Everyone has that one person who propels you forward, who supports you when times get tough and it seems like you are drowning. To me, that person is Dravin. She has been my life preserve, my oxygen mask. I do not think she knows how much she has changed my life, how much she means to me.
Dravin helped me when no one did. She helped that young 10-year-old who thought life was not worth it and made it her mission to make sure it was. She helped that twelve-year-old girl who almost let the bullies win. She helped that fourteen-year-old who moved away because she knew it was best for herself. She helped that sixteen-year-old try and gather the pieces of a broken relationship. She helped that almost eighteen-year-old with her first breakup and told her that life will go on even if it does not feel like it right now.
From the beginning, she was the most understanding soul. She would give me paint and crayons and tell me to “create masterpieces for me,” so that my mind was at ease. She knew how hard it was for me to express my feelings, so she distracted me. She created this safe space for me. A place where I could speak freely without any judgment. A place where I could have a shoulder to cry on. Even when she was with her family, she would take my calls and help me with my breathing.
Dravin saved me. I owe my life to her, but I know that she would just say that she is doing her job.
There is something so dauntingly beautiful about the word death. It is a term that means the end, but I do not think that is entirely true. I do not believe in god or heaven and hell, but I believe that the soul lives on. They protect and look over their loved ones. The souls of our lost ones can be seen in the cotton candy sunsets or in little insects that fly onto our shirts.
Death is sad, very sad, but it can also be something to appreciate. I can find peace that my grandfather’s body is laid to rest, no longer having to fight the arduous battle of poisonous cancer, but instead, his soul is with us whenever we gather as a family to eat. I can find peace that my Grandma Bobby is once again with her husband that passed many years before her. I know that my cousin is fishing with his dog and is enjoying a cold one. I know that my best friend, Little, is enjoying her cat naps in the sun rays that peak through the window panes.
Death still makes me weep and cry, but it also gives me a certain comfort. A comfort that when I or another loved one dies, I know that there will be peace. Whether it is surrounded by family enjoying delicious homecooked meals or by myself relaxing in a tube in Spring Creek, I know that death will be kind.
I love to read. I read romance, mystery, horror, and post-apocalyptic novels. Every corner of my room is coated in books that scale about halfway up my wall. I have nowhere to put them.
Ideally, in the future or in another life, I would have a beautiful living room painted white with cream sofas and high ceilings. The windows would take up the majority of the walls, letting sunlight flood the room like maple syrup drizzling over the top of a pancake. There would be a big fireplace that would provide warmth throughout the winter.
There would be huge bookshelves that would match the size of the redwoods outside, filled with stories and characters. Hundreds of different realities would exist in that room. Making me feel as though mine is not nearly as big as I like to think. There would be many different places that I could settle for the day as I crawl into an alternate universe. Plants would perch around the room granting oxygen and life.
My kitchen would be dark green with walnut counters and an antique stained glass chandelier glowing amongst the space. Windows in the kitchen would open letting in the warm evening air that swept across the orchards outside. My bedroom would have a huge fluffy white bed that would swallow me with sheer curtains that would flow like waves merging with the sand.
Trees would shower the land surrounding my home creating a never-ending forest. A place where my mind could drift endlessly. My yard would have an old pool like the ones in Italy, they are like springs built with mossy stone that hold countless memories.
I would have a big dining room with a long table that way every person I love has a seat. A large wooden record player would sit atop a mid-century modern cabinet. All of my favorite songs would echo throughout the walls that held me up.
I dream of a place that is serene and isolated from the business that infests the world. A place where my mind can slow and breathe the air that roams across the surface of the earth. A place where the world can be perceived similar to the way it once was before humans imprinted on it. I dream of a place where I can take a deep breath because I feel at ease rather than anxious.
Beginning in the 1500s when Dr. Faustus was written and spanning to the modern era, the human race has pushed the boundaries of what is natural and tried to become gods. We invented the astrolabe, conquered the seven seas, built nations on the destruction of entire peoples, and constructed skyscrapers which seem to defy every idea of what is possible. Our health has improved, we’ve made life convenient beyond belief, but despite all this achievement we, like Marlowe’s arrogant celebutante “yet art thou still but Faustus, and a man.”
For the past few hundred years mankind has become increasingly involved with the same internal struggle as Faustus. Each new level of knowledge we acquire we become more careless and ignorant. Everytime some new process or physic principle is discovered we slip deeper into the Faustian bargain we call progress. This rat race for discovery becomes paired with this nonsensical notion that we are the only important thing on the planet and that we deserve everything which we can fathom and more. This is the mindset which sent Faustus to eternal damnation, and this is the mindset which plagues the modern world. Regardless of all the power we may accumulate over the natural world we still are humans, flawed forever by stagnant ideas and held to earth by the unrelenting and unstoppable march towards death.
As private school educated students from generally wealthy families, fiscally or situationally, it is easy for us to fall into the Faustian mindset. I’ve been at fault of this, my friends, my family, and classmates––all at some point have looked at the world and thought “I deserve more”. This mindset ruins the last humanity which wisps gently between us, we become stale, ignorant, and spoiled, unable to understand that there are other people around, and even more so, other things. We all too easily divulge in the trap that we can do what we want to the world without consequence.
Just as Faustus enjoyed his twenty four years of power which ended in a no bit unexpected end, mankind is still enjoying its twenty four years marching towards an end we can all see and yet choose to believe is not real. Like Faustus, humans are just people who happen to be in situations of extraordinary power.
I think humans have developed this extraordinary ability to ignore the minuscule. We go about our everyday lives without paying any attention to the little joys all around us.
