Remember, Remember

I know it’s late and for many of you, the fifth of November has come and gone. I do not claim to be British, as I was born and raised in America, but rather than bumble around the point, I will jump right in: Guy Fawkes Day. I know that some view Guy Fawkes as a revolutionary, some as a terrorist, but no one denies the change he made had real and lasting effects on the world we live in today.

I enjoy the movie V for Vendetta-but recently I’ve found it’s almost so relateable it hurts. Allow me to quote a speech from it-one of the most moving speeches in the whole movie, I think.

V: Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologise for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of everyday routine, the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition, the totality of television. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, where upon important events of the past, usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, are celebrated with a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are, of course, those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well, certainly, there are those who are more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable. But again, truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. They were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night, I sought to end that silence. Last night, I destroyed the Old Bailey to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago, a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words; they are perspectives. So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you, then I would suggest that you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me, one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot. -V For Vendetta (2006)

Now I know it’s long-but it’s worth it. Every single word is worth reading when you think about the election just days away. I voted already, a lot of people I know have voted already. But this is for those of you who have not yet done so-or are waiting for Election Day.

Do not think for one moment that your voice will not be heard. If you vote, your vote counts. If you do not vote, your voice is also heard, but the message is much more dire. I’m not asking you to vote the way I did. I’m not asking you to align yourself with my party, to vote in a specific way on certain issues. What I’m doing is asking you to vote. I’d be beyond thrilled if you chose to vote for someone other than DT, but I cannot force you to vote one way or another.

Listen, the fifth of November went down in remembrance of someone who saw the oppression of a government who had gone too far, oppressed too many people. I don’t want actions like that to be necessary-but the time will come when we cannot remain silent, when we cannot remain voiceless.

You see, the way oppression works is by singling out those who are made into scapegoats. But when that group is gone, a new group will be singled out. And the cycle will continue until there is only one group left. So when they come for one group, and you say nothing, you’re allowing the oppressors to put you on their list.

I stand for those who have had their voices taken from them. I stand for the hope of peace and life and access to clean water and human rights. My skin is white-and I have that privilege. So it is with that privilege that I make my voice heard. I’m working on a #NoDapl blog, and I’m writing letters to my elected officials-but for now, the most important thing that can be done is to vote.

So please, go vote. Vote Monday, vote Tuesday. If you have an absentee ballot, mail it out right away-and get that time stamp. Take action. Put your privilege to use. Put your oppression at the focus.

I know not everyone can protest all their problems. I know not everyone can dedicate their lives to justice and law and awareness. But voting only takes a couple minutes-but the effects of your choices last for years.

Go vote.

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Thankfulness, Day 29

Today is my last day of break. Tomorow, I start my new job. My husband and I are cranking out homework and well, it’s going to be a good day. I love the temperature today, I love the smell, I even managed to make coffee and breakfast without burning myself on the darn eggs (or frying pan!). So as I write, coffee in reach, I’m pondering what to write that hasn’t already been done.These last few days have been harder for me to find unique topics. I’m incredibly grateful for the things I have, the people I know and the…got it.

Today I am thankful for the people I have known, who in their own way have helped me get to where I am today. My sister was reading The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom, which honestly is one of my favorite books and I really loved the screen adaptation. I’ve been centering around that book all week it seems, just by pure coincidence. It sits in the back of my head, like a little reminder that we are all connected. So today, I want to give a little shoutout, without naming names, to the multiple people in my life who have shaped it. Perhaps some of them will even read this. Who knows.

  First, I will name a name, but only because I’m not entirely sure if I’m correct in attributing this lesson to this person. I THINK it was Woody Hayes who said something about treating all levels of people with respect and how you should always get to know the name of everyone, including those people who are behind the scenes, like janitors. I learned that lesson as a young adolescent and it has opened many doors to insightful relationships.

  One such relationship was actually with a wonderful, witty janitorial staff member of my high school. She’s a fabulous person, a caring individual and she goes out of her way to make others smile. She treated me to a soda once, and even without that incident, she impacted my life. Even now, when I return to my old haunt, I know she will be there with a hug and a smile.

There are several teachers throughout my compulsory education who also deserve recognition. Mrs. U. for her encouragement to enjoy reading. Mrs. B. for instilling a great respect for responsibility. Mrs. M. for understanding the need to have a creative outlet and expressive behaviorisms. Mr. W. for being an upright citizen and always keeping calm. Mrs. R. for being a blessed angel. Mr. G. for brightening my day with the wonders of the world around us. Ms. M. for proving to me that hardwork makes masterpieces. Mrs. B. for showing me that just because you are different doesn’t mean you can’t be brilliant. Ms. R. for letting me love music for many years. Mrs. H. for giving me the first taste of passion. Mr. B. For introducing me to theatre. Mr. W. for introducing me to my husband and making sure it was really funny that he did so. There are others, but I think this gives you a taste of my early education.

In college, people were thinner spread, because most of the lessons they had to teach had been given to me before. But a few of them really did make a difference. My history of art professor who made history real and art far more than just pictures of artifacts. It is because of him that I have fluorished in my academic career. My first anthropology professor, who said “not all of you will become anthropologists” and made me the exception. She is a continued supply of valuless knowledge. My theory professor, who has made sure that I will never leave college without knowing the truthful answersto my questions. She has been a godsend. I’m not done with college, so this list remains open ended.

My first boss, who made the most hilarious things happen, like answering the phone with her nickname instead of her real name. She was honestly the best first boss I could have ever hoped for. It made working food really wonderful and that is an extremely major thing. My newest boss, who took the time to give me (a total newcomer) a chance to belong. I will forever be grateful to her for that. 

My mother and father, obviously, for teaching me not to be a spoiled brat with entitlement issues. My husband, who teaches me how to be strong every day. My brother for introducing me to great music, my sister for allowing me to take over conversations and tell her all about college, even though she probably wasn’t looking for a rant. My friends who are always there for me, even when I can’t come to the phone or go out.

My readers, who always look at my stuff with open hearts, because I never really see things the way everyone else does. The students I have met, who make me sit wide eyed and wonder what their line of thinking is.

I have had a large grouping of people who have given me lessons, and the ones I have listed are only the ones who have given me positive lessons. There are plenty more who have given me a taste of my own medicine, who shall just be referred to as “others”. I am thankful for them too, though, so never you fear. If there is such a place as heaven*, I think I shall have quite a lot more than just five people meeting me there.

  
*In a later post, I shall reveal my thoughts on the topic, as well as many others. This in no way means to say that I do not believe in an afterlife, or that I view those who do in a negative manner. I in fact, have a great reverence for what comes next and hold no belief systems as lunacy (apart from those which willing inflict pain on others). That post is coming soon, really. Read: I’m not being an ass, I promise.

Thankfulness, Day 27

As I return from my day of family visiting and chaotic shenanigans, I’m still not entirely out of my turkey coma. I got loads of leftovers (which made their way into my fridge, and will be my lunch/dinner for the next few days). I have today and 3 more days until November is over. Which means 4 more topics to cover. So what’s left? Do I go for the obvious lies? Do I head towards the “holier-than-thou posts? Or do I spice things up? Obviously, I chose the latter.

Today I am thankful for my health, even the unhealthy bits. 

 But before I get to that, I have to give some honorable mentions: Google, sweatpants, cheese, proper grammar, crock-pots and Christmas lights.

I usually manage to escape flu season relatively unscathed. Mid-January I get a 24 hour stomach bug, but that’s really about it. I’ve never really had allergies, I’m not deathly allergic to anything. Sometimes my body convinces itself that it’s lactose-intolerant for a week or so, and I just have to prepare myself for it with some Lactaid. 

I had bronchitis before my second birthday. Followed by a slew of earaches. It’s only been since college that I’ve gotten the big sickness packages. Strep which turns into bronchitis which becomes a pneumonia type bonanza, but that’s only happened twice. And as it would turn out, I’m an incredible clutz sometimes (pre-coffee) and my poor hands have suffered some pretty narrow escapes por eso.

  A couple months ago, I had this nasty ear infection. I thought it was just an ear ache, so I warmed sweet oil and filled my ear with it, having done so many times in the past. After a week or so of agonizing pain, sleepless nights and a 105* fever, my husband took me to the urgent care where I was prescribed the medicine you give to Anthrax patients. Within a week, the infection was gone and so was my eardrum. If you’ve ever seen Pet Semetary, the way the wife’s eye looked at the end is how my ear (post eardrum burst) looked. It was DISGUSTING. But since then, my eardrum has grown back and I’m very appreciative of that. The human body is a miraculous thing.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar as a kid. But what I should have been diagnosed with is an entirely different matter. I went to therapy for 2 years and then left. I had been on medicine and did counseling, the whole gambit. I returned to counseling over the summer and had to leave when I moved. I have good days, bad days and everything in between. But I struggle with them on my own, without any chemicals (apart from caffeine) altering my cognition. 

