“But Red Wine Has Antioxidants”: Navigating Alcohol And Anorexia In Today’s World

Every time I sit down to write about eating disorders, I ask myself “what needs to be said, that most are unwilling to share?”

Sometimes, that leads me down a rabbit hole with an unclear end. Occasionally, a seed of perspective develops.

More frequently, a truth emerges (or reemerges) that I’m conveniently escaping.

This share is one of those, and took me two months to write.

Continue reading ““But Red Wine Has Antioxidants”: Navigating Alcohol And Anorexia In Today’s World”

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“OMG My Vacay Is Perfect”: The Problem With Instagram And Vacation Filters

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Oye – vacations. 3 days in and I’m sitting here in Hawaii, already scanning for that perfect filtered beach pic.

What is it about social media that makes us wanna pull the veil over reality.

Having a great trip – content. But, I still have those eating disorder thoughts and I still have body image hiccups, so in an effort to accept that and move da’ fuq on this week: here’s reality of vacation vs Instagram:

First pic: hair tie got tangled up during sunrise hike. Pulled like 70 hairs outta my head – grimaced through pain. Grimaced at that side shot. Wore backpack strategically.

Second pic: filtered for that “sunrise bright and alert” look. Sent it to the person I’m dating so as to remind them how “outdoorsy attractive” I am.

Third pic: left pic I posed strategically “casual” because I always feel like I have a tendency to pose with my legs spread eagle.

Fourth pic: soaking up sun with a beer in hand, big- grinning. Reality: it was freezing and raining n’ my brother and I sat perched on that rock for a solid 30 minutes. Drank 2 beers, felt like I was being vacuumed into my swimsuit. Worried about my cousin in Houston, stuck  in the midst of Harvey.

Fifth pic: paddle-boarded yesterday for the first time… with one of the boat crew helping. Also, flirted with him because I seek instant validation in swimsuits. He was 8 years younger than I am. My family made fun of me. Captain yelled “you’re not even paddling Cinderella.”

Sixth pic: scowled at my stomach n’ made my brother take another round of pics. I was not “in mid walk” I was literally just standing there.

I’m hiking without shirts, wearing bikinis. I’m eating coconut shrimps and calamari and fruity cocktails and beers.

Just confirmed to speak during the Denver NEDA walk.

I’m thinking about my cousin and his wife in Houston. They’re safe, but man that storm’s devastating.

I’m good and content. And I’m flexibly okay and pushing.

We’re all human. So the next time you’re scanning through “vacay pics” demanding a redo or a “different angle” – remember you’re not alone. We all do this shit 💛

“BUT… You Can’t Eat Chipotle For Breakfast?”: The Truth About Food Rituals

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I’m uncomfortable today, as I write.

It is 11:07am on a Wednesday morning – Afternoon? Brunch? Can’t we millennials just coin the 11-1:00pm timeframe as “brunch hours?” It seems much more distinguishable.

Afternoon always sounds late. The 1-4:00pm day-drag hours.

Anyway, it’s 11:09 now – And my white jeans are currently feeling snug around my waist, increases near my bellybutton from hours of wear, and I am sitting in my office swivel chair on a lunch break, pounding furiously on a keyboard.

It’s distracting – these jeans. My legs are Indian style in an attempt to combat the tightness – I am breathing more shallow to provide less stomach movement, and I’m preoccupied, right now, by whether or not what I ate for breakfast will make me gain weight – as though weight can now magically be defined by one meal.

Fucking Chipotle.

Isn’t it interesting – and morbidly fascinating – what we carry around of our eating disorders.

Last night, I hung out with a person I’m dating and my best friend from college. They happen to be roommates. Hungry, as thin men always seem to be (sorry for the stereotype but seriously. It’s like all thin dudes could eat a person and shit it out by the end of the day – never gaining an ounce.)

Anyway, we went to Chipotle. I ordered a burrito bowl. Light on the sour cream. In retrospect, what does that even mean – ‘light on the sour’? Isn’t it really just a justification for getting sour cream at all? I wonder at times. I think I just like saying the words “light on the ____,” so it symbolizes to the bored-looking high school burrito-maker that “I care about my weight. I know I’ve been gaining lately – you can probably tell – but, I’m in control of it.”

