Recovery Roxx

A Journey of Learning

Creation Myth – Sylar (for mythology class) October 11, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — racquel68 @ 11:15 pm
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      From out of chaos rose the greatest and most feared of all watchmakers.  The son of a watchmaker, he lived his life in subtle innocuity; a quiet simple existence. He was never very talented at anything other than watch making.  He threw his whole self into the craft and became an artist.  But his soul remained unfulfilled.  He longed to be a great man; he longed for fame and charisma. As he sat alone in his small shop tinkering with the tiny parts of a timepiece, he pondered how his life was emulated in that small object.  He was meaningless; as small and unnoticed as the watches he fixed.  If only he could fix himself!  If only he could look a woman in the eye and have confidence, style, charm!  If only he could be an important man with a name that people would remember.  Gabriel is hardly the name of powerful man.  And yet there he sat, quietly working with cogs and wheels, dreaming of a life out of reach, bogged down in a fog of ennui.

      Bells jingle as the front door opens and a tall dark-skinned man enters carrying a book.  Irritated at the unwelcome interruption, Gabriel looks up.

      “May I help you?” He asks.

      “Are you Gabriel Gray?” The stranger replies.

      Standing, Gabriel responds, “Yes, and you are?”

      Breathing a sigh of relief, the stranger says, “I am Doctor Chandra Suresh, and you are not who you think you are.  I need to speak to you about a gravely important matter.”

      And so the two sat and talked and Dr. Suresh revealed to Gabriel the amazing truth about his life.  A light began to glow behind the eyes of the watchmaker.  His soul started to open up. 

Chandra’s research into a deadly genetic disease that killed his daughter led him to a powerful discovery.  There were people, he postulated, that had a mutated genetic code that gave them unbelievable powers – beyond any that humans have ever known.  It seemed like a fairy tale, but it was true and all that the good doctor needed was a willing patient to provide him with the evidence he sought.  His genetic research had led him to Gabriel and now he wanted him to join him in his lab.

“I just need a small amount of your blood so that I can test my theory against your DNA.  If I am right, you are destined for amazing things.  You may have powers that you have yet to discover!”

      Gabriel found this prospect irresistible and agreed to go to the Doctor’s lab and participate in his experiments.  In fact, he was flooded with hope, anticipation, and a hunger that had, until now, been only a fantasy.  Little did the Doctor know what he would be unleashing on the world.

      Back at his lab, Dr. Suresh excitedly shares all that he has discovered about this new evolutionary process and even goes so far as to divulge the whereabouts of other people he has uncovered who have shown signs of super-human powers. 

      To Gabriel’s intense and crushing disappointment, the DNA tests they perform are inconclusive and Dr. Suresh ultimately turns his attention away from Gabriel.  “Gabriel, I simply must focus on those gifted individuals who can further my study and prove once and for all that we are indeed evolving into much more advanced humans than we ever thought possible. I cannot waste my time with you.  I’m sorry.”

      “Perhaps I can help you in your search for Specials,” Gabriel pleads.  Reluctantly Chandra agrees and gives him an address to follow up on and instructs him on what to say during his interview with a man named Davis.

      Upon arrival at his first interview, Gabriel discovers that he has found someone who incredibly has an amazing ability.  He can move objects with his mind; no less than real telekinetic power. Gabriel finds himself overwhelmed by a need to have this power.  What is so special about Davis?  Gabriel is far more deserving.  Overtaken by some force outside of his control, he slices through the skull of the poor unsuspecting Davis; killing him and stealing his power. 

He feels alive in a way he has never experienced before.  He has POWER!  He is a special.  He returns to Dr. Suresh and reports that Davis turned out to be a dead-end.  No powers there, just a regular ordinary human.

      Over the next several months, Gabriel tracks down and interviews potential Specials.  If they have superhuman abilities, he kills them and takes whatever powers they display.  It doesn’t take long for the Doctor to figure out what is going on and in a heated confrontation is killed by Gabriel.

      Gabriel is now a completely different person.  He stands straight up, no longer does he hide in his little shop, no longer is he a watchmaker.  He has a greater destiny now.  He is Special.  His lifelong dream of being a great and powerful man is being fulfilled.  The new man deserves a new name and thus Sylar is born.

