Category: An Introspective


Up thoughts

Alice in Wonderland all rights to Disney


She stood on tiptoe her nose barely reaching over the edge of the table. The treats were so tempting sitting in their cut crystal bowl screaming “eat me”, but still she wavered. Some small animalistic lobe of the brain alerting her to the danger of too perfect an opportunity. Quickly she glanced side to side, sure she was about to be found out for the uninvited interloper she was, but no one looked or noticed. Quick as a flash tiny hand took tiny treat. The jolt of adrenaline added to the flavor making the sugar complex and wonderful. Wildly she enjoyed the stolen morsel, and having eaten her treasure sank to the floor… deflated. No one had noticed or cared. Emptiness filled her stomach and inch by inch swollowed her, mind and all. Everything now felt sharp and disjointed as if it had become over large or ungainly. She sat with her new feelings and confused by them began searching for explanation. She had gotten what she wanted, right? 

Yes, it had been exquisite in both anticipation and reality. So why did she now feel even smaller? 

The thoughts made her want to wipe her hands off, as if this mindset could be cleared away so easily. 

Maybe, no. Perhaps the real want had not yet been met. 

Immediately her searching switched to scanning. The treats were little, the pleasure they brought had been little, and the motive tiny. She would need something much bigger to make the smallness go away. Ruby and amber flashes winked at her from smoky glass decanters daring her to “drink me”. This, she thought, was no little thing this was big. The big action of a big person who people would notice. Decided she went for the decanter thinking only up thoughts. The flush of success, so newly acquired, slipped away as the liquid passed parted lips. It seared and burned on the way down pulling her after. 

Up it seemed was still out of reach.

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Today I came undone. It was an interesting feeling akin to screaming from a dream, pointless and jarring. My words were nothing more than pathetic echoes reverberating out of me, attached to nothing, devoid of meaning. Scales fell from my eyes, liquid fire, blinding me to the light. As I stood in the maelstrom, begging it to strike harder, I paid willingly in pounds of flesh. Eased by the warm rush of blood. Calmed by the whiring in my ears.

My masks lay at my feet strewn like flowers, representations of things I dare not name. They are my most and least honest appendage in one. The masks repel and call to me with the same voice. It’s familiar, and my fingers itch to pull them up, obedient as always.

An acrid taste upon my tongue sours my stomach. Perhaps this pill wasn’t meant for swallowing, but the hour is late and I’ve already decided. So while Fate looms chill and shadowy behind me, a shark, keen in bloody water, I drop my arms, stand firm, and adjust my posture. I am ready to continue because continue is what I do.

Swan Song

Thank you to everyone who read a post, tweet, or story. It ment the world to me. You allowed me to be the person I wish I was; strong, opinoiated, brave, outspoken, and whole. You gave me a community when I felt so very isolated and a soapbox to reach out across the globe. I have made friends and connections that I would never have dreamed possible, but mostly being this version of myself helped me live with who I really am. I am a coward. I am weak, broken, and easily manipulated. I cannot lie to you or myself anymore so I am bowing out. It comes with tears, I am sure there will be a void where Jess aka b00kreader existed within me, but I cannot be this person so I have to let her go. Please do not feel I have lied about everything because I haven’t my name is Jessica, I went to grad school in South Carolina, and I am a postdoc at DFCI, but I am tired and beat down not scrappy and hungry. The part of me that is so ashamed of not being the person I presented to you is still happy I tried even if it was only a virtual try. Thank you for letting me pretend with you it was amazing while it lasted!

​I am Science. Define me.

I am no regal lady like Justice or Liberty.

I cannot be swayed like Luck or personified as “She”.

I stand without gender, color, or creed

For all questions and every need.

I am the breaker of barriers, the truth teller, the seed;

Fruit from the knowledge tree.

Yet so few can actually see

What is instilled in me.

I am patient not self seeking.

Jealous of your time without envy,

But at my core I am constant and freeing.

So do not allow yourself to be blinded politically 

Or silenced by ambition and folly.

Instead strive forward deliberately.

To challenge all who would dare to bar entry

Those whom ardently wish to stand sentry 

Over facts and figures approaching infinity.

Put your labels aside, throw away the lock and key.

Welcome criticism, evolution, and diversity.

For I am Science, defined by what I can be.

So for a month now I have been listening to the Hamilton Mixtape…and I still have a few questions mainly is it playing chess or checkers?

