Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Relocating My Dignity

Hello everyone! I hope that everyone has had a more splendid month of May than the thought of Prince and David Bowie performing a duet in heaven!

I have to say that my May was just dandy right up until the universe threw an obstacle in my way that I could not go over, under or around. Let me explain: I am a power-through kind of person, much like the Kool-Aid Man powers through a wall.

Life Motto
I just made it through a year of graduate school while working three to four jobs, keeping on top of my training for athletic competitions and maintaining at least some semblance of a social life to boot.

I recently found out that I fractured my foot some months back, but somehow managed to run on that foot 20 miles a week. I even was able to make it through a seminar on proper case note documentation without falling asleep once (though, I did rest my eyes on occasion).

The conundrum with this "can-do-and-do-and-do..." attitude is that eventually even the resilience Hulks among us hit the point where their minds and bodies just say, "NOPE!"

My "nope" moment happened last week. I was 60 hours into an 80 hour work week and had struggled through two days of security work, while wearing body armor out on concrete under the Arizona sun. I hadn't been feeling particularly well all week, but I consoled myself with the thought that if I could just make it through 80 hours I could collapse for an entire day afterwards.

My body had other plans.

I was on hour 10 of a 16 hour shift and had just broken up a fight between two drunk rednecks (rebel flag belt buckles included), when it hit. Suddenly, I felt like every cell of my body had declared war with every other cell in my body. My stomach hated my rib cage, my head loathed my spine and my chest had nothing nice to say about my back.

My boss took one look at me and said, "Go home, now."

I was in no condition to argue. Actually, I was in no condition to "go home."

I crawled behind the wheel of my car and through blinding amounts of pain (no literally, there were times I could not actually see the road), limped home.

Should I have called someone to come and transport me? Absolutely.

Does one think logically when one feels like an alien being is about to jump out of one's stomach? Not so much.

By some miracle I made it home, parked my car and made it inside just in time to effectively empty myself of every bit of food I had ever eaten, and possibly some that I had never eaten but that showed up for the party anyways. Having been stabbed, I can attest to the fact that the amount of pain I was in was worse than being stabbed.

After about thirty of the worst minutes of my life, I managed to crawl out of my work clothes, which left me essentially in Batman boxers and a sports bra, and clambored up onto my couch.

There I lay, curled up in a ball, passing in and out of consciousness and vacillating between, "Is this the end?" and, "I can't die! No one can see the state I just left my bathroom in!"

It was there, lying on my couch shaking like chihuahua on meth, when I heard a faint thudding noise. Someone was knocking on my door. Assuming it was the Angel of Death, and realizing my time had probably come, I somehow made noises that indicated whoever it was could come in.

A mysterious apparition poked it's head through my door, "I, uh, have a work order to change your air filter. You okay?"

Now, at this point, I was so out of it, that I honestly had no idea what was real and what was delusions brought on by what I later found out was a nasty stomach virus, compounded by heat exhaustion and a minor ear infection. I told the ethereal being that I was sick, but he entered anyways.

The apparition moved through my apartment and began doing something to my air vent that in my state I could not comprehend. At this point I was feeling particularly introspective about life so I asked, "Do you think we keep our personalities after death?"

"Uh... what?"

"Do we... keep our personalities after we die?"

"Uh... I guess so?"

"Oh good, 'cause I'd hate to be one of those perky-happy people all of a sudden."

The apparition continued about its mysterious business as I continued, "Why does pain exist?"

"Uh... gee... I dunno. You really must be sick, huh?"

I did not understand why the apparition was so useless at providing me with answers, he was not of this world, so he should have some insights into the matters of the mortal world!

I continued to assail him with all my, two-inch, deep questions before the apparition suddenly said, "I'm all done!" With a quick, "You feel better, ma'am!" it vanished.

Okay, it went out my door, but in my fuzzy brain, whatever it was went poof like a magician.

