The Cycle of Self-Hatred: An Anthology

The Cycle of Self-Hatred: An Anthology

Ever since we were kids, we were told that we could do anything. If we wanted to; “we could be astronauts, we could be superheroes, we could be Disney princesses/princes, we could be the President of the United States” (T.F. Anon.), but how many of us have attained these goals? NASA is not flying people out anymore until approximately 2021. The superheroes in the comics and the movies do not exist (unless you’re filthy rich and can afford Batman or Iron Man’s lifestyle). Disney princesses/princes must follow intricate roles for low wages (in FL and CA they are not sustainable), and now we are on our 45th president.

Personally, I wasn’t brought up with these unrealistic goals because my mom wasn’t the kind of person to tell their kids they could reach for the moon. (I say mom because she’s been there through it all, my dad was absent during most of my big decisions). Instead, my siblings and I focused on the here and now. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up until the Spring of 2017. Up until then I set my own goals and crushed them. When I first started college I went through about six different majors before I stuck with English. Throughout the whole debacle, my mom was still there for me. She didn’t care what school I went to or what career path I wanted to follow, she just wanted me to be happy with my own decisions. While my brother and I have remained indecisive (for most of my life) and my youngest sister is still six, my eighteen-year-old sister has known what she’s wanted to be since kindergarten. So, the way we were brought up has differing affects on all of us.

These unrealistic goals have been inflicted onto us since before our parents were parents, before their parents were parents, and so on. Setting these goals are a prime example of what society wants us to be. There isn’t anything wrong with telling your kids that they can be astronauts, princesses/princes or the president, but sometimes they grow up to think about this more literally than it’s originally meant. Thanks to a few anonymous participants, I have concocted an elaborate example on how three things can start the cycle of self-hatred and how they can be resolved.

COMPARISONS

Let’s begin with what exactly self-hatred is. It starts out as an internal argument with yourself. You don’t like the way you look, the way you compare yourself to others, the way others seem to compare you to how society thinks you should look and act. The simple act of following a blog or fashion magazine can lead to the downfall of positivity. As soon as you start comparing yourself to others, you can start to lose your self-love.

Keeping a firm grasp on your self-love is very important. I had it once. My grip was tight, and nobody could touch me. Over time, things started to change. Social media became more readily available. My bare face with bags under my eyes, acne, and large pores weren’t enough. The times changed. Makeup was the new norm, and when I started to figure it out, women started to get praised for baring their naked faces. So, which is it?

Society will always evolve, but I’m not the only one who has fallen into this cycle. There are several others. According to a few men and women I interviewed; Darnell, Emmanuel, Marisol, and Braxton (these are pseudonyms to keep them anonymous). I am not alone. All four of them have informed me that their cycles of self-hate begin with comparisons.

Darnell and Marisol were brought up to think that there is a certain age for certain life achievements. If you’re not married by the time you’re in your mid-20s, you’ve failed. If you don’t move out at eighteen, you’ve failed. If you don’t get your own home with an established income by the time you’re 30, you’ve failed. All of this became preprogrammed into their brains as they grew up. Filled with “you must” and “you have to’s”, Darnell and Marisol were sent into the real world with high expectations. Soon they were met with the sudden reality that the goals that were set cannot be planned, and if they were planned, they were not easily attainable. (Marisol eventually discovered a potential solution, but we’re going to get through everyone’s personal growths later.)

Emmanuel was brought up the same way. Except he grew up with the lack of a great parental influence. His mom was absent his entire life. Sure, Dad was physically there, but he wasn’t there mentally. Soon after graduation, his dad decided “wait a minute, I have a son. What is he doing with his life?”. This left Emmanuel with two choices that his dad gave him. Either he had to join the army and get out of his dad’s house, or he had to quit his current job that put miles on his car. Regardless, it was an ultimatum that his previously-absent father set before him. Despite having a long term intermittent (yet serious) girlfriend, Emmanuel chose the military.

Braxton often finds himself thinking back to the “good ole’ days”. He kept focusing more on the “what-if’s” instead of the “here and now”. Nostalgia was taking over his thought process and he constantly compared his current life to how it could’ve been if he just changed one step in his past.

STRESS

Another factor leading into the cycle is stress. Personally, I go through days of questioning everything and wanting to pull my hair out. School and quite a few personal issues have taken a toll on my mental health these past few semesters. There would be times when I’d quit showering or eating, and there’s times when my fiancé would force me out of the house for mental breaks. I’m not alone in the amount of stress I experience either. Sarafine, Spencer, and Mark (pseudonyms of course) have similar stories.

Sarafine has recently started college and the number of classes and the amount of debt shoved upon her has increased her stress level. She goes through periods of self-doubt and moments where she’s just wanted to drop out.

Spencer grew up learning incorrect ways to cope with her stress. Instead of handling it, she would shut everyone out and isolate herself. After isolating herself too much, she’s ended up spiraling into a pit of depression and anxiety starts to set in.

