Free Association and Unwitting Mentors

It has been quite some time since I  posted for no reason. Since I’ve felt a prick on the mind – that feeling that I have something to say, but never figure it out until the close of the post. Who needs Freud to free associate when I have WordPress?

I most likely have hypothyroidism.

I pride myself (sometimes too much) on my perception. Longtime readers of my  blog will remember that I study people in all forms – neuroscience to facial expression, body language to psychoanalysis. I go so far as to jokingly call myself Sherlock at times. But the past month I’ve been forgetting things – and it’s worse than the typical trip-up of the brain like forgetting why I came into a room or losing my phone. My arms feel weak when I lift them to take something from a shelf. I often feel as though I’m always moving at half speed. I’ve started thinking slower and talking slower because the words don’t appear in my mind like they used to. And my hair has started thinning. (Wednesday we’ll find out if I do have hypothyroidism)

Did I mention I’m freshly 17?

My anxiety problems, panic attacks, psychosomatic symptoms – I can hide those. My mom told me when I was a child, “I don’t know how to be a parent.” and has shown me how difficult it can be for her to empathize with my emotional baggage. I don’t hold it against her- Grandma Charlie (yes, I just said that) was mentally ill, and, as you can imagine, was not the poster momma for compassion. I’ve come to accept this and learned to just keep a stiff upper lip until I can’t. But my speech, my weakness, my hair…How am I supposed to hide those?

I’ve been working on the first ‘key’ Olga mentioned (referenced *here*) but I’ve been dissociating a lot more. I feel like, even though I control what I say and do, I’m never really here anymore. I’m always a little far away, watching myself. Seeing the world through my eyes like a movie screen. What will she do next? I wonder.

So far, my entries look like this, barely legible scrawl right before I fall asleep at 3AM:

I feel like I have no right to be talking about this – because human beings have been through so much worse so much earlier in life, I feel guilty and foolish for flinging my troubles onto any unsuspecting blog browsers.

Sometimes after putting up a stiff upper lip for a month or so, I have an overwhelming longing to be somewhere safe and certain. With no one and with everyone – the people who matter and don’t pretend to understand when they don’t, what my mom doesn’t see, is that it has never been about knowing ‘the right words’ to say, it’s simply being here. Here. Not awkwardly or angrily or speaking eloquently or in a tone suggesting the essence of eternal wisdom. Because it feels as though trying to find the right words or do the right thing isn’t to make me feel better, mom – it’s always to make you feel better. I’ve protected you from me for this long, and with no choice I’ll keep protecting you from you while I’m at it. Always taking your side when you’re wrong and holding you when you cry when you never hold me. That’s our life, isn’t it? Hasn’t it been this way the past six years? Me raising you and advising you and teaching you while I curl up and scream and cry into my pillow in the still of the night while you sleep peacefully down the hall? So you don’t have to see me like that and feel a responsibility to do anything?

In those days, every month or so, I want to be the kid. I want to be the child who cries about everything and can run into your arms for comfort instead of stepping off to the side and demanding of myself to get a grip when my heart insists on scaring me and the world starts going dark and I think I’m going to die. Who holds me, mom? Who tells me I’m right when I’m wrong and lets me imagine a future of my own and dreams of my own without telling me why I shouldn’t do them and about the challenges, about the people already lining up to stone me into oblivion in the big-bad world whose mission it will be is to crush everything I believe in. And how I won’t have it in me to maintain my dignity.

I’m not bitter now – take my word for it. I’m angry, I’m scared and I’m tired. A voice in the back of my mind keeps snapping at me and saying I shouldn’t be talking about all of this. That I’m a wretch for talking about it. Me, me, me is all I talk about, and who would care anyway?

I know this is absurd. I know I don’t want a flood of ‘Hannah, you are soooooo pretty and sooooo smart! Just look at you, how you know the proper use of ‘You’re’ and ‘Your’!’ I justify my selfishness by the fact that this blog is my safe place. I don’t even talk to Heather Madame about 90% of what I say on this blog. I trust my blogging peeps with the naive raw material from this little brain of mine. Heather gets enough rants from me, don’t worry. And I think that’s why I don’t tell her much. I’ve written before about how Heather is like Watson to me; there’s only one, and I don’t want to lose it or take it for granted.

I’ve got a lot of thinking to do – and what with how slow my mind has been working, this is going to take a while. I might be zipping back around WordPress tomorrow, I might not be back for a month.

All I know right now, is life is a toss of the dice, and all we have is how we handle the cards we’ve been dealt.

