Saturday, April 26, 2014

Thoughts


Creating an outfit today, I had two thoughts.  I'm curious if you can relate to them.

First, I was inspired by a single item.  I found a silver top in a thrift-store that really entranced me.  It's shiny with patterns and shadows.  I can't stop admiring it.  So I snapped it up for a pittance ($4) and brought it home.

Wanting to show off my top, I build an outfit around it.  Have you ever done that?  It seems odd to construct an outfit with only one centerpiece, but that's how my mind worked.

The second thought is more profound.  Before the Internet and blogging, I wore women's clothing in private but there was nobody to see me, nobody to share myself with.  It seemed odd to put such effort into a futile exercise but dressing relaxed me.  It made me feel comfortable.  It made me feel "right".

Blogging changed that dramatically.  It gave me an audience for the first time.  Blogging offered me a goal (i.e., to look better) and I improved my skills with your helpful feedback.  I'll always be immensely grateful for the opportunity.

But... lately I feel I've lost something.  I conceive an outfit, put it together, apply makeup, do a 1-2 hour photoshoot, strip off the clothes and post pictures on my blog.  It's almost like a job.

I haven't been enjoying the clothes.  I barely wear them except for pictures.  I seem to have lost the relaxation and deep joy I used to get from living in female attire.  So I want to change that.  Last week, I dressed up solely for personal pleasure.  No pictures.  Today, after taking pictures, I relaxed and kept the clothes on for the afternoon.  I didn't rush to put up this post; instead, I savored the experience of presenting as female.  Of course, I had no audience or company but being alone is nothing new to me.  Even isolated, I enjoyed the experience. 

I think I'm going to do this more -- enjoy my efforts at female presentation and harbor less concern for public display.  I wish I had company IRL to share this with, but the absence of that won't hold me back.

Do you understand?


 
 
 

 
 
 

55 comments:

  1. First I totally build outfits around one item like shoes or a top a skirt. Very normal. Second the burnout is also pretty normal. I think lots of bloggers go through it where you feel like the capturing of something you do starts to eclipse the actual event. Taking time away or doing something private like dressing up for yourself is a great way to get past it.

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  2. I always do it that way Ally, I always build around one piece, I wouldn't know how to do it otherwise. I suppose that is how it works for most of us. Your top is absolutely gorgeous and I am actually drooling over it. What a steal! OK coming to loosing it....been there, done that.....I know exactly what you're talking about. You may know that I love to shop, I always buy some new clothes, before blogging I wore them mostly immediately means to work or clubbing, whatever. Now it's ...you are not to wear it before it is shot....it's ridiculous I know that, it kills somehow the fun of wearing new things, pairing and creating new outfits and not to wear thse outfits just because it might get dirty or something like that it's stupid of me. Therefor I think it's important that you do as you do now Ally, to enjoy your clothes again.
    Happy Weekend Ally
    xox
    Lenya
    FashionDreams&Lifestyle

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  3. Any good fashionista knows that an outfit can be centred around an item as small as a pair of earrings. So I would say that you're just developing good skills and following your instincts! Plus, it shows in this look - it's really beautiful.

    Blogger burnout is normal. I've been blogging for over 10 years and sometimes I find myself thinking about how I will write the blog post for an event I'm at while I'm at it. It's the worst feeling - thinking about the post and not enjoying the moment. You're doing the right thing taking the time to enjoy what it is that motivates you to write here. Sometimes a little blog break is in order too.

    Hope you're having a great weekend!
    Lisa.

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    1. You capture my situation perfectly.

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  4. I totally build outfits round one item!!! I especially love those shoes!!! So nice and they look comfy as well as stylish!!!
    I thought you lived with your wife, not alone?

    When I lived with my mum, before I met my husband, she used to go out to stay at her boyfriend's, now husband and if I was home alive, I would often get dressed up in evening gowns or pretty outfits just for the love and doing it and that's before I did outfit posts! Isn't it funny, I'd TOTALLY forgotten doing that until you talked about it!!

    Id agree to maybe having a little blog break if you need it, we will still be here even if you do x x

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  5. I almost always choose one item to build an outfit around. : )

    Hey! I have the same skirt! That Anthropologie skirt. I LOVE it with the silver. Great colours on you.

