Donny's Ramblings


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The Soap Opera

When I was producing porn, I was very open about what I did for a living. I liked shocking people. Now that I’ve become a Christian I am just as open with the decision for Christ. Part of the promise I made to my dad to remain true to myself includes not pretending everything is perfect now that I’ve surrendered my life to God. Today I delve into the toughest issue I’ve had to face since that surrender.

I’m gonna lay it all out there.

Not long after people started hearing my story I began receiving inquiries about book deals. Some of those who’ve inquired are published authors. One was a writer for the Los Angeles Times. I’ve rejected all offers because my story, as yet, has no ending. No “testimony”. It is still being written. I have to admit, however, that the thought of having a book written about my life is flattering. What I must also admit is that this blog has one other benefit besides those I’ve mentioned before: it helps me record my thoughts and feelings, which will come in handy if a book is ever written. So not only is this a form of therapy, it serves as a way to keep track of how my life has changed. In real time.

Almost a week ago I wrote Answers to Prayers. At the end is a note that says “the rest of this blog entry has been edited”. As I explained the edit, one reader wrote to me, “I didn’t see anything wrong with the 2nd half of that post. I think it was necessary to explain and I think part of the healing process is to get this stuff out, thus write about your personal matters.” The reader is right. There wasn’t a whole lot about what I’d written that was bad. What was bad was the attitude in which the edited part was written.

I’m not entirely sure I’ll change a whole lot about what I wrote, but I do know my attitude is right this morning. I want to get this part of my story written. I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit and ask myself, “If I was writing a book, would this part be included?” The answer is yes. If my story is to be complete, this part has to be shared.

If you don’t want to read Donny’s personal soap opera just stop now, I won’t be offended. This blog entry is pure daytime tv. There will be bitching and moaning (can I say that here? hee hee). There will be admissions to things of which I’m not very proud. There will be lots of juicy personal issues put right out there in the open for the world to see, and they’re really not that attractive.

Besides, this is a really long blog entry. Do you really have time to read it right now? Nah, I didn’t think so. Might as well close your browser, get back to work, and stop wasting company time. Donny’s Ramblings will still be here later, before bed.

Perhaps I publicly reveal too many personal issues, but during the course of time I’ve been blogging about my life change I’ve received literally dozens of emails telling me that my transparency touches the life of the person sending the email. I don’t know if it’s just a “Donny thought”, but I feel like being transparent is something I’m supposed to do. When people face difficult situations in life it’s nice to know someone else has experienced the same things. Humans have a habit of talking about all that is good yet hiding anything negative.

I’ve had a real peace in my life in so many ways, but until recently one area really tormented me: Belinda.

Some have said, “Just forget about her, she’s not part of your future!”

Believe me, I realize this, but forgetting about a woman I loved for 6 years is much easier said than done. We lived together the entire time and were engaged since July of 2004 until the time we separated. We may as well have been married.

When you really love someone it’s not easy to just forget about them. It’s impossible to abandon the memories at the drop of a hat. She moved out of the area. I remained in the area where we spent the majority of our time together. Because of that, everywhere I go I’m reminded of her. And most of the time I can’t listen to anything but Christian music because it’s impossible to go half an hour without a song coming on that brings back memories.

The hardest part about being alone is not sharing the small things with someone who cares. Let’s see if I can explain this to you: You’re watching tv. Something strikes you as funny. You call out to your love interest, “Hey babe, come check this out! It’s hilarious!”. Or perhaps you’re driving somewhere together and a thought strikes you. “Hey babe, I was thinking…..” There are a million different scenarios like that. Simple things. Things you just can’t call up a friend and tell them about, because they really won’t care. Things that actually DO matter to someone who loves you and is intimate with you.

That’s what I miss most. But it is getting easier, day by day.

After surrendering my life to God I moved into the other master bedroom in my house. I hoped Belinda would encounter Jesus as well, but as time passed it became apparent that wasn’t going to happen. When I finally made her move out it was still not intended to be a permanent situation. We’d take a break from each other for awhile and see what happened.

Deep inside I’d already realized we were never going to reconcile no matter how much time we spent apart, but I didn’t want to accept that. I wanted to believe she’d move to another city, someone would reach out to her, she’d encounter Jesus, and we’d end up back together again: two pornographers who’s lives had been changed by a real encounter with their Creator. She could travel with me and help build a new business and a new life.