Mark used to be a happy, easy-going guy until he “let the stress of job hunts cause him to get weak-minded” (Mark). He let his guard down and decided to listen to the bullies around him and eventually ended up breaking down. The meaningless words from his close friends and family caused him to feel more down than he already was, and he still hasn’t found a way out of the cycle of self-hatred and lost hope.

UPHILL BATTLES

The final factor leading into a cycle of self-hatred would the continuous uphill battles we face every day. Some of us face more than others and they can range from continuously fighting off your mental disorders, to changing the way you’ve thought about something your entire life, to trying to ignore bullying. Jamie, Alice, and Bridget have all given me their personal experiences with these uphill battles.

Jamie’s self-hatred started as early as kindergarten when she realized she liked girls. In kindergarten, she told her mom that she really liked one of her friends, who was also a girl, and her mom told her it was wrong. This lead Jamie to believe that liking girls was wrong all throughout her life because her mom engrained this thought into her head at such a young age. The conflicting emotions inside Jamie’s head eventually grew worse. She started to suppress her feelings and started lying to herself whenever she thought that her feelings for a girl increased to more than a friend. As she got older, this suppression eventually turned into depression. She felt isolated and it drove her crazy until she realized she wasn’t alone.

Alice discovered that she was looking for love in all the wrong places. She was raised with an abusive mother, who wasn’t biologically related to her. It wasn’t until she was five-years-old that she discovered that she was adopted and in her teens, her mom prevented Alice from expressing herself. Since then she realized that she didn’t belong with her adopted parents and the closest thing she had to a family was her uncle and grandma. However, their relationships only stood until her grandma passed away and her uncle did something her dad didn’t like so her dad secluded him. Luckily, her and her dad still had a closer relationship than she did with her mom, so she had someone to talk to while he wasn’t away (he was in the military). After a ton of realization hit Alice, she started to experience the true symptoms caused by her parents that put her up for adoption. As she got older she started to put more pieces together on why she is the way she is mentally and has surrounded herself with likeminded peers.

Bridget told me that some factors that contribute to her self-hatred is internalized racism, abuse, and isolation. She was treated differently while she was growing up and people talked down to her because she was half-black, which left her feeling inferior. Even though she’s aware that it isn’t rational, she feels that she would be treated better if she were fully white. Bridget studied psychology and sociology in college and she learned that sexual abuse is one of the main causes of eating disorders, and that being in isolation increases self-hatred and suicidal depression (Bridget).

RESULTS

Now what happened to the man who helped me realize how many unrealistic goals are embedded into our brains at a young age? He’s focusing more on his career and what he wants to do with his life (T.F.).

Marisol eventually discovered her passions, she discovered her love for animals and pursued a career in the same field. She’s surrounded by dogs every day and it helps, but the urge to compare is still there. Emmanuel faced a difficult decision and chose the more logical route to please his father. Braxton also found his passions, but unlike Marisol, his passion was more in the vehicle area. Braxton decided that working on cars was more important than living in the past, so he put his all into his work.

Sarafine cut all the toxic and negative people from her life so she could start focusing more on the positive. School is still just as overwhelming, but she’s made sure to fill in her free time with fun activities. When she isn’t working on a paper, she’s hiking with her dog or going on adventures with her boyfriend.

Spencer decided to focus more on her personal health and changing her nutrition helped her improve her overall lifestyle. Her mind became clearer, she’s able to concentrate, sleep soundly, and her stomach issues caused by stress went away.

Jamie watched YouTube videos with several people who went through situations like her own. She read personal stories about the LGBT community on various sites and felt more comfortable with herself. While she still couldn’t understand why her mom put those negative thoughts in her head, she still makes sure to remind herself that she isn’t alone.

Alice has undergone a lot of counseling to help realize all the things that she was repressing. Going to counseling has helped her ease her mind and take into consideration that what she’s experienced throughout her life, wasn’t her fault. Now she’s more vocal about her opinions than before and voices all her concerns to where everybody hears them. Also, she’s surrounded herself with friends who have gone through similar experiences and they’ve helped her realize she isn’t alone.

Like Spencer, Bridget began to focus more on her nutrition as well. She started to get really into skincare products and started to express herself more. Also, she now does this little trick where she replaces the negative thoughts in her head with positive ones. Thinking this way has helped her increase her self-love overall but it’s still an uphill battle.

While Darnell and Mark haven’t found their paths yet, they all remain positive on their journeys. Self-hatred might not have a cure and it’s incredibly hard to fight your personal battle towards self-love, but if there’s a will there’s a way. Eventually, you will achieve complete happiness. It might feel like an uphill battle right now, but if you’re determined enough you can keep fighting and succeed. Erase social media if you must. Take more selfies every day. Dive into your passions. Do anything that will distract your mind from constantly comparing, stressing, or creating more issues for yourself. Everyone feels down at some point, even those that seem happy-go-lucky 24/7, but don’t give up just yet.

