the glitz and flash of our blogskin, you could acheive the same effect on a blank sheet of paper. No borders, no fancy fonts. Your words are your art.

So thanks for the modesty and the occaisional flash of skin. Keep doing what you do for you.

Blogger Susie said...

thanks, peefer, and believe me, it would be scary :0

misfit, well, the secret blog is an option; or emailing blogfriends. Or maybe someone can set up a group secret blog where everyone can write things like that . . . but then would it be secret . . . I dunno ...

mamaramma, I'll stop saying this sometime soon, but I'm not sure when, IT IS SO GOOD TO SEE YOU!

CK, thank you for using the word "pertaining" on my blog. That is all.

mrtl/jermaine, we could dance and party all night, and drink some cherry wine. Come on baby, won't you show some class? Why you wanna move so fast?

gina, yes, nakedness in front of strangers is much more acceptable than in front of . . . I don't understand what I'm saying . . .

kranki, thank you, sweetie. That line is a LOT of what I think about, here. It's tedious sometimes.

squirl, you don't have to be all that careful, when your sister is the assless wonder; you'll always look fully clothed by comparison ;)

MB, there's another potential class action suit against Bucky. A lot of us need new keyboards because of her. You have me dressed up real pretty, I like that look :)

eclectic, yes, of course I realize that's all anyone here really wants from me. But when I give you that, you won't respect me and you'll be off in search of other conquests. I shall remain hard to get.

greenie, you're the best. You are so good to me, from day one. And honey, if you got it flaunt it. How you gonna cover all that up? ;) You are just naked enough, just often enough. Your naked posts have been so provocative, so deeply touching for so many. You keep doing what you do, too.

Blogger Ern said...

I'm in the library right now, so you can bet Bucky's titties that I'm not naked.

I only like to get naked in the privacy of my own home. Oh, wait. You mean METAPHORICALLY naked?

I love what you have to share, and I think everyone here respects that different people take anonymity and nudity to whatever level they feel comfortable with. Blove you!

Blogger SierraBella said...

I don't blog naked either, although I do sometimes blog 'nekked' if it's hot outside.

I blog sans underwear- meaning nothing too personal is exposed, but my stuff is somewhat unrestrained.

Blogger Greenthumb said...

Sierrabella, my stuff is somewhat unrestrained...LOL!!!

Woman, you kill me. XOXO

Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Ern, you can't make much of a bet with my titties. But you're welcome to take 'em to the casino if you want.

I would actually blog a little nakeder if Jim wouldn't be absolutely mortified. Not that he doesn't want me naked, he may be the only one who does, but he doesn't want me Naked in front of the Internet as a Whole.

(Wow, Greenie! If I had an alleged schlong, it would be as ginormous as yours)

Blogger Nina said...

I can't blog naked either . . . for many of the same reasons you listed.

As well as I knew my daughter reads my blog, but just found out my oldest son does too.

I do attempt to weigh the boundaries, because I have too, and because I want to. So I can really relate to keeping clothes on.

Blogger Torrie said...

You might not be competely naked, but we can still see your heart.

Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

You make perfect sense, Susie.

(From one who read to the end.)

Blogger dashababy said...

I love you Susie, naked or not.
Torrie said it best, I have to agree.

Blogger LadyBug said...

I blove you, Susie.

Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Gawd, I love these comments...

Blogger jac said...

Congrats for having the guts to write it. It is 100% true. The risk is always there. The cofidentiality is an important factor.

Blogger Closet Metro said...

Torrie's right.

You keep writing whatever you want to expose, we'll keep reading for a peek.

Blogger Dawn said...

hi susie. well i have to say that from the title of this post i was thinking OMG what???? i've never heard of that term before. i am a semi-naked blogger for one of my blogs and completely naked for the other. i sometimes regret being so open and since both of my blogs have been found by someone very close to me, i regret it even more. i think your blog is awesome the way it is.

Blogger whfropera said...

well, I'm one of the less-naked bloggers, although sometimes I let stuff out in comments, and sometimes I actually contact people from my real email.
Maybe calling blogs "online diaries" is a bit of a misnomer when you really dissect what its like to participate. ask anyone who has gotten fired for their blog.
yeah, i wish I could have a secret blog too - i started one, and then backed off and pulled it down out of fear. yikes.

Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

I just don't have the energy for a secret blog. The naked moments get written quite often, then saved as text documents and unpublished. I guess that's a diary. All it's lackin' is the little gold clasp with the totally worthless lock.

Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Oh, and the unicorn and heart stickers.

Blogger Dang Cold.. said...

Susie my southern sister,

What little we all truely know about you is enough to have us wandering back here time and again. I suppose that nakedness would lose its mystical power if you just disrobed in front of everyone on a whim. It really is for the chosen few that cross a threshhold in you.

I refer to myself as a street flasher in the bloggerossa. I keep things conceived but occasionally unbutton my pants and show everyone the money in my not so frequent now-a-days postings. Over email I let things fly a little more fancy free and don't care as much for wrinkles or blemishes.


Blogger JessicaRabbit said...

Do bloggin naked and frying bacon naked have anything in common? Cause they are both dangerous, but I dunno if naked bloggin makes your house smell the same.

I pretty much blog naked all the time, in both senses of the word. I dont know how to do it any other way, but I have lived my life naked, again in both senses of the word, since I was 18.

I admire your sense of devotion to your clients, and your caring and thoughtfulness helps me to think of my own therapist as more of a person and whole being and not just a job. Like seeing your teachers in public as a kid.

I understand why you feel like you do, but really, I think I speak for us all when I say, alittle flash of skin now and then wont hurt anyone.

Blogger Gyrobo said...

Metaphors make my brain hurts. Ouches.

Blogger Mainline Mom said...

My computer is right in front of a window too, which is why I don't blog naked either. Occasionally in small pj's, but just to give the neighbors a thrill. Oh wait, you meant metaphorically. Yeah I don't do too much of that either. Rare occasions. Mostly because of real life people who read my blog, and who would be upset if I shared personal details about them. Oh, and I guess deep down I'm kind of private too.

Blogger Susie said...

ern, Congratulations! You have uttered (uddered?) the phrase of the day, "bet Bucky's titties"!

sierrabella, we love your unrestrained stuff :)

bucky, if I hadn't already awarded the phrase of the day, "alleged schlong" would be a strong contender.

nina, my daughter is too young to read most of my posts, and many of my comments -- have you SEEN what these people write here? So I do understand the kid factor; even if she were older, I couldn't blog naked.

torrie, and my heart can see YOUR heart, always could; even thought you're such a hater ;)

hoss, thank you, that is a lovely comment.

thanks, dashababymama, and backatcha.

ladybug, I blove you, too.

CK, me, too. In fact, comments are always the best part of this blog.

jac, thank you. Guts, I don't mind showing.

closet metro, thank you, too. That sounds like you're a peeping Tom. No, a peeking Dave.

blogaholic, thank you. I have come to believe that secret blogs will always be "outed" one way or another.

opera girl and bucky, you bring up something that concerns me about blogs. I think keeping a diary or a journal is a valuable thing for people to do. I think almost all of us write differently for an audience, or a potential audience, than we do for ourselves alone. I worry that the time and energy put into blogging may detract from journalling, and that's not good.

dang, dang, dang, my cold northern brutha. You hit the nail on the head, baby. If I disrobed, the mystical power would indeed be lost. PWAHAHAHAAHAA! You can unbutton your pants and show the money here anytime you want, or anytime your pants get too tight, or anytime you got some money you want us to see, or once again, I have no idea what I'm saying, but I'm having fun, and I love you :)

JR, I do flash every now and then. I sent you an anony pic! It was the perfect one, the hot one, you know ;) [No, shut up everyone, I'm lying.]

gyrobo, we do a lot of metaphors around here. Similes, hyperboles, and whatnot. Pace yourself.

mainline mom, of course I understand. And your baby is mighty cute :)


I'm with JR on this. I can't seem to help but blog naked.

It's probably cause I am 25 and I can't stop myself from talking all about me.

I have a sister who reads it, but not often. I might feel different if my mom read it or something, but it's not gonna happen. :)

Blogger abcd said...

A very thought provoking post. "Blogging naked is not for me". I too am private and would not want parts of my life on a blog. If one's only outlet is a blog perhaps blogging naked is a good choice for them. Another one of those personal choices. I have recently read some blogs with my new found free time. And I have read some very moving blogs, and I have read some very disturbing blogs. I have read some great comments, and some disturbing ones. No different in RL.


Anonymous jessica_deva said...

It's such a dilemma - originally I started a blog to find out just how honest I could be about who I really am and what I really think - but it's been very difficult, especially when my blog was "found" by so many people I knew in my previous life. Now I feel the weight of that with everything I write and I think my blog has suffered for it. But I respect what you're saying and I think you can still 'keep it real' within boundaries. I'm trying to learn what that means for myself.