When she started seeing Mark less than a week after moving out I was crushed. I felt abandoned. I felt the years together meant nothing to her. I felt she never really loved me to begin with. For 3 weeks I’d cry so hard I’d puke, exhaust myself until I fell asleep, sleep a few hours, then wake up again and repeat the whole process. It was horrible. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life.

Oddly enough, it was Wendy who helped me look beyond the pain and to welcome the tears as part of the healing process. She told me what worked for her when I’d put her through the same range of emotions. She didn’t find any joy in the fact that I was getting a taste of what I’d put her through. She truly wanted to help me get through it. That touched me so much.

Unfortunately, understanding and accepting things as they are doesn’t make the cycle end. As you can probably imagine, after so many years our lives had been joined together in many ways, and sometimes things would arise for which Belinda and I had to correspond. I’d be fine for a few days and then she’d call needing me to send her something she forgot at the house, or I’ll have to call and ask her to send me something she mistakenly took with her when she left, or… whatever. Things like that popped up all the time. Sometimes one of us would contact the other just because we wanted to hear the other’s voice.

Problems arose when one of us would ask, “How are you doing?”

The pain would begin all over again each time I’d hear that she was just as tore up as me, but that she had to bottle it all inside. She had to put on a good face for the new guy and the other people in her life that expect her to just be okay. The last time we spoke about it she said she feels like she can’t allow herself to grieve. In one email she wrote, “I’m a miserable person. I just try to look happy.”

Knowing she had to keep her own turmoil bottled up inside tore me apart.

During the day, when her new boyfriend is at work, she’d be sweet and warm and the person I loved so deeply for so long. Let the nights or weekends come, the times when my replacement is around, and she turned into something I’ve never seen before.

I guess she felt the need to put on a show for him. Unless she kept her true feelings bottled inside where he couldn’t see them he might get jealous. On numerous occasions she’d call to ask some random question about how to do something on her Mac or to just chat with me about something insignificant. But if I called just a few hours later (when Mark was home from work) to ask where she wanted me to send the check that arrived in the day’s mail or something similar, she’d be cold, rude, and downright mean. It hurt my feelings. A lot.

And so my days went for the longest time, an emotional roller coaster where I’d see glimpses of the girl I’d given my heart to, followed by some new girl I didn’t know. I’d never in my life experienced the cold, mean Belinda. Even long ago when she’d cheated on me she never had been cold, which is why it had been so easy to forgive her and move on. She was only 19 years old when we started dating, and I was able to watch her grow so much. The mistakes made along the way had always brought us closer together. I cherished them. She was very easy to love.

After our breakup, mutual acquaintances would constantly call or send instant messages online asking about Belinda. I’d have people telling me they saw her. I’d ask how she was doing. Mistake. Mistake. Mistake.

———-

Before I continue I want to make an admission about something really horrible that I did when we were right in the middle of the sex game I wrote about. Part of dealing with one’s issues requires admitting one’s mistakes. It’s been almost a year since this all happened, and it occurred during a time long before surrendering my life to God. I’m ready to face up to it. Here goes:

I begged Belinda to stop “the game”. I could have just forced her to stop but I wanted her to do so out of love for me. During the months she wanted to keep playing, despite knowing the pain I was experiencing, I felt like I was going insane. My ego was being destroyed. She saw a side of me she’d never seen in the years before the game began: a Donny who got very mean when drunk. We’d go out to bars on several occasions and come home wasted. While drunk, we’d almost always fight about Mark, who at the time was the “third wheel” in the game we’d played. I’d get very angry, sometimes breaking bottles of beer. One night I even broke one of her cameras by slamming it against stairs. She got in my face about that and I kept warning her to back off. When she wouldn’t do so I pushed her away from me so hard she fell to the floor. The push didn’t physically hurt her but it hurt her emotionally, deep inside.

On another occasion we had been arguing at home after drinking. I felt like I was getting out of control so I told her I was leaving the living room to go sleep in the guest bedroom. I closed and locked the door and laid down, so drunk the room was spinning. She didn’t feel we’d resolved our issues to her satisfaction, and since she, too, was drunk she decided to use a knife to pry open the lock on the bedroom door and continue arguing with me. As I lay in bed under the covers she jumped on top of me and started screaming in my face, pounding my chest with her fists. I was in no mood to just lay there and take that so I pushed her off of me as hard as I could, sending her flying onto to the floor. Again, she wasn’t physically hurt but emotionally she was devastated. This wasn’t the man she knew. The Donny she knew and loved would never react to problems like this. Ever. She cried hysterically and left the room.

