Winter Trekking

Winter Issue

Dec 2020 - feb 2021

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Dear reader,  

Wow. What a year it has been.

 

2020 was, undeniably, a whirlwind year for all of us in a myriad of ways. From the COVID-19 pandemic, to the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement, to one of the most divisive presidential election cycles in US history, the impact of 2020 is still reverberating in many ways both within our Steward community and beyond as we proceed forward into the new year.

 

Additionally, on a smaller scale, 2020 also marked the graduation year of our club founder, Sonali Sanjay, somebody who truly embodied the heart and soul of everything Steward Ink represents. In her absence, the two of us were left with huge shoes to fill. Yet, nevertheless, filling them has been a thrilling challenge that we both have undertaken joyously. We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to explore our creativity, to grow as leaders, and, perhaps most importantly, to collaborate with one another while working on this issue. The two of us have been close friends for over a decade now, and leading the Steward Ink team together has been a treasured experience that we will surely cherish even after we ultimately part ways for college later on this year. 

 

We have truly poured our hearts and souls into crafting this issue, and we are so grateful to our staffers who have done the same. Our Steward Ink team is truly unmatched in terms of their flexibility, ingenious ideas, and their unbridled enthusiasm. Thus, to our staffers, thank you so much for your commitment to representing the diverse interests and perspectives of our Steward community. We are so lucky to be working with such incredible, unique individuals, and we are immensely excited to keep working with you this year!

 

Lastly, we would like to thank you, the reader, for taking the time out of your day to read our articles. Steward Ink was created, first and foremost, to be a space in which students can share their writings, no matter the subjects or formats, with others. Although the act of writing is certainly fulfilling in and of itself even if the work in question is never published, your viewership transforms the entire experience of writing into a worthwhile exchange of ideas, allowing for the precious possibility of human connection. This fact is certainly not lost on us; thank you. 

 

We believe wholeheartedly that Steward Ink provides a perfect platform for community members to come together and learn about all of the amazing things that Steward has to offer. For this particular issue, members of the newspaper have written a diverse array of pieces with topics ranging from 2020 election reflections, to the impacts of COVID-19 on sports and the arts, to reviews of a multitude of media. It is our sincerest hope that, no matter your interests, you can find articles here that intrigue you and inspire you to keep coming back for more.

 

Happy reading!

Sincerely,

Hailey Wharram and Anya Bhargava, '21

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By Anya Bhargava, '21

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By Zoë Macgill, '22

Why Vote?

February 12, 2021 / Anya Bhargava, Co-Editor In Chief

 

After waiting in a never ending line, I was finally in the voting booth. Since 2016, I had been waiting for the day I could vote and make my voice count. Luckily, I turned 18 a few short weeks before the 2020 presidential election and so, knew that I could cast my ballot in one of the most important elections so far. Little did I know how much would be at stake this election cycle: ending the pandemic, the senate, climate change policy, abortion rights, and so much more. 

 

No matter which party or candidate you support, access to voting is a crucial part of the democratic process. People who live in the most remote areas, those who have served jail sentences, and those who cannot speak English should all be given an equal chance to make their voices count alongside those who are able to vote more easily.

 

The Indian government takes that to a whole new level. Government officials are required to make sure that every Indian citizen is given access to a voting booth. In Gujarat, there was one man who actually lived in the middle of a deep forest, so four government officials trekked for three days in order to give that man the opportunity to cast his ballot. If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is! 

 

I’m not sure if a situation like that has occurred in the U.S., but the same rights apply: every eligible citizen has the right to vote, which is why presidential elections are crucial in determining people’s views on current issues.

 

The night of the 2016 election, I vividly remember sitting on the couch, watching the results trickle in. At the time, I had only known that this was an unusual election and that a TV personality usually does not win the nomination of a party. All the polls, news networks, everyone I knew, were saying that Hilary Clinton was definitely going to win. Then, all of a sudden, everything switched. Donald Trump was quickly gaining a substantial lead. Everyone was shocked. Everyone was talking about it at school. And everyone blurted out who their parents voted for. Looking back, it was a really strange time, but things were about to get stranger.

