Wound Up

 

              Winter has always done something to me. I suppose it might be because of the chill in the air, the darkness that sets in around 5:30, or the gray skies that almost always replace my fantasy of a winter wonderland of crunchy snow and icicles. There is no particular reason why this should make me withdraw into myself, into TV shows, books, or even my bed. And I don’t know why I’m always tempted to neglect sleep in the winter, but all of this sets the stage for some mighty good thinking. That’s what I do, almost all of the time, and I find that it’s in the everyday moments when I realize profound truths. This must be from God. There is no other fountain of Truth, I suppose. So today, with help from my enthusiastic brother who was rather excited to go outside to enjoy the snow, I was able to stand up, find warm clothing, slip on my old pink boots, and step outside. My brother had gone to get our lovely yellow four-wheeler, and I just stood outside waiting, realizing that the snow wasn’t quite as exciting (or deep, for that matter) as it once seemed when I was younger. Even so, I trudged along the side of our driveway, where the snow was deeper and clumpier due to the snow plow my dad had used. My movements were repetitive, methodical as I walked slowly through the chunks of snow, smashing as much as my boot would allow. After walking up and down the drive, demolishing the snow, I stopped to admire my work. What had been so beautiful and intact before was now so unimpressive, so broken. I had changed it. I had destroyed it. I remember thinking how odd it was that I had found so much pleasure in destroying those beautiful little mountains of snow.

             Later, my brother and I were ready to attach our inflatable tube to our four-wheeler, but first we needed to unravel the strong towing rope we had with us. I ripped the Velcro apart on the piece of fabric that held the tightly wound rope together, and began to untangle and toss the rope out into the snow behind our yellow vehicle of speed. There was that feeling again—as I tossed the rope–   that same one I had when I smashed the piles of snow along the driveway. I skipped over to a big clump of rope and sacrificed the warmth of my hands to pick it up and brush away the dusting of snow that had resulted from my careless throwing of it only moments previously. That’s when it occurred to me; crushing, smashing, unraveling, tossing…what a role all of these play in life—my life, your life, all of life. This is what keeps me up at night, as I think about how the blankets on my bed, the walls of my room are simply masking the murmuring and moaning of a world that is unraveling, and looking at the snowy rope, the flattened snow makes me wonder what role I’ve played in this crippling demolition. There is an urgency that I often feel. The clock ticks loudly some days and I’m reminded that my life, the very thing I cling to, has an expiration date. I don’t think about death often, but I think about ceasing to exist. I think of change, how scary it is. I think about the fact that life has no guarantees. There is smashing, crushing of souls happening all the time. I even thought earlier of all the times I have been crushed, destroyed under a careless foot. Sometimes, often times, I unravel just like that rope. I get tangled; I freeze up in the chill of life’s hardships. Sometimes the weight can be so heavy.

            BUT…just when my soul was beginning to suffocate, my brother had the four-wheeler revved up, and he was beckoning me to get onto the tube. I jumped on, eager, desperate for fun, for a release of this weight. And that’s when it happened. I held on tight, and that speedy yellow thing took me all over the yard. Snow was spraying into my face like fizz from a freshly opened can of pop, and that’s when I began to laugh. Everything I had just learned in the 10 minutes prior to this was overcome with a newer, greater truth: in the face of hardship, we ALWAYS find a way to laugh. We crush it….the hardship! The power of crushing, unraveling circumstances have no hold because we trump it with simple things like flying over hills on an inflatable tube. We find ourselves put back together again. The piles of crunchy snow rise again. The rope is wound tightly as it should be, and fastened securely until the next ride behind the four-wheeler. We are the victors. What a miracle!

           Of course, there’s one last thing to consider here. Before I smiled so big that I thought my face was going to snap off, before I rolled on the ground laughing, I had been powerless. All of that wouldn’t have happened without the four-wheeler and the tube. It may seem silly, but they were more than just a vessel for my physical body. In some ways, I see them as a representation of God’s presence in our lives. I’m not saying that we are always going to be giddy and smiley all the time, but we will be free. He is our escape from the crushing foot of this world. He alone can put us back together again. He restores everything, no matter how far we have run from His intention for our lives. And I am so thankful to be wound up again.

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Pretty

I don’t remember when I made the choice, but at one point in my history, I chose to believe that I wasn’t beautiful. I chose to believe that I couldn’t be beautiful. Unfortunately, choices like these have consequences. Somehow, like ghosts, they were empowered to creep from the little neurons in my brain down to the threads of my heart and embed themselves there deeply. And the worst part about it is that that power came directly from me. I gave myself the power to betray the belief in my own physical beauty. I betrayed myself. How deeply I regret it! It’s been a battle ever since.

Yesterday, I trudged out to the car and went on a journey to the lovely Kokomo, Indiana, for the dreaded clothes shopping trip. This year, my parents gave Josh and me a generous portion on “lettuce” and trusted that we would buy what we needed first (socks, jeans, squirrels, Kindle Fire) instead of buying unnecessary things like we (especially me…) have done in years past. I’ll admit, my weakness has always been food. If I have cash and I’m in a car, I almost always arrive home with the same car smelling like french fries and the same source of cash…well, it’s usually depleted to some extent. So, I suppose the whole “buy what you need first” lecture was necessary. I deserved it. So, to return to the point of my story, I went to town facing the fact that I must suck it up and buy clothes. Clothes for the body that I long ago decided was not very pretty. This can kind of make the task of shopping rather….un-fun, if you will.

BUT, this trip wasn’t too bad! I boldly purchased a rather shnazzy button-up shirt and cozy green sweatshirt in American Eagle of all places! Me…the chubby girl (freshman 15, folks…not cool) went into that store, grabbed those clothes, gave my money to that cute guy at the check-out counter, and walked out of that store. And this was merely the beginning of a shopping spree that would take me to Rue 21, Maurices, and Kohls, all in the same evening! As I stuffed the fluffy bags of clothes in the trunk of my old lady car, I allowed a peace to settle down inside me: I may not be a model, but I’ll be darned if I can’t buy myself some nice clothes and feel pretty all at the same time.

I suppose it isn’t too late (although, we enjoy making the lateness a lame excuse), to use our power in a different way. If my mind convinced my heart that I wasn’t pretty all those years ago, can’t my mind change its story and finally tell my heart that I am just a little prettier than I have always thought? Here’s to a new beginning– and a washing machine full of new clothes! 

Random Thoughts (no squirrels…i promise!)

Before I get into anything tonight, I want to do something that I somehow stopped doing in the midst of the semester: starting off with a friendly greeting. So…hello! Whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever you’re dealing with, I just want to say “hi” to you. You are being acknowledged, noticed, and valued. I just felt led to do that tonight. HELLO!

Lately, I’ve spent a lot of the time on the couch. Partly because I’m tired, and partly because…I don’t know. I’ve just dedicated a significant amount of my time to chilling, which basically means involving myself in mindless activities that usually make me think about more important things. And as much as I try to convince myself that I have some gift for writing, (humility check…I do not. It’s just a part of my life) I must boldly admit that I can’t keep my focus tonight…and good writers actually know what they’re writing about! There are many things on my mind, so I’ll just do what I’ve seen done in some other blogs I’ve read and just write a little bit about all of them! Oh what a joy for all of you readers. 🙂

1) I love “Grey’s Anatomy”. It’s my new addiction. When I was in middle school, and early on in high school, I was convinced that I would be a doctor one day. What I refused to admit, however, was that I had no ability to think under pressure, no ability to deal with bodily fluids or gaping wounds, and had no deep love for science (I’m forever grateful that I didn’t fail Chem 2 and Physics! Miracles happen, my friends.) So, watching this show, which is about surgical interns and how they grow as people and doctors, brings back a little glimmer of child-like faith in what I’m capable of doing. I know I’ll never be a doctor, but it’s still fun to dream a little. Additionally, I’m really enjoying the characters in the show. Yes, they aren’t real, but they almost feel real to me. They struggle with pride, wrestle with lust, act like fools, but they grow. This is the part that intrigues me the most. Many of them had rough lives growing up, while others are directly responsible for the mess they’re in. But they grow. They learn to love each other. They learn to overcome. This is more extraordinary than the M.D.s they earned from places like Stanford or Johns Hopkins. And this is what gets me to think about my own life. How am I living?   Who am I learning to love? In what ways am I messing up? And, most importantly, how can I begin to grow? 

