The List

“It’s not things to know, not things you will learn, but things you already should know but maybe are a little dumb, so you don’t.” – A. M. Homes


Somethings are so simple that we fail to recognize that we know them. Other times we just need to be reminded that we know them. These simple truths are everywhere and can be seen in almost any circumstance. We encounter the “Things You Should Know” on a daily basis.

Everyone has their own list. We build these lists and acquire more truths for them based on our experiences and beliefs. Everyone else misses out on our list because they are busy making their own lists.

  1. Cost and worth are two different things.
  2. Never complain about winter to an Alaskan.
  3. Everyone is enduring their own struggles.
  4. You probably won’t survive a zombie apocalypse.
  5. “Just one more” is never just one more.
  6. “Do what you will because you will anyways.” – A. M. Homes
  7. Comments sections are not the proper place to correct grammar.
  8. Others talk behind your back.
  9. You were an annoying freshman.
  10. You don’t have to watch the new episode of that show.
  11. Everyone is pessimistic about politics.
  12. When complaining about taxes, you are preaching to the choir.
  13. Even the choir needs preaching to.
  14. Valentine’s Day is a marketing scheme.
  15. Avoiding risk is avoiding opportunity.
  16. You should stop banking on winning the lottery.
  17. You have eyes on you at all times, but even those eyes have eyes on them.
  18. Everyone had dreams and everyone envisions accomplishing them.
  19. Failure is always an option as long as you don’t fail to get back up.
  20. The solar system doesn’t revolve around you.
  21. We aren’t content; we continually seek out new things.
  22. Your children will think about trends from your teens the same way you think about trends from your parents’ teens.
  23. Denial is an attachment to your current situation.
  24. The zombie apocalypse is irrational and improbable, disregard number 4.
  25. You get to choose how your life is judged through your choices.
  26. You’ll never have enough time; you have to have enough determination.
  27. You’ll never have a Barbie body (that’s good).
  28. “If you begin and it’s not the beginning, begin again.” – A. M. Homes
  29. Vulnerability is a display of courage, not weakness.
  30. We are not our failures. We are not our successes.
  31. Ignorance is self-destructive.
  32. Being stagnant is suffering a living death.

Respecting differences is acknowledging others’ lists. We’re supposed to help others create experiences and miss out on some. Being part of an experience gives us memories. Missing out on an experience gives us stories to hear.

 

My list was inspired by “Things You Should Know” by A. M. Homes.

 

A Hidden Symptom

Shame is a tricky, abstract thing. It’s like a pain tolerance, almost everyone has it to some degree. But for some, shame is intertwined with pain.

Those who suffer from unseen and misunderstood diseases face the shame of cooping with their symptoms in front of an oblivious audience. Society has made astounding advances in sympathetic medical care when it come to conditions that are clearly visible and widely understood; however, these advancements have not fully progressed to rare and hidden diseases.

Anyone who manages an internal condition or a form of chronic pain has experienced the shame that their health brings.

CRPSBefore my Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) went into remission, every day was a battle. I fought the pain, struggled to get through each day, and yearned for others to understand my predicament. I attempted to conceal the special leggins and TENS unit I wore to try to reduce the pain. Every time that I had to explain why I left class early or had a TENS clipped to my belt, I was overcome by a tidal wave of shame. Why couldn’t I be like them? Why does my body hate me? Why do they judge me? Why can’t I have a normal high school experience? And the questions kept crashing onto the shores of my mind.
Chronic Pain Wants...Every trip to Riley left me questioning my pain tolerance and if I was justified in asking my parents to get the pain to stop. Every medical test left me wondering how much more/longer I had to endure before I had answers. Every time I had to look up into my parents’ depressed eyes left me feeling guilty for hurting them.

I was trapped in a whirlpool of pain and shame. I was stuck between getting through every day as I needed and meeting everyone else’s expectations. Because no one could see my pain, they only saw a girl who left class early, wore leggins under her jeans, had a small box under her shirt, and wouldn’t let anyone get near her knee. I didn’t want pity, I just wanted others to understand.

No one should be shamed for the things gone unseen. Thankfully, mental illnesses have recently flourished into an open topic. This progress shows promise for the victims of invisible captors, but society cannot leave anyone behind in their shame. The pain is enough to bear without hurricanes of shame and guilt that they to batten down for.

 

 

The Chronic Pain Scale

 

Disparities

      “I’m glad,” I replied and smiled. I was relieved – there was no way I wanted to hear about my future.

She swiftly turned her back to me and glided out of the room as if she was an apparition from a trance. But before the rusted door could separate us, she glimpsed back and coolly told me that soon I would. I could not avoid my fate forever.

The thick bars that stood between us sealed along with my future. It was out of my hands. Lady Justice was in control and would decide just how long my future would be.

My lawyer left without another word. The click of her heels echoed down the hallway and demanded the attention of the other inmates. The guards even granted her the same recognition. The block door slammed shut and the hollow thud resonated through the cells and my mind.

The court appearance slowly faded from my thoughts, and I was left with nothing but the desolate walls of my cell. In the distance, almost as if it were another world, I could hear conversations and laughter. The occasional high pitched clank of weights offered a muffling beat to the inmates’ exchanges.

