If you already know what it is, good for you. If you don’t, you can look it up and you would see that the base is sugar and butter. I must confess I belonged in the latter group, but when I saw the word over the weekend, I recalled it looked familiar, like running into an old friend who has moved away. It has been some time since I’ve had it, but I’m sure I’ve had it more than that one time as I seem to see the word everywhere. My brain decided to pull up the one memory from last Christmas when I got to try it for the first time. It was in a tin box and given to her as an annual gift and there was so much of it in there she had no way of finishing it on her own so she brought it in to share with everyone on the team. I remember being surprised, but I really wanted to try something sweet I hadn’t tried before so I went for it. It was delicious, but I knew I couldn’t have this stuff all the time due to the need to take care of my teeth, so I treated myself to a small piece and that was that. Trust me, once you’ve experienced a toothache, you never want to repeat the experience again. I didn’t think much about it since then until I saw it at the grocery store. Even though I couldn’t remember what was in it, it doesn’t mean I didn’t like the piece that I tried last Christmas. It just means besides the base, there are all kinds of ingredients that can be added, kind of like the melting pot that makes up America, so it makes that one very piece hard to stand out. Her act of generosity will forever be tied to my memory of the sweet stuff though, and I’m glad on top of that it will be tied to Christmas. For some reason, reading the definition makes my brain want to make my own, just to experiment with all the different kinds that can be made, like a food scientist I suppose. I probably won’t, but a girl can use her imagination, right?
I never thought one day I’d become a football fan. So far I’ve only watched part of last NFL season through to the Super Bowl and then I started from the beginning of this NFL season. I have so much more to learn about the sport, but I am enjoying every minute of it. But amazingly, what I found is watching football is surprisingly not just a way to pass the time in an entertaining fashion; it is also a way to heal from grief.
Obviously there is nothing or no one who could ever replace my dad, but I think it helps that he was a basketball fan and knew nothing about football. Maybe my brain doesn’t think of him every time I watch like it would if I turned on an NBA game (which I haven’t lately). Maybe it’s also because he’s not the one explaining the game to me and I can’t feel his energy as he is engrossed in watching a game. My brain on football is totally experiencing something new and something I have to figure out on my own with the help of some friends. Yes, this time I attribute getting into football to friends, whereas getting into basketball I attribute to my dad.
It’s just funny that I used to think football was so not me and there’s no way I could be friends with anyone who was a die-hard fan. In the present tense I have a favorite team, I’m following my favorite team on Twitter, I watch my favorite team’s locker room speeches on YouTube, I read up on articles on my favorite team, when my favorite team is playing, if I can’t watch them on TV, I pull up the ESPN website to keep up with the score and refresh the page all throughout the game, but most of all, I find myself doing research on the team members in my free time. I look up their history, their stats, their age, their weight, etc. I’m basically fascinated by football players and their lives. I do this research in anticipation for the next game, to predict the outcome. They look like men going to war every time they play. It’s exciting. I guess I understand how fantasy football got started.
And now every week it’s been exciting to have something to look forward to, to have something to scream about, even if it’s just at the TV or to an ESPN gamecast page on a laptop. Watching football is something that brings something happy into my life again, that appeases the waterworks in me every time I lay my head down at night and I think of my dad. I haven’t figured out what kind of way it is to heal from grief, good or bad or something else, but watching football is certainly one way to heal from grief.
I bit myself and so the inside of my bottom lip (that sounds really weird to say, but I’m going to roll with it) hurts and it has hurt for a couple of days now and I know it’s going to hurt for a couple more days before it gets better. (Well, as long as I don’t get enough sleep it will, and I must confess lately I haven’t been vigilant about my sleep schedule.) This tiny annoying pain makes me think of paper cuts. Both of these are minor injuries to the body, yet they demand our attention if we get them. A paper cut stings and biting myself can hurt for a couple of days due to the bump that forms. While the sting from a paper cut doesn’t last, you are constantly reminded that that part of your skin is split open and vulnerable to infection, which in turn, constantly reminds you that there’s a part of your skin that’s hurting and in the process of healing itself. Biting myself constantly reminds me every time I eat that I have a weak spot and makes it easy for me to bite the same spot again. It’s truly incredible that while our bodies are huge compared to these tiny injuries, when one thing is off in our body, we can feel it at a strength of the full May 4th force like it’s a crying baby. Just one little thing like a paper cut and it can throw everything off for a bit. Just one little thing like biting myself and it can throw everything off for a bit. This makes me think of groups and how one missing person in a group affects the function of the whole group. If one color is missing from the Power Rangers, how would they function? What about if one member of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was missing? How about if one of the Avengers was missing? (Sorry, too soon? :/) And even closer to home, how about if someone in your friend group moves away or is gone? It’s not the same without any of the missing people. For this reason, I try to remind myself whenever I feel like eating junk food or staying up way too late, to treat my body parts like each part is a close friend. They all have to work together to make my whole body function properly.