2. I’m tired. I don’t sleep well. I’ve always been a light sleeper, and I suppose it doesn’t help to have to gerbils scratching around and nibbling on sunflower seeds while I’m trying to enter the sleep cycle. But, this isn’t what keeps me awake; it’s all my thoughts. They just won’t shut up! And while sleeping pills do a wonderful job at making my physical body tired, they don’t help to silence my mind. Only prayer helps that…at least, that’s been my experience. I’m sure Jesus is used to my sleepy, half-hearted prayer of “please…help me fall asleep!” by now. 

3. I’ll admit it. I’m tired of being single. There. I said it. I’m ready to meet people, I think. But I don’t know. Maybe not. It can wait. (denial) 

4. I have an addiction to sugar. It’s not good. Not good at all. Maybe this is part of what makes it hard to sleep….?

5. I like to listen to my music really, really loud. Okay, you’re probably envisioning something worse than the actual situation at hand (remember, I play the violin. How bad could the noise level be?), but the reality is that if I can’t feel the beat pulsating through my body, it’s not loud enough. And since I drive a grandma car, it probably makes me look like some ridiculous, punk teeny bopper to all the other lovely drivers of Kokomo.

6. I miss people. Lots of different ones. The ones that care about me, and the ones that have forgotten me. I care about people who are way smarter than me, just as smart, and some of them that act like idiots. I get attached to people, which I know is part of a gift of compassion. But it hurts sometimes to know that perhaps the attachment was merely one way. So, my heart says “ouch”. 

7. I’m cold-natured. I also like to hyphenate words that may not need to be. And I like sweatshirts. I just like warm things, ok? And weird words.

8. I hate injustice. There are certain things that require action and people will not move! There are people screaming and everyone just puts cotton in their ears. And I lie awake at night feeling unsettled, but everyone slumbers at all hours of the day. People are hurting and angry and unloved, and it’s my job to do something. And I’m just tired. As my roommate would say, “So that’s good!” 

9. I’m reading two books right now. I never read. Ever. But I’m trying to push myself, and so far it hasn’t been too bad at all once I actually silence the world and truly engage. I mean, I wish books had background music, but at the same time, books have the power to move and tell humanity’s story in a way that movies can’t. (or Grey’s Anatomy, for that matter) The words get in my head, and sometimes my heart, and just bounce around. It creates a bit of a healthy mess, if you will…a “wake up call”, or a fresh perspective of some sort. And that I am not at all opposed to. 

So, I know I feel a lot better after spewing all of that at you. Anyway, I hope that whoever reads this is feeling a little better than I am this Christmas season. I guess maybe the fact that I’ve had to grow up a lot this year has changed me, but there’s no doubt that life seems harder, heavier, and more complicated than it once was. If you’re feeling that way, too, take heart; there will be brighter, merrier days to come. For both of us. 🙂

I like blankets

I thought about blogging yesterday. But to be honest, I’ve been feeling a bit numb these last few weeks. It’s hard to find the energy to do things sometimes, even though I really do want to do something. It must just be the aftermath of the semester finally taking its toll on me (not to mention what I believe to be sleep deprivation). So, in my lazy/defeated/exhausted/numb moments of staring off into space, standing under the shower for longer than necessary (for what it’s worth, it’s SO much nicer than the shower at school!) or lying awake at 3 a.m., I’ve been thinking of all the things I could write about. They might even be things I want to write about, but I’m not going to write about any of them tonight. Instead, I’m going to write about why I like blankets. I won’t touch the subject of identity, relationships, emotion…none of the things that keep popping up in my head. Because right now…I’m thinking about blankets. And right now, I’m actually doing something. We mustn’t let this moment pass (or use weird contractions that only British people use).

When I was a fetus (I know…what a transition!) my mother, like most mamas, received many a gift at a baby shower long ago. One of them was a little greenish blanket, with smooth boarders, the kind that little babies fall in love with. Since that time, ‘Blankey’ has been thrown-up on, dragged across the floor, lost and found, shoved in suitcases, torn, and sewn back together again. And, as my roommate knows, I still sleep with the cleverly named friend every night. I’m not really embarrassed about it because it’s not really a sentimental, i-have-issues-growing-up situation as much as it is something that simply feels good against my skin. It’s like, without him (yes…Blankey is and always has been a boy), my pillow feels different than normal. Everything just feels off without him. So if keeping my childhood blanket helps me sleep, so be it; I’ll add him to all the other blankets on my bed.