    I've been a bit in the same situation as you lately. On a normal day I enjoy the blogging, but I'm going away for most of the month of May and I'm scrambling to try to write up some 20 posts in advance. It is not so much fun. In fact it started to feel like work. Work that I don't even care for. I had to take a break from it. Normally I write the day before a post goes up. This isn't spontaneous and feels forced. I'm hoping by taking the day off writing today I'll get back in the mood to finish these posts before I leave.

    There is a great quote on the wall of the massage therapists room that I was in last week. It said, “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” I'm going to be putting that on my office wall.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. I found the Anthro skirt on their sale-rack. I'd love to see it on you.

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  6. it's easy to get off track for feel-good reasons...followers/numbers, sponsors, audience. eventually it will lead to burnout or exactly what you're experiencing...less satisfaction. i hope that you enjoy some time to yourself and come back renewed?!

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    1. That's my plan. I want to enjoy blogging the way I used to.

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  7. Interesting post. I must admit my choice of outfit nearly always revolves around one specific item.

    With regards to your second thought I think we sometimes blog because we want to be heard and receive feedback and that in itself causes us towards blogout. We run out of ideas and our blogs lose something.

    Its funny reading your post, you are luckier than me in that you get much more time to express Ally and also you can share it with your blog community. I don't seem to get opportunity to let Lotte out of the box and I'm not as brave as you to are to let the blog world see the other me.

    Blog breaks are a good idea. Now I just blog when I feel like and if I receive feedback it is gladly appreciated but the emphasis is more on expressing myself rather than getting attention from blog readers. Does that make sense?

    In a nice way I feel slightly envious as you have a great blog and a fantastic audience.

    Take care

    Lotte

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    1. We have similarities in our situations, Lotte, and differences. Earlier, I didn't have as much time for this as I do now. That occurred as the result of choices I made. As I get older, I'm gravitating toward activities that are more meaningful to me, more soulful. I don't want to waste time with socially-accepted but empty activities, the way I did when I was younger. Thanks for your candor -- we all envy something in others. I envy your youth.

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  8. I usually pick one piece of clothing and build an outfit around it. I get that sometimes it's hard to really enjoy clothing. I usually change into my sweats when I get home so it's great that you were able to savour the moment!
    xo
    styleontheside.com

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  9. Thanks for sharing-I understand x

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  10. That top is such a statement piece I would really want to work an outfit around it as well. Sorry to hear that your feeling a little lost, just do what makes you happy. I think you have the right attitude, just relax and savour every moment xxx

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  11. That is a very cool shiny top, although I do think the necklace is what catches my eye (OMG SO GORGEOUS). I think I do understand what you're talking about.

    I'll have you know that you inspired me to stomp around all painted up like trash (--- > It's a John Waters quote) yesterday even though I was alone. I have to admit, I felt nice. ;-) If you ever need company though, you know where I live.

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  12. I build my outfit usually around something new or something that i have not worn in a while...
    When you have a blog, you put the pressure on yourself... so it's really a choice.
    I have not had much time to blog lately, my posts are days behind and I just have to let it be. Today I chose to read other blogs :)

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  13. I definitely understand where you're coming from. After leaving the classroom, I lost a venue to display my wardrobe ventures. I lost interest in getting dressed up until I got my new job. Now I have a reason to put more care into my choices.

    The blog component allows me share with my friends (and a larger audience), but it's much different taking photographs and getting to wear and experience your clothing. I hope you find more ways to embrace your outfits in public or semi-public settings.

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  14. Yes totally build an outfit around a single piece. xx

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  15. I absolutely understand. Blogging gets that way for a lot of us, I think, where it feels more like a job than we'd like it to be. Especially for those of us who truly blog as a hobby, that can be an uncomfortable feeling. I, personally, really wear the clothes I post. I can't imagine getting all dressed up, taking photos and changing; that wouldn't make me happy at all. I know some bloggers do that, but if it's not making you happy, you definitely should wear the clothes. Also, I think it's good experience to truly live in clothes. Find out what feels good when you're moving, not just when you're standing in front of the camera, you know?