 

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The 2020 election couldn’t have been any more different. For one, we were in the midst of a pandemic. I always thought that pandemics were a thing of the past. Technology was too advanced for a disease to ravage the planet, shut down the economy, and lead to millions losing their jobs. Nope. This pandemic resulted in the unemployment rate skyrocketing and a terrible situation for President Trump. Not only was there a pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement came into the spotlight, leading to protests over the unjust deaths of black men all over the country. 

 

The 2020 election had the highest voter turnout seen in over a century, most likely because this was such an unprecedented year. Being the first election in which there was such a massive use of mail-in-ballots, more than 60% of eligible voters cast their ballots, a percentage not seen since the early 1900s. That doesn’t seem like a lot, at least it didn’t to me, but a lot of people choose not to vote because they dislike both candidates and feel as though there’s no point in voting for a third party candidate. I mean, can you blame them? It can be hard to vote for a candidate you don’t truly support. But, wouldn’t it be great if we had a multiparty system like New Zealand or Iceland, so that voters would be able to elect a candidate that more accurately represented their views? Unfortunately, third party candidates don’t really stand a chance in the U.S. currently, but no candidate is perfect, so voting for the one you like more than the other is a perfectly valid and common reason to vote, a mindset that many had this election cycle.

 

This year, the majority of voters decided that they wanted to elect Joe Biden, rather than incumbent, Donald Trump. The combination of the BLM protests, the negative effects of COVID, and an urgency regarding climate policy most likely led to President elect Joe Biden winning the election. It’s crazy how the most unexpected events can drastically change the results of an election. 

 

Regardless of the winner, voting is an incredibly important right as a citizen and it’s wonderful that so many more people realized this election cycle that their vote matters.      

No man's sky. 

 

Life Lessons from an Unusually Resilient Game.

 

February 12, 2021 / Hayden Ashworth

No Man's Sky.

 

This game is the reason my neighbor bought a PS4. Unfortunately, I think the hype got to them a little bit, because this game wasn't very good at the time. In their defense, it boasted being able to explore 18 quintillion planets, which means, theoretically, you'd get over 7 billion lifetimes of content in one game.

Wow! Name another game that can offer that scale of gameplay. Revolutionary stuff, right? Wrong.

Unfortunately, when the game first came out, there was nothing to do. The planets (all 18 quintillion) were boring and empty, the objective of the game was vague, and there were various problems with the game's code. It ended up being really, really bad. It sort of left with the tide, and everyone forgot about it. And that was the end of No Man's Sky, the game that could never live up to the hype.

However, while the rest of the world moved on, the creators of the No Man's Sky (Hello Games) continued to strive for excellence. In the four years following its catastrophic release, No Man's Sky has received 15 different updates, each one making the game more and more promising, entertaining, and farther from the "disappointment" it was branded as at first. These updates have rescued No Man's Sky from certain demise at the hands of unforgiving critics and the general public, salvaging the creator’s original vision.

In the end, the story of No Man's Sky has a happy ending. Now the world has another great, original game to add to their collection. But why does any of this matter? Why does telling you about this game's underdog story hold any relevance? Well, the reason why is this: Despite the original iteration of the game letting down millions of excited would-be fans, the people behind the game refused to give up. What No Man's Sky showed was that if you have a dream that's important to you and you want to show it to the world, it’s important to be open to receiving valuable feedback, instead of denying it out of stubborness. Even if your original vision crashes and burns, you shouldn't give up on it if it's important to you. No matter what ends up happening, have faith in your dreams while also allowing yourself the flexibility of letting your dreams grow and change alongside you. With this mindset, you might be able to accomplish the impossible.

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garden.

 

February 12, 2021 / Hailey Wharram, Co-Editor In Chief

what fools we were last fall

to fall in love with fool’s gold fallacies, 

honey-soaked words dripping with broken promises,

sticky to the touch, ever present despite the burial.

 

suffocate the winter marigold sprout

before she has the chance to bloom come spring,

to spring from the flesh and become her wintry mother

what divine promises this afternoon brings.