So, maybe that’s where my love for blankets began. Blankey, however, isn’t the only blanket in my life these days (he be jellin’, I’m sure). There’s also the giant quilt my grandma made me. And the white fluffy blanket my daddy gave me last Christmas (the one we joked about being “over-sized”). Oh, and then there’s the one with the pheasants on it that I use when I’m sitting on the couch (like right now. and the word ‘sitting’ is kind of misleading here. I’m definitely lying down.). And the Lazy-Boy blanket is more hardcore; it has horses on it. What’s my point? I’ve found that life is just more comfortable under a blanket. Maybe it’s the warmth. It might even be the texture. But I think it’s deeper than that.

Of course, leave it to me to take something entirely simple and try to make it seem important. But, isn’t that what we do with our lives? So, why not blankets? Everyone needs to just stay calm. Grab a paper bag and take some deep breaths if you need to. You’ll be fine.

As I was saying, I think blankets are like some kind of armor. When winter comes, the evenings get darker much earlier, and it can be kind of depressing. And with no snow outside, it’s easy to just grab a blanket, stand behind it, and block the ‘fire’ from winter’s darkness. That’s what I do, anyway. I just crawl under a blanket and hope it gets me through the long, seemingly meaningless days. So, yeah…blankets are like armor.

But there is something about physical touch that people are so drawn to. Even the ones like me, who admittedly can’t handle a lot of person to person touching, need to feel embraced. So, since I’ve never been a great hugger (and I argue that maybe this is so because we didn’t do a lot of hugging in my household as I grew up), I find that under a blanket. If it’s been a really rough day, I can wrap up “burrito style”, and it’s almost….almost like a hug. Another perk…since the blanket isn’t alive, I can get this ‘hug’ without being probed with “How are you? Do you want to talk about it?” No. Just give me a blanket. Especially when it’s cold and dark outside at 5 p.m. 

Maybe I’m the only who thinks about blankets, but I know I’m not the only one who loves them. This idea just keeps coming back to me…the idea about how we’re all connected, yet separate all at once. How is it that my story is so different from yours, but when we both open our mouths to speak, we’re telling the same story? How can we be different, but the same? I’m not silly enough to suggest that the blanket is our answer. Rather, I think it’s just another common thread in our humanity. We like to retreat, we like to feel warm, and we like to feel embraced. We like blankets.

 

Isn’t that just….lovely?

Image

 

Look at that. Isn’t that just lovely? Yeah, my boyfriend and I always kiss like that under ice cold drops of rain/snow. Oh, and I always bring my umbrella because obviously there is no danger of the two of us having electricity sent through both of our bodies from lightening, you know, since we’re connected at the lips. Yep, my boyfriend and I are so lovely together. Just look at us. I’m so glad he’s such a good kisser that I can pop my leg back while at the same time showing off my slick calf muscles and sweet heels. And no, I never trip when I walk down the sidewalk in those, and I’ve never had a blister in my entire time as a dating girl. Because I’m lovely. It’s all just so lovely.

So bitter, right? Well, maybe a little, but you can laugh. I meant for that to be funny. However, to keep with my theme of “what i think about blah blah blah”, I’ll be telling you what I think about dating. So light the candles and bring out the mistletoe. Because I’m about to be so entirely unromantic that we’ll need something a little traditional “up in here”.

Excuse my bitterness as I reveal that I have never been asked on a date in my 19 years of life. The closest I came was sitting in the basement watching Disney movies with the dumbest guy I’ve ever met in my entire life. After being played by the absolute loser, I learned that I’m one of those “blessed” girls who is waiting for God to “reveal the man He has picked for me”. Isn’t that just…lovely?

Despite my bruises and the many negative feelings I have about my singleness, I have learned to use my brain a little here. I think dating is completely constructed by society and puts unfair expectations on individuals who are (no surprise here…) human. I would like to point out that if anyone reading this is dating or has been dating, I wish not to insult anyone. I’m just trying to offer some perspective.

Refer  to the picture above. What do you see? If you’re like me, you’ll see a woman who is quite thin. Sure, I am big enough (no pun intended) to admit that she is, in fact, prettier than I. But, who decided that she gets to represent the essence of the female sex? Would this picture be any less adorable if she was replaced with a fat lady? A lady wearing tennis shoes? A lady who preferred to get wet in the rain rather than hold a dainty umbrella?

