Because my health currently prohibits me from working, I’ve been watching a lot of television. Too much television. I would not recommend that anyone watch the amount of television that I watch. It is not at all healthy. However, in the past few years, I’ve come across the animated gem that is Bob’s Burgers, and I am enamored. Anyone who knows me knows that I talk basically about mental illness, weird animal fun facts, and Bob’s Burgers. I’ll watch the show on loop. Despite what others might say, I do not see my obsession as an unhealthy choice. I half-heartedly justify it by citing a dodgy Vice article I once read that states cartoons can help ease depression. Really, it’s just a comfort show. I’ve seen enough to know what’s going to happen; the constant, quick puns make me laugh; and the family is incredibly awkward and heart-warming and they support each other no matter what.
Overall, Bob’s Burgers is excellent (in my opinion) because it doesn’t rely on cutaway gags and vulgarity like other “adult” animated shows. The timing and improvisation is impeccable. I would like to shine a spotlight, though, on my very favorite character: Regular-Sized Rudy.
Released in May 2017, the Emmy-nominated Netflix documentary series The Keepers examines the decades-old unsolved murder of beloved Catholic School Teacher Sister Cathy Cesnick in Baltimore. The series connects the nun’s disappearance and murder to the claims of sexual abuse filed against the then-chaplain of Archbishop Keogh High School by former-students in the 1990’s. Through interviews and conversations with former Keogh students, The Keepers pieces together the story of Sister Cathy, the dark testimonies of mistreatment by chaplain Father Maskell, and the ways in which the cases may have been mishandled by Baltimore police or repressed by the Catholic Church.
As a lover of true-crime, I was very excited for the series’ release, but as a sexual assault survivor, I was afraid to watch it. My abusers were not members of the clergy, but any stories or images of sexual abuse can trigger me and send me into a state of hypervigilance and panic. Fueled by curiosity and perhaps a bit of masochism, I turned it on, against my better judgment. The first episode of The Keepers is harmless enough (as far as brutal, unsolved murders go), so I decided to continue, naively unaware of the truly horrifying narrative ahead. Continue reading “The Good and Bad of Watching The Keepers as a Sexual Assault Survivor”
the sound of a bell
in the steeple
built not on the blood
of Man, but on the tears
of his mother.
Baptized in her pain:
A young girl,
daisies in her hair,
rose on lips; eyes
on her, consecrated.
Small spot on her
white dress, Sacrament.
Lately, I’ve been feeling very guilty. I wish I didn’t feel that way. I wish I could easily tell myself that I’m taking care of me, and that I’m not responsible for how other people feel, or what other people are doing, or how other people react to me. But I can’t. Not yet, anyway. I’m working on my ability to separate my own feelings from others’, and as someone who has internalized others’ feelings my entire life, it isn’t an easy process. Continue reading “What I Want to Tell My Friends About My Recent Social Isolation”
Yellow, yolk of egg,
easily broken, hidden in the shell
of what could have been. Yellow,
the color of blood lacking
iron—drained of the strength
to preserve itself. Sweat stains,
bad breath, dry skin seeps under
nails, cakes palms with nervous,
rotten—Yellow, belly of eel,
craven bottom-dweller, untouched
by light, but, still, somehow, electric.
Power, pulled by nervous routine,
burst of current, poured within
Yellow, the flame of iron ignited
in air. Sunflower, reaching toward light;
Black Eyed Susan, fists high, bared
to fight—Yellow, belly of woodpecker,
needle beak, heavy on birch, knocks,
hopes—bark pulled back Yellow,
sticky, sweet: Welcome home.
My friend Ellen, a double major in history and elementary education, is one of the bubbliest, fun-loving people I’ve ever met. Because of her seeming enthusiasm for life, I asked if she would speak to me a bit about her ideas of happiness, what obstacles tend to get in the way of her happiness, and how she remains positive in difficult times. She kindly obliged. A lot of nervous giggling ensued.
Because the audio is a little quiet (you may need to turn up your device’s volume), below is a transcript of Ellen’s interview, edited for “likes” and laughter.
I asked my grandmother to recall some memories from elementary school. At her school, each grade had about 150 students separated into three classrooms. Annually, students performed a short skit for an audience of parents and friends.
The bowerbird, found in New Guinea and Australia, builds elaborate, brightly decorated nests to attract a mate. The male bird does not rely on plumage, but goes the extra mile, collecting trash, shells, rocks, and berries, selecting and displaying spectacular color palates in the hopes that a female bird will look their way. Finicky, particular, and diligent, these birds continue working, even despite the presence of danger in their terrain. In short, bowerbirds are nature’s perfectionists. Continue reading “Perfectionists: Birds of a Feather”
Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places is a stereotypical young adult romance novel wherein a troubled boy meets a troubled girl, they embark on an adventure together, and they fall in love. However, instead of being a feel-good, bubbly book, the protagonists of All the Bright Places are both suffering their own personal tragedies. Violet has just lost her best friend and older sister, Eleanor, to a car accident, and her sense of identity is completely lost. Theodore Finch has already tried on so many different identities (80’s Finch, Badass Finch, British Finch) that he can’t figure out who exactly he is. He is a quirky teenager, experiencing the identity-shaping turmoil of adolescence that we all go through, but he also suffers from undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Most of his story is told from a manic perspective wherein he is trying to avoid the “sleep,” or the nearly catatonic lows which send him into a numb, suicidal state. Continue reading “Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven”