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The Birth of Eilonwy Christine

 

My dear baby girl was born a year ago, six weeks ahead of schedule. I’ve tried to process and type up the story many times over the past year, but between illness and insomnia I never had the mental energy. But today I am making the time, because it is a story that needs to be told, a story of miracle and grace and serendipity. It is not the birth story that I wanted. But sometimes when everything goes wrong, everything goes just right.

Last March my biggest pregnancy complaint was insomnia. I spent hours in bed trying to sleep, but it was hard to find. We actually went to our childbirth classes on Saturday mornings and I remember sitting on the birthing ball, falling asleep as Jer rubbed my shoulders while we practiced relaxation breathing techniques. I think I had slept about two hours that night. St. Patrick’s Day weekend we went up to Vancouver BC for a little babymoon and to celebrate the third anniversary of the day we met, March 21st. It was a wonderful relaxing time. Our plans for the following weekend included a baby shower that my parents were hosting for our family and friends. But things changed on Thursday when I went in for my regular midwife appointment.

A few weeks earlier at my regular checkup I had elevated blood pressure. I was sent to triage and tests were run and within a few hours I was sent home with a clean bill of health, instructed to drink more water and get more sleep (hah!). I had been perfectly fine since then, but this Thursday I had elevated numbers again. There were a couple of other warning signs that popped up and so my midwife requested that I go to triage again, and she got on the phone to schedule an ultrasound for the next day. Again I experienced the stress of going to the hospital, Jer rushing home from work, and being strapped to monitors. However, this time the blood pressure didn’t come down. After a few hours the midwife on call decided to send me home. Get some rest, she said, and come back before your ultrasound to get checked out again. So home we went, praying that tomorrow things would be okay.

But Friday morning at the midwife’s office my blood pressure was even higher. The staff was starting to get very concerned and began ordering more tests.  We headed to the ultrasound unsure of what we would find. The tech completed the scan and left to take the info to the doctor, who would call the midwife to discuss our next steps. After what seemed like forever (45 minutes) the tech came back and told us that we had to go back and see the midwife. And I felt that horrible sinking feeling, the knowledge that everything wasn’t okay, that something had gone terribly wrong.

Jer and I sat in the midwife’s office, holding hands as she told us that my amniotic fluid was low and that our baby was showing signs of distress. She said that our girl had asymmetric growth-her head was normal size but her body was small-meaning that she was probably not getting enough nutrients. The placenta was breaking down, and so she was not growing correctly, and I was developing preeclampsia. I needed to be admitted immediately and the midwife was turning my care over to the OB team due to my high-risk situation.

I lost it. The moment she said that my baby girl was being hurt by the situation and was in danger I buried my face in Jer’s shoulder and wept. Even now as I type this the memory of the fear and overwhelming love for my daughter gets me choked up. Up until that point all the symptoms and troubles I had only affected me, and she was perfectly healthy. Hearing that she was no longer happily growing without a care broke my heart.

So within a couple of hours I was admitted, stuck in a hospital bed and hooked up to IVs and fetal monitors, with a blood pressure cuff automatically checking my pressure every ten minutes. We were hoping that with fluids and rest they might keep me pregnant for a little longer, but the OB on call wasn’t convinced that was a possibility. Preeclampsia comes in two kinds, she told us, the gradual kind and the sudden kind, and I seemed to have the sudden kind. The only cure for that is delivering the baby as soon as possible. Friday night she recommended that I be given a dose of steroids that would help the baby’s lung development in case we had to deliver quickly.

As it turns out, that was an excellent prescription, for on Saturday they did another ultrasound and despite the night of IV fluids and rest my amniotic fluid level was even lower. The decision was made to start inducing labor that evening, after the second steroid shot could be given. I was also started on magnesium sulfate to help prevent seizures or stroke due to my high blood pressure, which was now running in the 160/100 range.

I won’t go into all the interesting particulars of the methods of inducing labor they tried on me, but suffice to say that the initial estimate of 12 hours by one OB was woefully ambitious. All told my labor took 48 hours. The first 24 hours of less intense methods led to very little activity, just a lot of discomfort, sleeplessness, and progression to only about 2cm. All day Saturday night and Sunday I stayed in that hospital bed, with Jer beside me, people coming and going-nurses, doctors, my mom, our doula Nancy, our friend and priest Jen. Finally on Sunday night they started the pitocin.