I ate half my bowl, the three of us nestled around a wrought-iron black table. Snorting through giggles, sneaking bites of the others. Listening to my best friend moan about being single again. In one sentence – excited for the prospective women. In the next – moping over how his ex is Satan’s love-child.

The guy I’m seeing squeezes my thigh under the table – giving knowing smirks to one another as my best friend announces he’s going to “take up dancing lessons” in the wake of this break up. In another declaration, “fly to Brazil and make love to beautiful foreign women.”

Sex was born in Brazil, he announces.

Continue reading ““BUT… You Can’t Eat Chipotle For Breakfast?”: The Truth About Food Rituals”

“It’s Buffet Style”: 5 Eating Disorder Situations That You ‘Can’t Even’

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Had one of those moments today – sitting at my desk around noon.

My personal email dinged as I haplessly knocked buttons on my keyboard trying to make a press release for work sound remotely articulate.

I sighed, tabbed over to my gmail account.

A Paperless Post invitation appeared at the top of my Inbox.

I clicked on it – going through the whole masquerade of electronically opening the letter.

Like, cmon Paperless Post, it’s 2017. Envelopes are dying. You can’t trick us millennials with your virtual envelope rip. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

An invitation appeared to a friends house in a couple weeks.

Immediately intrigue followed by immediate dread as I opened the invitation and saw the two glowing little shitty words:

POT LUCK!

Pot. Luck.

I groaned –  audibly – bashing my forehead onto the keyboard.

…. Okay, dramatic. I didn’t do that.

But God I hate pot lucks, which leads me to this post.

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5 situations that I just ‘can’t even’ with my eating disorder. Let’s see if you agree: Continue reading ““It’s Buffet Style”: 5 Eating Disorder Situations That You ‘Can’t Even’”

Is Netflix’s ‘To The Bone’ Triggering? Spoiler Alert: Yes, But Life Is Triggering

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Been seeing this Netflix movie ‘To The Bone’ anorexia debate flood my social media feed + inbox the past couple weeks, so I watched it yesterday and thought I’d type up a few thoughts.

I liked it.

As unpopular of an opinion as this might be for some, it’s easy to shit on eating disorder movies because there’s so many reasons why they occur. Not all can be covered in 2 hours. What I will say, though, is that I felt. And I appreciated the following attempts:

  • They cast a lead male with an eating disorder in treatment. This would not have been done 10 years ago. Thank you.
  •  Predominately showcased Caucasian females, yes, but they cast at least two minorities (one who identifies with LGBT) as leads with an ED. Thank you.
  • While I would’ve preferred better dialogue on ‘drunkorexia’ or exercise addiction outside of sit ups, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they cast a pregnant girl dealing with pregorexia, a binge eater, and showcased ‘chewing and spitting’. Thank you.
  • Miscarriage scene. Horrifying. It happens. Thank you.
  • They included reference to social media pro-anorexia sites. More people need to understand that they exist in masses, and their kids could be on them. Thank you.
  • ”Calorie Aspergers” may not be PC, but if you have a type of anorexia, you know what they’re talking about. Thank you.
  • They inserted a frustrated sister. Cliche, sure. But, many of us have heard the same from members of our family or friends. Thank you.
  • The movie depicts insurance issues. And the recidivism rate of eating disorders + treatment. Thank you.
  • They showed a group of family members fighting over what to do. Scared. Selfish. Tired of her. Feeling like they did this to their child. Tis’ life. It’s not true. But yes, it’s relatable. Thank you.
  • They exposed manipulations with food. The diet cokes. The smoking. Laxatives. The bags under beds, the sit ups, the arm ring, the cutting off of bread from the fried chicken. Sure, there’s plenty more they could’ve done, but it’s a movie and there isn’t time. Thank you.
  • The stubbornness of these disorders. The habits we create and repeat time and time again. The locked circle. Thank you.

