When Liquor and Lupus Meet at a Party by Shanelle Gabriel

Originally posted on my blog on www.lupusnewstoday.com

“Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots!” The chant is repeated by my squad of friends at the bar. It’s my friend’s birthday and celebrations go hand in hand with alcohol. For many, it’s not a good birthday if you can walk a straight line at the end of the night. The definition of “turning up” is clinking plastic flute glasses around an overpriced bottle of rapper-endorsed liquor, dancing at whatever beat or pace the mixed drinks tell you to, and doing things that you will laugh about the next day over a post-hangover brunch. This was me in my 20s. Not anymore.

Unlike most people, I really started drinking after college. While partygoers sipped amaretto sours, I was usually too busy dancing and sweating profusely on the packed dance floor to think about fighting to get a bartender’s attention. Besides, water was free and I was a broke college student. When I graduated, I became an “adult,” which meant it was adult-like to go for a drink or two with co-workers, pair a glass of merlot with your steak, and pose with a glass of bubbly at your Pinterest-worthy picnic. The message is: “You’re grown; grown people drink.”

However, I learned early that alcohol puts my body in a climate ready and ripe for a lupus flare. It leaves me dehydrated and fatigued, and it makes some of my medications not work as effectively. My liver is already processing prescribed drugs; I’m somewhat paranoid about making it work any harder. So, where does alcohol fit in a Lupie world of medications and the need for ample hydration and rest? Do I have to turn down everything people do to turn up?

Telling someone you don’t drink is usually followed with, “Are you on antibiotics?” “What, you prefer whiskey? I have some here.” Or even a gasp and, “OMG, are you pregnant?” Telling a group of people you want to pass on a glass is equal to telling someone bragging about their amazing wedding that you just got left at the altar; it makes them feel self-conscious or judged for enjoying their day. People bond over liquor, and now it’s like you don’t want to bond with them.

I used to feel like I had to drink to make people feel comfortable, to be a part of my environment. I still feel that way at times. But at the end of the day, I really don’t need to drink to have fun as long as the music is good and my friends are present. My true friends won’t mind if I choose to drink in moderation and will gladly pour me a shot of ginger ale if it means I’ll be OK the next morning. Somehow, people think the drink makes the party, but it’s the people around me who make the celebration happen. I can have a fun time just being high on life knowing it’s a gift to not be in a hospital bed. Still want to sip a little somethin’ somethin’? Red wine has antioxidants, so that might be a healthier alternative (no more than a glass or two). Most studies, like “Alcohol and Arthritis” by the Arthritis Foundation, suggest that drinking in moderation on occasion isn’t terrible and that you ask your doctor if the general health rule of one drink a day for women, two for men, is the right one to follow.

The questions on why you aren’t drinking can be annoying, though. I have a fun trick that I use: I ask the bartender for a glass of pineapple juice mixed with cranberry juice, make sure they include a garnish, and sip it slowly. Most people assume there’s vodka in there and, boom, no questions. Cheers!

Poem: Brooklyn Gal by Shanelle Gabriel

My face always been

More smiling chick

Than resting bitch

They say my Brooklyn blood should boil

But my mother who was planted

In Caribbean soil

Would say “Did you wake up next to me?”

Meaning that’s the only time good morning

Wasn’t needed

I come from a time when

You considered unknown men

Rude for neglecting to do

Their daily head nod “Good morning beautiful”

A formality no matter if the

Compliment was fact or fiction

An interaction

Free from the catcalling inflection

Scolded for even shifting legs

For even considering sitting

When someone shuffling

Feet senior to mine

Back more worn

Walked through the train car door

My dad ordered for me at the store

Gender roles were the standard

But no one blinked twice at a tomboy

This ain’t meant to be romance

More reflection

Depiction of my Brooklyn

Where cultural differences

Feel like a lisp on my tongue

What comes

So natural

Labeled impediment

My Timbs thud

Silhouette chippin on the pavement

This uneven concrete

Be the mosaic within me

 

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(Video) Black Girl Magic by Mahogany L. Browne by Shanelle Gabriel

My good friend, Mahogany L. Browne (Poet/Curator/Author) released a beautiful book of her poem "Black Girl Magic," illustrated by Jess X Snow and published by Macmillan. She called on myself and a few other poets (Shannon Matesky, Roya Marsh, Elizabeth Acevedo, Falu, Eboni Hogan, and Imani Davis) with their own Black Girl Magic flavor to film the words of her poem.  Here it is!

