Things I’ve Learned Recently

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Hello everyone! This post is just a little check-in to say hi and let you all know what I’ve been up to. I figured I would make it more interesting by focusing on what I’ve learned recently from this unpredictable thing we call life.

  • After working on a book about nutrition for a freelance client, I’ve realized how much I DON’T know about what is really healthy and how much my own diet could use an overhaul. Unfortunately, I’m still a sucker for anything sweet, which throws a wrench into those plans!
  • I’ve learned how much traumatic experiences from childhood can affect our adult lives and our physical health. It is a fascinating subject, especially if you were¬†put through a lot of crap growing up. I would recommend the book “Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal” (written by Donna Jackson Nakazawa) to anyone interested in such subjects.
  • I’ve learned that it is ridiculously expensive to treat a cat for diabetes ūüė¶
  • I’ve realized that our current culture is engaged in a war on free speech and free expression in many ways. Both those from the extreme left and the extreme right often seem to want to silence dissenters. The same can be said of some companies and many governments. What I thought was once only an issue in communist, dictatorial or radical religious¬†countries is proving to be a much broader problem.
  • YouTube is full of warped trolls (ok, I didn’t really just learn that one, but I’ve been reminded of it several times recently).
  • And lastly, if you are going to date naked, have some confidence!
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Why “Mockingjay” (the last book of the Hunger Games trilogy) depressed me

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After seeing the Mockingjay Part 1 movie in theatres, I finally decided to read the entire Hunger Games trilogy. I had read bits of it in the past, enough to know the main plot of each book, but I had never really sat down and read them all cover to cover. Last night I finished the last book in the series. And I must admit that after I turned the final page, I found myself deeply depressed. To me, the last book was very much a downer, even more so than the previous two books.

So, I sat in our library looking at our darkened Christmas tree and wondering why I felt so morose. I finally decided there were several reasons I found the conclusion of the series so disturbing. First, it felt like the last book was filled with the agony of multitudes dying, often for no good reason (as is the reality in war). In the first two books, most of the deaths were related to the tributes participating in the Hunger Games or were the slow, gradual kind of deaths caused by the perils of poverty. In Mockingjay, the deaths seemed constant throughout, not just a few people here and a few there. Understandably, the thought of mass death and the destruction of the world all around us causes immense despair, even if only on a subconscious level.

Another issue was the very real idea that no matter how many immoral and violent governments, presidents, dictators and groups we remove from power or destroy, there are always just as many waiting in the wings to dole out their own¬†brand of pain and injustice. Even¬†at the end of the book when things seem a bit more hopeful, we know that the world is not safe and secure. The world is never actually safe and secure, no matter how much we may choose to live in denial. Even among those brave enough to rebel against injustice and evil, you will find cruelty, deception and betrayal. Many of those people don’t even realize that they are no better than¬†the enemy they seek to destroy. Vengeance and victory¬†may give us a brief respite, but eventually the same old problems seem to find their way back.

Lastly, it is incredibly depressing how war leaves those who survive broken. Maybe not always physically (although there is plenty of that), but deep down on the inside, the trauma of warfare leaves many human beings irrevocably damaged. Survivors are left with wounds that cannot help but affect the next generation, sometimes starting unending cycles of mental illness and abuse. Often hatred and bias is passed down much the same way, even if it is done so with millions of seemingly insignificant words and attitudes. If we could truly see the damage done by war throughout all space and time, we would probably be shocked by how far the effects trickle down.

After thinking about all that, I guess it is no wonder I found myself discouraged. Perhaps the worst part of all though is that¬†when it comes to fighting for freedom and justice, we are often¬†damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

Such a sad story…how can people be filled with so much hate?

Been reading a book for young adults called “Surviving the Angel of Death”.¬† It was written by Eva Kor, a holocaust survivor who was one of the famous twins that Dr. Mengele experimented on at Auschwitz.¬† The things these kids went through is horrific.¬† When they arrived at Auschwitz, Eva’s mother, father and two sisters were killed, leaving only Eva and her twin sister, who were put under Dr. Mengele’s care to be his personal lab rats.¬†

While living in the concentration camp, Eva and her sister were only fed a single piece of bread and weak coffee for meals and were often denied even that.  The girls were injected with all sorts of foreign substances, some of which made them deathly ill.  They were the lucky ones though.  Some of the twins were part of a gender switch experiment and had their privates cut off, or were injected with fatal diseases, just to see how the body shuts down and dies. 

The twins lived in bunkers where they contracted dysentery and constantly had lice and fleas and rats¬†crawling¬†around them.¬† Often when they went to the latrine, they would find dead bodies of other twins who hadn’t made it.¬† Sometimes these dead bodies would be put back in the bed with their living sibling, I can only imagine having to lie next to the rotting body of your own¬†twin.¬†

Luckily, Eva and her sister somehow survived, against all odds, but how do you heal after living like that?¬† Somehow Eva found the strength to move on and even forgive her oppressors, but I’m not sure that I could do the same in her situation.¬† I think of myself as a forgiving person, but that is just too much to imagine.¬† It sure makes me thankful for the life I have, and more determined to stop the evils of racism and prejudice.