 

summer saunters in with grace,

but leaves without a trace.

Summer saunters in with Grace,

but leaves without a trace. 

 

layer upon bloodstained layer of sedimentary earth,

see the fluorescent flames tucked inside her hearth

and pray to God they never see the pale lights of morning

lest the hunter becomes the prey

and the victor shows the tell-tale signs of mourning.

 

the seasons change with growing pains

but the circle remains unbroken,

blissfully unburdened by words unspoken

but can mankind say the same?

 

the wheel turns and turns with agonizing familiarity,

but we’re still here til there’s nothing left. 

so we pass the time by refurbishing haunted houses

until the floorboards don’t creak beneath our weight anymore.

 

we read tenderly-worn thrift store dictionaries from cover to cover,

newly enchanted by the mystical beauty of self-expression. 

the word “benevolence” was shakily highlighted in every copy. 

we relearn it’s meaning earnestly. 

 

finally, we paint our thumbs forest green and pretend to be florists. 

they never see through our clever disguises. 

Halloween breaks November’s gentle heart all over again,

the melancholic wave finds the self-loathing shore to crash upon anew. 

 

nevertheless, we collect the marigold seeds and find new places to plant them. 

a Garden of Eden all our own.

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By Hailey Wharram, '21

Breaking a leg...virtually.

 

February 12, 2021  / Elise Gresham

Zoe Macgill ‘22 was ecstatic to play the part of Adelaide in Steward’s spring production of “Guys and Dolls.” She’s been doing theatre at Steward since the 2017 production of “As You Like It”, and this was her biggest role yet. When the COVID-19 outbreak hit Virginia, the Steward theatre department needed to change “Guys and Dolls” to a virtual concert. Macgill was crushed. 

“It was really kind of like gutting disappointment,” Macgill said. “It was pretty awful.”

The transition from in-person to online school has been a drastic change. The theater program has undergone a particularly dramatic transition. Craig Smith, Steward’s lower and upper school acting teacher, and others in the theatre department still wanted to continue with productions, but there was the inescapable question of how it would be accomplished while abiding by CDC guidelines. While thinking about how to achieve his goal, Smith focused on students’ safety.

“We have to do something that is safe for everybody,” Smith said. “We also wanted to take time, since we’re having to do things differently, to try to do different works. So, instead of the season we announced, why not try an original student written production?” 

Hayden Ashworth ‘23 wrote the play “On the Subject of Acquitting a Spirit” which Smith turned into a movie. Many students participated in the film, including senior Mara Beck. Beck was glad to have the opportunity to act in a production, but still missed the thrill of live theater. 

“I think I’m happy that we’re trying to do something, you know?” Beck remarked. “I just wish it was different, but I feel like desperate times call for desperate measures. You kind of have to get creative when you’re in the middle of a pandemic.” 

Smith focused on the innovative solutions other theatre organizations were implementing in order to perform safely. Steward decided on the idea of a movie.

 

“It's a pattern that has worked for other theater organizations,” Smith said. “What we're doing throughout this whole COVID pandemic is looking to see what other groups are doing and how they are successful.”

Smith also hopes this year has been a learning experience for students to learn more about themselves and their creativity, the differences between performing onstage and on film, and the joy in building community. 

“They’re learning about their own creativity in being able to produce works,” Smith said. “I hope that all students will learn about the different ways of doing things on stage rather than on film. You know, some people say, ‘Oh, I want to go to New York and be on Broadway.’ Some people say, ‘No, I want to go to Hollywood and be on film.’ Those are two different animals, so I hope students see the difference between those two. I hope they’re also learning that part of the joy of doing a production, even when it’s online, is building and maintaining a community. I hope that everyone who is involved in the fall and winter productions still feels that connection with the people they’re working with.”

 Beck not only misses performing live, but also the experience of being an audience member seeing live theatre.

“Something I miss with theater is going to see shows in person,” Beck said. “I miss the Altria season ticket thing. Hamilton and Waitress were some of my favorite shows that I got to see. It's just sad not being able to do that anymore. It was always a fun little thing we got to do on a Sunday night. Going to see live theater when you're in the theater community, you kinda know of everyone. It's a fun way to go and support your community.”