I want to deal with this right, I want this to be more than just about me. There is a world outside of me – I’ve seen this through Alannah, Marlize, Mandii, Emily, Mark, and Thoughts (to name a few), they’ve faced crap head on and they handle the cards they’ve been dealt with dignity,  honorability, and a grin to bear it. And more than once when I didn’t know what to do, I’d think about a post from any one of them and I’d laugh out loud or pause and contemplate, always finding the answer I’ve been looking for. My unwitting mentors. I’ll always be profoundly grateful to have known them, and to have them know me as well.

tffn (ta-ta for now.)

Hannah

For Lack Of A Better Post Title

“You’re just like my mom; she doesn’t smile much, either.”

I blinked rapidly for a moment at the child in front of me. I thought I had become Smiley Sally for the past few hours, but apparently I wasn’t fooling Madison.

She continued, “And you don’t wear a lot of stuff on your eyelashes, too.” She studied me so carefully it was unnerving, the kid was too perceptive for her age. “You don’t dress like a teenager, too. And your hair isn’t super long.” She grabbed my hair clip and pulled it out of my wavy locks, studying first the clip, and then my hair again. I was still as a statue, intrigued, and she probably saw it. Watching her watching me watching her.”Yeah, you just need shorter hair, and you could be my mom.”

The mom mentioned above was currently at her chocolate shop for its last few weeks of business. Another victim of a stricken economy. Until the shop officially closes, I babysit her two children from 10-till-4.

I got this gig yesterday when me, Heather Madame, and my mom went to The Cafe after seeing the Cubist Experiment exhibit at Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth (thank heaven for AC). In the back of The Cafe sits a space about the size of a small livingroom, where a woman (I shall call her The Candywoman) sells chocolate, loose tea leaves and candy covered everything. She had been in business hardly a year when her and her husband had little choice but to shut down the manifestation of her dream.

“Thanks for stopping by again, I really appreciated your business.” She said from behind the register while we were checking out.

“You know, it’s too bad Hannah didn’t end up working here-” Mom started, I glanced over in a pleading look that said ‘please don’t do this right now’ but, so it would seem, she doesn’t read pleading glances, “She’s been applying for jobs and being interviewed left and right. She would have been such a hard worker.”

“Well, are you looking for a job for the next few weeks?” The Candywoman said half-jokingly. My mom chuckled, but then The Candywoman spoke again, in a suddenly serious voice, “Seriously, are you looking for a job for the next few weeks?”

“Yes.” My mom spoke before I did, “Yes she is.”

Before I knew it, though, a job in a chocolate store turned into a job as a babysitter four days a week as The Candywoman went on to explain her predicament. Training would take at least several days (she also sells every form of coffee and every flavor of hot chocolate known to Texan man) so it would be more logical to sit her two children while she attended to the shop in its final days.  I was grateful to be able to help her, something in her face gave me a soft spot for her and babysitting is as easy as breathing at this point (depending on the kid, it can be as easy as breathing in an open country meadow, or as easy as breathing as a murder victim.)

That night (well, last night) I had a job interview at a beautiful downtown bookstore called…Hm, I’ll call it The Book Wagon. About a week ago in one of my late night must. Get. Job. Need. Money. Moods I searched online for local bookstores and came across The Book Wagon, I saw the photographs of the interior and fell more in love with every click and scroll. Three words:

Dark wood everywhere.

Three more words:

Little bitty cafe.

Annnd for the bonus round:

On sale books.

Seeing the Wagon in person would have been a more exciting experience if I had insisted on leaving earlier and wasn’t 35 seconds late when we pulled up. I bounded up the steps, wrenched open the iron-framed door and looked for an employee. I glanced to my right and saw the coffee bar. A beautiful, tan, mid-20s chick was behind the counter next to a rounded, pale-skinned, eyeglass sporting young man.

“Can I help you?” He asked, looking half curious, half amused at my panting and frantic hair smoothing.

I swallowed, took a breath, walked up to the counter and explained, “I’m here for a job interview.”

“I see.” He reached under the register and pulled out a phone, “Who should I say is calling?”

“Hannah.” I was tempted to add on the ‘Elizabeth’ but held my tongue. I’ve been avoiding my full first name on applications lately. He looked over the numbers and repeated my name with an accent of no formal origin, pronouncing it as “Huh-nuh.” After a moment he put the phone to his ear and immediately spoke into it, “Hey, Angela? Hannah is here for you.”

