The last significant social upheaval that ushered in an enormous amount of stress and inconvenience in my life and community was the 2015 Freddie Gray riots in Baltimore. Capturing the attention of our country and covered by national news, the unrest was incited by outrage over the death of a 25-year-old black man at the hands of the Baltimore police. The crisis lasted for five days, during which the entire time, I was full-blown psychotic.
I found myself on youtube searching for vintage Mr. Rogers episodes. The shows were pure, kind, inspiring . . and most of all, I was unable to detect any subliminal messages or directives from the government.
The staff knew everyone by name, and cheerfully addressed you with even inconsequential passing in the hallway. Each one, also if you were not directly involved with them, had an idea of what you were working on and would compassionately ask you how things were going or congratulate you on reaching a goal.
I get home and search the basement to find the two tools needed to complete my strategy in undermining the government’s efforts from contaminating my food. I find what I need is in just the places I knew to look. The duct tape sat dutifully in the toolbox. And the six-pack sized Igloo resting alongside it’s larger cooler counterpart.
Now that my psychosis has cleared and I am almost two years into the recovery effort, it is hard for others to understand why I'm not immediately back up and functioning in a high-level management position as if nothing ever happened.
Sitting on the floor in front of what appears to be the beginnings of a start-up band, I am racking my brain to make sense of it all. Why did the government want me to be proficient in music? They had trained me in piano, but I had no experience with drums. Why would they include a full drum set along with free furniture and a piano?
Because of my mom’s interest in science and my dad’s fascination with technology, I was heartily fed a steady diet of STEM-oriented toys and social engagements. Instead of Barbie, I was given chemistry sets, programmable toys, rock and fossil collections, electric race car sets, and home computers. Instead of sports camps like many of my friends, I was sent to science camps, museum schools and foreign language lessons.