Driven by the insatiable hunger to acquire more power, he tracks down and steals the abilities of each person on Dr. Suresh’s list obeying what he deems to be an “evolutionary imperative”.  As he incorporates each new ability into his being, he exudes an evil that people turn away from.  A hardness overtakes his eyes.  He has a singleness of purpose that eliminates the need for any human contact, aside from those he will kill.  He becomes a bloodthirsty killer who lives under the radar and is so powerful that no one can stop him. Once he acquires the ability of a certain young girl who has cellular regeneration, he will be completely unstoppable.  His search for her will never end until he is successful. 

There are others who know about this genetic mutation happening in humans.  They also seek out people with special abilities to test them and in some cases, such as with Sylar, to imprison them.  But Sylar stays one step ahead of them all the time. 

In Sylar a killer has been created and the world is not safe.



The warrants and messages found in the creation myth of Sylar are meant to guide the reader to think of the deeper implications. The warning about how unchecked power corrupts is an old message.  Also found in this myth is the warrant about not being selfish, as well as admonition about the ills of addiction.  Finally we find messages telling us to be self-accepting. 

This creation myth is a cautionary tale about power and corruption.  Starting off as a mild-mannered man, Gabriel dreams of having power; of being different – special. Upon being given an opportunity to finally attain that goal, he is overcome by his compulsion to get more and more power.   He represents the corruption of power found in our modern culture and he becomes a killer in his pursuit of that power.  Lord John Acton, a 19th century historian and moralist is famously quoted as saying, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”; this is a clear message found in the myth about Sylar.  

Another aspect of this myth is an underlying warrant about selfishness.  Most of us are taught to share.  We are told that it is wrong to be selfish and to seek out only our own profit.  Sylar displays selfish interests and a disregard of others, thinking only of himself and his insatiable desire to acquire more power. This is again told in a cautionary way.  The underlying message is that unwavering pursuit of selfish self-interests leads to corruption.

Another interesting aspect of this story is that his need to kill and take people’s abilities can be seen as an addiction.  He gains pleasure from doing these things and hence feels more powerful.  The pleasure he gets reinforces his desire to commit these acts more and more.  Just like being addicted to a drug brings pleasure and makes a person want more of that drug. 

A final underlying message is about accepting oneself exactly as you are instead of trying to be like everyone around you.  Gabriel could not accept that he was a simple watchmaker. He couldn’t be happy with who he was.  He dreamed about being greater than that and wanted to take on the qualities and abilities of other people.  We’ve all known people who go through life emulating others instead of developing their own sense of self.  This is what Gabriel does when he becomes Sylar and with each new kill and acquisition he gets further and further away from who he is until he is completely lost to himself.  He becomes a menagerie of other people and Gabriel disappears.  The warrant here is to accept and love oneself instead of judging yourself based on what other people are doing.

Creation myths play important roles in teaching about culture and answering the questions of who we are as a people.  The conglomeration of warrants and messages in the creation of Sylar teach the reader to be cautious about attaining too much power, about corruption of the self in that search, about selfishness, addiction, and self-acceptance.

Sylar is a character from my favorite TV show – Heroes.


Bell’s Palsy – May 26, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — racquel68 @ 11:05 pm

