On Friday night I went to my second dance in the history of my college career. And it was actually pretty fun.
I’ve been thinking for a while about the meaning of the word “okay.” It’s odd, because that word is fairly nonchalant, but in my experience can be the most comforting and appropriate thing to say to someone when they’re in pain.
When I was seeing a therapist last fall, one of the things she had to tell me almost every week was this: “Just take a deep breath and tell yourself, ‘It’s okay.'” I started walking around with that in my head like a playlist on repeat. It’s okay, it’s okay.
Of course, it wasn’t really (nonchalantly) okay. I was trying to cope with my Rheumatoid Arthritis, with surgeries and with some pretty serious depression. But saying that to myself seemed to help. Those times when someone would put their arms around me and say the most comforting things had the word “okay” in their gestures or in their speech.
Normally when I am trying to comfort someone going through something–diagnosed with RA or something else–my go-to phrase is, “You’re going to be okay.” When I say this, I mean: Everything will be okay. Maybe not today, but eventually.
But today I couldn’t say that to someone.
Wrote this with the help of some friends after I turned in an official “Around Berry” article for the Berry College website.
The first year students have just arrived at Hogwarts’ Berry Campus and already are beginning the education of the head, heart, hands and wands. After their second week of studies, the first years awoke bright and early to the screeching their owls on the morn of 8 September. More than seven hundred students on the Berry College Branch of Hogwarts, with their professors, set out in the college’s annual First-Year Service Day of Magicfulness.
So I decided Snapshot: Senior Year is going to be a thing. Because half the time I don’t have the time to write out whole entries for the fun things that are happening, and I don’t want to forget. Here we go.
Yesterday evening, I had an exceedingly awesome dinner with the English department and all major/minors (who wanted to show up). During the dinner, one student started trying to think of an author who’d had a happy life. This conversation ended with us deciding that pairing Hemingway/Austen is not only a thing but could potentially be the best thing ever.
This is what I wrote last year around 9/11. It’s still on my heart. Originally posted on livejournal on 9/11/11.
I’ve shared my story in the past. So this isn’t a story directly related to 9/11, but it is a story that’s been on my heart all week. Three stories, actually.
We–my mom, sister and I–were sitting in a nice restaurant in Central Asia, with native people, and we had just finished a fantastic traditional meal. My sister asked our friends to share one bit of their culture that they would like Westerners to know. They thought for a few minutes, and then began to go around the table. Most of them talked about women’s rights and about hospitality.
One man shared a story with us. There is an old tradition, he says. When two people (families or towns) are warring, it used to be that a woman could stop the war. She would bake bread in her home, and then take it to a woman in the other side. The people would cease fighting, because the woman had been so brave and had earned so much respect.
My sister asked if an American woman brings bread, can the war stop? We all laughed. No, they said, because the terrorists do not honor tradition.
The image of that tradition is beautiful and horrifying to me, as I think of a little woman in her chadar, clutching bread still warm from the oven, going into war with a silent gift of peace.