Continue reading “Is Netflix’s ‘To The Bone’ Triggering? Spoiler Alert: Yes, But Life Is Triggering”

2 Years Later: The Night I Asked For Help

 

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Two years ago, I went to a wedding, drank 6 glasses of wine, and wouldn’t take off my coat.

Earlier that day, I binge ate 2 boxes of cereal, threw up- and went straight to the gym with my dad.

I ran for 45 minutes- analyzing how many calories I’d likely thrown up and how many I could continue to burn.

It wasn’t enough.

When my dad came over to the treadmill, he signaled he was ready to go and I hopped off and followed him out of the gym.

We chatted in the car that day, giggled about the latest Bachelorette (because, yes, my father watches The Bachelorette), and when we got home I lurked till he was back in his room before I grabbed the keys and yelled out I was going to “run errands.”

My brother, I was later told, watched me pull out of the driveway and went back to my parents room to let them know I still had my tennis shoes on.

30 minutes later, as I ran cemented to the treadmill, I looked up to find my Dad standing there at the gym entrance- his eyes watching me.

Filled with shame, I stared back as he walked discreetly over to my treadmill.

“Linds” he whispered. “C’mon.”

We didn’t talk much that afternoon. I stayed upstairs with a bottle of wine avoiding my family and getting dressed for the wedding.

Anxious because I hadn’t finished running 12 miles, I hated the way I looked in that dress. I hated how much tighter it felt, I hated my thighs, I hated my arms, I hated my stomach and I wore Spanx that sucked in what was already bloated from purging.

At the wedding, I lingered near the bar.

Please take off your coat, my Mom whispered at some point when I’d gone out on the dance floor with my winter coat zipped to the neck.

I’m cold, I lied.

That night, I got absolutely hammered. I spoke with people I don’t remember talking to but have pictures with, I spent the last hour finding ways to sneak the grilled cheese appetizers in my coat pocket to ”eat later,” and I danced with sweat pilfering through my coat because I wouldn’t take it off.

Wine-dazed and dehydrated, someone drove me home that night and as I walked in the door I heard my Dad call me into the living room.

Shit, I sighed drunkenly. I just wanted my bed and the Cheez Its I’d hidden in the bathroom.

As I walked into the living room, I immediately noticed the two empty boxes of cereal on the coffee table.

Lindsey, he said calmly. What happened to the cereal?

Dunno, I slurred, my face reddening.

Lindsey, he said again- softer. Mom and I counted before you got here and we had 6 boxes of cereal and now we have 4.

I stared at him.

Honey, he whispered. We just love you.

Tears welled in my eyes.

We know, he said. Lindsey we know you need help.

I’m sorry, I heard myself whimper. I’m so sorry.

Did you throw it up? He asked.

I nodded.

My mom shook her head. We have to get help, she said. Lindsey you can’t keep living like this. We can’t live like this.

I don’t want to, I mumbled. I just can’t stop.

Let us help, my dad pleaded. Let us get you help.

I nodded. I didn’t care anymore.

I was done.
Continue reading “2 Years Later: The Night I Asked For Help”

The Truth About Being A Millennial Drunkorexic

This is Rehab Day 15:

And you’re sitting on the Renfrew community couch writing your best friend a letter when Lilly comes in and lays down beside you.

I’m bored, she mumbles- her limp hair falling in her face.

Got a book? You ask, barely looking over.

Read them all.

Wanna play a game?

God no. She makes a face. But I do wanna get drunk.

You grin. Me too.

Like stupid drunk, she says. Like blow some shit up drunk.

You put down your letter. Okay, well that escalated, you pause. But yes, I’d love a Pinot Noir.

She scoffs. You and your rich girl sorority shit. She sticks out her pinky and pretends to hold a champagne flute. Oh yes sir, she mimics. I’ll have a touch of the Rosé if you could ever be so kind.

You can’t help but smile. It’s not really like that, you know. I drink the same way you do, Lil.

Out of a bag?

You snort. Okay well no, not usually. But it’s happened.

You think back to college frat parties. Slapping the Franzia bags.

It’s all the same, you say. Everyone just trying to reach some place they can forget.