The third episode we had is the one I’m most ashamed of… We left a night club in Sacramento and were following friends to their home. I was drunk, yet driving anyway. Belinda was beside me, drunk as well. We began arguing, once again over Mark. I can’t even remember what brought us to crescendo, but at that point I punched her hard in the leg. It left a bruise. I felt horrible. When I was sober I apologized profusely. In the 6 months months before I encountered God we stopped going to bars except on rare occasions. The game had already been stopped and most of the fighting about it had ceased. There were still lingering issues, but things were getting back to normal.

But after our separation I started hearing stories that Mark, who she is now dating, had begun telling people that Belinda had been physically abused and beaten while we were together. I asked her about it and she said, “Seriously, that’s all him. I’m not saying those things.” Since that time, I’ve hated him for spinning the story to sound like I was some horrible monster. I’m still trying to get over that hatred, which is only fueled some of the things you’ll read in the rest of this blog entry.

———-

God and I talk on the River Trail together on a daily basis. Not only do I receive physical healing on that trail in the form of weight loss and exercise, I also find spiritual healing as well. It’s a place of communion with my Creator. I usually don’t ask for anything, because God provides my needs without my requests. I just talk to him. One day I had to ask a favor.

I knew Belinda would never again be a part of my future, and while my heart sometimes wished that weren’t the case, my head had finally accepted it. I knew I should be able to just move on but it didn’t seem like I could. I began begging God for help to get over her. Tears were streaming down my face on the River Trail as I walked and prayed:

God, I just can’t get past this on my own. I just can’t get her out of my mind and I want her gone so badly. I want the pain to end. I don’t have the strength, on my own, to stop communicating with her. Everything inside of me wants to run to her when I hear she’s having a bad day or a hard time. I know she’s not the person you want me to be with and in my mind I agree with you, but when she calls or emails me I can’t seem to help but reply. And even though I try so hard not to contact her myself I fail miserably all the time. Everything else in life is going so well, but this area makes me feel like I’m going insane and failing you… failing myself. YOU are going to have to do this for me because I can’t do it myself. PLEASE, I am begging you.

Later that same day I received a phone call. The person on the other end told me about a conversation with Belinda’s new man. It really bothered me, because the caller claimed to have been in a conversation with him where he stated that he’s not very serious about her, that he feels sorry for her, that he’s only helping her out of an “abusive relationship” and that in return for her receiving emotional support, he receives a sex partner and someone to lean on as he faces his own turmoil of losing his family because of his repeated infidelity. The person also told me about some of the things going on between them that I’d never heard before. To the caller, it seemed Belinda’s new man wanted people to know he was not “off the market”, that he was just helping a girl who needed someone to lean on.

I couldn’t stand the thought of her being used that way. It turned my stomach. I knew I should just forget about it. I knew I shouldn’t tell Belinda because it wan’t really my place. Besides, she wouldn’t accept such information from me anyway. I asked the person on the phone to tell her but that was not an option. The response I received was, “I don’t want to get involved. Please don’t involve me in this.”

All of this was added to some very alarming personal issues Mark’s ex had told me more than a month before. I believe what she’d said, but figured Belinda would just have to find out the hard way. I kept it to myself.

But after hearing the things he was saying about Belinda I had a choice to make.

What do I do? What do I do? I love this woman. I think she needs to be aware of this, and nobody else is going to tell her. Our society keeps such things secret. This man openly, publicly cheated, repeatedly, on the woman who called herself his wife for 7 years and who bore him a child, yet not a single person would tell her. Many knew, but nobody would speak up and do the right thing. Now it has already begun for Belinda. I figured the “honeymoon” period would have to pass first. I didn’t think he’d start so soon. I knew she’d end up in the same situation, with people talking behind her back about things he was doing and saying, but nobody would have enough guts to tell her.