Blogger Twixie said...

Well I've had a couple of naked entries on my blog... I don't know why, but I told a couple of friends about the blog and they read it almost religiously now... so for their sake, I can't be as honest as I want to be... so far I've been able to keep the blog a secret (secret meaning they don't know the link, though some know that it exists) from family. But I totally respect your reservations, it's understandable

Blogger Nina said...

Well I guess I shouldn't be too concerned about my kids reading my blog, they are adults. But still, there are some things you shouldn't know about your mother.
A few patients have said to John oh I ran across your wife's blog. So I made a promise no matter how mad I could ever get at him, I promised to never blog about it. And while I don't hesitate to use my name, I won't ever include his last name. Because like you said no matter how big this world is, it really is a small place. :)

Anonymous sheryl said...

Sometimes I blog semi-nude.

But truthfully, I have only come close to blogging (what I would consider) naked once or twice. I'm not trying to hold back, I'm trying to open up.

So that's what happens, I am fully dressed, but I open up a hole into my chest, or side, or back. I might show you the outline of the bones in my hands or face, like an xray. Fractures I remembered, fractures I'd forgotten. Fractures that have healed.

I respect you for blogging with your clothes on. I have had some issues (in my gut, in my trust) with my therapist being too real a person. In my head, though, it helps knowing she is real. and that you are real.

My anonymity has helped me blog my xrays and vivisections. And also the fact that I have deadened nerves. It's only courage if you feel afraid, right?

I can count on one hand the number of times I've blogged honestly about fear while I was feeling it.

My sister reads my blig, though not often, and that has made it awkward a bit. Sometimes I do write about our relationship and she has pointed it out. But that's ok with me for the most part. Our relationship is one of the dances I participate in for which I am willing to take the chance and change the steps. Even if my toes get stepped on sometimes, even if I have to take the lead to do it, even if I have to explain that the old dance hurt too much (when I don't really want to explain).

In my case, so far, the blog has only opened doors to conversations I feel mostly comfortable having.

On the other hand, sometimes I dissipate when I feel too much. So later, I don't "remember" crossing the line.

In your case, I agree with Greenie and Torrie and Metro, we can feel your heart.

I once said this about LadyBug and I think it is as true about you: You have a kind and empathetic voice that rings like a soft bell everywhere you go on the www. People need to hear that bell.

Blogger Susie said...

SHE, it's nice to see you here. If I were 25, I might be more naked, too. As I keep saying, assume your blog will be found.

Nikki, I know what you mean, some moving and some disturbing. In real world, though, by the time you hear "disturbing" from someone, you usually know them at least a bit. Here, not so. I told someone today, the people who do "all disturbing, all the time," I think are using their readers in a way that's unhealthy for all concerned. Readers become distressed, and have no power to do anything to help, and the writers continue to live in the same situations, able to vent just enough to keep doing what they're doing. From that perspective, I think reading such blogs is a form of enabling those people.

jessicaD, I know what you mean. I hope you'll still find a place to write with total honesty, even if you're the only one who sees it. That's one of the pitfalls of blogging, if watered-down writing takes the place of real, honest journalling.

twixie, people who know us reading our blogs definitely affects our choices. Certainly does for me. Even in which goofy stories I tell. What I find funny might be offensive to someone else who was "there."

nina, I agree, some things kids don't need (want) to know about moms. And some people may find it hard to believe that clients discover these things randomly, but, as you've seen, they just do. That is always a possibility.

sheryl, I can't begin to say how much your writing, semi-nude, naked or whatever, touches me. You have a voice like no one else in blogworld. You know what I think it is, you have the raw, the gut-wrenching, heart-wrenching, but it's presented so ... see, I don't have your gift with words, so... delicately, so poetically, that it is never, ever too much. Moving without being disturbing or frightening. Even when it's painful to witness, one doesn't want to run away from your writing. Some of us on here can write OK, just fine, plenty good enough. You, lovely Sheryl, are in a league of your own.

And don't even get me started on those pictures! (People will say we're in love ;)

You are too kind to me, but I will say thank you; I am more than pleased to be included in LadyBug's company.

Blogger Karen said...

Wow, so many comments. I love this blog. It's an entire community. Is it too late to say that "the unicorn and heart stickers" comment made me smile?


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