She waves her hand at this. I just mean you don’t really strike me as the type to get all that drunk.

You’d be surprised, you admit. Got myself a DWI a few years ago. Bet ya didn’t know that?

Her eyebrows raise. That’s actually pretty shocking- yeah.

Was for my parents too.

So you’re a drunk then?

No, you say. Not conventionally anyway.

Ah- more like a desperate housewife?

Something like that.

One too many glasses of wine a night?

A medicinal drunk, I’d call it. I don’t really need it; just prefer it.

A medicinal drunk. Nice, she grins lazily. I’ll use that in our next AA.

Go for it, you say. I’m taking a break from it once I’m out anyway.

From AA, she asks. Or alcohol?

Both, you say- scratching your head.

God, you think to yourself. You’re almost positive this couch has lice. You just know it.

I need to anyway, you say- trying to forget about the lice.  I drink to not eat so it’s not really something I should keep doing.

She rolls her eyes. Yeah- alright then, she says- plopping her hairy legs in your lap.

You look down. Have they literally not let you shave since you got here?

3 months, she says. But yeah, we’ll see about that no alcohol thing.

What do you mean?

I’m just saying it’s hard, she pauses. I’ve been in and out of treatment more times than I can count and it’s hard to give up all your vices. You’re already dealing with your eating shit, she says. And you’re doing a good job with that- so just go with it.

And I’m not smoking, you add in smugly.

Yeah well, she pauses. Don’t get all holier than thou. She lays her head back on a pillow- her tangled headphones on her chest. I just think it’s harder than you know, to be back in the world and sober. She nestles one of the earbuds in her ear. Even if you are some yuppy bitch from Dallas, you’ll want to go out with your friends.

You smile. Thanks for the advice.

But she’s already lost in her world of Wu Tang Clan.

Leaning your head against the wall that day, you wonder if she’s right.

You wonder if you even mean it:

It takes you 2 years to realize, you didn’t.

Continue reading “The Truth About Being A Millennial Drunkorexic”

The Eating Disorder No One Talks About

I’ve been trying to write this post for months but the truth is I detest writing about binge eating.

Anorexia? Bulimia? Drunkorexia? Sure thing. I’ll write about that till the cows come home ’cause a year and a half into recovery doesn’t change the surge of pride I still feel when I write about the lost days of thin.

Perhaps I’ll always have a twisted sense of validation when I write about the ”success” of anorexia. It’s like the boys baseball coach who’s still talking about his “1976 glory days” even though they’re long gone.

I worked hard at being thin; I spent hours feeling the bones in my shoulder as some sort of ritualistic celebration- so subconsciously I still have a tendency to talk about it with the same kind of nostalgia that Hemingway wrote about the Parisian Jazz Era.

As shameful as it “should be” to admit that I stuck my fingers down my throat, it’s actually far more vulnerable to publicly acknowledge the aspects of my eating disorder where I felt the opposite. Sure, I’ve made quips here and there. I’ve joked about binge-eating gallons of ice cream, but I’ve never talked about it in a way that mirrors honesty because it’s embarrassing to me.

And frankly, binge eating is not attractive… so we rarely talk about it. Face it: our culture LOVES looking at anorexics like they’re Madame Medusas with snakes for limbs.

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Medusa- for reference

Continue reading “The Eating Disorder No One Talks About”

Drunkorexia: The ‘Acceptable’ Eating Disorder

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Alright, guys, here’s the truth:

I’ve been a drunkorexic for as long as I can remember, and owning up to it makes me cringe. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t be surprised. Not yet classified as an eating disorder, researchers are finally noting this ED trend that combines the worst of drinking and dieting.

Drunkorexia:  

The colloquialism for skipping meals or exercising heavily to “save” or burn calories, making room for drinking at night. (Basically every college girl you know.)

I ask myself this often: Just WHY aren’t we talking about this more?

And here’s the answer:

Because it’s culturally accepted, that’s why- and because ‘drunkorexia’ sounds like a term some sorority girl came up with to ”tee-hee” with her ”p-sisters” over.