I then, thankfully, passed out. I woke up two hours later, still in massive amounts of pain, but also a little bit clearer headed. I got up to splash a little water on my face, which is when I remembered my apparition.

I've had sickness hallucinations in the past, and I quickly chalked it up to the amazing amount of pain and probable fever I was currently suffering. That was when I saw it: Sitting on my kitchen counter was a maintenance service slip and an accidentally left behind tool.

It then struck me that my apparition had actually been my apartment building's maintenance man. I had bombarded the poor guy who just came to swap out my air filter with a whole range of feverish babble and may at one point have told him that he was a "failure as an other-worldly being."

The only positive of being in as much pain as I was at that moment, was it completely overrode my sense of shame as I staggered back to my place on the couch.

So what lessons can be burned through the fever of experience:

1. Sometimes your body has just had enough. It is wise to learn the warning signs and rest before your body just says, "To heck with it!" and lets every available ailment overrun you at once like a Barbarian horde through a fence made of toothpicks.

2. There is never an apology so awkward as, "I'm sorry that while I was sick I thought you were a hallucination. I don't normally ask people to solve all the problems in the universe while I am curled up in Batman boxers."

3. One does not need to leave one's home to horribly embarrass oneself. Apparently shame has a door-to-door service now!

I am glad to say that I am among the land of the living and able to consume solid food again, and as such I have a quick announcement. My third book, "Life is a Roller Derby Run by a Sphinx" will (if the winds blow correctly) be released later this summer!!!

For news on this release, and to check out my other books, check back here, come join me on Facebook, Twitter (@AllisonHawn), Instagram (AtillatheHawn) and Amazon!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

In Defense of Us "Useless" Millennials

Hello everyone! I hope weeks have been more fantastic than the thought of a thousand toucans flying in unison to, "Purple Rain" (R.I.P. Prince, you will be missed).

Well, I officially finished my first year of graduate school!!! Which means I simultaneously feel like this:

And this:

After working four jobs all semester to support myself on top of going to school full time, I am exhausted. I actually got so tired at one point that I turned on the radio and realized I could not remember if I liked the song that was playing or not.

With everything going on in life I only had a moment to be irked by a video that I've seen floating around Facebook and other social media sites in the past week. Perhaps you've seen it, it's called "Gotta Love Millennials."

Well, now that I am not furiously trying to write papers while living on cheap gas station coffee, I have a moment to respond to this. Disclaimer: I do realize that the church that created this video has a "this is all fun and games" description below it. However, literally EVERY person I've seen repost this has said something to the effect of, "Isn't this so true?"

I am the dreaded 27 year old Millennial to which this song is referring. 

I have a college degree, which I worked hard to pay for (in fact I had four jobs, one of which was full time, my senior year while taking 19 credits). I worked three to four jobs over the next four years to pay off the remainder of my college debt. I am currently working four jobs to keep myself in graduate school. On top of this I'm a competitive athlete, author of two published books, not to mention my multiple journal articles and short stories that are also published, and am an active member in my community. I have my own car and my own place. 

But more than that; I have talked people off of literal bridges, held the hands of homeless men and women as they died and fought for human rights and justice issues.

Now, I know that I am speaking of my own experiences, but those are what I know. What I also know is that there are a lot of people my age who are doing more amazing things than I could even imagine doing. I am not the exception to the rule, there are a ton of people my age making, or at least attempting to make, a difference. 

Are there idiots in my generation? Of course there are, but there were idiots in every previous generation too. If there weren't we wouldn't be facing crushing national debt, serious environmental issues and a myriad of social maladies that were brought on before us Millennials even had the ability to say the words "social maladies." 

Hating on my generation does nothing to improve the status quo. You want to fix what is wrong in the world? Then stop belittling us and help us do it, damn it! 

Millennials aren't the problem, we are the future, and we are trying to make that future better. You can either stand there and laugh at us, or you can help us make that happen. Your choice.

As always my adventures can be found on Facebook, Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and Instagram (@AtillaTheHawn) and my books can be found here!