Smith has similar feelings as Beck, and feels that there is a drastic difference between watching movies and plays. 

“Just the idea that I haven't had the chance to sit in an audience for a while is so strange to me. And yeah, I can watch all the movies that I want. I can watch all the shows streaming on Netflix that I want, but I'm by myself. I'm not with an audience of 50 people, a hundred people, a thousand people, wherever, you know, depending on the production. It's a totally different experience. As soon as it's safe, I'm going to be back in the theater seat. I know that.”

 Macgill decided that the pandemic also has given her a greater appreciation for live theater.

“I didn’t realize how much I took the program for granted, because at first it was a huge leap from trying out for my first show,” Macgill said. “Then I kind of fell into it, and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is my life now’. It was just so quickly taken away from us that it kind of hit me upside the head. This is a huge part of my life that I’m missing now.”

Macgill still has hope for her last upcoming year at Steward, hoping that there will be one last chance to take the stage and have another shining moment before she graduates, but still appreciates the program regardless of the outcome.

 “No matter what happens, I’m so grateful for the experiences I’ve had in the program.”

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by Zoë 

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poems for life in isolation.

 

February 12, 2021 / Zoë Macgill

I wrote these poems all throughout various quiet moments I’ve spent at home, because I believe the best work springs forth from the moments in between chaos and cacophony, in between breaths. They are for you, dear reader - I hope you can find a little mantra of peace within these lines. As winter approaches, the months are getting colder and the days are getting longer. We’re able to slip back into our shells - or to reflect on the beauty that is still so present, no matter what’s happening in the world.

be mesmerized

allow yourself 

to see the beauty in things so often unseen. 

for even the most minute details are capable of teaching you something.

embrace these small things—the sound of the rain, the soft morning light, the way the sun still rises after the longest, most brutal night. 

 

be mesmerized.

 

even if your life is tossed and turned by chaos, 

even if your tapestry is fraying at the edges, 

these pinpricks of light still peek through.

 

be mesmerized

by the sweet moments

that mesmerize you. 

-z.m.

an ode to a window

and even if it seems like everything is collapsing around you,

be reminded that the biggest cracks allow the most light to come through.

for a window can’t fulfill its purpose when it is closed,

shrouded in shadow,

waiting to be opened again -

rather, when there is a little extra space between the blinds, 

ready for the Sun to do its wonderful work 

of letting warmth in, 

filling the room

filling you with Light,

restoring you from within.

 

-z.m.

refuge

i hope you know 

Love will always be a refuge.

in the midst of that chaos,

that confusion,

that night -

in the quiet, 

still waiting,

in waters that may feel stagnant -

Love is still moving, constantly.

 

Love is always protecting.

 

i hope you know

Love will always be your refuge.

 

-z.m.

 

gratitude

for the ground beneath my feet

the breath in my lungs, that air so sweet

the sprawling sky above me

the beauty that awaits

 

gratitude

 

for the people around me

some connected by blood,

others by happenstance

all connected by love

 

gratitude

 

for the threads in my tapestry—

the colors of the sunset

and leaves of different trees

and of course, different types 

of tea

 

gratitude

 

for the music that fills me

that courses through my veins

lighting up my veins 

beating alongside my heart

warming my soul, always

 

gratitude

 

for the Savior that has never

stopped loving me

and would go to the ends 

of the earth to hem me in

with His light

 

gratitude

 

-z.m.

 

Sports during COVID.

 

February 12, 2021 / Gates Fox

One of the most beloved pastimes, not only in America but all around the world, is sports. However, with a  global pandemic, what do sports look like? 

College and professional sports have had the opportunity to begin playing once again with some newly added precautions. Many games this year have been canceled or postponed due to positive COVID tests as testing is required whenever a player shows any symptoms. Spectators are no longer permitted to watch the games in the stadium unless they have the ability to social distance and wear a mask. Coaches and players are required to wear masks and must remain socially distant when not in the game. 

