I was actually in a pretty shitty mental space today so this is a special kind of magic to have plopped into my lap. So grateful for my friends.
My new reaction gif for when I throw all the fucks I give in the air.
In reality, once helmet, gloves and an oxygen-supplying backpack were added, it was a wearable spacecraft. Cocooned within 21 layers of synthetics, neoprene rubber and metalized polyester films, Armstrong was protected from the airless Moon’s extremes of heat and cold (plus 240 Fahrenheit degrees in sunlight to minus 280 in shadow), deadly solar ultraviolet radiation and even the potential hazard of micrometeorites hurtling through the void at 10 miles per second.
The Apollo suits were blends of cutting-edge technology and Old World craftsmanship. Each suit was hand-built by seamstresses who had to be extraordinarily precise; a stitching error as small as 1/32 inch could mean the difference between a space-worthy suit and a reject. While most of the suit’s materials existed long before the Moon program, one was invented specifically for the job. After a spacecraft fire killed three Apollo astronauts during a ground test in 1967, NASA dictated the suits had to withstand temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The solution was a state-of-the-art fabric called Beta cloth, made of Teflon-coated glass microfibers, used for the suit’s outermost layer.
A page from Jake Wyatt’s upcoming webcomic Necropolis. I have been obsessing over this figure of death as an idea for another tattoo.
To me, it is beautiful and delicate. The three figures in one speak to the feeling of multiplicity and in a strange way, wholeness of death and being mortal. We are created from a multitude of experiences looking in several directions but we ultimately have one endpoint, our inevitable story is death. It is all encompassing. And it is a sovereign. I suppose it might be cliché to get a tattoo of death as a reminder to live, but I think this particular design speaks to me because it is itself a reminder of life past, present, and future. It’s not just a battle cry or an alarm, it is a record. Things we’ll experience and things we have already experienced. Things we have lost and things we will lose. And there is a calm, regal beauty to that, a peace if you will.
But anyway, aesthetically (and symbolically) I still need to find something else to balance it out before I commit to it. Because while death is a whole in and of itself it is not the whole of my story.
This is me being honest and personal, but as promised on twitter I folded in pictures of kittens (well, ended on, really). Because it tickles me to do so. It’s not very long.
I’ve had someone tell me that losing a parent will change and color your life. He spoke as if no one (or rather, not most) would understand it as deeply, like we were brothers in miserable arms. It will change how you see the world, he told me, and what you care about. And I let myself indulge in the natural sadness that comes with losing my mom, but his words ultimately felt empty to me. It struck me then as funny, even slightly presumptuous, and more a sign of his experiences and his psyche then the universal truth he was trying to bestow on me. Death happens. It is an inevitability. Some people go early, some late. Those left alive sometimes get to brace themselves and some are left to feel cheated or bowled over. This is the one way flow of life. We live, we lose. What strikes me, however, is the idea of trauma.
You see the aforementioned speaker spoke as if losing a parent was the worst thing that could happen to a person and for him it was, given his age and experience. It was a traumatic, seemingly unnatural, experience that shaped his life. The way he spoke about it paralleled the way I sometimes speak about sexual trauma as a child. I understand how an event can change everything, create new focuses in your life, new understandings of how the universe works. How you can feel at peace with something for a long time only to have it randomly jump back out. I’ve learned this as a truth early on. And though I am hit with sadness and longing and regret and all the emotions connected with loss, and I feel them fully and whole like anyone else (I presume), it is with an understanding that that is life. And it is not because I have “endured worse” as if this were some sort of misery pissing match, but merely because my understanding of life, my experiences and my journey has prepared me in some ways. And this is not a unique path, I sometimes feel like living is an exercise in surviving trauma, it’s relative and personal but it is also shared. Our stories, our action and reactions, how we process are different but it gives us as humans a shape.
I am continually shaping and crafting my self (sometimes better, sometimes worse), and I can more easily fold loss into that because I am conditioned to do so through coping. My mother shaped parts of me through both her successes and mistakes as a parent and a human being, I’m just continuing that tradition. Pushing through the world, creating coping mechanisms for the inevitable failures of life, gleaning strength and beauty where I can in my path. This is me. This is my trauma, my loss, my failings, my successes, my joys, my loves, this is my life. A whole full of holes.
…and now, Kittens…
And one last one