He started to explain the way to the office, but stopped mid sentence and led me there himself. On The way up the steps I wanted to inquire about how busy the day was, how he was, ect., but I remained silent for some reason I’ve yet to name. I think maybe I was concerned about the time he would have to respond, or if I would be read wrong.

The interview was carried out by the usual small-business human being. Stern and sincere, honest and honorable. I could have squealed with joy when she told me that she needed a barista for the coffee bar, though when she asked how I felt about working as a barista and I explained that it was precisely the job I had been trying to get, her eyes narrowed for a split second in suspicion. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have believed me, either.

Altogether I felt it went well, though I won’t jinx it this time by saying I’m certain I’ve got the job. I’m just praying and hoping beyond hope I’ll get it. A job in a gorgeous bookstore with an adorable cafe on the inside… Certainly a step up from Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Well, I suppose that’s about it. I’ve got quite a bit of reading to do before my library books are due and (so I hear) they aren’t going to visually devour themselves.

Type to ya’ll later,

-Classic/Hannah-Elizabeth

Looking (My Fear Of) Death In The Face – Pt. 2

“Because I’ve felt since I was about eleven that I’m supposed to be different…I can feel that so strongly. Even when I most doubted myself, what never changed was that I knew that I was different. And I think, death-it, it means that I’m not as important as I think I am…Dying means that my raw ambition, and all of my dreams before they even come close to beginning, aren’t enough to keep me alive…”

(Click here for Part 1)

I stared down at the glass in my hands and turned it. “I’ve tried fixing myself on my own. I know getting past this is a process, and this fear is something I can’t handle by myself.” I felt myself choking up, and cleared my throat, “I’ve been trying ever since this started.”

She nodded, her eyes looking to the floor a moment in thought. “What have you tried to do to fix yourself?”

“Prayed.” I swallowed. “I’ve used a homeopathic calming spray.” I nodded to my purse. “Sometimes, most nights really, when it isn’t so bad I can just distract myself until I fall asleep, just not think about it. But then-” Clear my throat. “Some nights are worse than others. I distract myself until I’m tired enough to sleep.”

“This fear is at night before you sleep?”

“Yes.” I took another sip, “But it’s always with me, the fear. I’ve developed-” I fought of another lump, “A fear of dying. And now every night it hits me. And, and-” That did it. I gripped the glass with one hand and the bridge of my nose with another. My hand started shaking. I shook from gasps and sobs that I didn’t humor by opening my mouth.

“It’s alright.” Olga said soothingly, “Cry. Let yourself cry.”

I shook my head and fought the sobs off by digging my nails into my palm and focusing on what I was saying. Dangit, I had been holding it together since my last attack, why break down now?

“I’ve developed a fear of dying.” I said with as much dignity as I could muster.

Olga looked to my mom and back to me before she continued.

“You study psychology.” She said. I sat upright and leveled my chin defensively, I knew what was coming. “Some people who study these things, they can read about them and see themselves in the books. How did you decide on what you have?”

“How I diagnosed myself?” I clarified.

“Yes.”

I looked over to my mother with a fleeting emotion of betrayal before I spoke. “I had not read about anxiety disorders when I had my attack. When I had my first panic attack, I didn’t even know what it was, my mother was the first to suggest it. When it happened, I was so sure– I was convinced I was going to die, I was sure of it. Only when she suggested a panic attack did I know to look in the area of anxiety. I grabbed my DSM and found the anxiety disorders. My symptoms matched perfectly.” I looked Olga pointedly in the eye so I was clear, “I’ve heard of the ‘psychology student’s syndrome’, in which a psychology student will see themselves in every disorder and so diagnose themselves as such. I’ve done what I can to avoid this and I believe I have. I don’t match the criteria to a T, I’ve tried what I can to be objective in my diagnosis, that has always been a goal. I’ve diagnosed myself with mild specific agoraphobia because of my difficulties entering a church sanctuary, but I’ve never decided that I match enough criteria for an actual anxiety disorder, I just know enough to know I’m looking in the right place.” I took a deep breath and looked at her face. She looked surprisingly understanding, but, I hoped, not patronizing.

“And why do you think you have this fear?” She suddenly asked.

I didn’t expect my own response.

“Because…Because I’ve felt since I was about eleven that I’m supposed to be different. I can feel that I am going to fundamentally change psychology. I can feel that so strongly. Even when I most doubted myself, what never changed was that I knew that I was different. And I think, death-it, it means that I’m not as important as I think I am. That I’m just a pawn, I’m not a key player.” My make-up was ruined from tears, but I was coherent. “Dying means that my raw ambition, and all of my dreams before they even come close to beginning, aren’t enough to keep me alive. That my will and my goals and this inherent feeling that I’m someone who is going to change things doesn’t matter.”