FYI: You can purchase this inspiring book at Barnes & Nobles, Amazon, and wherever awesome books are sold.

 

Lyrics to my remix of Drake’s “Crew Love” by Shanelle Gabriel

Turn up the radio/ Turn it up just like before/ Every week its the same thing/ Does the record ever stop for you?/ Tell mr is this what you wanna do?/ Who you think’s controlling you?/ Cause yo body ain’t your own, no/ Your body, body ain’t your own, no/ Sista/ I ain’t tryin to shame ya/ just letting you know that your power’s in danger/ Trying to numb your pain while dudes are tryin to play ya./ Consent on your own terms/ not for the game, yea./ Mind ya mind./ They tryin to control ya shine/ Patriarchy it can be internalized/ Make your sexuality your own design/ Cause it seems like... seems like...

Like you’re loving the crew

Loving the crew

Loving the crew

You’re loving the crew

Loving the crew

Loving the crew

But do they love you? 

Your guards down/ his cards up/ he's the player and the dealer/ texting him in caps cause you mad at how he treats ya/ think you’re gonna win when he's in charge of the game/ made you think you’re special then he forgot your name/ this ain’t sexual oppression/ nothing wrong with doing you/ but it ain’t liberation if you think sex can heal you/ tryin to sleep with a star so you can be one/ left your constellation/for walks of shame with the sun/ Quote Amber and Kardashian/ hmmm/ Like they aren't the exceptions/ the average chick falls quick from recollection/ two seconds after he loses his erection./ Addicted to attention want the spotlight/ don't fight for the right to self-objectify/ don't expect to get pixie dust from these guys/ baby, Tinkerbell didn't need Peter to fly

Trying to be a 10/ getting treated like a one/ They don't call you for dates/ They call you for fun/ cause you just a game to them 

I want better for you/ you gotta want it too / I wish you could love yourself instead of loving the crew

I want better for you/ fellas are guilty too / learn to love yourself before loving the crew. 

Upcoming Show: 10/17 @ 6:30pm- Bronx, NY by Shanelle Gabriel

Performing uptown, baby! Come see me rock at Plates N Crates, the Bone Thugs N Harmony Edition THIS Thursday Oct 19th @ 6:30pm at The Living Room II (125 St Ann’s Avenue, Bronx, NY 10454). $12 cover.

 

We’re also sending off the founder of @platesncrates Malik as he moves West. 😢

 

See you there! #music #poetry #hiphop #live #livehiphop #liveband #bronx #bk #uptown #nyc

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Check out my new project: Da Compound Movement by Shanelle Gabriel

Follow on IG:

www.instagram.com/DaCompoundMovement

Does the word "fit" make you think of rail-thin women jogging in yoga pants? Or men with all muscles (and no neck) downing protein shakes? Let  Da Compound Movement reframe your ideas around fitness while sharing some laughs with cool people. Created by Shanelle Gabriel (Personal Trainer, Poet, Singer), this movement explores multiple health & lifestyle topics through social media, events, as well as an upcoming podcast that will feature entertaining guests & medical experts, light-hearted but engaging discussions, shared research, and so much more.

In the fitness world, a compound movement is defined as "an exercise that works multiple joints at once for maximal muscle recruitment, high nervous system activation, and a stimulus for growth."

Likewise, the mission of Da Compound Movement is to encourage others to maximize their quality of life, activate their own health journey, and stimulate growth in the number of people who are working to battle the rise of preventable illnesses, especially for people of color.

