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An Introduction: The House Always Burns Down

Updated: Mar 24, 2022



During the first COVID lockdown I watched a show called Midnight Gospel. And something I've carried with me in the year that followed was the sentiment that the house always burns down.


"there's a certain amount that you can control. some stuff, you might not be able to control. when the tornado comes whipping through your neighborhood and your house gets blown down and somehow you didn't have insurance and you lose everything, you can't control that. but you can certainly control how you're gonna react to that situation. if you can become aware of your reactivity, then you can respond to it more easily, rather than just repeat the reactions. because the house is always gonna get knocked down. that's part of life. the house gets knocked down. there's just no way out of that. there is no way out of it. but if you will think about all the times that your houses have gotten knocked down in your life, they are actually the transformative moments" – THE MIDNIGHT GOSPEL (2020): SEASON 1, EPISODE 8, "MOUSE OF SILVER"


Being sent home from Eckerd early was transformative. Having to grapple with the effects of a pandemic was transformative. Learning how to live with crippling anxiety about getting COVID while half the world acts like this virus is fake was transformative. Watching the cat I've had for 13 years die was transformative. Trying to learn how to navigate my education with my newfound anxiety about the world has me in a process of transformation (both physically as it's taken a toll on my body's health, and mentally as I experience more severe burnout and social exhaustion than I ever have).


I'm not sure what shape this blog will take; I'm not supposed to, learning is a process. Learning to not "do" school for the purpose of receiving an A is also a process. My intention with this blog is to document a process of learning, specifically in the context of one of my courses at Eckerd.


You might wonder what inspired me to create this


Funnily enough, it is because I'm striving for an A, in a way.


I'm striving to complete a course requirement for the Eastman Citizenship and Leadership Program. Upon acceptance to this program, students are instructed to create a "discovery plan." An individualized plan built around a unified theme, issue, or goal, which must include participation in at least one study abroad course, an internship, and a service-learning project.


This is kind of my service project. And final dissemination. It is how I'm "paying forward" Eckerd's investment in me.


And you might wonder how this could possibly be of service to anyone


Mainly, this is a service to me.


My original plan was to investigate how compulsory capitalism affected women in countries which failed to achieve socialism because the CIA interfered in their democratic processes. The list of countries that this has happened to is long (Overthrow by Stephen Kinzer is a great resource on this), but I wanted to focus on a Latin American country, so I might be able to go somewhere and practice my Spanish as part of my plan. Covid ruined that. And in this process of covid ruining everything, ever, I realized something that I as an individual do not have the capacity to drastically impact two of the largest oppressive systems in the world. And then we read We Will Not Cancel Us by adrienne maree brown, which led to multiple in class discussions on self-work and activism. Particularly, the concept that self-work is an often missing piece of the puzzle which is social justice. But, without doing self-work, it’s impossible to move forward and create progress.


So, while a personal blog might not have a huge impact on the global community, or even the Eckerd community, it will be impactful for me; it will allow me to do necessary self-work while utilizing and increasing my graphic design skills (something I’ve realized I enjoy a lot recently). It will allow me to continue my transformation.


A brief explanation about the title


My brain feels like spaghetti after this semester. Like noodles. Scrambled. And it's from this place that I'm approaching this blog. It's how I'm feeling right now, and so it's reflected in this website's name.


I think to finish this first entry, or blog post might be a more apt a title, I'm going to include some questions I've asked myself in the context of my journal over the past year in hopes that they might guide this website's development:

  • If everything happens for a reason, will I ever get to understand the reason?

  • Who am I unobserved?

  • Has there ever been a time when I wasn’t performing?

  • If the house always burns down does it matter if I start the fire?


And an astute observation:

YOU HAVE TEN WHOLE YEARS TILL YOU'Re 30


Happy trails,

Leah B.

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