I have a health update for you.  On Thursday (5/21) I started having pain deep in my ear.  I thought it was the start of an ear infection.  Of course my busy schedule did not allow me to go to the doctor until sunday afternoon, by which time the right side of my face had become paralyzed.  This is a freaky sensation. That coupled with the pain in my ‘ear’ had me thinking that my middle ear was inflammed and was pressing on the nerve causing the paralysis.  The doctor diagnosed me with Bell’s Palsy. (  I don’t mind the sneering looking smile, or the half-closing eye, or the difficulty eating/drinking… what is really really hard is the SEARING BLINDING PAIN!!!! Now the pain is no longer localized in my ear, it is spread out to my jaw, all around and in my right ear, and into my neck.  Loud sounds (or even not so loud ones) make this worse – wylie will you PLEASE stop barking!!!!  Stress makes it worse (thank you nursing school!).  Also my depression is being triggered from this extra stress and having to deal with nerve pain that does not seem to diminish much even with 800 mg of Ibuproffen 3x/d.  Warm compresses are comforting but hard to tell if it really effects the pain much.  Mostly calm quiet, and rest help the most.  I am getting lots of love and care from the people close to me (especially Autumn – she is babying me and taking excellent care of me while still attending to her own needs – what a woman!)  The message is for me to take life on life’s terms.  I get to live through this.  It is an ordeal, but a)no one died, and b)this is a short-term problem and I will most likely have a full recovery.  This has come at the 10th anniversary of my sobriety.  I was blessed enough to be asked to speak at 2 different meetings this week – both my AA and my NA homegroups.  I get to be an example of a person who inspite of the difficulties I’ve had with life, alcohol and drugs gets to live life on it’s own terms (including illness, depression, and HUGE accomplishments, i.e. getting into and succeeding in nursing school) and still gets to live life clean and sober.  I can’t ask for much more than that.  Although I still want this pain to end. 🙂
So, that’s my story.  All messages of love and support are welcome!


It is now October and most of the BP is gone.  Anyone looking at me can’t tell that I ever had it.  I do still have some lingering minor symptoms: aching and tenderness in my jaw, ear and cheek, weak feeling muscles in my cheek, and occassional twitches and/or spasms and around my mouth on the right.  My eye closes mostly ok, although I have been able to tell that it isn’t a completely tight seal – but even that is gradually getting better. All in all I’d say im 98% healed.  Thank goodness!  I’m also off of the neurontin now and I’m glad for that.  Again, I so appreciate everyone’s love and support through all of that.


Reality Bites

Filed under: Uncategorized — racquel68 @ 10:51 pm
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It has taken me quite a bit of time to get my head together enough to write about my experience in nursing school. That may sound like an ominous statement, and maybe it is.  I guess I can tell you now that I have decided (as some of you may already know) to leave the nursing program and pursue what I think will bring me more fulfillment – counseling psychology.   I’ll talk more about that later, for now let me start at the beginning.

The first term of nursing started with a dozen emails from the program’s secretary, Kate.  She’s a very thorough person and has a lot of ducks to keep in a row.  Also, were emails from instructors with, well, instructions!  Day after day, another email. Go here, go there. Read this. Get this form signed. Don’t forget…! So I had oh 200-300 pages to read BEFORE the first day of class.  That was a shocker.  Plus the fact that – uh, I didn’t understand half of what I was reading.  Plus the fact that I had just finished a killer final in my statistics class and also was planning and getting married!  So – I guess I was a little bit stressed out.  I hit a wall with my depression… had a huge panic attack a few days before the first day of class and then spent the next 2 weeks digging myself out emotionally.

I did get into a good routine with classes, though, and enjoyed the learning I was doing.  I got excellent grades on my weekly tests (5 classes, 3 weekly tests).  I struggled a bit with the skills portion though.  The demand for perfection was ever-present.  The skills all had to be passed exactly as taught with no errors (or even potential errors – such as when I was almost failed for doing something that might have caused a break in the sterile field).  Oh, and we were “taught” the skills by having one 2 hour class for 8 people to learn the skill.  So what skills were they? Well, let’s see. Mixing and drawing up insulin into a syringe (from a vial), drawing up other medication from an ampule, give shots (intra-muscular, intra-dermal, and subcutaneous), measuring and setting an IV drip factor, and inserting a catheter (male and female) while keeping a sterile field.  I think that’s it.

I was doing good in clinical because it was in a nursing home and I’ve spent the past 3 years working in one of those.  I was frustrated though because we seemed to be only doing the job of a CNA.  I already knew that, I wanted to learn about NURSING.  So we did a little bit of passing meds and I got to give a couple of shots (that was cool!) and take some blood sugars.  We did a lot of work on care plans.  In a nutshell, that is where you figure out what the nursing issues are and how you are going to address them.   I was pretty good at that, too.