I’m a child of the 80/90s and therefore all too awear of mixtapes and how much they can mean (recording off the radio was my most brag worthy skill back in the day). For me mixtapes only came in a handful of flavors. They could be a way to recreate an incredible moment (like a first kiss). They can be made for some special event (think prom or road trip). They can tell someone that you like them, love them, or that it’s time to break up. Thus after listening the Hamilton Mixtape I began asking myself what purpose does this collection of songs have? What is the Mixtape saying?

Checkers

Perhaps the most obvious thing the Mixtape was saying is “Yay Hamlet!” But in all seriousness Hamilton (the Musical) has exploded, pretty much world wide, and as so few people have had the opportunity to share in the spectale perhaps Lin was just sharing his original idea with us. Maybe this Mixtape is yet another way to feel conected to the Musical. This however seems overly simplified because we already had the cast album.

My next thought was that Lin just wanted to tell us all that he likes us. However, when I gave “I like you” mixtapes out what I was usually doing, in reality, was asking “Do you like me?” It seems unlikely that with all of his adoring fans Mr. Miranda would be asking that particular question.

So that left breaking up. Could Lin possibly be breaking up with us? There were signs. Quite a few of the songs were sad in nature and some even seem perfect for a breakup mixtape (I’m looking at you You’ll Be Back and Burn). 

Then it dawned on me. Hamilton: An American Musical is is about America then told by Americans today. What beautiful allegory would it be if Hamilton: The Mixtape which talks about America then was really about America today. *Mind figuratively blown* I started listening differently to the songs. Could this be real? Is Mr. Miranda asking us to not only look back to avoid past mistakes, but also darring us to have an eye to the future? These familiar songs changed in an instant. 

Chess

Somewhere between the wake up call in No John Trumbull (things are not what they seem), and the sad but hopeful wish (that the world can be as good as I hope it can) I hear in the Dear Theodosia reprise he touched on it all. Mr. Miranda has compiled a collection of songs that asks us to recognize the stain on our country’s history that is slavery, the disservice that has been done to hard working immigrants, and the fact that different isn’t always seen as good. However, when I really listen to the words on this Mixtape I hear a promise that no matter how bad things get each of us has the tools to find our way out so long as we do not give up. If I may go a step further it also suggests that we all get our moment, and while you wait for it don’t be idle, be patient…and ready.

Maybe I’m reaching and all Lin and the amazing artists who lent their voices to carry these messages wanted to do was entertain us. If that’s the case, mission accomplished. However if the idea was to challenge today’s me-centric mentality to look ahead at what seeds we are planting then checkmate sir.

I can only hope that he is right “The harder the conflict the more glourous the triumph”.

Stay relentless!

All rights to the owner of the image whom I thank

When I’m gone let me go, but carve my name upon a stone. 

Such a silly thing to pop into a persons head, especially a healthy person, but there it was. An unshakeable truth that once thought could not be set aside. All of a sudden the graveyard I was passing looked even more beautiful and tranquil. And selfish. And prideful. 

What makes us want to inscribe our name in stone after we pass on to what is next? Could it be our very human desire to be eternal and more than just existed? To be remembered requires no such monuments so the reason must be much more personal and deeply dark.

Are we naive to carve into the very earth our names? If even the names of young lovers inscribed in passion is eventually lost to growth; then surely with time even a name writ in pain will wear away. We are but yelling into a void hoping the echo might be heard by someone… by anyone. 

Oddly the thought made me smile. I want a stone; on a hill, near a tree, overlooking a pond. I want the wind and rain to slowly wash my name away. I want to be lost to time like all those who came before me, but first I want the taste of imortality. So till time has had its way with me let that stone stand as proof I lived and loved. 

For as the deep set lines wear away my need for them shall surely fade.

By Megatruth as seen on DeviantArt


I shiver chafing my hands together on the bus. Even sitting uncomfortably close to a stranger my fingers and toes ache with cold. Standing on curbs waiting for late public transportation has that effect on even the most weather worn new englanders I imagine.

Staring out the window I feel myself begin to thaw in the sunlight. Now I can see it. The riot of color, the light frost turning to dew on the grass… Then I can see it. There under a blanket on the cold stone footer of the decorative bridge lays a person covered with a blanket a shopping cart at their feet. 

The shiver comes again. This time it is the cold creeping under my skin and into my soul. 