Oh the pitocin. One of the things I had passionately desired to avoid in my labor. I had heard the stories of what it does to your contractions, and despite the OB who insisted there was no difference between pitocin and regular contractions (complete lie), I knew it was the last thing I wanted. But we had to get this labor moving, and so on it came.

And I was right to not want it. The contractions came every two minutes for hours on end, no break, no breather. I could manage the pain just fine-I sat up in my bed and watched Battlestar Galactica on the portable DVD player through the night, swaying and humming as wave after wave rolled over me. After a few hours I had to lie down because my blood pressure was too high again, and I curled up in a fetal position and rocked and hummed through Monday morning. By 11am I was exhausted, and I did something I didn’t ever think I would do-I asked for the epidural. I didn’t need it for the pain, but I was so weary, and hadn’t slept for almost two days, and I knew that if I didn’t get some rest I wouldn’t have the energy to push the baby out. I was only about 4cm, and they wanted to increase the pitocin and get things moving. So I let them stick that needle in my back and as the pain medicine rushed through me I said, “so this is why women get these!”

Four hours of blessed, oh-so-needed sleep followed. When I woke up they broke my water and I quickly progressed to 6cm. Everything started to move very fast. Around 7pm as I was in transition my epidural stopped working. I could feel everything, and while all around me alarms were going off as my IVs ran out and they called the anesthesiologist to come fix my pain medication I descended into myself, focusing on the waves of pain and the pressure building as I started to feel the desire to push. Nancy had sent Jer to the waiting room to get some food, expecting a few more hours of labor and pushing but suddenly the baby and I were ready for her to be born, even if no one else was ready! Doctors and nurses appeared out of nowhere, bringing in NICU equipment, not knowing what shape the baby would be in. Someone went to pull Jer back in the room and I grabbed his hand and got ready to push.

Then they started to lose the baby’s heartbeat. She was so tiny, and down in the birth canal the monitor on my belly couldn’t find her. In my fog of labor I could hear the doctor talking to Jer, asking about putting a intrauterine monitor in, a catheter that attaches to the baby’s head so they can monitor her. I could feel myself getting weaker, and in all the confusion I had a moment of clarity, and all I could think was, I NEED TO GET THIS BABY OUT. Somehow my body communicated to me that I wasn’t well, that I didn’t have much left, and on the strength of all the prayers being said for us I pushed and pushed and there she was.  48 hours of labor, 7 minutes of pushing, and she was born, coming into the world crying, showing us that her lungs were just fine.

She was so tiny, and so perfect, and they let me hold her for a minute before taking her away to the NICU. The moment she was in my arms I knew that the name we had chosen was right, that this was my little Elly. She had her daddy’s blue eyes and my mouth and she looked at me and my heart exploded in love.

Jer went with her to the NICU while my mom stayed with me. I was exhausted and wanted to sleep, but I was having trouble breathing. All of that magnesium to prevent seizures had kept me safe but caused fluid to start pooling in my lungs after days lying in bed. For the next 24 hours I was watched very closely, wearing an oxygen mask and getting pumped full of drugs to bring down my blood pressure and evacuate the fluid in my lungs. (I was on restricted fluids for a couple of days and it took several days for them to discharge me.) But the next evening they let me get out of bed and be taken in a wheelchair to see my little girl, safe and warm in her isolette. They were feeding her the breastmilk that I had pumped (thanks to a great lactation consultant) through a little tube down her throat. I would end up pumping for six weeks until she was strong enough to nurse, but she was healthy and thriving. Two and a half weeks later we were able to bring her home.

So many things could have gone wrong with Elly’s delivery and the months following, but she has been the most perfect, healthy little girl. She eats and sleeps so well, avoided all the illnesses we were warned she was at higher risk for, and is developing right on schedule. And while my recovery was long and complicated, the timing of everything that happened and the care we received was nothing short of miraculous. Preeclampsia can cause your liver and kidneys to shut down, and when that happens an emergency c-section is usually the only option. My blood tests were fine all through my long labor, until the last test right before I gave birth. If she had not been born that night I would have started having major trouble, but because I went in that particular Thursday afternoon, and my midwife scheduled that ultrasound and I was admitted on Friday, I was able to deliver my daughter and avoid surgery. It may not have been the beautiful natural birth I wanted, but it was still a birth full of joy, and all I can do is praise God for how He took care of us through it all.