I had not been granted such a privilege. I had only my thoughts to interact with. I stuffed my head into the neck of my orange jumpsuit and prayed that sleep wouldn’t elude me. Tomorrow would come along with the verdict that would determine my future.

I knew that the facts were irrelevant to my guilt, only the color of my skin mattered now.

 

 

Goobers for Life

I’m a firm nonbeliever in the cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures are worth as many words as everything that is in them and the emotions that you feel. A picture of a concrete slab won’t elicit much out of most people. Pictures of those we love and know evoke a myriad of different emotions and memories.

Cam and I

 

Just glimpsing at this photo and you don’t see too much, this picture might not be worth a thousand words to you.

I could turn this picture into a novel.

Skimming through our pull-out drawers of photographs taught me many things: fashion wasn’t really fashionable in the late 90’s, I was more of a tomboy than I thought I was, and my family is pretty darn tight. The majority of the pictures I saw were of us just being our silly selves.

And that’s what my little Goober and I are doing: just being us. We don’t always agree, but sisterhood is a scared bond. It’s a rubber band: it changes, stretches, and relaxes. It is always in some state of use, but it is never worn out or broken. Sometimes the band is stretched too far and it slams into itself, but the band (our bond) recovers and bounces back.

We always come back to our equilibrium and rejoin our hands.

Words

words beautyWords and I are pretty tight. They were my first love (I already mentioned that I was a huge nerd). They never use me and I can use them whenever I feel like it. But I don’t abuse them: I use them in the way that they were intended to be. That’s what makes words special: everyone has access to them, we all possess words, and we have the freedom to do what we wish with them.

You might decide to write a song while I write a story. Although we only have 26 letters at our disposal, we can do so much with them.

There are words that we’re supposed to use on a frequent basis (such as “I love you”) and those that shouldn’t leave our tongue (I’ll let your imagination handle this one). We all have access to the same alphabet, but what we make of it is completely up to us. They’re a medium that you don’t have to be an artist to manipulate into something beautiful; your existence as a human being is enough to make something meaningful out of our vocabulary.

Beauty Quote

An Artistic Intrusion

TitanicPeople move things and things move us. There’s a sacred relationship between humanity, the items people make, and the feats they accomplish through their ingenuity. Titanic was a vessel that was meant to transport people across the Atlantic Ocean; however, in the past and present it has served to move our very thoughts and perspectives of the world.

When she began her maiden voyage in 1912, Titanic embodied the heights to which technology would take humanity. As Titanic’s broken hull lies on the seabed of the North Atlantic, it warns about unpreparedness and bad judgement.

Titanic Dinner PlateThe artifacts on display from Titanic were only extraordinary because of the story they told about the disaster. The plates I observed were a tribute to the ocean liner they sunk with; however, the dishes were just another facet of dining on Titanic in 1912. Everything was grand and marvelous on the surface. Once the ship plunged under the cold water, everything onboard was shrouded in mystery.

An ominous hunk of ice sat in the middle of the next room. A sign encouraged all patrons to experience the cold of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Briefly touching the frigid ice was jarring; I instantly drew my hand away from it. I had a privilege denied to those in the Atlantic: I could leave my hand on the exhibit for as long, or short, as I pleased. My life wan’t threatened by hypothermia. I wasn’t worried about loved ones or panicking after being submersed in the ocean. I was safe and far from experiencing the plight of the passengers.  I felt like I was intruding on the suffering of the Titanic victims by participating in the experiential exhibit.Sunken Titanic

Photograph of Titanic at a Harbor

Photograph of Titanic on the Seafloor

Photograph of White Star Line Plate

 

The Silver Screen’s Mirror

Non-Stop Flawed CharactersWithin the first few moments of the blockbuster “Non-Stop,” we watch air marshal Bill Marks throw back a few swigs of liquor and stare longingly at a photo of his daughter. Once in the air, he tapes the smoke detector in the lavatory so he can have an illegal smoke 30,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. In consideration of these negligent actions, no one is too inclined to sympathize for Liam Neeson’s character.

Soon, he receives a text demanding an astronomical ransom. No one on the plane is safe, for every twenty minutes the demand is not met a passenger will be killed. The lives of the passengers on the 767 were in his hands, you cheer for Marks because they depend on him. Now you want Marks to win, unless of course you’re one of the terrorists.

But why the sudden change of heart? The movie presents background information that makes his struggles human.  You learn that Marks struggles with alcoholism because his daughter died of cancer and his wife left him. You discover that he lost himself in his previous career with the New York Police Department so that he would not have to watch his daughter suffer. Characters are easily demonized when only their actions are seen; once the events that led up to their flawed state are revealed we can begin to empathize.

Everyone possesses different flaws and we all depend on other flawed people. Their lives consist of a wide range of messes. They have addictions and have made horrid choices, yet we still cheer them on. They’re perfect in the sense that they’re human.

Broken MirrorAlthough the action sequences in “Non-Stop” were perfected through Hollywood magic, the characters’ lives were left untouched. That is why we cheer for them: we see a bit of ourselves in them.

 

 

“Non-Stop” Photograph

Broken Mirror and Eye Photograph