I hate getting stains on my favorite T-shirts. OK, that slightly did not make sense. I made T-shirt plural, but favorite implies there’s only one I’m talking about. Let’s try this again. I hate getting stains on my T-shirts I really like. Much better. Stains ruin a T-shirt and I feel panicked, like I need to go wash it right away or else it’ll stay on there forever. I care about…no that’s not right…The T-shirts I really like are ones that are hard to come by like ones you get from attending a concert or ones you get from attending a conference that changed your life. I become little red hen protective over them and just want to wear them without messing them up in any way.
But it’s more than that. It’s about your need for your T-shirts to stay new always. If I am able to get the stain out with a little soap and warm water, I do that right away, sometimes even while I’m still wearing the shirt, but if not, I wish I could run the washing machine right away. That’s not always possible. But even if I am able to get the stain out immediately by hand, it feels like the shirt is never going to be the same again and the next time I put the shirt on again, my eyes scan right over to where the stain had been before I took it out and they examine the spot over and over as if daring the stain to show up. This is getting weird now, but I feel like I need to finish the story.
Obviously when it comes to T-shirts I really like, my perfectionism takes over. I feel weird admitting this, but I think I hate getting stains because I don’t like making mistakes and a stain is like an outward reflection of a mistake. It’s ridiculous because no one is perfect so why do I have so much trouble accepting my mistakes? Why am I afraid to show I have flaws on the outside? And maybe that’s one of my biggest flaws of all—I’m afraid to be vulnerable with people, to wear my flaws on the outside where everyone can see them and judge me for them. I think I just learned something about myself. Cool beans.
Black Panther is what got me to notice Chadwick Boseman, but it was not until after he passed did I learn of two essential characteristics of who this man was. After I saw the movie, I Googled him and his co-stars like I’m in the habit of doing after every good movie I see. The first thing that caught my eye was that he was a Christian and prayed for the role of T’Challa before getting it. I got goosebumps just reading about that. Then after he passed, I saw numerous articles about what he did in his life come up on my social media feeds. One thing that stuck out was an article on him surprise-visiting sick children battling debilitating illnesses at a hospital all while he secretly was battling colon cancer himself. I was shocked and overwhelmed by emotion to say the least because as some of you may know, this hit home for me as colon cancer is exactly what my father passed away battling. On top of that I saw more recent pictures of him at an awards ceremony, when stage three had progressed to stage four, and he looked way skinny, like the way my father did at stage four. I’ve never met him or spoken to him, but I felt myself getting watery eyes reading about his life. Boseman was diagnosed with stage three back in 2016, which means he had it even while filming the action-packed movie, doing most of his own stunts, and I have no words except for:
Matthew 16:25 “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
The first quote is a Bible verse and I have no idea if it was his favorite one or anything, but it was the first one that popped into my head and I think it describes him well. Again, obviously I never knew him personally and can only make these observations from afar, but it seems to me that he tried to live his life in such a self-sacrificing way in order to do what God called him to do he would rather do it to lose his life on Earth if that meant dying to himself over and over again to live for Jesus. What I mean by that is I’ve seen firsthand the toll colon cancer can take on a person’s physical health and yet Boseman put others’ needs before that of maintaining his health. He still went in for treatments, but he did it in private, not wanting anyone to worry over him and insist he not work too hard or overexert himself or anything like that I’m sure. When he accepted a movie role, he gave it his all despite his condition because the Father’s will was that important to him.
The second quote is by someone I’m assuming well-known, but I’m sorry to say I don’t know who exactly. I just know I’ve heard it many times and it’s not that I never knew what it meant, but I feel like I really know what it means now through Boseman’s example. I had no idea he was battling colon cancer as I’m sure many of you who liked him didn’t either. The fact that he was able to hide something that big in his life so he could be an encourager for others is a true testament to his character. Imagine all the people he came into contact with having no idea what he was going through. How do they feel now, knowing the truth? What a humble man. Gosh, Chadwick Boseman really lived up to his movie role, but more than that, he knew how to be a superhero on the inside, too.
Someone may not be polite back to you. Someone may take their frustrations out on you. Someone may just not understand you. It’s okay. Don’t be so quick to judge, but please be kind back. You never know…