I thought about it for several hours and finally picked up the phone. I knew it would probably be the last time I spoke with Belinda. Once Mark was confronted, he’d convince her nothing had been said, and then he’d insist that she never speak with me again. And because she’d want to please him she’d comply. Still, I wanted her to know that she really needed to look out for herself.

“Belinda, you may not believe this coming from me…”

I told her what I’d heard. She listened. To reinforce that I was telling her the truth I told her the things he’d said about their present situation that I could not possibly have known. I told her to think about how I could possibly know such things if the information hadn’t come from either her or him. She didn’t get an attitude with me. I could tell she knew I was telling her the truth. During that call, she was the Belinda I’d always known.

But I knew she’d confront him, and the man is very slick with words and very good at hiding things. Since I am “the ex” and he is the new guy, of course she’ll end up listening to him over me. She WANTED to believe he’s a different person than he’d always been. She wanted to believe he will never betray her. She wanted to feel he’d love her and protect her heart. I knew she’d put aside her doubts and find a reason to listen to him, but I felt like I HAD to tell her anyway, even though she’d likely never talk to me again.

I asked her to call me later and let me know she was okay. I didn’t think she would. I figured Mark would take control of the situation and Belinda would promise to cease all contact with me. I was right.

The next day I took a stranded couple to Reno because they didn’t have the money for bus fare. On the drive back from Reno I received a phone call from a Realtor asking if she could show my house. The Realtor said, “I tried calling the other number [Belinda’s cell phone] but it has been changed.”

That made me curious. I dialed it myself. Sure enough, she’d changed her number.

For some reason that made me really happy! I immediately started praying:

God, you use the strangest things to answer prayer. I begged you to help me stop talking to Belinda because I can’t seem to find the strength to do so myself. She’s had that same number for 7 years. What are the odds she’d ever change it? She hasn’t been emailing me either, and she didn’t respond to the last email I sent to her. It seems you’ve answered my prayer by giving her a reason not to communicate with me anymore. I know I should have been able to do it myself but since I couldn’t I thank you for using this to do it for me. You know I worry about her but it’s time to finally just put her in your hands and let you worry about her. She’s your daughter and I know you love her. Take care of her. And thank you for lifting this weight for me when I couldn’t do so myself.

Besides changing her number, Belinda decided to send a letter to Wendy asking her to request that I stop contacting her, and explaining that it had been necessary to change her number to avoid me. I was mildly annoyed that she’d drag Wendy into such soap opera style drama, particularly when she was being a bit dishonest about it. I’d promised my counselor that I would not initiate phone contact, and with the exception of the call I just told you about I’d kept to that promise for 3 weeks by that point. On days Belinda contacted me first I’d return her calls. Sometimes I’d follow up on a conversation we’d had earlier in the day via phone or text message, but in no way was I the person initiating conversation.

After looking at things a bit deeper I realized she was just trying to please Mark. The change of her cell number was a symbolic gesture to him that she was committed to honoring his request to cease contact with me, and the letter to Wendy was a way of reinforcing that gesture. She didn’t want him knowing that it was actually her that called most of the time. I carbon copied an email to both of them, assuring them that I too wished to cease contact (ironically, no email addresses or Instant Messenger nicknames had been changed).

Afterward I was finally able to let go and let Belinda worry about herself. I no longer feel the need to be the white knight trying to rescue the damsel in distress from the evil fire breathing dragon. In fact, I don’t really worry too much about her at all anymore. I’ll always value the good times, good memories and those in her family who I came to love, but each day she crosses my mind less frequently than the day before. In retrospect, I don’t really think God had anything to do with Belinda changing her number, but I’m sure glad that particular day broke the few chains left connecting me to her.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve cried about her. That’s a good thing.


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Sex, Arrogance and a Depraved Mind

Understand it or not, this blog is a form of healing for me. I have referred to the story I’m about to tell you a few times but have never delved into it much. It’s time. Call me crazy, and perhaps that’s not far from the truth, but I believe writing about this will help put it behind me.

Let’s start with a few definitions.

Definition of Arrogance on the web:

  • One of the seven chief stumbling blocks. Its positive pole is pride; its negative pole is vanity.

Definitions of Depraved on the web:

  • marked by immorality; deviating from what is considered right or proper or good
  • extreme departure from what is normal and good

Let me tell you a story about how my arrogance led to a depraved sex game that ended up contributing to my surrender to God.