Origins of Language

Origins of Language (Revisited)

“The origin of language, or glottogony/glossogeny, is a topic that has been written about for centuries, but the ephemeral nature of speech means that there is almost no data on which to base conclusions on the subject” (Ying). So, how do we study it? Where did these research-backed hypotheses come from if there’s almost no data? Well, an easy place to start would be the basic anatomy of the human mouth and all the sounds it’s capable of producing. Along with the places of articulation and the sounds, throughout this paper, we’re going to explore the speech development timeline and the various theories of language.

SOUNDS OF SPEECH

Taking into consideration how exactly speech works, is mind-blowing. We have what most animals don’t, a pharynx (Goodall). The elongated throat of a human is what makes it possible for us to speak. However, you don’t just come out of the womb speaking in full-fledged sentences, you develop it throughout your life.

There are three different types of phonetics (acoustic, articulatory, and auditory), but we’re only going to focus on the articulatory. The articulatory phonetics is the part of phonetics that deal with the sounds that come out of our mouths.

1.1 VOICELESS VS. VOICED

Articulatory phonetics is the “study of how speech sounds are made, or articulated” (Yule). The internal organ that is responsible for the sounds coming out of your mouth is your larynx. Inside of the larynx are your vocal cords, which has two positions: spread apart or drawn together. When your vocal cords are spread apart you can make voiceless sounds and when they’re drawn together you can make voiced sounds by pushing air through your larynx. A way to distinguish which sounds are which is by producing sounds like: S-S-S-S or F-F-F-F (voiceless) and Z-Z-Z-Z or V-V-V-V (voiced). While making these sounds, feel your neck or Adam’s apple. If the noises are voiced, you should feel a vibration and if they aren’t voiced there shouldn’t be any vibrations. (Yule)

1.2 PLACE OF ARTICULATION

After the air comes out of your mouth, it’s important to note that this journey through the throat isn’t finished. While you talk, the air is released and there are parts of your oral cavity that constricts. “If you slice a head right down the middle, you will be able to see the parts of the oral cavity that are crucially involved in speech production” (Yule). These are: the larynx, pharynx, tongue, vocal folds, the uvula, velum, palate, and your lips.

Your lips help you annunciate. For bilabial consonants, both lips are used. Then, for labiodentals, you use your upper teeth and lower lip. Lastly, for alveolar sounds, you use the alveolar ridges behind your upper teeth. Any sound where you use your teeth are called dentals, and any sound where the tip of your tongue is used between your teeth are called interdentals. Plus, any sounds where you use your palate are called palatals, and any sound where you use the back of your mouth are called velars. Each of these terms only apply to consonants because vowels use a freer flow of air.

While pronouncing vowels your mouth is divided into three sections: the front, central, and back. All vowels, along with diphthongs, are produced primarily with our throat and these three sections. The vowels and diphthongs “glide” out of our throats and through our mouths while we say them. A few examples of front, central, and back vowels would be words like: bead, bid, bed, bad, (central): above, oven, butt, blood, and (back): boo, book, born, caught, cot. (Yule) Try saying each of these words slowly and concentrate on where they are coming from. This’ll give you a better understanding of how they are produced.

SPEECH DEVELOPMENT TIMELINE

Before diving more into the realm of language, it’s important to note that this timeline isn’t strict on the ages. The dates in this timeline are approximated as each child is different and learns at their own pace.

“The real engine of verbal communication is the spoken language we acquire as children” (Pinker). Speech starts to develop around the first few months after you are born. From birth, you have the capability to make some sort of noise. The first noise out of a baby’s mouth sounds like a “coo”.  In my opinion, “coo” reminds me of something you would hear from a small bird, not an infant. However, if you put this into perspective – it makes sense.

During the first few months of life, an infant can produce the “k” and “g” sounds. “By the time you’re five months old, you can distinguish “i” from “a” and “ba” from “ga” (Yule). So, producing “coo’s” like a small bird is possible. At about six and eight months, kids start to babble (or what I would like to call Star Wars speak, like the Ewoks). Then at ten and eleven months, they develop the capability to put together syllables like “ma-da-ga-ba” and they attempt to imitate their surroundings. At this point, it’s important to watch whatever you say around kids because of the Ding-Dong theory and the kids’ ability to mimic humans (Johnson).

2.1 AFTER A YEAR

From twelve to eighteen months, kids move into the “one-word stage” where they can label everyday objects such as milk, cup, spoon, or cat. Also known as holophrastic speech, children can make connections between two words as well (Yule). For example, they can associate spoon and bowl, milk and cookies, and so on.

At eighteen to twenty months, children start to move on to the two-word stage. This is where they start creating phrases. In fact, by the age of two, children can produce “200 or 300 distinct ‘words,’ he or she will be capable of understanding five times as many” (Yule). By the time kids are two to two-and-a-half, they’re capable of a type of complexity called telegraphic speech. Telegraphic speech is when children can develop lexical morphemes and their speech starts to expand more rapidly than before. Their sentence-building starts to improve, and they start to put words together more accurately.

THEORIES

The theories of language were created to find out how humans begin to speak. While there is barely any data to back these theories up, a few scientists have managed to create the following hypotheses. Each theory is unique in its own way, but a few of them you could combine with one another to create one bigger theory.