How dare I complain. 

The image whips past me as the light changes, no matter it is burned into my mind. 

All rights to the owner of the image whom I thank

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To Llana the endless dark seemed to have lasted for days though as they walked with little to no rest time had lost all meaning.  Llana had not been told but she was sure they walked the Crossroads themselves.  To her this place had been the stuff of legends, but some how with Odella as her guide it only made sense.  As her feet become accustom to walking on the path that Odella cut without the slightest thought Llana began to remember the stories her mother use to tell.  Though she had not heard them in years they came back to her and in the stony silence that surrounded her and kept her company.

“To all children, I believe, mist is a magical thing which can hold any number of surprises or adventures, but this quality of mist is often lost on adults who are too busy trying to look past the mist to look beneath it.  Because beneath the mist lies the tangled weavers web that is the Crossroads.  Whether or not we are honest with ourselves we are, each of us, upon those crooked roads making decisions which lead us ever closer to what comes next and forever closing the way to what might have been.  Yes Llana, even our smallest choices define us and determine who it is that we are to become.”

Her dream-like state wavered in and out as the surroundings changed in subtle shifts.  However, Llana refused to give up on the story rippling through her mind at the moment, as it seemed to be of particular importance, but the sharp clang of metal shattered her revere.  It was at this moment that the subtle changes fully hit her.  The ground was different, the dark was different, and even the air seemed altered.  “Where are we?”

“Right where we are supposed to be.”  Odella turned sharply to face Llana causing her to stumble at the abrupt stop.  She gestured grandly suggesting that Llana should fully take in her new environment which included a Y in the path they had been following through the dark.  The two arms of the path were  illuminated by nothing more than the few errant rays of light falling from the air shafts.  Neither bend in the path looked particularly menacing nor inviting if she was being perfectly honest.  “Which way would you go,” Odella asked a faint smile upon her lips.

Llana started to answer then bit her tongue trying to restrain the tartness she was sure Odella would hear in her response.  “What kind of trick it this?  You’re supposed to answer questions not ask them?”

“No, I tell truths, but if you insist.  You asked me about my chains what do you wish to know?”

“Why do you wear them?” Llana immediately locked her eyes on the ground mentally berating herself.

“Because they are mine,” Odella responded calmly, “but tell me, why do you wear yours?”

“I’ve told you I have none.  You are the only person I have ever seen wear chains.”  The disgust Llana felt at the idea of being chained leaked out into her words causing Odella to study the girl intently with anger in her eyes. 

“Truly?  What of Namari?  Does she no longer bear chains?”

“How absurd would that be?  My mother would never lower herself to wear chains like some…some…slave.  She has more grace and dignity in her titles alone than you could ever hope to have,” Llana practically spit at the other woman.

“Tell me what dignity was there in birthing you?”

Llana’s mouth fell open in a silent O of confusion, but Odella continued without taking notice.  “Yes, you are one of Namari’s chains, and the titles you spoke of does she not have to strap herself into those chains of gold and silk to prove her worthiness, and what of her man?  Does she still not suffer the ring he gave her?”  Here Odella paused holding Llana captive in her piercing gaze.  “Oh yes, Namari does have grace and dignity, but her chains are only hidden from the unobservant.  She is as much as slave as I.”

The questions whirled around in the girl’s head chasing each other to dead ends.  Yes her mother still wore her coronet and her father’s ring…”but she does not wear chains,” Llana whispered to herself.

“No.  Namari does not wear chains like mine, but never think she does not carry them.”

That statement echoed through Llana’s very core as she blindly started towards the path to the left needing nothing so much as to escape the place where such bloody truths had been spilled.

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“Goodness its dark in here.”

“Not to me, not anymore.”

She knew there was no point in explaining that her eyes were big enough, that they saw more, so she let the silence drag.  The walk was very short, but as her companion was far behind she went slowly.  She listened as the girl inhaled as if to begin quite the conservation only to stop as if she was no longer sure how to make the words come out right.  Finally, the girl found her voice.

“I did not mean to offend you,”  the girl began wondering what could seem human and still be able to see clearly down here no matter how long they had lived in this way, “it’s well I just…let’s start over?  I’m Llana of Tralia, and…”  When there was no immediate response Llana feared that she had lost the other girl who had been almost completely silent on their descent.

“Odella.”

