Thursday, May 26, 2011

5pm: Soccer game!! Must be at stadium at 3.45pm, Alison will pick me up at 3.15pm!

Today, my mother was in a car crash down the northern hwy. I was angry at her for not being there before the game. To wish me luck. I was angry at her, for not beginning there to take my photo in the stupid lycra uniform. I was angry at her. And now she’s on cardiopulmonary bypass, having blood and oxygen pumped into her body because her heart has been displaced from the left side of her chest to the right.

They cannot save her. Her internal injuries are too extensive. Her pulmonary vein has been torn, which means she’s bleeding out - into her lungs. Her lungs have collapsed as well. She’s broken several of her left ribs. I don’t need to go on any further. There’s no repairing her.

She’s reminded me of my one and only doll - Molly. I had her for a year or so. She was my favourite toy. One day her head came off. We tried to put her back together. But there was no way to fix her. She was beyond repair. She had to go. She was my only dolly. There was no replacing her. She was gone for good. I wanted her more and more every day. I missed her, more and more every minute. I didn’t want a new one. I didn’t want the brand new Barbie set, with the house and car. I wanted Molly. But she never came back.

Derik and Debbie are discussing taking her off life support. The doctors say there is nothing they can do for her. I didn’t want her to be alone, so I remain here. Listening. I feel so stupid. It’s the last few moments of her life and I’m sitting on the other side of the room facing the wall writing in my diary. I cannot look at her. She looks so broken. I can’t comfort her. She must be in so much pain. I know I’m going to regret this but I can’t seem to find away to face her and acknowledge that gurgling breath I hear, are her last few. That this moment is going to be the last moment I have with my mother. I could say anything too her, tell her about all the times I snuck out or apologize for all the nasty thing I said – for being angry...

It’s my fault she’s like this. I shouldn’t have pressure her to see me play, I only got fourteen minutes on the field. I got called off by my coach – Ian. I was already angry at mum for not being there – so I was feeling pretty angry that I didn’t even get the first fifteen minutes on the field. I don’t think I’ll ever forget those few word’s he said or the look on his face. “Jovianne” He took a deep breath. “Your mother has been in a car crash, she’s not okay. Alison will take you to the hospital.”

It seemed like everyone already knew, I could feel all eyes on me. I glanced at Alison and she nodded. I grabbed my gear, and thought of every possible thing that could have happened to her. Having her heart displaced from the left side to the right never crossed my mind during the dreading. The thought of her actually leaving me for good, never seemed to be a possibility – a real scenario. The thought of her never being around in the future...

It’s funny how the adrenaline from that game was nothing, I mean nothing compared to the adrenaline of fear in that car ride. And it’s funny how I thought I was running my hardest in that game, but I don’t think I was moving so quickly in my life when entering that hospital. But the funniest thing of all was the fact that even though that may have been the fastest moving in my life it still wasn’t quick enough. I needed to stop time.

When walking through that door, I felt a part of me die. A really big part of me die inside. Seeing my mum like this. It’s inhuman. Every bit of her is bruised. Blood everywhere; it seemed to have spread throughout the room. Needles and tubes sticking out from all over her body. I can’t make up my mind. About what the worst part is... the gurgling of breaths because her lungs are full of blood or the waxy white skin which makes my mother look like a complete stranger.

I couldn’t help think what did she do to deserve this? This is so unfair! I believe in Karma and my mum does not deserve this. Me perhaps, but not my mum. I mean I’ve always been unlucky, but couldn’t my luck focus on me a little bit more?

Or maybe this was worse. Yes, this is definitely worse. I feel like screaming at her for some unjustified reason. I feel like screaming in general. “WHAT ABOUT ME? What about me, mum? What about me when you leave me? When you go to the light? You can fix everything? Well fix this for me! Because you’ll be ok when you go to the light, you’ll be fine. But what about me? Because I won’t! Because you’re the only one I’ve got. You’re the only one and I can’t face this world without you. Who’s going to watch out for me now? I love you mum, please, please just don’t leave me yet... I need you! I won’t be fine if you leave me. I can’t do this! Mum please mum, please don’t leave me because if you die, I’ll never forgive you. You’re all I’ve got! You’re all I’ve got!”

But I can’t say that, not only is that incredibly selfish but I want to say the right things “I love you, and I want you to know...” and talk about all the great times we had together. But I can’t. I can’t think about all the great times we had together. I can’t think. My body’s in shock. Serious, numb, disbelief. Someone could have hit me several times over and I don’t think I would have notice.

When the nurse came in to inject more morphine I wanted to ask “Doesn’t this belong on television?” or say “Ok April’s fools is on the 1st not the 17th, acts over!” but I can’t even speak.

I think I might go hold her hand, stroke her hair – tell her everything’s alright and that I love her.

