Monthly Archives: February 2012

I have 360 Degree Vision

I do not drive, but if I did I just dont know if that would end up workiing out in my fav or.

 

 

 

I recently realized everyone has blind sides. Like a car. Like a pain in your neck that keeps you from turning your head far enough to the side to see what is really happening. I think all the time about what that vital thing is thats going on that I am not fully seeing and not fully understanding. I have discovered that its not just me. Its happening all the time to people who just are really good at acting. Ive realized that its not just me. some days I forget that I have a rear-view mirror. sometimes I remember that I have one only I forget to check it too often.

For those rare moments when I remember to check my mirror I find myself thinking, “fuck review mirrors. I have 360 degree vision.”

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Graduation, Red Hook 2011

Do you want to really know what you see when your heart stops? I asked that question when I spoke at my high school graduation in June 2011. It meant a lot to me being able to speak in front of my peers on what would have been, under different circumstances, my graduation day.

Along with being very close to death, breaking three ribs and a hip, having brain trauma and losing a best friend in that fatal accident when I was a freshman in high school I thought I just had to accept that I wouldn’t be graduating with the kids that have helped me put my world back together again. Being able to share with them a fraction of the emotions I felt was both relieving and very gratifying.

Usually people say they are going to make a speech then write the speech, that’s not exactly how it happend. Suddenly it just came to me, I had known what I was going to write for that speech for a long, long time. I realized looking back that what I had written for a poster contest in fifth grade  turned out to be a statement that I wouldn’t fully appreciate until much later on in my life and I was going to talk about those exact words. I think getting chosen to go accept that award at that big fancy govedrnor’s mansion, all of that happend because the statement I wrote on that poster might have been one of the smartest things anyone could ever have said.

At the time I just thought I won because I was just an incredible artist. I thought I was beyond my years artistically. It wasn’t until I woke up with a start one evening long before graduation that I even considered how valid those words that a little, ignorant fifth grade girl had written down all those years ago had turned out to be .

“We are all in this together.”

I drew two little kids holding up the last two finishing pieces from a globe that had been broken down into lots of little pieces. And those two little kids, one standing and the other in a wheelchair, are holding up the final two pieces of the globe that will make their little world complete.

“We are all in this together.”

There were a couple of ideas I had had for that poster, but because of what I cose to write, I won. I got to pick out a pretty new outfit and go with mommy and daddy to accept my award. At the time I was focusing more on the pretty oufit part of the entire situation  than any other part.

“We are all in this together.”

When I was practicing my speech, the first 100 times I read it, I thought about not mentioning death. I asked my mom if I really had died during the car accident, like I could say that and not be lying. Then she said, “Well… I don’t know. Your heart did stop.”

But hearts stop all the time, like when you get really scared, or you see someone special. My heart just stopped for a few moments. I think it stopped because I was seeing someone really special for the last time.

I wanted to tell my classmates to do something great, whether as a teacher, a cab driver, a friendly propane person, or a garbage man. I know that my peers can reach out to someone and touch them with my story, reach out and touch them with their story. I also wanted to remind them that we are all in this together. I have proof.

It is safe to say that my heart did stop, and in so doing, I did momentarily die and I wanted to share with my classmates the mystery of what you see when your heart stops.

You see absolutely nothing. So I told them all to play hard. Give it their all.  Dream big.  Because when your heart stops that’s it. there are no call backs.
I told them all to change something while they have the chance.