But what about high school? Some high schools have had the opportunity to play. However, many high schools have canceled their winter seasons after fall seasons were already postponed for the majority of schools across America. Some schools follow the same rules as colleges and professionals where players are not required to wear a mask while in the game but must if sitting on the bench. Other schools are requiring players to wear masks while playing in games. 

For the Steward School, athletes must follow the Tidewater Conference of Independent School rules which require all players to wear masks at all times, including while playing in games.  However, this rule may change to allow schools to make their own decisions regarding requiring players to play in masks and allowing spectators to watch in person. Testing will be required for both players and coaches prior to games.

A tale of 2 fathers.

 

February 12, 2021 / Gates Fox, Adhya Yaratha, and Hayden Ashworth

 

 

Mr. Gallo is the Physics and Junior Seminar of innovation studies. He is also very involved in different clubs and is the sponsor and runs the robotics team. 

 

Q: How long have you worked at Steward?

A: I have worked at steward for 8 years 

 

Q: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A: Food, all of it. However, if I had to pick one I think a nice pan-seared steak with a creamy pepper sauce with appropriate side

 

Q: What is your greatest accomplishment?

A: I think keeping Jake, my son, alive for 8 years would have to be it as he seems like he will become a good person and a positive influence on the world when he gets older.

 

Q: What made you want to become a teacher?

A: It was by accident, I was going to work with nuclear weaponry, but before I could start, 9/11 occurred and the project got shut down. A friend of mine said they got into teaching and I decided to do it for the interim and I ended up really enjoying it.

 

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world assuming no COVID, where would you go?

A: Okinawa, Japan- for the food.

Mr. Young is the Global Studies, AP World History, and Government Economics teacher. He also helps students further their academic careers through his involvement with the Richmond Forum.   

 

Q: How long have you worked at Steward?

A: I have worked at Steward for 6 years.

 

Q: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?

A: Pad thai definitely. 

 

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment?

A: Being a dad to my son Parker.

 

Q: Why did you become a teacher?

A: My mom, aunt, and other family members were teachers and I was inspired by them. I also enjoy coaching and was interested in coaching high school students in volleyball.  

 

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world assuming no COVID, where would you go?

A: Anywhere in Asia but, specifically south Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, etc)

Kaleidoscope.

 

February 12, 2021 / Hailey Wharram, Co-Editor In Chief

your colors are the most vibrant

in the quiet, in-between moments.

they come like skittish wild animals,

treats to witness, magnificent sights to behold,

just don’t come too close,

or they may lose their pigments,

fleeing before they’ve truly had the chance

to animate all of your features 

and tint your smile 

with their peculiar saturations.

 

weightless, softened blues:

the musical sound of your laugh

with me in the passenger seat,

always by your side.

 

waxy, rose-kissed pinks:

goosebumps sprinkling my neck

when you whispered in my ear.

a secret, a confession.

 

warm, melting yellows:

the way it felt when you held me.

the comfortable strength within the silence.

never let me go.

 

i was always too afraid to tell you my favorites,

worried i’d scare them off into hiding by 

acknowledging their beauty,

but i think it’s important that you know i see them,

because it's in these moments that

i truly see you.

 

you’re a malleable canvas 

that i have the privilege of rediscovering everyday.

a rainbow, a kaleidoscope 

who i am so very lucky to love.

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By Hailey Wharram, '21

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By Anya Bhargava, '21

How the Arts are Surviving the Coronavirus.

 

February 12, 2021 / Adhya Yaratha

In times of crisis, many people turn towards comfort. For each person that comfort is different, but during the Coronavirus pandemic some people’s forms of comfort have been altered. 

The arts play a key role in many people’s lives whether it is through the fine arts, visual arts, performing arts, or others. Now, with COVID-19, many of these art forms have needed to find different ways of reaching people. 

Since the pandemic, comfort has had to be compromised for safety at times. For dancers, that has meant wearing masks and dancing while socially distant. Though many dance academies have opened their studios for practice, many are still grappling with the conundrum of performances. Dancing requires  togetherness and partnership. Because of social distancing mandates, this has made safe performances hard to implement. Though many studios are electing to solve this puzzle through careful planning, some are making the difficult decision of canceling performances. 