    Also, I absolutely build outfits around one component; like the other day's shark tee!

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  16. I definitely pick an item and build my outfit from it!

    I don't blog about 90% of my outfits. Some of the stuff I wear that I don't photograph is way better than what I do. I blog on days I feel like blogging---not necessarily the same days I dress the best. Keep it fun and authentic and I think it will enjoyable for you and all your readers :)
    Looking very cute in that fun shirt!

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  17. I totally get that - it does feel like a job sometimes (she said, delaying working on her own post), but then I do get to wear all my outfits in public. I nearly always build outfits around a single item, by the way! You're learning and you are getting better and better. Love this outfit!

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  18. On constructing an outfit: I get dressed by picking an item I want to wear, then trying to get things that match or coordinate with it. I have no other way of doing it! How do you usually make an outfit?

    Ally, I love hearing about your day and seeing your outfits, but more than that I want you to be happy and enjoy your life. I absolutely approve of the idea of taking time to be yourself and relax while expressing your femininity.

    It's easy to get pulled into a sense of obligation with blogging, especially with a nice community of people one enjoys interacting with. I think we get our wires a bit crossed with socializing and social obligations.

    I have been low energy due to life circumstances for a while now, and I take breaks when I need to from blogging or even replying, because sometimes I am too tired to put together thoughts or write. I miss everyone and I'm always happy to be back, but I know first and foremost I need to conserve my energy first. :D

    Here's to your offline reveling in your female attire and life!

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  19. I def understand - when dressing up starts to be some sort of duty, it becomes boring.. That's why I decided to have a small break from posting outfits. To see what I'd wear if it wasn't for pics ;).

    Have you ever considered going to a party or something as Ally?

    About the outfit - my 2 fave colors, purple and silver so BIG LIKE :)

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    1. Yes, I have considered going to a party. My friends had one for me two years ago which I enjoyed immensely. I'd like to do more of that. I just need the opportunity.

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  20. I echo the sentiments of others above - I most definitely understand and would hate for it to become too much of a chore for you. You should blog your outfits because you want to, not because you feel like you have to.

    That said, I have definitely built an outfit around one piece before. And I freaking love your pink skirt.

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  21. I build outfits around a single piece all the time...sometimes it's something as small as a necklace or a pair of shoes!

    On the note of your dressing up feeling like a chore, I absolutely feel you. Most female bloggers have the advantage of just shooting whatever they wore to work or an event. I hate the thought of not seeing one of your outfits, but I totally understand the desire to just wear something for the sake of wearing it. Crossing my fingers that you can find a happy balance :)

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  22. I understand completely, on both accounts! I often build on outfit based on a certain piece that I really want to wear for the day.

    I can totally relate to viewing blogging as a job. I feel the same way sometimes. I stress about getting posts up by a certain time, often staying up much later than I should to edit photos. It sometimes interferes with my relationships.. But thankfully not so much any more. Sometimes blogging just loses its luster. I think it's good to take a break and breathe, and remember why we got involved in the first place.

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  23. I always start from a single piece, even a small one, and build my outfit around it, so I can relate ! And about blogging and the job feeling, I can relate as well...I am always going to sleep late cause there is so much to do, and sometimes I feel it's a shame to go out without taking pictures. I feel we all need a break when we feel like that...or just to enjoy things and taking things more slowly. Said that, I'd wear that top myself ! Love it ! Kisses

    Fashion and Cookies

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  24. I think a lot of women feel this way sometimes--I know I do. I get dressed up for a client call...and then what? I jump into my pajamas again. I don't often give myself time to enjoy being dressed up. It's kind of sad; we should enjoy our clothes and the pleasure we felt when we first bought them. Occasionally, I've done "dress up challenges" when I've made myself dress up and stay that way all day. It changes your whole mood, and I probably should try it again. Thanks for this thought-provoking post! :)

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  25. Yes, I know how you feel! I've felt that way about blogging before. Sometimes I end up letting my photos pile up on my desktop before actually publishing them. It makes me feel more "in control" than when I just post 2-3 times a week without enough time to let the pictures sit. I also like to take some time off from blogging.