3.1 PSYCHEDELIC GLOSSOLALIA HYPOTHESIS

The Psychedelic Glossolalia Hypothesis elaborates more on speaking in tongues by consuming psychedelic fungi. This theory vaguely reminds me of the term “Parseltongue” from Harry Potter, but in this case, it deals more with the Pentecostal church and various other religions and tribes. Originating in Africa, when their land was dry, and resources were scarce, they consumed the Psilocybe plant which led to complex and unnatural communicative speech. This theory was clearly a reach when it comes to how language came-to-be which is why it is listed first, making it the least practical.

3.2 THE “TA-TA” THEORY

Created by Charles Darwin, the Ta-Ta theory shows how humans imitate hand gestures vocally. (Get ready for this fancy name), “Vilayanur S. Ramachandran’s research into synesthesia and sound symbolism” supports Darwin’s hypothesis (Ying).

However, despite all of Ramachandran’s research, there is still a plethora of questions that remains unanswered. Where did the original hand gestures come from? Even though “sign languages do have somewhat imitative gestures, they also contain quite arbitrary symbols and have vastly different meanings” throughout the world (Ying).

Another issue with Darwin’s theory is that using hand and facial gestures are useless if they’re unseen. If you can’t see someone’s face, how could you imitate what they gestured? Also, if you’re working on another project with your hands, how can you use your hands to demonstrate hand gestures?

This theory, while well thought out, reminds me of Meet the Fockers with Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller. There is a scene in the movie where DeNiro teaches his grandson Jack to learn signs that mean various things a child should know such as: eat, poop, drink. Unfortunately, while Stiller was babysitting Jack, he didn’t know the meaning behind each sign. What ended up happening was Stiller thought Jack needed something, but the message was misconstrued because Stiller thought Jack signed for food, when he signed for drink. Resulting in a massive tantrum from Jack, DeNiro came into a house with a screaming toddler and a frazzled Stiller and Stiller was accused of not catering to Jack’s needs.

While Stiller could’ve just called DeNiro to ask what signs mean what, he wouldn’t have been able to see DeNiro show him the signs through the phone. Just this example is enough for me to approach this theory as invalid.

3.3 YO-HE-HO

The Yo-He-Ho theory deals more with poetry than anything else. “According to this hypothesis, language arose in rhythmic chants, and vocalisms uttered by people engaged in communal labour” (Ying). This theory still doesn’t have a rightful “owner” and only states that people sing in groups. However, “it’s uncertain from this hypothesis how meanings became associated with songs that were sung by workers” (Ying).

3.4 THE “UH-OH” THEORY

The Uh-Oh theory is like how monkeys use warning calls. “According to this hypothesis language begins with the use of arbitrary symbols that represent warnings to other members of the human band” (Ying). Like how monkeys warn their troop about predators in the area, or even how they warn each other when they overstep their boundaries, humans have different “warning calls” for different things. If your sibling is about to eat the last of your favorite cereal, you might yell at them to save the rest for you instead. If your child is trying to jump off a swing, you might warn them not to or they will break an arm or a leg. This theory seems logical because it does not just include single words or phrases, but it is still uncertain as to how more abstract features of our language has evolved.

3.5 THE “POOH-POOH” THEORY

According to the Danish linguist, Otto Jesperson, “speech developed from the instinctive sounds people make in emotional circumstances” (Yule 3). Which explains how the phrases “Ouch!”, “Ah!”, “Ooh!”, “Phew!”, “Yuck!”, and “Wow!” came about (Yule 3). However, because this theory limits speech to just expressing emotions, it does not tell us where the other noises came from. “The clicks, intakes of breath, and other noises which are used in this way bear little relationship to the vowels and consonants” (Nordquist). Without vowels and consonants, we do not have a clear concept of speech and where it came from, which makes this theory impractical.

3.6 WATCH THE BIRDIE

Watch the Birdie is associated with E.H. Sturtevant, a linguist and ethologist from Jacksonville, Illinois. He received his Ph. D. from the University of Chicago and created the Indo-European character of Hittite, which is an extinct language established in Turkey (Edgar Howard). Sturtevant came up with Watch the Birdie because he believed that “humans found selective advantage in being able to deceive other humans,” thus giving them the capability to learn how to react to things happening around them (Ying). For instance, if you are at work and your coworker does something to upset you, you cannot react accordingly because you are in a place of business. There are certain ways to react to things in certain settings and the Watch the Birdie theory is an example of learning to “read the room” before reacting.

3.7 THE “DING-DONG” THEORY

The Ding-Dong theory is based off the notation that humans grow to mimic the sounds of the world around them (Ying). This theory deals with onomatopoeic words such as “boom”, “splash”, “rattle”, and more. While infants are learning to speak, the Ding-Dong theory relates more to how their speech is developed in an early age. Copying onomatopoeic words sounds easier to naturally come by, and other languages besides English can abide by this theory as well. However, it does not explain how the words for inanimate objects were created. The rock “splashes” into the river, but how did the word “rock” come about or any of the other prepositions used in this sentence?

