Time Capsule - Uncover Ostomy
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Time Capsule

I tweeted a little while ago that I had been invited to participate in WEGO Health’s Health Activist Writer’s Month’s Challenge. I was a little shocked that I had been found, let alone invited to participate, especially since as I actually made my profile for the challenge, they didn’t have an option for “ostomy” in their drop down selection of  topic for my blog. Nevertheless, I thought I should sign up and see what this thing is all about.

From what I’ve gathered, the challenge is to write a blog based on a specific topic they give you, everyday. Will I be able to write a blog post everyday? Considering that it’s crunch time for my last full semester to get my M.A at NYU, probably not. Will I try? Hell, yeah. Nothing like a challenge to pump the adrenaline.

So over the next month, I’ll be trying to keep up with their blog topics. I will be challenged to actually write about what theyve asked me to write about, as opposed to writing about my life- which is just sooo much easier.

I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Here is the blog topic I was given for today:

Every life has a story. But often the most well-preserved stories are those accompanied by physical objects and visuals. In this year’s kick-off to HAWMC, create a time capsule of your stories, your life. Will your time capsule be a physical box or a collection of writing or visuals compiled in a digital format? Where would you hide your time capsule? What is inside your capsule (memorable objects, photos, advice), and what stories do the contents tell? Who do you hope will one day find your stories and what do you image they will think? Will your stories ever be on display or will they have a different purpose?

I’ve never made a time capsule before (or I have and have forgotten about it…) so this was an interesting thought for me to think. What matters most to me? What are the most influential moments of my life?

At first, I assumed that this question was asking me about my life in terms of my disease and what I would put away to remember that time. I immediately thought that my box would actually be made out of an empty TPN IV bag, as it was the symbol of my entire time struggling with Crohn’s disease in and out of the hospital. I had been in and out for 2 years, with most of those years being hooked up to an IV pole of TPN because I wasn’t allowed to eat. At one point, I even had this pole at home and had to hook and unhook myself from it (with the help of my parents) every night. I then thought I would include things like a Push Pop, one of the lollipops that were kept in a plastic tube that you had to push up. They were delicious, especially as they were one of the few things I could “eat” while I was sick. I thought I would also include a mini ostomy bag, of course, signifying surgery. I also thought I would include a picture of 6A, the floor at Sick Kids hospital that I resided in. And lastly, I thought I would include one of the hospital bracelets I have somewhere saved in my room, which I supposed I have saved for this reason.

After thinking about my time capsule and beginning to write it out, I realized that this blog topic wasn’t asking about the story of my illness, but it was asking about the story of my life. As most of you know from this blog, my sickness, nor my ostomy, are in any way my life, but are simply small elements of it.

I realized there is so much more I would put in my time capsule. In fact, I would even change the physical element of my time capsule. I quickly changed my mind from the IV bag to a small metal safe- both for resistance to the elements, and so that I could lock it  (logical, right?). I thought I’d bury it in the backyard of my childhood home so that I could find it sometime when I’m old. It wouldn’t be on display- it would just be for me. I’ve got my blog as my display.

As for contents, I knew I would put all of those things I had mentioned above, signifying my struggle with Crohn’s. However small part of my life it was, it was extremely influential to the person I am today. And yet, there is so much more that makes me who I am; so many people, places, and experiences.

Thinking back to these memories, I began to envision what I would include. I started thinking about including a pair of dancing shoes, from all the years of dance I enjoyed. I thought I’d also include a yearbook from my grade 8 class, as it was the last piece of my elementary school education and it took up 12 years of my life. I thought I’d include a pictures from all of the school plays I participated in, in high school, as well as cd’s with recordings of the songs I had sung in vocal class and choir. Obviously I knew that I had to include pictures of my friends and I from high school as well, especially since they some of the most important people in my life, who I fact, still keep in close contact with.

University is the most recent but most memorable time of my life, so I knew there was much to include from then. I thought I’d include pictures from my experience in university residence, my apron from working at the campus restaurant, and an essay I had written for one of my last classes. I’d include pictures of my friends and having ridiculous amounts of fun for no apparent reason either at the bar, or at a friends pool. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures from our study sessions. which were when we really bonded, but I may have some study notes I’d include in there as well as a reminder.

My sorority was also a big part of my life, so I knew I’d have to include my bid card (invitation to join), as well as the composite picture where I am president. I would also include pictures of some of the greatest memories of my time there, such as pictures of parties, sisterhood events, and philanthropic events like the bone marrow drive we ran in memory of my dad.

I would of course, include things I had from my dad, such as his cologne that I keep on my dresser at home to remind me of him. I would also put one of the favorite pictures I have of him and I, where he’s holding me at less than 1 years old. I would also include a couple of random toys that my brother and I used to play with as children such as lego and playmobile. And I would include the hotel room key from the time my Mom and I went to Vegas, back in 2010. I would include the birthday card that my boyfriend gave me and a picture from one of our happiest moments. I would also  include a couple of old pieces of jewelry  from my deceased grandmother, and recent pictures of me and my living grandparents.

I would include maps and ticket stubs from my backpacking trip to Europe. I also thought I would my student card from NYU and an I <3 NY tshirt to signify my time living in the city…

..Maybe even my beloved stuffed animal Mr. Wrinkles who I’ve had since I was 1…

As I went on and on thinking about all the things I would put in my time capsule, I realized that there are so many memories from so many people in so many places that I want to remember. I don’t think there is any way I could actually put enough away to remember it all.

One thing I have learned in my short, 22 years of life is that the moment is really all you have. While memories are great things to think about, that’s all you can do with them. What matters is enjoying the moments with the people you love before they become memories, because once you have the memories, the only place they can go is in a time capsule.

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What would you put in your time capsule?

Jessica Grossman
info@uncoverostomy.org
1Comment
  • Chloe
    Posted at 17:46h, 02 April Reply

    a great question Jess! even thught im only 12, (i probably dont need to remind you) i would still have a lot oft hings to put in mine. in fact, i have a box next to my armchair of “special things”, such as my first recorder (the pieces of it– my sister sat on it), the ticket to my first A’s game from my tenth birthday, and egg head my best friend designed to look like me three Easters ago, the ticket to the king’s island amusement park form my first year at Youth Rally Ostomy Camp, some duct tape bracelets my friend from camp gave me, my old glasses case, my old guitar pick, some reeds from my first clarinet, the cap of a Dr. Pepper bottle i won in 6ht grade, my first watch, an art ribbon i won in first grade, some scraps of fabric from my favorite old quilt, and even the stsatue on top of my grandmother’s wedding cake! these are the things that really count.
    i suppose if ever did make one, i would also include the five diaries i have been writing since my tenth brithday. i write alot more in them lately. sometimes i even write about you and all the inspring things you write in yur blog! maybe someday, when im old and i read them again, it will give me confidence even then.

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