I breathed in, and out. And told myself I was breathing in and out. I stared at Olga in a moment of shock. I had just realized in that moment where my fear of dying is rooted in. My prideful entitlement and fear of not having the universe on a string.

“I believe everyone has a telos,” I continued, “A purpose in life. And I feel like this purpose that I feel that I have means nothing because of death. That maybe my purpose is not what I’ve felt in my heart what it is. That in the end it makes no difference. It won’t keep me alive.”

The world can go on if Watson dies, but Sherlock? Maybe I’m not Sherlock after all, not even Watson, or Watson’s brother or brother’s son’s son. Maybe I’m so far off the periphery of the story that you’ll never even hear about me at all. And death once and for all would rip away the success of- no, I don’t care about the success as much as I do the pursuit. Death once and for all would rip away the possibility of the pursuit of my dreams and goals and ambitions. Maybe I’m not important enough, vital enough to the story to not be backspaced from the grand scheme of things.

How could I not have seen this sooner?

“You said you always feel this anxiety?” She asked.

Mom suddenly chimed in, “I had no idea that it was every night. I knew you had your bad days, but…” I didn’t look up at her. I tried clearing the lump in my throat and, for the most part, remained coherent. But my voice was shaking. I feared this would make it even more difficult for Olga to understand me. I wanted to be clear, because after all this time I was spilling everything out into the open.

“She doesn’t know what to do, so I don’t tell her. She doesn’t take me seriously when I tell her. So,” I had started gasping again, “I handle it on my own. But when it gets bad and I br-break down, she listens so I only-” I paused again to breathe and get a grip, “I only come to her when I break down. She only listens then. That’s why sh-she doesn’t know.” I had started taking small gasps involuntarily.

At this point Olga had leaned back with a contemplative look on her face. She leaned forward again and spoke in a tone that suggested sympathy with an odd mixture of admiration.

“I cannot help you.” She said.

I blinked, speechless.

“I cannot help you,” She repeated, “I cannot heal you. Only you can heal yourself. What you’re going through is a blessing, because once you help yourself, you, can help others like you.” She pointed to herself, “I don’t know what you’re going through. I can read a thousand books and will never be able to understand your pain and what it is like.” She turned the manicured nail to me, “But you do. And I don’t know what with heal you, only you will figure out what will heal, but I cannot do that.”

A confused part of me rejected following her logic, but I listened still.

“To heal yourself, you need what I call a key.” She used her right hand to motion turning a key in a lock, “We might have to try two keys, maybe ten. This process might take a few months, maybe a few years. But only you can find your key. Sometimes we will try one and have to say ‘No, it no work’ and try another and another until we find the right one.”

She paused, watching my face for several moments. I realized she must be waiting for a cue and nodded. She continued.

“For first key, I want you to get a notebook, and keep it by your bed.” She said, “This notebook will become most important book you will ever have. And every time you feel this fear and anxiety, I want you to get notebook and, not using it as journal, but to write a novel about yourself. I want you to step outside of yourself and write about yourself as you watch while you feel these things. This will make you objective. Because you cannot be objective about yourself, no one can. But stepping outside of yourself will help you be objective, and see yourself in a new light.” She leaned back in her seat, watching me still, she ended her monologue in a tone of finality. “This will be your first key.”

–Hannah-Elizabeth/Classic

Looking (My Fear Of) Death In The Face – Pt. 1

“What a beautiful bridge.” I commented, feeling like we were driving in the middle of a giant art sculpture. I realized how close we were to Batwoman’s studio apartment.

Addison, Texas is an odd place. It has seedy motels, homeless wanderers who bathe in the fountains, and skinny little white boys who seem to think by some stretch of the imagination that they are indeed, gangsters. But in the middle of the filth and poverty, is an area of artistic flair, youthful nightlife, and, oh, shall we say, sanitation. This area would be where Batwoman resides. And where me and my mom were headed Sunday night.

I should probably mention, her name isn’t really the female counterpart to the hero of Gotham City, her name is Olga.

We pulled up to the victorian-styled building and I wrestled with my purse at my feet for a moment, the darned strap was stuck to the bottom of the seat. Eventually I gave up and quickly unzipped it to whip out my make-up to touch up before grabbing my hat and jumping out of the car. The beautiful faded brick and white-iron railed balconies again captured the images from my daydreams. I love this street.