3.8 THE “BOW-WOW” THEORY

The Bow-Wow theory is another theory by the Danish linguist Otto Jesperson. This concept is like the Ding-Dong theory because both theories say that speech is onomatopoeic, but the Bow-Wow theory deals with the animal sounds around them instead of imitating sounds humans make (Ying). However, this theory does not translate well throughout the different languages. “For instance, a dog’s bark is heard as au au in Brazil, ham ham in Albania, and wang, wang in China” (Nordquist). Thus, resulting in another faulty theory.

CONCLUSION

From the moment we start to speak at a very young age, language has continued to develop. The next time you speak to another being, whether it’s a human or an animal, take into consideration that one of the few things that separate us from the non-speaking chimpanzees is a pharynx. Our places of articulation may seem small, but they’re so powerful. Language will continue to develop without our control. Whether it’s slang or newly documented words, the potential for new vocabulary in the future is intense.

While most of the previous theories don’t have much research to back it, the theories that scientists have uncovered throughout the years seem mostly valid. All it takes is for someone to pick up the hypothesis and try to experiment with it. Hypotheses are supposed to be based around limited evidence so that way whoever picks it up next can experiment further off their statement. However, while this research is interesting, this is not a complete analysis of the subject at-hand and it’ll require a more in-depth study of the origins of languages.

Chaos: A Short Play

Characters

Psylas Grayson

Willow Grayson (Psylas’ mom)

Denny Grayson (Psylas’ dad)

Doctor James Lanham

Doctor Margeaux Skillings

Doctor Michelle Fillmore

Waiting Room Guests and Nurses

Time: The present

Setting: A hospital waiting room

The curtains open to a hospital waiting room. Psylas and his mom are sitting in two individual chairs amongst several other impatient spouses and family members. There’s a woman sobbing in the corner. Kids are playing in the little waiting section made especially for kids. Psylas’ grandma, Aimee, just went in for heart surgery. Psylas and his mom are sitting and waiting for a result from the doctor.

Psylas: Where’s dad?

Willow: I’m not sure hon, he said he was on his way. You know how he gets when his mom gets put in the hospital.

Psylas: Are you serious? (His voice raises slightly.) I thought he put the whiskey away… he just earned his 5-year chip from AA.

Willow: Honey lower your voice please… I didn’t want you to find out. Ever since your grandma got diagnosed with heart cancer, he’s gotten off the wagon. It’s been tough since your grandpa died, I don’t know if he can take losing another parent.

Psylas: Mom… why didn’t you tell me?

Willow: I didn’t want to worry you. You’ve been so focused on finishing your degree, I didn’t want you to lose your focus. Plus, I knew you would’ve told Johanna and I don’t want our business out there like that. Especially since you two had a falling out after your trip.

Psylas: Mom, if you would’ve told me not to tell her, I wouldn’t have told her. It’s okay.

Willow: I know sweetie, and you know I love her to death. I just didn’t want anyone else to know. I’m sorry, I should’ve told you.

Psylas: (Puts his hand on his moms’ leg to comfort her.) It’s fine mom, I just wish I would’ve known.

(They continue to sit there for a little bit with Psylas’ hand on her leg. A couple minutes’ pass before they see Doctor Lanham come out onto the stage. Psylas and Willow stand up almost immediately and notice Dr. Lanham’s sullen face.)

Psylas (whispers to Willow): I don’t think this is going to be good news…

Willow (whispers back to Psylas): We don’t know that Psylas, calm down.

Psylas: Mom. Just look at his face.

Willow: Shush, Psylas.

(Doctor Lanham walks up and shakes both of their hands.)

Doctor Lanham: Hi Psylas, Mrs. Grayson. Let’s have a seat. (Gestures towards the seats they were just sitting in.)

Psylas: (panicky) Something’s wrong, isn’t there? Why else would you be telling us to sit?

Doctor Lanham: I’m so sorry Psylas but…

(There’s a loud crashing sound made off-stage and the left side of the stage breaks apart. The guests in the waiting room scramble away. Nurses and doctors run towards the accident to make sure no one was hurt. Willow shields Psylas, while Doctor Lanham shields them both.)

Doctor Lanham: (stands up.) Doctor Skillings! Is anybody hurt? Where’s the driver?

Doctor Skillings: Luckily, the car only managed to reach the second pair of double doors in the lobby. Nobody was hurt, but we had to call the firefighters to get the driver out so we can assess his injuries. The front of the car was pretty smashed up.

Doctor Lanham: Psylas, Mrs. Grayson, I’ll be right back. I should make sure the driver is all right.

Psylas and Willow: It’s okay. Go ahead.

(Doctor Lanham runs to the scene.)

Psylas: (Looking towards the sound of the wreck.) Um, mom. Isn’t that dad’s car?

Willow: Hon, do you have any idea how many Toyota Corollas there are out there?

Psylas: Mom… I have his plates memorized. That has to be dad.

Willow: Why on earth do you have your dads’ plates – you know what, forget it.  Let’s just find out if it’s him or not.