A few pictures of that weekend:

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Posted by on March 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

2011: A Year of Health

It’s that resolution-filled time of year again. All over the blogosphere folks are listing out their goals, and of course one of the top resolutions out there is to lose weight.  Of particular note are several real food bloggers who are running challenges that would/could be beneficial to me, such as reducing sugar intake, eliminating caffeine, and even working through Sally Fallon and Mary Enig’s great book Eat Fat Lose Fat (I’ve read it, and highly recommend). All of these are great ideas, and I’ve signed up for newsletters and notifications for many of them.  I’m looking forward to receiving the tips and recipes and such.

But right now, with coming out of a tough year physically, punctuated by my hospital stint over the holidays, I just can’t put weight loss down as my number one goal. Oh, I’d love to lose weight and get slim and trim. But I know that my body isn’t ready. Healing is my goal for this year-healing the allergies, eczema, fatigue, and other little things that have been stealing my everyday vitality. My body isn’t going to relax and lose the excess weight until it feels like it has all the nutrients it needs, so instead of calorie restriction and intense workouts, I am focusing on traditional foods, getting adequate rest, and taking care of my skin. Eating more fat and reducing sugar and caffeine are certainly part of that plan, but I’m going to try not to judge my progress by the number on the scale but instead on the amount of energy I have when I wake up in the morning.

Hopefully, as I heal and gain strength internally, the effects will show externally, and the weight loss will simply come as a function of reducing inflammation, eating healthy food, and having more energy. And really, my goal is to end 2011 with a little extra weight in the form of a baby, so a healthy system has got to be my focus more than fitting some social standard of acceptable weight. I know that I have the tools I need to move forward in my real food-fueled health journey. I truly believe that with everything I have learned over the past year, 2011 will be a year of health, vitality, and hopefully, babymaking!

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Detox is a…yeah.

I could tell you how I really feel about detox, but I try to keep my profanity to a minimum. While I had a good couple of days last weekend, this week has been a struggle, as I continue to work through some serious skin issues.  It’s manageable, but not fun.

I’ve been so very good with avoiding grains and hoped that I would improve this week, but I seemed to have run through an entire new set of symptoms. Sore throat, stomach upset, and migrating eczema have all plagued me, and I’m getting pretty tired of it, I must say.  But I’m not giving up. I know that this reaction means I have a very toxic system and I want to get it cleaned out, once and for all!

I’ve done a lot of reading about detoxification, eczema, gut dysbiosis, and retracing this week. It’s amazing some of the stories out there. I’m so grateful for the collective body of knowledge and the encouraging stories from those who have seen their eczema vanish permanently. For some it took days and for other weeks and months, but it does work. And while there is a temptation to go back to the status quo, to just slap on a bunch of steroid creams and look better, I know that it only delays the inevitable.

This experience has convinced me that at some point in the near future I need to do the full GAPS program, starting with the intro diet, so I can really truly heal. It may not be very fun, but it will get me to where I want to go. I’ve really appreciated the GAPS Guide blog during all this-a great resource for tips, encouragement, and recipes. I also found this article (thanks to Cheeseslave for the link) which really gives a great explanation of the detox process that has encouraged my resolve:

The following was given to patients at the Gerson Cancer Clinic in 1982: “As a person continues on an improved diet and supplement program and gradually raises his or her food quality, interesting symptoms begin to appear. The body begins a process called retracing.
The cellular intelligence reasons something like this: `Oh, look at all these fine materials coming in. How wonderful — now we have a chance to get rid of this old garbage and build a beautiful new house. Let’s get started immediately.
“First the body begins to clean house — everywhere (this is when you are likely to have a healing reaction, sometimes called a healing crisis or a cleansing reaction). During this period, the body “removes the ashes from the furnace preparatory to getting a better fire…”