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Freewrite: 3 minutes by Shanelle Gabriel

I ain't got time or coin to spend on the negative/ God gon' bless me/ I don't think you heretics/ wanna be here for this/ not letting moments become mountains/ I got rivers of blessings/ you treating me like a fountain/ how I look stressing/ how I look being depressed/ when the people bothering me/ have so much less/ they mad cause I’m not/ they brag bout what they ain’t got/ I’m silent with my flyness/ dem a have ta scream and shout/ me nah paying dem attention/ the fee is too high/ they only see ceilings/ while I kiss the sky/ criticism I can take/ but the hate I can toss/ everyone gon' hate/ nickname Chris/ Rockin with Christ/ I’m gonna floss/ I be showing him off/ like He hung off my chain instead of a Cross/ Think my day getting messed up/ Your misery won't be my boss/ I got all the flavor/ yep/ that’s too much sauce/ you frown so much I think your smile got lost/ you should go somewhere and find it/ Only giving 3 minutes of my day/ yes I timed it/ After that, your position in my life gets reassignment/ my chakras are in alignment/ but you tryin to eff it up/ bringing stress to my life/ you get one swift kick to ya butt/ I said 3 minutes but I think that’s too much/ this is two hundred thirty five seconds/  ...thirty six...thirty seven/ yep that’s enough.

 

 

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Blog: "Should" doesn't exist by Shanelle Gabriel

I had a 1/3-life crisis (i.e. Right before I turned 30) after a few people close to me made me feel like I was SUPPOSED to have certain things off of my checklist for life. I was made to feel like something was wrong with me for not even having a checklist. How could I not be married with kids? When was I going to have the perfect job, the perfect amenities with the perfect life? When would I have all the things that would make me content? Ahhhhh!! There's the problem. Contentment doesn't come from checklists. It comes from within. Life, for better or for worse, exists without "shoulds." It's unpredictable like someone stealing your wallet on the train. It's also as unpredictable as the random friend who shows up, treats you to lunch and makes a horrible day a good one. Our focus on what we should have takes away from the things we do have. Throwing out my checklist helps me build on the now, enjoy present moments, and keeps me focused on the all the opportunities in front of me. "Should" doesn't exist. "Reality" does. Our goal is to make the best, improve on, and find the things that help us enjoy our reality. #quotes #wordsofwisdom #faith

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NYC: Hosting at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe tonight (8/11 @ 9:30pm) by Shanelle Gabriel

Come rock with me as I host the livest slam on tha East Coast! The Nuyorican Poets Cafe's Friday Night Slam brings poetry, competition, music, and cool people together under one roof.  I'll be hosting it, Rico Steel will play de tunes, and we get to see some dope folk perform. I'll drop a poem at the end  😊.

236 East 3rd Street bet Avenues B & C, Lower East Side, Manhattan.  

Get there early! The line is ALWAYS down the block!

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Lupie Update: New self-injectable version of Lupus Drug now approved!! by Shanelle Gabriel

Omg!!!! Yes!!! I actually did the clinical trial of this version of belimumab and it helped me. Super excited to finally hear that it's been approved! 💜👏🙌🏽 #lupus #lupie #lupuswarrior #lupusawareness #lupiechick #health

http://www.gsk.com/en-gb/media/press-releases/gsk-receives-fda-approval-for-a-new-self-injectable-formulation-of-benlysta-belimumab-for-systemic-lupus-erythematosus/

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Updates: DMV Birthday Show, New Song, Lupus Blog, and Andre 3000! by Shanelle Gabriel

Hey fam!

We are halfway through 2017. Isn't that crazy??! Here's to making the second half better than the first! 

I was in Atlanta over the weekend and was SUPER hyped to hear my Strayer University voiceover on the radio LIVE! Check my cheering self out on IG:https://instagram.com/p/BVPz3UXlMRo. Ha! 