(Doctor Lanham runs back to the Grayson’s.)

Doctor Lanham: I’m sorry, but your father has just been officially admitted into the E.R. It appears that Mr. Grayson has been driving under the influence, but we’ll take good care of him.

Psylas: Oh, kind of like how you took care of my grandmother?

Willow: (yells) Psylas! Stop it! Doctor Lanham is doing his best.

Doctor Lanham: I’m so sorry Psylas, but I have to go.

(Doctor Lanham walks off-stage.)

Psylas: Go check on him mom, I’ll stay here to see if anyone can give me an accurate update on grandma.

Willow: Are you sure? I don’t want to leave you.

Psylas: Yes mom, go. Be with dad.

(Willow walks off-stage to check on her husband. Psylas finds a seat to sit down in for a moment to think about what just happened. A few moments pass until Doctor Fillmore comes into the lobby holding a clipboard.)

Doctor Fillmore: Hi, Psylas. I’m Doctor Fillmore. I was one of the surgeons on your grandmothers’ case. Has anyone told you anything about your grandmother?

Psylas: Not exactly, but I have a bad feeling that I already know what happened.

Doctor Fillmore: I’m sorry Doctor Lanham got caught up in the wreck, but I have your grandmother’s charts right here. Your grandmother passed away due to a tear in one of her arteries. She lost way too much blood and her…

Psylas: Her age prevented you from defibrillating her heart because it was too weak because of her age. I thought so. (Tears start to fall down his face.)vAlso, she signed a DNR so you couldn’t bring her back anyways. There wasn’t anything else you could do.

Doctor Fillmore: Oh. Did Doctor Lanham already tell you about this?

Psylas: No (Sniffle.), but when he kept apologizing. I kind of took the hint. Plus, I’ve watched a lot of Grey’s Anatomy with my old friend Johanna. I know it isn’t accurate, but I’ve done the research involved in some of their cases (wipes face with his shirt sleeves) and some of the outcomes are realistic.

Doctor Fillmore: Well, Psylas, (Hands him a handkerchief from her jacket pocket.), shows like Grey’s give us a bad reputation, but your prognosis was accurate. I’m so sorry about your grandmother.

(Pyslas starts to sob. Doctor Fillmore puts her arm around Psylas to comfort him. Willow comes back onto the stage. Psylas sits up.)

Willow: Psylas. Oh, Psylas. Doctor Skillings told me what happened to Aimee. Come here. (Wraps Psylas in her arms.) Doctor, can you give my son and I a moment alone?

Doctor Fillmore: Yes, of course.

(Doctor Fillmore leaves the stage.)

Psylas: Um, mom. How’s dad?

Willow: Your dad’s going to be fine. He managed to get away with a few minor bumps and bruises but he’s okay. However, he was really drunk so they put him into a room so they can watch him overnight.

Psylas: Does he – Does he know about grandma?

Willow: No… he doesn’t. Doctor Skillings and Doctor Lanham thought it would be best to wait until he sobered up a bit before telling him any bad news.

Psylas: That makes sense. I can’t believe this happened. Grandma and I were so close. (Sniffle)

Willow: I know baby, but we’re going to be alright. Let’s go check on your father.

Psylas: Okay, mom. (Continues sobbing down the hallway, holding onto the handkerchief Doctor Fillmore gave him.)

Watching, Always Watching

Blue and green eyes are always watching. I see them peeking through the eyelashes of a tired soul.

Is it school making her this sleepy? What’s troubling her?

She’s always looking at me with blank stares as she tap-tap-taps the keys attached to the second half of my body. Well, there she goes again. Looking away at the other little screen in her hand, her iPhone.

CONCENTRATE! You have work to do, quit getting distracted. Just keep staring at my lit-up screen so you can finish this assignment and you can be one step closer to graduating from the school you’re always calling on the little screen in your hand.

Come on woman, don’t stand up. Where are you going? Ah, she’s back with food, when instead she needs to be feeding into my screen with the words that I know are rolling around in her brain.

IPhone, why don’t you stop her? She needs to focus on her schoolwork instead of the games you contain. Finally, she’s typing again. That’s right, put both hands on the keyboard, don’t pull away or you’ll get distracted by the things around you.

Wait, is that a cat I see? There she goes again. Distracted. Petting the feline who proceeds to paw at her chest while she attempts to do schoolwork. Shoo, kitty!

Alright, the needy little feline is gone. She has a few more words to go and they are slowing spilling onto the seemingly blank canvas in front of her…

295..

296..
297..

she’s finally done

 

– H.P. Monitor 

Theodore “Toefur” Meowsevelt: A Memoir From a Cat’s Perspective

It was a very long night when my momma, Lylah decided to give birth to 5 beautiful baby kittens. On April 24th, the girl human got home from work at almost 11 0’clock at night and my momma was settled into her little box in the back of the closet. Meowing. Groaning. Whining. By the time 1 o’clock arrived I was born alongside my brothers and sister. We were nameless at the time until the humans decided what our names would be but eventually I learned that my name would be Theodore Meowsevelt. I have long hair and apparently, I’m the worst behaved one.

