“I always wanted to be a mental health therapist. Ever since high school, I’ve enjoyed encouraging people and giving them hope. But I lost my way. I got caught in a world of addiction. I lost ten years of my life to drugs. I stopped when I became pregnant with my child, but by that time it was too late to go back to school. I started working as an office manager. I never completely lost my dream. But I just put it on a shelf for thirty years. Then five years ago I to…ok it off the shelf. I heard a lady in my choir talking about how she enrolled in community college. I drove there the very next day. I was so nervous when I filled out the application. I was so nervous the first day of class. All the old voices were telling me: ‘You never finish anything.’ But I said ‘fuck you’ to the old voices. And I started getting A’s. On my first test, I got the only perfect score in the class. I graduated at the age of 50. I got my Masters at 55. And just last night I completed a mental health first aid course. I’m so close now. There’s still fear there. I used to be afraid of it never happening. Now I’m afraid of it happening. The old voices try to come back sometimes. They tell me: ‘You can rest,’ or ‘You’ve earned a break.’ But I’m not stopping this time. Somebody out there is waiting for me to finish because they need my help.“
Jacob became one popular dude during my sophomore year of high school, two years ago. In the middle of the year, he just showed up. His family had moved him away from their old home, but his reputation somehow got loose in the hallways.
At the age of twelve, Jacob had been kidnapped from his home in the middle of the night. His parents had been apparently drugged by an unknown person, and their son had been stolen. No one even called the police until the parents woke up. No witnesses, fingerprints, ransom notes, nothing.
There’s a bit in Wonder Woman that I can’t stop thinking about. It’s the part where she walks towards General Ludendorff at the gala. He see her and starts walking in her direction as if to attack, then surges towards her and grabs her in a kind of dance hold. She’s stunned, frozen. It’s probably the only time in the film where Diana looks afraid.
Because she was attacked, but in a way she’s never encountered before. She’s been trained to handle “honest” attacks, where the attacker makes their intentions clear. But here she is attacked in the way women in this world are so often attacked. It’s an unwanted, unwelcome intrusion, a man putting his hands on her without her consent, intruding into her personal space in an aggressive, obtrusive, threatening manner. But to bystanders, they are simply dancing. She doesn’t know what to do. She’s trained her whole life to deal with honest, open attacks, but faced with the sneaky, faux-polite attack of this kind of man, she’s completely lost.
I thought this was a great moment. It reflects the experiences of so many women so well.
On a side note, I mentioned it to my (male) partner afterward, and he hadn’t even noticed Diana’s reaction in that moment. He’s a great guy and a good, kind person, but his obliviousness to her confusion and fear speaks volumes about the different experiences of men and women in our society.
So lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of things making fun of cashiers or other people being unable to do mental math, and I just wanna say, to everyone who mocks those people, or who thinks they’re stupid, or who “worry for their generation” when someone can’t mentally work out, say, how much change you get if you give them $10 when your order was like $7.38?
FUCK YOU. No, really. Fuck you.
Those cashiers aren’t “stupid”, they aren’t “being lazy”, they aren’t uneducated. Guess what? SOME PEOPLE CANNOT DO MENTAL MATH. At all. Their brains just cannot process it and so if you break their concentration or give them something beyond the very basic 10s or what not? They naturally are going to get confused.
I had a mental test today which tested me with mental math. Counting down from 100, we subtracted 7 each time. You know how far I got before I completely lost track and got confused? 93. That’s right, just the second time I didn’t know what to do. Because hey, guess what, I can’t do mental math. My brain isn’t wired that way.
So if you mock someone for not knowing how to count anything in their heads, regardless of what it is? You’re a terrible, shitty person.
To my favourite person in the world,
I know things are over, and I know that means I don’t get to create any new memories with you. I know I have told you not to talk to me again, but every day I talk to you, sometimes in whispers, sometimes in sobs, but every day I do. I know a lot of things now and one of them is how incredibly I miss you, but how that alone is not a great enough incentive to get us to talk again anymore. I know what we had was special and invaluable, and I know it because I know a lot of people, a hell lot of them, and still nothing makes up for the fact that we won’t get to stroll around aimlessly together anymore. I know I am sad, I can feel it every day as I lay my head down to sleep, and I know why I am so, but I also know that I have tried with all my heart for the both of us and it went in vain. I know what would feel good and what is right to do, and it aches me that this time they are two completely different things. I know I had you. I know I lost you. I know things are shitty. I know it’s already been a while. I know I should’ve been feeling better. But I am not. And that’s okay, or at least that’s what they say. The one thing I don’t know is whether this will end up being just a break or a good-luck-in-another-lifetime kind of thing. And it’s scary how I don’t even know which of them would be a better option. I don’t know why I’m writing this as well, but I guess if I ever figure out why I still talk to you in my head every day, I’ll figure out the rest of this.
“I’ve been working as an airline mechanic since a young age. I’m really good at it. I always pick up extra shifts. And it’s good because it’s allowed me to mature and grow. But since I work so much, it’s easy for people to think that things are going well for me. And it’s also been easy for me not to think about things. Now I’m twenty-two and I feel completely lost. I feel like I haven’t spent any time thinking about myself. I’m not good at forming relationships or talking to people. I’ve never wanted to seem weak because nobody likes people who are sad all the time. So I’ve become a closed-off person. Yesterday we picked groups for a class project, and nobody wanted to be in my group because I work so much. I don’t go to movies. I never even come to the park. This is the first time that I’ve been here. I don’t know– I just feel so lost right now. I’m searching for something but I don’t know what it is.”
“And then all of a sudden you get on set… and they all have full prosthetic faces, teeth, black blood coming out of their mouth, eye contacts, they can’t really speak properly. […] They’d all come to me, “Luke.” And I’m thinking, “I have no clue who any of you are.””
I had forgotten,” he said, a moment later.
“Forgotten what?” His back was warm through the thin shirt.
“Everything.” He spoke very softly, mouth against my hair. “Joy. Fear. Fear, most of all.” His hand came up and smoothed my curls away from his nose.
“I havena been afraid for a verra long time, Sassenach,” he whispered. “But now I think I am. For there is something to be lost, now.