Overall, I would say my health is great. My body regulates itself, I am simply the puppeteer. I don’t have a perfect body, but it’s perfect for me.

Thankfulness, Day 26

Today, for my fellow Americans, was Thanksgiving Day. On this day, we fill our tables full of food, we talk about being thankful and we eat. A lot. In my family, it’s a gathering of nearly grown children and parents, along with significant others. A lot of faces are made, food may or may not be thrown at various occasions and book series are discussed. My husband and I spent 5 hours in a car to getto our families today. It was a long trek, and took all day, thus the late post. But it’s nice to feel like people are genuinely waiting to see you. And of course, when we came home, we were greeted by our furbaby. It’s nice to feel wanted.

Today I don’t have a theme. It’s not mebeing lazy, or taking a day off of the 30 day goal I set out with. Today I am thankful not for anything in particular, but everything. I am thankful that I have a chance to be thankful. I have a family (three, in fact), a home, friends, readers, and those are just people. I am beyond blessed with marvelous things and events and occurrences. I have many personality and character gifts which give me purpose.

And at the end of the day, there doesn’t have to be a reason to be thankful. It’s something that I am because I have been blessed with much and am appreciative. 

Thankfulness, Day 25

It’s exactly a month until Christmas. Mind you, the only reason I really celebrate is because it’s my mom’s birthday and she’s very into all that. But it’s a good reminder that there aren’t too many days left in the year. I have a grand total of 2 weeks left of classes and work before winter break and everything is wrapping up (well, sort of). In the next 36 days, there are 3 birthdays, 3 holidays, 2 weeks of classes and finals, and preparations for the standardized new year. 

All of that really puts into perspective how time passes. Just a couple days ago, I was talking with my husband about how time is just blazing by, without paying us any mind. This year, we’ve been together five years. We got married last year, and are approaching our 2 year wedding anniversary. But it all feels like we’re just wandering around like our high school selves.

Today, I wanted to do a segment on my husband, and I think that with all of the end of the year thoughts, it’s a good idea to do so.

We met in marching band. At the time, I was playing flute and he was a trumpet. (He’s always been a trumpet, but I like to switch it up.) I made jokes about him being too short for me to go out with. Eventually, though, his persistance paid off and we started dating my junior year in high school. We did all sorts of things together: band, prom, graduations, you name it. We split up twice and by the third time, we’d managed to figure out the rhythm in our lives. We got an apartment, left it, got married and then got a new apartment in the big city. But I want to share my favorite memory.

The Day of No Pictures.

We called the judge and set up the appointment. Yay! We were going to be married. Two college kids broke and in love, trying to get that one last piece of paper that signified we’d done everything right to claim each other forever. May 2, a Friday, at 4:55PM, the secretary called and told us that we would be unable to get married the next week because an error had been made in the books, that he was busy. Oh no! With all businesses closed and no one to perform a marriage, we began to email every single person we knew, many we didn’t, trying to find an officiant for the next week.

By Monday, we had such a person. He’s a political science professor at the college we attend. The week went by, time passing as it always seems to do, and Friday arrived. I put on my dress (which came from Victoria’s Secret) and did some makeup, putting my hair in a band. My family and I went to the university where I met up with Ben and we ate some pizza from Little Caesar’s. We got married in a classroom where I took History of Art. The professor brought a guitar and played Good Riddance by Green Day, said the words and it was done. We were married.

We had a weekend stay in Hocking Hills right after our ceremony. We were finished at 330, but we stopped at the store, picked up food and three seasons of Game of Thrones and arrived sometime around 9. We spent the entire weekend holed up, watching Game of Thrones. When we came back, our pictures did too. And much to my dismay, not one of them turned out. There were blurry images, images of our families, but none of them seemed to have been clear shots. (There was ONE, but it was of my behind and so it doesn’t count).

I spent a lot of time moping about not having pictures. What happened when I got alzheimer’s or dementia and couldn’t remember we’d gotten married, and all I had was a blurry picture of two people? My husband was great about letting me believe we could have a vow renewal and take pictures then. But then one day, I remembered all the memories in band, all the ones that had led us to where we are and how many of those I don’t have pictures for. It’s time I stop living through a camera and make memories for the sake of making memories.