This isn’t a story for young readers.

This is an explicit story of a twisted sex game Belinda and I played. A game that we thought we had under control. A game that actually controlled us and forever changed our lives.

I’ll refrain from overly graphic descriptions, but stop now if you think this story will cause you harm in any way.

I’m telling this story because it is part of my life. In fact, if my life were a puzzle, this game would make up several pieces of it.

I’m also telling you because this game still influences me greatly. I imagine it always will. When I have a bad day, an undoubted part of the reason for my bad day goes back to this game.

I want the pain from this game to stop.

The recent meltdown I mentioned having was one form of evidence that my life is still influenced by this game.

Tonight, or should I say this morning since it’s barely after 4 am, I can’t sleep because of where this game has led. I am tired of lying in bed awake.

So I write.

——————–

First let me start with love and a girl.

Belinda.

I loved her deeply. I love her still. We’d had four and a half great years together by the time The Game started. It started, ironically, because of that love.

Like I mentioned in the title, my mind was depraved.

Said depravity was one of the results of a career as a porn producer. Things normal people would never do seemed like a good idea.

This is the mother of all things that normal people should never do!

Before we started dating, when we were just in the getting-to-know-each-other stages, Belinda and I talked about everything. She was living in the dorms at Chico State University and would often skip class to chat with me. We’d talk for hours.

One of the subjects we spoke about was sex and fantasies. Belinda’s biggest fantasy was to have two men in her bed paying all of their attention to her at the same time. She never thought it would ever happen, which is why the word “fantasy” was used.

I filed that information away in my mind.

I pulled it out 4.5 years later when we met Mark Navarro.

A Content Manager for Playboy, Mark was our boss. He was a guy with an outgoing personality. He seemed to be a ladies’ man.

He had a serious, long term relationship and therefore didn’t seem to be a threat to me. He’d mentioned having flings on the side and assured us that he had an open relationship with the mother of his child. I believed him at the time. Such things were not uncommon in the adult industry. By the time we found out Mark was not being honest about his open relationship it was too late: The Game had already begun.

I told Mark about Belinda’s fantasy and that I wanted to fulfill it for her.

This is where Arrogance comes into the picture. In my depraved mind, few men would give the love of their life such a “gift”. Many men speak of how they’d like to experience two woman at the same time, but very very few are interested in allowing their woman the reciprocal.

I didn’t want to be most men.

I wanted to give my woman something she’d never get from someone else.

Depraved.

I was arrogant. I could handle it. I could do something few men could do. I could share Belinda for awhile and I believed our relationship was strong enough to handle it.

Turns out I was wrong.

Duh.

I explained to Mark that for Belinda to have a good time he’d have to get inside her head a little. She’d have to be comfortable with a man if she was going to sleep with him.

Mark came through like a champ, spending 2 months getting Belinda comfortable with him by chatting with her online. Calling her. Emailing her. All with my blessing. I called it right: he did indeed have the determination to put the time into it.

The first time should have been the last time, but I was an arrogant SOB. I experienced emotions from extreme jealousy to extreme “turn on”. I decided to channel the former into the latter and continued The Game.

After all, I was unlike most men. I could handle it. WE could handle it.

The Game turned into a pretty regular event. People heard about it. My arrogance made me think my relationship was safe from all the things our friends warned us about.

We can handle it. We’re strong. You’re wrong. This won’t end us.

Then came Webmaster Access West. Los Angeles, Ca. November, 2005. Horror.

Webmaster Access was a week long event that culminated in a party at the Playboy Mansion. The week before the event we’d been shooting in San Diego so we had our camera gear and our vehicle with us. It would be a 500 mile drive home. At the beginning of the week I mentioned to Belinda that I might let her spend the night alone with Mark on the last day of the event and fly home with him while I drove.

After all, that might turn me on.

Turns out that wasn’t the case. In the middle of the event I flew home to see my son’s first play and flew back the next morning. While I was gone I let Belinda and Mark do as they pleased.

The week turned out to be about them. I was largely ignored. I was rather annoyed because the game was supposed to be about us: Belinda and I. This didn’t fit my arrogant idea that Mark was not a threat to me. Serious feelings had grown inside of Belinda for Mark.

Duh.

I told her that because I’d been pretty much ignored all week, and because they’d already had a night alone when I flew home for my son’s play, there was no way another night alone was going to happen.

