Throwback: Hidden Figures

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I still recall seeing the trailer for this movie and being particularly excited about the concept: Three women of color with brilliant minds overcoming racism to use their brilliant minds to get a man in space at the NASA program. In addition to keeping our rivalry with Russia very clear, the movie Hidden Figures did something I was surprised with because it did a good job focusing on the work lives of the three women. Often, movies with strong women still put emphasis on their family and this movie did a nice job of showing their families in a pleasant way that helped us gain perspective on them as women. However, it was more in the background and their crowning achievements in their careers were celebrated in this movie. Kate was extremely good at math and worked in that department at NASA. She was a widow with three children and she was asked to check the equations of an all white male division of NASA. She had to overcome the adversity of the colors only coffee pot the men installed one day, and the biggest struggle she had to get her work done was the bathroom situation. The colored bathroom was almost a mile away in another building. This becomes a problem because she cannot effectively do her work, with the amount of time spent running to the bathroom.
Kevin Costner had a wonderful role as a mentor of sorts, I thought, being kind to Kate, the mathematician. But, unfortunately, I found out that his character was not part of a true story. He was a “white hero” invented by Hollywood and based on the texts I am read in college, it was particularly difficult to deal with the fact that they couldn’t stay true to the history and create a white hero who knocks down the colored bathrooms sign, but in real life that didn’t even happen. The adversity these three women faced as women of color is clear from the beginning with their car breaking down and the white male police officer demanding respect. Sadly, in a more passive aggressive way, the second brilliant woman is denied a promotion and it is clear the tension between the white and black women in this movie. The third women, who wants to be an engineer has to take courses at what is a segregated high school. So, to achieve her dream of becoming an engineer she must petition the courts to allow her to study at an all white school. Despite all the backlash and struggle, these three women were pioneers of math, computers, and engineering. I only wonder if they weren’t held back so much if they could have achieved even greater things if their race was not in the way.

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

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When a mirror crosses my path I avoid it! I do not own a single mirror. Such a device does not exist in my room. When I look in the mirror, I can pick apart the different layers and see my eyes my mind; it helps me to hide the inner most layers of paint, of lies, I tell myself each day, of hopes and dreams that were happiness, excitement, love, passion, obsession, hope, dreams, loneliness, confusion, curiosity, anger, suppressed fury, and sadness. These layers are my beautiful disasters. They are my breakdowns. When I look long enough in the mirror I want to smash it. Memories of illness that is permanent and the things I can’t change overwhelm me. The worst part is that nothing I can say or do will change it. I don’t want to be that sad girl who is brittle and fragile and clearly not all there. When I look long enough at this wall of truth I see exhaustion, I see the wanting of dreams to come true. I tell lies to myself that what I dream will come into reality.

I see in the mirror what I cannot change. I will always be second best! When I see the silver device again I want to shatter it. Destroy it. Melt it. Shatter it. A mirror has a long list of stereotypes. Be this fake entity. I have to look nice, thin, sexy, porcelain doll perfect. [Insert name here ] is trapped in this idea of me becoming this perfect person. I want to understand how I broke [ ] porcelain image, I actually shattered it – broke out of that stage, I have no long lived in this way , and in return  now, I look into the memories, and I see failure, someone struggling to go to bed each night and not hate myself. This sudden knowledge that no one can love me if I don’t love myself first.

When I glance at myself, I’m curious am I that ugly, tired thing? Why should I even care any longer? Everyone expects these things from me when I want to live in a world where none of those frivolous things matter.  A mirror is quite a dangerous friend for once you lose sight of what is important you see only skin deep. Now when I look in the mirror, I love my aqua outfit I love my eyelashes, all I wonder how is who will love me back, more specifically will he? Respect me, pile up and pull apart my thick intricate layers. After that you must still love me despite and in spite of myself. That happy girl, content and lovely the one I once was, maybe he can capture and release what he sees – an exquisite, intelligent, ambitious, tender, gentle, wild, unpretentious – the jungle of qualities that make me.

When I look in the mirror for a third time in the band room, I only want to be myself today, tomorrow, forever. When I look in the silver slab of honestly, I remember what someone once told me. Don’t hide and be yourself. Do not care what other people think. Even though the mirror can’t lie, an interpretation is left up to the eye of the beholder. When the mirror and I cross paths, I see that first day at the hospital. Only I see that girl who gets her heart ripped from inside her everyday, that girl who has to pick herself up without aid from anyone and say – you can do it, why care about the past – go out there and show them. Understand. Love. Find the line try never to cross it. Pull yourself together. The only person that “mirrors” my emotions with wise words and a gentle tone – [ ] When I see his face, I don’t need a mirror – I see a smile which I am certain has crept across my face. What I need is already inside me. It is how you use it, that knowledge that makes a world of difference.

 

There lies the answer, the secret to life

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 I know that this essay is supposed to be just about the orient express and myself but because of me, I am inclined how I relate to a member of Grey’s Anatomy, and how much I can relate to the train members. I had a topic of my own rhythm that I need to belt out. When you take those silly, pointless online quizzes, you never take them seriously. I didn’t. Even after I got Meredith as the TV character I most resemble, I never gave it a second thought. That is until I watched episode after episode, finding that I could always emphasize with Meredith a made up character seemed made for me.  The life full of things to dread. A life is flooded with harsh truths and entire flocks of friends that escape into places that are everywhere except to console her, never mind her breakdown. Her getting slapped by her father made me realize that the emotions hurt worse than any slap a person could give. It was like I was her shadow or she mine. It is like how the detective needed to find parts of the murderer by placing himself in their shoes. “It was done by a woman. I, a man could not deliver such blows” (Christie 89). That is the only way the members of that train remind me of my own life (this similarity) , and it made a lot of sense close to the last page of my reading, that the moments of quiet desperation felt by the murder investigation are felt by myself in equally strong degrees.