All was going well, until toward the end of the term, like 3 weeks or so before finals I developed a condition called Bell’s Palsy.  The right side of my face became paralyzed and I was in intense and excruciating pain – which I have previously written about, although maybe not here… maybe I’ll post the letter I sent to my friends and family… Anyway, the last 3 weeks were NOT fun!  I had a final exam to study for – a mock-performance of a head to toe assessment on a mannequin.  When I got the BP, I found that I was not able to study as well nor as long as I had been.  I went from putting in about 30 hours a week of at home studying to only about 10.  The pain and stress was so exhausting that many days I would go to class and come home for a 4 hour nap just so I could read a little.  Being on the computer or experiencing any stress would set off a pain attack.  Also, any noise above a whisper was excruciating since my tympanic membrane was also affected and was unable to modulate to sound. Not that the pain needed any reason to happen, there were times when I would just cry because it hurt so bad and I couldn’t do anything about it. Eating and drinking was also a challenge due to not having movement in half of my mouth!  After about 3 weeks, I found a bit of pain relief (and after 4 weeks – considerable relief) with the use of a medication called neurontin.  Of course a further disturbance I suffered was the side effect of this medication.  It made me drowsy and dizzy a lot of the time until about 4 weeks into taking it.

So, I did the amazing feat of completing my last 3 weeks of clinicals and finishing all my tests. I had several classmates marvel at my tenacity. Then came finals week.  I got good sleep, I ate healthy food (mostly), I studied as much as I could tolerate, and I went and took my finals. I did great on the written tests, but I completely failed the head to toe assessment.  I was so mad at myself!  I knew that stuff and I shouldn’t have failed.  But I did and I had to accept the reality that due to my illness I hadn’t studied and PRACTICED as much as I needed to to know it inside and out.  I just hoped that my work in the rest of the term would make up for my choking at the final.  It did and I ended up with a C+ in that class.  It is a passing grade, but I’ll tell you, in the almost 4 years I’ve been in college, I’ve only gotten 2 grades that were NOT A’s (a B in nutrition and a B+ in Statistics).  Let me tell you, this hurt my ego!  Well, I was bound and determined to give it my all next term and do better.  (BTW, I got A’s in my other classes.)

I have to say here, that Autumn was truly wonderful during all of this.  She took such excellent care of me when I needed it.  She felt helpless, of course, when I was in so much pain and we couldn’t really resolve it.  So she did what she could.  She’d give me Reiki.  She’d talk to me and use guided imagery to calm and relax me and she’d breathe with me, slow and deliberate.  She’d hold me and rub my back and just touch my jaw (where most of the pain was located) until the pain went away.  And you know what? It worked!  I would invariably feel better and be able to sleep.  Thank you Autumn for being such a loving and compassionate woman and for giving me the gift of your healing touch.

Thus ended my first term of nursing school.


Spring 2008 Class Schedule March 12, 2008

Filed under: schedules — racquel68 @ 11:38 pm


1:10- 3:00  Nursing 110 – Foundations of Professional Nursing


11:30 – 12:30 Nursing 112 – Intro to Mental Health


10:00 – 11:50 Nursing 114 – Nursing Skills Practice (lab)

1:10 – 3:00 Nursing 113 – Professional Nursing Skills


6:30am – 3pm  Nursing 111 – Foundations of Nursing Practicum (Clinical): Location TBA


Day and Time TBA:  Nursing 125 – Nursing Skills Practice (extra lab)

Plus 2000 hours of studying!


Thoughts on Compulsory Heterosexuality March 6, 2008

Filed under: Women's Studies — racquel68 @ 11:33 am

Hi all,

The term compulsory heterosexuality is one I haven’t heard before, although I have certainly been subjected to it, as all of us have.  I lived for many years in the grip of this forced heterosexual expression.  It’s not that I didn’t accept myself as a lesbian, it’s more like it was so expected of me to be straight that I just didn’t think I had any other choice.  I was expected to date boys and marry a man.  The text points out numerous ways that vital institutions “support and encourage heterosexual coupling and dating” (Shaw, Lee pg 172).  The media is a huge producer of heteronormative images.  Nearly every magazine, newspaper, sitcom, newshow, talkshow, movie, music video, and billboard displays some aspect of heterosexuality being the only normal option. 