Canceling performances takes a toll on the dancers, studios, and audiences. With so much uncertainty, performing is seen as a familiar respite for the dancers. By making the hard choice of canceling, the comfort of dancing is taken from them, like many other comforts this year. Many studios also struggle financially with the cancellation of performances as they provide a large source of income. For the audience members who pay to see the shows, the familiarity and joy of watching a live performance is gone.

Many studios, though, are navigating the world of safe and socially distanced performances. Although different, they are a way for dancers to continue to exhibit their skills for live audiences. With masks being a major component, dancers are finding ways to get back to a “new normal” of performing. When planning these performances, many studios are tasked with exploring the fine line between cautiousness and comfort, making this year so different from others. Some studios are delving into the world of Zoom performances. Whether that means the audience is watching from Zoom, or the dancers are dancing through Zoom, it is a new experience for all. 

Here at Steward, the theatre department is finding unique ways to have shows during the Coronavirus pandemic. They recorded “On The Subject of Acquitting a Spirit” by Hayden Ashworth for the fall play, letting us enjoy their performances while staying safe. For the winter play they are planning  "Zoom Macbeth: A Musical Parody." Though live performances are not possible under current CDC guidelines, the Steward theatre community is still finding creative ways to bring the joy of the arts to Steward families. 

With so much changing due to COVID-19, the world has had to adapt in order to retain some familiarity in these unfamiliar times. By prioritizing creative solutions a semblance of normalcy can be found in these abnormal times.

Want to make money without a full time job?

 

February 12, 2021 / Anya Bhargava, Co-Editor In Chief

All my friends were getting jobs, everywhere from Tropical Smoothie to Glory Days, and I wanted to join in. However, I knew that I needed a lot of flexibility this summer as I had a month-long internship, had to study for the SAT/ACT, and had signed up to volunteer at feedmore, not to mention that I still wanted some free time to relax and hangout with friends. The idea of getting a job quickly vanished. But, I still wanted to have the experience of making my own money. So, one of my friends introduced me to Instacarting. We went together and I learned how to work the app, scan the groceries, checkout, and deliver. Ever since, I've been hooked!

 

Right after my make-up AP exam (the trauma of which deserves a story of its own), my mom and I went together for the first time and we’ve made a great team ever since. Not only has Instacarting been a great and flexible way to make money, I love that I've been able to do it with my mom (a boss at literally everything). Although it seems like stereotyping, trying to guess what type of items the customer would want based on their name, gender, and address became like a game for us.

 

The first few times my mom and I Instacarted together, we were still learning and confused about certain aspects of the job. We were lucky enough to meet the most patient and helpful cashiers and staff. One cashier gave me a tip on how to pause the timer so that we could deliver within the time limit and another showed me how to use the Instacart card. They struck up conversations with us and it was strangely nice to see and talk to strangers once again, something that a lot of us realized we missed due to COVID.

 

One day, we were on our way to deliver and it suddenly began to pour. I started frantically looking for an umbrella because neither of us had raincoats and we knew we would get soaked walking up to their doorway. Thankfully, I found an umbrella, but it was pouring so hard that my legs and feet would get drenched anyway. We sat in the car just waiting for the rain to lighten up. The rain didn’t listen to our concerns, so here I was carrying 2 massive bags of heavy groceries, an umbrella, and my phone all in the pouring rain on an unusually windy evening. I definitely looked crazy and like a complete mess, but I came back cooled off and with adrenaline pumping through my veins.

 

On another delivery, we had a sweet old woman as our customer and when I went to drop off her groceries in front of her door, she came out and gave me an extra $2, saying that she “always gives her helpers a little extra”. It was a super sweet gesture and put a smile on my face for the rest of the drive back home.

 

Through Instacarting, I've definitely developed an immense appreciation for cashiers, delivery men, and other essential workers as well as found a great way to make some extra cash while spending quality time with my mom. I never thought this unconventional way of making money would teach me so much and be so much fun, but I'm incredibly glad I tried it out!