    Before blogging, I'd get bored with what I would wear to work daily. I worked in an office. It was fun to wear business and business casual clothing. But I missed just dressing up for myself.

    Anyway...I love that top! I have shoes that are very similar in color to those. You have great taste! And I really do appreciate you sharing these outfit pictures with us :)

    xo Azu

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  26. I can totally relate to the feeling of taking outfit photos becoming a chore. (I think most fashion bloggers feel this way at one time or another!). While blogging started out as just a hobby, over time, it feels more and more like a second job. But I still love blogging which is why I continue to do it, despite the work!

    -Sharon
    The Tiny Heart
    Betsey Johnson Giveaway!

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  27. I do that when I buy something new, I usually try to think of a few things I can wear with that item.

    Well yeah if you are dressing up just to take pictures, of course it is going to be loads more of a chore, you are not enjoying the outfit at all! I really hope that you do get to relax in these clothes more, make it more fun!

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  28. i often build outfits around one piece, whether it's a necklace or a pair of shoes or a dress :) love this skirt on you!

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  29. Totally with you on the outfit construction. The first pair of shoes I fell in love with - I didn't just plan outfits around them, I actually bought clothes and accessories to complement them!

    And I understand some about the burnout - and am so glad you're taking some reflection to make sure you enjoy. I'm not a blogger, but as the family photographer, I sometimes find I forgot to enjoy the event because I was too busy capturing it.

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  30. just got caught up on your blog!
    i always just assumed the second you were home from work you were dressed female!
    and glad you are healing up nicely post-accident. hugs!

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  31. It seems that many bloggers, myself included, experience a fine line between blogging from the inside out, and blogging for the outside, for effect or almost as a chore.
    Whenever we cross that line, a break -even a break of our habits- refreshes ourselves and our blogging.
    So good for you, Ally!

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  32. One of the reasons I love seeing your outfits is because you seem to express joy and happiness in showing us. If you've lost some of that, then it's totally understandable for you to take mini breaks and work on ways to feel more personally fulfilled in feminine dressing. It would be wonderful if you could have girlfriends dates or invites to each others houses where you could dress as you wish. That would probably be fun for you. I'm usually just snapping quick photos before work or running errands...but doing so inspires me to reflect on how I look and maybe try a little harder on my appearance than I probably would otherwise...even though that's probably a sad statement about myself. haha

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    1. Visiting girlfriends in their homes would be IDEAL. A dream come true for me. I'm trying to figure out how to make it happen. Thanks for understanding, Lisa.

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  33. I relate to this, as I think many blogger have.It's hard soemtimes to squeeze in blogging + my work, but as many know, I take a good dose of breaks inbetween to enjoy life! But, that's also why I only take outfit shots of pieces that I actually wear going somewhere, even if it's a work outfit, that way it's not as a chore and I don't feel like it was wasted because it's something that I actually wore or had to wear to attend an engagement of some sort regardless. It's good that you are getting back on track and focused. Because fashion should be fun in the end! :) xx/Madison

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    1. Yes, it should be. I'm looking to re-capture its joy.

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  34. Lovely top and in these photos so you can see the pastel pink tights. :)

    I do relate. I definitely build an outfit (s) around a new piece I bought and fell in love with. Recently I got this white blouse from Zara it is half sheer. I had one outfit in mind but it wouldn't justify the full price tag if I didn't build at least a few more outfits so when I brought it home I created the outfits and jotted them down so I won't forget.

    As far blogging feeling like a job. That happens only for the taking photos and posting portion. Cause of course I get to wear the outfit all day and get enjoyment out of it. Sometimes the photo taking is so rushed and feels like a job but if I don't take photos then I feel the whole outfit was wasted even though other people saw me in it. So weird right?

    P.S. I got the pink boxing gloves. Plan do a shoot before I leave for vacation
    Daphne.

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  35. I completely understand both points. I rarely plan an aoutfit around more than one piece. I will see or have one item in my mind and then plan around it. As for dressing up for yourself...I often do the same thing, I will have a fabulous outfit for the blog, and take it off right away (or maybe run to the store or something)...and I look back and think, why didn't I keep that in, it's cute? Even if it is just to sit and enjoy your own company! I am happy you plan on doing that!