When we were born we couldn’t really hear or see much but we still knew where our momma was. She was always with us. From the time we were born from the moment we started walking. Lylah was no ordinary mom. She loved us unconditionally and made sure we were groomed well and fed. Every time we tried to roll away from her she would pick us up by our scruffs and pull us down for a bath.

“No, mom! Stooppp! I wanna play with my siblings!”, I’d scream and protest while she continuously pulled me back from the spot I rolled to.

“Theodore Meowsevelt, get your tiny furry butt back here!”, she’d faintly scold at me while I proceeded to protest.

No matter how much I tried to roll, momma always got me. She wouldn’t let us go further than 6 inches away from her. How ridiculous is that? I mean, we were only a couple weeks old at the time, but I still wanted my freedom.

We later learned that our mother wasn’t just a mother. She was a smother. From the time we were born until we were a couple months old. Our momma was the cat version of Beverly Goldberg.

Sooner or later, our eyes and ears started to open more. I could see blurry little blobs I could only assume were my siblings and we could hear our mom a little bit more clearly. The latter part was not very fun to say the least, considering I was always in trouble. Momma seemed to only yell at me rather than the other four.

When our eyesight was no longer blurry I could finally make out what my siblings looked like. Alistair was the oldest by a couple of seconds. He had, what looked like white eyeliner around his eyes and he had long hair like me! Winston was a little gray tabby cat who looked just like our daddy, an outdoor alley cat named Oliver. Winston was so friendly and he had a twin sister named Daisy, who was the only girl of the group. Patrick, well Patrick kind of looked like a squishy ball of fur. He had short hair and we believe he was the baby because he’s clueless most of the time.

It wasn’t long after our eyes and ears opened until we started to learn how to walk. Walking.. Well. Walking was weird. One little paw in front of the other. My siblings and I took on a new task together. All of us stumbled, some of us made it a few inches, while others (mainly Patrick) decided to stay next to mom.

“Come on Patrick, let’s go explore the world!” we would try and protest with him.

“Guys, I’m so comfortable. I don’t wanna leave mom.”, he’d say while proceeding to get groomed, yet again, by momma.

Patrick would not budge. He was just a squishy ball of laziness. So, we just left him to his naps and over-bathing tendencies.

A couple weeks went by before we learned how to jump. We were on the girl humans bed when we were only a couple months old! It was so high up there. Sometimes we would just sleep up there and take up the girl humans leg room. It was fun and sooo much more comfortable than the floor my momma had us sleep on.

At 6 months old, my siblings started to disappear! It was the craziest thing.

Lokaism & the Way of the Lokai

These past couple of weeks we were asked to come up with an ideal religion. What do we think would be the perfect way of life? When I was working my first job, I discovered the Lokai. No, I wasn’t the person who founded it (Steven Izen did), but coming up with a religion based on the whole idea around it is actually a pretty interesting idea. During the time I worked at that job, I found myself constantly struggling with the way the employers treated us and the way my coworkers acted towards their workload. Soon I realized I need something in my life that helped me focus on myself instead of the people around me. I’m not a very religious person at all so there was no God I could look up to or any reasoning behind why I was in the constant circle of work/sleep/college/work with no balance whatsoever. I started becoming more and more sick of not being able to do the things I used to in high school. After all, how can one hang out with friends, do puzzles and create artsy masterpieces while also going to college and a job full time? So, I stumbled upon this Instagram page where they sold these bracelets and decided, this is how I’m going to live my life. The concept of Lokai is similar to the Chinese’s yin and yang, where they believe everything has either a negative or positive force but there is always a balance in between the two.

Many religions contain a higher power, whether it’s the Native American’s Mother Nature or the Sikhism’s One True Name, the majority of them tend to believe in a higher person. Much like Buddha’s spiritual conquest to enlightenment, the Way of the Lokai is a spiritual journey throughout life. In a way this religion is entirely spiritualistic and helps you focus on yourself rather than having one person choose the way millions of people act.

Lokaism contains a set of hypothetical rules much like the Commandments that were sent to Moses in the Bible. These rules are enforced by the people who you surround yourself with. They are basic fundamentals to how you should act on a daily basis, starting with rule number one:

1. Stay humble when life “gives you lemons”.

Now, what exactly do those few words actually mean? Well, have you ever found yourself in such a good situation while someone close to you isn’t exactly at their best? If you have, then this would be when you get off of your high horse and stay humble to those that are ‘down in the dumps’. Rule number 2 is:

2. Stay hopeful when life gets you down.

For this situation, the question to go with this would be: have you ever found yourself so down about life and you just keep finding yourself in bad situations or only getting bad outcomes? I know I have at some point, but I’ve learned that just because you’re in a bad situation doesn’t mean you have a bad life. Things will get better with time, whether it’s a financial or an emotional situation. Things will get better.