Time of death – 11.32pm

Jessica Smith

The Power of the Imagination

Imagine the world without imagination. You cannot, because to do so you would need to employ the very power you are trying to erase. Imagination is a definitive part of our humanity, in much the same way as oxygen and liquor are. Yet by just asking the question indicates the kind of power imagination has, imagining a world without it shows us the answer most clearly, because without imagination mankind would not live life as we know it; we may be able survive but we would not thrive. It enables humanity to make connections and evolve towards, hopefully towards a better existence. Of course it would erroneous to assume the power of imagination is a source of pure good. Like most situations, using the imagination is wielding a power in which one can have a double edged sword that may be employed for good or evil. While it can be extrapolated from the most humble of beginnings to achieve amazing ends, it can also be used to devastating effect. To this end, the power of the imagination could be equated to the power of the beholder of the imagination, be they an individual or a collective.

In today’s society the true value of imagination is neither acknowledged nor appreciated. Most people devalue it and dismiss it as merely fiction or fantasy and in doing so they demean the word unjustly. When in reality we use our imagination many times daily.

Imagining is a process of generating an illusionary visual, or other human sense such as smell, taste, touch or hearing, within our mind. We are constantly, both consciously and unconsciously, picturing different situations. Typically, we picture our options and the possible outcomes of our envisioned acts and potentially decide whether to make out imagination reality or not.

The imagination is by its own definition almost impossible to define as it has no bounds, no form and exists solely in our heads. In essence, our imagination is our human capacity to mentally build scenes, objects and events, be they real or figurative, and project them into a cohesive story. Yet more exciting than the definition of imagination, are the repercussions of our imagination as it gives us the power to make daily decisions, push forward inventions and innovation, and to empathise with others whose experiences we have not shared.

One of the most influential and revelatory capacities of the imagination is that it enables us to understand and identify with other people even though we may not have shared their experiences anything to compare to the situation they describe. Humankinds ability to imagine ourselves in another’s place. It defines us as human beings. Ponder for a moment, how without compassion we would be as robots, indifferent to each other, like little islands floating separately and aimlessly. Imagination is the sea that connects us, it allows us to reach out and have meaningful interaction with each other and learn from each other, in essence, to grow. Through learning of each others different circumstances that we are able to understand one another’s plights and motives.

Imagination and creativity are intimately intertwined. To create is to mindfully make active choices that bring what we imagine from inside our minds into reality. Our imagination is a spark of thought creativity could be considered as what takes place after the seed of an idea has been sown. Creation is inventing, building, designing, and making things. Creation could be considered the “working horse” of our imagination. Being inspired by our imagination makes us innovate, which then motivates us to be creative. Experiments and mistakes help us in being creative, which in turn is an excellent way for us to broaden our imagination.

For creations to be original they must not be a replica of an object which the creator has already seen. If the object is a copy then no imagination was used. Although some creations have presuming qualities that make them similar, that does not mean imagination was not utilised. Every creation, from the simple exercise of making music from clapping, to incredibly complex inventions such as the super hydro collider, has required a certain amount of imagination in its invention. When examined in this light, it could be argued that all human endeavours could be considered creative. From the apparently unimaginative chore of washing dishes we have seen the design, and manufacture of the dishwasher. And from the seemingly innocent hobby of watching a bird fly we have witnessed the construction of planes and ultimately rockets allowing man to make that “one giant leap” and walk on the moon. Technology, writing, music, art, games, food and even our health and wellbeing are all areas that have been improved or developed as man has dared to dream.

Inventing is an evolutionary process which will continue throughout the ages. Why? Because inspired by our imagination there is a never ending discovery of recreating and designing that drives mankind to develop ever more new and fascinating endeavours. Wonder is human nature. Wondering triggers curiosity, curiosity triggers the imagination and the imagination is put forth into creation. A perfect example of this is music. Throughout the existence of mankind new forms of music have been continually created. It is possible to imagine a rhyme, beat, tune, certain sounds and then create them. Ludwig Van Beethoven arguably made some of the greatest music in history even after losing his hearing. His music has such a powerful impact on listeners it has people asking to this day how he could possibly compose it while unable to hear it. The answer to this conundrum is that he was able to “imagine”, i.e. hear in his mind, the sounds and arrangements therefore was still able to compose musical pieces that continue to be enjoyed by listeners today.

Our imagination manifests itself through many mediums, such as music, paintings and my personal favourite creative writing. It is a form of expression that paints a picture into our minds as we read and allows us to peer into the lives of other while also discovering the diversity within ourselves. Good writing can stir very powerful feelings, be they of empathy for others or inspiration within ourselves. You need only look to the writings of the Bible or William Shakespeare, even quotes from on the back of a toilet doors as evidence of this. Yet this is a power of which should be exercised in a positive manner, although that is not always the case. Indeed as often as it is employed for good, the power of imagination is used for ill. An example of this is when someone imagines their plane crashing and then becomes transfixed that would actually happen.

Our imagination helps us decide between choices. It moulds our beliefs and morals and in doing so helps create who we are. Often when plans go awry people claim they “did not think” as if that is an excuse for their behaviour. In reality, what they didn’t utilize was the ability to imagine the consequences of their actions or only chose to picture a single outcome.