It’s an epidemic that’s ignored because it’s an offspring of the far more concerning prevalence of binge-drinking culture, and as I’m about to admit (begrudgingly), I still have a tendency to hide behind said culture as I realized this weekend running back from brunch.

Ah brunch, the staple of a weekend- gathering with your friends at around 2-3pm at a restaurant offering half-priced alcohol with a meal.

My participation in this culture drives my therapist up the wall.

‘How’d you eat this weekend?’ she asks- to which I always perk up and say ‘Oh, fine!’

‘Did you eat three meals both days?’

Ummm, no. (Again, one octave higher) I brunched on Saturday so you know how that goes. (justifying, justifying, justifying)

Therapist (unamused): So, you ate one meal, and then got drunk?

….Cue the daily Monday night therapy squabble. And this is where I go into my tired explanation of how it only happens ‘on weekends’ and how on Sundays I usually don’t even drink that much at brunch.

The truth though- is that while I typically don’t drink more than one drink on a Sunday, I still found myself at brunch last weekend eating only half of a sandwich- and when I thought about it on my run back- the sole reason I did that was because I had a half-drank Bloody Mary sitting precociously beside my plate. 

In short, I still tend to use alcohol as a sneaky means of compensating my eating disorder. I medicate my ED anxieties with it – and I justify not eating properly because of it as well. Though I felt like I wanted to eat more of that Grilled Cheese the other day, I turned to the Bloody Mary instead- sipping it lightly in place of food.

This ‘drunkorexic’ side of me started long before I was 21. When I first began college at 18, I remember hearing about the “freshman 15,” and seeing kids older than me coming home for Christmas break after their first semester looking completely different than the scrawny person that had left 5 months prior.

It absolutely terrified me. Already in the midst of a full-blown eating disorder, drinking alcohol further fueled the anxiety of gaining weight- yet everyone around me was doing it. Hell, I was no stranger to it. I got drunk for the first time at my ex-boyfriend’s prom when I was 16. (I think I’d had like the “fruit punch” and didn’t realize Everclear was the liquor that will put you flat on your ass) I’d drank quite casually on the weekends throughout all of high school, though never on a regular, binging basis as I was suddenly realizing college was all about.

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Alcohol was everywhere- and binge-drinking was the culture. Drinking for no reason was available any day of the week. Thursdays? Thirsty Thursdays at Grubs. Wednesdays? Wine Wednesdays with the roomies. And don’t even get me started on the football tailgates. The mid-week frat parties. The Saturday Keggers. Sneaking into bars underage.

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I was very much part of this culture on the outside, but on the inside it gave me a daily amount of anxiety in terms of my eating disorder. While I was obsessive about getting my exercise, I’d read enough to know that an hour long elliptical session wasn’t going to compensate 400 calories of wine and sugar.

I felt torn by my love for socializing and my weight/eating disorder- so I did what so many other people in this country tend to do as well. I cut the food- because food was not as fun as wine.

Admittedly, I’ve always been a lightweight. I’ve never needed more than 2 glasses of wine in order to ”feel the effect” of my alcohol intake, which is both a blessing and a complete curse because the moment I put a glass of wine to my lips, I can nearly feel it soothing my anxieties of the day. Everything feels lighter, dulled and subdued.

And this includes my hunger cues.

You give me one glass of wine- and I feel “full.” Whether or not it’s real is up for debate, but the moment I have a glass of wine, I tend to purposely, or unpurposely, forget about eating. I can be famished walking into a meal with my friends but drinking a glass of wine before the main entree dulls my desire to eat as much as I should.

Frankly, I love the feeling of being tipsy, and this drunorexia pattern has been my way of living for as long as I can remember. I have never had a balanced relationship between alcohol and food together. If you put a drink or food in front of me, I will want the alcohol. It’s a soother for the food.

I don’t binge-drink however. Shots? Not interested. Liquor? Eh. So I can’t really relate to the girls that skip meals and then binge-drink to the point of blacking out- although I witnessed it in numerous friends in college.