Mom’s iPhone suddenly dinged with a message from Olga, and I looked up to the balconies, expecting to see the familiar raven locks and light green eyes. But I saw no one. I looked expectantly to my mom while holding my hat down in conflict against a sudden breeze.

“She’s going to meet us at the entrance.” She was still staring at her phone. “Usually she just tosses the key down.”

I followed her as she walked down the sidewalk and made an abrupt right. I blinked rapidly for a moment as I realized there was a very narrow hallway in the wall that wasn’t even visible until one was directly upon it. I paused and looked around me. A busy street square to my left, more sidewalk to my right, and a beautiful fountain directly behind me across the street. I wanted to find a reason to savor the moment, but the quickening echo of my mom’s gold flip-flops snapping against her heels told me she wasn’t in a Kodak mood.

We came upon a large tan gate, I had never seen one before except in movies and felt a need to study it up close while I could. Suddenly rapid footsteps down a stairway inside the gate could be heard. I watched the visible landing for her shoes. Five seconds turned to ten, then fifteen before we saw Batwoman.

“Hey!” Mom said in greeting

“Hello there at last!” She exclaimed. ‘At last’ was my thought exactly, for two months now we had been trying to arrange a meeting.

She wore cork-wedge high-heeled shoes, dark green khakis, and an intricately rhinestone studded t-shirt.

I thanked her as she held open the gate. Even in heels she was about an inch shorter than me. After she closed the gate she greeted me again and hugged me in an awkward embrace. She was thinner than I had remembered.

Olga’s thick accent somewhat faded into the background as we worked our way up the steps- and I assure you, there were plenty of them. I looked around us with each landing, suddenly dissociating because of the new environment (a bit that’s part of my anxiety – dissociation is when you feel like you’re watching the world through a movie screen and not totally involved in the situation.) The walls were a light-grey, the door frames were painted gold. There were echoes everywhere from our footsteps and the conversation of my mother and our host.

Her apartment wasn’t as grandly decorated as I had anticipated. From what I had heard, Batwoman has a good deal of money and spends it on worthwhile items. The walls were a typical eggshell white. She had a decent-sized kitchen and large bathroom, the rest of the place being taken up in the largest room which contained a king bed, a 50-inch TV, two bookshelves and a desk and chair. I thought for a moment on what I could compliment her on, but doubted my own sincerity and remained silent.

“Well,” She said, leading us into her livingroom/bedroom/office/library, “Here we are. Please, have a seat, Hannah.” She motioned to a large, tan leather office chair behind me. I sat.

There was a moment of awkward silence as Batwoman contemplated her next move. She looked tired and slightly haggard. A large contrast to when I had last seen her on a chilly night in November. She suddenly walked into her kitchen, my mother following after a pause. I listened until heard the sound of glasses clinking a few seconds later. I stood and joined them in time to see Olga placing the business end of some odd little device into a pitcher of water. It looked like a beige colored remote with flat buttons and a wire that led to a metal tube, the little remote beeped several times and she dropped the tube into the pitcher. I looked over to my mom with a look of What is this wizardry? She inquired of the device and Olga attempted to explain through the language barrier (she speaks excellent english, but sometimes things get lost in translation). So, there we all stood around this pitcher emitting a muffled buzzing noise for several seconds. The little remote then beeped a cheerful little tune, to which Olga removed the metal tube and poured me and my mom glasses.

After I sat, Olga took the chair at her desk by me and, having nowhere else, my mom took a seat at the edge of the bed. A twinkle in her eye when we heard Olga insist I drink the water. Mom had warned me about the water and our host’s unorthodox means of filtering. I took a sip, fully prepared to fall into convulsions, a coma, followed by death. But, to my slight surprise, none occurred.

“So,” Olga said, leaning forward in her seat and watching me with her intense stare, “Why do you think you cannot fix yourself on your own?”

End Part One

My Meeting With Batwoman

Bat signal

Image by goosmurf via Flickr

Olga has come to be something of a superhero. Like a bedtime story.

Listening to mom describe various superpowers and bullet-proof invincibility, you sit there. Doe eyes, perked ears and slacked jaw, you marvel at the fictional figure being presented to you in the form of one miraculous tale after another. Someone you’ll have dreams about and aspire to become, showing your undying alliance in the form of plastic bat ears and foam biceps when Halloween rolls around, knowing all of the cool kids will recognize the image you portray.