It was then that the two reached their destination.  A hole through the high rock ceiling allowed an orange-red orb to shine through the hall.  Llana blinked fiercely in the sudden glow as the room started to appear out of the shadows.  It was comfortable without being overly lavish even with the many fine things the room held.  Perhaps the most outstanding piece was the mirror, which encompassed more than half of the stone wall that held it.  In the mirror Llana caught her reflection.  A girl of normal height and build with hair that fell to her shoulders in thick strands of sun gilded brown.  However it was not her mussed appearance or her wide amber eyes that caught her attention, it was the girl standing behind her.  The girl, if you could call her a girl, was not just named Odella. She was Odella.

Llana inhaled sharply and spun on her heel as if Odella might disappear.  “This is not where you are from.”  Llana hoped that she had not given too much away, but she had to know for sure.

“No, but sometimes I come here, and you ought to be glad I do or you would still be very lost.  Now enough.”  Odella smiled as the girl was caught confused and unsure, but she had seen the recognition in the girl’s eyes.  It had been a long while since anyone on this side had cared to notice, and Odella stood at the edge of truth.  “You must now continue on your way, and I mine,” the woman said tersely gesturing towards the dimly lit path to her her right, “you have my best wishes.”  And with those words Odella turned to leave.

Llana however stood rooted to the ground, she had never before received such a dismissal.  Had been so sure it was a sign.  Then without giving it the thought it deserved she replied, “ I am so sorry to impede you on your way, and thank you very much, but I am not leaving.  Not without answers.”  These last words dripped with a disdain that was not lost on Odella.

“I would get real comfortable then because answers don’t often make it this far,” Odella offered over her shoulder taking the downward slanting path to the left.

Out of the quite sounds came a small and rather uncertain voice from the top of the path, “Where are your chains?”

If Odella hadn’t been dragging her feet she would have been too far away to hear the girl, but as it was the words hit her square between her shoulders connecting her Llana.  It was too late to walk away now Odella finally admitted to herself as she walked back to the room with the mirror.  The girl stood facing the path to the right shoulders slumped.

“I am wearing them,” she held out her right arm in such away that the sleeve fell back exposing her wrist and a flash of pale metal in the light, “and where child are yours,” she answered.

“I am no child…and I have no chains,” Llana looked confused as she turned to once again face Odella and sounded offended as she barely suppressed a scoff.

“I thought you sought truth girl?” As her words hung in the space between the two Odella sat down. Llana, however, showed no interest in sitting calmly and discussing what she considered utter nonsense.  Though she stared unabashed at the wrist and neck bands that she could see spark in the low light.

“They make no noise…are they light then,” Llana asked hopefully suddenly meeting Odella’s piercing gaze.

While she knew that the girl could not help but be curious this was a conversation she wanted no part in, and as her anger got the better of Odella struck back with a question of her own. “Why would the chains have to be heavy to be heard or better yet light to go unnoticed?”

Llana sat suddenly open-mouthed so much sting had been in the words she felt as if she had been struck.  Dumbfounded she lowered her eyes to her lap. “I…”

Odella cut her off before she could even begin. “Rest. We start tonight and believe me you are not ready.”

I can hear my mother’s voice, in the quite moments if I listen hard enough, but the stories she used to tell me always ring in my ears.   The story which I never could shake was Her’s…Odella’s. 

“There are no small stories about her as a fussy baby or an argumentative child,” my mother explained, “she just is.  Her story is one that starts in the middle nearly fully formed.  Odella, the hauntingly striking young woman with black eyes and chains upon her brow, neck, arms, and legs all reaching back towards the midline of her body.  “Come, and know your truth,” she dares those who call to her, “I charge nothing for the answering.”  Still she warns, “A price must be paid for while they are freely given true answers are not easily found.”  Her quiet presence seems to unnerve even the bravest of men should they not live in truth.  For that more than anything defines her.  Odella the truth teller, the storm crow, the pot stirrer.”

“Truly that is all that is known, of Odella” I remember asking full of disbelief, “surely there must be more?  Many must have questions which require answers.”

“Only those who have journeyed with her know more, Llana,” my mother replied plainly, “and I think you’ll find very few people are ever very truthful with themselves about their desire for answers.  For the truth can be a weighty thing, daughter.”

For better or worse these words have stuck to me, driving me in my pursuit of honesty, daring me to ask questions…

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