“Let’s return to the symptoms, which occur when a person begins a superior nutritional program. People who have had tendencies in the past to recurring skin rashes or eruptions will frequently tend to eliminate poisons and harmful drugs through the skin with new rashes or eruptions. If they go to a doctor now, who is not familiar with the aspect of nutrition, he or she will diagnose it as an allergy.
The patient asks, “Why do I have a rash? I’m eating better now and than I ever did before and taking the best supplements in the world, and instead of getting better, I’m getting worse! They don’t understand that the body is “retracing.” The body is getting more alive and active. It is throwing out poisons more rapidly now that the body has more power.
“With some, colds, which haven’t appeared for a long time, may occur or even fevers. This is nature’s way of house cleaning. Understand that these actions are constructive, even though unpleasant at the moment. Don’t — but don’t try to stop these symptoms by the use of drugs. These are not deficiency conditions or allergic manifestations — not if you are eating properly and taking your supplements…

Don’t expect to go on an ascending scale of quality of life — expecting that improving your diet will make you feel better and better each day until you reach perfection. The body is cyclical in nature, and health comes in a series of gradually diminishing flare-up cycles.
For example, you start a better diet and for a while you feel much better. After some time a symptom occurs, you may feel nauseous for a day and have diarrhea with a foul-smelling stool. After a day, you feel even better than before and all goes well for awhile.
Then you suddenly develop a cold; feel chills and lose your appetite. After about 2 or 3 days (assuming you don’t take drugs nor do anything else about it), you suddenly recover and feel better than you did for years.
Let us say this well being continues for two months, when you suddenly develop a rash. You still don’t take anything special for it. This rash flares up, gets worse and continues for ten days, then suddenly subsides.
Immediately after this, you find that your [ whatever you were manifesting while undernourished] is gone and your energy has increased more than ever before. The rash became an outlet for the poisons in the liver, which produced the [whatever was manifesting].
This is how recovery occurs, like the cycles in the Dow-Jones Average at the beginning of a bull market recovery. You feel better, a reaction occurs, and you don’t feel as well for a short while.
You recover and go higher for a while. Then another reaction occurs, milder than the last. You recover and go even higher.
And so it goes, each reaction milder than the last, as the body becomes purer, each becoming shorter in duration and being followed by a longer and longer period of feeling better than ever before, until you reach a level plateau of vibrant health.”

 Vibrant health! That’s what I am looking for, and I think in time I will find it.

Update: We’re going to take a little break just to let my system recover from the extreme eczema I’ve been dealing with this past week, as it is dangerous to have skin this compromised (it can lead to very bad infections requiring antibiotics that will just damage my gut health further) but we will continue to implement GAPS principles and possibly try the intro again after the holidays.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Cold and Flu Season

With the weather changing and the chill coming on, webpages start to fill up with articles on combating the cold and flu season. Usually the articles are a rehash of the same article from last year and the year before: wash your hands, stay home when you are sick, get your flu shot. Those are the things we all do every year, and yet most of us still end up sick. I was thinking about it today and realizing that I haven’t taken a sick day all year. This is in great contrast to last year when I used up all my sick time between colds, flu, and mono. In previous years I was home with a flu or infection at least once or twice a winter.

The year is not over yet, but considering that I’ve been exposed to people who turned out to be harboring some pretty nasty infections (bronchitis and strep, things that would have taken over pretty quickly before) I am pretty confident in my ability to stay healthy this season.  As you might guess, I attribute it to the dietary changes we have been making and the way that my husband has been helping me learn how to rest. I used to be so busy and stretched so thin it was a wonder that I wasn’t constantly down for the count.  However, I’m slowly learning to slow down and recognize when I need to say no to a busy schedule, and I have a lot more energy as a result.

This morning I read an article that went beyond the usual platitudes to offer some valuable advice for boosting the immune system-actions that I myself have taken and feel have made a huge difference. If you want to have better health this season, I recommend you check it out here

It’s shaping up to be a cold and wet winter here in Seattle, but here’s hoping we can stay happy and healthy, even as we are visited by another snowpocalypse.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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What’s In Your Bathroom?

In my quest to get healthy, I have started to realize that I can’t only focus on what I am putting in my body, but also on what I am putting on my body. Growing up with skin issues, I have spent a lot of money on skincare products over the years, from moisturizers to cleansers of all sorts to treatments for allergies, eczema, and acne. Then there is the makeup-concealer, foundation, powder, eyeshadow, lipstick, mascara-the list goes on, and the layers add up, as we girls try to imitate magazine life. Add to all that the shampoos, conditioners, and styling products for my long, frizzy, curly hair, and I’ve donated a lot of money to the beauty industry. For example, here is an idea of what a typical month of toiletry spending looked like for me:

Shampoo + Conditioner: $10-$14

Styling products: $10-$18

Moisturizer, skin treatments: $14

Deodorant, toothpaste, soap: $5

Makeup (foundation, concealer, occasional blush/eyeshadow): $10-$15

Total: $49-$66 a month

What a crazy amount of money I was spending! And me the highly budget-conscious one.  But beyond that, there was the cost of all the toxins in those products. For that price, I was also getting daily doses of the following:

Methylparabens

Propylparabens

aluminum

octenylsuccinate

Ethylene oxide

And these were just a few of the fun ingredients in my routine.