Nope. No way. Not happening.

When the day came that it was time to leave I told Belinda she’d be driving home with me.

Fighting. Arguments. Thrown coffee cups inside our Explorer. Crying. Yelling.

After two hours of this we merged onto Interstate 5 to head home. Belinda made me turn the car around and take her back to Mark’s hotel. I explained to her that if she got out of the car we’d be over.

I pulled up to the hotel.

She stepped out.

I drove up Interstate 5 bawling my eyes out.

How had it come to this? Why? Things had been SO PERFECT before all of this. We never fought. We loved each other deeply. How had this sex game gotten to this point? How could I have been so stupid? I honestly thought we were so in love that we could withstand anything.

I had been such an arrogant SOB.

Still, I didn’t want to lose Belinda. The thought terrified me.

If I have to settle for sharing her, I’ll do it. Sad, really. Pathetic is actually a bit more accurate.

I wanted the game to end so badly but I wanted Belinda to be the one to call it off. I made it clear that it was her call because I wanted her to stop it out of love for me.

The Game continued another 3 months. Finally in February Belinda was ready to stop. The mess our relationship had become and the fighting we’d begun doing was so unlike the great years we’d had before The Game began.

In the time period between November and February my ego had been crushed. I wasn’t as untouchable as I thought. I felt unloved. I was depressed.

Although healing had begun between us, I thought a bit about God, but there was no way I was going to come to him when my life was in shambles. Everyone did that. I was better than everyone else.

Instead I focused on rebuilding what I’d lost with Belinda.

I’m sorry, Belinda, but Mark can’t be a part of our lives anymore if we are to heal. She was aware of that.

Things were slowly getting back to normal. Very slowly, but progress was being made.

Still, my ego and feelings of self worth would never return to the levels they’d been prior to The Game. It turns out that wasn’t such a bad thing, because for the next 7 months I reflected a bit on God and on the love xxxchurch had shown despite how horrible I’d been to them. I started paying more attention to the way my actions and my life influenced other people. I stopped making up excuses when models were found out and hurt by posing for us. I began to accept responsibility for my actions.

My heart softened. On September 25th, as you know if you’ve read my story, I finally surrendered to God.

Belinda thought I was crazy. Why would I give up everything we’d built? Why now, when things were on track to returning to normal? Why now, when Playboy had offered us more money than ever before to start shooting a new series? Why now, when we were progressing so well on repairing our relationship?

Because that crack in ego and arrogance had let in the Light and given certain seeds a place to grow.

I’d hoped Belinda would want to experience God as well, but she had no desire to do so. Our house has 4 bedrooms, 2 of which are Master Bedrooms. I moved into the second Master. Belinda continued to produce porn and I’d leave on days when she had a shoot.

We were no longer officially together, but we spent time with each other every day. I told her she’d have to move out but I never put a time period on the actual date by which she’d have to do so. I still hoped she’d see Jesus in me and want to meet him herself.

Then came the meltdown.

On my birthday Belinda chose to go to a party with Mark. After all, she thought, we’re not together anymore so why can’t I go? It was a special day to me and I thought Belinda would be spending it with me. It felt like the ultimate insult that out of all days she could go party with another man she chose my birthday. I baited Mark into starting a thread on a public message board owned by Playboy. Once he did so I let go on the two of them with both barrels.

In front of thousands of readers.

It was horrible.

What hurt the most about the meltdown was that I’d blown it so badly. I’d been trying to live my life as an example and instead I had shown anything BUT Jesus’ love.

Belinda moved out right after that meltdown. She hates me now. She doesn’t want to hear from me anymore in any way, and is now spending her free time with Mark. She recently told me she feels dirty for doing so but that it distracts her from the guilt she feels inside.

Does it hurt that she’s spending time with Mark? Of course it does. Worse than I thought it would. But it also helps me to let go of her.

But what do I do with MY guilt? I brought Belinda into porn production. And my arrogance, my depravity started The Game.

I’ve repented. I continue to repent even though I know I’m forgiven. Most of the time I actually feel forgiven. Sometimes I do not.

Sometimes I feel sane. Sometimes I do not.

I want Jesus to heal Belinda too, but I’m not the person to show him to her. I hope he sends the right person to do so.