And what about him? Of course he is making a move on her, because the media is always displaying the population of men to be crazy sex animals who have no control over their desires. And of course he’s all athletic-looking because it’s not okay for men to just be…normal. So I ask you…would this picture be any less romantic with a nerdy guy? A guy wearing socks and sandals? A short guy with pointy ears? Who decided that men have to look like this?

And why aren’t they bowling? Why aren’t they watching a chick flick together? Eating at McDonalds? Playing chess? Going for a walk? Why do they have to be kissing in the freaking rain?

If this is what dating looks like, and most places I look, this is how it looks, I think it is really stupid. Where is our humanity? We are human! Yes, I’m sure kissing is very enjoyable. Our sex drive is a part of our humanity, but we also eat. I mean, I eat a lot. There are so many other things, like laughing and crying and talking and feeling and dreaming and believing and trying that make us people. When I finally get to date, I’m going to date a human, and for that reason, I seriously doubt we’ll be making out under a stormy sky with a dainty umbrella hovering over us while at the same time looking perfectly stylish and sexy.

I’ll be wearing my tennis shoes, like always. My jeans will be fastened on with my belt…the one that is falling apart because I’ve used it for so long. My hair will either be pulled back into a stupid looking pony-tail, or down in all of it’s un-straightened glory. If it’s a good day, I’ll be wearing contacts, but it’s more likely that when he looks into my eyes, he’ll have to look through my dorky glasses because I’m a human being who would rather grab glasses than have to stick a little thing onto my eyeball with a my cold finger. We won’t be standing in the rain because I’m cold-natured and don’t enjoy standing in the rain. My leg will NOT pop like that because I wouldn’t be that confident in the middle of my first kiss. It would just be a kiss. Because we’re just people.

And dating should be more than kissing in the rain! It will be filled with impromptu trips to weird Mexican restaurants or awkward walks to look for squirrels. We’ll talk like normal human beings without him trying to make a move on me. Yes, when I date, it will look nothing like this stupid picture.

I have decided in my mind that dating is stupid if it’s anything like what my peers are doing. I want something more. I want something truly….truly lovely. 

Magic Beans

When I was young, I would gaze in wonderment as my grandparents would, without fail, order cup after cup of coffee at any restaurant imaginable (this also applies to any gas station imaginable). I was probably gaping by the time the little white cups rested on the table, with a mini tornado of steam stealthily escaping from the mysterious black liquid. And to think, they would just…drink it! I found it frightening and intriguing all at once! Maybe my intrigue was a direct result of the magical power of those beans. Maybe I was just ignorant and curious. No matter what, the childhood version of myself, (which I would argue is still quite alive most of the time; I’m just good at suppressing it when necessary. That’s why I am trying to learn to stop burping in public. Not easy, folks. Not easy.) complete with crooked teeth and messy hair, never would have thought that one day, it would be the very breath of my life. (cue the dramatic music and close-up on my face…not too close. Back up….)

When I arrived at IWU, one of my refuges from the bustling world of academia quickly became McConn, the campus-run coffee shop. With spiffy card in my sweaty hand, I would swipe and then BAM! It seemed that coffee would just appear from the beans and I would enter a hypnotic state at the sight of the oozing chocolate cascading into the bubbling cup of pure caffeine and  delight.  So I think it safe to answer the question “What do I think of coffee” with phrases like, “it’s the butter to my bread”, “it’s the reason that I live”, “it’s the very reason I passed my first semester of college”, or my personal favorite, “it has made me a better gerbil owner”. I think, with quite a large dose of certainty, that I like coffee.

Of course, I learned in college that simply saying “that’s dumb” or “that’s cool” makes a person sound really, really stupid. And….I really try not to sound stupid. So, allow me to fluff up my thoughts with some nifty and presumably desired examples revealing why I think coffee is spiffy.

First of all, coffee is the ever-patient, you-might-be-an-angel (British) friend to the cursed individuals constantly in conflict with mornings. I’ve witnessed my roommate groaning, maybe even weeping from her cozy bed on many a frigid dawn with little hope until the words “fresh…brew” float up from her subconscious. If you knew my roommate, you’d understand this example to prove the magical qualities of the coffee bean with little more explanation needed. Because she is NOT a morning person. (I love you Mallory! Please don’t kill me! And by kill, of course, I simply mean…tell jokes….)