So what to do? Do I just swear off beauty products and stop wearing deodorant? I don’t think that would go over well with my friends and coworkers. But there are alternatives.

Things I’ve tried include making my own deodorant and using the oil cleansing method. I switched to washing my hair with baking soda solution and conditioning with apple cider vinegar. I am making or buying moisturizers composed of coconut oil, beeswax, and essential oils, and only using a small amount of mineral makeup from a company that gets excellent safety ratings.

This is what I have done over the past three weeks. And I will tell you that while it took a few days for my body to balance itself out, as of today my hair looks better than ever, my scalp is much happier, and I still smell nice. I actually sweat less! And all for the cost of a little coconut oil and baking soda. I estimate I am saving about $40 a month, although I feel the real benefit is avoiding the carcinogens and synthetic estrogens that can cause havoc on our endocrine systems.

It may not be for everyone, but I would highly recommend you check out the Cosmetic Safety Database and see what the products you use contain.  Even if you don’t go homemade, there are better natural alternatives out there.  With all the toxins we meet daily in our environment, a little research is worth it.

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

My point, exactly.

I have a family somewhat steeped in institutional education. My mother was a home-school marm. I have aunts and cousins that have taught everything from toddlers to high school graduates. My father taught the Nuclear Navy how to tame the forces of nuclear fission to make a submarine move. They have all played their part in the institution of ‘higher learning,’ and they all deserve to be lauded for their efforts to keep their children (myself included) sharp as a tack and willing to learn.

And yet, I never really liked school. Much like Neo in the Matrix, I always felt that there was something wrong with the world, like a splinter in my mind. And when I tried to express these feelings, I was challenged to come up with a better system — but in the meanwhile, excel at the current one. And like Neo, I was never quite able to voice with due eloquence what I believed was wrong with the world. Unlike Neo, I was never given a white rabbit to follow, nor did a mysterious stranger named Morpheus suddenly appear one day to offer me the red pill.

But today I stumbled across the words of a high school valedictorian named Erica Goldson. She was inter(r|n)ed at Coxsackie-Athens High School and emerged, in her words, as “the best slave.” And while she doesn’t actually offer a true red pill in her delivery, she does paint a very vivid picture of the educational Matrix the youth of today are trapped in. She even pulls back the curtain on how we are groomed by the system to become workers, which is really just one step down the line from copper tops.

Here I stand

There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, “If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years . .” 
The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast — How long then?” Replied the Master, “Well, twenty years.” “But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?” asked the student. “Thirty years,” replied the Master. “But, I do not understand,” said the disappointed student. “At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?” 
Replied the Master, “When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.”

This is the dilemma I’ve faced within the American education system. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective.

Some of you may be thinking, “Well, if you pass a test, or become valedictorian, didn’t you learn something? Well, yes, you learned something, but not all that you could have. Perhaps, you only learned how to memorize names, places, and dates to later on forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. School is not all that it can be. Right now, it is a place for most people to determine that their goal is to get out as soon as possible.

I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contest that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer – not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition – a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I’m scared.

John Taylor Gatto, a retired school teacher and activist critical of compulsory schooling, asserts, “We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness – curiosity, adventure, resilience, the capacity for surprising insight simply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids into truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then. But we don’t do that.” Between these cinderblock walls, we are all expected to be the same. We are trained to ace every standardized test, and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, and therefore viewed with contempt.

H. L. Mencken wrote in The American Mercury for April 1924 that the aim of public education is not “to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. … Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim … is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States.”

Comment: The full passage reads: “The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever pretensions of politicians, pedagogues other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.”
To illustrate this idea, doesn’t it perturb you to learn about the idea of “critical thinking.” Is there really such a thing as “uncritically thinking?” To think is to process information in order to form an opinion. But if we are not critical when processing this information, are we really thinking? Or are we mindlessly accepting other opinions as truth?