I remember when “gay” became a household word (at least in my household).  That was in the early ’80’s when the AIDS crisis was just getting into full swing and gay men were dying by the hundreds.  I was watching a news program about it with my mother when turned to me and said, “if you ever tell me you are gay, I will never talk to you again.”  Well, even though I had felt physical and emotional attractions to females since early puberty, something in me clicked into guard and protect mode.  I knew it would not be safe to ever express that part of me.  I didn’t have enough self-empowerment to come out until I was around 26 years old.  Those intervening years were painful, secretive, and oppressive.

Today, I am so excited to see these things changing.  We can watch TV and movies, read magazines and newspapers and see more gay people than ever before.  It is thrilling for me to watch and be a part of the debate over providing legal protections and societal acceptance to gays, lesbians and bisexuals who seek to experience normal life (marriage, parenting, home ownership, freedom from discrimination, quality medical care, freedom of expression, etc.).  

As a side note, today most of my family is absolutely loving toward me and my homosexuality is a non-issue.  I have, in my own way, for most of my family members, normalized homosexuality.  For those who are still a bit behind the times, I will be patient and I will be normal.

Thanks for listening,



Nursing School February 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — racquel68 @ 9:34 pm

Hey, I’m not sure I let you all know that Yes, I did get into nursing school.  I start April 7, 2008.  I went to the orientation and had a lot of my fears laid to rest.  There isn’t much to be afraid of.  It sounds like they hold your hand through it all – at least the clinicals and labs.  The book learning is more independent learning type of stuff.  In otherwords, I will be responsible to read and digest the material and take multiple short tests each week.

I have all but decided to pursue a focus in mental health nursing. 

I can’t wait to start!

So, this term I am taking 13 credit hours, planning a wedding (yes Autumn and I are gettin’ hitched!) and still working and taking care of my family and making it to 2-4 meetings per week, plus service work.  EEK!  It keeps me busy and out of trouble.  It also keeps me out of my own head, which is a dangerous place to be sometimes. 

Well, Love you all and I’ll let you know how the wedding turns out (which I’m sure will be great) and how my first days in nursing school go.


Oppression vs. Privilege

Filed under: Women's Studies — racquel68 @ 12:29 pm

Watch “A Girl Like Me” 

It is interesting to me how the text talks about the ways in which we experience oppression on many fronts while at the same time benefiting from certain privileges.  In exploring my own identity, I find that I am a white middle-class lesbian female.  I experience oppression as a female and certainly even more as a lesbian, yet I benefit in privileges of being white and middle-class.  The encouragement to explore these privileges can be difficult and uncomfortable.  I think people focus on one or the other, depending on where the most of their experiences lie.  But for people who live in the middle of wide gaps between privilege and oppression, the recognition of this dichotomy may be especially disconcerting. 

Consider Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives for example.  She has the privilege of having money and status, yet still suffers from external and (probably) internalized oppression due to being female.  This idea of internalized oppression is addressed in reading 9, Toward a New Vision by Patricia Hill Collins where she quotes Audre Lorde, “The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations which we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us” (pg. 76).  So fight must not only be against those situations, people and institutions which act to oppress and victimize us as women (or lesbians, or people of color, or poor…) but to find and fight the oppressive messages we have internalized. 

The documentary “A Girl Like Me” was very interesting.  The internalized oppression that those young children displayed when choosing a white doll as nice and the black doll as bad was blatantly obvious and heartbreakingly sad.

I was raised in a bi-racial family where some of my family members were white and some were black.  I experienced a lot of discrimination and violence as a child from neighbors and society because of this.  I have to realize, however, that the fact that I am white provided me with privileges that my black brother didn’t have access to and that his being male gave him privileges that I didn’t have.  Both women and people of color have suffered in our society.  I think a quote from Beyond the Politics of Inclusion speaks volumes about the position of non-white people in the US.  Andrea Smith says, “the United States is build on a history of genocide, slavery, and racism.  Our ‘home’ has never been a safe place for people of color” (pg 578).

This gives me much to think about.