From caramel machiotos (sp?) to cuban americanos, coffee also seems to possess a great power of transformation for the unfortunate individuals who struggle in social situations. Many times, perhaps too many to count, I’ve journeyed to a terrifying rendezvous with a professor or classmate wondering, Oh man, what kind of awkward thing will I do this time? And sure enough, by the time we’re face to face, my first words are “I like squirrels!” and I’ve already been judged beyond belief by my company. But, probably to ease the pain of the encounter, the request from the professor or friend to grab coffee provides a divinely granted second chance. Suddenly, the steam from the coffee becomes a transforming screen behind which I finally pull myself together and she can only see the less awkward parts of me. Coffee is saving grace in social encounters! Think about it; wouldn’t the whole atmosphere of Starbucks be ridiculous without the beans? Chatter is just chatter without coffee. A hot cup of joe makes everything a little less trivial and seems to make people just a little less foolish. It’s the mask of all of masks, but also bandaid of all bandaids. It’s good to have something to mend our humanity just a tad and finally let us connect with people, even if that does mean trying to hide behind a little white cup. 

All in all, coffee is just another way we try to compensate for our weakness. It’s just a drink, but it’s importance in our lives reveals a bit more than our need for caffeine or our desire to become fluent in “Bean”. Really, it just shows that we’re quirky. Think about it. If your first words when you wake up are something like “Is the coffee done?” or “Where’s the creamer”, you are, indeed, a quirky individual. And since we live in such a fast-paced world, we find it difficult to sit down and talk with dear friends. We need the coffee to cue the deep words, the vulnerable moments. Again, we’re quirky. We’re flawed. And coffee helps us just little bit. It’s not bad, and it’s not good. It’s just something connected to our hand. If it makes life just a little bit better, and the tough moments just a little more manageable, go ahead and order me one as well! I love those magic beans.

The Explosion

If you read my last blog post, whoever you are, you may recall that it revolved around the theme of thinking. So, while this idea isn’t entirely original, I’m going to put my “thinking” to the test and spend the next several blog posts exploring and maybe even discovering what I “think” about various parts of life. it’s kind of a blog series, if you will. Feel free to stop reading now. You may not like what I have to say. I promise two things. 1) I will be honest. 2) I will sound like a human being. If you can’t deal with that, I feel very sorry for you, but also welcome you to ask yourself why you can’t deal with that. Because that’s just sad. 

So today, I want to share with you the overlapping theme of all of the blog posts to come: what it means to be human. This topic has been eating away at my mind for nearly a month now, and I don’t know what else to do but write about it. I blame my philosophy class and my professors for lighting the fuse from which questions and thoughts have been sputtering and sparking for long enough .The burning inside me has reached the point of danger, and I’m ready to blow. I’m ready to propose my own answers to what makes me a human. And something tells me this explosion is going to be awesome!

I don’t know why I can’t just write about normal things, like popcorn or frisbees. Why can’t the ideas in my mind be small and manageable? My brain isn’t big enough for all of these abstract notions. Most of the time, I have no idea how to articulate any of this. Whether I like it or not, this is what I’m supposed to write about. Even if I’m the only one who learns anything or finds any clarity, it’s entirely worth it.

All I know is that as I’m going through my days, people are always grabbing my attention. Whether it’s the elderly woman raking leaves outside of Elder Hall, a character on a show, or a family member, I find myself in awe of their essence. Who are these people? What makes them…them? What are they thinking and feeling? What is their story? What makes us so different? What makes us identical? What makes us human?

I remember when I used to think I could change people, bring new ideas to their minds and make the whole wide world look different to them. I learned very quickly that it was impossible. Now, I’m learning that understanding people is just as impossible. We’re too…human. That’s the only way I know to explain it. I wish I could understand my own thoughts sometimes. “We’re too…human”? Really? What does that even mean? You see, that’s exactly what I’m trying to figure out. That’s why I wrote that. Somehow, it’s the right thing to say.

Perhaps more perplexing than strangers and family members alike is this girl…me…Jessica, the human. Unlike the other people in my life, I’ve been inside my head, heart, soul. I know what masks I put on, why I do it, and how desperately I want to take them off. I have been on long walks through alleys of the hopes and dreams inside of me. I’ve seen the ones that look sparkly and brand new. I’ve seen the one that are behind closed doors, zipped up in body bags, and locked in cold rooms. I know the parts of me that are dead, the parts that are alive. I know me. But I don’t know what makes me a human. So, I write. Welcome to the blog series. And brace yourselves because this explosion might just knock you over. If we’re lucky, it might knock us both over.