My husband is my paladin, the one who stands strong when I can’t. He pushes me to be better, he reminds me that I have a purpose. He knows my order when I want coffee or Chipotle or Subway. And he’s the only person I want to be with. We don’t have everything in life that we wanted, we don’t have every luxury known to man. But what we have is each other, and I think that puts us a step ahead.

Thankfulness, Day 24

I had a thought yesterday that I had meant to include in my list of thankfulness, but what I have to say requires a bit more than just a blurb in passing.

When I was a child, I was impatient, self-centered and at times, a little devil-spawn. No one else even knew. Because by the time I reached kindergarten (well, actually pre-school), I had been trained. Of course, the only people who knew I was a little hellian were my parents.

I am incredibly lucky that I have both parents, and they are together, they are both healthy and they are patient people. My mother is supportive, she makes excellent food and has taught me several things which only mothers can do. My father is proud (and proud of me), he works incredibly hard to provide for my siblings still living at home and has taught me multiple things which only fathers can teach daughters. Growing up, my siblings and I were always introduced to crowds as “the cross between a hillbilly and a polak.” My father’s family is the stereotypical country folk, coming from West Virginia, Virginia and Southern Ohio. There’s a twang in their voices, and they are red-skinned from work outside. My mother’s family is a very stereotypical Russo-Polish family, even though we’ve been in America for two generations. We love food, we thrive on familial support and don’t seem to mind the cold. We ate pierogies before they were cool, and all of us are pale skinned with dark hair (except my sister, who is oddly blonde, but we love her anyway). Both sides of my family are infamous for their hotheadedness and quick tempers. 

My mother has a teacher’s aid certificate, but chooses to farm. I don’t mind, because I help her till up the yard and thusly get to have some of the food. My father works for the biggest newspaper in the midwest, and I get to tour the factory and inevitably just end up covered in ink. They’ve been together for an incredibly long time, they married while he was still in service to our country (he got married in his dress uniform and helped make/decorate the cake). I was born just after Operation: Desert Storm, when my dad came back from Kuwait/Iraq/The Persian Gulf, where he cooked and drove a tank on occasion. He doesn’t talk about it, but I am proud of him regardless. War cannot have been easy.

I put my parents through the ringer as a kid. I was never a “bad kid”, and in fact, that’s probably why I was such a hell raiser. But the thing is, I always knew they loved me. And they still do. My mom and I talk every day, my dad and I are basically the same person in different genders and time frames. For a long while, that’s why we didn’t get along (I mean, two people with bad tempers and the ability to lash out quickly don’t make for a fun time all the time). But once I grew up and actually tried to take responsibility (and otherwise acted like an adult), we got along splendidly. My parents are such wonderful people. 

So on this day, if it isn’t obvious at all, I am thankful for my parents. Without them, I would not be the me that I am now. I love you, mom and dad. Thanks for always being there-even when I didn’t deserve it.

Thankfulness, Day 23

It’s hard to believe that today is the one week mark until December, December is actually one of my favorite months. So much going on, so much happiness. But we’re not there yet, so let’s keep on, shall we?

Today I am thankful for warm food on cold day. I have the blessed opportunity to have access to warm food, and a way to make it. I have access to heat, to comfort. I work hard for my gifts, and so far it’s all paid off. 

I am thankful for little furry animals that make my day brighter. Although my heart has a special place for kittens, our fat little puppy is a nice reminder that sometimes fur makes a difference.

I am thankful for cheap entertainment. Board games went out of popularity a while back, but call me old fashioned, I happen to like the feel of dice and cards in my hands.

I am thankful for shooting stars. For wishes and dreams that make life worth living. I saw one today. I made my wish and now to add in the hard work to make it come true.

I am thankful for good timing and the positivity of other people. Sometimes it’s just spooky how people just seem to know you need to speak with them.

I am thankful for cleanliness. I’m not the neatest person in the world, but I do have an appreciation for a well cleaned room.

I am thankful for the past which made me who I am, the present for always being here, and the future for all it will be.

I am thankful for my spine: it always backs me up. 

And I am thankful for my readers, who see fit to humor me no matter which direction I go with my thoughts. Thank you.