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Steward Ink Winter Issue Article Submiss

Comics by Elizabeth Burmeister

Steward Ink Winter Issue Article Submiss

A Time of Uncertainty: A Story About Tactile Defensiveness.

 

February 12, 2021 / Taylor Poore

Everybody struggles in their lives at one time or another. Everybody questions the unknown at one time or another. For me, these hard and questionable times overlapped. At the age of nine I was wearing my favorite sparkly dress from Justice and working on my multiplication tables in Ms. Seaderstrom’s fourth grade class. Suddenly, I started to feel uncomfortable, which was nothing new as I had already been diagnosed with anxiety, but this time it was different. Pins and needles felt like they were stabbing at my skin. I ran to the bathroom, where Ms. Seaderstrom later found me crying in a corner. My mother was informed of the situation and insisted we go to the doctor’s office, a place of which I was not a very big fan. They couldn’t find anything wrong, so I went home and lived happily ever after.

 

If only that were true. What actually happened was not as easy. The doctors couldn’t find anything wrong, so I did go home, until it happened again. So we went back to the doctor; again they found nothing abnormal. Then it happened again, so we went to a new doctor .hey did not find anything wrong either. The next year consisted of a  continuous cycle of pain, doctor visits, and utter confusion about what was happening to my body. That can be scary at any time in one’s life, but especially when you’re a little girl who doesn’t even know how to handle fractions. At this time, I stopped dressing how I wanted to and started wearing anything I could find that was comfortable. Usually you would find me in a t-shirt from Justice, gaucho pants, and bright orange crocs. It hurt  that these were the only types of outfits I felt comfortable in  My mental health began to deteriorate. I was scared to go to school because I thought everyone would make fun of me. Of course, that was all in my head, but as a 10 year old I didn’t know that.

 

Things finally took a turn when my mom found a specialist for mental and physical disorders caused by touch. She booked an appointment and we headed to the southside of Richmond. When we arrived, I was nervous, because I didn’t really understand what was going on, but I wanted some answers. They walked me into a beige colored room with one wooden desk. The doctor had me sit down and take a multiple choice test. At the time I had no idea what any of the questions had to do with how I was feeling, but I obliged anyway. After I completed the test, they told me I have a disorder called Tactile Defensiveness. Tactile Defensiveness is a neurologically based hypersensitivity to touch or stimulation, meaning I react to feelings that other people usually don’t notice. Sometimes it can be triggered by big problems, like anxiety, or daily occurrences like fatigue, illness, or even hunger. I was ecstatic, believing all of this would finally end.  It didn’t. 

 

There’s no clear treatment for Tactile Defensiveness, which means going through a lot of trial and error. The doctor first recommended regular therapy to help treat the self deprecating feeling that often arose with this disorder. Then, it was time to move onto special touch therapy. My first session was quite odd. I went in with my mother and we talked about different things to try. At the end of the session she gave me a white plastic bristle brush. She said I had to brush myself each night. I didn’t even know what that meant. I was supposed to run the brush over my limbs every night and then my mom was supposed to pop my joints. I tried this for a while, but it wasn’t for me.

 

I still struggle with Tactile Defensiveness nearly every day. Common things that come easy to others are tricky for me. I can’t just see a cute piece of clothing and decide that I want to buy it when I’m at the mall with my friends. There are bad days and there are good days. There are mornings where everything goes smoothly and there are mornings where I cry. But that’s not the point of this article. The point of this article is to remember to wake up every morning and push through the pain and the unknown, because, most likely, part of it will pass. And, if it doesn’t, well then I know from first hand experience that someone will be there to help you through it. If you don’t have anyone now, then I can always be that person. It’s important to have a positive perspective, remembering that you still have places to go, people to see, and new things to try.

Winter Scenery
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This is the end of our Winter 2021 issue! 

We have new articles updated constantly, so please stay tuned for changes and uploads on our site.  If you wish to print this issue, please do. We hope you enjoyed reading our articles as much as we enjoyed writing them!

Love,

The Steward Ink Team

Thank you for reading!