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  36. Hi ya.. I always build an outfit around a single item :)
    for example, if I am riding my bike to work I think about the shoes to wear (because I commute IN my outfit on my upright dutch bike:) and usually I will build around the shoes. OR I think about the skirt-- is it too pencil tight to ride a bike in? If not, I use the skirt, then next what shoes? and then the rest follows.

    As for point #2. Do you ever go out in public dressed up? What about a Saturday afternoon jaunt to the market or walk in the park? Is there room to start exploring expanding your wardrobe into more regular day to day activities outside of the household?

    I love the skirt by the way :)
    J

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    1. I'm moving -- slowly -- in the direction you mention. I want to; I just need to do it in ways that feel safe.

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  37. Yes I think I do understand. I got a bit behind in my blog reading so I have already read your apology for this post. I don't think you need apologise. I spend most of my life home alone. That's okay, I am mostly a loner anyhow and have plenty of interests that are solitary and occupy me. But I also have a closet full of pretty clothes I love to wear and nobody but myself to wear them for except perhaps for the one day a week when I might go out, and for whatever I might post on my blog. Mostly this is okay with me but sometimes I get frustrated.

    I could really easily get caught up in trying to look as good as the other bloggers do, or in feeling the pressure to dress up and take photos when I don't want to, but most often what happens to me is I feel odd taking a photo of myself dressed nicely but I am not going anywhere. Like you I am just staying home.

    But part of what I am trying to teach myself with my blog is that I am worth that effort. I don't have to get dressed up if I don't want to but neither do I need a reason to other than wishing to wear a pretty skirt. And there is a whole wonderful community out there happy to show up and admire my skirt and they don't care if I am not going out in it.

    I have also realised, as many bloggers will point out, that they are not getting dressed up in their finest duds daily either. We all need time to be our private selves wearing unspectacular clothes. So, what you are experiencing is just what any other woman experiences.

    So I think I understand somewhat and I also think that there is no rule saying you can't express a little frustration once in awhile. It's also great if you can bounce back from the lows really quickly as you seem to do. I do too.

    Well, this is getting long. I hope it helps and of course as always you have lot of blogging friends chiming in with good thoughts.

    And by the way, I love those shoes!

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    1. Thanks, Shawna, for both understanding my life and describing your situation. You capture our dilemmas perfectly. Mine differs slightly in that I'm seeking -- craving, actually -- social validation of my gender-identity (which seems more possible when I'm dressed up) so wearing female clothes makes me want to be seen in them. I know I don't really need anyone else to approve of who I am to be who I am, but I crave it anyway.

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    2. I understand that craving bit too. As an artist and a writer, and yet an introvert, I want my work to be appreciated, I want people to like it and say so, but I don't really want to put myself out there because it's so scary and I am really terrible at selling myself. It has taken me years to even call myself an artist and writer. Those are hugs steps for me but I want other people to see me that way too. I crave that. It feels like a huge part of my identity and I want it validated.
      Hugs

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  38. I completely understand how blogging feels like a job. I definitely felt that way some time ago, back when I actually tried to frequently update. Much like you, I then decided to blog solely for pleasure. Do I want to share some pretty pictures? Ok, post. Have I been obsessing with something, and wish to share it with the world? Ok, post.

    I too am an incredibly solitary creature, so I completely understand the ability to indulge in something wonderful on your own. In my opinion, people aren't necessary.

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  39. It is interesting how the women who follow your blow ping on the part about building an outfit from a starter piece and do not comment on the part about the exercise of dressing helping to relax you after a hard day of being macho man for your clients. They do not understand how being a guy dressed pretty in woman's clothes makes you feel comfortable...makes you feel right...
    For sure most do not grasp what you and I know as the joy and pleasure of a restrictive feminine garment or somewhat painful shoes as being the wonderful positive experience that it is for us.
    Most of the time it is a case of all dressed up and nowhere to go. For the women fashion bloggers or for most women in general there is never an issue if she wants to go to her closet and pull out a dress and put together an outfit. For guys like you and me it is a big deal and that is why our response to dressing is a bit different than most women.
    Pat

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    1. Yes, that's true. The experiences are different.

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