Alright, moving on to number 3:

3. Don’t judge others in general. -> “you do you, they do them”

This rule would be where you hypothetically put yourself in someone else’s shoes before you decide to judge someone on their actions. Whether it’s a religious standpoint or if it’s a debate on politics. There are always two sides to every story.

These three rules are only an example of all ten. The first two are by far the most important, however there are still seven more…

4. Pay it forward.

Elongated Version: When someone does a nice thing for you, try to pay them back in return. Whether it’s a material thing or just good advice.

5. Animals are our friends.

Elongated Version: Just because this is one of the rules, does not necessarily mean that this is a vegetarian religion. You can still eat animals, just not the ones that aren’t meant for food. Which is why this “rule” is tricky. You can still hunt IF the animal has a chance of overpopulating, however if you see a turtle in the middle of the road, help it. If the animal was raised for slaughter, you can eat it. If the animal isn’t bothering anyone, leave it be. Animal fighting is bad and illegal anyways. Adoption is always nice and there shouldn’t be a limit to what animals you can and cannot have in your household, but that’s getting into changing a law so I’ll just leave the expansion of this rule at that.

6. Seven Deadly Sins are a real thing. Rationalize which ones you partake in.

Elongated Version: The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth. It’s impossible to not partake in some of these so rationalize the usage of them if you ever decide to participate in any of their acts. Adultery is taboo, much like menstruating women are to the Native Americans. Using Johnny Depp’s quote, “If you love two people at the same time, choose the second one, because if you really loved the first one, you wouldn’t have fallen for the second.”

7. Don’t force your way of life onto others.

Elongated Version: If you believe in this religion then you have no right to force your beliefs onto someone who disagrees or follows another organized religion. If someone does not like to eat mushrooms, then you cannot force them to eat it and like it. Follow your own beliefs and stay out of other people’s business.

8. Take pride in what you choose to practice (college degrees, art, etc.).

Elongated Version: Do not let other people’s opinions choose what makes you happy. If going to school for art is your passion, then do not let other people talk you out of it because they believe it is silly or useless. Follow your own dreams and happiness and don’t let others bring you down.

9. Respect is a two-way street.

Elongated Version: Someone cannot simply demand respect and go around disrespecting everyone else. If you would like to be respected by someone then respect everyone else just as you would like to. For example; If an elderly person tells me that I need to respect them I will as long as they show me the same kind of respect. I will not call them ma’am or sir if they constantly call me worthless and no good.

10. Live a balanced life.

Elongated Version: Everyone needs a good balance between work and fun. One cannot spend their whole life just having fun and running away from responsibilities. Work hard and strive for a great career while you spend your days off having fun and relieving stress. You should work for what you want and not expect handouts. But do not forget to relax.

Along with these rules, there is also a system behind it. Much like how Christians go to church on Sabbath Day or when the Pre-Aryans sacrificed dairy products to their gods, Lokaism has its own system also. If you’re going to follow the Way of the Lokai then you must wear a Lokai bracelet to symbolize living a balanced life. There are many different types of Lokai bracelets, but the original ones are the ones people should wear on their wrists. Similar to how Jewish males wear kippahs on their heads for a sign of respect to God, Lokais would be a daily reminder to live by the ten “rules” listed above. Now one might ask, why should we wear these specific bracelets when we could just buy a yin and yang symbol and show our balance with that? Honestly, because these not only symbolize living a balanced life, but every time one is purchase money goes towards a noble charity such as, Make-A-Wish or WWF. There are many different colors; blue, purple, camouflage, neon rainbow, red, pink and the original clear. However, each one is made with a white and black bead on either side of it. The white containing water from Mount Everest, the highest point on earth, to symbolize rule number two. While the black bead contains mud from the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, to symbolize rule number one. The beads in between are where rule number ten comes into play. These bracelets are unique in their own way, much like Lokaism would be and how all of the other religions have their own uniqueness.

Along with the wearing of the bracelets, I believe everyone should have at least one hour of creative meditation to reach their creative Zen in some way. Much like the Buddhists would meditate until reaching their point, this way would involve some act of creativity. During this hour one might read a book, draw a picture, write a story, paint a wall or even rearrange a room. Even if some people aren’t artistically capable of drawing, having at least one hour a day to think or act creatively would generally help expand/relax/calm down their mindset when they are stressed. This would be similar to doing yoga like the Hindus, except it would be yoga for your mind. It’s always a good idea to expand your creativity in ways you don’t think you can. People participate in “100 days of makeup” or “a drawing a day for 365 days” kind of challenges all the time and having that hour to fully bring out your creative side would help a great deal. Also, if you find yourself in a creative block during this hour, it wouldn’t hurt to try yoga instead since it is good for the body. Plus, this meditative hour wouldn’t necessarily be at a certain time because everyone has to live their own lives, as long as they stick to their faith by always following the Way of the Lokai, then they should be capable of choosing what hour they decide to use.

In conclusion, the Way of Lokai is a laid back religion that is big on being at peace with one’s self. It takes pieces of other religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Everything put together makes for a religion that helps relieve stress and makes the most out of the follower’s life.