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MY NEW SONG: "PESSIMISTIC"

I've been getting sooo much love! Check out my new song called "Pessimistic" aka Prove Me Wrong produced by the good fellas at JahRockn Productions. Please comment, download, and share! 

https://soundcloud.com/shanellegabriel/prove-me-wrong

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DMV AREA! 
JUNE 19TH - BIRTHDAY SHOW/CELEBRATION  

BUSBOYS & POETS BROOKLAND

On June 19th @ 8pm, I'll be celebrating my birthday early at my feature at Busboys & Poets Brookland  (625 Monroe St NE Washington, DC 20017) at 8:30pm. Hosted by the incomparable Caroline Malachi, we'll be listening to some poems, enjoying some wine, and having a good time celebrating me seeing another year. Let me know if you'll be there. :) 

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NYC Show:
July 2nd - TrapKaraoke: The R&B Edition  @ SOB's

This show sells out weeks in advance! It's 4th of July weekend, so come join me and my band as we headline at TrapKaraoke: The R&B Edition. Sign up to do one of your favorite songs in front of the crunkest crowd. Get tickets at www.trapkaraoke.com 


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BLOG: LEARN HOW I HELPED FURTHER LUPUS RESEARCH FROM MY HOUSE (You can too):

I'm just posted a blog at www.shanellegabriel.com/blog about my experience helping LIFT researchers to develop an at-home blood test people living with lupus can use to monitor their disease activity. It was super easy, and I get to get $75 for completing this study...or I can tell LIFT to donate the $75 to a lupus charity. You can do it too. Learn more by visiting here: bit.ly/LIFTStudy-sg

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LAST WEEK/WEEKEND AT A GLANCE

I was blessed to be in A-T-L last weekend to celebrate my step-dad's birthday. While at a separate event for my sorority, guess who I met... ANDRE 3000! I'm surprised I kept my cool; this man has been a total inspiration to me both lyrically and creatively. It was dope talking to him about his creative process and hearing that I'm not the only one hypercritical of my art. Now I can die a happy woman!

 Me and 3 Stacks!

Me and 3 Stacks!

Thanks again for sharing this journey with me. Till next time, 

TAKE CARE!

-----

Shanelle Gabriel

HBO Def Poet/ Singer/ Activist & Lupus Advocate

www.shanellegabriel.com

www.twitter.com/ShanelleG

www.instagram.com/ShanelleGabriel

My experience helping Lupus Research : The Lift Study by Shanelle Gabriel

A few weeks ago, I posted on my website about a study I'm participating in for people with Lupus (like me!) It's called the LIFT study. DxTerity, a company developing genomic tests to better manage autoimmune diseases, is looking for Lupies to help them create an at-home blood test people living with lupus can use to monitor their disease activity. Imagine a genetic way to determine and track Lupus activity?? Less doctor visits, days off from work, and all of that. I'm in. If you have lupus and you want to learn more and to see if you qualify to help contribute to this groundbreaking research? Visit www.theliftstudy.com.

 

Here's my experience:
So I received my kit in the mail. The box was cute; one of my co-workers asked if I got a fancy gift from someone special. I said "No, still single. It's actually a medical test." That conversation ended right there. lol.


I waited until I got home to open my present from LIFT.  It included all that I needed to send my blood to the fab doctors who can't wait to check out my blood: alcohol prep, tube & its cover, two finger prickers, very detailed instructions, and a cute little band-aid. I turned my nightstand into a mini-lab.


It's been a while since I've had to purposely stick myself with anything (hello, blood thinners), so I definitely played a game of chicken with the finger pricker. Finally, I just took a deep breath and pressed it to my finger. I barely even felt it when it pricked me, and I squeezed a few drops into the little container. A few drops filled it to where it needed to be and the cover snapped it closed. The label was already on the box, so I just dropped it in, and BOOM! I was done. It took all of 5 minute, including the minute of me acting like a scaredy cat with the pricker. I loved the fact that I didn't have to go to a clinic like with trials I'd been a part of before. I just answered a few health surveys online and dropped the kit in the mail and I was done.


Lupus feels like the overlooked illness when it comes to research. I'm excited to be a part of something that could shed a light on disease activity, especially when so many doctors are scratching their head. So yea, all participants may get $75 for being a part of this, but what's most important is that we need more knowledge of what the genetic aspect of a lupus flare looks like. And I don't mind playing a game of chicken with the fingerstick in the comfort of my home if it can help me in the long run.