This was happening to me, and if it wasn’t for the rare occurrence of an avant-garde tenth grade English teacher, Donna Bryan, who allowed me to open my mind and ask questions before accepting textbook doctrine, I would have been doomed. I am now enlightened, but my mind still feels disabled. I must retrain myself and constantly remember how insane this ostensibly sane place really is.

And now here I am in a world guided by fear, a world suppressing the uniqueness that lies inside each of us, a world where we can either acquiesce to the inhuman nonsense of corporatism and materialism or insist on change. We are not enlivened by an educational system that clandestinely sets us up for jobs that could be automated, for work that need not be done, for enslavement without fervency for meaningful achievement. We have no choices in life when money is our motivational force. Our motivational force ought to be passion, but this is lost from the moment we step into a system that trains us, rather than inspires us.

We are more than robotic bookshelves, conditioned to blurt out facts we were taught in school. We are all very special, every human on this planet is so special, so aren’t we all deserving of something better, of using our minds for innovation, rather than memorization, for creativity, rather than futile activity, for rumination rather than stagnation? We are not here to get a degree, to then get a job, so we can consume industry-approved placation after placation. There is more, and more still.

The saddest part is that the majority of students don’t have the opportunity to reflect as I did. The majority of students are put through the same brainwashing techniques in order to create a complacent labor force working in the interests of large corporations and secretive government, and worst of all, they are completely unaware of it. I will never be able to turn back these 18 years. I can’t run away to another country with an education system meant to enlighten rather than condition. This part of my life is over, and I want to make sure that no other child will have his or her potential suppressed by powers meant to exploit and control. We are human beings. We are thinkers, dreamers, explorers, artists, writers, engineers. We are anything we want to be – but only if we have an educational system that supports us rather than holds us down. A tree can grow, but only if its roots are given a healthy foundation.

For those of you out there that must continue to sit in desks and yield to the authoritarian ideologies of instructors, do not be disheartened. You still have the opportunity to stand up, ask questions, be critical, and create your own perspective. Demand a setting that will provide you with intellectual capabilities that allow you to expand your mind instead of directing it. Demand that you be interested in class. Demand that the excuse, “You have to learn this for the test” is not good enough for you. Education is an excellent tool, if used properly, but focus more on learning rather than getting good grades.

For those of you that work within the system that I am condemning, I do not mean to insult; I intend to motivate. You have the power to change the incompetencies of this system. I know that you did not become a teacher or administrator to see your students bored. You cannot accept the authority of the governing bodies that tell you what to teach, how to teach it, and that you will be punished if you do not comply. Our potential is at stake.

For those of you that are now leaving this establishment, I say, do not forget what went on in these classrooms. Do not abandon those that come after you. We are the new future and we are not going to let tradition stand. We will break down the walls of corruption to let a garden of knowledge grow throughout America. Once educated properly, we will have the power to do anything, and best of all, we will only use that power for good, for we will be cultivated and wise. We will not accept anything at face value. We will ask questions, and we will demand truth.

So, here I stand. I am not standing here as valedictorian by myself. I was molded by my environment, by all of my peers who are sitting here watching me. I couldn’t have accomplished this without all of you. It was all of you who truly made me the person I am today. It was all of you who were my competition, yet my backbone. In that way, we are all valedictorians.

I am now supposed to say farewell to this institution, those who maintain it, and those who stand with me and behind me, but I hope this farewell is more of a “see you later” when we are all working together to rear a pedagogic movement. But first, let’s go get those pieces of paper that tell us that we’re smart enough to do so!

She posted the entire speech online, here:

http://www.sott.net/articles/show/212383-V…aduation-Speech

You can also watch a youtube video of the speech, but I warn you that she is not a polished public speaker, and she also must have been very nervous (the pressure of delivering such a damning thesis with her “slave masters” seated mere feet away must have added a small mountain of pressure to her already fragile nerves).

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2010 in Things Educational, Uncategorized

 

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Diagnosis: Tendonitis

So the Doc says I have bi-lateral tendonitis. That explains why both my wrists hurt (though the right moreso than the left). Armed with drugs and wrist braces, I soldier on!

Your prayers for a rapid recovery are requested!

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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