Thoreau, the Transcendentalist philosopher we are studying in English class, spent a great length of time at Walden Pond. He took up residence in a ramshackle house which he refused to upkeep and lived the most simple of lives out in the wilderness. Though I do not believe myself capable of his feat (I would grow lonely within a week), I admire his efforts to console nature for advice.
The other day, I was laying in a hammock when I spotted so many tiny insects in the soil around me. Within a two-foot radius, I saw green bugs crawling up blades of grass, ladybugs munching on leaves, and a huge number of ants scurrying over the dirt. It was beautiful. I guess I had never before considered how much life there was in my back garden.
They are always here – the little sources of beauty – whether they come from nature or another. We are just so used to turning a blind eye and a deaf ear. We have let ourselves become distracted by materialism, work, or responsibility so that we overlook one of the best parts of life: the details. I want to open my eyes and ears again and appreciate every last grain of sand, a speck of dust, snowflake, and ladybug.
Im going to give a fair warning that this topic is very triggering and revolves around sexual abuse. You do not have to read this.
I am going to give a few quotes from my favorite book, it is about an abusive relationship between a 15 year old girl and a 42 year old man that is meant to be romanticized. This book is beautifully written and incredibly alluring. It is also twisted and deranged and made me question every single person in my life. The ability to manipulate as well as a sexual abuser is terrifyingly fascinating. This book made me nauseous, and can be painful to read but i think about it everyday and in no way regret a second of the time spent reading it.
“Because even if I sometimes use the word abuse to describe certain things that were done to me, in someone else’s mouth the word turns ugly and absolute. It swallows up everything that happened.”
“It’s strange to know that whenever I remember myself at fifteen, I’ll think of this.”
“I wonder how much victimhood they’d be willing to grant a girl like me.” This particular quote made me sick and furious because it is clear that he manipulated her into thinking every situation was her choice.
“Kneeling before me, he lays his head on my lap and says, ‘I’m going to ruin you.” I cried during this chapter, this feeling was so claustrophobic especially when having to watch Vanessa know nothing of what was being done to her, that was the most painful feeling.
“He touched me first, said he wanted to kiss me, told me he loved me. Every first step was taken by him. I don’t feel forced, and I know I have the power to say no, but that isn’t the same as being in charge. But maybe he has to believe that. Maybe there’s a whole list of things he has to believe.”
“He’s always going to be old. He has to be. That’s the only way I can stay young and dripping with beauty.”
“He’s the only person who ever understood that desire. Not to die, but to already be dead.”
“An older man using a girl to feel better about himself – how easily the story becomes a cliché if you look at it without the soft focus of romance”
“It’s easy to pinpoint when it all started, that moment of walking into his sun-soaked classroom and feeling his eyes drink me in for the first time, but it’s harder to know when it ended, if it really ended at all. I think it stopped when I was twenty-two, when he said he needed to get himself together and couldn’t live a decent life while I was within reach, but for the past decade there have been late-night calls, him and me reliving the past, worrying the wound we both refuse to let heal.”
“It’s just that I’m depraved, my mind so warped by Strane that I misinterpret innocent favoritism as sexual interest.”
“I think we’re very similar, Nessa,” he whispers. “From the way you write, I can tell you’re a dark romantic like me. You like dark things.”
My mind screamed throughout the entirety of this book, it begged for her to run, it wondered if she should stay. And in the end, I realized what this book was meant to do. It is meant to show you how hard it is to say who did it.
Of the many many movies I’ve watched, only four have made me cry. “Scent of a Woman” was one of them. This movie is more touching than Forrest Gump, funnier than Airplane!, and makes my heart pound more than Whiplash. It is just dripping with passion, has fantastic characters, and in my opinion, is home to one of the best cinematic scenes in history. I can’t think of enough adjectives to praise this movie. You can watch it with high expectations and you will be satisfied.
SPOILERS: (PLEASE don’t read if you haven’t already seen this movie)
This movie. I don’t even know where to start. I went into it totally blind (haha get it). I watched it just because Al Pacino got an Oscar for it – but I was not emotionally prepared for this 2 hr plus rollercoaster.
To be honest I was not very impressed in the beginning. Before he got to New York, I didn’t like Frank Slade’s character. But oh boy does he grow on you. His wit, constant bellowing and all. Even though it was really rocky at first, his relationship with Charlie is moving. Mentor-mentee dynamics are one of my favorite tropes. Also, I relate to aspects of the movies because every week I help elderly people, and they remind me sometimes of Slade- nosy and upfront.
The best moment in the movie -and one of the best in cinematic history- is the powerful scene where Frank Slade comes in defense of Charlie against Baird’s directors and that anal principal. It was so good I replayed it right after my first time watching it. I have never heard a more powerful, intense, and moving speech. I hoped he would keep going after every line. I hoped he would never stop talking. The Gettysburg address wishes it was as eloquent as this.
When Mr. Trask yells to Lt. Slade that “he’s out of order,” Frank just goes off, it is just so satisfying- the expressive way he talks, the words he chooses. I wish I could be half as articulate as he is.
I believe I cried during that one, pivotal scene in the hotel with the gun. I almost cried during the family dinner one too- but back to the hotel. Wow. When Charlie was crying and telling Slade his reasons to live, my face looked like his. Such a stressful and intense clip. Dead Poet’s Society is a cakewalk compared to this.
You need to watch the movie to feel the whole experience. “Scent of a Woman” is a movie that masterfully displays drama, comedy, and sadness. It will move and provoke in you an internal reflection of how you act towards life and its burdens.