So once again, if you’ve been diagnosed with lupus, you can join lupus patients nationwide who are contributing to this groundbreaking research to help researchers develop an at-home blood test to monitor Lupus flares and activity. For more information about the study and to see if you qualify, please visit: www.theliftstudy.com.

Ekphrastic Poem: No Wifi by Shanelle Gabriel

We're in a bar with no bars

And I just,

I want to hold your hand...

Both hands

I want to gossip in politically incorrect ways

I want to hear you shower me with praise

Then Crack concrete jokes

Old school banter

Yo momma jokes we used to play

I want to buss yo ass in thumb wars

I want to laugh like it bubbled all the way up from my toes to tongue

I want to hear jokes that make someone

Nearby feel comfortable enough to join in the fun

I want our food to come on time

And no time between plate lay on table

We inhale it like it could give eternal life

I want us to tell secrets

Live in the screens of each other's minds

To speak text

My face no longer replaced by emoji

I want simple things

No wires crossed

No mixed signals

I want body language all mine

Nothing missing or lost

In translation or context

I want to fumble words

Only for you to find them

I want imperfect terms

That I can't erase before they're heard

I want to hear you misspeak

No spellcheck to correct your speech

Humanity can exist without a signal

I want to go back to messages without a lower case 'i'

Let's 'conversate' like BIG back in '95

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Updates!! (New song, shows, and voiceover work...) by Shanelle Gabriel

Hey fam!

If you didn't know, as my man Kendrick Lamar said: "I got Royalty inside my DNA!" So many great things to share with you, shows coming up, and a new song! When I say I'm blessed, I mean it. 

This has been a great season and there is so much more in store for me (and you, if you'll stay on this journey with me).  FYI: I'm back performing at TrapKaraoke: The R&B Edition. Save the date: July 2nd!


MY NEW SONG: "PESSIMISTIC"

Finally, it's here! Check out my new song called "Pessimistic" aka Prove Me Wrong produced by the good fellas at JahRockn Productions. Please comment, download, and share! 

https://soundcloud.com/shanellegabriel/prove-me-wrong


DMV AREA! 

JUNE 19TH - BIRTHDAY SHOW/CELEBRATION  @ BUSBOYS & POETS BROOKLAND

On June 19th @ 8pm, I'll be celebrating my birthday early at my feature at Busboys & Poets Brookland 

(625 Monroe St NE Washington, DC 20017). Hosted by the incomparable Caroline Malachi, we'll be listening to some poems, enjoying some wine, and having a good time celebrating me seeing another year. Let me know if you'll be there. :) 


VOICEOVER SKILLS: 

STRAYER UNIVERSITY AD CAMPAIGN

I know I've posted myself on Instagram in a booth, but you can now hear what I've done! My voice is a part of a national ad campaign for Strayer University. You can hear the multiple spots I've recorded on their youtube page here: www.youtube.com/StrayerUniversity


GOT LUPUS?

EARN $75 WHILE HELPING FURTHER LUPUS RESEARCH

I'm participating in The Lupus Interval Monitoring to Manage Disease Flare and Enable Treatment Optimization (LIFT) study. It's looking for participants nationwide to help researchers to develop an at-home blood test people living with lupus can use to monitor their disease activity. By completing surveys about your experience with lupus and using an at-home kit to collect a few drops of blood (much like at-home glucose monitoring) from the convenience of home, you can join the hundreds of LIFT study participants who are helping break new ground in lupus research. You will also be compensated for your time—receive $75 for complete study participation or tell LIFT to donate the $75 to a lupus charity. Learn more by visiting here: http://bit.ly/LIFTStudy-sg

Thanks again for sharing this journey with me. Till next time, 

TAKE CARE!