If I hadn’t seen her with my own two eyes one dark night in Addison, I would believe her to be fiction.

Olga is a strikingly beautiful, unbelievably intelligent Russian my mother went to beauty college with. And today at 2:00PM, she is going to be my unofficial physician.

Yep. Still sounds like fiction, doesn’t it?

It’s 5:29AM, I haven’t slept for a single minute, and I have no idea what today is going to involve. For the first time in months I’ll be going to church (church sanctuaries trigger my panic attacks so, I suppose we’ll see how I work that one out.) And, as mentioned, I will be meeting Olga. Addison (where she resides) is a bit of a drive, but it is worth it. It’s apartments are beautiful, the streets are clean, the public art has a fresh, modern appearance to it. I certainly wouldn’t mind living there one day. And it is the location of hopefully a new chapter in my life. Starting with a hair sample being snipped and sent off to a lab somewhere in Arizona to be sliced, diced, boiled and analyzed. Hopefully holding some key or other to my panic attacks (though I still believe my anxiety symptoms to be predominantly psychosomatic, I have a family history of anxiety, which leads me to want to seek more organically medical roots – pun not intended.)

I shall write more later on. After a quick early morning meal I suddenly feel rather tired, and I’ll take any sleep I can get.

Until then,

–Hannah-Elizabeth/Classic

Subject #01110

Tester: Here’s card
one.

Subject: An
animal.

Tester: Okay, card
two.

Subject: Mmm, I
see a cat face.

Tester: Here’s card
three.

Subject: A coyote
face.

Tester: Okay, here’s
card four…-

The audio recorder beeped as I paused the playback. The recording was from April 13th, in the midst of my Rorschach inkblot experiment on-campus at The Center. And yet, here I am, in August, still trudging through the material and profiling my subjects.

The one featured above is Subject #01110 (numbered in binary – it translates to subject fourteen), she was shy from the start. Around seven or eight if I had to bet money on her age. Golden hair, bright eyes, and a lot of animal sightings in her responses. I could tell when I started on her profile last night in the wee small hours that Subject 01110 has a loving, supportive home and she’s predominantly introverted, but chica doesn’t let it get in the way of her social experiences. A good kid. I liked this subject from the start.

I can get a personality profile done in 10 hours or so (if that sounds like a long time- it is), but something seems to be holding me back. Freezing my feet in a particular brand of symbolic cement that was best buddies with gravity in college, now paying back some absurd frat boy loyalty bit by remaining tight with him to this day. Friendship is grand and all that, I support the alliance between laws of nature and non-hydraulic binding substances, especially the metaphoric kind. Just not when they are the anchor to whatever Freudian subconscious malady is keeping me from bringing my beloved experiment to a close.

Maybe because I don’t have an emotional need for it anymore.

I created the Rorschach experiment because I was furious at my psychology class. No, not furious, I suppose I was just tired of talking and reciting more about psychology to the class than my teacher. Stuck in a classroom-sized cage, I wanted to be out in the field like my favorite psyche-gurus that I had been reading about for three years. So, solo, I spent two months planning and making my own inkblots (because some bafoon posted the real Rorschach inkblots on Wikipedia along with the “right” reponses for each blot) and then approached the main madame of the school, who would quickly show herself to be my greatest advocate and encouragement, showing faith in a scatter-brained 16-year old gripping her blazer and a manilla folder containing a month-long plot that, if accepted, would give me permission to a private classroom that would allow me to lock myself in with little children and examine their innermost thoughts by showing them splotches of ink and saying “Tell me everything you see!” (moo-hoo-hoo-ha-ha….ha.)

I will always feel gratitude towards that woman. More than once my mom had me in silent tears because of not only her dismissal, but her disapproval of the one thing that gave me such indescribable joy, and this main madame would see me come into the campus main building for one of my inkblot interviews and in an excited tone ask me how it was going and how proud she was. She would then call over to the barista in the cafe that I had ‘cooler privileges’ and anything from the tea/iced coffee fridge by the checkout I would get for free because of the long hours I had been putting in for my experiment. I thank God for her, because in that instant when she pulled me into her office and presented me with a chart showing when I could use my classroom (before I even gave her my plan explaining exactly what I was doing!) she showed faith in me that I never had for myself until that moment.

The only thing keeping me up now until the wee-small hours, listening to the innocent soprano intonations of Subject #01110, is the undeniable need to finish what I’ve started. And so I will.

Type to ya’ll next week,

–Hannah-Elizabeth/Classic