People could be my closest friends yet I’d feel so distant like a shadow yet so close and like I didn’t know them at all because of their actions. The knife found in Mrs. Hubbard’s room caused her great distress, like in my life invisible swords made up of words that hurt. “I just can’t tell you how terrible it was. I was always sensitive …the mere sight of blood” (Christie 206). It is this “bloody” life I was, these events that just make me tear up. I weep whenever Meredith is shot down, when she was drowning metaphorically or in reality because I don’t see her, I see myself. In the bathroom, behind the auditorium, in the foyer, in the dark, alone, I can see me a silent sadness. I see a detective stumped the case gone cold. Whenever it’s all wrong, pretend joy is short lived. When everything is wrong, she moves along or gets help along the way, she is helped through it all. My mother too resembles the yelling, shouting and being told you’re not good enough of her deceased mother. It’s like there is no difference between compliments and lies! Everything is essential all the same to me, because isn’t it all the same if I need someone everyone leaves me? They drift like a man lost at sea, further and further away.

It’s like watching Meredith; I want to smash the glass world that separates her life from my own and meet her. I want that which separate us, to disintegrate so we see into each other’s eyes. I want to cry with her, and stand with lost eyes, let her know she is not alone. I feel the members of the train just brush things off that are important, and that mirrors my life.  I want to be with someone who feels like me. Because I want to know that I am not alone. All the people that shouldn’t care care A LOT. Nosy people and it’s annoying to explain my “pathetic life story” This is like the people who are curious about the case. And all the people I need in my life simply cannot fulfill the simple duty of being there for me. Just being there. Is that too much to ask? To call me, or to hang out. To comfort me when I’m sad or lost. To bring me the warmth of their smile or their shoulder to cry on. To calm me down, at least try would be beautiful! Isn’t that what friends do? They help each other. They are there, they care! To have your back? They don’t. And I’ve thought of the situation so much it has started to lose all meaning. That is what Poirot understood, that he really had to get under the skin and truly comprehend all elements to discover the truth. Frankly, I want to be stuck in that blizzard in the novel.

Frozen in time, because these continuing tears that rupture my cheeks and burst onto the keyboard. Internal conflicts float as soon as the first tear begins it’s descent down my cheek a path known so well, that it doesn’t even feel real sometimes. I hear the voices of all those “friends” telling me to drop this drama, that I’ll be fine. How do you know that I’ll be fine? For a fact, you don’t know. My sitting here writing this proves I am not fine right now. When I should be celebrating my successes in life, I’m over this dark cloud creating more problems with my dismal doubt. Like Poirot discovering the answer of the case, the case of my life is not solved, the pieces scattered on the carpet like puzzle pieces with people yelling it’s a bird, it’s a dog, it’s the sun. I tell them and you that it’s my life spilling out. Sometimes everything is wrong, and it needs to move along.

More than anything I can’t help the hopeless, trapped feeling I have. Like those on the train who don’t know want they want. Like why can I just be a calm person, mellow and relaxed? Like so what if tomorrow’s better, because life is never without suffering. Why do we suffer? It is said we suffer to gain compassion. It is said we build character. It is this compassion that has made me a fool. Because only now do I realize that I sit alone. My compassion for some is one sided and that is well, it is what it is. Without guarantee from anyone that tomorrow will bring sunshine into my life, I travel alone. I plot a path in my head of where I’ll go. And I will leave this negative persona behind. Because I want to believe the world has good in it, despite everything that disproves that, moving on through is supposedly to make me stronger. If that works, I’ll have the strength of ten men. I will build bridges and put out the flames of the ones that are burning. Until then my mind is in a headlock, tortured more perhaps by words never spoken, then words said. I must, like the detective look beyond the obvious and turn to the“it couldn’t be”. There lies the answer, the secret to life.

“If you stumble, make it a part of the dance.”

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So, I awoke. Late.

Late as in I missed my meeting.

But, I showered. Cleaned up myself.

I cleaned the kitchen. Took out the trash and recycle.

Admired the beauty of my mom’s garden

Plants, flowers, and vegetables a plenty.

I was struck by this quote

“If you stumble, make it a part of the dance”

So I will make (more) coffee

I will read my science articles for discussion

And my book for fun.

Dancing is more like stumbling with style.

But, as I clean out my room and get it ready for some

Fresh paint, and a total make over

As I prepare for the gym, and fun hang outs with my friends

I will make today’s stumble a part of my dance

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This is how I felt, but no more: I love me for me!

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Because I’m overweight, I eat next to nothing for breakfast. Or drink ensure. (Not anymore)

Because I’m overweight, trying on dresses for the SGA banquet was a plea with God, that said —“Please help me find something that doesn’t make me look HUGE.”

Since I’m overweight more than half my closet doesn’t fit and I ignore that half, even ignoring the shoes that exist there, just so I can avoid the beautiful clothes that make me look like someone who has quit on life.

Like a fat camp failure. (No offense to anyone)

But I eat okay. I exercise. I obsess about food. Even fruit.

Sure I am human so I make mistakes.

The truth is my medicine makes losing weight nearly impossible.

But, Because I’m fat every mistake is like a crime.The punishment life without parole in my body. That is punishment enough…

Suddenly, I started losing weight. Just stayed busy and it started coming off…I don’t feel fat anymore.

I feel society created something in my mind that I constantly compared myself to.

No more.

I don’t need a man to validate my feelings.

I love me for me. =)