I just tend to drink my 2 glasses of wine and if I start in on a third, then I’m usually borderline drunk and I’ve never enjoyed being drunk because intoxication- for me- opens up the gates to binge eating later so I avoid it like the plague now that I’m in recovery. If I am drunk, I try to wait until I’m more rational to go home and so this usually means I end up walking miles on the streets of NY sobering up with a water bottle from Duane Reede.

In fact, I recently had a date in Bryant Park- I hadn’t eaten enough and I had 3 glasses of wine so naturally, I was feeling the effect. When we left for home, this person asked if they could walk me to the subway and much to their confusion, I waved them away and said I’d walk.

TO BROOKLYN? This person said, their eyes bugging.

No, I grinned, purple-lipped as always. Don’t worry about it I’ll jump on the subway at some point.

Please just get on the subway now, they begged. You shouldn’t walk alone.

No no, I said. I do this all the time I swear. I’m fine. I’ll let you know when I’m home.

In retrospect, it probably is odd to the naked eye, but I’m still too new in recovery that I don’t always trust myself to go home drunk and alone. I find that if I walk it out for awhile, I can get a grip on myself and stop at a deli somewhere and buy a granola bar to compensate for what I replaced with wine.

Some might ask: Why do you still drink then, Linds, if it allows you this much room for manipulating?

If you’re wondering that, you have every right to- but I don’t pretend to have answers.

There are many times I avoid going out with my friends for the exact reason of recovery, but I implore you to remember that I’m also 25 years old in the most ‘alive’ city in the world and sometimes all I want in the entire world is to sit at a Sushi restaurant on a Wednesday night splitting a bottle of red wine with three of my girlfriends- giggling to ourselves about how HBO ”Girls”our lives can be.

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There are many nights that I’m quite fine to do this too. There are nights that I know I need to eat regardless of what the wine dulls in my stomach, and I eat anyway. There are times I eat too much pasta and push away the wine because I’m too full to finish it- and during the weekdays I almost always regularly eat 3 meals a day because I eat both breakfast and lunch with the same person and it keeps me accountable.

So why’s this really such an “issue” in our society?

Need I even point out the obvious? The alcohol industry has increasingly targeted young people with weight-conscious marketing, tapping straight into teen and twenty-something’s body anxiety — while courting new consumers. And it’s working on a wider basis every day- encouraging the behaviors of drunkorexia.

Drinking on an empty stomach leads to more rapid absorption of alcohol, and higher levels of impairment and intoxication. So every time people purposely do it, they incur increased risks of things like sexual assault and DUIs, and, in the long run, gastritis, ulcer, and malnutrition….. etc., etc., etc.

The other reason it’s an issue is that drunkorexia tendencies lead to the same path of deception and manipulation that you find in standard eating disorders. There’s no denying that in my own experience and as I write this tonight, I’m aware that I don’t want to live my days by glasses of wine just as I don’t want to live my life calorie by calorie because I remember that I don’t find happiness or “peace” manipulating myself and those around me.

It’s exhausting to starve, and filling your body with a wasteland of alcohol non-nutrients inevitably just leaves you feeling like shit.  Easier said than done though right? Obviously I still have the tendency to trick myself into thinking otherwise. That’s the hard part of recovery – you take a lazy “mental” day and it creeps back up on you the first couple years.

I go days at a time where my eating is the most normal it can be for me, and those are days that I remember a lot more about my life. Days where I eat three meals with pleasure make my life a lot more whole because it gives me the opportunity to live in the present and not be constantly focused on food. Being tipsy (or blackout) to avoid a meal isn’t any way to live- and I know that. Being drunk and making choices you’d otherwise think twice about opens up the floodgates to anxiety, depression, and isolation. It opens up the doors to larger eating disorder deceptions.

When you live your life constantly thinking about how to manipulate your weight, you start to lose control over your priorities. Throw in alcohol and WOO- those babies are thrown right out the door.

So much of a balanced life (recovery) is changing the way you think- and accepting the truths of what you do. I’m getting there, but this is just one of those truths for me:

So hey world- I am a drunkorexic, and I’m trying to learn how to be a sociable 25-year old in spite of it.

One day at a time.

Cheers- Linds

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