-----
Shanelle Gabriel
HBO Def Poet/ Singer/ Activist & Lupus Advocate

www.shanellegabriel.com
www.twitter.com/ShanelleG
www.instagram.com/ShanelleGabriel

 

A Poem for World Lupus Day (May 10th) by Shanelle Gabriel

You think you own me/ squeezed my life in your palms/ taken over my body/ you think you are me/ Lupus/ you think because you've hijacked this vessel that you're captain/ you think you can get away with mutiny/ but see/ I'm still the same me/ the same beautiful butterfly floating on the breeze/ I ain't scared to wrestle the wind/ to battle raynauds thorns/

not afraid to diss this disease/ to find peace/ be at ease with this disease/ I miss my old life but I'm fashioning a new one with this disease/ in no way am I saying this is eas/y/

The way my cells fight themselves/ that my chest being in a cage of pleurisy/ that my scalp crying strands of my hair/ that the pain in my knees which interfere with my prayers/ makes it hard to sometimes find the joy in life/ makes the sun less bright/ but I know no matter what there's nothing that'll take away my fight/ When it seems to make my day feel like night/ I'll still reach for a star / when it seems my world spins left/ I've resolved to force it to revolve right/ and even if my limbs refuse to move/ my spirit will still dance/ Every day I'm going to choose to enhance this universe with my presence in any way I can/ Lupus is not me/ but it's the spark that created a flame/ my disease is not me/ but it's the source of my vanity/ lupus you can't damage me/ cause my body isn't all I possess/ I still have a purpose/ a reason to smile/ I'm still living my life with no regrets.

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Lupus Opportunity! Join others in a groundbreaking research study you can do from home and receive $75 for your time. by Shanelle Gabriel

Everyone’s journey with lupus is unique - from diagnosis, to treatments, to flare triggers. That’s why researchers at DxTerity, a genomics company, are developing an at-home blood test for people living with lupus to monitor their disease activity. LIFT (Lupus Interval Monitoring to Manage Disease Flare and Enable Treatment Optimization) by DxTerity, is a groundbreaking at home study designed to better understand lupus by studying the experiences of thousands of people across the country living with this condition.
 

The Lupus Interval Monitoring to Manage Disease Flare and Enable Treatment Optimization (LIFT) study seeks to enroll participants nationwide to help researchers to develop an at-home blood test people living with lupus can use to monitor their disease activity. The study is being conducted by DxTerity, a genomics company developing tests to better manage autoimmune diseases.
 

By completing surveys about your experience with lupus and using an at-home kit to collect a few drops of blood (much like at-home glucose monitoring) from the convenience of home, you can join the hundreds of LIFT study participants who are helping break new ground in lupus research. You will also be compensated for your time—receive $75 for complete study participation or tell LIFT to donate the $75 to a lupus charity.
 

Who can participate?
 Men and women 18 or older diagnosed with lupus

Why participate?
 Join thousands of people with lupus helping advance scientific understanding of lupus without leaving your home. Help researchers develop new tools to monitor lupus disease activity. You will be compensated for your time—receive $75 for complete study participation or tell LIFT to donate the $75 compensation to a lupus charity.

How does the LIFT study work?
1) Sign up online at http://bit.ly/LIFTStudy-sg. You will receive an at-home finger-stick blood collection kit in the mail within 30 days.

2) Use the kit to collect only a few drops of your blood at home. Mail your sample to the research lab using the prepaid mailing envelope.

3) Log in to your secure study portal and complete a short survey online. The goal of the study is to see if the at-home blood collection kit could provide a better, easier and more convenient way for people with lupus to track and manage their disease and flare activity.
 

Help shape the future of lupus and join the LIFT study with me today: [http://bit.ly/LIFTStudy-sg]. I plan to join and share my experience. Will you?

#napowrimo Day 28: Hard Work by Shanelle Gabriel

He smiles

Tan lines crinkle like orange bacon

Lips shift into carrier planes

Exporting the bullshit of the day

They poke as he sniffs

Like he does between press meetings

He pouts

The razor of his top lip disappears

They meet again

They flap and flail

I feel sorry for them

They work so hard

To save the rest of the body

To justify the brain

To compensate for lackluster limbs

They fight

They fail

They renew their strength

Like American eagles

Their fervor unending

Like  American capitalism

Those lips

Push limits

Create truths

They miss their old life

Beers booze and boobs

Wide and open

Lips that move without consequence

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