Imagination pervades human interactions in many negative ways; a perfect example of this is lying. Lying is a skill in which the imagination allows the liar to come up with a different scenario of reality. Humans lie for a variety of reasons, from wanting to avoid punishment or conflict, to seeking approval, to maintain privacy or to regulate power. Mankind’s natural instincts push us towards these conclusions. We may also lie to seek approval from others or lie to gain power or respect. We are so used to lying, that whether we intend to or not, we do it on a daily basis, possibly without even noticing. Sometimes when lying to seek approval or attention, we begin to believe our own false images. This is considered to be self-deception. A recent good example of this was Heath Ledger trying to get into character for the role of the Joker in the film, ‘The Dark Knight’. He locked himself in an apartment for a month and pretended to be the Joker. He began to inhabit the lie that was the character of the Joker so intensely, that he absorbed the physical traits of the character such as a nervous tic and the consistent licking of his lips. His imagination prompted him to believe that in some small ways, he was the Joker.

Another example of the power of the imagination is the effect it can have, both good and bad, on the physical mind. The common theory that the brain cannot tell the difference between reality and imagination was supposably backed by research on the placebo effect. The placebo, meaning “I shall please” in Latin, effect is used in medical research which provides inert drugs, the placebo, to a certain number of people and the actual medication to others. In these trials, the doctors do not tell their patients if they are being given the placebo or the actual drug. Instead the patients are advised that the inert pill will change their current condition. Frequently patients in the placebo groups have reported similar results to those in the groups taking the actual drugs. On the other hand, Nocebo, meaning “I shall harm” in Latin, is where the patient disbelieves in the treatment and as a result, may experience no effect or even worsening of symptoms. These results indicate that the power of the imagination is so strong it can trick our mind and body into changing the expected outcome.

Those who do not make full use of their imaginations do not understand the justifications of other people’s actions. There are also those who prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all, choosing to remain comfortable within the boundaries of their own experiences. They do not dare to dream for better and do not understand that their actions, however minor they may be, could affect many. They do not think that they have the power to influence, change or impact others. They do not build, invent or make original things. They do not write creative pieces with meaning and value that tell stories or speak for others who do not voice. They may read, listen or watch but they do not have compassion for those who suffer hardship and adversity because they choose not to imagine, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. But life is difficult, complicated and it is beyond anyone’s control. The humility to know that fact will enable us to survive life’s vicissitudes. Those who do not exercise their imaginations but choose to live in indifference will surely not know what to do when tested by adversity.

Jessica Smith

Monday, May 2, 2011

Twenty Twelve, Doomsday?

Okay so everyone’s heard about the prediction the world will end on December 21, 2012.

Well, if you haven’t, here are some of the reasons why this could happen, the Mayan calendar runs out on that day. The bible has prophecies of Armageddon, which do not happen on that day, and there are some others about the war between good and evil, and 'God will use cosmic events as means of his judgment on the earth.' (so the solar flares from the sun.)

I personally do not believe that 2012 will be the end of the world. There has been many predictions of the end of the world such as the 'millennium bug', that never happened. No nuclear bombs seemed to go off, and planes didn't fall from the sky.

Though people may be saying these days, 'but it all adds up, this place said that and then someone else said it to and this adds up to that,' if you really want to, and you try hard enough, you can make anything prove what you want it to. Fact is, no one knows for sure, there may be some people that are dead set that it will happen and fair enough, I believe that it cannot be predicted, it will happen when it happens. Though people may choose to believe this, I don't.

Jessica Thompson

Obama-1 Osama-0

The worlds most wanted man has been captured and killed.

He has been responsible for a huge amount of death and destruction. When the news was heard across the world, as you could imagine New York and many other places saw this news as a time to celebrate. And why wouldn't they. This is a huge break through for the Americans, and many places, in the fight against terrorism. Though the celebrations were frowned upon and angered the Islamic community I doubt the people celebrating are going to care. This being such huge news it is thought that this could either be a big step forward or maybe anger others to act out. It could even have no effect whatsoever, either way people are celebrating and it is a great development for many people, also bringing peace to many people who have been affected by his attacks.

After the amount of death he has brought this should be a time to celebrate, though terrorist attacks will not be ended by this, this is a huge break through for everyone. The director of the Forum on Australia's Islamic Relations (FAIR) has called these celebrations disgusting and said that we should have 'more respect towards humanity, even if they're bad guys'.

If this isn't a time to celebrate when is? If we weren't looking for him to capture him and stop him, why were we looking for him? Of course the world will be a better place without him, many people will feel safer and though 'an eye for an eye may make the whole world blind' I believe that we can live with that. Especially if it means Osama is no longer in this world, causing fear to some and heartbreak to others. Our thoughts go out to those victimised by the September 11 attacks, and hope this brings some peace.

Jessica Thompson