Leaving People Behind

When I left my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky 12 years ago, I had no idea the budding relationships I would be leaving behind. I left because I wanted to see the world and gain a bigger perspective about the plight of current events. I also left because, like my dad, I have an adventurous spirit, and like my mom, I love my comfort zone, so I knew it would take more than just attending a new school to get me out of that comfort zone.

But with each move comes sacrifices. With each new turn, I was leaving behind opportunities to develop relationships further and explore new connections through those relationships. And while I have come to terms with leaving people behind for my own personal growth, there are two men, in particular, who I feel like I abandoned, and I am still trying to reconcile the significance of that sentiment.

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Life Lessons From ‘The Thief and the Cobbler’

The ThiefIn 1993, Miramax came out with the animated film, The Thief and the Cobbler, with character voices by such notable names as Vincent Price, Matthew Broderick and Jonathan Winters. A few years later when my dad found this hidden gem, little did my brothers and I know the controversary surrounding its production.

Sheltered from the criticism of the masses, my brothers and I merely loved this movie not for the animation and the storyline, but solely for the presence of the thief. I was recently reminded of the film a few weeks ago when my brother texted me at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday with this: Finally, something easy. Just walk up the stairs, grab the balls, and go home; I’ll be in bed by 8!

There was no context, but I immediately recognized the origin and voice of this quote. For the next 12 hours, we continued to text back and forth only quotes from the character of the thief. I admit towards the end I had to look some up, but my brother shelled these out straight from memory.

How does a film, most notably recognized for its botched up rendition of one of the most acclaimed animations in history, stay in the minds of a brother and sister? And why? Continue reading

Sister, Sister

It seems to be staring at me, although I don’t see a face. I only see its black rectangular body and a few mechanical buttons that I suppose could be eyes – they are my life source. It’s buzzing at me, but I ignore its demand for attention.

There was a time I didn’t need you.

It doesn’t hear me. It doesn’t seem to respond, but it moves across my desk, as if inching closer to my exhausted body.

You are gray and ugly, and I don’t want you … but I need you.

I have a weird relationship with my insulin pump. If we were on Facebook, it would read, “It’s complicated with Gizmo.” Yes, I’ve named it Gizmo. I figure if it’s going to share my bed, it should have a name.

In approaching the holidays, I realize even though Gizmo has only been with me for two years, diabetes has been in my life for almost five. That’s not a lot considering most people with Type 1 were diagnosed when they were seven. What was I doing when I was seven? Oh yeah, playing beneath the Maple trees of Kentucky and going to church with my family every Sunday.

When I was in college and realized the brain doesn’t fully develop until we’re 20 or 25, I considered this might be why childhood seemed like the happiest years of my short life. I hadn’t met reason yet. I didn’t think about the horrible atrocities happening in the world or feel stressed about how quickly my next paycheck would disappear.

No, I lived in the present – my only concern was what fun things I could do with my day. My brother, two years younger than me, and I used to make lists during the summertime and then vote on the items on that list, planning out our free time and deducing what activities we would engage in that day.

We built Lego cities in the basement, played “house” in the church parking lot across the street, and pretended to be sisters. One time my father came home and found my brother dressed in a witch costume, answering to the name of “Susan.” I don’t know why he liked that name so much, but when we played “Sister, Sister,” I always let him choose his female name. To be fair, we also played “Brother, Brother,” but after my dad found my brother wearing a dress, we never played sisters again. Continue reading